But when the day’s hustle and bustle is done,Then the Gumbie Cat’s work is but hardly begun

 man_with_the_cat.jpg

The foundations of democracy have been rocked at their roots. Senator Hillary Clinton’s cat ( actually is was Chelsea’s cat) was given away to a good home. Republican blogger Ann Althouse asks why Hillary can’t be more like Ellen Degeneres. This is very very important because to the House of Republican Flatulence finding an appropriate home for a cat that didn’t get along with your dog who belonged to a family member that was growing up and off to college proves that Senator Clinton is “pure evil”. Not 20% nor 50% evil, but pure evil. That’s our top story. Our most important story of the day. Trudge through the rest of the post if you like, but guaranteed it will pale in comparison to the Clinton Cat Scandal.

Day in and day out over the last six years we’ve gotten the daily crystal ball reading from Bush supporters. It has flowed like a flood through a broken damn. Radio, TV, newspapers and the internet. Remember they told us that Iraq would be a cakewalk , tax cuts aimed primarily at the wealthiest Americans would create jobs, and they’re compassionate too – note their sudden concern for cats, but not children. Today being like every other day in which the rabid Right dominates every form of media except possibly the net we’ll have another day of just let the Decider Guy do what he wants or civilization as we know it will go straight down the crapper. Robert Dreyfuss in Post-U.S. Scenarios: The Bad, the Worse, and the Ugly lays out four scenarios,

4. Let’s Make a Deal
The corrupt politicians who rode into Iraq on American helicopters—from Washington creatures such as Ahmed Chalabi to the Shiite clerics who spent their exile years in Iran—bail out as U.S. troops leave. (As Carter-administration national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says, “The only Iraqis who want the United States to stay are the ones who will have to leave when we leave.”) On the Sunni side, a nationalist constellation of insurgent groups, tribal forces, and the old Baath party elite works to seek a power-sharing arrangement with the Shiites; among Shiites, nationalists eclipse the separatists and Iranian hirelings and forge a compromise. The resulting government coalition is both anti-American and anti-Iranian. It ruthlessly crushes Al Qaeda in Iraq and persuades the Kurds to accept limited autonomy rather than independence.

Who’s Pushing It: Minus the anti-Americanism, a version of this scenario is the administration’s stated goal—though actual policy undermines it at every turn.

How to Make It Happen: Support the United Nations’ effort to reengage in Iraq. Get it to convene peace talks with the support of Europe, Russia, and China, all of whom have their eyes on Iraq’s oil. Stop arming various factions and begin an orderly withdrawal.

The Odds: 40 percent. If withdrawal is done right, chances for this outcome are fair, though it would still come with a great deal of bloodshed that could easily spiral into one of the grimmer scenarios.

Dreyfuss lists the partition idea as the plan with the next best chance. There is reason to think that the partition might be a good idea. Iraq is a state that was created by the British. In no way then or since has this artificial cobbling together of so many factions worked. America or Europe has been either bombing them and/or  proping up puppets like Saddam ever since.

We already knew Bush and Company lack anything remotely resembling character and honor, Valerie Plame On 60 Minutes: “The President Is Not A Man Of His Word” . No Quarter writes, Valerie Plame Wilson and the Ultimate Betrayal in which after the Whitehouse received a report that al-Queada might try to kill Cheney, Rove and Plame. The Whitehouse increased security for Cheney and Rove, but left Plame to fend for herself,

So if you have wondered why Joe and Val are a little pissed off, this might help shed some additional light on the matter. Not only did the Bush Administration out a covert intelligence officer working on the most sensitive national security issues in a time of war, but when that officer faced a direct threat to her life and her family’s safety because of that public exposure, they did not do a goddamn thing to help. I don’t know about you, but that fries my ass.

But when the day’s hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie Cat’s work is but hardly begun.

from The Old Gumbie Cat by T.S. Elliott

Conservative politics as machiavellian theatre

HT to The Sideshow, Video – Rachel Maddow joins Keith Olbermann to discuss the lies told about S-CHIP and its supporters

Maddow mentions the completely false narrative that Conservatives used to paint S-CHIP. The whole hillary-care for illegal aliens childishness. No wonder Michelle Malkin will not have an honest debate with Ezra Klein. Malkin was honest in her own perverse way, she believes this about honest discussions of the important issues facing American families, “What a perverse distraction and a laughable waste of time that would be.”

