Wednesday, January 31, 2007

May God Bless You and Keep You

Molly Ivins 1944-2007

Our Dear Leader teabags the FBI

And it sure looks like they are loving it. The Bureau sees ODEL as the reincarnation of J. Edgar himself.

Just 1 little Freidman Unit, pleeze!

After 4 years of failure most energetically snatched from the jaws of victory in Iraq, The White House through its stooges in Congress is asking for another 6 months to make it all better.
"I don't think this war can be sustained for more than six months if in fact we don't see some progress," Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said Wednesday. Until this month, he was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Roberts' comments came two days after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the new U.S. military push was the Iraqis' "last chance."

"This needs to be successful over the next six to nine months," McConnell said in an interview Monday with Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto. "And if not, we're going to have to go in a different direction."
These guys just won't admit that killing another 1000 US troops and 10,000 Iraqis will not make a lick of difference in the current situation over there. But Our Dear Embattled Leader will never be the one who Lost The War In Iraq. That title will belong to his successor, come hell or high water.

Quote of the Day

To allow a president to break the law and commit a felony for more than five years without even a formal independent investigation would be the ultimate subversion of the Constitution and the rule of law.
James Bamford, from his NY Times Op-Ed today

Bring 'Em Home

Saw this over at Alternate Brain with a request from Jersey Guy to post it on as many blogs as possible. Pete Seeger was right about Viet Nam and his words still ring true for Iraq. When you are done with that, try this one.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Congress approved all the Bushovik funding requests

So why is the Washington Post running an article like this?
Boosting U.S. troop levels in Iraq by 21,500 would create major logistical hurdles for the Army and Marine Corps, which are short thousands of vehicles, armor kits and other equipment needed to supply the extra forces, U.S. officials said.

The increase would also further degrade the readiness of U.S.-based ground forces, hampering their ability to respond quickly, fully trained and well equipped in the case of other military contingencies around the world and increasing the risk of U.S. casualties, according to Army and Marine Corps leaders.
Did they not ask for enough? Or were they too busy diverting the funds to their friends at Halliburton and Blackwater?

Quote of the Day

In the United States of America, the people are sovereign, not the president. It is Congress’s responsibility to challenge an administration that persists in a war that is misguided and that the country opposes. We cannot simply wring our hands and complain about the Administration’s policy. We cannot just pass resolutions saying “your policy is mistaken.”

And we can’t stand idly by and tell ourselves that it’s the president’s job to fix the mess he made. It’s our job to fix the mess, and if we don’t do so we are abdicating our responsibilities.
Sen. Russ Feingold D-Wisconsin

Monday, January 29, 2007

Senator wants to stop selling spare F-14 parts to Iran

That Senator is Ron Wyden of Oregon. From the AP:
The Oregon Democrat's legislation would ban the Defense Department from selling surplus F-14 parts and prohibit buyers who have already acquired surplus Tomcat parts from exporting them. Wyden's bill, the Stop Arming Iran Act, is co-sponsored by the Senate's No. 2 lawmaker, Democratic Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois.

The surplus sales are one of the first national security issues to be addressed by the new Democratic-controlled Congress.

"It just defies common sense to be making this kind of equipment available to the Iranians with all that they have done that is against our interests," Wyden said Monday in an interview, adding that constituents brought up the surplus-sale security problems at his town-hall meetings over the past few days. "I just want to legislate this and cut it off permanently, once and for all."

UPDATE: The Pentagon has decided that this is a good idea.

McCain vs McCain

From the good people at The Real McCain

Rev. Robert F. Drinan - R.I.P.

A man of conscience until the Pope made him stop.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

This is your legacy, George - part 6

Sabrina Tavernise of the NY Times documents the personal changes that occured over the 22 months she has spent in Iraq. The are sad milestones on the road to Hell that is Our Dear Embattled Leader's gift to the people of Iraq.
A PAINFUL measure of just how much Iraq has changed in the four years since I started coming here is contained in my cellphone. Many numbers in the address book are for Iraqis who have either fled the country or been killed. One of the first Sunni politicians: gunned down. A Shiite baker: missing. A Sunni family: moved to Syria....

....Neighborhoods I used to visit a year ago with my armed guards and my black abaya are off limits. Most were Sunni and had been merely dangerous. Now they are dead. A neighborhood that used to be Baghdad’s Upper East Side has the dilapidated, broken feel of a city just hit by a hurricane....

....I met Raad Jassim, a 38-year-old Shiite refugee, in a largely empty house, recently owned by Sunnis, where he now lives in western Baghdad. He moved there in the fall, after Sunni militants killed his brother and his nephew and confiscated his large chicken farm north of Baghdad. He had lived with Sunnis his whole life, but after what happened, a hatred spread through him like a disease.

“The word Sunni, it hurts me,” he said, sitting on the floor in a bare room, his 7-year-old boy on his lap. “All that I have lost came from this word. I try to avoid mixing with them.”

“A volcano of revenge” has built up inside him, he said. “I want to rip them up with my teeth.”...

.... A serious problem is dead bodies. They began to appear several times a week last summer on the railroad tracks that run through the neighborhood. But when residents call the police to pick up the bodies, they do not come. The police are Shiite and afraid of the area.

“Entering a Sunni area for them is a risk,” said Yasir, a 40-year-old Sunni whose house is close to the dumping ground.

A few weeks ago, a woman’s body appeared. It was raining. Yasir said he covered her with blankets and called the police. A day later the police arrived. They peeked under the waterlogged blanket and drove away. It was another day before they collected the body. They took it at night, turning off their headlights and inching toward the area like thieves....

....When American officials were debating whether to send more troops in December, I went to see an Iraqi government official. The prospect of more troops infuriated him. More Americans would simply prolong the war, he said.

If you don’t allow the minority to lose, you will carry on forever,” he said.
Georgie, you want these people to endure another 2 years of this so you can blame someone else for "losing" this war? Hell is too good for people like you.

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Quote of the Day

"I think that George Bush has been in his presidency so inconsistent with fundamental Christianity that he should not be associated with a Methodist university. He's about as far away from the fundamental teachings of Jesus Christ as you can get."
Rev. Andrew Weaver, a graduate of SMU's Perkins School of Theology and organizer of an online petition opposing the [George W Bush Preznitenshal] library

They came to Washington

By the tens of thousands to protest Our Dear Embattled Leader's Glorious Little War in Iraq. From all over the country they came to have their voices heard.
“I’ve got a son who just got out of the military and another still in,” said Jackie Smith, 65, from Sunapee, N.H., whose sign read “Bush Bin Lyin.” “And I’m here because this is all I can do to try to help them.”
Some will be staying a few more days to try and influence their Congressmoops to take more forceful action. And Tony Auth has the reaction from the White House.

From the Pen of TONY AUTH

New military slang

The LA Times has a column by AUSTIN BAY,an Army Reserve veteran of the Iraq war, showing all of us POG's what the present day troops are saying. Military slang has been around probably since the first hominids picked up sticks and stones. Bay gives us a look at what they say today. A few of my favorites:
Blue canoe: Slang for a portable toilet.

Bombaconda: Slang for Logistics Support Area Anaconda, a major supply base near Balad, Iraq. Balad is also called "Mortaritaville."

Dome of obedience
: Slang for a military helmet. Also called a "brain bucket" or "skid lid."

Echelons above reality
: Higher headquarters where no one has an idea about what is really happening.

Groundhog Day: Every day of your tour in Iraq.

Rummy's Dummies: A derogatory name for the U.S. military under the leadership of former Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Single-digit midget: A member of the armed services who has nine days or less remaining on his tour of duty.
It sure would be nice if they all were Single-digit midgets.

Holy Dog Poop! AP finally gets it right.

In a weekend summary of the Libby trial, AP reporter Michael J. Sniffen finally present the impetus behind Joe Wilson's trip to Niger accurately.
Plame's husband, ex-ambassador Joseph Wilson, started the attack. Her unit at the CIA had sent him to Niger in 2002 to check a report that Iraq was buying uranium for nuclear weapons. Cheney and the departments of State and Defense wanted to verify that.
Mirabile dictu! I guess the regular editors were off for the weekend.

Do we need a draft?

McClatchy has a report on the various sides of the debate about bringing back the draft. With Our Dear Embattled Leader's Glorious Little War promising to continue until he has left office, the problem of finding the manpower to continue for 2+ more years is becoming acute.
The Army had 732,000 active-duty soldiers during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, which occurred three years after President Reagan left office. The Army now has about 512,000 active-duty soldiers....

