Easier than shooting fish in a barrel.
More like pointing at the fish in a barrel.
Maybe even just pointing at the barrel.
--Karl Kraus April 28, 1874 – June 12, 1936
... George W. Bush is the devil! cried otherwise wonderfully charismatic but also dumbly ham-fisted Hugo Chávez in front of a bank of U.N. microphones. America is the Great Satan! agrees Islamic fundamentalism, as it mindlessly firebombs a few thousand innocent cars and blows up various KFCs in endless examples of idiotic violence that, ironically, makes Allah shrink in humiliation.
It's a delightfully common appraisal, this Bush-is-the-Devil thing, one I hear frequently from my otherwise highly intelligent, liberal brethren. But is George W. Bush really Satan? ...
Truly, Bush's claim to titanic evilness appears irrefutable. The list of atrocities is so obvious as to be dazzling. Hell, can't we all sense his pallid wickedness down in our very bones? Aren't we all more than a little embarrassed by it? Isn't this the real reason everyone's so annoyed with Chávez? Not because he's wrong but because he's just, you know, horribly tactless?
But I am here to tell you, it ain't that easy. I am here to set the record straight. Well, straighter. Because unfortunately, no matter how much we all want to believe it's true, Bush simply cannot be the Devil. He simply doesn't have the chops...
The Devil smells of sulphur and fire. Bush smells of cow pies and stale beer. The Devil is wickedly, tremendously deceptive, bending entire armies of lowly demons to his will. Bush cleverly inflamed armies of lemming-like evangelical Christians to vote for him by way of gay bashing and woman bashing and fear, through the snarling machinations of his very own shiny Moloch, Karl Rove. It's a worthy comparison.
But alas, it is not enough. There is no majesty to Dubya. No real heat, depth, grand intellectual power to his evilness. Bush is to a real Lucifer what a rat terrier is to a werewolf, what Jack Daniel's is to a pure single malt, what a heat lamp is to global warming: A pale wannabe. A weak imitation, trying hard to scorch your soul but only managing a bit of a rug burn.
Sorry Mr. Chávez, but Bush is no Devil: He is not nearly capable enough, sexy enough, charming enough, debauched or gloriously ruined enough. Bush cannot possibly fill the Devil's gorgeous, tragic Prada shoes. He's far more akin to something to be scraped from the bottom of them.******************
Ecuador Candidate Calls Bush 'Dimwitted'
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By GONZALO SOLANO Associated Press Writer
September 27,2006 | QUITO, Ecuador -- The leftist presidential front-runner in Ecuador said Wednesday that the devil should be insulted by comparisons to President Bush, whom he called a "dimwitted" leader who has done "great damage" to the world.
Rafael Correa, speaking to Channel 8 television, referred to a U.N. speech last week by his friend, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who caused an uproar in the United States by calling Bush "the devil."
"Calling Bush the devil is offending the devil," said Correa, a U.S.-trained economist who leads 12 other candidates in polls ahead of the Oct. 15 election. He said "the devil is evil, but intelligent."
"I believe Bush is a tremendously dimwitted president who has done great damage to his country and to the world," Correa said.*************************
"Certain points regarding Hugo Chavez's speech at the United Nations on Wednesday ought to be beyond real dispute. For instance, most people should be able readily to agree that for a head of state to call another head of state the "devil" and say that he leaves behind a whiff of sulfur falls short of the ideal model of diplomatic decorum. But one can legitimately question the extent to which the United States is in a position to invoke and enforce such precepts of diplomatic propriety...
President Bush, of course, famously labeled Iran, Iraq and North Korea part of the "Axis of Evil" and recently began using the term "Islamic fascists" in campaign speeches to describe America's enemies. Meanwhile, Bush officials and their supporters have been repeatedly invoking the now-standard rhetorical tactic of comparing America's enemies, including other heads of state, to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi threat."
Those were the words John Bolton yelled as he burst into a Tallahassee library on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2000, where local election workers were recounting ballots cast in Florida's disputed presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
I'd forgotten about that. In the context of Bolton's close connection to the gang in the White House, given that he's probably a "player" in the Plame outing -- not even to mention his recess appointment to an ambassadorship on neutral territory holding, of course, a diplomatic passport -- you have to wonder why the media (or the Democrats in Congress, for god's sake) don't hang him by his, um, ankles for all to see.
By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 17, 2006; A01
Adapted from "Imperial Life in the Emerald City," by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, copyright Knopf 2006
After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans... But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon.
To pass muster with O'Beirne... applicants didn't need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration.
O'Beirne's staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade .
Many of those chosen by O'Beirne's office to work for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq's government from April 2003 to June 2004, lacked vital skills and experience. A 24-year-old who had never worked in finance -- but had applied for a White House job -- was sent to reopen Baghdad's stock exchange. The daughter of a prominent neoconservative commentator and a recent graduate from an evangelical university for home-schooled children were tapped to manage Iraq's $13 billion budget, even though they didn't have a background in accounting.
