Independent Christian Voice

Wednesday

WWII Vet disagrees with Iraq/WWII comparison

A veteran of WWII and survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack debunks the comparison between the Iraq War and WWII promoted by the president and his allies in the right-wing media, like Fox News. He challenged Neil Cavuto's leading questions and even stated that he didn't support the current Iraq War. It's worth the watch. > See video. (Courtesy Crooks and Liars)

Cheney: A mistake to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq

To all those who oppose the term quagmire being associated with Iraq: it seems that in 1991, Cheney thought that it would have been a mistake to invade Baghdad because we would have gotten "bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq." From a symposium, entitled "The Gulf War: A First Assessment, featuring Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense" in 1991:
Quote:
I think that the proposition of going to Baghdad is also fallacious. I think if we were going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive. I think we'd have had to hunt him down. And once we'd done that and we'd gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we'd have had to put another government in its place. What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi'i government or a Kurdish government or Ba'athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists? How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable? I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit U.S. military force. And it's my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq.
And this was when Saddam was actually an aggressive threat to the stability of the region. You can also hear the audio of Cheney saying the same thing in an interview with NPR back when he was running on the ticket in 2000.

CARTOON CONSCIENCE: Special Edition

By Scott Stantis, The Birmingham News: By Ed Stein, The Rocky Mountain News: By Drew Sheneman, The Newark Star Ledger:

The "compassionate" president in time of crisis

The following post by kos on DailyKos.com hits the nail on the head when it comes to the president in the midst of the unfolding crisis from Hurrican Katrina: Posted: Tue Aug 30th, 2005 at 22:04:42 PDT

This is the greatest disaster to hit our nation in most of our lifetimes. Worse than 9-11. New Orleans is underwater. Biloxi is 90 percent destroyed. Who knows how many dead. Who knows how many homeless. Who knows how many jobless. We have a bona fide refugee crisis on our hands.

There will be a time for a full accounting of what went wrong, both preparing for this thing and relief efforts afterward. I don't know if the time is now or later. Honestly, I don't much care. I'm too horrified by what I'm seeing today. It's overwhelming.

I just wish that the president gave a damn about what's happenend. Unfortunately, he's too busy playing 'country rock star".

And yeah, that photo is from today. Good to see Bush has gotten on with his life. He's gotten good at that.

The president is so sheltered, he lacks the capacity to know how to respond appropriately when American lives have been destroyed. His answer, as it was to Cindy Sheehan, is, "I need to get on with my life." If this is "compassionate conservatism," I could do with less of his type of compassion. It's simply sickening; even more so when I'm reminded that I voted for him in 2000.

Tuesday

A great commentary on rising fuel costs

Check this out > http://toccionline.kizash.com/films/1001/178/index.php

CARTOON CONSCIENCE: News in Iraq

By Nick Anderson, The Louisville Courier-Journal:

Venezuela to sell cut-price heating oil to U.S. poor

From Reuters:
Quote:
CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said on Monday his government plans to sell as much as 66,000 barrels per day of heating fuel from its U.S. Citgo refinery to poor communities in the United States. The offer, made after populist Chavez held talks with U.S. civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, would represent 10 percent of the 660,000 bpd of refined products processed by Citgo. The deals would cut consumer costs by direct sales. … "We are going to direct as much as 10 percent of the production, that means 66,000 barrels, without intermediaries, to poor communities, hospitals, religious communities, schools," Chavez told reporters at a press conference. The world's No. 5 oil exporter, oil cartel OPEC member Venezuela is a key supplier to the United States, providing about 15 percent of all U.S. energy imports. But relations between Caracas and Washington have become strained since left-winger Chavez was elected in 1998 promising social reforms. Chavez, a former army officer who survived a coup in 2002, frequently accuses the U.S. of backing efforts to kill him or topple his government. U.S. officials dismiss those charges but say Chavez has become a threat to regional stability.
Is this the same Venezuelan "dictator" that Christian televangelist Pat Robertson advocated assassinating? By all means, we Christians should be calling for the killing of foreign leaders who want to cut prices for the poor in a country that wants him killed.

You owe $145,000!

The following article puts our national debt into perspective. Instead of addressing the debt problem, the administration and Congress can't spend money fast enough, adding another $361 billion dollar in debt in this year's budget alone. Why should we care? This article helps explain.
Quote:
Experts Warn Debt May Threaten Economy By ROBERT TANNER, AP National Writer You owe $145,000. And the bill is rising every day. That's how much it would cost every American man, woman and child to pay the tab for the long-term promises the U.S. government has made to creditors, retirees, veterans and the poor. And it's not even taking into account credit card bills, mortgages — all the debt we've racked up personally. Savings? The average American puts away barely $1 of every $100 earned. … A chorus of economists, government officials and elected leaders both conservative and liberal is warning that America's nonstop borrowing has put the nation on the road to a major fiscal disaster — one that could unleash plummeting home values, rocketing interest rates, lost jobs, stagnating wages and threats to government services ranging from health care to law enforcement. David Walker, who audits the federal government's books as the U.S. comptroller general, put it starkly in an interview with the AP: "I believe the country faces a critical crossroad and that the decisions that are made — or not made — within the next 10 years or so will have a profound effect on the future of our country, our children and our grandchildren. The problem gets bigger every day, and the tidal wave gets closer every day." Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan echoed those worries just last week, warning that the federal budget deficit hampered the nation's ability to absorb possible shocks from the soaring trade deficit and the housing boom. He criticized the nation's "hesitancy to face up to the difficult choices that will be required to resolve our looming fiscal problems." > more

Monday

Killed Soldier Questioned 'F***tarded' War Plan

For those who continually state that those who are opposed to the war just aren't getting the facts straight from the soldiers on the ground, I offer the following viewpoint from a soldier on the front lines of the Iraq War just two days before he was killed earlier this month. I've not edited the language to keep the original intent: Originally posted by rcade on drudge.com:

Before he died when his truck overturned during combat in Baghdad, Sgt. Thomas Strickland, 27, posted an entry on his weblog sharing his anger about the situation in Iraq.

In a weblog he fatalistically titled One Foot in the Grave, Strickland asked, "What kind of fucktarded plan have we been half-assedly executing?"

Strickland, who aspired to teach English, was recalled by friend Mark Kraft as a gifted writer and poet.

He wrote this on his weblog Aug. 13, two days before the accident:

MotherFucker.

I'm back home.

Mahmudijah.

The Mahm.

St. Michael.

What have you.

My truck, which I left here in good working order, is destroyed mostly.

The insurgency is on the rise in our area, with a most impressive coordinated assault on one of my sister FOBs (St. Joe) under their belt. Apparently they have enough folks and sophistication in my back yard where they can simultaneously place accurate mortar rounds on three seperate locations (at least 30k apart) to tie up any ground mounted quick reaction forces, as well as offer up multiple RPG strikes on the guard towers at Joe. These RPG attacks really bring out the QRF who face their own ambush as they come out the gate, at least 12 insurgents occupying buildings with an overwatch position to Joe's only entrance armed with more rpg's and small arms. The only possible responses are tanks or Apaches. Luckily we have both on call. 12 dead insurgents, destroyed buildings, a compromised FOB, sustained, accurate and unaswered indirect fire and lots o unanswered questions later... I'm here.

