Cho Seung-Hui, Downright Mean Question Mark Kid

April 18, 2007 at 9:19 am | Posted in Cho Seung-Hui, violence, Virginia Tech | Leave a comment

We’re getting a clearer picture of Cho Seung-Hui, and it seems he was a downright mean, rude kid who everyone called the “question mark kid.” Professor Giovanni relates the following: Continue Reading Cho Seung-Hui, Downright Mean Question Mark Kid…

Bereft of Substance

April 18, 2007 at 9:03 am | Posted in American politics, conservatives, Media | Leave a comment

Glenn Greenwald, digging even deeper into the anatomy of the beltway media conventional wisdom has a doozy today. He pulls apart the latest right-wing attack against Edwards and Obama revealing the man behind the curtain. Continue Reading Bereft of Substance…

The Shi’ite Death Squads Are Back In Action

April 17, 2007 at 9:39 pm | Posted in American politics, Iraq, violence, War | 2 Comments

85 people were found dead all around Iraq today, many of whom were found tortured and killed, much like the Shi’ite death squads did before they decided to lay low for a while. But alas, why should they lay low when Sunni insurgents continue to murder Shi’ites and the Americans fail to stop such violence? From the perspective of the Shi’ites, their only real protection comes from the death squads. And they are back in action.

I really feel sorry for General Petraeus. His surge is failing. And no, this is not the opinion of “leftists” but of reasonable rational men, for example, Lawrence Korb, no liberal who said, as quoted by the Washington Monthly’s Kevin Drum:

Getting through Iraqi customs was a chore….The long wait did allow me to speak to some of the contractors about the situation on the ground. When I assured them I was not a member of the press, they were unanimous that the surge was not working….The most optimistic projection was “maybe temporarily.” But most people speaking off the record believe that the insurgents will shift to other areas and lay low for a while in Baghdad.

….No one in or out of the American or Iraqi government seemed to have a good answer to my question: “how does it end?” On the back of this visit, I am more and more convinced that we must take control of our own destiny by setting a specific timetable for withdrawal. Currently, our fate is in the hands of an Iraqi government that does not have any real incentive to get its act together and does not even seem to understand the gravity of the situation or the declining level of support in the United States.

You can read his whole experience here, and I highly recommend it.

Gates on the Debate of Withdrawal from Iraq

April 17, 2007 at 3:59 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, Iraq, Military, War | 2 Comments

( UPDATED )
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today, regarding the debate of withdrawal from Iraq something quite interesting:

“I’ve been pretty clear that I think the enactment of specific deadlines would be a bad mistake,” Gates said.

“But I think the debate itself, and I think the strong feelings expressed in the Congress about the timetable … probably has had a positive impact _ at least I hope it has in terms of communicating to the Iraqis that this is not an open-ended commitment,” he said.

So let me get this straight, Mr. Gates. You think the debate itself is good because it shows the Iraqis that we are short on patience and we will pull out if they don’t do what we want them to do. Yet, backing up that talk with credible action is NOT good? I mean, what good is the talk if it is all a bluff? Our enemies will see right through it.

If, as you say, Mr. Gates, that the debate over withdrawal is actually having positive effects, just imagine what kind of effects it would have if you were serious about the withdrawal, Mr. Gates. Just imagine how the Iraqis ask “How high?” when you command them to jump with an actual threat of withdrawal.

In the end, Iraq cannot be anything but what Iraqis make of their country. In the end, we will be withdrawing. In the end, Iraqis are going to have to face up and answer the question: “What is an Iraqi in a post-Saddam world?” Americans cannot answer that question. Only Iraqis can. It is time we hold their feet to the real fire. No more half-talking, Mr. Gates. We’re out of there.

(Update)
The Carpetbagger Report has a great take on this particular line of thought:

For the last several months, the White House and its allies have had a consistent message: debating the merit of the war in Iraq is an inherently bad idea. In February, when lawmakers were considering (and passing) a non-binding resolution criticizing the escalation strategy, Tony Snow went so far as to suggest that the debate itself brought “comfort” to terrorists.

