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September 19, 2003

This'n'that, mateys

Okay, Iíll spare you any further pirate talk, though I will continue to post under my Pirate Name until the holiday is officially over.

Do watch out for this latest virusóthe crafty buggers who send these things out are trying to trick you into downloading their virus by pretending that itís actually a patch for a virus. I havenít actually looked at this, but a reader tells me thereís more info here. Bottom line: if you get any email purportedly from Microsoft, be very wary.

Now, to switch gears, I want to recommend a book, and astonishingly, it's not mine. The folks at FAIR have put together a volume on Bill OíReillyís countless misstatements and distortions called "The Oh Really Factor," which I read last night. Wonderful ammo for your arguments with Fox fans, and for that matter, a wonderful present to give to the OíReilly fan in your family. Some excerpts:

O'REILLY: Commenting on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that forcing students to say the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional: "The reason they're even sitting there is because they were appointed by liberal politicians. Conservative politicians would never appoint the pinheads sitting on the Ninth Circuit" (3/4/03).

OH REALLY: The opinion in the Pledge of Allegiance case was drafted by Judge Alfred T. Goodwin, who was appointed by Richard Nixon.

* * *

O'REILLY: Explaining free speech rights to a high school student, who backed the establishment of a Satanic club at school: "They don't have any First Amendment rights. As soon as they walk in the door . . . Yes, they don't have any. Joe, do you realize that, as soon as you walk in the San Mateo High School door, you don't have any rights, that you have to do what the teachers tell you to do?" (10/2/02)

OH REALLY: "It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech . . . at the schoolhouse gates" (U.S. Supreme Court, Tinker v. Des Moines, 1969).

For the record, O'Reilly already knows this. When a high school student was suspended by his school for putting up pro-war flyers, he sued the school and won. O'Reilly had him on the show to cheer his legal victory: "A federal judge has ruled the school violated the boy's freedom of speech rights. The school administrators were ordered by the judge to undergo constitutional rights training, and the school board has been ordered to pay Aaron and his parents $3,000" (11/30/01). Maybe O'Reilly could get some of the same training.

* * *

O'REILLY: "The Founders were not concerned with the minority rights, they were concerned with everybody's rights."

OH REALLY: "All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate which would be oppression" (Thomas Jefferson, "First Inaugural Address," March 4, 1801).

* * *

O'REILLY: "I never heard Mr. Clinton once say, come out and say, we need more discipline in the schools, we need tougher standards, we need alternative schools because we don't want the student body to be diverted by just a few. I never heard any of that" (3/27/01).

OH REALLY: "I have laid before the Congress a number of proposals that will make education our number-one priority and result in dramatic improvements of our schools: smaller classes, better teaching, higher standards, expanded choice, more discipline, greater accountability" (Bill Clinton, speech, 5/7/98).

* * *

O'REILLY: "On Tuesday, we presented a story that said Senator Hillary Clinton has not attended any of the funerals of everyday victims of 9/11. The critical mail poured in. 'You don't like Hillary,' they wailed, 'leave her alone.' Nobody challenged the accuracy of the story" (11/29/01).

OH REALLY: Clinton attended the funeral of Sonia Morales Puopolo, who died at the World Trade Center (Associated Press, 10/6/01), and a memorial service at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine for seventy-nine workers missing from the Windows on the World restaurant (New York Daily News, 10/2/01).

* * *

O'REILLY: When Kathleen Willey came forward and accused Bill Clinton of having made an unwanted sexual advance towards her in 1993, O'Reilly suggested that the incident had led to her husband's suicide: "I believe Kathleen Willey when she says that private detectives hounded her, that they tried to break her, that they tried to threaten her, and her husband committed suicide. This is another example of all of it emanating from Bill Clinton" (1/15/01).

OH REALLY: Willey's husband killed himself the day that the alleged incident took place. According to Willey, an investigation suggesting that her husband had embezzled from clients at his law firm were what contributed to his suicide-not pressure from Clinton's "private detectives."

Itís full of this stuff, and these arenít even necessarily the best examples, theyíre just what I have available in electronic format from the publisher to cut and paste here.

Speaking of OíReilly, I just started Frankenís book. I donít have much feeling about Al Franken pro or con, so I didnít expect a lot, but I have to say, itís already made me laugh out loud several times.