What the fuck has my chain of command been doing? We were winning somewhat when I left. And now we're being pinned down in our own fucking homes? Insurgents are pushing locals out of their homes and taking over my area at will? What kind of fucktarded plan have we been half-assedly executing? Obviously the kind that neglects sound contact with locals. Obviously the kind that gives further distance to unbridged gaps between soldiers and locals. Obviously the kind that has shown enough weakness when confronted by the insugency that it has been encouraged to grow.

Back home (the USA kind) I have no home, no job, and my commander in chief is on vacation (he's about 20 days behind Ronald Reagan right now in the race to become the most vacationing president ever. Hey W! we all got our fingers crossed! Here's to you and two more years of presidency...er vacationing!). Luckily pretty much everything that is important to me can fit into the back of a truck. Luckily I just paid off one of those.

In their fear to build relationships and get out of their hiding holes the FOBbits above me have fucked my friends and I.

We've just completed the first 1/4 of our tour. we've sent 4 of 24 members of this platoon home with injuries.

Thankfully we're not like another who has sent 8 home in body bags...but we got 9 months to go.

Stay true lambs, REV

CARTOON CONSCIENCE: Moral outrage?

By Mike Thompson, The Detroit Free Press:

"Reality" on the right vs. reality

In a recent discussion thread on OKCTalk.com, I cited a study that found a higher frequency of misperceptions about the facts by those who watch Fox News over other media outlets. One person wondered how that could be. The answer is simple: the facts are often distorted, misrepresented or just not reported. Although conservative talk radio never claims to be "news," it is a disseminator of information to a large segment of our country — for some the only source of information. When these talk radio programs offer information as fact, their listeners accept it as fact. Just like the "father of lies" in the Christian faith, these purveyors of propaganda include a nugget of truth that makes the information appear credible, but they surround that small factual nugget with gross distortion and misrepresentation of the entire context of facts. Case in point: Rush Limbaugh claimed Bush administration never said Iraq war would be quick or easy and ignored numerous statements by officials in lead-up to war.
Quote:
Courtesy Media Matters On the August 24 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh claimed that the Iraq war "has always been portrayed as something that's gonna be hard" and that "the ease with which all this was gonna happen was never stated." In fact, several Bush administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, did predict a short and easy process of regime change in Iraq, ignoring warnings from the intelligence community that the aftermath to the initial battles in Iraq would pose numerous difficult challenges. Responding to a sound bite from NBC's Today, in which MSNBC host Chris Matthews asserted that members of the Bush administration "were wrong" in their original estimation that the Iraq war would be quick and easy, Limbaugh stated:
LIMBAUGH: No, Chris. Again, you missed it, and nobody ever said that it's gonna be like walkin' in and playin' baseball the next day. That's in your dreams. This has always been portrayed as something that's gonna be hard; it's part of the war on terror and no end date was ever given, and the ease with which all this was gonna happen was never stated.
In a subsequent segment on his August 24 show, Limbaugh acknowledged the presence of "a contingent of people on the left who will never forget the fact that some in the Defense Department said the Iraqis will be cheering us in the streets as we arrive, and that it will be a cakewalk and that we don't need to plan for any aftermath," but he failed to address the claims of this "contingent." In fact, despite Limbaugh's denials, several top Bush administration officials have made specific predictions about the duration and difficulty of achieving regime change in Iraq:
  • On the March 16, 2003, broadcast of CBS' Face the Nation, Cheney stated: "I think [the war will] go relatively quickly." When host Bob Schieffer pressed the vice president to offer a more precise estimate of how long the war would take, Cheney replied: "Weeks rather than months." On NBC's Meet the Press the same day, Cheney stated, "my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators [by the Iraqi people]."
  • In a February 7, 2003, appearance at Aviano Air Base in Italy, Rumsfeld projected that the Iraq war "could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."
  • In a February 13, 2002, Washington Post op-ed, Ken Adelman, at the time a member of the Defense Policy Board, stated: "I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk. Let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) It was a cakewalk last time; (2) they've become much weaker; (3) we've become much stronger; and (4) now we're playing for keeps."
Moreover, as Media Matters for America previously noted, the Bush administration failed to foresee or plan for an extended U.S. occupation and reconstruction of Iraq, despite numerous warnings from the intelligence community before the war. Prior to the start of the Iraq war, the consensus among the intelligence community was that "winning the peace in Iraq could be much harder than winning a war," Knight Ridder reported on October 17, 2004. A February 7, 2003, memo from three State Department bureau chiefs warned that "a failure to address short-term public security and humanitarian assistance concerns could result in serious human rights abuses which would undermine an otherwise successful military campaign, and our reputation internationally." Yet evidence suggests these warnings were largely ignored. Then-deputy secretary of defense Paul D. Wolfowitz acknowledged these failures in a July 23 Washington Post article, stating that defense officials made several assumptions that "turned out to underestimate the problem."
Without the historical context, Limbaugh's comments are difficult to challenge. But, in light of the facts — i.e. the actual statements made by officials as well as the actual history — Limbaugh is, once again, wrong in his information and providing a gross disservice to his listeners. I love (and quote often) the line used by one of the forum's member in their signature signature, "My mind is made up so don't confuse me with the facts." Blind allegiance to demonstrably slanted sources of news and information only exacerbates ignorance and foolish thinking. Without the facts and balanced perspective of information, it's hard to make wise decisions when it comes to support for an idea, political agenda or national policy. This applies to both sides of the political spectrum. This polarization to only get information from like-minded information sources has led to alternate realities for those on the right and those on the left. It has led to the great divide that is literally tearing this country apart. Neither side has a monopoly on the truth. In fact, anyone who limits their exposure to information to like-minded sources cannot have a firm grasp of the unfiltered truth. Denying this is only putting your head in the sand. And it's hard to see where to go or what to do when your head is in the sand.

Friday

Daily Show debate over Iraq

The interview/exchange/debate between Jon Stewart and Christopher Hitchens on last night's The Daily Show was one of the best and direct discussions I've seen with one of Stewart's guests.

Bush Losing His Bully Pulpit

Courtesy Taegan Goddard's Political Wire:
Former Bush speechwriter David Frum says that by now "it should be clear that President Bush's words on the subject of Iraq have ceased connecting with the American public." The main problem: "Again and again during the Bush presidency... the president will agree to give what is advertised in advance as a major speech. An important venue will be chosen. A crowd of thousands will be gathered. The networks will all be invited. And after these elaborate preparations, the president says... nothing that he has not said a hundred times before." "If a president continues to do that, he is himself teaching the public and the media to ignore him - especially when the words seem utterly to ignore the past three months of real-world events."
> Read entire post

CARTOON CONSCIENCE: WWJD

From Kevin Siers, The Charlotte Observer:

Thursday

Happy Birthday, Didaskalos!

