Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Strategery for Victory

Bush made another speech this morning, deciding to finally come up with a Strategy for Victory THREE YEARS into a war.

Pardon me for pointing this out, but shouldn't he have had a Strategy for Victory when he STARTED the bloody thing? I mean, since it WAS "at a time and place of our choosing," after all, he MIGHT have laid down a plan or two from the get-go. But no. That would require competence.

A couple of things I noticed, though (actually from the text of the proposal, not the speech. The speech said the same thing in nearly the same words, though):

"Iraq would become a safe haven from which terrorists could plan attacks against America, American interests abroad, and our allies."

You know what that is? It's an admission that this was a completely disastrous thing to do. Because there was no danger that Iraq could become a such a safe haven before we invaded.

We CAUSED the place to become a possible "safe haven from which terrorists could plan attacks against America." We TURNED it into another Afghanistan. We invaded, and we left the borders unguarded and we let the terrorists in.

Now Al Qaeda has the chance to establish a beachhead in the Middle East, and Bush ADMITS that. Thanks to him.

"The enemy is a combination of rejectionists, Saddamists, and terrorists affiliated with or inspired by Al Qaida. Distinct but integrated strategies are required to defeat each element."

In that part of his speech, Bush pointed out that the largest group was Sunnis - NOT terrorists. The largest group that makes up what Bush calls "the enemy" is Iraqis. And they are being driven to fight by the fact of our presence. Our presence in the country is CAUSING an uneasy alliance between terrorists and Sunnis, on the principle of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

You know what I think will happen if we leave? There may well be a civil war. But - and some of you may find this a bit unsettling - if Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds finally start fighting each other, like they've been wanting to for the last century, well, let them. Not our business. It isn't worth US having a war to prevent THEM from having a war. They want one, anyway.

But what will also happen is that the Sunnis will start fighting Al Qaeda, which they aren't doing NOW. They don't like those people. Al Qaeda are maniacs who keep setting off suicide bombs and killing civilians. The Iraqis HATE them. But right now, we and the Iraqi Army are fighting the Sunnis AND Al Qaeda. But if we leave, resistance to our occupation will be removed as a rallying cry and a point of alliance, and the Iraqi Army AND the Sunnis AND the Shii'ites AND the Kurds will ALL start fighting Al Qaeda.

I don't think there is a chance in hell of Al Qaeda actually taking over in Iraq - they are grossly outnumbered and hated by the whole country. UNLESS WE STAY. Because our presence there forms a flashpoint of unity for groups that would normally be at enmity, and is enabling Al Qaeda to gain support - or at least a lack of opposition - from those who would normally hate them.

This is a disaster. Bush caused the disaster. Our invasion caused the disaster. Leaving will END the disaster.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I've got a little list

From Bill O'Reilly's website:

A Message from Bill: Media Operations that Traffic in Defamation

The following media operations have regularly helped distribute defamation and false information supplied by far left websites:

- New York Daily News

- The St. Petersburg Times


These are the worst offenders. In the months to come, we expect to add more names to this list. We recommend that you do not patronize these operations and that advertisers do the same. They are dishonest and not worth your time and money.

I just sent him an email (

Mr. O'Reilly:

Please place me on your list of media operations that help distribute defamation supplied by far left websites.

Thank you for you consideration.

According to Newsweek, some soldiers are coming forward with accusations of torture.

It's just the beginning.

The Republicans would LIKE it to be over. They would LIKE Cunningham's guilty plea to be the end of it.

But it won't be. We are likely seeing a mere trickle in a flood of corruption.

It's not just Cunningham and Scanlon - both guilty. It's not just that DeLay and Abramoff have been indicted. It's not just that Frist and Rove are under major serious investigation.

Cunningham has agreed to cooperate with investigators.

That means that there is something further being investigated that he CAN cooperate with.

MZM, Inc - one of the Defense Contractor that bribed Cunningham - is a large contributor to a PAC called the New Republican Majority Fund.

1) MZM, Inc, has ties to many Republicans politicians.

2) They have a clear, large monetary interest in influencing legislation.

3) They bribed a Congressman. That makes it pretty certain that they TRIED to bribe other Congressmen.

How much does Cunningham know about those bribes?

This is just the beginning.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Bush II: The Unraveling

Colin Powell's ex-aide has just ripped the Bush Administration another asshole, and the Bushies sound downright bonkers. Emphases mine:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday that wrongheaded ideas for the handling of foreign detainees arose from White House and Pentagon officials who argued that "the president of the United States is all-powerful" and the Geneva Conventions irrelevant.

In an Associated Press interview, former Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson also said President Bush was "too aloof, too distant from the details" of postwar planning. Underlings exploited Bush's detachment and made poor decisions, Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson blamed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and like-minded aides. He said Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard."

There's more.

Bush II: The Unraveling

Colin Powell's ex-aide has just ripped the Bush Administration another asshole, and exposed a crew that sounds flat bonkers. Emphases mine:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday that wrongheaded ideas for the handling of foreign detainees arose from White House and Pentagon officials who argued that "the president of the United States is all-powerful" and the Geneva Conventions irrelevant.

In an Associated Press interview, former Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson also said President Bush was "too aloof, too distant from the details" of postwar planning. Underlings exploited Bush's detachment and made poor decisions, Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson blamed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and like-minded aides. He said Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard."

There's more.
Here is Duke's resignation letter, and I am genuinely impressed. Would that the rest of the Republicans had the honesty to face up to their own actions. Note to George: This is how a Christian is supposed to handle his own wrongdoing.

Statement by Randy "Duke" Cunningham

I am resigning from the House of Representatives because I've compromised the trust of my constituents.

When I announced several months ago that I would not seek re-election, I publicly declared my innocence because I was not strong enough to face the truth. So, I misled my family, staff, friends, colleagues, the public -- even myself. For all of this, I am deeply sorry.

The truth is -- I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my high office. I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, and most importantly, the trust of my friends and family.

Some time ago, I asked my lawyers to inform the U.S. Attorney Carol Lam that I would like to plead guilty and begin serving a prison term. Today is the culmination of that process. I will continue to cooperate with the government's ongoing investigation to the best of my ability.

In my life, I have known great joy and great sorrow. And now I know great shame. I learned in Viet Nam that the true measure of a man is how he responds to adversity. I cannot undo what I have done. But I can atone. I am now almost 65 years old and, as I enter the twilight of my life, I intend to use the remaining time that God grants me to make amends.

The first step in that journey is to admit fault and apologize. The next step is to face the consequences of my actions like a man. Today, I have taken the first step and, with God's grace, I will soon take the second.

Thank you.

The PR is Offensive

For the last two weeks or more, America has been attacked with an absurd White House PR offensive.

The good news is that the White House seems to have given up on defending the Iraq Disaster

The bad news is that they are trying to figure out who else to blame.

They are defending their own debacle by claiming that The Democrats Agreed With Them.

Please note that this claim is an admission that the thing was a giant fuckup from the get-go. If they are trying to cast blame - and they are - it's an admission that the situation warrants blame.

But, aside from the satisfaction one feels at watching arrogant idiots who swore that everything they did was WONDERFUL reduced to blaming everybody else for what they did, the fact is that the claim itself is a stone lie: Congress did not have the same information as the White House. Period. But despite the fact that this has been pointed out again and again they keep repeating it. Because lies are the only defense that they have left.

Congress had ONLY the information that the White House chose to share. And the White House ONLY shared information that bolstered their position. The doubts, the questions, the contradiction and the disagreements were never shown to Congress. So Congress could ONLY conclude Hussein had WMDs, or accuse the White House of falsifying the evidence.

Yes, it turns out that the White House DID falsify the evidence, but it is ludicrous to have expected Congress to make that claim way back when. Somebody should tell Dick Cheney that "You fucked up. You trusted us" is intended as a joke, not a serious defense.

Much of this disaster has been caused by the unwillingness of decent people to believe that the folks in the White House are as thoroughly dishonest, greedy, and evil as they did, in fact, turn out to be.

And, in addition, Congress didn't even actually vote for the war. They voted to give Bush the authority to wage war should it become necessary. They did this to give Bush a big stick to use when placing pressure on Iraq: to force Hussein to let weapons inspectors in. And this WORKED - Hussein DID let them in. But when those inspectors said that the claims of WMDs seemed not to be panning out,. Bush's response was to try and discredit them, change the conditions whereby he would start a war, kick them out of the country and invade.

