Wednesday, November 30, 2005

From The Guardian:
There is a remarkable article in the latest issue of the American Jewish weekly, Forward. It calls for President Bush to be impeached and put on trial "for misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC sent his legions into Germany and lost them".

To describe Iraq as the most foolish war of the last 2,014 years is a sweeping statement, but the writer is well qualified to know.

He is Martin van Creveld, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and one of the world's foremost military historians. Several of his books have influenced modern military theory and he is the only non-American author on the US Army's list of required reading for officers.
Noting that some two-thirds of Americans believe the war was a mistake, van Creveld says in his article that the US should forget about saving face and pull its troops out: "What had to come, has come. The question is no longer if American forces will be withdrawn, but how soon - and at what cost."

Welcome as a pullout might be to many Americans, it would be a hugely complex operation. Van Creveld says it would probably take several months and result in sizeable casualties. More significantly, though, it would not end the conflict.

"As the pullout proceeds," he warns, "Iraq almost certainly will sink into an all-out civil war from which it will take the country a long time to emerge - if, indeed, it can do so at all. All this is inevitable and will take place whether George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice like it or not."
As with the Afghan war in the 1980s that spawned al-Qaida, there is every reason to suppose that the Iraq war will create a new generation of terrorists with expertise that can be used to plague other parts of the world for decades to come. The recent hotel bombings in Jordan are one indication of the way it's heading.

Contrary to American intentions, the war has also greatly increased the influence of Iran - a founder-member of Bush's "Axis of Evil" - and opened up long-suppressed rivalries between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

The impact of this cannot be confined to Iraq and will eventually be felt in the oil-rich Sunni Gulf states (including Saudi Arabia) that have sizeable but marginalised Shia communities.

Kurdish aspirations have been awakened too - which has implications for Turkey, Syria and Iran, especially if Iraq is eventually dismembered.
No one can claim that any of this was unexpected. The dangers had been foreseen by numerous analysts and commentators long before the war started but they were ignored in Washington, mainly for ideological reasons.
The inescapable fact is that the processes Mr Bush unleashed on March 20 2003 (and imagined he had ended with his "mission accomplished" speech six weeks later) will take a decade or more to run their course and there is little that anyone, even the US, can do now to halt them.
I'm willing to wager that behind closed doors all GW Inc. cares about is removing from the news cycle the daily killing of US soldiers. They want to halt the running tally of deaths (over 2,100) before the 2006 elections. If Iraq succumbs to chaos and civil war, so be it, they'll simply drum up some ludicrous spin in attempt to get off the hook. It would go something like "we did all we could to spread democracy in the region, but sadly it failed."

Trust me, they ain't spending a whole lot of brain cells on what they plan to do with a violence-free, democratic Iraq in the near future -- no siree. They are discussing how best to exit this nightmare and to do so with the least political damage to themselves, period.
This administration is at it again, paying (with taxpayer $$) to have propaganda printed. The case this time: offering money to have Iraqi newspapers publish optimistic stories. Big Brother anyone?
Josh Marshall offers the following quote from a story in the NY Times, "Republicans, because they control the White House and Congress, are being held to a higher standard."

Marshall replies:

That's a new one.

Being held to a higher standard because they control the White House and Congress. Isn't it just that by every conceivable measure they have more people being investigated and on the way to the slammer? Does the Times buy into this mumbojumbo?

As I wrote earlier, one might argue that the reason for the imbalance -- with virtually all the corruption cases focusing on Republicans -- is that they have the White House and Congress. They have all the power and access; so they're the only ones in a position to sell it. I think that's a pretty generous read of the situation for the GOP; but one could so argue.

But this isn't a matter of holding anyone to a higher standard, something the Times must know. It's simply that the vast majority of the public corruption in Washington is being done by Republicans. Full stop. End of story.

Exactly. Go with what is and what's known over weak suppositions by party talking heads.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Why do I get sucked back into reading the tripe of James Taranto? It's a bit like insisting on smelling the sour milk, or watching a car crash.

Today, Taranto in his infinite wisdom provides some samples of polls showing that "the Dems are all wet." Yes, Americans are very hopeful about Iraq; they're very hopeful about most things. But Taranto selectively parses and picks segments of a poll to make broader points -- that ain't gonna fly.

How about the many polls showing the general public believes this administration went to war on lies and faulty intel? Now that we're there, the public obviously would like to see good come from it, but change the subject to events leading up to the war itself, and you get quite a different answer(s).

I love the way Taranto and other wingnuts only focus on the supposed aim of our presence in Iraq currently, given how the WMD et al -- you know, the original impetus for invading -- was a big bust.

Nahh, let's just forget all about the hot air regarding the aluminum tubes, the yellow cake, the link to 9-11, etc. Instead, let's focus on freeing the people and spreading democracy -- exactly what GW campaigned against in 2000 (recall his non-nation-building rhetoric?). But like most Republicans, it's the end, not the means, that matters most (anyone remember Iran-Contra?).
  • The Roulette Wheel of Hate. Given the sad state of affairs for the GOP, they need to find a new group to hate. And the chosen target? Illegal immigrants. Remember this the next time you have your yard landscaped, or see a house being built, or eat an apple or a piece of lettuce.

    As Tom Nassif, president of the Western Growers Association, explains why:
    "There are just some jobs people don't want to do," Nassif said. "It's the most developed nation in the world using a foreign workforce, and people need to recognize that. We need to make them legal."

