I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations

appeal to authority and unsupported assertion

An appeal to authority or argument by authority is a type of argument in logic, consisting on basing the truth value of an otherwise unsupported assertion on the authority, knowledge or position of the person asserting it. It is also known as argument from authority, argumentum ad verecundiam (Latin: argument to respect) or ipse dixit (Latin: he himself said it). It is one method of obtaining propositional knowledge, but a fallacy in regard to logic, because the validity of a claim does not follow from the credibility of the source. The corresponding reverse case would be an ad hominem attack: to imply that the claim is false because the asserter is objectionable.

On the other hand, there is no fallacy involved in simply arguing that the assertion made by an authority is plausible: it is likely true, we just don’t know for sure, because authority alone is not a proof.

In the movie The Big Chill Michael Gold (Jeff Goldblum) says that you can’t get through the day without a rationaliztion. Bush, Republican pundits, and right-wing web sites simply cannot discuss Iraq or terrorism without making unsupported assertions. Bush shows no signs what so ever of giving up on their use, Bush: ‘Iraq withdrawal may spark 9/11 repeat’

“If American forces were to step back from Baghdad before it is more secure, a contagion of violence could spill out across the entire country. In time, this violence could engulf the region.

The region of Iraq is engulfed in violence and that is so because Bush steam rolled the nation into invading it. There are loosely affiliated al-Queda members there, but they’re goals as far as it is known is not to attack the U.S. If they wanted to do so, nothing Bush is doing in Iraq would prevent them.

“The terrorists could emerge from the chaos with a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they had in Afghanistan, which they used to plan the attacks of September 11, 2001. For the safety of the American people, we cannot allow this to happen.”

The only thing resembling a true terrorist group in Iraq are the minority Sunni foreign fighters. It is close to impossible that the majority Shia would alllow them “safe haven”. That assertion is not based on any known fact about the religious or tribal factions in Iraq. Again if any jihadist that has a grudge against America wanted to badly, enough there are no events or change in tactics in Iraq that would prevent that.

He delivered a tough message to Democrats, who now control Congress, that he would veto any bill that did not provide “the funds and the flexibility that our troops need to accomplish their mission”.Democratic proposals for deadlines for troop withdrawals, he claimed, could be “devastating” for US security and could help al-Qa’eda plan attacks against the US on a scale not seen since September 11.

Show us the evidence. It is that simple. Show the American people the studies, the intelligence that says a redeployment of American troops will bring another 9-11 attack. Bush believes, and believes is the operative word in some version of the “flypaper” theory. That all the jihadists in the world have been drawn to Iraq and are just too darn busy to attack America. He says this and believes this as Afghanistan, where Osama Bin Laden was 6 years ago has slid back into a country ruled by warlords, the Taliban has had a resurgence and spread into Pakistan.

This continued insistence on cause and effect links between 9-11, Iraq and stopping Islamic radical terror should be disconcerting to every American. It is like standing in crowd as the emperor walks by and he swears that he is wearing the most splendid new clothes and it is obvious that he is not wearing any clothes at all. It should and does cross the minds of a few people in the crowd that if anything the emperor’s crown is on a little too tight. The Iraq Effect starts by referring to similar comments that Bush made in November 2005,

The president’s argument conveyed two important assumptions: first, that the threat of jihadist terrorism to U.S. interests would have been greater without the war in Iraq, and second, that the war is reducing the overall global pool of terrorists. However, the White House has never cited any evidence for either of these assumptions, and none appears to be publicly available.

Our study yields one resounding finding: The rate of terrorist attacks around the world by jihadist groups and the rate of fatalities in those attacks increased dramatically after the invasion of Iraq. Globally there was a 607 percent rise in the average yearly incidence of attacks (28.3 attacks per year before and 199.8 after) and a 237 percent rise in the average fatality rate (from 501 to 1,689 deaths per year). A large part of this rise occurred in Iraq, which accounts for fully half of the global total of jihadist terrorist attacks in the post-Iraq War period. But even excluding Iraq, the average yearly number of jihadist terrorist attacks and resulting fatalities still rose sharply around the world by 265 percent and 58 percent respectively.

And even when attacks in both Afghanistan and Iraq (the two countries that together account for 80 percent of attacks and 67 percent of deaths since the invasion of Iraq) are excluded, there has still been a significant rise in jihadist terrorism elsewhere–a 35 percent increase in the number of jihadist terrorist attacks outside of Afghanistan and Iraq, from 27.6 to 37 a year, with a 12 percent rise in fatalities from 496 to 554 per year.

The emperor and his dead-end supporters will continue to assert without the slightest bit of evidence that Bush is making the world safer even though the exact opposite is true. Their unsupported assertions that rest solely on the grandiose proclamations of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney or their right-wing proxies are taken as a matter of faith, the kind of blind faith that one has always been able to find in zealots who by definition do not want to be bothered with the facts.

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…

Bush and the neocons cannot seem to utter a word about Iraq and terrorism that isn’t an unsupported assertion. Their appeals are never based on rational facts, but rather rationalizations based on their own authority or as has been reported some mystical authority.

Michael: I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They’re more important than sex.
Sam Weber: Ah, come on. Nothing’s more important than sex.
Michael: Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?

from the movie The Big Chill (1983)

The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colours breaking through

Bush pledges to spread democracy

“It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world,”

Sounds nice doesn’t it. Makes a great sound bite. Those words would have had both depth and resonance if they would have been spoken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt or William J. Clinton, but they weren’t. Neocons in Cheney’s Office Fund al Qaeda-Tied Groups … and No One Cares?

2. Jihadis as Proxies: Using jihadis as American proxies in a struggle to rollback Iran — with the help of the Saudis — should have rung a few bells somewhere in American memory as another been-there, done-that moment. In the 1980s — on the theory that my enemy’s enemy is my friend — the fundamentalist Catholic CIA Director William Casey came to believe that Islamic fundamentalists could prove tight and trustworthy allies in rolling back the Soviet Union. In Afghanistan, as a result, the CIA, backed by the Saudis royals, who themselves represented an extremist form of Sunni Islam, regularly favored and funded the most extreme of the mujahedeen ready to fight the Soviets.

3. Congress in the Dark: Hersh claims that, with the help of Saudi National Security Adviser Prince Bandar bin Sultan (buddy to the Bushes and Dick Cheney’s close comrade-in-arms), the people running the black-ops programs out of Cheney’s office have managed to run circles around any possibility of Congressional oversight, leaving the institution completely “in the dark,” which is undoubtedly exactly where Congress wanted to be for the last six years. Is this still true? The non-reaction to the Hersh piece isn’t exactly encouraging.

