See No Dead People

Well, it seems Bush and Co. have found a way to slow the ebb of dead soldiers arriving home in caskets, at least on television. From Dana Milbank, writing in The Washington Post:
Since the end of the Vietnam War, presidents have worried that their military actions would lose support once the public glimpsed the remains of U.S. soldiers arriving at air bases in flag-draped caskets. To this problem, the Bush administration has found a simple solution: It has ended the public dissemination of such images by banning news coverage and photography of dead soldiers' homecomings on all military bases.

In March, on the eve of the Iraq war, a directive arrived from the Pentagon at U.S. military bases. "There will be no arrival ceremonies for, or media coverage of, deceased military personnel returning to or departing from Ramstein [Germany] airbase or Dover [Del.] base, to include interim stops," the Defense Department said, referring to the major ports for the returning remains. [...]

President Bush's opponents say he is trying to keep the spotlight off the fatalities in Iraq. "This administration manipulates information and takes great care to manage events, and sometimes that goes too far," said Joe Lockhart, who as White House press secretary joined President Bill Clinton at several ceremonies for returning remains. "For them to sit there and make a political decision because this hurts them politically -- I'm outraged."

Pentagon officials deny that. Speaking on condition of anonymity, they said the policy covering the entire military followed a victory over a civil liberties court challenge to the restrictions at Dover and relieves all bases of the difficult logistics of assembling family members and deciding which troops should get which types of ceremonies. [...]

A White House spokesman said Bush has not attended any memorials or funerals for soldiers killed in action during his presidency as his predecessors had done, although he has met with families of fallen soldiers and has marked the loss of soldiers in Memorial Day and Sept. 11, 2001, remembrances. [...]

President Jimmy Carter attended ceremonies for troops killed in Pakistan, Egypt and the failed hostage rescue mission in Iran. President Ronald Reagan participated in many memorable ceremonies, including a service at Camp Lejeune in 1983 for 241 Marines killed in Beirut. Among several events at military bases, he went to Andrews in 1985 to pin Purple Hearts to the caskets of marines killed in San Salvador, and, at Mayport Naval Station in Florida in 1987, he eulogized those killed aboard the USS Stark in the Persian Gulf. During President George H.W. Bush's term, there were ceremonies at Dover and Andrews for Americans killed in Panama, Lebanon and aboard the USS Iowa.

[P]hotos of coffins arriving at Andrews and elsewhere continued to appear through the Clinton administration. [...] The photos of coffins continued for the first two years of the current Bush administration, from Ramstein and other bases. Then, on the eve of the Iraq invasion, word came from the Pentagon that other bases were to adopt Dover's policy of making the arrival ceremonies off limits.

"Whenever we go into a conflict, there's a certain amount of guidance that comes down the pike," said Lt. Olivia Nelson, a spokeswoman for Dover. "It's a consistent policy across the board. Where it used to apply only to Dover, they've now made it very clear it applies to everyone."
It's rather odd, by the way. This story was published Tuesday, yet has only been picked up by a few lefty pubs such as Mother Jones -- I can't even find an AP story. It has not been blogged on Kos or Billmon so far as I can find. I heard Paul Begala mention this on Crossfire today, and I kinda figured it got quite a bit of play while I was on vacation. Well, if so, I'm missing it. Question: Why? Isn't this news?

Crossposted at Dean Nation and Daily Kos.



