Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Do you think maybe they've heard it all before?

Shrub seems to be partial to captive military audiences lately. It looks like these middies are on the edge of their seats as they wait for their Commander-in-Chief to finish practicing his swagger out in the Presidential trailer.

Original photo caption: Midshipmen catch naps as they wait for more than an hour for U.S. President George W. Bush to deliver an address on the war in Iraq at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland November 30, 2005. Trying to counter critics of his war strategy, Bush vowed on Wednesday that U.S. forces will not cut and run from Iraq but said improvements in Iraqi security forces may clear the way for a reduction in U.S. troops. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What would you do?

The Mandarin was honored to serve as a Field Artillery officer in the US Army during the Vietnam war. And, being an Asian language expert, he volunteered for duty in Asia (the Mandarin checked "Yes" in the box marked "Asia - any country"). Expecting orders for Vietnam, he ended up serving his time in Oklahoma. Go figure. Anyway, the Mandarin read this little item in the press today and is wondering whether to help bail Rummy and Shrub out of their little problem in Eye-raq.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army, fresh off missing its latest annual recruiting goal, has launched an unprecedented effort to coax former troops to sign up again for active-duty military service, officials said on Tuesday.

The Army this month began contacting 78,000 people who previously served in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to pitch them on the idea of leaving behind their civilian lives and returning for another stint in uniform, said Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon.

Unlike in the past, they now can return to the Army without giving up their previous rank or undergo the rigors of basic training, said Hilferty, who described it as the first program of its kind for the Army.


Augustus might have something to say about that insulting comparison....

A distinguished Israeli military historian, whose classic 1991 book Transformation of War is on US military required reading lists, puts it this way:

For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men. If convicted, they'll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.

Unless Shrub pardons them all like Nixon did his stooges in 1968. Read the whole thing and decide for yourself.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Who needs the Bill of Rights - Alberto is on the case

With their suspect (a U.S. citizen arrested within our borders) locked up incommunicado for three years on Shrub's personal orders, no habeas corpus, no due process, no access to an attorney and no Constitutional right to a speedy trial or anything else, the Mandarin bets this crew could find enough to indict anyone. Even you.

Feel safer?

Original photo caption: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, second from left, with Federal Bureau of Investigation Assistant Director John Pistole, left, Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Division Alice Fisher, second right, and Alex Acosta U.S. attorney general for Southern District of Florida, right, announces the indictment of Jose Padilla, a U.S. Citizen, during a news conference at the Department of Justice, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005 in Washington. Padilla, a Brooklyn-born Muslim convert, held for three years as an enemy combatant suspected of plotting a 'dirty bomb' attack in the U.S., has been indicted on charges that he conspired to 'murder, kidnap and maim' people overseas. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Pssst! Thaksin, can you explain that astrology thing to me one more time....

One of the Mandarin's colleagues, himself a student of the inscrutable East, pointed out this item:

Thai leader grants no interviews, citing bad planetary alignment

Monday, November 21, 2005

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has said he will not answer reporters' questions until next year because the alignment of the planets is not in his favor.
"Right now Mercury ... is in a corner perfectly aligned with my star. Mercury is no good, so if it's not good, I am going to request not to speak. I'll just wait until next year to talk," Thaksin told reporters Sunday after returning to Bangkok from a trip to South Korea and China. He added that Mercury moves slowly and will not steer clear of his star until next year.

The Mandarin can hear Scott McClellan now: "I think I have made it clear over and over that on the advice of his Court Astrologer, the President will not speak in public as long as the unfavorable alignment of Mercury continues, which he expects will be at least until Patrick Fitzgerald winds up his investigation into the Plame leak case."

Oh, Grasshopper, you have so much to learn from the mysterious Orient. Perhaps you can check with Kim Jong-il next to learn from him the ancient secret of attaining 100% approval ratings.

The Mandarin is considering a Freedom of Information Act request to determine what Dick Cheney's personal star is so we can arrange for Mercury to shut him up for a year or two as well.

Original photo caption: U.S. President George W. Bush (R) speaks to Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra before the start of the second session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Pusan, south Korea November 19, 2005. Pacific Rim leaders end a two-day summit on Saturday and are expected to call for stronger efforts to break an impasse on opening up markets and more measures to beat the threat of bird flu. (Yonhap)

Shrub has a Norman Rockwell moment....

I can almost hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir humming "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" in the background.

Original photo caption: President George W. Bush smiles as he receives a salute from military personnel before his "War on Terror" speech during the Veterans Day celebration at Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania. Ed Koskey Jr., Allentown Morning Call.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

How stupid do they think we are?

