What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult

I guess I should get this out of the way first. A hallmark of idiocy

The smoke had barely cleared from the suicide bombing in Afghanistan this morning, near a base where Dick Cheney was located, when right-wing pundits — whose sole expertise seems to be in exploiting terrorism-related issues for political gain — began their attempt to politically exploit the attack on or near Cheney. Seemingly in unison, they all went digging deep into the comment sections of various liberal blogs, found inappropriate and hateful comments, and then began insisting that these isolated comments proved something.

I can’t find any hateful comments at HuffPo, but as right-wingers are claiming they might have been removed. That is any blogs privilege and most have a comment posting policy. I posted several polite comments that exposed some of the lies that Blogs for Bush were spreading about various Democrats including Senator John Kerry and they were removed as has every comment I’ve ever left on the few fringe Right blogs that allow comments. Still lets say that some of those comments were along the line of wishing that Cheney would have been killed in that terrorist attack in Afghanistan. That would be wrong. For one thing Dick Cheney is a human being, a despicable human being, but still human. One thing liberals should not want is for Cheney to become a martyr. Justice for the likes of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush may never come and that is something that liberals and the few thoughtful Republicans that are left have to get over. Take solace in the fact that in many ways they have exposed conservatism for the trojan horse it is. Conservatism post President Dwight Eisenhower has always been about party, nationalism, elitism, paranoia, and ethnocentrism. Conservatism has never been about fidelity to America and our ideals which admittedly have sputtered at times, and are in many ways an unfulfilled promise. Liberals need to be passionate and ticked off, but not angry in order that some day we can make all of those great ideals a reality. Fill the need to let off some steam? Don’t wish people dead in any comments, walk it off. Compose a comment in your head that highlights the best of what liberalism is – maybe your style is funny or ironic, or maybe its thoughtful and moving, or maybe your one of those darn liberals that can overwhelm your opponent with the facts. Once you have composed yourself and this great comment go write it. The Right doesn’t have a monopoly on hate, but they are the masters of it. Let them retain their crown.  Update: Another thing to consider in reading comments at HuffPo in particular is that it is trolled pretty heavily by right-wingers and some of those comments might have been Republican operatives. It has happened before and the election season like it or not is upon us already, Political bloggers fear publicists will infiltrate sites

Or maybe a sock puppet, shill, or a troll — Web slang for bloggers who pretend to be grass-roots political commentators but instead are paid public relations agents.

The author of the pro-McCain articles on Redstate.com, Erickson determined after a Google search, was a Michigan political operative whose firm worked for McCain’s political action committee.

Remember the John Edwards bloggers that were steam rolled by the right-wing noise machine for their supposed religious bigotry. It did not take long for that hypocrisy to bite them back, Fox News whitewashes evangelical hostility to Romney’s faith

Examples of conservative and evangelical rejections of Mormonism are numerous and widespread. One of the most public slights of Mormons by evangelicals occurred during the 2004 National Day of Prayer, when Mormons were barred from conducting services during National Day of Prayer ceremonies by the group’s task force chairwoman, Shirley Dobson, the wife of Focus on the Family founder and chairman James C. Dobson.

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), America’s second-largest religious community after Catholicism, has declared Mormonism to be a cult. The SBC’s North American Mission Board’s web page of “free resources on cults & sects” contains a section on “Mormons and Mormon Doctrine.” Mormonism is listed on the page alongside other supposed cults like the Nation of Islam and the Church of Scientology.

Dow Average Falls 416 Points After China Sell-Off, Why does it matter so much what the Chinese do. because Bush and the Republicans that controlled Congress for ten years have charged all those wonderful tax cuts for the Wal-Mart family and Paris Hilton on Chinese Visa. Now America, you know the country that conservatives pretend to care about gets a cold every time China sneezes.

Because the Right has dressed up in its Chicken Llittle custom so often and to such great effect if Iran really was a major contributor to the civil war in Iraq no one will believe them. Liberals took the Chicken Little story as a lesson about lying and paranoia whereas the Right took it as a how-to book, U.S. Displays Bomb Parts Said to Be Made in Iran

Among the confusing elements were cardboard boxes of the gray plastic PVC tubes used to make the canisters. The boxes appeared to contain shipments of tubes directly from factories in the Middle East, none of them in Iran. One box said in English that the tubes inside had been made in the United Arab Emirates and another said, in Arabic, “plastic made in Haditha,” a restive Sunni town on the Euphrates River in Iraq.

We all remember U.A.E. the folks that Bush wanted to hand over several major port’s management to. Several right-wing blogs decided to support Bush on the issue and started calling Democrats xenophobes. The Anonymous Liberal is one step ahead on the Right’s future game plan, Tomorrow’s Revisionist History Today

This is where Iran comes into the equation. I’ll make you a prediction right now: whether or not we end up going to war with Iran, the standard right-wing talking point about Iraq ten years from now will be that our invasion of Iraq would have been a glorious success had it not been for the sinister meddling of Iran, the Supreme Enemy of all that is Good and Right in the world. Sure, they’ll probably tack on some gratuitous swipe at Democrats and the liberal media for good measure, but you get the gist: IRAN + Democrats = failure in Iraq.

