a president whose ideological goals on the domestic front are, on some level, advanced every time he screws up

From a speech made by Dubya in March 2005,

Throughout the speech, Bush said the spread of democracy is crucial to defeating terrorists and safeguarding the United States from another attack. “It should be clear that the advance of democracy leads to peace because governments that respect the rights of their people also respect the rights of their neighbors,” he said. “It should be clear the best antidote to radicalism and terror is the tolerance kindled in free societies.” (emphasis mine)

Iranians: Do They Say They Want a Revolution?

In the fall of 2006, WorldPublicOpinion.org conducted a face-to-face poll of the Iranian public and found strong support for democracy. Respondents were asked, “How important is it for you to live in a country that is governed by representatives elected by the people?” and told to answer on a 0-10 scale, where 10 signified the greatest importance and 0 the least. A large majority (68%) of Iranians chose the highest possible score of 10; on average the Iranian response was a 9.1

The survey also allowed Iranians to evaluate the level of democracy in their country, using the same scale. Asked to rate how much their own country was “governed by representatives elected by the people,” few Iranians (only 9%) gave their country a perfect 10, but a clear majority (61%) gave their country a score of 7 or higher.

As WPO notes Iranians have there own ideas about what democracy is and whether or not their ideas of what constitutes democracy correlate with a Jeffersonian concepts, they do see themselves as living in a relatively democratic country. There would seem to an outsider that the average Iranian is suffering from a certain level disconnect from what actually constitutes a democracy, but this shouldn’t be too difficult to comprehend because American Conservatives see themselves as pro democracy even as they support the most authoritarian and lawless administrations in American history.

Other polls are consistent with WPO’s findings that a majority of Iranians both support democracy and feel that their government is at least somewhat democratic. In June 2005, a survey by the Iranian Student Polling Agency found that 65 percent of respondents said it was “absolutely important” to live in a democratically governed country and 90 percent believed that democracy was better than any other form of government. Smaller numbers—but still a majority—said that they believed Iran was “fairly democratic” (59%).

Abu Aardvark has an interesting post about how some Iraqis view Bush’s continued occupation, in particular the Islamic Army of Iraq. First let’s acknowledge that these guys are extreme nationalists and as one would expect they use a lot of hyperbole, Islamic Army of Iraq takes issue with certain American claims

First, the letter from the Amir. Much of the letter advances a series of arguments that Iran is the real problem for Iraqis and Americans alike. It’s full of sectarian complaints, as you’d expect, and its aggressive assertions of Iranian mischief in Iraq might find a welcome reception in certain quarters. While the occupation of Iraq has proven a disastrous, expensive failure for the United States, it argues, Bush has at least achieved great strategic gains for Iran. Iranian influence is on the march throughout the Gulf while Baghdad and the southern provinces have become the property of Iranian intelligence. He writes that he knows that Americans don’t care about Iraq’s suffering or about millions of Iraqi refugees, only about hegemony and wealth and Israel’s security. But even so, why has America given Iran hegemony over Iraq at such a bargain price?

Iran, a country that sees itself as democratic and has offered to help the U.S. fight al-Qaeda has gained power and influence in the region because of Bush. The majority of Iraqis are Shia as is the government the Iraqi government that Bush props up and those same Shia feel more allegiance to Iran then they do to America or more accurately Bush. Bush can have surges from now till the Martians land, but he’ll never make head way in Iraq without a political solution that addresses the issue of his contradictory view of what Iraq should be. He can’t simultaneously marginalize the Sunni minority one day, arm them the next then try and get them on America’s side when America has designed a government that caters to the Shia. The average person might well have a difficult time understanding how these small fractures in religious and tribal beliefs and traditions can mean so much that people will kill each other. Not a perfect analogy but think of the violence between Protestants and Catholics that lasted for hundreds of years in Europe and fueled the terrorism in Northern Ireland in recent history ( a problem that ended with a political solution not a military one).

Listen to what the leaders of the insurgency groups actually say, not to what American spokesmen project upon them: the major insurgency factions remain committed to fighting until the Americans withdraw and the current political system is revised.

Abu isn’t approving of insurgent behavior only acknowledging it and their determination. Even discounting the propagandistic tone of the announcements made by these insurgent groups Bush’s escalation or “surge” is of dubious and only short term benefit if any. Since Bush and of course his supporters will continue to ignore the realities and Congressional Democrats don’t have a large enough majority to make Bush change course it is very likely this quagmire will continue well into 2008.
Paul Krugman and Matthew Yglesias both take a look at the morass of muck that is the current philosophy of conservatism as it applies to health-care for children, but it also applies to Bush and Conservatives contradictory behavior in Iraq, Can’t Do Conservatism

One way of thinking about what the country’s experienced since the fall of 2001 is just large-scale consequences of perverse incentives. We have a president whose ideological goals on the domestic front are, on some level, advanced every time he screws up, with his own failures, his own corruption, providing evidence for the correctness of his ideology. Meanwhile, on the security front, his own inability to tackle the al-Qaeda problem — and, indeed, the fact that his policies are making the problem worse — serve to heighten a climate of fear that his advisers regard as political(ly) useful.

The more Bush screws up Iraq the more supposed justification for the surge. The surge goes sideways at best and Bush both declares we’ve turned another corner and need another Friedman Unit. At the end of which we’ll need another surge and those that oppose this deadly farcical cycle are defeatists. What we have is the Conservative Cycle of Defeat. They’re like gambling addicts that have tied their destructive  behavior to patriotism. Madison Avenue couldn’t have done a better job of not only selling America a defective product, but having repeat sells.