... Many of those selected because of their political fidelity spent their time trying to impose a conservative agenda on the postwar occupation, which sidetracked more important reconstruction efforts and squandered goodwill among the Iraqi people, according to many people who participated in the reconstruction effort...
"We didn't tap... just didn't tap the right people to do this job," said Frederick Smith, who served as the deputy director of the CPA's Washington office. "It was a tough, tough job. Instead we got people who went out there because of their political leanings."******************
"As more and more of O'Beirne's hires arrived in the Green Zone, the CPA's headquarters in Hussein's marble-walled former Republican Palace felt like a campaign war room. Bumper stickers and mouse pads praising President Bush were standard desk decorations. In addition to military uniforms and "Operation Iraqi Freedom" garb, "Bush-Cheney 2004" T-shirts were among the most common pieces of clothing.
"I'm not here for the Iraqis," one staffer noted to a reporter over lunch. "I'm here for George Bush."***********************
"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said.
"He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,'" he quoted the emperor as saying.
by MAAMOUN YOUSSEF Associated Press Writer
September 18,2006 | CAIRO, Egypt -- Al-Qaida in Iraq and its allies warned Pope Benedict XVI on Monday that he and the West were "doomed" and proclaimed that the holy war would continue until Islam dominates the world.
The Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization of Sunni Arab extremist groups that includes al-Qaida in Iraq, issued a statement on a Web forum about the pope's remarks last week on Islam. The authenticity of the statement could not be immediately independently verified.
"You infidels and despotic, we will continue our jihad (holy war) and never stop until God avails us to chop your necks and raise the fluttering banner of monotheism when God's rule is established governing all people and nations," the statement said.*****************************
September 15,2006 | WASHINGTON -- Federal heath officials said Friday that they have traced a nationwide E. coli outbreak to a California company, which has agreed to recall its bagged spinach products.
One person has died and nearly 100 people others became ill in the outbreak, which has spread to about 20 states.
The Food and Drug Administration said late Friday that the outbreak had been linked to bagged spinach products distributed by Natural Selection Foods, based in San Juan Bautista, Calif.
"My life it is finished
Cuz I ate their spinach
I'm Popeye the sailor.....arrrgghhhh"
(09-14) 04:00 PDT Washington -- The Interior Department's chief official responsible for investigating abuses and overseeing operations accused the top officials at the agency on Wednesday of tolerating widespread ethical failures, from cronyism to cover-ups of incompetence.
"Simply stated, short of a crime, anything goes at the highest levels of the Department of the Interior," charged Earl Devaney, the Interior Department's inspector general, at a hearing of the House Government Reform subcommittee on energy.
"I have observed one instance after another when the good work of my office has been disregarded by the department," he continued. "Ethics failures on the part of senior department officials -- taking the form of appearances of impropriety, favoritism and bias -- have been routinely dismissed with a promise 'not to do it again.' ''
The blistering attack was part of Devaney's report on what he called the Interior Department's "bureaucratic bungling" of oil and gas leases signed in the late 1990s, mistakes that are now expected to cost the government billions of dollars but were covered up for six years. While these leases were the specific focus of the hearing, Devaney directed most of his criticism at what he called a broader organizational culture at the Interior Department of denial and "defending the indefensible."
Read the complete article here at the SF Chronicle Online
In a letter to House Intelligence Committee chairman Peter Hoekstra, the senior director of the International Atomic Energy Agency says a recent report out of Hoekstra's committee contained "erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated statements" about Iran's nuclear plans and the IAEA's efforts to track them.
As the Washington Post reports, the IAEA says the committee report incorrectly stated that Iran was producing weapons-grade uranium at a plant in Natanz; falsely claimed that the IAEA's Nobel Peace Prize-winning executive director had removed a senior inspector from the Iran probe in retaliation for raising concerns about alleged Iranian deception, when, in fact, the inspector hadn't been removed at all; and made the "outrageous and dishonest" claim the IAEA has an "unstated" policy that bars inspectors from telling the truth about Iran.
"Privately," the Post says, "several intelligence officials said the committee report included at least a dozen claims that were either demonstrably wrong or impossible to substantiate."
The IAEA's letter comes as Senate Republicans continue to stall an investigation into allegations that the Bush administration misused intelligence on Iraq and as somebody -- the "intelligence community" or the White House? -- is blocking public disclosure of information about that much-hyped Mohammed Atta meeting that seems never to have occurred.
Dear Senator McCain,
I just returned to town and learned about the debate taking place in Congress to redefine Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. I do not support such a step and believe it would be inconsistent with the McCain amendment on torture which I supported last year.
I have read the powerful and eloquent letter sent to you by one my [sic] distinguished predecessors as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Jack Vessey. I fully endorse in tone and tint his powerful argument. The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. To redefine Common Article 3 would add to those doubts. Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk.