Yes its much easier for Malkin and the Right to throw stale cheetos from their basements then be have their fun house version of reality challenged. Pelosi vows another SCHIP vote after GOP sustains Bush’s veto

House and Senate Democratic leaders huddled shortly after the vote to confer on how to alter the bill to secure more Republican votes. Democratic aides said they would offer cosmetic changes, making it clearer that the bill does not allow illegal immigrants to be covered and capping the income eligibility level.

Conservative and full time jihad fighting desk jockey Robert Spencer puts the p in paranoid and the b in bull, One billion and one reasons to subscribe to Human Events

Spencer writes the magazine’s “Jihad Report” column, through which he keeps a weather eye on terrorists and their ilk. He does such a good job — an aggressive and superb job — keeping track of terrorists and their machinations and their Fifth Column in the U.S. that al Qaeda sent him an ultimatum: convert to Islam (which as everyone knows means becoming a terrorist sympathizer, at the least, hence ending his usefulness as a bulwark against the threat) or die.

One can’t help, but think if the world’s one billion Muslims decide to attack, the Right as exemplified by Mr. Spencer will be useless. It’s difficult to be a warrior when all you can lobe at the enemy is a sternly worded column in the National Enquirer of right-wing magazines. Probably another Republican suffering from anal cysts.

Since Spencer and Malkin care. You know really really care a lot about Iraq since it is the epicenter of WW IV maybe they could at least help with getting things organized. They could just treat it as another Tuesday Kool-Aid and cookies night, Head of Reconstruction Teams in Iraq Reports Little Progress Throughout Country

BAGHDAD, Oct. 18 — Attempts by American-led reconstruction teams to forge political reconciliation, foster economic growth and build an effective police force and court system in Iraq have failed to show significant progress in nearly every one of the nation’s provincial regions and in the capital, a federal oversight agency reported on Thursday.

The report, by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, comes as the United States tries to take advantage of a drop in overall violence to create a functioning government here.

The release of the report was linked to testimony on Thursday by the special inspector general, Stuart W. Bowen Jr., before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

There are bright spots in the effort to put together a functioning nation, Mr. Bowen found: economic growth in the Kurdish north; tribal reconciliation in the western desert province of Anbar; and patchy progress in the development of local governments. Beyond that, some of the provinces are showing increasing ability to create plans, write contracts and carry out construction projects to rebuild Iraq’s physical infrastructure, the report says.

A central finding of the report, Mr. Bowen said in his testimony, was that even with 32 of the teams, called provincial reconstruction teams, or P.R.T.’s, now deployed around the country at a cost of $1.9 billion as of August, the program still has not developed concrete methods to measure the effects of the teams on progress in the country.

Kurds are doing OK in an area controlled by? Kurds. Anbar Sunnis are doing well? In a Sunni dominated area.

Claims of secret CIA jail for terror suspects on British island to be investigated

Andrew Tyrie, Tory MP for Chichester and a campaigner against the CIA’s use of detention without trial, has also urged the committee to investigate. He said: “Time and time again the UK government has relied on US assurances on this issue, refusing to examine the truth of these allegations for themselves. It is high time our government took its head out of the sand and looked into these allegations.”

I wonder about the career CIA and diplomats that at least plan on continuing in government past 2008 when the emperor is forced to abdicate his thrown. Bush will have a cadre of lawyers to hide behind along with claims of immunity. These career civil servants will have little to hide behind if they participated or knew and did nothing.

“Another such victory and I shall be ruined”

The debate over SCHIP was partisan, but not in the way that some have portrayed it. It was the fringe Right who has always guided the post Eisenhower Republican party that was dead set against providing a minimal safety net for children. Breaking: House conservatives sustain Bush’s SCHIP veto.

Forty-four Republicans joined the Democrats in voting for the override, and two Democrats — Reps. Gene Taylor (MS) and Jim Marshall (GA) — voted “nay.”