A month later, when the House and Senate took up spending measures that included timelines for withdrawal, conservative war supporters said the very discussion sent a dangerous signal to the world, undermined the troops, and “emboldened the enemy.”
………
For literally months, the White House and its congressional sycophants have been arguing the exact opposite — that dissent is dangerous, that our enemies are listening, and that our troops are undermined when there are political divisions over war policy. But in reality, Dems are doing what the president refuses to do: pressuring Iraqis to step up.
………
It’s awfully convenient, isn’t it? Dems do all the heavy policy lifting, Republicans question their judgment and patriotism, and when push comes to shove, it’s the Dems who are giving the administration leverage to push for progress in Iraq.

Apologies can be sent to: Congressional Democratic Caucus, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC 20515.

Cho Seung-Hui: “You Caused Me To Do This”

April 17, 2007 at 12:53 pm | Posted in Cho Seung-Hui, violence, Virginia Tech | 55 Comments

(Updated)

Cho Seung-Hui, the murderer at Virginia Tech apparently left behind a message wherein he claims: “you caused me to do this.”

Cho Seung-Hui, the student who killed 32 people and then himself yesterday, left a long and “disturbing” note in his dorm room at Virginia Tech, say law enforcement sources.

Sources have now described the note, which runs several pages, as beginning in the present tense and then shifting to the past tense. It contains rhetoric explaining Cho’s actions and says, “You caused me to do this,” the sources told ABC News.

Apparently professors had recommended that Cho see a counselor over some disturbing things he was writing.

Lots more to come about his short, deadly life.

(Updated)
The photo was removed from flickr. I’m not going to put one of his propaganda pictures here. He’s not going to reach from the grave here on this blog.

(Update)

ABCNews has more on the macabre writings. They are really quite disturbing, and it goes to show that signs were there that this is the kind of young man who could lose it.

One play attributed to him, called “Richard McBeef,” describes a 13-year-old boy who accuses his stepfather of pedophilia, and ends with the boy’s death.

In another, called “Mr. Brownstone,” three high-school students face an abusive teacher.

“I wanna kill him,” says one character.

“I wanna watch him bleed like the way he made us kids bleed,” says another.

Newsbloggers has the actual plays.

(Updated)
I just wrote about how CNN is reporting that Cho Seung-Hui was declared mentally ill in 2005, and an “imminent danger to others.” This really adds to the portrait of who he is and why he did what he did.

The Media, Pumping Up Stories

April 17, 2007 at 12:12 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Iraq, Media, War | Leave a comment

Howard Kurtz writes in the Washington Post on the media. Sometimes he writes critically, but for the most part, he really doesn’t do the job he supposedly signed himself up to do, and that is to report when the media’s story is overblown, etc. That duty has been picked up by Glenn Greenwald who recently has really attacked the media for their complicity with the Bush administration in specific, and generally failed to report facts. Take his most recent, titled, The Warped Reality of Our Media Stars.

In any case, Howard Kurtz writes today about the Virginia Tech massacre and states the following, a most revealing look at the way our media works:

When there’s a big story like this, there’s no need for hype and sensationalism. If you’re trying to turn a single murder, rape or missing young woman into a national melodrama, you need to pump it up. When there is a massacre of this magnitude, there is no need for embellishment and reporters can assume their traditional role of assembling the facts.

No need to “hype or sensationalize” a “massacre of this magnitude.” Journalists can “assume their traditional role of assembling facts.” But if you have one incident (say a beautiful white girl missing in Aruba), well, then you’ve got to “pump it up,” turn it into “a national melodrama.”

If this is the usual modus operandi of the media, why should we trust any word that comes out of their mouth? There has been a real failure on the national media, more specifically the Washington media (including you Mr. Kurtz) to just stick with the facts, and more importantly, be “their traditional role of assembling facts.” That includes questioning sources and their motives. Why would someone like Cheney demand of his reporters to call him a “senior administration official even though there was nothing secret about his words? And they go along…Why?

This sensationalism is especially important because it is the way America was bamboozled into accepting the war in Iraq. Take a look at the timeline yourself and see how they deceived America. I think a lot of these media personalities have got to realize they aren’t there to tell us a fictional story that is “compelling drama.” They are there to provide the facts.

