Sunday, 27 June 2004
Joke of the day.
It's 2005, and an old man walks up to the front gate of the White House. Speaking to the Marine guard on duty, he says "I'd like to see President Bush, please."
The Marine replies "I'm sorry sir, but George Bush is no longer President. John Kerry's in the White House now."
The old man nods, and goes away.
The next day the old man comes back again, and asks to see President Bush. The Marine, a little more curtly this time, tells him that Bush is no longer President.
The third day the old man comes up and asks to see President Bush. "Listen, old man," says the guard, "I've told you for three days running that Bush isn't President anymore! What is your problem?"
The old man says, "Oh, there's no problem — I just like hearing you say it."
The Marine snaps to attention, salutes, and says, "I'll see you tomorrow."
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 7:25 am. comments.
Sunday, 27 June 2004
Imagine that Iraq is a patient on an operating table. We're performing surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor, a complex procedure that normally requires a team of 15 surgeons and assistants… but we're trying to do it with six, and none of our would-be doctors have done it before. (In fact, our chief surgeon — after watching his predecessor operate on Kosovo, Haiti and Somalia — declared that our hospital should get out of this branch of medicine.)
The instruments in our operating theater consist entirely of knives. The knives are the world's finest, and are very sharp, but we have a critical shortage of blood plasma, sterile bandages, and other important tools that would help us control the bleeding and stabilize the patient. We do have a supply of these items in reserve, but our chief surgeon decided not to call them up before he began the operation; if he calls for them now it'll make him look bad, and they'll take forever to get here regardless.
We've now removed most of the brain tumor (we think), but the cancer has spilled into the bloodstream and is damaging other vital organs. We're cutting open the patient to attack the cancers where they grow (when your only tool is a scalpel, etc.), but this approach is leaving a lot of ugly scars. Chemocratic elections would be more effective at treating the cancer… but apparently the chief doesn't think the patient is stable enough, and fears that chemo would kill off cells he's trying to preserve.
At least one of our brain surgeons has managed to dirty his hands (and, in spite of this, is still operating), so the patient's natural immune system is starting to react to us. We frisked the patient's pockets while he was unconscious, and in spite of what hospital bureaucrats promised us before we started, Iraq doesn't have enough money to pay for the operation — not that we have any illusions about whether the patient would want to anymore, or about how grateful he'll be if and when he recovers. We also didn't find a gun in his pocket, though that was supposedly one of the reasons he needed treatment right away.
If you disagree with the surgeon about any aspect of this procedure, it must be because you hate our hospital, you hate the surgeon, you're anti-surgery, or you didn't think the patient needed treatment. In any case, your disloyalty is appalling: You should be standing behind our chief surgeon in this time of crisis, and it doesn't make sense to change doctors in mid-procedure.
And, finally, our chief surgeon — who has a pressing engagement — is about to take Iraq off the anesthetic. Even though we're still up to our elbows in the patient, our chief has declared that the surgery will end as scheduled… and, to demonstrate how well we've done, we'll return Iraq to full consciousness. Our sawbones-in-chief expects that the patient will be up and about momentarily; oh yes, he'll be walking around the operating room, thanking his doctors and making a speedy recovery from this successful operation.
Just you wait and see.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 7:03 am. comments.
Saturday, 26 June 2004
How to succeed in blogging without really trying:
My server logs show a spike in traffic — almost double the usual volume — ever since I used the words obscene, sex, and Jeri Ryan one after the other.
Have I mentioned that Nicole Kidman is from Australia?
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 5:21 am. comments.
Thursday, 24 June 2004
The difference in a nutshell:
Hardcore Democrats over at Daily Kos are wringing their hands about whether it's proper to make a political issue out of GOP candidate Jack Ryan's sexual habits.
Hardcore Republicans would have subpoenaed his ex-wife by now. And then threatened her with perjury charges unless she gave them a damning statement.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 11:39 pm. comments.
Thursday, 24 June 2004
And the war-horse you rode in on:
As part of his ongoing mandate to restore honor and dignity to the Executive Branch, Vice-President Dick Cheney made an obscene suggestion (parental discretion advised) to Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy at this week's taking of the annual Senate class photo.
I guess Cheney is a little touchy about being accused of war profiteering.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 11:29 pm. comments.
