Out, tawny coats! out, scarlet hypocrite!

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Bush praised President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan,

Bush thanked Nazarbayev for supporting the U.S.-led war in Iraq, for his willingness to fight terrorists and to help neighboring Afghanistan become a stable democracy, and for his “commitment to institutions that will enable liberty to flourish.” Bush offered support for Kazakhstan’s desire to join the World Trade Organization.

Words just fly out of Bush’s mouth like bats out of an old belfry, rational Americans are still trying to figure out what, if anything Bush stands for, Iraq at the Gates of Hell – George Bush’s Iraq in 21 Questions

How many Iraqis are being tortured in Baghdad at present?

Precise numbers are obviously in short supply on this one, but large numbers of bodies are found in and around the capital every single day, a result of the roiling civil war already underway there. These bodies, as Oppel of the Times describes them, commonly display a variety of signs of torture including: “gouged-out eyeballs… wounds… in the head and genitals, broken bones of legs and hands, electric and cigarette burns… acid-induced injuries and burns caused by chemical substances, missing skin… missing teeth and wounds caused by power drills or nails.” The UN’s chief anti-torture expert, Manfred Nowak, believes that torture in

How many American and Iraqi troops and police are now trying to regain control of the capital and suppress the raging violence there?

15,000 U.S. troops, 9,000 Iraqi army soldiers, 12,000 Iraqi national police and 22,000 local police, according to the commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad, Maj. Gen. James Thurman — and yet the mayhem in that city has barely been checked at al

How many terrorists are being killed in Iraq (and elsewhere) in the President’s Global War on Terror?

Less than are being generated by the war in Iraq, according to the just leaked National Intelligence Estimate. As Karen De Young of the Washington Post has written: “The war in Iraq has become a primary recruitment vehicle for violent Islamic extremists, motivating a new generation of potential terrorists around the world whose numbers may be increasing faster than the United States and its allies can reduce the threat, U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded.” It’s worth remembering, as retired Lt. Gen. William Odom, former director of the National Security Agency, told a group of House Democrats this week, that Al Qaeda recruiting efforts actually declined in 2002, only spiking after the invasion of Iraq. Carl Conetta of the Project for Defense Alternatives sums the situation up this way: “The rate of terrorism fatalities for the 59 month period following 11 September 2001 is 250% that of the 44.5 month period preceding and including the 9/11 attacks.”

Bush wants to stay the course. A course that will kill more Americans, more Iraqis, and create more terrorists. How do you have a rational debate with a president that seems insane and supporters who care more about winning the next election and tax cuts more then they do about America. [ Note on Bush’s praise of President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, according to Human Rights Watch,

Human rights abuse against injection drug users and sex workers in Kazakhstan is fueling one of the fastest growing AIDS epidemics in the world and threatening the country’s economic and social development. Human Rights Watch has documented instances of police brutality, lack of due process, harassment and stigmatization that drive drug users and sex workers underground and impede their access to life-saving HIV prevention services.

The E.U.’s caution was well placed, as the Kazakh government has a history of manipulating elections.[2] The September 2003 local council election is the most recent example of what may be expected. According to the opposition, the government attempted to exclude rival candidates from the ballot through harassment and intimidation, including arbitrary misdemeanor and other criminal charges.

Galimzhan Zhakianov, the party’s leader, was jailed in 2002, following an unfair trial on charges that have been widely viewed as selective and politically motivated.

In February 2004 the United States State Department found that “The Government’s human rights record remained poor, and it continued to commit numerous abuses.” In its annual report on the Kazakh government’s rights record, the State Department noted that the government of Kazakhstan “severely limited citizens’ right to change their government and democratic institutions remained weak…

Its a little carnival merry-go-round of hypocritical pontifications, double standards, fabrications, and distortions about democracy and Iraq. If we award plus and minus points and add them all up Bush has achieved less then zero except for people that own lots of Halliburton stock.

Gloucester, thou wilt answer this before the pope.
Winchester goose, I cry, a rope! a rope!
Now beat them hence; why do you let them stay?
Thee I’ll chase hence, thou wolf in sheep’s array.
Out, tawny coats! out, scarlet hypocrite!

from Henry VI by Shakespeare

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But politics won today. Politics won. The Administration got its vote, and now it will have its victory lap

While there was not the kind of carnage we had on 9-11 the Islamofascists struck again today. They meet in Congress with the urging of the great Osama Bin Bush and killed over 200 years of hapeas corpus law. The Islamofascists made striking fear into the electorate their priorty. Fascists have always maintained that the masses are easily manipulated and they proved how right they were today. It was move that according to their calculations will get keep them in power after November. When it comes to understanding and feeding the mob the Islamofascists have been proven to be as clever as any enemy that America has ever faced. Will that victory last? Who knows, many people have let their fears take precedence over their courage and patriotism. They’ve become the great appeasers of our time; one of them one said not long ago something to the effect that what good are your Constitutional rights if you’re dead, so much for freedom being something that is worth fighting for. So hapeas corpus, the Geneva Convention, and the safe guards of judicial review were sacrificed to make scared little wimps feel safe.
Oops, I just looked back over my notes for this post and where it says Islamofascists replace that with right-wing Christianists and where I wrote Osama Bin Bush replace with George W. Bush, that would be a more accurate depiction of what happened today.

