Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Links of the day

Homeless for the holidays Katrina display draws ire

Your Daddy Kills Animals

The North Pole Heats Up

First partial face transplant performed

And once again, the best story of the day comes from The Onion

CIA using black highlighters

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ex-Powell aide: Bush 'too aloof'

Posted from CNN

In an Associated Press interview Monday, former Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson also said that wrongheaded ideas for the handling of foreign detainees after Sept. 11 arose from a coterie of White House and Pentagon aides who argued that "the president of the United States is all-powerful," and that the Geneva Conventions were irrelevant.

Wilkerson blamed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and like-minded aides. Wilkerson said that Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard."

Wilkerson suggested his former boss may agree with him that Bush was too hands-off about Iraq.

"What he seems to be saying to me now is the president failed to discipline the process the way he should have and that the president is ultimately responsible for this whole mess," Wilkerson said.

He said Powell now generally believes it was a good idea to remove Saddam Hussein from power, but may not agree with either the timing or execution of the war. Wilkerson said Powell may have had doubts about the extent of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein but was convinced by then-CIA Director George Tenet and others that the intelligence girding the push toward war was sound.

Powell was widely regarded as a dove to Cheney's and Rumsfeld's hawks, but he made a forceful case for war before the United Nations Security Council in February, 2003, a month before the invasion. At one point, he said Saddam possessed mobile labs to make weapons of mass destruction that were never found.

Cheney may have deliberately ignored contrary intelligence
Wilkerson criticized the CIA and other agencies for allowing mishandled and bogus information to underpin that speech and the whole administration case for war.

He said he has almost, but not quite, concluded that Cheney and others in the administration deliberately ignored evidence of bad intelligence and looked only at what supported their case for war.

A newly declassified Defense Intelligence Agency document from February 2002 said that an al Qaeda military instructor was probably misleading his interrogators about training that the terror group's members received from Iraq on chemical, biological and radiological weapons. Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi reportedly recanted his statements in January 2004. (Full Story)

A presidential intelligence commission also dissected how spy agencies handled an Iraqi refugee who was a German intelligence source. Codenamed Curveball, this man who was a leading source on Iraq's purported mobile biological weapons labs was found to be a fabricator and alcoholic.

On the question of detainees picked up in Afghanistan and other fronts on the war on terror, Wilkerson said Bush heard two sides of an impassioned argument within his administration. Abuse of prisoners, and even the deaths of some who had been interrogated in Afghanistan and elsewhere, have bruised the U.S. image abroad and undermined fragile support for the Iraq war that followed.

Cheney's office, Rumsfeld aides and others argued "that the president of the United States is all-powerful, that as commander in chief the president of the United States can do anything he damn well pleases," Wilkerson said.

On the other side were Powell, others at the State Department and top military brass, and occasionally then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Wilkerson said.

Powell raised frequent and loud objections, his former aide said, once yelling into a telephone at Rumsfeld: "Donald, don't you understand what you are doing to our image?"

Wilkerson also said he did not disclose to Bob Woodward that administration critic Joseph Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, joining the growing list of past and current Bush administration officials who have denied being the Washington Post reporter's source.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Abramoff Scandal Escalating

Cross-posted on The Metal Pundit

From Hardball with Chris Matthews,

Jack Abramoff, a legendary Republican lobbyist, is getting closer to facing charges, stemming from a scandal involving Indian Tribes, bought Congressmen, and a host of Republican political/government elites.

Tom DeLay, the bastion of honesty and integrity, attempted to have charges against him dismissed by a Texas judge. Unfortunately for him, the charges aren't going away anytime soon. Yesterday, Republican big-shot Michael Scanlon, plead guilty on charges that he conspired to "defraud Indian tribes of millions of dollars and then bribe government officials, including a member of Congress, Republican Bob Ney of Ohio". He is said to be cooperating with federal investigators, and this has Abramoff and DeLay shaking in their boots. Why? Both are very close to Scanlon, and the uncovering of hidden graves will implicate Abramoff and DeLay.

According to Norm Ornstein, a Congressional expert of the American Enterprise Institute:

This is a scandal that could reverberate over the next couple of years and implicate many members of Congress, top administration officials and major outside political operatives...


As you can see, this isn't a small scandal. This is huge!

To further illustrate, Lawrence Barcella, a Washington Defense attorney said:

There'’s a good possibility given at least the relationship that we have seen so far in the press, I think there'’s a good possibility that Scanlon knows everything that Abramoff knows...

And if that's the case, then to the extent that there are bodies buried, he knows where every one of them likely is...


Abramoff and his peers are huge players in the conservative revolution. If he is charged and convicted of this conspiracy, which earned him $82 million, it will send shockwaves throughout Washington.