Thursday, 24 June 2004
Sex, lies, Star Trek, and the GOP:
Speaking of my home state — if you haven't been following the meltdown of Jack Ryan, the GOP Senate candidate in Illinois (as opposed to Jack Ryan, the protagonist in several Tom Clancy novels), then you're missing an absolute classic. It seems that our man Jack had a messy divorce back in 2000, and had the court records sealed because (he claimed) they contained information that would be damaging to his young son, who has "special needs."
Apparently the younger Ryan really does have a learning disability, poor fellow, but his son had nothing to do with Ryan's reason for wanting to keep those records out of the public eye: According to the testimony of his ex-wife — actress Jeri Ryan, who played "Seven of Nine" on TV's Star Trek: Voyager — the reason for their divorce was that Jack repeatedly took her to swinger's clubs and pressured her to have sex in front of other people.
, to make matters worse, Jack Ryan swore to his GOP colleagues there was nothing in his divorce papers that could cause him embarrassment — while knowing perfectly well that this bombshell was in there!
Ryan's campaign was already a lost cause: He was down by 22 points to rising Democratic star Barack Obama, in a solidly Blue state where the previous Republican governor was indicted for fraud and corruption. But since George W. Bush is currently not on the ballot in Illinois, a problem caused by the GOP decision to hold their convention in New York on September 11th — twelve days after the Illinois filing deadline — Ryan could end up at the top of the GOP ticket in Illinois, and his implosion could take down a number of GOP incumbents in the House.
Meanwhile, the pundits are having an absolute field day with this one. Some screamingly funny quotes from blogs and Chicago Tribune readers, many of them courtesy of the Tribune's Eric Zorn:
Johnson-Weinberger: "You have to really question the judgment
of anyone who at one time was married to Jeri Ryan, and now, for whatever
reason, is not."
- Gen. JC Christian, patriot: "On the surface, the Jack Ryan scandal looks like a simple case of a man taking his wife to sex clubs and then pressuring her to have sex with him while everyone else watches, but I think there is more to this story."
- The Peoria Journal-Star: "'There's no breaking of marriage laws' or the Ten Commandments, (Ryan) said in an interview on WLS-AM. If the worst people can say is that over eight years of marriage he took his wife to places 'she felt uncomfortable … then I think people will say, gosh, that guy's lived a pretty clean life.' Some people may say that, but probably not many in central Illinois, where the average resident is not accustomed to using 'sex' and 'club' in the same sentence and following it with the phrase 'pretty clean life.'"
Konkol, Red Streak: "Watching the public flogging of Republican U.S.
Senate candidate Jack Ryan on Channel 11 Monday was pleasantly disturbing.
According to his divorce papers, that's how he likes it."
- Bob M.: "My only outrage is this: I am a Democrat. We normally back the sex candidate."
- Dave: "Jack Ryan has issued literature talking about his support for 'family values.' Is asking your wife to have sex in front of other people a family value?"
And, in my personal favorite, the Chicagoist blog draws a picture for you.
Now, normally I'd support the principle that a politician's private life should remain private — but the GOP did spend several million dollars poking the taxpayers' nose into Bill Clinton's sex life, they're trying to make an issue out of whether Kerry takes communion or not, they do make a lot of noise about being the party of morality and family values, Ryan's the guy who was sending a campaign flunky to follow his opponent into the bathroom last month, this particular "private life" is both on the public record and in a public place, and Ryan did lie to his colleagues about the potential damage his divorce papers could do.
And, more importantly, this is laugh-out-loud hilarious.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 8:50 am. comments.
Wednesday, 23 June 2004
Up, up and awayyyy!
I have to link to this Boing Boing post about the annual Superman festival in Metropolis, Illinois, because… well, this is difficult to explain, so I'll just blurt it out: My father was Superman.
Back in the early Seventies, the city of Metropolis, IL (pop. 15,000) discovered that it was the only city in America actually named "Metropolis" — which meant, of course, that it had to be the home of Superman! The town paper promptly renamed itself the Metropolis Planet (it's not a daily paper, alas), and the city began holding an annual Superman festival, which they still have.
One of the events at the festival is a mock bank robbery, which of course is foiled by the Man of Steel. Finding actors to play the criminals is relatively easy, but the role of Superman is a bit more demanding — you have to to look the part, and you have to be willing to work for peanuts.