... The Bush administration recognizes that there's a problem and has promised to add 92,000 service members to the Army and the Marine Corps over the next five years.

But that means Army recruiters will have to sign up another 7,000 men and women every year, when they're already struggling and standards have been dropped to meet the current quotas.

Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, has suggested that part of the answer is increasing the incentives to enlist. The Army already offers as much as $40,000 to recruits, however, and personnel costs are taking a larger chunk of the defense budget every year.

In the meantime, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has outlined plans to call up the National Guard and Reserves more frequently. But the more the military relies on its citizen-soldiers to fight the war, the less attractive the Reserves become to those who don't want full-time military careers.

There are concerns that overusing the Guard and Reserves could strain those forces as badly as the active-duty ranks.
It is something that needs to be debated now, but I think it is something that we should have. If people have a "dog in the fight" they pay much more attention to how and when and if you fight.

Biden really can "Talk the Talk"

After sounding like Lieberman Lite when the Democrats were in the minority, Sen Joe Biden is trying out a new voice now that his party is in the majority.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman on Sunday dismissed criticism a resolution opposing a troop buildup in Iraq would embolden the enemy and estimated perhaps only 20 senators believe President Bush "is headed in the right direction."

"It's not the American people or the U.S. Congress who are emboldening the enemy," said Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., and White House hopeful in 2008. "It's the failed policy of this president - going to war without a strategy, going to war prematurely."
Such sweet sounds. Now all he has to do is walk the walk, then we will be happy.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Quote of the Day

"There is one way that you can truly hold this president accountable, and it's impeachment."
Rep. Keith Ellison D-MN

Another Wah! Wah! Wah!!! moment

This one from the new savior of our forces in Iraq, Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus. Part of his plan for Baghdad will use Iraqi troops of the Iraqi Facilities Protection Service, a group no better than thugs and gunmen.
But that service is widely considered unreliable, and elements were described in July by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as "more dangerous than the militias," according to Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

"The prime minister said he wanted to get rid of the FPS as fast as possible," Reed said this week, recalling his meeting with Maliki in Baghdad last summer. There are "bad elements" in FPS units that "are carrying out murders and kidnappings . . . [and] attacking the infrastructure that they are supposedly protecting," Reed said in his trip report about what Maliki had told him. "Because of the FPS," Reed wrote, Maliki said that "some governmental ministries' guards are more dangerous than the militias."...

....[Army Lt. Gen. Martin E.]Dempsey was particularly critical of the FPS, saying: "They have a reputation for gross misconduct." He specified as "particularly notorious" the FPS units associated with the ministries of transportation and health, both under the control of associates of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. The FPS units employed by those ministries are "a source of funding and jobs for the Mahdi Army," Sadr's militia, according to the Iraq Study Group report.
The FPS was the brainchild of Medal of Freedom wearer Paul Bremer and like so many other efforts, it has lived up to its Bushovik origins. One shudders at the thought of the chaos that will result from pouring this gasoline on the current fires in that poor tortured city.

O-o-o! They were so-o-o Ba-a-d!

The NY Times is reporting that the Bushoviks are going to say something bad about the Israelis.
The Bush administration will inform Congress on Monday that Israel may have violated agreements with the United States when it fired American-supplied cluster munitions into southern Lebanon during its fight with Hezbollah last summer, the State Department said Saturday.

The finding, though preliminary, has prompted a contentious debate within the administration over whether the United States should penalize Israel for its use of cluster munitions against towns and villages where Hezbollah had placed its rocket launchers.

Cluster munitions are anti-personnel weapons that scatter tiny but deadly bomblets over a wide area. The grenadelike munitions, tens of thousands of which have been found in southern Lebanon, have caused 30 deaths and 180 injuries among civilians since the end of the war, according to the United Nations Mine Action Service.
So, we have tens of thousands of unexploded bomblets, most of them freshly delivered last summer, lying around Lebanon and they will say Israel MAY HAVE violated the agreements? If it took the Bushoviks this long to notice, that will probably be the worst that the government in Tel Aviv will have to face. Even Cheney doesn't have the stomach to face down AIPAC.

Crazy Dick Cheney invites Newsweek on hunting trip.

Not really, but looking at the latest Newsweek poll numbers, I have to believe that Crazy Dick would love to have the opportunity.
President George W. Bush concluded his annual State of the Union address this week with the words “the State of our Union is strong … our cause in the world is right … and tonight that cause goes on.” Maybe so, but the state of the Bush administration is at its worst yet, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. The president’s approval ratings are at their lowest point in the poll’s history—30 percent—and more than half the country (58 percent) say they wish the Bush presidency were simply over, a sentiment that is almost unanimous among Democrats (86 percent), and is shared by a clear majority (59 percent) of independents and even one in five (21 percent) Republicans. Half (49 percent) of all registered voters would rather see a Democrat elected president in 2008, compared to just 28 percent who’d prefer the GOP to remain in the White House.
Congress is not left off the hook in this poll, either.
Congress is criticized by nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Americans for not being assertive enough in challenging the Bush administration’s conduct of the war. Even a third (31 percent) of rank-and-file Republicans say the previous Congress, controlled by their party, didn’t do enough to challenge the administration on the war.
The public is throwing stones at Congress, perhaps in the hope that some will pick up a pair.

Our Dear Embattled Leader's legacy keeps piling up

From the AP:
The U.S. military reported the deaths of seven more soldiers Saturday, while Sunni insurgent bombers struck yet another market in a predominantly Shiite district, killing at least 13 people in their bid to terrorize Baghdad days before a U.S.-Iraqi military crackdown.

The latest market attack capped a week in which more than 150 people, mostly Shiites, were slain in bomb attacks.

Death squads, believed to be primarily Shiite militiamen, continued their butchery on the other side of Iraq's deepening sectarian divide, with police reporting the discovery of 40 bodies dumped in Baghdad alone. Two of the victims were women and most of the bodies showed signs of torture, police said.

In all, at least 61 victims of Iraq's sectarian warfare were killed or found dead across the country.
It's almost like Our Dear Embattled Leader has (Lyndon) Johnson Envy.

Coast Guard deeply infected with NewSpeak

Consider these two paragraphs from the WaPo story on the report by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general on the Deepwater project. You may remember Deepwater as the project that was to update and improve the USCG's ability to protect US coasts into the 21st century. It has, instead, deeply impaired the USCG's abilities to continue their present responsibilities and wasted millions of dollars. And that is something that can never be admitted to, so we get the following:
"The Coast Guard opinion is that decisions regarding structures and production have been well-considered and were prudent and correct," the response says.

The inspector general's report is the latest indictment of Deepwater, which aims to modernize the Coast Guard's aging fleet of ships, planes and helicopters over the next 25 years. In December, the Coast Guard sidelined eight Miami-based 123-foot cutters produced under the program after finding that they were not seaworthy.
And there was this choice element regarding the new class of cutters.
The Coast Guard eventually decided to make upgrades to the two current ships so they could operate at least 170 to 180 days a year at sea, the report says. The original contract calls for the ships to be able to operate 230 days a year.

The Coast Guard "has chosen to reinterpret the Deepwater contract rather than hold the contractor accountable" for the higher standard, the report says. The change allows the service to "downplay" the seriousness of the deficiencies and "minimize" the scope of improvements required.

In its response, the Coast Guard said it had "not lowered performance standards." The ship's structure "does not pose an immediate concern; rather, it presents a risk that it may need some structural repairs during its service life," the response said.
So instead if discounting defective merchandise, the Bushovik Coast Guard has chosen to pay more for less, with your tax dollars. And don't you just love the way they are willing to send folks out to sea in ships with known major defects because they won't fall apart right away. Probably last until the next election.

Commander-in-Chief of what?

Garry Wills, in the NY Times, takes a look at Our Dear Embattled Leader's habit of referring to himself by that grand sounding, and NOT all encompassing, title.
The Constitution is clear on this: “The president shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States.”

When Abraham Lincoln took actions based on military considerations, he gave himself the proper title, “commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.” That title is rarely — more like never — heard today. It is just “commander in chief,” or even “commander in chief of the United States.” This reflects the increasing militarization of our politics. The citizenry at large is now thought of as under military discipline. In wartime, it is true, people submit to the national leadership more than in peacetime. The executive branch takes actions in secret, unaccountable to the electorate, to hide its moves from the enemy and protect national secrets. Constitutional shortcuts are taken “for the duration.” But those impositions are removed when normal life returns.
So we have a pipsqueak ODEL, who couldn't command an army of tin soldiers in a sandbox, telling us he can order us all because he presumes a title greater than it is in fact. It really is time to impeach the SOB.

