Thursday, September 28, 2006

The obsolete moderate.

"It all comes down to the fact that moderate Republicans aren't really moderate; they're Republicans." -- Steve Benen, The Carpetbagger Report

They can repeat "moderate," "less partisan," and "more centrist" all they want; at the end of the day, they're still an "R" and thus will serve to maintain the current power structure in Congress -- where all that truly matters is the number of R's vs. D's. The GOP status of Chafee and Snowe is what tips the power scale, regardless of their good, moderate intentions on any issues.

Paul Krugman wrote a column about this subject weeks ago. In another year at another time, moderate Republicans were always welcomed as they helped to keep the party from drifting too far in one direction. However, any such days are long gone as the extremely divided and partisan nature of Congress dictates that party membership means EVERYTHING, whereas a given politician's personal views on certain issues is almost meaningless as ultimately the few puppetmasters at the very top are going to make all the decisions.

In short, the numbers have it. Period.
I knew the five year anniversary of 9/11 would have the GOP and wingnuts in fine form, looking to co-op the sad occasion as a time for photo ops and criticizing political opponents. However, what I didn't foresee is what's turned out to be their main focus: blame it all on Bill Clinton.

Starting with the ABC's attempt at fictionalized incrimination and continuing on the heels of Clinton's FOX News appearance, the right is blaring to anyone who will listen that Clinton had eight years to kill Osama, spoken now with perfect 20/20 hindsight about past events, and as if he didn't make attempts at all to hunt him down. Does anyone recall the missile attack in August 1998, where Osama made the luckiest decision of his life to skip a dinner date in Khost, Afghanistan? Compare this to the zero attacks against Osama in five years since 9/11. Recall how he was cornered in Tora Bora and yet shockingly Bin Laden escaped, without as much as a single bullet being fired.

But beyond that, the wingnuts line of reasoning would have one believe that Bush I should've killed Saddam when he had the chance in the first Gulf War, as opposed to what they did which was to abruptly retreat. If Bush's father had killed Saddam at that time, then we would've exterminated the guy who, according to the rightwing, harbored terrorists, had WMD, and was associated with 9/11.

What say you now? (Gads)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

SHOCKER: Condi lied.

In response to Clinton's FOX News appearance, Condi Rice felt the need to blab to the right-wing rag NY Post (and only the NY Post) in a pathetic attempt to set the record straight. The end result? Yup, just more lies.

RAW STORY presents a document that directly refutes Condi's claims:
RAW STORY has found that just five days after President George W. Bush was sworn into office, a memo from counter-terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke to Rice included the 2000 document, "Strategy for Eliminating the Threat from the Jihadist Networks of al-Qida: Status and Prospects." This document devotes over 2 of its 13 pages of material to specifically addressing strategies for securing Pakistan's cooperation in airstrikes against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
<..>
The memo sent by Clarke to Rice, to which the Clinton-era document was attached, also urges action on Pakistan relating to al Qaeda. "First [to be addressed,]" wrote Clarke in a list of pending issues relating to al Qaeda, is "what the administration says to the Taliban and Pakistan about ending al Qida sanctuary in Afghanistan. We are separately proposing early, strong messages on both."

The documents have been a source of controversy before. Rice contended in a March 22, 2004 Washington Post piece that "no al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration."

Two days later, Clarke insisted to the 9/11 Commission that the plan had in fact been turned over. "There's a lot of debate about whether it's a plan or a strategy or a series of options, but all of the things we recommended back in January," he told the commission, "were done after September 11th."
Hmm, so eventually they got around to acting on Clinton's memo -- only after 9/11.

These people will descend to a level less than zero. As we know, anything left by Clinton post-2000 election was purposefully ignored or discarded. As a result, the country was made less safe.

The Mahablog has more on the lies.

In related news, Wolf Blitzer interviewed Ben-Veniste and some very interesting things were said, such as this nugget:
But strangely, in the [Clinton] transition there did not seem to be any great interest by the Bush administration, at least none that we found, in pursuing the question of plans which were being drawn up [by the Clinton admin.] to attack in Afghanistan as a response to the Cole.
Ah yes, more of that patented lack of interest by our president, in this case choosing to not pursue attacks against Osama and the Taliban in the months preceding September 11th.

And yet Bill Clinton is suddenly the target for blame? Outrageous.
Right-wing brainiacs Bill Kristol and Rich Lowry recently advised that the solution to Iraq is to send more troops. Apart from the problem of simply throwing the lives of more American soldiers on to the Iraq bonfire, there's that tiny inconvenient thing of not having the capacity to send more troops.

This story came out a few days ago:
Strained, Army Looks to Guard for More Relief

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 — Strains on the Army from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have become so severe that Army officials say they may be forced to make greater use of the National Guard to provide enough troops for overseas deployments.

Senior Army officers have discussed that analysis — and described the possible need to use more members of the National Guard — with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s senior adviser on personnel, David S. C. Chu, according to Pentagon officials.

While no decision has been made to mobilize more Guard forces, and may not need to be before midterm elections, the prospect presents the Bush administration with a politically vexing problem: how, without expanding the Army, to balance the pressing need for troops in the field against promises to limit overseas deployments for the Guard.
<..>
An internal Army document that was provided to The New York Times notes that the demand for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan has greatly exceeded past projections that predicted earlier troop reductions. According to the document, the Army needs $66.1 billion to make up for all of its equipment shortfalls. Referring to the units that are to deploy next to Iraq and Afghanistan, or are in training, the document shows a large question mark to indicate their limited readiness.

The Army had to offer generous new enlistment bonuses of up to $40,000 to attract recruits into such dangerous jobs as operating convoys in Iraq. It was able to meet its active-duty enlistment goals this year with the addition of 1,000 new recruiters.
The head of the National Guard recently said that his military branch was "in an even more dire situation than the active Army."

It's difficult to judge which is more at the breaking point, the Army or the National Guard.
This time around, the attempts at smearing and launching irresponsible salvos are not sticking:
President Bush's defenders have cast opponents of the war as weak on terrorism. Yesterday, Vice President Cheney accused Democrats of "resignation and defeatism." But the charges have not taken hold, because most Americans don't agree with the premise linking the war on terror with the war in Iraq.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Regarding the matter of torture, as Dan Froomkin wrote on Friday:
Pay no attention to the news stories suggesting that the White House caved in yesterday.

On the central issue of whether the CIA should continue using interrogation methods on suspected terrorists that many say constitute torture, the White House got its way, winning agreement from the "maverick" Republican senators who had refused to go along with an overt undoing of the Geneva Conventions.