Remember that: Bush started the war after those who were actually on the ground told him that they hadn't found any weapons.

And Congress didn't vote for anything LIKE that. And claiming that they did doesn't make it so.

Iraq is Bush's baby. And it's one ugly baby. It's so ugly that he's trying to claim that it actually belongs to someone else.

And, hilariously, he keeps insisting that it's GOING WELL - while trying to blame Congress for it.

Hey, George, most Americans aren't as dumb as you are: If you REALLY thought Iraq was going well, you wouldn't be trying to blame it on the Democrats. Don't you think people REALIZE that? Or are you so used to getting away with total bullshit that you haven't realized that you've finally piled it too high for anyone to ignore?

Corrupt, corrupt, corrupt

Seriously - are there ANY non-corrupt Republicans? Or is Republican corruption like Republican hypocrisy - just part of the air that they breathe?

SAN DIEGO – Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham pleaded guilty Monday morning to conspiring to take bribes in exchange for using his influence to help a defense contractor get business.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of income tax evasion.

Cunningham, an eight-term Republican congressman, had been under scrutiny for months for his ties to defense contractors and their officials.
The screws around Rove have not stopped tightening.

2nd 'Time' Reporter to Testify in Leak Case

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A second Time magazine reporter has agreed to cooperate in the CIA leak case and will testify about her discussions with Karl Rove's attorney, a sign that prosecutors are still exploring charges against the White House aide.

Friday, November 25, 2005

A real journalist

I'll go to jail to print the truth about Bush and al-Jazeera
By Boris Johnson

It must be said that subsequent events have not made life easy for those of us who were so optimistic as to support the war in Iraq. There were those who believed the Government's rubbish about Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction. Then the WMD made their historic no-show.

Some of us were so innocent as to suppose that the Pentagon had a well-thought-out plan for the removal of the dictator and the introduction of peace. Then we had the insurgency, in which tens of thousands have died.

Some of us thought it was about ensuring that chemical weapons could never again be used on Iraqi soil. Then we heard about the white phosphorus deployed by the Pentagon. Some people believed that the American liberation would mean the end of torture in Iraqi jails. Then we had Abu Ghraib.

Some of us thought it was all about the dissemination of the institutions of a civil society - above all a free press, in which journalists could work without fear of being murdered. Then we heard about the Bush plan to blow up al-Jazeera.

There's more at the link.

Satire is dead.

This ISN'T an article in the Onion.

DENVER - Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, heavily criticized for his agency's slow response to Hurricane Katrina, is starting a disaster preparedness consulting firm to help clients avoid the sort of errors that cost him his job.

Fuck up like no one in the last hundred years, and you get a job counseling people in not fucking up.

Kill me now.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Blue Wednesday

From kos: (Go read it)

You know that red-blue map that we all saw sixteen dozen times after the last Presidential election?

According to a Survey USA today poll, it would now look like this:

Remember Howard Dean's basic strategy: Concede NO state.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

In honor of Thankgiving, Bush has pardoned two thanksgiving turkeys.

By an extraordinary coincidence, they were named "Tom" and "Scooter."

Bush knew that there was no connection between Hussein and Al Qaeda.

You know the claim that the Congress saw the "same intelligence" as the White House?

That's a lie.

This is one piece that Congress DIDN'T see.

And it was something ELSE Bush lied about.

Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel

By Murray Waas, special to National Journal
Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005

Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.
You know what I think? I think the right-wingers KNOW that the reasons we have been given about being in Iraq were bullshit. I think they KNOW that it's all about greed and money, and doesn't have a damned thing to do with Democracy or Principles or Freedom.

Because there is no other explanation for their SILENCE at the truly devastating news that the Iraqi government not only wants us out, but apparently believes that the insurgency is legitimate, and that shoot at Americans does not constitute "terrorism."

In ignoring that, they are tacitly admitting that the high-sounding words about "democracy" and "freedom" mouthed by Bush were all bullshit.

They were LIES, and the right-wingers KNOW it - and just DON'T CARE.


It's nice watching scumbags fall apart.

Jean Schmidt attacked Murtha using a statement from Colonel Bubp.

A few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bubp, Ohio Representative from the 88th district in the House of Representatives. He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message, that cowards cut and run, Marines never do.

Bubp says Jean Schmidt is a liar.

Danny Bubp, a freshman state representative who is a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, told The Enquirer that he never mentioned Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., by name when talking with Schmidt…”There was no discussion of him personally being a coward or about any person being a coward,” Bubp said.


How much longer?

Ok, so now the Iraqi leaders want a timetable for withdrawal.

The leaders agreed on "calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops according to a timetable, through putting in place an immediate national program to rebuild the armed forces ... control the borders and the security situation" and end terror attacks.

Not only that, but they say that the Sunnis have the right to shoot at us, and they refuse to define doing so as "terrorism."

In Egypt, the final communique's attempt to define terrorism omitted any reference to attacks against U.S. or Iraqi forces. Delegates from across the political and religious spectrum said the omission was intentional. They spoke anonymously, saying they feared retribution.

"Though resistance is a legitimate right for all people, terrorism does not represent resistance. Therefore, we condemn terrorism and acts of violence, killing and kidnapping targeting Iraqi citizens and humanitarian, civil, government institutions, national resources and houses of worships," the document said.

Not only that, but they insist on the release of anyone who has not been convicted in a court, and an investigation into allegations of torture.

The final communique also stressed participants' commitment to Iraq's unity and called for the release of all "innocent detainees" who have not been convicted by courts. It asked that allegations of torture against prisoners be investigated and those responsible be held accountable.

The statement also demanded "an immediate end to arbitrary raids and arrests without a documented judicial order."

The President of Iraq, with the backing of the Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds, has established a theocracy. AND called for an immediate timetable for US withdrawal. AND also said that shooting U.S. troops in the meantime is OK.

Well, George? This is the Government you said you wanted in Iraq.

You said that if the Iraqis wanted us to leave, we would leave.

So are you going to listen or are you to going ignore THEM, too? Like you ignore Americans? Will this be one more lie in the long, long litany of them?

Surely the right-wingers who are in power - super-patriots all - will loudly and angrily condemn this.

WON'T they?

Hoe. Lee. Shit.

Several members of Congress will not sleep well tonight.

Ex-DeLay Aide Pleads Guilty in Conspiracy

WASHINGTON - Michael Scanlon, a former partner of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to bribe public officials, a charge growing out of the government investigation of attempts to defraud Indian tribes and corrupt a member of Congress.

At the same time, it was disclosed that Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, has been cooperating in a widening criminal investigation of members of Congress since June.

I think Ronnie Earle may suddenly have become the least of Tom Delay's troubles.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Dick Cheney, torture guru.

Well, after all, when you decide that the one thing you really want to do with your life is torture people, you need a mentor.

A former top State Department official said Sunday that Vice President Dick Cheney provided the "philosophical guidance" and "flexibility" that led to the torture of detainees in U.S. facilities.

Retired U.S. Army Col. Larry Wilkerson, who served as former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, told CNN that the practice of torture may be continuing in U.S.-run facilities.

"There's no question in my mind that we did. There's no question in my mind that we may be still doing it," Wilkerson said on CNN's "Late Edition."

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Just a side note

George Bush W. has 14 children, nephews, and nieces.

Not one of them has volunteered to fight in his war.
It's not going to stay, , so there is no sense in linking it, but here's the top headlines on CNN:

• Democrat calls for Iraq pullout
• House rejects Iraq withdrawal
• Defense official: Rumsfeld given pullout plan

General Casey hates America, too

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The top U.S. commander in Iraq has submitted a plan to the Pentagon for withdrawing troops in Iraq, according to a senior defense official.

Gen. George Casey submitted the plan to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. It includes numerous options and recommends that brigades -- usually made up of about 2,000 soldiers each -- begin pulling out of Iraq early next year.

I'm so cynical that I think this is a purely political calculation, since that's the only thing that actually concerns the Bush administration.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Treasongate is not over.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said in court filings that the ongoing CIA leak investigation will involve proceedings before a new grand jury, a possible sign he could seek new charges in the case.