The rights that every American lost today were rights that in the not too distant past had deep meaning for many Americans. They were the rights that sustained and informed our values, that we aspired to as indivduals and a nation. Sure sometimes we fell a little short, but outside of the Civil War no great mass of elected leaders ever tied a ball and chain around them and tossed those values, those laws, those gems of American democracy overboard.

From Barack Obama’s speech,

In the five years that the President’s system of military tribunals has existed, not one terrorist has been tried. Not one has been convicted. Not one has been brought to justice. And in the end, the Supreme Court of the United found the whole thing unconstitutional, which is why we’re here today.

We could have fixed all of this in a way that allows us to detain and interrogate and try suspected terrorists while still protecting the accidentally accused from spending their lives locked away in Guantanamo Bay. Easily. This was not an either-or question.

Instead of allowing this President – or any President – to decide what does and does not constitute torture, we could have left the definition up to our own laws and to the Geneva Conventions, as we would have if we passed the bill that the Armed Services committee originally offered.

Instead of detainees arriving at Guantanamo and facing a Combatant Status Review Tribunal that allows them no real chance to prove their innocence with evidence or a lawyer, we could have developed a real military system of justice that would sort out the suspected terrorists from the accidentally accused.

And instead of not just suspending, but eliminating, the right of habeas corpus – the seven century-old right of individuals to challenge the terms of their own detention, we could have given the accused one chance – one single chance – to ask the government why they are being held and what they are being charged with.

But politics won today. Politics won. The Administration got its vote, and now it will have its victory lap, and now they will be able to go out on the campaign trail and tell the American people that they were the ones who were tough on the terrorists.

And yet, we have a bill that gives the terrorist mastermind of 9/11 his day in court, but not the innocent people we may have accidentally rounded up and mistaken for terrorists – people who may stay in prison for the rest of their lives.

And yet, we have a report authored by sixteen of our own government’s intelligence agencies, a previous draft of which described, and I quote, “…actions by the United States government that were determined to have stoked the jihad movement, like the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay…”

And yet, we have Al Qaeda and the Taliban regrouping in Afghanistan while we look the other way. We have a war in Iraq that our own government’s intelligence says is serving as Al Qaeda’s best recruitment tool. And we have recommendations from the bipartisan 9/11 commission that we still refuse to implement five years after the fact.

The problem with this bill is not that it’s too tough on terrorists. The problem with this bill is that it’s sloppy. And the reason it’s sloppy is because we rushed it to serve political purposes instead of getting the job done.

Emphasis mine.
Time was short today, but I did catch a few minutes of Charlie Rose interviewing Lawrence Wright about his book The Looming Tower. I’m not sure how President Clinton’s efforts to deal with the growing threat of al-Queda are dealt with in the book, but in the interview Wright didn’t give Clinton a pass, but did heap a lot of blame on the bumbling of the CIA. Bush didn’t come off too well either as Bush made Bin Laden less of a priority then Condi Rice would have the public believe. She and Bush have been caught in so much hedging at this point only the avid kool-aid drinkers believe anything they say.

Lastly, worth a read if you get the chance, Pen and Sword’s take on the National Intelligence Estimate and the administration’s spin, National Intelligence Estimate: This is the “Good News?” and National Intelligence Estimate: The Enemy Metastasizes

By “fighting them over there” with military force, we’re not taking the “offensive” as young Mister Bush tells us we are. We’re ceding the initiative to our adversaries by maneuvering into a position where they can attrite our operational center of gravity at their leisure. Subsequently, as the NIE asserts, the more we fight them over there, the more dispersed and numerous they become, and the more impossible they become to attrite.

And the more moronic our “stay the course” Iraq strategy becomes. We’re not taking the fight to the enemy. We’re handing it to them on a silver platter.

Whoever “they” are.

In your protectorship you did devise Strange tortures for offenders never heard of

William M. Arkin at Wapo generally writes some good stuff on national security. I’m just wondering if a Democrat just recently took his favorite parking spot under an old shade tree and he decided to take it out on the entire Democratic constituency, On the NIE, the Right and the Left Are Both Wrong

The simplistic story line that the Democrats are pushing is all about and solely about Iraq: withdraw U.S. forces, defeat the Republicans, tidy up foreign policy by giving human rights to prisoners and being nicer in the world, and voila, terror subsides.