Cho Seung-Hui, Murderer at Virginia Tech

April 17, 2007 at 8:42 am | Posted in American politics, Cho Seung-Hui, violence, Virginia Tech | 11 Comments

(Updated I), (Updated II)

The police just released the identity of the murderer at Virginia Tech, Cho Seung Hui, a resident alien from South Korea, a senior, majoring in English, at Virginia Tech. One of the guns used at the earlier shooting was also used at the later shooting, however, the police are not ruling out the possibility that Cho was not the shooter in the first scene.

There is much more that needs to come out. Normally an English major doesn’t just go on a shooting spree. What made him crack?

(courtesy of ABCNews)

UPDATE

Apparently he was a “loner”.

Cho Seung-hui, 23, the Virginia Tech student who police believe is responsible for killing 33 people yesterday, was “a loner, and we’re having difficulty finding information about him,” said university spokesman Larry Hincker.

Police identified Cho, a native of South Korea and resident alien who lived in Centreville, Va., as the shooter by linking the fingerprints at the scene to his immigration documents.

Police say the senior English major, who lived in Harper Hall dormitory on the university campus, was likely responsible for both shootings at the university, the first of which took place at around 7:15 a.m. Monday morning when two people were killed at West Ambler Johnston Hall dormitory. Later that morning, the remaining victims were killed in Norris Hall, the engineering studies building.

ABC News has learned that Cho left behind a note after the killings at West Ambler Johnston Hall. He then returned to his own room, rearmed and entered Norris Hall, roughly a half a mile away, to continue his shooting rampage.

Cho came to the United States with his family in 1992 at age 8 and first settled in Detroit, according to State Department officials. He last renewed his green card in 2003.

(UPDATE II)
The issue of “loner” raises a question about this South Korean young man. Back in South Korea, they love playing online games. In fact, they love it so much that one kid died after playing for 50 hours straight!

I’m not making anything but a pure speculation at this point about his motive. He had apparently a very calm demeanor as he went about his murder spree, according to the witnesses. And it seems he targeted a specific class, seeing that he peeked in to the class before returning to kill.

All Roads Lead to Karl Rove

April 16, 2007 at 2:37 pm | Posted in American politics | 2 Comments

So it goes.

Terrible Violence at Virginia Tech University

April 16, 2007 at 12:34 pm | Posted in America, American politics, violence | 2 Comments

This is a sad day in America. At least 22 people are dead. A gunman went on a rampage at Virginia Tech. Not all of the story is known yet, most importantly, why this gunman decided to take so many lives at a university, especially one in such a quiet neighborhood. I pray the families of those dead find the comfort and solace they will be needing through this terrible ordeal.

Why He Declined to Serve

April 16, 2007 at 6:01 am | Posted in American politics, Iraq, Military, War | 2 Comments

Why he declined to serve. A read well worth it:

What I found in discussions with current and former members of this administration is that there is no agreed-upon strategic view of the Iraq problem or the region……

…..The day-to-day work of the White House implementation manager overseeing Iraq and Afghanistan would require a great deal of emotional and intellectual energy resolving critical resource issues in a bureaucracy that, to date, has not functioned well. Activities such as the current surge operations should fit into an overall strategic framework. There has to be linkage between short-term operations and strategic objectives that represent long-term U.S. and regional interests, such as assured access to energy resources and support for stable, Western-oriented countries. These interests will require a serious dialogue and partnership with countries that live in an increasingly dangerous neighborhood. We cannot “shorthand” this issue with concepts such as the “democratization of the region” or the constant refrain by a small but powerful group that we are going to “win,” even as “victory” is not defined or is frequently redefined.

It would have been a great honor to serve this nation again. But after thoughtful discussions with people both in and outside of this administration, I concluded that the current Washington decision-making process lacks a linkage to a broader view of the region and how the parts fit together strategically. We got it right during the early days of Afghanistan — and then lost focus. We have never gotten it right in Iraq. For these reasons, I asked not to be considered for this important White House position. These huge shortcomings are not going to be resolved by the assignment of an additional individual to the White House staff. They need to be addressed before an implementation manager is brought on board.