Private armies, private loyalties

The LA Times recently ran an Op-Ed on mercenaries and Blackwater in particular by Jeremy Scahill, who has been writing a book on that cute company. The facts he brings out only touch the surface of this menacing development, but they are frightening, nevertheless.
Already, private contractors constitute the second-largest "force" in Iraq. At last count, there were about 100,000 contractors in Iraq, of which 48,000 work as private soldiers, according to a Government Accountability Office report. These soldiers have operated with almost no oversight or effective legal constraints and are an undeclared expansion of the scope of the occupation. Many of these contractors make up to $1,000 a day, far more than active-duty soldiers. What's more, these forces are politically expedient, as contractor deaths go uncounted in the official toll.

The president's proposed Civilian Reserve Corps was not his idea alone. A privatized version of it was floated two years ago by Erik Prince, the secretive, mega-millionaire, conservative owner of Blackwater USA and a man who for years has served as the Pied Piper of a campaign to repackage mercenaries as legitimate forces. In early 2005, Prince — a major bankroller of the president and his allies — pitched the idea at a military conference of a "contractor brigade" to supplement the official military. "There's consternation in the [Pentagon] about increasing the permanent size of the Army," Prince declared. Officials "want to add 30,000 people, and they talked about costs of anywhere from $3.6 billion to $4 billion to do that. Well, by my math, that comes out to about $135,000 per soldier." He added: "We could do it certainly cheaper."
Under the false banner of "private works better than public" they try to replace troops who risk their lives for their country with those who are loyal to whomever pays them. And never forget that it was public monies that initially trained all the mercs, Blackwater does not hire raw recruits. They hire by drawing off the best of the US services with large sums of money. But they still want us to believe that guys working for $1000 a day are cheaper than ones working for $2000 a month. But one question remains unanswered. Who will Prince turn his private army on when a legitimate US government cuts him off from the public tit?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

In his heart of hearts

Our Dear Embattled Leader just knows that it will all work out just fine in Iraq. And how does he know this.
"I asked him at the White House, 'Mr. President, why do you think this time it's going to work?' And he said, 'Because I told them it had to.' "

Asked if the president had elaborated, she added that he simply said, " 'I told them that they had to.' That was the end of it. That's the way it is."
So there it is for all to see.

He has Spoken, therefore It must Be!

This is your legacy, George - Part 5

From Lara Logan, reporting for CBS News, by way of the Ever Manly Jesus' General.

Are ya feelin' the Surge, Georgie Boy?

EXTRA: Damien Cave and Jeremy Glanz of the NY Times add their story with the US troops.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

From the pen of Pat Oliphant

Sen Chuck Hagel speaks out

And this guy is going to retire while the likes of Joe The Weasel Lieberman lingers on like the scent of skunk on a damp evening.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

If it says Libby, Libby, Libby on the label

It's a sacrificial lamb upon the table. And Irv ain't gonna take it. The defense outlined by his lawyers is simple; Irv is the fall guy to protect Our Dear Embattled Leader's Beloved TurdBlossom. This should be a really, really interesting trial.
"They're trying to set me up. They want me to be the sacrificial lamb," attorney Theodore Wells said, recalling Libby's end of the conversation. "I will not be sacrificed so Karl Rove can be protected."

Rove was one of two sources for Novak's story. The other was then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Nobody, including Rove and Armitage, has been charged with the leak. Libby is accused of lying to investigators and obstructing the probe into the leak.

Cheney's notes from that meeting underscore Libby's concern, Wells said.
I wonder if Crazy Dick Cheney is still going to testify? Will they let him bring a shotgun?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Quote of the Day

White House political aides always try to lower expectations for a State of the Union address. That won't be hard this year.
THOMAS M. DeFRANK, Daily News Washington Bureau Chief

My, how time flies!

Whether you are having fun or not. I noticed this fun fact over at Froomkin.
According to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, Bush's approval rating, now at an all-time low of 33 percent, has been solidly in negative territory ever since April of 2005. That's 21 months. And the percentage of Americans who find him honest and trustworthy, now at an all-time low of 40 percent, has been in negative territory since November of 2005, or a little over a year.
And it seems like only yesterday.

81 yr old man writes a letter and scares tn SS

Dan Tilli is 81 yrs old, retired and he writes letters to his local paper. He has been doing so for twentysome years. His last one got the Secret Service a little worried.
Tilli received a phone call from a Secret Service agent Thursday morning. The call surprised Tilli, but he was even more startled when he learned the caller and another dark-suited agent were sitting outside Tilli's Bethlehem apartment building at that very moment.

"They said, 'We're coming up,'" Tilli recalled Friday. "They were in the parking lot and they came up in two seconds."

The agents, who confirmed the call and visit Friday, grilled Tilli for nearly an hour before deeming him safe. Their concern was Tilli's letter to the editor published in Monday's Express-Times.

The letter referenced the execution of Saddam Hussein and ended with the line, "I still believe they hanged the wrong man."

The government apparently saw that as a potential threat toward the president.

Letter writer: No threat made toward Bush

"I didn't say who I could've meant bin Laden," Tilli said, adding that the statement wasn't a threat. "They said that's true, but somebody could take it like that."
And so after a nice chat they left and their conclusion.
"We have no further interest in Dan," he said.

Secret Service agent Kenneth Beauchamp said he enjoyed his visit with Tilli.

"He was an interesting man to talk to," Beauchamp said. "He seemed like a very nice gentleman."
It all seems a waste of money to me. After all, we have a replacement for presidents already elected and ready to go, and I just realized how necessary the Secret Service is.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Quote of the Day

"By the time next year's primaries roll around, we'll see a majority of Republicans opposing our continued presence in Iraq. That trend is gaining momentum, in Kansas and across the country."
Kansas state Sen. John Vratil of Leawood, a Kansas City suburb

Why is Joe Galloway pissed off?

Well, now that you ask, we will let him tell you in his own words.
The educator-in-chief said that it's been his view all along that the American people need to keep living their lives without making sacrifices while 25,000 of their sons and daughters have been killed or wounded in combat in the last five years.

He was proud that, unlike every wartime president in our history, he hasn't increased taxes to pay for a war. In fact, he, George W. Bush, not only hasn't raised taxes; he's cut them, leaving his war to be financed by going deeper into debt to China and Japan.

There's no need, he said, to revive some form of mandatory national service so the children and grandchildren of all those Americans living their comfortable lives might make both sacrifices and contributions to the defense and well-being of our country.
And that's only the beginning.

FantasyLand on the WaPo Op-Ed page

In today's collection of op-ed's is one that speculates on what the state of the union would be if Jeb Bush had been elected instead of his "challenged" brother. It assumes from the beginning that the conservative agenda would have succeeded wonderfully well. Still it lets us now that even Brilliant Jeb would not have heeded the warning signs ahead of the World Trade Center disaster. I refuse to consider that this was part of the plan. Without saying so, it assumes that BJ would have taken on the same crew of advisors. This is one hard to swallow assumption. The idea that BJ would take in Cheney and Rummy and Gonzales, and other incompetents of their ilk, flies in the face of the excellence that the writer attributes to BJ in his handling of Katrina. And again, this assumed excellence belies the assumption that BJ would also have gone into Iraq. We know that BJ was just as capable of screwing up as his simpler brother, but he also was able to learn from his mistakes. I don't know if there is a category of hagiographic fantasy, but this piece would be an award winner.

A companion piece of fantasy is by Roy C. Smith who asserts that CEO's are not overpaid. He states that CEO's are darn good managers who are worth every penny and it's not their fault if their stocks tank. Along the way he sinks his own arguement with this bit of information.
Gerstner was not about to give up his lucrative future at American Express, where he was heir apparent to the CEO's job, without a gold-plated contract that would reward him for success and cushion him against failure.
The simple fact is there is no down side to being a CEO. You get to walk away with all the goodies no matter what you do. Call me old fashioned but I think that makes them overpaid. I am willing to overlook perk packages that, after CEO's are paid huge salaries and pre-planned bonuses, also pays many of their living expenses. We won't even discuss packages that give CEO's huge chunks of stock before they have read their first memo as well as the accrued dividends before the awards are vested.

For a little contrast I strongly recommend reading this piece by Ben Stein. If you ever believed that CEO's were working for the company or the shareholders, this should disabuse you of that notion, right quick.

Ron Carey R.I.P.