The "compromise"? The Republican senators essentially agreed to look the other way.
A Washington Post editorial nailed the key part to this travesty, stating "The bill would also immunize CIA personnel from prosecution for all but the most serious abuses and protect those who in the past violated U.S. law against war crimes." Yes, namely protecting Bush! That's why the president has been so adamant about securing this interpretation, resorting to tirades and visible derision. Because his butt was literally in the fire legally. He had to have retroactive protection or else possibly face legal charges when many of these prisoners soon tell their stories of torture to the Red Cross.

As law professor Jonathan Turley said Friday on Keith Olbermann's show:
OLBERMANN: You have scoured this thing backwards and forwards for us. Does the deal prohibit torture, or does it not? Where is the boundary for extreme interrogation?

TURLEY: It does not prohibit torture. I mean, it‘s an example of why politics and principle are poor bedfellows. And here what you have is something that‘s being called a compromise. But it seems to me to rewrite the Geneva Convention in practice.

Under this agreement, the administration could do a great deal. It‘s sort of like telling a teenager that I don‘t want you driving at 90 miles an hour. And he thinks, Gosh, I can live with that, I‘d go to 89. And that‘s exactly what this does.

Under this language, presumably, you could beat a detainee, you could cut a detainee, you could impair a detainee‘s organs, as long as it‘s not significant or permanent. It allows a great deal. And I think that the administration could read this and say, This gives us the green light.
<..>
They do reinterpret what they mean. Earlier, we simply criminalized violations of Geneva Convention, like all civilized societies do. Here, we limit it to grave violations, which allow a great deal. It allows the type of flexibility that Alberto Gonzales and the White House seemed to want in that infamous torture memo.

OLBERMANN: So we discussed last week, we discussed earlier this week, the prospect that perhaps the president‘s anxiety about this had something to do with the possibility that he might be, or members of his administration might be, liable were some of these detainees, now at Guantanamo Bay, formerly in the CIA prisons, to suddenly go to the Red Cross, when they meet with them starting next week, and say, We were waterboarded, we were this-ed, we were that-ed.

(INAUDIBLE) have they covered, have they covered themselves? Do they think they have covered their, their, their international liability, or even their, their domestic liability?
TURLEY: Well, I think this is more about domestic politics, because the world is not going to accept this document, because it‘s ludicrous. And on Monday, most of us expect that these detainees are going to say that they were waterboarded.

And I don‘t think the administration‘s actually going to deny that fact. And the world will have an outcry that we have invented a troubling new term, American torturer, that the president ordered American personnel to engage in acts of torture under international law.

It will be an incredibly shameful moment. And that‘s why they‘re pushing this legislation before that occurs.

But this document has even worse things in the fine detail. Under this document, the Geneva Convention cannot be cited in a federal case. They are barring people from relying on the Geneva Convention in federal cases and trials.

So we have this wonderful system, you just can‘t use it. You can look at it. We can say that we are cloaking ourselves in Geneva Convention. You just can‘t apply it.

Not only that, it says that you can‘t apply international sources in foreign cases, that U.S. courts can‘t cite them.

By the way, the only time you can cite the Geneva Convention is if you‘re accusing another country of violating it. So as long as you don‘t accuse us, we‘d be happy to have the Geneva Convention cited in our courts.
The three "rebellious" GOP senators caved and gave GW his retroactive cover. The entire "fight" was a staged farce that benefited them all at the expense of our Constitution, the Geneva accords, and any U.S. soldiers captured in the future. Another disgrace in the hopper.
Spin Karl Spin!

Here's where Rove truly earns his keep. Watch him distort the hell out of this report.
WASHINGTON - A newly disclosed intelligence assessment that contradicts President Bush's claim that the war in Iraq has made America safer also casts doubt on the Republican campaign strategy for the November elections.

Democrats seized on the intelligence findings Sunday to challenge Republican assertions that Bush and his congressional allies offer the best protection against terrorists. The assessment, the consensus opinion of the entire federal intelligence network, concluded that the Iraq war has fueled Islamic extremism and contributed to the spread of terror cells.
<..>
"The Bush administration lives or dies, in terms of national security, on the claim that they have indeed made America safer," said Dennis Goldford, a political science professor at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. "This is at the heart of the Republican rationale for continued control of government." He called the report "kryptonite for Superman," referring to the substance that disabled the comic book hero.

But Goldford said the political impact depends on "how skillful the Democrats are in exploiting" the newly disclosed intelligence findings.

"Never underestimate the Republicans' ability to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and never underestimate the Democrats' ability to make a sow's ear out of a silk purse," he said.
Sad, but true.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Steve Benen seems to agree with my take on Clinton's tirade-free and yet forceful FOX News appearance:
Some of Clinton's far-right critics have suggested that the former president somehow lost his cool. Nonsense. Watch the clip. Clinton certainly felt strongly about the subject at hand, but his responses were forceful and factual. Every word was not only true, but an assertive, detailed response to conservative propaganda.
The right is trying hard to do to Clinton what they did to Howard Dean -- with his "insane" howl.

Other Dems should take note(s) and learn from the master -- else lose, again.
Yes it's a bit old, but I wanted to point out CREW's "20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress" report. Of the twenty members, in the Senate, three are Republican, none are Dems. In the House, 14 are Republican, three are Dems. And on their list of members to watch, four are Republican, one is a Dem.

So let's sum up: of the 25 total members identified, 21 are Republican vs. just 4 Democrats, or 84% are in the GOP. Proof positive that absolute power corrupts absolutely. (Oh, and the count would've been 24-4 in favor of the Republicans if not for Cunningham and Ney already going to jail, and of course DeLay is missing from the list).

Is it no wonder just 25% of the American public approved of the way Congress was doing its job and that the FBI had to triple its work force in DC to keep up with the level of corruption?

Glad to see that GW and the Republicans have spent the last six years successfully washing away all of that Clinton filth....
GW recently told Wolf Blitzer he would give the order to kill if he received word where Osama was hiding in Pakistan. Never mind the fact that Bush contradicts what he said on the subject just five days prior (!). But regardless, more of the macho "dead or alive" bluster we've been hearing for years from our top cowboy.

Imagine the caustic GOP echo chamber if Clinton had the same pathetic pursuit "success" haunting him for years.... As it is, Clinton had this to say to Chris Wallace:
I worked hard to try and kill him. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since. And if I were still president we’d have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him. Now I never criticized President Bush and I don’t think this is useful. But you know we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is 1/7 as important as Iraq.
But perhaps GW's strategy all along was to just let Osama live in the shadows, thus serving as an indispensible GOP boogeyman around election years or when needed to create fear, and allow him to eventually die on his own. Rumors have it Osama did just that, dying last month from typhoid.