I read a lot of news and I admit that I skim some stories, but to date I’ve never heard any such thing from Democrats. I’ve heard divisions over Iraq in terms of how, where, and when to redeploy. I’ve read that Democrats and many conservatives think Bush has screwed the pooch on Afghanistan and blew an easy victory letting large swaths of the country slip back into war lordism and that the Taliban is on the rebound. But no where have I heard a major Democratic leader, liberal columnist, or even a left of center blogger suggests that being “nicer” to hardcore terrorists will make them go away. Kevin Drum writes almost the same sentiments here, I NEED A DRINK….It’s stuff like this that almost makes me want to give up sometimes

Some of these liberals think we ought to withdraw from Iraq and some don’t. I think it’s safe to say that virtually all of them believe that a less militaristic and more internationalist foreign policy would be a net benefit. But it’s also safe to say that none of them — not one — believes this is all it will take to put a stop to militant jihadism. And yet, after five years of speeches, articles, symposia, and books by Democrats on national security, that’s what Arkin writes.

Arkin does a little shallow skimming himself,

First, this question of being “in” Iraq: in the eyes of the jihadists, and in eyes of most in the world, the United States has been “in” Iraq since 1991. We continued to bomb Iraq for a decade, we occupied the Middle East with our military forces, and we propped up and supported the most repressive and corrupt governments.

The first part gets it right, but the interpretation of events is a little strange. That bombing that occurred as part of the containment policy of two president ( Bush One and Clinton) accomplished its goal. Saddam was defanged and was reduced to making childish threats and fist clinching. Saddam and the radicals in the middle-east saw that state sponsored aggression was a dead end. al-Queda was a threat but had little other then some boiler plate rhetorical support. That changed when Bush went into Iraq. Where there were no terrorists Bush let them in, gave them real world training, and a high profile cause to rally behind. Democrats, as the story goes did little to stop the Iraq invasion because Bush lied and they were afraid of appearing weak on national defense; a kind of perfect storm for those neocons that had an obsessive Iraq fetish for years. Iraq continues to be and for the foreseeable future will be a drain on resources that could be used to fight terrorists. There is nothing in Iraq worth dying for at this point and that is what everyone should be asking. Dying in Iraq will not stop al-Queda. Dying in Iraq does nothing to punish Bin Laden for 9-11. Most of the fighters in Iraq are Sunni and Shite insurgents, not transnational terrorists.

The NIE goes on to say that “four underlying factors” are fueling “the spread of the jihadist movement:”

“(1) Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness;
(2) the Iraq ‘jihad;’
(3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and
(4) pervasive anti-U.S. sentiment among most Muslims — all of which jihadists exploit.”

OK Mr Arkin I get that there were other factors in the NIE. Bush has no plan to deal with them. The repression that extremists feel in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, etc aren’t going away anytime soon both because those states like the status quo and the U. S. supports that staus quo. That being the reality, by not making the fight against terrorists more surgical and less like a war on all of Islam conservatives will continue create two terrorists for everyone we kill.
Would whoever took Arkin’s parking space please give it back.

Republicans and the 21st Century version of the Sedition Act, a new low

Last week, the White House and three Republican senators announced a terrible deal on this legislation that gave Mr. Bush most of what he wanted, including a blanket waiver for crimes Americans may have committed in the service of his antiterrorism policies. Then Vice President Dick Cheney and his willing lawmakers rewrote the rest of the measure so that it would give Mr. Bush the power to jail pretty much anyone he wants for as long as he wants without charging them, to unilaterally reinterpret the Geneva Conventions, to authorize what normal people consider torture, and to deny justice to hundreds of men captured in error.

These are some of the bill’s biggest flaws:

Enemy Combatants: A dangerously broad definition of “illegal enemy combatant” in the bill could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The president could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted.

The Geneva Conventions: The bill would repudiate a half-century of international precedent by allowing Mr. Bush to decide on his own what abusive interrogation methods he considered permissible. And his decision could stay secret — there’s no requirement that this list be published.

Habeas Corpus: Detainees in U.S. military prisons would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. These cases do not clog the courts, nor coddle terrorists. They simply give wrongly imprisoned people a chance to prove their innocence.

Judicial Review: The courts would have no power to review any aspect of this new system, except verdicts by military tribunals. The bill would limit appeals and bar legal actions based on the Geneva Conventions, directly or indirectly. All Mr. Bush would have to do to lock anyone up forever is to declare him an illegal combatant and not have a trial.

Coerced Evidence: Coerced evidence would be permissible if a judge considered it reliable — already a contradiction in terms — and relevant. Coercion is defined in a way that exempts anything done before the passage of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, and anything else Mr. Bush chooses.

Secret Evidence: American standards of justice prohibit evidence and testimony that is kept secret from the defendant, whether the accused is a corporate executive or a mass murderer. But the bill as redrafted by Mr. Cheney seems to weaken protections against such evidence.

Offenses: The definition of torture is unacceptably narrow, a virtual reprise of the deeply cynical memos the administration produced after 9/11. Rape and sexual assault are defined in a retrograde way that covers only forced or coerced activity, and not other forms of nonconsensual sex. The bill would effectively eliminate the idea of rape as torture.

The NYT asks where is the Democrat’s spine and that is a fair question. Here’s another. Keeping in mind that this blog does not belong to any network, carry ads, and the blogger is never going to run for office, where is the courage of the American people. When are the good citizens that stay on top of the issues and where are their faxes, e-mails and phone calls expressing outrage at the scurrilous behavior of these “conservatives”? Why are so many people sitting by as conservatives take another piss on the Constitution and every ideal that America is supposed to represent.