Olbermann commentary takes Condi to history school

“What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.” – Sigmund Freud

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The whole thing’s a set up. A scam, a frame job

Something that has been lurking around the edges of the Right and has taken center stage since the “surge” is that 9-11 has no real meaning anymore and the actual perpetrators aren’t very important to the grand scheme of things. The enemy to the Right has become “them”. Who exactly are “them”? Muslims, which most of your common garden variety ethnocentrics on the Right think are a few million “Arabs” in the middle-east, but it also especially means any Muslim within shooting range of where Bush has sent troops – so of course they’re for any military action that gets any Muslim dead. So the Right has decided that all Muslims are Arabs and that if any or all of those Muslims can be killed then we’re one step closer to victory. Which I take to mean saving western civilization not from another 9-11, but from Islam. 9-11 and the potential of that kind of terrorism has ceased to mean anything to the Right except as a symbol to duck behind. You could say that all that is fine except that it sounds too much like putting together a lot of circumstantial evidence. It rings true, but where’s the substance. If 9-11 doesn’t mean anything to the Right and their dear leader Bush how could we possibly prove that. Well what if the administration was in fact directly helping Sunni radicals (though let’s remember not all Sunni Muslims are radicals). One group of Sunni radicals is called al-Queda. You know that loosely organized transnational group of terrorists that flew in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. THE REDIRECTION Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

One contradictory aspect of the new strategy is that, in Iraq, most of the insurgent violence directed at the American military has come from Sunni forces, and not from Shiites. But, from the Administration’s perspective, the most profound—and unintended—strategic consequence of the Iraq war is the empowerment of Iran. Its President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has made defiant pronouncements about the destruction of Israel and his country’s right to pursue its nuclear program, and last week its supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on state television that “realities in the region show that the arrogant front, headed by the U.S. and its allies, will be the principal loser in the region.”

So Bush opens a can of worms in the middle-east that as General Odom and others have pointed out made it inevitable that Iran and Shia sympathizers would have greater influence. Now to counter that influence Bush is backing Sunni’s many of whom are ideological sympathizers to the people that attacked us on 9-11 and using funding that is secretly channeled through the Saudis. I’m not much for predictions, but the only way conservatives can make this “rube goldberg” upside down series of events make sense is to claim that it was part of Bush’s clever plan all along – to carry out Glenn Reynolds dreamed of genocidal culling of Muslims by setting Muslim against Muslim. If a seasoned right-wing player like John Negroponte thinks all of this is so out of the reach of presidential powers that he felt he had to resign you know its bad,

I was subsequently told by the two government consultants and the former senior intelligence official that the echoes of Iran-Contra were a factor in Negroponte’s decision to resign from the National Intelligence directorship and accept a sub-Cabinet position of Deputy Secretary of State. (Negroponte declined to comment.)

The former senior intelligence official also told me that Negroponte did not want a repeat of his experience in the Reagan Administration, when he served as Ambassador to Honduras. “Negroponte said, ‘No way. I’m not going down that road again, with the N.S.C. running operations off the books, with no finding.’ ” (In the case of covert C.I.A. operations, the President must issue a written finding and inform Congress.) Negroponte stayed on as Deputy Secretary of State, he added, because “he believes he can influence the government in a positive way.”

The government consultant said that Negroponte shared the White House’s policy goals but “wanted to do it by the book.” The Pentagon consultant also told me that “there was a sense at the senior-ranks level that he wasn’t fully on board with the more adventurous clandestine initiatives.” It was also true, he said, that Negroponte “had problems with this Rube Goldberg policy contraption for fixing the Middle East.”

Digby gets it about right when it comes to Republicans in power. They’re like addicts that can’t resist shooting up as much as they can, damn the consequences for America much less anyone in their way, Rube Goldberg Policy Contraption

And now the Bush administration has spawned untold numbers of future war criminals who will claw their way back into power so they can “prove” they were right the first time. This pattern is repeating itself over and over again and we simply have to figure out a way to put an end to it.Today we have the DOD equivalent of Brownie running around with boatload of cash making deals with Muslim extremists and Saudi princes, whom the administration has divided up into completely useless designations of “reformer” and extremist.” Nobody knows who’s talking to who or what agenda they really have. Liberals think up complex plots like this and make them into movies. Republicans steal billions from the taxpayers and actually try to implement their hare-brained schemes.