"Others touched by the investigation include Christian Coalition founder Ralph Reed, anti-tax guru Grover Norquist, and Republican Congressman John Doolittle, whose wife worked with Abramoff." (msnbc.com)

Most importantly, in my opinion:
Republicans in Washington remain worried that a big trial in the Abramoff case may add to the Democrats` argument that the GOP is breeding this culture of corruption.


The Republicans are just fucking themselves up. Looks like the Democrats haven't had to do anything. Democratic politicians have finally grown some balls, and they haven't used them all that much. For what? The GOP is fucking itself up. Whatever happened to "compassionate conservatism" and "moral values"? They were never there. Just some campaign slogan bullshit.

Read the entire article here, or click the title link. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

War is a Racket

This is a link that was posted by blsabob today during a very interesting political discussion. I found this quite interesting.

http://lexrex.com/enlightened/articles/warisaracket.htm

..and here is another very interesting article regarding the author of the above article. This is mind boggling.

An American Coup d'État?

I was wrong!

I received a comment yesterday on my post regarding commonly used fallacies that stated:

"This is mostly because liberals have a problem admitting wrongs lest their entire argument be blown out of the water. "

And I responded with:

"Great example of an Abusive Personal Attack Fallacy."

OK, I started thinking about this and realized I have, on many occasions, made similar kinds of remarks in reference to conservatives. An example may be: "those conservatives are always trying to steal money from the poor." I began looking through my posts on this page, but could not find any of those types of statements right off the bat, but I'm sure there is one somewhere.

So, I want to apologize to all conservatives for any generalizations that I've made regarding conservatives as a whole. From now on I will try to refer to "the current administration...", "many Republican members of Congress...", or even "many conservatives believe...".

So please accept my apology for using these general blanket statements. I know many conservative-minded people, most of which aren't bad people. I just simply disagree with their ideology. I welcome conservatives to comment on any topic posted here, but I do reserve the right to delete anyone's comment from either side of the fence if I feel that it adds little to no value to the discussion, or if it is loaded with fallacies like the above comment made by "Anonymous"

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I can't wait till next year's elections

I feel that the people of America will finally wake up and send a clear message to Bush. Here in Texas, we are going to have a very entertaining Governor's Race. Independant candidate Kinky Friedman seems to be picking up steam and seems to have some very interseting ideas such as the following taken from his website:

* Legalize casino gambling to fund education
* Abolish political correctness “We didn’t get to be the Lone Star state by being politically correct”
* Take a good look at death row. “We need to make sure that we’re not putting innocent people to death, which I believe we are”
* Outlaw the de-clawing of cats
* Bring young people into his administration. “Young people are less corrupt. They are the future of Texas ; it’s theirs to win or lose.”

"It's time for Texas to reclaim bragging rights as an energy icon. As governor, Kinky will accomplish that by encouraging investment and innovation in new methods of electricity generation and new fuels like biodiesel."

“If elected, I would ask Willie Nelson to be the head of the Texas Rangers and Energy Czar and Laura Bush to take charge of the Texas Peace Corps to improve education in the state. I’d ask my Palestinian hairdresser, Farouk Shami, to be Texas ’ ambassador to Israel . We’ve worked together to create Farouk & Friedman olive oil. The oil comes from the Holy land and all of the profits go to benefit Israeli and Palestinian children.”


I think we need more people like Kinky to stand up and do something about the state of politics today.

List of Common Fallacies

This is the first in a series of posts dedicated to commonly used fallacies used during arguements, debates, and defenses. It seems like I'm always stuck in a discussion where someone feels they either need to attack me or my point of view instead of finding a logical reason to back up their point of view. If anyone has anything to add to this, please feel free to do so. All information regarding fallacies is from the website listed below.

http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/fallacies_list.html

FALLACIES OF RELEVANCE: These fallacies appeal to evidence or examples that are not relevant to the argument at hand.

Appeal to Force (Argumentum Ad Baculum or the "Might-Makes-Right" Fallacy): This argument uses force, the threat of force, or some other unpleasant backlash to make the audience accept a conclusion.

Genetic Fallacy: The genetic fallacy is the claim that an idea, product, or person must be untrustworthy because of its racial, geographic, or ethnic origin.

Personal Attack (Argumentum Ad Hominem, literally, "argument toward the man." Also called "Poisoning the Well"): Attacking or praising the people who make an argument, rather than discussing the argument itself.

(1) Abusive: To argue that proposals, assertions, or arguments must be false or dangerous because they originate with atheists, Christians, Communists, capitalists, the John Birch Society, Catholics, anti-Catholics, racists, anti-racists, feminists, misogynists (or any other group) is fallacious
(2) Circumstantial: To argue that an opponent should accept an argument because of circumstances in his or her life.

