the watch
bush lied, people died. escalate nonviolence.

Evict Bush!

Saturday, July 12, 2003  

Essential Reading

While playing hooky from writing about plant adaptations to desert environments, flying squirrels that spread very important fungi, and the origin of coal, this is what I got around to reading...

Beautiful Horizons writes about Uganda and the president's visit to Africa.

Tom Tomorrow's Great Big Book of Tomorrow is out, and you should go get it immediately if you like his work, or as soon as your budget allows.

Among loads of other good stuff that you should scroll around and read, the Sideshow brings us this truly mindnumbing quote from Ari Fleischer: "I think the burden is on those people who think he didn't have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are."

BusyBusyBusy brings us O'Reilly missing the obvious (no way, dude!) and if you scroll down a ways you can find the debunking of the administration's lies about the Iraqi 'children's jails' that turned out to be orphanages. Yes, even in Iraq, there were orphanages. Go figure.

Pandagon on British intelligence wackiness.

Oliver Willis then points out that Australian PM John Howard is also taking hits for using the same bad African uranium claims that Bush used.

Then the Talent Show gives us Fox's fair and balanced take on the administration's word parsing, an analysis that truly deserves to be called Clintonian in its ambiguity and backtracking.

TBogg tells us about the CIA scapegoating, which has become the new Republican party game. We are reminded once more of Colin Powell's former job as a flunky who tried and failed to cover up the My Lai story during the Vietnam war.

The Likely Story then takes a detour from the uranium story shenanigans and examines Powell's case to the UN, which was supposed to contain a multitude of good, solid reasons for invading Iraq. As the author says: Nope.

Wampum's Flashback Friday, good as ever. Readers are encouraged to support Wampum's blogathon on behalf of the Cure Autism Now foundation.

And, btw, if anyone knows where I can find a good anatomical diagram of a poinsettia flower, some serious gratitude would be in order.

posted by Natasha at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK |

Friday, July 11, 2003  

The Good and the Bad

William Greider has been a favorite journalist of mine for a very long time. I never miss his articles in the Nation and I've bought all of his books. So I was thrilled to find out from Maxspeak that Greider is starting his own web page. As Max says: All self-respecting moderates, liberals, and lefts should add this site to their blogrolls. Yes, indeedy.

One of my favorite things about Bill Greider is that he really does believe in democracy and thinks that people working together can make a positive difference. So he's just finished a new book where he talks about groups of people fighting back and creating fairer communities. Just what I needed today after burying myself too deeply in the lies and corruption of this administration. Checkout Greider's rant today.

I probably should have gone with the bad first. One of the worst things about Bush marching through Africa at a fast clip is having to listen to the conservative commentators on NPR talk about how exceptionally good and moral Bush is. This morning Armstrong Williams said that George W. Bush has done more for Africa than any other president has before him. What with that 15 billion for treating aids and providing them opportunities with more trade. Why, no one thought of doing this before, and especially not Clinton. Williams' piece implied that it was Clinton's fault that aids caused so many deaths in Africa in the 90's.

Then this afternoon, on All Things Considered, another conservative commentator, Jay Bryant, seemed ready to declare Bush's sainthood. He talked about how courageous Bush was to dream to make the world a better place. Bush, according to Bryant, started out as one who believed in a Jacksonian foreign policy, but after the epithany of 9/11, he has been reborn as a wielder of Wilsonian policies. What this means is Bush is ready to use American might to teach the world American values. And as a deeply religious man, he is a latter day missionary who is brave enough to wear his heart on his sleeve. How could we have missed these selfless qualities in Bush?

I could have puked. This was definitely one of those times when I was ready to send mail to NPR asking them not to put pornography on the airwaves.

Aside: There are times when I envy Natasha for being in school. The classes can be so challenging and stimulating. But everytime she talks about coming into exam season, I remember that there were reasons I was happy to be finally done with school. Good luck with your exams, Natasha.

Update: Remember my campaign ad about planning for the aftermath? Look at this headline: 'No real planning for postwar Iraq'.

posted by Mary at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK |

Thursday, July 10, 2003  

Essential Reading

Brad DeLong brings us the news that unemployment rolls are now at their highest since 1983. I'll have to respectfully disagree with Wampum now, and suggest that Bush isn't repeating his father's presidency, he's repeating Reagan's.

Wampum talks about how all the candidates except Gephardt are falling down on the job when it comes to addressing Native American issues.

PLA has a(nother) tremendous post on economic performance under the presidents by party, which responds to a critique of his original post by a conservative blogger. Links are included to previous discussions of other economic indicators by party, and if you missed them the first time around, go read them too.

If you haven't yet, go check out Autism Watch, where Dwight Meredith of PLA has several interesting posts up on the topic of possible causes of autism. I've been meaning to put up a link to this for a while, but darn those habitual reading patterns. Yet I've been missing out.