A very special Happy Birthday greeting to Didaskalos — my brother, my confidant and my best friend. May the coming year bring more blessings, more special memories and peace. God bless, my dear brother!

Why we must leave Iraq

Larry C. Johnson offers an informed analysis of the situation in Iraq. (Johnson's bio)

WHY WE MUST LEAVE IRAQ

by Larry C. Johnson

Sometimes in life there are no good options. It is part of our nature to always assume that we can fix a problem. But in life there are many problems or situations where there is no pleasant solution. If you were at the Windows on the World Restaurant in the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 9 am on September 11, 2001 you had no good options. You could choose to jump or to burn to death. Some choice. A hard, clear-eyed look at the current situation in Iraq reveals that we are confronted with equally bad choices. If we stay we are facilitating the creation of an Islamic state that will be a client of Iran. If we pull out we are likely to leave the various ethnic groups of Iraq to escalate the civil war already underway. In my judgment we have no alternative but to pull our forces out of Iraq. Like it or not, such a move will be viewed as a defeat of the United States and will create some very serious foreign policy and security problems for us for years to come. However, we are unwilling to make the sacrifices required to achieve something approximating victory. And, what would victory look like? At a minimum we should expect a secular society where the average Iraqi can move around the country without fear of being killed or kidnapped. That is not the case nor is it on the horizon.

We may even be past the point of no return where we could impose changes that would put Iraq back on course to be a secular, democratic nation without sparking a major Shiite counteroffensive. Therefore the time has come to minimize further unnecessary loss of life by our troops and re-craft a new foreign and security policy for the Middle East.

> more

CARTOON CONSCIENCE: See Iraq as Bush sees it

From Mike Keefe, cartoonist for The Denver Post:

Wednesday

Nixon and Bush compared

From Taegan Goddard's Political Wire:
While Think Progress notes President Bush is now less popular than President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal, Stuart Thiel provides an interesting graph charting the approval rates of both presidents throughout their administrations.

Woman who once said Bush was her "liberator" decides to get the hell out of Iraq

From Catch.com:
Quote:
The Great Liberator on March 12, 2004 celebrating "global women's human rights":
PRESIDENT BUSH: I want to thank my friend, Dr. Raja Khuzai, who's with us today. This is the third time we have met. The first time we met, she walked into the Oval Office -- let's see, was it the first time? It was the first time. The door opened up. She said, "My liberator," and burst out in tears -- (laughter) -- and so did I. (Applause.) Dr. Khuzai also was there to have Thanksgiving dinner with our troops. And it turned out to be me, as well. Of course, I didn't tell her I was coming. (Laughter.) But I appreciate that, and now she's here again. I want to thank you, Doctor, for your hard work on the writing of the basic law for your people. You have stood fast, you have stood strong. Like me, you've got liberty etched in your heart, and you're not going to yield. And you are doing a great job and we're proud to have you back. Thanks for coming. (Applause.)
Dr. Raja Kuzai yesterday:
"This is the future of the new Iraqi government - it will be in the hands of the clerics," said Dr. Raja Kuzai, a secular Shiite member of the Assembly. "I wanted Iraqi women to be free, to be able to talk freely and to able to move around." "I am not going to stay here," said Dr. Kuzai, an obstetrician and women's leader who met President Bush in the White House in November 2003.
From Crooks and Liars:
Quote:
Compare and contrast: 1. "These are extraordinary times, historic times. We've seen the fall of brutal tyrants. We're seeing the rise of democracy in the Middle East. We're seeing women take their rightful place in societies that were once incredibly oppressive and closed. We're seeing the power and appeal of liberty in every single culture. And we're proud once again -- this nation is proud -- to advance the cause of human rights and human freedom." (Dear Leader, March 12, 2004) 2. "Across the country, a steady clampdown on women's rights has been going unreported and unchecked by the government. Islamic terrorism is killing and injuring Iraqi women daily, employing among other weapons, acid attacks ... This is all the outcome of the occupation of Iraq. This has been pursued under the name of liberation, but what we actually see is women increasingly losing their freedom, while political Islamists feel free to terrorise them. The Islamicists pour into this invaded, so-called Muslim land in order, they say, to liberate it; but in reality, neither the US nor the Islamists are our liberators. They both really fight for power and influence in Iraq and in the region." (The Independent, August 15, 2005) 3. "Islam will be "the main source" of Iraq's law and parliament will observe religious principles, negotiators said on Saturday after what some called a major turn in talks on the constitution and a shift in the U.S. position. If agreed by Monday's parliamentary deadline, it would appear to be a major concession to Islamist leaders from the Shi'ite Muslim majority and sit uneasily with U.S. insistence on the primacy of democracy and human rights in the new Iraq." (Reuters, August 20th, 2005)

When you don't like the message, kill — or demote — the messenger

From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 - The Bush administration is replacing the director of a small but critical branch of the Justice Department, months after he complained that senior political officials at the department were seeking to play down newly compiled data on the aggressive police treatment of black and Hispanic drivers.

The demotion of the official, Lawrence A. Greenfeld, whom President Bush named in 2001 to lead the Bureau of Justice Statistics, caps more than three years of simmering tensions over charges of political interference at the agency. And it has stirred anger and tumult among many Justice Department statisticians, who say their independence in analyzing important law enforcement data has been compromised.

Officials at the White House and the Justice Department said no political pressure had been exerted over the statistics branch. But they declined to discuss the job status of Mr. Greenfeld, who told his staff several weeks ago that he had been asked to move on after 23 years of generally high marks as a statistician and supervisor at the agency. Mr. Greenfeld, who was initially threatened with dismissal and the possible loss of some pension benefits, is expected to leave the agency soon for a lesser position at another agency.

> more

Words of a false prophet

From Ellis Henican in Newsday:
It must be in here somewhere, but darned if I can find it - the single, powerful Bible verse that would explain everything today. For a couple of hours now, I've been scouring my New Testament, looking for the part where Jesus says we should send out hit squads to assassinate foreign political leaders. Thirteen years of religious education with nuns, brothers and priests! How could I have completely missed this? I found the stuff about loving our enemies. I came across the passage about turning the other cheek. I even spotted some words that seemed to say that meek people are blessed. What's up with that? But where on earth is the murder-foreign-leaders verse? Don't the rest of us deserve the same divine guidance that the Rev. Pat Robertson gets? > more

Republican Jesus: No Greater Love...

From Jesus' General:

Republican Jesus mugs and shirts available here Republican Jesus Archive.