I am as familiar with The Armed Forces Officer as is Jack Vessey. It was written after all the horrors of World War II and General George C. Marshall, then Secretary of Defense, used it to tell the world and to remind our soldiers of our moral obligations with respect to those in our custody.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By SETH BORENSTEIN AP Science Writer
September 13,2006 | -- Arctic sea ice in winter is melting far faster than before, two new NASA studies reported Wednesday, a new and alarming trend that researchers say threatens the ocean's delicate ecosystem.
Scientists point to the sudden and rapid melting as a sure sign of man-made global warming.
"It has never occurred before in the past," said NASA senior research scientist Josefino Comiso in a phone interview. "It is alarming... This winter ice provides the kind of evidence that it is indeed associated with the greenhouse effect."
Scientists have long worried about melting Arcticsea ice in the summer, but they had not seen a big winter drop in sea ice, even though they expected it.
For more than 25 years Arctic sea ice has slowly diminished in winter by about 1.5 percent per decade. But in the past two years the melting has occurred at rates 10 to 15 times faster. From 2004 to 2005, the amount of ice dropped 2.3 percent; and over the past year, it's declined by another 1.9 percent, according to Comiso.*************
The British film, Death of a President, which the festival refers to as D.O.A.P., mixes archival footage and computer-generated imagery to give a chillingly realistic representation of a killing.
In the film, the president makes a speech to business leaders in Chicago and faces a massive anti-war demonstration. He is shot by a sniper as he leaves the venue, and the investigation into his killing focuses on a Syrian-born man.
The 93-minute film acts as an investigative documentary made years after the 2007 killing and features protesters outside the Chicago hotel, suspects in the shooting, the Secret Service men who failed to protect their charge, the press and an array of experts.
"The world is better off because Saddam Hussein is in jail instead of in power in Baghdad. It was the right thing to do and if we had it to do over again, we'd do exactly the same thing."
"America must remain strong," he didn't go on, but could have, "and if the world ever learned how much Saddam Hussein kicked-back to Bush 41 when he was veep, it would compromise our position in the world ... even more than this abominable blunder we've mired ourselves in.
"Don't you get it yet? Bush 41 had April Glaspie convince Saddam it was ok to go into Kuwait, then convinced that schmuck in Saudi Arabia that Saddam was planning to invade them. The whole thing was about getting a military base there. Unfortunately, Ms Glaspie died in one of our patented "Single-car accidents." Or she'd confirm that. Which was what we were afraid of when we arranged the oil slick.
"Even Osama coming home, wanting to get financed and armed to take out his blood enemy Saddam, but then vowing vengeance on us when he found out about our base on Sacred Arabian Soil worked out well, since it provoked him to create Al Quaeda and attack the World Trade Center -- twice.
"And the second time ... well, how long do you think junior would have lasted without something like 9-11 to make Americans say, 'Well, shit fuck ok, maybe I should shut up since he's the president."
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By DAVID McHUGH Associated Press Writer
September 10,2006 | MUNICH, Germany -- Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday warned modern societies not to let faith in science and technology make them deaf to God's message, and suggested that Asia and Africa could teach the wealthier West something about faith.
In his sermon to some 250,000 pilgrims at an open-air Mass in Munich, Benedict said modern people suffered from "hardness of hearing" when it comes to God.
"Put simply, we are no longer able to hear God -- there are too many different frequencies filling our ears," he said. "What is said about God strikes us as pre-scientific, no longer suited to our age."
"People in Asia and Africa admire our scientific and technical progress, but at the same time they are frightened by a form of rationality which totally excludes God from man's vision, as if this were the highest form of reason."
Saturday 02 September 2006
Washington - A day after a Pentagon report described spreading sectarian violence and increasingly complex security problems in Iraq, President Bush painted a rosier picture. "Our commanders and diplomats on the ground believe that Iraq has not descended into a civil war," Bush said Saturday in his weekly radio address. "They report that only a small number of Iraqis are engaged in sectarian violence, while the overwhelming majority want peace and a normal life in a unified country."
The president acknowledged "a bloody campaign of sectarian violence" and the "difficult and dangerous" work of trying to end it.
On Friday, the Pentagon reported that death squads increasingly targeting mainly Iraqi civilians heighten the risk of civil war. The report, the latest in a series required by Congress, also said the Sunni-led insurgency "remains potent and viable."
"Conditions that could lead to civil war exist in Iraq, specifically in and around Baghdad, and concern about civil war within the Iraqi civilian population has increased in recent months," the report said.****************************
He described the figures as “alarming” and “very bad news” for the Afghan government and international donors who have poured millions of dollars into programs to reduce the poppy crop since 2001.
He said the increase in cultivation was significantly fueled by the resurgence of Taliban rebels in the south, the country’s prime opium growing region. As the insurgents have stepped up attacks, they have also encouraged and profited from the drug trade, promising protection to growers if they expanded their opium operations.
“This year’s harvest will be around 6,100 metric tons of opium — a staggering 92 percent of total world supply. It exceeds global consumption by 30 percent,” Mr. Costa said at a news briefing.**************