Let it never be said that the Iranians aren't a shrewd lot. Looks like the entire war in Iraq may have been nothing more than their plan to lure the U.S. into action against Saddam Hussein. Achmed Chalabi is now being accused of being an Iranian agent used to plant information on behalf of Iran that would lead us to attak Iraq.

Something always seemed odd with Chalabi. He had been supplying us with information on Iraq's weapons programs for years and even had an office in DC where he lobbied congresscritters on these things all the time, but I don't know of any information that came from his organization that was ever proven to be true. Some was even proven to be flat out false but during the run-up to the war it was his information supplied to the Defense Department that became the driving force in the bid to invade Iraq. It never sat well with me that our policies were being decided based on what a foreigner said rather than from what we learned ourselves but for some reason it never occured to me that there may someone else who was pulling Chalabi's strings.

I was against this war from the day Colin Powell gave his presention to the UN. I have a deep respect for Powell but when I looked over all the photos and other information it looked thin, really thin. I'm not an expert in the field of intelligence but when their best evidence is the fact that construction is going on at a some former weapons plant, you know it's bad. It wasn't even specific construction such as nuclear cooling towers or vats marked "DANGER: ANTHRAX STORAGE, ALLAH AKBAR" on the side, it was just buildings being added here and there. It was then that I decided that it may not be a good idea to inject 150,000 Americans into the heart of Mesopotamia based on the possibility that Saddam was up to something.

Since then I have been embarrassed time and again over our actions. Every time we told them we were there to free them but turned around and shot down people in the streets, I was embarrassed. Every time we told them we were there to give them democracy but were caught corrupting the very syetem we said we were trying to set up, I was embarrassed. That isn't to say we didn't do anything good. By all accounts the world will hopefully be a much better place in the near future with both Saddam Hussein and the 150,000 armed Americans out of Iraq, and mistakes happen during war and innocents get killed but a person still can't help but be embarrassed when we set forth lofty ideals then either fail miserably at them over and over or do the very opposite of what we said we were going to do and call it success.

But this is the most embarrassing thing of all. Folks, we were used.

This has to be one of the most extreme blunders in the history of the United States. We've made plenty of mistakes before, we blundered our way straight into Vietnam and blundered our way back out again, but that was our blunder, those were our goals. This time a foreign nation tricked us into fighting a war for them and not only that but they did it with one man. They weren't even financing him, we were for Christ's sake!

Iran got us good. They fought Iraq for eight bloody years and couldn't beat them but all it took was one man to lure us into doing it for them. And by God we not only fell for it but we poured everything we had into the operation too. Our treasury drained, our honor trampled and our military weary, we have little more to offer our masters in Iran.

Normally a thing like this would propel Iran directly to the top of America's shitlist, but I can't help but look at this with a sense of the surreal. We were such stupid fools for allowing this to happen that it's hard to be angry at them. By all means we should be, but if we ran across someone as stupid as this we'd be hard pressed not to take advantage of them.

I mean, this isn't the kind of stupid you feel sorry for and try to help out. This isn't a poor uneducated kind of stupid. This is the kind of stupid that wins the lottery and travels from bar to bar with a million dollars in the glove compartment of their car and keeps getting robbed over and over again. Tell me you wouldn't rip a sucker like that off if you had half a chance.

Iran fooled us so well that maybe it's not smart to go back for more.


Shrek 2

I can't believe I'm blogging a children's movie.

I went to the movies tonight with Crystal and the only thing playing by the time we got there was Shrek 2. I must have been living under a rock because I didn't know there was a Shrek 2 until then but I thought the first Shrek was fairly amusing so we gave it a go. At first we thought it was a mistake. The theater was full of kids, the previews were for movies that I would have thought stupid when I was 12 and the movie itself started out slow with just a few chuckles and even a couple of songs. Chrystal turned to me and said, "Boy, you sure know how to pick a movie."

And then Antonio Banderas' character entered the movie. Though he is in the movie from there until the end, his character doesn't really do or say a whole lot, but when he does, it's pretty funny and there was twice that both of us simply could not stop laughing. Long after the kids in the theater has quieted down we were still rolling in our seats gasping for air.

Antonio plays Puss In Boots, a swashbuckling cat who is afraid of no one. A stone cold warrior with eyes that cut right through his enemy as he tells them to prepare to die.

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And if that doesn't work he gets down and dirty to persuade his enemy to accept defeat.

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His character really made the movie. Maybe it was just the mood or something but tonight was the first time I remember ever leaving a movie theater still laughing. Chrystal and myself both agreed that it is worth seeing just for that character.


Crouching tiger

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KANCHANABURI, Thailand, (AFP) - Walking fully grown tigers on a leash is all part of a day's work for a group of Buddhist monks who have taken on the task of protecting the endangered animals by offering them a home within the walls of their temple.