A few bloggers posted about this story, but other then that it has almost disappeared. I wrote before that Bush supporters could claim this was a brilliant idea – let the radical Sunnis and Shia associated with Iran kill each other off. Only if we’re dialing down to the reality – Bush is giving, even though somewhat indirectly funding to people that are sympathetic to those that attacked America on 9-11. Morally convenient, strategically convient or not Bush and his Saudi friends don’t mind sleeping with dogs and using tour taxpayer dollars to do so. Whatever this is it is not spreading democracy and is yet another nail in the coffin of the we’re in Iraq to save the Iraqi people argument. When these brilliant neocons decided to put boots on the ground in Iraq that was also the same day they gave Iran more influence in the middle-east then the Iranians ever dreamed of. According to this article in the Washington Post there are at least some veterans that support the same administration that is aiding and abetting jidahists because someone put a tiara on a statue. The power of denial seems to align perfectly with a stunning lack of priorities in some people. The mechanizations of the Bushies makes the comic absurdity of movies like Wag the Dog seem tame and almost sane by comparison. here’s another Republican supporting the spread of democracy, Another Big GOP Supporter Funding Terrorists?

Banana company Chiquita Brands International said Wednesday it has agreed to a $25 million fine after admitting it paid a Colombian terrorist group for protection in a volatile farming region.

The settlement resolves a lengthy Justice Department investigation into the company’s financial dealings with terrorist organizations in Colombia.

In court documents filed Wednesday, federal prosecutors said several unnamed high-ranking corporate officers at the Cincinnati-based company paid about $1.7 million between 1997 and 2004 to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, known as AUC for its Spanish initials.

A close ally of George W. Bush, Lindner secured the use of Great American Ballpark for the Bush’s re-election campaign on October 31, 2004, a few days before the 2004 Presidential Election.

One could say and rightfully so that politicians generally do not run background checks on all their donors and cannot be held responsible for the behavior of every donor. The problem here isn’t that Mr. Banana Man Lindner who has since left Chiquita, was just some Joe Sixpack Republican sending in a few bucks, he was a well known Republican player. Well OK, but to do business in Columbia you have to pay off somebody. You could call it the hard nosed realist world view or incredibly cynical. There is always the option of staying out of the fray. Don’t do business with the far left or the far right. Excuse my Frank Capra take on things, but corruption and pay offs to militaristic extremists are not going to push Columbia closer to liberal democracy. If the Right enjoys feeding that small band of conspiracy affectionados on the far left propaganda it seems a strange hobby at best and prolongs the strife that keeps extremists organizations like United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia going.

Gonzales’ plight puts Bush at risk

Initially, the dispute centered on the Justice Department, Gonzales and his top aides. But documents released last week suggested that Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet E. Miers were also involved in the decision to fire eight U.S. attorneys after the 2004 election. That brought the issue to the threshold of the Oval Office and prompted reporters to ask whether Bush had been involved.

“I want you to be clear here: Don’t go dropping it at the president’s door,” White House spokesman Tony Snow said Friday when asked about Bush’s involvement.

So The Decider who can decide what wars to lie us into, what laws he’ll ignore and that the constitution doesn’t apply to him shouldn’t in any way be responsible for what his chief law enforcement crony does. Tony Snow just moved his puppet show from Fox to Pennsylvania Ave. Schumer: It’s ‘highly unlikely’ Alberto Gonzales stays attorney general

On NBC’s Meet the Press this morning, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) discussed the US attorney firing scandal with host Tim Russert.

“I think it’s highly unlikely [Alberto Gonzales] survives. I wouldn’t be surprised if, a week from now, he is no longer attorney general,” said Schumer.

Gonzales “miscast his role” as attorney general, said Schumer. Rather than be the “the chief law enforcement officer of the land,” Schumer said that Gonzales has instead acted as “the president’s lawyer who rubber stamps everything the White House wants.”

Fox news director and pathological liar Brit Hume, Hume Launches New Smear: Plame Lied Under Oath

Hume said Plame’s testimony “flies in the face of the evidence” adduced by the “bipartisan” Senate Intelligence Committee, which said that “she very much did have something to do with it, that she recommended him and that she put it in a memo.”
REP. VAN HOLLEN: So, just so I understand, Mr. Chairman, if I could — so, there was a memo written by the [Counterproliferation Division] officer, upon whose alleged testimony the Senate wrote its report that contradicts the conclusions –

MS. PLAME WILSON: Absolutely.

REP. VAN HOLLEN: — contradicts the conclusions from that report.

MS. PLAME WILSON: Yes, sir.

Fox is a legitimate news network in the same way that daily sunburns are good for your skin.

” The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colours breaking through.” Alexis de Tocqueville:

They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors

That liberal media is at it again. Glenn Beck who has a program on CNN, was hired as a political commentator by ABC and has his own radio program recently called Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) a “stereotypical bitch”. Maybe Glenn would know since it takes one to know one. One definition of a bitch is wealthy right-winger with multiple soap-boxes that lives in the gutter of political commentary, calls someone a name, the incident was taped and then tries to worm his way out of it.

Beck boy probably thinks that right-wing Republican strategists Edwina Rogers is a good little woman. The kind that is all too willing to engage in the kinds of lies that typifies modern conservatives, GOP strategist falsely claimed Plame appeared in Vanity Fair before being outed

In fact, Plame’s photos appeared in Vanity Fair several months after syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak’s July 14, 2003, column disclosed her identity, and Wilson’s July 6, 2003, Times op-ed appeared long after he delivered his report on Niger to the CIA.

M’s Rogers echo of this particular lie is all over the internet and not the first time that Fox has allowed someone to repeat it without question. Einstein aside, us regular human beings live on a linear time line. Once Novak revealed her identity, courtesy Dick Cheney’s office M’s Plame’s status as a covert agent was blown. She was then free to appear in whatever magazines she felt like appearing in. That is at the point, the treachery of the Whitehouse with the help of the right-wing echo ruined M’s Plame’s career as a covert operative who was an expert on WMD. From the Lbby indictment,

As a person with such clearances, LIBBY was obligated by applicable
laws and regulations, including Title 18, United States Code, Section 793, and Executive Order
12958 (as modified byExecutive Order13292), not to disclose classified information to persons not
authorized to receive such information
, and otherwise to exercise proper care to safeguard classified
information against unauthorized disclosure.

The Right, Glenn Reynolds and the National Review among other fringe right venues continue the lie that somehow M’s Plame sent her husband to Niger. They were wrong three years ago and they are still wrong,

In 2002,after an inquiry to the CIA by the Vice President concerning certain intelligence reporting, the CIA decided on its own initiative to send Wilson to the country of Niger to investigate allegations involving Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium yellowcake, a processed form of uranium ore.

If Plame’s identity was public knowledge why did Scooter’s buddy Judith Miller rely on reports from from Scooter instead of calling the supposedly well known covert agent M’s Plame,

On or about the morning of July 8, 2003, LIBBY met with New York Times reporter
Judith Miller. When the conversation turned to the subject of Joseph Wilson, LIBBY asked that the
information LIBBY provided on the topic of Wilson be attributed to a “former Hill staffer” rather
than to a “senior administration official,” as had been the understanding with respect to other
information that LIBBY provided to Miller during this meeting. LIBBY thereafter discussed with
Miller Wilson’s trip and criticized the CIA reporting concerning Wilson’s trip. During this
discussion, LIBBY advised Miller of his belief that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA.