Al-Muhajabah reminds us of Frederick Douglass' 4th of July commentary, a statement that America can only be great when it lives up to the ideals that Independence Day should be about.

Jeremy at Frog n' Blog brings us a clip on the specially declared (for Bush's visit) Senegalese free speech zone, a football stadium to which local residents were transported and kept for the duration of the visit. Also, the nightmare that US voting is scheduled to become.

Check out Salam Pax' latest Guardian column.

Late Night Thoughts on why Japan never was like the US, and also on the planned approval of stimulants for shiftworkers. Let's hope that works out better than the military's approval of stimulants for pilots which I blogged about in January after an unfortunate incident in Afghanistan.

Billmon points out that the Bush administration is all set to let the CIA take the fall. Keep going there, buckos, you're rapidly approaching the more-than-you-can-chew part of your crusade to piss off everyone in the known world.

Note: Approaching the End (of my botany class), and the Season of Testing. I now know an appalling number of things about plants, but not nearly enough yet, and I'm working on a plan to use them to take over the world. Or maybe save it. I haven't decided. A tiny local coterie of plant geeks will be getting together periodically to study the feasibility of either option, and possibly plant some stuff, or do soil analyses. That isn't clear either. But what is clear is that posting may be light for a few days, and I apologize.

posted by Natasha at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK |

Wednesday, July 09, 2003  

Excuses, excuses

For all the hype about Bush's bringing a MBA's experience to the White House, it is not hard to see a lack of attention to certain little details, like how to plan for the aftermath of the war in Iraq. Today, the Washingon Post reports that Defense Undersecretary Douglas Feith disputes the charge of poor planning.

Feith said in a speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "It's not right to assume that the major problems in Iraq are attributable to poor planning."

However, how well they planned for the aftermath is clear in the number of US soldier deaths and the increasing tension found in Iraq. Fred Kaplan calls the military plan daringly brilliant and the plan for the political aftermath obtuse.

I am not surprised. Here is the type of campaign ads I'd like to see:

Preparation for going to War: Months.
Duration of War: 6 weeks

Wall Street Journal: 'Turn Toward Iraq' Has Been Made

Dave Eberhart, NewsMax
Monday, June 17, 2002

The Bush administration has decided to attack Iraq and military preparations should be ready within six months, the Wall Street Journal reported in a page one story this weekend.

Preparation for the aftermath: Hours.
Duration of US troops in Iraq: Decades

Restoring Services to Iraq Remains a Challenge: NPR Interview with Retired Lt Col Sam Gardiner

Linda Wertheimer, Weekend Edition
May 10, 2003

Lt Col Sam Gardiner was an advisor to the Bush White House on preparing for the humanitarian issues after a successful compaign in Iraq.

Q: Could this kind of thing been anticipated?

A: Umm, let me be honest. I briefed some people in the administration before the war. One of the officials said to me (a very high official), “We’ve already had an hour with the President on the humanitarian system. We’re done talking about that.” You see, if we had been prepared to deal with the humanitarian crisis, it would have delayed the war and as I detected, nobody was interested in that.

Check out Steve Soto's request for volunteers for our Truth Squad to go after Bush if you have not done so already. Here is a backgrounder on the Truth Squad.

Let's clear some scrub this year.

posted by Mary at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK |

Tuesday, July 08, 2003  

Migraines, Stroke Risk, The Pill, & Etc.

If you have migraines, or know someone who does, then you should be aware that this condition poses a mild to moderate risk increase in the likelihood of stroke. If the migraineur is a woman who uses oral contraceptives, that risk is marginally increased. If a migraineur smokes, that's another increased risk factor.

But something that few are aware of is that use of the Pill can actually increase the frequency of migraine headache, and this effect may become more pronounced with longterm use. Lucky us, it turns out that estrogen is a potential migraine trigger, which explains why it's more frequent in women. When I asked a doctor about this last year, I was told that it's common knowledge that women with migraine can have episodes triggered by using oral contraceptives. Yet he said that this information is rarely communicated to patients due to concerns over liability for unintended pregnancy.

Yet whether you're male or female, use the pill or don't, if your migraine lasts more than 72 continuous hours (including time spent sleeping) you should seek medical treatment. The condition, known as status migrainosus, represents a definite increase in the risk of stroke. Sufferers will likely require hydration therapy, and perhaps other attention.

Status migrainosus is often a form of rebound headache brought on by the too-frequent use of painkillers, including caffeine. Too frequent is any amount of pain treatment use that causes you to get rebound headaches. But the need for pain medication more than twice a week should prompt you to seek preventive care, if you have not done so already.

