believes that President Bush just learned in the past week that the
Iranian nuclear bomb was cancelled back in 2003, the question
now becomes exactly when he learned of it. One
suspicion is that, because
Bush suddenly changed his wording back in early August, that
that's probably when he was told. The Iraqi insurgents may
simply be waiting out the "Surge" and may re-emerge once US
troops start returning home just from sheer exhaustion. More questions on the
NIE involving Israel and SecState Condi's behind-the-scenes
manuevering. Examination of neocons
vs conservatives. Not the same thing at all. Why does
the left blogosphere exist?!?! A look at three
stories demonstrates why. Update
on third story reminds one of insubordination, but it really isn't.
Various year-end lists:
Top 10 Myths about Iraq
Stupid pundit quotes from our "grown-up" and "sophisticated" press corps
Just how nutty have some right-wingers been? Hoo-boy!!!
Pakistanis aren't blaming al Qaeda for Bhutto's death. They'e pointing the finger straight at Musharraf.
Juan Cole says: "Folks, I've seen civil wars and riots first hand, and revolutions from not too far away, and this situation looks pretty bad to me."
The Talking Points Memo blog says that the Pakistani military may be trying to deny Bhutto martyrdom by stating that she didn't perish from gunfire or an explosion. Later update suggests perhaps she died by being thrown against the inside of her vehicle by force of explosion.
Alan Colmes (Sean Hannity's sidekick. Al Franken calls him Alan Colmes) has a blog! Good piece, too. All about Bush's sudden threat to veto $696 billion in spending, including $189 billion for the wars in and Afghanistan. Seems that a lawsuit currently in the courts could cost Iraq $25 billion if not stopped.
Former Pakistani prime Minister Benazir Bhutto assassinated. Likely suspects: Taliban & al Qaeda. Likely beneficiaries: Pervez Musharraf and Pakistani military. Likely loser: US policy.
On further thought: It seems likely that non-al Qaeda militants might be to blame. But it's not like no one is blaming Musharraf. Both Bhutto adviser Husain Haqqani and politician Nawaz Sharif feel that he may be guilty.
Statements from Bush & Secretary of State Rice.
"Bennie" Bhutto is a look at Benazir as a Harvard University student.
Juan Cole finds very interesting statement. Seems Bhutto was concerned about Musharraf's party stealing the next election.
Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) again distinguishes himself from the rest by calling for a delay in Pakistan's upcoming elections so that Bhutto's party can regroup in time to make more than a token effort.
Summary of media coverage.
CIA using very finely-parsed phrasing to justify destruction of tapes that judge ordered them to preserve. Seems they were kept in another country and the 9/11 Commission and others who wanted them preserved merely failed to ask for the precise documents with precisely the right wording. Of course, the fact that they failed to inform anyone that the tapes existed might have had something to do with that.
State Department has lost $28 million in equipment loaned to contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Russia to sell S-300 surface-to-air missles to Iran. Claim is that they are for defensive purposes only.
Good news! Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid keeps Senate in pro forma session in order to prevent recess appointments. President Bush can't appoint candidates without the usual "advise & consent" unless the Senate takes a formal break. As long as the Senate is technically open, we won't get another installation of a John Bolton (He was appointed as the UN Ambassador and promptly rejected when it came time to either confirm his appointment or to send hm home).
Interestingly, Judge Robert Bork spoke out for "original intent" back in the late 1980s, the idea being that judges and justices should always consult the original intention of the Founding Fathers when it came time to decide legal questions. Clearly, the original intention of recess appointments was to compensate for the slow transportation of the late 1700s. GW Bush used it as a device (PDF) to bypass the manifest, clearly-expressed will of Congress and to get appointees like Bolton into positions Congress clearly would not have approved them for. Gee, I wonder where conservative dedication to "original intent" disappeared to?
Boston Globe reporter asks the candidates about how they'd deal with separation of powers questions and gets interesting answers from most of them. Mitt Romney's answers are downright scary. He's the very image of what the Founding Fathers were rebelling against. Edwards is disappointingly vague and Clinton and Obama come out very well. The question specifically on Executive Privilege elicits some very telling answers.
Many members of the left blogosphere (Or, as DailyKos puts it "the netroots") give columnist David Broder a hard time over his obsession with "centrism" (As this site most certainly has). Still, he does manage to do some decent reporting now and then.
As for Maureen Dowd, she's "the contrasting example" here.
Hmm, how to punish telecomunications companies that collaborated with Bush's warrantless wiretappig scheme without destroying the companies and their usefulness to the economy? Concentration on causing "hate and discontent" as opposed to really damaging the companies.
"Home-grown terror bill" seems very likely to pass by huge majority. Threatens to diminsh liberties.
Just as with the Valerie Plame Wilson situation, Bush wants to wait until "the investigation is complete" before commenting on CIA torture tapes.
Yay! Yippee! Hooray! FISA bill put on hold until after January 2nd! No retroactive telecom immunity, for now anyway. Speeches by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI). Good quote:
Aww! Poor Karl Rove. He's asking $3 million for his autobiography and no one seems to want to pay that much. Ann Coulter sold 233,000 copies of Godless, but only 97,000 copies of her latest, If Democrats Had Any Brains They'd Be Republicans (Counting both in 10-week periods) indicating that perhaps conservative books are not that good a bet after all.
There just may be a ray of hope in the CIA torture tapes case. Apparently, the destruction of the tapes had occurred in November 2005, but Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein instructed the CIA to produce the tapes in September 2004 and re-affirmed that order in February 2005. Is the CIA in contempt of that order? Sure looks that way.
Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) will take the floor on Monday for a filibuster of the revolting betrayal of a FISA bill by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Apparently, a number of spooks don't want telecom immunity to take place.
Congress tried to restrict CIA torture techniques to what's permitted by the Army Field Manual. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was opposed.
White House opposes limiting intellgence agencies to what the Army is allowed to do to prisoners.
The new Attorney General Michael Mukaey, appears to not want Congress to investigate the CIA's destruction of interrogation tapes back in 2005. Of course, some of Mukasey's own work on the Jose Padilla case appears to have relied on tainted testimony. Testimony gained through torture.
We are absolutely positively NOT going to ever find out how the US Government spied on American citizens using warrantless NSA wiretapping until and unless the lawsuits against the telecom companes succeed. It's absolutely critical that Congress NOT grant immunity to the telecoms!!
Bottom line on how effective torture is:
On the morality of it:
Lewis "Scooter" Libby gives up on further legal appeals (Too expensive, too time-consuming, too little to gain) which means Bush & Cheney are now free to answer any and all questions about the Valerie Plame Wilson case. Will they? Highly unlikely, of course, but they have no plausible excuse not to now.
I can't agree that Nancy Pelosi, Jay Rockefeller and Jane Harman were all helpless to reveal the criminal treatment of suspected al Qaeda captives. It's pointed out that Congresspeople have extraordinary freedom of speech when speaking on the floor of Congress. Also, doesn't being told of criminal activity render any secrecy pledge null and void?
Update: Speaker Pelosi clarifies some items.
The WaPo's Ombudswoman Deborah Howell finally examines the front-page 29 Nov story that suggested Barack Obama was a closet Muslim. She concedes that the story is utter trash, never gets around to explaining how it got to the front page, but gets terribly sniffy and disparaging about how upset the left blogosphere got over it. Well, there's a reason people got upset!
Also, journalistic accountability appears to have been a serious problem since at least the initial reporting on Whitewater back in the early 90s.
This is not to say that we on the left love Obama. Far from it. Obama's attack on NY Times columnist Paul Krugman is unforgivable.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) discovers that "even an elementary understanding of this balance of powers eludes the Bush administration." These folks appear to have an extraordinarily expansive view of just how much power the President can apply via Executive Orders.
Oh, and the new Attorney General Michael Mukasey is formally on record stating that the President has less power than the OLC opinion in question asserts that he does.
Detailed dissections of Whitehouse's piece.
Former Senator Rick Santorum dredges up an old and very bad idea from the days of the Reagan Administration, the notion that the US can scamper about the world sparking revolutions wherever it pleases. This is neither a desirable nor a practical idea.
A detailed examination of who in the Bush White House and who in the Republican Party knew what about the Iran NIE and when. European allies are pretty pissed off at being among last to know before public at large was informed. SecState Rice doesn't appear to have been very high on the "need to know" list.
