Give the conniving scroundrel a biscuit

Waterboarding Historically Controversial – In 1947, the U.S. Called It a War Crime; in 1968, It Reportedly Caused an Investigation

Twenty-one years earlier, in 1947, the United States charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for carrying out another form of waterboarding on a U.S. civilian. The subject was strapped on a stretcher that was tilted so that his feet were in the air and head near the floor, and small amounts of water were poured over his face, leaving him gasping for air until he agreed to talk.

“Asano was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor,” Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) told his colleagues last Thursday during the debate on military commissions legislation. “We punished people with 15 years of hard labor when waterboarding was used against Americans in World War II, he said

Marty Lederman at Balkinization writes in “Cool, Carefully Considered, Methodical, Prolonged and Repeated Subjection of Captives to Physical Torment, and the Accompanying Psychological Terror” that the administration may issue an order that stops the use of waterboarding by executive order – his royal highest issues official decree. In other words King George has been using it in violation of the law and commonly excepted standards of human rights. In addition Lederman notes a Intelligence Science Board Senior Advisory Group report that says “the harsh techniques used since the 2001 terrorist attacks are outmoded, amateurish and unreliable”. Bush’s order still allows interrogation techniques that go beyond what is allowed in the Army’s own field manual. The Bush agenda is rather simple in terms of leadership and morality – set the bar very very low.
Statement by the President on Darfur

HE PRESIDENT: Good morning. For too long, the people of Darfur have suffered at the hands of a government that is complicit in the bombing, murder, and rape of innocent civilians. My administration has called these actions by their rightful name: genocide. The world has a responsibility to help put an end to it.

Last month I announced that the United States was prepared to take new steps if the government of Sudan did not allow the full deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping force; if the government did not begin living up to its many commitments, that the United States would act. I made clear that the time for promises was over, and that President Bashir had to do something to end the suffering.

…And so today, at my instruction, the United States has taken the steps I announced in April. First, the Department of Treasury is tightening U.S. economic sanctions on Sudan. With this new effort, the United States will more aggressively enforce existing sanctions against Sudan’s government.

Conservatives, those people with resolve, moral convictions, lethal striking power and fast reaction time that would put a rattler on a hot day in July to shame now in May of 2007 the coil has unsprung, only Timeline: crisis in Sudan

February 2003
In early 2003, the war in Darfur erupts with a rebellion against the Khartoum government by the SLA and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The fighting began because the rebels claimed that the Sudan government was ignoring the Darfur region.

The government responds to the rebellion by bombing villages and arming the Janjaweed, a government militia.

April 2004
A ceasefire is signed with the rebels, but the government goes on to flout it with little international comment.

June 2004
The African Union sends 60 peace monitors to Sudan.

June 13 2004
The USA and UN accuse the Sudanese government of involvement in the killings of thousands of people in Darfur.

July 2004
The onset of heavy rain causes problems in refugee camps on the Chad-Sudan border, where up to one million displaced Darfur residents are now living. Roads and aid supplies are cut off and shelters are destroyed. Water supplies are contaminated, leaving refugees vulnerable to disease.

The problems in the Sudan having been on an a precipitous course since the eighties, but it has been under Bush’s watch that the genocide crisis has reached its peak. Katrina, the Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan – is there is situation for which Republicans are capable of acting with courage and competence.

That dark empty void of ideas other wise known as Glenn Beck is doing so badly in the ratings at CNN if his show was being monitored by radar the technician would need a magnifying glass to find him Ratings for the week of May 21-25 were staggering in how low Beck’s ratings have fallen. Beck’s main contribution to the the world of wingnuttery is the usual pissing and whining that can be found in dozens of other parts of the right-wing sewer already staked out by others. CNN allowed Beck to decry “leftist witch hunt” against shock radio, didn’t mention his own hate speech. Beck takes the usual right-wing route and whines about the great liberal conspiracy to somehow silence him. On the contrary. It is the 21st Century and a once fairly competent cable news outlet like CNN has given over two hours a day to Beck who is a black hole of ideas and insight into world events. That is two hours that could be given to James Hatori who used to do a great series on science and technology. It is two hours that could be given over to a Bill Moyer’s Now type of program where there is some thoughtful adult-like examination of the issues that face America. The problem with Beck and his clones is many Americans like actual ideas and information, versus those looking for yet another echo of mindless drivel that they can find plenty of other places.

WSJ: Former Rove Aide in Talks with Thompson Campaign

The Wall Street Journal reports (sub. req.) that Timothy Griffin, the former aide to Karl Rove who became one of the most controversial figures in the U.S. attorney firing scandal, is in talks with Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign

Mr Fred Law and Order declared his candidacy today and he’s off to a great start – its part of his give a conniving scoundrel a biscuit campaign.

Scientists Looking for Wayward Whales

More than two weeks after they were first spotted far up the Sacramento River, two lost humpback whales appeared to have finally found their way home Wednesday.

Officials said they assumed the pair returned to the open sea, undoing a wrong turn that drew thousands of admirers and a flurry of rescue efforts.

Golden Gate 


there is a good reason why the propaganda system works that way

Former U.S. Senator and possible Republican prez candidate Fred ‘ Law and Order?’ Thompson has some strange ideas about what law and order is exactly. He has made it known that he thinks that the guy that covered up the crimes of Vice President Cheney should get a pardon...Fitzgerald Again Points to Cheney

Libby’s lies, Fitzgerald wrote, “made impossible an accurate evaluation of the role that Mr. Libby and those with whom he worked played in the disclosure of information regarding Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment and about the motivations for their actions.”

It was established at trial that it was Cheney himself who first told Libby about Plame’s identity as a CIA agent, in the course of complaining about criticisms of the administration’s run-up to war leveled by her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson. And, as Fitzgerald notes: “The evidence at trial further established that when the investigation began, Mr. Libby kept the Vice President apprised of his shifting accounts of how he claimed to have learned about Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment.”

The investigation, Fitzgerald writes, “was necessary to determine whether there was concerted action by any combination of the officials known to have disclosed the information about Ms. Plame to the media as anonymous sources, and also whether any of those who were involved acted at the direction of others. This was particularly important in light of Mr. Libby’s statement to the FBI that he may have discussed Ms. Wilson’s employment with reporters at the specific direction of the Vice President.” (emphasis mine – they’re in italics in the original)

Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and his Alaska mafia are still practicing that good old Republican version of working hard regulation free merit based market capitalism, Joel Connelly: Uncle Ted and the Feds

The Bureau and a federal grand jury are examining an extensive remodeling project at the Girdwood, Alaska, home of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The investigation involves remodeling invoices and top executives of VECO, an oil services firm whose chairman pleaded guilty to bribery, conspiracy and tax charges earlier this month. The FBI has asked three contractors to turn over records from the project. One contractor told the Daily News he has testified before the grand jury.

Stevens has declined to answer questions about the probe, saying in a written statement that it would create the “appearance that I might influence this investigation.”

Stevens, 83, has served in the U.S. Senate since being appointed in December of 1968. The senator’s son, Ben Stevens, served as president of the Alaska State Senate – and is a central figure in the investigation.

VECO chairman Bill Allen and top deputy Rick Smith pleaded guilty to charges of improperly influencing legislators, and are now cooperating with the feds. As part of the plea, Allen and Smith acknowledged that Ben Stevens had taken $242,000 from Veco for “giving advice, lobbying colleagues and taking official acts in matters before the Legislature.

Three former and one serving member of the Alaska State Legislature have been indicted. Ben Stevens has not been indicted.

