Saturday, September 30, 2006

When Republicans come out to play

It sure is fun to watch. The latest contretemps amongst the GOP is spawned by the Foley Affair and questions about who knew what and when. It looks like Fat Denny is finished as Speaker, even if the Republicans could retain control of the House. And firing the shots is Tom Reynolds who is most unwilling to take the fall for the coverup that protected Foley.
With his statement, Reynolds, who is locked in a difficult reelection campaign, signaled he was unwilling to take the fall alone amid partisan attacks that were becoming increasingly vituperative. The Democratic National Committee yesterday issued a statement asking "Why Did Tom Reynolds Cover Up Congressman's Sex Crimes?" It continued: "While the shocking [online] exchanges produced an immediate uproar that cost Congressman Foley his job, at least one member of the House Republican leadership had known about the situation for months and did nothing about it: . . . Reynolds."

Republican insiders said Reynolds spoke out because he was angry that Hastert appeared willing to let him take the blame for the party leadership's silence.

A House GOP leadership aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job, said that Reynolds realizes he has taken a shot at his leader but that it is understandable.

"This is what happens when one member tries to throw another member under a bus," the aide said.
Fat Denny forgot that when you have to throw someone under the bus, you have to ask for volunteers first.

If you were surprised by the latest NIE

Or maybe you were shocked by the new Woodward book. If that is so, then you should pull your head out of that dark place you keep it and let Frank Rich explain the last few years to you.
The supposedly shocking key finding in the N.I.E. — that the Iraq war is a boon to terrorism — isn’t remotely news. It first turned up in a classified C.I.A. report leaked to the press in June 2005. It’s also long been visible to the naked eye. The latest New York Times/CBS News poll, conducted before any revelations from the N.I.E., found that nearly half the country believes that the Iraq war is increasing the terrorist threat against America and only 12 percent thinks the war is decreasing that threat. Americans don’t have to pore over leaked intelligence documents to learn this. They just have to turn on the television.

Tonight on “60 Minutes,” Bob Woodward will spill another supposedly shocking intelligence finding revealed in his new book: a secret government prediction that the insurgency will grow worse next year. Who’d have thunk it? Given that the insurgency is growing worse every day right now — last week suicide bombings hit a record high in Baghdad — the real surprise would be if the government predicted an armistice. A poll released last week by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland found that about 6 in 10 Iraqis approved of attacks on American forces. Tardy investigative reporting is hardly needed to figure out that the insurgency is thriving.
Remember in November.

Are you a Republican?

Larry Johnson has the straight skinny on how to tell if you are a true member of the Gang Of Perverts. You can find it here.

Question of the Day

For all your Republican congressmoops. How long have you known that Rep. Foley R-Pedophelia was a pervert? And who did you tell and what did you do? OK so it's 3 questions but when you read about it here and here and here and here you will want an answer if your anger doesn't get to you first.

UPDATE: The Republican leadership is in full spin mode on their coverup. Remember, they knew about this last year, I really and truly doubt they would have been so slow if Foley was on the other side of the aisle.

They lie every time they open their mouths

In the Washington Post tomorrow will be a major report from Bob Woodward with exceprts from his new book. From the top we will see how much they have lied to the American public.
In May, President Bush spoke in Chicago and gave a characteristically upbeat forecast: "Years from now, people will look back on the formation of a unity government in Iraq as a decisive moment in the story of liberty, a moment when freedom gained a firm foothold in the Middle East and the forces of terror began their long retreat."

Two days later, the intelligence division of the Joint Chiefs of Staff circulated a secret intelligence assessment to the White House that contradicted the president's forecast.

Instead of a "long retreat," the report predicted a more violent 2007: "Insurgents and terrorists retain the resources and capabilities to sustain and even increase current level of violence through the next year."

A graph included in the assessment measured attacks from May 2003 to May 2006. It showed some significant dips, but the current number of attacks against U.S.-led coalition forces and Iraqi authorities was as high as it had ever been -- exceeding 3,500 a month. (In July the number would be over 4,500.) The assessment also included a pessimistic report on crude oil production, the delivery of electricity and political progress.