Poor Dana Perino, the White House Spokesperson, is lost and floundering while trying to explain what Bush knew and when he knew it concernig the NIE that concludes that Iran decommissioned its nuclear bomb program in 2003.
Mike Huckabee still clueless, 48 hours have passed since NIE was announced to the world, Democrats have talked about it, President has held press conference on it, Huckabee still doesn't know about it.
And where is that great political recociliation that the Bush Administratin had promised we'd have by this time?
As nobody believes that President Bush just learned in the past week that the Iranian nuclear bomb was cancelled back in 2003, the question now becomes exactly when he learned of it. One suspicion is that, because Bush suddenly changed his wording back in early August, that that's probably when he was told.
The Iraqi insurgents may simply be waiting out the "Surge" and may re-emerge once US troops start returning home just from sheer exhaustion.
More questions on the NIE involving Israel and SecState Condi's behind-the-scenes manuevering.
Examination of neocons vs conservatives. Not the same thing at all.
Why does the left blogosphere exist?!?! A look at three traditional media stories demonstrates why.
Update on third story reminds one of insubordination, but it really isn't.
are the Intelligence Community’s (IC) most
authoritative written judgments on national security issues
After having refrained
from them since the new Congress took office last year, signing
statements are back. President Bush has decided to
that he considered 11 provisions in a military appropriations bill to
be ones that he could disregard at will.
US tells Britain "Oh
can kidnap your citizens and try them here for crimes."
weekend that America viewed extradition as just
one way of getting foreign suspects back to face trial.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, said: “This law may date back to bounty hunting days, but they should sort it out if they claim to be a civilised nation.”
Columnist points out that Bush-Maliki declaration (Meant to be conclued and signed by 31 Jul 08) on "promises... [of] economic and political support, [plus which] it contemplates American 'security assurances and commitments to the Republic of Iraq to deter foreign aggression' " has no provisions that it is to require Congressional approval. That would make the whole idea of separation of powers quaint and obsolete.
S. 1959 & H.R. 1955 constitute the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007”
...the legislation has, at least, the virtue of fighting imaginary problems with pretend solutions.
There was a chance, about a year and a half ago, when an Arab-Israeli peace might have been possible. Alas, that train has long since left the station.
President Bush strongly disputes that he is "stoking the rhetoric" or conducting a "march to war" in the case of Iran. Problem: The neoconservative American Foreign Policy Council -- a reliable mouthpiece for the Office of the Vice-President, just published a 13-page report (PDF) that contains such merry gems as:
• conducting a comprehensive assessment of Iran’s operational and tactical vulnerabilities;
• building the capacity for unconventional warfare within Iran;
• targeting Iran’s ballistic missile arsenal as a way of downgrading its offensive and nuclear capabilities and;
• severing Tehran’s ties to its terrorist proxies—with force, if necessary.
But really, there's no need for concern, the Bush Administration really wants to resolve these problems peacefully, really they do.
Seems that the real projected winner of the Annapolis Peace Conference might very well be...Iran! Interesting quote:
After being EXTREMELY rude to Jane Hamsher of firedoglake, Time Magazine finally comes out with a very dodgy "correction" which, once again, makes it absolutely crystal clear that no one at Time has ever actually read the FISA bill that Joe Klein spent so much time and energy criticizing.
This is a story that really bothers me. The Bush Administration was instructed by Congress to turn over the Joint Campaign Plan for Iraq so that Congress could conduct oversight. The Bush people have declared that the work of turning over that and other documents is slow because they...
Problem: The Executive Branch has no such authority. If they are asked for documents, they must turn those documents over, period! At most, they can go to court over specific documents and state that particular items can't be shared. There is no general principle that the Executive Branch can unilaterally decide this.
Really, truly, seriously, the candidacy of Dennis Kucinich for the presidency is no joke. He may not be up to par on meaningless and irrelevant qualities such as height, but he offers good policies.
Paul Krugman offers a timely, very good and informative corrective for those who think Good Ol' Ronnie Reagan was a stand-up, non-racist kinda guy. Yeah, Reagan just made "innocent mistakes," lots and lots of such mistakes, as I recall.
In order for US troops to remain in Iraq, the US must get the UN to renew its mandate. The Iraqi Parliament is in no mood to give its consent for American troops to remain in Iraq. The US and UN are working together to sideline those troublesome Iraqis.
Renegade Republican Ron Paul appears in Philadelphia. Blogger attempts to explain the Ron Paul phenomenon.
Is Bush planning to invade Iran? A look at his consistently-dishonest speech suggests "Yes."
An examination of one suspect's journey through the legal system set up especially for Guantanamo prisoners. And yes, it's a complete cluster$#%@. Many years after being captured, the Guantanamo courts can't even decide on the prisoner's proper designation.
Karl Rove criticizes blogs for anonymous speech. First off, bloggers speak pseudonymously, not anonymously. "Digby" was the consistent name of a specific person. Very few people knew that Digby was even female, but she regularly used that same name for commenting with. On the other hand, when someone insists on commenting as a "senior administration official," then they are truly anonymous, until, that is, they're dragged into court.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s (D-OH) resolution to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney advanced in the House today, but fell short of victory by a vote of 218-194.
Bush beats Nixon's record! Bush has achieved a 50% "strongly disappprove" rating. Nixon only got 48%!
Wow! Who would have thought it? Who could ever have predicted that VP Cheney would be so solidly behind President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan?
"Pakistani opposition politicians visiting Washington have been ushered in to meet Cheney's aides, rather than taken to the State Department."
As Senator Biden puts it "...this administration has... a Musharraf policy, not a Pakistani policy."
Juan Cole is an excellent source for following events there.
Amusing fun fact: Sunni Iraqis refer to the American troops as the "al-Ameriki tribe."
Article is quite interesting. Is the "Surge" responsible for the recent drop in US combat deaths? As Iraqi violence has continued in areas where there is a mixed population, but has quieted down in areas with a high degree of ethnic uniformity, that seems unlikely. Author concludes that the decisions of tribal leaders in Anbar Province and the stand-down by Muqtada al-Sadr have combined with the success of ethnic cleansing to quiet things down.
As to the subject of diplomats being forced to serve in Iraq, I'm kind of amazed that this aspect of the case requires any comment, but here goes: As a military veteran, I was paid to serve under physically dangerous conditions (I didn't, purely because of the time period during which I served) and remember a helicopter pilot being amazed that he was not allowed to land in New Orleans shortly after Katrina on account of the rumors of snipers. He sputtered that his mission was precisely to fly his aircraft under dangerous conditions.
The point is, diplomats are under no such obligation. It is unfair and improper to ask them to serve under physically dangerous conditions as they are not military personnel.
Sy Hersh tells us the Bush Administration's plans for Iran.
Bill Kristol comes out proud and strong against kids!
Good rants about Tim Russert and "The Village" (The Washington DC "inside the beltway" punditocracy) and their insufferably lightweight ruminations and idiotic questions. Staggering to realize that such morons speak to audiences in the millions.
We of course expect to see the very same outrage over Rush Limbaugh's assertion that a soldier who doesn't support the Iraq War is, by definition, a "phony soldier" as we saw over MoveOn's Petraeus/Betray Us ad. I mean, it's not like this sort of thing is okay if one is a Republican, is it?
A look at the budget request for the Iraq War. It includes: "$1 billion to improve U.S. facilities in the region and consolidate bases in Iraq." Funny, why should a non-imperial power, with no territorial designs on the region, want to spend $1b to "improve facilities"? Also, the State Department is asking for $3.3b. Remember, the State Dept is the agency that employs Blackwater.
As Niccolo Machiavelli pointed out in The Prince, mercenaries have many disadvantages. Not much has changed since the early 1500s, a study shows that "contractors" are indispensable to the US miltary, but that they're actually doing counter-insurgecy operations more harm than good.
Lieberman-Kyl "Let's go beat the crap out of Iran" amendment passes
the Senate by a vote of 76-22.
So very, very sad to see our President make a pro-human rights, anti-tyranny speech at the UN and be the most completely non-credible spokesperson ever. Bush criticizes the "19-year reign of fear" in Burma/Myanmar, but where was he from Jan '01 to Aug '07? In Iraq, around a million Iraqis have died and around two million have been displaced. Sorry, but Bush brings zero credibility to his accusations towards other countries.