Stevens like most of today’s Republicans do practice a kind of supply and demand capitalism: they have the power and money and they demand that they get what they want. Conservative mafia Don Stevens and Dick Cheney would not have gotten along very well with Alexander Hamilton,

Alexander Hamilton left behind him Elizabeth, their seven children, and a mountain of debts. After all the accusations that he had taken advantage of his own policies for personal profit, Hamilton was close to broke when he died. For propriety’s sake, he refused to enrich himself; for propriety’s sake, he refused to accept the army pension to which he was unquestionably entitled; for propriety’s sake, he regularly undercharged his legal clients. When he could have amassed a fortune he resolved not to, preferring instead to leave a blameless public record:

“Because there must be some public fools who sacrifice private to public interest at the certainty of ingratitude and obloquy–because my vanity whispers I ought to be one of those fools and ought to keep myself in a situation the best calculated to render service–because I dont want to be rich and if I cannot live in splendor in Town . . . I can at least live in comfort in the country and I am content to do so.”

A little late, but worth a read if you missed it. In a post that touches on several important points one that particularly stuck with me was the continued abuse of the national Guard. It doesn’t take a master detective to put the pieces together. Bush has weakened the military to the point where in order to maintain the endless presence of troops in Iraq rather then bring back the draft he is extending the tours of guardsmen and shortening their times between tours. djtyg gives Democrats some hell too. They are the majority party, but on the other hand and it has only been four months since they regained power. That said they need to put this on their priorities list, A Soldier’s Thoughts on Memorial Day

I’ve written Senator Levin numerous times about the removal of the 2 year rule that was given to Reservists. The rule was that a Reservist cannot deploy by Presidential order for more than 24 months out of 5 years. The rule was removed last year because the rule was keeping members of the Reserve and Guard from deploying back to Iraq. For the love of Pete, Senator, get on this already! And to anyone reading this, call Congress and tell them to reinstate the rule! Because I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK.

This is a head spinner. Karl Rove has tried to portray the right-wing nuts from Westboro Baptist Church that disrupts the funerals of veterans carrying signs such as “Thank God For AIDS” and “God Hates Fags.” as part of a “Sheehan-Reid-Obama-Clinton cult”. Just when you think that there is no part of the the gutter in which the Right will not wallow they find a new pipeline of sludge.

“I think there is a good reason why the propaganda system works that way. It recognizes that the public will not support the actual policies. Therefore it is important to prevent any knowledge or understanding of them.” – Noam Chomsky

We teach them to take their patriotism at second-hand; to shout with the largest crowd without examining into the right or wrong of the matter–exactly as boys under monarchies are taught and have always been taught

Cindy Sheehan writing at DailyKos, “Good Riddance Attention Whore” takes exit from her role as a prominent activists.

I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike. It amazes me that people who are sharp on the issues and can zero in like a laser beam on lies, misrepresentations, and political expediency when it comes to one party refuse to recognize it in their own party. Blind party loyalty is dangerous whatever side it occurs on. People of the world look on us Americans as jokes because we allow our political leaders so much murderous latitude and if we don’t find alternatives to this corrupt “two” party system our Representative Republic will die and be replaced with what we are rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland. I am demonized because I don’t see party affiliation or nationality when I look at a person, I see that person’s heart. If someone looks, dresses, acts, talks and votes like a Republican, then why do they deserve support just because he/she calls him/herself a Democrat?

Whether one agrees with her or not her post is deeply sincere and the pain she feels over the death of her son and those fighting in Iraq obviously goes deep. Of course the Right has zeroed in on critique of the Democratic Party. While the right-wing Blackfive writes a post that is sympathetic on a personal level they made sure that the one snip they took from Kos was this one,

I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called “Face” of the American anti-war movement. Especially since I renounced any tie I have remaining with the Democratic Party, I have been further trashed on such “liberal blogs” as the Democratic Underground. Being called an “attention whore” and being told “good riddance” are some of the more milder rebukes…. I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost.

I know the unofficial rule is that the commenters on any blog are not representing the views of that blog, but these comments clearly represent the unhinged hatred that permeates the rabid right. Posted at Blachfive under Moonbat Memorial Day, Goodbye, Lady – Posted By Grim, Posted by Grim on May 28, 2007

Comment below written by: Scrapiron – Cindy ‘The Ditch Witch’ Sheehag has disgraced everything her son stood for and you pity her? She is just another retard used as a tool by the anti-american party (aka democrat), finaced almost entirely by foreign governments that would like to see your family and the rest of us dead. She was helping them along. To her whine and sorrow I say, Boo Freakin Hoo. (emphasis mine)

Little Green Footballs, the proprietors of and their commenters still haven’t volunteered to go to Iraq yet so they have plenty of time to serve up plenty of hypocrisy, We Won’t Have Mama Moonbat to Kick Around, Mon, May 28, 2007 at 11:19:14 am PST

That’s right, the left’s symbol of absolute moral authority is calling it quits. It’s over, Johnny.

The Right propped M’s Sheehan up as one of their favorite targets and made her into a symbol of “moral authority”. If her faults were that she was a grieving mother rather then a font of cold rational rhetoric then why does the Right worship at the altar of raving loons like Reilly, Coulter, Hannity, Malkin, Cheney, Dubya, James Dobson, Ted Haggard, and countless others. If mental acuity, even temper and calm rational national discourse are the yardsticks by which the Right measures M’s Sheehan or the political opposition one suggests they look in the mirror before they utter a word. Some comments from LGF,

savage_nation 5/28/2007 11:22:11 am PDT

Oh she will be back, the skanky attention whore..

Bill Amos 5/28/2007 11:24:31 am PDT

Man I read the posts I love it when the left eats its own !

Shes upset that she cant critisize democrats as well as republicans.

Of course you cant. That would be free speech on Kos or the DU ! We cant have free speach in their totalitarian little worlds ! ( Poor Bill says that the site that published Cindy’s post doesn’t believe in free speech? He probably thinks the Stalinesque purges at the DOJ were just fine. Nothing like living in an echo chamber)

Golem Akbar 5/28/2007 11:28:00 am PDT

Look, I don’t blame her. She surrounds herself with people who hate America and refuse to defend freedom. What else could she do? ( Did Akbar write that from a foxhole in Iraq?)

Just_A_Grunt 5/28/2007 11:31:46 am PDT

The fact that she has chosen the Kos over the DU aas her blog of choice has the dimwitted underground dwellers all in a lather too. It is amazing how quick they will eat their own. ( He must not be watching the series of GOP debates or heard about what the Bushies did to McCain in 2000)

There were comments that expressed sorrow for Casey, but there seemed somewhat canned and trite even if they were not meant to be. It was as though they were forcing themsleves to say the right thing.

Right-wing blogger geniuses expose another journalistic fraud!

The genius investigators in the right-wing blogosphere — who serve as our Watchdogs over the Corrupt “MSM” — made a major, major discovery this weekend. Last Wednesday, former CIA agent Larry Johnson published a Memo (.pdf) sent from the U.S. Mission in Iraq which advised troops and other military personnel in Iraq of a “theater-wide delay in food delivery” which would likely limit the available food supply.

As has been true for the last four years, right-wing bloggers simply shut their eyes and refused to believe that any news reflecting poorly on the Leader’s War could be real. Just as was true for news reports of civil war and a growing Iraqi insurgency, this Memo just had to be a fake, so they declared it to be such.

I have to agree with Juan Cole that this memo was a relatively small item in the scheme of things and the Right having blown it completely out of proportion and then exposed as a circle jerk of liars are acting like petulant little brats who have been scolded and we all know that brats hate being corrected. Johnson at LGF admits that he was wrong, but ends as he almost inevitably does with the accusation that Greenwald once did some sockpuppetry. The question remains – where’s the proof? He and his right-wing brethren have produced about as much proof of that as they have for the falsity of the food shortage memo. Another aspect of right-wing brattiness is that when their lies have been tracked down and exposed they find some way to lash out – humility and apologies are not part of their arsenal, it clashes with all the foul bile. Not only a sign of brattiness, but wuzzdom.
LGF commenter scooby 5/28/2007 1:14:41 pm PDT: You know, the beauty of the Internet and free and open debate is that the Kos Kidz would do it for us. BTW, our side still has zero (0) lame forgeries to account for.
scooby should take little solace in that. The administration has been caught in what could only be called, the business of manufacturing distortions and lies, Bush Administration’s 237 Misleading Statements on Iraq

“Prior to the war in Iraq, the president and his advisors repeatedly claimed that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction that jeopardized the security of the United States. The failure to discover these weapons after the war has led to questions about whether the president and his advisors were candid in describing Iraq’s threat,” the report said.

