Friday, May 28, 2004

Oh Boy!

Jon Stewart's Commencement Speech

Personal Catch-Up

Oh, by the way, for those who haven't been following the Styx personal life:

(1) I'm leaving my job in NY
(2) I'm taking a job in New Haven, Connecticut
(3) We're expecting a child any day now

Back to your regularly scheduled blog...

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Time Travel

First, the anti-Jewish attacks all over the world brought us back to the 1930s.

Then, Mel Gibson's movie brought us back to 1950s (before Vatican II).

Now, Bush Jr. is taking us back to the 1960s and 70s by recapitulating Vietnam.

One of these days we'll be back in the present.

Google Fun

1) Go to
2) Type in "weapons of mass destruction" but do NOT hit enter
3) Rather, click on the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button (NOT the "Google search").

The number one choice is funny enough, but the 'lucky search' makes it funnier.
(if you want, jump right to the site)

Random Link du jour

Hespedim for "His Pennyness" President Lincoln (Judaic Treasures of the Library of Congress: Tributes to Lincoln After his Death)

Lincoln Square Blues

This is a sad situation. Rabbi Mintz Resigns, Rescinds, Refused.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

PCs Stink

Ever since I have been using a PC at home, I have been bombarded with viruses. Thank the good sweet Lord for this website which has a free online virus search: Panda ActiveScan - Free online scanner

Friday, May 14, 2004

Smoking Gun: Once I'm Here, I Can't Stop

Also from the Smoking Gun:

1. Internal Memo from NBC in 1994 saying that "Friends" would have marginal appeal: A Failing Grade For "Friends" - May 12, 2004

2. The FBI Memo, July 10, 2001, that Usama [sic] Bin Laden's people are training to fly airplanes.

3. The FBI Memo, May 18, 1998 about the same subject (woops!)

4. One of my favorites, the ACLU defends Rush Limbaugh.

5. The Kabbalah Centre (boo!) is trying to trademark the 'red bindl'!

6. The Bush $200 bill.

7. The Hussein - Bin Laden link finally revealed.

8. The Creation of Al Queda.

9. David Duke, felon.

10. List of Saddam Hussein's prison torture techniques (note, there is slight overlap).

11. The George W. Bush - Kenneth Lay letters.

12. 9/11 in 1941, a.k.a. the Pearl Harbor documents.

13. Bin Laden documents (including the 1998 CIA report)

14. Audie Murphy's citations (yay, a real hero).

The ICRC Report

Good ol' Smoking Gun. They got the goods on the torture in Iraq: Red Cross: Iraqi Treatment "Tantamount To Torture" - May 10, 2004

P.S. one of my favorite Smoking Gun archives is the conversion of Marilyn Monroe.

Get it Yet?

I've been saying for a few days, more emphatically, about the evil of this administration. In today's Times, see this wonderful sound-bite from Herr Rumsfeld:
On his flight to Iraq on Thursday, Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters traveling with him that the Geneva Conventions were open to interpretation.

"There are always going to be differences of views as to whether something does or doesn't" adhere to the conventions, he said. "The test is what is decided and what is issued, and then is it adhered to."

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Explain Why Not Bush

I was asked tonight by a reader why I am calling for voting for Kerry and not Bush. The answer is that Bush needs to go and Kerry just happens to be the guy next in line.

Why does Bush need to go? One word: evil.

Or, as he would put it, 'evildoer.'

Let's remember Nixon. Nixon was as bad as we said he was then. People didn't believe someone could be that evil. He was.

And I'm not saying that everyone I disagree with is evil. I don't think that George Bush I was evil. James Baker, yes; Sununu, yes; not Bush Sr. Reagan wasn't, Carter wasn't, Ford wasn't. Nixon was. Bush Jr. is.

His support of Israel, his only redeeming quality, is a commodity to be bought and sold. He supports Israel not for the same reasons I do. I support Israel, as a thinking and moral American (not as a Jew) because it is the only Democracy in the Mideast, a steadfast friend to the US, and a stalwart moral force in the world as evidenced by their treatment of minorities and refugees.