The Right is drooling all over itself today engaging in so much ass slapping congratulations the nation has had one huge Sen. Larry Graig (R-Idaho) moment. Sadly, No! gets the sentiment right, Keep it up, GOP. Please, please, please keep acting crazy It is a Pyhrric victory in for which even those wiser 44 Republicans will pay a price next year. The Conservative bloggers and pundits have managed to sabotage themselves in a way, that well only the Kool-Kids can. Entitlement

That’s why the GOP is insisting on using the word “entitlement” even when they know that SCHIP is a capped block grant to the states and so, by definition, is not an entitlement program. But what better way to shame average citizens, survivors of Reagan’s Class War? These are people who support SCHIP because they know that our health care system is a tragedy and that it isn’t only the poor who need help surviving its costs but also the merely struggling. They can’t bring themselves to believe that those people are entitled to any help with those problems. Losers like the poor and the elderly and the sick are entitled. The American Middle Class is made up of hard working, honest Americans who, if they know anything, know this:

The American Middle Class does not deserve help from the government.

That’s the unvarnished message that the GOP obviously feels very comfortable sending to anyone who is paying attention to the SCHIP fight

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The middle-class, or a better description would be the working class. The backbone of America that are struggling to live in a global economy where their shoes are made by a 75 cents an hour worker in Bangladesh is being told by Republicans not to believe their lying eyes. You’re doing great working class America you just don’t see it. If you can find some cheap boot straps at Wal-Mart pull yourselves up by them. In other words the Right might want to celebrate extra hard now because you just guaranteed an expansion of SCHIP or something like it in 2009. The game that Republicans play with their abstract and hypocrtical concept of personal responsibility is clownish at its best. Why anyone that works for a pay check and has a family falls for it is a mystery, Beta Testing Their Product

A great many people in this country believe that the misfortunes that befall others are their own fault but if something bad happens in their own lives it’s just bad luck. Perhaps that’s human nature. But one of the purposes of the rightwing’s assault on reason is to make it impossible to make abstract arguments. And unless you are currently enmeshed in the health care system without insurance or dealing with expensive treatments, this is an abstract issue.

The general concept might not be all that mysterious. people don’t like to think about the possibility that bads things, of which they have little to no control over will happen to them. What might happen to them, their family or to their neighbors seems nebulous. Many of the same Republicans and I know some personally depend on Medicare and Social Security to help them care for elderly relatives. Yet have some kind of mental block when it comes to empathizing with others that might have similar problems, only in the case of SCHIPs its children rather then senior citizens. That Democrats are having a difficult time getting people to see the light is testament to how well the right-wing noise machine and its fabricated narrative about health-care still has an advantage in the media.

Leahy Rips Reported Compromise On FISA: Intel Committee Is ‘Caving’ To White House Pressure

This morning’s New York Times and Washington Post reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee had reached an agreement with the White House on FISA reform legislation. That agreement reportedly “would give telephone carriers legal immunity for any role they played in the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping program approved by President Bush after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.”

At this afternoon’s Judiciary Committee hearings, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) openly criticized the Intelligence Committee, calling it a “cave” to White House pressure:

I think the fact that [the administration is] bringing so much pressure on the Intelligence Committtee — and if the press is to be believed, the Intelligence Committee is about to cave on this and bring pressure on this committee to immunize past illegal conduct — is because they know that it was illegal conduct.

The conventional wisdom would be that with a Democratic majority the Bushies would slacken the pace of their corruption. Its probably a lot like smoking, the administration has gotten away with so much for so long they can’t quite. They don’t see immoral and illegal acts as wrong doing, but as an addiction they take quite a bit of pleasure from.

A graphical break from politics,

Dizzy Gillespie by Francois Marechal

Dizzy Gillespie Biography 

In 1939, he joined Cab Calloway’s big band, one of the highest-paid black bands in New York at the time. While in this group, he began to develop an interest in the fusion of jazz and Afro-Cuban music, largely because of his friendship with Mario Bauzi, who was also in Calloway’s band. During the same period, he was beginning to diverge from Eldridge’s playing style both formally, in his solos with the band such as Pickin’ the Cabbage (1940), and in an informal context with the group’s double bass player Milt Hinton. While on tour in 1940, Gillespie met Charlie Parker in Kansa City. Soon he began participating in after-hours jam session in New York with Parker, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, and others. This group of young, experimenting players gradual developed the new, more complex style of jazz that was to be called bop. Recordings, such as Kerouac (1941), made at Minton’s Playhouse, exemplify this emergent style.

Snow Melt Glacier National Park wallpaper

Snow Melt Glacier National Park

Glenn Greenwald writes The truth about telecom amnesty,

The FISA law really makes it illegal for the phone companies to give this information to the Government, and what the Government does with it afterwards isn’t really relevant to our claim.