Most of the statements were misleading because they expressed certainty where none existed or failed to acknowledge the doubts of intelligence officials, according to the report. Ten statements were false, it said.

“Most of the misleading statements about Iraq – 161 statements – were made prior to the start of the war in Iraq. But 76 misleading statements were made by the five administration officials after the start of the war to justify the decision to go to war,” the report said.

According to the report, the misleading statements began at least a year before the start of the war in Iraq, when Cheney stated on March 17, 2002: “We know they have biological and chemical weapons.”

CNN: WASHINGTON (CNN) — Intelligence documents that U.S. and British governments said were strong evidence that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons have been dismissed as forgeries by U.N. weapons inspectors.

On February 5, Powell told the UN Security Council that the Iraqis possessed a drone that could fly 500km, violating UN rules that limit the range of Iraqi weapons to 150km. ” There is no possibility that the design shown on 12 March has the capability to fly anywhere near 500 kilometres,” drones expert Ken Munson said on Jane’s website ( ” The design looks very primitive, and the engines — which have their pistons exposed — appear to be low-powered,” he said.

Bush Cited Iraq’s Nuclear Threat On At Least Three Separate Occasions. In the fall of 2002, while making the case for war, Bush began to highlight Iraq’s supposed Iraq threat. On September 7, 2002 he cited a non-existent IAEA report that Iraq was “six months away from developing a nuclear weapon.” On September 12, 2002, in front of the United Nations Bush said, “Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon.” Finally, on October 7, 2002, Bush warned, “America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.” [Bush Remarks, 9/12/02; Bush Remarks, 9/7/02; Washington Post, 8/10/03; Bush Remarks, 10/7/02 ]

Does using a nonexistent IAEA document count as a fake. Unacceptable behavior in an average person, abominable behavior in a leader, but Bush is still their hero. Which serves as as a caution against uncritical idolatry.

The Right might chew this guy up like they have every solider that has expressed even the most remote criticism of Bush’s Iraq debacle. On the other hand the Chickenhawk Brigade will likely just put their hands over their ears and pretend they don’t hear anything, A soldier in Iraq asks in despair: Why are we here?

I came here as part of the first wave of this so called “troop surge”, but so far it has effectively done nothing to quell insurgent violence. I have seen the rise in violence between the Sunni and Shiite. This country is in the middle of a civil war that has been on going since the seventh century.

Why are we here when this country still to date does not want us here? Why does our president’s personal agenda consume him so much, that he can not pay attention to what is really going on here?


We teach them to take their patriotism at second-hand; to shout with the largest crowd without examining into the right or wrong of the matter–exactly as boys under monarchies are taught and have always been taught. We teach them to regard as traitors, and hold in aversion and contempt, such as do not shout with the crowd, and so here in our democracy we are cheering a thing which of all things is most foreign to it and out of place–the delivery of our political conscience into somebody else’s keeping. This is patriotism on the Russian plan.

– Mark Twain, a Biography

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present

The ‘Clash of Civilisations’ and the ‘War on Terror’ – Michael Dunn (pdf file)

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent declaration of a US-led ‘war on terror’, the spectre of a ‘clash of civilizations’ between ‘Islam’ and ‘the West’ has frequently loomed. But what is the relationship between the ‘clash of civilizations’ and the ‘war on terror’ ? The latter is, for many, simply the clash between ‘Islam’ and ‘the West’ that Samuel P Huntington predicted would be an inevitable part of the post-Cold War world. Crucially, this conviction is as true for the leaders of the al-Qaeda network as it is for those Western policymakers who subscribe to Huntington’s theory. This article will attempt to critique the application of ‘clash of civilizations’ theory to the ‘war on terror’, and will then seek to construct a different means of understanding and conceptualising the ‘war’ on terror’. It will posit that the ‘war on terror’ is not in fact a ‘clash of civilizations’, but a conflict between two powerful groups of elites, for whom the ‘clash of civilizations’ is an essential form of discourse.

One of the reasons that the Right hangs on so tenaciously to the term “War on Terror” is that the term gives whatever Bush does the illusion of having an unmerited moral weight; the Right is on a mission, a grand noble cause that preventing and punishing terrorists deserves a grand title. Even the word terrorism itself has taken on a certain awed reverence. Terrorist are nothing more or less then international criminals. They do have a convoluted perverse set of beliefs, but those kinds of motivations are not foreign to a nation that went through a bloody Civil War and has seen the likes of the Oklahoma City bombing by Christian Identity sympathizer Timothy Mcveigh to a myriad of homegrown conservative terrorists. To call fighting terrorism another kind of crime problem, obit complicated gulls the Right because because it robs it of the grandeur and old world machismo of a ‘Clash of Civilizations’. This attitude of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ is part and parcel of the Right’s daily discourse. If a Muslim somewhere in the world jay walks its totted as yet another anecdotal incident that proves that that all Muslims are beyond the law, beyond morality so in conservative pundit Ann Coulter’s words,  ” We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.” If its war it relieves the Right of the tedium of differentiating between actual terrorists and innocent Muslims. It is not just M’s Coulter, it is part of the daily framing that ranges all the way from Dick Cheney to the unglued Little Green Footballs.

Sardar and Davies believe that in the ‘war on terror’, “[t]wo factions that intuitively understand each other are ready to engage in apocalyptic battle,” but that, “[i]t is less clear that the rest of American society, the Muslim world or the world in general can intervene to question the policies and change the course of events to moderate a slide into increasing danger and insecurity for everyone, everywhere. “Yet such pessimism is not necessarily warranted. The first step must surely be for us to acknowledge the need for democracy and equality to prevail over the clashing ‘fundamentalisms’ of ‘Jihad’ and ‘McWorld’. After all, Osama bin Laden’s attempts to provoke a ‘clash of civilizations’ have, “turned out to be a spectacular failure.”55 One can find evidence for this in the Iranians who gathered outside of the US embassy in Tehran on the night of 9/11, not to chant anti-US slogans but to offer their sympathies, or to the enduring anti-war movement in the West. These examples are the antitheses to the ‘clash of civilizations’, and are evidence that ordinary individuals – potential victims of the ‘war on terror’ – motivated by their concern for other ordinary individuals, are willing and able to register their opposition to the policies of those in power. ( This was a scholarly article which had number references for the footnotes which I removed for formatting reasons. They are available on the pdf file)

The Right and the true jihadist are engaging in a wish fulfillment and wants to drag the rest of along. Many of us have read something akin to this before and we’ve noted the singular lack of discussion along these lines in the TV media in particular. Our current foreign conflicts have continued in this tiresome and less then enlightened framework of rhetoric for some time and show no signs of abatement. While it has lost some of its luster among the public, many of whom recognize both the genuine national security threats we face and the exploitation by the Right of those threats the ‘Clash’ concept is still a winner in the roots of the Conservative base and the current crop of Republican candidates know who that it is the fired up extreme partisans of their party they must appeal to in order to get the nomination. A large segment of which still ties Iraq with 9-11. Just this past week House Minority Leader John Boehner (R) cried after the Iraq appropriations bill was passed and said,

“After 3,000 of our fellow citizens died at the hands of these terrorists, when are we going to stand up and take them on? When are we going to defeat ’em?” demanded Boehner. “Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you, if we don’t do it now, and if we don’t have the courage to defeat this enemy, we will long, long regret it. So thank you for the commitment to get the job done today.”

It appears that Boehner is suffering from some confusion about the reason why President Bush dispatched U.S. troops to Iraq.