Bush supports Israel because they're the only other country that has been fighting Arabs.

I said it many times before. Bush is a thief and a brute. He wants to keep in power so he can keep impoverishing the government and help his buddies in specific big businesses. Just look at his track record!

The war in Iraq was not Bush's idea. He's so happy just having a job (he's been a drunk and a loser all his life). Cheney and Rumsfeld wanted to attack Iraq. 9/11 was just a convenient excuse to do something they had planned from the beginning.

I ask the Republicans to not nominate Bush for re-election. Run someone decent and I will be happy. Have McCain, or another moral decent honest dude, run for president against Kerry. Without that, the Republicans have no choice either.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The National Review Proves Our Point

Gotta love the National Review. They take particular aim at one man who has been speaking the God's Honest Truth for a long while, Paul Krugman of the New York Times (and Princeton), NRO sells sweatshirts, etc, with an anti-Krugman logo! See the Krugman Truth Squad

It makes sense. Krugman is the greatest type of threat to the mealy rationales of NRO writers and readers. And it reinforces what I had felt before, that Krugman is Da Man.

P.S. To compound Jonah Goldberg's asininnity, they have sweatshirts with his face on them as well. I guess I understand why NRO attacks people like Krugman (and maybe much of this gutter conservative ideology as well) - low self esteem. I'll recommend a good shrink to Goldberg when Bush is voted out of office and pardons all of his war criminal cronies.

Who'da Thunk It?

Andrew Sullivan actually agrees with me... whoa:
"JONAH TAKES THE BAIT: I can see where he's coming from, but Jonah Goldberg is surely wrong when he writes: 'Well, CBS' scoop has gotten someone killed and there will be more deaths, on both sides, as a result of this story before it becomes history.' The photographs emphatically did not get Berg killed, no more than they got Daniel Pearl killed. Al Qaeda may have exploited the photographs as a propaganda tool, but we know they need no 'reason' to behead or massacre Americans. The only reason they need is that the person is an infidel and in their captivity. Believing that this is an actual response by Zarqawi to Abu Ghraib is to accept Zarqawi's own spin. "

New Worst Man in America

Replacing previous title-holder Don "Uckfup" Rumsfeld, who himself replaced George "Father Art in Hell" Bush who replaced John "How Could I Ever Have Been Replaced?" Ashcroft, is Senator James "Unmarked Bills" Inhofe. A senator from Oklahoma; needless to say he is a Republican.

As you can see from the news reports (e.g. WashPost: Senator Critical of Focus on Prisoner Abuse ) Senator Inhofe takes spin #2 - attack the media for being so durn Constitutiony.

To quote the Tyrant du-Jour: "I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment,"

Yes! Outraged by the outrage!

Not to feed into the outrage over his outrage by the outrage, I have to wonder just what is Inhofe receive for his act of ethics prostitution? A speaking spot at the Republican convention? New Defense Secretary?

And just so you know who we're dealing with, Inhofe happens to be a major supporter of Israel, probably the strongest in the Republican party!

See this:
And, guess what, I didn't know he was a big Israel supporter when I read his remarks in the Senate... I JUST GUESSED! Seriously!! I wrote the first part of this post and on a hunch I googled "Inhofe" and "Israel" and voila, all this stuff comes up.

Why is it that the biggest scumbags in the government also Israel supporters? I don't want these people as my friends!

Monday, May 10, 2004

Surfing Can Be Its Own Reward

Web surfing, that is. The reward? You can come across an article like this: Two gun Cohen

Heh heh heh

I like this. (Warning, music and dancing lions)

Guess What? Safire Has New Sugar Daddy

William Safire, who came of age on the knee of Nixon, has a new and disgusting cognitive dissonance: Rumsfeld Should Stay

According to Safire: "The highly effective defense secretary owes it to the nation's war on terror to soldier on."

I don't know if anybody in the rational world can call Rumsfeld 'effective' at this point. The war is a shambles. Pentagon officials are now releasing and leaking their long-held opinions that the war was and is fought in an amateurish and puerile manner.