…which is where my dad comes in. At six feet six inches tall, with blue eyes, dark hair, and the build of a college shot-put athlete (which he was), Dad was ideal for the part — and so for several years the city of Metropolis hired Dad to foil the bank robbery and to stand around posing for pictures. He had a custom-made Superman costume hanging in his closet for decades (he sold it to a collector a few years ago), and somewhere in a photo album back home there's a picture of my sister and me, ages two and four, sitting on Dad's biceps as he does the classic Superman pose.
Oh, shut up. You only wish your dad had his own Superman costume.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 8:43 am. comments.
Tuesday, 22 June 2004
In other news, Reagan is still dead:
I tend to agree with John Callender over at lies.com that catching Dick Cheney in a bold-faced lie is barely even newsworthy anymore, but nonetheless. From the Post's "In the Loop" column, by way of the DNC's Kicking Ass:
Borger: "Well, let's go to Mohamed Atta for a minute, because you mentioned him as well. You have said in the past that it was, quote, 'pretty well confirmed.' "
Cheney: "No, I never said that."
Cheney: "Never said that."
Borger: "I think that is … "
Cheney: "Absolutely not. What I said was the Czech intelligence service reported after 9/11 that Atta had been in Prague on April 9th of 2001, where he allegedly met with an Iraqi intelligence official. We have never been able to confirm that nor have we been able to knock it down."
— "The Today Show," June 17, 2004.
Cheney: "Well, what we now have that's developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that — it's been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack. Now, what the purpose of that was, what transpired between them, we simply don't know at this point, but that's clearly an avenue that we want to pursue."
— "Meet the Press," December 9, 2001.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 1:08 pm. comments.
Tuesday, 22 June 2004
It's the Deficit, Stupid:
The Washington Post's Sebastian Mallaby explains why a second term for Dubya would lead to an Argentina-style collapse of the U.S. economy.
This is not hyperbole. Bush's combination of tax-cutting and lavish spending is a fiscal timebomb: His tax cuts are not even defensible as a short-term stimulus (they allow the wealthy to accumulate more wealth with less effort, which if anything makes the economy worse), and his spending habits are, to paraphrase John McCain, an insult to drunken sailors.
There was a time when Republicans were the party of smaller government and of balanced-budget "contracts with America." Apparently that contract was only valid while the Democrats were in charge.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 8:39 am. comments.
Saturday, 19 June 2004
Mojave, we are go for launch.
The FAA has now designated California's Mojave Airport as America's first inland spaceport — and, as of this writing, we are T-minus 49 hours, 11 minutes from the world's first private manned space flight.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 12:19 am. comments.
Thursday, 17 June 2004
Donald Rumsfeld has to go.
"Notorious human rights abusers, including, among others, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Zimbabwe, have long sought to shield their abuses from the eyes of the world by staging elaborate deceptions and denying access to international human rights monitors. Until recently, Saddam Hussein used similar means to hide the crimes of his regime."
— George W. Bush, June 26th, 2003.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, acting at the request of George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, ordered military officials in Iraq last November to hold a man suspected of being a senior Iraqi terrorist at a high-level detention center there but not list him on the prison's rolls, senior Pentagon and intelligence officials said Wednesday.
This prisoner and other "ghost detainees" were hidden largely to prevent the International Committee of the Red Cross from monitoring their treatment, and to avoid disclosing their location to an enemy, officials said.
The New York Times, June 17, 2004.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 11:40 am. comments.
Tuesday, 15 June 2004
Tim Dunlop at The Road to Surfdom reminds us that the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is coming up on June 26th.
He also links to this…
"Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit. Beating, burning, rape, and electric shock are some of the grisly tools such regimes use to terrorize their own citizens. These despicable crimes cannot be tolerated by a world committed to justice."
— George W. Bush, June 26th, 2003.
…and to this.
"You have asked for our Office's views regarding the standards of conduct under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or punishment as implemented by Sections 2340-2340A of title 18 of The United States Code. As we understand it, this question has arisen in the context of the conduct of interrogations outside of the United States. We conclude below that […] certain acts may be cruel, inhuman, or degrading, but still not produce pain and suffering of the requisite intensity to fall within Section 2340A's proscription against torture. We conclude by examining the possible defenses that would negate any claim that certain interrogation methods violate the statute."
— Alberto Gonzales, Counsel to George W. Bush, August 1st, 2002.
He knew that it was happening, and he knew that it was wrong. Read the whole thing.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 11:40 am. comments.