We have evidence of an NSA-controlled room in the Folsom Street AT&T facilities in San Francisco. We have evidence that AT&T diverted copies of everyone’s Internet traffic into that room. And we know that there’s very sophisticated equipment in that room that is capable of doing real-time analysis of the Internet traffic that is getting routed into there.

For most of our legal claims, that’s enough to win, and we’re done.

As usual Glenn is ahead of the conventional belt-way wisdom and the majority of the public agrees that there should be no amnesty for the phone companies,

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of voters reject amnesty for phone companies that may have violated the law by selling customers’ private information to the government, preferring to let courts decide the outcome. Again intensity favors opponents of amnesty, with 48% “strongly” opposed. Fewer than 1-in-3 (31%) support amnesty for the phone companies, with just 1-in-5 (22%) strongly supporting amnesty.

If Democrats want to be genuinely populist they might want to start listening to the public rather then their consultants.

Remember that guy, wha’is name Osama Bin Free Now For Six Years, How Osama Bin Laden Beat George W. Bush – War of Error

Yet, even as bin Laden contemplated his own death and Al Qaeda seemed on the verge of defeat, Gary Berntsen, then commander of CIA operations in eastern Afghanistan, was worried. A gung-ho officer who speaks Dari, the local Afghan language, Berntsen realized that Afghan soldiers were likely not up to the task of taking on Al Qaeda’s hard core at Tora Bora. In the first days of December, he had requested a battalion of Rangers–that is, between 600 and 800 soldiers–to assault the complex of caves where bin Laden and his lieutenants were believed to be hiding and to block their escape routes. That request was denied by the Pentagon, for reasons that have never been fully clarified. In the end, there were probably more journalists at Tora Bora than the 50 or so Delta and Green Beret soldiers who participated in the fight.

This is why those war bloggers and Republican pundits that yammer endlessly about being serious about the war on terror elicit little but eye rolling disgust from anyone that hasn’t drunk the kool-aid. It was a choice of putting resources into getting all the sociopaths responsible for 9-11 and gearing up to find some WMD that didn’t exist and the serious crowd chose the later.

Lake wallpaper Glacier National Park

Lake – Glacier National Park

Dissent from the Front Lines

When will we listen to the troops? I’m not talking about soldiers used as props for a George Bush photo op, telling reporters what Washington wants to hear. The military is disciplined and thus accustomed, from Gen. David Petraeus on down, to toeing the official line. But the Iraq war has also produced brilliant messages of dissent from the ranks that should cause us to stop in our tracks and reconsider what we have wrought. First, a group of sergeants came forward, and on Tuesday it was the captains’ turn to speak out.

In “The War as We Saw It,” an eloquent Op-Ed article published in The New York Times in August, seven sergeants summarized the futility of their 15 months of fighting in Iraq: “To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is farfetched.” After penning that crie de cour, two of the soldiers died in Iraq and a third was severely wounded.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post printed “The Real Iraq We Knew,” by 12 former Army captains, all of whom served in Iraq. It begins: “Today marks five years since the authorization of military force in Iraq, setting Operation Iraqi Freedom in motion. Five years on, the Iraq war is as undermanned and under-resourced as it was from the start. And, five years on Iraq is in shambles. As Army captains who served in Baghdad and beyond, we’ve seen the corruption and the sectarian division. We understand what it’s like to be stretched too thin. And we know when it’s time to get out.”

These soldiers and marines that keep speaking must not have gotten that memo from Bush’s dead end supporters. Iraq is an oasis, a tea room of lunch foliage and mint juleps. American should pack up and move to Iraq as the violence is a mere piffle compared to the violent video games being played out in real life daily on America’s city streets. Wait, it is all a rouse, a farce. Surely these must be those “phony soldiers” that Anal Cyst Limbaugh, Right Wing News and The National Review warned us about.

Stupidity is something unshakable

Talk show host apologizes for faulty report of NYC mugging

“I shouldn’t have speculated based on hearsay that Randi Rhodes had been mugged and that it may have been an attack from a right wing hate machine. I apologize for jumping to conclusions based on an emotional reaction,” he said in a written statement.

