Saturday, July 02, 2005

Rove: frogmarch watch 

Via The Huffington Post:
Since I revealed the big scoop, I have had it reconfirmed by yet another highly authoritative source. Too many people know this. It should break wide open this week. I know Newsweek is working on an 'It's Rove!' story and will probably break it tomorrow. ~ Lawrence O'Donnell - 07.02.2005 / Rove Blew CIA Agent's Cover

Editor&Publisher update 1:
Plame Grand Jury Wants Records for Air Force One Phone Calls | By E&P Staff | Published: July 02, 2005 2:35 PM ET

NEW YORK Adding to the growing intrigue in the Plame case, the grand jury investigating the leak of the covert CIA operative's name subpoenaed has a wide range of White House documents, including records of telephone calls from Air Force One and information relating to an internal working group dealing with Iraq, government sources confirmed to CNN on Friday.


Many of the documents subpoenaed Friday relate to the White House Iraq Group, a little-known task force. Newsweek reported that the group was created in August 2002. The Newsweek report cites an earlier Washington Post article that lists senior political adviser Karl Rove, Bush advisers Karen Hughes and Mary Matalin, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Dick Cheney among the group's members.

Update 2: If you click the link to the E&P headline above (Plame Grand Jury Wants Records...) you will now see the following:
Story originally posted here was accurate but out-of-date and posted in error.

By E&P Staff

Published: June 29, 2005 2:35 PM ET

NEW YORK Story posted here for about an hour Saturday afternoon was accurate, but from 2004, and has been pulled from the site. We apologize.

Update 3 / Nothing to see here: Go read Josh Marshall commenting on the Newsweek article relating to Lawrence O'Donnell's earlier claims:

Mike Isikoff's piece on Rove's role in the Plame case is now up on the Newsweek website. But the picture it paints seems a bit murkier than what Lawrence O'Donnel suggested.


What's implicit in Isikoff's report, however, and in the Tribune too, is that the special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald is after Rove for some felony arising out of the case (perjury after the fact? conspiracy?) but not the immediate and original act of leaking the name.

Talking Points Memo


Tinker, Tailor, Liar, Rove 

"...the end - Of our elaborate plans, the end - Of everything that stands, the end - No safety or surprise, the end - I'll never look into your eyes...again - Can you picture what will be, - So limitless and free - Desperately in need...of some...stranger's hand - In a...desperate land - Lost in a Roman...wilderness of pain - And all the children are insane, All the children are insane... This is the end." (lyrics: The Doors)



(Associated Press, Nov. 8, 2006) [...]

The sudden decline of the Republican Party and the likely downfall of the Bush-Cheney administration follows a cascade of catastrophes and unexpected reversals of fortune for the White House during the second Bush term.

THE ECONOMY: The American economy is in deep recession and, many economists fear, on the brink of depression. Heedless of warnings by economists from both parties, Bush and the Republican Congress continued its policy of deep tax cuts to the wealthy, the dismantling of social services, and huge deficits with no end in sight. Recognizing at last the unsustainability of these policies, the international financial community lost all confidence in the dollar, and, as a result, the value of the dollar against world currencies plummeted. Then the economic dominoes proceeded to fall. The price of imported goods skyrocketed and became unaffordable to ordinary Americans. International banks (primarily Chinese and Japanese) refused to continue their support of Bush's budget deficit which forced the US to raise interest rates dramatically. Consequently, debt-ridden US consumers have lost their homes, disposable family income has shrunk, businesses have closed, and unemployment is rising to levels not seen since the Great Depression of the thirties. However, this time the bankrupt US government can not supply unemployment compensation or other relief. The suffering public has put the blame for this disaster directly upon the Republicans and the Bush Administration.

THE MEDIA: After the 2004 election, it was widely believed that Republican-corporate control of the mainstream media had guaranteed a permanent Republican "lock" on the federal government. Not so. Soon thereafter, the public finally began to wake up to the fact that it had been lied to by the media and, just as important, that it had been denied vital information about the misdeeds of the Congress and the Administration. As a result, the media audience fell dramatically, creating a crisis in advertising revenue. In the meantime, the internet became the primary source of news to the public. Attempts by the Bush-friendly FCC and the Congress to stifle the internet failed in the face of public outcry. There was then a re-birth of investigative journalism which immediately received widespread support, thence advertising revenue. Investigative journalists then proceeded to uncover a rogue's gallery of "White House Horrors" -- the instigators of the Valerie Plame affair, the suppression of accurate intelligence information, the sellout of public resources and institutions to private "investors," unbid "sweetheart" contracts to firms such as Halliburton, and much more.


[...] When reminded by a journalist that two "senior White House" officials had revealed the CIA affiliation of covert agent Valerie Plame, thus endangering her and her contacts abroad, McClellan verbally attacked the reporter as "coming close to providing aid and comfort to the enemy" by questioning the Administration. He added: "Though the Democrat Party tends to forget it, our country is engaged in a war against terrorism, and all Americans should watch carefully what they say and do. Raising questions about the Administration's veracity and war-policies might make the terrorists think that the American government is weak and unable to confront them. This could make our country more vulnerable to attacks."


"But this extremist crew will not go easily into their dark night. If they're going to go down, they probably are willing to take the country down with them."

"For the good of the country, and for what little is left of their reputations, Bush and Cheney should resign. If they do not, they can anticipate being dragged through the trauma of impeachment. My guess is that if they resign, they might be able to 'plea-bargain,' as it were, and the country would go easier on them for their crimes."

Above excerpted from: "GOP Swept from Power in 2006 - Impeachment Looms" - By Bernard Weiner and Ernest Partridge
Co-Editors, The Crisis Papers - May 31, 2005

Time Inc. To Hand Over Notes in Plame Case, As 'NYT' Protests - By Joe Strupp | Published: June 30, 2005 10:02 AM ET

Time Inc.'s statement also included a lengthy explanation from Norman Pearlstine, Time magazine's editor in chief, about why the company chose to hand over the documents,... continued here...


Hey! What's That Up There in the Road? A Head? 

Veeeeeddy eeeenteresting story making the rounds tonight. Didn't see it myself (Watch McLaughlin? I'd sooner go to a meeting of the county sewer & waste management commission, both for interest in the subject and coherence of the usual presentation) but I'd consider a story from Editor & Publisher pretty well confirmed...
NEW YORK Now that Time Inc. has turned over documents to federal court, presumably revealing who its reporter, Matt Cooper, identified as his source in the Valerie Plame/CIA case, speculation runs rampant on the name of that source, and what might happen to him or her. Tonight, on the syndicated McLaughlin Group political talk show, Lawrence O'Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst, claimed to know that name--and it is, according to him, top White House mastermind Karl Rove.
Not a data dump--Lawrence O'Donnel is an old Clinton hand iirc, at any rate no friend of the Perpetrators of the Current Unpleasantness--but interesting timing on Getaway Friday before Independence Day weekend, and the day the O'Connor retirement is sucking up all the political oxygen to boot.

Atrios and Digby are both poking sticks into the burrow to see what crawls out. For your musical entertainment we suggest a medley of "Wouldn't It Be Nice", "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" and "Good Day Sunshine", "Good Morning Starshine", and the like. Or if your taste runs more in that direction, "Helter Skelter." Heh heh heh.