Email form for telling your Senators and Representatives "No war on Iran!"
State Department feels that information concerning Blackwater's activities is confidential and should be kept quiet. Sure, okay. But they're going much, much further. They appear to be trying to claim that Blackwater's activities should be shielded from Congressional scrutiny!!!
This cannot stand! This is of a piece with the State Department's actions to prevent Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) from investigating corruption in Iraq. There can be no legitimate reason for State to stand in the way.
Whoo-wee! people going crazy over Iranian President Ahmadinejad trying to go to Ground Zero (Former World trade Center in NYC). People looking extremely undignified over it all!
The upcoming Kyl-Lieberman amendment concerning Iran. Not good, not good at all.
A look at "real journalists" vs pundits and possible IEDs from Iran.
The question of whether violence in Iraq according to the testimony of General David Petraeus was "ethnic-sectarian violence" vs "same-sect violence" appears to be a matter of finely-drawn distinctions. It's not quite as arbitrary as whether someone was shot in the back of the head or the front, but it does bring to mind the old Clintonian quote "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."
The dust-up over the MoveOn Petraeus-Betray Us ad, seen as a battle between "The Village" (Washington DC) and the rest of the country. Not much has changed since the Monica Lewinsky days.
In my musings on religion when I was younger, I wondered what was done to bureaucrats, people who made what they considered to be insignificant decisions, but whose actions or inaction would be of tremendous significance to others.
CBS News President Andrew Heyward and Senior Vice President Betsy West were involved intimately in the editing and vetting process of the Abu Ghraib story. However, for weeks, they refused to grant permission to air the story, continuously insisting that it lacked sufficient substantiation. As Mr. Rather and Ms. Mapes provided each requested verification, Mr. Heyward and Ms. West continued to "raise the goalposts," insisting on additional substantiation.
As Heyward and West caused the captives of Abu Ghraib three unnecessary weeks of torture, I sincerely hope they have a really, really miserable afterlife.
Mapes gives her side of the story.
Rudy Giuliani makes excuses for skipping out on Iraq Study Group meetings. Latest excuse for going AWOL on ISG meetings is that they would have been inconsistent with his presidential ambitions contradicted by members who spoke with him at the time.
Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) has provided an email form so as to let your senators know that you support the Deployment to Dwell Time ratin of 1:1. It's absolutely critical that our troops not get burnt out by being deployed for too long a period (The military's preferred ratio is 1:2, one year abroad to two at home, but 1:1 is an absolutely necessary minimum floor.)
Senator Webb explains what it's all about.
Update: Amendment passes, but at 56-44 is not enough to overcome a filibuster.
Not terribly surprising when you think about it. A study on counter-insurgency (Article connects to 35-page PDFfile) shows that there is a mathematically-predictable relationship between how technologically sophisticated a force is and how effective the force is at counter-insurgency. The US is really, really bad at that because the US relies far too heavily on technology.
This is why plans to replace people on the ground with planes dropping bombs aren't worth the paper they're written on. Dropping bombs is absolutely worthless if you can't aim the bombs precisely at the bad guys. Without good intel, such aiming is impossible.
"...public opinion on Iraq is fossilized." The public was utterly unimpressed with the Petraeus-Crocker show.
Potential roadblocks in the way of continuing the occupation of Iraq.
1. Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) wants to introduce a bill to see to it that soldiers & Marines spend as much time home as they do in combat. SecDef Gates natcherly wants no part of that. Reasons are obvious: A draft would energize the anti-war movement and for Republicans to call for volunteers would expose their own chickenhawk tendencies.
2. "Iraq's Interior Ministry has revoked the license of Blackwater USA, an American security firm" that was involved in a gun battle on the 16th. Despite the fact that some folks think that Bush is promising to bring some troops home because the US has achieved such success in Iraq, it's doubtful that Iraq's Interior Ministry action will lead to any results as Blackwater accounts for about six brigades, almost exactly the amount that Bush has promised to pull out of Iraq. Those troops would have to remain if Blackwater leaves.
Update: Iraqi Government backs off from banning Blackwater. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is clearly very annoyed at Blackwater, but there's very little he can do.
Okay, listen! We have to be very clear on this. Democrats should NEVER support Republican talking points!!! Democrats should NEVER turn against online activists!!!
To Democrats: We online activists are your only true friends. You can't depend on talk radio, newspapers or TV. We're the only ones who will consistently be on your side.
Someone pointed out that the MoveOn ad was
and irresponsible because it was an ad
hominem attack (An attack against the person, not the
policy). Good point. The blog post referenced at
here makes that clear, but it should have been made clear here, as well.
It's easy to understand why some figures in the media continue to support the Iraq War at all costs, under all circumstances. Others, it's not so clear.
Well, I was all prepared to do an analysis of Bush's speech on 13 Sep, then I ran across this:
There's really no need to dig down and critique the speech on a point by point basis. It was total crap, from beginning to end.
Um, okay. I won't bother, then.
Someone did an analysis anyway.
Important!!! Please use provided email or paper mail address to comment on whether or not court filings shoud be posted to the internet. Natcherly, we're completely in favor!
BushCo says that--since they haven't seen Petraeus in a week--they clearly couldn't have given him a script for today's hearing.
Ah, but Bush & Co made a visit to a remote base in Anbar province just one week ago where Bush's whole National Security team was able to give Petraeus and Crocker a thorough briefing. So yes, it was entirely possible for the Petraeus performance to have been pre-planned.
Methodology for how US military assigns certain attacks as "sectarian" vs being a religious/ethnic killing is still classified. General Petraeus gives an explanation that generally goes "If al Qaeda does it, it's sectarian," but killings by al Qaeda tend to be hugely overcounted, so it's still a mystery as to the methodology that's used.
Media is trying to pass off the report as a hopelessly confusing sea of statistics. Don't buy it. It's not that confusing.
US deports parents of dead soldiers. The son of an undocumented worker died while fighting for the US in Haditha, Iraq. Parents are now facing deportation.
Courtesy of the ACLU, FBI National Security Letters, permitted by the Patriot Act, are now struck down as being in violation of the First Amendment and the principle of separation of powers. Yee-hah!!!!
More of this please! Hillary Clinton (Who we've been quite nasty towards in the past - for good reason) makes strong anti-war statement.
Now here's a major candidate position we can get behind!
"It’s time for Congress to stand its ground," Edwards said on the call, as transcribed by TPM's Eric Kleefeld. "If there’s no timetable, then Congress should not submit a bill." [emphasis added]
Granted, Edwards is talking tough on Iraq because he's hurtin' in the polls. Hey, we'll take what we can get!
Andrew Glass quotes David Broder: “I think the country is closely balanced, with a controlling group in the center..."
Wrong. That may have been true once, but polling shows that it's an idea whose time has come and gone. The electorate today is much more divided into liberal and conservative camps. There simply isn't much of a "center" to fight over. Broder pursues ideas like "Unity08" and a Bloomberg-Hagel ticket. Problem: Being at a center point between parties does not put one at a center point in American poltical opinion. Democrats after the 2006 election occupied the center of American political opinion, and have moved off to the rightward side of the political spectrum since.
Anticipating the Karen DeYoung/Tom Ricks report on the GAO counter-report concerning the Bush Administration/General Petraeus report. Local paper mentions GAO's dispute with Administration report and notes conflict over possible "editing" of GAO report in last two paragraphs.
Secret pact among Iraqi factions reached! In a peace plan that Americans can't appear to take any credit for (They'll try, of course) "Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr; Adnan al-Dulaimi, a leader of the largest Sunni Arab political group; and Humam Hammoudi, the Shia chairman of the Iraqi parliament's foreign affairs committee" all agreed on a plan by representatives from Finland, Northern Ireland and Nelson Mandela of South Africa.
BTW, American policies didn't have much of anything to do with the success of Anbar Province.
Was he competing with Katie Couric? Hey, at least Couric was honest about seeing only what the military wanted her to see.
Among the many other reasons that the "Petraeus Report" will be a PR spectacular is that the media was complicit in presenting it as such. The traditional media is part of the problem, the blogs and other alternative media are part of the solution.
The Atlantic wrote a good piece on Karl Rove and his relationship to the rest of the Bush Administration. Conclusion: Rove was given way, WAY too much power.
Very disturbing evidence that war with Iran is on the horizon.