Bill Oreilly: The Conservative Clown of Hate


To the Right, Governance and War Are Just Show Business

Leahy: Bush ‘must go back to the rule of law’

President Bush “must go back to the rule of law.”

“Well, many say he should fire the attorney general, but I think it’s more than that,” Leahy said. “I think he has to state we have made — we, the administration have made — some bad mistakes in saying we’re above the law. Nobody’s above the law. The president’s not above the law, you’re not, I’m not. And he’s got to go back to the rule of law. If we need to make changes in our Intelligence Surveillance Act, for example, we’ll do that. We’ve done this a half a dozen times already.”

The article quotes Arlen Spector (R-PA),

Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, called for Gonzales to correct the record.

“Let’s give him a chance,” he said.

The media falls all over themselves to call Specter a moderate, yet just a few days ago he was frustrated with the Attorney General for his evasiveness,

[ ]…”Would you focus on my question for just a minute, please?” Specter asked.

He added: “I’m not going to pursue that question, Mr. Attorney General, because I see it’s hopeless. … You’re the attorney general, and you’re also a lawyer. And we’re dealing with a very fundamental controversy.”

Gonzales has answered or rather evaded, refused to answer or lied to the same committee now twice. Is it the ever moderate Senator Specter’s opinion that the third time will be the charm.

Weighing in on the O’Reilly’s war on DailyKos the rude pundit linked to a post at freeperville (The Free Republic ), a few comments that were posted,

6 posted on 07/22/2007 2:01:24 PM PDT by soccermom
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To: driftless2

“You will find out that these people are foul-mouthed haters.”

That’s putting it diplomatically. In fact, they are agents of treason. (emphasis mine)

10 posted on 07/22/2007 2:10:00 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: AKSurprise
essentially, that the entire Democratic Party is a ‘hate’ party.

Pretty much sums it up quite nicely.

[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]
To: driftless2

Lotta’ Jew-baiters on Kos(omol)…

Ex-CIA officer Slams US Allegations against Iran as Sham

Giraldi refuted the assumption that sharing hostilities towards the US, placed Iran and AlQaeda in the same camp and sharing similar agenda, arguing that Iran followed a very different agenda in its dealings with the US. He emphasised both the fact of Iranians’ helpfulness in Iraq, in terms of pushing for greater stability, and also their help and cooperation in Afghanistan, as well as the reality of the deep hostilities between Shiia Iran and Sunni extremism of AlQaeda. Giraldi recalled the major attack against the Iranian consulate general in Afghanistan by the Taliban, a close ally of AlQaeda, in which 11 Iranian diplomats were killed, and the regular AlQaeda violent attacks against Shiia population in Iraq, and concluded that a Shiia Iranian-AlQaeda alliance was not a plausible possibility.

[ ]…Highlighting what he called American “ultimate hypocrisy”, Giraldi explained how the US government is supporting terrorist groups and ethnic division in Iran and charging the Iranians in Iraq for what the US was doing in Iran itself and with a lot more evidence. Giraldi talked of US’s support for Jundollah which he described as a Sunni Baluchi separatist group in eastern Iran that has launched deadly terrorist attacks inside Iran. He also spoke of US support for separatists amongst the Arab minority which is closer to the border with Iraq.

I don’t know much about this site, but what this agent says is closer to reality then the lies and distortions posted daily on right-wing web sites. General Wesly Clark corroborates this to some point when he says that Iran has been in the neocons cross hairs since day one, only they thought that Iraq could be done quick and cheap,

AMY GOODMAN: Do you see a replay in what happened in the lead-up to the war with Iraq — the allegations of the weapons of mass destruction, the media leaping onto the bandwagon?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, in a way. But, you know, history doesn’t repeat itself exactly twice. What I did warn about when I testified in front of Congress in 2002, I said if you want to worry about a state, it shouldn’t be Iraq, it should be Iran. But this government, our administration, wanted to worry about Iraq, not Iran.

I knew why, because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”

So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”

Gangs Spreading In The Military

Evidence of gang culture and gang activity in the military is increasing so much an FBI report calls it “a threat to law enforcement and national security.” The signs are chilling: Marines in gang attire on Parris Island; paratroopers flashing gang hand signs at a nightclub near Ft. Bragg; infantrymen showing-off gang tattoos at Ft. Hood.

“It’s obvious that many of these people do not give up their gang affiliations,” said Hunter Glass, a retired police detective in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the home of Ft. Bragg and the 82nd Airborne. He monitors gang activity at the base and across the military.

“If we weren’t in the middle of fighting a war, yes, I think the military would have a lot more control over this issue,” Glass said. “But with a war going on, I think it’s very difficult to do.”

Gang activity clues are appearing in Iraq and Afghanistan, too. Gang graffiti is sprayed on blast walls – even on Humvees. Kilroy – the doodle made famous by U.S. soldiers in World War II – is here, but so is the star emblem of the Gangster Disciples.

The soldier who took photos if the graffiti told CBS News that he’s been warned he’s as good as dead if he ever returns to Iraq.

If we try to think and spin like the Right this story would make the entire FBI and the Army’s Office of the Provost Marshal anti-military. Gangs have been in the military, even before Bush, but not to this degree. When the Pentagon had to lower enlistment standards because our brilliant Commander Guy His Royal Majesty Bush was short on soldiers this was bound to happen. Now America gets gang members trained with our tax dollars in the use of military weapons and tactics back on the street in a few years. The ineptitude never ends.