CARTOON CONSCIENCE: Limbaugh attacks

From Jeff Danziger, cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate:

Tuesday

PICTURE OF THE DAY: An American Patriot

Bill Moyer, 73, wears a "Bullshit Protector" flap over his ear while President George W. Bush addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

Pastor's letter to Cindy Sheehan: 'God Almighty killed him'

Expressing all the "love" of the God he professes to believe in, Pastor Fred Phelps (of "godhatesfags.com" fame) published an open letter to Cindy Sheehan to answer her question to Bush, "Why did my son die in Iraq?" In the letter, Phelps says, "Why did your son die in Iraq? Because God Almighty killed him and cast him into Hell — where you will join him and his soldier pals, all cursing each other bitterly as you are tormented with fire and brimstone." Read the whole letter.

Back to the future: Big Brother

Does the following incident signal what we can expect from our government in the future? The post is a first-hand account of an incident in Utah where heavy-handed law enforcement converged on a legal rave concert. There's also a video featured at the end of the post that provides a brief glimpse of what happened. Is this what we want America to be?

The grim reality of Iraq

Despite the right-wing's cries that the "liberal" mainstream media doesn't show the good going on Iraq, the reality is that the American press only shows a sanitized view of the war. Many opposed to the war would contend that people in this country would be more cautious about supporting war if they recognized the realities of war — the horrific cost, impact and devastation it has on the people there. If we, as a nation, feel this is a just war, then we should not sanitize the information to make it easier to stomach it. We need to know what war really is before we so easily send our young people into battle. Salon.com published a story today that examines that very issue:
Iraq: The unseen war The grim reality of Iraq rarely appears in the American press. This photo gallery reveals the war's horrible human toll.
The photo gallery contains graphic and shocking images of death and devastation in Iraq.
By Gary Kamiya Aug. 23, 2005 This is a war the Bush administration does not want Americans to see. From the beginning, the U.S. government has attempted to censor information about the Iraq war, prohibiting photographs of the coffins of U.S. troops returning home and refusing as a matter of policy to keep track of the number of Iraqis who have been killed. President Bush has yet to attend a single funeral of a soldier killed in Iraq. To be sure, this see-no-evil approach is neither surprising nor new. With the qualified exception of the Vietnam War, when images of body bags appeared frequently on the nightly news, American governments have always tightly controlled images of war. There is good reason for this. In war, a picture really is worth a thousand words. No story about a battle, no matter how eloquent, possesses the raw power of a photograph. And when it comes to war's ultimate consequences -- death and suffering -- there is simply no comparison: a photo of a dead man or woman has the capacity to unsettle those who see it, sometimes forever. The bloated corpses photographed by Matthew Brady after Antietam remain in the mind, their puffy, shocked faces haunting us like an obscene truth almost 150 years after the soldiers were cut down. "War is hell," said Gen. Sherman, and everyone dutifully agrees. Yet the hell in Iraq is almost never shown. The few exceptions -- the charred bodies of American contractors hanging from a bridge in Fallujah, the blood-spattered little girl wailing after her parents were killed next to her -- only prove the rule.

Governments keep war hidden because it is hideous. To allow citizens to see its reality -- the shattered bodies, the wounded children, the incomprehensible mayhem -- is to risk eroding popular support for it. This is particularly true with wars that have less than overwhelming popular support to begin with. In the case of Vietnam, battlefield images played an important role in turning the tide of public opinion. And in Iraq, a war whose official justification has turned out to be false, and which a majority of the American people now believe to have been a mistake, the administration would prefer that these grim images never be seen… more

(NOTE: Salon.com is a subscription based eMagazine. However, non-subscribers can view premium content by watching a brief ad that gives them a site pass valid for 24 hours.)

The undeclared Civil War in Iraq

From The Washington Post:
Militias Wresting Control Across Iraq's North and South Residents Tell of Growing Climate of Fear Anthony Shadid and Steve Fainaru Washington Post Foreign Service Saturday, August 20, 2005; 7:00 PM BASRA, Iraq — Shiite and Kurdish militias, often operating as part of Iraqi government security forces, have carried out a wave of abductions, assassinations and other acts of intimidation, consolidating their control over territory across northern and southern Iraq and deepening the country's divide along ethnic and sectarian lines, according to political leaders, families of the victims, human rights activists and Iraqi officials. While Iraqi representatives wrangle over the drafting of a constitution in Baghdad, forces represented by the militias and the Shiite and Kurdish parties that control them are creating their own institutions of authority, unaccountable to elected governments, the activists and officials said. In Basra in the south, dominated by the Shiites, and Mosul in the north, ruled by the Kurds, as well as cities and villages around them, many residents say they are powerless before the growing sway of the militias, which instill a climate of fear that many see as redolent of the era of former president Saddam Hussein. The parties and their armed wings are sometimes operating independently, and other times as part of Iraqi army and police units trained and equipped by the United States and Britain and controlled by the central government. Their growing authority has enabled them to seize territory, confront their perceived enemies and provide patronage to their followers. Their rise has come because of a power vacuum in Baghdad and their own success in the January elections.
Read full story.

CARTOON CONSCIENCE: Always a Price. Always.

From R.J. Matson, cartoonist for The New York Observer and Roll Call:

Monday

Christian leader calls for assassination

Courtesy Media Matters:
Quote:
Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuela's president Pat Robertson, host of Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club and founder of the Christian Coalition of America, called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. From the August 22 broadcast of The 700 Club:
ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent. You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.
Watch video on this page.

Bush job approval rating hits new low

From American Research Group:
Quote:
August 22, 2005
George W. Bush's Job Approval Ratings Drop
George W. Bush's overall job approval ratings have dropped from a month ago even as Americans who approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president are turning more optimistic about their personal financial situations according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Among all Americans, 36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 33% approve and 62% disapprove. Among Americans registered to vote, 38% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 56% disapprove, and 36% approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 60% disapprove. This is the second month in a row when improving economic ratings have not been matched by higher job approval ratings for Bush. A total of 24% of Americans now say their personal financial situations are getting better, up from 17% in July, and 27% say they believe that their personal financial situations will be better off a year from now, which is up from 21% in July. The increases in the personal financial ratings, however, are coming mainly from those approving of the way Bush is handling his job. A total of 54% of those approving the way Bush is handling his job say their personal financial situations are getting better, compared to 5% of those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, and 61% of those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job say they expect to be better off a year from now, compared to 6% of those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job. The results presented here are based on 1,100 completed telephone interviews conducted among a nationwide random sample of adults 18 years and older. The interviews were completed August 18 through 21, 2005. The theoretical margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, 95% of the time, on questions where opinion is evenly split. Overall, 36% of Americans say that they approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president, 58% disapprove, and 6% are undecided.

Start the brainwashing early

There's a new book out that says it's "a fun way for parents to teach young children the valuable lessons of conservatism." According to the book description, Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed by Katharine DeBrecht is "written in simple text" and allows readers to "follow along with Tommy and Lou as they open a lemonade stand to earn money for a swing set. But when liberals start demanding that Tommy and Lou pay half their money in taxes, take down their picture of Jesus, and serve broccoli with every glass of lemonade, the young brothers experience the downside to living in Liberaland." Here's the publisher's note:
Would you let your child read blatantly liberal stories with titles such as "King & King," "No, George, No," or "It's Just a Plant"?