Why didn’t the party of family values that hearts the U.S. military investigate the shoddy conditions at Walter Reed while they were in power and building bridges to nowhere? Levin: Last Congress Didn’t Investigate Walter Reed Because ‘They Did Not Want To Embarrass’ Bush

Speaking of money. Conservatives are always waving their little arms and shouting about how they know about the hard realities of economics and liberals don’t have a clue. I don’t know I think we have at the very least a clue, Maybe We Deserve to Be Ripped Off By Bush’s Billionaires

Not only does it make many of Bush’s tax cuts permanent, but it envisions a complete repeal of the Estate Tax, which mainly affects only those who are in the top two-tenths of the top one percent of the richest people in this country. The proposed savings from the cuts over the next decade are about $442 billion, or just slightly less than the amount of the annual defense budget (minus Iraq war expenses). But what’s interesting about these cuts are how Bush plans to pay for them.

Sanders’s office came up with some interesting numbers here. If the Estate Tax were to be repealed completely, the estimated savings to just one family — the Walton family, the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune — would be about $32.7 billion dollars over the next ten years.

The proposed reductions to Medicaid over the same time frame? $28 billion.

Or how about this: if the Estate Tax goes, the heirs to the Mars candy corporation — some of the world’s evilest scumbags, incidentally, routinely ripped by human rights organizations for trafficking in child labor to work cocoa farms in places like Cote D’Ivoire — if the estate tax goes, those assholes will receive about $11.7 billion in tax breaks. That’s more than three times the amount Bush wants to cut from the VA budget ($3.4 billion) over the same time period.

Some other notable estimate estate tax breaks, versus corresponding cuts:

* Cox family (Cox cable TV) receives $9.7 billion tax break while education would get $1.5 billion in cuts

* Nordstrom family (Nordstrom dept. stores) receives $826.5 million tax break while Community Service Block Grants would be eliminated, a $630 million cut

* Ernest Gallo family (shitty wines) receives a $468.4 million cut while LIHEAP (heating oil to poor) would get a $420 million cut

And so on and so on. Sanders additionally pointed out that the family of former Exxon/Mobil CEO Lee Raymond, who received a $400 million retirement package, would receive about $164 million in tax breaks.

Compare that to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which Bush proposes be completely eliminated, at a savings of $108 million over ten years. The program sent one bag of groceries per month to 480,000 seniors, mothers and newborn children.

Bush just has the kind of priorities that we have all come to expect from Republicans, help the rich at the expense of the poor and middle-class and help the people that attacked America on 9-11.I’m not going to try it myself, but I’m sure that if you drink enough of the kool-aid this will all make sense. If this is what passes for values no wonder more and more Americans are rejecting the Conservative movement.

Roger Rabbit: P-p-please, Eddie! Don’t throw me out. Don’t you realize you’re making a big mistake? I didn’t kill anybody. I swear! The whole thing’s a set up. A scam, a frame job. Ow! Eddie, I could never hurt anybody. Oow! My whole purpose in life is to make… people… laugh! – from the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward

What Do We Stand For?: Progressive Patriotism

§ Strengthen the Middle Class. George Bush has redistributed wealth more than George McGovern was ever accused of–except upward rather than downward. His $1.7 trillion in tax cuts on income, estates, dividends, capital gains and corporate earnings has been a program of plutocracy posing as populism. Such “soak the middle class” fiscal policies have only compounded the flat real income of blue-collar workers over the past thirty years–the result of declining unionization, the temping of jobs, the Wal-Marting of wages and benefits, and the outsourcing of high-end manufacturing and technology jobs. No wonder so many families feel like they’re running faster after an ever-accelerating bus.

It’s time to become liberal hawks in the class war of ideas. Public policy should now ask whether a proposal closes the growing gap between the rich and the rest of us in terms of income and services. Ways to do that include providing more healthcare coverage for the uninsured, creating a living wage, providing for preschool and after-school programs, pursuing energy security starting with a 5o percent increase in auto-fuel efficiency and investing in job training–to be partly paid for by reversing unproductive tax cuts for the top 2 percent.

§ Strengthen Collective Security. As World War II was drawing to a close, FDR and Churchill developed plans for international peace and financial institutions so allies could pool their resources and interests to defuse future threats. This approach is even more necessary in today’s world of stateless evils–of shadowy terrorists carrying devastation in backpacks, brilliant scientists selling the nuclear secrets stored in their brains, invisible pollution drifting from Chernobyl to Hartford and AIDS-carrying lotharios seducing women in different countries.

Older maxims, that “might makes right” and “bigger is better”–or the perception of the United States as the Lone Ranger and our allies as Tonto–is hopelessly counterproductive in a world dominated by “problems without passports,” in Kofi Annan’s phrase. Simply walking away from the ABM Treaty, Kyoto Protocol, Small Arms Agreement, International Criminal Court, Chemical and Biological Weapons Convention and UN Commission on the Status of Women–as well as our growing calamity in Iraq–has alienated the populations of nearly every nation on earth.

