The Nattering Nabob <$BlogRSDUrl$>
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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Think this will make the mainstream press?
 
Spiegel has an interview with Tyole Drumheller, the Former European CIA Chief about the run-up to the decision to invade Iraq.

It's damning.

Drumheller: I had assured my German friends that ["Curveball's" claims] wouldn't be in the speech. I really thought that I had put it to bed. I had warned the CIA deputy John McLaughlin that this case could be fabricated. The night before the speech, then CIA director George Tenet called me at home. I said: "Hey Boss, be careful with that German report. It's supposed to be taken out. There are a lot of problems with that." He said: "Yeah, yeah. Right. Dont worry about that."

SPIEGEL: But it turned out to be the centerpiece in Powell's presentation — and nobody had told him about the doubts.

Drumheller: I turned on the TV in my office, and there it was. So the first thing I thought, having worked in the government all my life, was that we probably gave Powell the wrong speech. We checked our files and found out that they had just ignored it.

SPIEGEL: So the White House just ignored the fact that the whole story might have been untrue?

Drumheller: The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy.


These bastards lied to start a war. 3000 Americans are dead. Tens of thousands permanently wounded. Tens of thousands Iraqi civilians - dead. It's a total failure. And they lied so they could start it. They CHOSE this. On purpose.

There is no pit of hell deep enough for these people.

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Molly Ivins died of cancer.
 
62 years old.

Heaven just got a little livelier.

Rest in peace, Molly.

Well done, thou good and faithful servant.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rove may testify
 
...or take the fifth.

Jan. 26, 2007 - White House anxiety is mounting over the prospect that top officials—including deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and counselor Dan Bartlett-may be forced to provide potentially awkward testimony in the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis (Scooter) Libby.


Have you noticed that the 5th Amendment is about the only one the Bushies haven't tried to gut? Some foresight.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Maureen Dowd
 
Daffy Does Doom

Dick Durbin went to the floor of the Senate on Thursday night to denounce the vice president as “delusional.”

It was shocking, and Senator Durbin should be ashamed of himself.

Delusional is far too mild a word to describe Dick Cheney. Delusional doesn’t begin to capture the profound, transcendental one-flew-over daftness of the man.

Has anyone in the history of the United States ever been so singularly wrong and misguided about such phenomenally important events and continued to insist he’s right in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary?

It requires an exquisite kind of lunacy to spend hundreds of billions destroying America’s reputation in the world, exhausting the U.S. military, failing to catch Osama, enhancing Iran’s power in the Middle East and sending American kids to train and arm Iraqi forces so they can work against American interests.

Only someone with an inspired alienation from reality could, under the guise of exorcising the trauma of Vietnam, replicate the trauma of Vietnam.

You must have a real talent for derangement to stay wrong every step of the way, to remain in complete denial about Iraq’s civil war, to have a total misunderstanding of Arab culture, to be completely oblivious to the American mood and to be absolutely blind to how democracy works.

In a democracy, when you run a campaign that panders to homophobia by attacking gay marriage and then your lesbian daughter writes a book about politics and decides to have a baby with her partner, you cannot tell Wolf Blitzer he’s “out of line” when he gingerly raises the hypocrisy of your position.

Mr. Cheney acts more like a member of the James gang than the Jefferson gang. Asked by Wolf what would happen if the Senate passed a resolution critical of The Surge, Scary Cheney rumbled, “It won’t stop us.”

Such an exercise in democracy, he noted, would be “detrimental from the standpoint of the troops.”

Americans learned an important lesson from Vietnam about supporting the troops even when they did not support the war. From media organizations to Hollywood celebrities and lawmakers on both sides, everyone backs our troops.

It is W. and Vice who learned no lessons from Vietnam, probably because they worked so hard to avoid going. They rush into a war halfway around the world for no reason and with no foresight about the culture or the inevitable insurgency, and then assert that any criticism of their fumbling management of Iraq and Afghanistan is tantamount to criticizing the troops. Quel demagoguery.

“Bottom line,” Vice told Wolf, “is that we’ve had enormous successes, and we will continue to have enormous successes.” The biggest threat, he said, is that Americans may not “have the stomach for the fight.”

He should stop casting aspersions on the American stomach. We’ve had the stomach for more than 3,000 American deaths in a war sold as a cakewalk.

If W. were not so obsessed with being seen as tough, Mr. Cheney could not influence him with such tripe.

They are perpetually guided by the wrong part of the body. They are consumed by the fear of looking as if they don’t have guts, when they should be compelled by the desire to look as if they have brains.

After offering Congress an olive branch in the State of the Union, the president resumed mindless swaggering. Asked yesterday why he was ratcheting up despite the resolutions, W. replied, “In that I’m the decision maker, I had to come up with a way forward that precluded disaster.” (Or preordained it.)

The reality of Iraq, as The Times’s brilliant John Burns described it to Charlie Rose this week, is that a messy endgame could be far worse than Vietnam, leading to “a civil war on a scale with bloodshed that will absolutely dwarf what we’re seeing now,” and a “wider conflagration, with all kinds of implications for the world’s flow of oil, for the state of Israel. What happens to King Abdullah in Jordan if there’s complete chaos in the region?”

Mr. Cheney has turned his perversity into foreign policy.

He assumes that the more people think he’s crazy, the saner he must be. In Dr. No’s nutty world-view, anti-Americanism is a compliment. The proof that America is right is that everyone thinks it isn’t.

He sees himself as a prophet in the wilderness because he thinks anyone in the wilderness must be a prophet.

To borrow one of his many dismissive words, it’s hogwash.

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Blast rocks green zone
 
BAGHDAD, Jan 27 (Reuters) - A loud explosion rocked central Baghdad on Saturday, prompting sirens and loudspeaker warnings in the international Green Zone and sending up a large plume of white smoke inside the heavily fortified area.

Loudspeaker warnings urged people to take cover. "This is not a drill," the warning said.

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From kos:



The folks who did the above in San Francisco want to do the same in DC in from of the Capitol.

"Show up on the sidewalk on the MONUMENT side of 14th Street, at the Mall, no later than 11:50 a.m.."


Details at the link above. If you're in DC today, why not?

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Liberal media
 
This is fun.

At the Libby trial, Cathie Martin, talking about turn, mentioned that the White House likes to go on Meet the Press, because they control Tim Russert, and they orchestrate the release of bad news on Friday, because few people see it that way.
Memo to Tim Russert: Dick Cheney thinks he controls you.

This delicious morsel about the "Meet the Press" host and the vice president was part of the extensive dish Cathie Martin served up yesterday when the former Cheney communications director took the stand in the perjury trial of former Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Flashed on the courtroom computer screens were her notes from 2004 about how Cheney could respond to allegations that the Bush administration had played fast and loose with evidence of Iraq's nuclear ambitions. Option 1: "MTP-VP," she wrote, then listed the pros and cons of a vice presidential appearance on the Sunday show. Under "pro," she wrote: "control message."

"I suggested we put the vice president on 'Meet the Press,' which was a tactic we often used," Martin testified. "It's our best format."...

Bush aides charged with speaking to the public and the media are kept out of the loop on some of the most important issues. And bad news is dumped before the weekend for the sole purpose of burying it.

With a candor that is frowned upon at the White House, Martin explained the use of late-Friday statements. "Fewer people pay attention to it late on Friday," she said. "Fewer people pay attention when it's reported on Saturday."


It's so odd, that Bush and Cheney would regard that nasty old liberal media as a sympathetic formet, isn't it?

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

CBS decided NOT to put this on TV.
 
CBS decided NOT to put this on TV. It's Web Only.

Why?

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007


 
If there is one good Republican in Washington, it's Chuck Hagel.


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This is sort of creepy.
 


She is Representative Michelle Bachmann.

And an odd film is here.

"Early Wednesday morning, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS showed video of Rep. Michele Bachmann's exchange with President Bush Tuesday night. The video shows Bachmann grabbing onto and holding the president for almost 30 seconds."


Here's an article on her. How does THIS sentence grab you?

August 30, 2006 The congressional candidate [Michelle Bachmann] weighs in on the visit from President Bush with Jason Lewis on KTLK-FM (100.3). First she notes that Dubya is an "awesome date," before adding, "He's so buff. He's like you, Jason, he has 1 percent body fat."


Things that make you go hmmmmm.

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Obama stuffs Fox
 
From Josh Marshall:

Obama is aggressively going after Fox News today for pushing that smear-job report claiming that he went to an Islamic “madrassa” school as a child. The report has already been completely debunked by CNN, but Obama isn't letting up.

The Senator's office has just emailed out a blistering memo targeting Fox that says the following:


In the past week, many of you have read a now thoroughly-debunked story by Insight Magazine, owned by the Washington Times, which cites unnamed sources close to a political campaign that claim Senator Obama was enrolled for “at least four years” in an Indonesian “Madrassa”. The article says the “sources” believe the Madrassa was “espousing Wahhabism,” a form of radical Islam.

Insight Magazine published these allegations without a single named source, and without doing any independent reporting to confirm or deny the allegations. Fox News quickly parroted the charges, and Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy went so far as to ask, “Why didn’t anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised — spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father — as a Muslim and was educated in a Madrassa?”