In your protectorship you did devise
Strange tortures for offenders never heard of,
That England was defamed by tyranny.
from Henry VI by William Shakespeare

So the truth was never learned And the human race just kept rollin’ on

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faces

    “Daddy, I am quite concerned about your facial ticks and contortions, and I would like it very much if you stopped.”

I have always suspected that babies were too judgmental.

TOP OF THE CLASS

    Élite universities will never be perfect meritocracies, and no one expects them to be. But neither do they wish to perpetuate America’s class system, which in some ways is becoming more ossified than ever. Yet, according to the Century Foundation, only three per cent of students at the hundred and forty-six most competitive colleges come from families whose levels of education, jobs, and income put them in the bottom socioeconomic quarter. Seventy-four per cent come from the top quarter. More startling, recruitment of minority and low-income students actually fell in recent years. In response, some colleges—including Harvard and Princeton and some of the most influential small liberal-arts colleges—now offer substantial subsidies to freshmen whose parents earn less than a middle-class income, and these schools are also working harder to seek out such candidates.

Nevertheless, the most selective colleges are still overly generous to applicants from the kinds of family least in need of a leg up in life. Legacies, the children of alumni and alumnae, have long had an easier time getting in. On top of that are the development cases—the term of art for the often less than academically stellar children of celebrities, wealthy executives, and influential politicians. As Daniel Golden, a reporter at the Wall Street Journal, explains in his new book “The Price of Admission,” Ivy League college presidents, admissions deans, and trustees spend a great deal of time and effort soliciting these lucky students, many of whom are admitted with S.A.T. scores three or four hundred points below those of some rejected applicants.

America started out with high ideals. Here we are 200 years after the start of the great experiment and we’re not getting a big F in living up to those ideals. Hardly a coincidence that but we’re backsliding from the C- of the nineties to a big fat D as the country has shifted to the hard Right. Part of the problem may be the inability for people to differentiate between merit and perceptions of what is fair,

    According to the Century Foundation, almost two-thirds of Americans support policies that reward academic achievement in the face of economic and social hardship.

In a free society we can only push concepts of what equality is outside of the arena of equal treatment under the law to a certain point, but a moral society is obligated to ask questions. If we all generally agree that we’d have a better society if more of the populace was brought up to a certain educational level aren’t there cultural benefits related to higher education, doesn’t that warrant making an extra effort and some small sacrifice to get poor and lower working class kids into some of the better colleges. If the result is that Tyler or Buffy has to go the University of Maryland instead of Princeton, since they are already part of the privileged class have they really been dealt a bad hand. Nothing of course would stop Buffy’s parents from making a nice fat donation to UM’s college of business administration. Or thinking of the situation in reverse, what if Yale or Brown keep admitting kids that are bright, but not exceptional because legacies take up the majority of open slots wouldn’t these schools by their tendency to favor the privileged class over the brightest or those that show great ambition and potential, the so called elite schools are actually lowering the overall academic climate of their schools. All in order to placate the haves at the expense of the those with genuine promise, a perverse manifestation of affirmative action.

It is odd that during the Clinton years more Americans murdered other Americans then were killed by foreign or domestic terrorists and for the most part the fringe right – now what passes for mainstream conservatism hasn’t said much about holding Clinton responsible for that. Possibily because it continues under Bush. It continues for a few complex sociological reasons but one of the biggest underlying causes is poverty and ignorance. The conservative movement gets boiling froth up about jihidists, but not poverty. Ironic and sad that both cause death, but the later is of little concern to the Right. Though this phenomenon is of little surprise, the Right has history of ignoring the common good and clinging to boogiemen. Where there isn’t one they’re glad to create one, and where there is one they’re all too happy to blow it out of proportion. In the case of islamic terrorists, even putting cynicism aside one can’t help but think they’re enjoying the whole ‘Islamofacists” scenario play out. Otherwise why would they continue to support policies that are like fuel on a fire, Bush Makes Public Parts of Report on Terrorism

    The war in Iraq has become a “cause célèbre” for Islamic militants, “breeding a deep resentment” of the United States in the Muslim world, according to declassified excerpts from a major intelligence report that were released late this afternoon.

“The Iraqi jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere,” the excerpts said.

The excerpts — just over three pages from a document said to be 30 pages — were ordered declassified by President Bush. Mr. Bush said earlier today that he was loath to declassify any classified document, but that news reports about the intelligence assessment could have led to “confusion” about its findings. The New York Times disclosed some of the findings over the weekend, showing that the Iraq war had invigorated Islamic radicalism and worsened the global terrorist threat.

The excerpts from the intelligence report pointed to a spread of terrorist activity globally for at least the next five years and said terrorists were adapting to the tactics used against them. “If this trend continues, threats to U.S. interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide,” they said.