Stanley Motss: I’m in show business, why come to me?
Conrad ‘Connie’ Brean: War is show business, that’s why we’re here.

Wag the Dog (1997)

Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often

US accuses Saudis of telling lies about Iraq

The extent of the deterioration in US-Saudi relations was exposed for the first time yesterday when Washington accused Riyadh of working to undermine the Iraqi government.

The Bush administration warned Saudi Arabia, until this year one of its closest allies, to stop undermining the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and the defence secretary, Robert Gates, are scheduled to visit Jeddah next week.

Reflecting the deteriorating relationship, the US made public claims that the Saudis have been distributing fake documents lying about Mr Maliki.

The Bush administration, as well as the British government, is telling the Saudis, so far without success, that establishing a stable government in Iraq is in their interest and that they stand to suffer if it collapses.

Relations have been strained since King Abdullah unexpectedly criticised the US, describing the Iraq invasion as “an illegal foreign occupation”.

That was the first sign of a rift between the two, who have enjoyed a solid relationship for decades, based on Saudi’s vast oil reserves.

Fake documents? I wonder where the Saudis got that idea – 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. 

Yet relations between Bandar Bush and the Saudis can’t be that bad, US set to offer arms deal to Saudis
Plan could have foes in Congress 

The Bush administration is preparing to ask Congress to approve an arms sale package for Saudi Arabia and its neighbors that is expected to total $20 billion over the next decade at a time when some US officials contend the Saudis are playing a counterproductive role in Iraq.

Thought for Food 

But the politics of the arms deal is complicated, to say the least, by the assistance Saudi Arabia is giving to anti-American Sunni groups in Iraq—the subject of a (probably not coincidentally timed) front-page story in yesterday’s NYT.

Yet just months ago we found out that Bush has been playing the same game he accuses the Saudis of playing, Unintended consequence: U.S. funding radical Islam 

To keep the Iranians and other radical Shia groups in check, the Bush administration funneled billions of dollars, as well as clandestine support, to the Siniora government in Lebanon to bolster Sunni interests, according to a lengthy investigative report by Pulitzer prize-winner Seymour Hersh in the current issue of The New Yorker. In turn, the Siniora government distributed some of that aid to Sunni radical groups in northern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley and around Palestinian refugee camps in the south. Those groups have ideological ties with al-Qaida.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a radical Sunni branch that is an avowed enemy of the U.S. and Israel, also benefited from U.S. support, according the report.

Because this all sounds like some crazy Joseph Heller novel might as well end with some irony. Irony used to mean something now irony is the rule of the day, Graphic on Limbaugh’s website identified bin Laden as a Democrat

A graphic on the front page of radio host Rush Limbaugh’s website depicted a screen shot of C-SPAN’s Washington Journal doctored to show Osama bin Laden appearing as a guest identified as “Mr. Osama bin Laden, D-Afghanistan.”

Since Bush – The Commander Guy is aiding groups that have aligned themselves with Bin Ladens brand of Islamic radicalism wouldn’t it have be more accurate for Limbaugh to portray OBL as a Republican. While I’m not into the OBL tin foil theories the fact that after six years Bin laden is still running around Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Bush is trying to play off so many people against each other regardless of how it creates more terrorists and more violence it does have the appearance that Bush and by proxy his small band of supporters are actually enjoying all this and are exacerbating the threat.

“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.” – Mark Twain

Old Clocks wallpaper

Old Clocks wallpaper 1280×1024. Old clock faces actually.

Outsourcing Intelligence

Over the past six years, a quiet revolution has occurred in the intelligence community toward wide-scale outsourcing to corporations and away from the long-established practice of keeping operations in US government hands, with only select outsourcing of certain jobs to independently contracted experts. Key functions of intelligence agencies are now run by private corporations. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) revealed in May that 70 percent of the intelligence budget goes to contractors.

For all practical purposes, effective control of the NSA is with private corporations, which run its support and management functions. As the Washington Post’s Walter Pincus reported last year, more than 70 percent of the staff of the Pentagon’s newest intelligence unit, CIFA (Counterintelligence Field Activity), is made up of corporate contractors. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) lawyers revealed at a conference in May that contractors make up 51 percent of the staff in DIA offices. At the CIA, the situation is similar. Between 50 and 60 percent of the workforce of the CIA’s most important directorate, the National Clandestine Service (NCS), responsible for the gathering of human intelligence, is composed of employees of for-profit corporations.

For years we’ve been told that as much of government should be privatized as possible. Repeated like a mantra. The benefits were dubious from the start it was and still is like the chant of an unruly crowd without rhyme or reason. There was the claim that it would save tax payers money – that has proved to be ridiculous. Corporations are not charities they operate to make profits for themselves and share holders; in this case profits paid by mostly middle-class wage earners. The other supposed benefit is efficiency. That fails to be the case when corporate interests will interfere with making an intelligence analysis as unbiased as possible.

Conservatives continue to be haunted by credibility and moral relativity problems

When it comes to controversies that center around the military the Right has an abysmal track record. The right-wing blogs and pundits have, depending on the day’s agenda put the military on a pestal of unquestionable perfection or unapologetically dragged them through the mud. So far they have collectively left the entire Rightie blog punditries credibility in tatters. If the net worked like TV their ratings would have tanked and their blogs canceled.

One partial success, the Killian documents (more here).