This week Peter S. Canellos at the Boston Globe notes the series of just plain bizarre statements made by Republicans trying to distinguish themsleves in the race to see who can be the most shrill and disturbingly misinformed, GOP rivals embrace unproven Iraq-9/11 tie

In the May 15 Republican debate in South Carolina, Senator John McCain of Arizona suggested that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden would “follow us home” from Iraq — a comment some viewers may have taken to mean that bin Laden was in Iraq, which he is not.

Former New York mayor Rudolph Guiliani asserted, in response to a question about Iraq, that “these people want to follow us here and they have followed us here. Fort Dix happened a week ago. ”

However, none of the six people arrested for allegedly plotting to attack soldiers at Fort Dix in New Jersey were from Iraq.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney identified numerous groups that he said have “come together” to try to bring down the United States, though specialists say few of the groups Romney cited have worked together and only some have threatened the United States.

The both unfortunate and comically named Republican blog The American Mind writes, Boston Globe Smears GOP, This entry was posted on Sunday, May 27th, 2007 at 5:10 pm and is filed under Media.

Canellos can’t wrap his mind around the fact that “these people” are Islamist terrorists. They have launched attacks on the U.S. from Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iraq. They would like nothing more than to come to the U.S. and kill as many as possible.

It’s obvious Peter Canellos can’t comprehend the U.S. is in the midst of a war with a radical, religious-based ideology–Islamism. He probably thinks everything would be hunky dory if the U.S. pulled out of Iraq. Heck, he might even be like Rep. Ron Paul and think the U.S. brought this war onto itself through its foreign policy. That would be fine for a dark corner of the internet; such a smear is unacceptable for a newspaper like the Boston

Here TAM must not reread his posts for clarity or consistency’s of thought. Iraq was probably the most secular country in the middle-east and when Saddam was in power they rejected ties to Bin laden. The 9-11 hijackers as pointed out millions of times were from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. Three of those countries are considered American allies and when we haven’t made up plans as far as I know to attack them. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan export more actual terrorist then Iraq ever did. CLARIFYING IRAQ’S TERRORIST RECORD

There is no doubt that Iraq is a state sponsor of terrorism—i.e., a country that provides financial support, safe haven, training, or weapons and explosives to groups or individuals that carry out terrorist attacks. From 1991 thru 2001 there were 4143 international terrorist attacks throughout the world. Saddam Hussein and his regime were implicated in at least 73 of these incidents, which accounted for fewer that two hundred fatalities. ( in other words Iraq-Saddam the front in the war on terror was implicated in 1.77 percent of international terrorist attacks and many of those were against Iran. By comparison American terrorists that we all commonly refer to as just plain old murderers have been far more proficient at killing their fellow Americans – Number of murders across nation rises –

The FBI said there were 308 murders from January to June of this year in New York City, compared with 270 during the same span last year. Philadelphia had 158 murders in the first half of this year — 20 more than in the first half of 2002. Baltimore had 141 (14 more) and Newark, N.J., had 40 (13 more).

Officials in Washington declared a crime emergency this summer during a spate of mostly gang-related violence.

Overall, there were 4.3% more murders in the Northeast part of the country during the first half of 2003 compared with last year. There also were slightly more homicides in the South and West; only the Midwest showed a decrease (-1.9%).

Many major cities outside the Northeast had fewer slayings, the report said. Los Angeles was down by 65; it had 258. Detroit had 156 (28 fewer) and Las Vegas dropped by six, from 70 to 64.

The pint today and for the doreseeable future is many Americans have lost the ability to keep the real threats that face us in proper perspective and to react accordingly.

They’re Rich, They’re Spoiled, They’re Supporting Terrorists

the New York Times editorialized, “with Riyadh’s acquiescence, money and manpower from Saudi Arabia helped create and sustain Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization.” When one peruses the list of directors of businesses and foundations cited by the US government that allegedly supported Al Qaeda, it reads like a who’s who of Saudi society.

As someone once said the Saudis are bastards, but they’re our bastards. TAM, Bush and the Right would have us all believe that it is perfectly clear who the enemy is and they and only they know how to deal with the problem of terrorism. Yet terrorism has increased under Bush – Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat and The Bush Administration’s Data on Global Terrorism in 2005 (pdf)

Today, the State Department issued its annual report on global terrorism, Country Reports on Terrorism 2005. In conjunction with this release, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) also issued its own Report on Incidents of Terrorism 2005. This Flash Report provides an assessment of the data on which these reports are based. The new data from 2005 shows that the number of reported terrorism incidents has increased exponentially in the three years since the United States invaded Iraq. There were 11,111 terrorist
attacks that caused 14,602 deaths in 2005, compared to 208 terrorist attacks that caused 625 deaths in 2003. This is an increase of over 5,000% in the number of terrorist attacks and over 2,000% in the number of deaths in three years. Officials from the State Department and the NCTC asserted in a briefing yesterday afternoon to
congressional staff that the dramatic increase in terrorism attacks was due to the use of a new methodology and a more rigorous review. These are the same assertions that the Administration made last year, when the 2004 data showed that terrorism attacks had tripled since 2003. Experts consulted prior to the release of the 2005 data urged the Administration to release directly comparable numbers, but the Administration refused to do so.

The Right relentlessly sells us the lemon terrorism is increasing because Bush is confronting terrorism to supposedly eradicate it once and for all. The front of this effort is Iraq. This connection of beliefs and propaganda are never explained and justified by supporting evidence. On the contrary the Right feels that the connections are so self evident that they have gone on for five years floating on unsupported assertions wrapped conveniently in the flag, draining every last drop of blind nationalism they can from the us versus them battle cry. We’re not making progress because of confrontation, we’re not making progress because the Coulters, Victor David Hansens, and Little Greeners are in fact getting part of their wishes granted. We’re killing innocent civilians and leaving behind brothers, cousins and fathers that now have a blood grudge against the U.S. We’re also losing because we’re putting so much in the way of resources into Iraq when we should be working with our allied bastards like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey to put more policing efforts into monitoring and catching actual terrorists, and encouraging recipients of huge amounts of American foreign aid like Egypt and Pakistan to improve their human rights records.

Lincoln Memorial

I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose. We Were Both Doing Our Duty.

Parents who lose children, whether through accident or illness, inevitably wonder what they could have done to prevent their loss. When my son was killed in Iraq earlier this month at age 27, I found myself pondering my responsibility for his death.

Among the hundreds of messages that my wife and I have received, two bore directly on this question. Both held me personally culpable, insisting that my public opposition to the war had provided aid and comfort to the enemy. Each said that my son’s death came as a direct result of my antiwar writings.

This may seem a vile accusation to lay against a grieving father. But in fact, it has become a staple of American political discourse, repeated endlessly by those keen to allow President Bush a free hand in waging his war. By encouraging “the terrorists,” opponents of the Iraq conflict increase the risk to U.S. troops. Although the First Amendment protects antiwar critics from being tried for treason, it provides no protection for the hardly less serious charge of failing to support the troops — today’s civic equivalent of dereliction of duty.

What exactly is a father’s duty when his son is sent into harm’s way?

Among the many ways to answer that question, mine was this one: As my son was doing his utmost to be a good soldier, I strove to be a good citizen.