“Jihadists, although a small percentage of Muslims, are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion,” said the excerpted document, representing the key judgments of a National Intelligence Estimate completed in April 2006 and reflecting the consensus of the nation’s 16 intelligence agencies.

The shorter document, drawn from the April assessment titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,” was released by the office of the director of national security amid rising political pressure from Democrats for its declassification.

“The Iraq conflict has become the ‘cause célèbre’ for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement,” the declassified document said. “Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.”

The document asserted that American-led counterterrorism efforts had seriously damaged the leadership of Al Qaeda and disrupted its operations. “However, we judge that Al Qaeda will continue to pose the greatest threat to the homeland and U.S. interests abroad by a single terrorist organization,” it said.

Referring to jihadists around the world, it found that “the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities and are likely to do so for the duration of the time frame of this Estimate.”

That time frame, according to Frances Fragos Townsend, the White House adviser on homeland security, is the five years from April. She also said the document declassified included perhaps 95 percent of the full “key judgments” section in the intelligence estimate, including all references to Iraq.

“Maybe two or three paragraphs were redacted in the interests of national security,” she said.

The report cites four factors fueling the spread of Islamic militancy: entrenched grievances and a sense of powerlessness; the Iraq “jihad”; the slow pace of reform in Muslim nations; and “pervasive anti-U.S. sentiment among most Muslims.”

Sounds like something anyone could have read on a liberal blog over the past five years, only its not, its the president’s own NIE

    Representative Jane Harman of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, had called earlier today for declassifying the assessment. She said the Iraq war had “made the global jihadist threat more dangerous.”

    “We created a failed state by removing Saddam Hussein and established a recruiting tool and training ground for global jihadists,” she said. .

The Right need not fear, Bush and his foreign policy gurus have set things in motion that will take half a century to untangle and at the end of the day that is just what the Right wanted. For the average citizen to feel a certain level of fear, a level that would continue to get the tough talking guys that are making things worse get re-elected.
Secreatary of State Rice is such a liar. and here

But mostly came up with nothin’
So the truth was never learned
And the human race just kept rollin’ on

Rollin’ through the fighting
Rollin’ through the religious wars
Rollin’ down the temple walls
And the church’s exposed sores

Rollin’ through the fighting
The religious wars
Mostly came up with nothin’
from the lyrics to Falling from Above by Neil Young

WHEN the veil from the eyes is lifted

I’ve said before that while we know that conservatives are to terrorism what gasoline is to a fire it is irritating that liberals that I respect like Sam Harris just don’t get it or aren’t listening. Maybe the way Wayne at Bad Attitudes says it might penetrate in a way that conservatives and those off the reservation liberals can understand, The Weakener-in-Chief

The matter needs to be stated plainly: we don’t hate Bush because he is fighting terrorism, we want to replace him because he is not good at fighting terrorism.

It’s not that Bush’s critics are against the war on terror; quite the contrary, it’s that we want George Bush out of the way because he has failed to launch an effective war on terrorism. We want to start one now. Five years too late, and against an enemy much strengthened by the Bush missteps and bungling, and without many allies by our side any longer, but we’ve got to start sometime.

Wayne wrote this in response to the NYT story on the National Intelligence Estimate. A rational person would look around and say that it is time to clean house. Not only are conservatives doing a miserable job of getting at the individual al-Queda type groups, they’re creating new terrorists. Why would a sane person, a person that claims to care about America’s security vote to continue self defeating dangerous policies.

Juan Cole makes an interesting catch of Chris Wallace discussing Bin Laden with Brit Hume, Wallace, Bin Laden, Republicans and Clinton

So on Wallace’s discussion show, Bin Laden is not important. But when he confronts Bill Clinton, suddenly Bin Laden is the end-all and be-all.

Click over to read the transcript. Time after time members of the administration have been allowed by Fox to ramble on about their missteps and screwy priorities without challenge. Then the Big Dog comes on the show to talk about something else and is ambushed. Bin Laden not so important when talking to the guys that haven’t been able to find him for six years, but of supreme importance when ambushing President Clinton. Mahablog has the transcript of Keith Olbermann’s observations of what has been obvious to many Americans for about five years, Covering Their Behinds, II

The distractions of 1998 and 1999, Mr. Bush, were carefully manufactured, and lovingly executed, not by Bill Clinton… but by the same people who got you… elected President.

Thus instead of some commendable acknowledgment that you were even in office on 9/11 and the lost months before it… we have your sleazy and sloppy rewriting of history, designed by somebody who evidently read the Orwell playbook too quickly.

Thus instead of some explanation for the inertia of your first eight months in office, we are told that you have kept us “safe” ever since — a statement that might range anywhere from Zero, to One Hundred Percent, true.

We have nothing but your word, and your word has long since ceased to mean anything.

And, of course, the one time you have ever given us specifics about what you have kept us safe from, Mr. Bush — you got the name of the supposedly targeted Tower in Los Angeles… wrong.

Thus was it left for the previous President to say what so many of us have felt; what so many of us have given you a pass for in the months and even the years after the attack:

You did not try.