    Jack Vessey [who runs a vegetable farm near El Centro] said he listed openings for 300 laborers at the state office of employment last week to prepare the lettuce fields for harvest. "We got one person," he said. "He showed up and said, 'I'm not going to do that.'"
    As Kevin Drum puts it,
    What we need isn't a bunch of yahoos dotting the border with their lawn chairs and cell phones. Instead, we need to recognize that — like it or not — Americans very clearly want and rely on immigrant labor. The key, then, is not to eliminate it, but to figure out a rational way of limiting illegal immigration without simultaneously demonizing immigrants themselves. This might include programs that make it harder to cross the border illegally, but only if we also provide legal status to many more immigrants than we do now.

    This combination — easier legal immigration paired with tougher illegal immigration — would provide immigrants with a greater incentive to try the legal route instead of the all-too-deadly "season of death" route. It would also provide us with the pool of immigrant labor we obviously want, increase immigrant wages, and cut down on the abuse they suffer from employers who know how easily they can be blackmailed.
  • The Abramoff scandal is growing. Just look at the names recently mentioned coming out of the investigation: Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), his former chief of staff, former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R), Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), and Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.). Boy, look at all those R's. If it were D's it would be just as bad, but isn't it most telling the sound of crickets coming from the wingnuts concerning this web of filth?

  • The willful manipulation and cooking of intel by this administration regarding Iraq has made us less safe due to reluctance of international agencies to cooperate and provide us intel in the future.

    Way to go Bush/Cheney! Thanks!

  • LA Times: "An ice core about two miles long — the oldest frozen sample ever drilled from the underbelly of Antarctica — shows that at no time in the last 650,000 years have levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane been as high as they are today."
    "The work provides more evidence that human activity since the Industrial Revolution has significantly altered the planet's climate system, scientists said. "This is saying, 'Yeah, we had it right.' We can pound on the table harder and say, 'This is real,' " said Richard Alley, a Penn State University geophysicist and expert on ice cores who was not involved with the analysis."
  • Wednesday, November 23, 2005

    Video of Richard Clarke being interviewed (on The Daily Show). The guy is great. I am most thankful for people like him.
    Paul Krugman's recent column ("Time to Leave") is one of his best in quite some time -- and that's saying something. He eloquently makes the case for why we should leave Iraq, doing so without lots of emotional huffing and puffing but as is usual for him employing rational thought. It's unfortunate the column is now shielded via TimeSelect; it's a must-read for all.

    To paraphrase some of it, he makes the point that only now with the public doubting nearly every word coming from GW/Cheney can we finally participate in "serious discussions about where we are and where we're going." Krugman states that Murtha rightly "argued that our presence in Iraq is making things worse, not better" and that "torture at Abu Ghraib helped fuel the insurgency."

    Krugman asks "When, exactly, would be a good time to leave Iraq?" Hell, even Cheney and Rummy have publicly stated wildly differing opinions on this matter. Krugman concludes, "The fact is that we're not going to stay in Iraq until we achieve victory, whatever that means in this context. At most, we'll stay until the American military can take no more."

    Finally, he cites a Marine officer who is quoted as saying, "We can lose in Iraq and destroy our Army, or we can just lose." I ask, where is David Brooks to paint one of his rosey scenarios based on gooey hopes and dreams (draped in the U.S. flag) -- noticeably lacking substantive facts or realities to support his concocted canvas?

    The fact is GW/Cheney do not want to take the chance that things will be better off without us there; they're frightened as all heck. A civil war will destroy for good any chance of an upside to their legacy, it will destroy the illusion that an eventual win will come, but most of all turmoil and collapse will doom, or at least heavily complicate, access to the oil. Recall that oil was the point of the invasion.

    So again, the good of the country (our's) takes a back seat to more insular and political concerns.

    If you truly hate and detest this administration and want it to be forever etched in history as clear-cut abysmal, then you'll want to root for us staying in Iraq.
    Steve Benen of The Carpetbagger Report:
    In the latest sign that Antonin Scalia has completely given up on the reality-based community, the Supreme Court justice suggested yesterday that the high court did not inject itself into the 2000 presidential election.

    Speaking at the Time Warner Center last night, Scalia said: "The election was dragged into the courts by the Gore people. We did not go looking for trouble."

    But he said the court had to take the case.

    "The issue was whether Florida's Supreme Court or the United States Supreme Court [would decide the election.] What did you expect us to do? Turn the case down because it wasn't important enough?"
    There was no indication that Scalia was kidding.

    It's Gore's fault the Bush campaign asked the Supreme Court to override a state court on a state ballot issue? The Supreme Court had to take the case? Is Scalia serious?

    For that matter, Scalia added his belief that studies showed that Bush still would have won a Florida recount. It's a tangent from Scalia's point — that it's Gore's fault the Supreme Court heard the case — but the most thorough analysis of the election showed Gore would have won Florida had there been a statewide recount.

    Monday, November 21, 2005

  • Peter Daou: 10 Pro-War Fallacies

  • The verdict is in on GW's Asia trip: it was a waste of time. Foreign leaders are treating Bush as he's being treated at home, like a lame-duck loser. Get used to it folks, nothing much will get done in terms of foreign policy while he remains in office. And who pays for it? We do.

  • The 403-3 charade the GOP attempted to pull recently was nothing more than a flat-out, bald-faced politicial stunt in every sense of the word. Believing otherwise simply displays massive ignorance and furthermore endorses the willful partisan wedging that GW and Cheney have been so vociferously arguing against. It's the old say one thing, do another....

