The Talking Lion

Friday, April 14, 2006

Tricks are something a whore does for money... Or Candy!

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Anger Level

As you can see I'm like dangerously close to overloading my circuits. So instead of politics, I'm going to list things that make me laugh loudly and/or heroically:

George Michael Bluth
GOB Bluth
Lucille Bluth
Tobias Fünke
Maebe Fünke

and, of course,

Franklin


George Bush doesn't care about black puppets.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

WHAT THE FU...

Honestly, how many conflicts are we trying to instigate?
A U.S. aircraft carrier strike group is moving into the Caribbean this week to start two months of naval exercises. The military is dismissing allegations by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that it is planning an invasion of his country. But analysts say the show of force sends a signal to Chavez and other Latin American leaders about U.S. strength."There's no other symbol of American power like the carrier," said the Southern Command's chief of staff.
Not to be too hysterical but I want to box George Bush around his ears. What the hell...

The Upcoming War...

How on earth can anyone be in favor of a military action in Iran?

We're already fighting 2 wars.

We cannot afford it; neither in men nor money. We are deep in the blood red.

We cannot win the peace in three countries. We're close to losing it in the first two.

It's clear (or at least, becoming clearer) that Rumsfeld is incompetent. His own men say so.

It's clear (or at least, becoming clearer) that Bush & Co are dangerous liars.

We can't even protect our own citizens on our own soil. From Sept 11th to Katrina.

Not to mention:

The Middle East would light up like forest fire. We're having a hard enough time at this current temperature

And, finally:

Iran is ten years from nuclear power. Diplomatic efforts are nowhere near exhausted.

What the fuck are we doing talking about regime change in Iran?

Motherfucking Yahoo!....

Man, I was all geared up to write a really indignant and angry post about how yahoo!news doesn't display the huge story about the not-so-biolabs until the Politics section (which is where it was until like 20 seconds ago). And I was going to yell about how this story is so much more than 'politics'. But now I see it is listed on the top of their Top Stories section and all they've left me to yell about how it's not in their Main section (the very top with pictures and captions).

Sigh.

It should be the most important story of the day. This type of lying is impeachable. And as I said in yesterday's post, you'd be hardpressed to convince me that Bush or Cheney or Rove or any of the senior White House staff didn't know about the not-a-weapons-lab-conclusion in the two days between the findings and Bush declaring that "we have found the WMDs."

What yahoo! did leave me to yell about is that their lead story is, instead, about how Iran has decided to expand its uranium enrichment program.
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran intends to enrich uranium on a scale hundreds of times larger than its current level, the country's deputy nuclear chief said Wednesday, signaling its resolve to expand a program the international community insists it halt.

Now, this is news. There are no doubts about that. But considering that information that has just surfaced about how we are planning the Iran campaign and how Bush may have lied to the country to justify the last war, I think the biolab story takes immediate precedence.
But let's talk about the story anyway:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that Iran for the first time had succeeded on a small scale in enriching uranium, a key step in generating fuel for a reactor or fissile material for a bomb. The U.N. Security Council has demanded that Iran stop all enrichment activity because of suspicions the program's aim is to make weapons.

The story goes on to document how the US and UN aret' to crazy about their plans and detail how Iran has made a little bit of enriched uranium but need more cetrifuges (they have 160 and need at least 50,000 to make fissable material to power a plant or, you know, make a bomb).
Iran, which has made no secret of its plans to ultimately expand enrichment to around 50,000 centrifuges to fuel reactors, is still thought to be years away from a full-scale program.

Still, concerns grew Tuesday when Ahmadinejad announced Iran's enrichment success in a nationally televised ceremony, saying the country's nuclear ambitions are peaceful and warning the West that trying to force Iran to abandon enrichment would "cause an everlasting hatred in the hearts of Iranians."

OK. Here's my problem with this whole situation. In the wake of the now public plans not only to bomb the shit out of Iran but also to use nuclear weapons (
but only tactical nukes lol), how exactly can we blame Iran for wanting to pursue this technology?

In theory, the US can attack Iran tomorrow. It has come out that we are planning to so. Bush has a poor track record at avoiding needless conflicts diplomatically. And, the cherry on top, Bush in all his messianic megalomania wants to make "saving Iran" his "legacy."


So given all of that, exactly what is sales pitch to Iran to stop in its development?


"Hey, listen. Even though, um, we invaded Iraq despite their cooperating with weapons inspectors and their ultimately posing no real threat, stop developing really the only weapon that will deter neocon assholes from declaring war on you."


Somehow, I can't see that being too effective. And of course there is also the status that nuclear technology gives to the countries who have it. This is the true objective, in my humble estimation. There is no way they would launch a first-strike nuclear attack on Israel, because Israel has enough nukes to return the favor ten-fold.

But before the islamofacists-will-kill-us-all arguments are whined, I would like to state for the record I would rather religious fanatics hell bent on destroying other countries did not have nuclear capacity added to their arsenals.


But, I mean, one of them already has a bunch.

UPDATE:
Looks like the story is out of the Top Stories category. I think that category might be compiled based on hits. Regardless, insert the indignant anger I mentioned earlier.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

When it rains...

The WaPo has an article on the front page today revealing that the mobile biological weapon labs that were heralded initially as evidence of WMDs uncovered were, in fact, hydrogen producing facilities. And that "even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not [bioweapons laboratories]."
On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."

[...]

A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.


This revalation of course is not even close to shocking. At this point it is clear what amazing liars of which this adminstration is made. But let's continue:

The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped "secret" and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.

The authors of the reports were nine U.S. and British civilian experts -- scientists and engineers with extensive experience in all the technical fields involved in making bioweapons -- who were dispatched to Baghdad by the Defense Intelligence Agency for an analysis of the trailers. Their actions and findings were described to a Washington Post reporter in interviews with six government officials and weapons experts who participated in the mission or had direct knowledge of it.


Ok, experts were dispatched by our gov't to investigate the trailers. They said that:
"There was no connection to anything biological," said one expert who studied the trailers. Another recalled an epithet that came to be associated with the trailers: "the biggest sand toilets in the world."

I'm glad we went to war over sand toilets (Weapons of Mass Defecation? Anyone? Anyone? Sigh..). The article goes on to talk about how the team was ignored ("experts arguing for both sides", guess which side won) and how the mobile biolab was used in the media campaign for the war. Back to the investigative team:
The technical team was assembled in Kuwait and then flown to Baghdad to begin their work early on May 25, 2003. By that date, the two trailers had been moved to a military base on the grounds of one of deposed president Saddam Hussein's Baghdad palaces. When members of the technical team arrived, they found the trailers parked in an open lot, covered with camouflage netting.

The technical team went to work under a blistering sun in 110-degree temperatures. Using tools from home, they peered into vats, turned valves, tapped gauges and measured pipes. They reconstructed a flow-path through feed tanks and reactor vessels, past cooling chambers and drain valves, and into discharge tanks and exhaust pipes. They took hundreds of photographs.

By the end of their first day, team members still had differing views about what the trailers were. But they agreed about what the trailers were not.

"Within the first four hours," said one team member, who like the others spoke on the condition he not be named, "it was clear to everyone that these were not biological labs."

News of the team's early impressions leaped across the Atlantic well ahead of the technical report. Over the next two days, a stream of anxious e-mails and phone calls from Washington pressed for details and clarifications.

The reason for the nervousness was soon obvious: In Washington, a CIA analyst had written a draft white paper on the trailers, an official assessment that would also reflect the views of the DIA. The white paper described the trailers as "the strongest evidence to date that Iraq was hiding a biological warfare program." It also explicitly rejected an explanation by Iraqi officials, described in a New York Times article a few days earlier, that the trailers might be mobile units for producing hydrogen.

But the technical team's preliminary report, written in a tent in Baghdad and approved by each team member, reached a conclusion opposite from that of the white paper.


The article goes on to explain why they came to the what-was-not conclusion based upon missing components necessary to any significant bio-weapons lab, mobile or not. And it turns out that the most probable explanation for what these trailers are is hydrogen producing facilities for waerther baloons - which is exactly what Iraqi officials said they were before the war.

Now why is this coming out now? I mean, the members of this team knew what these facillities were, and more importantly what they weren't. Why didn't they speak up after any of the administration's countless misrepresentations and flat out lies about the so-called WMD producing labs?

The technical team's preliminary report was transmitted in the early hours of May 27, just before its members began boarding planes to return home. Within 24 hours, the CIA published its white paper, "Iraqi Mobile Biological Warfare Agent Production Plants," on its Web site.

After team members returned to Washington, they began work on a final report. At several points, members were questioned about revising their conclusions, according to sources knowledgeable about the conversations. The questioners generally wanted to know the same thing: Could the report's conclusions be softened, to leave open a possibility that the trailers might have been intended for weapons?

In the end, the final report -- 19 pages plus a 103-page appendix -- remained unequivocal in declaring the trailers unsuitable for weapons production.

"It was very assertive," said one weapons expert familiar with the report's contents.

Then, their mission completed, the team members returned to their jobs and watched as their work appeared to vanish.

"I went home and fully expected that our findings would be publicly stated," one member recalled. "It never happened. And I just had to live with it."

Fuck you, pal. You "live with it" while since your discovery 2000 American soldiers and at least 40,000 Iraqi civillians live no longer.

Like I said, that the adminstration lied to us is no longer even a passing novelty. But this story is some of the first reporting to actually break real lies the admin has knowingly told. And Bush, Cheney and the rest of the White House knowingly lied. You cannot convince me that the findings of the team specifically sent to investigate the trailers (findings which generated such anxiety in Washington) were not communicated to upper management.

So there you have it: Scandal 1045. Let's see if this is the straw that breaks the self-styled autocrat's back.

Goodness...

Now I'm not one to deal with conspiracy theories. And although I think the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon smelled fishy, I don't think it is because the government did it. I lean toward the belief that the majority of the gross incompetence that occurred has been covered up for obvious reasons.

That being said, I can certainly imagine the Rumsfelds and Wolfowitzs and Chenies talking about allowing al'Qaeda to succeed with their planned attack in order to springboard a radical and aggressive military agenda that their neo-con buddies truly believe is necessary for American (and Israeli) survival and that their business ties could make a pretty penny in the process. (phew, long sentence)

Now, here's a link to a documentary (google video, completely free and streaming) that discusses the many problems with the official story of the attacks of Sept. 11th. I would say that about 45% of this documentary is damning, the rest can be explained away in some fashion. It's that 45% that makes this video worth your attention. Please watch it.

It's got me pretty worked up, I must admit.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Who belongs to that 37%...

I mean, honestly, why is his approval so high? Are tinfoil caps coming back in a big way?

Luckily for the country most Americans aren't buying his explanation of how he declassified the NIE but he had nothing to do with the leaking of misleading segments thereof or Libby identifying himself as "a former Hill staffer":
Overall, 63% of Americans believe Bush did something either illegal (21%) or unethical (42%), while 28% say he did nothing wrong. While many more Democrats are critical, 3 in 10 Republicans also find that Bush did something illegal or unethical.

The more closely people are following the issue, the more likely they are to say he did something illegal rather than merely unethical.

That's good news. It's jut unfortunate that only "25% of Americans are following the matter "very" closely, while another 39% are following the issue "somewhat" closely."

What I think is the coolest part of this recent White House-committed depravity is that this scandal is an embarrassingly public example that Bush and his cabinet (against the advice of professionals and in this case the very document he supposedly declassified) 'cherry-picked intelligence to justify the war.'

If you are part of the 39% who aren't following this at all, here's a brief summary. In response to Joe Wilson, Cheney's chief of staff, Libby, leaked a portion of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq to administration friendly reporter, Judith Miller, among others. The NIE is divided into segments with Key Judgements containing the most important and verified information. Libby leaked a part of the NIE that said that Iraq was seeking to obtain yellow cake from Niger. Libby told Miller that this was a Key Judgment which it was not, and in fact, the NIE cast doubt on the Niger claim.

Not only did he misrepresent the NIE, he added that Iraq was
"vigorously trying to procure" uranium; language that is not found in the NIE. So, in order to maintain support for the war, someone authorized or told Libby to selectively leak a misleadingly represented part of a classified document. This is extremely unethical and, depending on the details, criminal (and, for once, the public knows it).

The question then was "was he authorized to leak that classified document, if so by who?" Well, Bush said that he declassified the NIE, but, um, he didn't have anything to do with whatever people are upset about, lol.

Enter Bush's Catch-22 by Anonymous Liberal:

The White House is trying to walk a fine line here. On the one hand, in order to characterize everything as being above board, they are forced to confirm Libby's claim that the President personally authorized the release of information from the NIE, a decision which amounted to de facto "declassification."

On the other hand, they are hoping to distance the President as much as possible from Libby's subsequent actions, i.e., misrepresenting the NIE, asking that the information be attributed to a "former Hill staffer," and outing an undercover CIA agent in the process.

So, after three days, they've settled on their spin: the President authorized discussion of the NIE but left all the details to Cheney and his aides. The problem with this strategy is that Libby was quite specific in his testimony about what he was authorized to say. According to Fitzgerald, Libby testified that he was "specifically authorized in advance of the meeting to disclose the key judgments of the classified NIE to Miller."

And as AL points out, that claim is just not in the key judgments.
Because the entire NIE has never been declassified, it very much matters which portions of the document the President claims to have authorized Libby to discuss. Did the President only "declassify" the key judgments section, or did he also "declassify" the portion of the text that Libby misrepresented to Miller? Did Bush or Cheney instruct Libby to describe that section, falsely, as a "key judgment"?

So yeah, from what we know something awful happened and the president and his vice were involved.

I predict that with the heightened criticism and dropping poll numbers,at this rate we will have begun our Iran campaign within the month. U-S-A! U-S-A!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

We're not dead...

Trust me. I will be back. I'm just suffering from hardcore anger fatigue. But that will pass. And as soon as I finish the new design for the site it will be relaunched.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Terminating Civil Liberties...

My latest column. Not a new discovery, but perhaps an important insight (Pitt News):

I think I have finally figured out President Bush’s favorite movie. Well, this movie might not be his favorite, but it has influenced his policy making at the least. This epiphany emerged after the recent illegal wiretapping scandal, and I feel like an idiot because I should have noticed it earlier. If I hadn’t caught the movie on television, perhaps this insight would be lost forever. The nation should be thankful I spent most of this Saturday on the couch. This movie, of course, is The Terminator. Bear with me.

We all know the movie is about a soldier from the post-apocalyptic future that travels to the present to stop an evil android from killing the mother of the humanity’s only hope. But, I think the president saw this movie and came to the same conclusion that I did this weekend: There are a number of reasons for a giant robot to be chasing you, but it makes a damn good pick-up line.

I mean, this man is telling you that not only is there a giant robot after you, but that copulation with him results in an offspring that saves humanity. I imagine it’s hard to have the requisite resolve to judge who the giant robot is really shooting at after you realize that the thing shooting in your direction is, in fact, a giant robot.

But messianic offspring aside, if you think you’re being saved from a death-dealing automaton by a hot guy, you’re liable to give in to his bedroom eyes, regardless of how silly what he’s saying sounds. The president took this lesson to heart and has crafted his entire administration to be that hot guy.

“Sure,” he says, “I am shooting wildly and throwing homemade explosives behind me as I please, but that’s because there’s a robot after you.” Once you’re convinced that this is truly an android, you tend to listen to the person who tells you he’s from the future. Sure his actions are dangerous — irresponsible at the least — but he must know what he’s doing because you certainly have no relevant training. He needs unregulated wiretapping of his own citizens? It’s illegal, but he says that if he can’t listen the robot will get me. Let him listen, for god’s sake, there’s a giant robot behind us!

This is Bush’s most recent example of legally questionable tactics under the banner of fighting terror, but the subsequent attempt to get into our pants is no longer merely proverbial. You see, Bush is trying to — ahem — relate to America with the formation of a new national secret police force with the power to search American citizens’ pants without a warrant.

The renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act calls for the creation of “a permanent police force, to be known as the ‘United States Secret Service Uniformed Division.’” This new division is empowered to “make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence” and has a nearly limitless jurisdiction.

They also would have the power to make an arrest “if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony.” As you can see, the language is more than slightly troubling; “any offense” and “reasonable grounds” can be broadly defined and easily abused as a result. “Those are just words, baby.” He promises to be gentle.

I draw attention to how ‘easy’ he thinks we are as his remarkably P.R. savvy administration isn’t even going to take the word “secret” out of the official name for our new secret police. “Listen,” he says, “the future of humanity, of freedom, rests on you agreeing. Giant robot.” With our fear he grooms us to heatedly acquiesce to whatever he wants. Apparently we are also turned on by his determination and steadfastness even in the face of obvious mistakes and their predecessors. We have some unresolved issues with our forefathers, and seeking a strong father-figure is only natural.

In this state of robot panic we are unable to see how dangerous and possibly insane this hot guy is. We are unable to ask ourselves a very necessary question: Is this robot worth abandoning our standards? I mean, we’re a pretty sexy country, and we’ve done way better. And unlike Sarah Connor, this robot is no bigger than we faced in the past, knickers intact. To paraphrase a great man, those who would sacrifice a little loving for protection against robots deserve neither and will end up losing both.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

To No One...

Iiiiiiite. I haven't posted a goddamned thing in awhile.

But. I think. that. I will have an inordinate amount of time over the next few months.

So that means the triumphant return of The Talking Lion (and maybe a new banner!).

And I am pretty sure that Pat and Sean have peaced out of this operation, so it will become my personal blog.

So, a new era begins, bitches.

In the meantime here is a column I wrote about how Alito is a scumbag racist. If you read any respectible blogs you will have seen this stuff before but if you want to read me talk about it click here.
In light of this philosophical affirmation of CAP, it boggles my mind that anyone could support this nominee for the Supreme Court, let alone any minority. That any African-American leader supports conservative judges when in our country’s history conservative courts have never done anything for any minority group other than the wealthy is ridiculous.

To be clear, I don’t accuse all conservatives of being racist. However, I do accuse all minority conservatives of being dangerous idiots. Those who are in this deplorable category should ask themselves a simple question: If conservatives advocate and protect racial equality, why do old racists vote Republican?

I wanted to include cite Ross for the last question, but I forgot before I sent it to my editor. So, before the 4 people who read this, Ross came up with the skeleton of this question after to responding to one of my posts. I just changed a few things.

Also, someone tell Ross to start blogging again.