All of the claims about Senator Obama raised in the Insight Magazine piece were thoroughly debunked by CNN, which, instead of relying on unnamed sources, sent a reporter to Obama’s former school in Jakarta to check the facts.

If Doocy or the staff at Fox and Friends had taken [time] to check their facts, or simply made a call to his office, they would have learned that Senator Obama was not educated in a Madrassa, was not raised as a Muslim, and was not raised by his father – an atheist Obama met once in his life before he died.

Later in the day, Fox News host John Gibson again discussed the Insight Magazine story without any attempt to independently confirm the charges.

All of the claims about Senator Obama’s faith and education raised in the Insight Magazine story and repeated on Fox News are false. Senator Obama was raised in a secular household in Indonesia by his stepfather and mother. Obama’s stepfather worked for a U.S. oil company, and sent his stepson to two years of Catholic school, as well as two years of public school. As Obama described it, “Without the money to go to the international school that most expatriate children attended, I went to local Indonesian schools and ran the streets with the children of farmers, servants, tailors, and clerks.” [The Audacity of Hope, p. 274]

To be clear, Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ in Chicago. Furthermore, the Indonesian school Obama attended in Jakarta is a public school that is not and never has been a Madrassa.

These malicious, irresponsible charges are precisely the kind of politics the American people have grown tired of, and that Senator Obama is trying to change by focusing on bringing people together to solve our common problems.


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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

And the response
 
Democratic Response to the President's State of the Union Address

Tuesday, January 23, 2007; 8:50 PM

Good evening.

I'm Senator Jim Webb, from Virginia, where this year we will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown - an event that marked the first step in the long journey that has made us the greatest and most prosperous nation on earth.

It would not be possible in this short amount of time to actually rebut the President's message, nor would it be useful. Let me simply say that we in the Democratic Party hope that this administration is serious about improving education and healthcare for all Americans, and addressing such domestic priorities as restoring the vitality of New Orleans.

Further, this is the seventh time the President has mentioned energy independence in his state of the union message, but for the first time this exchange is taking place in a Congress led by the Democratic Party. We are looking for affirmative solutions that will strengthen our nation by freeing us from our dependence on foreign oil, and spurring a wave of entrepreneurial growth in the form of alternate energy programs. We look forward to working with the President and his party to bring about these changes.

There are two areas where our respective parties have largely stood in contradiction, and I want to take a few minutes to address them tonight. The first relates to how we see the health of our economy - how we measure it, and how we ensure that its benefits are properly shared among all Americans. The second regards our foreign policy - how we might bring the war in Iraq to a proper conclusion that will also allow us to continue to fight the war against international terrorism, and to address other strategic concerns that our country faces around the world.

When one looks at the health of our economy, it's almost as if we are living in two different countries. Some say that things have never been better. The stock market is at an all-time high, and so are corporate profits. But these benefits are not being fairly shared. When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did; today, it's nearly 400 times. In other words, it takes the average worker more than a year to make the money that his or her boss makes in one day.

Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth, even though the productivity of American workers is the highest in the world. Medical costs have skyrocketed. College tuition rates are off the charts. Our manufacturing base is being dismantled and sent overseas. Good American jobs are being sent along with them.

In short, the middle class of this country, our historic backbone and our best hope for a strong society in the future, is losing its place at the table. Our workers know this, through painful experience. Our white-collar professionals are beginning to understand it, as their jobs start disappearing also. And they expect, rightly, that in this age of globalization, their government has a duty to insist that their concerns be dealt with fairly in the international marketplace.

In the early days of our republic, President Andrew Jackson established an important principle of American-style democracy - that we should measure the health of our society not at its apex, but at its base. Not with the numbers that come out of Wall Street, but with the living conditions that exist on Main Street. We must recapture that spirit today.

And under the leadership of the new Democratic Congress, we are on our way to doing so. The House just passed a minimum wage increase, the first in ten years, and the Senate will soon follow. We've introduced a broad legislative package designed to regain the trust of the American people. We've established a tone of cooperation and consensus that extends beyond party lines. We're working to get the right things done, for the right people and for the right reasons.

With respect to foreign policy, this country has patiently endured a mismanaged war for nearly four years. Many, including myself, warned even before the war began that it was unnecessary, that it would take our energy and attention away from the larger war against terrorism, and that invading and occupying Iraq would leave us strategically vulnerable in the most violent and turbulent corner of the world.

I want to share with all of you a picture that I have carried with me for more than 50 years. This is my father, when he was a young Air Force captain, flying cargo planes during the Berlin Airlift. He sent us the picture from Germany, as we waited for him, back here at home. When I was a small boy, I used to take the picture to bed with me every night, because for more than three years my father was deployed, unable to live with us full-time, serving overseas or in bases where there was no family housing. I still keep it, to remind me of the sacrifices that my mother and others had to make, over and over again, as my father gladly served our country. I was proud to follow in his footsteps, serving as a Marine in Vietnam. My brother did as well, serving as a Marine helicopter pilot. My son has joined the tradition, now serving as an infantry Marine in Iraq.

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.

The President took us into this war recklessly. He disregarded warnings from the national security adviser during the first Gulf War, the chief of staff of the army, two former commanding generals of the Central Command, whose jurisdiction includes Iraq, the director of operations on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many, many others with great integrity and long experience in national security affairs. We are now, as a nation, held hostage to the predictable - and predicted - disarray that has followed.

The war's costs to our nation have been staggering.

Financially.

The damage to our reputation around the world.

The lost opportunities to defeat the forces of international terrorism.

And especially the precious blood of our citizens who have stepped forward to serve.

The majority of the nation no longer supports the way this war is being fought; nor does the majority of our military. We need a new direction. Not one step back from the war against international terrorism. Not a precipitous withdrawal that ignores the possibility of further chaos. But an immediate shift toward strong regionally-based diplomacy, a policy that takes our soldiers off the streets of Iraq's cities, and a formula that will in short order allow our combat forces to leave Iraq.

On both of these vital issues, our economy and our national security, it falls upon those of us in elected office to take action.

Regarding the economic imbalance in our country, I am reminded of the situation President Theodore Roosevelt faced in the early days of the 20th century. America was then, as now, drifting apart along class lines. The so-called robber barons were unapologetically raking in a huge percentage of the national wealth. The dispossessed workers at the bottom were threatening revolt.

Roosevelt spoke strongly against these divisions. He told his fellow Republicans that they must set themselves "as resolutely against improper corporate influence on the one hand as against demagogy and mob rule on the other." And he did something about it.

As I look at Iraq, I recall the words of former general and soon-to-be President Dwight Eisenhower during the dark days of the Korean War, which had fallen into a bloody stalemate. "When comes the end?" asked the General who had commanded our forces in Europe during World War Two. And as soon as he became President, he brought the Korean War to an end.

These Presidents took the right kind of action, for the benefit of the American people and for the health of our relations around the world. Tonight we are calling on this President to take similar action, in both areas. If he does, we will join him. If he does not, we will be showing him the way.

Thank you for listening. And God bless America.

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No there there
 
Here's the text of the SOTU speech, so you don't have to watch it.

I do not exaggerate when I say that it is one of the most boring, worthless, predictable, vacuous things imaginable. Almost as though that's what they were trying to do.

Bush has nothing left. He's through.

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Madam Speaker, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

This rite of custom brings us together at a defining hour – when decisions are hard and courage is tested. We enter the year 2007 with large endeavors underway, and others that are ours to begin. In all of this, much is asked of us. We must have the will to face difficult challenges and determined enemies – and the wisdom to face them together.

Some in this Chamber are new to the House and Senate – and I congratulate the Democratic majority. Congress has changed, but our responsibilities have not. Each of us is guided by our own convictions – and to these we must stay faithful. Yet we are all held to the same standards, and called to serve the same good purposes: To extend this Nation’s prosperity ... to spend the people’s money wisely ... to solve problems, not leave them to future generations ... to guard America against all evil, and to keep faith with those we have sent forth to defend us.

We are not the first to come here with government divided and uncertainty in the air. Like many before us, we can work through our differences, and achieve big things for the American people. Our citizens don’t much care which side of the aisle we sit on – as long as we are willing to cross that aisle when there is work to be done. Our job is to make life better for our fellow Americans, and help them to build a future of hope and opportunity – and this is the business before us tonight.

A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy – and that is what we have. We are now in the 41st month of uninterrupted job growth – in a recovery that has created 7.2 million new jobs ... so far. Unemployment is low, inflation is low, and wages are rising. This economy is on the move – and our job is to keep it that way, not with more government but with more enterprise.

Next week, I will deliver a full report on the state of our economy. Tonight, I want to discuss three economic reforms that deserve to be priorities for this Congress.

First, we must balance the federal budget. We can do so without raising taxes. What we need to do is impose spending discipline in Washington, D.C. We set a goal of cutting the deficit in half by 2009 – and met that goal three years ahead of schedule. Now let us take the next step. In the coming weeks, I will submit a budget that eliminates the federal deficit within the next five years. I ask you to make the same commitment. Together, we can restrain the spending appetite of the federal government, and balance the federal budget.