Let's see how Rove spins this one.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I can't tell you how refreshing it is to see Bill Clinton kick some right-wing ass. It's about time. Click here and here to witness Clinton forcefully answering accusations and GOP talking points as delivered by FOX News host Chris Wallace.

Notice once Clinton answered the accusation, and then answered it again, and then further fleshed it out and correctly went after Wallace for not asking the same questions to anyone in the Bush administration, that chicken-shit Wallace then looked to cut and run, wishing to move on to another topic. It's what they do, drive-by smears, and they don't like it when one vigorously and thoroughly replies. The fantasy-ridden cowards then want to just move on, tail between legs.

In fact, just watch this video and imagine if the same crowd tried the Swift Boat bullshit on Clinton. Note the stark contrast between the former president and Kerry, the way in which Clinton does not allow them to get away with their usual in-the-gutter, sleaze tactics and calls them out on it. That's what you have to do: first have the facts, but then attack back, and attack again and again. Remain composed, but make sure to be heard, loud and clear.

Also, don't you just love the coincidence, 9/11's fifth anniversary comes and goes and who is seemingly getting blamed for all the problems with Iraq? Yes, Bill Clinton. He's always the right's go-to guy for blaming all their problems, just bash Clinton, it's always a safe bet. Yup, if only Clinton killed Osama we never would have had 9/11. It's all his fault.

As Clinton says, read Richard Clarke's book. He's by far the foremost expert on anything having to do with terrorism or Osama and has worked under four presidents -- three of which were Republican. Clarke makes the case for Clinton, and as we all know Clarke does not have such nice things to say about GW on matters such as pre-9/11 and Iraq. Oh, but I forgot, the wingnuts simply dismiss him as a partisan hack -- as they promptly dismiss anything else that doesn't agree with their fiction-based opinions.

Sheer insanity.
I came across the following in Paul Krugman's July 21st column:
As I wrote back in January 2003, this meant that the “Bush doctrine” of preventive war was, in practice, a plan to “talk trash and carry a small stick.” It was obvious even then that the administration was preparing to invade Iraq not because it posed a real threat, but because it looked like a soft target.

The message to North Korea, which really did have an active nuclear program, was clear: “The Bush administration,” I wrote, putting myself in Kim Jong Il’s shoes, “says you’re evil. It won’t offer you aid, even if you cancel your nuclear program, because that would be rewarding evil. It won’t even promise not to attack you, because it believes it has a mission to destroy evil regimes, whether or not they actually pose any threat to the U.S. But for all its belligerence, the Bush administration seems willing to confront only regimes that are militarily weak.” So “the best self-preservation strategy ... is to be dangerous.”

With a few modifications, the same logic applies to Iran. And it’s easier than ever for Iran to be dangerous, now that U.S. forces are bogged down in Iraq.

Would the current crisis on the Israel-Lebanon border have happened even if the Bush administration had actually concentrated on fighting terrorism, rather than using 9/11 as an excuse to pursue the crazies’ agenda? Nobody knows. But it’s clear that the United States would have more options, more ability to influence the situation, if Mr. Bush hadn’t squandered both the nation’s credibility and its military might on his war of choice.
Check it out.

Note the following sentence: "Check it out for yourselves, and if you feel like it, let me know what you think."

It's from Greg Sargent at The Horse's Mouth blog, urging readers to look further into a story, think about it, and get back to him with any thoughts.

In some form or other, I frequently read this type of suggestion with an invitation for feedback at many liberal/progressive blogs (Kevin Drum, Josh Marshall, and Steve Benen to name a few more). I find it refreshing in that they believe the item is important and worth pointing out, but 1) they're not always certain, and 2) they may be missing something (a sanity check request), and 3) they wish to hear pro/con commentary from others.

Compare this tendency with the right-wing blogs I peruse (yes, I do), where I hardly ever read this kind of prompting. Instead, the tone is more authoritative and dictatorial (hmm, who does that sound like?), with opinions stated about story "X" completely absent of any provocation for readers to check it out and perhaps disagree, much less let the writer know about it.

It's more of this attitude of patronizing certainty, that here's what I think so don't bother looking into anything -- trust me, I have it right. Go with my opinions and don't dare think for yourself.

The obvious reasons for why this lack of encouraging independent thought and ideas are: 1) their audience may quickly discover the real truth(s), and all the lies and deception being used, and 2) they realize their audience really has no interest in learning about the truth and therefore you can tell them anything -- making sure to use a confident, cocky delivery. Their audience just wants to be force-fed pre-digested "talking points" that already agree / confirm their existing partisan bias. Sadly, it's just easier.

Are there other reasons? Think about it and get back to me (comments section).

Saturday, September 23, 2006

We've seen this movie before....

The IAEA has strongly criticized the United States for incorrect and false claims in the most recent report about Iran's nuclear program. As one Western diplomat close to the situation stated, "This (committee report) is deja vu of the pre-Iraq war period where the facts are being maligned and attempts are being made to ruin the integrity of IAEA inspectors."

The following is from an excellent story on this increasingly important global matter (my emphasis):
There's probably no one better informed than the Finn about what's actually going on inside Tehran's controversial nuclear program. Heinonen, as the IAEA deputy director, is responsible for nuclear inspections around the world. Before being promoted to that position, Heinonen was in charge of the agency's Department B, which deals with Iran and is internally described as "B" as in "busy."

Heinonen and his team certainly have had plenty to do in Iran over the past four years. They've installed surveillance cameras, questioned scientists and taken countless ground samples to the high-tech IAEA laboratory near Vienna. They've written up dozens of reports about the Iranian efforts that were long carried out in secret. But the key question remains: Is Iran's uranium enrichment program only meant to be used for civilian purposes, as claimed by the regime in Tehran? Or is the country trying clandestinely to build a bomb?

The work done by the IAEA is critical. Whatever Department B finds will help shape the debate within the international community. Even the US intelligence agencies with their $800 million weekly budget are largely dependent on information from Vienna -- it's the IAEA technicians and not Washington's agents that are actually going in and out of Iran's nuclear facilities.

Inspections can make the difference between war and peace, as IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei said after the debacle in Iraq involving supposedly sound evidence of Saddam Hussein's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. In Iran's case that means as long as the country isn't enriching uranium on an industrial scale, there won't be enough material for a bomb. Even the hawks in Washington, who are becoming more vocal all the time, have a hard time making the case for a military intervention.