Little Levitt gets his final promotion.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

TSA No Fly list gets them every time

Just because they are not terrists doesn't mean it's not working. Consider the case of Kiernan O'Dwyer.
Every time Kiernan O'Dwyer arrived at the airport after traveling overseas in recent years, he was flagged as a potential terrorist. But his uniform was a dead giveaway to his true identity: He is a veteran pilot for American Airlines.

U.S. customs agents have stopped him about 80 times since 2003, apparently because his name and birth date nearly match those of an Irish Republican Army leader, one of at least 300,000 names on the U.S. government's watch lists. O'Dwyer falls under an unenviable category of false positives, people who are wrongly detained because some of their personal information matches that of a terrorist or other suspect....

....All his problems began in 2003, after O'Dwyer returned from a trip to Europe. Reaching the customs desk at John F. Kennedy International Airport, he was stunned when officials pulled him aside for further screening. He showed them his passport. He had no criminal record. Ninety minutes later, he was cleared.

But he kept getting detained -- so often that customs agents took to greeting him by his first name.

"They'd look at their screen and know I'd been screened and say, 'Oh boy, you've been through here a bunch,' " he recalled.

O'Dwyer even carried a letter from the Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations saying, "(Y)ou are not, nor have you ever been, on record as a criminal suspect."

But, he said, customs officers told him the letter could have been forged. He said he offered to submit to fingerprints, just as foreign flight crews do, but to no avail.

O'Dwyer become so frustrated that he gave up flying internationally in May, a move that he said cost him $10,000 a year in salary and expenses. He said he is still stopped when he reaches the domestic gate, and a supervisor must help him get cleared.
So even though they recognize him and have a record of his encounters, they still make him go through the drill. But is his plight any worse than the wife of Sen. Ted Stevens?
Among them was Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who complained that his wife, Catherine, was being identified as "Cat" Stevens and frequently stopped due to confusion with the former name of the folk singer now known as Yusuf Islam, whose name is on the list. In 2004 he was denied entry into the U.S., but officials declined to explain why.
Gotta love the Bushoviks, fighting competence and good sense since 2001.

Frank Rich sounds the tocsin

To call horseshit on Our Dear Embattled Leader, his evil vizier Crazy Dick Cheney and the minions and their new campaign of lies and smears to advance the Plan That Never Was in Iraq. Heed the call.

A Tale of Two Headlines

Bush Getting 2nd Chance to Defend Plan

20 U.S. Service Members Killed in Iraq

$8.4 Billion

That is the projected MONTHLY cost of Our Dear Embattled Leader's Glorious Little War for the next year. It seems the cost has risen from a mere $4 Billion a month beacause of heavy replacement costs for lost, destroyed and aging equipment. And for good luck, add another $1.7 Billion for Afghanistan. Again, that is MONTHLY.

We sure could do a lot with that money, if we weren't pissing it away in some 3rd world shithole for some neo-con's wet dream.

Our Dear Embattled Leader surges in his dreams

As for the country he allegedly leads, over two thirds of the country (68%) thinks we should go the other way and 46% thinks we should do so immediately. And for poor little ODEL, his personal numbers are rising like a lead balloon.
Bush’s Iraq plan isn’t doing anything for his personal approval rating either; it’s again stuck at its lowest point in the history of the poll (31 percent). Meanwhile, the new Democratic-controlled Congress is getting relatively high marks. And 55 percent actually trust Congressional Dems on U.S. policy in Iraq, far more than the 32 percent who trust their commander in chief.

While Democrats and Republicans have roundly criticized Bush’s proposal, the president—who received his lowest ratings so far for his handling of the war (24 percent) and terrorism (41 percent)—told a group of U.S. television stations this week that "I believe it will work.” He is in the minority. Nearly half of all respondents to the NEWSWEEK poll (45 percent) say they “strongly oppose” the plan. Nine in 10 Democrats (92 percent), 70 percent of independents and close to a third (31 percent) of Republicans disapprove.
I guess the only good thing for ODEL about these numbers is that some people actually support an idea that is as dumb as a screen door on a submarine.

And now Hillary's in

So we have, in no particular order, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Tom Vilsack, Bill Richardson and Joe Biden running for the Democratic nomination. If I missed anyone, you don't have to tell me, I will find out soon enough. I truly hope they will have enough time to show me, and all of us, why they are best suited to run the country and not just how well they run for office. The good news is we won't have that annoying Joe "The Weasel" Mentum to bother us. He is the Republicans problem now.

Andrew Greeley on Our Dear Embattled Leader and Iraq

A fine and concise, well written piece that sums up the the massive failure of ODEL and his Glorious Little War. Read it here.

O, those wacky College Republicans

According to this report, the College Republicans are planning another fun-filled semester at Marshall University.
Marshall University's College Republicans plan for a semester filled with guns, fun and giving the democrats a run for their money.

Arrangements are already underway for a "Fun with Guns" squirt-gun tournament in March. At this event, tentatively planned for Buskirk Field, students will be invited to engage in a water war against one another, with possible prizes for tournament winners.

"Basically it is a way of saying it's OK to own handguns," Lauren Myers, College Republican president, said.
Dear sweet children, if they are so enthused about weaponry they should be joining the military. There they can get their own handguns as well as the beloved M-16. To those with enough enthusiasm may go the honor of carrying the M-240 series of machine guns. And for those at the top of the class there is the ineffable joy of the M-2 E50. So, come on kids, doesn't that sound so much more appealing than a few pissy little squirt guns? And you also get official sanction to kill a bunch of swarthy people.

Remember, no one likes a Yellow Elephant.

Anything to distract from the problem at hand

The AP is reporting that, according to Wayne White, a former analyst with the State Department's bureau of intelligence and research, current planning for Our Dear Embattled Leader's next war involves much more than a few "surgical" strikes.
"I've seen some of the planning ...You're talking about a war against Iran" that likely would destabilize the Middle East for years, White told the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington think tank.

"We're not talking about just surgical strikes against an array of targets inside Iran. We're talking about clearing a path to the targets" by taking out much of the Iranian Air Force, Kilo submarines, anti-ship missiles that could target commerce or U.S. warships in the Gulf, and maybe even Iran's ballistic missile capability, White said.
Two points to consider here; first, Wayne White worked for the State Dept. which has an admirable record of accuracy in intelligence and second, any success in such attacks requires that everything goes according to plan. It is the second point that will get ODEL into a heap of trouble. History has already shown that none of his martial plans have any chance of succeeding. Even if it was not a criminal idea, it would be a waste of men and resources in return for another disaster.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Our Dear Leader read some Shakespeares last summer

And Rosa Brooks writes a column on how deeply it affected Dear Leader in his Holy Quest for thr Perfect Iraq. She begins with a famous quote from "King Lear".
'HOW SHARPER than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child!" complained Shakespeare's King Lear. But Lear didn't know from ingratitude. Think it stings to have a thankless child? Just try the sting of a thankless occupied nation!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Danged uppity Methodists.

As you may remember, SMU, formally known as Southern METHODIST University is being touted as a site for Our Dear Embattled Leader's Preznitential Liberry. This is because A) Laura Bush is a graduate of the university and B) Our Dear Embattled Leader pretends to be a Methodist. Well, now it seems that some real Methodists, the practicing kind, object to the linkage of their good name to that bad preznitent. If you wish to join them, you can sign their petition..

Holy Sidewalk Poo!!

According to TPM Cafe, Fucks News is reporting a poll that shows more Americans dislike Our Dear Leader than His Evil Vizier Crazy Dick. No doubt about it, up IS down these days.

R.I.P Art Buchwald

You spoke truth with humor and we loved it.

The Generals didn't fade away

These former leaders of our military formed their own panel to consider and speak out on Our Dear Embattled Leader's Glorious Little War in Iraq. And what they said did no good for ODEL's Legacy with History. Imagine, the nerve of these guys saying stuff like:
“Too little and too late,” is the way Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, a former chief of the Central Command, described the effort
“A fool’s errand,” was the judgment of Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey
“There is no way to win a war that is not in your interests,”said Lt. Gen. William E. Odom, a former director of the National Security Agency.
Poor Little Georgie must be screaming for TurdBlossom to take away their pensions.