Friday, July 01, 2005


If you've been following this story, it appears that the U.S. may have lost 30-50 soldiers in one shot in Afghanistan. They're being coy with it because they don't want us to gasp out loud.

Um, but fortunately for Bush, Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement today so no one in the SCLM will pay any attention to this rather important story anymore.

BTW, how many of you knew that 45 U.S. soldiers had died in Afghanistan in the last three months?

"We are SO Dead...." 

Quote from Son of Xan, age 16, upon learning from TV that Sandra Day O'Connor has announced her resignation from the Supreme Court.


And the best nomination we can hope for is Abu Al ("If we just define torture this way then what we're doing isn't torture!") Gonzalez??

Have a happy long weekend all....

The Hail You Say! 

This is from, like, a week ago, but I really assumed at the time that it would soon be all over the place without any help from me. As this has inexplicably not happened, I bring it to your attention here. [Heavily snipped and some lines rearranged for brevity]:

(via Jackson MS Clarion-Ledger)

A community petition has amassed 75 names in hopes of silencing two hail cannons at Nissan Motor Co.'s Canton [MS] plant.

The automaker installed the machinery in early 2004 to prevent possible hail damage to thousands of new vehicles placed daily on its shipping yard at the factory.

The hail cannon shoots sonic waves into the atmosphere, releasing a bang that can repeat every five seconds until weather conditions change...Nissan reports it is the first automaker to use the device that prevents hail within a one-mile radius.

"Just turn it off," said Germantown resident Marci See. "It is very loud. Sometimes it shakes my walls, and I keep thinking, 'Is it tearing up my foundation?'"

Jim Pigott of the Germantown subdivision said "it's like having a boom box in your driveway all night long."
This would seem to fall under some Federal regulations requiring permits for operations intended to influence the weather, although I can find no indications that Nissan has applied for any such. And out in Middle of Nowhere County, Mississippi, does anybody really think that minor interests like "the people who live there" are going to override the clout of a car manufacturer?

Naw, I didn't think so either. But you know how we keep being reminded that "local government is closer to the people, so it's more responsive."

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Alpo Accounts: Just because Bush screwed the pooch doesn't mean the Republicans aren't still trying to fuck us 

As Josh Marshall reminds us.

The Democrats have a plan. It's called "Social Security."

The Republicans have a plan. It's called "hand your guaranteed retirement over to our campaign contributors from Wall Street.

And even though Bush failed to catapult the propaganda, the House Republicans have regrouped and are going to try to move a bill. It's essential that the bill never reaches a conference committee, because when it does, the Republicans will get together with the Wall Street lobbyists and rewrite the bill in the dead of night (eliminating any "compromises" the Dems were stupid enough to make, Joe Lieberman).

Republicans to America: Let's you and him fight (in Iraq) 

Let's watch the party of personal responsibility try to shift blame for breaking the Army. Not a pretty sight:

Several Senate Republicans denounced other lawmakers and the news media on Thursday for unfavorable depictions of the Iraq war and the Pentagon urged members of Congress to talk up military service to help ease a recruiting shortfall.

"Talk up" military service... Not, of course, volunteer themselves or their children... But then I suppose, like Dick "Go Fuck Yourself" Cheney, they have "other priorities."

Families are discouraging young men and women from enlisting "because of all the negative media that's out there," Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said at a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Yep, they're traitors if you ask me. Why, if the media weren't so darn informative negative, we'd still be hearing about all the flowers the Iraqis are throwing us!

Inhofe also said that other senators' criticism of the war contributed to the propaganda of U.S. enemies. He did not name the senators.

Obviously the latest salvo in Karl "Grub Man" Rove's coordinated "stab in the back"(back) campaign.

Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker urged members of Congress to use "your considerable influence to explain to the American people and to those that are influencers out there how important it is for our young people to serve this nation at a time like this."

Yeah, Bush has a lot of 'splainin' to do, alright... And "influence," eh? Not, of course, actually volunteer yourself, or send your children...

The Army on Wednesday said it was 14 percent, or about 7,800 recruits, behind its year-to-date recruitment target even though it exceeded its monthly target in June. With extended deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, recruiting also is down for the National Guard and the Reserves.
(via AP)

They exceeded the June goal because (in typical Bush fashion) they moved the goalposts. Unfortunately, war is a lot less forgiving than the budgetary processsss

Back in election 2004, I kept hearing about how hot Jenna and Not Jenna were. But now, they seem to have dropped completely from sight. I wonder why that is? Have they decided on careers yet? Their country needs them!

You know, the 101st Fighting Keyboarders, the Gucci-clad fully paid up members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, the Sons and Daughters of Rich Fucks, and the party of [spinning in his grave] Lincoln—none of them have any skin in the game. So where do they get off asking others to volunteer? Say, where are the megachurches on this one? Why doesn't [cough] Doctor James Dobson start holding recruiting drives?

NOTE Gosh, I think I'm letting my emotions run away with me on this one, and being just a little unfair. After all, the Pentagon even set up a a web site to support the troops! It's hard to imagine anything more supportive than that! And my goodness, does it feel good to press that SEND button... (Say, I wonder how much money that could have been spent on body armor went to the web designers... Oh, I'm sorry. I'm being unfair again.)

Support for Impeachment higher now than it was in December 1998 

We've all seen this from Zogby today, right?:
In a sign of the continuing partisan division of the nation, more than two-in-five (42%) voters say that, if it is found that President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should hold him accountable through impeachment. While half (50%) of respondents do not hold this view, supporters of impeachment outweigh opponents in some parts of the country.
Well, how does this compare to the Clinton impeachment?

Thersites points us to the numbers:
"ABC News Poll. December 16, 1998. N=510 adults nationwide.

"As you may know, the House of Representatives is expected to vote soon on whether or not to impeach Bill Clinton. If the House impeaches him, the Senate will hold a trial to decide whether or not Clinton should be removed from office. Based on what you know, do you think the House should or should not impeach Clinton?"
Should 40
Should not 58
No opinion 2
In short, support for Chimpy's impeachment is now higher than it was for Clinton's impeachment even after a six-year campaign accusing of Clinton of everything from murder to drug-running to causing it to rain.

Do you expect the press to say a damned thing about this?

Well of course not.

I hope I'm wrong.

When The Foo Shat On The Other Guy's Foot 

Alert reader, Hobson, sent me the following reminder of another time and place:

"Liberals saw the savagery of Slobodan Milosevic, first in Bosnia, then in Kosovo and prepared for war.

Consevatives saw the savagery of Milosevic and they said, "Give peace a chance."

No kidding.

Of course it was all a bit more complicated than that.

President Clinton had hesitated before taking action on the Bosnian nightmare until '95, despite having criticized the first Bush administration's passivity in the face of rape camps, mass graves and other similar horrors not seen in Europe since WW2.

The Republican Senate leader, Bob Dole was among the strongest voices to demand that something be done to stop the slaughter of Bosnian Muslims, if not by direct intervention, then by a US led campaign to lift the arms embargo which was keeping only the Muslim side from procuring arms, and leaving them defenseless against the onslaught of a well-armed Serbian army and its Bosnian Serbian militias. There was also the added complication of Croatia's entrance into the fray, committing it's own savagery, mainly against the Serbs.