But how long can the IAEA continue to provide answers and information with both credibility and authority?

The worst case scenario making the rounds at the IAEA these days is that the UN Security Council does what the United States is pushing for and slaps sanctions on Iran. That then causes Tehran to retaliate by carrying out its threat to bar ElBaradei's inspectors from the country. Or, Iran could follow the example of North Korea and even ditch the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entirely.

Then the IAEA would essentially be blind. And each week without inspections would increase the uncertainty about what was truly going on in Iran's nuclear facilities. Theory, analysis and a flood of so-called experts would suddenly hold sway instead of actual facts.

Inside the IAEA this is known as the "Iraq Scenario." Saddam Hussein tossed inspectors out of the country in 1998, which ended up making it easier for the Bush administration's hawks to use exaggeration and outright lies to try to convince world opinion of the need to invade Iraq.

There are already the first attempts to shape the debate surrounding the dispute with Iran. In recent weeks, an IAEA letter has surfaced that harshly criticized a report by a US Congressional intelligence committee. The 29-page document supposedly grossly exaggerated the state of Iran's nuclear research and claimed ElBaradei had caved to Iranian pressure to remove a particularly critical IAEA expert from the list of inspectors. The report even went so far as to infer that Nobel Peace Prize winner ElBaradei was more interested in having good ties with Tehran than finding out the truth.

The IAEA called the report "upsetting and misleading" and Heinonen and his experts found at least five fundamental mistakes in it. The worst was the claim that Iran had enriched uranium to 90 percent -- that is, weapons grade. But the IAEA had only found uranium enriched to 3.5 percent in Natanz.

Such hyperbole can't be explained as simple sloppiness. One of the authors of the report is the former CIA official Frederick Fleitz, a hawk who's previously worked for John Bolton, US ambassador to the United Nations. "It's just like before the Iraq war," says David Albright, a respected US nuclear expert. "They blow up the threat with windy information and attack the IAEA."
The IAEA / UN inspectors were right all along about Iraq, and yet here we have this administration attempting to repeat their smear and discrediting campaign, loaded with lies and distortions, in hopes of again shaping policy to war plans. You'd think the public and MSM would wise up the second time around and be more vocal in demanding to know the real truth. At the very least, one should default to the side of the IAEA / UN, who at this point has MUCH more credibility than the clowns in this administration, who as we've seen will go to war based on false intel to get what they alone desire.
War Deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan Equal 9/11 Toll

Friday, September 22, 2006

Kevin Drum writes:
Nearly everyone in Democratic circles agrees that the war in Iraq was a mistake, though there's still a fair amount of disagreement about what to do about this now. However, if the people I talked to last night are right, that's a wild understatement. These are the folks who walk precincts, participate in party conventions, and help write position statements, and what they told me is that party activists in California are practically at war with each other over the question of whether we should withdraw from Iraq "immediately" or merely "as soon as we can."
Bush would be tickled to read this bit of news, laughing to himself (and likely ripping a few farts for good humorous measure) for being responsible for this fierce in-fighting.

Because of his asinine decision to go to war in Iraq, the Dems are unfortunately forced to come up with an alternative solution to the equally asinine "stay the course" position of the GOP. Faced with this very difficult task has resulted in intense debate within the party.

Yeah, it's a side-splitting riot George. The country thanks you for the divisive, but hilarious, debacle.
The boys got together and predictably cut a deal on torture. Details are not as yet known but I wonder to what degree this deal will end up saving Bush's ass down the road. What do I mean? Click here and make sure to pay close attention to what law professor Jonathan Turley has to say (about 7 minutes into video).

Here's the transcript:
OLBERMANN: Have we been looking at this through the wrong end of the telescope, that the president‘s rush, fury to get this done in only his way is not about getting new information, about protecting against new threats, but about somehow trying to make the way we‘ve already treated detainees retroactively OK? Is he covering his own backside with this?

HURLEY: Quite frankly, I think that there‘s evidence to say he is. You know, the thing that is ticking here, in terms of a clock, is the fact that these 14 guys that were recently transferred just arrived not that long ago in Gitmo in Cuba. They are going to be, or have been, interviewed by the Red Cross. Most people believe that waterboarding, they where (ph) you are held underwater until you think that you‘re going to drown. That is undeniably torture under the international standard.

If that occurs in the coming days, the United States, and specifically the president, will be accused of committing a very serious violation of international law. Torture is one of the top three or four things that the international law is designed to prevent.

And so the reason there‘s this move to try to get legislation as fast as possible is because I think the administration senses that there‘s a lot of trouble coming down this mountain.

OLBERMANN: How would some sort of Senate authorization to adjust the Geneva Conventions, our end of it, after we‘ve signed the document, how would that, though, protect the president or anybody involved in the waterboarding or anything else they might be accused of?

HURLEY: Well, he would retroactively define what he did not to be a violation. That‘s pretty good, if you‘re going to commit a violation of law, to go and get the legislature to retroactively say what you did was not a violation.

But remember, the president stands accused of 30 felonies in the NSA controversy. Many of us believe he committed felony crimes there. If now he‘s going to be accused of intentionally and knowingly ordering serious violations of international law, it‘s not going to go well for the United States.

We‘re already viewed as a rogue nation around the world. But here‘s something the president most likely knew about and condoned.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

This poll -- taken days to follow the 5-year anniversary of 9/11 -- is like taking a
poll on FDR just days after D-Day! Let a week or two go by and we'll see if this bounce holds.

The most interesting tally of a question buried in the poll:

Based on what you have heard or read, do you, personally, think Iraq is -- or is not -- in a state of civil war right now?

Yes, in state of civil war: 72%
No, not state of civil war: 25%
For close to a year, I've been writing about -- for lack of a better phrase -- the New Federalism, namely states increasingly taking on the needed actions required to address problems that the federal government is either shirking or working against.

This NY Times article offers proof that such bold initiatives can and have worked. Proof that state by state, this country can be transformed into a better place, without the help or will of our federal leaders.

Kevin Drum writes the following about this article:
Actually, as the accompanying graph shows, it's [California] per capita electricity usage that's remained flat while it's increased 50% in the rest of the country. If you look at total per capita energy use, it's actually declined since 1970 (compared to a modest increase in the rest of the country). At the same time, smog levels in Southern California have been substantially reduced. And do you know why? Largely because California has passed laws forcing it to happen.