Quote of the Day

“Are you saying that you might object to the court giving us decisions that you’ve publicly announced? Are we a little Alice in Wonderland here?”
Sen Patrick Leahy D-VT Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee responding to Abu Gonzales' attempt to go through the Looking Glass.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


From the Jim Lehrer interview with Our Dear Embattled Leader, with a hat tip to Froomkin.
MR. LEHRER: But when - but when, Mr. President, does the skepticism and the criticism become so heavy and so prevalent that it becomes a factor? In other words, simply put, how in the world does any president of the United States run a war without the support of a majority of the American people and a majority of the Congress of the United States, no matter what the ins and outs are?

PRESIDENT BUSH: No, and no question about that. And that's why I'm having this interview with you.
And so, the name of BUSH became synonymous with failure throughout the known world.

Tom Toles today

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tuesday in Iraq

Not much new to report.
At least 70 people were killed at largely Shiite university in northeast Baghdad on Tuesday when a wave of explosions tore through a crowd of students and employees leaving the school’s main gate minutes after classes ended....At least 169 people were injured by the blasts, according to an Interior Ministry official....

....In Binouk, another Shiite area in northeast Baghdad, gunmen opened fire on Tuesday in crowded shopping area, killing 12 people and injuring another dozen. In Sadr City, a car bomb in a minibus killed at least six people.

At least 15 more people died and 70 were wounded by a pair of bombs in central Baghdad, not far from a Sunni mosque, Interior Ministry officials said. The mosque was not believed to be the target.

And two members of an elite police bomb-disposal unit and two civilians were killed in the Karada neighborhood when a bomb that the officers were trying to defuse exploded.

Meanwhile, the American military announced Tuesday that four soldiers were killed on Monday by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Nineveh province in northern Iraq.
Count them and bag them, it's business as usual.

Republicans would not attack a good customer

So Iran does not have to worry about being attacked by the US. If we did, we would have to forego all those lucrative arms deals we don't seem to know we are making with Iran.
Federal investigators are increasingly anxious that Iran is within easy reach of a top priority on its shopping list: parts for the precious fleet of F-14 “Tomcat” fighter jets the United States let Iran buy in the 1970s when it was an ally.

In one case, convicted middlemen for Iran bought Tomcat parts from the Defense Department’s surplus division. Customs agents confiscated them and returned them to the Pentagon, which sold them again — customs evidence tags still attached — to another buyer, a suspected broker for Iran.

That incident appalled even an expert on weaknesses in Pentagon surplus security controls.
The Republicans are just a bunch of shopkeepers with a shelf full of stuff that "just fell off a truck" and their thumb on the scale.

Lou Dobbs lets you answer the question

Do you support the addition of 21,000 troops to our forces in Iraq?
Go here and let him know your answer.

Monday, January 15, 2007

It's not rocket science

300 years ago, an English hangman established the proper lengths of the drop for the various weights of the condemned. For a modern day hangman to misjudge the length of the drop and rip off someones head, he has to be pretty stupid or mean as a snake.

Quote of the Day

"This is an existential conflict,"
Crazy Dick Cheney, disclosing the fact the he read the books for Our Dear Leader this summer.

Michael Ledeen is still dead

And don't be fooled by the interview on Salon. This is not one that was done earlier and posted posthumously, the answers were obviously given posthumously. No living creature could be this stupid. Go ahead, see for yourself.

On the ground, in Baghdad

The Guardian has a report from the Sunni side of the civil war in Iraq. It is a MUST READ for anyone who want to know what is happening in Baghdad.

And now we get to the details

Without which every grand plan would be a smashing success. And the NY Times is reporting that the details of Our Dear Leader's grand plan to extend the war in Iraq until he leaves office are a truly troublesome area. And the source appears to be the difference in the ultimate goals of the Iraqis and the Americans.
First among the American concerns is a Shiite-led government that has been so dogmatic in its attitude that the Americans worry that they will be frustrated in their aim of cracking down equally on Shiite and Sunni extremists, a strategy President Bush has declared central to the plan.

“We are implementing a strategy to embolden a government that is actually part of the problem,” said an American military official in Baghdad involved in talks over the plan. “We are being played like a pawn.”....

....It remains unclear whether the prime minister will be in overall charge of the new crackdown, a demand the Iraqis have pressed since the plan was first discussed last month, American officials said. They said days of argument had led to a compromise under which General Qanbar would answer to a so-called crisis counsel, made up of Mr. Maliki, the ministers of defense and interior, Iraqi national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, and the top American military commander in Iraq.

The Americans said that while they had reluctantly accepted General Qanbar, they had won concessions from the Iraqis in the appointment of two officers favored by the American command for the two deputy Iraqi commanders, one for the areas of Baghdad west of the Tigris River, the other for districts to the east.

Still, the new command structure seemed rife with potential for conflict. An American military official said that the arrangements appeared unwieldy, and at odds with military doctrine calling for a clear chain of command. “There’s no military definition for ‘partnered,’ ” he said.
And all this overlays the usual planning of strategy, tactics and logistics involving two separate military organizations. No doubt there will be many intelligent hard working people trying to solve these problems, but it is hard to play against a stacked deck.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

And this is how the Texas Strategy works

Straight from McClatchy, with thanks to the Daily Kos, we get a look at how Our Dear Embattled Leader and his evil Vizier Crazy Dick ran this scam on Congress and the American public.
Beginning in 2002, the administration's case for a pre-emptive war in Iraq was plagued by similar oversights, oversimplifications, misjudgments and misinformation. Unlike the administration's claims about the Samarra bombing, however, much of that information was peddled by Iraqi exiles and defectors and accepted by some eager officials and journalists.

The best known of those pre-war claims was that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program - Bush's primary stated reason for invading Iraq.

Administration officials and their allies also claimed that Saddam had trained terrorists to hijack airplanes; that a Saddam emissary had met with lead Sept. 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta in Prague; that Iraq had purchased aluminum tubes that could be used only to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons; that Iraq had attempted to buy uranium from the African country of Niger; that Iraqis would greet American troops as liberators; and that Iraqi oil revenues would cover most of the cost of the war.

The administration has continued to offer inaccurate information to Congress, the American people and sometimes to itself. The Iraq Study Group, in its December report, concluded, for example, that the U.S. military was systematically under-reporting the violence in Iraq in an effort to disguise policy failings. The group recommended that the military change its reporting system.

Whether many of the administration's statements about Iraq for nearly five years have been deliberately misleading or honest but gullible mistakes hasn't been determined. The Senate Intelligence Committee has yet to complete an investigation into the issue that was begun but stalled when Republicans controlled the committee.
Had there been a few more journalists like the folks at Knight-Ridder/McClatchy that last point could have been answered by now.

Krugman hits a home run

By the simple process of showing that Our Dear Leader does talk to his family, "Silverado Neil" at least.
Mr. Bush isn’t Roger Staubach, trying to pull out a win for the Dallas Cowboys. He’s Charles Keating, using other people’s money to keep Lincoln Savings going long after it should have been shut down — and squandering the life savings of thousands of investors, not to mention billions in taxpayer dollars, along the way.

The parallel is actually quite exact. During the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s, people like Mr. Keating kept failed banks going by faking financial success. Mr. Bush has kept a failed war going by faking military success.

The “surge” is just another stalling tactic, designed to buy more time.

Oh, and one of the favorite techniques used by the owners of savings and loan associations to generate phony profits — it involved making high-interest loans to crooked or flaky real estate developers — came to be known as the “Texas strategy.
Baffle them with bullshit until you can make your getaway.

I discover my Inner Frenchman

You Belong in Paris

You enjoy all that life has to offer, and you can appreciate the fine tastes and sites of Paris.
You're the perfect person to wander the streets of Paris aimlessly, enjoying architecture and a crepe.
What European City Do You Belong In?

Michael Ledeen - R I P

We have learned today that Michael Ledeen, well known neo-con, presidential advisor and father of Simone Ledeen, successful CPA director of something or other, has passed away. Confirmation of the rumor comes from his obituary.
According to a confidential source, Michael Ledeen, Pajamas Media's supreme pundit, is dead. Apparently he was not well for some time. I have not been able to get any independent confirmation of what my source is telling me, but I have decided to go ahead with this story anyway because, after all, that is what Ledeen would have wanted me to do.(Read More)

This is your legacy, George - Part 4

For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. Hosea 8:7

From Newsweek comes this article on the first fruits of what Our Dear Leader and the evil Vizier Cheney have sown.
Ammar is 17 years old. A tall, thin boy with a beard just starting up, he has already seen far more of the dark side of life than anyone really should. As the grisly toll of Baghdad's death squads spiked last fall, he helped out in the room at his local mosque where bodies are ritually washed before they are buried. Some corpses had been burned with chemicals. Limbs had been cut off, eyes torn out. One day at the beginning of November, a neighbor of Ammar's, a college student and fellow Sunni, disappeared at an impromptu checkpoint set up by the Mahdi Army. When the neighbor's body finally turned up at the mosque for burial, Ammar saw that he had been beheaded. (He recognized his friend from the clothing.) "I ran into the garden and threw up," Ammar says. Then he vowed revenge.