These are just two of the ones that stood out for me. The neocons are very good at talking tough, tough like school yard bullies. Their inability to even remotely estimate the consequences of their actions have made the middle-east a mess and America less safe. The least they could do is have the people that could most afford it to pick up some of the tab.

Bush Is Losing the ‘War on Terror’

“American officials said there was mounting evidence that Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had been steadily building an operations hub in the mountainous Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan,” the Times reported.

“As recently as 2005, American intelligence assessments described senior leaders of al-Qaeda as cut off from their foot soldiers and able only to provide inspiration for future attacks. But more recent intelligence describes the organization’s hierarchy as intact and strengthening,” the Times wrote.

The Times quoted one American government official as saying “the chain of command has been reestablished” and that al-Qaeda’s “leadership command and control is robust.” [NYT, Feb. 19, 2007]

In the face of this al-Qaeda comeback, the Bush administration is reportedly debating whether to launch military strikes inside Pakistan. But that would risk destabilizing the dictatorship of Gen. Pervez Musharraf and conceivably provoking the nightmare scenario of Islamic fundamentalists gaining control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

In other words, more than five years into the “war on terror,” Bush has overseen a strategy that has simultaneously alienated world public opinion – with scandals over Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and secret CIA prisons – while fueling Islamic extremism and giving new life to the 9/11 masterminds.

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group described the situation in Iraq as “grave and deteriorating.” But the same description would fit for the broader strategic position of the United States in the Middle East.

With the British making definite plans to get out of Iraq and treating Bush treating Afghanistan like a bastard child that he would prefer to ignore we have shrill calls for esclating our presence in Iraq. Dick Cheney has recently said that Democrats were playing into al-Queda’s hands, when on the contrary it seems to those of us in the business of facing reality that it is conservative who dance to al-Queda’s tune. For al-Queda to continue to spread its influence all America has to do is allow Cheney and Bush to continue policies that have been the worse of failures. In the snark department Jack Balkin suggests our way out is to privatize national security,

I propose that each President be given a personal National Security Investment Savings Account modeled on the proposed Social Security Investment Savings Accounts. Under this partial privatization of National Security, each Commander-in-Chief would be given a specific amount of money taken from the national budget that he could invest in stocks, bonds, or other financial investments. He can then use the proceeds to fund any military actions or preemptive strikes he likes.

After all, it’s his money.

Like most Americans, Commanders-in-Chief should be encouraged to save responsibly for their future military invasions and preemptive attacks. This will end the culture of dependency created by the failed liberal policies of the past, where Commanders-in-Chief failed to save money for military aggression in their golden years, knowing that an indulgent Congress would bail them out.

At least when Republicans are in office we might also consider privatizing Federal Emergency Management since even with billions of taxpayer funds at their disposal they couldn’t handle America’s biggest emergence since 9-11, Year After Katrina, Bush Still Fights for 9/11 Image. If we are struck by another 9-11 style attack or another natural disaster on the scale of Katrina just remember that all is well Bush will be circling in a plane overhead and talking to a Brownie clone about his choice of neck ties.

It’s not just America, most people in the world have a collective memory of about two weeks. Ronald Reagan gave America one big shaft, Dick Cheney was his SOD, Donald Rumsfeld’s company was selling nuclear plant parts to North Korea and Saddam was their best buddy. That history should have been a warning, The Reagan Legacy

The standard line is that he won the cold war, but elsewhere in this issue Jonathan Schell corrects that notion. It is also worth noting that this man who yearned so much for freedom and democracy in Soviet-bloc nations showed limited concern for democracy and human rights in other parts of the globe. After Democrats and Republicans in Congress passed sanctions against the apartheid government of South Africa, Reagan vetoed the measure. His Administration cuddled up with the fascistic and anti-Semitic junta of Argentina and backed militaries in El Salvador and Guatemala that massacred civilians. It moved to normalize relations with Augusto Pinochet, the tyrant of Chile. Reagan sent George Bush the First to the Philippines, where the Vice President toasted dictator Ferdinand Marcos for fostering “democracy.” Pursuing a quasi-secret war against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, the Reagan Administration violated international law and circumvented Congress to support contra rebels engaged in human rights abuses and, according to the CIA’s own Inspector General, worked with suspected drug traffickers. Reagan covertly sent arms to the mullahs of Iran and courted Saddam Hussein, even after his use of chemical weapons. He appointed officials who claimed nuclear war was winnable, thus raising the chances that miscalculations by the Soviet Union or the United States would plunge the world into chaos.

“A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one

There is a meme going around that we’ve turned into an angry rude nation,  America the Ornery

A Bee in the Mouth by Peter Wood; Encounter Books $25.95 Or at least a New Anger Style. Wood doesn’t think we are angrier than we have ever been, or angry more often; he does think we express ourselves more angrily, more often, that at the merest provocation we act indignantly and speak harshly. Why? “New Anger … is the expression of a new cultural ideal that emphasizes the importance of individual authenticity achieved through the projection of personal power over others. New Anger is … perhaps the most important modality of an increasingly common personality type … that the historian Christopher Lasch called ‘narcissistic’ a generation ago.” Wood sees New Anger in rap music, in the snarling looks of today’s cars, in NBA brawls, in movies like The Upside of Anger and Anger Management, and, of course, in politics.