Unless you live in Haight-Ashbury or write for the New York Times, probably not. But with the nation’s libraries and classrooms filled with overtly liberal children’s books advocating everything from gay marriage to marijuana use, kids everywhere are being deluged with left-wing propaganda.

"Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed" is the book conservative parents have been seeking. This illustrated book — the first in the "Help! Mom!" series from Kids Ahead — is perfect for parents who seek to share their traditional values with their children, as well as adults who wish to give a humorous gift to a friend.

Hailed as "the answer to a baseball mom's prayers" by talk radio host Melanie Morgan, "Liberals Under My Bed" has already been the subject of coverage in The Wall Street Journal and Harper’s magazine. Written by a self-proclaimed "Security Mom for Bush" and featuring hilarious full-color illustrations by a Reuben Award winning artist, it is certain to be one of the most talked about children's books of the year.
Here are some comments posted by some people who had a less than enthusiastic response.
Reviewer:Joshua M. Silverstein "Proudprgressive" (West Hills, CA) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME)
Well it seems conservatives never can hit rock bottom when it comes to values and morality. Nor do they know how to define 'liberal'. Forcing kids to sell broccoli and to take down pictures of Jesus is not an issue for liberals or progressives or anyone else who does not support George Bush and his cronies. The book is amusing I must say. Propraganda to conservative parents' children is a sad statement for any right-winger. If conservatives had an dignity to stand on, they would let their kids make their own decision as they grow up in our society. Unfortunately conservatives, being fearful as they are, must indoctrinate their kids as early as possible lest they learn that everyone is connected on this planet either directly or indirectly. Or maybe they might find out that those evil taxes pay for things of the devil like roads, mass transit, parks, national defense and taking care of people in need. You know when it comes to people in need, conservatives always claim that its their own fault for being poor. Yet on another issue they can evoke the words of Jesus and the bible without flinching or seeming to care that Jesus preached to take care of the poor and that the bible references the matter thousands of times. To conservatives' credit, they do have a plan for the poor Americans in need. That plan is to send army recruiters to nation's poorest areas and entice people to enlist in a war that truly only benefits the rich. So instead of acting on conservative principles and fighting for the war you believe in, hand it off to the poor sap who didn't grow up with the silver spoon in his or her mouth. In closing, to those parents considering the purchase of this book for their kids, I want to recommend a follow up reading. Perhaps a "Help, There Are Conservative Bush Supporters in the Other Room" would make a good balance when trying to indoctrinate your little loved ones.
Reviewer:Watchdog (Florida) - See all my reviews
Great, now we have another kind of pervert to protect our kids from. It's a book of lies aimed at young minds. It tries to make something that never happened and could not happen under a Liberal Constitution seem like it happens all the time because of a liberal conspiracy. If you thought the Swift Boat liars were bad, you'll be up in arms about this attempt to make your kid into a delusional dittohead. Isn't in nearly as bad to molest a kid's mind as a kid's body?
Reviewer:Lone Liberal in Pentagon (LLiP) - See all my reviews
Brilliant. Simply brilliant. Having mastered the art of dumbing down politics and complex international interactions, turning everything into a simple "us vs them" argument, the far right now reaches into the future to ensure the next generation of American idiots will do no more thinking for themselves than their lazy, closed-minded parents who get 100% of their news from the likes of "Fox News" and the "Washington Times." As an added bonus, since the text uses small words and lots of pictures, every lower-middle class dolt calling himself a Republican (cuz he thinks Geo Bush and Dick Cheney have something in common with him) will be able to understand the misguided, overtly political message of this book.

CARTOON CONSCIENCE: Constitution Convention

From John Trever, cartoonist for The Albuquerque Journal:

Default Former aide: Powell WMD speech 'lowest point in my life'

From CNN.com:
Quote:
(CNN) -- A former top aide to Colin Powell says his involvement in the former secretary of state's presentation to the United Nations on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was "the lowest point" in his life.
Read complete article.

Constitutional Convention: Philadelphia 1787 vs. Baghdad 2005

From Slate.com:
Quote:
When things go particularly badly in Iraq—anarchy, insurgency, and now the delays in crafting a constitution—President George W. Bush and his top aides point reassuringly to the turbulence surrounding our own Founding Fathers' exertions to forge a republic. … In other words, so this argument goes, the United States of America took 11 years to go from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution; therefore, don't be surprised that Iraq is still writhing a mere two years after the fall of Saddam—or that the delegates to its constitutional convention are experiencing difficulties. There's something to this, of course, but why does Bush keep bringing it up? Far from easing our concerns about Iraq (ah, well, this is just how things go in the transition to democracy), comparing its plight with that of late 18th-century America—and likening the roundtable in Baghdad's Green Zone to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia—should only intensify the hackles and horrors. The real inference to be drawn is that the American colonies were as well-fit for a democratic union as any society in human history—and they took more than a decade to get their act together. Today's Iraq enjoys almost none of their advantages, so how long will it take to move down the same path—and how long will we have to stay there to help?
Read full article.

Sunday

More defections on the right

Some of the most diehard Republicans are beginning to despair. From one of the National Review Online's forums, The Corner:
Quote:
LOSING THE WAR ON TERROR: THE VOICE OF DESPAIR ECHOES AGAIN [Andy McCarthy] For what it’s worth, this is where I get off the bus. The principal mission of the so-called “war on terror” – which is actually a war on militant Islam – is to destroy the capacity of the international network of jihadists to project power in a way that threatens American national security. That is the mission that the American people continue to support. As those who follow these pages may know, I have been despairing for a long time over the fact that the principal mission has been subordinated by what I’ve called the “democracy diversion” – the administration’s theory that the (highly dubious) prospect of democratizing Iraq and the Islamic world will quell the Islamists. (Aside: go ask Israelis if they think the fledgling “democracy” in Gaza and the West Bank – which is very likely to bring Hamas to power – promotes their national security.) Now, if several reports this weekend are accurate, we see the shocking ultimate destination of the democracy diversion. In the desperation to complete an Iraqi constitution – which can be spun as a major step of progress on the march toward democratic nirvana – the United States of America is pressuring competing factions to accept the supremacy of Islam and the fundamental principle no law may contradict Islamic principles. There is grave reason to doubt that Islam and democracy (at least the Western version based on liberty and equality) are compatible. But that is an argument for another day. The argument for today is: the American people were never asked whether they would commit their forces to overseas hostilities for the purpose of turning Iraq into a democracy (we committed them (a) to topple a terror-abetting tyrant who was credibly thought both to have and to covet weapons of mass destruction, and (b) to kill or capture jihadists who posed a danger to American national security). I doubt they would have agreed to wage war for the purpose of establishing democracy. Like most Americans, I would like to see Iraq be an authentic democracy – just as I would like to see Iran, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, etc. be authentic democracies. But I would not sacrifice American lives to make it so. But even if I suspended disbelief for a moment and agreed that the democracy project is a worthy casus belli, I am as certain as I am that I am breathing that the American people would not put their brave young men and women in harm’s way for the purpose of establishing an Islamic government. Anyplace. It is not our place to fix what ails Islam. But it is utter recklessness to avert our eyes from the fact that militant Islam thrives wherever Islam reigns. That is a fact. When and where militant Islam thrives, America and the West are endangered. That is also a fact. How can we possibly be urging people who wisely don’t want it to accept the government-institutionalized supremacy of Islam? And if the United States, in contradiction of its own bedrock principle against government establishment religion, has decided to go into the theocracy business, how in the world is it that Islam is the religion we picked? Posted at 11:20 AM

Support slipping among Republicans?

