- Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
"George Bush is not Hitler. He would be, if he fucking applied
George W Bush And The Real State Of The Union
The Independent - UK
232: Number of American combat deaths in Iraq between May 2003 and
501: Number of American servicemen to die in Iraq from the beginning
of the war - so far
0: Number of American combat deaths in Germany after the Nazi
surrender to the Allies in May 1945
0: Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home from Iraq that
the Bush administration has allowed to be photographed
0: Number of funerals or memorials that President Bush has attended
for soldiers killed in Iraq
100: Number of fund-raisers attended by Bush or Vice-President Dick
Cheney in 2003
13: Number of meetings between Bush and Tony Blair since he became
10 million: Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the
streets in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, setting an all-time
record for simultaneous protest
2: Number of nations that Bush has attacked and taken over since
coming into the White House
9.2: Average number of American soldiers wounded in Iraq each day
since the invasion in March last year
1.6: Average number of American soldiers killed in Iraq per day since
16,000: Approximate number of Iraqis killed since the start of war
10,000: Approximate number of Iraqi cililians killed since the
beginning of the conflict
$100 billion: Estimated cost of the war in Iraq to American citizens
by the end of 2003
$13 billion: Amount other countries have committed towards rebuilding
Iraq (much of it in loans) as of 24 October
36%: Increase in the number of desertions from the US army since 1999
92%: Percentage of Iraq's urban areas that had access to drinkable
water a year ago
60%: Percentage of Iraq's urban areas that have access to drinkable
32%: Percentage of the bombs dropped on Iraq this year that were not
1983: The year in which Donald Rumsfeld gave Saddam Hussein a pair of
45%: Percentage of Americans who believed in early March 2003 that
Saddam Hussein was involved in the 11 September attacks on the US
$127 billion: Amount of US budget surplus in the year that Bush
became President in 2001
$374 billion: Amount of US budget deficit in the fiscal year for 2003
1st: This year's deficit is on course to be the biggest in United
$1.58 billion: Average amount by which the US national debt increases
$23,920: Amount of each US citizen's share of the national debt as of
19 January 2004
1st: The record for the most bankruptcies filed in a single year
(1.57 million) was set in 2002
10: Number of solo press conferences that Bush has held since
beginning his term. His father had managed 61 at this point in his
administration, and Bill Clinton 33
1st: Rank of the US worldwide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions
$113 million: Total sum raised by the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign,
setting a record in American electoral history
$130 million: Amount raised for Bush's re-election campaign so far
$200m: Amount that the Bush-Cheney campaign is expected to raise in
$40m: Amount that Howard Dean, the top fund-raiser among the nine
Democratic presidential hopefuls, amassed in 2003
28: Number of days holiday that Bush took last August, the second
longest holiday of any president in US history (Recordholder: Richard
13: Number of vacation days the average American worker receives each
3: Number of children convicted of capital offences executed in the
US in 2002. America is only country openly to acknowledge executing
1st: As Governor of Texas, George Bush executed more prisoners (152)
than any governor in modern US history
2.4 million: Number of Americans who have lost their jobs during the
three years of the Bush administration
221,000: Number of jobs per month created since Bush's tax cuts took
effect. He promised the measure would add 306,000
1,000: Number of new jobs created in the entire country in December.