The documents were reported to showed that George W. Bush disobeyed orders while in the TANG. While we may never know if the documents were fake or not the Right managed to throw up enough dirt that the major media outlets have all but given up trying to find out. Still there are facts not in question as to this day Bush has never produced proof of completing his service. Then there is the simple fact that Bush used ducking into the Guard as a way to avoid service in Vietnam.

We can all thank the Right for making Swiftboating a part of political and popular culture. Swiftboating began with Senator and Vietnam war hero John Kerry(D) . Swiftboating is an all out attack the Right uses when they cannot win on the facts or on the merit of their ideas. Marine veteran, war hero and Congressman John Murtha (D) got the Swiftboat treatment when he had the temerity in a democracy to disagree with George W. Bush about the conduct of the invasion of Iraq. The Right couldn’t say that they disagreed with Congressman Murtha and state their reasons why, nor did they slowly work up to vicious personal smears. Immediately from November 2005 when Murtha’s sentiments became known he became the target of a right-wing hate-fest. This kind of behavior from a political party that swears almost daily fedeilty to the military and likes to claim they are the party of new ideas is at the least hypocritical.

More recently The Rightie blogs claimed nothing illegal or immoral happened at Haditha. The incident was investigated and it was found that unarmed women and children were killed – Marine recounts Haditha killings . There were and are some questions to be answered about this incident, but the Right was all too willing to let it go without an investigation – found innocent by pack mentality. While said not under oath and thus not admissible as evidence Lance Corp. Stephen B. Tatum said, ‘ told investigators that he shot the victims because “women and children can hurt you, too.” ‘ Then there was the blanket assertion that Jamal Hussein a witness to the killing of six Iraqis outside of a mosque didn’t exist. Yes war is messy, but even in war there are rules. So far over 200 of violent crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan have been the cause of official charges,

There is no denying that some American troops have committed violent crimes against Iraqi civilians during more than four years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military prosecutors have won convictions against soldiers and marines in more than 200 cases of violent crimes, including murder, rape and assault, military records show. One the most heinous episodes occurred last year, when a group of soldiers from Company B of the First Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division raped a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killed her and her family, Army prosecutors said.

We’ve all watched enough TV to know that most police forces have an Internal Affairs division which investigates wrong doing by police officers. Yes police and soldiers are under tremendous stress at times and split second decisions are made, but we have this kind of oversight for our police and our military because while most do their jobs honorably some do not. The argument that simply being in a war justifies even the most abhorrent behavior is dangerous. Killing unarmed women and children is not acceptable behavior. Raping children cannot be justified by wrapping it in the flag. Behavior such as that has nothing what so ever to do with defending America or patriotism or support for the troops.
All a rather long winded way of getting to the Right’s latest crusade against Scott Beauchamp and The New Republic. Beauchamp has not been accommodating to the Right’s sugar frosted version of events in Iraq so like many other soldiers and Marines ( Wes Clarke, John Murtha, John Kerry, etc) that don’t tow the ideological line he has been singled out for a thorough trashing by the self appointed keyboard warriors, Scott Thomas Revealed

Jonah Goldberg is attacking Beauchamp while Mark Steyn argues that Jonah isn’t attacking him viciously enough.

That’s just crazy. All these people need to stop. They need to take a deep breath. They need to apologize to the people at TNR who’ve wasted huge amounts of time dealing with their nonsense. And they need to think a bit about the epistemic situation they’re creating where information about Iraq that they don’t want to hear — even when published in a pro-war publication — can just be immediately dismissed as fraudulent even though the misconduct it described was far, far less severe than all sorts of other well-document misconduct in Iraq.

Related to this Digby notes, Private Peter Pan

But the story has become something of an obsession in the rightwing blogosphere evidently. (Sadly No has a nice run-down of how it developed.) After a tremendous amount of wingnut pressure on TNR to prove they hadn’t been duped by an imposter, now that they know he does in fact exist, they are working their way into a complete frenzy going after this soldier as if he were al Qaeda and acting as though the hawkish New Republic has just endorsed Cindy Sheehan for president. It’s like watching a bunch of piranhas attack some kids who accidentally fell into the water.

This soldier certainly had no idea what he was dealing with, and I suspect TNR didn’t either. (Up until now, the right has been sympathetic with their editorial line on the war, after all. For all the disdain for the blogofascists of the left, this is undoubtedly the first time TNR’s felt the full force of the wingnutosphere, which makes our little ideological disagreements look like kisses on the cheek. )

The cognitive dissonance of the Right continues to amaze. They have two simultaneous though opposing points of view of the military’s behavior in Iraq. One is that anything they do, even the most egregious war crimes are perfectly alright given the circumstances. This is in direct opposition to their outrage that a pro Iraq war soldier has committed the kinds of atrocities that they claim are justified. The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness

Their stories, recorded and typed into thousands of pages of transcripts, reveal disturbing patterns of behavior by American troops in Iraq. Dozens of those interviewed witnessed Iraqi civilians, including children, dying from American firepower. Some participated in such killings; others treated or investigated civilian casualties after the fact. Many also heard such stories, in detail, from members of their unit. The soldiers, sailors and marines emphasized that not all troops took part in indiscriminate killings. Many said that these acts were perpetrated by a minority. But they nevertheless described such acts as common and said they often go unreported–and almost always go unpunished.

We’re back to the bad apples scenario. The bad apples wouldn’t have a chance to be bad if Bush and the neocons would get the troops out of the hell they manipulated them into. The Right not infrequently accuses moderate Americans of being unable to face life’s hard choices, life’s harsh realities. It looks like once again it is the Right that cannot or will not face the hard truths.