A big part of preventive care often consists of identifying any food triggers that prompt an episode. MSG, almonds, aspartame, chocolate, cheese, and red wine are some of the best known. But there are many others which are far less exotic, so read up and examine your diet, perhaps with the help of a nutritionist who has some familiarity with food allergy and intolerance.

Other important self-care methods include avoiding unusual overexertion, drinking plenty of water, and getting adequate rest. If you note that sugar consumption or heat exposure affect your condition, try taking those factors into consideration as well.

Good health!

posted by Natasha at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK |

Essential Reading

Rittenhouse on our unserious foreign policy.

Billmon has another of his great quote timelines up, this time on the subject of whether or not the US needed to get Hussein.

The Apostropher on drug policy and budget shortfalls.

See The Forest laments the lack of context into which the pathetic faux news Americans are spoonfed falls.

Kos brings us the good news that a suit against Dick Cheney will go ahead.

Common Dreams: How short term thinking can ruin even the richest countries. The media ownership battle isn't over, so stay involved. Robin Cook warns people not to be distracted by fingers pointed at the intelligence community over Iraq, it was the politicians all the way. Bush's war against evil. Also, is "Nickel and Dimed" a liberal book? Says a detractor, "She describes Wal-Mart in horrible terms," he said. "She really bashes Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart does so many good things for communities."

The Bush administration claimed that Iraq's refusal to allow government workers to be interviewed in private gravely compromised the mission of the weapons inspection team. And they would know, because here at home, they're using the same tactic to compromise the 9/11 investigations:

...The panel also said the failure of the Bush administration to allow officials to be interviewed without the presence of government colleagues could impede its investigation, with the commission's chairman suggesting today that the situation amounted to "intimidation" of the witnesses. ...

posted by Natasha at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK |

Monday, July 07, 2003  

Essential Reading

Check out the WMD 404 error. Thanks, James.

Bohemian Mama writes about our CEO president, points to commentary on african journalists with more spine than the honorary invertebrates that are their US counterparts.

Different Strings posts their results for the presidential candidate selector. I didn't save mine, but the top match was Kucinich, followed by Kerry, with Dean at a close third.

CalPundit brings us the joyful news that MSNBC has fired Michael Savage. And there was much rejoicing. Just one more scumbag to go, and perhaps the station can stop toking on that collective crackpipe.

Go to PLA for a listing of presidents ranked by job growth, very interesting. Permalinks bloggered, should be the top post as of today.

Tom Tomorrow says it's time to recognize the lies or be revealed as a "pathetic partisan hack."

Notes on the Atrocities brings us the life and times of USAG John Ashcroft, and highlights again Renana Brooks' analysis of Bush's bullying language in the context of a recent speech in a way sure to make Mary happy.

Lying Media Bastards on the now near total dependence of Iraqis on food aid. What was that saying? Live free and die... na, that couldn't have been it.

Orcinus follows the traditions of the great pamphleteers and releases Rush, Newspeak, & Fascism (this permalink bloggered, top entry as of today) in PDF format, with lots of new material. Also, a lengthy (could it be otherwise?) exposition of Bush's lies and why they matter. Unlike some people we could name, he's very clear about what actually constitutes a lie in this case: "Claiming to know something when, in fact, you do not know it (even if you believe it dearly) is a lie -- regardless of how you spin it afterward."

Randi Rhodes has a page of information on the run up to 9-11 that should leave us all asking "what did they know, and when did they know it?"

Magpie on the confess or die ultimatum being offered to two Guantanamo Bay detainees. Yeesh. It's not like we expected the Spanish Inquisition. (Crash) NOObody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapons are...

Were you aware that you could get life in prison for spitting on an officer of the law?

The Eyeranian on the fragility of democracy.

As A Rational Animal says, My God. To the good people of Nasiriyah, I can only say that I'm sorry we failed to stop this.

Hesiod talks about the influence of internet liberalism.

Angry Bear suggests that we look into Government Information Awareness.

Max makes a case against Howard Dean. Not against actually voting for him should he be the nominee, but against viewing him as a progressive political force. Also, the realities of the job market are compared to the promised job market.

Letters From Exile tells us what really happened to music CD revenues, and just below that, there's a document we should mail in its entirety to our sitting president.

Asia Times: India and China to hold joint naval exercises. Bush chooses former pharmaceutical executive to be the new AIDS czar. The US is fast losing Shi'ite support. Pakistan's summer of discontent.