You ignored the evidence gathered by your predecessor.

You ignored the evidence gathered by your own people.

Then, you blamed your predecessor.

That would be the textbook definition… Sir, of cowardice.

I’m not sure how productive hate is as an emotion, but if I or anyone wanted to hate Dubya his cowardice and that of his administration would be reason enough. They do remind me of school yard bullies that never take responsibility for anything and when confronted always slink back into deflection and lies.

Republican General: Rummy responsible for deaths, failure, Abu Ghraib

Donald Rumsfeld is not a competent wartime leader. He knows everything, except “how to win.” He surrounds himself with like-minded and compliant subordinates who do not grasp the importance of the principles of war, the complexities of Iraq, or the human dimension of warfare. Secretary Rumsfeld ignored 12 years of U.S. Central Command deliberate planning and strategy, dismissed honest dissent, and browbeat subordinates to build “his plan,” which did not address the hard work to crush the insurgency, secure a post-Saddam Iraq, build the peace, and set Iraq up for self-reliance. He refused to acknowledge and even ignored the potential for the insurgency, which was an absolute certainty. Bottom line, his plan allowed the insurgency to take root and metastasize to where it is today. Our great military lost a critical window of opportunity to secure Iraq because of inadequate troop levels and capability required to impose security, crush a budding insurgency, and set the conditions for the rule of law in Iraq. We were undermanned from the beginning, lost an early opportunity to secure the country, and have yet to regain the initiative.

I know that it is the conventional wisdom to blame Rummy, but it is not Donald alone. He would not have done what he has without Bush’s full and uncritical support. Of course Bush and Cheney know even less about warfare then Rumsfeld, but a good leader at least recognizes incompetence when he sees it.

WHEN the veil from the eyes is lifted
The seer’s head is gray;
When the sailor to shore has drifted
The sirens are far away.
Why must the clearer vision,
The wisdom of Life’s late hour
from Si Jeunesse Savait! by Thomas R. Lounsbury, Yale Book of American Verse. 1912.

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

I love technology. I guess I better since its everywhere and I couldn’t do my work without it, but it does have its drawbacks, Technology, eating habits help to spread E. coli

But the reason outbreaks have become more common in the past 25 years, health officials agree, is because technology has been developed to identify and connect strains of bacteria and because the nation’s eating habits have changed — we eat mass-processed foods that make it easier for contaminated products to reach more

people.
snip

The first E. coli outbreaks in the United States were in ground beef partly because E. coli bacteria live in cows, and partly because ground beef was among the first food products to be highly processed and mass-distributed via fast-food outlets. Beef from one tainted cow could be mixed with beef from hundreds of healthy cows, and the resulting hamburger patties would all be contaminated.

Right now I’m thinking a milkshake and salad for lunch.

Newshounds has a good catch. Different party, different treatment

When former President Bill Clinton got upset with Chris Wallace in an interview on FOX News Sunday, FOX characterized him as “crazed.” But when Bush went off on a rant in a Rose Garden speech September 15, calling it “unacceptable to think” that we may be losing our supposed moral superiority by formally adopting torture as an interrogation technique, FOX portrayed him (as usual) as nobly battling (his Republican) Congress to “keep us safe.”

This is the way it works, you buy an “R” ticket and when you show some emotion you’re passionate. When you buy a “D” ticket and show a little emotion you’re crazed.

A conservative blogger named Patterico’s Pontification’s, and I mean this without the least be of cynicism, gives us all a lesson in how to cleverly twist information and leave out important points without being caught in a lie and at the same time giving your agenda a little push, Chris Wallace Has Indeed Grilled A Bush Official About Failing to Get Osama Before 9/1, Filed under: General – Patterico @ 4:56 pm, 9/24/2006

This piece, which is very supportive of Clarke, takes issue with an assertion by Dick Cheney that Clarke was moved out of counterterrorism:

[Clarke] wasn’t “moved out”; he transferred, at his own request, out of frustration with being cut out of the action on broad terrorism policy, to a new NSC office dealing with cyberterrorism. Second, he did so after 9/11. (He left government altogether in February 2003.)

Clarke was not fired; he was, in effect, demoted. When Bush took over, Clarke retained his title as “National Coordinator on Counter-terrorism” but Condi Rice demoted the position. After 9/11, Clarke requested a transfer out of frustration, and later left government and wrote a book, which contained bitter recriminations against Bush — and whose stories were elaborated and dressed up by Clarke as he hit the talk-show circuit.

So I’m left a bit baffled why Clinton thinks Clarke was “fired.” And it’s clear why Fox News Sunday never asked a Bush official why Clarke was “fired” — he wasn’t.