From ProfessorBainbridge.com:
Quote:
What might have been It's time for us conservatives to face facts. George W. Bush has pissed away the conservative moment by pursuing a war of choice via policies that border on the criminally incompetent. We control the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and (more-or-less) the judiciary for one of the few times in my nearly 5 decades, but what have we really accomplished? Is government smaller? Have we hacked away at the nanny state? Are the unborn any more protected? Have we really set the stage for a durable conservative majority? Meanwhile, Bush continues to insult our intelligence with tripe like this:
"Our troops know that they're fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere to protect their fellow Americans from a savage enemy," Bush said in his weekly radio address. {Ed: Full text here} "They know that if we do not confront these evil men abroad, we will have to face them one day in our own cities and streets, and they know that the safety and security of every American is at stake in this war," he said.
I guess that's all he has left. After all, if Iraq's alleged WMD programs were the casus belli, why aren't we at war with Iran and North Korea? Not to mention Pakistan, which remains the odds-on favorite to supply the Islamofascists with a working nuke. If Saddam's cruelty to his own people was the casus belli, why aren't we taking out Kim Jong Il or any number of other nasty dictators? Indeed, what happened to the W of 2000, who correctly proclaimed nation building a failed cause and an inappropriate use of American military might? And why are we apparently going to allow the Islamists to write a more significant role for Islamic law into the new Iraqi constitution? If throwing a scare into the Saudis was the policy, so as to get them to rethink their deals with the jihadists, which has always struck me as the best rationale for the war, have things really improved on that front? The trouble with Bush's justification for the war is that it uses American troops as fly paper. Send US troops over to Iraq, where they'll attract all the terrorists, who otherwise would have come here, and whom we'll then kill. This theory has proven fallacious. The first problem is that the American people are unwilling to let their soldiers be used as fly paper. If Iraq has proven anything, it has confirmed for me the validity of the Powell Doctrine.
Essentially, the Doctrine expresses that military action should be used only as a last resort and only if there is a clear risk to national security by the intended target; the force, when used, should be overwhelming and disproportionate to the force used by the enemy; there must be strong support for the campaign by the general public; and there must be a clear exit strategy from the conflict in which the military is engaged. Powell based this strategy for warfare in part on the views held by his former boss in the Reagan administration, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, and also on his own experience as a major in Vietnam. That protracted campaign, in Powell's view, was representative of a war in which public support was flimsy, the military objectives were not clear, overwhelming force was not used consistently, and an exit strategy was ill defined.
Sounds a lot like Iraq doesn't it? Public support for the war is sliding. We're not using a fraction of our military potential, and there seems to be no clear viable long-term goal or exit strategy. {Update: On the issue of whether we're using our full military potential, Victor Davis Hanson observes: "throughout this conflict the United States has been apprehensive that it was becoming too brutal in its effort even as the Islamic fascists were convinced that we were too weak to fight such a war."} The second problem is that the fly paper strategy seems to be radicalizing our foes even more. For every fly that gets caught, it seems as though 10 more spring up. This should hardly come as a surprise to anybody who has watched Israel pursue military solutions to its terrorist problems, after all. Does anybody really think Israel's military actions have left Hezbollah or Hamas with fewer foot soldiers? To the contrary, the London bombing suggests to me that it is only a matter of time before the jihadists strike in the US again, even though our troops remain hung out as fly paper in the Augean Stables of Iraq. {Update: The news that Scotland Yard foiled a gas attack on the House of Commons, for which the Yard deserves mega-kudos, doesn't change my mind. As the climax of Tom Clancy's novel Debt of Honor suggests (and I still wonder of that inspired 9/11), the terrorists only need to win once. Conversely, the latest news about that rocket attack on a US Navy ship in Jordan seems to confirm my concerns: "The Abdullah Azzam Brigades -- an al-Qaida-linked group that claimed responsibility for the bombings which killed at least 64 people at Sharm el-Sheik in July and 34 people at two other Egyptian resorts last October -- said in an Internet statement that its fighters had fired the Katyushas, bolstering concerns that Islamic extremists had opened a new front in the region." Indeed, the NYT reports that: "The possible involvement of Iraqis and the military-style attack have raised fears that militants linked to Iraq's insurgency may be operating on Jordanian soil."} While we remain bogged down in Iraq, of course, Osama bin Laden remains at large somewhere. Multi-tasking is all the rage these days, but whatever happened to finishing a job you started? It strikes me that catching Osama would have done a lot more to discourage the jihadists than anything we've done in Iraq. What really annoys me, however, are the domestic implications of all this. The conservative agenda has advanced hardly at all since the Iraq War began. Worse yet, the growing unpopularity of the war threatens to undo all the electoral gains we conservatives have achieved in this decade. Stalwarts like me are not going to vote for Birkenstock wearers no matter how bad things get in Iraq, but what about the proverbial soccer moms? Gerrymandering probably will save the House for us at least through the 2010 redistricting, but what about the Senate and the White House? In sum, I am not a happy camper. I'm very afraid that 100 years from now historians will look back at W's term and ask "what might have been?"

Republican: Iraq looking like Vietnam

Hagel Says Iraq War Looking Like Vietnam Aug 21 11:13 AM US/Eastern WASHINGTON — A leading Republican senator said Sunday the war in Iraq is looking more like the Vietnam conflict from a generation ago. Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, who received two Purple Hearts and other military honors for his service in Vietnam, reaffirmed his position that the United States needs to develop a strategy to leave Iraq. "Stay the course is not a policy," said Hagel, a possible White House contender in 2008. "By any standard, when you analyze 2 1/2 years in Iraq ... we're not winning." Sen. George Allen, R-Va., another possible candidate for the GOP nomination for president in 2008, said the formation of a constitution guaranteeing basic freedoms would provide a rallying point for Iraqis. Political leaders in Baghdad were working to complete the draft of the new constitution in time for the Monday night deadline for parliamentary approval. "The terrorists don't have anything to win the hearts and minds of the people of Iraq. All they care to do is disrupt," said Allen, who appeared with Hagel on ABC's "This Week." Hagel said more U.S. troops is not the solution. "We're past that stage now because now we are locked into a bogged- down problem not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam," Hagel said. "The longer we stay, the more problems we're going to have." Allen said that unlike the communist-guided North Vietnamese that the U.S. fought, the insurgents in Iraq have no guiding political philosophy or organization. Still, Hagel argued, the similarities are growing. "What I think the White House does not yet understand _ and some of my colleagues _ the dam has broke on this policy," Hagel said. "The longer we stay there, the more similarities (to Vietnam) are going to come together."