Beginningin or about January2004, and continuing until the date of this indictment,
Grand Jury 03-3 sitting in the District of Columbia conducted an investigation (“the Grand Jury
Investigation”) into possible violations of federal criminal laws, including: Title 50, United States
Code, Section 421 (disclosure of the identity of covert intelligence personnel); and Title 18, United
States Code, Sections 793 (improper disclosure of national defense information), 1001 (false
statements), 1503 (obstruction of justice), and 1623 (perjury).

The Judge, the special prosecutor and the grand jury proceeded on a request from the CIA and the fact that M’s Plame was indeed covert, but none of that matters because talking heads on Fox and the usual suspects on the fringe Right blogs say she wasn’t. The Right cannot get through a single day without an unsupported assertion.
Another little piece of hope that the Right hung their hats on was the assertion that the erroneous entry in the Senate Intelligence report, that to the Right anyway verified their charge of nepotism. While it isn’t logical that nepotism would automatically invalidate any facts found by Joseph Wilson on his Niger trip, the hope by the Right was that the charge would cast some doubt on Wilson’s veracity. We now find out that the Senate report was in fact wrong on that count, Valerie Plame Speaks–Finally–About CIA Leak Case

They have pointed to a Senate intelligence committee report that suggested Valerie Wilson was instrumental in sending him. Before the House committee, she testified that she did not have the authority to dispatch her husband on such a trip, that a coworker had the idea to send Joe Wilson (who years earlier had taken on a similar assignment for the Counterproliferation Division), and that she had merely been asked to write a note confirming her husband’s credentials. She also said that a colleague was misquoted within the Senate intelligence committee report (saying she had proposed her husband for the trip) and that this colleague subsequently was prevented by a superior from sending the committee a memo correcting the record. In other words, her husband’s detractors have overplayed this angle. (By he way, much of this story was reported in Hubris.) Democrats on the committee said they would ask the CIA for a copy of the smothered memo.

One among several comical arguments now being made by the rabid Right is that in Plame’s testimony before Congress M’s Plame said she had no personal knowledge of all those in the Bush Whitehouse that blew her classified cover so no crime was committed and even if the Whitehouse did blow her cover there was no intent. Sad, but true. Imagine if a gang composed of George, Dick, Scooter and Karl attacked a member of your family. Since you had no personal knowledge of who attacked your family or their intent that means the gang is innocent. Its the right-wing Bozo school of law.

Glenn Beck’s soul mate John Gibson – John Gibson Calls Valerie Plame ” Spy Babe”. She is far more attractive then Ann Coulter who has said Democratic women are ugly.

“I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors.” George H.W. Bush, April 26, 1999

The fascination of the abomination–you know. Imagine the growing regrets, the longing to escape, the powerless disgust, the surrender, the hate

The Right is in full bore denial mode. Recently neocon soul mate to Dick Cheney one Scotter Libby was convicted of,

Count 1 – Obstruction of Justice: Libby intentionally deceived the grand jury about how he learned, and “disclosed to the media,” information about Valerie Plame Wilson’s employment by the CIA.

Count 2 – Making a False Statement: Libby intentionally gave FBI agents false information about a conversation he had with NBC’s Tim Russert regarding Valerie Plame Wilson, who is married to Joseph Wilson.

Count 4 – Perjury: Libby knowingly provided false testimony in court about a conversation he had with Russert.

Count 5 – Perjury: Libby knowingly provided false testimony in court about his conversation with reporters regarding Valerie Plame Wilson’s CIA employment.

Plame was undercover, we knew that even before her testimony today. We also know that notes written by Cheney revealed he directed the effort to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

Libby later came to her seat in the back of the plane, holding a handwritten card with notes he said were Cheney’s instructions about what to say to Cooper. Libby told her, Martin testified, that Cheney, in a rare move, authorized him to provide a specific quote on the record, with Libby’s name attached.

Republican apologists Andrew C. McCarthy wrote at the intellectual flagship of conservatism the National Review, July 18, 2005, 8:01 a.m. Did the CIA “Out” Valerie Plame?

The hypocrisy, though, only starts there. It turns out that the media believe Plame was outed long before either Novak or Corn took pen to paper. And not by an ambiguous confirmation from Rove or a nod-and-a-wink from Ambassador Hubby. No, the media think Plame was previously compromised by a disclosure from the intelligence community itself — although it may be questionable whether there was anything of her covert status left to salvage at that point, for reasons that will become clear momentarily.

McCarthy isn’t the only one to stick to this bizarre narrative that reads more like a bad spy thriller then anything resembling reality. Imagine that Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was able to convince the judge and a grand jury that none of this Cuba-CIA outing ever happened – at the very least the judge would have noticed. Where are the indictments for Fitzgerald and his staff for this dastardly plot to keep this compelling Cuba evidence out of the proceedings – and even more important is why didn’t Libby’s lawyers introduce it into evidence, the whole trial would have gone away. Then they have to explain away Bush appointee and team player ( he lied for his boss) CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden’s assertion that Valerie Plame was covert. Is General Hayden lying again. If the right-wing blogs want to stick with their surreal version of events, well it is their tradition to make fools of themselves. Since they hate Valerie Plame so much they could then also see about charging her for lying in her Congressional testimony today. Or it could be that Hayden’s telling the truth for once and Plame continues to make the administration and the Right look like traitors in the continuing Republican tradition of putting their rabid ideology before their loyalty to country.

White House Security Chief Reveals — No Probe of Plame Leak There

NEW YORK Dr. James Knodell, director of the Office of Security at the White House, told a congressional committee today that he was aware of no internal investigation or report into the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame.

[ ]…Knodell testified that those who had participated in the leaking of classified information were required to own up to this and he was not aware that anyone, including Karl Rove, had done that.

A right-wing blogger named Macsmind is on the case, rather then somehow drag in President Clinton he has chosen the irrefutable path of right-wing deductive reasoning so stand back and wait to be amazed by his Sherlock Holmes impression, Posted by Macranger on Friday, March 16th, 2007 at 7:12 pm.

Ok, let’s let this sink in. The White House has no inherant ability to “probe itself” and in fact as soon as they became the “focus” they had to recuse themselves.

Besides Knodell’s testimony there is one inconvenient fact that the Macster left out. Novak’s column appeared months before Fitzgerald’s investigation began. So if their was some need legal or otherwise for the Whitehouse to stop any internal probe, they could have continued that internal fact finding up until the beginning of the investigation by the special prosecutor. Nothing , legal or otherwise would have stopped Bush from asking questions of his staff purely on ethical grounds. An ethical president would have strolled down the hall and asked Dick and Scooter what they knew and when they knew it and who they told- unless of course Bush already knew or didn’t care. Mac and his cohorts should loosen the foil its cutting off circulation. Bush assured the public that this was all serious – it can’t be serious if no laws were broken or ethics were violated. That he would get to the bottom of the matter. Apparently GW immediately turned around went back to the Oval office and sit on his hands, Bush Should Live Up to 2000 Pledge

Given the opportunity on Monday to reassure the public that he meant all of those things he said back in 2000 during the campaign and specifically what he said in June 2004 about the Plame scandal, the president punted.