Still, it is fair to say that Clinton, having acted in Bosnia, learned the lessons of dealing with Milosevic, and when he threatened to make another Bosnia of Kosovo, where the majority population of ethnic Albanian Muslims had been struggling to preserve their most basic human rights in a decade-long non-violent campaign of resistance to the tyranny of the ruling Serb minority, Clinton included the threat of military action to back up the year-long attempts by the State Department and General Clark, then the Supreme Commander of the NATO forces, to solve the conflict through negotiation.

When violence against Muslim Kosovars accelerated throughout late 1998, and then in early '99 Serbian fighting forces started to gather on the northern border of Kosovo, Clinton, having rallied the support of all the NATO nations, while managing to secure the unofficial acquiescence of the UN, demanded that either Milosevic must agree to withdraw all of his forces by a date-certain and to let an international peace-keeping force enter Kosovo or he must be prepared to face the certain prospect of an allied bombing campaign against broadly defined military targets inside of Serbia.

Hobson also pointed me to this Slate article from May of 1999, in which William Saleten had some fun playing vice versa with the Republican response to Clinton's Kosovo campaign, first positing the Saleten view of what are the major tropes common to all American anti-war movements, and then illustrating that in this instance it was the Republicans who were leading one that fit that pattern perfectly.

There's much in the column to disagree with, particularly the notion that Democrats and Republicans were being equally as hypocritical in their reversal of roles from the first Gulf War to the Kosovo campaign, (among other differences, once the bombing of Baghdad started in '91, no Democrat did anything to undermine or bad mouth American efforts to get Saddam out of Kuwait), but you should read it to remind yourself of how extreme were the actions and words of those same Republicans who are now accusing Democrats of giving aid and comfort to the enemy, although nothing that Democrats have done or said about Iraq could be considered anywhere near as corrosive and undermining as was the Republican opposition to what our military forces were attempting to achieve in the skies over Kosovo and Serbia.

It was Trent Lott who wanted to give peace a chance in 1999, and yes those were the very words he used, although, as Hobson notes, there's no evidence Lott sang them.

This was within weeks of the start of the bombing campaign, and while Serbian forces were completing the violent ethnic cleansing of one million Muslim Kosovars, who had been forced on trains, onto buses, or to pile what few possessions they could carry with them and to walk away, leaving their homes, their papers, in some cases their loved ones, to seek refuge in the empty border regions between Kosovo and Albania.
The president ought to open up negotiations and come to some sort of diplomatic end." Lott implored Clinton to "give peace a chance" and, comparing the war with the recent Colorado high-school shootings, urged him to resolve the Kosovo conflict with "words, not weapons."


Unless Clinton finds "a way to get the bombing stopped" and to "get Milosevic to pull back his troops" voluntarily, NATO faces "a quagmire ... a long, protracted, bloody war," warned Lott. Clinton "only has two choices," said DeLay--to "occupy Yugoslavia and take Milosevic out" or "to negotiate some sort of diplomatic end, diplomatic agreement in order to end this failed policy."

And then there was Tom DeLay:
On Fox News Sunday, DeLay blamed the ethnic cleansing on U.S. intervention. "Clinton's bombing campaign has caused all of these problems to explode," DeLay charged in a House floor speech replayed on Late Edition.


DeLay, meanwhile, voted not only against last week's House resolution authorizing Clinton to conduct the air war--which failed on a tie vote--but also in favor of legislation "directing the president ... to remove U.S. Armed Forces from their positions in connection with the present operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."


Clinton "has no plan for the end" and "recognizes that Milosevic will still be in power," added DeLay. "The bombing was a mistake. ... And this president ought to show some leadership and admit it, and come to some sort of negotiated end."

A majority of Republicans had refused to give congressional support to Clinton even while American troops were undertaking military action. They blamed the Clinton administration rather than Serbia for the failure of negotiations. They begged to disagree with military spokesmen who insisted that the air campaign was on target. Republicans sneered when Secretary Cohen insisted that it was Milosevic who had underestimated America and NATO's will to accomplish its objectives, insisting instead that it was Clinton et al who had underestimated Milosevec.

Best of all, Republicans blamed Clinton, not Milosevic, for that ethnic cleansing, which had necessitated a massive emergency construction of temporary camps for a million or so refugees. After all, as Republicans endlessly pointed out, the Serb forces didn't start their campaign of ethnic cleansing until the bombing of Serbia had begun, as if, had NATO backed down, the clearly well-planned Serbian campaign of violence and terror to rid Kosovo of its majority population would not have been carried out.

It should be said that many of the charges made by Republicans were also made by a number of people on the left, although most Democrats and many other liberals supported Clinton's actions. I thought the nay-sayers were wrong. But I saw the intervention as a tragic one, and not a model for future humanitarian interventions. War is always the worst alternative; its necessity almost always results from a failure to deal with a problem when it is solvable by other means.

Interestingly, Republicans paid no price for siding with leftists and against American interests and against an American military that fully supported Clinton's policy.

"What?", you say? Where was Coultergeist, as Hobson likes to refer to Ann?

You're forgetting, this was a "Democrat" president, and Clinton at that. Slick Willy had slipped the bonds of scandal and impeachment. The most corrupt administration in the history of the Republic, as Robert Bork unhesitatingly characterized the Clintons, had defied retribution. What were a million or so Kosovar Muslims, or the reputation of NATO, or the peace and stability of Central Europe, compared with the righteous necessity of all out opposition to all things Clinton all the time?

Think about that for a moment. And then remember the way that right-leaning persons from Andrew Sullivan to Sean Hannity were still able to fain shock at the intensity of Bush-bashing and Bush-hating on the left.

As for that so-called liberal media, as credulous and supportive as they were of Bush after 9/11, they were equally as skeptical and unsupportive of everything said and done in and about Kosovo by Clinton and his administration.

In general, I support skeptical analysis when this nation is called by anyone to undertake a military response to a problem, but in the case of Kosovo, those press voices brought no independent investigation or critical thought to evaluating Clinton's policies; instead, they were content to echo Republican critics.

No surprise, then, that John McCain was a particular favorite of broadcast and cable media. Some things didn't change after 9/111. McCain supported taking on Milosevic, but pronounced Clinton's policy too little, too late; we would need ground troops, he assured any number of Sunday pundits, and sooner or later, Clinton would either come to his senses and agree to that necessity, or lead the American military into a disaster. (Agreeing with McCain, William Kristol, more forward looking than most on the right, cautioned his disapproving fellow conservatives that what Clinton was doing in Kosovo, however incompetently, might be just the kind of thing neo-cons would want to advocate in the future.)

There was an obvious reason why Clinton's Kosovo policy had been shaped around a narrow military option that excluded both the use of ground troops and an invasion of Serbia to unseat Milosevic; only such a narrowly conceived policy had a hope of being supported by all the NATO nations. Nor would maintaining that support be an easy task, since sizable portions of the European electorate were against taking any military action against Serbia.

Yet, not a single interviewer ever asked McCain if he was proposing the US go it alone in Kosovo, and if not, how he would have whipped NATO into line, despite those same media voices' readiness to predict again and again, that NATO's support of its own demands was about to crack.

"War" is by its nature chaotic and the Kosovo campaign was complicated by the limited nature of both its goals and its means, but the US press, repeating Republican talking points rather than doing genuine critical analysis, contributed to a sense that the policy was failing, and sooner or later would have to be abandoned.