The sanctuary is run by head monk Phusit Khantidharo, who insists all 10 tigers living at the Pha Luang Ba Tua temple in western Kanchanaburi province have adopted peaceful Buddhist ways. (..more..)

Score one for the good guys

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. troops and Iraqi police raided the home and party offices of Governing Council member Ahmad Chalabi on Thursday, taking computers and private files from the man once considered Washington's top Iraq ally.

I was saying two years ago that this guy was crooked. Most of the pre-war intelligence on Saddam's WMD came from the Iraqi National Congress and most of it was discredited long before the war, but still we pumped millions of dollars into the INC even while they cozied up to Iranian clerics in Iraq over the past few months, in fact they're still getting $300,000 a month until the end of next month.

Chalabi (in gray suit) as Laura Bush's special guest in the VIP box during the 2004 State Of The Union address
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Is Andy Kaufman back?

Don't know if this is a hoax or what but supposedly Andy Kaufman said that if he ever wanted to fake his own death, he would return after 20 years. That 20 years was up a week or so ago and now he, allegedly, returns with a PR release, and blog

Gotta find this song, this group, this girl

I was surfing the site for the Kitty-Yo label and found that they have a page for all the free mp3s available on their site. The very first song, "Alaska.de - bahndamm" caught my attention. It's only a minute long so I'm hoping this is just a short sample but unfortunately it sounds like it ends too cleanly to be that. Dammit.

There is no other information at Kitty-Yo, even by doing searches. However, a little searching on google reveals that it appears on the soundtrack to the movie Alaska.de and is performed by the group Mosermeyerd├Âring with the vocals by Jovanka von Willsdorf who has a damn sweet voice. Damn sweet indeed. This song should be five minutes, ten minutes long, thirty minutes long. Jovanka von Willsdorf should move in with me and sing it over and over. If the other songs are any good, I may buy the two-disk album, available at amazon.com (with 5 samples).

If I heard them correctly, here are the lyrics, all ten seconds worth.

"Watchin' the daybreak.

One of us had tears,
I forget who I'm tryin' to forget.
How much I've missed you,
When we've touched."

Jovanka von Willsdorf is a member of the Quarks duo with Niels Lorenz. They have a couple of samples in .wma format, which sucks for a Linux user.

Iraqi Sues Over Blurred Genitals

The Exile, though not a humor site, is always a fun read. This spoof is the first straight up satirical news item I've seen there and it's a gem.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- A former Iraqi detainee has filed suit against the US, claiming that news photos of abuse show him with a "small blur" over his genitals. The defendant, Tarik Al-Malenk, says other detainees were given "much bigger blurs," though their genitalia were actually no bigger than his.
(..continue reading)

Fun with right-wingers

Actually I used to consider myself a "right-winger" but now I'm more a middle of the road libretarian or something. I dunno exactly, but the last thing I want to be anymore is a right-winger.

At any rate, Fluxblog has some audio today that is recorded from shortwave radio that, he says, is even worse than right-wing talk radio:
...but right wing hosts on shortwave always go a few steps beyond the pale and launch into the kind of white supremacist rants and hysterical conspiracy theorizing that could never make it out over the more strictly regulated and advertiser-dependent commercial airwaves. In the case of this excerpt, the host suggests that the torture and humiliation of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib was nothing more than "a college hazing, good natured fun to help build the morale of our soldiers."
I guess he's not aware that this was actually the very same response that Rush Limbaugh, the tamer, more mainstream right winger, had to the abuse story:
CALLER: It was like a college fraternity prank that stacked up naked men --

LIMBAUGH: Exactly. Exactly my point! This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You of heard of need to blow some steam off?
Limbaugh used Skull and Bones as an example because Bush was a member during his time at Yale. So he just begs the question, is he saying that President Bush took part in initiation ceremonies in which he was stripped, forced to lay on the floor in a pile of other naked men and possibly even sodomized? That, and more, all happened at Abu Ghraib and Limbaugh says it is "no different" than what goes on at Skull and Bones so... you know... just asking...


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How Ninja Work

How Stuff Works takes on ninjas. It just doesn't get any cooler than that.


song of the day

Said The Gramophone has a good song up today, as usual. Isobel Campbell - "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)".

If you've seen Kill Bill Volume 1 you may have heard "Bang Bang" over the opening credits, a slow, sad western tune written by Sonny Bono and originally sung by Cher. Best part of the whole movie, I think. The version on Kill Bill is performed superbly by Nancy Sinatra but I have to say I like this one even more. It's just a little softer, a little more whispery, a little sadder.

Regarding Your Application

I don't know who Adam Felber is, but the dude is funny

Regarding Your Application
From the desk of Ramzi Bamar, Vice President, Gaza Rentals Inc.