On May 26, the Pentagon released an unclassified report to Congress, required by law, that contradicted the Joint Chiefs' secret assessment. The public report sent to Congress said the "appeal and motivation for continued violent action will begin to wane in early 2007."
And don't forget to read the sidebar about the pre 9/11 meetings between Condi and Tenet and Cofer Black, just in case you still think Republicans are good on National Security.

Republicans end session in a blaze of...something.

Well there is the spectacular flameout of Rep. Foley R-Pedophilia. And there was their glorious victory over the Constitution with their White House backed Torture Enabling Act. And their keen oversight of the Iraq war. Why, they managed to overlook almost everything that happened! And who could forget the fabulous 700 mile wall to keep out brown people, not quite as big as that one in China but it's a start. And they even gave something to the little people, lower gas prices.
many Republican leaders believe tumbling gas prices could be their salvation. But even that benefit has drawbacks. Many Americans tell pollsters they believe that the drop was politically orchestrated to help Republicans in the election.
OK, so maybe all those flashes of brilliance were just the boys lighting farts in the cloak room, but they were from Republicans!

Quote of the Day

"Well, I didn't cut and run, Mr. President. Like so many others, I proudly fought and sacrificed. My helicopter was shot down long after you proclaimed 'mission accomplished.'"
Tammy Duckworth - Democratic candidate for Congress

Put Our Dear Embattled Leader where he belongs

You can buy your George W Bush Buttplug here. The rest is up to you.

Robert Fisk on Marwahin

In The Independent, Robert Fisk describes the people and events of a massacre in Lebanon. Just one day, just one event in that needless and bloody catastrophe for the Lebanese.
According to Mohamed's son Wissam, Ali - whose elderly mother Sabaha was sitting beside him in the front - turned to the children with the words: "Get out, all you children get out and the Israelis will realise we are civilians." The first two or three children had managed to climb out the back when the Israeli warship fired a shell that exploded in the cab of the pick-up, killing Ali and Sabaha instantly. "I had almost been able to jump from the vehicle -- my mother had told me to jump before the ship hit us," Wissam says. "But the pressure of the explosion blew me out when I had only one leg over the railing and I was wounded. There was blood everywhere."

Within a few seconds, Wissam says, an Israeli Apache helicopter arrived over the f vehicle, very low and hovering just above the children. "I saw Myrna still in the pick-up and she was crying and pleading for help. I went to get her and that's when the helicopter hit us. Its missile hit the back of the vehicle where all the children were and I couldn't hear anything because the blast had damaged my ears. Then the helicopter fired a rocket into the car behind the pick-up. But the pilot must have seen what he was doing. He could see we were mostly children. The pick-up didn't have a roof. All the children were crammed in the back and clearly visible."
But that was in July and to the Great Traveling Circus that is modern media's view of the world, ancient history. Perhaps these words from those that remain behind provide their only eulogy.
"If it is right that these people should be martyred in this way, well fine," Adel says to me. "If not, why did this crime take place? Why can't a country - a single country, your country - say that Israel was responsible for a war crime? But no, you are silent." A woman, watching Adel's anger, was more eloquent. "The problem," she said, "is that these poor people belonged to a country called Lebanon and our lives are worth nothing to anyone else. If this had happened in Israel - if all these children were Israeli and the Hizbollah had killed them all with a helicopter - the US president would travel to the cemetery each year for a memorial service and there would be war crimes trials and the world would denounce this crime. But no president is going to come to Marwahin. There will be no trials."

A soldiers view of Iraq

Kory Turnbow, Captain, Bravo Company, 116 Engineers Battalion, Idaho National Guard, gives his personal take on Our Dear Embattled Leader's Glorious Little War in Iraqistan. It is not a comforting picture and it does nothing to alter the conclusion of the NIE released this week. It does give some insight into what the Bushoviks mean by "Stay the Course".
My other big cause for concern at my level was never, and I repeat never, receiving a coherent mission or intent statement for Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to all the doctrine that I had been taught beginning in ROTC and continuing throughout my military career, a soldier needs two things to be able to do his job effectively. The first is a mission statement. This should be a short statement consisting of who, what, when, where, and perhaps most importantly, why we are doing what we are doing. The second thing is the commander’s intent. Essentially, this boils down to what the commander would like to see happen, and tells us his intended result. This helps clear the fog of war; lower-level commanders and soldiers can make decisions that will help further the commander’s intent, even if the mission becomes unworkable.