Sectarian warfare is reshaping Iraq in all sorts of malevolent ways day in and day out. But it is also forging the future by poisoning the next generation of Iraqis.
They may just be kids today, but they will grow up and they will remember. Nice job, George! This is your Iraqi "No Child Left Behind".

Behold! The Emperor George

It truly lacks a regal ring to it but it does describe the efforts Our Dear Leader, Crazy Dick Cheney and Wormtongue Addington to draw all power to the Oval Office. Dahlia Lithwick has a good exposition of this most unAmerican Republican value as practiced by the evil trio.
But Guantanamo Bay stays open for the same reason that Padilla stays on trial. Having claimed the right to label enemy combatants and detain them indefinitely without charges, the Bush administration cannot retreat from that position without ceding ground. The president is as much a prisoner of Guantanamo Bay as the detainees are. Having gone nose to nose with Congress over his authority to craft stripped-down courts, guaranteed to produce guilty verdicts, Bush cannot call off the trials. The endgame in the war against terrorism isn't holding the line against terrorists. It's holding the line on hard-fought claims to limitless presidential authority.
And all of this is being done in our name, but for their benefit. Guantanamo would be too nice a place for these three.

Still delusional after all these years.

"Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude,"
George Walter Bush in his 60 Minutes interview to air 1/14/07

In the meantime it was a slow day in Iraq,
In Baghdad Saturday, police patrols discovered 37 bodies, all of the victims middle-aged men apparently killed by gunfire. Some of the bodies showed signs of torture. In southeast Baghdad, a woman was killed by a mortar round.

In the southern Iraqi town of Samawa, police said that gunmen killed three brothers, and that the charred body of an Egyptian employee of the municipal government was discovered in a trash bin.

Three mutilated corpses were discovered in the southern city of Kut, among them that of a beheaded Iraqi soldier. Kut morgue officials also reported that a police officer was killed while traveling home from work.

Gunmen in Samarra, north of Baghdad, killed a prominent Sunni Arab cleric and political party operative in front of his house, and in a separate incident a policeman was shot to death.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Pity the poor New York Times

The Sunday NY Times has Frank Rich describing in awful detail the total failure of Our Dear Leader in Iraq. And it has an editorial that lays out a desperate but possible course of action to salvage something from the horror that has been inflicted on that poor savaged country. And both miss the central point of this tragedy.

Our Dear Embattled Leader's cowardice has driven him into a spider hole in his mind that sees only one way out.


And so, many more will die until then because there is no leader to step forward and break his fear addled grip on the wheel

Quote of the Day

I also want to say something about my longtime friend, Senator McCain's comments when he was talking about the consequences of pulling out of Iraq and in your statement, Secretary Gates, you list some of these as an emboldened and strengthened Iran, a base of operations for jihadist networks in the heart of the Middle East, an undermining of the credibility of the United States. In many ways, quite frankly, those have been the results of the invasion and occupation. There's really nothing that's occurred since the invasion and occupation that was not predictable and in fact, most of it was predicted. It was predicted in many cases by people with long backgrounds in national security...and in many cases there were people who saw their military careers destroyed and who were personally demeaned by people who opposed them on the issues, including members of this administration. And they are people in my judgement, who will be remembered in history as having had a moral conscience.
Sen Jim Webb D-VA, with thanks to Daily Kos for posting it first.

Rummy's Legacy

It is neither confined to the slow destruction of the US military in Iraq nor limited to that fantastic resort for unwanted brown people at Guantanamo. At the urging of Rummy the Pentagon has decided it too can issue National Security Letters to rummage through your records if they say you are a bad guy. And not to be left out, the CIA is joining in the game.
The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.

The C.I.A. has also been issuing what are known as national security letters to gain access to financial records from American companies, though it has done so only rarely, intelligence officials say.

Banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions receiving the letters usually have turned over documents voluntarily, allowing investigators to examine the financial assets and transactions of American military personnel and civilians, officials say.
The FBI is naturally upset at this poaching on its turf but since few people had the clout of Rummy in DC they have had to put up with it. But have no fear, except when they tell you to, of course.
Usually, the financial documents collected through the letters do not establish any links to espionage or terrorism and have seldom led to criminal charges, military officials say. Instead, the letters often help eliminate suspects.

“We may find out this person has unexplained wealth for reasons that have nothing to do with being a spy, in which case we’re out of it,” said Thomas A. Gandy, a senior Army counterintelligence official.
Isn't that special! And when they are done with your records?
But even when the initial suspicions are unproven, the documents have intelligence value, military officials say. In the next year, they plan to incorporate the records into a database at the Counterintelligence Field Activity office at the Pentagon to track possible threats against the military, Pentagon officials said. Like others interviewed, they would speak only on the condition of anonymity....Even when a case is closed, military officials said they generally maintain the records for years because they may be relevant to future intelligence inquiries. Officials at the Pentagon’s counterintelligence unit say they plan to incorporate those records into a database, called Portico, on intelligence leads. The financial documents will not be widely disseminated, but limited to investigators, an intelligence official said.
Just because someone didn't do it, you never know when they will do it.

This is curious

From the LA Times:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has filled the top military job in Baghdad with a virtually unknown officer chosen over the objections of U.S. and Iraqi military commanders, officials from both governments said.

Iraqi political figures said Friday that Maliki also had failed to consult the leaders of other political factions before announcing the appointment of Lt. Gen. Abud Qanbar....

...."It's a delicate situation," said Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish lawmaker who questioned the choice of Qanbar. "It's very dangerous if it turns out that he has affiliations," he said, naming Maliki's political party and the anti-American Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr.
So Maliki has his own man in the top job and nobody knows much about him. That shouldn't bother Our Dear Leader but it might be a concern to those with a stake in what happens in Iraq.
Qanbar, a commander in the navy during Saddam Hussein's reign, has not worked with American military officials, who say they know little about him other than that he hails from Amarah, a city in Iraq's Shiite-dominated south, and that he was taken prisoner by American forces near Kuwait during the 1991 Persian Gulf War....

....The appointment of Qanbar comes as the U.S. military is debating whether to attack Sadr City. As the Iraqi commander, Qanbar could have advance knowledge of U.S. operations. He would command 18 brigades of Iraqi forces that are supposed to be deployed to work with the Americans.
Yup, that should work, don't see any problems here.

"Office wife" should stick to polishing the pipes

And not try to defend the indefensible, because she just can't do it. The vast wrong wing noise machine has been blasting Sen Boxer for her impertinence in noticing the barren nature of Condi's loins, which so well matches the barrenness of her policy statements. As Brad Blog points out this is to distract from the real news of that encounter.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER: Do you have an estimate of the number of casualties we expect from this surge?

SEC. CONDOLEEZA RICE: No, uh, Senator...I don't think there's any way to give you such an estimate.

BOXER: Has the President, because he said 'expect more sacrifice', he must know...

RICE: Senator, I don't think that any of us, uh, have a number. That, of expected casualties. I think that people understand there is going to be violence for some time in Iraq. And that there will be more casualties and...Let me just say, you know, I fully understand the sacrifice that the American people are making and especially the sacrifice that our soldiers are making. Men and women in uniform. I...I visit them. I know what they're going through. I talk to their families. I see it. (pause) I could never...and I can never do anything to replace any of those, uh, lost, uh, men and women in uniform. Or the diplomats...

BOXER: Madame Secretary, if you please...I know you feel terrible about it. That's not the point. I was making the point as to who pays the price for your decisions. And the fact that this administration would move forward with this escalation with no clue as to the further price that we're gonna pay militarily. We certainly know the numbers. Billions of dollars that we can't spend here in this country. I find really appalling that there's not even enough time taken to figure out what the casualties would be. Thank you very much.

RICE: Senator, I think it would be highly unlikely for the military to tell the President 'We expect X number of casualties because of this augmentation of the forces' ...and again, let me just say, the President sees this as an effort to help the Iraqis with an urgent task, so that the sectarian violence in Baghdad does not outrun the political process and make it impossible to have the kind of national reconciliation that we all want to see there.[my emphasis]
As Brad rightly points out, the estimates of casualties would be high on the list of planning priorities for the planned escalation. The business of the military entails casualties on both sides and not planning for their succor and replacement would be the grossest negligence, worthy of the White House, not the Pentagon. What Condom was probably telling us was that Crazy Dick Cheney kept the estimates away from Our Dear Leader so he wouldn't break into a grin when he spoke of sacrifice.