I don’t know that we are angrier then any other generation only because of the various communications medium our anger, individual or collective has a louder echo then ever. Anger in itself isn’t a bad thing unless there is little or no provocation. Many of us have reason to be a little ticked off,

Read what editorialists said about the British before the War of 1812, what people wrote about abolitionists and suffragettes and trade unionists and civil rights activists. The armies of the North and South marched to a civil war on clouds of angry words. Remember all our judgmental puritans, gunslinging desperadoes, choleric nativists, the Battling Bickersons, the gangs of New York. Consider that between 1798 and 1815, eighteen officers in the tiny U.S. Navy were killed in duels; Andrew Jackson personally fought in 103 duels. In 1856, South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks went to the floor of the Senate and used his cane to beat abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner senseless. Beatings, whippings, canings, lynchings, labor riots at River Rouge, race riots in Tulsa, zoot suit riots in East L.A.—the soundtrack of the American movie isn’t exactly played on a harp. Wood looks at a great chain of vituperation and says, “None of these events made anger into a national ideal.” Geneticists tell us that a tiny, subtle chromosomal difference can yield very different species. Wood must have an awesome microscope.

When Conservatives run the economy on the credit line of this and the next generation that is bound to piss a few people off. Of course its not going to be the Bush family because they belong to that class that never suffers regardless of which way the economy turns or what their individual tax rate is. When we have a government that whose foundations are the three co-equal branches of government and Bush uses signing statements and executive orders to undermine those foundations people have a right and even a duty to be upset. While I don’t think anyone should use a cane on him to teach him a lesson I can understand why someone would want to. The parents and spouses of those killed by the war that Bush and their chorus of defenders lied the country into have a right to their rage as well.

Dick Cheney probably came out of the womb with a chip on his shoulder. I don’t think that he has ever uttered a phrase in public that wasn’t mixed with some vitriol, Cheney Holds Firm On Iraq, Pelosi Comments

But Cheney is holding firm on his original comments.

“I am not sure what part of it that Nancy disagreed with,” Cheney told ABC News during an interview today in Sydney, Australia. “She accused me of questioning her patriotism. I didn’t question her patriotism, I questioned her judgment.”

I tried to find a Democratic response to that, but I found Cheney’s own refutation of what he’s peddling this week to try and score political points, Cheney debunks himself

In a 1991 speech, Cheney delivered a rather defensive speech on the subject, noting the intense sectarian rivalries that dominate Iraqi society and the likely inability to maintain stability in Baghdad. As for replacing Saddam with a democracy, Cheney asked his audience, “How much credibility is that government going to have if it’s set up by the United States military when it’s there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for the government, and what happens to it once we leave?”

Cheney also said:

“The notion that we ought to now go to Baghdad and somehow take control of the country strikes me as an You’d probably have to put some new government in place. It’s not clear what kind of government that would be, how long you’d have to stay. For the U.S. to get involved militarily in determining the outcome of the struggle over who’s going to govern in Iraq strikes me as a classic extremely serious one in terms of what we’d have to do once we got there. For the U.S. to get involved militarily in determining the outcome of the struggle over who’s going to govern in Iraq strikes me as a classic definition of a quagmire.”.”

Cheney’s record of judgment shows – A) Cheney is channeling Stalin B) Cheney is a pro when it comes to moral relativism C) Cheney possess the maturity and wisdom of a drunk squirrel.

“A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.” – Benjamin Franklin

Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something

US Iran intelligence ‘is incorrect’

At the heart of the debate are accusations – spearheaded by the US – that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons.

However, most of the tip-offs about supposed secret weapons sites provided by the CIA and other US intelligence agencies have led to dead ends when investigated by IAEA inspectors, according to informed sources in Vienna.

“Most of it has turned out to be incorrect,” a diplomat at the IAEA with detailed knowledge of the agency’s investigations said.

“They gave us a paper with a list of sites. [The inspectors] did some follow-up, they went to some military sites, but there was no sign of [banned nuclear] activities.

“Now [the inspectors] don’t go in blindly. Only if it passes a credibility test.”

One particularly contentious issue was records of plans to build a nuclear warhead, which the CIA said it found on a stolen laptop computer supplied by an informant inside Iran.

In July 2005, US intelligence officials showed printed versions of the material to IAEA officials, who judged it to be sufficiently specific to confront Iran.

Tehran rejected the material as forged, and there are still reservations within the IAEA about its authenticity, according to officials with knowledge of the internal debate in the agency.