CARTOON CONSCIENCE — Sunday Edition

From Pat Bagley, cartoonist for Salt Lake Tribune: From Jimmy Margulies, cartoonist for The (New Jersey) Record: From John Sherffius, St. Louis, Mo.: From Bob Gorrell, nationally syndicated cartoonist:

Evangelical scientists refute gravity

Faith does not require a leap of sound reasoning. But some of faith take that leap anyway.
Evangelical scientists refute gravity with new "Intelligent Falling" theory KANSAS CITY, KS—As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling. Burdett added: "Gravity—which is taught to our children as a law—is founded on great gaps in understanding. The laws predict the mutual force between all bodies of mass, but they cannot explain that force. Isaac Newton himself said, 'I suspect that my theories may all depend upon a force for which philosophers have searched all of nature in vain.' Of course, he is alluding to a higher power."
Read the full story.

Army Planning for 4 More Years in Iraq

I wonder how this story will play in the Election 2006 season.
Army Planning for 4 More Years in Iraq Aug 20 5:49 PM US/Eastern By ROBERT BURNS AP Military Writer WASHINGTON — The Army is planning for the possibility of keeping the current number of soldiers in Iraq _ well over 100,000 _ for four more years, the Army's top general said Saturday. In an Associated Press interview, Gen. Peter Schoomaker said the Army is prepared for the "worst case" in terms of the required level of troops in Iraq. He said the number could be adjusted lower if called for by slowing the force rotation or by shortening tours for soldiers. Schoomaker said commanders in Iraq and others who are in the chain of command will decide how many troops will be needed next year and beyond. His responsibility is to provide them, trained and equipped. About 138,000 U.S. troops, including about 25,000 Marines, are now in Iraq. "We are now into '07-'09 in our planning," Schoomaker said, having completed work on the set of combat and support units that will be rotated into Iraq over the coming year for 12-month tours of duty.

Saturday

Bush Breaks Vacation Record

From The Daily Pick:
Heartfelt congratulations to President Bush, who on Friday August 19th breaks Ronald Reagan's all-time record for most vacation days. The old record was 335 days, though Reagan took his sweet time of eight years to accomplish this feat. President Bush did it in nearly half the time. And with another two weeks of vaction on tap, he's obviously not content with simply breaking the record, he's going to smoke that record right out of the hole. Great going, President Bush! We knew you could do it!

CARTOON CONSCIENCE: '...go on with my life...'

From Rex Babin, cartoonist for The Sacramento Bee:

Media and Misperceptions

A discussion on OKCTalk.com regarding Bush's declining approval ratings witnessed an all too common occurrence among those on the right: blaming the "liberal" mainstream media.
(Discussion thread > Bush Approval Rating)
Originally Posted by MadMonk
When the MSM controls the perceptions of how we see things, yes, it is partly to blame. That's why the libs can't stand conservative media. They are losing their monopoly on the way things are presented and can't count on people only seeing their skewed, "blame America for all the world's problems" messege.
Here was my response… Consider the following. An October 2003 research study by The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) and Knowledge Networks released a report entitled "Misperceptions, The Media and The Iraq War." PIPA is a joint program of the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland and the Center on Policy Attitudes. PIPA undertakes research on American attitudes in both the public and in the policymaking community toward a variety of international and foreign policy issues. It seeks to disseminate its findings to members of government, the press, and the public as well as academia. Knowledge Networks is a polling, social science, and market research firm based in Menlo Park, California. Knowledge Networks uses a large-scale nationwide research panel which is randomly selected from the national population of households having telephones and is subsequently provided internet access for the completion of surveys (and thus is not limited to those who already have internet access). Here is some of what the study found:
Because it provides the best overview of the relationship between media sources, we will first analyze the relationship between media sources and the presence of multiple misperceptions, to determine the variance in the level of misperceptions according to the respondent’s news source. Afterward we will analyze the variance for specific misperceptions. An analysis of those who were asked all of the key three perception questions does reveal a remarkable level of variation in the presence of misperceptions according to news source. Standing out in the analysis are Fox and NPR/PBS--but for opposite reasons. Fox was the news source whose viewers had the most misperceptions. NPR/PBS are notable because their viewers and listeners consistently held fewer misperceptions than respondents who obtained their information from other news sources. … Fox News watchers were most likely to hold misperceptions—and were more than twice as likely than the next nearest network to hold all three misperceptions. In the audience for NPR/PBS, however, there was an overwhelming majority who did not have any of the three misperceptions, and hardly any had all three. To check these striking findings, we analyzed the data a different way, using the larger sample of 3,334 who had answered at least one of the three questions just mentioned. For each misperception we determined how widespread it was in each media audience (these will be discussed below), and then for each media audience averaged this frequency for the three misperceptions. The table below shows the averages from lowest to highest. Again, the Fox News audience showed the highest average rate of misperceptions—45%--while the NPR/PBS audience showed the lowest—11%. Evidence of Links Between Iraq and Al Qaeda We will now look more closely at the presence of each specific misperception. When asked whether the US has found “clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the al-Qaeda terrorist organization,” among the combined sample for the three-month period 49% said that such evidence had been found. This misperception was substantially higher among those who get their news primarily from Fox—67%. Once again the NPR-PBS audience was the lowest at 16%. … Weapons of Mass Destruction As discussed, when respondents were asked whether the US has “found Iraqi weapons of mass destruction” since the war had ended, 22% of all respondents over June-September mistakenly thought this had happened. Once again, Fox viewers were the highest with 33% having this belief. A lower 19-23% of viewers who watch ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN had the perception that the US has found WMD. Seventeen percent of those who primarily get their news from print sources had the misperception, while only 11% of those who watch PBS or listen to NPR had it. World Public Opinion Respondents were also asked to give their impression of how they think “people in the world feel about the US having gone to war with Iraq.” Over the three-month period, 25% of all respondents said, incorrectly, that “the majority of people favor the US having gone to war.” Of Fox watchers, 35% said this. Only 5% of those who watch PBS or listen to NPR misperceived world opinion in this way. As usual, those who primarily get their news from print media were the second lowest, with 17% having this misperception. Numerous respondents also chose the option of saying that in world public opinion, views are evenly balanced between favoring and opposing going to war—a misperception, though less egregious. Combining those who said views were evenly balanced with those who assumed that the majority favored the Iraq war—a more inclusive definition of misperception--the same pattern obtained. Fox viewers had the highest level of misperceiving (69%) and PBS-NPR the lowest (26%). The others also formed a familiar pattern: CBS at 63%, ABC at 58%, NBC at 56%, CNN at 54%, and print media at 45%. … The Effect of Demographic Variations in Audience Variations in misperceptions according to news source cannot simply be explained as a result of differences in the characteristics of each audience. It is true that some audiences vary according to such demographics as party identification and education—Fox viewers are more Republican, PBS-NPR is higher in education and less Republican, print readers are more educated, and CBS is less educated and more Democratic. It is also true that Republicans and those with lower education are more likely to have misperceptions. However, controlling for these demographic differences by examining the variations in misperception within demographic groups reveals persisting variations in the level of misperceptions according to news source, consistent with the analysis above. Looking just at Republicans, the average rate for the three key misperceptions was 43%. For Republican Fox viewers, however the average rate was 54% while for Republicans who get their news from PBS-NPR the average rate is 32%. This same pattern obtains with Democrats and independents. Among those with a bachelor’s degree or more, the average rate of misperceptions was 27%. However among those who get their news from print media the average rate was 20%, while among those who get their news from PBS-NPR the average rate was 10%. This pattern obtains at other educational levels as well.
Perhaps, the reality is that the conservative media is feeding the misperceptions. Finally, if attitudes and the political power has shifted significantly to the right, those who were once moderate Republicans or centrist are now considered left of center because the whole spectrum has shifted. So, maybe the media isn't really liberal; perhaps the right is so skewed to the right that everything they see to the left of them (even those who are moderates and centrists) have now become "liberals."