Next, there is the matter of earmarks. These special interest items are often slipped into bills at the last hour – when not even C-SPAN is watching. In 2005 alone, the number of earmarks grew to over 13,000 and totaled nearly $18 billion. Even worse, over 90 percent of earmarks never make it to the floor of the House and Senate – they are dropped into Committee reports that are not even part of the bill that arrives on my desk. You did not vote them into law. I did not sign them into law. Yet they are treated as if they have the force of law. The time has come to end this practice. So let us work together to reform the budget process ... expose every earmark to the light of day and to a vote in Congress … and cut the number and cost of earmarks at least in half by the end of this session.

Finally, to keep this economy strong we must take on the challenge of entitlements. Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are commitments of conscience – and so it is our duty to keep them permanently sound. Yet we are failing in that duty – and this failure will one day leave our children with three bad options: huge tax increases, huge deficits, or huge and immediate cuts in benefits. Everyone in this Chamber knows this to be true – yet somehow we have not found it in ourselves to act. So let us work together and do it now. With enough good sense and good will, you and I can fix Medicare and Medicaid – and save Social Security.

Spreading opportunity and hope in America also requires public schools that give children the knowledge and character they need in life. Five years ago, we rose above partisan differences to pass the No Child Left Behind Act – preserving local control, raising standards in public schools, and holding those schools accountable for results. And because we acted, students are performing better in reading and math, and minority students are closing the achievement gap.

Now the task is to build on this success, without watering down standards ... without taking control from local communities ... and without backsliding and calling it reform. We can lift student achievement even higher by giving local leaders flexibility to turn around failing schools ... and by giving families with children stuck in failing schools the right to choose something better. We must increase funds for students who struggle – and make sure these children get the special help they need. And we can make sure our children are prepared for the jobs of the future, and our country is more competitive, by strengthening math and science skills. The No Child Left Behind Act has worked for America’s children – and I ask Congress to reauthorize this good law.

A future of hope and opportunity requires that all our citizens have affordable and available healthcare. When it comes to healthcare, government has an obligation to care for the elderly, the disabled, and poor children. We will meet those responsibilities. For all other Americans, private health insurance is the best way to meet their needs. But many Americans cannot afford a health insurance policy.

Tonight, I propose two new initiatives to help more Americans afford their own insurance. First, I propose a standard tax deduction for health insurance that will be like the standard tax deduction for dependents. Families with health insurance will pay no income or payroll taxes on $15,000 of their income. Single Americans with health insurance will pay no income or payroll taxes on $7,500 of their income. With this reform, more than 100 million men, women, and children who are now covered by employer-provided insurance will benefit from lower tax bills.

At the same time, this reform will level the playing field for those who do not get health insurance through their job. For Americans who now purchase health insurance on their own, my proposal would mean a substantial tax savings – $4,500 for a family of four making $60,000 a year. And for the millions of other Americans who have no health insurance at all, this deduction would help put a basic private health insurance plan within their reach. Changing the tax code is a vital and necessary step to making healthcare affordable for more Americans.

My second proposal is to help the states that are coming up with innovative ways to cover the uninsured. States that make basic private health insurance available to all their citizens should receive federal funds to help them provide this coverage to the poor and the sick. I have asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services to work with Congress to take existing federal funds and use them to create “Affordable Choices” grants. These grants would give our Nation’s governors more money and more flexibility to get private health insurance to those most in need.

There are many other ways that Congress can help. We need to expand Health Savings Accounts ... help small businesses through Association Health Plans ... reduce costs and medical errors with better information technology ... encourage price transparency ... and protect good doctors from junk lawsuits by passing medical liability reform. And in all we do, we must remember that the best healthcare decisions are made not by government and insurance companies, but by patients and their doctors.

Extending hope and opportunity in our country requires an immigration system worthy of America – with laws that are fair and borders that are secure. When laws and borders are routinely violated, this harms the interests of our country. To secure our border, we are doubling the size of the Border Patrol – and funding new infrastructure and technology.

Yet even with all these steps, we cannot fully secure the border unless we take pressure off the border – and that requires a temporary worker program. We should establish a legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis. As a result, they won’t have to try to sneak in – and that will leave border agents free to chase down drug smugglers, and criminals, and terrorists. We will enforce our immigration laws at the worksite, and give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers – so there is no excuse left for violating the law. We need to uphold the great tradition of the melting pot that welcomes and assimilates new arrivals. And we need to resolve the status of the illegal immigrants who are already in our country – without animosity and without amnesty.

Convictions run deep in this Capitol when it comes to immigration. Let us have a serious, civil, and conclusive debate – so that you can pass, and I can sign, comprehensive immigration reform into law.

Extending hope and opportunity depends on a stable supply of energy that keeps America’s economy running and America’s environment clean. For too long our Nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists – who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments ... raise the price of oil ... and do great harm to our economy.

It is in our vital interest to diversify America’s energy supply – and the way forward is through technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power – by even greater use of clean coal technology ... solar and wind energy ... and clean, safe nuclear power. We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol – using everything from wood chips, to grasses, to agricultural wastes.

We have made a lot of progress, thanks to good policies in Washington and the strong response of the market. Now even more dramatic advances are within reach. Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we have done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next ten years – thereby cutting our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.

To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory Fuels Standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 – this is nearly five times the current target. At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks – and conserve up to eight and a half billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017.

Achieving these ambitious goals will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but will not eliminate it. So as we continue to diversify our fuel supply, we must also step up domestic oil production in environmentally sensitive ways. And to further protect America against severe disruptions to our oil supply, I ask Congress to double the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. These technologies will help us become better stewards of the environment – and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.

A future of hope and opportunity requires a fair, impartial system of justice. The lives of citizens across our Nation are affected by the outcome of cases pending in our federal courts. And we have a shared obligation to ensure that the federal courts have enough judges to hear those cases and deliver timely rulings. As President, I have a duty to nominate qualified men and women to vacancies on the federal bench. And the United States Senate has a duty as well – to give those nominees a fair hearing, and a prompt up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.

For all of us in this room, there is no higher responsibility than to protect the people of this country from danger. Five years have come and gone since we saw the scenes and felt the sorrow that terrorists can cause. We have had time to take stock of our situation. We have added many critical protections to guard the homeland. We know with certainty that the horrors of that September morning were just a glimpse of what the terrorists intend for us – unless we stop them.

With the distance of time, we find ourselves debating the causes of conflict and the course we have followed. Such debates are essential when a great democracy faces great questions. Yet one question has surely been settled – that to win the war on terror we must take the fight to the enemy.

From the start, America and our allies have protected our people by staying on the offense. The enemy knows that the days of comfortable sanctuary, easy movement, steady financing, and free flowing communications are long over. For the terrorists, life since Nine-Eleven has never been the same.

Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen. We cannot know the full extent of the attacks that we and our allies have prevented – but here is some of what we do know: We stopped an al Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast. We broke up a Southeast Asian terrorist cell grooming operatives for attacks inside the United States. We uncovered an al Qaeda cell developing anthrax to be used in attacks against America. And just last August, British authorities uncovered a plot to blow up passenger planes bound for America over the Atlantic Ocean. For each life saved, we owe a debt of gratitude to the brave public servants who devote their lives to finding the terrorists and stopping them.

Every success against the terrorists is a reminder of the shoreless ambitions of this enemy. The evil that inspired and rejoiced in Nine-Eleven is still at work in the world. And so long as that is the case, America is still a Nation at war.

In the minds of the terrorists, this war began well before September 11th, and will not end until their radical vision is fulfilled. And these past five years have given us a much clearer view of the nature of this enemy. Al Qaeda and its followers are Sunni extremists, possessed by hatred and commanded by a harsh and narrow ideology. Take almost any principle of civilization, and their goal is the opposite. They preach with threats ... instruct with bullets and bombs ... and promise paradise for the murder of the innocent.

Our enemies are quite explicit about their intentions. They want to overthrow moderate governments, and establish safe havens from which to plan and carry out new attacks on our country. By killing and terrorizing Americans, they want to force our country to retreat from the world and abandon the cause of liberty. They would then be free to impose their will and spread their totalitarian ideology. Listen to this warning from the late terrorist Zarqawi: “We will sacrifice our blood and bodies to put an end to your dreams, and what is coming is even worse.” And Osama bin Laden declared: “Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us.”

These men are not given to idle words, and they are just one camp in the Islamist radical movement. In recent times, it has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who are just as hostile to America, and are also determined to dominate the Middle East. Many are known to take direction from the regime in Iran, which is funding and arming terrorists like Hezbollah – a group second only to al Qaeda in the American lives it has taken.

The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat. But whatever slogans they chant, when they slaughter the innocent, they have the same wicked purposes. They want to kill Americans ... kill democracy in the Middle East ... and gain the weapons to kill on an even more horrific scale.

In the sixth year since our Nation was attacked, I wish I could report to you that the dangers have ended. They have not. And so it remains the policy of this government to use every lawful and proper tool of intelligence, diplomacy, law enforcement, and military action to do our duty, to find these enemies, and to protect the American people.