“First of all, if you have a clandestine programme, you don’t put it on laptops which can walk away,” one official said. “The data is all in English which may be reasonable for some of the technical matters, but at some point you’d have thought there would be at least some notes in Farsi. So there is some doubt over the provenance of the computer.”

Here we go again, manipulated National Intelligence Estimates and going to war over a loony informant named Curveball for Iraq and now mysterious laptops that just so happen to fall into the Right hands.

CIA Agent Says Bosses Ordered Him To Falsify WMD Reports

Although the word “Iraq” does not appear in the heavily redacted version of the suit, the Washington Post reports that “the remaining language and context make clear that the officer’s work related to prewar intelligence on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.”

Accusations of intelligence officers being pressured on their Iraq findings in the lead-up to the war has long been alleged, but no CIA official has come public before with such claims.

According to the undercover agent, the CIA management retaliated against him by launching investigations of allegations that he had a sexual affair with a female asset and that he stole money meant to be pay off for sources.

There is an interview with the CIA agent’s lawyer at the link.

How Dick Cheney Helped Al Qaeda

Like most Americans, I considered American actions in Afghanistan to be a dismal but necessary act. An attack on United States soil requires, unequivocally, a disproportionate response; a valid military response in this case would have indeed been a removal of the Taliban from power, the complete and total removal of al Qaeda from Afghanistan and in any other countries in which they had found refuge, and a generous reconstruction of Afghanistan in such a fashion as to ensure al Qaeda’s continued inability to function there, thus demonstrating that terrorism against the United States would both fail in its purpose, and would result in disproportionate damage to the terrorists and hostile nations responsible. That’s how you prevent terrorism: you make the consequences worse than the possible upside.

That proposition, supported by nearly all Americans, lasted mere months, however, before the Bush administration’s eyes wandered away from the actual fight against al Qaeda and supporters and towards a large scale proxy war advocated by Rumsfeld and by neoconservative strategists looking to transfer American attention to the war they had wanted to fight, rather than the war they were actually in. The relatively small number of troops that had been committed to Afghanistan were drawn off to prepare for a larger Iraq conflict, including special forces tasked directly with tracking bin Laden. At no point was Afghanistan on the road to sure recovery: the Taliban remains a force in the country to this day.

Part of a good article by Hunter at Kos. Not only has the Taliban seemed to have as much power as before Bush invaded, al-Queda has expanded its power in our ally Pakistan’s territory and yet Bush and old slow Joe Lieberman see no need to shift resources there.

What is wrong with intelligent design?

“When scientific theories compete with each other, the usual pattern is that independently attested auxiliary propositions allow the theories to make predictions that disagree with each other,” Sober writes. “No such auxiliary propositions allow … ID to do this.” In developing this idea, Sober makes use of ideas that the French philosopher Pierre Duhem developed in connection with physical theories – theories usually do not, all by themselves, make testable predictions. Rather, they do so only when supplemented with auxiliary information. For example, the laws of optics do not, by themselves, predict when eclipses will occur; they do so when independently justified claims about the positions of the earth, moon, and sun are taken into account.

Similarly, ID claims make predictions when they are supplemented by auxiliary claims. The problem is that these auxiliary assumptions about the putative designer’s goals and abilities are not independently justified. Surprisingly, this is a point that several ID proponents concede.

It is a much easier path to take in life to simply believe something is true and that truth always seems to be untestable.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”- Giordano Bruno

“Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.” – Henry David Thoreau

Republican comes in the dictionary just after reptile and just above repugnant

Like anyone that has ever tripped over their own ever so sophisticated rationale for engaging in immoral acts Glenn Reynolds keeps digging his own metaphorical grave just a tad deeper with every new word he writes on selective murder, More of Glenn Reynolds’ Wisdom on Political Assassination. Having heard so many thugs come up with every lame excuse in the book for their behavior I have to give the thugs higher marks for imagination if nothing else. They’re generally not law professors, you know people that should certainly know better. Reynolds writes,

Other law professors have, of course, made similar arguments, at far greater length than my blog post. Campos, himself a law professor, could have learned these things through a simple Google search, but apparently did not.

Reynolds seems to be the one that doesn’t know how to use Google or perhaps he just uses some kind of wing-nut filter that only shows him the results that are in sync with his unhinged world view. It’s not just that his opinion is wrong, he uses bent facts to justify his opinion.

“Self-defense” is understood to refer to an “actual or imminent armed attack”:

Under Article 51, the triggering condition for the exercise of self-defense is the occurrence of an armed attack (“if an armed attack occurs”). Notwithstanding the literal meaning of that language, some, though not all, authorities interpret Article 51 to permit anticipatory self-defense in response to an imminent attack. A generally recognized guide to the conditions for anticipatory self-defense is Daniel Webster’s statement regarding the Caroline affair of 1837: Self-defense is justified only when the necessity for action is “instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.” (Letter from Daniel Webster, Secretary of State, to Lord Ashburton, August 6, 1842, reprinted in 2 John Bassett Moore, A Digest of International Law 409, 412 (1906)).