Of course, we all know the result, don't we? As the Republican Party and the corporate community are so fond of declaring, regulation like this inevitably leads to economic disaster. Businesses fail, incomes drop, and the economy goes into a tailspin. It's nothing short of a disaster.

And yet, the predictable screeching of the corporate community, delivered on pretty much an annual basis, appears to have been wrong. California's economy has been doing just fine during the decades we've pursued these policies. Imagine that.

Anyway, it's a good article, and goes to show the kinds of things we could be doing nationwide if conservative politicians could put their Chicken Little campaign contributors on hold for a few minutes and take a look at how it's possible to cut energy use dramatically — and reduce our dependence on foreign suppliers — without ruining the economy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Still think the economy has been zipping along, helping workers of all income levels? Well over the past six years, guess in how many states median income has risen? 40? 30? 25? Try 20. Yup, in just 40% of the states is median income higher than when Bush took office.

Is it any wonder polls show most Americans are concerned and unhappy about the economy? (Note: using median, not average, is the correct metric. Folks like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet distort averages).
We've heard this line of reasoning too many times from GW: "I'm often asked why we're in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat....The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power."

However, that's like saying in response to a criminal who robbed a bank and left many innocent people dead, by later capturing a notorious, heinous rapist hundreds of miles away from the scene, who had nothing to do with this robbery, that the country is now safer thanks to this capture. Huh?

Yet the media repeatedly allows Bush to get away with this evasive, lame attempt at connecting Saddam/Iraq with 9/11 and the war on terror. Enough already.

Monday, September 18, 2006

This administration holding out for torture is the last straw -- how much longer do we need to suffer under their rule?

Three prominent senators from their own party have broke ranks -- a huge symbolic gesture given the pressure within the GOP to kiss GW's ass often and always. One of the three, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a military lawyer no less, said "This whole thing has been just one mess after another. It started with Abu Ghraib. How many more times do we need to create legislation that's defective, that's going to confuse people, that's got not a snowball's chance in hell of passing Supreme Court muster?"

Colin Powell has apparently recovered from his much-deserved acute case of shame to utter some criticism about this administration, stating "The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism." Really Colin, you think? Nah, can't be. This president is all about God, morality, and the American way. You must have your former boss confused with someone else....

And then 27 (not two, or five, or 10, but almost 30) retired military leaders wrote a letter to the Armed Services Committee urging rejection of Bush's pro-torture proposal.

From a recent Washington Post editorial: "President Bush rarely visits Congress. So it was a measure of his painfully skewed priorities that Mr. Bush made the unaccustomed trip yesterday to seek legislative permission for the CIA to make people disappear into secret prisons and have information extracted from them by means he dare not describe publicly." Yes, "painfully skewed priorities" indeed.

Look, to witness this president and VP pulling out all the stops to insure that torture is permissible, regardless of the repercussions to our Constitution, prior international accords, or the future treatment of our own soldiers, is to conclude just one thing: they're mad -- as in stark-raving, Howard Beal mad. Voting for anyone who aligns with them is a tragic act in support of sociopathic, repugnant derangement. In doing so, you will (should) look back on such a decision with great shame, and may you be forced to admit your sin to grandchildren, close relatives, and friends.
Right-wing talking head and admitted recovering alcoholic Glenn Beck had this to say about himself in the latest TV Guide: "I've got like 10 minutes of education. I ain't smart. I'm a schmo."

Besides the fact that description would ring true of a certain president in office, don't you just love the boasting when it comes to a lack of education? As if not going to college or dropping out of school is cool or leads down the road to, gulp, becoming a liberal.

It's absurd. The wingnuts will complain about public schools and want vouchers for choice, and yet more than one of their talking heads seem to enjoy bragging about their lightness when it comes to education (recall O'Reilly trying to paint his education as average-Joe, despite going to a private high school). By obviously trying to appeal to the more blue collar audience that pays their bloated salaries, they end up glorifying less time spent at school and demonizing the overly-intellectual liberals who, heaven forbid, perhaps aspired to learning more in our schools.

Wow, what a terrific message to send our youth. You too can have your own radio and TV talk shows if you just become dumber by getting less formal education. Don't be ashamed of it or try to hide it or play it down, but rather embrace it, wear it like a badge of honor. Oh, and I guess suffering through a bout of alcoholism can't hurt. (And yet recall the horror of what the kids might think regarding the Clinton/Monica "affair"; once again, BJs bad, being a "schmo" that ain't smart good).

But most curiously, what reasonable person would want to rely on someone for political commentary who admits that he/she has ten minutes of education and ain't smart? Is that what it's come down to for many on the right, to shun the educated in favor of regular-guy ignorance? Or are we supposed to believe that Beck doesn't need all that "book learning" to be smart on the issues? If so, then the right should stop the hypocrisy about public vs. private schools since apparently it doesn't matter; kids should do just fine without a formal education -- just look at street-smart Glenn Beck!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I just happened to flip on The McLaughlin Group (talk about everything that's wrong with political discourse on TV!) in time to hear Pat Buchanan adamantly state we're in jeopardy of losing both wars (Iraq and Afghanistan). Mr. McLaughlin himself then cuts off Buchanan (no one gets to finish a complete thought on the show) to blare that we're not in jeopardy of losing two wars, but three, reminding Buchanan you must include the war on terror as the third.

Geez, these nitwits on the right. Can't they even recite the GOP/GW/Rove talking points correctly! For how long has Bush been trying to convince the American public that the Iraq war is a central part of the war on terror, that the two are actually one? Bush (stupidly) admitted that the toughest job he has as president is linking the two (duh, it wouldn't be so tough to convince if it were true). Yet, McLaughlin and Buchanan talk in terms of two and three wars, not one. Idiots, all of them.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

GW's most hilarious quote of the year (and that's saying something):

"I think I’m pretty good about filtering out which is real and which is not."
A recent poll by the Pew Center found that "as many as 36% say they see their ballot this fall as a vote against the president. Far more voters express this sentiment in the current election cycle than in any midterm campaign dating to 1982." In addition, there's "no evidence that the renewed focus on terrorism has improved Bush's standing; his job approval rating stands at 37%, unchanged from August."