“There’s a serious investigation,” Bush said when asked by reporters during a White House photo-op with the Bulgarian prime minister. “I’m not going to prejudge the outcome of the investigation.”

But Bush wasn’t being asked by the press to “prejudge” the outcome. He was, essentially, being asked to define his standard of propriety. Does someone have to be indicted and convicted of a specific crime in the Plame case to deserve dismissal from Bush’s staff? Or does a person merely have to have engaged in questionable, or possibly unethical, behavior?

The investigation into the Plame leak raises plenty of questions that the president may eventually be forced to answer. Among the biggest is what exactly have Rove and Libby told Bush about their roles in the leak?

Murray Waas raised just this question in a National Journal story earlier this month, writing:

“White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove personally assured President Bush in the early fall of 2003 that he had not disclosed to anyone in the press that Valerie Plame, the wife of an administration critic, was a CIA employee, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the accounts that both Rove and Bush independently provided to federal prosecutors.

“During the same conversation in the White House two years ago — occurring just days after the Justice Department launched a criminal probe into the unmasking of Plame as a covert agency operative — Rove also assured the president that he had not leaked any information to the media in an effort to discredit Plame’s husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson. Rove also did not tell the president about his July 2003 a phone call with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, a conversation that touched on the issue of Wilson and Plame.”

If reports such as those are true, Rove clearly misled the president about his role. And to make matters worse, the White House wittingly or unwittingly played along, in the form of White House spokesman Scott McClellan’s denials two years ago that anyone in the administration had anything to do with the Plame leak.

Scotty assured us that no one in the WH knew anything. Libby is indicted and convicted. The jury says that Libby was just a front man and asked where Cheney and Rove are. Libby lied for a reason. People generally do not lie for the pure pleasure of serving jail time. He lied to protect law breakers in the Whitehouse. Libby wasn’t convicted because he’s a dufus with a poor memory and even if that were the case his lawyers had the time and power of discovery to refresh his memory. Scooter lied because up and down the halls of the Bush WH people were telling tales, getting their little smear campaign off the ground. They knew that Plame didn’t have the authority – official power to send ambassadors off on fishing expeditions – that was just another red herring Cheney and Rove fed to any right-wing pundit that was willing to repeat it – and there have been plenty. Even after Libby’s conviction – which would not have even been possible if Plame were not covert – the right is still claiming that she wasn’t – the Right has their little pinkies stuck in their ears and they’re huffing and puffing about more then anything else reality intruding on the carefully crafted faerie tale that is still rattling around in their heads with bits of Cuban-Russian conspiracy fantasies and tin foil laced with carefully altered time lines of who said what first. Anyone interested in the truth can easily punch gaping holes through all their delusional ranting, but the point is to feed some pablum to the other Holocaust-like Plame deniers of the fringe Right. Why is all of this so important to them. Because it turns out that they of the wrap their crap in the flag crowd have been themselves found guilty of the kind of betrayal that they accuse liberals of everyday. The Right continues to eat a lot of crow and that crow buffet is unlikely to end anytime soon with a Democratic majority all too ready to investigate the games Bush and the Right are playing with America’s security, Valerie Plame Wilson asserted that she was in fact a covert officer at the time that columnist Robert Novak revealed her employment at the CIA.

Washington Post editorial: “The trial has provided…no evidence that she was, in fact, covert.” [Washingotn Post, 3/7/07]

Mort Kondracke: “I frankly don’t think since Valerie Plame was not a covert officer that there was a crime here.” [Fox, 3/9/07]

Sean Hannity: “She did not meet the criteria, in any way, shape, matter or form as a covert agent.” [Fox, 3/6/07]

Robert Novak: “No evidence that she was a covert agent was ever presented to the jury.” [Fox, 3/6/07]

Brit Hume: “Whether the woman was covert, Valerie Plame was covert within the meaning of the law, remains at this point, still unclear. Unlikely she was.” [Fox, 3/6/07]

Victoria Toensing: “Plame was not covert. She worked at CIA headquarters and had not been stationed abroad within five years of the date of Novak’s column.” [Washington Post, 2/18/07]

“…In some inland post feel the savagery, the utter savagery, had closed round him–all that mysterious life of the wilderness that stirs in the forest, in the jungles, in the hearts of wild men. There’s no initiation either into such mysteries. He has to live in the midst of the incomprehensible, which is detestable. And it has a fascination, too, which goes to work upon him. The fascination of the abomination–you know. Imagine the growing regrets, the longing to escape, the powerless disgust, the surrender, the hate.”
From the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

updated 03-18-07 for grammar and clarity.

I’m glad to see the Ministry’s continuing its tradition of recruiting the brightest and best, sir.

Loyalty is a great quality. Probably part of the reason that Americans own so many dogs. Still while tail wagging loyalty and obedience are good qualities in a dog they can be disastrous qualities in an attorney general. We’ve all heard about the history of attorney generals over the last few days and we have to go all the way back to John N. Mitchell to find one as corrupt as Alberto Gonzales. Internal Affairs Aborted DOJ Probe Probably Would Have Targeted Gonzales

Shortly before Attorney General Alberto Gonzales advised President Bush last year on whether to shut down a Justice Department inquiry regarding the administration’s warrantless domestic eavesdropping program, Gonzales learned that his own conduct would likely be a focus of the investigation, according to government records and interviews.

Bush personally intervened to sideline the Justice Department probe in April 2006 by taking the unusual step of denying investigators the security clearances necessary for their work.

Unka Karl was at the top of the loop on the U.S. attorney purge. That darn e-mail and the “internets”. Ht to CorrenteWire for this column by Paul Krugman who looks at the flip side of the scandal. Alberto – BushCo was purging people based on their willingness to march to the tune of the Whitehouse rather then being ethical – you know like dude putting the law above politics. So the people that were retained must have possessed the ideological zeal that passed muster by Alberto-Karl-George. So what did the U.S. A’s do or didn’t do that made them ideological favorite sons,

Another big loose end involves what U.S. attorneys who weren’t fired did to please their employers. As I pointed out last week, the numbers show that since the Bush administration came to power, federal prosecutors have investigated far more Democrats than Republicans.

But the numbers can tell only part of the story. What we really need — and it will take a lot of legwork — is a portrait of the actual behavior of prosecutors across the country. Did they launch spurious investigations of Democrats, as I suggested last week may have happened in New Jersey? Did they slow-walk investigations of Republican scandals, like the phone-jamming case in New Hampshire?

Lecture 10 – The Age of Totalitarianism: Stalin and Hitler

In the end, totalitarianism meant a “permanent revolution,” an unfinished revolution in which rapid and profound change imposed from above simply went on forever. Of course, a permanent revolution also means that the revolution is never over. The individual is constantly striving for a goal which has been placed just a hair out of reach. In this way, society always remains mobilized for continual effort. The first example of such a permanent revolution the “revolution from above,” instituted by Joseph Stalin in 1927 and 1928. After having suppressed his enemies on both the left and the right, as well as the center, Stalin issued the “general party line.”

