Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Saturday, July 12, 2003

"The president considers the matter closed and wants to move on."
- Ari Fleischer

The State of the Union
by Camp Chaos (requires Quicktime)

Photo: Reuter's

Friday, July 11, 2003
Out of Africa

Looking befuddled, the President, speaking today from Uganda, abandoned his increasingly vague justifications for remarks contained in his State of the Union speech to hide behind the alleged approval of the intelligence services. According to the AP, President Bush said:

``I gave a speech that was cleared by the intelligence services,'' the president said. ``It was a speech that detailed to the American people the dangers posed by the Saddam Hussein regime. And my government took the appropriate response to those dangers.''

The President’s half-hearted comments are an attempt by frantic White House staffers to quell a rising tide of domestic and world criticism over the use of faked intelligence in what the Brits call the Dodgy Dossier.

"What is now clear is that there are those in this administration that misled the president, misled the nation, and misled the world in making the case for the war in Iraq. They know who they are. And they should resign today."
Governor Howard Dean

"It's time for the president to tell the truth that we lack sufficient forces to do the job in Iraq and withdraw in a reasonable period, to tell the truth that America should not go it alone."
Senator John Kerry

But the Dodgy Dossier fallout wasn’t the only event to happen this week.
Reports of unhappy and ill equipped American soldiers continue to appear in a variety of sources.

Along with other reports that suggest American forces are now at the breaking point, retiring CentCom Commander Tommy Franks inappropriately provided cover to our intemperate President by using the “bring ‘em on” remark in change of command ceremonies in Tampa (Franks' quotation not included in linked story).

Heroic Senator Bobby Byrd, by dint of florid vocabulary, forced the usually domineering Defense Secretary to admit to monthly Iraq military costs of $3.9 billion.

And, possibly ham-strung co-chairman of the Presidential September 11 Commission Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton publicly announced to an indifferent press that government agencies have not provided material requested as necessary to the investigation of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. Rohan Gunaratna, author of Inside alQaeda, appeared before the 911 Commission Wednesday and then spoke to reporters about the infamous alQaeda meeting in Malaysia during January 2000.

According to Gunaratna and the only publication that quoted him Ananova, alQaeda called the precisely planned September 11 attacks Operation Holy Tuesday and that Malaysian meetings included Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Mohammed was in charge of the Malaysia meeting and told some of the other terrorists there the targets would include the World Trade Center and the date of the attacks would be September 11, 2001, Gunaratna said. His statements reveal bin Laden's terror team picked the date of the 9/11 attacks nearly two years before those strikes were carried out, dispelling theories that the hijackers acted on their own and might have accelerated their plans after Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested in August 2001. Gunaratna said of Moussaoui: "He had a vision of crashing a plane on the White House, but his colleagues did not take him seriously."

Oh, yes, and our prim Presidential couple along with one of their hell-raising twins and the attendant world press had to endure the sight of elephantine coitus. Poor presidential babies! We thank God that Senator Rick Santorum wasn’t amidst the blushing Bushes.

Photos: Associated Press

Thursday, July 10, 2003
The Clock Ticks...

Dick, dick, dick, dick...

Credibility Bomb by Doug Ireland, March 18, 2003,

Christian Science Monitor, Commentary, June 24, 2003

NewsDay, July 10, 2003

Caught on Film: The Bush Credibility Gap
Wednesday, July 09, 2003

A brief post to react to the running Trans Fat routine on CNN. Towards the end of the script the "anchor" says to the "reporter":

"Is there anything we can do to tell what foods have Trans Fats?" "No, nothing", replys the "reporter", "I think there is going to be a web site that will say which foods have Trans Fats."

Huh. Nothing, eh? Aren't the Trans Fats in high calorie manufactured foods only? Would it kill CNN or its sponsors to just generally mention that summer's bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables, grown in gardens and on farms and co ops, do not contain Trans Fats? And wouldn't it be almost news to say that even homemade cakes, pies and cookies contain minimal, if any, Trans Fats? Just wondering, burp.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Yellowcake, yellowcake
Cheney’s plan
Fakes the bake like fast, man
Poll it
And spin it
And fund raise it too
An state it in the Union
As a UK clue.

First realize that my morning gym routine never involves political discussion in the locker room. The conversations, day in and day out, year in year out, usually, if any, are a rotation of weekend plans and post mortems of those plans. Dull stuff but regular and comforting, actually, as we timelessly, each morning, become the guy we’ve always been in daily routine if not in workout. Of course, every blue moon, some event jiggles the unchanging string of gym reality to produce a confluence that sometimes allows a political discussion among these careful bran-eating men. Today was such a day. And, only a month or two after the last political blue moon in rooms where cable’s Fox News has blared for years.
A fellow says, “Well, I guess we’re back at war again” into the dead silence of five variously dressing men. A longish pause ends when I say, “Never stopped…have you been reading about the living conditions and morale of our young troops over there? Nothing. The background drone of Fox News accompanies the silence and averted eyes. “Yeah”, I continue, “Christian Science Monitor described greatly reduced water rations, a steady diet of MRE’s and very low morale. Ya think little Bush gets all the water he wants?” More silence, Fox News, a cough and the poor sucker who started this series of lone remarks says, “I betch’a he does.” I slam my locker and head off.