  • Eleanor Clift:
    Democrats gave Murtha a standing ovation behind closed doors, but most kept their distance in public. “It’s a trap,” explained a Democratic strategist. “If the party comes out for a unilateral six-month withdrawal, that would become the issue for ’06, and they [Republicans] would kill us again.”
    Can someone tell me the last time a so-called Democratic strategist was correct about anything?

  • Bull Moose: "The President has lost the confidence of the American people and the once well-oiled GOP Congressional machine is becoming unglued. President Bush is approaching the LBJ-range where the American people do not trust his each and every word. It does not matter what he says - they are turning him off. While in purely partisan terms that is good news for the Democrats, it is ominous for the nation."

  • GW's latest pathetic attempt to save face over the Iraq debacle is to claim he may have screwed up -- but so did the Dems since they saw the same intel.

    If this were in fact true (which it's not), shouldn't the president of our country then be doing something(s) about it, as opposed to just pointing out supposed truisms and letting them fade into the air (for political purposes)? Isn't his job to remedy wrongs for the good of the country, or is it just about one-upping the opposition party??

  • Great post by Max Blumenthal, clearing the air on the guy who called Murtha a coward. Turns out he's "a low-level right-wing operative who has spent more time in the past ten years engaged in symbolic Christian right crusades." Anyone surprised?
  • Sunday, November 20, 2005

    On the front page of today's NY Times, this story:
    DENVER, Nov. 19 - Private companies and individuals would be able to buy large tracts of federal land, from sagebrush basins to high-peak hiking trails around the West, under the terms of the spending bill passed Friday by a two-vote margin in the House of Representatives.
    Looks like another case where energy interests successfully had GOP representatives slip a seemingly mundane provision into a larger spending bill with the hopes of it either going unnoticed or that politicians would simply ignore it to pass the larger bill.

    Of course, jurisdiction for this matter falls under the Interior Dept., and who is the head of that important arm of the government but none other than Gail Norton, a former industry lobbyist herself. More so, Norton's name has come up repeatedly during recent Abramoff proceedings. To me it appears as if she was holding out for a higher sum of $$ paid to the right-wing organization she helped found before a face-to-face meeting was granted. Again, in my opinion, she's skating by here with little media attention paid to this aspect of the widespread Abramoff scandal. Bloggers, please help take up the cause of exposing what appears to be highly questionable behavior.

    It's a problem. With all of the current on-going scandals, it's easy to lose track of the many names of those who could be implicated and yet are hovering quietly under the radar, with us instead focusing on just the bigger names hurled into the limelight by the MSM. There's a ton of bat-sh*t stink to go around and the noxious fumes are enough to make anyone turn and flee. However, we must don the gas masks and get to the bottom of every last scandal, for the good of the country.

    I'm willing to wager that our soldiers in Iraq will be back on U.S. soil before the last GW administration scandal has been put to rest. Way back in 2000, GW once uttered on the campaign trail, "ask not only what is legal but what is right, not what the lawyers allow but what the public deserves." What a joke. If that were the case, Rove would've been fired by now.

    GW has managed to lower the ethical state of affairs in Washington to a point that barely flutters above the Watergate era. When you throw in the lies, distortions, and manipulations concerning everything from Iraq, to the passage of bills, to defending their own incompetence, it's much worse than Nixon's lowest point (as John Dean has already stated in book-length).

    Like with anything else he's touched in his life, GW has managed to f*ck this up big-time. He's the quintessential anti-Midas of our time.

    Friday, November 18, 2005

  • Yesterday that infamous right-wing rag, NY Post, criticized Bill Clinton in an editorial for speaking out against the Iraq debacle. The Post stated that "it has long been accepted that former presidents do not publicly criticize their successors."

    Boy, the right-wingers spend most of their time running around condemning the MANY folks of all stripes and colors who are increasingly voicing harsh words against the Iraq situation. They simply can't keep up with the slamming of labels like "unpatriotic" and "helping the enemy."

    Look, regarding Clinton, I for one say it's the least he can do after prostituting himself for the Bush clan, joining up with Bush Sr. -- allowing Sr. to appear less cold-blooded -- when in fact Bill could've went it alone with the charity work ala Jimmy Carter. That said, yes, normally a code of silence would apply in most situations as the Post infers. HOWEVER, given the magnitude of failure with this debacle and the many signs of manipulation and underhandedness resulting in its successful marketing, no, Iraq is not a normal situation.

    The lead-up and the execution of this occupation has been an unprecedented monstrosity that if anything, DEMANDS that prior presidents speak out, strongly pointing out the wrongs that have occurred. It's their patriotic duty at this point.

    Is it any wonder that former president Bush Sr. is reportedly not speaking to his son?!

  • Kevin Drum and I are in agreement on this:
    My prediction: we've already started to see this, but I think Republicans are about to crumble. Pressure is going to mount on the White House to use the December elections as an excuse to declare victory and go home, fueled by equal parts disgust over Dick Cheney's lobbying for the right to torture; unease even among Republicans that the president wasn't honest during the marketing of the war; lack of progress on the ground in Iraq; Congress reasserting its independence of the executive; a genuine belief that the American presence has become counterproductive; and raw electoral fear, what with midterm elections looming in less than a year.

    I also think the Rove/Cheney/Bush counterattack is going to backfire. Congressional Republicans are looking for cover right now, and I don't think they believe that a ferocious partisan attack from the White House is what they need right now. The public is looking for answers, not administration attack dogs on the evening news every day, but this particular White House doesn't know any other way. It's going to cost them.
    Yup, as I've repeatedly written, the GOP is imploding with the rats scrambling for their political lives at this point. With GW's poll numbers in the 30s and Cheney's in the 20s, and last Tuesday's election results speaking volumes, we see the fracturing picking up speed.