Related to this wonderful news, Sen. Mary Landrieu's beautiful tirade:
America is tired of the wrongheaded and boneheaded leadership of the Republican party that has sent six and a half billion a month to Iraq while the front line was Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. That led this country to attack Saddam Hussein, when we were attacked by Osama bin Laden. Who captured a man who did not attack the country and let loose a man that did. Americans are tired of boneheaded Republican leadership that alienates our allies when we need them the most. Americans are most certainly tired of leadership that despite documenting mistake after mistake after mistake, even of their own party admitting mistakes, never admit they do anything wrong. That's the kind of leadership Americans are tired of.
May a few more Dems start to speak out loudly and in no uncertain terms, i.e. using plain english.
Conservative Fred Barnes writes, "the Bush administration hasn't made the capture of Osama bin Laden a paramount goal of the war on terror. Emphasis on bin Laden doesn't fit with the administration's strategy for combating terrorism....Rather, Bush says there's a better way to stay on offense against terrorists. 'The way you win the war on terror,' Bush said, 'is to find people [who are terrorists] and get them to give you information about what their buddies are fixing to do.'"

Uh, Freddie and Mr. Prez, don't you think what the terrorists are "fixing to do" most likely originates from bin Laden, their leader? Making that bold assumption, then isn't it kind of important to make capturing bin Laden "a paramount goal"?

These guys fail when it comes to comprehending base Logic 101.
This past Tuesday, two highly partisan political pundits, Bill Kristol and Rich Lowry, put out a piece urging that we send more troops to Iraq. In direct response, Ronald Reagan's former assistant secretary of defense, Lawrence Korb, along with the national security expert at the Center for American Progress, Peter Ogden, teamed up to pen a piece stating the Kristol/Lowry plan would "threaten to break our nation's all-volunteer Army and undermine our national security." They also wrote, "the signs of strain on the active Army are evident. In July an official report revealed that two-thirds of the active U.S. Army was classified as 'not ready for combat.'.... The active Army has close to zero combat-ready brigades in reserve....the head of the National Guard said that his military branch was 'in an even more dire situation than the active Army.'"

And General Wesley Clark on Air America likewise described our military as "nearing a breaking point," one that could soon result in something tragic.

Uh, I think I'll side with a general, the head of the National Guard, Reagan's former asst. sec. of defense, and a national security expert over two neocon-crazed screwballs.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I give you Dan Froomkin:
The White House and the Republican leadership believe embracing the president's warrantless wiretapping program and detainee proposals are key to surviving the November elections.

But the effects of the legislation Congress is considering this week will last far beyond November. And critics argue that the White House's approach won't help protect the country so much as put captured American soldiers at risk, further blacken America's image abroad, legitimize unconstitutional treatment of detainees, erode privacy rights, cede congressional authority and institutionalize what has thus far been the extralegal assertion of nearly unchecked, and therefore potentially corrupting power, to this president as well as those to come.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Regarding the recent revelations concerning the Valerie Plame outing, Kevin Drum writes:
So that's whose cover Robert Novak, Richard Armitage, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, and God knows who else blew. The woman who was in charge of the entire CIA team trying to locate Saddam's WMD.

Of course, this also sheds some light on why Dick Cheney and the entire White House crew seemed so interested in discrediting Wilson: because her team didn't find anything. Cheney was visiting Langley, writing memos, demanding answers, and just generally obsessing over Iraqi WMD programs, and it was Valerie Wilson's team that was failing to find what he wanted. I think it's safe to say that he was displeased with Wilson and her team.
And yet Cheney has the gall to appear on Meet The Press this weekend and state "[Saddam] did not have stockpiles—clearly the intelligence that said he did was wrong." But the UN inspectors repeatedly reported that Iraq was bare concerning WMD, only to have such reports rebuffed and rejected by the likes of Cheney. In addition, we now learn Valerie Plame was conducting similar work at the CIA and coming up with same conclusions -- the kind Cheney didn't like.

We know what happened to Plame after that but just how craven and disingenuous is it to hear Cheney lament about the bad intel? A good deal of the credible intel at the time was dead-on correct, only ignored. And here you have a CIA agent coming up with the "wrong" findings so she was dealt with. Meanwhile, it was the intel Cheney et al chose to focus on strictly that was bad.

Where's the accountability for this purposeful negligence?
From the terrific Carpetbagger Report, it appears as if at least a few Democrats are seeing huge jumps in their poll numbers even after GW/Rove unleashed the old and tired tactic of frightening the masses and blaring the Dems-are-weak-appeasers rhetoric. Very encouraging.
There's this recent headline, "I no longer have power to save Iraq from civil war, warns Shia leader" and there's this one from a few days ago, "Situation Called Dire in West Iraq," with the story leading off, "The chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq recently filed an unusual secret report concluding that the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there."

But I guess I'm "appeasing" the enemy by pointing out these stories. Shame on me.
GW speechifies of a united Iraq progressing along nicely -- an absolute fantasy!
BAGHDAD, Sept. 10 -- The main Sunni Arab political bloc boycotted parliament Sunday to protest legislation supported by Shiite Muslims and Kurds that would carve Iraq into a federation of three autonomous states.

As violence escalates, so does talk of a divided Iraq
Sir, stop lying to the American people about Iraq. It's too important a matter, dealing with real human lives, to be using it as a political football to win elections.
David Brooks gets it wrong, again. In his latest column, he writes, "There are many cultural ways to strengthen marriage, but financially, the government could extend the earned income tax credit to single males." OK, except that the EITC already applies to single males.

As I wrote a few days ago, "Brooks is a blithering idiot who seemingly spends little if any time conducting research before typing out his column in time to receive a paycheck."

When does the NY Times finally jettison this lazy right-wing tool?
Regarding GW's primetime 9/11 address, Dan Froomkin yesterday:
The occasion called for reflection and an attempt to unify the nation in its grief and determination. In fact, it was billed as such by the White House.

Instead, Bush delivered a leaden rehash of his unpersuasive rationales for his response to the threat of terrorism. He made a carefully crafted attempt to terrify Americans into supporting his deeply unpopular war in Iraq. He was misleading. He mischaracterized his critics.

It's hard to imagine that he could have been more divisive if he'd tried. And with most Americans no longer trusting the president, it's hard to imagine the speech served him well.

Monday, September 11, 2006

From an editorial in today's Financial Times:
While it still amazes how comprehensively Iraq was bungled by the US occupation, it was always foreseeable that the invasion would proliferate, not combat, the clear and present threat to liberal values and international stability, which was jihadi extremism not Saddam Hussein. In that respect, the Bush administration and its exiguous allies in this misadventure might as well have taken a hammer to a ball of mercury.