Speakin' o' scalliwags

I suspect there be some new virus goin' around, posin' as email from Microsoft (but with a mighty odd-lookin' domain in the return address, if ye look closely). The scurvy dogs tell ye to download a "patch." Yer pirates, by god, ye've already got yer patches! And yer peg legs and yer parrots!

Good thing I'm off plunderin' today, I really don't know how long I can maintain this riff. Yarrrrrr.


September 18, 2003


Avast, ye scabrous scalliwags! Iíve got a fearsome lot o'plunderin' t'do tomorrow, which probably means light postin' around these latitudes, so I wanted t'be remindiní ye that it be Talk Like a Pirate Day. (If ye need help talkin' like a pirate, tharís a translator here.)

And ye can get yer own Pirate Name here. Mineís Captain Blood and Guts, and donít ye forget it. (Yarrr! Link removed because the scalliwags try to board yer computer and install some nastiness o'their own, if ye be running a PC, that is.)

And o'course it be Flood the Zone Friday. So thar be plenty t'keep ye busy Ďtil I sail back into port with me ill-gotten gains.

Afterthought: shiver me timbers, mateys, "Captain Blood and Guts" was also thíname of a superhero character o'me own, some twenty-odd years oíplunderiní ago. If that one hasnít vanished into Davey Jonesí own locker by now, I'll post it here some fine day.

Bizarre slip of the tongue

Tom Brokaw has referred to "Hurricane Israel" at least three times now.

The only thing more annoying...

...than having these idiot reporters standing out in the rain shouting into their mics to let us know that there's a whole lot of rain...is having them chastise the idiot pedestrians gawking nearby. Just saw a guy on Fox trying to draw the distinction--he has a job to do, they have no reason to be there and are endangering their lives for no good reason.

Actually there are things more annoying, so I lied. But I don't really need to see the guy standing out there for hours on end. There's a storm coming, I'm clear on that.

Update: case in pointÖ

Struggling against the tide

Congressman J.D. Hayworth apparently had not yet received the memo when he wrote this:

The Bush haters are also befuddled that most Americans believe Saddam Hussein had a role in the September 11 attacks. In fact, there is a definite 9/11-Saddam link, although probably not a direct one. Setting aside the question of how much contact there was between al Qaeda and Saddam, it was Saddam's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 that set off a chain of events that led inexorably to 9/11.

Don't take my word for it. Here is what Time magazine wrote in the October 1, 2001 issue, published shortly after the 9/11 attacks: "for [bin Laden] the real casus belli is the U.S. troop presence in his country dating to the military buildup before the 1991 Gulf War precipitated by Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait" [emphasis added]. In police terms, Saddam would be an accessory to the 9/11 attacks.

If you want to argue it in those terms, it was really the CIA-backed overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran fifty years ago which led "inexorably" to the rise of militant Islamic fundamentalism. And therefore to 9/11. But I don't imagine the Congressman wants to go there...

A few shows...

Öon which I would very much like the opportunity to shamelessly promote the book:

Real Time with Bill Maher;
Whadíya Know (update: was just contacted by their producer!);
Fresh Air;
And of course, The Daily Show.

Just sayiní.


An Amazon reviewer complains because The Great Big Book of Tomorrow contains work published in previous collections.

Well, yes. There is a bunch of new stuff in there too, but as Iíve discussed many times on this site, it is a "greatest hits" collection, a career retrospective. So yeah, itís true, I didnít go back and draw a bunch of entirely new cartoons about the Bush I and Clinton years, nor do I have some vast stockpile of unpublished work that Iíve been keeping hidden away from everyone. Like every other oversized cartoon treasury ever published, from Peanuts to Doonesbury to Calvin & Hobbes, this book contains a substantial amount of work from previous smaller collections, and if thatís not what you want, you should not buy it.

But of course I hope you will.

More blogging around

Bob Goodsell sees a connection between the Bush administrationís recent burst of honesty and a lawsuit filed by the family of John OíNeillóand he works in Hurricane Isabel.

The Linear World tracks the evolution of one of Cheneyís boilerplate speeches.

And Goblin cartoons has turned the whole thing into a fine drinking game.

Update--reader Brad H. has some thoughts on Bush's letter to Congress:

The obvious administration spin on this will be that section (2) is merely affirmation that the action against Iraq is a part of a larger war on terror. Indeed, it does not explicitly state that Iraq was involved with 9/11- though having section (2) in the in the same spare document with a delcaration against Iraq heavily implies it.