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.” – Abraham Lincoln

Thou shalt not bear false witness

Pre-War Intelligence Report on Iraq Released – Report Forecast Militant Violence, Saw Establishing Democracy as Difficult

The U.S. intelligence community accurately predicted months before the Iraq war that al-Qaeda would link up with elements from former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s regime and militant Islamists to conduct terrorist attacks against U.S. forces in that country, according to a report released today by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

The bold emphasis isn’t too difficult to understand. Simple enough to bring into an elementary school show and tell. If Saddam was removed from power the possibility existed that various stripes of extremists would take advantage of the chaos and lack of stability. That some of those radical Islamics that the relatively secular Saddam had under his thumb for over two decades would exploit the power vacuum that would existed on his removal was certainly predictable to those of us who were more interested in the truth then playing lapdog for The Commander Guy. Yet Bush supporter Ed Morrissey at the conservative Captains Quarters writes, So Now They Believe Saddamists And Islamists Would Work Together?, Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 25, 2007 4:08 PM

The release of Phase II of the review of pre-war intel has generated some odd comments from war critics. The same people who have told us over and over again that al-Qaeda and other radical Islamists would never have worked with a supposed secularist like Saddam Hussein now say “I told you so” when the pre-war intel warned of post-invasion connections between AQ and the Ba’athists

The part in bold is just a simple lie. I would be happy to read the passage from an A-list liberal blog or from a elected Democrat that ever said any such thing. The ” would never have worked with a supposed secularist like Saddam Hussein” – this also obviously false. There are a multitude of factions fighting each other in Iraq and while all the alliances are difficult to explain, one facet that is not complicated is that Saddam is dead. He does not have nor is he leading any factions aligned with anyone – and it is generally agreed that one of the Bush team’s biggest errors was not including the bathists in the first stages of rebuilding the government and creating order. This is from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Phase II report from September 2006 when both Houses of Congress were controlled by conservatives and the head of the Intelligence Committees in both Houses were Republicans, Report: Saddam and Al Qaeda Enemies, Not Collaborators

[Bin] Ladin generally opposed collaboration [with Baghdad]. (p. 65)

According to debriefs of multiple detainees — including Saddam Hussein and former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz — and capture documents, Saddam did not trust al-Qa’ida or any other radical Islamist group and did not want to cooperate with them. (p. 67)

Aziz underscored Saddam’s distrust of Islamic extremists like bin Ladin, stating that when the Iraqi regime started to see evidence that Wahabists had come to Iraq, “the Iraqi regime issued a decree aggressively outlawing Wahabism in Iraq and threatening offenders with execution.” (p. 67)

Another senior Iraqi official stated that Saddam did not like bin Ladin because he called Saddam an “unbeliever.” (p.73)

Conclusion 1: … Postwar findings indicate that Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qa’ida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al Qa’ida to provide material or operational support. Debriefings of key leaders of the former Iraqi regime indicate that Saddam distrusted Islamic radicals in general, and al Qa’ida in particular… Debriefings also indicate that Saddam issued a general order that Iraq should not deal with al Qa’ida. No postwar information suggests that the Iraqi regime attempted to facilitate a relationship with bin Ladin. (p. 105)

Conclusion 5:… Postwar information indicates that Saddam Hussein attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture al-Zarqawi (a Jordanian – Jordan is considered an American ally even though they clearly have terrorist among the population. Doesn’t that mean in Captain Ed’s world that we would be justified in invading Jordan)) and that the regime did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi. (p. 109)

Ed goes on to restate the lie.

Jay Rockefeller wants to use the report to show what a folly it was to invade Iraq, but part of the reason we invaded Iraq was precisely to avoid Saddam and his henchmen from partnering with al-Qaeda. These same intel agencies produced this prediction because they also had intelligence that Saddam and AQ had already established contacts with each other.

Absolutely no evidence exists that such a relationship existed or that any collaboration was planned. Ed is worse then Bill O’Reilly, there’s so much spin, distortion and easily verified falsehood one wonders what the point is. Just a guess, but it is probably just some grist to feed the dead-enders who will likely live the rest of their lives in denial of the facts and the Ed’s of the Right feed them enough fairy dust to help them stay in a state of denial. Then Ed inadvertently proves the liberal case,

Since Saddam had never complied with the cease-fire and the UN resolutions on many issues, and in fact continued to fire on no-fly patrols, a state of war already existed.

Ed wants to play Big Brothe doublespeak with the word containment. Containment means exactly the same thing as war in Ed World. At most we were having a Soviet style Cold War with Iraq to put pressure on them to change. That containment costs as about 2.5 billion dollars a year compared to the approximately 7 billion dollars a month we’re spending now and during that entire time from the end of the Gulf War until Bush’s invasion we had zero casualties. Why did we have zero casualties, because Iraq was a weak opponent incapable of inflicting any real damage on U.S. forces – see Operation Desert Fox. Ed of course had to drag the U.N. into it, this article addresses that to some degree. Ten Things Progressives Should Know About the United Nations Oil-for-Food Scandal

1. The program was poorly planned and managed. Set up in 1996, the United Nations oil-for-food program allowed the Iraqi government to sell oil to pay for food, infrastructure, medicine and humanitarian goods. The program was badly set-up and poorly managed, allowing Hussein’s regime to embezzle millions of dollars. According to a General Accounting Office report, Saddam embezzled $4.4 billion through pricing irregularities. By the Senate subcommittee’s higher count, Iraq got almost two-thirds of some $21 billion through the illicit trade deals or smuggling – most in deals made with governments before the program even began.

2. The program fed Iraqis and kept UN sanctions in place. The United States and the United Kingdom, as principal proponents of sanctions, voted for the creation of the program to address humanitarian and political concerns. As a result, Iraq’s chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs disintegrated, its conventional military forces crumbled, and the health of the civilian population improved. Under the program, millions of Iraqis were fed, child malnutrition and mortality went down, and access to electricity and clean water increased. Since the end of the program, malnutrition throughout the country has skyrocketed to the highest level in decades.

3. None of the money involved came from American taxpayers. Oil-for-food allowed the Iraqi government to sell Iraqi oil to pay for food, infrastructure, medicine and humanitarian goods. No U.S. money was involved. The United States government, which took over responsibility for Iraqi oil revenues following the invasion, failed to properly manage the newly-created account, known as the Development Fund for Iraq. As a result, according to government audits, the United States has failed to account for $8.8 billion in Iraqi oil money. Former Coalition Provisional Administrator Paul Bremer has refused to comment on where the money went.

And this, Documents: U.S. condoned Iraq oil smuggling

Documents obtained by CNN reveal the United States knew about, and even condoned, embargo-breaking oil sales by Saddam Hussein’s regime, and did so to shore up alliances with Iraq’s neighbors.

The oil trade with countries such as Turkey and Jordan appears to have been an open secret inside the U.S. government and the United Nations for years.

The unclassified State Department documents sent to congressional committees with oversight of U.S. foreign policy divulge that the United States deemed such sales to be in the “national interest,” even though they generated billions of dollars in unmonitored revenue for Saddam’s regime.

and, US ‘backed illegal Iraqi oil deals’

A report released last night by Democratic staff on a Senate investigations committee presents documentary evidence that the Bush administration was made aware of illegal oil sales and kickbacks paid to the Saddam Hussein regime but did nothing to stop them.

…In fact, the Senate report found that US oil purchases accounted for 52% of the kickbacks paid to the regime in return for sales of cheap oil – more than the rest of the world put together.

“The United States was not only aware of Iraqi oil sales which violated UN sanctions and provided the bulk of the illicit money Saddam Hussein obtained from circumventing UN sanctions,” the report said. “On occasion, the United States actually facilitated the illicit oil sales.

We’ll probably never see Captain Spin or any other Republican blog do a genuine report on the Facts of the U.N. Oil for Food scandal because companies like Chevron, run by Republicans who give the vast majority of their political donations to Republicans were neck deep in the scandal. Much of that cheap oil was funneled through U.S. ally and NATO member Turkey.

This is an article just recently published that adressed the childish if not delusional BushCo and Captain Ed meme that if we don’t fight them over there, they’ll get some more box cutters attack us over here, Al-Qaeda in Iraq May Not Be Threat Here, Intelligence Experts Say Group Is Busy On Its Home Front

Al-Qaeda in Iraq is the United States’ most formidable enemy in that country. But unlike Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization in Pakistan, U.S. intelligence officials and outside experts believe, the Iraqi branch poses little danger to the security of the U.S. homeland.