For one thing the word “fired” can mean two things. One it can mean you were pushed out the door and all connections to your employer were severed. Or it means you were the regional manager, you were “fired” from that position, but was placed as a store manager. This is what happened to Richard Clarke. If one clicks on the link PP provided and he’s betting his readers won’t( most people don’t click on your out links) then his readers would have read this, Dick Clarke Is Telling the Truth

To an unusual degree, the Bush people can’t get their story straight. On the one hand, Condi Rice has said that Bush did almost everything that Clarke recommended he do. On the other hand, Vice President Dick Cheney, appearing on Rush Limbaugh’s show, acted as if Clarke were a lowly, eccentric clerk: “He wasn’t in the loop, frankly, on a lot of this stuff.” This is laughably absurd. Clarke wasn’t just in the loop, he was the loop.

Cheney’s elaboration of his dismissal is blatantly misleading. “He was moved out of the counterterrorism business over to the cybersecurity side of things … attacks on computer systems and, you know, sophisticated information technology,” Cheney scoffed. Limbaugh replied, “Well, now, that explains a lot, that answer right there.”

It explains nothing. First, he wasn’t “moved out”; he transferred, at his own request, out of frustration with being cut out of the action on broad terrorism policy, to a new NSC office dealing with cyberterrorism. Second, he did so after 9/11. (He left government altogether in February 2003.)

In a further effort to minimize Clarke’s importance, a talking-points paper put out by the White House press office states that, contrary to his claims, “Dick Clarke never had Cabinet rank.” At the same time, the paper denies—again, contrary to the book—that he was demoted: He “continued to be the National Coordinator on Counter-terrorism.”

Both arguments are deceptive. Clarke wasn’t a Cabinet secretary, but as Clinton’s NCC, he ran the “Principals Committee” meetings on counterterrorism, which were attended by Cabinet secretaries. Two NSC senior directors reported to Clarke directly, and he had reviewing power over relevant sections of the federal budget.

Clarke writes (and nobody has disputed) that when Condi Rice took over the NSC, she kept him onboard and preserved his title but demoted the position. He would no longer participate in, much less run, Principals’ meetings. He would report to deputy secretaries. He would have no staff and would attend no more meetings with budget officials.

So PP has one definition of what firing is. In PP’s definition if Clarke was still in the building and collecting a paycheck then he was responsible, but clearly that was not the case. They fired Clarke, pushed him out of his job which he could no longer do because he no longer had the title and resources to do it. Bush and Condi let him have a desk. Clarke finally gets feed up and leaves. Its my understanding that PP is a lawyer, so he knows what he’s doing by putting up part of the story and pretending to be “baffled”. Those of us that work for a living know exactly what the Bushies did to Clarke and the Bushies know that it was one of the bigggest mistakes in the history of America’s national security to not follow Clarke’s lead. Though what would anyone expect from an administration that knows nothing about humility.

Eric Massa (D) who is running against Randy Kuhl(R) for Congress in New York brings up a good point about Iraq in comparing it to Bosnia, The Bosnia Solution for Iraq

DFE: Bluntly, do you believe that Democracy is possible in Iraq?
EM: No, I do not.
DFE: If not, what do you believe is the next best alternative? Or the next most-likely alternative?
EM: Well, let’s just review some fundamental realities: first off, the Iraqi people are not ignorant, they are not uneducated, they are not incapable of governing themselves. Something called the Hammurabi Code which was the first code of civil law written in the world that we have record of, some 3000 years ago, originated in Iraq. So there’s a very long historical tradition of very highly-advanced cultures and governments in that part of the world. The fact that this did not include Jeffersonian Democracy does not diminish their capability to govern themselves.
It is a tribal, religious society where [power] and influence [flows] not only along religious and ethnic lines, but also along family and tribal lines. To interrupt and abruptly change and break that with the forced imposition at gunpoint of a Jeffersonian Democracy is to dismiss the very nature of the society and culture in which we have now thrust ourselves.
Based on that reality, the only way forward I see today – and it is not a very promising way forward, at that – is to apply what I call, based on my own personal experience, a Bosnian solution. In Bosnia, we faced a three-way ethnic, civil, religious war very similar to what we face in Iraq today. In Bosnia we created three semi-autonomous, economically viable states and allowed them to choose their form of federal government, and by-and-large, it has been very successful.
I can’t tell you that Iraq is going to unravel and allow us to even attempt that, but what I can tell you is that if we do not announce today that we are leaving, and in the time it takes us to depart, do our best to implement the Bosnian solution, then I see no solution at all, certainly not “stay the course.”

Kuhl’s solution for Iraq? Not surprising that it is a carbon copy of Bush/Cheney’s non-solution. To keep on doing what they have been doing, which at this point means to let Iraqis and our troops continue to die while the administration crosses their fingers and hopes for a miracle. Should New Yorkers go with the stay the course and no progress crowd or take a chance on someone that seems to actually understand the situation and has an alternative plan that might work the way it has in Bosnia.