Analysts had expected a gain of 130,000
1st: This administration is on its way to becoming the first since
1929 (Herbert Hoover) to preside over an overall loss of jobs during
its complete term in office
9 million: Number of US workers unemployed in September 2003
80%: Percentage of the Iraqi workforce now unemployed
55%: Percentage of the Iraqi workforce unemployed before the war
43.6 million: Number of Americans without health insurance in 2002
130: Number of countries (out of total of 191 recognised by the
United Nations) with an American military presence
40%: Percentage of the world's military spending for which the US is
$10.9 million: Average wealth of the members of Bush's original 16-
88%: Percentage of American citizens who will save less than $100 on
their 2006 federal taxes as a result of 2003 cut in capital gains and
$42,000: Average savings members of Bush's cabinet are expected to
enjoy this year as a result in the cuts in capital gains and
$42,228: Median household income in the US in 2001
$116,000: Amount Vice-President Cheney is expected to save each year
44%: Percentage of Americans who believe the President's economic
growth plan will mostly benefit the wealthy
700: Number of people from around the world the US has incarcerated
in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
1st: George W Bush became the first American president to ignore the
Geneva Conventions by refusing to allow inspectors access to US-held
prisoners of war
+6%: Percentage change since 2001 in the number of US families in
1951: Last year in which a quarterly rise in US military spending was
greater than the one the previous spring
54%: Percentage of US citizens who believe Bush was legitimately
elected to his post
1st: First president to execute a federal prisoner in the past 40
years. Executions are typically ordered by separate states and not at
9: Number of members of Bush's defence policy board who also sit on
the corporate board of, or advise, at least one defence contractor
35: Number of countries to which US has suspended military assistance
after they failed to sign agreements giving Americans immunity from
prosecution before the International Criminal Court
$300 million: Amount cut from the federal programme that provides
subsidies to poor families so they can heat their homes
$1 billion: Amount of new US military aid promised Israel in April
2003 to offset the "burdens" of the US war on Iraq
58 million: Number of acres of public lands Bush has opened to road
building, logging and drilling
200: Number of public-health and environmental laws Bush has
attempted to downgrade or weaken
29,000: Number of American troops - which is close to the total of a
whole army division - to have either been killed, wounded, injured or
become so ill as to require evacuation from Iraq, according to the
90%: Percentage of American citizens who said they approved of the
way George Bush was handling his job as president when asked on 26
53%: Percentage of American citizens who approved of the way Bush was
handling his job as president when asked on 16 January, 2004
Dean to deliver top 10 list on Letterman
The Associated Press
Jan. 22, 2004 | Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean
turned to late-night comedy Thursday to poke fun at his arm-waving
outburst in Iowa that has proven politically damaging. Dean taped an
appearance on "Late Night with David Letterman" in which he presented
the Top 10 list. The last Democrat to deliver the list was Rep. Dick
Gephardt of Missouri on Jan. 12. After a poor showing in Iowa Monday,
Gephardt abandoned his presidential bid.
The subject of Dean's list was "Ways, I, Howard Dean, can turn things
10. Switch to decaf.
9. Unveil new slogan, "Vote for Dean and get one dollar off your next
purchase at Blimpie."
8. Marry Rachel on the final episode of "Friends."
7. Don't change a thing, it's going great.
6. Show a little more skin.
5. Go on "American Idol" and give them a taste of those pipes.
4. Start working out and speaking with an Austrian accent.
3. I can't give specifics yet, but it involves Ted Danson.
2. Fire the staffer who suggested I do this lousy Top 10 List instead
of actually campaigning.
1. Oh, I don't know -- maybe fewer, crazy, red-faced rants.
Dick Cheney Kills Birds Dead
The manly veep has himself a lazy, "canned" pheasant slaughter, and
we are so impressed
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, January 23, 2004
So then about a month ago the vice president of these beautiful and
deeply confused United States, he of the struggling defibrillator and
the shockingly nefarious wife and the gnarled calluses from working
Dubya's puppet strings, he of the thin-lipped sneer that makes babies
cry and women wince and foreign policies crumble like feta cheese in
the freezer, well, Dick goes himself a-huntin'.
Not just any ol' regular, camouflage-wearing, man-versus-nature hunt
out in the wild, mind. Dick is far too fragile and unskilled and
spoiled and scared of the open woods and icky furry monsters for
Nossir, our man Dick, he has himself flown over, in Air Force 2, on
the taxpayer's tab, accompanied by his most favoritest shotgun, to
the exclusive Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier, Westmoreland County, in
rural Pennsylvania, to have himself a nice, cushy "canned" pheasant
This is what it was: Dick and about nine other overfed white guys
sitting in a comfy luxury blind with their manly shotguns, waiting
for the Westmoreland guy stationed behind them on a hill to release
clusters of stunned, fat, tame game birds from a net. Then they shoot
Lots and lots of them. And then they slap each other on the back. And
they grunt and say nice shot as the birds drop like flies as dogs
race back and forth hauling dead or dying birds into huge piles. Whee
More than 400 birds were killed in one lackadaisical afternoon. Dick
himself blasted the living crap out of 70 birds, all by himself.