    Also, as Kevin points out, Rove knows only one mode of operation and that's attack, distort, and polarize. He's once again trying to do that now with GW and Cheney lashing out (with lies and distortions) but it won't work. Times have changed and the public has seemingly smartened up. That slash-and-burn BS is likely to just sink their numbers even lower, and again, you can see that other Republicans are not joining on board with the harsh words (except McCain?!) but rather staying clear, or if anything joining the Dems with harsh words about Iraq.

    An active, scheming Rove is now a useful pawn for the Dems. Like a tragic Greek play, the person who delivered GW to the top will have a heavy hand in what ultimately takes him down.
  • Tuesday, November 15, 2005

  • A precinct in Ohio is reportedly very pleased with their new voting machines. The only small problem is an inability to receive a ballot receipt:
    Jessie said the only problem she encountered was some people who were confused as to whether or not they received a receipt.

    “After you press to cast your vote it will make a loud noise like it’s running paper through to print you a receipt, but all it’s doing is submitting your vote,” Jessie said.

    She added that you could see your final selections through a glass screen to the right of the machine, but once you cast your ballot they disappeared.
    Cast your vote and it disappears with no receipt delivered, i.e. no paper trail. But other than that, the machines performed wonderfully!

  • The Republicans in both houses have seen the handwriting on the wall with last Tuesday's election results and GW's ever-plummeting poll numbers. So their apparent gameplan? Appear to give in to and adopt some Dem ideas and initiatives, only first gut any meat in such initiatives. Example:
    The GOP-controlled Senate rejected a Democratic call Tuesday for a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq but urged President Bush to outline his plan for "the successful completion of the mission" in a bill reflecting a growing bipartisan unease with his Iraq policies.
    On the surface, the Republicans will have you believe they voted for some kind of new accountability reform that will force the president to be more forthcoming on progress in Iraq. Hilarious. At least the Dems attempted to call for true accountability in the form of a proposed timetable -- a measure that was stripped by the GOP members.

    Frist had the gall to call the Dem action as a "cut-and-run strategy," which of course is a lie. It's been how many years now since we've been in Iraq, how many lives lost, how many billions spent, and yet to simply request a timetable for eventual withdrawal is deemed cut-and-run? The GOP, truly the party for idiots.

    Oh, I almost forgot, "The measure faces a veto threat from the administration over a provision that imposes a blanket prohibition on the use of 'cruel, inhuman and degrading' treatment of terrorism suspects in U.S. custody." GW hasn't vetoed a damn thing in his five years in office but he'll threaten to use it for the first time to insure that we can torture people -- just like a compassionate conservative!

  • "I was against abortion before I was for it...."

  • And why didn't Condi, among others, have the honor to do this?

  • In his typical lucid prose and thorough reasoning, Kevin Drum has recently written about the question of whether GW & Co. manipulated intel regarding Iraq or were just sincerely wrong. He makes a very strong case for manipulated. Must read stuff here and here.

  • David A. Rosenberg, North American Economist at Merrill Lynch, is not someone I would describe as liberal. He recently had the following to say:
    "We said two weeks ago that the November 8th gubernatorial elections were going to be a litmus test as to what may possibly happen in Nov/06 - we can no longer take for granted that the GOP will sweep the midterm elections, with grave implications for the longevity of the 2001 and 2002 Bush tax cuts, notably the shelf life of the 15% dividend tax rate, which expires in 2008. First, in New Jersey, the surprise wasn't John Corzine's victory, but the magnitude (53% to 44% for GOP candidate Forrester). And the win by Kaine over Kilgore in Virginia (a state painted in blue) by 52-46 is a real eye-opener. Not to mention the huge defeat of Arnold in the Golden State on all four of his propositions ... widely considered a referendum on his governorship. As we saw in the '94 backlash against the DEMS, the tide may be turning against the GOP. Note that in the 1993 governorships, the Republicans won both NJ and Virginia and that proved to be an early litmus test (Christine Todd Whitman won NJ and George Allen took Virginia). And also take note that, at 40%, President Bush's approval rating is right where Bill Clinton's was at this juncture in 1993 - again, this foreshadowed what was about to unfold in the coming year at the Nov/94 midterm elections as the Democrats got swept out of the House and the Senate."
    Yes, let's hope the pattern repeats.
  • When the topic of Iraq comes up, don't let the wingnuts shift the focus to how well things are going over there (don't look at me! their claim), with their bitching about how the MSM is not reporting the smiley-face news about a new sewer finally being built or a day going by with no civilian deaths. Never forget that the reason we're there in the first place -- resulting in over 2000 U.S. dead soldiers and counting -- is because Iraq was deemed a nuclear WMD threat to the United States (by cherry-picked, fit-to-the-policy intel) AND was linked to 9-11 (via Cheney). Period.

    GW/Cheney/Rummy were NOT bloviating back then about how they wanted to reshape Iraq into a beautiful democracy. Of course, they wouldn't have been saying such things because they knew if it just came down to freeing the Iraqi people of Saddam, the American public would not have gone along with the invasion. No, the only way to win over the U.S. public was to play up fear via the yellow cake bullsh*t and to stoke their anger via the 9/11 linkage lie.

    The reasons for the invasion have shifted as the "mission" has evolved through one disasterous stage after another. They were stuck with rebuilding Iraq as a democracy for some time, but with the recent explosions in Jordan you can see GW pathetically trying to refocus the aim to "we have to kill them over there" and "war on terror" is everywhere.

