Thursday, September 13, 2007

If you haven't seen Jordan's sumo wrestling pictures on facebook, go check them out- there's nothing better than a good photo album with good captions.

SOOO how is it that Senator Craig was forced out of the Senate by the GOP within days of the disclosure that he had been arrested merely for lewd conduct in a public bathroom (that amounted to some foot-tapping with an undercover officer), but Senate Vitter of LA has seen virtually no ill-effects from his banging a prostitute(s), 2-3 times a week for years? Is it because Senator Craig is clearly, though obviously repressing, gay? No NO NO, can't have any GAY in the GOP - no GAY. The GOP stands for Grand Old Party, not Gay Old Party - nothing but heterosexual sex here at the family values party. We don't care who it's with, as long as it's straight. We don't care if you liked to wear diapers around your hookers. We don't care. But a little same sex foot tapping? oh ho no no no. out you go, quite literally. and while we're kicking out "deviants", let's meddle in the public's private affairs. While we're caring on with our hookers, let's tell other people what they can and cannot do with their bodies, and their lovers in THEIR bedrooms. I've got my diaper on here, but two woman expressing their love for each other in the confines of their own home, that's an abomination.

You see, I don't care what senators do in their private lives. I don't care if they like to wear diapers. I don't care if they liked to be spanked (as awful as that thought is, I can't think of a single senator I would like to spank). I don't care if you see hookers. I don't care. I just don't care. I do care if you do those things in your private lives, and then come back to your public life and tell me what I can and cannot do. I do care if you are hypocritical. I do care if you take advantage of the services of hookers, but when talking about prosecution, you only want to jail the sex worker. I do care that you will do whatever to your body, but will tell a woman that they cannot decide what to do with theirs, or that they are not emotionally capable to make those decisions. I do care that you vote to tell me who I can marry. I do care that you tell me that I can be fired because I'm gay, or denied housing, or denied access to my loved one in the hospital. I do care that I cannot serve openly in the military. I do care about all these things and it makes me really angry when you are voting on all these things, and yet you, or the so-called FAMILY VALUES PARTY are carrying on with your hookers, and your fetishes and young boys....? Funny how there are just SO many gay Republican sex scandals. So here's the thing, why don't you stay out of your member's business, and stay out of my business. and stop being hypocrites. Just how many marriages have the Republican candidates had, and how many have the Democrats had?

And while we're on the topic, I don't think you should get to claim the family values moniker any. more. just what have you done for families? tax cuts? right, because that helps so many families, all those families with several houses and lots of cars. but not every day, hard working families. those families want a decent wage, health insurance, job protection, toys that are safe for their kids, and food that is safe to eat. they want security but not fear. they want school that work, and teachers that teach. they want their kids to learn and not just be rote machines. they want communities and not little ticky tacky boxes. they want sustainable development. they want clean air and clean water and cars that run on less gasoline. They want their kids to grow up in a world without racism, and misogyny and homophobia. they want them to grow up in a world with open spaces. These are the new family values. these are not republican values.

Bush and General Petraeus are touting the idea that they are considering bringing 30,000 troops home in the spring as if this was some kind of change in strategy. (most of) the media is lapping it up - A New Strategy! A Gradual Drawdown! Bringing the Troops Home! they say. LISTEN TO ME. bringing 30,000 troops home is not a change in strategy, it is not a gradual drawdown it is not bringing (the majority of) the troops home. bringing the 30,000 home was a foregone conclusion BEFORE the escalation started. The TRUTH is that the US cannot sustain the deployment of those troops. They are not voluntarily bringing them home, they are recalling them because they have to. That is the real news. The army is stretched so thin, that they cannot sustain Bush's escalation. so don't be fooled. don't be spun. don't buy it.

I highly recommend reading through some of the testimony from the Petraeus/Crocker hearings. Especially, Senators Warner, McCaskill, Clinton, Obama, Hagel, Biden, Feingold, Kerry, Boxer, Levin and Byrd - here's some rough transcriptions (emphasis all mine) (original transcriber over at dkos noted in parentheses)


B: We went to the reconstruction conference. I was supposed to meet with Maliki (had a windstorm; stayed where we were, couldn't go be car to baghdad).

Crocker: we tried to keep some of the commotion out of your view.

B: the road would have been highly protected? (yes). lets be straight - the idea that we could have walked outside - you would have had a fit - no one can walk outside that (area). you indicated that progress would not be quick. what does that mean - another 3,4,5,6, 10 years?