Stuck in the Past

Just saw an article about how Justice Scalia mocked the recent Supreme Court ruling deciminalizing sodomy. He spoke in front of the conservative Intercollegiate Studies Institute whose mission it is to
"enhance the rising generation's knowledge of our nation's founding principles — limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility, free enterprise and Judeo-Christian moral standards."
For these conservatives who hate this country so much, I want to know this: Would this country really be better off today without having progressed with the realization of liberal policies? How far do you want to roll things back? Were the 50s where it's at? The 40s? How about the 20s when Prohibition was raging? The
1850s when we still had slavery? How about the 1780s? How about
June 10, 1797, when the US Senate unanimously passed a resolution stating "...the goverment of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on Christian religion...."
[John] Adams once wrote [Thomas] Jefferson that "This would be the best of all worlds, if there were no religion in it." (Letter to Jefferson, April 19, 1817). Adams explicitly argued against any reference to our
government being "under" the influence of "heaven." ("A Defense of the Constitution of Government of the United States of America," 1788).
Scalia complains that the recent ruling ignores the Constitution in favor of a modern, liberal sensibility, but acknowledges that the Constitution was an early attempt at the construction of what is called a liberal political order. So, if this is the case why doesn't he embrace this? Why doesn't he acknowledge our founding fathers' true intent? I seriously, seriously doubt we'd be a world super-power were it not for liberal policies. Liberal/progressive policies push us forward by their very definition. Conservative policies would see us still stuck in the 18th century.
I'm convinced, right or wrong, one of the reasons for the boom of the last decade was our last elected President's acknowledgment of gays and lesbians. By allowing more and more of us to be out in the open, a large, wealthy, often brilliant, often creative group of people were allowed to be themselves. A quick search of google talks about how Gays are good for the hood, how creative people may help cities thrive, and why cities without gay people are losing the economic development race. If Scalia truly believes in limited government, he should stay out of my bedroom. If he truly believed in indiviual liberty, he would stay out of my bedroom. If he truly believed in personal responsibility, he would stay out of my bedroom. And, if he truly understood our founding fathers, he would realize so-called Judeo-Christian "moral standards" have no place in the determination of what's right or wrong in this society as it was originally intended.


Interesting. Useful, Too!

Hey all, Scott here, and I'm back in the saddle! I extended my vacation by a few days, it was nice! Thanks to everyone for holdin' down the fort. So, I wonder if my buddy Kevin Schmidt from Nine Dwarfs can explain some of these troubling characteristics of that most curious mammal, the Free-roaming GOP?

Go for it, Kev!

Just to be Fair and Balanced I've added a link that Brian posted in the comments. Sometimes we get a bit partisan, and it's useful to consider another view, to really, you know, take a look at the other side of the story and try to really see -- to really see! Read it now!




The conservative Washington Times is absolutely giddy over reports that the California Republican party, newly energized by the recall of Gov. Gray Davis, is trying to draft comedian - and registered Santa Barbara Republican - Dennis Miller to run against incumbent United States Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in 2004.

And here I thought the circus was over! The GOP are attempting to repeat Ahnuld Boob-Grabber's overwhelming win two weeks ago and parlay it into some sort of realignment of California politics.

In reality, this reflects desperation on the part of the Republicans. Their current bench is pretty darn week (Bill Jones, Tom McClintock, Tony Strickland); and Barbara Boxer isn't as vulnerable as they'd lead us to believe. State Republicans have come up dry in their search for a credible candidate. As a result, they have decided to bring the just-departed political circus back to town. What's next? Kevin Costner for Mayor of Santa Barbara?

Memo to the GOP: Dennis Miller is no Ah-nuld! Not by a long shot.

A Miller candidacy would be a huge mistake. (This is, after all, a guy who couldn't even keep his job on "Monday Night Football.") The flippant, whiney comic has no business running for dog catcher, let alone the United States Senate!



Here's what no taxes gets you....

Ever make fun of Alabama? It's one of the few states I always think I've never been to. But then it always dawns on me that I took a brief drive through it on I-65 on the way home from N'awlins. NYT reports they're in a miserable state cos they refuse to raise taxes. Big surprise. We should let the red states give to Iraq and let the blue states provide social services. In the end, wonder where the population would end up???!



Just Drop Out

Lieberman and Clark have decided to focus their resources on a later "surge" and drop out of the Iowa caucus. If they understand they can't win Iowa, what in the world makes them think that they're going to be able to pull something off further on down the road?