What we'll see is a parsing of this sentence, and a disection of just exactly what the president ment when he wrote it. Of course, the conservative talking heads will eat this up, completely ignoring the irony that it was Clinton's close parsing of words and phrases in the exact same manner that they themselves harped on in the late 90's.

Sometimes it’s just too easy


My own rule of thumb with hurricanes is that if they warn you about them, it'll be ok. It's the ones they don't tell you about that'll kill you.

For the record:

Hurricane Floyd, 1999: Came ashore near Cape Fear, N.C., on Sept. 16 and continued along the coast into New England. Caused 56 deaths, $4.6 billion in damage.

Hurricane Andrew, 1992: Most destructive U.S. hurricane on record. Blasted across south Florida on Aug. 24, struck Louisiana coast two days later. Caused 23 deaths, $35 billion in damage, mostly in Florida.

Hurricane Hugo, 1989: Made landfall near Charleston, S.C., on Sept. 22. Storm surges swamped coast from Charleston to Myrtle Beach. Caused 21 deaths on mainland United States, $9.7 billion in damage.

Hurricane Alicia, 1983: Battered Galveston and Houston on Aug. 18. Glass littered streets in downtown Houston as wind broke windows in high-rise buildings. Caused 21 deaths, $3.4 billion in damage.

Afterthought: can someone remind me again, when is it exactly that they don't warn you about hurricanes? (In the era of modern weather forecasting, I mean.)


September 17, 2003

The question...

...is why they're suddenly backing off the Saddam/9-11 connection, when they've managed to convince 70% of the public that there is one. Why now, particularly when it is an outright admission that they lied to Congress to justify the war (see post below)? Are they just trying to defuse the issue so the Dems can't beat them over the head with it? Is something going on behind the scenes that we don't know about? Are they just so insanely short sighted that they're reacting solely to criticism of Cheney's Meet The Press appearance, without any thought to the larger implications of what they're saying? That last would certainly be in keeping with their usual MO, but I have to admit, I'm stumped on this one. What's Karl Rove's angle here?

Now and then


WASHINGTON - President Bush said Wednesday there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 ó disputing an impression that critics say the administration tried to foster to justify the war against Iraq.

"There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al-Qaida ties," the president said. But he also said, "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th."


Text of a Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate

March 18, 2003

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.


(Emphasis added)

Thanks to alert reader Steve S., who asks if Bush hasn't effectively just admitted that he lied to Congress in that letter.

Update: it's been brought to my attention that the guy who emailed this has his own blog. He didn't include a link with his email or I certainly would have put it up here. Anyway, here it is; Steve's the guy who deserves the credit for catching this.

Blogging around

Via Kos, I see that the DNC has started a blog. It's called Kicking Ass, and it looks like it might even live up to the name.

And speaking of kicking ass, via Atrios, a no-holds barred editorial from the Star Tribune:

ē Cheney repeated the mantra that the nation ignored the terrorism threat before Sept. 11. In fact, President Bill Clinton and his counterterrorism chief, Richard Clarke, took the threat very seriously, especially after the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000. By December, Clarke had prepared plans for a military operation to attack Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, go after terrorist financing and work with police officials around the world to take down the terrorist network.

Because Clinton was to leave office in a few weeks, he decided against handing Bush a war in progress as he worked to put a new administration together.

Instead, Clarke briefed national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Cheney and others. He emphasized that time was short and action was urgent. The Bush administration sat on the report for months and months. The first high-level discussion took place on Sept. 4, 2001, just a week before the attacks. The actions taken by the Bush administration following Sept. 11 closely parallel actions recommended in Clarke's nine-month-old plan. Who ignored the threat?

ē Cheney said that "we don't know" if there is a connection between Iraq and the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. He's right only in the sense that "we don't know" if the sun will come up tomorrow. But all the evidence available says it will -- and that Iraq was not involved in Sept. 11.

There's a lot more. Unfortunately there's also an annoying registration process.

Update: Click here and follow the link to avoid the registration stuff.


September 16, 2003

Then and now


CBS News has learned that barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq ó even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks.