We probably will not get over the labels Left and Right in my lifetime. It is unfortunate in a way, while I take no exception to being called left of center, what I am is a liberal. Liberals are and have been for some time the dreaded enemy of the far left and the far right. That is because ultimately when you go far enough to the left or the right you end up with an intractable authoritarian government and a mindset that will not tolerant deviance from the party line. The neocons have managed to blend qualities of the far right and the far left ( thus my unease with those old labels) they have created a corrupt relationship between business and government that is classically right-wing ( see the Right’s changes to Medicare and the relation to pharmaceutical and heath care companies – and Halliburton). At the same time their corporate giveaways have elements of socialism. Still their zeal in purging, punishing, smearing and generally demonizing anyone ( including the fired Republican U.S. attorneys) that disagrees with them is incredibly Stalinesque. Today’s conservatives are constantly trying to rewrite history, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t learned from it. While nationalism plays a large role in the conservative movement as it did in the growth of communism and German Nazism they have also been happy to exploit religion for their own ends, The president receives “lessons” from his neoconservative tutors

The President, concluded Stelzer with great satisfaction, “worries less about his ‘legacy’ than about his standing with the Almighty.” And as a result of this luncheon, the President’s standing with the Almightys in the neoconservative circle was as secure as ever. Another luncheon is likely planned soon, since Stelzer also noted that “Bush has circulated copies of Natan Sharansky’s The Case for Democracy to his staff, and recommended Mark Steyn’s America Alone.”Irving Kristol (Himmelfarb’s husband) has written in the past about the need to exploit religious and moral concepts in order to manipulate the masses, and his intellectual North Star, Leo Strauss, has advocated — as Strauss scholar Shadia Drury documented — that “those in power must invent noble lies and pious frauds to keep the people in the stupor for which they are supremely fit” — a view Kristol has endorsed. One can see that dynamic powerfully at work in the interaction between these neoconservatives and the President. They have seized upon the President’s evangelical fervor and equated his “calling” to wage war for Good in the world with the neoconservative agenda of endless wars in the Middle East.

Whether some of the neocons are true believers while others are not doesn’t matter all that much. They are more then willing to exploit religion for their own ends just as much as Bin Laden and his ideological sympathizers are.

While I was over at Salon snipping part of Glenn Greenwald’s long post on the neocons he had put up this post on the recent Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessions, Support for al-Qaida plots on large right-wing blog. Where the same right-wing nuts that expressed outrage that a few commenters over at HuffPo wouldn’t mind if Dick Cheney bit the dust (they were wrong to go that far) are now aligning themselves with al-Qaida in their desire to see former president and still a Christian minister Jimmy Carter assassinated.

Not a single LGF commenter in that discussion condemned this support for Al Qaeda’s assassination plot, nor has a single right-wing blogger (that I’m aware of) said a single word about any of it.

I can’t put up an example of the Little Green Snot’s comments because Glenn has them up in little screen captures. Its funny that Charles Johnson of LGF has made it so that when you click through on Glenn’s links instead of the Carter assassination post you’re redirected to Google.

Sam Lowry: Excuse me, Dawson, can you put me through to Mr. Helpmann’s office?
Dawson: I’m afraid I can’t sir. You have to go through the proper channels.
Sam Lowry: And you can’t tell me what the proper channels are, because that’s classified information?
Dawson: I’m glad to see the Ministry’s continuing its tradition of recruiting the brightest and best, sir.
Sam Lowry: Thank you, Dawson.

from the movie Brazil (1985)

you build from the outer edges and go step by step. If you shoot too high and miss, everybody feels more secure

What will we tell the children when they ask why the republican Attorney General, the nation’s sheriff turns a blind eye to corruption, Gonzales failed to prosecute HUD Sec.’s lawbreaking. Conservatives are supposedly big on heroes and leading by setting a good example. When can we expect that to start.

No President Clinton and even President Horoscope Reagan didn’t do it too, Current situation is distinct from Clinton firings of U.S. attorneys. Mahablog covers the Clinton did it first as a defense against Republican wrong doing in Five Stages – Pretty much the Right’s reaction to all conservative wrong doing. Along with his general lack of values and shallowness Bush Jr inherited his ideas about ideological purity trumping ethics in the DOJ by dear old dad, An Awful Legacy of Bush 41

There was once another Republican prosecutor who insisted on behaving professionally instead of obeying partisan hints from the White House. His name was Charles A. Banks, and the Washington press corps said nothing when he was punished for his honesty by the administration of the first President Bush.

America needs a smarter pundit class. One requirement might be that they not throw temper tantrum when they get a very small comupence – Upset Over Canceled Fox Debate, Kondracke Attacks ‘Left-Wing Liberals’ As ‘Junior-Grade Stalinists’, Working for the modern day Pravda of broadcasting maybe old Mort would know. Atrios on Fox – Good for Edwards

The problem with Fox isn’t that it’s conservative, it’s that it’s basically a propaganda outlet for the GOP.

Some might have been tempted to think that the Fox debate would have been an opportunity in terms of reaching certain kinds of voters or that hey free air time is free air time, but it really does not and will never work that way with Fox – Fox News can’t take a punch

In fact, Kondracke’s own flare-up closely followed a name-calling press release in which Fox News itself denounced Nevada Democrats for being controlled by “radical fringe” special interest groups.

Of course, a real news organization wouldn’t issue a nasty statement like that, nor would it give the statement exclusively to Matt Drudge, which Fox News did.

In all practical respects Fox is a 24/7 attack ad on Democrats. Democrats shouldn’t even be making appearances on Fox much less giving them the credibility that they crave by letting them sponsor a debate. Then there is the issue of Fox viewers and actual facts penetrating the tin foil helmets – The Hazards of Watching Fox News

Among those who said broadcast media, 30 percent said two or more networks; 18 percent, Fox News; 16 percent, CNN; 24 percent, the three big networks – NBC (14 percent), ABC (11 percent), CBS (9 percent); and three percent, the two public networks, National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

For each of the three misperceptions, the study found enormous differences between the viewers of Fox, who held the most misperceptions, and NPR/PBS, who held the fewest by far. Eighty percent of Fox viewers were found to hold at least one misperception, compared to 23 percent of NPR/PBS consumers. All the other media fell in between.

The poll findings lends themselves to some humor, but on the other hand its not funny. We cannot have a functioning enlightened democracy without an informed public. Its pretty obvious that the broadcast media over all leans slightly Right and is either lazy about gathering and presenting the facts (frequently the case – one reason why they loved the Clinton scandal, sex scandals are easy and people just plain love them – pandering is also a problem) or is all too willing to simply regurgitate the Right’s fax handout for for the day. Too much of the public seems to think that questioning conservative statements and policies is somehow unpatriotic. The press is that thin line between falling into a society that is free in name only and a healthy democratic society where the questioning of our elected leaders is a moral obligation, a trust that the press possesses for the benefit of society. People cannot make intelligent decisions without a media that is willing to be unpopular at times and ask the tough questions and do the kind of investigative journalism that lets public officials know that the press, acting as the eyes and ears of the public is tracking them.