Safire tries to stave off criticism by some strange story that "Rumsfeld was one of the few in power concerned about prisoners' rights" in 2001. Like past performance has any relevance to current behavior (and the 2002 assertion, quoted before, about “isolated pockets of international hyperventilation.”

Safire even believes Rumsfeld's claim that he was the last to see the photos:
"Why nobody searched out and showed him those incendiary pictures immediately reveals sheer stupidity on the part of the command structure and his Pentagon staff."
Poor Safire, a doddering senior citizen with betrayal issues. It's sad to see that the big supporters of Israel are, in point of fact, morons.

More of Abu Ghraib

Herr Rumsfeld warned us on Friday that worse is to come. According to the new New Yorker piece by Seymour Hersh:
NBC News later quoted U.S. military officials as saying that the unreleased photographs showed American soldiers “severely beating an Iraqi prisoner nearly to death, having sex with a female Iraqi prisoner, and ‘acting inappropriately with a dead body.’ The officials said there also was a videotape, apparently shot by U.S. personnel, showing Iraqi guards raping young boys."
Any of you out there deny the need for resignation and/or impeachment?

"Isolated pockets of International Hyperventilation"

Herr Rumsfeld, explaining in February 2002 his attitude towards Prisoners of War: Rumsfeld Explains Detainee Status (DefenseLINK News)

My Letter to Bush

The Honorable George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington DC 20510

Dear President Bush,

As someone who supported the war against Iraq and the toppling of Saddam Hussein, I implore you to call for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld following the revelation of the abuses in Abu Ghraib prison.

America is the greatest nation on Earth. As an Orthodox rabbi, I am ashamed about what our country has done. To blame individual soldiers - even if factually accurate - does not take responsibility for the effect that their evil has on our nation.

I am reminded of the Biblical comparison between King Saul and King David. Saul, when presented with war crimes from his subordinates (I Samuel 15), denies the crimes and denies his responsibility. It is this moral callowness that results in his losing his kingship.

David, on the other hand, when his trusted general Joab kills the rival general Abner, expresses voluble and visible contrition (II Samuel 3). David remains the king for all his lifetime and his descendants forever.

The dastardly action by our military has made a mockery of the United States. Our great and moral country has lost any chance of moral leadership in this world - unless we act like King David and express humility in a greater level than our transgression.

Please call on Secretary Rumsfeld to resign.

[The Styx]


Trading Places: How Winthorpe and Valentine Pulled It Off

Friday, May 07, 2004

Spin for Sale! Get your red-hot Spin!

The conservative pundits are trying very hard to put a pretty face on the fact that their boys, Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc, have a lot of explaining to do about the Iraq abuse.

Here's the summary of the spin:

1. What the soldiers did wasn't bad.

(This is from Rush Limbaugh, essential quote: 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?)

2. The soldiers are just isolated bad-apples. (This is from the US Government)

3. There may have been widespread abuses but that's not torture (this is initially from Rumsfeld)

4. There are many people who are guilty, but certainly not the top members of government (this is from nearly all the conservative pundits).

5. A new one for me: from Jonah Goldberg (Jonah Goldberg on CBS & Abu Ghraib on National Review Online) that the abuses are bad and that's all we need to say about it but another entity to be blamed is CBS News for showing the pictures of the abuse. In his words CBS should be ashamed for running those photos.

Wow. I kid you not. That's what this guy - who is employed as a journalist (although pundits are not exactly journalists) - says.

He tries to stave off arguments by saying:

The good reasons [for showing the pictures] are obvious. The people have the right to know. The scandal firestorm sharpens the resolve of politicians and the military to investigate and stop the abuse of prisoners. The bad is that uproar from these pictures drowns out all other messages, explanations, and journalistic "context."


The "context" is that: "Lost is the fact that in America torturers get punished, while in the Arab world they get promotions. "

Yeah, dude, you lost it all right. If he is correct, and it's unlikely he is, then Rumsfeld and Bush will ride the rails back to the Old Republican War Criminals Home. Because, hey, they are guilty, and hey, they won't be punished.