In filings obtained by Reuters on Friday, Fitzgerald said "the investigation is continuing" and that "the investigation will involve proceedings before a different grand jury than the grand jury which returned the indictment" against Vice President
Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Do you realize that there are now THREE DIFFERENT administration officials who leaked Valerie Plame's employment status? There's Libby, Rove, and now, whoever told Woodward.

Can there be any DOUBT that there was a conspiracy to leak this info to the press? Are we to believe that three administration officials did the exact same illegal coincidentally?

And is there any doubt that the Bush administration tried to turn the American Press into something resembling Pravda under the Soviet Union, and was aided and abetted by the press itself?

(Thanks to AMERICAblog for the neat graphic. They have T-shirts and mugs and stuff.)
"We need a commander in chief, not a campaigner in chief." - Harry Reid

Bowling for McClellan

"Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party." - Scottie the Wonder Poodle

Got that? Congressman Murtha is like Michael Moore. THAT'S the best the White House can come up with. Isn't that one of the most pathetic defenses you've ever heard?

And Scottie, of course, misses the point:

It's isn't "baffling" the Murtha came out against war - it'd the way MOST OF THE COUNTRY FEELS. ISN'T JUST LIBERALS WHO ARE SICK OF IT. It's AMERICANS.

According to Scotty, I guess MOST OF AMERICA now "endorses the policy positions of Michael Moore."
Matt Stoller has it right, but the Democrats won't listen.

The army is broken

The Republicans claim to support the military; in reality, they are making the military fall apart.

The military is falling far behind in its effort to recruit and re-enlist soldiers for some of the most vital combat positions in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new government report.

The report, completed by the Government Accountability Office, shows that the Army, National Guard and Marines signed up as few as a third of the Special Forces soldiers, intelligence specialists and translators that they had aimed for over the last year.

Both the Army and the Marines, for instance, fell short of their goals for hiring roadside bomb defusers by about 20 percent in each of the last two years. The Army Reserve, meanwhile, failed to fill about a third of its more than 1,500 intelligence analysts jobs. And in the National Guard, there have been consistent shortages filling positions involving tanks, field artillery and intelligence.

The report found that, in all, the military, which is engaged in the most demanding wartime recruitment effort since the 1970's, had failed to fully staff 41 percent of its array of combat and noncombat specialties.

BAGHDAD, Nov 18 () - The death toll from twin suicide bomb attacks on mosques in the eastern Iraq town of Khanaqin could exceed 100, a member of the local council said on Friday. The destruction was so bad that he said many bodies were trapped in the rubble and could not be easily extracted.

Tell me again - why are we there?
"We have crossed the line into dangerous territory. I am embarrassed that the USA has a vice president for torture. I think it is just reprehensible. He (Mr Cheney) advocates torture, what else is it? I just don't understand how a man in that position can take such a stance." - Admiral Stansfield Turner, Former Head of the CIA


"I expect there to be criticism, but when Democrats say that I deliberately misled the Congress and the people, that's irresponsible." - Bush

Pardon me for asking, but WHY is it irresponsible?

Bush must have a BIZARRE definition of "responsilbility," which isn't surporising coming from a man who never takes any.

Maybe it's just me, but I think MISLEADING people is irresponsible. I think pointing out the obvious deceptions is what responsible people are SUPPOSED to do.

Bush's problem isn't that the Democrats are irresponsible - it's that they've stopped shirking their responsibility, and he is being expected to TAKE responsbility.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Murtha's Statement

Here is Murtha's whole statement:

"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region.

"General Casey said in a September 2005 hearing, "the perception of occupation in Iraq is a major driving force behind the insurgency." General Abizaid said on the same date, "Reducing the size and visibility of the coalition forces in Iraq is part of our counterinsurgency strategy."

"For 2 ½ years, I have been concerned about the U.S. policy and the plan in Iraq. I have addressed my concerns with the Administration and the Pentagon and have spoken out in public about my concerns. The main reason for going to war has been discredited. A few days before the start of the war I was in Kuwait - the military drew a red line around Baghdad and said when U.S. forces cross that line they will be attacked by the Iraqis with Weapons of Mass Destruction - but the US forces said they were prepared. They had well trained forces with the appropriate protective gear.

"We spend more money on Intelligence that all the countries in the world together, and more on Intelligence than most countries GDP. But the intelligence concerning Iraq was wrong. It is not a world intelligence failure. It is a U.S. intelligence failure and the way that intelligence was misused.

"I have been visiting our wounded troops at Bethesda and Walter Reed hospitals almost every week since the beginning of the War. And what demoralizes them is going to war with not enough troops and equipment to make the transition to peace; the devastation caused by IEDs; being deployed to Iraq when their homes have been ravaged by hurricanes; being on their second or third deployment and leaving their families behind without a network of support.

"The threat posed by terrorism is real, but we have other threats that cannot be ignored. We must be prepared to face all threats. The future of our military is at risk. Our military and their families are stretched thin. Many say that the Army is broken. Some of our troops are on their third deployment. Recruitment is down, even as our military has lowered its standards. Defense budgets are being cut. Personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in health care. Choices will have to be made. We cannot allow promises we have made to our military families in terms of service benefits, in terms of their health care, to be negotiated away. Procurement programs that ensure our military dominance cannot be negotiated away. We must be prepared. The war in Iraq has caused huge shortfalls at our bases in the U.S.

"Much of our ground transportation is worn out and in need of either serous overhaul or replacement. George Washington said, "To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace." We must rebuild out Army. Our deficit is growing out of control. The Director of the Congressional Budget Office recently admitted to being "terrified" about the budget deficit in the coming decades. This is the first prolonged war we have fought with three years of tax cuts, without full mobilization of American industry and without a draft. The burden of this war has not been shared equally; the military and their families are shouldering this burden.

"Our military has been fighting a war in Iraq for over two and a half years. Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty. Our military captured Saddam Hussein, and captured or killed his closest associates. But the war continues to intensify. Deaths and injuries are growing, with over 2,079 confirmed American deaths. Over 15,500 have been seriously injured and it is estimated that over 50,000 will suffer from battle fatigue. There have been reports of at least 30,000 Iraqi civilian deaths.

"I just recently visited Anbar Province Iraq in order to assess the condition on the ground. Last May 2005, as part of the Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill, the House included to Moran Amendment, which was accepted in Conference, and which required the Secretary of Defense to submit quarterly reports to Congress in order to more accurately measure stability and security in Iraq. We have not received two reports. I am disturbed by the findings in key indicator areas. Oil production and energy production are below pre-war levels. Our reconstruction efforts have been crippled by security situation. Only $9 billion of the $18 billion appropriated for reconstruction has been spent. Unemployment remains at about 60 percent. Clean water is scarce. Only $500 million of the $2.2 billion appropriated for water projects have been spent. And most importantly, insurgent incidents have increased from about 150 per week to over 700 in the last year. Instead of attacks going down over time and with the addition of more troops, attacks have grown dramatically. Since the revelations at Abu Ghraib, American causalities have doubled. An annual State Department report in 2004 indicated a sharp increase in global terrorism.

"I said over a year ago, and now the military and the Administration agrees, Iraq can not be won "militarily." I said two years ago, the key to progress in Iraq is to Iraqitize, Internationalize and Energize. I believe the same today. But I have concluded that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is impeding this progress.

"Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency. They are untied against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence. U.S. troops are the common enemy of the Sunnis, Saddamists and foreign jihadists. I believe with a U.S. troop redeployment, the Iraq security forces will be incentivized to take control. A poll recently conducted shows that over 80% of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition troops, about 45% of the Iraqi population believe attacks against American troops are justified. I believe we need to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis. I believe before the Iraqi elections, scheduled for mid December, the Iraqi people and the emerging government must be put on notice that the United States will immediately redeploy. All of Iraq must know that Iraq is free. Free from United Stated occupation. I believe this will send a signal to the Sunnis to join the political process for the good of a "free" Iraq.

"My plan calls:

# To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
# To create a quick reaction force in the region.
# To create an over-the-horizon presence of Marines.
# To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq.

"This war needs to be personalized. As I said before, I have visited with the severely wounded of this war. They are suffering.

"Because we in Congress are charged with sending our sons and daughters into battle, it is our responsibility, our obligation, to speak out for them. That's why I am speaking out.

"Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home."