The Right will be moving on soon they have another rubber doll to inflate, White House runs conference call on executive privilege for right-wing bloggers

At the urging of top conservative bloggers, the White House set up a Friday morning conference call to promote its message on the subject of executive privilege, RAW STORY has found.

“The White House hosted a blogger conference call to discuss the issues surrounding the Bush administration’s use of executive privilege in the probe of the firings of eight federal prosecutors,” wrote Ed Morrissey, who produces the blog Captains Quarters. “The White House arranged the call based on a recommendation by this blog, in order to familiarize the blogosphere with the legal and political arguments on which the administration will rely to prevail in the upcoming fight regarding the contempt citations Congress seems likely to approve.”

The White House did not immediately respond to queries about the conference call from RAW STORY.

Morrisey did not name any other participants in the call or identify the administration official who spoke to the assembled bloggers.

Was Pat Tillman murdered?

But, according to the AP, medical examiners questioned the close proximity of three bullet holes in Tillman’s forehead, fired from ten yards away. There are questions — which will be difficult to hear, considering Tillman’s heroism — that Tillman was not well-liked within his unit. Other elements of the circumstances surrounding Tillman’s death appear difficult to reconcile with the friendly-fire ruling — which came after the Army announced that Tillman died in combat:

Always tell the truth – it’s the easiest thing to remember

To give Bush’s long time friend and appointee Alberto Gonzales the boot is the right thing to do for the good of the Department of Justice and the country. No one but the Kool Kidz thinks otherwise. On the other hand that Alberto continues to act like a petulant nine year old that has been caught throwing a baseball threw the window and then lying about it or refusing to answer questions regarding his wrong doing is helping Democrats. If you watched Attorney General Gonzales’ testimony it was the adults otherwise known as Democrats who were trying to convince of all people the nation’s sheriff to respect the rule of law and the sheriff saying in so many words that he doesn’t feel compelled to respect the law or the American people. Sure Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) made a lot of noise to suggest that he wasn’t happy with Albert and to send out the now patented Specter I’m a moderate signal to voters back home, but where is Specter where it comes to down to actually finding Gonzales in contempt of Congress for by all appearances committing perjury. Arlen is as usual missing in action. The only members of Congress that have actually started to do something are those partisan gun slingers, Democrats – Senators Schumer, Feinstein, and Feingold,

Among examples of what Democrats called Gonzales’ untruthfulness was his insistence in his statement to the Judiciary Committee Tuesday that his hospital visit with Ashcroft was not related to an internal administration dispute about the president’s secret warrantless eavesdropping program.

Last year, Gonzales told the panel that there had been no internal administration dispute about the program, but former Deputy Attorney General James Comey told the panel that he, Ashcroft and Mueller were among the top Justice Department officials who believed the program was illegal and were prepared to resign over it.

In his own sworn testimony Thursday, Mueller contradicted Gonzales, saying under questioning that the terrorist surveillance program, or TSP, was the topic of the hospital room dispute between top Bush administration officials.

Whitehouse spokesman Tony Snow said it was unfair to try and make poor little Alberto testify about secret programs ( he failed to mention their probable illegal status), but poor Tony failed to explain what every eight year old in the country understands. Alberto testified about those so-called secret programs twice. He lied the first time or is at least guilty of hiding behind some highly parsed language, then he lied this time. If this plays out as purely a credibility war then Mueller wins. For anyone to call Democrats partisan gunslingers at this point is like Al Capone complaining about the lack of law and order. Sure Bush’s base is reassured in the hollowed halls of their echo chamber, but most Americans aren’t buying it. The 2008 election cycle might well be about the credibility stupid. As usual the gears of the fringe Right propaganda are spinning furiously only that tactic is wearing as thin as poor house oatmeal – if you care about the Justice Department being run like a Justice Department instead of an operational arm of the Republican National Committee then you’re a wild eyed partisan. We’re all wild eyed partisans now – (Bush aides say unpopularity is liberating In a Washington Post-ABC News poll released this week, 65 percent of respondents across the country said they were dissatisfied with Bush’s job performance. Despite the emotional histrionics of the O’Reilly’s, the Wall Street Journal and Fred Barnes ( who must find it uncomfortable to have Bill Kristol’s hand up his back pulling the strings “Fred Barnes Argues Bush Will Go Down as Best President Since Lincoln” the public trusts Democratcs more on the issues,

When it comes to National Security, Democrats are now trusted more by 42% of likely voters, Republicans by 40%. This means that Democrats now enjoy at least a nominal edge on all ten issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports to gauge voters’ trust of the two major parties.

In late June Democrats had the edge on nine of ten issues. At that time, the GOP had a single point advantage of the National Security issue.

Republicans had enjoyed an historic advantage on National Security for several decades but are burdened by the unpopular War in Iraq. Last year’s Dubai Ports debacle also hurt perceptions of the GOP on national security.

The Democrats have also gained a little ground this month when it comes to the War in Iraq. Harry Reid’s party moved from a ten-point advantage in late June to a twelve-point lead of 47% to 35% in the new survey.

Chairman Conyers Requests Director Mueller’s Notes on Ashcroft Hospital Visit

Following today’s Judiciary Committee hearing with FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers is formally requesting notes Mueller testified he wrote after the now-infamous 2004 meeting in former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s hopsital room about the NSA wiretapping program. Mueller testified that he is still in possession of the notes that he took because he felt, at the time, the events were, “out of the ordinary.” He also testified that he had not shared the notes with anybody except for his counsel and perhaps close staff.