Something or someone did knock Rhodes down. The story says that she needs dental work. Once he gathered himself and got more facts Air America’s Jon Elliott apologized. A momentous event in these times when Republicans have created a culture of denial. Both by word and deed the Right from Bush to Limbaugh has tried to teach America to never admit your mistakes and never ever apologize. In normal times Elliott’s apology and correction would be a non-event. An ordinary person doing the right thing. But these are not normal times. Elliott’s admission that he jumped the gun and then apologizing is a near revolutionary act. Unlike Michelle Malkin or Rush Limbaugh, Elliot didn’t dig a deeper hole for himself and start lashing out with incoherent scatter shot attacks on others. Elliot made a mistake and then acted like an adult.
We seem to be on a running narrative the last two weeks. A stark contrast has emerged between the infantile hate, lies and smear campaigns of the rabid Right against more moderate Americans that keep exposing the Right’s vicious political tactics. Those attacks are more then partisan differences they are personal with Republicans such as Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Malkin, who unlike Elliot would rather drown in their own venom then admit they have both lied to defend their position and used brutish attacks for no other reason then to advance an agenda of hate. That bastion of Conservative values and high toned right-wing rhetoric that passes for intellect on the Right, The National Review writes

While the debate around the Frost family at least initially centered around their relative wealth, the issue really at hand is one of bad behavior. […]

For Dara and Brian Wilkerson, the fact that they don’t have health insurance is less about falling through the cracks than the decisions they’ve made.

The Right with Larry Graig, Mark Foley, Jack Abramoff, Bob Ney, George Bush, Iraq, Yellowcake and the 16 words, Anal Cyst Limbaugh, Falafel O’Reilly, the Walter Reed Vets Scandal, Blackwater+Amway, The Department of Justice and vote caging, the biggest deficit in U.S. history, Scooter Libby and dozens of other humiliations thanks they have the moral authority to lecture America on responsibility and making better decisions? Maybe the National Review should rename itself the National Review of Bad Right-wing Comic skits. What Digby said,

Oh, and while you’re at it, you’d better be prepared to do whatever it takes to keep that job no matter what, especially if your kid gets sick, because if you find yourself without health insurance for any reason it will be because it was your choice. This is what Republicans call “freedom.”

In the earlier Frost family smear, this attitude was manifest with the criticisms of Mr and Mrs Frost for working “intermittently” and failing to get a “real job.” Implicit in all of this is that every parent in this country has an obligation to either work for someone who provides health insurance for their families —- or be rich. The alternatives — entrepreneurial risk taking, working for retail employers like Walmart or restaurants which fail to provide health insurance, is something that no responsible parent would do. Therefore, that sector of the economy is completely off limits to middle class families. And that is the only sector of the economy that’s actually growing.

The New Republic notes the creepiness factor by The National Review , CASE STUDY

As it happens, Bethany’s award came not as the result of being a budding Jon Benet Ramsay, but rather status as a photogenic baby was bestowed on her as part of a children’s hospital fundraiser. (The National Review’s Mark Hemingway)

The “as it happens” is priceless. After invoking images of those creepy kid beauty pageants and comparing Bethany to JonBenet, Hemingway passingly mentions that the photogenic award was actually given to her in order to raise money for a children’s hospital. But hey, why let a little detail like that get in the way of some good old fashioned character assassination?

The rest of the piece is just as bad. But what’s truly remarkable is that this article isn’t on Michelle Malkin’s site; it’s on the National Review’s. The lunatics really have taken over the asylum.

The Carpetbagger Report thinks that the Right just can’t help themselves. They’re addicted to sadistic attacks, On S-CHIP families, some conservatives can’t help themselves

Stupidity is something unshakable; nothing attacks it without breaking itself against it; it is of the nature of granite, hard and resistant. ~ Gustave Flaubert

Sentimental irony is a Conservative whining about criticism while trashing others

I don’t care one way or the other whether rabid hate monger Michelle Malkin subs on O’Reilly or not. Malkin just doesn’t get how funny and bizarre her behavior is, Bye Bye Malkin: Malkin Quits O’Reilly
Stiiiiill going, By Michelle Malkin • October 15, 2007 10:11 PM

The funniest comment by far comes from far Left zealots who couldn’t possibly believe that I would walk away from more airtime since I am, of course, such a media whore.

Two words: Stop projecting.