Time to Pull Out

So says John Murtha:

An influential House Democrat who voted for the Iraq war called Thursday for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, another sign of growing unease in Congress about the conflict.

"It is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering, the future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf region."

Murtha, a Marine intelligence officer in Vietnam, angrily shot back at Cheney: "I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Give it a rest, Merrie Gentlemen.

It's moving toward the end of year. Holly. Mistletoe. Evergreens. The time we all look forward to. The time when we all gather together to enjoy a reliable yearly ritual:

A bunch of right-wingers whining like angry little children because some store clerk said "Happy Holidays."

I think this may be Exhibit A showing that the right-wing has gone completely insane.

Have you noticed? They claim that OTHERS are thin-skinned. OTHERS are too PC. OTHERS are too quick to play the victim. And they are the one throwing a shit fit because someone gave them a friendly greeting, but it wasn't the exact one that they wanted.

Personally, I always try and wish people something non-generic. It makes more sense and it's more respectful. If they are Christian, I wish them Merry Christmas. If they are Jewish, I wish them Happy Hannukkah.

But a STORE? When they DON'T KNOW if the person they are talking to is Christian or Jewish or something else? Of COURSE they use something generic. They're a frigging store, and they want to wish ALL of their customers good wishes of the season.

For those right-wingers who are still confused, let me explain it to you:

"Happy Holidays" is not an insult.

"Fuck You" is an insult.

See the difference? "Happy Holidays"; "Fuck You." Not at ALL similar, now, are they?

If a store clerk says "Happy Holidays" to you, and you hear it as "Fuck You," you have deep, deep mental problems, and should probably not be allowed out on the street without supervision.

Clear now?

Sheesh, people, get a real problem, and stop poisoning a beautiful time of year with this idiotic pettiness.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Even some Republicans have had it

They call Hagel a "maverick," but I don't think he's ever done this before.

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) strongly criticized yesterday the White House's new line of attack against critics of its Iraq policy, saying that "the Bush administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them."

With President Bush leading the charge, administration officials have lashed out at Democrats who have accused the administration of manipulating intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. Bush has suggested that critics are hurting the war effort, telling U.S. troops in Alaska on Monday that critics "are sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy. And that's irresponsible."

"To not question . . . is unpatriotic," Sen. Chuck Hagel said. (Linda Spillers - AP)

Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran and a potential presidential candidate in 2008, countered in a speech to the Council of Foreign Relations that the Vietnam War "was a national tragedy partly because members of Congress failed their country, remained silent and lacked the courage to challenge the administrations in power until it was too late."

"To question your government is not unpatriotic -- to not question your government is unpatriotic," Hagel said, arguing that 58,000 troops died in Vietnam because of silence by political leaders. "America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices."

Hagel said Democrats have an obligation to be constructive in their criticism, but he accused the administration of "dividing the country" with its rhetorical tactics

Speech with subtitles

True majority has a video showing Bush's speech, with facts that debunk what he said.

They're done.

Have you realized? The Bushies are no longer defending their reasons for invading Iraq. They've lost that fight.

No weapons were found. There was no link between Al Qaeda and Hussein. Iraq was no threat.

And they admit it. Without EVER using the word "mistake", of course, but they admit it.

Bush's DEFENSE - the best face he can put on it - is that he didn't actually LIE, he just SCREWED UP ROYALLY. No, he doesn't use those words, but it IS the gist of his current argument. And they are all over the country an airwaves, hammering that horrible message home. Because it's BETTER than the only other POSSIBLE message: that they lied through their teeth.

They no longer stand by their original statement. They no longer defend the reasons that they gave for invading Iraq.

Is Bush going nuts?

John Aravosis at Americablog points out the following from right-wing sources - the Washington Times and Matt Drudge:

President Bush feels betrayed by several of his most senior aides and advisors and has severely restricted access to the Oval Office, administration sources say. The president's reclusiveness in the face of relentless public scrutiny of the U.S.-led war in Iraq and White House leaks regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame has become so extreme that Mr. Bush has also reduced contact with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, administration sources said on the condition of anonymity.

And from Drudge:

The sources said Mr. Bush maintains daily contact with only four people: first lady Laura Bush, his mother, Barbara Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes. The sources also say that Mr. Bush has stopped talking with his father, except on family occasions.

Seriously - if the President of the United States is turning into Charles Foster Kane, America should know.

Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials

From the New York Times. Headline intact. I don't call him "Mr. Bush."

To avoid having to account for his administration's misleading statements before the war with Iraq, President Bush has tried denial, saying he did not skew the intelligence. He's tried to share the blame, claiming that Congress had the same intelligence he had, as well as President Bill Clinton. He's tried to pass the buck and blame the C.I.A. Lately, he's gone on the attack, accusing Democrats in Congress of aiding the terrorists.

Yesterday in Alaska, Mr. Bush trotted out the same tedious deflection on Iraq that he usually attempts when his back is against the wall: he claims that questioning his actions three years ago is a betrayal of the troops in battle today.

It all amounts to one energetic effort at avoidance. But like the W.M.D. reports that started the whole thing, the only problem is that none of it has been true.

Mr. Bush says everyone had the same intelligence he had - Mr. Clinton and his advisers, foreign governments, and members of Congress - and that all of them reached the same conclusions. The only part that is true is that Mr. Bush was working off the same intelligence Mr. Clinton had. But that is scary, not reassuring. The reports about Saddam Hussein's weapons were old, some more than 10 years old. Nothing was fresher than about five years, except reports that later proved to be fanciful.

Foreign intelligence services did not have full access to American intelligence. But some had dissenting opinions that were ignored or not shown to top American officials. Congress had nothing close to the president's access to intelligence. The National Intelligence Estimate presented to Congress a few days before the vote on war was sanitized to remove dissent and make conjecture seem like fact.

It's hard to imagine what Mr. Bush means when he says everyone reached the same conclusion. There was indeed a widespread belief that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons. But Mr. Clinton looked at the data and concluded that inspections and pressure were working - a view we now know was accurate. France, Russia and Germany said war was not justified. Even Britain admitted later that there had been no new evidence about Iraq, just new politics.

The administration had little company in saying that Iraq was actively trying to build a nuclear weapon. The evidence for this claim was a dubious report about an attempt in 1999 to buy uranium from Niger, later shown to be false, and the infamous aluminum tubes story. That was dismissed at the time by analysts with real expertise.

The Bush administration was also alone in making the absurd claim that Iraq was in league with Al Qaeda and somehow connected to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That was based on two false tales. One was the supposed trip to Prague by Mohamed Atta, a report that was disputed before the war and came from an unreliable drunk. The other was that Iraq trained Qaeda members in the use of chemical and biological weapons. Before the war, the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded that this was a deliberate fabrication by an informer.

Mr. Bush has said in recent days that the first phase of the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation on Iraq found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence. That is true only in the very narrow way the Republicans on the committee insisted on defining pressure: as direct pressure from senior officials to change intelligence. Instead, the Bush administration made what it wanted to hear crystal clear and kept sending reports back to be redone until it got those answers.

Richard Kerr, a former deputy director of central intelligence, said in 2003 that there was "significant pressure on the intelligence community to find evidence that supported a connection" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The C.I.A. ombudsman told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the administration's "hammering" on Iraq intelligence was harder than he had seen in his 32 years at the agency.

Mr. Bush and other administration officials say they faithfully reported what they had read. But Vice President Dick Cheney presented the Prague meeting as a fact when even the most supportive analysts considered it highly dubious. The administration has still not acknowledged that tales of Iraq coaching Al Qaeda on chemical warfare were considered false, even at the time they were circulated.

Mr. Cheney was not alone. Remember Condoleezza Rice's infamous "mushroom cloud" comment? And Secretary of State Colin Powell in January 2003, when the rich and powerful met in Davos, Switzerland, and he said, "Why is Iraq still trying to procure uranium and the special equipment needed to transform it into material for nuclear weapons?" Mr. Powell ought to have known the report on "special equipment"' - the aluminum tubes - was false. And the uranium story was four years old.

The president and his top advisers may very well have sincerely believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. But they did not allow the American people, or even Congress, to have the information necessary to make reasoned judgments of their own. It's obvious that the Bush administration misled Americans about Mr. Hussein's weapons and his terrorist connections. We need to know how that happened and why.