Well, apparently, that's not even the question. Josh Marshall reminds us of what should be obvious about Shrub's and Big Dick's hysterically hypocritical shouts that "Democrat critics are traitors to the troops for rewriting history":

Virtually all of the arguments the White House is now advancing are transparently ridiculous on their face to anyone who has closely followed this evolving debate over the last three years.

But that doesn't matter. The White House doesn't need to win any debates. What they need is for their core supporters to have something to say. Anything. And to be able to say it loudly. The one thing that would be fatal for the White House from its defenders would be silence.

But that would be too much to hope for.

Another thing too much to hope for would be 1LT George "Big Hat, No Cattle" Bush, TxANG (AWOL), not strutting around in a military jacket in front of big flags and pieces of military hardware like carriers or jets at the pop of a flashbulb....

Original photo caption: U.S. President George W. Bush speaks to troops at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, on a stop enroute to Asia November 14, 2005. Beset with woes at home, Bush looks to boost his image on the world stage this week on a trip expected to focus on festering issues like North Korea, trade and bird flu. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque.

Strong words from a Marine combat veteran, spoken today on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives

Link to speech

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Katherine Harris: Another Intelligent Design?

The Mandarin never gets tired of saying, "You just can't make this stuff up."

Katherine Harris is a Republican from Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives. Her previous job was Florida Secretary of State, where she became (in)famous for her role in the 2000 presidential election.

While in that office, concerned about the potential for citrus canker to harm the state's cash crops, and at State expense, she:

(O)rdered a study in which, according to an article by Jim Stratton in the Orlando Sentinel, "researchers worked with a rabbi and a cardiologist to test '‘Celestial Drops,' promoted as a canker inhibitor because of its '‘improved fractal design,' 'infinite levels of order,' and '‘high energy and low entropy.'"

The study determined that the product tested was, basically, water that had apparently been blessed according to the principles of Kabbalic mysticism, "chang[ing] its molecular structure and imbu[ing] it with supernatural healing powers."

Read the full article here.

There is buzz that she will run for the Senate next year. Yum.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Mandarin's "Intelligent Design" award - another winner

The recent post on the minister who electrocuted himself in a baptismal pool was the inaugural winner of the Mandarin's "Intelligent Design" award.

Here is today's winner, from the news page of a Salt Lake City, Utah TV station:

Man Jumped From Truck Following Argument

November 12th, 2005 @ 9:21pm

(KSL News) Police now say an argument caused a 21-year-old man to jump from a moving truck in South Jordan (Utah).

Tyler Poulson was riding with his brothers last night when he became offended by one of them using profanity. Poulson, who recently returned from an LDS mission, threatened to get out of the truck if he continued.

One of the men, not thinking he would, told Poulson to.

Earlier police said the car was going about 35 miles an hour when Poulson opened the door and jumped. He was pronounced dead on scene.

Well, at least his brothers survived to stay in the gene pool a little longer.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Pay your respects to the Duke

Forget Brownie, someone should appoint this woman head of FEMA. She's already doing the job anyway, from what the Mandarin reads here.

Original photo caption: Lily Duke, sits atop cases of food at a large food, water and ice distribution center she founded, created and runs on Newton Street in New Orleans Friday afternoon Nov. 11, 2005. Besides distributing supplies to residents of the neighborhood, of which she is a resident, Duke's effort also supplies 19 area schools and several other satellite distribution centers with supplies. (AP Photos/Stephan Savoia)

Friday, November 11, 2005

"The Hammer" hammers his own thumb....

The answer turns out to be simple: Tom DeLay is simply stupid. Kevin Drum tells the tale.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Shrub does something right for a change

Shrub met the Dalai Lama at the White House today to talk about human rights violations in Tibet and explore ways to achieve progress in the Dalai Lama's efforts to advance the cause of Tibetan autonomy.

China invaded and annexed its peaceful neighbor Tibet in 1951, under the pretext of "peaceful liberation" (liberation from whom or what was never made clear). Since then, Tibet has endured human suffering and cultural destruction on a massive scale. The Chinese "big lie" (that Tibet has always been a part of China) has been told so stridently and so often in the half century since then that a whole generation of Americans probably assume it is the simple truth. Which it simply is not.

The Mandarin, who also knows Tibetan, spent some time on the ground in Tibet in the 1980s and could literally go on for hours about the brutality and senselessness of what he saw and heard there, but will save that rant for another day.

Anyway, if Shrub keeps up this kind of good work, the Mandarin may have to promote him to "Sapling."

Original photo caption: In this photograph provided by the White House, President Bush, right, wearing a scarf presented to him by the Dalai Lama, meets with the Buddhist spiritual leader Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005, in the private residence of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/The White House, Paul Morse)

I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore

Shrub has just announced he will hold his breath until he turns blue unless reporters stop asking him about allegations of torture in US-run detention facilities.