Ever since the infamous Gingrich conservative revolution Republican politicians and their well trained pundits have put an extraordinary amount of faith in the Big Lie. They lie about everything from the small and petty all the way to pushing the edge and beyond of Constitutional boundaries and traditional American values. Turns out the Big Lie has a fatal flaw. Judging by the poll numbers that statistically must include some Republicans, people have picked up on a few of those lies. That consciousness, that hard to ignore light going off becomes the crack in the facade. People that are not particularly political start to ask, if they lied about the U.S. Attorneys and vote caging, what else have they lied about. America has a bad case of buyers regret and they can’t pretend to look the other way anymore despite all the usual arm waving histrionics of the usual right-wing suspects.

“Always tell the truth – it’s the easiest thing to remember.” – David Mamet

Isn’t it sad, beleaguered, and familiar?

Reid: President’s Flawed Iraq Strategy Distracts Us From Effectively Fighting An Emboldened Al Qaeda

“Despite what the President would like us to believe, it has been established that Al Qaeda had no active cells in Iraq when we invaded, and we have long known that we were not attacked from Iraq on 9/11. Saying otherwise does not make it so. The Administration’s own National Intelligence Estimate reported last week that the war is Al Qaeda’s most effective tool for recruiting terrorists and raising money. Meanwhile, Al Qaeda is growing stronger and Osama bin Laden operates freely along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border nearly six years after the Sept. 11 attacks. (emphasis mine)

Senator Reid demonstrates how to get on the right-wing hit list. Just speak the truth. The truth is the Right’s biggest enemy and the reason we have the r-w noise machine – Fox News, The Washington Times, the AM radio shock jocks, the conservative newspaper columnists and the beltway mentality typified by Matthews and Russert. The hope is they throw up enough dirt that people can’t see the truth – GOP picks a villain: Harry Reid

Senate Republicans are preparing to take aim at Majority Leader Harry Reid over the August recess for being “all talk but no action” and helping drag the Democrat-led Congress’ approval rating to a historic low, according to a document distributed to caucus members.

Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, is meeting with members yesterday and today to disseminate a message critical of Democrats for endlessly debating the Iraq war, stalling judicial nominations and squandering time on at least 300 investigations of the Bush administration.

“We really ought to be asking why this Democrat leadership won’t allow Congress to move forward on serious policy debates,” Mr. Kyl said, when asked about the talking-points memorandum he is circulating.

As The Carpetbagger points out it is Kyl and his hypocritical brethren in the Senate, aided and a bedded by the media that are obstructing any progress. Want more sunshine and less unnecessary autocratic secrecy in government, Kyl was there to stop reform of the Freedom of Information Act. Most Americans think the president should adhere to laws passed by Congress including FISA laws in regards to domestic surveillance, Kyl was there to obstruct the vote on issuing subpoenas – in other words he did his best to obstruct justice. It is Kyl among most other Republicans that are blocking legislation from even coming to a vote. What are Republicans afraid of – apparently the will of the American people, GOP Gets Desperate, Hits Harry Reid Over Debating Iraq. If this was just politics as usual one could almost be thankful for Republicans engaging in such blatant dishonesty, but their maniacal intent on continued failure in Iraq is costing lives everyday. Senators like Kyl will likely pay in the 2008 election cycle, but in the perverse world of the Right they see themselves as martyrs for the cause. The righty spin masters might have turned up the volume too soon, a bit of premature false outrage. The public has plenty of time to sort out the facts and since the NASCAR dads and soccer moms have been lied to so often in the last six years about everything from WMD to falling skies a few might just be checking the actual records of the dead enders like Kyl and look at the Democratic record,

Democratic Accomplishments in the 110th Congress: Leading America in a New Direction
Less than six months into the 110th Congress, Senate Democrats have made significant strides in passing important, common-sense legislation that reflect the priorities of the American people. After nearly a decade of Republican control, Democrats have worked to restore fiscal responsibility in Washington and pass key legislation on Iraq policy, homeland security, troop readiness, veterans’ health care, economic competitiveness, ethics reform, the minimum wage, health care, education, energy independence, stem cell research, and Gulf Coast revitalization.

Sure they could do better, but Democrats have to deal with Bush’s sudden discovery of the veto and Republicans who will not let important legislation even come up for a vote. This was the same party that when they were the majority threatened the “nuclear” option on the filibuster. How quickly the worm turns.

Most Americans are outraged at the spectacle of a man we have as Attorney General. Part of me finds Alberto Gonzales morally repugnant, yet part of me is fascinated by the spectacle. Gonzales as the flashing neon light of Bush administration corruption, This Guy’s Still Here?

“Good,” Gonzales says, which he must immediately regret, because it’s a trap. After some whispering from the row of aides sitting behind him, Gonzales says that he “did misspeak” at the June press conference, “but I went back and clarified it with a reporter.” Which reporter? More whispering. “Dan Eggen, at the Washington Post, two days later.” Schumer presses. Gonzales repeats, “I clarified my statement to the reporter.” Then, after more questions and more whispering, “I didn’t speak directly to the reporter.” There’s an intake of breath around the room, and it’s not just from the women wearing pink whose hats and banner and mouth tape read “Fire Gonzales.”

“What did your spokespeople say to him?” Schumer asks.

“I don’t know,” Gonzales answers.