As the Democratic Congress continues to push for a military withdrawal, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have repeatedly warned that bin Laden plans to turn Iraq into the capital of an Islamic caliphate and a staging ground for attacks on the United States. “If we fail there,” Bush said in a February news conference, “the enemy will follow us here.”

Attacking the United States clearly remains on bin Laden’s agenda. But the likelihood that such an attack would be launched from Iraq, many experts contend, has sharply diminished over the past year as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) has undergone dramatic changes. Once believed to include thousands of “foreign fighters,” it is now an overwhelmingly Iraqi organization whose aims are likely to remain focused on the struggle against the Shiite majority in Iraq, U.S. intelligence officials said.

Thou shall not bear false witness 

Conservatives constantly play the victim and they do it so well

In the classic movie of the Pulitzer Prize winning play Harvey (1950) Jimmy Stewart plays a kindly drunk whose best friend is a giant rabbit. One tends to think that, our sympathies aside that Elwood P. Dowd is crazy. It turns out that while Dowd is probably off the deep end he teaches us that there are kinds of crazy. The benevolent kind such as Dowd versus the stereotypically insane. The sociopath. I don’t know if George W. Bush is crazy or a sociopath, one can imagine that speculations along those lines will continue for as long as their are historians around. That said the American public regularly engages in armchair analysis of just about everything from Paris Hilton to what heck was the home team coach thinking when they made that draft pick. In that arena of judgment, Bush put another mark in the Every Man’s Court of the Insane today, President To Reporter: “They Are A Threat To Your Children, David”

President Bush told NBC reporter David Gregory at a Rose Garden news conference today that terrorists are a “threat to your children, David.” The President’s reaction came after Gregory asked him why he should be considered a credible source on terror intelligence.

Here we go again. No prominent Democratic official, blogger or pundit has suggested that we not fight terrorists. On the contrary our main problem with Bush is that he has directed an extraordinary amount of resources into a war against a nation that hated Al-Queda. Bush has put America into the middle of a civil war, he has failed at nation building, he has failed to kill or capture the major players in the Al-Queda organization. Bush’s record is clearly one of failure after failure. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. If Bush knew what he was doing Iraq wouldn’t be a failed state on the edge of collapse with the ensuing chaos spreading to its neighbors. That situation has nothing to do with David Gregory’s children. The greatest threat facing those children is the same that faces most children in America, street crime ands molestation from someone that the family knows. Most sex offenders know their victims well, experts say

Two experts on sex offenders estimate that 80 percent to 90 percent or more of all child molestations are committed by people who know the victim. And sex offenders who abduct children they don’t know make up only about 5 percent of those who have served time in state prison, said Doris Mahlum, a district administrator for the California Department of Corrections Parole Division.

The California attorney general’s office estimates that there are about 85,000 registered sex offenders living in the state. According to the Megan’s Law database,, there are 2,301 registered sex offenders living in Riverside County and 2,870 registered offenders in San Diego County.

Bush’s unhinged remarks weren’t the only thing coughed up by the Conservative River of Weirdness. The screwy Dan Lundgren (R-CA) belongs to the Fred Thompson Rule of Law For Democrats Only School of Thought, Politicizing Crime

Among the least surprising developments arising from Monica Goodling’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee was the reflexive use of the “criminalization of politics” defense. Not by the witness, that is, but by Republican members of the committee themselves. That is to be expected. After all, whether the scandal involves Tom Delay, the outing of Valerie Plame, Jack Abramoff, or the U.S. attorneys purge, we can always count on the GOP to recast its rampant criminality as mere political disagreement.

On PBS Newhour last night, Republican California Congressman Dan Lundgren was only too happy to offer the criminalization of politics ruse for Monica Goodling and Alberto Gonzales alike. Just moments after acknowledging Goodling’s admission of violating civil rules and Hatch Act prohibitions (“she did admit that she made mistakes in that regard”), Lundgren returned the script:

“Let me just say this — and I think it’s an important point — there is too much of a tendency in this environment to try and criminalize political disputes. That’s been the effort here. They have found no basis for criminality, so the suggestion is now a vote of no confidence. Who knows what is next?”

When conservatives commit the egregious crimes its all politics and when a Democratic simply disagrees with policy they should be hanged – Savage: Madeleine Albright is a “traitor” who “should be hung”, Michael Reagan: “Howard Dean should be arrested for treason and either hung or put in a hole until the war’s over”
Little Mikey Reagan was just on the morning news the other day being asked about Ronald Reagan’s’ recently released diaries. I don’t ever remember a liberal pundit saying that the political opposition should be hung and later invited on a news program and treated like an honored guest. It is always the two standards America. Conservatives can get away with saying and engaging in the most abominable behavior and the media for the most part just pretends they didn’t see or hear anything. And The No Longer ‘Missing’ Rove Emails Revealing the Cagey Scheme to Steal 2008…

Goodling testified that Gonzales’ Chief of Staff, Kyle Sampson, perjured himself, lying to the committee in earlier testimony. The lie: Sampson denied Monica had told him about Tim Griffin’s “involvement in ‘caging’ voters” in 2004.

Huh?? Tim Griffin? “Caging”???

Palast could be mistaken that Congress blew its chance , Goodling could be called back to testify and that testimony could be in private.

Andrew Sullivan sees Barack Obama as the Reagan of the left, The Reagan Of The Left? which just makes the idea of voting for John Edwards that much more appealing.

Look at the polls and forget ideology for a moment. What do Americans really want right now? Change. Who best offers them a chance to turn the page cleanly on an era most want to forget? It isn’t Clinton, God help us. Edwards is so 2004. McCain is a throwback. Romney makes plastic look real. Rudy does offer something new for Republicans – the abortion-friendly, cross-dressing Jack Bauer. But no one captures the sheer, pent-up desire for a new start more effectively than Obama.

Edwards is so 2004? I wonder if Sullivan was writing a column about shoes and politics at the same time and ended up mixing them together. Let’s try it with another name and see if the Sulley treatment works – Jefferson and the Bill of Rights are so 1789. Nope doesn’t work.

Jefferson Memorial 1280×1024 

“Freedom of religion; freedom of the press; freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected, I deem [among] the essential principles of our government, and consequently [among] those which ought to shape its administration.” –Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural Address, 1801. ME 3:322

See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda

Goodling’s lawyer told Dems to ask about AG

Goodling today recalled her last conversation with Gonzales and said she felt uncomfortable when Gonzales began recalling for her his understanding of the process that led to the firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year.

So when Rep. Arthur Davis (D-AL) asked about her conversation with Attorney General Gonzales Goodling says she was “uncomfortable” with that conversation. Why would Gonzales think that it was proper to have such conservations when just a week before the House Judiciary Committee had said they wanted her to testify. Gonzales’s excuse that is was just acting like an old uncle trying to offer her some solace makes for a sympathetic sound bite, but legally the case might be made that he tried to obstruct justice. Obstruction doesn’t have to involve direct threats, it can consist of coaching – of dropping suggestions on how to navigate around certain questions.

The Wall Street Journal commits another grievous act of hackery. TODAY’S WSJ LEGERDEMAIN:

Judd Gregg (R-NH) requested that the Congressional Budget Office prepare a study measuring how low-income households with children have fared from 1991 to 2005. CBO dutifully complied, and found that low-income households with children have seen their income rise 35% over this period. The result is trumpeted in a lead editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal. The poor get richer! shouts the Journal. There are the predictable sneers at John Edwards for his insistent belief that there are poor people in the United States, and demands that the “class envy lobby” accept “this dose of economic reality.”

But wait. Why fifteen years? Well, it is a nice, round number. But fifteen years (from the last year where data) is available is 1991. That was a recession year, when incomes for this group collapsed.

A trick of statistical magic that we have all come to expect from Conservatives – yea see we took one of the worse years ever and compared to to a year that wasn’t great but not nearly as bad and guess what, the poor of 2005 light their cigars with ten dollar bills. Some people never grow up they just get older.