Reynolds who the great state of Tennessee has to put up with feels that he is under imminent and urgent threat from Iran in much the same way that George Bush thought he was defending Texas from the Vietcong when he ducked the draft to join the TANG. That said, yes there are people such as Osama Bin Laden who have proven themselves a threat beyond any reasonable doubt, but to suggest that all Iranian officials and clerics are fair game just doesn’t qualify in the same way that OBL does – A difference that is very obvious to us non-kool-aid drinkers ( Iranian official offers glimpse from within: A desire for U.S. ally). Mark Kleiman ( bless him for his patience in debating these nationalistic rubs) writes Eugene Volokh on assassination and academic freedom

1. First and foremost, the assassination debate is a remarkably stupid discussion to be having right now. There is every reason to think that the current Iranian regime is unpopular, and that the Guardian Council is getting nervous about Ahmadinejad. The relevant supplement to diplomacy right now is not violence, but subversion: not the financing of MeK or the various silly exile groups, but moving the Iranian political process, which is after all semi-republican, in the right direction.

The current cabal of rulers in Iran are not the most lovable folks in the world. They are clever and manipulative. The Right goes wrong as usual by thinking that the best, first and only response in dealing with them is assassinations and tactical nukes. They’re like some drivers I know that only know two speeds, parked and eighty miles per hour. Do we really need to say that nukes have a way of punishing the innocent along with the presumed guilty.

5. Two of the proposed targets are “radical mullahs” and “atomic scientists.” Eugene seems to think that the “scientists” are more plausibly legitimate targets than the mullahs, on the grounds that building nuclear weapons is more obviously wicked than preaching. That makes a certain amount of sense, though perhaps one ought to distinguish between members of the Guardian Council and those who don’t wield political power.

To imagine a small band of plain clothed American assassins wandering around Tehran reminds me of one of those absurd David Zucker movies. The the Iranians respond by having some assassins stalking around America and suddenly we have two nations in one international game of paint ball with real bullets. This is why its difficult to take the Right seriously as a a movement of ideas, I can get ideas like those of Reynolds and Volokh from any seven year old with a vivid imagination.
( Just a note on the Reynolds should be fired meme. Much better to hold him up the ridicule that he so richly deserves)

Seriously is Dick Cheney having some kind of medical problem that is effecting his mental stabilityEXCLUSIVE: Cheney Says Pelosi Strategy Would Validate Al Qaeda

Karl: So, Mr. Vice President, Tony Blair is announcing that the British are beginning their withdrawal from Iraq. Are you concerned about that?

Cheney: No, they’ve indicated for some time now that they were going to make adjustments based on conditions on the ground. I think they believe that in southern Iraq, that Basra region where they’ve been most active, we have made significant progress. And I think that’s one of the reasons they feel that they can draw down their forces there.

A rudimentary comprehension of Cheny’s remarks tells us that things in Iraq have improved so dramatically that hey its as cool as James Dean’s Levis that the British are packing up and heading back home for some god awful warm beer. But no wait we must have misunderstood,

I think, in fact, if we were to do what Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha are suggesting, all we’ll do is validate the al Qaeda strategy. The al Qaeda strategy is to break the will of the American people. In fact, knowing they can’t win in a stand-up fight, try to persuade us to throw in the towel and come home, and then they win because we quit.

Things are going great in Iraq, the British are leaving which is just dandy, yet Murtha and Pelosi are on al-Queda’s side because they are against sending in more troops , troops that don’t even have enough rifles or mortars – National Guard May Undertake Iraq Duty Early

The accelerated timetable illustrates the cascading effect that the White House plan to increase the number of troops in Iraq by more than 21,000 is putting on the entire Army and in particular on Reserve forces, which officers predicted would face severe challenges in recruiting, training and equipping their forces.

snip

“We’re behind the power curve, and we can’t piddle around,” Maj. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, commander of the Oklahoma National Guard, said in an interview. He added that one-third of his soldiers lacked the M-4 rifles preferred by active-duty soldiers and that there were also shortfalls in night vision goggles and other equipment. If his unit is going to be sent to Iraq next year, he said, “We expect the Army to resource the Guard at the same level as active-duty units.”

Considering Cheney and by proxy Bush’s continuing mental breakdowns Speaker Pelosi was very understated in saying, Statement on Cheney Iraq Comments

Vice President Cheney continues to question the patriotism of those of us in Congress who challenge the Bush Administration’s misguided policies in Iraq, but his latest attack is beneath the office of the Vice President, especially at a time of war.

Mischaracterizations by the Vice President will not dissuade Congress from developing, on a bipartisan basis, a responsible new direction for U.S. policy in Iraq that brings our troops home safely and soon. I hope the President will repudiate and distance himself from the Vice President’s remarks.