This is either a petty hunt or precisely what is wrong with Gonzales as attorney general. He says one thing, then he says another; he tries again, then runs over himself. “If you want to be attorney general, you should be able to clarify yourself,” Schumer scolds him.

What is bothering me and many Americans is the lack of shame and the lack of effort to tell a plausible lie. By his actions Gonzales is saying in so many ways that his boss has assured him as is this administration’s custom that it will stand by its inept cronies no matter how corrupt. In this case it makes sense because Alberto just did what Bush/Rove told him to do.

“Isn’t it sad, beleaguered, and familiar?” – Emily Bazelon

“Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don’t have film.”

Summer Reading: Blogging “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch”

On July 15 I will begin blogging my favorite PKD novel, ‘The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.’ Scene by scene, chapter by chapter, I’ll be analyzing the action, looking for common PKD themes and connections to other works, enjoying the new notes on the novel prepared by Jonathan Lethem for the Library of America release, and exploring scholarly work done on the novel (see the list of links below). Please join me and all the other Dick-Head regulars as we explore one of Philip K Dick’s greatest and weirdest novels.

Gumm has already started, but if you want to play catch-up the first chapter analysis starts here. Historical literary references are pervasive in 3 Stigmata so thankfully the analysis includes Cliff Notes type background. Equipped with all this esoteric knowledge you’ll be informed to the point of being obnoxious.

Mitt Romney gives America another reason to just say no to drugs. If this is Mitt not on drugs, who knows what he would be like after taking a bong hit, Mitt Romney, the king of France, calls Hillary a Marxist

He mocks Hillary’s goal of a “we’re all in it together society” thusly: “I see, out with Adam Smith, in with Karl Marx.” And he calls the Democrats’ agenda “the very policies that led Europe to their decline.”

He apparently means the policies that took the Euro from $1.07 the day of Bush’s inauguration to its lowly $1.38 today. Take that, Pierre!

It’s true that we all like to think we’re a nation of rugged individualists. There is some truth in that particular myth except for Republican politicians whom are manufactured in a secret cookie cutter factory. Only the portions and degrees of weirdness vary.

Resounding vindication for Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) – Poll Finds Democrats Favored On War

Even among those Americans who said they had served or had a close friend or relative who served in Iraq, 38 percent approve of Bush’s handling of the conflict.

If anything Democrats are not pushing hard enough contrary to the Republican whining about obstructionism,

Overall approval of Congress stands at 37 percent in the new poll, with the 60 percent disapproval rating equal to public dissatisfaction with the Republican-controlled Congress late last year. Congress’s approval rating has declined over the past three months because self-identified Democrats have soured in their assessment.

Just stop funding the damn thing. Bush plays hardball so its difficult to understand with such overwhelming public sentiment against the way Bush is handling Iraq that Democrats don’t exploit that. A large part of Bush’s game is a bluff. Bush, Cheney and a weak spined Republican Congress propped up a failed strategy for longer then it took FDR to win a World War. Only the dissonant dead enders are still making silly arguments about turning another corner.

Bush aides face contempt vote Wednesday

The administration showed no signs of budging from its position that the president’s current and former advisers are immune from congressional subpoenas and that any White House documents related to the dismissals are protected by executive privilege.

In other words, any evidence that might prove Bush’s wrong doing is covered by “executive privledge”. How convenient. The joke of the day,

In his prepared opening statement, Gonzales reminded senators that the Justice Department has launched an internal investigation — one beyond his control — into the accusations. The results are not expected for months.

Alberto plans to take his comic routine on the road in about eighteen months.

Right-wing blogger Ann Althouse has a problem understanding English, context, emphasis and doesn’t know racism when she sees it, From a Whisper to a Scream. Only in Althouse’s unhinged grasp of reality does anyone owe her an apology, Wingnut Bloggers Rush To Dismiss Rudy’s Racially-Charged “Bulls#$t” Moment

Mr. Giuliani took a fateful step that would for years prompt questions about his racial sensitivities. In September 1992, he spoke to a rally of police officers protesting Mr. Dinkins’s proposal for a civilian board to review police misconduct. It was a rowdy, often threatening, crowd. Hundreds of white off-duty officers drank heavily, and a few waved signs like “Dump the Washroom Attendant,” a reference to Mr. Dinkins. A block away from City Hall, Mr. Giuliani gave a fiery address, twice calling Mr. Dinkins’s proposal “bullshit.” The crowd cheered. Mr. Giuliani was jubilant…

The Giuliani campaign later conducted a “vulnerability study” to identify their candidate’s weaknesses in 1993. This study, obtained by Wayne Barrett, author of “Rudy!” — an investigative biography — offers an unsparing critique: “Giuliani’s shrieking performance at the cop rally may be his greatest political liability this year. Giuliani has yet to admonish those who attacked the mayor with racist code words on signs and banners. Why not?”

Note to wingnuts: This moment actually had great resonance for African Americans in New York for many, many years. It was a key chapter in the history of both race relations in the city and of Rudy’s own rise to power.

As is usually the case the wingnuttery was in such a hurry they mustered up another reactionary rather then reasoned response. They continue to live down to well deserved reputations.

“Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don’t have film.” – Anonymous

Do not separate text from historical background

Under the Radar: Ten Warning Signs for Today

1. Protest war, lose your property?

On July 17th, The White House quietly announced an Executive Order entitled “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq.” Among other developments, it gives Bush the power to “block” the property of people in the US found to “pose a significant risk of committing” an act of violence which might undermine “political reform in Iraq.”