Continue to knock yourselves out, loons! Always glad to provide therapeutic benefits. Indeed, for many, it’s just another golden opportunity to wish out loud for my death or rape. See, for example: Digg.

Maybe you will get your wish and I will get hit by a truck someday. Until then, I’ll keep writing. You keep hatin’.

Well I kinda take that back about not caring. Malkin, like Coulter, O’Reilly, Limbaugh, and Micheal Savage among quite a few other shining stars of the Wingnuttia throw raw meat to their base to fuel their hate filled eliminationist fantasies. The level of their hatred reached fever pitch under the Bush administration and a Republican controlled Congress. Emboldened by their lock on power and the delusional belief that the majority of Americans had drunk the Kool-Aid and bought a lifetime subscription to their permanent derangement syndrome. Rather then relax or govern responsibly the fanatical Right racketed up their attacks. Attacks that have included everything from smearing a Vietnam veterans record of heroism to stalking a 12 year old to accusing anyone in a democracy that dare express dissent with their extremists views of being traitors ( it is official if you disagree with Conservatives about SCHIP you’re “un-American,” “not a citizen” and “blinded by” his “hatred of this country.” If anyone ever wondered whether there was a limit to how far the Right could sink into the gutter got their answer from the likes of Malkin. There is apparently no limit. A large enough portion of the American public woke up to the right-wing noise machine. Malkin gives liberals too much credit. We didn’t arouse the publics rejection of the Right’s extremism (well maybe a little), the Right did it to themselves. People listened and didn’t like what they heard. So the Right is in a little disarray, maybe even completely adrift. The political tide has turned and is will not be heading rabid Right again anytime soon. Projecting? Something that Malkin and her fans might want to consider is how influential she is outside of that base. Has she done a convert count lately? We had a war of ideas with moderates having much less media exposure then the Right and we still won. So please Malkin and the rest of ragged pack of clueless right-wing pundits by all means keep those high profile TV jobs, radio programs, newspaper columns and writing those shallow dishonest tomes you call books. In many ways the Malkins and Coulters are liberalism’s best recruiters.

It does seem odd that a “talent” such as Malkin that Fox seemed to be grooming to to more should suddenly quite her most visible soapbox, Did Malkin quit O’Reilly’s Factor over Geraldo clash?

Chairman Conyers Asks DNI McConnell, Asst. Attorney General Wainstein to Explain Qwest Allegations

I am writing because of disturbing revelations over the past several days about warrantless Administration surveillance activities that allegedly occurred months before 9/11, and about claims that a company that did not participate in potentially unlawful surveillance activities may have been subject to retaliation by the Administration, including federal prosecution.

Doesn’t that sound just like the Right America has come to know. You’ll do as the Right says or they’ll destroy you.

“Sentimental irony is a dog that bays at the moon while pissing on graves” ~ Karl Kraus quotes

Violence In Iraq is down in October. Why and for how long

General Petraeus testified before Congress on the escalation and progress in Iraq on September 10th and 11th, 2007.

Coalition and Iraqi operations have helped reduce ethno-sectarian violence, as well, bringing down the number of ethno-sectarian deaths substantially in Baghdad and across Iraq since the height of the sectarian violence last December. The number of overall civilian deaths has also declined during this period, although the numbers in each area are still at troubling levels. (pdf)

The Right is pushing this unsigned editorial in WaPo as proof that Petraeus was right, Better NumbersThe evidence of a drop in violence in Iraq is becoming hard to dispute

Nevertheless, it’s looking more and more as though those in and outside of Congress who last month were assailing Gen. Petraeus’s credibility and insisting that there was no letup in Iraq’s bloodshed were — to put it simply — wrong.

Violence is down for the month of October, but the General did not testify over a month ago that the violence will drop in October. He testified that we were meeting certain benchmarks. There was no crystal ball sitting in front of him, Petraeus did not testify that October would be fine and dandy. The point was that his testimony back in September was somewhat deceptive and tainted by his politics and contains not one sentence of a prediction that violence would decline in a month. What he did say was, “I also believe that it is possible to achieve our objectives in Iraq over time, though doing so will be neither quick nor easy and that decline would.” Nothing that has happened in October deflects from the General’s deceptive and highly politicized words from a month ago, Petraeus’ Sectarian Death Count Methodology

MNF-I’s methodology identifies a number of factors, necessarily subjective, that help analysts determine whether an attack or a death should be considered sectarian. Ethno-sectarian violence is defined as violence “conducted by one ethnic/religious group against another ethnic/religious group, where the primary motivation for the event is based on ethnic or religious reasons.” MNF-I analysts consider the location of the attack — whether it took place in a mixed area or a homogeneous one — and the type of attack in order to determine ethnic or sectarian violence.