One of the major complications was Putin's Russia. A Serbian ally stretching back to WW 2, Russians in large numbers participated in anti-American demonstrations, and Putin made several aggressive, threatening moves, militarily and diplomatically.

The Clinton administration out-maneuvered Putin in the end, but nobody in the media bothered to notice while it was happening. Instead, at every twist and turn in the Kosovo narrative, the media predicted imminent failure. And the derision directed at Clinton as Commander-in-Chief was nothing short of astounding.

My favorite example - the media response to Clinton's trip to several key European capitals and American bases to bolster NATO's resolve and to acknowledge the work being done by our military by thanking the troops who were doing it. These latter stops on the tour were understated affairs, no big speeches, no big media shows, instead, the President had lunch in the mess with the troops, spoke with maintenance crews in hangars.

In one such stop, Clinton was wearing a jacket given to him by one of the aircraft maintenance units, and while he thanked the men and women who were doing the work of persuading Serbia to withdraw from Kosovo, commenting for MSNBC, Chris Matthews and several of the usual pundit turd-mouths were literally laughing at President Clinton, wondering aloud what the troops thought of this draft dodger wearing that military jacket, all this despite the fact that any neutral observer would have noted that the reaction of said troops was deep respect and appreciation for the presence of their Commander-in-Chief. It should also be noted that everywhere Clinton spoke, he reiterated the six points to which Milosevic must accede to stop the bombing campaign, and offered no hint that there was anything about which to negotiate.

No sooner was the President back in Washington than both Sam Donaldson, who had accompanied the President on the trip, and Tim Russert, who hadn't, reported that the administration was looking for a negotiated way out of the quagmire it had created. Li'l Russ' pronouncement was treated like a breaking news story, and John Hockenberry's MSNBC hour was interrupted to accommodate this important bulletin. Donaldson's pronouncment came during the group discussion on "This Week," and no one on the pundit panel thought to ask why President Clinton had gone to such great pains to express publicly his and net's resolve, if both we're getting ready to back down.

In the end, it was Milosevic (accepting all six of NATO's demands) who backed down, and a million Kosovar Muslims walked home.

Since the NATO policy depended on Milosevic coming to believe that neither Clinton nor NATO would crack, it is certainly a fair assumption that the very loud and public lack of support by Republicans of Clinton's Kosovo policy, and the almost entirely negative coverage by the entire media probably added to the length of the bombing campaign. However, I'm glad that no one in the Clinton administration, and no one among Democrats ever made that argument. No aspirations were cast upon the patriotism of any Republican or any press pundit.

Well, I guess some things did change after 9/11.

Republicans, and neo-cons in particular, have continued to devalue the importance of Kosovo, insisting that it had nothing to do with America's own strategic interests. Candidate Bush followed this line through-out his campaign, and Condi Rice, acting as his foreign policy advisor, made a diplomatic booboo by advising that a Bush administration would be withdrawing American troops from their peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. This caused such an angry reaction from the NATO countries supplying the majority of the peacekeepers there that Condi withdrew her observation.

So, let's test the perspicacity of the neo-cons against that of the security-chops-challenged Democrats.

Let's do a thought experiment.

In the late nineties, a group which included all our favorite neo-con heros, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, you name one, the signature is there, sent President Clinton a letter advising him that now would be the time to finish the unfinished work of the first Gulf War by invading Iraq and getting rid of Saddam Hussein once and for all.

Clinton's position had been and continued to be that while regime-change in Iraq was a worthy goal on the basis of Saddam's horrendous human rights record and his habit of starting wars with or invading his neighbors, it could only be accomplished by a genuine Iraqi opposition which had some support within the country. The administration's evaluation of the Iraqi exile communities who were then answering the call was one of skepticism.

Let us suppose a different response from Clinton. Suppose he had heeded the call of the neo-cons and spent his final years in office leading the country in an invasion of Iraq? Ask yourself if there is any conceivable way such a strategy would have avoided 9/11? Ask yourself if it would have been an effective way to diminish the influence around the Muslim world of Al Queda? Ask yourself if it would have lead to an effective strategy for countering the Taliban or ending the safe passage Al Queda had through-out Afghanistan?

Now think back to our situation post 9/11. Imagine that in the heart of Europe, there were now permanent refugee camps, like the ones in the Middle East in which a million Muslims found themselves in a permanent diaspora. Can anyone in their right mind say that such a situation would have had no strategic importance in that famous neo-con formulation, the GWOT?

Just asking. (Feel free to use comments)

I'll tell you what was different after 9/11. The competent, pragmatic liberal/centrist Clinton/Gore administration was replaced by the incompetent, ideologically extreme, rightwing Bush administration, which didn't have a clue how to stop 9/11, and hasn't had a clue how to respond to 9/11 in ways that strengthen rather than weaken the security of this country, and offer an effective counter to Jihadist Muslim fundamentalism.


Mush from the loser (via The Man In The Grey Turtleneck. Saw his photo in Metro the other day, right before his testimony. Has he arrived, or what?)

You Can't Make This Stuff Up. 

F.B.I Death Squad Unit to be headed by famed human rights pioneer John Negroponte.

Ok, now I'm REALLY gone for the holiday.

Escape From The Giant Robots 

It's been pretty sparse posting at my own home-sweet-homesite and The American Street, though I try to make more regular contributions at corrente as I can. This is the end of the fiscal year, a time of inevitably intense ratcheting-up of tasks at the place where I do that voodoo that I do so well for a union paycheck that has been shrinking like a frightened turtle under the past years of Bush's fuck-you economic kiss-off to the states. And for those of us for whom this blogging gig is merely an act of love, sometimes real life just has to come first.

But in another 24 hours or so I'll be putting it all behind me to head for the Adirondacks and hide out on an island for the national birthday---a place you can only get to by kayak, where the views will look something like this:


We will then pitch our tent, and weather willing, lay back under the Milky Way (which I can never see where I live) with homemade sangria, and put all this madness aside for a little while. We will read nothing but field guides, listen to nothing but loons and an ocasional wolf, and pretend for a little while that the world is a safer place than it is, or at least only dangerous in a way that makes sense.

martian3 If I were planning to stay home for the holiday, I might get out and give "War of the Worlds" a shot. I'm not a big Tom Cruise fan, and Spielberg's hothouse perfections can really grate, but the advance word intrigues the misanthrope in me. The H.G. Wells novel is a sustained threnody of terror that plugs directly into that part of the unconscious where fear of spiders and falling out of trees resides. What could be more frightening than the unstoppable onslaught of monstrous mechanical things aping vague life-forms, spreading through the countryside and targeting you for death simply because you live? (Seeing enemy tanks and APVs rumbling through your hometown probably does the same thing, except that it's real, and we do it to ourselves, over and over and over again).

venusrob One of the most terrifying and fascinating movies I remember seeing as a little kid was about giant robots who came to a city and laid waste to the inhabitants. Where did they come from? Why did they hate us? There were no answers, and none needed in that Cold War era of permanent paranoia. I grew up learning that simply being alive was enough to make those not like me want to kill me, whether they were giant robots or Russians. And what better time to re-visit those old horrors than in this brave new world of terrorism-with-a-trademark, where George Bush is working hard to give us the same free-floating anxieties that worked so well for Harry Truman, and have bloated to bursting the thousand defense industries that profited so greatly during the last World War?