That's right, 70. Plus an unknown number of mallard ducks. Then they
had them all plucked and vacuum packed and sent back home to show off
to the staff. Dick was driven back to the airport in a Humvee.
Are we not all impressed? Are we not all sitting here saying, wow,
that Dick Cheney guy, he of the massive alleged Halliburton
corruption scandals, he is one studly dude, slaughtering a small
mountain of docile, stupefied birds that had no chance of escape.
What a guy.
And what a display of prowess and skill, using his day off to kill
almost as many pheasant and duck in an afternoon as all those notions
of progress that have been slaughtered by his inbred cronyist pro-
industry energy policy since the beginning of this sentence. Gosh.
Even real hunters cringe at canned hunts. It is not a sport. It is
not man versus nature. There is no nobility, no honor, no
sportsmanship, no instinct, no luck, no tramping through fields and
crouching in blinds and waiting for hours as you coddle the barrel of
your shotgun and dream of J.Lo and tell jokes about homos and Hillary
Clinton, just so you can shoot a few wild birds.
In other words, Cheney's canned hunt had none of the ostensibly
sporting characteristics of true hunting. Cheney's was essentially a
slaughter, a bloody target practice for aging overpampered white
males who never have sex and have desperately zero outlet for all
their pent-up misanthropic energies. In short.
Yes, there are far more pressing issues for us to care about than a
bunch of dead birds. And, yes, there are roughly a billion chickens
slaughtered every damn day in this county by giant pollutive
industrial farms in far more inhumane and brutal and disgusting and
inbred and feces-thick and imminently liquefied and reconstituted and
resold-as-McNuggets ways than Uncle Dick's little afternoon birdie
And, yes, indeed, canned hunts happen far more often than anyone
probably imagines. There are private ranches all over the country,
most offering manly trophy hunters a "guaranteed" kill of some
overbred, tame, exotic animal, such as antelopes, deer, cattle,
swine, bears, zebras and sometimes even big cats.
These ranches, most operating in -- you guessed it -- Texas, service
lazy fee-paying trophy hunters who want a giant stuffed antelope head
for the den but don't want to deal with any of that nasty nature or
travel to Africa. God bless America.
So Dick's little hunt was not all that rare. Which of course makes it
no less stupid, no less of a brutal blood rush. It was a taxpayer-
supported trip taken solely for the sake of ... what? Not sport. Not
gamesmanship. Not food. Just the little thrill that comes from
killing something that never had a prayer? Is that it, Dick? Kick up
the defibrillator a notch? Must be.
Hell, we taxpayers could've saved a fortune in Secret Service time
and Air Force 2 gas money had Dick simply have one of his lackeys --
Colin Powell, say -- tie long strings to the feet of 70 ducks and
tether them to the White House lawn. Then Dick could just sit in a
nice leather recliner and shoot them at will.
Simpler still, aides simply could've nailed the birds' feet to the
floor with a staple gun and Dick could've put on a pair of army boots
like the kind he avoided wearing during the Vietnam War, and as the
birds squawked Dick could've jumped around like a human pogo stick
and stomped on each bird, popping it like a balloon. Yay Dick!
And, finally, there is the patented Dubya hunting method, wherein you
make a little gun shape with your thumb and index finger and sit back
and "aim" at each bird and shout "Bang!" and someone smashes the bird
in the head with a baseball bat. Same difference, really.
You know what? It's not a big deal. It's just a bunch of dead birds,
right? Over 400 of them spread among 10 guys who simply could not
shoot fast enough to kill them all. Again, it happens all the time.