Alleged Architect Of 9/11 Confesses To Many Attacks

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, confessed at a Guantanamo Bay military hearing that he planned and funded that al-Qaeda operation and said he was involved in more than two dozen other terrorist acts around the world, according to documents released by the Pentagon yesterday.

In a rambling statement delivered Saturday to a closed-door military tribunal, Mohammed declared himself an enemy of the United States and claimed some responsibility for many of the major terrorist attacks on U.S. and allied targets over more than a decade. He said that he is at war with the United States and that the deaths of innocent people are an unfortunate consequence of that conflict.

While Khalid was probably involved in planning some attacks on American interests the rambling nature of this confession does cast doubts that his roll was as large as he claims, Confessions of a Terrorist: I’m Guilty of 3,000+ Murders

Presidents Clinton and Carter, Pope John Paul II, Henry Kissinger, the Empire State Building, the Library Tower in Los Angeles and the Sears Tower in Chicago were among the targets of al Qaeda attacks planned by captured al Qaeda terror commander Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, according to a written statement he filed this weekend at a hearing held at the American prison at Guantanamo.

His hopes or ambitions do not automatically amount to actual plans or the capacity to carry them out.That he deserves to be locked away forever is without doubt, but he’s not doing much to dispel some of the fringe theories about 9-11 by his thin grasp on coherence.

Deep Throat: You let Haldeman slip away.
Bob Woodward: Yes.
Deep Throat: You’ve done worse than let Haldeman slip away: you’ve got people feeling sorry for him. I didn’t think that was possible. In a conspiracy like this, you build from the outer edges and go step by step. If you shoot too high and miss, everybody feels more secure. You’ve put the investigation back months.
Bob Woodward: Yes, we know that. And if we’re wrong, we’re resigning. Were we wrong?

from the movie All the President’s Men (1976)

“In politics stupidity is not a handicap”

There is something missing from the net, from Republican newspaper columnists, from right-wing media pundits, and the christisnists. That missing something is the outrage over the lack of values in the office of the nation’s highest law enforcement official. Emails detail plans for firing U.S. attorneys

Deflecting calls to resign, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales acknowledged Tuesday that he mishandled the firings of eight U.S. attorneys as new details emerged about the Bush administration’s efforts to oust prosecutors who had fallen out of favor.

Internal memos between the Justice Department and the White House show that administration officials were determined to bypass Congress in selecting replacements for eight U.S. attorneys who were forced to resign. The memos include a five-step plan for executing the dismissals and dealing the anticipated political firestorm.

“We’re a go for the US Atty plan,” White House aide William Kelley notified the Justice Department on Dec. 4, three days before seven of the eight U.S. attorneys were told to step down. “WH leg, political, and communications have signed off and acknowledged that we have to be committed to following through once the pressure comes.”

“WH leg” refers to the White House legislative affairs office, which works closely with members of Congress.

Where is the long article from the wingers at the Wall Street Journal decrying the effect on our culture and where are the long serious faces at Fox worried about the attorney general and the president conspiring to use the law and ideologically pure lawyers to accomplish their political goals. There are PDFs of the e-mails at the link. Josh Marshall has a timeline of events. While it may technically squeak under the wire as far as legality the main tool that was used in replacing U.S. attorneys was the Patriot Act. There is no element of national security that the Bush Cult has not exploited for its political ends. Remember all the comments about some of the surviving families of 9-11, many of whom have been critical of Bush being accused of using their loss as a shield against responding to their criticisms. It is simply been a matter of course over the last five years for conservatives to hide their malice behind the gauze of national security. CREW wants Special Prosecutor to investigate potential criminal violations in U.S. Attorney firings.

In the past few months, Department of Justice (DOJ) officials have testified before Congress that the U.S. Attorneys were asked to resign for performance related reasons, that the White House was minimally involved in the firings and that the Department was in no way attempting to evade the confirmation process for new U.S. Attorneys.

Documents provided by the DOJ to Congress suggest that at least one high-ranking official, D. Kyle Sampson, knew that the statements made to Congress were untrue. If, as it appears, a Department of Justice official allowed other officials to provide inaccurate information to Congress, federal crimes may have been committed. Because DOJ obviously cannot investigate and prosecute the misconduct of its own officials, CREW has called on the attorney general to appoint a Special Prosecutor to handle this matter.

It is clear that at least two officials, former White House Legal Counsel Harriet Miers and Sampson, schemed to fire prosecutors for political reasons. According to press reports, Sampson has acknowledged that he did not tell DOJ officials about the extent of his communications with the White House regarding the firings. Justice officials who testified before Congress, including the attorney general, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty and Principal Associate Attorney General William Moschella, all told Congress that the White House, though consulted, was not deeply involved in the firing decisions.

Federal law provides that if Sampson knew that he was causing DOJ officials to make inaccurate statements to Congress, he can be prosecuted for the federal crime of lying to Congress even though he did not personally make any statements to Congress.

CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) also points out that at least three members of Congress – Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Representative Doc Hasting (R-WA) have been found to have made improper contact with some of the fired attorneys. Pardon the use of the much over used phrase must read, but WaPO steps up to plate with the first in a series (they are capable of doing that on occasion despite Howell’s right-wing pandering), Alberto Gonzales: A Willing Accessory at Justice

During Gonzales’ confirmation hearing in January 2005, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D. Vt.), then ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said “the job of attorney general is not about crafting rationalizations for ill-conceived ideas; it’s a much more vital role than that. Attorney general is about being a forceful, independent — independent — voice in our continuing quest for justice in defense of the constitutional rights of every single American.” Leahy back then expressed his concern that Gonzales did not possess the temperament, training, will, or motive to act independently from the man, President Bush, to whom Gonzales has served in one way or another ever since they both came to public service. Many others since have echoed those sentiments.

Senators Leahy was right of course, but anyone whose patriotism wasn’t clouded by loyalty to the neocon cause and President Fake Cowboy knew that ol’ Gonzales was Bush’s tool and being a tool was his main qualification for the job. Albert has carried Bush’s water for years, did any rational person think that when it came time to choose between carrying out Unka Karl’s agenda and looking out for the United States of America that this AG would choose to do what was best for America first. Even to entertain the thought that a Bush loyalist would put his country and the rule of law first is enough to make you spew milk through your nose. The CarpetBagger also has a good chronology of events up, The dirge of the purge, and this post – The inane ‘Clinton did it too’ defense

In 1993, Clinton replaced H.W. Bush’s prosecutors. In 2001, Bush replaced Clinton’s prosecutors. None of this is remotely unusual. Indeed, it’s how the process is designed.

The difference with the current scandal is overwhelming. Bush replaced eight specific prosecutors, apparently for purely political reasons. This is entirely unprecedented. For conservatives to argue, as many are now, that Clinton’s routine replacements for H.W. Bush’s USAs is any way similar is the height of intellectual dishonesty. They know better, but hope their audience is too uninformed to know the difference.