    Daily Kos had something to say on this subject:

    Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus have a pretty thorough critique of the Bu$hCo bullshit offensive we've seen for the past couple of days. How sad is it when a (P)resident is reduced to lying about lying? It's certainly a must read for anyone in the reality based community.
    Sorry, Junior, but that Silberman-Robb dog won't hunt and I'm glad that some in the MSM are starting to point that out. That is a blatant and intentional misrepresentation, a lie, if you will.
    "We all looked at the same intelligence". Once again, this is complete and utter bullshit and it's intentionally misleading. A lie, in other words. In fact, given that lies of omission are still lies and the NIE shared with congress was full of omissions, you could say that this lying about a whole package of lies. It's quite literally bullshit upon bullshit.
    This is the lie that is been most chapping my ass lately. Look, Junior, no one voted to "remove Saddam Hussein from power". You may have thought that they did because that's what you wanted and were planning to do all along. But, they didn't. They (quite stupidly IMHO) voted to give the (P)resident the authority to get tough and to defend "against the continuing threat posed by Iraq." You'll notice there's no mention of removing dictators or bringing democracy to Iraq or freedom marching or any other such nonsense. That's because you sold this war to America based on fear and LIES.

    You may have had some grand vision of rebuilding the Middle East, but you didn't tell the American people that. You and and your entire coterie of lying neocon fuckwits told us that we needed to go to war right fucking now because if we didn't, a major American city would disappear beneath an Iraqi mushroom cloud or that Iraqi drones were gonna spray us with god knows what awful stuff.

    It was bullshit then and lying about it today, on fucking Veteran's Day no less, isn't making it smell any better, Jackass
    Bill Kristol recently wrote that if the American public came to believe that "Bush lied us into war, his presidency will be over." In large part, the results of last Tuesday's elections confirms that the public has come to believe just that, in four words, "Bush is a liar."

    But it goes beyond just Iraq. As with any liar when caught with their pants down, it's then natural to suspect and doubt anything they've said in the past -- much less anything they will say in the future.

    GW is toast when it comes to credibility. Once that's lost it's near impossible to recover; the genie has left the bottle.

    Saturday, November 12, 2005

  • With all of the flak he's justifiably receiving concerning his $200+ mil. taxpayer-funded "pork" bridge to nowhere, Alaska's GOP Sen. Ted Stevens has attempted to shift the focus by throwing red meat to his base by making noise about regulating cable and satellite radio. Ah yes, if oneself is in trouble, look to bash and censure Howard Stern. Don't you just love the way the righties lambaste the government for overreaching and being too large on some things, and yet when it comes to matters like the airwaves or the Patriot Act or privacy concerning abortion, then they want a government as big and huge as possible.

  • Pat Robertson, in his usual infinite wisdom, has helped to uncover the big lie within the ID debate. With his harsh scolding of Dover, PA, Robertson made clear that the ID supporters are all about God -- despite many such ID folks proclaiming their side is not God-centric. What they want is to appear as if they're not violating the separation of church and state precedent, yet to do so exactly in a wink-wink fashion. For more, click here to read a piece by the rightwing Ayn Rand Institute.

  • The following is a day late (Veterans Day) but I wanted to post anyway:
    Dems Who Served
    Richard Gephart
    Tom Daschle
    Al Gore
    Bob Kerrey- Medal of Honor, Vietnam
    Daniel Inouye- Medal of Honor, WWII
    John Kerry- Silver Star, Bronze Star, Vietnam
    Charles Rangel- Bronze Star, Korea
    Max Cleland- Silver Star, Bronze Star
    Ted Kennedy- US Army 1951-53 (France)
    Tom Harkin
    Jack Reed- Army (Ranger) 1971-79
    Gray Davis- Bronze Star, Vietnam
    Pete Stark
    George McGovern- Silver Star, WWII
    Jimmy Carter
    Walter Mondale
    Tom Lantos- Hungarian Underground WWII

    John McCain, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Vietnam

    GOP Served
    Chuck Hagel, Vietnam
    Tom Ridge, Vietnam
    Darrel Issa, W. Germany

    GOP Did Not Serve
    Dick Cheney
    Denny Hastert
    Tom Delay
    Roy Blunt
    Bill Frist
    Mitch McConnell
    Rick Santorum
    Trent Lott
    Jeb Bush
    Karl Rove
    Saxby Chambiss
    Paul Wolfowitz
    Richard Perle
    Douglas Feith
    Eliot Abrams
    John Kyl
    Christopher Cox
    Dana Rohrbacher
    Rudy Giuliani
    Don Rumsfeld- Flight Instructor, US Navy

    DID NOT SERVE- Wingnuts
    Sean Hannity
    Rush Limbaugh
    Bill O’Reilly
    Michael Savage
    George Will
    Chris Matthews
    Paul Gigot
    Bil Kristol
    Ken Starr
    Ralph Reed

    POTUS Did Not Serve, Did Not Inhale
    Bill Clinton

    POTUS, Did Serve (?), Did Inhale
    George W. Bush
  • Keith Olbermann cited the following from the most recent NBC-WSJ poll:
    "The pollsters did not call it the $64,000 question, but they might as well have. Do you think that President Bush gave the country the most accurate information he had before going to war with Iraq, or do you think that President Bush deliberately misled people to make the case for war with Iraq? Fifty-seven percent now saying the president deliberately misled this country. Thirty-five percent say he gave the accurate info."
    So nearly 60% of the country believes the president committed a treasonous act, worthy of impeachment. Well then, let's get on with it already....