The terms “significant threat” and “act of violence” are unclear. If you attend a demonstration against Bush’s definition of “political reform in Iraq” would that count? How about writing an angry letter to the editor?

The vague language also includes outlawing “the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.” What if you donate to an anti-war group which, outside of your knowledge, has been blacklisted by the government? Does that mean that your property can be “blocked”?

Similar to the Patriot Act, the potential implications are staggering.


6. Cutting off Iraq’s water supply

For years, the Turkish government has tried to get international funding to build a dam across the Tigris River. The potential impact on villagers and the environment has stalled the project, and both Iraq and Syria have expressed concern that the proposed Ilisu dam could give Turkey power over their water supply.

European entities considering funding the project have received strong public pressure to back out, and if they do, China appears only too happy to step in and help build the dam.

Meanwhile, an estimated 250,000 Turkish troops are amassed near Northern Iraq and just this week, the Prime Minister of Turkey threatened to invade the country.

Long story short, Turkey and China are increasingly likely to assume a major role in both Iraq and Syria. Doesn’t bode well for the Bush’s administration’s plans.

The idea that Bush can make laws ( Bush, like Cheney must think he is also part of the legislative branch ) is no big surprise. Bush and his remaining supporters are making satire a bit difficult. As the Decider he decides what laws he will obey, which pretty much means none and then uses iron gloved “executive orders” to rule. If the jihaidists hated us for our freedoms they need to find another reason. That Congress can’t or will not find a way to reign this unhinged presidency accounts for why their approval rating is so low. Add China to the list of beneficiaries along with Iran of Bush’s policies. If a Democrat had handed over so much power and influence to communists and Shia fundies millions of Republicans would be having seizures about now, but since its Republican they just rewire their cognitive disbelief and tell themselves whatever lies it takes to sleep at night. One could almost envy their power of denial. Just What the Founders Feared: An Imperial President Goes to War

Given how intent the president is on expanding his authority, it is startling to recall how the Constitution’s framers viewed presidential power. They were revolutionaries who detested kings, and their great concern when they established the United States was that they not accidentally create a kingdom. To guard against it, they sharply limited presidential authority, which Edmund Randolph, a Constitutional Convention delegate and the first attorney general, called “the foetus of monarchy.”

The founders were particularly wary of giving the president power over war. They were haunted by Europe’s history of conflicts started by self-aggrandizing kings. John Jay, the first chief justice of the United States, noted in Federalist No. 4 that “absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for the purposes and objects merely personal.”

There is something personal and obsessive about Bush’s view of Iraq. As September approaches we’re getting louder echoes of 2004, Iraq is the front in the terror war. Then again it is a Republican obsession too. They used the war to hide their power grabs at every level of federal government and as a litmus test for patriotism. The least of what patriotism is, is the support for a president that manipulates the country into an unnecessary and counterproductive war. Like many catch phrases such as “values” conservatives have used “patriotism” the way Madison Ave uses where’s the beef to sell fast food. In doing so they have cheapened the honor of fidelity to country all the while as they wear little flags as though they were fashion accessories.

The founders would have been astonished by President Bush’s assertion that Congress should simply write him blank checks for war. They gave Congress the power of the purse so it would have leverage to force the president to execute their laws properly.

When I first read Mark Kleiman’s suggestion that Congress just stop funding various departments of the government I had a yea sure reaction, but Mark might be on to something even as much as Bush and Cheney should be impeached and put in stocks on the Whitehouse lawn, Gaming out the confrontation

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the real action is on the appropriations side. By de-funding a bunch of units the average voter never heard of and doesn’t care about, Congress can bring the Bush Administration to its knees. And unlike the Iraq pullout measures, this doesn’t require 60 votes in the Senate.

In fact, it doesn’t even require 50 votes in the Senate: just a majority in the House and a Senate Majority Leader willing to play rough.

Bush Must Stop Blaming Military Leaders for Failed Strategy

And during 2005 and 2006, as the violence in Iraq and American casualties increased, the President said that General Casey the Commander in Iraq had not asked for more troops. Of course, Bush never mentioned the fact that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld made it clear to the Generals that they would not get more troops. And that Rumsfeld and his top lieutenants had publicly criticized General Shinseki, the Army Chief of Staff for having the temerity to testify before Congress that several hundred thousand troops would be necessary to stabilize Iraq after the regime change.

The President’s use of the military as part of the domestic debate did not stop there. The combatant Commanders on the ground and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been continually “offered” to the Sunday morning talk shows to buttress the administration’s case for staying the course in Iraq. Moreover, when Congressional Republicans blamed General Casey for the problems in Iraq, Bush was silent.

However, the most flagrant use of the military to influence the domestic political debate has been with General David H. Petraeus. When Petraeus was in charge of training Iraqi security forces he was permitted or encouraged to write an op-ed in the Washington Post on September 26, 2004 that spoke glowingly about the progress that Iraqi Security forces were making under his tutelage. Not only was this not true, but coming a bare six weeks before the presidential election, the Petraeus op-ed assured an increasingly anxious public that the Bush strategy in Iraq was succeeding and helped the President secure reelection.

There are so many negative qualities of this administration that it is difficult to single one out, but ideological purity trumping both competence and factual analysis has brought about many of the administrations failures. Iraq is the most glaring example, but it played a large role in the vote caging scandal at the Department of Justice. Isn’t it odd that Bush has stood by Alberto Gonzales, but not his generals. How paradoxical for those right-wing conservatives that day in and day out tries to sell themselves as the militaries best friend.

“Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.”
James Madison