Sunday, 13 June 2004
"It's a numbers error. It's not a political judgment that said, 'Let's see if we can cook the books.' We can't get away with that now. Nobody was out to cook the books. Errors crept in."
— Colin Powell, "This Week", June 13th, 2004 (emphasis mine).
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 6:33 pm. comments.
Thursday, 10 June 2004
So you're telling me Cheney is not dead.
I think this site is a parody, but lately it's hard to tell. (Link via Boing Boing.)
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 7:49 am. comments.
Wednesday, 09 June 2004
As of this week I'm officially partisan, so my objectivity is no longer beyond question — as opposed to last week, when I was totally free of bias — but the latest revalations from behind the Bush administration's curtain of secrecy, that administration officials explicitly sought to evade prosecution for torture (and asserted that the President has the power to disregard laws and treaties at will), are not leaving much room for doubt.
Taken together with the Bush administration's actions in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, these memos represent a conspiracy to violate Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113C of the U.S. Code. It's not a question of international law, or of whether torture can be justified: It's a question of whether the United States will enforce its own laws.
Phil Carter's Intel Dump has a must-read article on the DoD memo.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 11:12 am. comments.
Tuesday, 08 June 2004
U.S. Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 118, Section 2441:
Sec. 2441. - War crimes
- Offense. -
Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.
- Circumstances. -
The circumstances referred to in subsection (a) are that the person committing such war crime or the victim of such war crime is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States or a national of the United States (as defined in section 101 of the Immigration and Nationality Act).
- Definition. -
As used in this section the term ''war crime'' means any conduct -
- defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party;
- prohibited by Article 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, signed 18 October 1907;
- which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 of the international conventions signed at Geneva, 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party and which deals with non-international armed conflict; or
- of a person who, in relation to an armed conflict and contrary to the provisions of the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices as amended at Geneva on 3 May 1996 (Protocol II as amended on 3 May 1996), when the United States is a party to such Protocol, willfully kills or causes serious injury to civilians.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 6:44 am. comments.
Tuesday, 08 June 2004
Remember, when a cherished political leader dies, and his grieving followers declare their intention to honor his legacy at the ballot box, it's a disgusting, crass, partisan exploitation of what should be a period of mourning.
Just a timely reminder.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 4:04 am. comments.
Monday, 07 June 2004
A Few Good Men: The Dubya Cut.
Here's an alternate ending that didn't make it onto the A Few Good Men DVD:
[The courtroom scene. Colonel JESSEP is on the stand, being grilled by Lieutenant KAFFEE.]
Your honor, these are the telephone records from Gitmo for August 6th. And these are 14 letters that Santiago wrote in nine months requesting, in fact begging, for a transfer.
Upon hearing the news that he was finally getting his transfer, Santiago was so excited, that do you know how many people he called? Zero. Nobody. Not one call to his parents saying he was coming home.
Not one call to a friend saying can you pick me up at the airport.
He was asleep in his bed at midnight, and according to you he was getting on a plane in six hours, yet everything he owned was hanging neatly in his closet and folded neatly in his footlocker.
You were leaving for one day and you packed a bag and made three phone calls. Santiago was leaving for the rest of his life, and he hadn't called a soul and he hadn't packed a thing.
Can you explain that?
The fact is there was no transfer order. Santiago wasn't going anywhere, isn't that right, Colonel.
Object. Your Honor, it's obvious that Lt. Kaffee's intention this morning is to smear a high ranking marine officer in the desperate hope that the mere appearance of impropriety will win him points with the jury.
It's my recommendation, sir, that Lt. Kaffee receive an official reprimand from the bench, and that the witness be excused with the Court's deepest apologies.
[Judge Randolph ponders this a moment.]
Sustained. MPs, take Lt. Kaffee into custody.
What? But he— [points to Jessep, as the MPs sieze him]
You're to be held in contempt. Col. Jessup, this court apologizes for Lt. Kaffee's misguided effort to besmirch your reputation.
[Jessep stands up and leaves the witness box]
Thank you, your honor. It's a shame that a couple of bad apples like Dawson and Downey did this terrible thing. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm getting on a plane and going back to my base.
KAFFEE [shouting as the MPs restrain him]
You ordered the Code Red, Jessep! I want the truth!
JESSEP [quietly, under his breath]
[aloud, over his shoulder as he walks out]
You're goddam right I did.
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I did my job, and I'd do it again. Next time I'd prefer that you just said thank you.