Mushroom%20_Cloud The Village Voice's reviewer, Michael Atkinson, makes much of Spielberg's harkening back to 9/11; the destruction in the movie seems possibly exploitive to him. But any movie whose central premise is mass destruction will have scenes that you can't help link to 9/11. And we do have a predilection for that sort of cinematic bombast considerably predating 2001. (Strange, isn't it, that one of the two years we link to literature and cinema--"1984", "2001: A Space Odyssey"--has turned out to have been a harbinger after all;. just not the kind Stanley Kubrick intended.) More likely to me is that we externalize our fears into the stories we tell ourselves, and nowhere is that more obvious than in horror movies and books. If nothing else, it helps us see ourselves and offers a way to collectively brainstorm solutions by seeding the public consciousness.

On the other hand, if all this is too much like fantasy, there is always James Wolcott's favorite buzzkill, Jim Kunstler, inveighing against our fossil fuel-guzzling ways over at Clusterfuck Nation:
"Oil's remorseless up-ratcheting past $60 is as much a symptom of a weak dollar as a strained global energy allocation system, and the dollar is weakening because the way of life it represents is becoming more and more unreal. The harsh truth is that we've reached the limit of our ability to expand our suburban sprawl economy and there is no alternative US economy in the background ready to take its place. The world can't fail to notice this weakness. The inability to generate even fake wealth, in the form of ever more WalMarts, will take its toll on the consensus that the American Dream has enduring value.
The stock market contraction ought to reflect this reality -- apart from desperate attempts by US government proxies to levitate share prices -- and it is hard to imagine a rally in the face of $60 oil. I'm inclined to predict a gruesome journey down for the Dow Jones into the 4000 range by the end of the year. Until now the dollars created by the Federal Reserve's supernaturally loose credit policy have sought shelter in the "hard assets" of houses? A meltdown of the stock markets will translate into vanishing leverage in all other areas of finance, especially in real estate (as well as a swath of destruction through hedge funds, retirement accounts and, eventually, the entire creaking superstructure of the hallucinated mortgage industry). A few Americans are actually going to get the message that this is not a good time to buy an overpriced raised ranch house. A lot of real estate geniuses are going to witness their own ruin with wonder and nausea."
Ah. Good times, eh? Who needs a giant robot or a fleet of homicidal alien APVs when we've got...humanity!

And that's why I'm going to paddle off into the sunset and forget all this. See you next week.

(Posted originally today at my own site for obvious reasons.)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Gates Of Bushomon 

rashomon From last night’s patented Bush bombast, declamation, diatribe, disquisition, dissertation, eulogy, exhortation, harangue, homily, invocation, lecture, opus, oration, oratory, panegyric, pep talk, pitch, prelection, recitation, rhetoric, skull session, soapbox oration, spiel, stump, and tirade:
“Marking the first anniversary of the transfer of power from the U.S.-led coalition to Iraq’s interim government, Bush cited advances in the past year. These included elections in January that drew 8 million men and women voters; improvements to roads, schools, health clinics and basic services like sanitation, electricity and water; and gains in the number and quality of Iraqi security forces who “are proving their courage every day.”
From The Weekly Telegraph, courtesy Hobson:
“But the mood in the city is increasingly one of desperation. While residents wait in vain for promised reconstruction projects to materialise, the government cannot even agree on the make-up of the committee to draw up a new constitution, let alone its contents.
Sovereignty was returned to the Iraqi people from the occupying administration a year ago. But electricity output in the capital has decreased in the past five months - averaging only 854 megawatts per day now, compared with 2,500 megawatts before the war. The rationing system for sugar and baby milk collapsed at the beginning of the year, forcing many to go without.
Sadr City, the vast slum in the capital's west, is in the grip of a hepatitis outbreak. Forty per cent of Baghdad's homes have reported sewage on the streets. Fresh water had finally returned to most of the city by last night - but for only two hours a day.”
Today’s profiles from Iraq on BBC World Service:
“I'm Um Mustafa. I work in a salon for the ladies. And how are things? There is no electricity, no water, the heat is killing us.”

“When I reached the gas station, it didn't take me long to change my mind about buying fuel. The queue of cars stretching back hundreds of metres and the prospect of waiting hours in the burning sun made me decide to turn to the black market.
Black market fuel is about four times more expensive than the gas station.
With Baghdadis getting about six to eight hours of electricity every 24 hours, people are much more reliant on generators at home. This increases the demand on fuel."

"We are trying to create something from nothing. We don't have even adequate materials, equipments, drugs, or the simplest things we need in our work, or even proper theatres for minor or major surgery or enough emergency staff.”
From last night's Bush violin concerto:
“Finally, we have continued our efforts to equip and train Iraqi security forces. We've made gains in both the number and quality of those forces.”
From the Philadelphia Inquirer, courtesy last night’s post by Lambert:
“Iraqi and American officials said the killings were not being investigated systematically, but in dozens of interviews with families and Iraqi officials, and a review of medical records, a reporter and two special correspondents found more than 30 examples of this type of killing in less than a week. They include 12 cases with specific dates, times, names and witnesses who said they might come forward if asked by law-enforcement officials.
The Interior Ministry, which oversees the Iraqi police, denies any involvement in the killings. But eyewitnesses said that many of those who turned up dead had been apprehended by large groups of men driving white Toyota Land Cruisers with police markings. The men were wearing police commando uniforms and bulletproof vests, carrying expensive 9-millimeter Glock pistols and using sophisticated radios, the witnesses said.
If the killers are proven to be Sunni insurgents masquerading as Shiite police, that would raise troubling questions about how insurgents are getting expensive new police equipment. The Toyotas, which cost more than $55,000 apiece, and Glocks, at about $500 each, are hard to come by in Iraq, and they are rarely used by anyone other than Western contractors and Iraqi security forces.
Further evidence that a police force created, trained and funded by the United States has been abusing human rights, on the other hand, would complicate the Bush administration's efforts to muster greater domestic support for its Iraq policy and more international support for the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari”
And with a flourish of a wind-up pitch, Bush finished up:
“But Americans have always held firm, because we have always believed in certain truths. We know that if evil is not confronted, it gains in strength and audacity and returns to strike us again. We know that when the work is hard, the proper response is not retreat, it is courage. And we know that this great ideal of human freedom entrusted to us in a special way and that the ideal of liberty is worth defending.”
But back on February 7, 2002, he was thinking hard about how too much idealism might be more than we could handle:
“I also accept the legal conclusion of the Department of justice and determine that common Article 3 of Geneva does not apply to either al Qaeda or Taliban detainees, because, among other reasons, the relevant conflicts are international in scope and common article 3 applies
only to ‘armed conflict not of an international character’.
d. Based on the facts supplied by tbe Department of Defense and the recommendation of the Department of Justice, I determine that the 'Taliban detainees. are unlawful combatants and, therefore, do not qualify as prisoners of war under Article 4 of Geneva. I note that, because Geneva does not apply to our conflict with al Qaeda, al Qaeda detainees also do not qualify as prisoners of war.”
Freedom always spreads a little more freely when you grease the knife with blood.