Every mission and intent statement I ever saw on this deployment was a huge Power Point slide dissertation written by someone with too much time on his hands. Not one meant anything to me as a commander, and I always tried to create a clear, concise mission statement for my troops during the various operations I sent them on. I don’t fault my commanders, nor the Division Commanders, or even the Theater Commanders. I believe that this problem went all the way to the top, with perhaps our Commander in Chief making it the clearest: “Stay the Course.” In hindsight, perhaps that’s what those Power Point slides were supposed to mean after all — nothing.
Marking time and losing troops is pretty much all ODEL has in mind until he leaves office in 2009. That's a heckuva policy, Georgie.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Legislative masturbation

What else can you call this bit of political self stimulation that ended this session of Congress with a splat.
The Senate gave final approval last night to legislation authorizing the construction of 700 miles of double-layered fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border, shelving President Bush's vision of a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration laws in favor of a vast barrier.

The measure was pushed hard by House Republican leaders, who badly wanted to pass a piece of legislation that would make good on their promises to get tough on illegal immigrants, despite warnings from critics that a multibillion-dollar fence would do little to address the underlying economic, social and law enforcement problems, or to prevent others from slipping across the border. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) surprised many advocates of a more comprehensive approach to immigration problems when he took up the House bill last week.
So now you can expect to say good bye to at least $6 billion of your tax dollars, more probably when KBR, Parsons and Bechtel are finished with it.

Another Republican display of their peculiar "Family Values"

And another Republican has resigned from his office in disgrace. This time it appears to be over a Congressional page boy. The details look bad and it would seem that the man in the know saw them as indefensible.
Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., resigned from Congress on Friday, effective immediately, in the wake of questions about e-mails he wrote a former teenage male page.

''I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent,'' he said in a statement issued by his office.

The two-sentence statement did not refer to the e-mails and gave no reason for Foley's abrupt decision to abandon a flourishing career in Congress.

Foley, 52, had been a shoo-in for a new term until the e-mail correspondence surfaced in recent days.
When you quit in the face of an easy win, how can others not think the worst. Even more so when the Moop in question touts his record of protecting kids from perverts.

Another Republican Value Victory.

Republicans show their true colors

In an editorial against another Republican giveaway, this time to real estate developers, the NY Times makes this accurate assessment of Republican principles.
The bill does a lot of things its supporters claim to abhor. House Republicans were elected on a commitment to states’ rights and local autonomy, and opposition to excessive litigation and meddling federal judges. It is remarkable how quickly they have pushed these principles aside to come to the aid of big developers.
The Republicans sure do have a lot of trouble walking the walk.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Republicans still eagerly supporting torture and defying the Constitution

But that is what Republicans do best these days. Today they were zealous in their resistence to amendments that would restore the rule of law to the White House Torture Bill being debated on the Senate floor. Who would ever have thought that Americans representatives would even consider torture, much less actively support it as the Republicans are doing today. This is what we get for electing a president whose grandfather actively supported Nazi Germany after Hitler declared war on the US. So get out the popcorn, lets see how low we can go.

UPDATE: It passed the Senate. Another proud victory for Republican anti-Americanism.

Taken without permission from Rising Hegemon because it says it all.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

New Gallup Poll finally puts Our Dear Embattled Leader over 50%

But I doubt that he will be happy with that result.
According to a recent Gallup Panel survey, the American public puts the primary blame on Bush rather than Clinton for the fact that bin Laden has not been captured. A majority of Americans say Bush is more to blame (53%), compared with 36% blaming Clinton.

America awakens from its long nightmare.

Iraqis aren't stupid, not like Republicans

Somebody is gathering data on public opinion in Iraq and while the outcome is within expectations, the reasoning is quite good.
A strong majority of Iraqis want U.S.-led military forces to immediately withdraw from the country, saying their swift departure would make Iraq more secure and decrease sectarian violence, according to new polls by the State Department and independent researchers.

In Baghdad, for example, nearly three-quarters of residents polled said they would feel safer if U.S. and other foreign forces left Iraq, with 65 percent of those asked favoring an immediate pullout, according to State Department polling results obtained by The Washington Post....