Monday, July 07, 2003

I would like to start with a paraphrase of Bob Schieffer's concluding sentence from yesterday's broadcast of Face the Nation by saying that when I think about our Prince George it is always the 4th of July to me.
I feel this way because dear Schieffer friend Herbert Walker's God-smacked son embodies from the tips of his French cuffs to the near pristine soles of his hand-cobbled boots the very essence of the corrupted class of modern white collar professionals who have brought American Democracy to this perilous brink.
Interestingly and without intention Schieffer's aging program amply displayed the present generational unsuitability of the cuff-linked warring class to effectively rule in the elevated technical and multi-ethnic environments that will continue to multiply in complexity as we move into the depths of this new century.
But, that, of course, has been and will be the very bone of contention between the people yearning to be free and the effete class who would harness them as displayed in microcosm during the Sunday broadcast.

The guest, or should I say intended victim, was a rested, composed and stylin' Reverend Al Sharpton who, without breaking a sweat, neatly defused the buzz bombs tossed by Schieffer and the Washington Post's more rustically attired Dan Balz in rounds of aggressive interrogation that evoked the June 22nd Howard Dean/Tim Russert confrontation.
Questioning began, after some insufferable patronizing, with Iraq and intimations of the Rovian Catch-22 of warfare conferred presidential heft:

Schieffer: It's well known that you were very much against the United States going into Iraq...what would you do?
Sharpton: First of all, I would try and heal the rift that we have caused with allies...I would aggressively move toward trying to find common ground...I think that the rhetoric we've heard from the president this week is the exact opposite of what we need. In fact, I will be calling on the president today to apologize to the American servicemen and their families for what he said.
Schieffer: Well, despite what you say, the president and American forces did bring down Saddam Hussein. Do you not think that the world is not better off now that Saddam Hussein is not there? Why should the president apologize for that?
Sharpton: No, I said the president should apologize for telling people, `Bring it on,' to American troops. I think that kind of rhetoric speaks to street brawling rather than international relations.
Schieffer: Do you think that it's going to take more American troops in Iraq to finally bring it under control...because the one thing we do know is that at this point they have not calmed down the situation.
Sharpton: I think what you need is to have a strategy...I don't think just continuing to pour troops, particularly with inflammatory and provocative language, is going to lessen American casualties.

A marvelously cleansing moment of unintended televised frankness then captured an unaware Bob Schieffer in conspiratorial glee with co-questioner Dan Balz as Sharpton continued speaking. Though Schieffer's microphone was not on, his demeanor to that point and the questions that followed suggest not only the media motives we have witnessed elsewhere but an added juvenile nit-pickery reserved for the likes of Dean and Kucinich that speaks to a real Establishment fear of the revived Left's resonance-laden eloquence.
This morning's firework gotcha's, though lit by Schieffer and Balz, were grabbed from the air and held, by Sharpton, to the soft pink bottoms of the President's dude feet.
After Dan Balz's questions about Liberia and non-UN sanctioned US unilateralism, Schieffer followed with an example of the popular slightly-misconstrued-fact-gambit for what he must have thought was a potential "kill":

Schieffer: I read your book this gave a list of the people you consider good leaders...the person you seem to have the most praise for is Fidel Castro.
Sharpton: Well, Bob, I think you should re-read it. I said that the most fascinating and brilliant person I ever met was Reverend Jesse Jackson. So you need to reread the book.
Schieffer: All right.
Sharpton: I was talking about leadership attributes, because I was saying, particularly to young people, qualities that you look for in people even if you disagree with them.
Schieffer: Well, Reverend Sharpton, if I may, you describe Castro as `awesome,'
Sharpton: When I talk about qualities of a personality, it does not at all support, condone or endorse their observe someone's awesome personality doesn't mean they're using it in a positive way and that's what that chapter was about. But I'm glad you read the book.
Schieffer: So you don't admire him putting his political opponents in jail? You don't consider that awesome?
Sharpton: I don't admire him -- I don't admire him putting his political opponents in jail anymore than I admire the Bush administration for locking us up for protesting in Vieques. I think people should have the right... to protest in Cuba and in the United States.
Schieffer: Now, Mr. Sharpton, you're not going to sit here and compare President Bush to Fidel Castro, are you?
Sharpton: Absolutely not...But in my judgment, we're getting dangerously close to condoning some of the things that are un-American, and that we criticize, and that we...and -- I think justifiably repudiate in other parts of the world.

The smokin' Reverend then promptly dispensed with an array of other potential "kill" questions dealing with President Clinton, the DLC, Rove's tax-raising gambit, slave reparations and Schieffer's absurd objections to the Reverend's qualification for the Presidency:

Sharpton: The Constitution says you have to be 25, a U.S. citizen of voting age. I mean, I don't think you can mess with the qualifications. We're all qualified and any one of us would be better than the president that we have.

Reverend Sharpton, I have to admit, has surprised me more than any other Democratic candidate. He is slightly mistaken about the age of presidential eligibility for the US Constitution says "neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five..." but to overemphasize this kind of easily researched slip would be to dabble in the muddy waters of punditry. Sharpton is a summer storm. Imposing and highly charged, the tempestuous Reverend gathers force in moments of calm and then punctuates with the rolling thunder of an eloquence not often heard on the modern American political stage. Best of all, I can actually smell the Establishment's fear of a potential Sharpton Presidency. This blogger is very pleased that Reverend Sharpton is a Democratic candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America.
You go, Al!

Photo: Corkery News

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