Gee, we've been living in Canada a whole week, and my commitment to my spouse is already being undermined:

Canada is on its way to becoming the third country in the world to openly embrace homosexual marriage after the House of Commons gave its final approval last night to a bill that changes the definition to include same-sex couples.


But, just as there were celebrations, so too was there a feeling of dejection and loss among those who had worked hard to block the bill. Religious groups held prayer vigils after the final count was read and other opponents who had crowded the public gallery of the Commons walked quietly away.

Conservative Vic Toews, who has fervently opposed same-sex marriage, said he does not think the issue is closed.

"There are still a lot of concerns about how effective this bill is going to be in terms of protecting religious freedoms," he said. "What I have heard from people right across this country is, they're very unhappy with the way the Liberal government has rammed this matter through."
(via Globe and Mail)

Look for "scholarly" studies in the years to come, tracing every blip in the (hetero) Canadian divorce rate to the gays and their subversive connubial happiness.

Inquiring Minds And All That 

As I was otherwise engaged with at my local Belgian bar, I happily missed Dear Leader's marketing campaign. I understand that the networks caved and they all put him on. Just skimming the NYTimes this a.m. (I"m rushing) I gather he did what he always does so well: extolled the joys of other people dying for some bullshit excuse, and kicked dirt over the scatpile of his own lies and incompetence by exhorting Americans to stop expecting accountability from him ("The past is the past").
More on this later, when I can, but let me ask for some reader feedback---How did you feel about the speech? What did it say to you? How did he look to you? What sense did you get of his captive audience? Were they behind him, or just going through the motions? What did you read on their faces? And how was it spun afterward by the lapdog press?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

This picture needs a caption 


Well, another caption. This is Bush during his Big Speech at Fort Bragg. Somehow, I think He got the idea that His speech wasn't going over too well.

My B.S.S. is spiking again! 

Yeah, I gave in and read the transcript. That's sure better than throwing things at the radio. Who knew so much delusion and mendacity could be packed into a mere 28 minutes? Anyhow, I grabbed for the bucket when I heard this line:

{BUSH] We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves.
(via Think Progress)

Two words: Where's Jenna?

Three Words: Where were you?

Four Words: You're shitting me, right?

I mean, now we know "the intelligence and facts were fixed around the policy." And we knew then (because some Gucci-clad winger left his PowerPoint slides in a Starbucks) that Bush rolled out the war vote to win the 2002 mid-terms.

So how do you ask anyone to give their lives for a cause like that? Has the man no decency or honor at all?

The party of ideas 

From a review of Klein's vengeful screed on Hillary, which is flying off the shelves straight into the sweaty hands of the mouthbreathers:

The real reason such conservatives frequently wear Gucci loafers is that they cannot tie their own shoes.

[Rimshot. Laughter. "Thanks, you've been a great audience!"]

Al Franken? Molly Ivins?

WaPo's Richard Cohen.

The thing about the Republican Noise Machine is that it's so damn tiring. All volume, all the time. Like some asshole screaming into his cellphone for hour after hour, right next to you. And maybe, just maybe, people are getting tired of these guys. The worms turn slowly, but they do turn...

Gee, I missed Inerrant Boy's Big Speech 

Anyone notice if he was using the earpiece this time, too?

UPDATE Looks like Bush has lost the military:

Bush's audience Tuesday evening was unusually quiet while the president spoke, however, applauding in unison after one key passage, as if on cue, and then at the end.
(via WaPo)

Part of me wishes they'd slow-clapped Him...

Yet another family values Republican 

"Woe to you, Pharisees, hypocrites"!

Republican U.S. Rep. Donald L. Sherwood projected an image as homespun as this pocket-size town tucked in the Endless Mountains: family-focused, industrious, traditional values.

So imagine their surprise, residents say, upon hearing allegations starting this spring of a five-year, sometimes violent affair with a Peruvian woman less than half his age, Cynthia M. Ore.

"Can't picture the man doing that," said Shirley Swartz, working the counter at Gable's Bakery. "He has a very good reputation, a very moral person. That is what we always thought: a good family man."

"If he admitted it up front [that] he made a mistake, no problem," said George L. Stonier, 42, an appliance repairman and Republican who has voted for Sherwood. "Now he's got himself in a jam because he didn't admit it. It's funny because he touts 'family values' and he is not family values."

Sherwood [64] Ore [29] met at a 1999 Young Republicans event.
(via the Inkwire)

Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

Sherwood was trawling for jailbat at a Young Republicans event...

How low can you go?

Looks like Negroponte was in Iraq to set up death squads 

After all, we do what we're good at, and Negroponte did have experience, from the last time the US fought a dirty war:

ys after Iraq's new Shiite-led government was announced on April 28, the director of Baghdad's central morgue began noticing that the bodies of Sunni Muslim men were turning up after the men had been detained by people wearing Iraqi police uniforms.

Faik Baqr, who is also the chief forensic investigator at the morgue, said the corpses first caught his attention because the men appeared to have been killed in methodical fashion. They were blindfolded and their hands had been tied or handcuffed behind their backs, Baqr said. In most cases, the morgue director said, the dead men looked as if they had been whipped with a cord, subjected to electric shocks or beaten with a blunt object and shot to death, often with a single bullet to the head.

Iraqi and American officials said the killings were not being investigated systematically, but in dozens of interviews with families and Iraqi officials, and a review of medical records, a reporter and two special correspondents found more than 30 examples of this type of killing in less than a week. They include 12 cases with specific dates, times, names and witnesses who said they might come forward if asked by law-enforcement officials.
(via Filthydelphia Inkwire)

Iraq civil war, here we come....

The Good Die, The Evil Live On 

R.I.P. Shelby Foote, a true gentleman, an exquisite teller of tales, and a shining example of all that's right and decent in the South. He was also the cousin of Horton Foote, who wrote the magical screenplay for To Kill A Mockingbird. I discovered him, like many, when I watched Ken Burns' Civil War, and fell under the spell of his soft drawl, kind manner, and sharp intelligence.

Good people keep dying, while the ugly live on. Speaking of which, if you know what's good for you tonight you'll take a tip from me and eschew torturing yourselves in front of the TV waiting for Bush to give you a stroke, and instead spend the evening drinking fine Belgian beers and eating frites in a dark friendly bar. As I will be doing. Soon. Not soon enough.

An address to the nation? Really? 

Since when is an address to folks who are under orders to clap (and are essentially being paid to clap) considered an "Address to the Nation?" (You can go read this rather typical fluff piece about what the soldiers at Fort Bragg hope to hear.)

And since when would such a pathetic thing be televised on a national network? ABC should be embarrassed. It doesn't appear the other three (even Fox!) are going to carry it.

But I digress. Isn't it astonishing that this president will only talk to a hand-picked audiences of people who all agree with him -- or are being paid to pretend they do?

This president really is in a world all his own, huh? I've never seen a president this isolated from the American people. Well, um, since Nixon anyway.

And you know what the funniest part is? Whenever Chimpy opens his mouth to try and stem the approval rating bleeding it always fails miserably.

I expect W's approval ratings to be in the upper 30s within a month or two. (Ruy Teixeira has been expecting this for a few days now.)

They're floundering, folks.

As Atrios often says, pass the popcorn.