Mr. Bush said last Friday that he welcomed debate, even in a time of war, but that "it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began." We agree, but it is Mr. Bush and his team who are rewriting history.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Democrats plan

Washington, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid delivered the following remarks at a press conference today with Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin and Senator Carl Levin.

“Our troops deserve a strategy in Iraq that is worthy of their sacrifice. That is why, for three years, Democrats have pushed the White House to lay out a plan for success.

“Unfortunately, the President has rejected our call, and instead, insisted America needs to “stay the course.” With more than 2,050 Americans killed… more than $250 billion spent… and no end in sight after three years of war -- “staying the course” is no longer an option.

“Together, we can do better. Democrats have developed a very clear path forward. There are three areas we believe need to be addressed:

First, 2006 should be a significant year of transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with Iraqis taking more and more responsibility for their own security. It’s time to take the training wheels off the Iraqi government. Iraqis must begin to run their own country. In 2006, the US and our allies must do everything we can to make that possible.

Second, the Administration must advise the Iraqi people that U.S. military forces will not stay indefinitely in Iraq, and that it is their responsibility to achieve the broad-based and sustainable political environment essential for defeating the insurgency.

Third, the President needs to submit – on a quarterly basis - a plan for success to Congress and the American people. This plan must specify the challenges and progress being made in Iraq, timetables for achieving our goals and estimated dates for redeployment from Iraq as these goals are met.
“Apparently, Republicans have agreed this is the approach we need to take, as they have essentially accepted our amendment.

“It cannot be understated that by accepting our amendment, both the Republican leader and the chairman of the Armed Services committee agree that the administration needs to come forward and explain to Congress and the American people its strategy for success and completing the mission.

“It’s not easy for the President to admit mistakes. It’s a lot easier for him to lash out at those who question his policies, but political attacks are not going to get the job done. Our troops have done their job. It’s time for the President and this Republican-controlled Congress to do theirs.”

Read the rest here.


(Didn't Know I Was) UnAmerican
a song and video by Ian Rhett

"We were wrong"

And they weren't just wrong - they lied.

For all the delusional out there, it is time that you let go of your sad delusions. Lay the "Iraq had WMDs" thing to rest. For the sake of sanity. Not only has the Bush administration admitted it, Bush's own advisor - Stephen Hadley - plainly said "We were wrong" just yesterday. Admittedly, he only said that in a vain attempt to gain some credibility before he told some lies, but he still said it.

After telling this truth, however, he added lies. He lied by claiming that the administration didn't lie. And lying to cover up lies is a fairly common practice for liars.

Lie Number 1) The claim that Iraq had attempted to acquire more than 100,000 highstrength aluminum tubes for gas centrifuges to be used for enriching uranium. Highly enriched uranium is one of the two materials that can be used to make nuclear weapons.

The Truth: They were old rocket launchers. They were too short and had the wrong coating to be used as centrifuges.

Lie Number 2) Saddam tried to acquire yellow cake uranium from Niger for the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

The Truth: This claim was based on an obviously forged document. Desperate Bush apologists point out that Bush carefully couched this lie within a disclaimer: 'British Intelligence says..." But it is an uncomfortable fact that before Bush made the claim in his State of the Union Address, George Tenet advised Bush to take out the statement. According to Condi Rice, Tenet told Bush that the claim was not true.

Which means that Bush placed the disclaimer in front of the claim for the purpose of giving himself a loophole while he misled. He knew that there was no credible evidence that Saddam was seeking Uranium from Africa, but he made the claim anyway, and hung it on on the British.

And those are just the first two that occurred to me. There are many others. As Howard Dean said, this is an administration that has a fundamental problem telling the truth.

This Isn't The Real America

By President Carter

How did we learn torture?

According to the New York Times, America intentionally borrowed the interrogation methods used in Vietnamese prisons.

Under Bush, America has imitated those whom we have always opposed.

How did American interrogation tactics after 9/11 come to include abuse rising to the level of torture? Much has been said about the illegality of these tactics, but the strategic error that led to their adoption has been overlooked.

The Pentagon effectively signed off on a strategy that mimics Red Army methods. But those tactics were not only inhumane, they were ineffective. For Communist interrogators, truth was beside the point: their aim was to force compliance to the point of false confession.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Gunga Dean

Part of the right-wingers talking points is to paint Howard Dean as a loonie. After all, the man yelled "Yeeeeeeaah!" at a rally, and we all know how nutty THAT is. Almost as nutty as torturing prisoners, saying "Go fuck yourself" on the Senate Floor, covering a statues boobs, or starting a war on a tissue of lies.

Anyway, the reason they do this to Howard Dean is because they are scared of him. He has a real strategy for winning back the country, and - most frightening for the right-wingers - he was actually right about Iraq. Dean was against the Iraqi Debacle LONG before the rest of the establishment. He saw it as a disaster with foresight, not hindsight. Yes, many of the rest of us ALSO knew it was bonkers from the get-go, but we aren't the establishment. The establishment Democrats were so GENUINELY weak that they were terrified of APPEARING weak. They thought that a lack of proper bellicosity would make them look bad. They helped Bush start a war because they were afraid of LOOKING bad. How weak is that?

Well, now they DO look bad, and the guy who WASN'T weak - Dean - looks good.

So if you hear some right-winger question Dean's sanity, point out that Dean was right and the right-winger was wrong. If Dean is nuts, how loonie are the maniacs who thought it would be a cakewalk?

"On Veteran's Day, a day to honor the sacrifices of Americans who have so bravely served our country, President Bush chose instead to deflect from the truth and resort to political attacks, even as more Americans now doubt his honesty and his ability to handle the war in Iraq.

"While the White House continues to shamefully stonewall and hide behind their attacks, Democrats will continue to press for the truth. The President ought to be ashamed of himself. With more than 2,000 brave Americans dead to date and tens of thousands more injured, the President ought to be telling the truth to the American people. Mr. President, the best way to honor our troops is to tell the truth about why they went to war and when they can come home.

"The fact remains that pre-war intelligence was manipulated and cherry-picked. Instead of trying to pass the buck to members of Congress, who like so many Americans were willing to trust their Commander-in-Chief, the President should tell the truth to our troops and their families about how they were sent to war. In a democracy, the truth is not withheld. In a democracy our leaders provide real leadership and do not hide behind political attacks.

"Democrats stand committed to our troops and their families. Americans deserve the truth and the answers to hard questions when it comes to the decision to go to war. We can no longer stay the course. Our troops and the American people need a comprehensive plan so that success can be achieved in Iraq and our troops can come home safely." - Howard Dean, November 11, 2005

Journalism rises from the grave.

The President of the United States spent Veterans Day lying through his teeth, and insulting any veteran who was also a Democrat.

And today, the Washington Post did the unthinkable: went through his speech, and detailed all the bullshit.

President Bush and his national security adviser have answered critics of the Iraq war in recent days with a two-pronged argument: that Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence.

Neither assertion is wholly accurate.

Two years ago, this sort of reporting seemed to be downright forbidden. Read the article.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Armistice Day

Satan has taken over


There are few Washington rituals more tested and familiar than post-Election Day interpretations....Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman fought back valiantly with a conference call to reporters. But for a time, the call was effectively diverted by anti-GOP interlopers who got on a call intended for invited reporters only.

The access information for the call was posted -- unbeknownst to RNC officials -- on the well-known liberal Web log DailyKos.

So, instead of simply parrying the expected questions from reporters concerning the gubernatorial losses in New Jersey and Virginia, Mehlman also found himself ear-to-ear with one antagonist who asked sarcastically: "Given the results of the election, do you think Satan has taken over the country?"

"Next question," scolded Mehlman.

What a scumbag.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush will use a Veterans Day speech on Friday to fight back against Democratic charges that the White House misused intelligence to gain support for the Iraq war, administration officials said.

The president is going to directly take on the false attacks that Democratic leaders have been making," a senior administration official told Reuters.

That's right: he's going to use a Veterans Day speech. A speech that SHOULD be devoted to honoring Veterans. And instead of using it to honor veterans, he's going to use it for partisan politics.

What a guy.

Do right-wingers STILL wonder why so many Americans believe that this man is just a total ball of unprincipled shit?

Has any other President EVER used a Veteran's Day Speech as an opportunity to attack the other party?