The only reason why the country knows about these vicious crimes is because of CBS and The New Yorker.

Proof in point: Rumsfeld met with Congressional leaders last week and did not mention to them about these atrocities. See the AP story, with this quote:
[Senator. Carl Levin, D-Mich ] and Sen. John Warner, R-Va., the [Senate Armed Services] committee chairman, both expressed displeasure that they had not been informed earlier.

Levin noted with "deep dismay'' that Rumsfeld and Myers had briefed the panel about Iraq in a classified session last week but did not mention the scandal the government knew was about to break in the news media.
Basically, the executive branch felt that Congressional oversight was unnecessary for the conduct of a war. That hasn't happened since the jolly days of Ollie North!

What Jonah G and the rest of his Fox New Channel types are afraid of is the truth coming out. Where will their White House access go? What about all those sweet little dreams of four more years of theft and menace?

Polling Data on Track

A key datum for predicting an incumbent's chances for re-election is the question "do you think the country is on the right track."

According to this polling data (Direction of Country), the past three months show bad numbers for Bush.

Gallup Poll. May 2-4, 2004. N=1,000 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?"

Date:..............Satisfied........Dissatisfied........No Opinion

NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Robert Teeter (R). May 1-3, 2004. N=1,012 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"All in all, do you think things in the nation are generally headed in the right direction, or do you feel that things are off on the wrong track?"

Date:.............Right Direction.....Wrong Track.....Mixed (vol.)....Not Sure
3/6-8/04:.............43............................49..................4...................... 4

Rumsfeld Should not Resign

He should be impeached.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Hey, Guess What!

Oh wow. As I've said a billion times; I don't trust Bush about Israel. Here he is (Bush Backs Away From Pledges to Israel on Settlements) - trying to save his butt from the fact that his fundamentalist Christian crusade against the Saracen dogs of Babylonia resulted in systemic dehumanization and torture, Bush is willing to throw Israel away.

Bush is evil. Deposing Saddam was a good act couched in evil means and evil ends. Never trust a crook. Never trust evil. Because, speaking practically (if not ideologically), evil will seek its own goals.

The AP reports: President Bush, responding to complaints in the Arab world, urged Israel on Thursday to withdraw from the territory it captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

BS Apology

A quote from the NYTimes story (Bush Tells King of Jordan That He's Sorry for Abuse of Iraqis) about Bush's 'apology': "I told him I was as equally sorry that people seeing those pictures didn't understand the true nature and heart of America,'' Bush said, standing in the Rose Garden alongside Abdullah.

Did you get that? That Bush is "sorry that [they] didn't understand." In my language, English, that means "I'm sorry that you're wrong" not "I'm sorry I'm wrong."

He's a pig.

Blast from the Past

Nicholas Lemann, The Iraq Factor: Will the new Bush team's old memories shape its foreign policy?

A New Yorker piece from January 15.... 2001!

Seymour Hersh's Exposure of Abu Ghraib

From the New Yorker: Torture at Abu Ghraib

They Were Following Orders

In the Times article, below, Colin Powell says: "in war, these sorts of horrible things happen every now and again, but they're still to be deplored."

And Karl Rove is paraphrased in the Times as saying: "one of the dangers of basing a campaign on national security and foreign policy is that events can be beyond the president's control."

Excuse me. "These things happen"? "Beyond the President's control"? According to the report the torture was authorized and commanded. It was military policy! You can't hide behind the idea that these were bad apples and that the White House couldn't control these soldiers.


The Abuse President

In Talmudic studies, we have what's called a 'memah-nefshach' - a double-sided, double-edged proof for an argument. The abuse scandal (Torturegate? Iraqgate? Bushaspresidentgate?) is such a memah-nefshach.

On one hand, Bush knew about the abuse, and the Army investigation, and the *pictures* soon after the information surfaced and he smirked and looked away in order that the 'nation building' would continue without pesky interruptions.

Or, Bush knew nothing of this information and was misinformed, misled, and undercut by his cabinet and advisers.