[ ]…For executions, murders and kidnappings — situations in which sectarianism may be difficult to determine — MNF-I says it uses “host nation” reporting in addition to its own. Many media and non-governmental organizations consider information on casualties released by the Iraqi ministries to be self-serving, misleading or contradictory.

Furthermore,

And, the GAO Found Claims of Decreased Sectarian Violence Could Not Be Verified. “On trends in sectarian violence, we could not determine if sectarian violence had declined since the start of the Baghdad Security Plan. The administration’s July 2007 report stated that MNF-I trend data demonstrated a decrease in sectarian violence since the start of the Baghdad Security Plan in mid-February 2007. The report acknowledged that precise measurements vary, and that it was too early to determine if the decrease would be sustainable.” [GAO Report: Securing, Stabilizing and Rebuilding Iraq, September 2007]

While we all hope this trend continues it might well end with the end of Ramadan, which the article mentions but fails to note the role Ramadan might play in the fall in violence this month. A commenter here But Why? complains that the non-Bush worshipers are still going after Petraeus. In a democracy run by civilians where the military is responsible to civilians Americans have every right, actually the obligation to question its generals. We have been in Iraq longer then it took a liberal president to defeat two massive militaries on two fronts. We have had over three thousand of our military killed in Iraq and it is costing us over two and half billion dollars a month. Thus we have every reason and obligation in the world to question the lack of candor in a general that has a record of glossing over the truth to serve his ideological buddies. For the sake of our troops, their families and the Iraqis no sane person would hope the sectarian violence increases. The question remains if the violence is declining because the hieght of sectarian genocide has been reached or the methods for measuring violence have been tweaked to the point of having little meaning and is this simply a lull as many other insurgencies in history have had.

“I vowed to the American people that our government would do everything within the law to protect them against another terrorist attack”

President Bush Discusses NSA Surveillance ProgramFor Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary May 11, 2006

THE PRESIDENT: After September the 11th, I vowed to the American people that our government would do everything within the law to protect them against another terrorist attack. As part of this effort, I authorized the National Security Agency to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. In other words, if al Qaeda or their associates are making calls into the United States or out of the United States, we want to know what they’re saying. (emphasis mine)

On its own this statement is startling in its implications, Bush “authorized the National Security Agency to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda”. If there were people with such known links to al Qaeda within the U.S. why were they allowed to freely go about there business much less make phone calls. Then there is the obvious lie he ordered such surveillance activities after 9-11. If that were the case then the administration and its supporters argument that we’re all gonna die if if don’t allow Bush nearly unlimited powers of surveillance we’ll surely have another 9-11 seems even more lame. Qwest CEO Not Alone in Alleging NSA Started Domestic Phone Record Program 7 Months Before 9/11

According to court documents unveiled this week, former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio clearly wanted to argue in court that the NSA retaliated against his company after he turned down a NSA request on February 27, 2001 that he thought was illegal.

[ ]…And in May 2006, a lawsuit filed against Verizon for allegedly turning over call records to the NSA alleged that AT&T began building a spying facility for the NSA just days after President Bush was inaugurated.

This wide dragnet approach is doomed to failure. It gives the masses, especially the paranoid Right the impression that Bush is busy fighting terrorism, but the truth of the matter is that it is more smoke then substance. Like Bush’s fake ranch its all about appearances, Spy agency data after 9/11 led FBI to dead ends

In the anxious months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the National Security Agency began sending a steady stream of telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and names to the F.B.I. in search of terrorists. The stream soon became a flood, requiring hundreds of agents to check out thousands of tips a month.

But virtually all of them, current and former officials say, led to dead ends or innocent Americans.

F.B.I. officials repeatedly complained to the spy agency that the unfiltered information was swamping investigators. The spy agency was collecting much of the data by eavesdropping on some Americans’ international communications and conducting computer searches of phone and Internet traffic. Some F.B.I. officials and prosecutors also thought the checks, which sometimes involved interviews by agents, were pointless intrusions on Americans’ privacy.