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    If this were a stock, would you buy it? Ticker "GW" is a loser.

    Frank Rich recently wrote about Cheney, how he said on "Meet The Press" that:
    "It's been pretty well confirmed" that there was a direct pre-9/11 link between Mohammed Atta and Iraqi intelligence. When the Atta-Saddam link was disproved later, Gloria Borger, interviewing the vice president on CNBC, confronted him about his earlier claim, and Mr. Cheney told her three times that he had never said it had been "pretty well confirmed." When a man thinks he can get away with denying his own words even though there are millions of witnesses and a video record, he clearly believes he can get away with murder.
    He's not the only one who is psycho enough to believe that he can deny saying something that was clearly caught on tape. He joins the ranks of other nut cases like Limbaugh, O'Reilly, and Pat Robertson -- all of which have attempted this incredible act of lunatic fringe denial. And yet in this case we're talking about the #2 guy in charge of the nation! Astoundingly frightening.

    Rich continues:
    Watergate's dirty tricks were mainly prompted by the ruthless desire to crush the political competition at any cost. That's a powerful element in the Bush scandals, too, but this administration has upped the ante by playing dirty tricks with war.
    Playing tricks to the tune of 2000+ dead U.S. soldiers.

    There should be a bumper sticker, No One Died Due To The "Third-Rate Burglary"

    UPDATE: The real question is can there be a politician more evil than Cheney?
    With the dropping of ANWR from this latest bill, it's another sign of the diminishing power of Cheney/Rove/(gw). Drilling in the Alaska refuge has been a top administration priority. GW's poll numbers continue to plummet, this one from the right-wing WSJ. And a FOX News poll too.

    I've mentioned repeatedly (since January) the implosion of the GOP, and it appears as if it definitely has been occurring over the last few months. Josh Marshall recently described it:
    What we're seeing today are the cascading effects of the breakdown of Republican party discipline, beginning with the collapse of the president's popularity (especially the rather sudden recognition of that fact within Washington) and echoing out from there.

    Moderate Republicans have toed the Bush line because they've believed he could protect them, as indeed he has. They don't believe that now. So a lot of them don't want to go into the election next year with ANWR drilling hanging over them.

    They balk on the left and then in response the 'wingers on the other right refuse the compromises they've agreed to. Suddenly the whole thing starts to pull apart since there's no centripetal force, no organizing power to hold things together -- sort of like Hobbesian state creation run in reverse.

    The recognition has sunk in: The president is unpopular and weak. And it's every Republican for him or herself.

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

  • Ouch, rough day for Bush yesterday. He shows up to campaign for Kilgore in Virginia and poof, Kilgore loses. In a state that has one of the best batting averages for picking the eventual U.S. president, New Jersey went for Corzine over the Republican. Ahnold went 0-4 in California. And in PA, "All eight members up for re-election to the Pennsylvania school board that had been sued for introducing the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in biology class were swept out of office yesterday by a slate of challengers who campaigned against the intelligent design policy." [NY Times] With any luck, the times are a changin.

  • The wingnuts are screaming about how Clinton pointed out Saddam's threat regarding WMD, but did Clinton take such intel and twist it like a pretzel to then hoist on Congress and the American people in an effort to persuade that war is the way to go? Did Clinton pull crap like this? (if so, show any proof)

  • I wrote this on Saturday and I give kudos to Reid for holding a press conference to among other things, make this demand. Now he needs to repeat it over and over and over....

  • "The White House, in negotiations led by Mr. Cheney, is insisting that the Central Intelligence Agency be exempted from the proposed ban [against torture]." -- NY Times, 11/4/05. A few days later, Scott McClellan is performing his tap dance of lies:
    Q I'd like you to clear up, once and for all, the ambiguity about torture. Can we get a straight answer? The President says we don't do torture, but Cheney --

    MR. McCLELLAN: That's about as straight as it can be.

    Q Yes, but Cheney has gone to the Senate and asked for an exemption on --

    MR. McCLELLAN: No, he has not. Are you claiming he's asked for an exemption on torture? No, that's --

    Q He did not ask for that?

    MR. McCLELLAN: -- that is inaccurate.
  • Apparently it didn't begin and end with O'Reilly: "Fox News Is Accused in Bias Suit"

  • Look at that, the Vatican injects some reason into the out-of-control ID debate.

  • For those who correctly scratch their heads and try to figure out who are the 30-35% who remain in favor of Bush, just remember President Nixon's approval was at 25% by the time of his resignation. You're always going to have a group of people who simply reside well beyond rational explanation.
  • Monday, November 07, 2005

    Click here to view something that's both hilarious and chock full of truthful insights.
    Jacob Weisberg recently wrote one of the best pieces of journalism I've read in years.

    He discusses the role Rove has played in GW's time in office and how the base they've worked so hard to woo and lock-up has become a double-edged sword.
    Many things have gone wrong for Bush, but the underlying problem is his relationship to the constituency that elected him. Bush's debt to his big donors and to religious conservatives has boxed him in and pitted him against the national consensus on various issues.
    The Harriet Miers nomination was an attempt to satisfy both the militant conservative base and the eternally moderate American electorate. With the Alito nomination, Bush has acknowledged that splitting this difference is impossible.
    GW is a hostage and has Rove to blame. Weisberg continues:
    The genius of Reagan's method, which was to placate the religious right without giving in where it mattered.
    Bill Clinton managed to keep liberal interest groups onboard without advancing their politically untenable wish list.
    Bush seems able to appease his base only by surrendering to its wishes.
    Rove is not such a genius after all. He simply delivers to the rapid base what they want -- as opposed to employing any kind of political finesse to appease a wider audience, and therefore more Americans. Instead, Rove operates via cold, hard calculations, taking care of those that matter to secure power: those with the money (for obvious reasons) and those who will vote no matter the weather (religious right).