Many years ago, I read in the WaPo that readers of papers and magazines not only understood news stories better than TV-watchers did, but retained the information far longer (Yes, I realized there was a conflict of interest in a paper announcing its' superiority to TV). A DailyKos writer watches TV and reports that the situation is not much better. A reporter completely misreports the 2006 midterm Congressional election in such a way as to be worse than useless. The report given viewers is just plain incorrect.
earlier read that it was fairly typical for an
to approach a South Vietnamese village and the villagers would smile,
and perhaps even cheer. Then the mines would go off or the
VietCong or North Vietnamese Army regulars would open fire.
Clearly, the villagers would have seen the VC or NVA laying mines and
either were intimidated into playing "Happy to see the Americans" or
they were perfectly happy to see Americans get shot up. The
following passage made me think of those ambushes:
I learned to be extremely wary of the Iraqi soldiers and police officers. They had outposts all over the city, but somehow they never saw or heard anything when we were attacked. At some point the decision was made to station Iraqi army regulars on our base. For some reason the mortar attacks we endured every few days became more accurate and many of the raids that we went on with them were exercises in futility because the targets seemed to know that American soldiers were on the way before we ever left the wire.
GAO leaks a report stating that only three of 18 Congressionally-mandated goals for Iraq have been met since January of this year. Killer quote:
While it makes no policy recommendations, the draft suggests that future administration assessments "would be more useful" if they backed up their judgments with more details and "provided data on broader measures of violence from all relevant U.S. agencies."Whaaa? The Bush Administration? Fudging facts and data and "intelligence and facts... being fixed around the policy"? Naw! They wouldn't do THAT, would they? [/snark]
WaPo does an excellent piece on New Orleans and its stalled reconstruction. Shipping is at 90% of pre-Katrina levels and the French Quarter is rebuilt, but the rebuilding of the levee system appears to be stalled and historical comparison is made to Galveston, a Texas port that was destroyed by a hurricane in 1900 and replaced by further-inland Houston.
To be fair, Bush's apparent post-Katrina inaction policy makes some cold, pragmatic sense. If the U.S. government is not going to rebuild the levees to survive a Category 5 storm -- to be finished at the earliest in 2015 and at an estimated cost of $40 billion, far eclipsing the extravagant bill for the entire Interstate Highway System -- then options are limited.
For the upcoming anniversary of 9-11, we present widely respected British reporter Robert Fisk. Fisk is a long-time reporter on the Middle East and was, I believe, the only independent Western reporter to be in Baghdad when it fell to the Americans in early 2003. Fisk appears to be quite skeptical of what he terms the "truthers" who insist that 9-11 was an inside job, but actually gives a very good summary of many of the troubling problems and inconsistencies about the official 9-11 report.
From the resignation speech of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez:
It is through their [DOJ employees] continued work that our country and our communities remain safe. That the rights and civil liberties of our citizens remain protected. And the hopes and dreams of all our children are secured.
So sad that an AG who did so much to destroy the "rights and civil liberties of our citizens" would stand up there and speak about those rights and civil liberties with a straight face.
Absolutely correct! Democrats, after disgracing themselves by passing the gutting of FISA, have a chance to make it up to American citizens by making certain that the next AG is truly independent from Bush. Funny, but back in the 90s, AG independence was considered to be something worth having.
Blogger thehim at Effin' Unsound does a detailed deconstruction of a piece by Joe Lieberman - The Sequel, a Democratic Congressman who's been busy chugging the Bush kool-aid. Thehim makes some very good points:
1. The people who predicted US troops would be greeted by flowers and that they would soon find Saddam Hussein's WMD are the very same people who are predicting Cambodia 1975 - The Sequel in the event US troops leave Iraq.
2. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that for the US to remain in Iraq will mean that things will improve or even remain as "good" as they are now. There's every reason to believe things will continue to deteriorate.
3. Patrick Cockburn pointed out the basic strategic problems in remaining in Iraq: Because the Shia are 60% of the population, any real democracy means that their fellow Shia in Iran will have enormous influence in any new Iraqi government. Turkey is not likely to be happy about an independent Kurdistan and may very well invade. And Sunnis are likely to find sponsors in Saudi Arabia. The "Surge" has done nothing whatsoever to change these basic facts.
The answer as to why conservatives don't enlist: they're not worthy! Y'see, they'd be a disgrace to the uniform if they enlisted, which is why chickenhawks spare the rest of us the trouble of safeguarding them!
PRAWN members have made their presidential preference clear, Dennis Kucinich is Da Man!! I have no problem defending any Democratic candidate from Republican/conservative attacks, but I've never warmed to Hillary Clinton's triangulating, DLC ways and I really, really HATE her defensive crouch and "preemptive surrender" attitude in the face of a possible sequel to 9-11. Her point in her speech was that if anything happens "with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again". PLEASE let's not hear any such "Eeyore"-type pessimism and defeatism. We progressives have zero use for such negativity.
Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell discusses warrantless wiretapping. Emptywheel summarizes:
...the government promises it will protect American persons' data, but it refused to allow any meaningful oversight of that promise.
Bush draws comparison of Iraq to Vietnam. Somehow, his suggestion that the US should keep fighting in Iraq just it "should have" kept fighting in Vietnam, doesn't strike me as a very good PR gambit. Also, the film Sir, No Sir! makes it absolutely, positively crystal clear that the US simply could not have sustained fighting n Vietnam any longer than it did so for. Very sadly, a WaPo article on Bush's big "Democracy push" starting after the 2004 election shows that, at best, he and his people had absolutely no idea how to make a policy make sense and be consistent.
I'm just absolutely baffled as to why Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin consider it a good idea to insist that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki be removed. First, his removal won't improve anything. Second, does America really want to show the world that Maliki's a helpless puppet. dangling on US strings?
It's been studied and the evidence is in. The "No New Taxes!" crowd had a great deal to do with the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis.
The "risk" of that approach was described this way: "Must pay approximately 2 million dollars to get the job done." [i.e., to fix the bridge]
A logistics and financial issue also was discussed. MnDOT officials said that if the bridge was simply inspected, the benefit would be: "Don't have to pay for steel, stockpile steel, or install steel."
Wingnutologists of a generous bent like myself [Rick Perlstein] always find ourselves thrown on the horns of an old dilemma. Conservatives: lying or stupid?
Iraqis are extremely suspicious about American-backed Oil Law. They consider it a vehicle for American theft of their oil resources. The fact that the Iraqi oil industry is seen as a symbol of Iraqi nationalism is a major complication getting in the way of passing the Oil Law.
Bonus: Bill O'Reilly on 20 June 07 "...the Iraqis have two more months. They've got two more months. And if they don't step up and help more than they're helping -- and by help, I mean, they have to pass oil legislation...it's over." [emphasis added]
Bill's statement concerning oil legislation on 20 Aug 07?
How does one know when a story is a credible one? This is a subject that the left blogosphere as a whole is very concerned with. One answer we've come up with is what we've come to call peer review. The idea is based on Open-Source technology development and scientific peer reviews (Naturally, peer review is not a panacea). A blogger puts out an idea, interested readers can then comment on it, the blogger can then read and respond in their own fashion to the comments. It may not work as well as senior review does in some ways, but many traditional news sources have had very serious credibility problems of their own over the last few decades.
The Rude Pundit reviews the Karl Rove appearances on last Sunday's talk shows. Compares Rove's speeches and talking points to those of Beelzebub. Natcherly, Beelzebub comes out looking better. (Note: Beelzebub is not another name for Lucifer, but the name of another angel who fell to the depths along with Lucifer.)
Why DO some institutions continue to exist long after they've refused to fulfill the function they were founded for? Our media pathetically failed to cover the story of Jose Padilla and what it meant for US citizens.
The most important decision taken in the Jose Padilla trial was taken before the trial started. That was the decision that Padilla was fit to take part in his own defense. He wasn't. The lengthy time he spent in sensory deprivation together with various tortures used, destroyed his personality and left him with a very bad case of Stockholm Syndrome:
"...a psychological response sometimes seen in an abducted hostage, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger (or at least risk) in which the hostage has been placed."
The White House thanked the jury for a "just" verdict.
"We commend the jury for its work in this trial and thank it for upholding a core American principle of impartial justice for all," said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House. "Jose Padilla received a fair trial and a just verdict."
IMPEACH GONZALES ALREADY!!!