Sept. 16, 2003 | WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday he had no reason to believe that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had a hand in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

At a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld was asked about a poll that indicated nearly 70 percent of respondents believed the Iraqi leader probably was personally involved.

"I've not seen any indication that would lead me to believe that I could say that," Rumsfeld said.

Somebody needs to compile a list of all the times Rumsfeld has hinted that Iraq was involved in 9/11. (You out there, Billmon?)

(Update) Condi chimes in:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said on Tuesday the Bush administration had never accused Saddam Hussein of directing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Her statement, in an interview recorded for broadcast on ABC's "Nightline," came despite long-standing administration charges the ousted Iraqi leader was linked to the al Qaeda network accused of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Democrats have accused the administration of creating a "false impression" at the heart of a widespread U.S. public belief that Saddam had a personal role in the attacks.

"We have never claimed that Saddam Hussein ... had either direction or control of 9/11," Rice said when asked about the public perception of a link.

So much for the flypaper theory

NBC News is reporting that Ansar al-Islam, a Kurdish terrorist organization formerly based exclusively in northern Iraq, is attempting to expand its reach into the U.S.

I guess they haven't been reading the blogs.

Roller coaster ride continues

Enough of you responded to my pathetic wheedling to kick the book back up on Amazon's chart from about #2600 to #202 as I write this, and I do thank you for that. (By the way, that entry below has been updated with genuine reader testimonials. For what that's worth.)

Update--yet another unsolicited endorsement, from reader Neil K.:

C'mon people, a great Big Book for only $17! With words and comics and color! Certainly it's not asking too much to pluck down 17 bucks and support the guy who runs this extremely useful and entertaining blog. If you're reading this, that means you visit this site and pay nada -- yet you are getting oh-so-much in return. So, c'mon: put down that $17 bottle of Chardonay; buy the new Warren Zevon CD but do you really need to own "Anger Management" on DVD? I think not. Feed your brain.

And a blog review here.

9/11: from tragedy to hilarity

Michael Moore has done us the favor of transcribing part of an interview with George and Laura Bush, conducted by Peggy Noonan, which appears in the current print edition of Ladies Home Journal:

Peggy Noonan (the interviewer): You were separated on September 11th. What was it like when you saw each other again?

Laura Bush: Well, we just hugged. I think there was a certain amount of security in being with each other than being apart.

George W. Bush: But the day ended on a relatively humorous note. The agents said, "you'll be sleeping downstairs. Washington's still a dangerous place." And I said no, I can't sleep down there, the bed didn't look comfortable. I was really tired, Laura was tired, we like our own bed. We like our own routine. You know, kind of a nester. I knew I had to deal with the issue the next day and provide strength and comfort to the country, and so I needed rest in order to be mentally prepared. So I told the agent we're going upstairs, and he reluctantly said okay. Laura wears contacts, and she was sound asleep. Barney was there. And the agent comes running up and says, "We're under attack. We need you downstairs," and so there we go. I'm in my running shorts and my T-shirt, and I'm barefooted. Got the dog in one hand, Laura had a cat, I'm holding Laura --

Laura Bush: I don't have my contacts in , and I'm in my fuzzy house slippers --

George W. Bush: And this guy's out of breath, and we're heading straight down to the basement because there's an incoming unidentified airplane, which is coming toward the White House. Then the guy says it's a friendly airplane. And we hustle all the way back up stairs and go to bed.

Mrs. Bush: [LAUGHS] And we just lay there thinking about the way we must have looked.

Peggy Noonan (interviewer): So the day starts in tragedy and ends in Marx Brothers.

George W. Bush: That's right--we got a laugh out of it.

The important thing is, you know, that the day ended on a happy note.

Like Jayson Blair, except about things that matter

Judith Miller is the NY Times reporter who famously used Ahmed Chalabi's fantasies as the basis for much of her pre-war coverage of the terrible and imminent danger posed by Iraq.

And now she's setting her sights on Syria.

This jibes with something I heard over the weekend. I am not, I hasten to add, an insider who regularly dines with the power elite, but I am in a position to hear the occasional third or fourth hand rumor--and the current rumor is apparently that Syria is in the crosshairs before Iran. Take that for what it's worth, of course.


September 15, 2003

Operation Enduring Optimism

From ABCNews.com:

Camp officials told ABCNEWS that it's the uncertainty of their fate that is the worst punishment for the prisoners.