    Weisberg reminds us that GW/Rove are repeating the mistakes Gingrich made:
    Gingrich thought he'd won a mandate for radical change and enshrined a new governing majority. He forgot about the country's nonideological majority, which likes Medicare, Social Security, national parks, and student loans. Republicans have retained control of Congress since Gingrich's downfall, but only by reversing his austerity program and spending like a bunch of drunks.
    The GOP-controlled Congress has bought votes more cravenly and irresponsibly than any "tax & spend" version of Congress in recent memory. The hypocrisy never ends.

    The author ends by offering a strong hint that the antidote to GW is John McCain, who just happens to "loathe" Karl Rove. For the sake of the country, 2008 couldn't come fast enough.

    Sunday, November 06, 2005

    I just viewed the recent Bill Maher show that had on Tony Snow as the resident right-wing pillar of reason. When the subject of Libby/Plame came up, Snow -- coming off as a smug prick -- simply wondered aloud what's the big deal, a guy's in trouble over speaking to reporters. Yes, Snow's Kool-Aid reality of the situation is really just a matter of stories getting confused over the telling of things to reporters. Based on his comments, the fact that a CIA agent was outed is no biggie, and also the fact that those things being said to reporters resulted in a treasonous act, and that what was being conveyed to the grand jury ended up being potential perjury (why else the indictments?). Nope, none of this meant squat to Snow, who chose to just belittle the whole affair as if it will blow over tomorrow. (Recall that Frank Rich recently reminded us that Watergate went on for many years -- not blowing over either; wake up Snow).

    Maher rightfully brought back the Clinton perjury sh*t as a point of reference, with Maher going ballistic over how the right-wing nuts spent $60 million on Clinton's "crimes" involving a plump intern, as opposed to the Plame stuff which truly involves national security, the country going to war on false pretense, White House officials covering up wrongful acts, etc. But of course, Snow just glibly sidestepped these points. The fact is if you want truth, you're not going to get it from the likes of Tony Snow, another GOP mouthpiece that will look you in the eye and tell you lies without flinching.

    Maher also briefly had on Richard Clarke. If you haven't seen Clarke on these types of shows before you're missing a display of bracingly succinct and direct truth-telling. The contrast between Clarke's answers to Maher's questions and Snow's couched, mealy-mouthed replies were quite telling. Clarke is that rare expert who isn't afraid to speak out, choosing to tell it like it is as opposed to mincing words and protecting buddies. You can tell that Clarke truly cares about conveying the truth, and if he doesn't have a fact-based answer to a question, he defers stating he doesn't have the knowledge to reply.

    Wow, an expert who doesn't always profess to be an expert on everything -- how refreshing (vs. O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Hannity, etc.).

    Saturday, November 05, 2005

    There's much speculation that even if Libby is found guilty, GW will likely pardon him at some point -- like his father did for all of the Iran-contra guilty parties. E.J. Dionne recently wrote,
    If Libby, through nods and winks, knows that at the end of Bush's term, the president will issue an unconditional pardon, he will have no interest in helping Fitzgerald, and every interest in shutting up. If Bush truly wants the public to know all the facts in the leak case, as he has claimed in the past, he will announce now that he will not pardon Libby. That would let Fitzgerald finish his work unimpeded, and we would all have a chance, at last, to learn how and why this sad affair came to pass.
    Dems should press for Bush to make this pledge publicly. Of course, GW will refuse, but again the Dems should demand it repeatedly, making it an echo chorus on the airwaves the same way the Republican mouthpieces recited the "criminalization of politics" phrase.

    Thursday, November 03, 2005

  • How about this, regarding Roe, I say let them overturn it. Yeah, it will be a disaster, but the blood (literally) will then be on the GOP's hands. The Dems will be able to make a direct connection back to the GOP folks who put in the judges to get this to happen, and they should be able to eventually cite news stories on a daily basis regarding coat hangars, deaths due to botched back-alley procedures, teen suicides due to unwanted pregnancies, etc. That combined with the public favoring choice all along (all polls show this fact) will have the public awaken to the nightmare and rightfully blame the GOP.

    Somewhat similar to the above suggestion is the recent rejection of TABOR in Colorado. Citizens thought this anti-tax legislation was a good idea, they believed the right-wing nonsense / rhetoric, but they've since realized it's been a disaster.

    Go ahead, let the right-wing have its way. They win in the short-run but almost always lose in the long-run. They set their own noose.

  • Can anyone tell me why Libby is hobbling around on crutches? Is this due to a recent accident (riding bikes with GW?), or is it a ploy to gain sympathy?

  • Please read this story and ask yourself: shouldn't Gale Norton be under the microscope?

  • The Dems should go after these thugs and go after them hard. The closed session "stunt" should just be the beginning of many gloves-off acts of gumption and downright political maneuverings. Hilarious that the Republicans cry foul -- they cry foul when the opposing party finally wakes up and goes toe-to-toe with the kind of tactics they themselves have been using for the last five years. However, the Dems aren't resorting to Swift Boat baloney but rather exposing what is reality and truth, exactly what the GOP leadership has been keeping in the dark for so long.