This may be small consolation to those upset over the Iraq funding debacle, but hey you have to learn to take your victories where you can, Candidate to Lead Consumer Agency Withdraws

A senior lobbyist at the National Association of Manufacturers withdrew his nomination to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Wednesday as a growing number of senators questioned both his suitability and a $150,000 departure payment that the association was preparing to give him.

The RBC picked up on this story, Slow learners at 1600 Penn.

The Bush (mal)Administration continues to demonstrate that it is an organizational slow learner. The President and his evil counsellors have yet to figure out that they can no longer get away with the kind of stuff they got away with under six years of a lapdog Republican Congress. With a new sheriff in town, and a stinging election defeat and historic low popularity adding to the usual weakness of a lame duck Presidency, they need to pull in their horns. But they seem to be unable to figure that out.

True enough, but I think there is another element to the administration’s attitude, screw’ em. They’ll put up any low life ideologically pure hack because they have nothing to lose. In the pipeline is someone is is probably as bad or worse. Someone who will put the interests of the fatcat few ahead of the common good, but his or her warts just won’t be as obvious. The new lapdog of Republican special interests will then do as much damage as he can before the adults come home in 2008. BushCo are not old dogs that can’t learn new tricks, though that is partly the case. They are old dogs that like doing the same old dirty tricks they’ve always known; having a shallow grasp of morals and good governance they see no real reason to change.

The Right has been generally good, but not perfect at keeping the broadcast media in particular gagged and stuffed in the closet. They get very upset when the media they’ve controlled for the last forty years gets a little uppity and does its job – they are very upset or have manufactured another big pot of fake outrage at this story, GOP Candidates Criticize ABC News Report on CIA-Iran Plan

Two Republican presidential candidates today criticized the ABC News report Tuesday about the CIA’s covert plan to destabilize the Iranian regime.

“I was shocked to see the ABC News report regarding covert action in Iran,” Mitt Romney said as he opened a session with reporters in Tulsa, Okla.

Congressman Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., called for an investigation into who leaked the information and “condemned” ABC News for “running the story which could jeopardize American lives.”

The ABC News story reported that President Bush had given the CIA authorization to conduct a nonlethal covert action against Iran involving propaganda, disinformation and the manipulation of Iran’s international banking transactions.

Conservatives are not the brightest people in the world, but they are darn clever at being manipulative Chicken-Littles,

I’m skeptical of the spin on this story, in particular the contention that this reported covert action is about a committed Bush administration policy to destabilize the Iranian regime. It seems the named sources in the piece are saying if such a covert action has been authorized, it’s about in fact the US deciding NOT to confront Iran militarily — but rather, to try to gain leverage as it moves towards negotiations with Tehran, which limited to Iraq security are set to begin Monday in Baghdad. And who would like to sabotage that? Hardliners in both Washington and Iran — potentially, some of the former may be ABC’s sources, with an eye to a report that would get Iran to call off the talks. While there may be covert components to the effort, the fact that the US is trying to pressure Iran economically is hardly a secret — Nick Burns and his counterparts at the Treasury Department have been going around the world openly for more than the past year trying to get countries and even individual banks on board to sanction Iran economically.

I am put in the position of begging again. Please, please GOP candidates, right-wing blogs and Republican pundits flog this story night and day for all its worth. At the end of the day you’re saying that BushCo hasn’t been taking any counter measures against Iran. Intell operations just started and ABC may or may not have uncovered some brand spanking new clandestine activity. Please Wing-nut-o-sphere make the case that much of this wasn’t already made public by the administration and right-wing blogs themselves and is 95 percent common sense that the CIA spies on Iran and does a dirty trick now and then. Laura at War and Piece is probably right, that much of this chatter is to pressure Iran in face of upcoming talks the administration is having with Iran – about what? Getting them to help Bush stabilize Iraq. Please do not read the right-wing spin on this story and drink milk near your monitor at the same time. Remember this report from Seymour Hersh and keep in mind the recent Department of Justice purge, What the Pentagon can now do in secret. January 24, 2005

“This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone,” the former high-level intelligence official told me. “Next, we’re going to have the Iranian campaign. We’ve declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah—we’ve got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.”

“See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” – George W. Bush

Compulsive-obsessive to frantically order and stabilize the world so that no unmanageable, unexpected or unfamiliar dangers will ever appear


In a flagrant display of intellectual dishonesty, Kudlow reassures us of the “moral compass” guiding capitalism by referencing Irving Kristol, the godfather of the Neoconservative movement. Sinking further into a quagmire of deceit, he portrays Victorian England as “an example of a moral society.” Lawrence has a point. Those of us with a social conscience marvel at the morality exhibited by the industrial capitalists of the Victorian Era. Child labor, fourteen hour work days, pittance wages, dangerous working conditions, squalid living conditions, and workhouses exemplified a moral society driven by an undying compassion for humanity.

What Larry means when he says that “capitalism in this country has been under assault ever since FDR’s New Deal 1930’s” is that he and his excessively wealthy associates strenuously object to progressive taxes, public spending on domestic social programs, and laws that protect workers and consumers. Kudlow longs for a return to the “good old days” of the Gilded Age, Robber Barons, monopolies, and unbridled freedom for him and his ilk to inflict misery upon the rest of us.

Larry Kudlow exemplifies the Chicken-Littles of the Conservative financial pundits. Rather then admit that he and his friends are deeply afraid they will literally have some of their pocket change flow to schools, lunch programs and medical research Larry declares that black frogs and serpents will rain down upon us if Democrats get their way. It’s the financial version of Michelle Malkin’s meme that everyone to the left of Leo Strauss is a Marxist and that America is being slowly overthrown by illegal aliens. Larry was educated at Princeton and has advised presidents. He’s not some half baked AM shock jock that doesn’t know what he’s saying. He is using his credentials and media access to sell America an intellectual lemon. Only it is and always will be Larry and his French champagne drinking friends that reap most of the benefits from Republinomics, not the guy working overtime to put aside enough money so that maybe some day his kid will be able to attend a public university. Larry also said this in reference to Dubya,

“He’s also the same guy who continues to prove he has more character than most anyone serving in public office today.”

Larry isn’t joking he honestly believes that. He and his ilk believe it because they do not have any real concept of what character is.

The Islamic enemy within

Note that majorities of white Christians want to torture not merely actual terrorists, but they also want to torture “terrorist suspects” as well, i.e., a group that almost certainly includes perfectly innocent people.

And majorities of white Christians — Catholics, evangelicals and protestants — believe in torture not merely in the improbable-in-the-extreme “ticking time bomb” scenario; rather, they believe in torture as a matter of course (i.e., more than “rarely” — either “often or “sometimes”). (By stark and revealing contrast, “secularists” oppose torture in far greater numbers). Think about how depraved that is: what kind of religious individual affirmatively believes that people should be routinely tortured, including people who have never been proven to have done anything wrong?

Furthermore, the Pew Poll from today itself revealed that 42% of American Christians — 42% — consider themselves “Christians first,” not “Americans first.” A very substantial portion of Christians, then, place allegiance to their religion above that of allegiance to the United States.

Here it is only five months after an historic landslide election victory and while there are some encouraging trends these poll results are discouraging. There are bad people in this world, always have been. Some of those bad people are Muslims, some are Christians, some male, some short, some white – why is it then that the Right has turned all Muslims into the gravest threat facing the U.S. and possibly mankind in the last thousand years when there is no data to support that assertion.

* Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.
* In 2002, there were a total of 4,854 cases of aggravated assault in Washington DC. On a daily basis, this computes to 13.2 aggravated assaults a day.
*In Maryland, there were 3,228 cases of larceny and thefts per 100,000 people in 2002. This is one-third higher than the national average rate of 2,445.8 cases per 100,000.
* In Detroit, there were 41.79 murders per 100,000 people in 2002. This is alarmingly way above the national average rate of 5.6 for the same year.
* In 2002, with the exception of burglaries, Philadelphia led all crime levels which were above the national average rates for murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assaults, larceny/theft and motor vehicle theft.