Liberal States Are Good For Business

April 15, 2007 at 10:48 pm | Posted in American politics, liberals | 6 Comments

Take a look at the numbers. Look where most Fortune 500 companies reside. Here are the numbers, and see for yourself. Most Fortune 500 companies are in liberal states. The only conservative state to really break the trend is Texas, but that’s mostly thanks to energy. Otherwise it is all New York and California. Seems liberal philosophy ain’t so bad to business as many conservatives like to falsely portray. 😉

McCain: No Plan B

April 14, 2007 at 8:37 pm | Posted in American politics, Iraq, McCain, Military, War | 5 Comments

John McCain sees no plan B available for Iraq. It is either the surge or well, he doesn’t like to talk about the or else. Neither does the Bush administration. But Mr. McCain, just what happens if the “surge” fails?

UPDATE: Christopher Dickey writes in Newsweek on who is preparing a plan B and who isn’t. Surprisingly, the Israelis are not planning any Plan B. Nor are the Americans, unsurprisingly. Everybody else in the Middle East is preparing for what comes after the surge fails.

Abstinence Education Does Not Work

April 14, 2007 at 11:02 am | Posted in American politics | 8 Comments

A new report is out that shows that government funded abstinence education does not make a difference and that teenagers who participate in that program have the same number of sexual partners and sexual activities as those who don’t participate.

Just gotta say it: We told you so. Unfortunately, some people just never learn.

Iraqi Non-Combat Related Deaths

April 13, 2007 at 9:57 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Iraq, Military, violence, War | 1 Comment

The ACLU was given access through the Freedom of Information Act statistics showing how much money the United States military paid out to Iraqis whose family members were “accidentally” killed by American forces, i.e. non-combat related deaths. The number itself is quite staggering: $32 million dollars. That’s not a lot of money in the whole scheme of things, seeing that the war in Iraq is costing American taxpayers approximately $5 billion per week. However, Firedoglake has put that number in perspective and it is worth our time to look at those statistics closely. Continue Reading Iraqi Non-Combat Related Deaths…

Running Out the Clock

April 13, 2007 at 3:07 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, George W Bush, Iraq | 21 Comments

President Bush does not seek a victory in Iraq. He seeks to run out the clock of his presidency and blame his failure in Iraq on the next president, most likely a Democrat. Thereby in 2012, Republicans would make a strong comeback because their talking point would be “look, Democrats gave up on Iraq just as victory was coming.” This is their long-term plan. It has been done before. Nixon did it. And now Bush is doing it too. Don’t be fooled America. Joseph Galloway writes about this for McClatchy:

It will be costly and painful to prolong the war in Iraq for another 21 months so that those who started it can hand off the harder decision of how to end it to the next occupant of the White House.

President Bush isn’t extending and expanding the war in a search for victory. His dream of victory in Iraq cannot be achieved. Not by sending 30,000 more American troops. Not by making parts of Baghdad temporarily safer by billeting American troops in violent neighborhoods and pushing the slaughter into the northern and southern suburbs – or into the Green Zone where U.S. and Iraqi officials live and work.

Not by letting American soldiers bear the brunt of combat, targeted not only by our enemies, the Sunni Muslim insurgents but also by our supposed allies, the Shiite majority and the murderous militia of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. In March, more American troops died in Iraq than Iraqi soldiers.

This is a search for a fig leaf to cover the emperor’s nakedness – a way for Bush to go home to Texas with a ringing but hollow declaration that “Iraq wasn’t lost on my watch.”

Gonzales Must Rehearse To Tell The Truth

April 13, 2007 at 2:35 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration | 7 Comments

wow, notice how little you hear from Alberto Gonzales these days. You want to know why? It’s because he’s spending up to five hours a DAY rehearsing for his Senate testimony this next week. As digby asks:

I can hardly believe that this isn’t either a national joke or a scandal. The Attorney General of the United States should not have rehearse for five hours a day to truthfully answer questions from the US congress. It’s ludicrous. Just how stupid is this guy, anyway?

I think that is a fair question. If Mr. Gonzales speaks truthfully, why does he have to practice for FIVE HOURS A DAY! Isn’t that the jobs of actors, who by profession lie?