Congress has MORE than enough evidence to do so, so fer cryin' out loud, DO IT ALREADY!!!
Right wing talker Melanie Morgan loses her mind! Hilarious!
The General Petraeus - Ambassador Crocker Report due September 15th appears to be no such thing. Looks like it's going to the Bush Administration report.
Oops! Now Bush doesn't even want that much. Now, he wants Petraeus to testify privately, behind closed doors.
Amazingly, the WaPo seems to still be convinced that the report will be Petraeus'.
Ah well, it's not like anyone expects Petraeus to tell the truth anyway.
Y'know, it's funny. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney really blew it with a stupid statement equating his five military-service-age sons' service on his presidential campaign with the service of US soldiers in Iraq.
And yet, the major media show an amazing lack of interest in covering the remark. Very puzzling!
Also amazing is the complete lack of coverage outside
New York City given to Rudy
Giuliani's affair with Cristyne Lategano. Not only
was Giuliai married at the time, but Lategano got a $150k per year job
out of the deal.
Karl "Turdblossom" Rove resigns effective August 31st. The media, as expected, goes over the last several years very, very lightly, acknowleding only the positive and refusing to clue us in as to what the real reasons may be. Digby examines some of the more plausible reasons as to why Rove may be going. Jane Hamsher wonders why "[Reporters are] all taking it at face value and nobody is speculating as to what the truth of the matter might be." Emptywheel examines various reasons in more detail.
Historical overview of Rove and the last seven years.
The troops are having a very, very rough time of it. The US basically has a whole army in Iraq that's not getting anywhere near enough sleep and is exhausted.
Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos vs Harold Ford of the DLC. Moulitsas wiped the floor with Ford. Markos put forth the (accurate) thesis that the DLC strives to fudge their differences with Republicans whereas he supports proud, unapologetic Democrats. Ford couldn't really answer that and tried to make it sound as though he were liberal too. Hoo-yah for all the good things the DLC has done in the past, but Markos is right, their time has come and gone.
DailyKos reprints choice bits from the dialogue.
Absolutely no two ways about it! The "Surgin' General" (Petraeus) has clearly failed. The "Surge" has accomplished nothing and needs to end.
What's incredibly sad about Bush lecturing Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki about getting too close to Tehran is that Bush really doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. Last year, we learned that Bush apparently wasn't even aware that there were two kinds of Muslims before launching the Iraq War and it's doubtful he's ever even met many Iranians, yet here he is, telling an Iraqi how bad the Iranians are!
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana) blurts
out the ugly truth:
Yup, money is very deeply involved in the reasons for
Does the Protect
America Act of 2007
have any protections in it for American citizens against government snooping? 'Fraid not. There are simply no meaningful protections for American citizens anywhere in the bill.
letter to my Representative, Allyson Schwartz (Who, I'm proud
say, voted the right way on the bill.); my basic point is that, yes,
be out manuevered by going around on their left flank. The
sad part is that FISA should not be an issue between the center and the
left, but between the far-right crazies and everybody else.
Philadelphia's Attytood blog declares that DailyKos provided the best candidate forum that we've yet seen. It helped that audience members were encouragd to be raucous and loud.
So what has Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accomplished during her entire tenure as SecState? Not much, it seems.
Greenwald's post: Democrats have absolutly no excuse for not realizing that Republican scare tactics do not work! The mid-term election of 2006 proved that decisively. Good Senator Feingold quote in there! Phoenix Woman compares Republicans to the "Good Slytherins" of the Harry Potter books. Good yuks!
Jane Hamsher of firedoglake disagrees with the WaPo piece that considers straight white males to be the "rulers" of the left blogosphere. Good tips on making oneself a "member of the club".
More on the 9-11/2B theory. Truly hate delvng into conspiracy theories, but this seems all too plausible to ignore.
Is there any sort of crisis, any need for hurry regarding the Bush Administration's request for new wiretapping authority? Nah. The technical problem that the requested legislation is supposed to fix has been known of for months. There is zero need to suddenly keep Congress in session until the legislation passes.
The bridge collapse in Minnesota has the usual villains at work, primarily the "No New Taxes!" crowd. Gotta remember, folks, a huge chunk of the nation's infrastructure was built during the New Deal. It's gotta be kept up!
Tsk, tsk. tsk! Why ARE those darn lefties so cynical?!?! Wellll...there might be a reason for that.
Vice-President Cheney issues a very interesting non-denial denial as to whether he sent Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Alberto "Fredo" Gonzales to the hospital room of a recovering John Ashcroft to "put the squeeze" on Ashcroft.
Also, Froomkin looks at how the propaganda system under the Bush Administration works. First, a piece by [Michael] O'Hanlon and [Kenneth] Pollack is put out by the NY Times describing these two fervent Bush supporters as Bush "critics," the White House faxes the piece to everyone on their list, the rest of the Mainstream Media describe them according to their own description, i.e., as "critics" of the Bush Adinistration, then Cheney cites their "skeptical" interpretation of the "surge" as reason to continue it.
No, no, no, y'all don't understand! Republican presidential candidates aren't terrified of answering live questions via YouTube from their voters, they're terrified of having their voters make YouTube videos that the rest of the country will see!
CBS News is far from the worst of the lot, but on Thursday, June 26, the channel that features Katie Couric (Who's badly in need of a ratings boost) devoted 490 words to the discussion of "Oscar," a cat who could allegedly predict the future. The Constitutional crisis involving AG Gonzales? 109 words. A dramatic, whopping grand total of one minute and 44 seconds. And this is a show that really needs the ratings!! You can write to them here and here.
The constant refrain from conservatives whenever one spoke about the horrors suffered by the Iraqi people was "Well they're a lot better off under democracy than they were under that evil dictator Saddam Hussein." Not so sure about that these days. Oxfam reports that about a third of the population, about eight million Iraqis, require immediate, emergency aid.
15 percent of Iraqis cannot regularly afford to eat, and 70 percent are without adequate water supplies
Said it before and will say it again as many times as needed: IMPEACH GONZALES!!!!
Anonymous Liberal goes over the evidence that Attorney General Gonzales repeatedly, consciously and deliberately lied to Congress. The NY Times agrees and TPM points out Gonzales can be impeached even if he resigns! TPM further wonders just what exactly it is that's being covered up.
other people weigh in and declare that Bush's program is SO
("How illegal is it?" "Oh, man, it is SO illegal...")
Tsk, tsk, tsk! The Iraqis have failed to
pass the Oil
Law thay would give Iraqi oil resources over to the
WhatEVER are we gonna do with those people?!?
Is the 9-11/2B
looming? Disturbing signs that it might be.
Generation" has nothing to be ashamed of, but neither are
particularly heroic or any more likely to join the military than their
Gee, wow, amazing. What an unexpected surprise. After Republican Senators defended the Bush Administrations' plans for the "Surge," it turns out that Bush & pals plan to stay in Iraq for several more years. I bet those Senators feel really smart right now!
Congress takes the first step towards enforcing its will on the Bush Administration. An examination of their next steps/options.
A meditation on the meaning and significance of partisanship. Not such a bad thing, actually.
Yes, Anbar Province is getting more secure; no, the "surge" has nothing to do with it. As Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) puts it:
...the people in al-Anbar are not aligning themselves with the United States. It's "The enemy of the enemy is my friend."
This hasn't been the Iraqi military, the national military that's been taking out al-Qaeda. It's been a redneck justice. It's been these sectarian groups out there who don't like al-Qaeda. And if we leave, they still will not like al-Qaeda.
The American people and politicians like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are WAY ahead of the Washington DC punditocracy and the Republican Party. They recognize the stress that the troops are undergoing and are determined to make the government listen!
The WaPo takes the very
odd view that Bush and the Republicans are anxious to reach a
compromise with Democrats. Er, sorry, but Bush and the
Republicans have been doing their level best to avoid anything even
Bush makes a grab for still more power. These people are determined to avoid accountability!
Bill O'Reilly's comparison of DailyKos to the KKK and the Nazis misrepresents both groups. It greatly exaggerates the distance of DailyKos from the American mainstream political discourse (Kos doesn't agree with the Washington pundits, but is otherwise solidly in the American consensus) and it make the Nazis/KKK appear much friendlier and more mainstream then they really are.
Bush makes a grab for worrisome new powers. Allegedly wants to go after those who are threatening "the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq." Not at all clear who he's aiming at or who will get swept up in that net.