Either way, memah-nefshach, Bush should be censured. In the first scenario, he is evil and should actually be impeached. In the second scenario, he is a dangerous incompetent and, hey, impeached.

The administration is trying to take the second tactic (see the Times, Rumsfeld Chastised by President for His Handling of Iraq Scandal) - and looking for a fall guy. Bye bye Rummy; you're in good company - Colin was exiled right after 9/11 and Condi has been placed on the cross to pay for the general Iraq failure.


What gets my goat is that the level of evil untruth in this administration is catastrophic. I was wondering why Bush doesn't realize that he's created a new Vietnam and its probably because he never knew Vietnam took place. He was too busy flying scooter planes around Texas and getting drunk every waking moment to even know that a Great National Tragedy was occurring.

Vietnam started for important, and morally defensible, purposes: to rid the world of Communism. Heck, I'm told even the Rav supported Vietnam because of its anticommunist aim. So Iraq began because of the same 'world-war' perspective with terrorism replacing communism while keeping the same ethic of 'you're with us or against us.'

However in both cases the government is falsifying the troop deaths (Westmoreland, anybody? Not allowing coffins to be photographed??), falsifying the reasons for the war, letting our soldiers get chewed up into bloody chunks through understaffing and under-funding, and most importantly LYING TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC EVERY DAY ABOUT THE WAR!

You'd think that Bob Woodward would have said something about this. It is, l'havdil, the same thing we pro-Israel dudes feel when we see the rise if 1930s style anti-Semitism. We cry "Nazis" - and rightly so - at the extent of worldwide active anti-Semitism. So the baby boomers, who should stop waxing their Hummers and gulping Viagra and look at the news for crying out loud, the baby boomers should remember what Vietnam looked like!

Impeach the Pig

Bill Clinton was nearly impeached for lying in a civil case involving sexual harassment. Every second of his presidency was hard-fought with virulent anti-president groups trying to bring him down for each and every move he made. Politics took on an ugly Frankensteinian animus - a petty, even personal, blood-feud against the President paralyzed the government.

The anti-Clinton troglodytes will still not admit how craven and callow they were for the 8 years of meaningless battle. Heck, any student of American political history knows this crap happens to the most effective of figures. The bland good-ol-boys (like Harding) don't get impeached because why bother; only revolutionaries are bogeyed.

But please, for the love of God, you people who hated Clinton with every pore of your corpuscular mass, can't you see the level of evil of this current government.

A good memah-nefshach can't go to waste!

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Warning! Very Disturbing Photos

The CIA and Military Intelligence told the soldiers to create an environment that would make interrogation easier. That means torture. But it's not just that we systematically tortured these prisoners - it's that the soldiers *enjoyed* it. These pictures have the soldiers smiliing! They loved it!

From "The Memory Hole": Photos of Iraqis Being Abused by US Personnel

The Full Taguba Report

See the full thing: U.S. Army report on Iraqi prisoner abuse, a quote:
5. (S) That between October and December 2003, at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility (BCCF), numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees. This systemic and illegal abuse of detainees was intentionally perpetrated by several members of the military police guard force (372nd Military Police Company, 320thMilitary Police Battalion, 800th MP Brigade), in Tier (section) 1-A of the Abu Ghraib Prison (BCCF). The allegations of abuse were substantiated by detailed witness statements (ANNEX 26) and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence. Due to the extremely sensitive nature of these photographs and videos, the ongoing CID investigation, and the potential for the criminal prosecution of several suspects, the photographic evidence is not included in the body of my investigation. The pictures and videos are available from the Criminal Investigative Command and the CTJF-7 prosecution team. In addition to the aforementioned crimes, there were also abuses committed by members of the 325th MI Battalion, 205th MI Brigade, and Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center (JIDC). Specifically, on 24 November 2003, SPC Luciana Spencer, 205th MI Brigade, sought to degrade a detainee by having him strip and returned to cell naked. (ANNEXES 26 and 53)

Monday, May 03, 2004

5+ Killed in Gaza

From Israel's Foreign Ministry (MFA):
May 2, 2004 - Tali Hatuel, 34, and her daughters - Hila, 11, Hadar, 9, Roni, 7, and Merav, 2 - of Katif in the Gaza Strip were killed when two Palestinian terrorists fired on an Israeli car at the entrance to the Gaza Strip settlement bloc of Gush Katif.
Tali was 8 months pregnant as well.

