Archives 2007

2006 2005

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Various year-end lists:
Top 10 Myths about Iraq
Stupid pundit quotes from our "grown-up" and "sophisticated" press corps
Just how nutty have some right-wingers been? Hoo-boy!!!  

Pakistanis aren't blaming al Qaeda for Bhutto's death. They'e pointing the finger straight at Musharraf.  
Juan Cole says: "
Folks, I've seen civil wars and riots first hand, and revolutions from not too far away, and this situation looks pretty bad to me."
The Talking Points Memo blog says that the Pakistani military may be trying to deny Bhutto martyrdom by stating that she didn't perish from gunfire or an explosion. Later update suggests perhaps she died by being thrown against the inside of her vehicle by force of explosion.  

Alan Colmes (Sean Hannity's sidekick. Al Franken calls him Alan Colmes) has a blog!  Good piece, too.  All about Bush's sudden threat to veto $696 billion in spending, including $189 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Seems that a lawsuit currently in the courts could cost Iraq $25 billion if not stopped.

Former Pakistani prime Minister Benazir Bhutto assassinated. Likely suspects: Taliban & al Qaeda.  Likely beneficiaries: Pervez Musharraf and Pakistani military.  Likely loser: US policy.
On further thought: It seems likely that non-al Qaeda militants might be to blame.  But it's not like no one is blaming Musharraf. Both
Bhutto adviser Husain Haqqani and politician Nawaz Sharif feel that he may be guilty.
Statements from Bush & Secretary of State Rice.
"Bennie" Bhutto is a look at Benazir as a Harvard University student.
Juan Cole finds very interesting statement. Seems Bhutto was concerned about Musharraf's party stealing the next election.
Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) again distinguishes himself from the rest by calling for a delay in Pakistan's upcoming elections so that Bhutto's party can regroup in time to make more than a token effort.
Summary of media coverage.

CIA using very finely-parsed phrasing to justify destruction of tapes that judge ordered them to preserve.  Seems they were kept in another country and the 9/11 Commission and others who wanted them preserved merely failed to ask for the precise documents with precisely the right wording.  Of course, the fact that they failed to inform anyone that the tapes existed might have had something to do with that.

State Department has lost $28 million in equipment loaned to contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Russia to sell S-300 surface-to-air missles to Iran.  Claim is that they are for defensive purposes only. 
Najjar said last month Iran would never launch an attack against another country but warned that anybody trying to invade Iran would "face a crushing response."

Good news!  Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid keeps Senate in pro forma session in order to prevent recess appointments.  President Bush can't appoint candidates without the usual "advise & consent" unless the Senate takes a formal break.  As long as the Senate is technically open, we won't get another installation of a John Bolton (He was appointed as the UN Ambassador and promptly rejected when it came time to either confirm his appointment or to send hm home).  
Interestingly, Judge Robert Bork spoke out for "original intent" back in the late 1980s, the idea being that judges and justices should always consult the original intention of the Founding Fathers when it came time to decide legal questions. Clearly, the original intention of recess appointments was to compensate for the slow transportation of the late 1700s.  GW Bush used it as a device (PDF) to bypass the manifest, clearly-expressed will of Congress and to get appointees like Bolton into positions Congress clearly would not have approved them for.  Gee, I wonder where conservative dedication to "original intent" disappeared to?

Boston Globe reporter asks the candidates about how they'd deal with separation of powers questions and gets interesting answers from most of them. Mitt Romney's answers are downright scary.  He's the very image of what the Founding Fathers were rebelling against. Edwards is disappointingly vague and Clinton and Obama come out very well.  The question specifically on Executive Privilege elicits some very telling answers.

Many members of the left blogosphere (Or, as DailyKos puts it "the netroots") give columnist David Broder a hard time over his obsession with "centrism" (As this site most certainly has). Still, he does manage to do some decent reporting now and then.  
As for Maureen Dowd, she's "the contrasting example" here.

Hmm, how to punish telecomunications companies that collaborated with Bush's warrantless wiretappig scheme without destroying the companies and their usefulness to the economy?  Concentration on causing "hate and discontent" as opposed to really damaging the companies.
"Home-grown terror bill" seems very likely to pass by huge majority.  Threatens to diminsh liberties. 

Just as with the Valerie Plame Wilson situation, Bush wants to wait until "the investigation is complete" before commenting on CIA torture tapes. 

Yay! Yippee! Hooray! FISA bill put on hold until after January 2nd!  No retroactive telecom immunity, for now anyway. Speeches by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI).  Good quote:
Senators clashed Monday in hours of debate over whether the government's need to eavesdrop on potential terrorists outweighs Americans' expectations that their private communications are protected.
Personally, I'm one of those "We can do both" types.

Aww!  Poor Karl Rove.  He's asking $3 million for his autobiography and no one seems to want to pay that much.  Ann Coulter sold 233,000 copies of Godless, but only 97,000 copies of her latest, If Democrats Had Any Brains They'd Be Republicans (Counting both in 10-week periods) indicating that perhaps conservative books are not that good a bet after all.

There just may be a ray of hope in the CIA torture tapes case. Apparently, the destruction of the tapes had occurred in November 2005, but Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein instructed the CIA to produce the tapes in September 2004 and re-affirmed that order in February 2005.  Is the CIA in contempt of that order?  Sure looks that way.

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) will take the floor on Monday for a filibuster of the revolting betrayal of a FISA bill by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Apparently, a number of spooks don't want telecom immunity to take place.

Congress tried to restrict CIA torture techniques to what's permitted by the Army Field Manual.  Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was opposed.  

"I think quite frankly applying the Army field manual to the CIA would be ill-advised and would destroy a program that I think is lawful and helps the country."

The anti-torture provision was blocked.

White House opposes limiting intellgence agencies to what the Army is allowed to do to prisoners.

The White House then asserted, without a scintilla of evidence (see Tuesday's column): "Such interrogations have helped the United States disrupt multiple attacks against Americans at home and abroad, thus saving American lives."

The new Attorney General Michael Mukaey, appears to not want Congress to investigate the CIA's destruction of  interrogation tapes back in 2005. Of course, some of Mukasey's own work on the Jose Padilla case appears to have relied on tainted testimony. Testimony gained through torture. 

We are absolutely positively NOT going to ever find out how the US Government spied on American citizens using warrantless NSA wiretapping until and unless the lawsuits against the telecom companes succeed.  It's absolutely critical that Congress NOT grant immunity to the telecoms!!

Bottom line on how effective torture is:

But it all boils down to the fact that, so far, no one from Bush on down has come up with a single documented example of American lives saved thanks to torture.

On the morality of it:

Kiriakou: "Because we're Americans, and we're better than that."

Lewis "Scooter" Libby gives up on further legal appeals (Too expensive, too time-consuming, too little to gain) which means Bush & Cheney are now free to answer any and all questions about the Valerie Plame Wilson case.  Will they? Highly unlikely, of course, but they have no plausible excuse not to now.

I can't agree that Nancy Pelosi, Jay Rockefeller and Jane Harman were all helpless to reveal the criminal treatment of suspected al Qaeda captives.  It's pointed out that Congresspeople have extraordinary freedom of speech when speaking on the floor of Congress. Also, doesn't being told of criminal activity render any secrecy pledge null and void?  
Update: Speaker Pelosi clarifies some items.

The WaPo's Ombudswoman Deborah Howell finally examines the front-page 29 Nov story that suggested Barack Obama was a closet Muslim.  She concedes that the story is utter trash, never gets around to explaining how it got to the front page, but gets terribly sniffy and disparaging about how upset the left blogosphere got over it. Well, there's a reason people got upset!  

The real reason this episode touched such a nerve wasn't just about this one article. It triggered people's pent-up frustration with the larger failings of political journalism-as-usual.

Also, journalistic accountability appears to have been a serious problem since at least the initial reporting on Whitewater back in the early 90s.
This is not to say that we on the left love Obama. Far from it. Obama's attack on NY Times columnist Paul Krugman is unforgivable.  

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) discovers that "even an elementary understanding of this balance of powers eludes the Bush administration." These folks appear to have an extraordinarily expansive view of just how much power the President can apply via Executive Orders.  
Oh, and the new Attorney General Michael Mukasey is formally on record stating that the President has less power than the OLC opinion in question asserts that he does.  
Detailed dissections of Whitehouse's piece.

Former Senator Rick Santorum dredges up an old and very bad idea from the days of the Reagan Administration, the notion that the US can scamper about the world sparking revolutions wherever it pleases.  This is neither a desirable nor a practical idea.

A detailed examination of who in the Bush White House and who in the Republican Party knew what about the Iran NIE and when.  European allies are pretty pissed off at being among last to know before public at large was informed. SecState Rice doesn't appear to have been very high on the "need to know" list.

Poor Dana Perino, the White House Spokesperson, is lost and floundering while trying to explain what Bush knew and when he knew it concernig the NIE that concludes that Iran decommissioned its nuclear bomb program in 2003.  

Mike Huckabee still clueless, 48 hours have passed since NIE was announced to the world, Democrats have talked about it, President has held press conference on it, Huckabee still doesn't know about it.

And where is that great political recociliation that the Bush Administratin had promised we'd have by this time?  

As nobody believes that President Bush just learned in the past week that the Iranian nuclear bomb was cancelled back in 2003, the question now becomes exactly when he learned of it.  One suspicion is that, because Bush suddenly changed his wording back in early August, that that's probably when he was told.

The Iraqi insurgents may simply be waiting out the "Surge" and may re-emerge once US troops start returning home just from sheer exhaustion.

More questions on the NIE involving Israel and SecState Condi's behind-the-scenes manuevering.

Examination of neocons vs conservatives.  Not the same thing at all.

Why does the left blogosphere exist?!?! A look at three traditional media stories demonstrates why.

Update on third story reminds one of insubordination, but it really isn't.

National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) are the Intelligence Community’s (IC) most
authoritative written judgments on national security issues

The new NIE directly contradicts what Bush & Cheney have been saying about the Iranian nuclear threat for the past six months.  The interesting part is exactly why it was released in the first place and why was it released now?  

Patrick Fitzgerald obtained quite a bit of useful information on Bush, Cheney, et al, during the Plameleak investigation, information that's not useful for a court trial, but that the public might find very enlightening.  

After having refrained from them since the new Congress took office last year, signing statements are back.  President Bush has decided to declare that he considered 11 provisions in a military appropriations bill to be ones that he could disregard at will.

US tells Britain "Oh yes, we can kidnap your citizens and try them here for crimes."

Legal experts confirmed this weekend that America viewed extradition as just one way of getting foreign suspects back to face trial.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, said: “This law may date back to bounty hunting days, but they should sort it out if they claim to be a civilised nation.”

November                         back to top

Columnist points out that Bush-Maliki declaration (Meant to be conclued and signed by 31 Jul 08) on "promises... [of] economic and political support, [plus which] it contemplates American 'security assurances and commitments to the Republic of Iraq to deter foreign aggression' " has no provisions that it is to require Congressional approval.  That would make the whole idea of separation of powers quaint and obsolete.

S. 1959 & H.R. 1955 constitute the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007

What would it accomplish? Opinions range from "redundant boondoggle" to a "thought crimes bill." Wording of text brings up images of the mid-1970s Symbionese Liberation Army.  

...the legislation has, at least, the virtue of fighting imaginary problems with pretend solutions.

There was a chance, about a year and a half ago, when an Arab-Israeli peace might have been possible.  Alas, that train has long since left the station.

President Bush strongly disputes that he is "stoking the rhetoric" or conducting a "march to war" in the case of Iran. Problem: The neoconservative American Foreign Policy Council -- a reliable mouthpiece for the Office of the Vice-President, just published a 13-page report (PDF) that contains such merry gems as:

Military measures, among them:
• conducting a comprehensive assessment of Iran’s operational and tactical vulnerabilities;
• building the capacity for unconventional warfare within Iran;
• targeting Iran’s ballistic missile arsenal as a way of downgrading its offensive and nuclear capabilities and;
• severing Tehran’s ties to its terrorist proxies—with force, if necessary.

But really, there's no need for concern, the Bush Administration really wants to resolve these problems peacefully, really they do.

Back on November 5th, the National Lawyer's Guild passed an impeachmet resolution against President Bush and Vice-President Cheney.  PDF of full resolution with 16 separate charges.

Seems that the real projected winner of the Annapolis Peace Conference might very well be...Iran! Interesting quote:

Iran's immediate Arab neighbors never condemn it to the same degree that Americans and Europeans do. Arab leaders have expressed mild discomfort with Iran's nuclear program, but they never present it in terms of being directly threatened.

Americans trying to frighten the Arab world with spectres of Iranian nuclear weapons have miserably failed.  
The losers of the conference?  The Palestinians. The days of direct Israeli military occupation now seem like "the good old days."
Uruknet has profiles on all the major players.  As Atrios would say: "The author is very shrill!"

After being EXTREMELY rude to Jane Hamsher of firedoglake, Time Magazine finally comes out with a very dodgy "correction" which, once again, makes it absolutely crystal clear that no one at Time has ever actually read the FISA bill that Joe Klein spent so much time and energy criticizing.

Iraq's leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with America, and we seek an enduring relationship with a democratic Iraq.

It's official, Bush wants to hunker down and keep US troops in Iraq for essentially forever.  Press studiously avoids asking anything about potential economic benefits for American companies.

No need to be concerned that Bush's initiative to bring about peace between Arabs and Israelis will ever accomplish anything. Bush is just going through the motions to make Condi happy.
What's remarkable is the extent to which [Bush has] been disengaged, with only episodic parachuting in with absolutely no follow-up.

Joe Klein is the alleged "liberal" in Time Magazine.  Amazingly, he opines on the Democratic FISA fix without ever having read the legislation!!!  I don't get it. I've heard of reporters saying that I.F. Stone is their hero, but no one seems to really want to copy the guy.  
Update: Remember, Klein is not alone!  He's an employee of Time Magazine, which has done nothing to discipline Klein and correct his gross factual inaccuracies.
Howler of the day:
Klein: "I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who's right."
Greenwald: "if Klein doesn't have the time or background to understand what he's writing about, then [perhaps] he ought not to write about it?"
Round-up on suppression of information by the Bush Administration.  What they don't want US citizens to know could fill volumes. 

PRAWN member Richard Kanegis wonders about the practicibility of impeachment.  It appeared quite clear in early 2007 that Democrats wanted to build a record that would carry them through the presidential election about a year from now.  With the heat of the upcoming election, it appears too late to change course now that it's apparent that Republicans were and are determined to prevent the Democratic Congress from achieving anything.
Still, keeping the pressure on Democrats and Republicans alike may make Democrats appear to be the "good cops" to our "bad cops."  "C'mon guys, you can deal with us reasonable  Democrats or you can deal with the raging anti-war types over there." 

Karl Rove lies (Yes, yes, sky is blue, grass is green, etc) about the vote on the then-upcoming Iraq War, taken just a few weeks prior to 2002 mid-term elections.  According to then-Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi " 'I know of no information that the threat is so imminent from Iraq' that Congress cannot wait until January to vote on a resolution." Nevertheless, Rove insisted that Congress "forced" the Bush Administration to schedule the vote when they did.

Uruknet examines the Nov 19th op-ed by Frederick Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon and their expressed threat to Pakistan.  As with Iran, the US could credibly threaten to invade and occupy their country, but the US only has one-half of one percent of its' 300+ million-person population truly involved in, and committed to, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. With about 70% opposed to the bigger war, the one in Iraq, US war-making resources are far too stretched to make serious threats of this kind.  Doesn't mean they're not deathly serious and it doesn't mean the US isn't rushing headlong into disaster.

A retiring bureaucrat demonstrates complete and utter sycophancy by using the phrase that was applied to our first President, George Washington: "men who lift the age they inhabit"  and by then claiming that the phrase applies to our current President.  Sorry, but GW Bush doesn't even come close. Of course, what's really sad is how the 43rd US President compares to the allegedly dictatorial Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Once again, neoconservatives are getting it completely wrong!  This time, the "next battlefield" is Pakistan.

As I said last year..., the time to address these problems is before they've exploded, while we're still nominally allies. Because we're going to have to do nation-building anyway, whether or not Pakistan falls into the abyss, if we want to prevent its extremists from accruing more power.

The "dirty tricks" of Campaign 2008 have begun in earnest.  Our press corps, the Beltway insiders or The Village have done their share of aiding and enabling the Republican Party and there's no sign that they'll stop doing so anytime soon.  

"Dirty tricks" brings back the specter of President Nixon, who first thought up the idea of the "madman" with his finger on the nuclear button. Unfortunately, this really bad idea lives on in NY Times columnist Tom Friedman.  The theory is rubbish, BTW.  Playing "madman" terrifies one's domestic audience, but does little or nothing to advance foreign policy goals.

Is it really SO unreasonable to ask that people who are "defending the culture" to like, y'know, know something about that culture?!?!?
Bill O'Reilly: "go to Revelations in the Bible and look at the prediction for the end of the world...This was written -- what? Five thousand years ago? I mean, this is really interesting."
The Book of Revelation was written by John, well after the ministry of Christ.
Update: I asked and it seems the oral traditions that went into the first books of the Bible (Torah, Pentateuch) were about 4000 years ago, but the first time they were set down in writing was about 2500 years back. In the most generous possible interpretation (That O'Reilly was referring to the Bible as a whole and not just Revelation), O'Reilly's still a good 1000 years off.  
Yee-hah!!  Looks like we got a FISA bill that does NOT contain Telecom immunity!!!  This was a very major sticking point as Telecom immunity means that Americans will never learn exactly who and what the Bush Administration has been spying on all these years.

Fox News had a ridiculously sycophantic interview with the President:

Asman: "What do you think, looking back, your greatest hit was? Where you really hit one out of the park....
Bush: ... You know, I would say the advance of liberty. ... Putting in place tools necessary to protect us, and at the same time be strong in the advancement of liberty is the great alternative to an ideology of hate. . . . "
"Mustansiriya is a university totally controlled by the Sadr faction," says a Shiite instructor there. "Before, nobody could speak ill about Saddam. Now nobody can speak ill about Moqtada."  

I lived under tyranny and lived under his freedom. I don’t see any difference. I think Bush’s freedom and Saddam’s are alike. We were harassed under Saddam as students, and today’s students are harassed under the new “free” rule.

Very hopeful signs that the US may not launch a war on Iran after all.

This is a story that really bothers me.  The Bush Administration was instructed by Congress to turn over the Joint Campaign Plan for Iraq so that Congress could conduct oversight.  The Bush people have declared that the work of turning over that and other documents is slow because they...

"...must determine what documents can be properly shared with the legislative branch.”

Problem: The Executive Branch has no such authority.  If they are asked for documents, they must turn those documents over, period! At most, they can go to court over specific documents and state that particular items can't be shared.  There is no general principle that the Executive Branch can unilaterally decide this.
Really, truly, seriously, the candidacy of Dennis Kucinich for the presidency is no joke.  He may not be up to par on meaningless and irrelevant qualities such as height, but he offers good policies.

Paul Krugman offers a timely, very good and informative corrective for those who think Good Ol' Ronnie Reagan was a stand-up, non-racist kinda guy.  Yeah, Reagan just made "innocent mistakes," lots and lots of such mistakes, as I recall.

In order for US troops to remain in Iraq, the US must get the UN to renew its mandate.  The Iraqi Parliament is in no mood to give its consent for American troops to remain in Iraq.  The US and UN are working together to sideline those troublesome Iraqis.

Renegade Republican Ron Paul appears in Philadelphia.  Blogger attempts to explain the Ron Paul phenomenon.

Is Bush planning to invade Iran?  A look at his consistently-dishonest speech suggests "Yes."

An examination of one suspect's journey through the legal system set up especially for Guantanamo prisoners.  And yes, it's a complete cluster$#%@. Many years after being captured, the Guantanamo courts can't even decide on the prisoner's proper designation.  

Karl Rove criticizes blogs for anonymous speech. First off, bloggers speak pseudonymously, not anonymously.  "Digby" was the consistent name of a specific person.  Very few people knew that Digby was even female, but she regularly used that same name for commenting with. On the other hand, when someone insists on commenting as a "senior administration official,"  then they are truly anonymous, until, that is, they're dragged into court.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s (D-OH) resolution to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney advanced in the House today, but fell short of victory by a vote of 218-194.  

Bush beats Nixon's record! Bush has achieved a 50% "strongly disappprove" rating.  Nixon only got 48%!

Wow!  Who would have thought it?  Who could ever have predicted that VP Cheney would be so solidly behind President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan?  

"Current and past U.S. officials tell me that Pakistan policy is essentially being run from Cheney's office."
"Pakistani opposition politicians visiting Washington have been ushered in to meet Cheney's aides, rather than taken to the State Department."

As Senator Biden puts it "...this administration has... a Musharraf policy, not a Pakistani policy."
Juan Cole is an excellent source for following events there.

Amusing fun fact: Sunni Iraqis refer to the American troops as the "al-Ameriki tribe."
Article is quite interesting. Is the "Surge" responsible for the recent drop in US combat deaths? As Iraqi violence has continued in areas where there is a mixed population, but has quieted down in areas with a high degree of ethnic uniformity, that seems unlikely. Author concludes that the decisions of tribal leaders in Anbar Province and the stand-down by Muqtada al-Sadr have combined with the success of ethnic cleansing to quiet things down.

Shiite militias and partisans have killed or expelled tens of thousands of Sunnis, changing the ethnographic map of the ancient city. The few Sunnis who remain in Baghdad do so under the protection of U.S. military forces, secured by a labyrinth of concrete blast walls, checkpoints, and security bases. Violence is down because the Shiites have fewer Sunnis to kill...

As to the subject of diplomats being forced to serve in Iraq, I'm kind of amazed that this aspect of the case requires any comment, but here goes: As a military veteran, I was paid to serve under physically dangerous conditions (I didn't, purely because of the time period during which I served) and remember a helicopter pilot being amazed that he was not allowed to land in New Orleans shortly after Katrina on account of the rumors of snipers.  He sputtered that his mission was precisely to fly his aircraft under dangerous conditions.  
The point is, diplomats are under no such obligation.  It is unfair and improper to ask them to serve under physically dangerous conditions as they are not military personnel.  

Karen Hughes, the State Department's head of public diplomacy, follows Charlotte Beers and Margaret Tutwiler into ignominy and disgrace.  Not that their failure to turn around negative perceptions of the US in the Arab world is entirely their fault.  PR has its limits. You can only sell a dog of a product just so skillfully.  

In the 1960s and '70s, when it was an independent entity, the U.S. Information Agency sent out critical speakers and exuberant jazz bands routinely.

Back in those days, the US drew a distinction between selling American culture & selling American policy. Hughes appears to have understood this.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) justifies his upcoming vote for Michael Mukasey to be the next Attorney General:

The judge made clear to me that were Congress to pass a law banning certain interrogation techniques, we would clearly be acting within our constitutional authority. And he flatly told me that the president would have absolutely no legal authority to ignore such a law, not even under some theory of inherent authority under Article II of the Constitution.

#$@%&!!!  "Cruel & Unusual Punishment" IS ALREADY ILLEGAL!!!!  It has been since at least 1689!  A full century before the US Constitution was even written!  The ban was re-affirmed in the British Slavery Amelioration Act of 1798, re-affirmed again in the Eighth Amendment and re-affirmed yet again in the UN Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (2000).  As the above-cited piece makes clear

“Waterboarding,” he said, “is slow-motion suffocation with enough time to contemplate the inevitability of blackout and expiration. When done right, it is controlled death.”

“waterboarding is a torture technique – period”.

Balkinization points out that the US has passed laws that specfically prohibit torture.  Also, the comments section has an extensive conversation concerning "cruel & unusual punishment."
The Mosul Dam appears to be in trouble.  Is it really? 

"We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." -- US Rep. Richard Baker (R, LA)

When I think of Mosul Dam breaking, I can't help but think of the New Orleans levies breaking in 2005. Katrina didn't kill thousands in the Big Easy, after all, the levee failure did. It was a miracle for the Republican Party, no doubt about that, since it exiled the black core of the Democratic Party from Louisiana and turned a blue state into a red one.

One has to wonder if the Mosul Dam may "accidently" break soon.
And keep in mind Naomi Klein's new book "The Shock Doctrine" that details how capitalists profit from disasters.  Funny how often the Bush Administration seems to do that.

October                         back to top

Diplomatic Corps considerably less than pleased about orders to report to Iraq.  Promises a lot more danger and very few, if any, positive results.  Many letters of resignation have already been tendered.  Many 20+ year veterans of the service are retiring. 

The primary spokesperson for General Petraeus steps in it by attacking blogger and lawyer Glenn Greenwald, denying that the offending email was his and then getting himself deeper and deeper into trouble by sending off emails to other people that sound suspiciously like the first emailer.  Greenwald has consistently offered to make the emails available so that the military can find "the real emailer," but no one from General Petraeus' office has responded.

Speaking of Petraeaus, CounterPunch has determined that the famed counterinsurgency strategy being applied by the General has been cribbed from other sources:

But as I re-read Chapter 3 a few months ago, I found my eye struggling through a crudely constructed sentence and then suddenly being graced with a flowing line of precise prose:

This quote from Judge Michael Mukasey clearly disqualifies him from consideration to be Attorney General.  The question was whether or not "waterboarding" was legal:

"That would have to depend on whether what goes outside the statute nonetheless lies within the authority of the president to defend the country."

There is no such zone of authority, never was, and hopefully never will be.  The President does not and never did have any authority beyond what the Constitutin and specific statutes state that he has. Y'know, back in the old days, when the US was under a president from the Democratic Party, we had Republicans hollering that judges were "making up laws" and "creating rules as they went."  And that was considered a bad thing!!!

France asks that Americans support the call by the CCR to investigate former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for torture.  The linked form supplies numbers to make calls and send faxes.
Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell thinks there's just too dang much informed debate and independent analysis taking place, so he's decided to restrict access to intel estimates.  Officially, the reason is that:

Knowing their words may be scrutinized outside the U.S. government chills analysts' willingness to provide unvarnished opinions and information

Isn't it nice to see how thoughtful and concerned and prudent our public servants are? [/snark]

Update: Suspicion is that the new judgements by Intel personnel do not support the Bush-Cheney call for war with Iran.  Ergo, the NIE must be hidden from the American people.

Found some statistics from  Very interesting to see how various websites match up.

Blackwater contractor / mercenaries may have to leave Iraq as per the government that the US placed into office.  This may very well spell the end of the US occupation of that country.

Numerous links on how to help Californians with their wildfires.

Barack Obama comes out with a better statement on telecom immunity for violating FISA.  Bill Richardson is in.  Senator and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is the lone holdout:
Clinton Presidential:
(703) 469-2008
Clinton Senate:
(202) 224-4451

Case against the Holy Land Foundation collapses into a mistrial as US Government finds itself unable to prove its case. The charity has been shut down since December 2001 due to the unproven charge that it was funneling money to Hamas.

Anonymous Liberal examines the honesty gap between the political left and the political right wing.  No, the sides are not mirror opposites, different only in their respective philosophies. There is a fundamental difference in how they approach their presentation of the issues.
Yee-hah!!!  Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama join the Chris Dodd bandwagon to defend the Constitution and oppose warrantless wiretapping!!  Clinton & Obama have obviously consulted their pollsters and campaign advisers and have concluded that defending the Fourth Amendment is good politcs after all.  Yay!!

"Jokes" from the President:

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."
"A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it, " [Bush] said.
Reporter: Mr. President, following up on Vladimir Putin for a moment, he said recently that next year, when he has to step down according to the constitution, as the president, he may become prime minister; in effect keeping power and dashing any hopes for a genuine democratic transition there ...

Bush: I've been planning that myself.
Ha. Ha. Ha.  What a card, huh?

Blogger asks very serious and relevant question of Congressman. Gets very disturbing answer.  

GG: of the things that baffles me about Congressional willingness to amend FISA is that it doesn't seem as though they know very much about whether there have been abuses...

RH: I have been on the Intelligence Committee for 5 years now and there's still an awful lot that I and everyone else on the Committee learns from the press. It is not the way it should be. I'm all for you guys in the press -- I appreciate what the press and the blogosphere does - but we shouldn't have to learn about intelligence -- we on the Intelligence Committee shouldn't have to learn about intelligence from people on the outside...

Review of a review of Paul Krugman's latest book.  I agree, the traditional media is badly in need of better reviewers!  First, the reviewer identifies an economist as necessarily and by definition, a  laissez-faire, free-market economist.  Yes, some economists would like to revoke the membeship of those economists who don't agree with them, but that's no reason for a supposedly objective observer to agree with that sentiment.  Second, the reviewer complains that Krugman fails to deliver "A fuller and more nuanced story," but despite a very snarky and sarcastic recounting of Krugman's thesis, it's not at all clear that his thesis is even flawed, let alone that it's wrong.  Sure, more nuance is normally a good thing, but the author makes a very poor case for introducing more of it here.

Examinatio of recent Senate battle over FISA and proposed telecom immunity.  Funny, the fight didn't spill over into local news coverage. 

Digby notes lots and lots of right-wing nastiness lately.  Wonders why that is. 

President Bush sets the bar for launching war on Iran very, very low.  So low that just about any teenage with Google can jump over it.

Eric Boehlert not only summarizes the actvities of the right-wing "blogswarm" against the family of the 12-year-old boy who dared to speak up in favor of SCHIP, but makes the very important point that the right-wing bloggers, radio talkers like Rush Limbaugh and TV personalities like Bill O'Reilly are not to be considered as separate from the Republican Party as a whole
An aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sent out an email to "fan the flames" and
It wasn't just bloggers who rushed to Limbaugh's defense, it was also key leadership members of the Republican Party. It was presidential contenders Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney. It was Senate Republican Conference chairman Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ). It was House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and his number two, Roy Blunt commended Limbaugh following his "phony soldiers" crack, and Eric Cantor (R-VA) who unveiled a Stand With Rush (R-MO), along with fellow Reps. Mike Pence (R-IN), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who supported legislation that e-petition, urging "conservatives around the country" to fight for Limbaugh.
Remember, the Republican Party is one big family who all support each other.
Frank Rich should really be the Dean of the Press Corps, not David Broder. Further commentary.

Actually, Bush's policy towards Iraq has worked out pretty well for him and his neocon buddies.  The only thing that could really screw things up at this point would be an attack on Iran.  
(Can you say “Khartoum, 1885” or “Teutoberger Wald, 9 A.D.” or “Dien Bien Phu, 1954“? I knew you could.)

Iranian pro-democracy dissident speaks out against Iran's "despotic" leadership and against the Bush-Cheney idea of massive bombing as a way to solve any of the outstanding problems in the region.  
But a military attack on Iran would reignite the conviction that the Judeo-Christian West, led by the United States, is assaulting the world of Islam, from Afghanistan and Palestine to Iraq and Iran; and it would encourage the view that fundamentalist methods are the best way to fight the non-Muslim invaders. Western governments must not equate the battle against fundamentalism with a battle against Islam—as President Bush does when he describes the “war on terror” as a “crusade,” or when he speaks of “Islamic fascism.”

Can't claim to be overly surprised by this.  Appears the NSA was interested in massive data-mining as early as February 2001, half a year before 9-11, the purported provocation for all that nasty surveillance that the government's been carrying out since then.  As DailyKos points out, it still didn't prevent 9-11!!  More detailed examination of the relevant articles.
BTW, David Ray Griffin puts out a book that carefullt examines the various "de-bunkings" of the 9-11 Truth theory.

The irony-impaired Secretary of State Rice denounces Russia's President Vladimir Putin for arranging

...too much concentration of power in the Kremlin. ... Everybody has doubts about the full independence of the judiciary. There are clearly questions about the independence of the electronic media and there are, I think, questions about the strength of the Duma.

Yeah gee, I wonder where Putin could have gotten the idea that he could shove democracy aside?
CIA Director Michael Hayden is going after the agency's independent watchdog, Inspector General John Helgerson.
Apparently, the IG is a bit too enthusiastic for, y'know, law and proper boundaries, etc., for Hayden's tastes. The really troubling part of this is that it's far from the first time that the Bush Administration has gone after watchdogs appointed to protect citizens from a power-grabbing  government.

For the past 31 years, Project Censored, based at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif., has selected what the research group believes to be the most important news stories that flew under the national radar each year — either under-reported or completely ignored by the mainstream media.
The 2007 report, released earlier this month, revealed what may be the scariest list in recent memory. (emphasis added)

State Department weighing options on the continued use of Blackwater to provide guard services.  The loss of Blackwater may adversely affect operations in Iraq.  Well, there's a simple solution for that now, isn't there?

Oh, and Rush Limbaugh adds his voice to the fray!
Michelle Malkin stalks 11-year-olds family in order to demonstrate family not really needy.  
[I really wish that headline was hyperbole.]

Iraq’s National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie and Dubai’s Chief of Police, General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim both agree - attacking Iran would be completely insane and Iraq would pay the cost.

DailyKos writer DHinMl describes "Bush Authoritarianism" and draws distinctions between that and Naomi Wolf's thesis that Bush is (successfully) trying to institute a new Nazi Germany.  I was especially struck by the following observation of DHinMls:

[Bush Authoritarianism] recognizes that the American electorate is center-left, clustered somewhat to the left of center on the political spectrum on economic matters, in the center but shifting to the left on social and cultural matters.  Thus, [BA] hides true intentions behind marketing-tested clichés, rhetorical obfuscation and intense official secrecy.  

Photo-essay on Iran. Before the bombing? Let's hope the bombing never starts.  As Atrios would say "The author is very shrill."

"We don't torture" says our President.  As usual, though, we American citizens have to wonder: "What's the distinction between torture and Enhanced Interrogation Techniques?"  On that question, Bush & Co are silent.  The Bush DOJ declared torture to be "abhorrent" in Dec 05, but put out a new legal interpretation in Feb 06 that was "an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques.
The issue of Rush Limbaugh insulting the troops grows and grows.  The latest wrinkle in the case raises important free speech questions. Very interesting to see how some news outlets are ignoring the issue in the hopes that it will quietly go away.  

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino criticized Sy Hersh and suggested his "anonymous sources" were less than credible, but refused to go into any details.  She kept repeating that the Bush Administration was working on a "diplomatic solution" to unspecified problems with Iran.  Hersh himself pointed out wth Keith Olbermann that:

"Well, all [Bush] has to do is start talking to them, and then you get diplomacy. And he's not talking to them. He has no interest in talking to people he doesn't like. He doesn't want to talk to the Syrians, the Iranians, Hamas. . . . If he would talk to them, I could say to you that there was some reason we might not go to war. But the only thing you hear, from inside, is that these guys really want to do it."

Four myths that pro-Iran-war people use to justify hatred of that country with.  For instance, people are fond of referring to President Ahmenajad as a "dictator." Iran is not a classic Jeffersonian democracy, but neither is it a dictatorship.  

Parallels between the Reichstag Fire (1933) and Sep 11th and other similarities.

Americablog: Hard core right wingers will quit GOP if Rudy is the nominee

Daniel Ellsberg
09/26/07 "ICH" -- -- September 26, 2007 (Text of a speech delivered September 20, 2007) -- - - I think nothing has higher priority than averting an attack on Iran, which I think will be accompanied by a further change in our way of governing here that in effect will convert us into what I would call a police state.

September                         back to top

Sy Hersh tells us the Bush Administration's plans for Iran.  

Bill Kristol comes out proud and strong against kids!  

Good rants about Tim Russert and "The Village" (The Washington DC "inside the beltway" punditocracy) and their insufferably lightweight ruminations and idiotic questions.  Staggering to realize that such morons speak to audiences in the millions.  

We of course expect to see the very same outrage over Rush Limbaugh's assertion that a soldier who doesn't support the Iraq War is, by definition, a "phony soldier" as we saw over MoveOn's Petraeus/Betray Us ad.  I mean, it's not like this sort of thing is okay if one is a Republican, is it?  

A look at the budget request for the Iraq War. It includes: "$1 billion to improve U.S. facilities in the region and consolidate bases in Iraq."  Funny, why should a non-imperial power, with no territorial designs on the region, want to spend $1b to "improve facilities"?  Also, the State Department is asking for $3.3b. Remember, the State Dept is the agency that employs Blackwater.

As Niccolo Machiavelli pointed out in The Prince, mercenaries have many disadvantages.  Not much has changed since the early 1500s, a study shows that "contractors" are indispensable to the US miltary, but that they're actually doing counter-insurgecy operations more harm than good.

The Lieberman-Kyl  "Let's go beat the crap out of Iran" amendment passes the Senate by a vote of 76-22.  

So very, very sad to see our President make a pro-human rights, anti-tyranny speech at the UN and be the most completely non-credible spokesperson ever.  Bush criticizes the "19-year reign of fear" in Burma/Myanmar, but where was he from Jan '01 to Aug '07?  In Iraq, around a million Iraqis have died and around two million have been displaced.  Sorry, but Bush brings zero credibility to his accusations towards other countries. 

Email form for telling your Senators and Representatives "No war on Iran!"

State Department feels that information concerning Blackwater's activities is confidential and should be kept quiet. Sure, okay.  But they're going much, much further. They appear to be trying to claim that Blackwater's activities should be shielded from Congressional scrutiny!!!

This cannot stand!  This is of a piece with the State Department's actions to prevent Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) from investigating corruption in Iraq.  There can be no legitimate reason for State to stand in the way.  

Whoo-wee!  people going crazy over Iranian President Ahmadinejad trying to go to Ground Zero (Former World trade Center in NYC).  People looking extremely undignified over it all!  

The upcoming Kyl-Lieberman amendment concerning Iran.  Not good, not good at all.  

A look at "real journalists" vs pundits and possible IEDs from Iran.  

The question of whether violence in Iraq according to the testimony of General David Petraeus was "ethnic-sectarian violence" vs "same-sect violence" appears to be a matter of finely-drawn distinctions. It's not quite as arbitrary as whether someone was shot in the back of the head or the front, but it does bring to mind the old Clintonian quote  "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."  

The dust-up over the MoveOn Petraeus-Betray Us ad, seen as a battle between "The Village" (Washington DC) and the rest of the country.  Not much has changed since the Monica Lewinsky days.

In my musings on religion when I was younger, I wondered what was done to bureaucrats, people who made what they considered to be insignificant decisions, but whose actions or inaction would be of tremendous significance to others.  

CBS News President Andrew Heyward and Senior Vice President Betsy West were involved intimately in the editing and vetting process of the Abu Ghraib story. However, for weeks, they refused to grant permission to air the story, continuously insisting that it lacked sufficient substantiation. As Mr. Rather and Ms. Mapes provided each requested verification, Mr. Heyward and Ms. West continued to "raise the goalposts," insisting on additional substantiation.

As Heyward and West caused the captives of Abu Ghraib three unnecessary weeks of torture, I sincerely hope they have a really, really miserable afterlife. 

Mapes gives her side of the story.

Rudy Giuliani makes excuses for skipping out on Iraq Study Group meetings. Latest excuse for going AWOL on ISG meetings is that they would have been inconsistent with his presidential ambitions contradicted by members who spoke with him at the time.  

Conservative media critic Howard Kurtz wonders if Giuliani is being "Swiftboated" by people talking about what he did and didn't do.  Nah.

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) has provided an email form so as to let your senators know that you support the Deployment to Dwell Time ratin of 1:1.   It's absolutely critical that our troops not get burnt out by being deployed for too long a period (The military's preferred ratio is 1:2, one year abroad to two at home, but 1:1 is an absolutely necessary minimum floor.)

Senator Webb explains what it's all about.

Update: Amendment passes, but at 56-44 is not enough to overcome a filibuster.

Not terribly surprising when you think about it.  A study on counter-insurgency (Article connects to 35-page PDFfile) shows that there is a mathematically-predictable relationship between how technologically sophisticated a force is and how effective the force is at counter-insurgency.  The US is really, really bad at that because the US relies far too heavily on technology. 

This is why plans to replace people on the ground with planes dropping bombs aren't worth the paper they're written on. Dropping bombs is absolutely worthless if you can't aim the bombs precisely at the bad guys. Without good intel, such aiming is impossible.

"...public opinion on Iraq is fossilized."  The public was utterly unimpressed with the Petraeus-Crocker show. 

Potential roadblocks in the way of continuing the occupation of Iraq.

1. Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) wants to introduce a bill to see to it that soldiers & Marines spend as much time home as they do in combat.  SecDef Gates natcherly wants no part of that.  Reasons are obvious: A draft would energize the anti-war movement and for Republicans to call for volunteers would expose their own chickenhawk tendencies.

Update: Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) demonstrates that he hates the troops by voting against Webb's amendment.  Seems Lieberman didn't like habeas corpus, either.

2. "Iraq's Interior Ministry has revoked the license of Blackwater USA, an American security firm" that was involved in a gun battle on the 16th.  Despite the fact that some folks think that Bush is promising to bring some troops home because the US has achieved such success in Iraq,  it's doubtful that Iraq's Interior Ministry  action will lead to any results as Blackwater accounts for about six brigades, almost exactly the amount that Bush has promised to pull out of Iraq.  Those troops would have to remain if Blackwater leaves. 

Update: Iraqi Government backs off from banning Blackwater.  Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is clearly very annoyed at Blackwater, but there's very little he can do.

Okay, listen!  We have to be very clear on this. Democrats should NEVER support Republican talking points!!!  Democrats should NEVER turn against online activists!!! 

To Democrats: We online activists are your only true friends.  You can't depend on talk radio, newspapers or TV.  We're the only ones who will consistently be on your side.  

MoveOn ad

Update: Someone pointed out that the MoveOn ad was immature and irresponsible because it was an ad hominem attack (An attack against the person, not the policy).  Good point.  The blog post referenced at the top here makes that clear, but it should have been made clear here, as well.

It's easy to understand why some figures in the media continue to support the Iraq War at all costs, under all circumstances.  Others, it's not so clear.  

Well, I was all prepared to do an analysis of Bush's speech on 13 Sep, then I ran across this:

There's really no need to dig down and critique the speech on a point by point basis. It was total crap, from beginning to end.

Um, okay. I won't bother, then.

Someone did an analysis anyway.  

Important!!!  Please use provided email or paper mail address to comment on whether or not court filings shoud be posted to the internet.  Natcherly, we're completely in favor!

Report on the "Petraeus-Crocker Report" Which, really, for all intents and purposes, was the "Bush Administration Report."  Disputes continue as to (to use the British term) "dodgy" numbers in the report.

BushCo says that--since they haven't seen Petraeus in a week--they clearly couldn't have given him a script for today's hearing.

Ah, but Bush & Co made a visit to a remote base in Anbar province just one week ago where Bush's whole National Security team was able to give Petraeus and Crocker a thorough briefing.  So yes, it was entirely possible for the Petraeus performance to have been pre-planned.

Links to report.

Methodology for how US military assigns certain attacks as "sectarian" vs being a religious/ethnic killing is still classified. General Petraeus gives an explanation that generally goes "If al Qaeda does it, it's sectarian," but killings by al Qaeda tend to be hugely overcounted, so it's still a mystery as to the methodology that's used.  

Media is trying to pass off the report as a hopelessly confusing sea of statistics. Don't buy it.  It's not that confusing.

US deports parents of dead soldiers.  The son of an undocumented worker died while fighting for the US in Haditha, Iraq.  Parents are now facing deportation.

Courtesy of the ACLU, FBI National Security Letters, permitted by the Patriot Act, are now struck down as being in violation of the First Amendment and the principle of separation of powers.  Yee-hah!!!!

More of this please!  Hillary Clinton (Who we've been quite nasty towards in the past - for good reason) makes strong anti-war statement.

Now here's a major candidate position we can get behind!  

"It’s time for Congress to stand its ground," Edwards said on the call, as transcribed by TPM's Eric Kleefeld. "If there’s no timetable, then Congress should not submit a bill." [emphasis added]

Granted, Edwards is talking tough on Iraq because he's hurtin' in the polls.  Hey, we'll take what we can get!

Andrew Glass quotes David Broder: “I think the country is closely balanced, with a controlling group in the center..."  

Wrong.  That may have been true once, but polling shows that it's an idea whose time has come and gone.  The electorate today is much more divided into liberal and conservative camps.  There simply isn't much of a "center" to fight over.  Broder pursues ideas like "Unity08" and a Bloomberg-Hagel ticket. Problem: Being at a center point between parties does not put one at a center point in American poltical opinion.  Democrats after the 2006 election occupied the center of American political opinion, and have moved off to the rightward side of the political spectrum since.

Anticipating the Karen DeYoung/Tom Ricks report on the GAO counter-report concerning the Bush Administration/General Petraeus report.  Local paper mentions GAO's dispute with Administration report and notes conflict over possible "editing" of GAO report in last two paragraphs.

Secret pact among Iraqi factions reached!  In a peace plan that Americans can't appear to take any credit for (They'll try, of course) "Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr; Adnan al-Dulaimi, a leader of the largest Sunni Arab political group; and Humam Hammoudi, the Shia chairman of the Iraqi parliament's foreign affairs committee" all agreed on a plan by representatives from Finland, Northern Ireland and Nelson Mandela of South Africa.  

BTW, American policies didn't have much of anything to do with the success of Anbar Province.

President Bush makes surprise visit to Iraq. The blogger emptywheel wonders about who met with each other out there.

Was he competing with Katie Couric?  Hey, at least Couric was honest about seeing only what the military wanted her to see. 

Among the many other reasons that the "Petraeus Report" will be a PR spectacular is that the media was complicit in presenting it as such.  The traditional media is part of the problem, the blogs and other alternative media are part of the solution.

The Atlantic wrote a good piece on Karl Rove and his relationship to the rest of the Bush Administration. Conclusion: Rove was given way, WAY too much power.

Very disturbing evidence that war with Iran is on the horizon.  

Many years ago, I read in the WaPo that readers of papers and magazines not only understood news stories better than TV-watchers did, but retained the information far longer (Yes, I realized there was a conflict of interest in a paper announcing its' superiority to TV).  A DailyKos writer watches TV and reports that the situation is not much better.  A reporter completely misreports the 2006 midterm Congressional election in such a way as to be worse than useless.  The report given viewers is just plain incorrect.  

August                         back to top

I earlier read that it was fairly typical for an American unit to approach a South Vietnamese village and the villagers would smile, wave and perhaps even cheer.  Then the mines would go off or the VietCong or North Vietnamese Army regulars would open fire.  Clearly, the villagers would have seen the VC or NVA laying mines and either were intimidated into playing "Happy to see the Americans" or they were perfectly happy to see Americans get shot up.  The following passage made me think of those ambushes:

I learned to be extremely wary of the Iraqi soldiers and police officers. They had outposts all over the city, but somehow they never saw or heard anything when we were attacked. At some point the decision was made to station Iraqi army regulars on our base. For some reason the mortar attacks we endured every few days became more accurate and many of the raids that we went on with them were exercises in futility because the targets seemed to know that American soldiers were on the way before we ever left the wire.

GAO leaks a report stating that only three of 18 Congressionally-mandated goals for Iraq have been met since January of this year.  Killer quote:

While it makes no policy recommendations, the draft suggests that future administration assessments "would be more useful" if they backed up their judgments with more details and "provided data on broader measures of violence from all relevant U.S. agencies."

Whaaa?  The Bush Administration?  Fudging facts and data and "intelligence and facts... being fixed around the policy"?  Naw!  They wouldn't do THAT, would they? [/snark]

WaPo does an excellent piece on New Orleans and its stalled reconstruction. Shipping is at 90% of pre-Katrina levels and the French Quarter is rebuilt, but the rebuilding of the levee system appears to be stalled and historical comparison is made to Galveston, a Texas port that was destroyed by a hurricane in 1900 and replaced by further-inland Houston.  

To be fair, Bush's apparent post-Katrina inaction policy makes some cold, pragmatic sense. If the U.S. government is not going to rebuild the levees to survive a Category 5 storm -- to be finished at the earliest in 2015 and at an estimated cost of $40 billion, far eclipsing the extravagant bill for the entire Interstate Highway System -- then options are limited.

For the upcoming anniversary of 9-11, we present widely respected British reporter Robert Fisk.  Fisk is a long-time reporter on the Middle East and was, I believe, the only independent Western reporter to be in Baghdad when it fell to the Americans in early 2003. Fisk appears to be quite skeptical of what he terms the "truthers" who insist that 9-11 was an inside job, but actually gives a very good summary of many of the troubling problems and inconsistencies about the official 9-11 report.  

From the resignation speech of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez:

It is through their [DOJ employees] continued work that our country and our communities remain safe.  That the rights and civil liberties of our citizens remain protected.  And the hopes and dreams of all our children are secured.

So sad that an AG who did so much to destroy the "rights and civil liberties of our citizens" would stand up there and speak about those rights and civil liberties with a straight face.  

Absolutely correct! Democrats, after disgracing themselves by passing the gutting of FISA, have a chance to make it up to American citizens by making certain that the next AG is truly independent from Bush. Funny, but back in the 90s, AG independence was considered to be something worth having.  

Righ-wingers don't appear to be sad to see the AG go. Nor do Latinos consider Gonzalez to be "one of their own" (Too loyal to Bush).

Blogger thehim at Effin' Unsound does a detailed deconstruction of a piece by Joe Lieberman - The Sequel, a Democratic Congressman who's been busy chugging the Bush kool-aid.  Thehim makes some very good points: 

1. The people who predicted US troops would be greeted by flowers and that they would soon find Saddam Hussein's WMD are the very same people who are predicting Cambodia 1975 - The Sequel in the event US troops leave Iraq.

2. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that for the US to remain in Iraq will mean that things will improve or even remain as "good" as they are now. There's every reason to believe things will continue to deteriorate.  

3. Patrick Cockburn pointed out the basic strategic problems in remaining in Iraq: Because the Shia are 60% of the population, any real democracy means that their fellow Shia in Iran will have enormous influence in any new Iraqi government. Turkey is not likely to be happy about an independent Kurdistan and may very well invade. And Sunnis are likely to find sponsors in Saudi Arabia.  The "Surge" has done nothing whatsoever to change these basic facts.

The answer as to why conservatives don't enlist: they're not worthy!  Y'see, they'd be a disgrace to the uniform if they enlisted, which is why chickenhawks spare the rest of us the trouble of safeguarding them!

PRAWN members have made their presidential preference clear, Dennis Kucinich is Da Man!!  I have no problem defending any Democratic candidate from Republican/conservative attacks, but I've never warmed to Hillary Clinton's triangulating, DLC ways  and I really, really HATE her defensive crouch and "preemptive surrender" attitude in the face of a  possible sequel to 9-11.   Her point in her speech was that if anything happens "with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again".  PLEASE let's not hear any such "Eeyore"-type pessimism and defeatism.  We progressives have zero use for such negativity.  

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell discusses warrantless wiretapping. Emptywheel summarizes

...the government promises it will protect American persons' data, but it refused to allow any meaningful oversight of that promise.

Copy of the NIE on Iraq.  No need to wait for the Petraeus/Crocker Bush Administration Report, the information we need is all right here, no matter how some folks try to delude themselves.

Bush draws comparison of Iraq to Vietnam.  Somehow, his suggestion that the US should keep fighting in Iraq just it "should have" kept fighting in Vietnam, doesn't strike me as a very good PR gambit.  Also, the film Sir, No Sir! makes it absolutely, positively crystal clear that the US simply could not have sustained fighting n Vietnam any longer than it did so for.  Very sadly, a WaPo article on Bush's big "Democracy push" starting after the 2004 election shows that, at best, he and his people had absolutely no idea how to make a policy make sense and be consistent.

I'm just absolutely baffled as to why Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin consider it a good idea to insist that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki be removed.  First, his removal won't improve anything.  Second, does America really want to show the world that Maliki's a helpless puppet. dangling on US strings?

It's been studied and the evidence is in. The "No New Taxes!" crowd had a great deal to do with the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis.  

The "risk" of that approach was described this way: "Must pay approximately 2 million dollars to get the job done." [i.e., to fix the bridge]

A logistics and financial issue also was discussed. MnDOT officials said that if the bridge was simply inspected, the benefit would be: "Don't have to pay for steel, stockpile steel, or install steel."


Wingnutologists of a generous bent like myself [Rick Perlstein] always find ourselves thrown on the horns of an old dilemma. Conservatives: lying or stupid?

Iraqis are extremely suspicious about American-backed Oil Law. They consider it a vehicle for American theft of their oil resources. The fact that the Iraqi oil industry is seen as a symbol of Iraqi nationalism is a major complication getting in the way of passing the Oil Law.

Bonus: Bill O'Reilly on 20 June 07 "...the Iraqis have two more months. They've got two more months. And if they don't step up and help more than they're helping -- and by help, I mean, they have to pass oil's over." [emphasis added]

Bill's statement concerning oil legislation on 20 Aug 07?

[crickets chirping]

How does one know when a story is a credible one? This is a subject that the left blogosphere as a whole is very concerned with.  One answer we've come up with is what we've come to call peer review.  The idea is based on Open-Source technology development and scientific peer reviews (Naturally, peer review is not a panacea). A blogger puts out an idea, interested readers can then comment on it, the blogger can then read and respond in their own fashion to the comments.  It may not work as well as senior review does in some ways, but many traditional news sources have had very serious credibility problems of their own over the last few decades.

The Rude Pundit reviews the Karl Rove appearances on last Sunday's talk shows. Compares Rove's speeches and talking points to those of Beelzebub.  Natcherly, Beelzebub comes out looking better. (Note: Beelzebub is not another name for Lucifer, but the name of another angel who fell to the depths along with Lucifer.)

Why DO some institutions continue to exist long after they've refused to fulfill the function they were founded for?  Our media pathetically failed to cover the story of Jose Padilla and what it meant for US citizens.  

The most important decision taken in the Jose Padilla trial was taken before the trial started. That was the decision that Padilla was fit to take part in his own defense.  He wasn't.  The lengthy time he spent in sensory deprivation together with various tortures used, destroyed his personality and left him with a very bad case of Stockholm Syndrome:

"...a psychological response sometimes seen in an abducted hostage, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger (or at least risk) in which the hostage has been placed."


The White House thanked the jury for a "just" verdict.

"We commend the jury for its work in this trial and thank it for upholding a core American principle of impartial justice for all," said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House. "Jose Padilla received a fair trial and a just verdict."

Media Matters gives press a grade.  Not very impressive.

Good heavens people!!!


Congress has MORE than enough evidence to do so, so fer cryin' out loud, DO IT ALREADY!!!

Right wing talker Melanie Morgan loses her mind! Hilarious!

The General Petraeus - Ambassador Crocker Report due September 15th appears to be no such thing.  Looks like it's going to the Bush Administration report.  

Oops!  Now Bush doesn't even want that much.  Now, he wants Petraeus to testify privately, behind closed doors. 

Amazingly, the WaPo seems to still be convinced that the report will be Petraeus'.

Ah well, it's not like anyone expects Petraeus to tell the truth anyway.  

Y'know, it's funny. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney really blew it with a stupid statement equating his five military-service-age sons' service on his presidential campaign with the service of US soldiers in Iraq.  

And yet, the major media show an amazing lack of interest in covering the remark.  Very puzzling!

Also amazing is the complete lack of coverage outside New York City given to Rudy Giuliani's affair with Cristyne Lategano.  Not only was Giuliai married at the time, but Lategano got a $150k per year job out of the deal.

Karl "Turdblossom" Rove resigns effective August 31st.  The media, as expected, goes over the last several years very, very lightly, acknowleding only the positive and refusing to clue us in as to what the real reasons may be.  Digby examines some of the more plausible reasons as to why Rove may be going.  Jane Hamsher wonders why "[Reporters are] all taking it at face value and nobody is speculating as to what the truth of the matter might be."  Emptywheel examines various reasons in more detail.  

Historical overview of Rove and the last seven years.

The troops are having a very, very rough time of it. The US basically has a whole army in Iraq  that's not getting anywhere near enough sleep and is exhausted.

Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos vs Harold Ford of the DLC. Moulitsas wiped the floor with Ford. Markos put forth the (accurate) thesis that the DLC strives to fudge their differences with Republicans whereas he supports proud, unapologetic Democrats. Ford couldn't really answer that and tried to make it sound as though he were liberal too. Hoo-yah for all the good things the DLC has done in the past, but Markos is right, their time has come and gone.

DailyKos reprints choice bits from the dialogue.

Absolutely no two ways about it!  The "Surgin' General" (Petraeus) has clearly failed.  The "Surge" has accomplished nothing and needs to end.

What's incredibly sad about Bush lecturing Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki about getting too close to Tehran is that Bush really doesn't seem to know what he's talking about.  Last year, we learned that Bush apparently wasn't even aware that there were two kinds of Muslims before launching the Iraq War and it's doubtful he's ever even met many Iranians, yet here he is, telling an Iraqi how bad the Iranians are!

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana) blurts out the ugly truth:

"I never voted for this war," she said. But "I'm not going to vote against $2.1 billion for C-17 production, which is in California. That is just not going to happen."

Yup, money is very deeply involved in the reasons for the Iraq War.

Does the Protect America Act of 2007
have any protections in it for American citizens against government snooping?  'Fraid not.   There are simply no meaningful protections for American citizens anywhere in the bill.

My open letter to my Representative, Allyson Schwartz (Who, I'm proud to say, voted the right way on the bill.); my basic point is that, yes, Democrats can be out manuevered by going around on their left flank.  The really sad part is that FISA should not be an issue between the center and the left, but between the far-right crazies and everybody else.

Philadelphia's Attytood blog declares that DailyKos provided the best candidate forum that we've yet seen.  It helped that audience members were encouragd to be raucous and loud.

So what has Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accomplished during her entire tenure as SecState? Not much, it seems.

Greenwald's post: Democrats have absolutly no excuse for not realizing that Republican scare tactics do not work!  The mid-term election of 2006 proved that decisively.  Good Senator Feingold quote in there! Phoenix Woman compares Republicans to the "Good Slytherins" of the Harry Potter books.  Good yuks!

Jane Hamsher of firedoglake disagrees with the WaPo piece that considers straight white males to be the "rulers" of the left blogosphere. Good tips on making oneself a "member of the club".

More on the 9-11/2B theory.  Truly hate delvng into conspiracy theories, but this seems all too plausible to ignore.

Is there any sort of crisis, any need for hurry regarding the Bush Administration's request for new wiretapping authority?  Nah. The technical problem that the requested legislation is supposed to fix has been known of for months.  There is zero need to suddenly keep Congress in session until the legislation passes.  

The bridge collapse in Minnesota has the usual villains at work, primarily the "No New Taxes!" crowd.  Gotta remember, folks, a huge chunk of the nation's infrastructure was built during the New Deal.  It's gotta be kept up!

Tsk, tsk. tsk!  Why ARE those darn lefties so cynical?!?! Wellll...there might be a reason for that.

Vice-President Cheney issues a very interesting non-denial denial as to whether he sent Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Alberto "Fredo" Gonzales to the hospital room  of a recovering John Ashcroft to "put the squeeze" on Ashcroft.  

Also, Froomkin looks at how the propaganda system under the Bush Administration works.  First, a piece by [Michael] O'Hanlon and [Kenneth] Pollack is put out by the NY Times describing these two fervent Bush supporters as Bush "critics," the White House faxes the piece to everyone on their list, the rest of the Mainstream Media describe them according to their own description, i.e., as "critics" of the Bush Adinistration, then Cheney cites their "skeptical" interpretation of the "surge" as reason to continue it.  

July                         back to top

No, no, no, y'all don't understand! Republican presidential candidates aren't terrified of answering live questions via YouTube from their voters, they're terrified of having their voters make YouTube videos that the rest of the country will see!

CBS News is far from the worst of the lot, but on Thursday, June 26, the channel that features Katie Couric (Who's badly in need of a ratings boost) devoted 490 words to the discussion of "Oscar," a cat who could allegedly predict the future. The Constitutional crisis involving AG Gonzales? 109 words. A dramatic, whopping grand total of one minute and 44 seconds.   And this is a show that really needs the ratings!!  You can write to them here and here.

The constant refrain from conservatives whenever one spoke about the horrors suffered by the Iraqi people was "Well they're a lot better off under democracy than they were under that evil dictator Saddam Hussein."  Not so sure about that these days.  Oxfam reports that about a third of the population, about eight million Iraqis, require immediate, emergency aid.   

15 percent of Iraqis cannot regularly afford to eat, and 70 percent are without adequate water supplies

Said it before and will say it again as many times as needed: IMPEACH GONZALES!!!!

Anonymous Liberal goes over the evidence that Attorney General Gonzales repeatedly, consciously and deliberately lied to Congress.  The NY Times agrees and TPM points out Gonzales can be impeached even if he resigns!  TPM further wonders just what exactly it is that's being covered up.

Update: Many other people weigh in and declare that Bush's program is SO illegal ("How illegal is it?" "Oh, man, it is SO illegal...")

Tsk, tsk, tsk!  The Iraqis have failed to pass the Oil Law thay would give Iraqi oil resources over to the US.  WhatEVER are we gonna do with those people?!?

Is the 9-11/2B plot looming?  Disturbing signs that it might be.

The DLC is doing quite poorly these days.  Seems their reputation is in the sewer and not likely to do any better anytime soon.  Good!  Buncha useless parasites!

The "9-11 Generation" has nothing to be ashamed of, but neither are they particularly heroic or any more likely to join the military than their ancestors were.

Gee, wow, amazing. What an unexpected surprise.  After Republican Senators defended the Bush Administrations' plans for the "Surge," it turns out that Bush & pals plan to stay in Iraq for several more years. I bet those Senators feel really smart right now!

Congress takes the first step towards enforcing its will on the Bush Administration.  An examination of their next steps/options.

A meditation on the meaning and significance of partisanship.  Not such a bad thing, actually.

Yes, Anbar Province is getting more secure; no, the "surge" has nothing to do with it.  As Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) puts it: 

...the people in al-Anbar are not aligning themselves with the United States. It's "The enemy of the enemy is my friend."

This hasn't been the Iraqi military, the national military that's been taking out al-Qaeda. It's been a redneck justice. It's been these sectarian groups out there who don't like al-Qaeda. And if we leave, they still will not like al-Qaeda.

The American people and politicians like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are WAY ahead of the Washington DC punditocracy and the Republican Party.  They recognize the stress that the troops are undergoing and are determined to make the government listen!

The WaPo takes the very odd view that Bush and the Republicans are anxious to reach a compromise with Democrats.  Er, sorry, but Bush and the Republicans have been doing their level best to avoid anything even resembling compromise. 

Bush makes a grab for still more power.  These people are determined to avoid accountability!

Bill O'Reilly's comparison of DailyKos to the KKK and the Nazis misrepresents both groups.  It greatly exaggerates the distance of DailyKos from the American mainstream political discourse (Kos doesn't agree with the Washington pundits, but is otherwise solidly in the American consensus) and it make the Nazis/KKK appear much friendlier and more mainstream then they really are.  

Bush makes a grab for worrisome new powers. Allegedly wants to go after those who are threatening "the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq."  Not at all clear who he's aiming at or who will get swept up in that net.

Bob Geiger is covering the Senate all-nighter wherein the Democrats try to force the Republicans to be upfront about their obstructionism.  Senator Carl Levin speaks of Bush's lies concerning "progress" in Iraq.  

And the crowds turn out to support the Democratic effort.

President Bush wants a Mideast summit.  Sounds good, but the quote here reveals the  catch:

Palestinians [are] divided between the Fatah-controlled West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza. Hamas is unlikely to be invited: Mr Bush said it must first renounce violence and recognise Israel.

In other words, "we'll deal with our friends (i.e., people who are pre-disposed to agree with us) and ignore our enemies (i.e., people likely to stand up for their own national interests)."  Yes, there are alternatives, but we'll just get the same-old, same-old. This is going to be strictly a photo-op summit.

Amazingly, NOT all Democratic Senators, including Pennsylvania's own Senator Robert Casey, have signed onto the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007.

Why not!?!?! How can such a basic right NOT get the immediate and enthusiastic support of all those who purport to take America's democracy seriously?!?!

Mary Shaw of Amnesty International talks about how "A vote for Bush was a vote for the terrorists"

Excellent 10-minute video from Britain's Guardian following an American unit in Baghdad over a short period of time.  The occupation is a huge burden on both US soldiers and Iraqi residents.

During the Reagan Administration, liberals charged that conservatives looked back fondly upon the 1950s, the pre-civil rights, pre-women's liberation era.  There were then suspicions that many economic conservatives were nostalgic for the Robber Baron era (Late 1800s) when unrestrained capitalism ruled and there were no ecological regulations, unions weren't allowed and there weren't many taxes.  Now with the Bush Administration, it appears that some Cheneyite conservatives are looking back even further, to the Age of Absolutism (1660-1789). Presidential aide Sara Taylor "slips" twice and describes herself as having taken an oath, not to the country, but to the President

Bush Refuses to Explain Clemency Order for Libby As House Panel Opens Probe

HJC Hearing on Libby’s Get Out of Jail Free Card, One

Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has completely lost it

You know, Harry Reid said a while ago that the war in Iraq is lost. It's wrong. It's not lost. In fact, I would say we're beginning to win it. We've turned the tide with the new strategy.

Problem is, the White House admits that not a single goal of the "surge" has been accomplished.

The era of the "behind-the-scenes, inside story" seems to be over as Michael Isikoff, who has produced good pieces in the past, thoroughly disgraces himself with a piece that presents all sorts of questionable assertions as fact.
Eric Boehlert demonstrates that the media didn't really have a clue as to what went on behind the scenes at the White House, but presented White House assertions as fact anyway.

The Inky reprints an NYTimes piece on page 3 that calls into question Bush's commutation of Lewis Libby's sentence. They appear to accept as plausible the explanation  that the commutation is meant to cover Bush's own butt. Conservatives are unhappy over Bush's clipped, legalistic defense of the commutation as they wanted a full-throated defense of the Iraq War and an attack on opponents of that war.  

Amazingly enough, Vice-President Dick Cheney's old company, Hallburton formerly owned a subsidiary named KBR. KBR doesn't appear to have learned why humankind largely gave up slavery. Turns out that building big, complex, expensive projects with slave labor is not a very good idea.  The US Fortress-Embassy on the Tigris cost US taxpayers $592 million and it's so full of fuel leaks, electrical shorts, toxic trailers, etc., the Embassy is uninhabitable.  

Sunni Council issues fatwa on American-sponsored Oil Law.  Iraqi oil workers aren't too happy about the law, either.

Summary of reactions to Lewis "Scooter" Libby's commutation (Essentially a pardon, but now he can "plead the Fifth" as he's still technically in danger of getting busted.)

Boo!  Hiss!  Foul!  
Lewis "Scooter" Libby, one of the folks who betrayed a covert CIA agent (Valerie Plame Wilson) will not be going to jail for that crime. His sentence was commuted.  Not precisely a pardon, but the punishment is now just a slap on the wrist.  The President has now demonstrated a complete and utter contempt for the law of the land and has spat in the faces of all of the sincere and dedicated people who worked to punish a criminal for a crime.
Prosecutor's statement.
Joe Wilson's (Husband of VPW) statement.
Video of Keith Olbermann's reaction.
Various reactions.

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Major terrorist attack averted in London.  Unsurprisngly, "24"-type methods irrelevant.  Plot averted through ordinary, plain-vanilla, standard, routine police work.

David "Dean" Broder comes out againt VP Cheney's malign, nefarious schemes!!  Many years too late, but hey, we'll take what we can get. 

Bush Administration slippage continues!  Yee-hah!!  Looks like Bush, after Clinton lost it, will also lose "Fast-Track Trade Auuthority."  This law allows the President to give Congress trade agreements on a strict "yes-or-no" basis, with no amendments allowed for things like labor rights or environmental protections.  LeftCoaster commends Democrats for getting the messaging right.

The chutzpah of the right-wing commentators still retains the power to amaze and mystify. NBC News congressional correspondent Chip Reid asserted that the current legislature was a "do-nothing Congress."  This completely ignores the fact that Republicans have fought tooth and nail to prevent Congress from doing anything!

"Retired Major General John Batiste, a former division commander in Iraq turned critic of the war", gives the Bush Administration a hard time over their recent attributing of just about all enemy action to al Qaeda. Batiste, BTW, is a serious, hard-core Republican.

This shift in rhetoric has attracted attention from the left blogosphere.

Ann Coulter insults John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards responds, Coulter goes nuts, Edwards makes lots in campaign contributions.  Elizabeth Edwards explains, very slowly to Wolf Blitzer, what the fuss is all about.

Confirmed: Coulter is a leader of the conservative movement in America

Six months ago, the National Archives asked the Justice Department for its opinion on Dick Cheney's "fourth branch" theory, which he invoked to escape oversight by the Information Security Oversight Office. They're still waiting. Waxman and Conyers want to know why.

NY Times launches completely baseless and unsubstantiated attack on John Edwards.  NY Times responds to charges from TPMCafe.  TPMCafe explains why NY Times response is completely non-responsive.

One of the big criticisms of Joe Klein's actions during Sept 02 to Mar 03 was that he was allegedly a liberal. He was, quite reasonably, expected to represent the liberal point of view, to tell TV viewers how liberals viewed the events and arguments of the day. Klein miserably, thoroughly failed to do this job.  Fox News presented yet another alleged liberal who, again, is miserably and thoroughly failing to do what we progressives quite reasonably expect him to do.

VP Cheney doesn't seem to want any oversight.  Not that that's anything new.  What's new is that the media appears to have rubbed the sleep out of its' eyes and appears to be paying attention.

Funny how people get the idea that there's some contradiction between supporting the troops and wanting to cut off funds for more war.  Wonder why people think that there's something inconsistent about that?

The Politico, which purports to cover "the politics of Capitol Hill and of the presidential campaign ... with enterprise, style, and impact," declared that Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has what "opponents call 'the three h's' -- the haircut that cost $400, his huge house and his lucrative involvement with a hedge fund." Funny, but all three "scandals" were manufactured by news outlets including and just like The Politico.  Sorry, but as Media Matters demonstrated, there simply is no contradiction between being wealthy and wanting others to live comfortably as well.

Review of the actions that Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba blew the whistle on.  Taguba tells us that:

Taguba had submitted more than a dozen copies of his report through several channels at the Pentagon and to the Central Command headquarters, in Tampa, Florida, which ran the war in Iraq.

But several weeks later:

“Here I am,” Taguba recalled Rumsfeld saying, “just a Secretary of Defense, and we have not seen a copy of your report. I have not seen the photographs, and I have to testify to Congress tomorrow and talk about this.” As Rumsfeld spoke, Taguba said, “He’s looking at me. It was a statement.”

Rumsfeld was obviousky what we call "playing stupid" and clearly knew what was going on. 

Digby revealed!  The identity and even the gender of Digby has long been a subject of speculation. 

Uh. Mah. Gawd.  Did Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia really say that!?!?!  Did he really bring up the fictional terrorist-fighter Jack Bauer during a discussion of  real-life torture?!?!?  Yup!  As Atrios often says: "We are ruled by idiots!"

Former CIA officers ask Republican National Committee to please stop trashing national security and respect the decision of Judge Walton in the Lewis Libby case.  

NY Times writer scores a two-fer!  Author manages to smear both China & Iran!  Hitler lost a two-front war, the US appears to be headed for a three-front war!

Tim Russert got the chance to demonstrate that he could take a pro-Constitutional view of the Lewis Libby case and completely blew it by asking his two hard-core right-wing guests to examine the issue exclusively from the standpoint of "Is it good for Bush and the Republicans?"  The liberal guests were ignored.

*Sigh!*  Looks like the NY Times is up to the same ol' same ol'.  

Even beyond its nuclear program, Iran is emerging as an increasing source of trouble for the Bush administration by inflaming the insurgencies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and in Gaza, where it has provided military and financial support to the militant Islamic group Hamas, which now controls the Gaza Strip. [blogger's emphasis]

Greenwald examines each claim in turn and finds evidence sorely lacking in each case.  Particularly noteworthy is the following:

Hamas is not an "insurgency," but rather, the majority party which was democratically elected by the Palestinians. Theoretically, at least, to aid Hamas is to aid the democratically elected majority party in the Palestinian Authority, not arming an "insurgency."

Lewis Libby is off to jail!  Judge Walton said the decision was not a close call.  Libby was clearly guilty and his trial was pretty much trouble free.  The legal questions are nowhere near strong enough to warrant keeping Libby out of jail until his appeals are exhausted. Was the verdict a victory for liberals?  Absolutely not.  It was a victory for the rule of law, the concept of accountability and a conservative, Republican judge who refused to be intimidated.

Tony Snow incredulous that for Americans to protect Constitutional rights for terrorists means protecting constitutional rights for everyone.  What does that mean for the President's understanding of how US law works?!?!?!

Massachusetts now irrevocably pro-gay marriage.  Opponents needed 50 state representatives to get anti-gay marriage question on ballot and only got 45. 

Saw the article yesterday about "Bush rebuked on combatant" and immediately banged off a letter basically going "Yahoo! Yippee! Far out!" but I did notice that the article didn't mention anything about what the courts decision meant via-a-via the 700-year-old  right known as habeas corpus.  A blogger surveys the anti-due-process people who simply do not believe in the principles on which this country was founded and wonders why this case was even argued or how people can defend it. 

Kind of amazing that while Marine General Peter Pace is not getting a traditional second two-year term as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, apparently because he's balking at launching an unprovoked war with Iran, our media, in the face of a potential nuclear war with Iran, is obsessed with the fate of Paris Hilton.  Part of the problem of course, is our media's obsession with being right now, up-to-the -minute, very-latest-news, "Aw dude, that news is hours old!" all the time.  It's very, very easy for important news to get lost in the shuffle. 

Miscellaneous news on al  Qaeda in Iraq, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and a good habeas corpus ruling. 

Ian Welsh of firedoglake does an excellent piece (Lengthy at 29 kilobytes)  on guerilla warfare and the situation in Iraq. Essentially, there are two ways for an occupation force to win a guerilla war, neither of which the US is successfully pursuing.

Reviews on G8 Climate Change talks are in: Waste of time, no accomplishments to report.  On the "grand bargain" immigration bill:

With low approval ratings and the race to succeed him well under way, [President Bush's] ability to push his agenda has faded to the point where he can fairly be judged to have entered his lame duck period.

It's absolutely amazing, but people seem to think that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby should be pardoned! It's hard to imagine someone less deserving of a pardon than someone who was found guilty of four out of five felony counts by a very serious and conscientious jury.  

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggests that Bush deploy new Star Wars/ ABM/ Missile Defense system in Gabala, Azerbaijan.  Russia is leasing that site until 2012. Bush demonstrates the anti-Russian nature of ABM system by refusing.  Turns out system is not fully tested anyway and Poland and Czechoslovakia aren't too enthusiastic about deploying it to begin with. 

Bwah-ha-ha!!  Creationist museum hired an actor who was also taking part in a risque (Meaning it  emphasizes sex, but it's not necessarily pornographic) production called "Bedroom Acrobat." Needless to say, actor was promptly fired from playing "Adam" in the creationist production for exhibiting "non-Biblical" values..

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, showing absolutely no remorse, gets sentenced to 30 months.  There will be a hearing later to finalize the sentence, but it loks like Libby's going away for a long time.
James Carville was the only alleged liberal to have signed a letter asking for clemency for Libby.  Carville needs to be tossed out of the liberal treehouse.

What does September mean as far as evaluation of the "surge" in Iraq is concerned?  Not much.  It's pretty much just another Friedman Unit that will pass without comment from the national media.

What's the meaning of the intercepted terror plot at JFK Airport?  Not much. Another plot that was "more aspirational than operational" and another reason to wonder whether "we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here" ever made any sense. 
Charges dismissed against prisoner at Guantanamo, remainder of 385 cases thrown into doubt. Fairness and legality of Mlitary Commissions questioned.

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Orcinus gives a (I hate to use the term, but it's seriously and genuinely appropriate here) fair and balanced view of Jerry Falwell's political work and impact.  Also, let's not confuse the workings of the free market with "McCarthyism." They're really not the same thing at all. 

[Joe] Scarborough says that if we don't like shock jocks, we should change the channel. But he seems to ignore the fact that if enough people change the channel, those who own the channel are going to get the message. What happens next is not "McCarthyism," or "lynching" or "censorship." It's called the free market -- you know, the same one the right wing is always insisting is the ultimate solution to all our problems.

The Left Coaster asks the question:

Did the Americans and Iraqis talk about the likely impact to the country’s detention system before the surge was implemented?

The answer: Apparently not.  Not only are Iraqis being swept up and tossed into jail, the jails are so overcrowded that Iraqis not proven to be guilty are tossed in with hardened criminals.

A year ago, the number of Americans who favored impeachment was about a third, now it's just short of 40%.  How is the WaPo handling the issue? "We're not. I haven't seen the polling that you are referring to, and until I do, I won't quite believe it."

Update: Media Matters finds that the WaPo has lots and lots of blind spots when it comes to the left blogosphere and their successes.

Iraq War being censored.  Iraq is now limiting how much coverage from the battlefield reporters will be allowed to have.

So now Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham have both come out and said pretty flatly that the views of Iraqis as expressed through their ELECTED parliament don't really mean very much.
McCain: "...there is a certain amount of domestic political calculations involved there in what the Iraqi, quote, Parliament, said."
Graham: "We're going to have to live with [suicide bombings] in Iraq"
Notice, of course, that WE (Americans) are NOT living with suicide bombers, the Iraqis are.
In both cases, what Iraqis may want is simply not very important.

Mother's Day and peace, a subversive idea back in 1870, but one with more relevance than ever. Includes video with some well-known moms reading the original declaration.

Book review of "The Thumpin," the clobbering of the Republicans in the 2006 mid-term election that restored Congress to the Democrats for the first time since the "Republican Revolution" of 1994. Focuses on Rahm Emanuel, a conservative Democrat who contributed to getting NAFTA through, so he's not entirely a good guy. Book gives ample credit to bloggers/netroots and widespread disgust with Bush Administration, though.  

Speaker Pelosi informs us as to the details on the compromise bill being offered for funding the Iraq War.  Timelines are out, but bill only covers until July, after which Congress re-considers the matter. is unleashing an ad campaign against vulnerable Republican Congresspeople who won't vote to override Bush's veto under the slogan “Protect America, not George Bush.” As firedoglake puts it "Hardball.  We like." 

Update: Retired General Batiste, who starred in the VoteVets video, got fired for doing so.  Case is one of blatant hypocrisy. 

Slate informs us "No, no, President Bush doesn't hate black people, he just hates black voters."  Granted, that's what we call a "distinction without a difference."

Professor Mankiw tries applying ancient economic thought to modern problems.  Main problem: labor markets are nowhere near as rigid as he thinks they are.  

Tornado hits Kansas town and causes massive devastation.  Well, call out the National Guard...what's that? Most of them and their equipment are in Iraq?!?!?  Of course FEMA, under Republican leadership, is as useless as ever.  

Poor David "Dean" Broder!  Poor guy appears ready for the rocking chair!

Frederick Kagan, author of the "surge," defends his handiwork. Includes a very, very interesting  paragraph that, on closer examination, probably never occurred at all.

Bush's strategy in Iraq endorsed!  Yes, President Bush must be happy now that his strategy in Iraq is endorsed!  Who endorsed it?  Let's see, it', ...gee, let's think about this, it was endorsed by Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda's number two guy!

The noose appears to be getting tighter around the neck of Secretary of State Rice.  Rice denied that the trip to Syria that Speaker Pelosi took last month prepared the way for, or encouraged, Rice to go herself.  

Why might Rice be so hostile and defensive?  It might be because a State Department analyst named Simon Dodge was convinced that, shortly before President Bush spoke the infamous "16 words" about Iraq seeking yellowcake uranium from Niger, he knew that story wasn't true and wanted the 16 words deleted from the speech.  Rice is now seeking to prevent Dodge from testifying to Henry Waxman's committee.   

It's not at all clear that the Democrats are going to cave in to the White House on the war-funding bill.  Who told the WaPo that question was decided is a mystery. There are many options on the table and a final decision is far from settled on.
Hillary Clinton & Robert Byrd want to de-authorize the Iraq War

Glenn Greenwald documents the seriously pathetic corruption and decadence of our press corps.  Very, very sad:

[Greenwald being patiently instructed by the Politico]

In your case, much of your criticism comes from a distinct ideological perspective. That's fine, but surely you must appreciate that not everyone acts with your degree of ideological motivation. In the case of people at Politico, our motivations are simple -- to write interesting and worthwhile stories and to put those stories before largest possible audience.

[Greenwald's response]

That pious lecture was delivered by an individual who oversees a "newspaper" that has published no fewer than eight items in the last two weeks about John Edwards' haircut. [emphasis added]

Bush vetoes "emergency" war spending bill (Thereby activating the protest at the NW of City Hall)  Interesting contradiction between how seriously he takes the commanders in the field and how seriously he expects everyone else to take them.

April                         back to top

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales signed a highly confidential order in March 2006 delegating to two of his top aides ... extraordinary authority over the hiring and firing of most non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department. ...
[they were given authority over] matters pertaining to the appointment, employment, pay, separation, and general administration" of virtually all non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department

Said it before and will say it as many times as needed:
Impeach Gonzales!!!

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appears to think she's above the law.  She doesn't feel like responding to the Congressional subpoenas.
Oh, and she doesn't understand why the US should have responded to the bombing of the USS Cole. 

Bill Moyers' "Buying the War" is making a big, big splash amongst the media elite in Washington DC.  There will be a few 3:00am and 2:00am showings over the next week to set your VCR for if you've missed it. The amazing thing is that the media elite really doesn't see that they did anything wrong in the run-up to the Iraq War.

BagNewsNotes notices something quite interesting.   There are very, very few photos of the newly erected walls in Baghdad that are supposed to keep neighborhoods safe from each other (and that others have compared to the walls erected around Jewish ghettos during World War II in Europe).  It's understandable why the Bush Administration wants to keep the walls invisible, but why is the so-called "free press" collaborating to hide the walls?

BTW, the last Democratic presidential candidate has now come out against permanent military bases in Iraq. This is the primary difference between Democrats & Republicans. Keeping permanent military bases in Iraq is a major component of the neocon plan to dominate the Mideast forever.

Karl Rove calls his manhood into question.  Rove objected to being touched by Sheryl Crow! 
Yeah, I spoke with a gay PRAWN member about Rove and yes, Rove is considered a "real queen," but still...
Philadelphia's own Mary Shaw weighs in on AG Gonzales and his long record of lawbreaking.

Michael Chertoff (Head of DHS) takes issue with Zbigniew Brzezinski's criticism of the use of the term "War on Terror" in his 25 March WaPo op-ed. BTW, I've never understood the assertion that al Qaeda and/or Hamas and/or Hezbollah are either fascist or totalitarian.  Those concepts simply don't apply.  The terms are simply meaningless when applied to those groups.

Sen Joe Lieberman (I-CT) spoke in response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, saying that the Iraq War was lost.  Joe said:

This week witnessed horrific terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists in Iraq, killing hundreds of innocent civilians and leading Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to declare that the war is "lost."

With all due respect, I strongly disagree. Senator Reid’s statement is not based on military facts on the ground in Iraq and does not advance our cause there."

Uh, sorry Joe, but the fact that the bad guys were able to launch "horrific attacks" IS one of the "military facts on the ground." Such attacks cannot happen without some degree of popular support.  Just because Americans may not like these guys doesn't mean we can arbitrarily announce that no one else supports them either.

Michael Smerconish is slated to replace Don Imus.  Why? Hard to say.  With Americans getting more progressive and more supportive of Democrats, it's difficult to see why Smerconish is thought to appeal to anybody.  Why not a female?   

Contact MSNBC and let 'em know what you think about that.  Also, Email Bill Wolff (VP of MSNBC) &
Email Dan Abrams (General Manager of MSNBC)

Comments on Virginia Tech shootings, where 33 persons died.  Tamara K. Nopper worries about how the media will handle the ethnicity of the killer.  James Wolcott reprints a marvelously eloquent scolding of Virginia and its lax gun laws.  An Australian newspaper examines the politics of gun control.

Summaries of Attorney General Gonzalez hearing. Very poor, unsatisfactory job by Gonzales, who didn't give any real answers, at great length.

Digby makes some very good points about communication.  One extremely important point is that Clinton had the gift for it and Bush just plain doesn't.  

Very curious piece on Attorney General Gonzales' upcoming testimony.  Gonzales talks about how fair and well-planned the review process was for US Attorneys.  Problem: Why was any review process needed to begin with?  Traditionally, US Attorneys are appointed at the beginning of the President's first term and they then remain in their jobs until that President leaves office.  

Some background as to what Gonzales will be testifying about.

Looks like the smoking gun has been located!  The Albuquerque Journal has placed President Bush, Karl Rove & Alberto Gonzales at the very center of the scandal of the unwarranted firing of eight US Attorneys.  As of 9:00pm, April 15th, all three have reacted to the discovery with complete silence.

The US apparently offered to "...take military action on behalf of the 15 British sailors and marines held by Iran, including buzzing Iranian Revolutionary Guard positions with warplanes." 

This of course risked war with Iran.

Please keep in mind that "...the President already asked for the authority to attack Iran and Syria and was absolutely denied."

Great attention has been paid to the bombing of the Iraqi Parliament cafeteria, but the bombing of the al-Sarafiya bridge at the same time may be more significant

militarily.  Hardening the rest of the city's bridges against further attacks will add still more hardship and inconvenience to the lives of citizens of Baghdad.  This is looking like a very professional well-planned,  counter-move against the "surge" (Properly referred to as an "escalation" as there's no indication that it will ever recede.)  

Could the "surge" have something to do with attacking Iran?   Secretary of Defense Gates extends tours from 12 to 15 months, overburdening an already- overstretched force

Senator Russ Feingold takes a careful look at National Security Letters and finds, quite predictably, that, given free reign to do whatever they pleased, the FBI got sloppy.  Almost 150,000 letters (And possibly 30,000 on top of that) have been issued over the course of three years.  

But that is not all. Once information is obtained through an NSL, the Inspector general reported that the FBI retains it indefinitely and uploads it into databases like the "Investigative Data Warehouse," where it is retrievable by the thousands of authorized personnel, both inside and outside the FBI

White House spins the meaning and significance of demonstration by tens of thousands of Iraqis.  In response to: 

Demonstrators ripped apart American flags and tromped across a Stars and Stripes rug flung on the road between the two holy cities for the huge march.

The White House declared:

While we have much more progress ahead of us -- the United States, the coalition and Iraqis have much more to do -- this is a country that has come a long way from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.

It's becoming clear that Speaker Pelosi was sandbagged in Syria.  She was set up to go to the Mideast without knowing that the folks back home would pull the chair out from under her. The suspicion is that Cheney had both the motive and the opportunity to do so.   Not surprisingly, Bush was informed of Pelosi's trip beforehand.  

Update: The YouTube appearance by Holbrooke and the speeches by Donna Brazile & Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WA) show how it's done.

Whether one calls it Star Wars, SDI or Missile Defense, it's  a program that for about 50 years has failed to produce a decent defense against missiles.  It is, however, potentially effective as a first-strike weapon and it most certainly effective at making loads of cash for its manufacturers (Between 1983 & 2001, it made about $60 billion).  The Bush Administration is amazed that Russia considers extending a Star Wars system into Eastern Europe as a threat! 

My, my, my, people are getting so upset!  Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) is losing patience with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and is demanding that Gonzales hurry up and deliver specified documents to Congress.  Not only that, Gonzales & Co are redacting information in their submitted documents! 

 It's one thing when the media (Specifically CNN and the WaPo) criticizes people like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, it's quite another when they can't even get their facts straight.  Seriously, people.  Get your act together!

Media Matters has more on Speaker Pelosi's trip.

Hilarious!  Bill O'Reilly vs Geraldo Rivera!  Bill does a meltdown!

So incredibly annoying to see Barack Obama breaking ranks and coming out against both Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi and their attempts to make President Bush accountable to the American people.  Obama's done this before. Howard Dean strongly disputed the notion that any Democrat had taken money from convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.  Obama was later asked about it and started fudging the issue and getting it all fuzzy and complicated. Obama should sit out this campaign and try again when he's more experienced and can stay on-message.

Jerusalem Post warns that US might nuke Iran "perhaps 'from 4 a.m. until 4 p.m. on April 6,' according to reports in the Russian media on Saturday."

Fate of five detained Iranians unknown.

Iran shows video of British military person admitting incursion.

Bush: "Iran actions inexcusable"

Terry Jones of Monty Python fame weighs in (Snark).

Robert Parry examines "Selective Outrage."

Update on firing of US Attorneys - a 35-year Justice Department lawyer tells us that the firings are not business as usual, Mother Jones looks over the funky email addresses the Bush Administration used and mystery lady Monica Goodling is profiled.

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USAToday, CNN, CBS and the NY Times all look at Congressional requests for Bush Administration figures to testify publicly or at least with a transcript being taken and very importantly, under oath. Apparently, White House senior adviser Karl Rove and former White House counsel Harriet Miers feel: 

"that voluntary discussions behind the scenes [are] good enough."

Media people need to explain to the public why such discussions are NOT "good enough!"

April 18th, Democratic Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Representative Henry Waxman, has invited Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to testify about 16 letters that he wrote her while he was in the minority and that she never answered.  Should requires lots of popcorn!! Bwah-ha-ha!!!  Nah, seriously, Rice is expected to blow it off.  She can't be bothered with stuff like this.  The fact that Waxman has the legal authority to compel her presence means nothing to a member of the Bush Administration.

Iraq has a very, very bad day.  Over 100 people die and almost 200 wounded in suicide bombings.   Senator John McCain makes crazy comments about how safe Baghdad is, then Joe Lieberman makes some not-insane comments.  The CNN correspondent agrees that things are a bit better, BUT:

Their enemies, the insurgents and the Shia militias, are, by and large, laying low at the moment, waiting to get the shape of this surge.

NY Times does it again!  They cover the  special roadside bombs that fire molten blobs of copper at nearby targets and they blame Iran for producing them. Problem: The bombs are very simple items to produce and there's no evidence Iran has anything to do with them.  Article notable for lots and lots of anonymous sources.  

David "Dean" Broder tells us all not to get too excited by liberal successes lately. We're all still just a bunch of DFHs.

Very illuminating quote concerning the firing of US Attorneys.  Our decadent, useless press corps displays their haughty disdain for the concerns of us common folk.   Further evidence that the press just doesn't take the attorney firings very seriously.  

Firedoglake presents many, many links to Iraqi blogs running the gamut of political opinion and including art &  poetry.

James Wolcott refers to Bush's mini-press conference on the attorney-firing scandal as the "most Nixonian performance of Bush's presidency." Robert Kuttner suggests we dispense with Bush's advice that Karl Rove and Harriet Miers be interviewed in private, without oaths and without transcripts by cutting to the chase and impeaching Attorney General Gonzales.  

House passes US Troop Readiness, Veteran's Health and Iraq Accountability Act by squeaker of a vote, 218 to 212.  
Progressives had to be brought onboard and liberal blogs thought it was less than perfect, but they all lined up and supported it.  Will Bush veto it?  Most likely, but that then puts the onus of the Iraq War squarely on his shoulders.

During the summer of '06, not only did UN Ambassador John Bolton actively prevent a ceasefire in the war between Israel and  the Hezbollah of Lebanon, he's “damned proud of what we did.”

Right-wingers claim to have mustered 30,000 war supporters on the National Mall last Saturday, but even Michelle Malkin's video doesn't show anywhere near that number.  A PRAWN member was there and estimates their number at about 2000.  

Looks like it's now time for a full-blown Constitutional Crisis.  The Democrats are considering subpoenas for Bush Administration personnel, Bush thinks he might not cooperate. 

The issue of our times, indeed the issue for the modern Democratic Party is whether or not this group of Democratic leaders has the stomach to wage that fight even if they lose. It is not a partisan issue: legislative branch prerogatives hang in the balance here because the Congress will be eviscerated if this fight is not waged now.

Victoria Toensing was the opposition person at Valerie Plame Wilson's hearing on Friday. Emptywheel deconstructs her speech.  Toensing uses extreme interpretation that in the real world, translate to little or no protection for covert agents.  David Fiderer also points out that her talking points are all two years old and were never that good to begin with.  

Judges aren’t stupid. They know the difference between fanciful speculation and real evidence.

Suggestions on how the US can sanctify and purify itself after the toxic presence of the Bush Administration has been expelled from our land. 

Mrs Valerie Plame Wilson testifies under oath before Congress .  Yes, she was a covert agent .  Yes, it was a crime to reveal her identity.  No, she had nothing to do with sending Joe Wilson to Niger to investigate the supposed Iraqi attempt to purchase yellowcake uranium.

Very interesting questions asked by a real reporter (i.e. not a stenograper). Seems that during the Clinton Administration, the government passed the Presidential Records Act that covers the little matter of staff emails and how ALL staff emails are supposed to be received and sent on government accounts so that proper records can be kept.  What did investigators find?  

...the general rule at the White House is that if it's really sensitive, don't put it in writing -- certainly not in an e-mail.

That stuff gets archived.

Bush is running a criminal enterprise.  Like a pirate ship or a mafia family, it's an organization that's designed to commit crimes.

TPMMuckraker is pretty much THE source to go to on the US Attorney firings.  This particular piece features a prosecuter who really should not have been fired. 

The Bush Administration's "diplomacy" with Iran is no such thing. They should not be allowed to make the claim that they're seriously pursuing any such thing. 

Aw c'mon guys!  We can do better than this!  Only eight nine papers have dropped Ann Coulter's column since she called Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards the (six-letter) F-word! Firedoglake gives us the list so that we can contact the holdouts.  

Also has some interesting stuff on reporters who can't count and Matt Drudge's hugely inflated viewership numbers.

Very, very sad tale of how prisoners are treated at Guantanamo.  Guards have been absolutely terrified by tales of the superhuman powers their prisoners are said to possess.  It's even believed that prisoners can accurately reconstruct the present-day looks of people they last saw, at best, five years ago.  This is of course presuming that the prisoners even want to do any such thing or that guards can tell when the prisoner belives he's telling the truth.

Uruknet answers Time Magazine's query as to why Sunnis and Shiites hate each other.  Actually, they got along pretty well with each other right up until the US occupied their counry.  Also raises some very interesting questions about car bombs.  

Documentation as to why people consider Fox News to be a GOP propaganda network.

Why?! Why, oh WHY do people think of Rush Limbaugh as an expert on anything?!?!? Where has the man demonstrated any sort of expertise on any subject?!?!  Limbaugh carries on about global warming.  Doesn't have the vaguest clue as to what he's talking about, of course.

Democratic Party listens to netroots, final decision explained as reaction to yet another overt smear of Barack Obama (Roger Ailes made a very lame joke "confusing" Obama with Osama bin Laden) but Democratic Party decides NOT to use Fox News for its candidate debate.  Why did they want to give Fox that kind of credibility to begin with?  File it under "What were they thinking?!?!"

William Hughes'  posting on PhillyIMC is far too grumpy and pessimistic and "glass-is-half-empty" for my tastes, but he's right and he and Dan Froomkin are in complete agreement that Congress now needs to pick up the baton and start running with it.  Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald gave us a good running start, but progressives have to press Congress to "take it home."
The WaPo gave us a truly lame editorial absolutely chock-full of factually-inaccurate statements.  When I first weighed in, they had 9 pages of what were about 99% complaints about their lousy editorializing, they had 18 later that day and as of 9:00am of the 8th, they're up to 36 pages, probably the great majority of which are still critical.
Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice-President Cheney's former Chief of Staff, found guilty on four out of five counts. "...two counts of perjury, one count of obstruction of justice and one false statement, all of which arise out of the lies he told to the FBI and grand jury as it investigated the 'outing' of CIA operative Valerie Plame."
Washington Post has severe black eye over past articles on the case.  Very, very poor pronostications.
Joe Wilson speaks.  He and his wife Valerie Plame Wilson will continue with their private suit agains Libby. 

Good quotes:

"...Mr. Libby saying he was surprised to hear about Mrs. Wilson, we have about 34 post-it pages... 2.5 feet x 2.5 feet... and they were filled with all the information we distilled from the testimony... we took a long time to do that..."

"...what we came up with was that Mr. Libby either was told by or told to people about Mrs. Wilson at least 9 times..."

Congratulations to for sterling coverage!!

News about Walter Reed Hospital a few miles from the White House where veterans were receiving grossly substandard care is that former DefSec Rumsfeld was trying to save money:
The Bush war machine, led by Rumsfeld, was determined to replace skilled government employees with less experienced, but cheaper, private workers.

Justice Department seeking to have Internet Service Providers (ISPs) retain data as to who posts pictures to websites for two years.  They've used the usual set of excuses, child porn and terrorism.  How many people per million engage in either one?  One, maybe two? 
Attorney General Gonzales was pushing for the same thing in September 2006 and probably long before that.! 
Ann Coulter says calling gays "faggot" is no big deal
It is a schoolyard taunt.
It isn't offensive to gays.
So if I call Coulter a "skanky ho," that wouldn't be offensive either?

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appears to be getting ready to nationalize key Venezuelan industries.  SecState Condoleezza Rice says:
I believe there is an assault on democracy in Venezuela. I do believe that the president of Venezuela is really, really destroying his own country, economically, politically.
Sounds like it's time for a coup down in "America's Backyard" but the situation in Iraq is not promising for such a move.  The US perhaps had a window of opportunity in late 2005, but that window firmly closed with the bombing of the mosque in Samarra.  The battle for hearts & minds in Iraq is over and the US has decisively lost it.  Committing more resources to Venezuela could tip the US into complete irrelevance.
But of course, we have the words of Col (Ret) Karen Kwiatkowski:
...all the signs are there that we are being, we’re going to wake up one morning soon, very soon, and we will be at war with Iran.

Impeach Gonzales!!!
Right now, right away, immediately, no delays, no excuses!!
His explanation as to why he didn't respond to Rep. Rahm Emanuel, House Democratic Caucus chairman, who had written Gonzales two letters;
"I think that the American people lose if I spend all my time worrying about congressional requests for information, if I spend all my time responding to subpoenas."
Gonzales has to be removed from office, immediately!!!

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales promised that the recent string of sudden departures of government attorneys was nonpolitical, that they were "asked to resign their posts in recent weeks because of performance issues," but
Internal Justice Department performance reports for six of the eight United States attorneys who have been dismissed in recent months rated them "well regarded," "capable" or "very competent," a review of the evaluations shows.
There are hearings scheduled for next week.
More & more interesting.  Seems the fired attorneys were involved in corruption investigations.!

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Patients at Walter Reed Hospital, a few miles from the White House, are given new instructions:
Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.[emphasis added]
As the post from Speaker Pelosi's blog puts it, it's highly unusual for military personnel to have daily inspections after boot camp. 
AmericaBlog is keeping a running tab on the story concerning the situation at Walter Reed.  The latest.

Further update: Representative Bill Young (R-FL) has known of the problem since 2004. He was too busy rubber-stamping whatever Dear Leader wanted to take care of the troops. 

Howard Kurtz of the WaPo writes a smarmy, pathetic love note to Michelle Malkin about her journalistc skills and talents and integrity, of which she has absolutely zilch.  Utterly baffling.

Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker examines the situation in Iraq and Talking Points Memo relays an interesting nugget from same. The US doesn't seem to have any clue as to which side it's on!  It's not at all clear which group the US is really behind.
"...quote from a US soldier involved in the Baghdad operations:

I don’t know who I’m fighting most of the time."

Secretary of State Rice whines and moans and complains that Congress is engaging in “the worst of micromanagement of military affairs” by seeking to rein in and constrain the Executive Branch in the conduct of the Iraq War. “I can’t imagine a circumstance in which it’s a good thing that [our] flexibility is constrained by people sitting here in Washington, sitting in the Congress.” 
Well, the circumstances under which Congress' "backseat driving" is a good thing is when the current driver is incompetent and has already crashed the car several times!!
If the Bush people were doing a halfway decent job, "backseat driving" would not be necessary
US Generals & Admirals threaten to quit if ordred to attack Iran.  Gee, but I thought Tony Snow kept dismissing and ridiculing the idea of a US attack on Iran! 

The WaPo's David Broder demonstrates conclusively why the official "Gang of 500" or the Washington DC press corps, is declining in influence and relevance.   Broder puts "centrism" and "bipartisanship" above all other political values, to the point where he elevates a tiny, meaningless party to great historical importance.

All-righty!!! NOW we're cookin' with gas!!  Democrats tried to be nice by pushing the non-binding resolution, they really did.  But Republicans threw it back in their faces, so now Democrats are determined to get mean and lay down the law!  Yee-hah!!!  Break out the popcorn and the and the M&Ms, ladies and gentlemen, this looks like it's gonna get fun!!!

Prosecutors are being  inappropriately appointed.  Attorney General Gonzales gets his authoirty to do so from the Patriot Act. 

Wow!  Amazingly enough [/snark] bullying, thuggishness and sheer, utter hypocrisy have not made America safer in the WOT!!! Who'd a thunk it??!?!
Consortium News examines the second rise of al Qaeda and the examination as to whether US planes should start bombing targets within Pakistan!!!

Iraq-born blogger Raed Jarrar obtains copy of Iraq's "oil law" and comments.  NY Times had earlier done a pathetically inadequate job of reporting properly on how unfair and exploitive the law is to Iraqis. 
Examination of the story by the WaPo's Dana Priest on the horrendous treatment of US veterans from the perspective of the right wing.  Priest and a partner had spent four months undercover and had  conducted hundreds of hours of interviews
But the story is suspect because Jonah Goldberg says that Dana Priest -- who actually removes herself from her chair to do some of the country's most difficult and valuable investigative reporting -- has some unnamed, nefarious "agenda," and besides, Jonah got an e-mail from someone who says it's all exaggerated. So we need Fox and Geraldo to get the real story here.
Collection of follow-ups to WaPo story. 

This news had to be relegated to the back pages, seeing as major media had to cover the tale of the lovelorn astronaut and the passing of a voluptuous stripper, but Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) has been looking into how the Iraq War started, specifically at the role played by Doug Feith.  It's difficult to imagine that the Bush Administration wasn't fully aware of how shaky Feith's information was. 

Are the neocons aware that their day has come and gone?  That they've shot their bolt with Iraq?  Washington Times editorialist tangles with a blogger and ends up swearing and repeatedly trying to draw distinctions without differences.  It also appears that they're not putting a full, serious effort into their scheduled upcoming war with Iran.  They appear to be distracted by the desire of the US public to leave Iraq.  In other words, the pressure is working!!! 
Keep it up!!!

Hillary Clinton, for all intents & purposes, sez "Aw heck, I didn't really want to be President anyway.  #$%&@!!!"
Major problem is that had she admitted that voting for the Iraq War was a mistake, (Something John Edwards did last year) it would not be an issue now for her.  She'd be able to get away with it if she were running as a Republican, but a Democrat can't possibly win with that around their neck.  And if she switches now, the charge of "flip-flopper" will be made.
Senate doesn't want to even debate  the anti-escalation bill.  Measure dies, 56-34. 

Anti-Escalation bill (Unfortunately, it's not binding) passes 246 to 182.  It isn't just the Democrats, people.  Lots of Republicans joined in on that!  Oh, turns out two Democrats voted with Bush for more war and death and destruction.  Also:
The Republicans have decided to oppose Murtha’s effort to require that the troops be adequately trained and equipped before they deploy. Think about that for a second: the GOP is against sending adequately trained, rested, and equipped troops to the war. [emphasis added]

Two pieces on EFPs in Iraq.  Further questions as to whether Iran is supplying them.

Well, it appears the fever has broken and common sense has returned to the pages of the Inquirer.  A more skeptical view of the Bush Administration's scary, scary fearmongering now appears to be taking hold.  About time

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's blog features Democratic veterans against the "surge."

Eeyeargh!!  Fox News presents a conservative rip-off of Jon Stewart's Daily Show.  Pretty sad stuff, proving (As if anybody needed proof) that conservatives simply don't have a sense of humor.  And I tried, I really tried to watch the Rush Limbaugh - Ann Coulter skit, but my stomach just couldn't make it past Rush smirking at "What a disaster these last two years of Democratic control have been."  I'm like "Democrats could possibly do worse than the present crew?!?!"

Back during the run-up to the Iraq War, the Philadellphia Inquirer, owned then by Knight-Ridder, was a bright spot of serious questions about the Bush Administration case for war.  Seems as if those days might be over.   At a time when the NY Times, the WaPo and the Democratic Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee are all questioning the 12 Feb presentation that "proved" that Iran was supplying weapons to the Iraq insurgency (In order to enable a new push for war with Iran), the "Inky" seems to be going back to the bad old days with the article subtitled: "The U.S. has long said fighters cross into [Iraq] to wage attacks."  Anonymous Bush Administration sources make serious accusations with no skepticism or cross-checking from the paper.  
Very, very sad to see such irresponsibiliy on the part of the local press.

Congressman Patrick Murphy of PA (Retired Captain, 82nd Airborne), speaks out against the "surge" (Read: "escalation")

Amanda Marcotte resigns as the blogger for the John Edwards campaign, revealing that she probably wouldn't have worked out anyway.  Raises questions as to whether bloggers can effectively work for national campaigns.

Highly questionable assertions being made about weapons found in Iraq that are supposedly from Iran.  Main problem is why Iraqi insurgents would even need to obtain anything from Iran.
Follow-up to presentation.
NY Times repudiates own scare stories.

Good heavens!  What was he thinking?!?!? 

Michael Gordon of the NY Times, whose article is reprinted on the front page of the Philly Inq or Inky today (Feb 10) also worked with Judith Miller in producing her now-discredited (But never accepted by the left blogosphere) scare stories about Iraqi WMD in late 2002 and earl 2003.  Gordon is in full Pravda mode here, citing "officials" and "intelligence" without once examining or analyzing whether any of his charges are accurate or credible. 

Jonah Goldberg loses his bet.  Goldberg had bet Juan Cole at Informed Comment (Such a good source of Mideast info that the CIA has admitted to checking it regularly) that Goldberg's judgement was superior that he made a bet with Cole exactly two years ago today.  Liberal bloggers paid Goldberg's debt to the USO, even though Goldberg admitted that his judgement was faulty  and agreed to pay it off privately and:
Cole refused to take the bet. ... [Now] it seems that his fans want it both ways. They want to extol Cole as a prince for not accepting the bet, but they want me to be held accountable to it even though he never agreed to it.

Lt Ehren Watada's court martial declared a mistrial!  The judge
 ...tried to keep the court-martial from becoming a tribunal on the war and its legality and has ruled that Watada's attorney cannot present witnesses to question the war's legality.
 Photos of rally.
Tim Russert reveals true depths of the collusion between Bush Administration and nation's press corps, where reporters keep secrets from the public in order to preserve their access.  Public does NOT benefit from this deal!!!

Looks like John Edwards got swiftboated and may dump the two bloggers he hired because he just doesn't have the cojones to stand tough against the shrieking denizens of the right-wing blogosphere.  Too bad, he looked like he had promise, once upon a time.

WaPo columnist David (Dean) Broder seriously steps in it!  Suggests that liberals are anti-military and that bloggers are deranged.  Bloggers outraged!

David Kurtz used to think the stories about Vice-President Cheney were the stuff of unhinged conspiracy theories.  Now he's not so sure.

And just how do American troops in Iraq feel about the "surge" (Read: "escalation") idea?

Almost every foot soldier interviewed during a week of patrols on the streets and alleys of east Baghdad said that Bush's plan would halt the bloodshed only temporarily. The soldiers cited a variety of reasons, including incompetence or corruption among Iraqi troops, the complexities of Iraq's sectarian violence and the lack of Iraqi public support, a cornerstone of counterinsurgency warfare.

"They can keep sending more and more troops over here, but until the people here start working with us, it's not going to change," said Sgt. Chance Oswalt, 22, of Tulsa, Okla.

Bush Administration fails to show that any of the charges Bush has lately made concerning Iran have any relation to reality.

The sheer, utter, rank foul stench of shameless hypocrisy from Mary Cheney concerning her anticipated baby is just unbearable.   Of course her kid is a "political prop" and the blame for that unpleasant fact lies squarely with her daddy's Republican Party.  A party that she, her family and her acquaintances have helped and enabled with their actions in the past several years.  Jon Stewart has an excellent interview with
Chrissy Gephardt, also the gay daughter of a politician.

The new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, said yesterday that he is launching an aggressive investigation into whether the Bush administration has violated any of the laws it claimed a right to ignore in presidential "signing statements."

January                         back to top

Iran situation is NOT looking good.  Seems that certain Commmanders in Chief think they're an emperor or something. 
It's also really, really pathetic that five years after Bush failed to deal with him, five years after Bush ran off to invade Iraq, Bush's spokesperson has to bring up bin Laden again!!

I'm very sad to report that Molly Ivins has passed away.  Great woman, great columnist.  I saw her down in Pensacola, FL back in 1999.  Supposedly, the country had turned conservative.  They had to expand the room she was speaking in and to bring in extra chairs.   Molly, you'll be missed!
Obituary1, Obituary2,
Obituary3, Quotes
Senator James Webb asks a question: On January 11th, Senator Webb asked SecState Rice whether or not the President had the authority to launch an attack on Iran minus Congressional approval.  Rice said she had to think about it.  Two weeks later, Webb writes a letter requesting an answer.  "This is, basically, a 'yes' or 'no' question regarding an urgent matter affecting our nation’s foreign policy."

As firedoglake puts it, the fault line of the Republican Party lies between "the Cheney/neo-con faction [vs] the libertarians, the strict constructionists [&] the more moderate financial conservatives"  and now that split is beginning to cause serious problems.  Presidential candidate John McCain is finding his trying to appeal to both factions is a very serious stretch.  Heck, Republicans can't even agree on leadership for the RNC!

Newsperson (As opposed to newsreaders, who just sit behind a desk and read from a teleprompter) Lara Logan requests our assistance!  She took a video detailing death and destruction as opposed to the usual "troops helping Iraqis" videos and CBS is showing it on their website, but not over the air.  Watch the video, then contact CBS and ask them to air this story. It is chilling, but more importantly it is the truth.

CNN disgraces itself by mindlessly accepting Senator McCain's word for it that "Overnight ratings, I understand, were slightly in favor of supporting the president's [surge] proposal."  Not true, the public opposes the surge proposal by 2/3rds to 1/3rd.  The CNN newsreader also stared off into space as McCain asserted that Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) won re-election because he supports the Iraq War.  Lieberman was actually very, very quiet about his warmongering tendencies during his re-election campaign.

Interesting definition of the word "consult" In Bush's Iraq "surge" speech, he made the statement that "he had 'consulted members of Congress from both parties,' as well as overseas allies and distinguished outside experts."  According to Speaker Pelosi, "He brought us in to tell us what he was going to say in a matter of hours," she said. "It wasn't a consultation — it was a notification. And a late-minute one at that."
A senior administration official disagreed with Pelosi's comments, noting that she and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had sent a letter the previous Friday opposing the surge. "By the time we met with her on Wednesday, we knew for sure where she stood."

For the first time ever, the opposition party response to the State of the Union (SOTU) speech overshadows the SOTU itself.  Senator James Webb gives a marvelous performance, full of sly digs and outright great lines (emphases added)

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.

Pundits of the press corps, especially the "centrist" magazines like New Republic, dramatically demonstrate their complete and absolute uselessness and irrelevance.  Two months before she even took office, Madam Speaker Pelosi was dismissed as a hopeless lightweight and a person who had already compromised her political position so much that she might as well just pack it in and call it a day. 
Pelosi gave herself 100 legislative hours to pass six major bills.  All six passed with large bipartisan majorities, in less than half of that time!!
Brava, Madam Speaker!!
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards comes off better than Hillary Clinton does in how they treat the small blogs (Defined as having fewer than 100,000 visitors a day).  Bloggers are small businesspeople too and blogging is how a lot of them make their living.  Edwards advertises with them, H. Clinton doesn't. 

No, Tom Friedman of the NY Times is not a liberal.  I can't imagine why people think he is. 

Review of FCC Hearing.

It's very important to note when Iran made its offer towards "...ending support for Lebanese and Palestinian militant groups and helping to stabilise Iraq following the US-led invasion." and that in return  "Tehran asked Washington to end its hostility, to end sanctions, and to disband the Iranian rebel group the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq and repatriate its members."   As Dealing with Tehran (PDF p.14)  puts it
...the Iranian
message came to Washington shortly after the conclusion of major combat
operations in Iraq and well before the emergence of the insurgency there—in other words, the Iranian offer was extended at a time when U.S. standing in the region appeared to be at its height. It is also worth recalling that, when the Iranian offer was made, the Islamic Republic was not spinning centrifuges or
enriching uranium and the reformist Mohammad Khatami was still president. [emphasis added]
The Bush Administration had a marvelous opportunity for dealing with Iran diplomatically and blew it completely. Remember that when the Bush people complain that "We tried diplomacy and it didn't work."
Consensus on Bush's promise to obey FISA law: Far less than meets the eye.  Nothing to celebrate
Oh, and impeach Attorney General Alberto Gonzales!  The AG apparently doesn't understand the meaning of habeas corpus, an 800-year-old right. 

1,000 active duty soldiers risk careers by signing Appeal for Redress.  Local Veterans group accompanies delivery.
Home page for action. 
For the first time since Vietnam, an organized, robust movement of active-duty US military personnel has publicly surfaced to oppose a war in which they are serving.
A few Milblogs feel effort is astroturf.  They're welcome to try and beat 1,000 signatures.  Of course, as soldiers can probably be ordered to sign an anti-Appeal petition, or as the military might aggressively push an anti-Appeal petition drive, it might not mean much.

Legislators pile all over each other in their rush to pass bills against the war in Iraq and against war with Iran. 

Attack on Iranian oil & nuke sites reportedly set for sometime before April of this year.  Also, Russia has and will continue to sell Iran anti-aircraft missiles. 

Lewis Libby is running into an interesting problem: the Bush Administration's credibility is so low that it's hard to find a juror that won't immediately judge Libby to be guilty before any of the evidence is heard. 
We've identified the "intellectual" behind the "surge" idea for Iraq.  His name is Frederick Kagan.  He is a scholar and has had some peer-reviewed articles published, but get this, none of them are in the area of Arabs, Islam or unconventional/ guerrilla warfare!!  His specialty is in Russian and Napoleonic history.  He's never served in any branch of the military, he's written peer-reviewed articles on Star Wars/Missile Defense, the evacuation of Soviet industry in the face of the oncoming German invasion of 1941 and on the latest Army Field Manual. 
The President can choose any advisor he wants, but why is the media presenting Kagan as an expert on any aspect of the Iraq War?!?!?

What the $%&@ is Joe Lieberman babbling about NOW?

Bush reportedly said: “ 'I said to [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki this has to work or you’re out,' the president told the Congressional leaders." Very interesting!  Iraq is then some sort of banana republic that gets it's legitimacy from the US President? 

Summary of the mini-squall between Senator Boxer & SecState Rice.  Gee, it'd be nice if the Democrats did a little push-back on these things!

Senator Russ Feingold makes it clear that "It is time to use the power of the purse to bring our troops out of Iraq."

Details of the US assault on the Iranian consulate in Kurdistan.  Note: Kurdistan has very close relations with Iran.  There's a very healthy cross-border trade going on there.  US troops had to tromp all over many Kurds to get at the Iranian consulate.  As LeftCoaster points out:
...if the Bush Administration feels that Iran is meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq in an effort to destabilize a new government that is in its infancy under various UN resolutions, then why hasn’t the Bush Administration brought proof of Iran’s actions to the UN for appropriate sanctions and actions by the Security Council?

The President does NOT have authorization to extend the Iraq War into Iran & Syria.
Unfortunately though, if we prove that a strike on Iran is illegal, will that make the Bush Administration feel at all boxed in or
constrained?  In other words, will it "cramp their style?"  Unfortunately, it appears the answer to that is also no.

Any time there is serious speculation by ordinarily sober people that the President has launched a secret war against one -- or two! -- countries, well, those are not good times either.

The right-wing blogosphere or warbloggers had a real sucess with RatherGate, driving Dan Rather off the air, but it's been downhill ever since and with the exposing of a source for a critical story about how Iraqis suffered from the cyclone of violence over there, warblogger credibility has taken a very serious hit.  DailyKos ponders the reasons the left blogosphere has been relatively successful.

Pastor Swank (Yup, that's really his name!) tells us his opinion of Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

I noted recently especially when male reporters interviewed Nancy Pelosi the males just glowed when asking her questions about being a mother, her children, her family.

It made me sick.

Yessiree!  Our Pastor Swank is the very model of mental health, isn't he?

Joe Klein, the "liberal" Time Magazine columnist and author of Primary Colors (He wrote it under the pseudonym "Anonymous.") tries his hand at blogging.  Yeesh!  What an embarassment!  Apparently, war advocates who recommend counterinsurgency doctrines in Iraq are not delusional.  Never mind the fact that the doctrine calls for several hundred thousand troops.  Troops that do not appear to be available.

Very good argument concernng chickenhawks and their puzzling refusal to sign up for the Army or Marine Corps during this (allegedly) Time of Great Crisis as Western Civilization is endangered by the Dread Islamofascists!! [/snark].  Update #2 is especially interesting as young George P Bush is of military age (31) and in good health, yet his idea of appearing macho is to pose for a Vogue Magazine cover shoot. 
What Bravery!  What Heroism!! [/more snark]

The more I see pieces like this (It describes how Bush all of the sudden wants to set benchmarks for achievement, something that a true "CEO President" would have done several years ago, like f'rinstance, during August 2003, when he instead chose to take a month-long vacation cutting brush in Crawford.) the more I'm reminded of the North African campaign of  1940-1943.  Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (AKA The Desert Fox) complained that a small fraction of what was being squandered in the Soviet Union would have gotten Germany victory in North Africa.  Germany moved substantial resources into North Africa after the Battle of El Alamein, i.e. after victory had moved forever beyond reach. 

Yee-Hah!!! Madam Speaker Pelosi is in the House!!  Pelosi makes it clear that the old days of no accountablity are over.  'Bout frickin' time!

The right-wing thinktank AEI has sketched out the contours of what the Bush Plan for Iraq Number XIV (or whatever it's up to now) will be next week in Bush's announcement.  Especially hilarious is recommendation #2:
"Live Among the People" - This means "bye bye green zone". All the "warriors" who have been talking about the big war from the security of the Green zone and the internet cafes, gyms etc. are going to learn what real war is like. They are going to move to tents, foxholes and 24 hour vigilance because they will be out among the people.
Um yeah, I can see that happening, along with ponies in every garage, a apple pie on every shelf and green cheese taken fresh from the surface of the moon!
BTW, the plan is already set.

Speaker of the House Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid send the President a letter weighing in on the Iraq War and the "surge" (Read: "escalation") option.  They mention that the "surge" plan has been tried before.  The NSN blog gives us the details of previous plans.

Summary of the last few weeks of hysterical, error-filled, fact-free "reporting" from the right-wing blogosphere.  Grimly funny.

Further commentary on why the left blogosphere does and must continue to exist.

Very, very interesting theory on the execution of who appeared to be Saddam Hussein on 29 December.  First off, it was well-documented before the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that he had many doubles in order to prevent his being assassinated.  Second, photographic comparisons show serious reason to doubt that the fellow who was dragged out of the spider hole roughly three years ago was really the dictator himself. 
So the question is: is Saddam Hussein hiding out in the Carribbean or is he on a Pacific island?  Maybe he's hiding out in Russia?

Very disturbing piece (Fairly lengthy at 15 kilobytes) on "Family Relocation Centers," or "Residential Centers"  but more properly referred to as "Concentration Camps."  Not to be confused with Nazi "Death Camps", mind you, but these "Centers" are unmistakeably steps in that direction and they'll continue in that direction unless the brakes are applied. 
Unsurprisingly, private corporations are deeply involved and even less surprisingly, all questions get referred to the US Government, which is tight-lipped about the matter. 

What's probaby the most infuriating aspect of a certain right-wing blog post is the charge that Democrats are "politicizing" the Iraq War. One of many silly charges hurled.

Joe Lieberman wrote an op-ed supporting the Bush-McCain idea of a "surge" (properly called an "escalation") in troop strength in Iraq.   Critique here.   Seems the public is very unenthusiastic as well.