This war is more than a clash of arms – it is a decisive ideological struggle, and the security of our Nation is in the balance. To prevail, we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred, and drove 19 men to get onto airplanes and come to kill us. What every terrorist fears most is human freedom – societies where men and women make their own choices, answer to their own conscience, and live by their hopes instead of their resentments. Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies – and most will choose a better way when they are given a chance. So we advance our own security interests by helping moderates, reformers, and brave voices for democracy. The great question of our day is whether America will help men and women in the Middle East to build free societies and share in the rights of all humanity. And I say, for the sake of our own security . . . we must.

In the last two years, we have seen the desire for liberty in the broader Middle East – and we have been sobered by the enemy’s fierce reaction. In 2005, the world watched as the citizens of Lebanon raised the banner of the Cedar Revolution ... drove out the Syrian occupiers ... and chose new leaders in free elections. In 2005, the people of Afghanistan defied the terrorists and elected a democratic legislature. And in 2005, the Iraqi people held three national elections – choosing a transitional government ... adopting the most progressive, democratic constitution in the Arab world … and then electing a government under that constitution. Despite endless threats from the killers in their midst, nearly 12 million Iraqi citizens came out to vote in a show of hope and solidarity we should never forget.

A thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics, and in 2006 they struck back. In Lebanon, assassins took the life of Pierre Gemayel, a prominent participant in the Cedar Revolution. And Hezbollah terrorists, with support from Syria and Iran, sowed conflict in the region and are seeking to undermine Lebanon’s legitimately elected government. In Afghanistan, Taliban and al Qaeda fighters tried to regain power by regrouping and engaging Afghan and NATO forces. In Iraq, al Qaeda and other Sunni extremists blew up one of the most sacred places in Shia Islam – the Golden Mosque of Samarra. This atrocity, directed at a Muslim house of prayer, was designed to provoke retaliation from Iraqi Shia – and it succeeded. Radical Shia elements, some of whom receive support from Iran, formed death squads. The result was a tragic escalation of sectarian rage and reprisal that continues to this day.

This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we are in. Every one of us wishes that this war were over and won. Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned, and our own security at risk. Ladies and gentlemen: On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle. So let us find our resolve, and turn events toward victory.

We are carrying out a new strategy in Iraq – a plan that demands more from Iraq’s elected government, and gives our forces in Iraq the reinforcements they need to complete their mission. Our goal is a democratic Iraq that upholds the rule of law, respects the rights of its people, provides them security, and is an ally in the war on terror.

In order to make progress toward this goal, the Iraqi government must stop the sectarian violence in its capital. But the Iraqis are not yet ready to do this on their own. So we are deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq. The vast majority will go to Baghdad, where they will help Iraqi forces to clear and secure neighborhoods, and serve as advisers embedded in Iraqi Army units. With Iraqis in the lead, our forces will help secure the city by chasing down terrorists, insurgents, and roaming death squads. And in Anbar province – where al Qaeda terrorists have gathered and local forces have begun showing a willingness to fight them – we are sending an additional 4,000 United States Marines, with orders to find the terrorists and clear them out. We did not drive al Qaeda out of their safe haven in Afghanistan only to let them set up a new safe haven in a free Iraq.

The people of Iraq want to live in peace, and now is the time for their government to act. Iraq’s leaders know that our commitment is not open ended. They have promised to deploy more of their own troops to secure Baghdad – and they must do so. They have pledged that they will confront violent radicals of any faction or political party. They need to follow through, and lift needless restrictions on Iraqi and Coalition forces, so these troops can achieve their mission of bringing security to all of the people of Baghdad. Iraq’s leaders have committed themselves to a series of benchmarks to achieve reconciliation – to share oil revenues among all of Iraq’s citizens ... to put the wealth of Iraq into the rebuilding of Iraq ... to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's civic life ... to hold local elections ... and to take responsibility for security in every Iraqi province. But for all of this to happen, Baghdad must be secured. And our plan will help the Iraqi government take back its capital and make good on its commitments.

My fellow citizens, our military commanders and I have carefully weighed the options. We discussed every possible approach. In the end, I chose this course of action because it provides the best chance of success. Many in this chamber understand that America must not fail in Iraq – because you understand that the consequences of failure would be grievous and far reaching.

If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country – and in time the entire region could be drawn into the conflict.

For America, this is a nightmare scenario. For the enemy, this is the objective. Chaos is their greatest ally in this struggle. And out of chaos in Iraq, would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens... new recruits ... new resources ... and an even greater determination to harm America. To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September 11th and invite tragedy. And ladies and gentlemen, nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed in the Middle East ... to succeed in Iraq ... and to spare the American people from this danger.

This is where matters stand tonight, in the here and now. I have spoken with many of you in person. I respect you and the arguments you have made. We went into this largely united – in our assumptions, and in our convictions. And whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure. Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq – and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field – and those on their way.

The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others. That is why it is important to work together so our Nation can see this great effort through. Both parties and both branches should work in close consultation. And this is why I propose to establish a special advisory council on the war on terror, made up of leaders in Congress from both political parties. We will share ideas for how to position America to meet every challenge that confronts us. And we will show our enemies abroad that we are united in the goal of victory.

One of the first steps we can take together is to add to the ranks of our military – so that the American Armed Forces are ready for all the challenges ahead. Tonight I ask the Congress to authorize an increase in the size of our active Army and Marine Corps by 92,000 in the next five years. A second task we can take on together is to design and establish a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps. Such a corps would function much like our military reserve. It would ease the burden on the Armed Forces by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them. And it would give people across America who do not wear the uniform a chance to serve in the defining struggle of our time.

Americans can have confidence in the outcome of this struggle – because we are not in this struggle alone. We have a diplomatic strategy that is rallying the world to join in the fight against extremism. In Iraq, multinational forces are operating under a mandate from the United Nations – and we are working with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Gulf States to increase support for Iraq’s government. The United Nations has imposed sanctions on Iran, and made it clear that the world will not allow the regime in Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons. With the other members of the Quartet – the UN, the European Union, and Russia – we are pursuing diplomacy to help bring peace to the Holy Land, and pursuing the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security. In Afghanistan, NATO has taken the lead in turning back the Taliban and al Qaeda offensive – the first time the Alliance has deployed forces outside the North Atlantic area. Together with our partners in China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, we are pursuing intensive diplomacy to achieve a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons. And we will continue to speak out for the cause of freedom in places like Cuba, Belarus, and Burma – and continue to awaken the conscience of the world to save the people of Darfur.

American foreign policy is more than a matter of war and diplomacy. Our work in the world is also based on a timeless truth: To whom much is given, much is required. We hear the call to take on the challenges of hunger, poverty, and disease – and that is precisely what America is doing. We must continue to fight HIV/AIDS, especially on the continent of Africa – and because you funded our Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the number of people receiving life-saving drugs has grown from 50,000 to more than 800,000 in three short years. I ask you to continue funding our efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. I ask you to provide $1.2 billion over five years so we can combat malaria in 15 African countries. I ask that you fund the Millennium Challenge Account, so that American aid reaches the people who need it, in nations where democracy is on the rise and corruption is in retreat. And let us continue to support the expanded trade and debt relief that are the best hope for lifting lives and eliminating poverty.

When America serves others in this way, we show the strength and generosity of our country. These deeds reflect the character of our people. The greatest strength we have is the heroic kindness, courage, and self sacrifice of the American people. You see this spirit often if you know where to look – and tonight we need only look above to the gallery.

Dikembe Mutombo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and disease. He came to Georgetown University on a scholarship to study medicine – but Coach John Thompson got a look at Dikembe and had a different idea. Dikembe became a star in the NBA, and a citizen of the United States. But he never forgot the land of his birth – or the duty to share his blessings with others. He has built a brand new hospital in his hometown. A friend has said of this good hearted man: “Mutombo believes that God has given him this opportunity to do great things.” And we are proud to call this son of the Congo our fellow American.

After her daughter was born, Julie Aigner-Clark searched for ways to share her love of music and art with her child. So she borrowed some equipment, and began filming children’s videos in her basement. The Baby Einstein Company was born – and in just five years her business grew to more than $20 million in sales. In November 2001, Julie sold Baby Einstein to the Walt Disney Company, and with her help Baby Einstein has grown into a $200 million business. Julie represents the great enterprising spirit of America. And she is using her success to help others – producing child safety videos with John Walsh of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Julie says of her new project: “I believe it's the most important thing that I've ever done. I believe that children have the right to live in a world that is safe.” We are pleased to welcome this talented business entrepreneur and generous social entrepreneur – Julie Aigner-Clark.

Three weeks ago, Wesley Autrey was waiting at a Harlem subway station with his two little girls, when he saw a man fall into the path of a train. With seconds to act, Wesley jumped onto the tracks ... pulled the man into a space between the rails ... and held him as the train passed right above their heads. He insists he’s not a hero. Wesley says: “We got guys and girls overseas dying for us to have our freedoms. We got to show each other some love.” There is something wonderful about a country that produces a brave and humble man like Wesley Autrey.