Victory Isn't Permanent 

The ditch is maybe a hundred yards long where it was choked up with Russian Olive (via (you can find out more about this nasty beast at PCA Alien Plant Working Group - Russian-Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)) and it is now clear of them.

Until they come back. Because they surely will. Couldn’t get the roots out completely. (No salt cedar here yet, gracias. The old folks tell me the Russian Olives keep them away. Hm.)

Even with gloves and long sleeves the thorns ate me up. Cutting, chopping and burning.

As with Lambert’s tomato theory below, I was reminded of an analogy.

An invasive species is imported from Europe in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s as an “ornamental.” (Smells real good in the summer when it blooms.) It soon spreads to take over all of the native areas it can find and will grow well in, which is just about everywhere. No matter how long and hard you battle it, it always sprouts back up, even right in your own back yard as it plays on every vulnerability of the riparian system.

This is why, I realized suddenly, that it was stupid of me to think that any lasting victory had been won back in the 60’s and 70’s. Of course they would come back and try to choke off the rivers of justice rolling down like mighty waters.

And yet the native species live on, and come back, and we have much to learn from them about survival and retaking what is good and right.

And many ditches to clear. But the local party is slowly but surely coming together around our new chair, and already we are beginning to canvass for ’06 candidates locally, floating names for county commissioners, school boards, etc.

The cottonwoods will return, and offer shade. But it’s hard work and the invasive species are always there, waiting.

Press-Gang, Anyone? 

In February 2003, Acting Director of the Selective Service System Lewis Brodsky met with a small group of high-level DoD and SSS participants to propose the reinstitution of the draft and its expansion to include older draftees and women. While this was much played down as merely bureaucratic woolgathering and given barely any notice by the media, it continues to haunt us.
Now Bob Herbert wants you to know that he thinks the draft may be coming back:
"Now, with the war going badly and the Army chasing potential recruits with a ferocity that is alarming, a backlash is developing that could cripple the nation's ability to wage war without a draft. Even as the ranks of new recruits are dwindling, many parents and public school officials are battling the increasingly heavy-handed tactics being used by military recruiters who are desperately trying to sign up high school kids.
"I started getting calls and people coming to the school board meeting testifying that they were getting inundated with phone calls from military recruiters," said Sandra Lowe, a board member and former president of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District in California.
She said parents complained that in some schools "the military recruiters were on campus all the time," sometimes handing out "things that the parents did not want in their homes, including very violent video games."
Ms. Lowe said she was especially disturbed by a joint effort of the Defense Department and a private contractor, disclosed last week, to build a database of 30 million 16- to 25-year-olds, complete with Social Security numbers, racial and ethnic identification codes, grade point averages and phone numbers. The database is to be scoured for youngsters that the Pentagon believes can be persuaded to join the military.
"To have this national data collection is just over the top," Ms. Lowe said."
He goes on to link (gotta love it when the Gray Lady links!) to an organization called Leave My Child Alone, whose purpose is to stop such unwanted military recruitment and help parents and students fight back, and on whose site you'll find this explanation:
"Buried deep within the No Child Left Behind Act is a provision that requires public high schools to hand over private student information to military recruiters. The purpose of this invasion of family privacy is to allow minor students to be recruited at home by telephone calls, mail and personal visits. If a school does not comply, it risks losing vital federal education funds. The only way to keep your children’s contact information from military recruiters, is to submit an Opt-out” letter in writing to your school district’s superintendent."
I'll spare you the endless links proving Herbert's point, that the successful rate of luring new conscripts is dive-bombing along with troop morale as the American disapproval of the war effort rises. There are plenty out there.

Unless we find a way to staunch the flow of human cannon fodder into Iraq, the draft is inevitable. And this lame duck president is just the one to give it to us as his final going-away present.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Summer tomatoes 

I actually had a garden once, back in the day when I was coming up and freelancing and could be out in the sun during the day. I was living in a neighborhood with Portuguese who fermented their own wine, had grape arbors in their back yards, grew their own vegetables.... One day, one of the grandfathers silently beckoned me into his potting shed—he didn't speak English—and showed me his secret: Miracle Gro.

So I determined to be part of the neighborbood and have a garden, and spent many hours in the sun removing rocks, broken glass, auto parts, athletic shoes, rusty nuts and bolts, and other fruits of the good earth from the dirt in my back yard.

Unfortunately, my yard was infested with Japanese bamboo—an invasive perennial that looks like bamboo and can grow fifteen feet tall; one hot afternoon I swear it grew several inches when I turned my back on it for a moment. And soon, shoots of Japanese bamboo began to sprout from my freshly turned soil.

Before I planted anything, I determined to terminate the Japanese bamboo with extreme prejudice. I cut it down; it grew right back. I sprayed it with weedkiller; it put forth new shoots. Where I ripped out one by the roots, two sprouted. When I hacked all its roots into small chunks with a spade, from each chunk a whole new plant shot up.

Finally I decided to go ahead and plant my tomatoes anyhow, and Lo! The tomato plants grew even more rapidly than the Japanese bamboo! And the tomato plants spread out leafy green, and shadowed the ground. Denied sun, the Japanese bamboo shoots grew pale, and thin, and withered, and died.

The tomatoes took over the yard, and in the fall we had a great harvest. There's nothing better than a fresh tomato slice with a little salt and pepper, maybe a slice of mozzarella.

This is a true story. But it's also a parable:

The Japanese bamboo, the "invasive perennial," is the Republicans, and how they operate.

The tomato plants, that put the Japanese bamboo in the shade, and killed it, are the Democratic institutions that we have to grow.

And the harvest is the victory we have to earn.

Il faut cultiver notre jardin.

This picure needs a caption! 


Memories of Howard Johnson During 11th Grade While Riding Aimlessly Down Back Country Roads And Singing Popular Broadway Tunes 


The lousiness of the
political climate rises
in direct proportion to
the amount of craving I
have for pistachio ice cream
with hot fudge sauce.

"Hot Fudge" by Aaron Fink

The curious incident of the chief justice who did not bark in the night 

Or retire, either.

Aaaw, no court nomination fight?

And why? Rehnquist's got cancer; why doesn't he retire? Could it be that he doesn't want Bush to name his successor?

A good day at the court for the realtiy-based community 

No theocratic paraphernalia in the nation's courtrooms.

Maybe Judy Miller will serve time. And it couldn't happen to a nicer whore.

Buckle Up, Kids 

So the administration has made its propaganda paradigm shift at last, no doubt prompted by Dick Cheney's blithe remarks that the insurgency is in its last throes:
"President Bush struck back Friday against growing calls to schedule a U.S. pullout from Iraq, vowing there would be no timetable to withdraw troops.
To do so would be "conceding too much to the enemy," Bush said at a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari at the White House.---Bush, Friday"
"That insurgency can go on for any number of years," Rumsfeld said in a U.S. television interview. "Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years. Foreign forces are not going to repress that insurgency---Rumsfeld, Sunday"
This is the gauntlet Bush has finally thrown down: we're not going anywhere. And if anyone thinks we can stay in that hellhole for "5, 6, 8, 10, 12 years" without a draft, they're living in a fantasy world.

The draft is coming, regardless of how the government spins it. And that is when Americans will fold this hand and cut their losses, once the bodies and the the wounded pile up so high not even George Bush will be able to spin them away. And when they do, they won't give a shit whether we've left any infrastructure in place to keep the whole country from turning into a black hole of civil war. And all we'll have accomplished with this foul agression will have been to make the people we are so afraid of hate us even more. Even Clear Channel and Fox News won't help us then.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

So,if you want a culture of life, that means universal health coverage, right? 