Why do they hate America?

The NY Times has a disturbing piece on another Bushovik attack of the foundations of American justice. This time attacking lawyers for their pro bono legal work on behalf of the legal rights of those that the Bushoviks don't like.
The senior Pentagon official in charge of military detainees suspected of terrorism said in an interview this week that he was dismayed that lawyers at many of the nation’s top firms were representing prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and that the firms’ corporate clients should consider ending their business ties.

The comments by Charles D. Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, produced an instant torrent of anger from lawyers, legal ethics specialists and bar association officials, who said Friday that his comments were repellent and displayed an ignorance of the duties of lawyers to represent people in legal trouble.
The White House and AG "Abu" Gonzalez have tut-tutted his remarks but there will be no action taken against Stimson for making these reprehensible remarks. Indeed, we expect he will be rewarded for opening a new avenue of attack on American values. Sadly, he is another marker for the depths of infiltration into and the corruption of good government by Our Dear Leader and his evil minions.

The Voice of the People

Via Froomkin:
"'What I don't understand is who the president is listening to. If vets, military brass, the Baker committee, the international community and now most voters say it's time to get out, then in my view it's time to get out.'"
[Rocco] Polidoro, a lifelong Republican who, like a majority in his Republican district, voted for an antiwar Democrat in the last election.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Go sign up now

Sign on here

Under the thin gauze of "bipartisanship"

The true character, or rather lack of character, of Joe Lieberman is shining forth as the lights go up on the 110th Congress. Along with howling for the blood of American servicemen with his best bud Bloody John McCain, he has now announced that he will let Our Dear Leader escape accountability for government failures in Loiusiana and Mississippi.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, the only Democrat to endorse President Bush’s new plan for Iraq, has quietly backed away from his pre-election demands that the White House turn over potentially embarrassing documents relating to its handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans.....

.....Last year, when he was running for re-election in Connecticut, Lieberman was a vocal critic of the administration’s handling of Katrina. He was especially dismayed by its failure to turn over key records that could have shed light on internal White House deliberations about the hurricane, including those involving President Bush.
Judas Joe has his nose so far up Our Dear Leader's ass that if Joe catches a cold, George sneezes.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The source

With the Pentagon saying that it can only scrape up about 20,000 more troops for Iraq, the AP gives us one of their sources.
The day after President Bush announced his plan for a deeper U.S. military commitment in Iraq, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters the change in reserve policy would have been made anyway because active-duty troops already were getting too little time between their combat tours....Until now, the Pentagon's policy on the Guard or Reserve was that members' cumulative time on active duty for the Iraq or Afghan wars could not exceed 24 months. That cumulative limit is now lifted; the remaining limit is on the length of any single mobilization, which may not exceed 24 consecutive months, Pace said.
So having robbed all it can from Peter, the Pentagon will now rob Paul to pay Paul.

Great legacy you got there Georgie Boy!

Our Dear Embattled Leader speaks

And having spoken the judgement is:
President Bush told Americans last night that failure in Iraq would be a disaster. The disaster is Mr. Bush’s war, and he has already failed.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bush's speech - Condensed version

While the details of Our Dear Befuddled Leader's speech have been released by the White House today, they have held back the choice bits for ODBL himself to pronounce to the public. With a little bit of legerdemain I have been able to get a portion of the summation.
And so it was that during the course of Bre'r George's encounter with the Tar Country, Bre'r George had let his anger get the best of him and had struck out at the Tar Country. First with his right hand which became deeply embedded in the Tar Country. When the Tar Country would not obey his demand that it let go, Bre'r George struck out with his left hand, which also became deeply embedded in the Tar Country. Now this made Bre'r George even angrier and he demanded with all his might that the Tar Country let go.But the Tar Country would not let go. And Bre'r George warned him that something terrible would happen. But the Tar Country did not move. And so Bre'r George reared back with all his might and let loose a mighty kick with his right foot. Which became deeply embedded in the Tar Country. And the Tar Country would not let go. Now, Bre'r George knew he had to try something different, but what? And he thought and he thought until he smelled smoke and then a thought struck him like a thunderclap! "I know exactly what I will do to get me loose of this mean old Tar Country" said Bre'r George. "I will talk to him and when he isn't looking, I will wind up and give him a bombastic kick with my left foot. That will make him let me go". And as Bre'r George prepared
That is all that I could get. If you want to hear the rest of it you will have to watch the speech yourself.

Tom Toles Today

Don't we wish! But you know that peckerwood has a pocket full of quarters.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Friends 'til indictment do us part.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Schorr and Oliphant

This should be worth an extra star

Regardless of the result. This being the keen analytical mind of Lt Gen Odierno, the new American operational commander in Iraq. Showcasing his quickness in understanding the central point of a problem, the general stated
that even with the additional American troops likely to be deployed in Baghdad under President Bush’s new war strategy it might take another “two or three years” for American and Iraqi forces to gain the upper hand in the war.
Which would nicely fit Our Dear Embattled Leader's timetable for giving the whole mess to his successor. And to show the same steely grasp of reality that his Commander In Chief he also atated
“I believe the American people, if they feel we are making progress, they will have the patience,” he said. But right now, he added, “I think the frustration is that they think we are not making progress.”
It's too bad that ODEL only has 2 years left, this guy could be a real good JCS chairman.

A message from Speaker Pelosi's District

From the Portland Independent Media Center
January 6, 2007 -- Over 1000 people gathered in Nancy Pelosi's district, on Ocean Beach in San Francisco, to spell out the message "IMPEACH!" "America is a great country," said event organizer Brad Newsham, a local cab driver and author. "But President Bush has betrayed our faith. He mislead us into a disastrous war, and is trampling on our Constitution. He has to go. Now. I hope Nancy Pelosi is listening today."

A majority of Americans share Newsham's sentiments. A 2006 Zogby poll found that 52% of Americans agreed with the statement: "If President Bush wiretapped American citizens without the approval of a judge, do you agree or disagree that Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment?"

Sunday, January 07, 2007

This is your legacy George - Part 3

THE NEW YEAR brought with it the 3,000th American death in Iraq. But what's equally alarming — and far less well known — is that for every fatality in Iraq, there are 16 injuries. That's an unprecedented casualty level. In the Vietnam and Korean wars, by contrast, there were fewer than three people wounded for each fatality. In World Wars I and II, there were less than two.....So far, more than 200,000 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have been treated at VA medical facilities — three times what the VA projected, according to a Government Accountability Office analysis. More than one-third of them have been diagnosed with mental health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, acute depression and substance abuse. Thousands more have crippling disabilities such as brain or spinal injuries. In each of the last two years, the VA has underestimated the number of veterans who would seek help and the cost of treating them — forcing it to go cap in hand to Congress for billions of dollars in emergency funding.....At the same time, wounded veterans trying to obtain disability checks are being tied up in a bureaucratic nightmare. The Veterans Benefits Administration has a backlog of 400,000 pending claims — and rising. Veterans must wait from six months to two years to begin receiving the money that is due to them while the agency plods through paperwork. The staff eventually helps veterans secure 88% of the benefits they ask for — but in the interim, thousands of veterans with disabilities are left to fend for themselves.
I don't think History needs to wait to get a good read on your legacy, Georgie Boy.

Incurious George Learns A New Word

And that word is VETO. After 6 years of not getting anything he didn't want from his pliable majority of Republican stooges in Congress, Our Dear Leader is about to face a Congress that intends to pass legislation that favors Americans instead of corporations. Now this is entirely unacceptable to Odious Dear Leader so he will no doubt be forced to do something he only did once in his first glorious 6 years, veto bills that reach his desk. No doubt ODL will think himself a good boy for doing so, but in the end he will just create a deeper cloud over congressional Republicans. Which is just fine with me because we can then replace them more easily in '08 or they will help the override votes to save their free rides. It should be a very interesting year.


He's alive!

Spocko's Brain

How bad can it be?

When you lose the "Do anything for a cocktail weinie" crowd, you have to know that you are backing a losing horse. Such is the case now that George Will AND David Brooks have come out against escalation in Iraq. Editor & Publisher has the details. Still, before anyone gets their hopes up we must remember that Our Dear Leader and Resident Jackass has promised as far back as the 2004 election campaign that he will leave the mess to his successor. And ODL&RJ is a man of his word. So the outlook is not good.