Or is Bush the only one that slimy?

Thoughts on Veterans Day

From Operation Truth

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Nutjob on Parade

AP - The Reverend Pat Robertson says Pennsylvanians who voted members of the Dover Area school board out of office for supporting "intelligent design" rejected God as well.

Eight school board members who wanted high school biology students to be told that intelligent design is an alternative to evolution lost their re-election bids Tuesday.

On today's broadcast of "The 700 Club," Robertson told Dover residents, "If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God." The founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network explained, "You just voted God out of your city."

Plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit charged that intelligent design is biblical creationism in disguise.

And it looks like Pat Robertson decided to prove those plaintiffs right. If Intelligent Design has nothing to do with religion, how could Robertson claim that rejecting it was "voting God out of the city"?


Tristero says:

The American mainstream media must make room for those of us in the reality-based community. I'm talking about those people who realized on 9/11/01 the Bush administration had to have been asleep at the switch; those people who understood after bin Laden escaped from Tora Bora that the Afghanistan war was a catastrophic military failure; those of us who heard of Bush/Iraq in spring, 2002, and were utterly appalled anyone would take seriously an idea so plainly bonkers; and those of us who immediately grasped that a catastrophic earthquake in a land that just happened to be at the center of several overlapping nuclear confrontations was an emergency - both human and political- that those nations committed to defeating al Qaeda simply had no choice but to pay serious attention to.

I mean, why can't we hear from experts who are right on a regular basis? Where the hell are they? Does Richard Clarke have an op-ed column? Is he provided the same access to tubed eyeballs -and the same courtesy- that the Swift Boaters and the crazy generals Digby described yesterday? Anyone recently see Rand Beers in the news two days in a row?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Judy Miller is gone from the Times


That's a step in the right direction, but she should be in jail.

What are the odds of her getting hired by Fox?

Needed: a volunteer

Making the email rounds:

  • George Bush has started an ill-timed and disastrous war under false pretenses by lying to the American people and to the Congress;

  • he has run a budget surplus into a severe deficit;

  • he has consistently and unconscionably favored the wealthy and corporations over the rights and needs of the population;

  • he has destroyed trust and confidence in, and good will toward the United States around the globe;

  • he has ignored global warming, to the world's detriment;

  • he has wantonly broken our treaty obligations;

  • he has condoned torture of prisoners;

  • he has attempted to create a theocracy in the United States;

  • he has appointed incompetent cronies to positions of vital national importance.

    ........... would someone please give him a blow job so we can impeach

  • Something to smile about

    Representative Hayworth, Arizona Republican, on Imus this morning:

    IMUS: Would you just answer my question, would you like [President Bush] to come to Arizona and cut campaign commercials and run them on those TV stations everywhere?

    REP. HAYWORTH: In a word, no. At this time.

    IMUS: That's being honest. J.D. Hayworth here on the "Imus in the morning" program.

    Texas outlawed marriage

    Sharon, in a comment below, and a post on her own blog, has something delectable: in their rush to out law gay marriage, Texas has outlawed ALL marriage.

    Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.

    (b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

    Dear God, they're idiots.

    Easter Lemming Liberal News has the story

    Call me Kreskin

    It sounds better than "Ishmael."

    Ferrer didn't win, as predicted.
    Yes, I know that one was going out on a limb, but am I good or what?

    (Note for the sarcasm impaired: that's what the above was.)

    But while that's sad, it's was totally expected. The rest of the news nationwide is very good.

    Corzine won New Jersey. Easily.

    Kaine won in Virginia,
    trouncing the pathetic Kilgore, even though Bush campaigned directly for Kilgore. In fact, Bush's support HURT Kilgore if it did anything. In Virginia.

    Herr Gropinator
    had every ballot initiative that he backed in California chewed up and vomited out by the voters.

    Randy Judas Maximus Kelley, a Democratic mayor in St. Paul who thought it would be a GREAT IDEA to pose with Bush, got his head handed to him.

    And all 8 members of the Pennsylvania School Board who supported Intelligent Design being taught in science class were unceremoniously kicked out and replaced with those who campaigned against the foolishness.

    Democrats won mayoralties all over Pennsylvania.

    Oh - and apparently marriages in Texas are very, very fragile, and in severe danger if gay people get to do the same thing. Oh, well. No surpirse there.

    But - in what's actually more important news than the dumb Texas thing - Maine actually passed a gay rights law.

    There were many other races, and, with a few exceptions, the trend is the same: Demcorats won, Republicans lost.

    Ok - that's a start.

    Now let's kick the big fish out in 2006.

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    Liberal: Badge of Honor

    Check out this clip from The West Wing.

    Democrats - are you listening?
    Ok, I done voted. Here in NYC, we had a mayoral election, and I voted for Freddy Ferrer, who won't win.

    I almost DIDN'T vote for him because someone - I forget his name, it was something like "McClaughlin" - was running for Mayor on (I'm not making this up) the "Rent Is Too Damn High" Party. In New York City, that's a political party. That one was tempting, but then I figured that Freddy needed all the help he could get and voted for him anyway.

    If given a choice - or if I don't know ANY of these people - I'll vote for the Candidate running on the "Working Families" Party, which is now the real Liberal Party in NYC. What used to be called the Liberal Party was always the Party of Political Convenience, and they finally collapsed, drowned by the sheer millstone-like weight of having endorsed Rudy Giuliani, and pretending that he was a liberal. Sort of blows your credibility overnight, ya know?

    And Bernie Goetz (remember him?) was running for Public Advocate on the "Rebuild" ticket. Logo: the New York City skyline with the Twin Towers intact. Him, I wasn't tempted to vote for. It will be interesting to see how many nutjobs did, though.

    And much of the rest was a Vietnamese Election: one candidate. For some small offices, the Republicans didn't even have anyone on the ticket.

    Which is one of the things that I like BEST about the Upper West Side.

    Monday, November 07, 2005

    Election Day

    Tomorrow is Election Day in an off year, and you may not have any IMPORTANT contests going on where you are.

    Well, actually, they're ALL important, so go vote.

    The right-wingers have done a bang-up job getting political power by concentrating on exactly those unimportant elections. City Councilmen become Mayors. Mayors become Governors. State Assemblymen become Senators. Senators turn into Presidents.

    At the risk of boring you:

    "For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
    For want of a shoe, the horse was lost;
    For want of a horse, the rider was lost;
    For want of a rider, the message was lost;
    For want of the message, the battle was lost;
    For want of a battle, the war was lost.
    And all for the want of a horseshoe nail."

    Go vote.

    Even if it's the smallest election.

    Go vote.
    So, tell me again, wingnuts - how come Karl Rove still has access to classified information?

    An intelligence analyst temporarily lost his top-secret security clearance because he faxed his resume using a commercial machine.

    An employee of the Defense Department had her clearance suspended for months because a jilted boyfriend called to say she might not be reliable.

    An Army officer who spoke publicly about intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks had his clearance revoked over questions about $67 in personal charges to a military cellphone.

    But in the White House, where Karl Rove is under federal investigation for his role in the exposure of a covert CIA officer, the longtime advisor to President Bush continues to enjoy full access to government secrets.

    My God, it's a newspaper

    The top story in the Washington Post this morning is an article about how the Vice-President is actively engaged in the campaign to allow torture.

    Over the past year, Vice President Cheney has waged an intense and largely unpublicized campaign to stop Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department from imposing more restrictive rules on the handling of terrorist suspects, according to defense, state, intelligence and congressional officials.

    I'm in a state of gratified astonishment. The fact that it has been going on for a year is enough to make the vast majority of news organizations regard it as not news at all - which is part of the reason WHY it doesn't get publicized.

    Well, maybe the Washington Post has actually realized that if their readers don't know about it, it's news.

    Saturday, November 05, 2005

    According to Editor & Publisher, The New York Times will publish an article tomorrow - Sunday - showing that the intelligence used to start the war in Iraq was fabricated, and that they knew it.

    Tomorrow, in its print edition, The New York Times starts to answer the question, with reporter Douglas Jehl disclosing the contents of a newly declassified memo apparently passed to him by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. It shows that an al-Qaeda official held by the Americans was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the basis for its claims that Iraq trained al-Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to this Defense Intelligence Agency document from February 2002.