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. – Mark Twain

Another Bad Day at Black Rock

badday.jpg
In perhaps director John Sturges best film Bad Day at Black Rock some of the fight scenes might be a little stiff by modern film standards, but their clumsiness actually makes them more effective ( remember that shoving match in high-school). Red-necks have a history of under estimating their opponents so its little wonder that the disabled John J. Macreedy (Spencer Tracy) combination of physical toughness and fighting skills are a surprise that catch them off guard. The film does something that few films do, it turns a conventional wisdom on its ear. Tracy is the one wearing the suit, he is well spoken, educated, but down to earth. On the other hand the locals see themselves as the everyman, the common man yet it becomes obvious from the start that they are very cliquish, closed, and have their own rigid hierarchy. The locals support that hierarchy partly out of habit, partly out of fear. The secrets of the powerful thus become something that the followers feel they must protect for reasons that they are no longer quite sure of.

Most of us have looked around our own work places, looked at some media figures, corporate CEOs and wandered how so many people of questionable ethics and intelligence got so far. Our parents told us, and they meant well, that people get ahead through hard work, conscientiousness and perseverance. So part of what makes us a little cynical is when someone that has failed at several marriages, is a drug addict, a draft dodger, is known to spend his vacations in London drinking French champagne and smoking Cuban cigars has managed to make millions without ever doing an honest days work. As you have probably already guessed I’m talking about Rush Limbaugh, Rush crowing about the new Jim Crow

I mean, you take a look at the average Democrat voter registration drive, you can take for every hundred thousand voters they register, the cumulative IQ would probably be less than a pencil eraser. So when it comes time for the election, half of them can be fooled in saying, “No, it’s not Election Day. It’s tomorrow, Wednesday.” And they show up on Wednesday to vote when the polls are closed, and the Democrats claim a trick has been played on them. That’s how stupid some of their voters are.

In a cork screwed turned inside out kind of way Limbaugh does know something about intelligence. For quite a few years now Limbaugh has depended on the stupidity and sheep herd mentality of his listeners to enjoy an extraordinarily elite lifestyle. It isn’t even the slightest bit important that this demigod says that Democrats are stupid. What matters is that the sheeple that hang on his every word are reassured that they and their AM prophet are the smartest thing since the egg timer. Limbaugh, like O’Reilly, Hannity, Savage and others are simply right-wing nannies that hand out ideological suckers to, well, the suckers. What would right-wingers be without their nannies and their suckers? What a shock that would be to their systems to leave the cave and walk out into the light of reason, facts, and real patriotism.

Anyone that was curious as to what it is like to live a life without honor might want to send a postcard to Chris Wallace and ask, Chris Wallace Never Asked A Bush Administration Official Why They Demoted Richard Clarke

The reactionary right-wing Powerline was once voted Time magazine’s blog of the year, Paul and John remind us why, September 23, 2006 The fruits of an unserious presidency,

JOHN AGREES: That’s right. I’d go farther in defense of President Bush, too. The record is clear that he believed more effective, definitive action needed to be taken against al Qaeda and ordered a plan for such action to be prepared early in his Presidency. As I recall, such a plan was either just complete or almost so, when the terrorists struck first. Also, while one can argue that Bush didn’t act aggressively enough soon enough, he didn’t pass on an opportunity to collar bin Laden, as Clinton did.

Paul and John are not the least bit interested in reality. That’s a precondition for belonging to the Bush Cult, Before Sept. 11, the Bush Anti-Terror Effort Was Mostly Ambition

– The administration did not resume its predecessor’s covert deployment of cruise missile submarines and gunships, on six-hour alert near Afghanistan’s borders. The standby force gave Clinton the option, never used, of an immediate strike against targets in al Qaeda’s top leadership. The Bush administration put no such capability in place before Sept. 11.

– At least twice, Bush conveyed the message to the Taliban that the United States would hold the regime responsible for an al Qaeda attack. But after concluding that bin Laden’s group had carried out the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole – a conclusion stated without hedge in a Feb. 9 briefing for Vice President Cheney – the new administration did not choose to order armed forces into action.

-In his first budget, Bush spent $13.6 billion on counterterrorist programs across 40 departments and agencies. That compares with $12 billion in the previous fiscal year, according to the Office of Management and Budget. There were also somewhat higher gaps this year, however, between what military commanders said they needed to combat terrorists and what they got. When the Senate Armed Services Committee tried to fill those gaps with $600 million diverted from ballistic missile defense, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said he would recommend a veto. That threat came Sept. 9.

Paul and John and Rush and millions of others can’t seem to differentiate between success and failure. President Clinton in many way was the best conservative president we’ve had since Teddy Roosevelt. Loyalty is a great quality, but when loyalty blinds citizens to the faults if its leaders to the point that it endangers the nation and humanity then you’ve stepped off the edge to blind rabid nationalism. Case in point, Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

How badly does Bush have to do in the so-called war on terror before the kool-aid drinkers give up the ghost.

HECTOR
(reading aloud)
John J. Macreedy. From Los Angeles.
(looking up)
I wanna know everything he does,
Pete. Check every call — any mail.

PETE
(nodding)
And in the meantime…?

HECTOR
(grinning harshly)
In the meantime, I’ll crowd him a
little…
(looking up the stairs)
…see if he’s got any iron in his
blood…
from the screenplay Bad Day at Black Rock by Don McGuire and Millard Kaufman