The idea that people feel more allegiance to their religion then their country is alarming and should those people ever gain control of our government they’ll soon see why. Our being a secularized society is what makes so many people belonging to so many different religions free to worship as they please. Tilt that balance in America toward religion over religious neutrality and one only has to look at the sectarian strife in Iraq to see the results. While some Catholics work with Evangelicals on some issues they have deep differences in their dogma. The same is true of many denominations. If let’s say the followers of James Dobson and Pat Robertson have their wildest dreams granted and we became a authoritarian theocracy – the day after that happens the struggle for power among religious groups will start. Religious freedom in America is utterly dependent on that official separation between the state and religion. That the fringe Right doesn’t see that or tries to convince its followers otherwise is one of the things that makes them dangerous. It has always been democracies weakness that those with a ignorant mob mentality use their vote to undermine the very foundations for their freedom.

“The neurosis in which the search for safety takes its clearest form is in the compulsive-obsessive neurosis. Compulsive-obsessive to frantically order and stabilize the world so that no unmanageable, unexpected or unfamiliar dangers will ever appear.” – Abraham Maslow

The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is

Persian Spring: Gardens in the Axis of Evil

The second surprise is that many people really like Americans. Locals would cross the street, smiling, and ask, “Are you American?” If I sat down outside a mosque or museum, young people would come up to talk about culture and life in the States. They all had satellite dishes. “Sure, they’re illegal,” they’d say, “but everyone on my street has one.” One young bearded man told me he particularly enjoyed The Simpsons but was baffled by Fox News. Students gave me their e-mail addresses—Yahoo and Hotmail—wondering if I would help with their English homework. “Can you tell me what American writers to read?” asked one youth.

Late one afternoon in Isfahan, I was approached by a college student named Elam, who said her professor wanted her to practice her English. She launched immediately into a complaint about her parents being overly protective and warning her about her excessively Western appearance. Elam had obvious, though artfully applied, eye makeup and a tailored black coat that showed her slim waist. She hoped, she said, to get away and to do graduate work in the United States: “If I keep my grades up, the U.S. school will pay my tuition, and then I can get a job teaching.” I told her that might be difficult.

“I’m only a freshman,” she said. “In four years everything will be different.”

This year, 58 percent of the freshman classes in Iranian universities are women, said our Iranian tour guide, Ali Sadrnia. Elam was one of the 70 percent of Iran’s 70 million population under the age of 30. In the 1980s the ruling religious leaders encouraged large families; now the mosques hand out condoms. This is a generation with no direct memory of the Shah, the U.S. hostages, or America as the Great Satan. They cruise the Internet with ease; when the advisory “Access Denied” pops up, they figure out a way to use a proxy. It’s a very hard time to be an authoritarian theocracy.

A few months ago I saw Diane Sawyer interview the president of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He managed to make it into that rare club of individuals that I took an instant dislike. His wore his arrogance like a shield and used even the simplest answer to the most basic questions an opportunity chance to be condescending and engage in the kind of political doublespeak that was eerily like Dick Cheney. His attitude was how could a woman possibly understand the complexities of politics and international relations. There are probably worse spokesmen for Iran, but they are hard to imagine. Still Ahmadinejad just didn’t seem to represent the Iranian people in much the same way that Bush and his supporters do not represent America. There are similarities. Ahmadinejad is their bastard and Bush is ours. Given a choice no matter how much the general population may have a desire to talk and work out differences they will rally round their bastard rather when their are threats have been pumped up bigger then a brightly colored plastic backyard pool.

Just a suggestion for a poll by one of the more high traffic liberal blogs like Daily Kos or Atrios: What is the most absurd talking points things that the Bush administration keeps hammering away at? High up on that poll would have to be – if we don’t stay in Iraq Al Qaeda will have a safe haven – and of course from that safe haven they will launch countless attacks at America targets. America will the foreseeable future will see Americans kill more of their fellow Americans in fits of rage then Muslim terrorists will. Ask a cop from any medium to large city what night of the week they dread most. In America Saturday night is hit the spouse, beat the kids, and kick the dog night and you can safely bet that some twit will use a gun to show some other twit how tough he is. Just some advice to Al Qaeda should they decide to all get in their little row boats and paddle over here; stay out of red neck bars or hey on the other hand maybe that is the first place they should go – the great jihadist invasion will then end within a few hours. Six Questions for Marc Lynch on Iraq, the “Surge,” and Al Qaeda

2. What is going on in Anbar?
There really is a palpable turn there against Al Qaeda, that isn’t just the usual wishful thinking that so often takes the place of real analysis. A lot of people have interpreted this as a sign of American strength, that the Sunni tribes are shifting to the winning side. It’s actually just the opposite, it’s a defensive reaction by Sunnis to Al Qaeda’s increasing strength and aggressiveness. Sunni resentment of Al Qaeda in Iraq really dates to last October, long before the “surge,” when Al Qaeda declared the Islamic State of Iraq. A lot of us thought at the time that they did this for strictly propaganda purposes, but it developed into an aggressive bid for hegemony over the entire insurgency. The Islamic State of Iraq became very aggressive towards other insurgency groups and local Sunnis, intimidating ordinary people, declaring them to be non-Muslims, and using that as a justification for seizing property and killing leaders of other groups. This created a backlash; we’re seeing an open turn against Al Qaeda not just by local tribal sheiks and ordinary people but also by the leaders of the insurgency.

Does that sound even remotely like anything we’re hearing from Bush or the evening news. If their fellow Sunnis have turned against them where are they going to turn to for help should America redeploy? The Shia supported by Iran who also hates Al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda wants the United States to stay in Iraq as long as possible. It gets tremendous benefits from having American troops close at hand to kill – Iraq is the primary source of its propaganda and recruitment, and an integral part of its global strategy. They really want to turn Iraq into a base for exporting global jihad. But these major insurgency factions are focused on driving Americans out of Iraq and creating a political system that gives Sunnis a reasonable stake in politics.

Not that this sound reasonable assessment matters. Bush is saving us from the gravest threat against America since Hitler and his army rolled across Europe.

Democrats are smarter and more compassionate then Republicans. Notice that when they leave their two best qualities home alone while they play Political Ploy the game of clever moves they lose more often then not, Dems set war bill without Iraq timeline

In grudging concessions to President Bush, Democrats intend to draft an Iraq war-funding bill without a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and shorn of billions of dollars in spending on domestic programs, officials said Monday.

The legislation would include the first federal minimum wage increase in more than a decade, a top priority for the Democrats who took control of Congress in January, the officials added.

While details remain subject to change, the measure is designed to close the books by Friday on a bruising veto fight between Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress over the war. It would provide funds for military operations in Iraq through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Democrats in both houses are expected to seek other opportunities later this year to challenge Bush’s handling of the unpopular conflict.

Democrats should be on their gravest faces of concern and start talking endlessly about the NSA, signing statement, Bush’s lies and distortions of the National Intelligence Estimate followed by threats involving high crimes and misdemeanors then this time line thing would probably be moving along much faster. Harry Reid must know how to play poker I wonder why he isn’t betting that Bush doesn’t have the political capital to stop impeachment proceedings.

Schiff introduces Gonzales no-confidence resolution

Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Artur Davis (D-Ala.) introduced a resolution Monday urging President Bush to fire Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The two lawmakers, both of whom are former federal prosecutors, are highly critical of Gonzales’s handling of the firing of several U.S. attorneys. Their resolution also states that the attorney general has failed to “assure the public that the laws of the nation are being enforced in an independent, nonpartisan and judicious manner.”

This no-confidence stuff isn’t meaningless, but if they’re going to go to all the trouble of soliciting votes why not just move ahead with impeachment against Gonzo. People like Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich and Jerry Falwell long ago killed playing compromise and be nice politics.

“The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.” – Winston Churchill