Bob Geiger is covering the Senate all-nighter wherein the Democrats try to force the Republicans to be upfront about their obstructionism. Senator Carl Levin speaks of Bush's lies concerning "progress" in Iraq.
And the crowds turn out to support the Democratic effort.
President Bush wants a Mideast summit. Sounds good, but the quote here reveals the catch:
Palestinians [are] divided between the Fatah-controlled West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza. Hamas is unlikely to be invited: Mr Bush said it must first renounce violence and recognise Israel.
In other words, "we'll deal with our friends (i.e., people who are pre-disposed to agree with us) and ignore our enemies (i.e., people likely to stand up for their own national interests)." Yes, there are alternatives, but we'll just get the same-old, same-old. This is going to be strictly a photo-op summit.
Amazingly, NOT all Democratic Senators, including Pennsylvania's own Senator Robert Casey, have signed onto the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007.
Why not!?!?! How can such a basic right NOT get the immediate and enthusiastic support of all those who purport to take America's democracy seriously?!?!
Mary Shaw of Amnesty International talks about how "A vote for Bush was a vote for the terrorists"
Excellent 10-minute video from Britain's Guardian following an American unit in Baghdad over a short period of time. The occupation is a huge burden on both US soldiers and Iraqi residents.
During the Reagan Administration, liberals charged that conservatives looked back fondly upon the 1950s, the pre-civil rights, pre-women's liberation era. There were then suspicions that many economic conservatives were nostalgic for the Robber Baron era (Late 1800s) when unrestrained capitalism ruled and there were no ecological regulations, unions weren't allowed and there weren't many taxes. Now with the Bush Administration, it appears that some Cheneyite conservatives are looking back even further, to the Age of Absolutism (1660-1789). Presidential aide Sara Taylor "slips" twice and describes herself as having taken an oath, not to the country, but to the President.
continues! Yee-hah!! Looks like Bush, after Clinton
it, will also lose "Fast-Track
Trade Auuthority." This law allows the President to
Congress trade agreements on a strict "yes-or-no" basis, with no
amendments allowed for things like labor rights or environmental
protections. LeftCoaster commends
Democrats for getting the messaging right.
chutzpah of the right-wing commentators still retains
power to amaze and mystify. NBC News
correspondent Chip Reid asserted that the current legislature was a
"do-nothing Congress." This completely ignores the fact that
Republicans have fought tooth and nail to prevent Congress
"Retired Major General John Batiste, a former division commander in Iraq turned critic of the war", gives the Bush Administration a hard time over their recent attributing of just about all enemy action to al Qaeda. Batiste, BTW, is a serious, hard-core Republican.
This shift in rhetoric has attracted attention from the left blogosphere.
Coulter insults John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards responds,
goes nuts, Edwards
makes lots in campaign contributions. Elizabeth
very slowly to Wolf Blitzer, what the fuss is all about.
One of the big criticisms of Joe Klein's actions during Sept 02 to Mar 03 was that he was allegedly a liberal. He was, quite reasonably, expected to represent the liberal point of view, to tell TV viewers how liberals viewed the events and arguments of the day. Klein miserably, thoroughly failed to do this job. Fox News presented yet another alleged liberal who, again, is miserably and thoroughly failing to do what we progressives quite reasonably expect him to do.
VP Cheney doesn't
seem to want any oversight. Not that that's
new. What's new is that the media appears to have rubbed the
sleep out of its' eyes and appears to be paying attention.
submitted more than a dozen copies of his report through
several channels at the Pentagon and to the Central Command
headquarters, in Tampa, Florida, which ran the war in Iraq.
But several weeks
Taguba recalled Rumsfeld saying, “just a Secretary of
Defense, and we have not seen a copy of your report. I have not seen
the photographs, and I have to testify to Congress tomorrow and talk
about this.” As Rumsfeld spoke, Taguba said,
“He’s looking at me. It
was a statement.”
Rumsfeld was obviousky
what we call
"playing stupid" and clearly
knew what was going on.
identity and even the gender of Digby has long been a subject
Uh. Mah. Gawd. Did Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia really say that!?!?! Did he really bring up the fictional terrorist-fighter Jack Bauer during a discussion of real-life torture?!?!? Yup! As Atrios often says: "We are ruled by idiots!"
Former CIA officers ask Republican National Committee to please stop trashing national security and respect the decision of Judge Walton in the Lewis Libby case.
NY Times writer scores a two-fer! Author manages to smear both China & Iran! Hitler lost a two-front war, the US appears to be headed for a three-front war!
Tim Russert got the chance to demonstrate that he could take a pro-Constitutional view of the Lewis Libby case and completely blew it by asking his two hard-core right-wing guests to examine the issue exclusively from the standpoint of "Is it good for Bush and the Republicans?" The liberal guests were ignored.
*Sigh!* Looks like the NY Times is up to the same ol' same ol'.
Even beyond its nuclear program, Iran is emerging as an increasing source of trouble for the Bush administration by inflaming the insurgencies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and in Gaza, where it has provided military and financial support to the militant Islamic group Hamas, which now controls the Gaza Strip. [blogger's emphasis]
Greenwald examines each claim in turn and finds evidence sorely lacking in each case. Particularly noteworthy is the following:Hamas is not an "insurgency," but rather, the majority party which was democratically elected by the Palestinians. Theoretically, at least, to aid Hamas is to aid the democratically elected majority party in the Palestinian Authority, not arming an "insurgency."
Lewis Libby is off to
Judge Walton said the
decision was not a close call. Libby was clearly
his trial was pretty much trouble free. The legal questions
nowhere near strong enough to warrant keeping Libby out of jail until
his appeals are exhausted. Was the verdict a victory for
not. It was a victory for the rule of law, the
accountability and a conservative, Republican judge who refused to be
Tony Snow incredulous
that for Americans to protect Constitutional rights for terrorists
means protecting constitutional rights for everyone. What
that mean for the President's
understanding of how US law works?!?!?!
Massachusetts now irrevocably
pro-gay marriage. Opponents needed 50 state
to get anti-gay marriage question on ballot and only got 45.
Saw the article
"Bush rebuked on combatant" and immediately
banged off a letter basically going "Yahoo! Yippee! Far out!"
did notice that the article didn't mention anything about what the
courts decision meant via-a-via the 700-year-old right known
habeas corpus. A blogger surveys the anti-due-process
people who simply do not believe in the principles on which this
country was founded and wonders why this case was even argued or how
people can defend it.
Ian Welsh of firedoglake does an excellent piece (Lengthy at 29 kilobytes) on guerilla warfare and the situation in Iraq. Essentially, there are two ways for an occupation force to win a guerilla war, neither of which the US is successfully pursuing.
With low approval ratings and the race to succeed him well under way, [President Bush's] ability to push his agenda has faded to the point where he can fairly be judged to have entered his lame duck period.
It's absolutely amazing, but people seem to think that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby should be pardoned! It's hard to imagine someone less deserving of a pardon than someone who was found guilty of four out of five felony counts by a very serious and conscientious jury.
suggests that Bush deploy new Star Wars/ ABM/ Missile Defense system in
Gabala, Azerbaijan. Russia is leasing that site until 2012. Bush
demonstrates the anti-Russian nature of ABM system by
refusing. Turns out system is not fully tested anyway and
and Czechoslovakia aren't too enthusiastic about deploying it to begin
I. Lewis "Scooter"
absolutely no remorse, gets sentenced to 30 months.
will be a hearing later to finalize the sentence, but it loks like
Libby's going away for a long time.
James Carville was the only alleged liberal to have signed a letter asking for clemency for Libby. Carville needs to be tossed out of the liberal treehouse.
Orcinus gives a (I hate to use the term, but it's
and genuinely appropriate here) fair
and balanced view of Jerry Falwell's political work and
impact. Also, let's not confuse the workings
of the free market with "McCarthyism." They're really not the
thing at all.
[Joe] Scarborough says that if we don't like shock jocks, we should change the channel. But he seems to ignore the fact that if enough people change the channel, those who own the channel are going to get the message. What happens next is not "McCarthyism," or "lynching" or "censorship." It's called the free market -- you know, the same one the right wing is always insisting is the ultimate solution to all our problems.
The Left Coaster asks the question:
Did the Americans and Iraqis talk about the likely impact to the country’s detention system before the surge was implemented?
The answer: Apparently not. Not only are Iraqis being swept up and tossed into jail, the jails are so overcrowded that Iraqis not proven to be guilty are tossed in with hardened criminals.
A year ago, the number of Americans who favored impeachment was about a third, now it's just short of 40%. How is the WaPo handling the issue? "We're not. I haven't seen the polling that you are referring to, and until I do, I won't quite believe it."
Update: Media Matters finds that the WaPo has lots and lots of blind spots when it comes to the left blogosphere and their successes.
Iraq War being censored. Iraq is now limiting
how much coverage from the battlefield reporters will be
Day and peace,
a subversive idea back in 1870, but one with more relevance than ever.
Includes video with some well-known moms reading the original
Book review of "The Thumpin," the clobbering of the Republicans in the 2006 mid-term election that restored Congress to the Democrats for the first time since the "Republican Revolution" of 1994. Focuses on Rahm Emanuel, a conservative Democrat who contributed to getting NAFTA through, so he's not entirely a good guy. Book gives ample credit to bloggers/netroots and widespread disgust with Bush Administration, though.
Speaker Pelosi informs us as to the details on the compromise bill being offered for funding the Iraq War. Timelines are out, but bill only covers until July, after which Congress re-considers the matter.
VoteVets.org is unleashing an ad
against vulnerable Republican Congresspeople who won't vote
override Bush's veto under the slogan “Protect America, not
Bush.” As firedoglake
puts it "Hardball. We like."
Update: Retired General Batiste, who starred in the
fired for doing so. Case is one of blatant
Slate informs us "No, no, President Bush doesn't hate black people, he just hates black voters." Granted, that's what we call a "distinction without a difference."
Tornado hits Kansas town and causes massive devastation. Well, call out the National Guard...what's that? Most of them and their equipment are in Iraq?!?!? Of course FEMA, under Republican leadership, is as useless as ever.
Poor David "Dean" Broder! Poor guy appears ready for the rocking chair!
Frederick Kagan, author of the "surge," defends his handiwork. Includes a very, very interesting paragraph that, on closer examination, probably never occurred at all.
Bush's strategy in Iraq endorsed! Yes, President Bush must be happy now that his strategy in Iraq is endorsed! Who endorsed it? Let's see, it's...um...er, ...gee, let's think about this, it was endorsed by Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda's number two guy!
The noose appears to be getting tighter around the neck of Secretary of State Rice. Rice denied that the trip to Syria that Speaker Pelosi took last month prepared the way for, or encouraged, Rice to go herself.
Why might Rice be so hostile and defensive? It might be because a State Department analyst named Simon Dodge was convinced that, shortly before President Bush spoke the infamous "16 words" about Iraq seeking yellowcake uranium from Niger, he knew that story wasn't true and wanted the 16 words deleted from the speech. Rice is now seeking to prevent Dodge from testifying to Henry Waxman's committee.
at all clear that the Democrats are going to cave
to the White House on the war-funding bill. Who told the WaPo
that question was decided is
mystery. There are many options on the table and a final
is far from settled on.
Hillary Clinton & Robert Byrd want to de-authorize the Iraq War.
Glenn Greenwald documents the seriously
pathetic corruption and decadence of our press
corps. Very, very sad:
In your case, much of
criticism comes from a
distinct ideological perspective. That's fine, but surely you must
appreciate that not everyone acts with your degree of ideological
motivation. In the case of people at Politico, our motivations are
simple -- to write interesting and worthwhile stories and to put those
stories before largest possible audience.
Bush vetoes "emergency" war spending bill (Thereby activating the protest at the NW of City Hall) Interesting contradiction between how seriously he takes the commanders in the field and how seriously he expects everyone else to take them.
signed a highly confidential order in
March 2006 delegating
to two of his top aides ... extraordinary authority over the
and firing of most
non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department. ...
[they were given authority over] matters pertaining to the appointment, employment, pay, separation, and general administration" of virtually all non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appears
to think she's above the law. She doesn't feel like
responding to the Congressional subpoenas.
Oh, and she doesn't understand why the US should have responded to the bombing of the USS Cole.
Bill Moyers' "Buying the War" is making a big, big splash amongst the media elite in Washington DC. There will be a few 3:00am and 2:00am showings over the next week to set your VCR for if you've missed it. The amazing thing is that the media elite really doesn't see that they did anything wrong in the run-up to the Iraq War.
BagNewsNotes notices something quite interesting. There are very, very few photos of the newly erected walls in Baghdad that are supposed to keep neighborhoods safe from each other (and that others have compared to the walls erected around Jewish ghettos during World War II in Europe). It's understandable why the Bush Administration wants to keep the walls invisible, but why is the so-called "free press" collaborating to hide the walls?
last Democratic presidential candidate has now come out
against permanent military bases in Iraq. This is the primary
difference between Democrats & Republicans. Keeping permanent
military bases in Iraq is a major
component of the neocon plan to dominate the Mideast
Michael Chertoff (Head of DHS) takes issue with Zbigniew Brzezinski's criticism of the use of the term "War on Terror" in his 25 March WaPo op-ed. BTW, I've never understood the assertion that al Qaeda and/or Hamas and/or Hezbollah are either fascist or totalitarian. Those concepts simply don't apply. The terms are simply meaningless when applied to those groups.
Sen Joe Lieberman (I-CT) spoke in response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, saying that the Iraq War was lost. Joe said:
This week witnessed horrific terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists in Iraq, killing hundreds of innocent civilians and leading Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to declare that the war is "lost."
With all due respect, I strongly disagree. Senator Reid’s statement is not based on military facts on the ground in Iraq and does not advance our cause there."Uh, sorry Joe, but the fact that the bad guys were able to launch "horrific attacks" IS one of the "military facts on the ground." Such attacks cannot happen without some degree of popular support. Just because Americans may not like these guys doesn't mean we can arbitrarily announce that no one else supports them either.
Michael Smerconish is slated to replace Don Imus. Why? Hard to say. With Americans getting more progressive and more supportive of Democrats, it's difficult to see why Smerconish is thought to appeal to anybody. Why not a female?
Comments on Virginia Tech shootings, where 33 persons died. Tamara K. Nopper worries about how the media will handle the ethnicity of the killer. James Wolcott reprints a marvelously eloquent scolding of Virginia and its lax gun laws. An Australian newspaper examines the politics of gun control.
Summaries of Attorney General Gonzalez hearing. Very poor, unsatisfactory job by Gonzales, who didn't give any real answers, at great length.
Digby makes some very good points about communication. One extremely important point is that Clinton had the gift for it and Bush just plain doesn't.
Very curious piece on Attorney General Gonzales' upcoming testimony. Gonzales talks about how fair and well-planned the review process was for US Attorneys. Problem: Why was any review process needed to begin with? Traditionally, US Attorneys are appointed at the beginning of the President's first term and they then remain in their jobs until that President leaves office.
Some background as to what Gonzales will be testifying about.
Looks like the smoking gun has been located! The Albuquerque Journal has placed President Bush, Karl Rove & Alberto Gonzales at the very center of the scandal of the unwarranted firing of eight US Attorneys. As of 9:00pm, April 15th, all three have reacted to the discovery with complete silence.
The US apparently offered to "...take military action on behalf of the 15 British sailors and marines held by Iran, including buzzing Iranian Revolutionary Guard positions with warplanes."
This of course risked war with Iran.
Please keep in mind that "...the President already asked for the authority to attack Iran and Syria and was absolutely denied."
militarily. Hardening the rest of the city's bridges against further attacks will add still more hardship and inconvenience to the lives of citizens of Baghdad. This is looking like a very professional well-planned, counter-move against the "surge" (Properly referred to as an "escalation" as there's no indication that it will ever recede.)
Senator Russ Feingold takes a careful look at National Security Letters and finds, quite predictably, that, given free reign to do whatever they pleased, the FBI got sloppy. Almost 150,000 letters (And possibly 30,000 on top of that) have been issued over the course of three years.
But that is not all.
Once information is obtained through an NSL, the
Inspector general reported that the FBI retains it indefinitely and
uploads it into databases like the "Investigative
where it is retrievable by the thousands of authorized personnel, both
inside and outside the FBI
White House spins the meaning and significance of demonstration by tens of thousands of Iraqis. In response to:
Demonstrators ripped apart American flags and tromped across a Stars and Stripes rug flung on the road between the two holy cities for the huge march.
The White House declared:
While we have much more progress ahead of us -- the United States, the coalition and Iraqis have much more to do -- this is a country that has come a long way from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.
It's becoming clear that Speaker Pelosi was sandbagged in Syria. She was set up to go to the Mideast without knowing that the folks back home would pull the chair out from under her. The suspicion is that Cheney had both the motive and the opportunity to do so. Not surprisingly, Bush was informed of Pelosi's trip beforehand.
Whether one calls it Star Wars, SDI or Missile
it's a program that for about 50 years has
failed to produce a decent defense against
missiles. It is,
however, potentially effective as a first-strike weapon and it most
certainly effective at making loads of cash for its manufacturers
(Between 1983 & 2001, it made about $60
The Bush Administration is amazed
considers extending a Star Wars system into Eastern Europe as
My, my, my, people are getting so upset!
Leahy (D-VT) is
losing patience with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and is
that Gonzales hurry up
and deliver specified documents to Congress. Not only that,
Gonzales & Co are redacting information
It's one thing when the media (Specifically
CNN and the
people like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, it's quite
when they can't even get their facts straight. Seriously,
people. Get your act together!
Matters has more on Speaker Pelosi's trip.
So incredibly annoying to see Barack Obama breaking ranks and coming out against both Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi and their attempts to make President Bush accountable to the American people. Obama's done this before. Howard Dean strongly disputed the notion that any Democrat had taken money from convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Obama was later asked about it and started fudging the issue and getting it all fuzzy and complicated. Obama should sit out this campaign and try again when he's more experienced and can stay on-message.
Jerusalem Post warns that US might nuke Iran "perhaps 'from 4 a.m. until 4 p.m. on April 6,' according to reports in the Russian media on Saturday."
Fate of five detained Iranians unknown.
Iran shows video of British military person admitting incursion.
Bush: "Iran actions inexcusable"
Terry Jones of Monty Python fame weighs in (Snark).
Robert Parry examines "Selective Outrage."
Update on firing of US Attorneys - a 35-year Justice Department lawyer tells us that the firings are not business as usual, Mother Jones looks over the funky email addresses the Bush Administration used and mystery lady Monica Goodling is profiled.
USAToday, CNN, CBS and the NY Times all look at Congressional requests for Bush Administration figures to testify publicly or at least with a transcript being taken and very importantly, under oath. Apparently, White House senior adviser Karl Rove and former White House counsel Harriet Miers feel:
"that voluntary discussions behind the scenes [are] good enough."
Media people need to explain to the public why such discussions are NOT "good enough!"
April 18th, Democratic Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Representative Henry Waxman, has invited Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to testify about 16 letters that he wrote her while he was in the minority and that she never answered. Should requires lots of popcorn!! Bwah-ha-ha!!! Nah, seriously, Rice is expected to blow it off. She can't be bothered with stuff like this. The fact that Waxman has the legal authority to compel her presence means nothing to a member of the Bush Administration.
Iraq has a very, very bad day. Over 100 people die and almost 200 wounded in suicide bombings. Senator John McCain makes crazy comments about how safe Baghdad is, then Joe Lieberman makes some not-insane comments. The CNN correspondent agrees that things are a bit better, BUT:
Their enemies, the
insurgents and the Shia militias, are, by and
large, laying low at the moment, waiting to get the shape of this
NY Times does it again! They cover the special roadside bombs that fire molten blobs of copper at nearby targets and they blame Iran for producing them. Problem: The bombs are very simple items to produce and there's no evidence Iran has anything to do with them. Article notable for lots and lots of anonymous sources.
Very illuminating quote concerning the firing of US Attorneys. Our decadent, useless press corps displays their haughty disdain for the concerns of us common folk. Further evidence that the press just doesn't take the attorney firings very seriously.
many, many links to Iraqi blogs running the gamut of
opinion and including art & poetry.
James Wolcott refers to Bush's mini-press conference on the attorney-firing scandal as the "most Nixonian performance of Bush's presidency." Robert Kuttner suggests we dispense with Bush's advice that Karl Rove and Harriet Miers be interviewed in private, without oaths and without transcripts by cutting to the chase and impeaching Attorney General Gonzales.
Troop Readiness, Veteran's Health and Iraq Accountability Act
squeaker of a vote, 218 to 212.
Progressives had to be brought onboard and liberal blogs thought it was less than perfect, but they all lined up and supported it. Will Bush veto it? Most likely, but that then puts the onus of the Iraq War squarely on his shoulders.
Looks like it's now time for a full-blown Constitutional Crisis. The Democrats are considering subpoenas for Bush Administration personnel, Bush thinks he might not cooperate.
The issue of our
indeed the issue for the modern Democratic Party is whether or not this
group of Democratic leaders has the stomach to wage that fight even if
lose. It is not a partisan issue: legislative branch prerogatives hang
the balance here because the Congress will be eviscerated if this fight
is not waged now.
Victoria Toensing was the opposition person at Valerie Plame Wilson's hearing on Friday. Emptywheel deconstructs her speech. Toensing uses extreme interpretation that in the real world, translate to little or no protection for covert agents. David Fiderer also points out that her talking points are all two years old and were never that good to begin with.
Judges aren’t stupid. They know the difference between fanciful speculation and real evidence.
Suggestions on how the US can sanctify
and purify itself after the toxic presence of the Bush
Administration has been expelled from our land.
Mrs Valerie Plame Wilson testifies under oath before Congress . Yes, she was a covert agent . Yes, it was a crime to reveal her identity. No, she had nothing to do with sending Joe Wilson to Niger to investigate the supposed Iraqi attempt to purchase yellowcake uranium.
Very interesting questions asked by a real reporter (i.e. not a stenograper). Seems that during the Clinton Administration, the government passed the Presidential Records Act that covers the little matter of staff emails and how ALL staff emails are supposed to be received and sent on government accounts so that proper records can be kept. What did investigators find?
...the general rule at the White House is that if it's really sensitive, don't put it in writing -- certainly not in an e-mail.
That stuff gets archived.
Bush is running a criminal enterprise. Like a pirate ship or a mafia family, it's an organization that's designed to commit crimes.
is pretty much THE source to go to on the US Attorney
This particular piece features a prosecuter who really should not have been
The Bush Administration's "diplomacy"
with Iran is no such thing. They should not
make the claim that they're seriously pursuing any such
Aw c'mon guys! We can do better than this! Only eight nine papers have dropped Ann Coulter's column since she called Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards the (six-letter) F-word! Firedoglake gives us the list so that we can contact the holdouts.
Also has some interesting stuff on reporters who can't count and Matt Drudge's hugely inflated viewership numbers.
very sad tale of how prisoners are treated at Guantanamo.
Guards have been absolutely terrified by tales of the
powers their prisoners are said to possess. It's even
that prisoners can accurately reconstruct the present-day looks of
people they last saw, at best, five
years ago. This is of course presuming that the prisoners
to do any such thing or that
guards can tell when the prisoner belives he's telling the truth.
Uruknet answers Time Magazine's query as to why Sunnis and Shiites hate each other. Actually, they got along pretty well with each other right up until the US occupied their counry. Also raises some very interesting questions about car bombs.
Documentation as to why people consider Fox News to be a GOP propaganda network.
I don’t know who I’m fighting most of the time."
Almost every foot soldier interviewed during a week of patrols on the streets and alleys of east Baghdad said that Bush's plan would halt the bloodshed only temporarily. The soldiers cited a variety of reasons, including incompetence or corruption among Iraqi troops, the complexities of Iraq's sectarian violence and the lack of Iraqi public support, a cornerstone of counterinsurgency warfare.
"They can keep sending more and more troops over here, but until the people here start working with us, it's not going to change," said Sgt. Chance Oswalt, 22, of Tulsa, Okla.
Like so many other Americans, today and throughout our history, we serve and have served, not for political reasons, but because we love our country. On the political issues – those matters of war and peace, and in some cases of life and death – we trusted the judgment of our national leaders. We hoped that they would be right, that they would measure with accuracy the value of our lives against the enormity of the national interest that might call upon us to go into harm’s way.
We owed them our loyalty, as Americans, and we gave it. But they owed us – sound judgment, clear thinking, concern for our welfare, a guarantee that the threat to our country was equal to the price we might be called upon to pay in defending it.
made me sick.