Except here, here in the land of obvious and tragicomic analogy,
where you simply cannot help but transfer Dick's little aggro mind-
set -- this numbly violent attitude of "just line 'em up and
shoot 'em and pretend you're actually a manly hunter when all you are
is rather heartless and inhumane and small" -- over to the government
Which is to say, this is the worldview we are up against. This is yet
another perfect example of the American agenda as set forth by the
CheneyRumsfeldRove Triumvirate o' Pain, very much the way this
administration attacks the world. No competition. No sportsmanship.
No fairness. Zero respect. No reverence. And no actual talent
required. Just kill at will.
Because it is, in the final analysis, all about how you approach and
engage the world, nature, yourself. It is all about with what degree
of sacredness and veneration you walk the planet, treading lightly or
stomping heavily, in awe of the interconnectedness or working to
crush the beautiful and the weak for profit and hollow thrill. It is,
after all, your choice.
Do you, as Dick Cheney obviously does, see the world as your personal
blood-sport playground, where you can take anything you want, kill
whatever you like, respect nothing nature has to offer, suffer no
ramifications, and do it all on someone else's tab? Well then. You
have made your choice. The GOP wants you.
Subscribe to Mark's deeply skewed, mostly legal Morning Fix
Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and
Friday on SF Gate, unless it appears on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which
it never does. He also writes the Morning Fix, a deeply skewed thrice-
weekly e-mail column and newsletter. Subscribe at
Grand Jury Hears Plame Case
Testimony begins in front of a grand jury in the investigation into
whether the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame was improperly
leaked to the press
By JOHN DICKERSON AND VIVECA NOVAK
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2004
Sources with knowledge of the case tell TIME that behind closed doors
at the E. Barrett Prettyman federal courthouse, nearby the Capitol, a
grand jury began hearing testimony Wednesday in the investigation of
who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to columnist
Robert Novak and other journalists.
Prosecutors are believed to be starting with third-party witnesses,
people who were not directly involved in the leak of Plame's
identity. Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, claims
that the leak was an act of retaliation against him for undercutting
Bush's weapons-of-mass-destruction rationale for going to war in
Iraq. Soon enough, witnesses with more direct knowledge will be
called to testify, and a decision to subpoena journalists for their
testimony will also be made. In December, the FBI asked some
administration staffers to sign a waiver releasing reporters from
confidentiality agreements in connection with any conversations they
had about the Wilson affair. Novak's attorney, Jim Hamilton, had no
comment about the latest developments.
Grand juries aren't always used in criminal probes, but they are the
preferred way to go in cases with potential political fallout, if
only to lend credibility to the result. One conclusion to be drawn
from this latest step, said one lawyer familiar with the case, is
that investigators clearly have a sense of how the case is shaping
up. "They clearly have a sense of what's going on and can ask
intelligent questions" to bring the grand jury up to speed. A grand
jury is not a trial jury, but is used as an investigative tool and to
decide whether to bring indictments in a case.
Anyone who's subpoenaed in the inquiry, noted the lawyer, can be
almost certain that prosecutors aren't contemplating indicting him or
her. Subpoenas are rarely sent to the targets of an investigation,
and if they are, the recipients must be told in advance that they are
considered targets - at which point they would almost certainly cite
the 5th Amendment and refuse to answer questions.
A huge unanswered question in this case is whether the leaker or
leakers knew that Plame was undercover when they gave her identity
away. That is a necessary element for any indictment for leaking the
name of a covert agent. However, charges could also be brought for
making false statements to the FBI, if a guilty party has falsely
claimed innocence in interviews with government agents.
It's also possible that prosecutors will learn who perpetrated the
leak but won't have enough to bring charges. But true to form, the
Bush administration continues to be extremely tight-lipped about the
investigation -- even internally. "No one knows what the hell is
going on," says someone who could be a witness, "because the
administration people are all terrified and the lawyers aren't
sharing anything with each other either."