Argumentum ad Populum (Literally "Argument to the People): Using an appeal to popular assent, often by arousing the feelings and enthusiasm of the multitude rather than building an argument.

(1) Bandwagon Approach: “Everybody is doing it.” This argumentum ad populum asserts that, since the majority of people believes an argument or chooses a particular course of action, the argument must be true, or the course of action must be followed, or the decision must be the best choice.
(2) Patriotic Approach: "Draping oneself in the flag." This argument asserts that a certain stance is true or correct because it is somehow patriotic, and that those who disagree are unpatriotic.
(3) Snob Approach: This type of argumentum ad populum doesn’t assert “everybody is doing it,” but rather that “all the best people are doing it.”

Appeal to Tradition (Argumentum Ad Traditio): This line of thought asserts that a premise must be true because people have always believed it or done it.

Appeal to Improper Authority (Argumentum Ad Verecundium, literally "argument from that which is improper"): An appeal to an improper authority, such as a famous person or a source that may not be reliable. This fallacy attempts to capitalize upon feelings of respect or familiarity with a famous individual.
A subcategory is the Appeal to Biased Authority. In this sort of appeal, the authority is one who is knowledgeable on the matter, but one who may have professional or personal motivations that render his professional judgment suspect: for instance, "To determine whether fraternities are beneficial to this campus, we interviewed all the frat presidents."

Appeal to Emotion (Argumentum Ad Misericordiam, literally, "argument from pity"): An emotional appeal concerning what should be a logical issue during a debate.

Monday, November 14, 2005

What the ****?

Do you ever feel that your intelligence is being insulted?

"Some Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force are now rewriting the past," Bush said. "They're playing politics with this issue and they are sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy. That is irresponsible."

No Jackass! You're playing politics with war. What is irresponsible is repeatedly lying to the American people about your reasons for the war in Iraq. The White House DID have plenty of evidence that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq from the UN Inspectors and had been told several months prior to Bush's infamous UN Speech that Iraq was not attempting to purchase enriched uranium from Niger. The Republican Party has now been pushed into a corner and will say anything to get out. The Intelligence that was reviewed by congress was provided by the White House, and Congress was told that the vote was to pressure the UN into reinstating inspectors, which it did, but once the inspectors failed to find these weapons, Bush used these powers to go to war anyway.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A little Humor

Ralph Nader, Al Gore and George W. Bush go to a fitness spa for some
fun. After a stimulating, healthy lunch, all three decide to visit the
men's room, where they find a strange-looking gent sitting at the
entrance who says, "Welcome to the gentleman's room. Be sure to check
out our newest feature: a mirror that, if you look into it and say
something truthful, you will be rewarded with your wish. But, be warned,
for if you say something false, you will be sucked into the mirror to
live in a void of nothingness for all eternity!"

The men quickly entered and upon finding the mirror, Ralph Nader steps
up and says, "I think I'm the most truthful of us three" and he suddenly
finds the keys to a brand new Bentley in his hands.

Al Gore steps up and says, "I think I'm the most ambitious of us
three" and in an instant he was surrounded by a pile of money to fund
his next Presidential Campaign.

Excited over the possibility of having a wish come true, George W.
Bush looks into the mirror and says, "I think...," and is promptly
sucked into the mirror.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

US Troops using Chemical Warfare in Falluja

Watch this video posted by Italian state television. This is quite disturbing if this is true.
Click Here

Lefty Metalhead:
How low can our country go? Will the neocons be able to defend this? They will surely try. Next thing we know, they'll be framing this as "fighting fire with fire", "these things happen in war", "what white phosphorous? The liberal media is making this up!". Then we'll hear blundering idiots such as O'Reilly, Hannity, Malkin (that nasty guttersnipe), Coulter, et al saying that criticizing our military for such a "justified" action will only endanger our troops, hence making us anti-(enter either of the following here: American, freedom, democracy, etc). Let us fix this quagmire in 2006 and 2008.

Democrats on the Right Track

Finally, some wonderful political news regarding elections and the Democrats! The Dems have been losing ground in the past elections due to a strong Republican field operation and poor Democratic message. However, last night was probably the start of a trend. This trend can be described as being anti-Bush and his allies. In the New Jersey gubernatorial race, Jon Corzine (D) defeated Doug Forrester (R) quite easily. In the Virginia race, Tim Kaine (D) beat Jerry Kilgore (R), despite Dubya's last minute campaigning for the latter. Can we project that the Dems will win big in 2006? This is certainly the time for the Dems to attack the GOP and its incompetent governing, or lack thereof. The right claims that this isn't a trend. Rest assured, they haven't been right about anything lately!

(cnn article regarding Tuesday's elections - Thanks for the comment Lefty)