Dear Mr. Arafat;

Regarding your request for office space rental for your Fatah movement, I regret to inform you that we do not have any available properties at the present time.

Yes, as you point out, our ad in yesterday's "Gaza-ette" did advertise "hundreds of affordable properties available now." But, as it turns out we had a... thing. Yes, a thing - a run, in fact, yes, that's it, a run on our properties.
... (continue reading)

Mike Tyson Quotes

I just ran across this Mike Tyson quote page. I have never paid any attention to the man but I have heard some quotes on the radio where he sounds quite lucid and intelligent, a lot deeper than you'd give him credit for and there are some decent examples of this on that page:

"Fear is your best friend or your worst enemy. It's like fire. If you can control it, it can cook for you; it can heat your house. If you can't control it, it will burn everything around you and destroy you. If you can control your fear, it makes you more alert, like a deer coming across the lawn."

Of course, he isn't always a gentlemanly scholar of the human condition:

(On his childhood) "One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard."

The Road To Dushanbe

(Actually Dushanbe is in Tajikistan which is just to the southwest of Russia but since most Americans can't even find Russia on a map, let alone Dushanbe Tajikistan, and I am not the wittiest person to grace the realm of blogspot don't deprive me of the joke.)

Moscow - More than 200 anti-aircraft missiles have been found alongside a major highway in Russia's Far East, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported on Sunday quoting military officials. There was no immediate explanation as to how the missiles, which fit a 57-millimeter launcher, ended up at a fork of a busy highway close to the town of Nakhodka.


Getting wet

There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.

Yamamoto Tsunetomo in Hagakure


I just ran across a link to boycottgillette.com in which they say Gilette razors have an RFID camera in the package. If a person picks one up a photo is taken of the shopper's face and transmitted to a small receiver under the shelf. Yeah, sounds silly doesn't it?

Then there's this from the Guardian.

"The supermarket chain Tesco has admitted testing controversial technology that tracks customers buying certain products through its stores. Anyone picking up Gillette Mach3 razor blades at its Cambridge store will have his or her picture taken."

Sometimes I just do not understand this world.

Meet The Zampolit

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Drudge reports that during an interview with Colin Powell, Just as Meet The Press's Tim Russert asked a hard question on Powell's U.N. Briefing last year, the camera was adruptly shifted off into the distance by Powell's press aide who thought the interview was going too long.

Begin Transcript excerpt

TIM RUSSERT: Finally, Mr. Secretary, in February of 2003, you placed your enormous personal credibility before the United Nations and laid out a case against Saddam Hussein, citing.

(Camera moved off of interview subject)



EMILY MILLER, PRESS AIDE: No. They can't use it, they're editing it.

SECRETARY POWELL: He's still asking the questions.


SECRETARY POWELL: Tim, I am sorry I lost you.

MR. RUSSERT: I am right here Mr. Secretary. I would hope they would put you back on camera. I don't know who did that.

EMILY MILLER, PRESS AIDE: He was going to go for another five minutes.

SECRETARY POWELL: We've really scre...

MR. RUSSERT: I think that was one of your staff Mr. Secretary. I don't think that's appropriate.

SECRETARY POWELL: Emily, get out of the way. Bring the camera back please. (Camera returns to the interview subject) I think we're back on Tim, go ahead with your last question.

MR. RUSSERT: Thank you very much, sir.

End Transcript excerpt

Powell then answered the question.

Surely this was just some sort of silly little mistake but the conspiracy theorist in me asks why did Meet The Press decide to air the incident unedited? Is it possible that they did to bring attention to the way members of the bush administration are handled?

I have long noted that this administration cannot take a bathroom break without worrying about how it will be handled politically. No matter what the subject, their focus is on image and PR first and foremost. I've even gone so far as to ask, mostly in jest, whether one day we may see something like the Russian "zampolit", or political officer, stationed in our military units. So was this a dumb mistake or was it a press officer who was acting in the interest of the party to fend off a difficult question?

I like Powell. I always have, and I'd like to point out that, to his credit, you can tell in the transcript and see in the video clip that he was pissed off that this happened. I dunno, I know how Powell doesn't really fit in with this administration and the conspiracy theorist in me just tells me that his aide did this for a reason.



Make up your own mind about this one. When I think about it I hear "nutty conspiracy theory" ringing through my head. I just wanted to give out a little more information on it.

The clip was shown on the local news and I've read the full transcript at MSNBC. Of note is what Russert said after the interview:

Russert: And that was an unedited interview with the secretary of state taped earlier this morning from Jordan. We appreciate Secretary Powell's willingness to overrule his press aide's attempt to abruptly cut off our discussion as I began to ask my final question.

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