[Jessep exits the room.]
KAFFEE [still shouting, as the MPs haul him away]
There was a 2 a.m. flight off the base! Jessep doctored the log books!
Your honor, Lt. Kaffee's conspiracy theories are obvious signs of a mental breakdown. In addition to a disciplinary hearing, I recommend a full psychiatric evaluation.
So ruled. This court-martial is adjourned.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 10:30 am. comments.
Sunday, 06 June 2004
I was eleven years old when Ronald Reagan became President, and 19 when he retired; I have fuzzy memories of the Carter years, and exactly one memory of Gerald Ford (for some reason a campaign commercial of his left an impression on my six-year-old mind), but it was Reagan who my developing brain latched onto as the template for what a "President of the United States" looked like.
In some ways I still think of Reagan as the last Real President, in the "real men don't eat quiche" sense (another mark of growing up in the Eighties): Real Presidents know how to deliver a speech and make it sound like something out of a movie. Real Presidents have charisma and a gently self-depreciating sense of humor.
Take this photo, for example. The story behind it, as I remember, is that Reagan was the speaker at a dinner for the press — it may have been the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner, but don't hold me to that — and all the photographers were eating and had put their cameras on the floor (or left them at home). Reagan said something like "I've always wanted to do this," stuck his hands in his ears, and waggled his tongue; only one photographer had the presence of mind to dive for his camera and get the shot, while everybody else just laughed.
Reagan could get away with that. None of the Presidents since him could: Dubya takes himself too seriously, Clinton was more of a back-slapper, and the elder Bush never connected with audiences. None of them had the cheerful charm that Reagan brought to the office, and whether you loved Reagan's policies or hated them, you had to admire his touch. The Gingriches and the Dubyas, the lesser men who've tried to claim Reagan's mantle, have lost the best of what Reagan had to offer: Reagan could bridge the gap between parties and inspire all Americans with his vision of a shining city on a hill. His successors, diminished in stature, present their opponents with more hate than hope.
I'm not much for the latter-day GOP effort to canonize Reagan as their partisan saint, and there are at least two men named Roosevelt (and probably one named Truman) who I'd put ahead of Reagan on the list of the Twentieth Century's greatest Presidents. What I will say, though, is that Reagan had the courage of his convictions: When Reagan wanted tax cuts for the rich, he at least had the moral integrity to argue for tax cuts for the rich. Supply-side economics may have been smoke and mirrors, but at least Reagan didn't lie outright about how much of a cut the top 1% were getting.
I've already said my peace about Reagan's contribution to the Cold War; I think he left a good legacy, an admirable legacy — but he didn't single-handedly stare down the Soviets, as his hagiographers would have us believe. Reagan deserves better treatment than the crassly partisan efforts to idolize him; we should remember that Reagan embraced proposals to eliminate all nuclear weapons, which put him out of step (then and now) with the hardliners in his own party.
Reagan's legacy belongs to us all, and we all join in mourning his passing.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 1:36 pm. comments.
Sunday, 06 June 2004
Serious Sam, part II:
Charlie Cook at the National Journal makes the case for Sam Nunn, the man who should be Kerry's VP pick. I don't think it's likely to happen, but I'll stand up and cheer if it does.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 10:46 am. comments.
Friday, 04 June 2004
Australia may follow Spain's lead and depart the "Coalition of the Willing" later this year, depending on the timing and outcome of Aussie elections. For the benefit of my American readers, here's a quick summary of the Australian political scene. (My perspective on things Australian is not necessarily the most accurate, of course, but I can at least describe what I know of the two countries.)
Australia's political system is similar to the United Kingdom's: Political parties elect their leaders, and the Prime Minister is the leader of the party (or coalition) with a majority of seats in the lower house of Parliament. Oz's two major parties are the Liberal Party and the Australian Labor Party; there are also several smaller parties, which — unlike their American counterparts — are large enough to deny any one party a majority.
The so-called "Liberals" are Oz's social conservatives;
on the American political scale, they'd measure somewhere on the respectable side of the GOP. (The "respectable side" being people like John McCain and Richard Lugar, as opposed to the scorched-earth fanatics.) The Liberals been in power since 1996, and their leader John Howard is currently Prime Minister.