    It declared that it was probable that the prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, "was intentionally misleading the debriefers" in making claims about Iraqi support for al-Qaeda's work with illicit weapons, Jehl reports.

    Friday, November 04, 2005

    Between the Lines

    John Dean - who has some experience with Government Scandals, thinks that there will be more indictments, and makes one heck of a case:

    A Cheney-Libby Conspiracy, Or Worse? Reading Between the Lines of the Libby Indictment
    Friday, Nov. 04, 2005

    In my last column, I tried to deflate expectations a bit about the likely consequences of the work of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald; to bring them down to the realistic level at which he was likely to proceed. I warned, for instance, that there might not be any indictments, and Fitzgerald might close up shop as the last days of the grand jury's term elapsed. And I was certain he would only indict if he had a patently clear case.

    Now, however, one indictment has been issued -- naming Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby as the defendant, and charging false statements, perjury and obstruction of justice. If the indictment is to be believed, the case against Libby is, indeed, a clear one.

    Having read the indictment against Libby, I am inclined to believe more will be issued. In fact, I will be stunned if no one else is indicted.

    Indeed, when one studies the indictment, and carefully reads the transcript of the press conference, it appears Libby's saga may be only Act Two in a three-act play. And in my view, the person who should be tossing and turning at night, in anticipation of the last act, is the Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney.

    The Indictment: Invoking the Espionage Act Unnecessarily

    Typically, federal criminal indictments are absolutely bare bones. Just enough to inform a defendant of the charges against him.

    For example, the United States Attorney's Manual, which Fitzgerald said he was following, notes that under the Sixth Amendment an accused must "be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation." And Rule 7(c)(1) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure requires that, "The indictment . . . be a plain, concise and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged." That is all.

    Federal prosecutors excel at these "plain, concise and definite" statement indictments - drawing on form books and institutional experience in drafting them. Thus, the typical federal indictment is the quintessence of pith: as short and to the point as the circumstances will permit.

    Again, Libby is charged with having perjured himself, made false statements, and obstructed justice by lying to FBI agents and the grand jury. A bare-bones indictment would address only these alleged crimes.

    But this indictment went much further - delving into a statute under which Libby is not charged.

    Count One, paragraph 1(b) is particularly revealing. Its first sentence establishes that Libby had security clearances giving him access to classified information. Then 1(b) goes on to state: "As a person with such clearances, LIBBY was obligated by applicable laws and regulations, including Title 18, United States Code, Section 793, and Executive Order 12958 (as modified by Executive Order13292), not to disclose classified information to persons not authorized to receive such information, and otherwise to exercise proper care to safeguard classified information against unauthorized disclosure." (The section also goes on to stress that Libby executed, on January 23, 2001, an agreement indicating understanding that he was receiving classified information, the disclosure of which could bring penalties.)

    What is Title 18, United States Code, Section 793? It's the Espionage Act -- a broad, longstanding part of the criminal code.

    The Espionage Act criminalizes, among other things, the willful - or grossly negligent -- communication of national-defense related information that "the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation." It also criminalizes conspiring to violate this anti-disclosure provision

    But Libby isn't charged with espionage. He's charged with lying to our government and thereby obstructing justice. So what's going on? Why is Fitzgerald referencing the Espionage Act?

    The press conference added some clarity on this point.

    Libby's Obstruction Has Blocked An Espionage Act Charge

    The Special Counsel was asked, "If Mr. Libby had testified truthfully, would he be being charged in this crime today?" His response was more oblique than most.

    In answering, he pointed out that "if national defense information which is involved because [of Plame's] affiliation with the CIA, whether or not she was covert, was classified, if that was intentionally transmitted, that would violate the statute known as Section 793, which is the Espionage Act." (Emphasis added). (As noted above, gross negligence would also suffice.)

    But, as Fitzgerald also noted at his press conference, great care needs to be taken in applying the Espionage Act: "So there are people," he said, "who argue that you should never use that statute because it would become like the [British] Official Secrets Act. I don't buy that theory, but I do know you should be very careful in applying that law because there are a lot of interests that could be implicated in making sure that you picked the right case to charge that statute."

    His further example was also revealing. "Let's not presume that Mr. Libby is guilty. But let's assume, for the moment, that the allegations in the indictment are true. If that is true, you cannot figure out the right judgment to make, whether or not you should charge someone with a serious national security crime or walk away from it or recommend any other course of action, if you don't know the truth.... If he had told the truth, we would have made the judgment based upon those facts...." (Emphases added.)

    Finally, he added. "We have not charged him with [that] crime. I'm not making an allegation that he violated [the Espionage Act]. What I'm simply saying is one of the harms in obstruction is that you don't have a clear view of what should be done. And that's why people ought to walk in, go into the grand jury, you're going to take an oath, tell us the who, what, when, where and why -- straight." (Emphasis added)

    In short, because Libby has lied, and apparently stuck to his lie, Fitzgerald is unable to build a case against him or anyone else under Section 793, a provision which he is willing to invoke, albeit with care.

    And who is most vulnerable under the Espionage Act? Dick Cheney - as I will explain.

    Libby Is The Firewall Protecting Vice President Cheney

    The Libby indictment asserts that "[o]n or about June 12, 2003 Libby was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson's wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Division. Libby understood that the Vice President had learned this information from the CIA."

    In short, Cheney provided the classified information to Libby - who then told the press. Anyone who works in national security matters knows that the Counterproliferation Division is part of the Directorate of Operations -- the covert side of the CIA, where most everything and everyone are classified.

    According to Fitzgerald, Libby admits he learned the information from Cheney at the time specified in the indictment. But, according to Fitzgerald, Libby also maintained - in speaking to both FBI agents and the grand jury - that Cheney's disclosure played no role whatsoever in Libby's disclosure to the media.

    Or as Fitzgerald noted at his press conference, Libby said, "he had learned from the vice president earlier in June 2003 information about Wilson's wife, but he had forgotten it, and that when he learned the information from [the reporter] Mr. [Tim] Russert during this phone call he learned it as if it were new."

    So, in Fitzgerald's words, Libby's story was that when Libby "passed the information on to reporters Cooper and Miller late in the week, he passed it on thinking it was just information he received from reporters; that he told reporters that, in fact, he didn't even know if it were true. He was just passing gossip from one reporter to another at the long end of a chain of phone calls."

    This story is, of course, a lie, but it was a clever one on Libby's part.

    It protects Cheney because it suggests that Cheney's disclosure to Libby was causally separate from Libby's later, potentially Espionage-Act-violating disclosure to the press. Thus, it also denies any possible conspiracy between Cheney and Libby.

    And it protects Libby himself - by suggesting that since he believed he was getting information from reporters, not indirectly from the CIA, he may not have had have the state of mind necessary to violate the Espionage Act.

    Thus, from the outset of the investigation, Libby has been Dick Cheney's firewall. And it appears that Fitzgerald is actively trying to penetrate that firewall.

    What Is Likely To Occur Next?

    It has been reported that Libby's attorney tried to work out a plea deal. But Fitzgerald insisted on jail time, so Libby refused to make a deal. It appears that only Libby, in addition to Cheney, knows what Cheney knew, and when he knew, and why he knew, and what he did with his knowledge.

    Fitzgerald has clearly thrown a stacked indictment at Libby, laying it on him as heavy as the law and propriety permits. He has taken one continuous false statement, out of several hours of interrogation, and made it into a five-count indictment. It appears he is trying to flip Libby - that is, to get him to testify against Cheney -- and not without good reason. Cheney is the big fish in this case.

    Will Libby flip? Unlikely. Neither Cheney nor Libby (I believe) will be so foolish as to crack a deal. And Libby probably (and no doubt correctly) assumes that Cheney - a former boss with whom he has a close relationship -- will (at the right time and place) help Libby out, either with a pardon or financially, if necessary. Libby's goal, meanwhile, will be to stall going to trial as long as possible, so as not to hurt Republicans' showing in the 2006 elections.

    So if Libby can take the heat for a time, he and his former boss (and friend) may get through this. But should Republicans lose control of the Senate (where they are blocking all oversight of this administration), I predict Cheney will resign "for health reasons."

    Rove must resign

    President Clinton signed an Executive Order saying so.

    It's NICE to know that we once had a President who thought it was unacceptable to leak classified information. Unlike now, when we have one who thinks such behavior should be winked at.