Information Clearinghouse: Bush's Africa tour suspected to be a troll for oil. Speculation that Iran will be next, and discussion of the poor nuclear example set by the US and Israel. This just in: Baghdad set back to Stone Age. Venezuela to be penalized for refusing to grant US immunity to ICC prosecution. Coming soon to a protest near you, weapons of mass compliance.

posted by Natasha at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK |

Sunday, July 06, 2003  

BuzzFlash Headlines - Read 'Em & Weep

The wholesale transfer of Iraqi assets has begun. A sum of $140 million in frozen Iraqi funds have been handed over to the Federal Reserve, an institution which, as you probably know, is neither federal nor much of a reserve. It's unclear as yet whether or not they've gone into the Iraqi development fund, and even less clear whether or not actual Iraqis will have any say in how the money is spent.

Brazil's pollution nightmare.

Texas Republicans pushing through redistricting.

Carlyle chief says that W was useless as a board member.

Laid off workers not finding new jobs, moving in with parents & friends becoming increasingly 'popular.'

Seven Iraqi police recruits die in explosion at a ceremony marking the completion of their training.

Was this AP story widely edited to obscure the nature of Bush protests?

Bush's good buddy Silvio Berlusconi of Italy also appears to have foot in mouth disease, and is considered by some to be a menace to democracy. He is also slated to be the EU president for the next 6 months, in a twist of fate that will leave europeans perhaps feeling exceptionally empathetic to those of us in America who regard our president as a mark of shame on the whole country.

posted by Natasha at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK |

Essential Reading

The BBC responds to the Blair government's fury over allegations of intelligence tampering. At least the PM seems to be aware that tampering with intelligence reports is a serious charge, unlike some world leaders I could mention. Mary, posting at the Left Coaster, has more.

Daily Kos is hopefully back. With any luck, unlike yesterday, the site won't vanish while clicking an archive link. Read up on: Ann Coulter's lionization of Joe McCarthy, US troop deployment figures and the need for allies in Iraq, and the rundown on Nancy Pelosi's success as both a party leader and fundraiser.

Talk Left brings us Amnesty International's views on the military tribunals being set up for unidentified detainees, legalized coca imports from Peru, and the War on Due Process.

Billmon on Bush's failed promises to the military, and the deep cluelessness of Americans of every stripe when it comes to figuring out those mysterious foreigners.

At Eschaton, Lambert posted on the corporate loot and repeat mechanism that seems to drive our government. After you've read it, don't stop there, too many good posts to link to.

Wampum looks at the unemployment figures, brings us our flashback fix, and seeks blogathon sponsors.

Ampersand brings us some Green party strategizing that has greater than a snowball's chance in hell of making a difference.

posted by Natasha at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK |

Imminent Threat?

This article in the nation talks about the formation of the costly friendship between the US and Israel, and why the US government has become so sensitive in responding to (sometimes self-serving) Israeli threat analysis. And such a piece of analysis can be found in this Ha'aretz article on the Iranian missile threat, in part:

..."The radical regime in Iran is threatening the stability not
only of the state of Israel, but the European countries also," Shalom said. "Iran is a danger to the stability of all the world." ...

However, as the article goes on to relate, in this case the general coming in to replace Gen. Tommy Franks happens to agree, emphasis mine:

...The next commander of Centcom, Gen. John Abizaid, who replaces Tommy Franks on Monday, testified last week to a Senate committee that "Iran has the largest ballistic missile inventory in the Central Command region to include long-range weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems capable of reaching deployed U.S. forces in the theater." And he
warned, "Iran's long-term ability to develop nuclear weapons remains a source of serious concern."

He told the committee that "Iran casts a shadow on security and stability in the Gulf region. Iran's military is second only to the United States. ..."

Really? Second only to the US? I guess that means they'll really put up a fight, like the Iraqi army, which was at one point legitimately the world's 4th largest. I guess that means they could take on China or India? Kick Saudi Arabia and Russia around? Not likely. This (PDF) report from a Swiss organization shows the 15 Major Spenders in 2002, and Iran isn't even in the top 5. Adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP), they don't make the top 10. The following table is a compilation, with troop data taken from the Strategy Page:

PPP RankCountryNukes?Total Troops
9S. ArabiaN200,000
11S. KoreaN680,000

Now, none of the foregoing numbers guarantees any direct comparison. Troop training, equipment quality, and the amount of homegrown weaponry, will vary and affect how much bang you get for your military buck. In Iran's case, this table lists them as having 210 air combat units. But while their ground forces are in okay shape, years worth of parts sanctions has left their air defenses with far fewer functional craft than indicated.

As you know, this space is not normally the place for military analysis, which should frighten you. How dumb or complacent do these people think the press is that they'll just buy a statement that's absurd on its face. Something idiotic like: Iran has the second most powerful military in the world. Which, of course, is what it means to be second only to the US.

So, welcome to the pack Gen. Abizaid. Not even in charge yet, and already 'getting creative with the facts' for the big boys.

PS: Big thanks to my partner in crime for the Ha'aretz article & the pointer to the IIAF forum.

posted by Natasha at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK |