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Depends Upon What Your Definition of "Bribe" Is
"Senator Kennedy ... should not have said we were trying to bribe foreign nations...I don't think we're serving our nation well by allowing the discourse to become so uncivil that people ... use words that they shouldn't be using." - GW Bush

Congratulations to the Best Fake News Program on Basic Cable!

Allow me to be the millionth or so person to extend a laurel, and hardy handshake (thanks, Mel) to Jon Stewart and crew at Comedy Central for their steaming pile of Emmy Award(s)! This show really is hot, and perhaps the best damn program on television, bar none. Unless, of course, you don't really follow politics or world events. But then, you probably wouldn't be reading this either, so, anyway...If you haven't picked up on it yet, "check your local listings," as they say. New editions air each night at 11:00, and are re-run in the wee hours of the morning, and then again around dinner time the following day (hey, what do I look like, a teevee guide?).


WHITE HOUSE (Curia News Service): The White House has announced today that yet another country will be participating in the pacification of Iraq.

After protracted negotiations, the Vatican has agreed to send a contingent of Swiss Guards to Iraq. The force, part of the Vatican's "Rapid Reaction Force", is armed with halberds.

"The Pope was more than happy to participate in this peace action", said the press secretary. "It is a way of showing that the Vatican and the Catholic Church aren't irrelevant and are on board in the war against terra".

It was rumoured that the Pope, presently on life-support equipment, was not involved in the decision-making process even though he was present during the negotiations with President Bush, Collin Powell and Condoleeza Rice.

Curia sources are outraged by the concept of international intervention and the particulars of the negotiations. There is some speculation that the Pope's assent was not a nod, but in fact a Parkinson-provoked twitch. Also, some Curia members close to the Pope noted that Paul Wolfowitz, present during the welcoming ceremony, mysteriously disappeared during the negotiations, only to reappear from underneath the Pope's bed. At least 3 monsignors are said to have witnessed Mr. Wolfowitz shake the bed when the Pope was asked for authorization.

With the accession of the Vatican, there are now 230 nations in the coalition, of which at least 6 are members of the UN. Only yesterday, the Cherokee Nation and Aryan Nation signed agreements to provide support, in exchange for modest economic aid.




An educated electorate is the right-wing's worst nightmare! Learn their tricks and tactics in this enlightening slide presentation...

Compare Howard Dean's record as governor of Vermont to that of George Bush's record as governor of Texas. Then compare the Bush record to any of the other candidates. Why was this man elected, again? (FYI -- this is not an endorsement of Dean for president!)

This is NOT a paid advertisement --
just an important 1st Amendment link.
Because Clear Channel sucks.
Have we been here before?
"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."
- Hermann Goering
USA Patriots
"Conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism.... Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all others."
- Socialist and feminist Emma Goldman

Volume 2, Number 1
September 22, 2003

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
- Theodore Roosevelt

Newest Cartoon - Posted: 9-22-03
A shot of Herradura anejo to BartCop for the inspiration.

Click here for Cartoon and Rant archives

Register to vote, update your address, change your party registration, or sign up to volunteer...all in a few easy steps. Click Here.


After blundering Iraq and pissing off the international community,
world leaders seek to put Mr. Bush in his place.

By Andrew J. Bacevich, professor of international relations, Boston University.

Prior to the invasion of Iraq, America's claim to be the world's sole superpower commanded widespread legitimacy. Now many nations, including some once numbered among our closest allies, are having second thoughts.

The dominant position that the United States enjoyed after the Cold War rested on two pillars. The first was the sheer reality of American preeminence — economic, technological, cultural and especially military. The second was the tacit endorsement of that preeminence by all of the other leading powers. Although not everybody deferred to America's writ — witness periodic eruptions in places like the Balkans and the Persian Gulf — the nations that had themselves nursed (and may still nurse) their own dreams of being No. 1 did.

Suddenly, the 800-pound gorilla camped in the world's living room appears to be not reliably domesticated but prone to wild mood swings and erratic behavior.

Great-power deference to the U.S. reflected not feelings of warmth and affection but calculations of self-interest. For Beijing, intent on transforming China into an economic powerhouse, Washington's vision of a globalizing world offered lucrative opportunities. For Moscow, consumed by dire crises at home, cultivating U.S. support made more sense than picking fights. For Paris, Berlin and Tokyo, American willingness to assume responsibility for maintaining international stability was more than welcome, if only because it spared their own affluent but aging and morally spent populations from footing the bill.

To be sure, American "global hegemony" elicited periodic outbursts of Chinese suspicion, Russian resentment and (especially) French jealousy, but by and large the major powers went along with the idea of a global Pax Americana. If nothing else, any plausible alternative looked worse.

But this acceptance of American dominion was not guaranteed to last forever; it was not providentially ordained. Rather, it was contingent on Washington demonstrating responsibility and self- restraint. As the world's sole superpower, the U.S. needed to exercise its prerogatives in ways that reassured rather than alienated others.

For all of their other shortcomings, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton seemed to grasp this requirement. Viewed in retrospect, their main achievements — for the elder Bush, Operation Desert Storm, and for Clinton, Bosnia and Kosovo — hardly appear to be masterstrokes of statecraft. But both presidents pursued their goals with an eye toward reinforcing rather than undercutting international acceptance of American primacy. Clinton was especially adept at smoothing the rough edges off of American hegemony, endorsing "enlightened" initiatives like the Kyoto accord and the International Criminal Court even though he had no intention of securing their ratification.

Since 9/11, George W. Bush has followed a radically different course.

Vowing to extirpate evil, promulgating a doctrine of preventive war and disdaining the niceties of multilateralism, his administration has undermined the assumption that a world in which the U.S. exercises preponderant power is a world well suited to the interests of all. Suddenly, the 800-pound gorilla camped in the world's living room appears to be not reliably domesticated but prone to wild mood swings and erratic behavior.

These concerns came to a head when Bush declared his intent to overthrow Saddam Hussein. When the administration brushed aside international opposition to war and U.S. forces prevailed with apparent ease, nations such as France, Germany and Russia could do little apart from refusing to ratify the result. The alternative — banding together and rearming to prevent any further misuse of American power — was too unpalatable even to contemplate. With the U.S. having apparently gotten away with discarding the old rules and writing new ones more to its liking, "Old Europe" was left to pout.

But in the months since President Bush declared an end to "major combat operations," the political tables have turned. The war continues and gives every appearance of being long and costly. In the bat of an eye, the U.S. has gone from being conqueror to supplicant, hustling for troops and money to assist in liberating Iraq.

But Iraqi freedom wasn't the issue when the war began, and it isn't the issue now. Nor at this juncture is the issue terror. It is the world's determination to show the U.S. the error of its ways.

Despite their relative military weakness, nations that opposed the war are now in a position to punish the U.S. for having disregarded their counsel. They do so not with an eye toward causing the U.S. to fail — outright failure in Iraq would not serve their interests — but to prevent any recurrence of such a misadventure.

So when Old Europe (France in the vanguard) drags its feet about pulling American chestnuts out of the fire, there is more involved than pettiness, cynicism or schadenfreude. This is great-power politics adapted to the present century. Europe wants Bush to twist slowly in the wind. It wants to bring a chastened U.S. to heel. And, unless Bush can persuade Americans to shoulder an ever-mounting burden, Europe just might succeed.

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By "Underground Comixx" as an original "Titty Board" rant.
Movie Producer Art Linson ends his book "A Pound Of Flesh"-- with a harrowing description. He once tried directing, and failed. The movie was Bill Murray as Hunter S. Thompson in "Where the Buffalo Roam"-- a huge commercial flop, that moves unevenly and looks ugly on the screen.

Linson describes the shockwaves of queasy career-terror that reverberate from such a bomb. Execs who wouldn't look him in the eye, producers who wouldn't answer his calls. A Hollywood community that had no time for him. Months earlier, these same people sucked-up to him shamelessly. Then the respect evaporated like a heroin cushion dissipating into withdrawal. It left him rattled and squirrely and desperate. Same with all the execs & producers involved with the project.

The description reminds me of the Bush Admin. Up until 9/11, they were like a movie crew who knew they were working on a bomb. Yeah sure, the were somewhat able to keep up appearances. But deep-down they knew there how hollow their PR was. That their critics' suspicions were right, even if it hadn't been proven in front of an audience yet.

Then came 9/11. Assuming that Bush wasn't directly responsible for 9/11; this makes the event kinda like when someone barely-connected to a hollywood movie is nonetheless credited as "executive producer"; and then gets an unearned career boost when the movie is a huge hit.

The most common result is exactly what happened to Bush: Drunk on success, a lavish spending spree ensues. (Tax cut for the rich.) Then, the undeserving recipient of praise-- buys his own PR bullshxt, and tries to re-create the magic with a doomed sequel. Which exposes just what a fluke the first success was.

Gulf War 2.

Terror War Pt. II, Electric Boogaloo.

Whatever you wanna call Bush's sequel -- it's a flop.

Take Note Democratic Strategists! -- Linson says "Hollywood fears failure, because it can't be marketed. Those connected with it are contagious." Bush is running his presidency showbiz style; and those chickens are coming home to roost. Remember that "Failure Can't Be Marketed", and keep putting Bush in a position where he has to try to market it.

Remember "Failure is contagious", and Bush's entire team must be feeling the pressure from their fall from grace. The averted eyes. The low ratings. The fealty of the CIA vanishing into public criticism.

Keep the heat on. Let the squirrels stew.

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From Viet Nam vets to the infantry in Iraq, the Commander in Chief is not commanding the respect of many in the military
RMCG: Last week was another rough one for the Bush adminstration. All I can say is, it's about time he took some heat. Out on the street, I am still amazed at the number of people I run into who really have not followed anything going on in Iraq beyond the seven minute lead-ins to the networks' evening news broadcasts. Upon returning to the news after a weekend respite free from all media (except some choice cd's, including the bonus re-mix disk of A3's Exhile on Coldharbour Lane), I was somewhat surprised to see two seperate stories in big-time circulation, both regarding Bush's loss of respect from those he "commands."

A few short months ago, such talk would certainly have earned them a stern warning from John Ashcroft or that new White House Press Office guy, whatsisname. But the cloak is slowly being lifted. While Ashcroft continues to keep Justice obscured behind thick blue drapes and reams of Enabling Act powers, a most unlikely voice is emerging. Check out these two articles, published since my last update...

White House is ambushed by criticism from America's military community

From The Independent, 20 September 2003

George Bush probably owes his presidency to the absentee military voters who nudged his tally in Florida decisively past Al Gore's. But now, with Iraq in chaos and the reasons for going to war there mired in controversy, an increasingly disgruntled military poses perhaps the gravest immediate threat to his political future, just one year before the presidential elections.

From Vietnam veterans to fresh young recruits, from seasoned officers to anxious mothers worried about their sons' safety on the streets of Baghdad and Fallujah, the military community is growing ever more vocal in its opposition to the White House.

"I once believed that I served for a cause: 'To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States'. Now I no longer believe that," Tim Predmore, a member of the 101st Airborne Division serving near Mosul, wrote in a blistering opinion piece this week for his home newspaper, the Peoria Journal Star in Illinois. "I can no longer justify my service for what I believe to be half-truths and bold lies."

RMCG: Read that previous paragraph again, and remember who is writing it. Tim Predmore is probably not looking at a continued career in the military, but he's welcome to write a rant for NBY any time he wants! In fact, he's already composed a stunning essay, which recenty appeared in the Los Angeles Times..

Paths of Glory Lead to a Soldier's Doubt

By Tim Predmore
On active duty with the 101st Airborne Division near Mosul, Iraq.

For the last six months I have participated in what I believe to be the great modern lie: Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001, and throughout the battle in Afghanistan, the groundwork was being laid for the invasion of Iraq. "Shock and awe" was the term used to describe the display of power the world was to view upon the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was to be a dramatic show of strength and advanced technology from within the arsenals of the American and British militaries.

But as a soldier preparing to take part in the invasion of Iraq, the words "shock and awe" rang deep within my psyche. Even as we prepared to depart, it seemed that these two great superpowers were about to break the very rules they demanded that others obey. Without the consent of the United Nations, and ignoring the pleas of their own citizens, the U.S. and Britain invaded Iraq. "Shock and awe"? Yes, the words correctly described the emotional impact I felt as we embarked on an act not of justice but of hypocrisy.

From the moment the first shot was fired in this so-called war of liberation and freedom, hypocrisy reigned. After the broadcasting of recorded images of captured and dead U.S. soldiers over Arab television, American and British leaders vowed revenge while verbally assaulting the networks for displaying such vivid images. Yet within hours of the deaths of Saddam Hussein's two sons, the U.S. released horrific photographs of the two dead brothers for the world to view. Again, a "do as we say and not as we do" scenario.

As soldiers serving in Iraq, we have been told that our purpose here is to help the people of Iraq by providing them the necessary assistance militarily as well as in humanitarian efforts. Then tell me where the humanity was in the recent Stars and Stripes account of two children taken to a U.S. military camp by their mother, in search of medical care. The children had been unknowingly playing with explosive ordnance they had found and as a result were severely burned. The account tells how they, after an hourlong wait, were denied care by two U.S. military doctors. A soldier described the incident as one of many "atrocities" he had witnessed on the part of the U.S. military.

Thankfully I have not been a personal witness to any atrocities, unless of course you consider, as I do, this war to be the ultimate atrocity.

So then, what is our purpose here?

Was this invasion because of weapons of mass destruction, as we so often have heard? If so, where are they? Did we invade to dispose of a leader and his regime because they were closely associated with Osama bin Laden? If so, where is the proof? Or is it that our incursion is a result of our own economic advantage? Iraq's oil can be refined at the lowest cost of any in the world. Coincidence?

This looks like a modern-day crusade not to free an oppressed people or to rid the world of a demonic dictator relentless in his pursuit of conquest and domination but a crusade to control another nation's natural resource. At least to me, oil seems to be the reason for our presence.

There is only one truth, and it is that Americans are dying. There are 10 to 14 attacks on our servicemen and -women daily in Iraq, and it would appear that there is no end in sight.

I once believed that I served for a cause: "to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States." Now I no longer believe that; I have lost my conviction, as well as my determination. I can no longer justify my service for what I believe to be half-truths and bold lies.

With age comes wisdom, and at 36 years old I am no longer so blindly led as to believe without question. From my arrival at Ft. Campbell, Ky., last November, talk of deployment was heard, and as that talk turned to actual preparation my heart sank and my doubts grew. My doubts have never faded; instead my resolve and commitment have.

My time is almost done, as well as that of many others with whom I serve. We have all faced death in Iraq without reason or justification. How many more must die? How many more tears must be shed before Americans awake and demand the return of the men and women whose job it is to protect them rather than their leader's interest?

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