    Section 5.1 of Clinton’s executive order prohibits “any knowing, willful or negligent action that could reasonably be expected to result in an unauthorized disclosure of classified information.” While the law against revealing the identity of a CIA operative requires that the perpetrator intentionally disclosed such classified information (a high standard, which may be one reason Fitzgerald did not indict on those grounds), the executive order covers “negligence,” or unintentional disclosure.

    That means the only proper answer to a reporter’s questions about Joseph Wilson’s wife would have been something along the lines of, “You know I cannot discuss who may or may not be in the CIA.” The indictment makes clear that this was not the answer Official A provided when the subject was discussed with reporters Bob Novak and Matt Cooper.

    The sanctions for such disclosure are contained in Section 5.7 of the executive order. That section says that “the agency head, senior agency official or other supervisory official shall, at a minimum, promptly remove the classification authority of any individual who demonstrates reckless disregard or a pattern of error in applying the classification standards of this order.” Any reasonable reading of the events covered in the indictment would consider Rove’s behavior “reckless.” The fact that he discussed Plame’s identity with reporters more than once constitutes a pattern.

    In the past, other officials have lost their security clearances for similar disclosures—even without a pattern. Former CIA director John Deutch and former national-security adviser Sandy Berger (who got in trouble after leaving office) both lost their clearances when they took classified information home without proper authorization. More recently, officials of the Coast Guard were sanctioned when they warned relatives of a possible terrorist threat against the New York City subways before public disclosure of the threat.

    Paul Krugman

    Defending Imperial Nudity
    By Paul Krugman
    The New York Times
    Friday 04 November 2005

    Hans Christian Andersen understood bad rulers. "The Emperor's New Suit" doesn't end with everyone acclaiming the little boy for telling the truth. It ends with the emperor and his officials refusing to admit their mistake.

    I've laid my hands on additional material, which Andersen failed to publish, describing what happened after the imperial procession was over.

    The talk-show host Bill O'Reilly yelled, "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" at the little boy. Calling the boy a nut, he threatened to go to the boy's house and "surprise" him.

    Fox News repeatedly played up possible finds of imperial clothing, then buried reports discrediting these stories. Months after the naked procession, a poll found that many of those getting most of their news from Fox believed that the emperor had in fact been clothed.

    Imperial officials eventually admitted that they couldn't find any evidence that the suit ever existed, or that there had even been an effort to produce a suit. They insisted, however, that they had found evidence of wardrobe-manufacturing-and-distribution-related program activities.

    After the naked procession, pro-wardrobe pundits denied that the emperor was at fault. The blame, they said, rested with the C.I.A., which had provided the emperor with bad intelligence about the potential for a suit.

    Even a quick Web search shows that before the procession, those same pundits had written articles attacking C.I.A. analysts because those analysts had refused to support strong administration assertions about the invisible suit.

    Although the imperial administration was conservative, its wardrobe plans drew crucial support from a group of liberal pundits. After the emperor's nakedness was revealed, the online magazine Slate held a symposium in which eight of these pundits were asked whether the fact that there was no suit had led them to reconsider their views. Only one admitted that he had been wrong - and he had changed his mind about the suit before the procession.

    Helen Thomas, the veteran palace correspondent, opposed the suit project from the beginning. When she pointed out that the emperor's clothes had turned out not to exist, the imperial press secretary accused her of being "opposed to the broader war on nakedness."

    Even though skeptics about the emperor's suit had been vindicated, TV news programs continued to portray those skeptics as crazy people. For example, the news networks showed, over and over, a clip of the little boy shouting at a party. The clip was deeply misleading: he had been shouting to be heard over background noise, which the ambient microphone didn't pick up. Nonetheless, "the scream" became a staple of political discourse.

    The emperor gave many speeches in which he declared that his wardrobe was the "central front" in the war on nakedness.

    The editor of one liberal but pro-wardrobe magazine admitted that he had known from the beginning that there were good reasons to doubt the emperor's trustworthiness. But he said that he had put those doubts aside because doing so made him "feel superior to the Democrats." Unabashed, he continued to denounce those who had opposed the suit as soft on sartorial security.

    At the Radio and Television Correspondents' annual dinner, the emperor entertained the assembled journalists with a bit of humor: he showed slides of himself looking under furniture in his office, searching for the nonexistent suit. Some of the guests were aghast, but most of the audience roared with laughter.

    The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee oversaw an inquiry into how the government had come to believe in a nonexistent suit. The first part focused on the mistakes made by career government tailors. But the second part of the inquiry, on the role of the imperial administration in promoting faulty tailoring, appeared to vanish from the agenda.

    Two and a half years after the emperor's naked procession, a majority of citizens believed that the imperial administration had deliberately misled the country. Several former officials had gone public with tales of an administration obsessed with its wardrobe from Day 1.

    But apologists for the emperor continued to dismiss any suggestion that officials had lied to the nation. It was, they said, a crazy conspiracy theory. After all, back in 1998 Bill Clinton thought there was a suit.

    And they all lived happily ever after - in the story. Here in reality, a large and growing number are being killed by roadside bombs.
    Digby has a must-read on the differences between Bush's and Clinton''s approach to Iraq.


    It's been pretty obvious for years that the economic branch of the right-wingers - i.e., "the rich" - hold the religious conservatives in contempt, and is shamelessly using them.

    Well, they actually wrote it on paper. (Link is to Salon - watch their commercial.)

    The Abramoff-Scanlon lobbyist trial is being largely ignored by everyone, including this tiny corner of cyberspace. Because who attends to small potatoes like indicted Republican lobbyists when we have indicted Senators and Whote House Chiefs of Staff to attend to? But it is going on, and it is important.

    Anywho, Tom Delay's old aide, Michael Scanlon, revealed the right-wingers contempt for the religious conservative that they call "wackos," in explaining Republican strategy for winning elections:

    "The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees," Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. "Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them."

    The brilliance of this strategy was twofold: Not only would most voters not know about an initiative to protect Coushatta gambling revenues, but religious "wackos" could be tricked into supporting gambling at the Coushatta casino even as they thought they were opposing it.


    At least Buckley has it right

    He's a rabid right-winger, of course. But he isn't completely without principles like most of the rest of them. And exposing a CIA agent crosses his line:

    We have noticed that Valerie Plame Wilson has lived in Washington since 1997. Where she was before that is not disclosed by research facilities at my disposal. But even if she was safe in Washington when the identity of her employer was given out, it does not mean that her outing was without consequence. We do not know what dealings she might have been engaging in which are now interrupted or even made impossible. We do not know whether the countries in which she worked before 1997 could accost her, if she were to visit any of them, confronting her with signed papers that gave untruthful reasons for her previous stay — that she was there only as tourist, or working for a fictitious U.S. company.

    The importance of the law against revealing the true professional identity of an agent is advertised by the draconian punishment, under the federal code, for violating it. In the swirl of the Libby affair, one loses sight of the real offense, and it becomes almost inapprehensible what it is that Cheney/Libby/Rove got themselves into. But the sacredness of the law against betraying a clandestine soldier of the republic cannot be slighted.

    Thursday, November 03, 2005

    "We've only had the Vice-President's Chief of Staff indicted so far! Isn't that GOOD NEWS?" - The Current Republican Party.

    Sad, really.

    Is Bushism a cult?

    10 characteristics of cult membership, according to Stephen Alan Hassan in his book Combatting Cult Mind Control.

    1) The Doctrine is Reality - The cult's beliefs allow no interpretation or other theories.

    2) Reality is Black and White, Good Versus Evil - no outside group is valid, "no room for interpretation"

    3) Elitist Mentality - they are the chosen ones

    4) Group Will Over Individual Will - "the self must submit to the group" "conformity is good"

    5) Strict Obedience: Modeling the Leader - the leader is imitated by everyone

    6) Happiness through good performance - behaviors are controlled by shaming,

    7) Manipulation through fear and guilt - includes exit phobias, the devil, God, communism, etc. will hurt you

    8) Emotional highs and lows - from great productivity to crashing (due to individual's inadequacies)

    9) Changes in Time Orientation - pre-cult life is bad, the present is crucial (pressure to meet quotas, etc.)

    10) No Way Out - There is never a legitimate reason for leaving