Original photo caption: US President George W. Bush responds to a question during a joint press conference with Panamanian President Martin Torrijos 07 November 2005 at the Casa Amarilla in Panama City. Bush declined to comment on reports of secret US prisons for terrorism suspects but defended US interrogation tactics, declaring: 'We do not torture.'(AFP/Paul J. Richards)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Would you buy a used car from this man?

Senator McCain is thinking to himself: "You want to talk about torture? Sitting next to this nitwit is cruel and unusual punishment all by itself."

Original photo caption: US President George W. Bush (L) and Senator John McCain, R-AZ, pictured March 2005. McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, said he would keep up his campaign for legislation banning the torture of prisoners, despite a veto threat from Bush.(AFP/File/Tim Sloan)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Testing, one... two... three....

Speaking into a tiny microphone hidden in the palm of her hand, her lips hardly moving after so many years of practice, Condi begins to put Shrub through his paces.

Original photo caption: U.S. President George W. Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R) listen to a speech at the second plenary session of Fourth Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina, November 5, 2005. (Pilar Olivares/Reuters)

Friday, November 04, 2005

Connect the dots

Shrub's popularity versus Reagan, Clinton and Nixon, month-by-month.

For a larger version and the accompanying article, go here.

And head-to-head against Tricky, Shrub looks like he is right on schedule for.... what?

Graph source and explanation here.

Three more years?

This poor guy looks terrible. Even though the Mandarin believes Shrub ("El Arbusto" for all those demonstators in Mar del Plata) suffers mainly from self-inflicted wounds, ya gotta wonder how much fun he's having these days.

Original picture caption: U.S. President Bush pauses as he speaks to White House reporters on the sidelines of the fourth Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 4, 2005. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Does Shrub just not get it, or what?

Newsweek reports:

"President Bush last week appointed nine campaign contributors, including three longtime fund-raisers, to his Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a 16-member panel of individuals from the private sector who advise the president on the quality and effectiveness of U.S. intelligence efforts. After watching the fate of Michael Brown as head of FEMA and Harriet Miers as Supreme Court nominee, you might think the president would be wary about the appearance of cronyism—especially with a critical national-security issue such as intelligence. Instead, Bush reappointed William DeWitt, an Ohio businessman who has raised more than $300,000 for the president’s campaigns, for a third two-year term on the panel. Originally appointed in 2001, just a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, DeWitt, who was also a top fund-raiser for Bush’s 2004 Inaugural committee, was a partner with Bush in the Texas Rangers baseball team."

What is this Board, anyway? From the White House web site:

"The President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) provides advice to the President concerning the quality and adequacy of intelligence collection, of analysis and estimates, of counterintelligence, and of other intelligence activities. The PFIAB, through its Intelligence Oversight Board, also advises the President on the legality of foreign intelligence activities. The PFIAB currently has 16 members selected from among distinguished citizens outside the government who are qualified on the basis of achievement, experience, independence, and integrity."

Do you understand it now? Well, the Mandarin is still missing something.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Déjà vu all over again as another of the "finest civil servants" bites the dust

Vice President Cheney's Statement on Libby Resignation - October 28, 2005

Mr. Libby has informed me that he is resigning to fight the charges brought against him. I have accepted his decision with deep regret.

Scooter Libby is one of the most capable and talented individuals I have ever known. He has given many years of his life to public service and has served our nation tirelessly and with great distinction.

In our system of government an accused person is presumed innocent until a contrary finding is made by a jury after an opportunity to answer the charges and a full airing of the facts. Mr. Libby is entitled to that opportunity.

President Bush's Statement on Libby Resignation - October 28, 2005

Today I accepted the resignation of Scooter Libby. Scooter has worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people and sacrificed much in the service to this country. He served the Vice President and me through extraordinary times in our nation's history.

Special Counsel Fitzgerald's investigation and ongoing legal proceedings are serious, and now the proceedings -- the process moves into a new phase. In our system, each individual is presumed innocent and entitled to due process and a fair trial.

President Nixon's Statement on Haldeman and Erlichman Resignation - June 20, 1973

Today, in one of the most difficult decisions of my presidency, I accepted the resignations of two of my closest associates in the White House -- Bob Haldeman, John Ehrlichman -- two of the finest public servants it has been my privilege to know.

I want to stress that in accepting these resignations, I mean to leave no implication whatever of personal wrongdoing on their part, and I leave no implication tonight of implication on the part of others who have been charged in this matter. But in matters as sensitive as guarding the integrity of our democratic process, it is essential not only that rigorous legal and ethical standards be observed but also that the public, you, have total confidence that they are both being observed and enforced by those in authority and particularly by the president of the United States. They agreed with me that this move was necessary in order to restore that confidence