Sigh. This is a very difficult moral question. Tali, you see, was on her way to a protest of Sharon's 'disengagement plan.' Murder of innocents is never justifiable and it is wrong, and dangerous, to allow the outrage of this horrific tragedy to turn into a diatribe against the victims. The world now treats Jewish life far too cheaply; Jewish blood is a dollar a gallon and trading badly against oil and other commodities. The terrorists who killed this mother and 5 children are explained away and the victim - Tali, Israel, all Jews - are blamed for being who were are.

So, we can't forget that she was killed for being Jewish and for no other reason. "Yesha Zeh Kan" - The Terrorities Are Here, the slogan that states that we cannot separate what happens in Gaza, Yehuda, Shomron, from what terrorists will do to Jews in Tel Aviv, Haifa, New York, London.

That said... how do I deal with a woman, a family, that brings children into a war zone? She didn't strap a bomb to their backs and ask them to kill others; but she did put a target on their foreheads!

I am an ideologue; but as I get older I realize more and more that the Jewish doctrine of "Choose Life" is the best solution in a confusing moral maze. Yeah, you can say that if we pull out of Gaza we'll lose more lives because it will embolden terrorists. I have nothing yet to say about that. I *do* say that for the Gazidiots to claim that Gaza is necessary for Israel's security, then they are stating clearly it is a dangerous place. AND HOW DARE YOU, HOW DAAARE YOU, HAVE CHILDREN THERE!

Is that a Jewish ethic? Putting children in the line of fire for a goal and ideology that they have no right being part of? The father of this destroyed family, said:

"On Friday the girls drew me a picture and wrote 'Daddy, we are proud of what you are doing for the home where we were born',"

All that means is that they were able to brainwash these children into being ambulatory body bags for a cause they believed in. This sickens me.

One thing we learn from Eglah Arufah (Deut. 21:1-9) is that when a person is murdered, the surrounding society needs to ask whether they were responsible. They know they didn't 'pull the trigger' - but they may have made it easy for murder to be done. These abusive parents in Gaza... is the blood on their hands? Isn't there a way of being Jewish, proud and free, without also running in front of a shooting gun? How can I avoid the logic of "Yesha Zeh Kan" - that maybe we should run away from Israel, go to Uganda or Madagascar, not wear a Kippah in public or to have open kosher restaurants, because those actions also spur on people to kill us, and if not now, then only after we leave Gaza.

My answer to that reductio ad absurdum is democratic government. First of all, we can and should draw the line between living in a normal location and living in a disputed, highly dangerous war-zone. What would you do when people shoot at your children in the streets of Normaltown? You appeal to the authorities. If the authorities say they won't protect you, do you still let your children run around as targets? No! The government may be wrong to leave you unprotected, but your responsibility is to preserve the lives of the fragile and innocent. You don't match wrong with wrong.

If America decided that it was OK for Jews to be shot up in the streets of New York, I'd protest, scream and yell, but I wouldn’t let my children (b'shaa tova) be living targets!! I'd keep them at home, petition the government all the while, but I'd keep them safe... and I'd keep alive too because someone needs to make them their PB&Js.

This is a very difficult moral situation and it can lead to extreme ideas on all sides. The only way to navigate these bloody waters is to keep the right ethics in our heads at all times.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Good Set of Links for Democrats

In my incessant search for material to fight against Bush, I came across this site and these links.

The recent news - about our atrocities in Iraq, the duping of America, the arrogance and incompetence of the Republican administration - makes it feel more and more like Vietnam. It's not a new metaphor; every war since 1975 has been compared to our great national debacle, but this one is as close as you can get outside the Asian landmass.

Bush II as Nixon

I've said it for a while. The DNC agrees.