So many heads, so few pikes.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

And Another Thing God Dammit 

So I had a choice to make: Either take the word of a madman, or defend America. Given that choice, I will defend America every time.

I call bullshit. That wasn't your choice, George. Your choice was to allow America's intelligence agencies to interpret data they'd received fairly and honestly, or push them to reach impossible conclusions based on decisions you'd already made. I don't know if your base would have tolerated it if you'd said "So I had a choice to make: Either stand firm with the decision I'd made before receiving any intelligence from anyone, in January of 2001 when I took office, or allow a madman to remain in office." They might have. The rest of us wouldn't have, of course. We shouldn't tolerate this either.

Abu Ghraib 

From the NYT, I think:

Among the more shocking exchanges revealed in the Taguba classified annexes are a series of E-mails sent by Maj. David Dinenna of the 320th MP Battalion. The E-mails, sent in October and November to Maj. William Green of the 800th MP Brigade and copied to the higher chain of command, show a frantic attempt to simply get the detainees at Abu Ghraib edible food. Dinenna pressed repeatedly for food that wouldn't make prisoners vomit. He criticized the private food contractor for shorting the facility on hundreds of meals a day and for providing food containing bugs, rats, and dirt. "As each day goes by, tension within the prison population increases," Dinenna wrote. " . . . Simple fixes, food, would help tremendously." Instead of getting help, Major Green scolded him. "Who is making the charges that there is dirt, bugs, or whatever in the food?" Major Green replied in an E-mail. "If it is the prisoners, I would take that with a grain of salt." Dinenna shot back: "Our MP s, medics, and field surgeon can easily identify bugs, rats, and dirt, and they did."

I'll be honest here. I can understand the skepticism on the part of Maj. Green (unless he was working at AG himself). But I would really like to know what company was the private food contractor. And have those people strung up.

Monday, July 12, 2004


New logging rules. Great.

So, it goes like this: The Forestry Service now says that it's up to governors, not the feds, as to whether or not a particular patch of virgin federal forest can be logged, roads built in it, oil and gas mined from it, etc. But let's remember: once you've built a road into a stretch of forest, you can't un-build it. Once you've logged and/or strip mined the motherfucker, it's gone. You can't undo that.

Now the feds know that if they said "go get 'em, boys," and just cut loose federal forests across the country, the Goddamned Hippies would be up in arms, and they'd take a lot of abuse for it, and they might even lose some of the outdoorsmen who see the GOP as a better home than the Democratic Party (and who like their wilderness relatively unspoiled, for hunting and fishing, hiking, camping, etc).

But most federal forest land is out in the west -- 12 states that tend to lean pretty well (small-L) libertarian Republican. By turning over the decisions on foresting and energy prospecting to governors of the affected states, the GOP can say "well we didn't do anything to harm those forests, we turned control of that decision over to the local authorities." And governors out there tend to be pretty well in tune with natural-resource-industry concerns, so they'll scratch the back that got 'em there, and turn over the forests to the energy and timber industries.

And even if the governors don't do it right away, well hey, they've got time. Remember our thesis: You can't un-build a road. So even if only one governor a year turns over his state's virgin forests to the timber and energy industries, it isn't as though subsequent governors are going to turn back on that. It may take a few years, patchwork, but the GOP has just successfully turned over the nation's federal forests to the energy and timber industries.

Thanks, George! Thanks, Dick!

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