Quote of the Day

"I think Utah is like the canary in the coal mine for Bush. If he loses Utah, the state that has been most steadfast in supporting him, he has to know it can't get much lower."
Kirk Jowers, director of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics, commenting on poll showing only 41% in Utah support Bush on Iraq.

Another day, another 71 bodies

As the Iraqi "government" cranks up its assualt on insurgents, beginning in the Sunni areas naturally, another grisly harvest was picked up in Baghdad.
Maliki's speech, to commemorate Iraqi Army Day, took place on a day when at least 71 corpses were found in the streets of Baghdad, one of the largest such discoveries in a civil war in which scores of bodies turn up daily.

Most of the victims had been bound, blindfolded, tortured and executed with gunshots to the chest or head. Twenty-seven of the bodies were found near the Sheik Omar cemetery, a Sunni Arab burial ground in downtown Baghdad. Some of the victims had been strangled.

Many of the dead were presumed to be the victims of Shiite death squads, police sources said.
Seems like someone else is surging ahead of Our Dear Leader's Important Policy Speech.

Pelosi shows her grit

On "Face The Nation" today Nancy Pelosi showed that she has been listening to the vast majority of Americans who are tired of reinforcing Bush's failure in Iraq. Without tipping her hand, she made it clear that Our Dear Leader's constant demands for more money without any accounting for it are over and done with.
"If the president chooses to escalate the war, in his budget request, we want to see a distinction between what is there to support the troops who are there now," she said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

"The American people and the Congress support those troops. We will not abandon them. But if the president wants to add to this mission, he is going to have to justify it and this is new for him because up until now the Republican Congress has given him a blank check with no oversight, no standards, no conditions," said Pelosi, D-Calif.
At the same time, Sen. Joseph " Joe Plugs" Biden attempted to undercut the upstart Speaker of the House by saying "Biden, D-Del., said cutting off funds was not an option." But you really have to have your head deeply buried in the sand or elsewhere to miss the need for what Pelosi is recommending.
"This war cost a trillion dollars if it ended now," Pelosi said. "But more important than that, the lives lost, the casualties sustained, the lost reputation in the world, and the damage to our military readiness. For these and other reasons we have to say to the president, in your speech ... we want to see a plan in a new direction because the direction you've been taking us in has not been successful.

"So when the bill comes ... it will receive the harshest scrutiny. What do we really need to protect our troops? What is there for an escalation? What is the justification for that?"
About time somebody asked that question.

Ben Stein looks out for his money

And yours too, if you have any in the stock market. This week he picks on poor little corporate management burdened by the onerous demands of Sarbanes-Oxley, which demands that they conduct their businesses openly and honestly. It seems that Ben is a little upset that corporations were being forced to "register and do their initial public stock offerings in Europe" and "was supposedly too strict in requiring audits of internal controls". All of which brings Ben to the point of his outrage.
What’s more amazing is that anyone is even thinking of rolling back corporate controls to make life richer for Wall Street.

The Street just finished paying out tens of billions in bonuses — even as the Army and Marines are so starved for money that untrained soldiers are sent to Iraq because there is not enough equipment to properly train them first.

There is an acute shortage of Ferraris because of those bonuses, and there is a long waiting list for Lürssen yachts. But somehow, we are supposed to feel bad for Wall Street and for the class that has wrought so much mischief at the corporate helm, most recently with backdating.

But no committees of powerful corporate leaders and academicians are at work computing the moral and mortal costs of starving the Army and Marines of the equipment and training they need to do their jobs with minimal loss of life. What a world — where smart people worry about helping those suffering from a shortage of Ferraris, but hardly anyone outside the Pentagon notices the shortage of lifesaving equipment for the soldiers fighting our wars.
Now Ben does not actually continue to the logical end of taxing these corporate swine to the max, but he does do a good job of illustrating just how out of whack Wall St has become in relation to the rest of the US and the world. But sadly, even Ben doesn't have a solution.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

One womans memorial

Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times

Caren Crootof updated the total on Thursday for her field of flags in Middle Grove, N.Y., which honors American soldiers who have been killed in Iraq.

From afar, the flags look like clumsily painted dots, an amateur installation of elusive meaning. A closer look yields a clue: a laminated sign with bold black numbers that match the number of flags on the field, numbers that climb almost by the day.

On Sunday, there were 3,000 yellow flags on the ground. By Thursday, five more.

“Just imagine if instead of flags, there were soldiers standing here,” Caren Crootof said as she walked across the field, replacing flags torn or toppled by rain and wind.

This is your legacy, George - Part 2

On a hot morning two summers ago, 34 children were killed here in a flash of smoke and metal. They were scooping up candy thrown from an American Humvee. The suicide bomber’s truck never slowed down....

....Life became empty and quiet for the children who were left. Adel Ali, 12, lost four of his best friends, most of his small soccer team and his entire bicycle-racing brigade. They had all shared a surge of happiness in the form of a birthday cake with candles, a first for most of the children, just days before the explosion. The experience was recorded in a grainy photograph of nine little boys making monkey faces. All but two are dead....

....Mr. Yaseen is haunted by the helplessness he felt that morning when he found his younger son, Ali, still alive. He was badly burned and missing his feet.

“I said to myself — two feet, it is nothing,” he said. But within several hours the child was dead.

“I did not have the ability to do anything for him,” Mr. Yaseen said. “To save him.”
You're doing a heckuva job, Georgie!

Li'l Georgie's defense of Gov't reading of your mail

You can read it here.

Sen Leahy D-VT, introduces Bill To Combat War Profiteering

Read about it here and call on your Congressmoop to support it. Remember, those are your tax dollars being stolen, Halliburton and Exxon got all the tax cuts.

Desperate or incompetent?

You be the judge as you consider this bit of bungling.
The Army said Friday it would apologize to the families of about 275 officers killed or wounded in action who were mistakenly sent letters urging them to return to active duty.

The letters were sent a few days after Christmas to more than 5,100 Army officers who had recently left the service. Included were letters to about 75 officers killed in action and about 200 wounded in action.
Perhaps Our Dear Leader was going to ask his Higher Father to resurrerect them.

Another voice cries out against escalation

This time it is Joe Galloway, long time Knight-Ridder, now McClatchy, military correspondent and one very familiar with the waste of war.
George W. Bush believes that he can buy another couple of years of violent stalemate so he can hand off the disaster to whoever succeeds him in the White House on January 20, 2009.

How many more Americans and Iraqis must die to ensure that Bush’s parting words as he retreats to Crawford, Texas, will be: I never cut and ran. I stood tall. I kept America safe.

The problem with that scenario is that it, like all the others drawn by George Bush and Dick Cheney, is far too rosy. The way forward in Iraq is a spiral toward an even bloodier future, and the real decisions are the Iraqis', not George Bush’s.

It’s too little, too late, Mr. President.
But Georgie won't listen because it is not what he wants to hear. And what are a few more casualties? They aren't his family or friends.

A blast from the past.

Though it is 'ancient history' and will not prevent Rummy from enjoying hil ill-gotten gains, Chris Floyd provides us with another look at the Rumster's checkered past.
In 1998, Rumsfeld was citizen chairman of the Congressional Ballistic Missile Threat Commission, charged with reducing nuclear proliferation. Rumsfeld and the Republican-heavy commission came down hard on the deal Bill Clinton had brokered with North Korea to avert a war in 1994: Pyongyang would give up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for normalized relations with the United States, plus the construction of two non-weaponized nuclear plants to generate electricity. The plants were to be built by an international consortium of government-backed business interests called KEDO.

Rum deal, said Rummy: those nasty Northies would surely turn the peaceful nukes to nefarious ends. What's more, even the most innocuous nuclear plant generates mounds of radioactive waste that could be made into "dirty bombs"--hand-carried weapons capable of killing thousands of people. The agreement was big bad juju that threatened the whole world, Rumsfeld declared.

Of course, that didn't prevent him from trying to profit from it. Even while he chairing commission meetings on the "dire threat" posed by the Korean program, Rumsfeld was junketing to Zurich for board meetings of the Swiss-based energy technology giant, ABB, where he was a top director. And what was ABB doing at the time? Why, negotiating that $200 million deal with North Korea to provide equipment and services for the KEDO nuclear reactors, of course!
This is certainly in keeping with the character of the man who delivered US chemical and biological weapons to Saddam for field testing.

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