Iraq is now a broken state, the cockpit for a sectarian war between Sunni and Shia Muslims that not only takes up to 100 lives a day but threatens to suck in Iraq's neighbours. It is also a new and target-rich frontline for the itinerant holy warriors of the al-Qaeda franchise, creating a new generation of battle-hardened cadres skilled in the urban terrorism favoured by Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's strategist.
<..>
The dispiriting story here is that the US under President George W. Bush has lost the near-universal sympathy and solidarity provoked by 9/11. It has forfeited nearly all legitimacy in the Arab and Muslim worlds where, in one of the great dramas of our time, several recent polls reveal that democratic America is perceived as a greater threat than theocratic Iran.
<..>
The way the Bush administration has trampled on the international rule of law and Geneva conventions, while abrogating civil liberties and expanding executive power at home, has done huge damage not only to America's reputation but, more broadly, to the attractive power of western values.
And in The New Yorker:
The wider counterpart to our traumatized togetherness at home was an astonishing burst abroad of what can only be called pro-Americanism....No one realistically expected that the mood of fellow-feeling and coƶperation would long persist in the extraordinarily powerful form it took in the immediate wake of September 11th.
<..>
What few expected was how comprehensively that initial spirit would be ruined by the policies and the behavior of our government, culminating in, though hardly limited to, the disastrous occupation of Iraq. This shouldn’t have been so surprising. George W. Bush campaigned in 2000 as a “compassionate conservative,” one who recognized that government was not the enemy, praised bipartisanship, proclaimed his intention to “change the tone in Washington,” and advocated a foreign policy of humility and respect. None of that happened.
On this the fifth anniversary of 9/11, while we take time to remember all those lost in the tragic attacks, we learn that Cheney has decided to admit that although the country went to war in Iraq on false intelligence and he himself misjudged the Iraqi insurgency, if he had to do it all over again he would. He said this on Meet The Press, where Tim Russert once again served as the resident buffoon, neglecting to follow-up numerous times concerning Cheney's continued willingness to lie despite the above admissions.

Of course, as for the admissions, Cheney can conveniently portray the false intel realization as something learned now in looking back, which is a lie. We know that during the build-up to the Iraq war there was ample good evidence that was buried or suppressed in favor of the false intel! With Richard Clarke stating he was told repeatedly to go back and find anything to support attacking Iraq, and the multiple reports of Powell and others knowing the "yellow cake" inclusion was bogus intel and used anyway, and then the Downing Street memos providing evidence of Bush/Cheney building policy around an Iraqi attack.

And as for Cheney misjudging the strength of the insurgency, we know there was ample written and voiced support prior to the war from military personnel and related think tanks stating that the troop level needed to be three to four times larger than the 100,000 sent troops to properly deal with the expected insurgency. The fact that Cheney now says he simply misjudged is outrageous.

The entire interview would be astounding if it were anyone else but Cheney. Russert shows him a poll that has 54% of Americans believing we're creating more terrorists with the Iraq war, as opposed to 15% who believe we're eliminating more, and Cheney simply dismisses it, "I can't buy that." These guys just toss that which they disagree with whether it be opinions or facts. He later states that Al Qaeda and our "adversaries" want to test our will so that "the American people don’t have the stomach for the fight." That's bullsh*t. Americans have always had the will to fight, as we did right after 9/11. If anything has weakened that resolve and brought into question any will to fight it's been the debacle in Iraq. Al Qaeda or any other terrorist threat has not caused the American public to go weak-kneed; instead, it's been our own leaders! To a large extent, by working to cripple the will to fight in this country through the incompetent management of Iraq, it's also kept Americans frightened and disillusioned -- potentially helping the GOP at the polls, as it at least has in the past.

Russert cites the much-quoted poll that the majority of Americans now believe Iraq is not part of the war on terror, and Cheney 1) disagrees ("I beg to differ"), again simply dismissing any poll he disagrees with, as if the public is stupid and ignorant when it's convenient (funny how this same public was so intelligent when such polls were to Cheney's liking), and 2) he spends the bulk of his time making the case that the world is better off without Saddam in power. Duh! No one has ever or will ever argue that Saddam was a great guy, but that still doesn't address the question of relating war in Iraq -- a country with zero ties to 9/11 -- with the war on terror.

As for WMD in Iraq, the inspectors reported repeatedly that they found nothing, and it appears as if they weren't lying based on the fact we've found nothing since but some rusty old weapons used in the Iran/Iraq war. Yet, Cheney doesn't mention that intel rather stating "clearly the intelligence that said he did was wrong. That was the intelligence all of us saw, that was the intelligence all of us believed." Again, they selectively believed some intel -- and tossed the rest.

I could go on and on with more examples of lies and misrepresentations in that interview. Please read it for yourself. Wow, they seemingly come clean on some things only to lie some more.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Pentagon recently released a report that said, "Conditions that could lead to civil war exist in Iraq." That's from the Pentagon!

One of the best and most important pieces I've read in quite some time discusses how conditions within a country are what give rise to the worst kind of dictators and tyrants. The Hitlers of the world never just sort of popped up out of nowhere and decided to take power. Instead, the conditions within such countries were ripe for such a person to become popular and thereafter take control to conduct atrocities.

The piece I'm referring to was posted by the blog Legal Fiction. Below are some key segments:
What these individuals are capable of, though, are some nasty terrorist attacks that could kill a lot of people. But the answer to that is to go find these individuals and arrest or kill them — as opposed to invading countries and then justifying that with kindergarten level stories about how the invasion is necessary to prevent the impending return of the Caliphate.
<..>
Bush is making a common error by looking at the rise of Lenin and Hitler backwards. He’s treating Hitler and Lenin as the causes of great political and societal change. In reality, they are reflections of it.
<..>
The question is what underlying historical and cultural forces made the rise of Lenin possible. Same deal with Hitler. What are the underlying forces that made Hitler possible....If Lenin died in exile, there would have been another “Lenin” because the underlying forces were in place to create one. Same deal with Hitler....What made Lenin and Hitler politically viable was not their evilness, but the state of their respective countries. In other words, the underlying material and cultural conditions made the public receptive to their message.
<..>
To prevent Lenins and Hitlers, you have to prevent the conditions that give rise to Hitlers and Lenins....The problem though is the neocons' complete disconnect with any sort of empirical or objective reality regarding the effectiveness of their means. For instance, it should be more than clear by now that regime change and democracy-at-the-barrel-of-a-gun undermines our broader (and to an extent, shared) goals.
<..>
Our own policies — ostensibly in the name of fighting terrorism — are giving rise to the very conditions that gave rise to the Hitlers and Lenins of history....Iraq is essentially a failed state caught in a destabilizing civil war that is only going to get worse. On top of that, Muslims have endured cultural humiliation in the face of Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, etc.