All are lives are equally precious, right?

So that would mean that the everyone should have the same right to medical care, wouldn't it?

Or is it OK with your God that people without insurance might die?

Even the Republicans say Santorum crossed the line 

Dana Milbank slightly redeems himself for trashing John Conyers with the following:

The Republican-controlled state House of Representatives in Pennsylvania took the paddle last week to its home-state junior senator. Santorum, of the aforementioned Hitler controversy, had received tens of thousands of dollars from Penn Hills School District, outside Pittsburgh, for tuition for his children to attend online charter schools called cyberschools. One problem: Although the Santorums own a house in Penn Hills, they live most of the time in Northern Virginia, where their children are home-schooled. In a bill inspired by the Santorum case, the House voted 175 to 24 to restrict eligibility for such payments to people who actually reside in the state. The measure now goes to the state Senate.
(via WaPo)

Oh well. Look, I'm a taxpayer, and I'm happy to support Sen. Santorum (R-Man on Dog) and his children wherever they live and whether they go to school or not; in fact, as a [cough] Christian like Senator Santorum, it's my duty to do so. I only wish I could give more. And if Senator Santorum wants to give his kids extra credit for holding the dead fetus he was passing around, well, that's OK by me too!

Bush tries to get out in front of the torture issue 

Man, he sounds like Jimmy Carter!

In a statement to mark United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Bush said: "Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right, and we are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law."

"America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies," Bush said in the statement.
(via Reuters)

Bush seems to have lost his touch. This won't help him with the base at all, and the rest of us already know not to believe a word that He says.

However, I find myself strangely in agreement with Bush when he says: "[No] human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies." Especially bullies like Dick "Go Fuck Yourself" Cheney and Karl "Grub Man" Rove, not to mention The Boy Emperor himself.

How Come Liberal Democrats Hate The Military When There Are So Many Of THEM In The Military? 

The clever folks at CORKED BATS , a clever new blog which has already been nominated for the Nobel Prize for Blogging, (and why not when your local congressperson can nominate you for the Nobel in Medicine), have just shown that they may well deserve something akin to a Nobel by way of their having had the brilliant idea of setting up a blog for military personnel to record their thoughts about Karl Rove and his recent remarks at a GOP fund-raiser.

It will be no surprise to those of us who have always understood what utter crap is the rightwing characterization of itself as pro-military that all kinds of military personnel and their families who consider themselves to be liberal, or to be old-fashioned enough conservatives to not fancy that the other half of America is their sworn enemy, have shown up at TAKING THE FIGHT TO KARL to express their disgust and anger directly to Mr. Rove.

I'll have more to say in a later post about the constant mis-characterization of the right as pro-military, and of the left as anti-military, but for now let me pose this question: how concerned could about troop morale can Mr. Rove really be when he makes a statement meant to get lots of coverage to the effect that half of all Americans support a political party whose leadership is motivated by a desire to heighten the risk of injury to American soldiers in Iraq?

Read what actual soldiers and their actual families have to say about Mr. Rove, let the Corked Bat gang know what a good idea they had, and maybe offer a small contribution, and most important, tell anyone you know who is in the military, has ever been in the military, or the family member of such a person, who are also either Democrats, or the kind of of Republican whom Dwight D. Eisenhower was, to go over to the new website and give a talking to Mr. Rove.

Rummy sets a timetable 

It's a l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g timetable, but a timetable it is:

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Sunday it may take as long as 12 years to defeat Iraqi insurgents and that Iraqi security forces will finish the job because U.S. and foreign troops will have left the country.
(via )

Translation: You're on your own, pal!

Of cours, in reality the timetable is the 2006 election.

OK, we know Rove's plan now 

Rove's plan has two parts:
  1. Cut loose from Iraq before the 2006 elections

  2. Blame the Democrats for the ensuing clusterfuck

Part 2 we've already seen; that's the "Stab in the back" theory that Rove just rolled out. (I mean, how could American possibly screw up a war unless there were a fifth column of traitors, i.e., Democrats. Et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum, ad infinitum. See The Department of Changing the Subject, below).

Part 1 is now coming into view. We saw part 1, as through as glass darkly, where Iraqi President Jafari asked about a "Bush Plan," like the Marshall Plan, for Iraqi reconstruction. Bush was notably silent. News flash, Ibrahim : There ain't gonna be no Bush Plan for you, because the Bush Plan for Bush is to heave you over the side before the Republicans lose any seats in 2006. (Remember, the Republicans don't ever plan to surrender power, which is why they don't care about what they do; they feel they will never be held to account. So when the prospect of losing power gets anywhere close, they become very, very edgy.)

So, ditching the Iraqis won't be a pretty sight. But it's starting now:

LONDON - U.S. officials recently met secretly with Iraqi insurgent commanders at a summer villa north of Baghdad to try to negotiate an end to the bloodshed, a British newspaper reported Sunday.

The insurgent commanders "apparently came face to face" with four American officials during meetings on June 3 and June 13 at a summer villa near Balad, about 25 miles north of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, The Sunday Times newspaper in London said.

The report, which quoted unidentified Iraqis whose groups were purportedly involved in the meetings, said the insurgents at the first meeting included the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, which claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in
Iraq and an attack that killed 22 people in the dining hall of a U.S. base at Mosul last Christmas.

Two others were Mohammed's Army and the Islamic Army in Iraq, which in August reportedly killed Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, the newspaper said.

One American at the talks introduced himself as a
Pentagon representative and declared himself ready to "find ways of stopping the bloodshed on both sides and to listen to demands and grievances," The Sunday Times said.

A senior U.S. official said earlier this month that American authorities have negotiated with key Sunni leaders, who are in turn talking with insurgents and trying to persuade them to lay down their arms. The official, who did not give his name so as not to undercut the new government's authority, did not name the Sunni leaders engaged in dialogue.

Iraq's former electricity minister, Ayham al-Samarie, has told The Associated Press that two insurgent groups — the Islamic Army in Iraq and the Army of Mujahedeen — were willing to negotiate with the Iraqi government, possibly opening a new political front in the country.

Al-Samarie, a Sunni Muslim, said he had established contact with the groups which account for a large part of the Sunni insurgents and were responsible for attacks against Iraqis and foreigners, including assassinations and kidnappings.

A senior Shiite legislator, Hummam Hammoudi, also told AP recently that the Iraqi government had opened indirect channels of communication with some insurgent groups.

The contacts were "becoming more promising and they give us reason to continue," Hammoudi said, without providing details.

U.S. and Iraqi officials also are considering amnesty for their enemies as they look for ways to end the country's rampant insurgency and isolate extremists wanting to start a civil war.
(via AP

Translation: "Mohammed, we need you to help us dig ourselves out of the hole we've dug for ourselves."

No, not a pretty sight. Rummy's lying about all this, of course, but we expect that.

Um, I thought we never negotiated with terrorists? Oh, silly me. IOKIYAR!

NOTE Look for Bush's Big Speech on Tuesday to say the same thing in nicer words.

corrente SBL - New Location
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The Washington Chestnut
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