They ought to drop out now and throw their weight behind someone who can actually win the nomination, clear the field, and focus the money where it's needed. Lieberman adds nothing to this race.



Well, screw the vacation. Today, I opened up the LA Times and the fishies had the luck to enjoy me's eggs and bacons.
Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer, one of the most partisan Democrats in California, surprised political insiders on Saturday when he revealed that he had broken party ranks in the recall election to vote for Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In a speech at UC Berkeley, [at Berkeley?] he said he opposed the recall of Gov. Gray Davis and voted against it. But on the second part of the Oct. 7 ballot, which asked voters to select a replacement for Davis, Lockyer said he chose Schwarzenegger because he was won over by the Republican's message of "hope, change, reform [and] optimism."

"I hope I'm not being conned," Lockyer said. "The people who voted for him hope they are not being conned."
Umm dude! you're, umm, being conned.
His remarks caused a stir among the audience of about 100 political scientists, consultants and journalists who gathered at a forum analyzing the recall at Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies.
Shocked? Were they barfing? Yup.
"Wow," said Schwarzenegger campaign strategist George Gorton. "Smart politicians are always ahead of the game."

The Attorney General is widely thought to be a probable candidate for governor in 2006. His most likely foe for the Democratic nomination, state Treasurer Phil Angelides, has emerged as a Schwarzenegger critic who has promised to lead Democratic opposition to the new governor. Both Lockyer and Angelides have stockpiled roughly $10 million in campaign funds for the 2006 election.

Lockyer shrugged off suggestions that his vote for Schwarzenegger would damage his standing among the Democratic faithful and undermine his support in the 2006 election, saying: "I'm just doing what I think is right. It is a new me."
Oh please, what a slimy MF is this guy! I hope the fishies were hungry...
"You know the people in your profession really well," Lockyer said, explaining why he couldn't bring himself to vote for Bustamante. "You know who works hard and who doesn't and you know who is honest and who isn't. Cops know that about cops. Doctors know that about doctors. I know that about politicians."
Hey, at least the man speaks SOME truth as he goes for the "recall shine" vote.
"Vintage Lockyer," Garry South, Davis' longtime political strategist, said with a smirk.
When Gary South speaks the truth, be afraid, be very afraid.


Surprise! Arnie Assembles Conservative Team

For everyone who claimed that Gov. Gropenfuhrer's regime would be moderate, I hate to say I told you so but....

Hours after his historic election as Californians' 38th governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger rolled out a 68-member transition team that looked, he said, like California, a blend of "people that are to the left, people that are to the right and people that are to the center."

But a closer look, as the team hurriedly prepares actor-turned-governor Schwarzenegger for the role of his life, reveals that behind the show of diversity is a group dominated by believers in smaller government, less regulation on business and lower taxes.

Nearly 40 of the team's most influential members are mainstream conservatives that include many veterans of the gubernatorial and presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan, Pete Wilson, George H.W. and George W. Bush.
Meet the new Republicans, same as the old Republicans.

The 25% of Democrats who got suckered in to voting for this mess should be ashamed of themselves, but the ladies and gentlemen of the media bear a considerable share of the blame. Every mention of Arnie made sure to include that he was pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-children (although find me an anti-child politician), pro-gay and anti-gun. At the same time, reporters never forced him to explain what exactly his pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-children, pro-gay and anti-gun policies might be, being content to let him bloviate about busting heads in Sacramento.

Since the moment he won, I have seen story after story about how the Arnie wants to bring back energy deregulation, how his promise to cut the car tax could cripple local government, and how he's being bankrolled by the usual assortment of Republican business interest groups. Now he's bringing in the retreads from past GOP administrations and the reporters seem genuinely shocked by this. Where were these "closer looks" before the freaking election.

All I can do is roll my eyes because the joke is clearly on us.

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