The guards should know, because they probably spend more time with Guantanamo's inmates than anyone else.

"When you're inside The Wire, it's always professional," said one of the guards, "because otherwise, that might affect some sort of decision you might have to make."

Most of the soldiers don't want to get too close. But some hope, at least, that their unusual relationship might have a purpose.

"Eventually, when they get released back to their country," said Sgt. Joseph Ademuwagun, a guard, "they'll tell people Americans are generous and good people."

Oh, yeah. That's what's gonna happen.

(Via the listserv of Mark Crispin Miller, who really, really, really needs to start a blog.)

The Great Big Book...

Öhas been out for about a month now. This is what I wrote back then:

Getting the word out on these things has always been a struggle. My publishers do the best they can, but letís face itóa new Tom Tomorrow collection isnít exactly a new Stephen King novel, and thereís only so much time and effort theyíre going to put into it. So with luck, we get some newspaper articles here and there, or maybe a mention in Salon, or maybe people just happen across it in the bookstore or whatever. Sales are always respectableóthey keep publishing them--but this is the first time Iíve put out a collection since Iíve been blogging, since Iíve had a way to directly communicate with those of you who are most likely to buy the damn thing, without having to beg & plead & cajole the media for whatever brief mentions we could scrounge up. Which has always been sort of a losing game--I'm more the tortoise than the hare, and I've never had the sexy hook for the newsmagazine article: hot new internet cartoonist!, or whatever--but this time, Iím able to bypass all of that and just say to you directly:

Please, buy the book.

Many of you responded, for which I am deeply gratefulófor a few days, the book made it as high as #13 on the Amazon chart. Unfortunately, it didnít stick up there--it was down in the hundreds for several weeks and these days, itís bouncing around between 1,000 and 5,000 at any given moment.

It may not seem like it, but I really am trying not to flog the thing relentlessly here, because I'd get just as sick of that as you would. But as I said a month ago, this site is ultimately all Iíve got. In the intervening month, Iíve had one booksigning and maybe three or four interviews andówell, thatís been about it, really. Maybe thereís more media in the worksópublishers donít like to discuss these things with authors, probably for fear of raising unrealistic expectationsóbut I canít help but feel a sense of dissipating momentum, a strong start which fizzled out due toówell, due to whatever. Thatís an entry for another day, I think. The point for now is, if you like what Iím doing I hope youíll support it by purchasing the book.

Okay, Iíll shut up about it for awhile now.

Except, um, for one Update here. Because who am I to argue with my readers?

I've bought a copy of the Big Book for myself, and I've recommended it to numerous friends. I think that it is important for you to point out these features when you mention it in your blog:

1. It's cheap ($17!).

2. It's got a large color-plate section.

3. It contains a lot of previously unpublished material, including the original versions of cartoons deemed not-appropriate-for-public-consumption-at-this-point-in-time.

4. The book contains the collages and cartoons that preceded "This Modern World."

5. There are a bunch of annotations, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, etc.

6. Again, it's cheap.

The Big Book of Tomorrow deserves a more detailed push than simply "buy it."

Sorry to stick my nose in, but I don't think your casual fans and blog-readers know what they're missing.

And here's another (and I swear I am not making these up)...

Hi Tom. I bought the book (pre-ordered it from Powell's) and just finished reading it a few days ago. The thing that most struck me (and I'm sure you, too, as you compiled the material and reviewed it) was the scary similarities between the first Bush administration and this one.

I hadn't remembered some of the events, the common thinking, the policies, the lies, the economic issues, etc., until reminded by some of your strips in the book. I went back and did some reading and . . .

well, let's just say my fears for our country changed. Now I fear that we're not just being ignorant and stupid, but we've completely forgotten that we've been here before -- collective amnesia.

Anyway, can you give people more of a taste of what's in the book? I would have bought it anyway, but the jaw-dropping strips from the eighties and early nineties are enough to make it worth the price (which wasn't that bad to begin with). It is a historical digest with a tone that is utterly appropriate to the subject matter and its ramifications.

Lies and the lying liars who lie lie lie lie lie

Arrrgh. Outrage overload. Just read this and this.

California recall delayed

With one caveat:

The court withheld ordering the immediate implementation of its decision by one week to allow time for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If I were Gray Davis I would not pop the champagne corks just yet.