Tommy Rieman was a teenager pumping gas in Independence, Kentucky, when he enlisted in the United States Army. In December 2003, he was on a reconnaissance mission in Iraq when his team came under heavy enemy fire. From his Humvee, Sergeant Rieman returned fire – and used his body as a shield to protect his gunner. He was shot in the chest and arm, and received shrapnel wounds to his legs – yet he refused medical attention, and stayed in the fight. He helped to repel a second attack, firing grenades at the enemy’s position. For his exceptional courage, Sergeant Rieman was awarded the Silver Star. And like so many other Americans who have volunteered to defend us, he has earned the respect and gratitude of our whole country.

In such courage and compassion, ladies and gentlemen, we see the spirit and character of America – and these qualities are not in short supply. This is a decent and honorable country – and resilient, too. We have been through a lot together. We have met challenges and faced dangers, and we know that more lie ahead. Yet we can go forward with confidence – because the State of our Union is strong ... our cause in the world is right ... and tonight that cause goes on.

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Jon Stewart previews the State of the Union
 

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This is dynamite
 
Right here.

"They're trying to set me up. They want me to be the sacrificial lamb. I will not be sacrificed so Karl Rove can be protected." - Scooter Libby, according to his attorney.

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This is dynamite
 
Right here.

"They're trying to set me up. They want me to be the sacrificial lamb. I will not be sacrificed so Karl Rove can be protected." - Scooter Libby, according to his attorney.

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Holy Shit
 
I thought this was pretty much over - and it looks like it JUST STARTED.

Top White House officials tried to blame vice presidential aide "Scooter" Libby for the 2003 leak of a CIA operative's identity to protect President Bush's political strategist, Karl Rove, Libby's defense attorney said Tuesday as his perjury trial began.


The prosecution says that Libby did it acting on orders from Cheney.

The DEFENSE says that the White House did it and is trying to make Libby take the fall.

Whether you believe the prosecution or the defense - Cheney is guilty.

Wow.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bush wants to raise workers taxes.
 
"WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 — President Bush intends to use his State of the Union address Tuesday to tackle the rising cost of health care with a one-two punch: tax breaks to help low-income people buy health insurance and tax increases for some workers whose health plans cost significantly more than the national average....

"It would work like this: The administration would cap the amount of benefits that can remain tax free at $15,000 for a family and $7,500 for an individual. Anyone whose health insurance cost more than that would pay taxes on the difference. For example, a family with coverage costing $16,000 a year would pay taxes on $1,000."


Got that? If your benefits are more than $7,500 a year for an individual or $15,000 for a family - which isn't all that much - Bush wants you be taxed on it.

And the extra money you pay will subsidize someone who ALREADY makes ten times what you do. Ain't that great?

By the way - notice that the lead paragraph in the "liberal" New York Times is clearly biased with a positive spin that FAVORS Bush's: "tackle the rising cost of health care with a one-two punch" is NOT objective language - in fact, it wouldn't surprise me if it was lifted verbatim from the Bush administration's press release; and it says "significantly more than the national average," when it actually isn't very much more at all.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Andy Griffith Hates America
 



Hat tip to Campus Progress.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Ballad of the Yellow Berets
 
Seen on Operation Yellow Elephant

The Ballad of the Yellow Berets
To the tune of "The Ballad of the Green Berets."

We are tough, young Republicans
We fight with words (but never guns)
We show support by drinking beer.
But since we’re rich we’ll stay right here.

(Chorus)
Chicken wings suit me just fine
They go so well with my yellow spine
I’ll ply my trade while you’re overseas
When you return, your job will speak Chinese

I’m like my grandpop and my dad
Those terrorist bastards make me mad;
But I’m a Stanford B-school grad;
So I’ll not be going to Baghdad

(Chorus)
Chicken wings suit me just fine
They go so well with my yellow spine
The poor man’s born to join the fray
I was born rich
I’ll get an MBA

I just can’t share the poor man’s fate
Cause at the Frat House hot babes wait
Just like Dubya I get “C’s”
And like Dick, I got “Priorities”

(Chorus)
Chicken wings suit me just fine
They go so well with my yellow spine
We strut like cocks in our “Old School” halls
We’re really hens, we’re lacking balls.

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Bush says he'll stop unauthorized eavesdropping
 
"Alberto! The Democrats are in! What are we doing that's clearly illegal and impeachable?"

It must piss him off like crazy to actually obey the law.

I think the Democrats should still impeach. The man has been ignoring the FISA law for years, and has admitted it.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007


 

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end?
 
After Bush gave his big speech, his popularity dropped. That's rather unusual for a Presidential speech, and it seems to have the geniuses in the press rather confused. Although they have woken up somewhat, they still haven't quite been able to wrap their tiny little heads around the fact that Bush is NO LONGER POPULAR. Period. It isn't a temporary blip, it isn't something that will change soon, people are sick of the asshole, period.

And it's not all that hard to see WHY his popularity dropped. The substance of the speech was "Screw you - who CARES what you want? All that matters is what I want." Why would a spoiled child throwing a tantrum meet with approval?

But the right-wing morons, and their jackals and sycophants in the press, seem to be rather surprised that such a message failed to elicit huzzahs from the populace. Hell, the citizens just REJECTED the whole damned idea, decisively, in an election. And they were just told that their wishes didn't matter and that they didn't count. Gee, why wouldn't THAT make people happy? I can't imagine.

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Officers petition Bush
 
WSJ - A group of more than 50 active-duty military officers will deliver a petition to Congress on Tuesday signed by about 1,000 troops calling for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. “Any troop increase over here will just produce more sitting ducks, more targets,” said Sergeant Ronn Cantu, who is serving in Iraq.


Not that it will do any good. Bush doesn't care what the TROOPS think either.

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Civilian deaths: 35,000
 
So the deaths of Iraqi civilians are more than 10 times the deaths of American soldiers.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Nearly 35,000 civilians were killed last year in Iraq, the United Nations said Tuesday, a sharp increase from the numbers reported previously by the Iraqi government.


I'll be it's a carload more than the number of insurgents.

Some intrepid reporter should Bush why we are at war against Iraqi civilians.

UPDATE: Moving the anonymous comment here, because it's accurate: "It's a damn site more than 10 times. Read carefully. 35,000 civilians were killed LAST YEAR, not in the nearly four years it's taken us to lose over 3,000."

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Monday, January 15, 2007


 
"Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be saved are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land." - MLK, April 4, 1967, Riverside Church, NYC

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned...
 
...I'm about to link to Drudge.


BUSH: MY DECISIONS HAVE MADE IRAQ MORE UNSTABLE
Sat Jan 13 2007 13:36:11 ET

The president concedes that his decisions have led to more instability in Iraq. President Bush made the admission in an exclusive interview with Scott Pelley at Camp David yesterday (12), his first interview since addressing the nation about Iraq. It will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, Jan. 14 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

The president says the current sectarian violence in Iraq, is a destabilizing factor that "could lead to attacks here in America" and must be controlled. He defended his decision to invade Iraq in the same way, saying Saddam was competing with Iran to get a nuclear weapon and making the region unstable. But when pressed by Pelley, Bush concedes that conditions in Iraq are much worse now.

Pelley: But wasn't it your administration that created the instability in Iraq? Bush: "Our administration took care of a source of instability in Iraq. Envision a world in which Saddam Hussein was rushing for a nuclear weapon to compete against Iran... He was a significant source of instability. Pelley: It's much more unstable now, Mr. President. Bush: Well, no question, decisions have made things unstable.

"I think history is going to look back and see a lot of ways we could have done things better. No question about it," says Bush.

Toppling Saddam was not a mistake, however. "My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the correct decision in my judgment. We didn't find the weapons we thought we would find or the weapons everybody thought he had. But he was a significant source of instability," Bush tells Pelley. "We liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude and I believe most Iraqi's express that."

The execution of Saddam was mishandled, says the president, who saw only parts of it on the Internet because he didn't want to watch the dictator fall through the trap door. "I thought it was discouraging... It's important that that chapter of Iraqi history be closed. [But] They could have handled it a lot better."

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Bush: Serious Short-term Memory Loss
 
President Bush fought back at lawmakers opposing his new plan for Iraq today, charging that simply being against the strategy without suggesting alternatives was "irresponsible." He challenged them to come up with a better plan.

"To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible."


You forgot the Iraq Study Group ALREADY, you moron?

I think you should have a doctor check that out.

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Remember Somalia?
 
Remember that raid that was supposed to have killed an Al Qaeda Number Three Guy?

They were actually a bunch of nomads.

The herdsmen had gathered with their animals around large fires at night to ward off mosquitoes. But lit up by the flames, they became latest victims of America's war on terror.

It was their tragedy to be misidentified in a secret operation by special forces attempting to kill three top al-Qa'ida leaders in south-ern Somalia.

Oxfam yesterday confirmed at least 70 nomads in the Afmadow district near the border with Kenya had been killed. The nomads were bombed at night and during the day while searching for water sources. Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Kenya has acknowledged that the onslaught on Islamist fighters failed to kill any of the three prime targets wanted for their alleged role in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
You know, it's actually HARD to get your brain around just how incompetent these people are. Seriously, don't they do ANYTHING right? Don't they EVER learn from their mistakes so that they stop making the same damned mistakes over and over again? And, after all of the failures, all of the fuckups, all of the horrible results of the failures and the fuckups, and all of the ANGER of the American populace at the horrible results of the failures and the fuckups - they STILL don't think that maybe it might be a good idea to PLAN military operations, and to MAKE SURE that they are doing things right BEFORE they just start bombing shit?

What the hell is WRONG with these people?

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I think I'm going to like Jim Webb
 
Regarding the consequences of pulling out of Iraq.

"[I]n your statement, Secretary Gates, you list some of these as an emboldened and strengthened Iran, a base of operations for jihadist networks in the heart of the Middle East, an undermining of the credibility of the United States. In many ways, quite frankly, those have been the results of the invasion and occupation. There's really nothing that's occurred since the invasion and occupation that was not predictable and in fact, most of it was predicted. It was predicted in many cases by people with long backgrounds in national security...and in many cases there were people who saw their military careers destroyed and who were personally demeaned by people who opposed them on the issues, including members of this administration. And they are people in my judgement, who will be remembered in history as having had a moral conscience." - Jim Webb to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, yesterday's hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.


Wow. There actually is somebody in the Senate who tells these clowns what millions of Americans have been trying to tell them for six years.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

100 Hours
 
Here's Nancy Pelosi's statement. Let's check it off:

With our new Democratic Majority, House Democrats have pledged to honor the American people's faith in us, and restore America's faith in the future with a New Direction for America. Our New Direction begins now with a commitment to integrity, civility, and fiscal responsibility. We believe the voice of every American should be heard. We will work to make our nation safer, our economy fairer, and health care more affordable. We will work to broaden college opportunity, break the link between lobbyists and legislation, and commit to pay-as-you-go budgeting. These are the principles by which we will govern. And under these principles we will take our country in a new direction.

Democrats will introduce this legislation on the first day of the new Congress, and will pass it within the first 100 legislative hours. This new direction represents the priorities of a unified Democratic Party. This is our pledge to the American people.

In the first 100 hours:

We will start by cleaning up Congress, ending the link between lobbyists and legislation.
H.Res. 6, Title II, "Adopting the Rules of the House of Representatives for the One Hundred Tenth Congress."


Passed 430-1, Jan. 4th, 2007

We will commit to pay-as-you-go, no new deficit spending.
H.Res. 6, Title V, "Adopting the Rules of the House of Representatives for the One Hundred Tenth Congress."


Passed 280-152, Jan. 5th, 2007

We will make our nation safer by implementing the recommendations of the independent, bipartisan 9/11 Commission.
H.R. 1, "Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007."


Passed 299-128, Jan. 9th, 2007

We will make our economy fairer, and start by raising the minimum wage. We will not pass a pay raise for Congress until there is an increase in the minimum wage.
H.R. 2, "Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007."


Passed 315-116, Jan. 10th, 2007

We will promote stem cell research to offer real hope to the millions of American families who suffer from devastating diseases.
H.R. 3, " Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act."


Passed 253-174, Jan. 11th, 2007

We will make health care more affordable for all Americans, and we will begin by fixing the Medicare prescription drug program, putting seniors first by negotiating lower drug prices.
H.R. 4, "Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act."


Passed 255-170, Jan. 12th, 2007

We will broaden college opportunity, and we will begin by cutting interest rates for student loans in half.

We will energize America by achieving energy independence, and we will begin by rolling back the multi-billion dollar subsidies for Big Oil.

We will guarantee a dignified retirement, and we will begin by fighting any attempt to privatize Social Security.


8 days in; only three items to go, and they are being voted on next week.

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Thank you, Senator Kerry
 

Convicted lawmakers to lose pensions

By JIM ABRAMS Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Members of Congress convicted of serious crimes would lose their taxpayer-paid pensions, sometimes totaling more than $100,000 a year, under a measure unanimously approved by the Senate Friday.

The 87-0 vote to deprive lawbreaking lawmakers of their retirement benefits was part of a comprehensive ethics and lobbying bill that the Senate has taken up as its first piece of legislation in the new Democratic-controlled Congress.

"There's something that really grates in the notion that you can put the public's trust and the public's business up for sale and then walk away and have the people that you betrayed turn around and pay for you to be able to have a fat pension," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., author of the amendment.

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"It's bad policy to speculate on what you'll do if a plan fails when you're trying to make a plan work." - Condoleezza Rice


Well, THAT certainly explains a lot.

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Waist Deep In The Big Muddy
 
by Pete Seeger


It was back in nineteen forty-two,
I was a member of a good platoon.
We were on maneuvers in-a Loozianna,
One night by the light of the moon.
The captain told us to ford a river,
That's how it all begun.
We were -- knee deep in the Big Muddy,
But the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, are you sure,
This is the best way back to the base?"
"Sergeant, go on! I forded this river
'Bout a mile above this place.
It'll be a little soggy but just keep slogging.
We'll soon be on dry ground."
We were -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, with all this equipment
No man will be able to swim."
"Sergeant, don't be a Nervous Nellie,"
The Captain said to him.
"All we need is a little determination;
Men, follow me, I'll lead on."
We were -- neck deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

All at once, the moon clouded over,
We heard a gurgling cry.
A few seconds later, the captain's helmet
Was all that floated by.
The Sergeant said, "Turn around men!
I'm in charge from now on."
And we just made it out of the Big Muddy
With the captain dead and gone.

We stripped and dived and found his body
Stuck in the old quicksand.
I guess he didn't know that the water was deeper
Than the place he'd once before been.
Another stream had joined the Big Muddy
'Bout a half mile from where we'd gone.
We were lucky to escape from the Big Muddy
When the big fool said to push on.

Well, I'm not going to point any moral;
I'll leave that for yourself
Maybe you're still walking, you're still talking
You'd like to keep your health.
But every time I read the papers
That old feeling comes on;
We're -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.

Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep! Neck deep! Soon even a
Tall man'll be over his head, we're
Waist deep in the Big Muddy!
And the big fool says to push on!
Words and music by Pete Seeger (1967)

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Like the biggest lead balloon ever.
 
Chuck Hagel, Republican Senator, told Condi Rice that Bush decision to escalate was the worst foreign policy decision since Vietnam.

"U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel offered Thursday what might have been the harshest criticism to date of President Bush's plan to commit more troops to Iraq, calling the president's Wednesday night speech "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder carried out since Vietnam."

"Hagel's comment drew applause in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in which members questioned Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the plan to commit 21,500 additional U.S. troops to Iraq."...

In a heated exchange with Hagel, a potential presidential candidate in 2008, Rice disputed his characterization of Bush’s buildup as an “escalation.”

“Putting in 22,000 more troops is not an escalation?” Hagel, a Vietnam veteran and longtime critic of Bush’s Iraq policy, asked. “Would you call it a decrease?”


“I would call it, senator, an augmentation that allows the Iraqis to deal with this very serious problem that they have in Baghdad,” she said.


It's not an escalation - it's an "augmentation." Do these people even realize that they actually sound like parodies of moronic bureaucrats?

Hagel told Rice, “Madame secretary, Iraqis are killing Iraqis. We are in a civil war. This is sectarian violence out of control.”

She disputed that Iraq was in the throes of a civil war. To that, Hagel said, “To sit there and say that, that’s just not true.”

Republican Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio also said Bush could no longer count on his support.

“You’re going to have to do a much better job” explaining the rationale for the war, “and so is the president,” Voinovich told Rice. “I’ve gone along with the president on this and I’ve bought into his dream and at this stage of the game I just don’t think it’s going to happen.”

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Iraq and The Sin of Good Judgment
by Eric Alterman

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3 down
 
The House just passed stem-cell research. But the 253-174 vote is short of the 2/3rds.

So we'll just have to make the Republicans own it. If they want to defy the American People, they should suffer.

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Today
 
Today, there will be nationwide demonstrations by Americans who object to Bush's Iraqi Stupidity.

Go here to find one in your area.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

One more from Keith
 
Olbermann: President Bush makes no secret of his distaste for looking backward, for assessing past results.


Any meaningful assessment of the president's next step in Iraq must consider his steps and missteps so far.

So, let's look at the record:

Before Mr. Bush was elected, he said he was no nation-builder; nation-building was wrong for America.

Now, he says it is vital for America.

He said he would never put U.S. troops under foreign control. Today, U.S. troops observe Iraqi restrictions.

He told us about WMDs. Mobile labs. Secret sources. Aluminum tubing. Yellow-cake.

He has told us the war is necessary…Because Saddam was a threat; Because of 9/11; Osama bin Laden; al Qaeda; Because of terrorism in general; To liberate Iraq; To spread freedom; To spread democracy; To keep the oil out of the hands of terrorist-controlled states; Because this was a guy who tried to kill his dad.

In pushing for and prosecuting this war, he passed on chances to get Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Muqtada al-Sadr, Osama bin Laden.

He sent in fewer troops than recommended. He disbanded the Iraqi Army, and "de-Baathified" the government. He short-changed Iraqi training.

He did not plan for widespread looting, nor the explosion of sectarian violence.

He sent in troops without life-saving equipment.

Gave jobs to foreign contractors, not the Iraqis.

Staffed U-S positions there, based on partisanship, not professionalism.

We learned that "America had prevailed", "Mission Accomplished", the resistance was in its "last throes".

He has said more troops were not necessary, and more troops are necessary, and that it's up to the generals, and removed some of the generals who said more troops would be necessary.

He told us of turning points: The fall of Baghdad, the death of Uday and Qusay, the capture of Saddam, a provisional government,the trial of Saddam, a charter, a constitution, an Iraqi government, ¤elections, purple fingers, a new government, the death of Saddam.

We would be greeted as liberators, with flowers.

As they stood up–we would stand down, we would stay the course, we were never 'stay the course',

The enemy was al Qaeda, was foreigners, terrorists, Baathists.

The war would pay for itself, it would cost 1-point-7 billion dollars, 100 billion, 400 billion, half a trillion dollars.

And after all of that, today it is his credibility versus that of generals, diplomats, allies, Republicans, Democrats, the Iraq Study Group, past presidents, voters last November, and the majority of the American people.

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Tantrum II
 
What's really frightening is that Bush may be making his decisions specifically to SPITE the ISG:


"Another problem for the administration was the Iraq Study Group, the prestigious bipartisan panel headed by former secretary of state James A. Baker III, a Republican, and former congressman Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.).

"Although the president was publicly polite, few of the key Baker-Hamilton recommendations appealed to the administration, which intensified its own deliberations over a new "way forward" in Iraq. How to look distinctive from the study group became a recurring theme.

"As described by participants in the administration review, some staff members on the National Security Council became enamored of the idea of sending more troops to Iraq in part because it was not a key feature of Baker-Hamilton."


If that's true, it means that a grown man with the mentality of a toddler is the most powerful man in the world.

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Tantrum
 
Well, well, well: Bush has started the escalation before Congress could even discuss it, let alone vote on funding it.

And I'm pissed at myself for not guessing that he'd do this, since it's exactly in keeping with the spoiled brat way he goes about everything: "I do whatever I want, and nobody else has any say in it!"

But this time he bit off WAY more than he could chew.

He is FORCING impeachment to be a serious consideration, and I don't think he realizes it.

We have a little kid in charge of the country, and he's throwing a tantrum.

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2 down.
 
The House just voted 315-116 to raise the minimum wage to $7.25, step two of the first 100 hours. Incidentally, that's well more than the 2/3rds needed to override a veto.

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Political Capital
 
"I earned political capital and I intend to spend it." - Bush

Well, he spent it. In fact, he pissed it away on nothing - like he pisses away all of the other capital that he comes into contact with.

Bush's single biggest problem is that he views EVERYTHING as pure politics - it's the only thing he knows. An attack on America? Play politics with it. War in Iraq? Play politics with it. The drowning of an American city? Play politics with it. Play politics with EVERYTHING.

So the guy viewed public support not as public support, but as "political capital" to be "spent." And that's what ruined him. NORMAL people care about things BESIDES politics. Bush doesn't.

He is really an astonishingly shallow and soulless human being.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

1 down
 
The House has passed step 1 of Nancy Pelosi's first 100 hours - the implementation of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

About frigging time.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Gee, why didn't the Republicans do this?
 
Bill Would Order All Air Cargo Screened

The House of Representatives could approve an aviation-security measure Tuesday that would require all cargo on passenger planes to be inspected for bombs.


Real security measures. Who'd a thunk it?

Watch the Republicans whine about it, claiming that the poor airlines would have to cut back on their record profits if they actually increase security.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Little Richard Translates for Bush.
 

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Friday, January 05, 2007


 
Can't we all just get along?

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Bipartisan? Why?
 
A question: how come the MSM keeps saying that the Democratic Congress should be "bipartisan"?

The Democrats campaigned specifically and blatantly on a platform of opposing Bush and on stopping the Republicans.

That's what they campaigned on, that's what they won on, and THAT is what they have a mandate to do.

The Republicans can piss and whine from now until doomsday, but the American People voted to stop them from pursuing their agenda, and they should just suck that up.

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It has begun
 
President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The start of the new Congress brings us opportunities to work together on the critical issues confronting our country. No issue is more important than finding an end to the war in Iraq. December was the deadliest month of the war in over two years, pushing U.S. fatality figures over the 3,000 mark.

The American people demonstrated in the November elections that they do not believe your current Iraq policy will lead to success and that we need a change in direction for the sake of our troops and the Iraqi people. We understand that you are completing your post-election consultations on Iraq and are preparing to make a major address on your Iraq strategy to the American people next week.

Clearly this address presents you with another opportunity to make a long overdue course correction. Despite the fact that our troops have been pushed to the breaking point and, in many cases, have already served multiple tours in Iraq, news reports suggest that you believe the solution to the civil war in Iraq is to require additional sacrifices from our troops and are therefore prepared to proceed with a substantial U.S. troop increase.

Surging forces is a strategy that you have already tried and that has already failed. Like many current and former military leaders, we believe that trying again would be a serious mistake. They, like us, believe there is no purely military solution in Iraq. There is only a political solution. Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain. And it would undermine our efforts to get the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future. We are well past the point of more troops for Iraq.

In a recent appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General John Abizaid, our top commander for Iraq and the region, said the following when asked about whether he thought more troops would contribute to our chances for success in Iraq:

"I met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the Corps commander, General Dempsey. We all talked together. And I said, in your professional opinion, if we were to bring in more American troops now, does it add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq? And they all said no. And the reason is, because we want the Iraqis to do more. It's easy for the Iraqis to rely upon to us do this work. I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future. "

Rather than deploy additional forces to Iraq, we believe the way forward is to begin t he phased redeployment of our forces in the next four to six months, while shifting the principal mission of our forces there from combat to training, logistics, force protection and counter-terror. A renewed diplomatic strategy, both within the region and beyond, is also required to help the Iraqis agree to a sustainable political settlement. In short, it is time to begin to move our forces out of Iraq and make the Iraqi political leadership aware that our commitment is not open ended, that we cannot resolve their sectarian problems, and that only they can find the political resolution required to stabilize Iraq.

Our troops and the American people have already sacrificed a great deal for the future of Iraq. After nearly four years of combat, tens of thousands of U.S. casualties, and over $300 billion dollars, it is time to bring the war to a close. We, therefore, strongly encourage you to reject any plans that call for our getting our troops any deeper into Iraq. We want to do everything we can to help Iraq succeed in the future but, like many of our senior military leaders, we do not believe that adding more U.S. combat troops contributes to success.

We appreciate you taking these views into consideration.

Sincerely,

----

________________________________ _________________________________

Harry Reid Nancy Pelosi

Majority Leader Speaker

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The nosy little bastard is just itching to read your mail
 
And it happened two weeks ago, and nobody noticed until the Daily News just pointed it out yesterday.

New postal law lets Bush peek through your mail
Daily News Exclusive

BY JAMES GORDON MEEK
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU


President Bush added a "signing statement" in recently passed postal reform bill that may give him new powers to pry into your mail - without a warrant.


WASHINGTON - President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail without a judge's warrant, the Daily News has learned.


The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a "signing statement" that declared his right to open people's mail under emergency conditions.


That claim is contrary to existing law and contradicted the bill he had just signed, say experts who have reviewed it.


"Despite the President's statement that he may be able to circumvent a basic privacy protection, the new postal law continues to prohibit the government from snooping into people's mail without a warrant," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the incoming House Government Reform Committee chairman, who co-sponsored the bill.


Experts said the new powers could be easily abused and used to vacuum up large amounts of mail.


"The [Bush] signing statement claims authority to open domestic mail without a warrant, and that would be new and quite alarming," said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington.



Here's a suggestion: everybody should forward all of their junk mail to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Or even better - "Rural Route Crawford: Bush."

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Bush pretends to be nice.
 
WASHINGTON — A few years ago, when President Bush announced plans to dump nuclear waste in Sen. Harry Reid's state, it was a political insult so stinging that the Nevada Democrat responded by calling the nation's commander in chief a liar.

Now Reid, the new Senate majority leader, is getting the red-carpet treatment. The administration treated Reid to two military plane rides in one week. He was invited to an intimate White House party, where Bush politely asked what books Reid had been reading lately.

Bush is a textbook example of a bully. He turns REAL nice when he's kicked in the nuts. He's still a snake, obviously, and I'm sure Reid knows that, too, and isn't taken in for a second.

Besides, I thought we were all traitors. Is Bush making nice with traitors?

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Bumper Stickers
 
Stolen from Sharon:

Bush Bumper Stickers,

And one quote, making the email rounds:

***************************

1/20/09: End of an Error

That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway

If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Iran

Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.

If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President

George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight

Impeachment: It's Not Just for Blowjobs Anymore

America: One Nation, Under Surveillance

They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It

Who's God Do You Kill For?

Cheney/Satan '08

Jail to the Chief

No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade Iraq?

Bush: God's Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap

Bad President! No Banana!

We Need a President Who' s Fluent In At Least One Language

We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them

Is It Vietnam Yet?

Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either

Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Handbasket?

You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.

Impeach Cheney First

Dubya, Your Dad Shoulda Pulled Out, Too

Pray For Impeachment

The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century

What Part of "Bush Lied" Don't You Understand?

One Nation Under Clod

2004: Embarrassed
2005: Horrified
2006: Terrified

Bush Never Exhaled

At Least Nixon Resigned


*********************************

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more
and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and
glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's
desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright
moron." - H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Keith Olbermann
 

Posted without comment:

Special Comment About "Sacrifice"
By Keith Olbermann
MSNBC "Countdown"

Wednesday 03 January 2007

If in your presence an individual tried to sacrifice an American serviceman or woman, would you intervene?

Would you at least protest?

What if he had already sacrificed 3,003 of them?

What if he had already sacrificed 3,003 of them - and then announced his intention to sacrifice hundreds, maybe thousands, more?

This is where we stand tonight with the BBC report of President Bush's "new Iraq strategy," and his impending speech to the nation, which, according to a quoted senior American official, will be about troop increases and "sacrifice."

The president has delayed, dawdled and deferred for the month since the release of the Iraq Study Group.

He has seemingly heard out everybody, and listened to none of them.

If the BBC is right - and we can only pray it is not - he has settled on the only solution all the true experts agree cannot possibly work: more American personnel in Iraq, not as trainers for Iraqi troops, but as part of some flabby plan for "sacrifice."

Sacrifice!

More American servicemen and women will have their lives risked.

More American servicemen and women will have their lives ended.

More American families will have to bear the unbearable and rationalize the unforgivable - "sacrifice" - sacrifice now, sacrifice tomorrow, sacrifice forever.

And more Americans - more even than the two-thirds who already believe we need fewer troops in Iraq, not more - will have to conclude the president does not have any idea what he's doing - and that other Americans will have to die for that reason.

It must now be branded as propaganda - for even the president cannot truly feel that very many people still believe him to be competent in this area, let alone "the decider."

But from our impeccable reporter at the Pentagon, Jim Miklaszewski, tonight comes confirmation of something called "surge and accelerate" - as many as 20,000 additional troops - for "political purposes" ...

This, in line with what we had previously heard, that this will be proclaimed a short-term measure, for the stated purpose of increasing security in and around Baghdad, and giving an Iraqi government a chance to establish some kind of order.

This is palpable nonsense, Mr. Bush.

If this is your intention - if the centerpiece of your announcement next week will be "sacrifice" - sacrifice your intention, not more American lives!

As Senator Joseph Biden has pointed out, the new troops might improve the ratio our forces face relative to those living in Baghdad (friend and foe), from 200 to 1, to just 100 to 1."Sacrifice?"

No.

A drop in the bucket.

The additional men and women you have sentenced to go there, sir, will serve only as targets.

They will not be there "short-term," Mr. Bush; for many it will mean a year or more in death's shadow.

This is not temporary, Mr. Bush.

For the Americans who will die because of you, it will be as permanent as it gets.

The various rationales for what Mr. Bush will reportedly re-christen "sacrifice" constitute a very thin gruel, indeed.

The former labor secretary, Robert Reich, says Senator John McCain told him that the "surge" would help the "morale" of the troops already in Iraq.

If Mr. McCain truly said that, and truly believes it, he has either forgotten completely his own experience in Vietnam ... or he is unaware of the recent Military Times poll indicating only 38 percent of our active military want to see more troops sent ... or Mr. McCain has departed from reality.

Then there is the argument that to take any steps toward reducing troop numbers would show weakness to the enemy in Iraq, or to the terrorists around the world.

This simplistic logic ignores the inescapable fact that we have indeed already showed weakness to the enemy, and to the terrorists.

We have shown them that we will let our own people be killed for no good reason.

We have now shown them that we will continue to do so.

We have shown them our stupidity.

Mr. Bush, your judgment about Iraq - and now about "sacrifice" - is at variance with your people's, to the point of delusion.

Your most respected generals see no value in a "surge" - they could not possibly see it in this madness of "sacrifice."

The Iraq Study Group told you it would be a mistake.

Perhaps dozens more have told you it would be a mistake.

And you threw their wisdom back, until you finally heard what you wanted to hear, like some child drawing straws and then saying "best two out of three - best three out of five - hundredth one counts."

Your citizens, the people for whom you work, have told you they do not want this, and moreover, they do not want you to do this.

Yet once again, sir, you have ignored all of us.

Mr. Bush, you do not own this country!

To those Republicans who have not broken free from the slavery of partisanship - those bonded, still, to this president and this administration, and now bonded to this "sacrifice"- proceed at your own peril.

John McCain may still hear the applause of small crowds - he has somehow inured himself to the hypocrisy, and the tragedy, of a man who considers himself the ultimate realist, courting the votes of those who support the government telling visitors to the Grand Canyon that it was caused by the Great Flood.

That Mr. McCain is selling himself off to the irrational right, parcel by parcel, like some great landowner facing bankruptcy, seems to be obvious to everybody but himself.

Or, maybe it is obvious to him and he simply no longer cares.

But to the rest of you in the Republican Party:

We need you to speak up, right now, in defense of your country's most precious assets - the lives of its citizens who are in harm's way.

If you do not, you are not serving this nation's interests - nor your own.

November should have told you this.

The opening of the new Congress on Wednesday and Thursday should tell you this.

Next time, those missing Republicans will be you.

And to the Democrats now yoked to the helm of this sinking ship, you proceed at your own peril, as well.

President Bush may not be very good at reality, but he and Mr. Cheney and Mr.Rove are still gifted at letting American troops be killed, and then turning their deaths to their own political advantage.

The equation is simple. This country does not want more troops in Iraq.

It wants fewer.

Go and make it happen, or go and look for other work.

Yet you Democrats must assume that even if you take the most obvious of courses, and cut off funding for the war, Mr. Bush will ignore you as long as possible, or will find the money elsewhere, or will spend the money meant to protect the troops, and re-purpose it to keep as many troops there as long as he can keep them there.

Because that's what this is all about, is it not, Mr. Bush?

That is what this "sacrifice" has been for.

To continue this senseless, endless war.

You have dressed it up in the clothing, first of a hunt for weapons of mass destruction, then of liberation ... then of regional imperative ... then of oil prices ... and now in these new terms of "sacrifice" - it's like a damned game of Colorforms, isn't it, sir?

This senseless, endless war.

But - it has not been senseless in two ways.

It has succeeded, Mr. Bush, in enabling you to deaden the collective mind of this country to the pointlessness of endless war, against the wrong people, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

It has gotten many of us used to the idea - the virtual "white noise" - of conflict far away, of the deaths of young Americans, of vague "sacrifice" for some fluid cause, too complicated to be interpreted except in terms of the very important-sounding but ultimately meaningless phrase, "the war on terror."

And the war's second accomplishment - your second accomplishment, sir - is to have taken money out of the pockets of every American, even out of the pockets of the dead soldiers on the battlefield, and their families, and to have given that money to the war profiteers.

Because if you sell the Army a thousand Humvees, you can't sell them any more until the first thousand have been destroyed.

The service men and women are ancillary to the equation.

This is about the planned obsolescence of ordnance, isn't, Mr. Bush? And the building of detention centers? And the design of a $125 million courtroom complex at Gitmo, complete with restaurants.

At least the war profiteers have made their money, sir.

And we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.

You have insisted, Mr. Bush, that we must not lose in Iraq, that if we don't fight them there we will fight them here - as if the corollary were somehow true, that if by fighting them there we will not have to fight them here.

And yet you have re-made our country, and not re-made it for the better, on the premise that we need to be ready to "fight them here" anyway, and always.

In point of fact, even if the civil war in Iraq somehow ended tomorrow, and the risk to Americans there ended with it, we would have already suffered a defeat - not fatal, not world-changing, not, but for the lives lost, of enduring consequence.

But this country has already lost in Iraq, sir.

Your policy in Iraq has already had its crushing impact on our safety here.

You have already fomented new terrorism and new terrorists.

You have already stoked paranoia.

You have already pitted Americans, one against the other.

We ... will have to live with it.

We ... will have to live with what, of the fabric of our nation, you have already "sacrificed."

The only object still admissible in this debate is the quickest and safest exit for our people there.

But you - and soon, Mr. Bush, it will be you and you alone - still insist otherwise.

And our sons and daughters and fathers and mothers will be sacrificed there tonight, sir, so that you can say you did not "lose in Iraq."

Our policy in Iraq has been criticized for being indescribable, for being inscrutable, for being ineffable.

But it is all too easily understood now.

First we sent Americans to their deaths for your lie, Mr. Bush.

Now we are sending them to their deaths for your ego.

If what is reported is true - if your decision is made and the "sacrifice"is ordered - take a page instead from the man at whose funeral you so eloquently spoke this morning - Gerald Ford:

Put pragmatism and the healing of a nation ahead of some kind of misguided vision.

Atone.

Sacrifice, Mr. Bush?

No, sir, this is not "sacrifice." This has now become " human sacrifice."

And it must stop.

And you can stop it.

Next week, make us all look wrong.

Our meaningless sacrifice in Iraq must stop.

And you must stop it.


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