The mix of instability, military impotence, and humiliation has proven in the past to be a volatile one. That’s why it’s no accident that Hezbollah or Sadr’s militia has so much support right now. It has less to do with Sadr and Nasrallah as individual agents of History and everything to do with the conditions these individuals have found themselves in.
Exactly why the invasion of Iraq has made us less safe, now and in the future. It has laid the fertile foundation for a future Lenin or Hitler to arise from the brutal chaos.

Thanks Bush & Co. for manipulating us into a $500 bil. unnecessary war that will ultimately be the root cause for more terrorism and violence wrought across the globe. For that reason alone, this "president" is the worst in history.
An excellent response by Kevin Drum to another super-light David Brooks column, proving once again that Brooks is a blithering idiot who seemingly spends little if any time conducting research before typing out his column in time to receive a paycheck. He's an embarrassment to the NY Times and he should be an embarrassment to all serious, credible right-wing thinkers. For related retorts to Brooks' column, click here and here.
So ABC managed to send out approximately 900 preview copies of the 9/11 miniseries to every right-wing blog on the internet but refuses to send copies to Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, or Sandy Berger, not to mention any progressive blogger. What was once billed as a "documentary" has now been modified to a "dramatization." It was also once stated to be objective, but Max Blumenthal uncovers that the people and groups behind this farce are anything but objective. Firedoglake lists tons more on this new low for the MSM. And may we no longer hear the right's empty-headed complaining about the liberal media -- it was never true but this travesty just drove a stake through the heart of that canard.

At what point does ABC try to salvage a shred of credibility by just shit-canning this completely partisan yet pushed as otherwise piece of garbage? Do they really think last-minute editing is going to change anything at this point? The damage is done and they have only themselves to blame.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

In reviewing the many news items over the past 7-10 days, the following appeared interesting:

  • I see that Rumsfeld insinuated Democrats were appeasing terrorists. When will this straw man bullshit stop! He also complained there was not enough praise for those who win medals for military service. Hmm, does he mean like the praise and respect his party directed towards medal winners Kerry, Murtha, Cleland, and Gore?

  • As I've been writing about for nearly a year, California offers up another example of the new federalism, i.e. states stepping in and doing when the federal government won't.

  • The Taliban is thriving in Afghanistan with the opium crop -- providing 90% of the global supply and financing terrorist activities -- doing better than ever. Yes, what I wise move that was to quickly avert attention away from this country to invade Iraq.

  • Good to see at least a few Republican strategists concede that the Dems will likely take the House in November.

  • I recently wrote, "It was announced recently that Karl Rove will once again be turning the dials on the GOP election machine. Given the many unnamed sources we frequently read quoted, any chance we'll see a few from Republicans regarding resistance to Rove once again steering the electoral ship? With polls in the toilet, you'd think more than a few would have grave reservations about going to the well one more time with the evil genius." I now read that Rove doesn't have nearly the power or sway with Republican candidates that he wielded in prior elections.

  • As for the Dems taking over one if not both chambers of Congress, they're going to have to run the gauntlet successfully this time. What gauntlet? The GOP shit chute: voter intimidation, push polls, Swift Boating, fear mongering, lies, voting machine oddities -- have I missed any?

  • It's good to see the liberal blogosphere take ABC to task over the fictional 9/11 miniseries that they were going to pass off as objective and fact-based. Based on the reaction generated, as with the Lamont campaign it once again proves that blogs have arrived and can collectively exert tremendous influence.

  • How sad. It's bad enough half the public still believes Iraq had WMDs, but nearly half also believe Saddam was connected to 9/11 -- despite GW himself proclaiming just a few weeks ago that Saddam had "nothing" to do with it. You talk about conspiracy fanatics....

  • Surprise! Another hardcore Republican with at least one homosexual in the family tree.

  • Excellent post by AMERICAblog: "What this idiot [GW] doesn't understand, or chooses to ignore, is that regardless of how evil the enemy, the problem isn't that the American people don't understand the dangers we face. The problem is that the American people have finally understood that we have an incompetent buffoon in charge of tackling said danger. And no amount of prattling about Lenin or Hitler is going to quell people's concerns that Bush is simply not up to the task."

  • Whereas he used to behave as if the man didn't exist, now Bush is suddenly trotting out bin Laden's name any chance he gets. What's changed? Simply that Bush & Co. are desperate and are willing to take the risk of reminding people that this heinous man is still alive in exchange for the benefit of creating fear. They take the risk not because they choose to but rather because they have to.

  • Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright requested a copy of ABC's 9/11 miniseries to view and ABC turned her down -- this despite sending out hundreds of copies to a variety of people including one to Rush Limbaugh. Albright said, "I have been informed by some who had been given the right to view the broadcast that the drama depicts scenes that never happened, events that never took place, decisions that were never made and conversations that never occurred; it asserts as fact things that are not fact." Bill Clinton has also been denied a copy to view.

  • This bit of news is HUGE: "The AP-Ipsos poll showed that while 54 percent of southern women -- almost all white -- voted for Bush in 2004, 60 percent of those surveyed plan on voting Democratic in November."

  • Prudential's political strategist, Charles Gabriel, wrote in a report released yesterday, "After no improvement for Republicans in the six weeks we've been reading political gauges in this report, we now predict that Democrats will retake control of the House on November 7." Given his firm's Wall Street connections, I doubt Gabriel is a hardcore Dem.
  • Wednesday, September 06, 2006

    I'll be back here with much more in a day or two but wanted to mention that I did catch Rick Santorum vs. Bob Casey on Meet The Press this past Sunday. When watching it occurred to me how so much is relative when it comes to politics and that when choosing political representatives it's most often a search for the prettiest pig. They're all usually damaged in some way or another, but we need to find the least bad alternative. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, democracy is a bad form of government -- except all the others are worse.

    That said, Santorum came off better than Casey in terms of TV-friendly answers, appearing to be quicker and more on-point. Casey came off as a bit lethargic and to a point smug. (I of course don't mean to imply that Santorum was on the correct side of issues -- far from it. He just sounded better than Casey). However, despite the fact that Casey will never be mistaken for Bill Clinton, it speaks volumes that he leads Santorum by double-digits. PA residents are not so much voting for Casey as they are voting against Santorum and Bush. Odds favor this being the trend heading into November with Democrats needing to make strong, concise statements regarding their positions, but even more so amplifying the I'm-not-with-GW message loud and clear. King Doofus has finally become kryptonite.
    Just returned from another hiatus (the last for some time). Will once again spend the next day or two getting caught up on the news. Should be posting by tomorrow evening.