The Clinton defense is almost always the one the Right uses when they’ve been caught on tape with a gun in one hand a bag of cash in the other running from the scene of the crime – damn we’ve been caught red-handed – oh I know we’ll say that Clinton did it first. Of course they always leave out the details because of their allergy to truthiness.

The caption to this ABC story is very misleading, Exclusive: Curveball, the Defector Whose Lies Led to War

Powell told ABC News he is “angry and disappointed” that he was never told the CIA had doubts about the reliability of the source.

“I spent four days at CIA headquarters, and they told me they had this nailed,” Powell said.

Behind the scenes at the CIA, however, a former senior official says he was trying to keep the Curveball information out of the Powell speech.

“People died because of this,” said Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of European operations at the CIA, who has written about it in a new book, “On the Brink.” “All off this one little guy who all he wanted to do was stay in Germany.”

Drumheller says he personally redacted all references to Curveball material in an advance draft of the Powell speech.

“We said, ‘This is from Curveball. Don’t use this,'” Drumheller says. Powell says neither he nor his chief of staff Col. Larry Wilkerson was ever told of any doubts about Curveball.

Curveball’s lies didn’t lead to the invasion of Iraq the administrations simply used this toad’s bizarre story as part of its case because they wanted to. Or to put it another way, Beyond Quagmire

(General) McPeak: This is a dark chapter in our history. Whatever else happens, our country’s international standing has been frittered away by people who don’t have the foggiest understanding of how the hell the world works. America has been conducting an experiment for the past six years, trying to validate the proposition that it really doesn’t make any difference who you elect president. Now we know the result of that experiment [laughs]. If a guy is stupid, it makes a big difference.

“In politics stupidity is not a handicap.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“Nobody can acquire honor by doing what is wrong”

This is why conservatives cannot be trusted with fighting al-Queda or getting the U.S. out of the Iraq quagmire, Cheney: Congress undermining U.S. troops

“When members of Congress pursue an anti-war strategy that’s been called ‘slow bleeding,’ they are not supporting the troops, they are undermining them,” Cheney said in a speech to the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Cheney spoke at the start of a week in which the House plans to begin work on legislation providing nearly $100 billion for the rest of this year’s costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
President Bush’s full request for funds.

“Anyone can say they support the troops and we should take them at their word, but the proof will come when it’s time to provide the money,” Cheney said.

Anyone that keeps equating Iraq with some nebulous war on terrorism doesn’t understand the difference between Iraq and al-Queda ( here it is four years after the 9-11 report that found Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 and Cheney and his supporters are still treating them as one and the same) or they know there is a difference between Iraq and al-Queda, but keep them together rhetorically because they know that it it is the only way they can try and con the American people and Congress to continue to support an indefinite presence in Iraq that is having no impact at all on jihaist terrorism. If the Iraq invasion was about showing our military strength and thus intimidate all jihadists sympathizers that has been something of a failure. Even though the body count of Iraqis continues to escalate Muslim extremists in the middle-east do not seem the least bit impressed. Its like performing a cancer operation that is supposed to impress the gallery of observers, only you botch the operation turn take a bow and ask that the gallery of observers donate more money so you can continue your great work and if you don’t you support cancer. Cheney, Bush and the right-wing are the inept surgeons that want America to believe that if you keep allowing them to operate that somehow they’ll eventually revive the patient. Watching Cheney has even me feeling embarrassed for the guy. It is like watching Lt. Cmdr. Philip Francis Queeg’s break down on the stand in The Caine Mutiny – though of Lt. Cmdr. Queeg we can at least say that at one time he was a brave and honorable man, the same cannot be said of our twin national embarrassments Cheney and Bush. Cheney’s speech where he once again whips out that beaten rag doll of supporting the troops as he continues to abuse them comes on the same day that Halliburton, the company from which Cheney still receives s salary is moving to Dubai, Halliburton moving headquarters to Dubai

Halliburton Co., the energy services giant and controversial defense contractor, said Sunday it is opening a new corporate headquarters in Dubai in the Middle East.

The change from Houston to the United Arab Emirates by the world’s second largest oil-field services provider was announced by Chief Executive Dave Lesar at an energy conference in neighboring Bahrain.

[ ]…The lobbyist, who requested anonymity so he would not jeopardize relationships with his clients, said the move raises several questions, among them how much did Halliburton receive in incentives to move to Dubai and what does it do to the company’s tax structure.

“If there’s a huge tax shift, then it’s taking money from U.S. taxpayers while they’re taking no-bid contracts,” the lobbyist said.

There are a few soldiers that would probably like to have a word with the VP and those right-wing pundits that continue to drink his special brand of kool-aid such as Master Sgt. Jenkins,

A copy of Jenkins’ profile written after that Feb. 15 meeting and signed by Capt. Starbuck, the brigade surgeon, shows a healthier soldier than the profile of Jenkins written by another doctor just late last year, though Jenkins says his condition is unchanged. Other soldiers’ documents show the same pattern.One female soldier with psychiatric issues and a spine problem has been in the Army for nearly 20 years. “My [health] is deteriorating,” she said over dinner at a restaurant near Fort Benning. “My spine is separating. I can’t carry gear.” Her medical records include the note “unable to deploy overseas.” Her status was also reviewed on Feb. 15. And she has been ordered to Iraq this week.”

The captain interviewed by Salon also requested anonymity because he fears retribution. He suffered a back injury during a previous deployment to Iraq as an infantry platoon leader. A Humvee accident “corkscrewed my spine,” he explained. Like the female soldier, he is unable to wear his protective gear, and like her he too was ordered to Iraq after his meeting with the division surgeon and brigade surgeon on Feb. 15. He is still at Fort Benning and is fighting the decision to send him to Baghdad. “It is a numbers issue with this whole troop surge,” he claimed. “They are just trying to get those numbers.”

What do you do when Generals who are obviously administration lackies have the same view of supporting the military as George Bush and Darth Cheney, BREAKING: Kiley Resigns

Some highlights of his tenure uncovered over the past few weeks:

– Kiley allowed a wounded soldier to sleep in his own urine even though he was begged to do something about it by a congressman’s wife.

– Kiley blamed the Walter Reed conditions on “a failure of leadership at the junior level in that building.”

– Kiley ripped the Washington Post’s revelation of the squalor at Walter Reed as “yellow journalism.”

Again we have a conservative who was more then willing to whip out his pom poms and be a shrill cheerleader for the Bush Cult, all too willing to put party politics above doing what was right for the common enlisted personnel and the country. Another day and more proof that the administration and its followers are not like criminals, no smilies required, they are criminals, GOP Sen. to Block Attorney Bill?

Last Thursday, the administration abruptly dropped its opposition to a bill that would require Senate confirmation for U.S. attorney replacements. But Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) “still intends to object,” Roll Call reports

And the media, not all, but way too many have been willing to play along with the rabid Right’s spin, Won’t get fooled again???