Friday

Guess the quote: Criticizing the war

Who said the following?
  1. "You can support the troops but not the president."
  2. "Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years."
  3. "Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
  4. "[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
  5. "American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
  6. "If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
  7. "I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
  8. "I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"
  9. "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
ANSWERS:
  1. Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
  2. Joe Scarborough (R-FL)
  3. Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99
  4. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)
  5. Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
  6. Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush
  7. Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)
  8. Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
  9. Then-Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)
All these quotes were from Republicans at the time President Clinton was committing the military to Bosnia. We were successful in that conflict and there was not one soldier killed in action.

Limbaugh calls Native Americans "injuns" -- again

From Media Matters: On the August 17 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio talk show, Rush Limbaugh refer to Native Americans as "injuns." After a caller suggested that legislation introduced by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), which would grant limited rights of self-government to Native Hawaiians, was a first step toward establishing Native Hawaiian-owned casinos, Limbaugh responded, "So in your mind they're simply trying to duplicate the actions taken by the American injuns, and get themselves set up so they have casinos over there?" Media Matters has documented at least four separate instances of Limbaugh using this slur on his program during the past year. In addition to his use of the term on August 17, Limbaugh used the term on the January 26, 2005, September 22, 2004, and November 24, 2004, editions of his program. From the August 17 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
CALLER: I'm calling about the Hawaiian issue. LIMBAUGH: Yeah. CALLER: I'm thinking that we'd better chase the dollars and cents of this much like the American Indians had their reservation freedom, and the ability to have tax exempt status to run their own casinos. My guess is, I can see it now: the Tiki casino or Luau casino on Oahu. And therefore, established not necessarily a separate nation-state, but at least a separate taxing situation for the people of indigenous heritage. LIMBAUGH: So, in your mind, they're simply trying to duplicate the actions taken by the American injuns, and get themselves set up so they have casinos over there?
(Listen to audio clip.)
From the January 26 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: You wanna hear a funny story? The left just keeps stepping in it. You put a pile of excrement out there, and they're just gonna step in it. Here's a story from Oakland, California: "The sounds of birds may soon compete with the sounds of bets at a marsh in Oakland, Calif., where a landless tribe of Pomo Indians plans to move ahead with construction of a casino and spa next to a wetlands home to a dozen species of birds. 'This is really a wonderful jewel that provides a rare opportunity for people to connect with nature, and having a casino as a next-door neighbor would greatly degrade that,' said Elizabeth Murdock of the Golden Gate Audubon Society." "Tribe members" -- the injuns -- "say they have great respect for nature -- their tribal symbol features the red tail hawk. But, they argue, they need the casino to get some land of their own and finally become economically self-sufficient."
From the November 24, 2004, broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: When I went to school, when I was going to grade school and it was time to teach us about Thanksgiving, the basic synopsis of what I was told was the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, a bunch of destitute white people. When they arrived, they had no clue what to do. They didn't know how to grow corn, didn't know how to hunt, didn't -- basically had -- didn't know how to do anything. And if it weren't for the injuns, who befriended them, and gave them coats and skins and taught them how to fish, and share their food and corn with them, the Pilgrims wouldn't have survived. And the Pilgrims thanked them by killing them and taking over the country and bringing with them syphilis, environmental destruction, racism, sexism, bigotry, and homophobia. That's basically the Thanksgiving story we were all raised with, with the -- the latter part of that has been recently added as part of the politically correct multicultural curriculum.
From the September 22, 2004, broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that California schools can continue -- they're -- calling their "the Redskins." Now, he vetoed a bill that would have banned the use of the term as racially derogatory. The debate over the bill had pitted Democrats, who control the state legislature, against Republicans and Democratic representatives from the rural districts, where at least five high screwl [sic] teams are called the Redskins. Now, an earlier virgin [sic] of the bill, which ran into opposition in California's legislature, would have banned the use of other American injun nicknames as school team names, including the Chiefs, the Braves and the Papooses. The Papooses? What kind of a team is named the Papooses? That's -- that's losers -- it's a bunch of babies. The Papooses is a bunch of babies. "Schwarzenegger said he vetoed the bill because it would have usurped the authority of the local screwl [sic] boards." Hubba, hubba, hubba.

CARTOON CONSCIENCE: Tianaman, Texas

From Jeff Parker, cartoonist for Florida Today:

State Dept. Warned of Poor Iraq Planning

From a story by the Associated Press (via Yahoo News):
Wed Aug 17,11:14 PM ET WASHINGTON - The State Department warned U.S. Central Command before the invasion of Iraq of "serious planning gaps" for postwar security, according to newly declassified documents. In a memorandum dated Feb. 7, 2003 — one month before the beginning of the Iraq war — State Department officials also wrote that "a failure to address short-term public security and humanitarian assistance concerns could result in serious human rights abuses which would undermine an otherwise successful military campaign, and our reputation internationally." … The February 2003 memo was written by three State Department bureau chiefs for Undersecretary Paula Dobriansky. The authors wrote, "We have raised these issues with top CENTCOM officials and General Garner." Retired Army Gen. Jay Garner was the first U.S. administrator in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The bureau chiefs warned that there could be "serious planning gaps for post-conflict public security and humanitarian assistance between the end of the war and the beginning of reconstruction."
It's hard to have a good plan when you refuse to listen to the experts who might say something contrary to your agenda.