    The Dems finally smell blood in the water and they're attacking. With these ruthless bullies in office, one must kick them when their down and keep kicking them. Don't give them a chance to regroup, brew a new batch of lies and talking points, and before you know it GW is making another flak-jacket or megaphone appearance to win the hearts and minds of the stupid.

  • Kristof recently wrote:
    Mr. Rove escaped indictment, but he has been tarred. He apparently passed information about Valerie Wilson to reporters and then conveniently forgot about one of those conversations. He also may have misled the president, and the White House ended up giving false information to the public. It's fine for Mr. Rove to work as a Republican political adviser, but not as White House deputy chief of staff.
    No one is naive enough to believe that if Rove were to (justifiably) resign that he would then have nil impact or influence on GW. He'd likely have just as much access and power to direct things as he did as chief of staff.

    However, what GW & Co. are trying to avoid is the explicit showing of weakness that comes with a resignation. It would be just another example for the Dems to run against in '06 and '08, another item for the campaign ads. As always for GW, politics comes first, doing what's right is a far, far distant priority.

  • Richard Cohen recently wrote, "One could almost forgive President Bush for waging war under false or mistaken pretenses had a better, more democratic Middle East come out of it."

    Come again? It's OK for the President of the United States to lie if the eventual outcome of whatever it is he/she lied about is deemed virtuous? Huh? Is Cohen drinking 100-proof Kool-Aid?

    Even if Iraq becomes the greatest democracy on Earth, it STILL does not let GW off the hook for going to war based on lies and falsehoods. Period.

    It's similar to if after the 2000 election Bush would've become one of the greatest of U.S. presidents, it STILL would not have changed the fact that Gore received more votes and that the Supreme Court installed him in office via a ruling that confounds most legal scholars to this day.
  • Just more hypocrisy from the right. When it comes to dissing those judges who "legislate from the bench," the wingnuts should be criticizing their own.

    Over the summer, the NY Times had a piece that showed the more conservative Supreme Court justices to be much more likely to inflict their opinions and change established law. The so-called liberal justices were at the bottom of the list, i.e. much less "active." Here's the graphic:
    Thomas: 65.63%
    Kennedy: 64.06%
    Scalia: 56.25%
    Rehnquist: 46.88%
    O'Connor: 46.77%
    Souter: 42.19%
    Stevens: 39.34%
    Ginsburg: 39.06%
    Breyer: 28.13%
    Justice Thomas is at the top of the list, voting to overturn 65.63% of Congressional laws, whereas liberal Justice Breyer is at the bottom -- with the other liberals.

    So the next time you hear a wingnut blabbering about the need for "judicial restraint" or for less "judicial activism," what he/she is really complaining about are judges not ruling or being active enough towards their views. The "active" and "restraint" stuff is all bullsh*t; a justice is A-OK in their book if he/she is active as hell -- for their side. (Oh, and let's not forget this example of judicious careful restraint: the astounding, without-precedent 2000 decision to anoint Bush over Gore).

    Tuesday, November 01, 2005

  • "For those about to rock, we salute you!" As if he read my latest blog entry, tagging Reid and the Dems as "soggy wet noodles," Harry goes ahead and shocks the hell out of me by shocking the entire Senate. Hopefully this closed door session act marks the birth of the new revitalized and empowered opposition party. (Click here to read Reid's statement).

  • Although Bush claims to have killed something like thirteen #2 Al-Qaeda operatives (?), at least one has escaped.

  • Kevin Drum has an excellent post on the filibuster. It's become a game of chicken or dare, with the GOP having much to lose in the long-run. I agree with Kevin's assessment:
    One of the drawbacks of the filibuster is that it prevents the American public from understanding what each party really wants to accomplish. Without a filibuster, Republicans would no longer have an excuse for failing to pass the legislation that the Christian right has been demanding for years. So they'd either have to pass it, and lose a huge chunk of middle America, or vote it down, in which case they'd lose their right-wing support. Right now, the political cover provided by the filibuster is probably the only thing keeping them in power.
    Rather then "go nuclear," it should be called "go naked."

  • I recently wrote, "GW will likely replace existing charlatans with new charlatans." Well, while it appears Bush is not likely to replace anyone (!), Cheney did go ahead and replace one charlatan with two. These guys are so knee-deep in slime they can't bring in new fresh blood; it all must stay within the family.

  • Some segments from a great Bob Herbert column:

    Who knows why Mr. Libby did what he did. Misplaced loyalty? An irrepressible need to be punished for his sins? Maybe he's just a dope. Of greater consequence for the republic is the fact that Mr. Libby is no hapless functionary who somehow lost his way. He's a symptom, the hacking cough that should alert us to a dangerous national disease, and that's the Bush administration's culture of deceit.

    Scooter Libby was the main man of the most powerful vice president in the history of the United States. The most important aspect of the prosecution of Mr. Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice is the tremendous spotlight it is likely to shine on the way this administration does its business - its relentless, almost pathological, undermining of the truth, and its ruthless treatment of individuals who cling to the old-fashioned notion that the truth matters.
    That's the game plan of this administration, to fool the people as much as possible (not just on the war, but on taxes, Social Security, energy policy and so on) and punish, if not destroy, anyone who tries to counter the madness with the truth.
    It should tell you something that the administration's resident sleazemeister, Karl Rove, who is up to his ears in this mess but has managed so far to escape indictment, continues to be viewed not as an embarrassment, but as President Bush's most important and absolutely indispensable asset