As noted in Newsweek a few days ago:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has virtually wiped his public schedule clean to bone up for his long-awaited April 17 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee–a session widely seen as a crucial test as to whether he will survive the U.S. attorney mess. But even his own closest advisers are nervous about whether he is up to the task. At a recent “prep” for a prospective Sunday talk-show interview, Gonzales’s performance was so poor that top aides scrapped any live appearances. During the March 23 session in the A.G.’s conference room, Gonzales was grilled by a team of top aides and advisers–including former Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie and former White House lawyer Tim Flanigan–about what he knew about the plan to fire seven U.S. attorneys last fall. But Gonzales kept contradicting himself and “getting his timeline confused,” said one participant who asked not to be identified talking about a private meeting. His advisers finally got “exasperated” with him, the source added. “He’s not ready,” Tasia Scolinos, Gonzales’s public-affairs chief, told the A.G.’s top aides after the session was over, said the source. Asked for comment, Scolinos told NEWSWEEK: “This was the first session of this kind that we’d done.”

Well we won’t be seeing Gonzales at the Oscars anytime soon.

If The Phone Is Not Ringing, Voter Fraud is Calling

April 13, 2007 at 12:55 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Democracy, Democrats, Republicans, secret combinations, Voter Suppression | Leave a comment

Jim Harper writes at Cato-at-Liberty:

That’s something like the predicament of searchers after the menace of voter fraud, who can’t seem to find much of it. The New York Times today reports that “scant evidence” exists of a significant problem.

Voter fraud is the idea that individuals might vote multiple times, in multiple jurisdictions, or despite not being qualified. This is distinct from election fraud, which is corruption of broader voting or vote-counting processes. While voter fraud (and/or voter error) certainly happens, it is apparently on a trivial scale. It probably has not changed any election results, and probably will not do so if ordinary protective measures are maintained.

This is important because voter fraud has been used as an argument for subjecting our nation’s citizens to a national ID. The Carter-Baker Commission found little evidence of voter fraud, but went ahead and called for adopting REAL ID as a voter identification card. One of the Commission’s members apparently retreated from that conclusion, having learned more about REAL ID.

For proponents of a national ID, if the phone’s not ringing, that’s voter fraud calling.

So true. This is dear to Karl Rove’s heart, because it cloaks his real desire to suppress Democratic votes with an issue no one, of course, wishes were around. See, Karl Rove knows the enforcement of stringent laws, such as presenting ID and other verifications at the polls will disproportionately affect the poor, who tend to vote Democratic. Whatever works to lessen the strength of Democratic voters, that’s what Karl Rove targets. And this is the math he was talking about in November last year, when he predicted Republicans would win. He of course was wrong, because he didn’t calculate just how strongly voter discontent with the war in Iraq really is now. But when you put all the pieces together, the elections, the US attorney purge, that’s what this is about: the suppression of Democratic voters at the polls, because Republicans really are a minority when all the numbers are in.

The White House’s Lost Emails

April 12, 2007 at 1:03 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, George W Bush, secret combinations | Leave a comment

Boy oh boy, this just gets better and better. The White House apparently cannot produce for the Senate certain emails, actually a lot of emails, sent using the RNC accounts. The White House talking point is basically “my dog ate my homework” excuse. Heh, yeah, that’s going to pass muster. Continue Reading The White House’s Lost Emails…

Celebrating One Year of Political Blogging

April 11, 2007 at 7:05 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Christianity, Church, conservatives, Democrats, Evangelicals, family values, Foreign Policy, George W Bush, Iraq, liberals, Middle East, Military, Mormon, neo-conservatives, Religion, Republicans, Romania, Utah, War, War on Terror, World Events | 4 Comments

One year ago, I wrote my first post on my blog. Back then it was called RHMD’s Thoughts on Politics. This was my first post: Continue Reading Celebrating One Year of Political Blogging…

Iraq: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

April 11, 2007 at 2:32 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Iraq, Military | 1 Comment

We’re coming to a point, it seems, on Iraq where the picture becomes clear. We’re really failing. It sucks that it has to be said, but there it is. Bush and Cheney have really failed. Continue Reading Iraq: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly…

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