Update--sharp-eyed reader Scott H. draws our attention to this marvelous quote:

Attorney Charles Diamond, who represents Sacramento recall leader Ted Costa, called the decision "wrong headed" and said Costa has not yet decided on his next move.

"The fight has just begun," Diamond told Reuters. "If (punch cards) were good enough to elect our president we don't see why not they're not good enough to elect our Governor."

This is cool

It has been pointed out to me that Working For Change keeps track of their most-emailed stories and cartoons, and a whopping 13 of the "25 Most Sent Articles Ever" are This Modern World cartoons. And this is on a site with some serious competition.

Thanks for the show of support, kids. Now go buy the damn book.

Our vigilant media

Wouldn't it have been nice if they'd applied this level of scrutiny to George Bush, say about six months ago? Or ever, for that matter?

Speaking of Presidential contenders, here's an open letter to Wesley Clark from Michael Moore.

Oh, the irony

The telemarketers don't like unwanted calls.

Syndicated columnist Dave Barry's Aug. 31 article on telemarketers may have been in jest, but it's been no laughing matter to the American Teleservices Association, which blames the article for jamming up its toll-free number.

Barry's article, titled "Ask not what telemarketers can do to you" in the Miami Herald where it was originally published, included the ATA's toll-free telephone number and invited readers to call and "tell them what you think." Hundreds of newspapers also published the article, which was distributed by Tribune Media Services.

The article generated thousands of phone calls to the ATA number, said Tim Searcy, ATA executive director. As a result, the association switched the number, which it formerly answered live, to a voice recording. The recording advises callers that the organization is unable to take the call because of "overwhelming positive response to recent media" and asks that they leave a message.


Though meant as a prank, the Barry column has had harmful consequences for the ATA, Searcy said. An ATA staffer has spent about five hours a day for the past six days monitoring the voice mail and clearing out messages.

Story, via Brooke.

Oh, and here's the column.

Supporting the troops

If theyíre wounded in combat, they have to pay for their own hospital meals.

And in some cases, they apparently have to buy their own gear--including things like night vision goggles and field radios.

That tax cut is just looking better every day, isnít it? (Addendum for the literalists: no, the tax cut is not reason the military charges for hospital meals, and that's not what I meant to imply. It's just symptomatic of the choices we make as a society--or, perhaps more accurately, the choices that are made for us.)

No way we could have seen this coming
"Within six months of passing the Patriot Act, the Justice Department was conducting seminars on how to stretch the new wiretapping provisions to extend them beyond terror cases," said Dan Dodson, a spokesman for the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. "They say they want the Patriot Act to fight terrorism, then, within six months, they are teaching their people how to use it on ordinary citizens."


More on CAPPS II

Go spend some time on this site, now.

So little time, cont'd
Further, Cheney argued that new evidence found in Iraq proved more ties between Hussein and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization, and he argued that Iraq was the "geographic base" for the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "If we're successful in Iraq . . . then we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11," he said in an hour-long interview on NBC's "Meet the Press."


Cheney also seemed to broaden the intelligence on other alleged al Qaeda connections with Hussein, saying, "The Iraqi government or the Iraqi intelligence service had a relationship with al Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the '90s." Up to now, administration officials and CIA documents have said there had been eight meetings, primarily in the early 1990s, when bin Laden was in Sudan.

Cheney was less forthcoming when asked about Saudi Arabia's ties to al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 hijackers. "I don't want to speculate," he said, adding that Sept. 11 is "over with now, it's done, it's history and we can put it behind us." (Emphasis added.)

Much more here. Thanks to alert reader A.C.M. for the catch.

Update: a reader suggests that Cheney is being quoted out of context by the Post, and I think he may be right, but it's still clear from the transcript that Cheney is evasive on the topic:

MR. RUSSERT: We could establish a direct link between the hijackers of September 11 and Saudi Arabia.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: We know that many of the attackers were Saudi. There was also an Egyptian in the bunch. It doesnít mean those governments had anything to do with that attack. Thatís a different proposition than saying the Iraqi government and the Iraqi intelligent service has a relationship with al-Qaeda that developed throughout the decade of the í90s. That was clearly official policy.
MR. RUSSERT: There are reports that the investigation Congress did does show a link between the Saudi government and the hijackers but that it will not be released to the public.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I donít know want to speculate on that, Tim, partly because I was involved in reviewing those pages. It was the judgment of our senior intelligence officials, both CIA and FBI that that material needed to remain classified. At some point, we may be able to declassify it, but there are ongoing investigations that might be affected by that release, and for that reason, we kept it classified. The committee knows whatís in there. They helped to prepare it. So it hasnít been kept secret from the Congress, but from the standpoint of our ongoing investigations, we needed to do that.
One of the things this points out thatís important for us to understandóso thereís this great temptation to look at these events as discreet events. We got hit on 9/11. So we can go and investigate it. Itís over with now.
Itís done. Itís history and put it behind us.
From our perspective, trying to deal with this continuing campaign of terror, if you will, the war on terror that weíre engaged in, this is a continuing enterprise. The people that were involved in some of those activities before 9/11 are still out there. We learn more and more as we capture people, detain people, get access to records and so forth that this is a continuing enterprise and, therefore, we do need to be careful when we look at things like 9/11, the commission report from 9/11, not to jeopardize our capacity to deal with this threat going forward in the interest of putting that information thatís interesting that relates to the period of time before that. These are continuing requirements on our part, and we have to be sensitive to that.

Clear as mud...

One more afterthought: this is how it works, of course. Cheney dissembles, the Post writer notes the fact, but sloppily, and thereafter anyone who tries to point out that Cheney dissembled is "refuted" by people who point to the sloppy reporting and ignore the underlying truth.

So much to blog, so little time

From the NY Times this morning:

A week after President Bush's speech seeking to rally support for the campaign in Iraq, the nation appears increasingly anxious about the war effort and worried that the United States may be trapped in an adventure from which there is no evident exit, according to interviews during the last five days with Americans across the nation, historians, social scientists and pollsters.

Some people went so far as to suggest a comparison with an earlier military action that had an unhappy history: the war in Vietnam.

There is no sign that Americans have turned from their original support of what many describe as the object of the invasion: removing Saddam Hussein from power and lessening the threat of terrorist attacks at home. And support for Mr. Bush remains relatively strong, if not as strong as it was even a month ago, according to pollsters.

But there is, by many measures, a gnawing unease about the course of this mission and a realization that the conflict will be deadlier, more expensive and longer-lasting than Mr. Bush signaled when he landed on an aircraft carrier off San Diego on May 1 to celebrate the fall of Saddam Hussein. In the most recent evidence of that, a Washington Post/ABC News poll published today found a nine-point jump in the last three weeks, to 46 percent, in the number of Americans who disapprove of Mr. Bush's Iraq policy, while the number who expressed support for the policy slipped to 52 percent from 56 percent.

Must be that damned Bush-hating Howell Raines at work again--oh, wait.

Meme watch

If you don't vote Republican, the terrorists have already won...

This cartoonist seems to actually believe it.

An apology

I recently suggested that the editor of the Columbus Alive was not being forthright with me when he dropped my strip due to "budgetary considerations"--I thought that he had turned around and replaced it with another cartoon. As it turns out, the other cartoon was already running in the paper along with mine, and when he was in fact faced with budgetary considerations, he simply made an editorial decision as to which one he preferred, which is entirely his right as editor of the paper. I wish he had decided to continue with my work, of course, and would still encourage residents of Columbus to send him feedback on the issue, but I do sincerely regret suggesting that he deliberately misled me. I was wrong, and I apologize.

(Edited slightly for clarity.)

Never mind

For months now, the Bushies have been hinting that when David Kay's report was released, well, then the critics and the doubters were gonna have to eat some crow, by golly.

Looks like things didn't work out quite the way they planned. Once again.

London: After failing to get any evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the US and Britain have decided to delay indefinitely the publication of a full report on the controversial issue, media reported today.

Efforts by the Iraq Survey Group, an Anglo-American team of 1,400 scientists, military and intelligence experts, to scour Iraq for the past four months to uncover evidence of chemical or biological weapons have so far ended in failure, The Sunday Times claimed in its report.

It had been expected that a progress report would be published tomorrow but MPs on the British Parliaments security and intelligence committee have been told that even this has been delayed and no new date set.

British defence intelligence sources have confirmed that the final report, which is to be submitted by David Kay, the survey groups leader, to George Tenet, head of the CIA, had been delayed and may not necessarily even be published, the paper said.


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