Squeezing in one last thing for the day, Conservative judicial activism – Shielding the Powerful

The Supreme Court’s decision yesterday overturning a nearly $80 million punitive damage award against Philip Morris is a win for corporate wrongdoers. It stretches the Constitution’s guarantee of due process in a way that will make it easier for companies that act reprehensibly to sidestep serious punishments.

It also provides unsettling new evidence that the court is more concerned about — and more willing to protect — the powerful than the powerless.

“Republican comes in the dictionary just after reptile and just above repugnant.” – J. Roberts

It’s no small irony that the government inevitably and invariably ends up promoting precisely that which they would most like to repress

Remember when the Bush administration along with their Congressional Republican hand maidens decided that in order to make their absolutely dismal job creation record look a little better they decided that flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant would from hence forth be classified as a manufacturing job. It looks as though they have taken the same scientific casual approach to defining terrorism, Audit: Anti-terror case data flawed

A November 2001 federal crackdown on security breaches at airports, for example, yielded arrests on immigration and false document charges, but no evidence of terrorist activity. Nonetheless, the attorneys’ office lumped them in with other anti-terror cases since they were investigated by federal Joint Terrorism Task Forces or with other counterterror measures.

Other examples, according to the audit, included:

_Charges against a marriage-broker for being paid to arrange six fraudulent marriages between Tunisians and U.S. citizens.

_Prosecution of a Mexican citizen who falsely identified himself as another person in a passport application.

_Charges against a suspect for dealing firearms without a license. The prosecutor handling the case told auditors it should not have been labeled as anti-terrorism.

“We do not agree that law enforcement efforts such as these should be counted as anti-terrorism,” the audit concluded. Even if those cases were not taken into account, the audit said, the U.S. attorneys’ office had overstated statistics in all other categories it reported.

Not that there isn’t real terrorism in the world, The Iraq Effect

Our study shows that the Iraq War has generated a stunning sevenfold increase in the yearly rate of fatal jihadist attacks, amounting to literally hundreds of additional terrorist attacks and thousands of civilian lives lost; even when terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan is excluded, fatal attacks in the rest of the world have increased by more than one-third.

snip

Also undermining the argument that Al Qaeda and like-minded groups are being distracted from plotting against Western targets are the dangerous, anti-American plots that have arisen since the start of the Iraq War. Jihadist terrorists have attacked key American allies since the Iraq conflict began, mounting multiple bombings in London that killed 52 in July 2005, and attacks in Madrid in 2004 that killed 191. Shehzad Tanweer, one of the London bombers, stated in his videotaped suicide “will,” “What have you witnessed now is only the beginning of a string of attacks that will continue and become stronger until you pull your forces out of Afghanistan and Iraq.” There have been six jihadist attacks on the home soil of the United States’ NATO allies (including Turkey) in the period after the invasion of Iraq, whereas there were none in the 18 months following 9/11; and, of course, the plan uncovered in London in August 2006 to smuggle liquid explosives onto U.S. airliners, had it succeeded, would have killed thousands.

The Iraq effect has been to push people that were ambivalent about the west or that simply didn’t like western culture to hatred and from hatred to action. The Right seems to enjoy this spectacle. The Iraq war and the current escalation pushed events toward a self fulfilling prophecy. Bush keeps pushing, the insurgents fight the push, the true jihadists get a few more recruits with each passing month which provides the Right with another excuse for another push which keeps us back on the circular treadmill. Eurasia has always been at war with Oceania. Perpetual war that benefits the Right with war profiteering, the ideological satisfaction of killing people and our dead become a stack of martyrs they hide their misanthropy behind.

Bush Kept On Plame Leakers Despite Promises
When the New York Times publishes a leak that shows that BushCo is breaking the law that’s a bad leak. When Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and Richard Armitage leak highly classified information that exposes not just Valerie Plame, but all the intelligence assets associated with her that’s a very good leak. Any child could see the pattern, exposing the gravest presidential wrong doing is bad, using leaks to punish those that expose administration propaganda is perfectly alright – evil done in the name of the right-wing casue is not really evil or something like that. The story doesn’t stop with the good leaks versus the bad leaks where only the Right gets to decide what exactly what constitutes a bad leak and what constitutes a good leak. Bad leaks or what a rational person can easily see as any leak of information that exposes the criminal conduct of Bush and his minions and is downright unpatriotic. One the other hand when they decide the leak is good, like letting every cut-throat from Moscow to Cairo know a CIA agents identity, well that as American as an apple pie and Lynn Cheny’s lesbian soft porn novels.

Maybe We Deserve to Be Ripped Off By Bush’s Billionaires

While America obsessed about Brittany’s shaved head, Bush offered a budget that offers $32.7 billion in tax cuts to the Wal-Mart family alone, while cutting $28 billion from Medicaid.

“It’s no small irony that the government inevitably and invariably ends up promoting precisely that which they would most like to repress.” – Jock Sturges