… much has changed since the summer of 2003 in the delicate dance between reporters and sources. Both are under intense new pressure to show their work — to explain what is a fact and what is an assumption or an extrapolation. It is a pressure that is building on government officials who once sat at lunch dropping a knowing line like, “I can’t go into the details, but the Iranians are building….”

And more than ever it is building on reporters whose job it is to go beyond reporting the latest conclusions of a secret National Intelligence Estimate and explain to their readers whether those conclusions — and the always-murky data attached to them — are reasonable, or being twisted to fit a policy agenda.

. . . A military show-and-tell last month about Iran’s role in Iraq illustrated the new imperatives for the government: to demonstrate a bit more evidence, and to backtrack when the evidence doesn’t support the contentions. After weeks of promises from American officials in Baghdad and Washington to prove their case of Iranian meddling, American military and intelligence officials in Baghdad finally showed their evidence in February, laying out components for assembling deadly new varieties of roadside bombs. They showed off serial numbers and other evidence that they argued linked the weapons to Iranian arms factories.

Partly because it took the military so long to get its presentation together, the news coverage was skeptical. . . .

And two weeks ago American intelligence officials were scrambling to explain their doubts, as well as their conclusions, about the extent of progress North Korea has made in enriching uranium, a different pathway to a bomb from the one used for the North’s nuclear test last year.

The big question is how long this flirtation with openness will last, and how long journalists will remember the bitter lessons that arose from their inability (critics would say unwillingness) to insist that the government talk not only about its conclusions, but about its logic.

. . . Nicholas Lemann, the dean of Columbia Journalism School, teaches a course called “Evidence and Inference,” and says he is now “hammering into the head of everyone around here that when someone tells you something, you have to say, ‘Walk me through how you came to your conclusion.’”

“It’s an ethos issue,” he said. Whether the new ethos proves lasting depends on how many in Washington — the spooks, the policymakers, the reporters — learned the real lessons of Iraq, and of the cascade of events that led to Mr. Libby’s troubles.

“Nobody can acquire honor by doing what is wrong” – Thomas Jefferson

Republican Congress worst thing that’s happened to US Army and Marine Corps

The Army is ordering injured troops to go to Iraq

March 11, 2007 | FORT BENNING, Ga. — “This is not right,” said Master Sgt. Ronald Jenkins, who has been ordered to Iraq even though he has a spine problem that doctors say would be damaged further by heavy Army protective gear. “This whole thing is about taking care of soldiers,” he said angrily. “If you are fit to fight you are fit to fight. If you are not fit to fight, then you are not fit to fight.”

As the military scrambles to pour more soldiers into Iraq, a unit of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Ga., is deploying troops with serious injuries and other medical problems, including GIs who doctors have said are medically unfit for battle. Some are too injured to wear their body armor, according to medical records. (emphasis mine)

Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army’s Top Medical Facility

The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Iraq last February with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. But the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital and five miles up the road from the White House, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now Republicans including their dear leader is all in a rush to appear as though somehow this was just some back alley bureaucratic foul-up. That being the case why is Bush with Republican support in Congress and the chorus of usual fanatical right-wing pundits backing Bush’s plan for continued escalation. This is what Bush said about the treatment of our military, “We have a moral obligation to provide the best possible care and treatment to the men and women who have served our country,” the president said. “They deserve it and they are going to get it.”

Bush, like all conservatives well trained in the use of the meaningless sound bite thinks of the American military not as part of our national defense, but as cannon fodder for their policies and an extension of their rabid authoritatrian world view:

O’Reilly Resorts To McCarthyism

I’m glad the smear sites made a big deal out of it. Now we can all know who was with the anti-military internet crowd. We’ll post the names of all who support the smear merchants on billoreilly.com. So check with us.

UC SANTA CRUZ HATES OUR TROOPS
By Michelle Malkin   ·   April 11, 2006 09:59 PM

Here’s how they show support for the military at UC Santa Cruz (hat tip: Brian Maloney and reader Allen) – via the Santa Cruz News Sentinel

Whitehouse Press Secretary Tony Snow,

SNOW: You know, again, so I think what John Kerry’s comments did was reiterate the fact that Democrats tend to have a view of the military that is not always fully respectful and even when they say they’re supporting them, they’re undercutting them. I mean they not only undercut them by refusing to fund the ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq (remember Senator Kerry voting for it before he voted against it?) but also constantly trying to undermine public confidence in that military by describing defeat what people on the ground see as hard-won victory. These people — don’t you think, Rush, these people — deserve our respect? 

Republican pundit Mark Levin appearing on FOX News’ Hannity & Colmes 

“Every time (the liberals) take over the White House, they do social experiments with the military, they undermine the military, they cut the military’s budget. Why don’t you liberals just admit it? You don’t like the military. It’s all phony when you say you support the troops. ( One of the biggest cuts in modern military man-power was done by  Dick Cheney)

 from Hannity & Colmes (11/1/06)

(Newt) Gingrich said, “It’s clear that the Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry wing of the Democratic Party has a visceral loathing for the American military and for, frankly, America as a country in the world. Their whole approach is to blame us for what, in fact, our enemies do.” Gingrich added, “I think it tells you how deep the sickness is in the left wing of the Democratic Party.

(All emphasis in excerpts mine). The Right likes to dismiss one simple fact that liberals or the left as they like to say frequently make. There is a difference between the troops and the Right’s policies. They’ve been fairly successful at selling the public the meme that their ill thought out and obviously disastrous policies and the military are one and the same, practically Siamese twins joined at the hip. The military’s mission is to defend America, not act on the latest bizarre goals thought up by the Defense Policy Council .

Rich Get Richer, Middle Class Shrinks 

From 2003 to 2004, the average incomes of the bottom 99 percent of households grew by less than 3 percent, after adjusting for inflation. In contrast, the average incomes of the top one percent of households experienced a jump of more than 18 percent, after adjusting for inflation. (Census data show that real median income fell between 2003 and 2004. Average income is pulled up by gains at the top of the income spectrum; much of the 2.3 percent rise among the bottom 99 percent seems to largely reflect gains by households in the top ten percent of the income spectrum. In contrast, trends in median income capture the experience of households in the middle of the income spectrum.)

The top 1 percent of households (those with annual incomes above about $315,000 in 2004) garnered 53 percent of the income gains in 2004….

…The share of total U.S. income that the top one percent of households received in 2004 was greater than the share it received in any prior year since 1929, except for 1999 and 2000.

Conservatives will continue this upward redistribution because it works. You see if some folks start to point out that the hardest working people in America are rewarded at a small percent of what some guy in a three thousand dollar suit is paying himself then you’re a left radical. The reality is that without a permanent class of wage slaves these guys couldn’t make billions. No billionaire or millionaire in the world has become same without the toil and brain power of those just making a living wage. That is not capitalism, that’s a broken down system of permanent wage inequity.  Of course they like it that way. Envy isn’t called for, by all means the multi-millionaires and billionaires should enjoy their good luck, but its not unreasonable that some of those huge profits be redistributed through progressive taxation toward the people that made that those fortunes possible.

General Eaton: “Republican Congress worst thing that’s happened to US Army and Marine Corps”