Crocker: in the past, we set expectations that couldn't be met, I'm trying not to do that. neither of us believe we can see beyond next summer

B: but you are seeing beyond next summer

C: it could be well beyond the end of next summer...before Iraq can achieve what I've laid out. (ellicat)

when you look at the preceding reports that we've talked about, Jones' report, GAO report,; I've spent time with Stuart Bowen,.. throughout those reports, are some very bright-lined contradictions....

you ask a sergeant or corporal what they think. where is this going? we have too many disconnects here. Our national intel report said that we are in a civil war. are we going to invest in our blood and treasure, and for what?? there has been little if any political progress. (Ellicat)

I want to remind you and those following that over half of the names on the Viet Nam wall (come after our leaders knew the policy wasn't working and wouldn't work). our troops deserve a policy worthy of their sacrifice.

you pointed to anbar - you have to show us how this is significant nationally. they were tired of having their daughters raped and sons beheaded by A/Q. in the end, if we arm and train, but no political significance... the only way to resolve is through the reconciliation. (ellicat)


It is tragic that 6 years to the day... our attention is focused on the greatest mistake in the fight of A/Q. virtually no reference by members of congress or the witnesses to the broader fight (against A/Q); should be a global fight against a global enemy. Key elements of that threat is enhanced. A/Q has protected their safe haven in Pakistan.

question is whether Iraq is helping or hurting our efforts. this past July, bush referred to A/Q more than 90 times in a speech. this is misleading at best. they aren't the primary (force of the violence in Iraq).

Hagel mentioned other places, but what about Africa? two bombs in Nigeria; both explosions virtually unnoticed in the US. A/Q in the Islamic Magrab(?sp)

Crocker: that takes me beyond my area of expertise. I could say..based on my 2 1/2 years in Pakistan - that is the presence of A/Q in the Pak./Iran border. we are all concerned.

RF: what is more important - our presence in Iraq or the A/Q on the pak/iran border.

Crocker: it is important. the focus, resources and people needed to deal with the situation weren't there because of Iraq.

Fighting A/Q is important no matter where they are.

RF: you have to have priorities. what about the situations in other regions?

GP: not in a position to comment on the Margrab or other areas; clearly with a focus on how it is affecting A/Q in Iraq. ... A/Q central sees A/Q as their central front in their WOT. it could be changing from the loss of momentum in Iraq.

RF: with all due respect, not willing to seriously comment on the GWOT; resources; the myopia of Iraq. when will the level of troop deaths start declining in Iraq?

GP: my mission - accomplish the military tasks in Iraq; not to fight the GWOT.

RF: this is the most critical hearing, but it is only about Iraq.

GP: others need to comment on that. there is a gradual reduction of deaths. in August, we suffered a number of non-combat deaths, but number of combat deaths is lower.

RF: I want americans to know that in every single month this year, a significantly greater number of troops died each month; already 32 this month. to suggest decline in June/July...I'm not getting a answer that begins to suggest a decline in # of troops.

GP: when you go on the offensive, you have tough fighting. June, and continued for a while, started coming down; we'll have to see. tragic losses yesterday in vehicle losses that are very sad. (ellicat)


to GP: you said in '03 you want to be an army of liberation, not of occupation. the 7 staff sergeants said we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that has also robbed them of their self-respect.

I don't consider the surge a nuance policy, its killing our soldiers at a great rate. I think that the comptroller general needs to be listened to - he said that you are cherry-picking your numbers. look at the poll you tried to discredit yesterday - 67% say their kids lives will not be better than their own, etc..

I ask you to take of your rosy glasses. the president is the CIC; he makes the policy, you carry it out; if you don't want to, you leave you post. He said mission accomplished, and thousands died. he said bring it on, and more died. we lost 28 soldiers in 6 days. who wants to keep this course? not the americans, not the iraqis; 90% of sunnis want us gone; 80% of shias want us gone.

Is the mother of all mistakes. ... please consider that others may be right.

when can they take over their own defense? when you have a country, you defend it. (ellicat)

we thank the troops...both of you are doing the best that you can...would say that the mission given to you is what is at issue here in the senate. the difficulty we have is that each time (we ask) about the broader strategy, you punted.

we've got to make our decisions based on priorities. I have to say we think we should not have had this discussion on 9/10/11/12. Perpetuates the notion that going into Iraq (is related to 9/11). It is to suggest that the american people and congress understood then after devoting $1T, thousands of american lives, A/Q operating in Iraq, that we increased terr. recruitment around the world, OBL is strengthened, process of reconstruction is lower than pre-invasion.. most would have said this is a bad idea and doesn't serve the US's strategic interest.

we have set the bar so low that modest we have the level of violence in 6/06 and that is a success. it is not

this is a disaster of a foreign policy. there are bad options and worse options. this is a criticism of this administration, not you. there has been no acknowledgment of this from this admin. "We are kicking ASS" - how can we have a president (saying that)?

impact has been relatively modest given the investment (surge). Anbar doesn't have anything to do with the surge - it is political, not from the troop strength. Modest decline in Baghdad, but at the cost of increase of troop deaths.