As the name implies, Labor is the party of trade unions and stronger social safety nets; at one point they were genuine socialists, but the party platform has mellowed over the decades. Their current leader is Mark Latham, who recently described George W. Bush as "the most incompetent and dangerous president in living memory" and has pledged to have Australia's Iraq contingent home by Christmas.
These two parties have about 65-70 seats each in Australia's House of Representatives, which has a total membership of 150. (They also have about 30 Senators each, out of a total of 76, but it's the House that chooses the Prime Minister.) The rural-conservative National Party holds another 13 seats, and partners with the Liberals for a voting majority; the Green Party has a single House seat, and the remaining three seats are held by independents.
Labor can (probably) count on the Greens to support them if the need arises, and one of the three independents might back a Labor government — which means the Labor Party needs to gain at least eleven seats in the upcoming election to oust John Howard and make Latham the Prime Minister.
At the moment Latham is leading Howard in the polls, in no small part because of the situation on the ground in Iraq… but, because of the way the Australian system works, Aussies don't vote directly for Latham or Howard. Australia's next Prime Minister will be determined by the outcome of 150 separate local elections, not by a direct contest: It's as though Dennis Hastert were President, by virtue of being House Majority Leader, and Nancy Pelosi was the challenger.
I don't know enough about local Australian politics to say whether Labor has a chance of picking up twelve or more seats, but I suspect the race is going to be tighter than the Liberals would have liked. John Howard is answering some tough questions this month about the Red Cross reports out of Abu Ghraib, when Australia learned that their coalition partner was torturing Iraqis, whether the Australians being held at Guantanamo Bay are also being tortured, and so forth. He's also not gaining any points from the current state of affais in Iraq.
The timing of Australia's elections is tricky, though: It's entirely up to Howard, who can call them (on one month's notice) at any time between now and April 2005. The PM is widely expected to call the election in October or November, and will likely try to time it for his own maximum advantage; if he holds the election in October, the outcome — and the implications for Australia's 800 troops in Iraq — will be known before Americans go to the polls.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 3:07 pm. comments.
Thursday, 03 June 2004
The W Files.
Following in the footsteps of The Iraq War: A Play in One Act (link via lies.com, and curse you all for posting your idea first!), I'm thinking about creating a TV series. It would star two FBI agents, Deana Skeptic and Fox Wingnut, and their assignment would be to look for evidence supporting the Bush administration's claims.
One week the agents would be in Prague, investigating a tip that a 9/11 hijacker met with an Iraqi agent; the next they'd be at Abu Ghraib, checking to see if the prison atrocities were the work of a few bad apples; and so on. One agent would be deeply skeptical about Bush's claims, and the other would swallow them hook, line and sinker.
The difference between my show and "The X Files" would be that, week after week, Deana would be absolutely right and Fox would have egg on his face. Each and every claim gets proven false by Agent Skeptic, but for some reason Agent Wingnut never detects the pattern… in fact, he continues to believe the claims are true even after they've been shown to be false.
Also, in spite of a remarkable zero-for-infinity track record, Fox starts each new investigation with an unshakable blind faith in the veracity of the Bush administration: He'll be sort of like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football, except that our national security will be at stake.
I might even have different guest stars playing the part of Agent Wingnut every week, with each one introducing a different wild-eyed premise: I want to believe Richard Clarke committed perjury, say, or I want to believe Saddam was behind 9/11. The WMDs are out there.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 9:38 am. comments.
Thursday, 03 June 2004
Photo caption contest.
"Not to worry. I have everything under control."
Leave your suggestion in the comments. First prize is a new President.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 1:45 am. comments.
Thursday, 03 June 2004
Valerie Plame watch.
Daily Kos diarist GDoyle notes a new development in the ongoing effort to find and prosecute the White House leaker who blew a CIA field agent's cover:
President Bush has consulted an outside lawyer in case he needs to retain him in the grand jury investigation of who leaked the name of a covert CIA operative last year, the White House said Wednesday.
As I've noted before, blowing a CIA agent's cover is a felony — and there's no getting around the fact that Valerie Plame's cover was blown. And, as Josh Marshall notes, the same inner circle of neocons is also under investigation for leaking classified information to Ahmed Chalabi (who promptly turned around and told the Iranians we'd broken their codes).
I'm not fond of the criminalization of politics — of people using the criminal justice system to achieve partisan political goals — but the litmus test here is that I'm prepared to indict a Democrat if the trail leads to one. You don't risk the lives of our agents and troops for personal political gain.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 1:34 am. comments.