we haven't seen any significant improvement in the central gov's performance. no national reconciliation that was promised at the beginning of the surge.

theory is that we will draw down (when they stand up). GP, in the manual you wrote, (said that Iraqis must have similar will as we have). at what point do we say enough? Crocker, you said they have patience, but our patience is limited. You haven't said, "If this fails, or does not work, benchmarks are not met" suggest that drawing down will not trigger different behavior, and I don't see what will. describe circumstances where you would make different recommendations (for a drawdown). (Ellicat)


On 1/14 this year, bush said that (we would hold them accountable to the benchmarks; this failed and there is no consequences). 10/03, bush said we were making progress, 10/04, (same thing); 10/05, 5/06, 3/07; then on 7/4/07 bush said this will require more patience. but patience has run out. this depends on their leaders seeing the end of an open-ended commitment.


"It has not worked out as we had hoped. On what facts did you predicate that hope?

GP: I guess on the projections made by those who came before us. There were plans when certain pieces of legislation would be dealt with...

JW: You value intelligence
GP: Yessir
JW: We have very fine intelligence.. Quotes from NIE "Even if violence is diminished, given the political animosity, Iraqi leaders will be hard pressed to sustain political reconciliation (glic)

I hope that in the recesses of your heart, your recommendations will continue to imposes burdens and stresses, are you willing to say that if we continue, it is making American safer?

GP: I believe it is the best course of action to achieve our objectives in Iraq.

Warner: Does that make America safer?



The war, with the attacks of 9-11... is there or was there a connection between Iraq and 9-11?

GP: not that I'm aware of

B: success is meaningless without political reconciliation. ... why should we give you more and more time? (Ellicat)


You have been ordered the president and you are the de facto spokesman. I think that the reports taht you provide to us require the suspension of disbelief. In any of the metrics that have been eferences, any fair reading of the advantages and disadvantages post-surge, in my view, end up on the downside. I started my day at Ground Zero where the names of the victims were read solemnly in the rain. We have seen OBL re appear on our TV essentially taunting us, we have seen terrorist trained in pakistan, plotting against us in Germany and we get very little comfort that the mastermind of that mass murder is at large, neither captured or killed...the resurgence of AlQ and the consequences of that. With respecto t Anbar, much has been made of the progress, but that was going on before the surge. You referenced that in your testimony. Sheiks were coming together...with respect to violence, although the charts tell part of the story, I dont' think they tell the whole story. Civilian deaths have risen, car bombings have risen, MAy was the deadliest month with civilian deaths. American casualties are greater every month in 07 than in the same month in 06, leaving us with a total thus far of 739 killed thus far (US) The "bottom up" is anecdotal.. Sen Warner's questions lead to the conclusion that very little is occurring from top down that can give us comfort ...for greater Iraqi political consideration.

Iraqi public opinion (ABC/BBC polls) shows that since the escalation began IRaqi opinion has turned against the US

HRC: Amb, it's not only the Iraq gov't that in my view has failed to pursue a coherent strategy, I think ours has as well. You've been tasked to communicate with Iranians and others in the region. Many of us believe we need to be engaged in robust diplomatic efforts..should we mroe engaged in the region...if there were some process established to see what's possible that would be beneficial to your efforts?

AC: Sen, engaging the region and the intn't community in support of Iraq is important and that is on-going and, it's uh, accelerating. This fall we'll have at least 2 ministerial level meeting on IRaq, the one I mentioned involving the neighbors and the G5 and G8 in Instanbul (glic)


McCaskill: i feel a kind of mandate to disagree, to challenge.. the benchmarks.. CinC said we will judge the success of this strategy by the benchmarks.. i went back and read the testimony when you were confirmed.. exchange about benchmarks and the leverage we could use.. we could withhold things, support.. what leverage do we have because clearly it doesn't seem to be working.. just appears that we have to take on faith that this last date is not 2030, or 2025, or 2040. I see no effect of leverage. Either of you? (joanneleon)

Check out the Gavel's General Petraeus fact-check here

and now, on a lighter note...Burger King will be rolling out "Apple fries" - red apples sliced to resemble thick cut french fries, and washed in lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. What the hell is wrong with people? You can't get your kid to eat an apple? You want to cut down on their fat intake, so you take them to BK, and order them apple slices...probably along with a burger. If you want to cut the bad stuff from their diet so they don't become huge, here's a hint. Don't take them to BK or any other fast food joint. Also, pre-packaged apple slices - how hard is it to slice an apple? what's next, pre-peeled, pre-sliced bananas? Here it's pre chewed - actually, why don't I just inject it right into your stomach. You would think with the proliferation of conveniently packaged food, that one day we would just swallow a pill to get all of our nutritional needs. But that won't happen. People enjoy their eating too much. They just want the food processed and packaged to the nth degree. Personally, I like to I can see what I'm eating, and not just consuming.


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