...."Majorities in all regions except Kurdish areas state that the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) should withdraw immediately, adding that the MNF-I's departure would make them feel safer and decrease violence,"
But Our Dear Embattled Leader says to push on.

Quote of the Day

President Bush wants voters to focus on how dangerous the world is, and not on his utter lack of ideas for what to do about it.
Thumbnail description of this NY Times editorial

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tom Toles Tuesday

A picture is worth a thousand NIE's

The Republican Values Agenda

I am posting the entire NY Times editorial because it says it all.
Where Congress Is Soft on Criminals

House sycophants of the National Rifle Association are aiming this week to hobble the federal government’s power to revoke the licenses of rogue gun dealers who arm the underworld. A shameless proposal would replace existing law with wrist-slapping penalties and an impossible definition of “willful intent” that would hamstring efforts to close lawless marketeers.

The rhetoric of the approaching debate will undoubtedly invoke sportsmen’s rights, but the real issue is the rights of sociopaths and terrorists to make future purchases at their friendly local AK-47 dealer. The House proposal, in fact, would have stopped federal agents from ever revoking the license of Lou’s Loans, the Pennsylvania dealer that sold battlefield weapons to one of the co-conspirators in the 1993 assault on the World Trade Center.

What makes this gun decontrol measure truly brazen is recent data from the Justice Department, which reported a startling jump of nearly 50 percent last year in gun crime victims, to 477,000. No one can yet say whether this is related to an earlier N.R.A. “victory” — the decision of the Bush administration and Republican leaders in Congress not to renew the 10-year-old ban on the sale of military assault weapons to civilians. Any analysis is hampered by another gun lobby “victory” — Congress’s barring the federal gun control agency from searching out criminal trends in its own records of weapon sales.

Without a hint of irony, the looming debate is showcased as part of the Republican majority’s “American Values Agenda.”

Representative James Sensenbrenner, the Wisconsin Republican so alarmed of late about threats from the immigrant tide at the nation’s borders, shows no comparable concern about armed thugs shooting people in the inner cities. “Crybaby!” snarled Mr. Sensenbrenner in excoriating the mayor of Milwaukee for testifying on behalf of more, not less, gun control.
And if you want more details and other news on this topic, do pay a visit to The Gun Guys.

Monday, September 25, 2006

More Republican love for the troops.

As you read the article, remember that the soldiers talked about in the article are serving because of a deep love of country and sense of duty. After reading it, I hope you also wonder why a Congress full of Republicans has no trace of those virtues.
The pressures that the conflict in Iraq is putting on the Army are apparent amid the towering pine trees of southeast Georgia, where the Third Infantry Division is preparing for the likelihood that it will go back to Iraq for a third tour.

Col. Tom James, who commands the division’s Second Brigade, acknowledged that his unit’s equipment levels had fallen so low that it now had no tanks or other armored vehicles to use in training and that his soldiers were rated as largely untrained in attack and defense.

The rest of the division, which helped lead the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and conducted the first probes into Baghdad, is moving back to full strength after many months of being a shell of its former self....

.....Other than the 17 brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan, only two or three combat brigades in the entire Army — perhaps 7,000 to 10,000 troops — are fully trained and sufficiently equipped to respond quickly to crises, said a senior Army general.

Most other units of the active-duty Army, which is growing to 42 brigades, are resting or being refitted at their home bases. But even that cycle, which is supposed to take two years, is being compressed to a year or less because of the need to prepare units quickly to return to Iraq.

After coming from Iraq in 2003, the Third Infantry Division was sent back in 2005. Then, within weeks of returning home last January, it was told by the Army that one of its four brigades had to be ready to go back again, this time in only 11 months. The three other brigades would have to be ready by mid-2007, Army planners said.

Yet almost all of the division’s equipment had been left in Iraq for their replacements, and thousands of its soldiers left the Army or were reassigned shortly after coming home, leaving the division largely hollow. Most senior officers were replaced in June.
Yessiree Bob! Those Republicans sure is good on nationable security! Now I do realize that when a war is going terribly wrong, the timeframes can be compressed but I do believe that the men of the Third should probably thank their lucky stars that they are not using wooden machine guns and flour sacks for bombs in training.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

And now they debate

According to this report in the NY Times, the latest NIE on Iraq has stirred up a hornets nest. On the one hand you have Democrats, reflecting to feelings of real Americans, denouncing the total failure of Our Dear Embattled Leader and His Glorious Little War. On the other hand you have Republicans offering up the lamest excuses that shouldn't convince a second grader.if you don't believe me, consider what these worthies have said.
“The National Intelligence Estimate provides jarring confirmation that the disastrous policy in Iraq is a giant recruiting poster for terrorists,” Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, said in a statement.

Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, acknowledged on CNN that “the war in Iraq has intensified Islamic fundamentalism and radicalism,” although he added “that’s a problem that nobody seems to have an answer to.”
And on the Republican side you have Tennesee's favorite idiot bastard child.
But the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist of Tennessee, used language that echoed that of President Bush, saying that “either we are going to be fighting this battle, this war overseas, or it’s going to be right here in this country.”
Thanks to ODEL's GLW they are getting all the recruits and training they need to make their way to TN whenever they are ready.

Make no mistake, the Bushoviks will make a ton of noise about this because its conclusions cut them off at the knees. The more people know about it, the worse their chances are in November. They will be blowing smoke up your ass and pissing a lake on your shoes in the days ahead. If you want it to stop, you will have to vote the evil bastards out in November.

Watch a man defend himself

If you have not already seen Bill Clinton eviscerate Chris Wallace, go to Crooks and Liars and watch it happen. Poor Mike Wallace, to have an idiot child like that.

If only..

From the pen of Pat Oliphant

Jerry Falwell is afraid of a woman.

And that woman is Hillary Clinton. And he is busy laying the groundwork of smear and slime that his "good christian" followers will need to embrace so they may reject her out of hand and support the candidate he chooses.
Nothing will motivate conservative evangelical Christians to vote Republican in the 2008 presidential election more than a Democratic nominee named Hillary Rodham Clinton — not even a run by the devil himself.

That was the sentiment expressed by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the longtime evangelical icon and founder of the once-powerful Moral Majority, during private remarks Friday to church pastors and activists as part of the Values Voter Summit hosted this weekend by the country's leading Christian conservatives.
Just for the record, can anyone remember the last time that Jerry Falwell was a christian? In the Biblical sense, of course.

Quote of the Day

Actually 3 today from the Washington Post, which asked 3 former government interrogators to comment on "alternative interrogation practices".
Not a single military interrogator with whom I have communicated expressed anything but contempt for the idea that torture could be more effective than standard interrogation techniques.
Peter Bauer, Army interrogator, 1986-1997

And I think anyone who believes torture is a useful means of extracting information has been watching too many Sly Stallone movies.
Chief Warrant Officer Marney Mason (retired)

I would challenge the current administration to come up with one example where torture in interrogation has produced actionable intelligence that saved American lives in the United States.
Travis W. Hall, former Army interrogator and captain in the Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Simple things say it all

Next week, Our Dear Embattled Leader will visit Cincinnati and Ancient Poodle John McCain and General Wesley Clark will visit nearby Kentucky.
Clark's visit is open to the public; the president's and McCain's are not.

This explains everything

According to the New York Times, Doanld Rumsfeld is a squashole and he cheats.

That would seem about right.

Do you know Big Dick Cheney?

If you don't, go read Joan Didion's piece on The Shooter in the NY Review of Books. If you do think you know him, read it anyway. Who really knows everything?

The new National Intelligence Estimate

The full estimate is classified but its conclusions have become public and it is NOT GOOD. Thanks to Our Dear Embattled Leader's Personal Little War in Iraq the threat of Islamic radicalism and terrorism has grown and continues to grow.
The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.

The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.
Let's repeat that conclusion again.
“says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,”
And again.
“says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,”
Repetition is good for the memorization of facts and this is a fact that Americans should remember as the elections approach. Along with it should be the concept that the War in Iraq, as opposed to any War on Terra, was totally unnecessary. There were no WMD. There was no connection to the WTC attack. There was no connection to Osama. In fact, Saddam was violently opposed to radical Islam, it was a threat to him, too. And we learn that the use of torture in Iraq is now at levels exceeding that of Saddam. And Our Dear Embattled Leader went to war because he wanted to go to war. And now he has killed as many Americans as Osama. And he has done as much to spread radical Islam as Osama.

Way to go Georgie! You're doing a heckuva job!

It's OK if you "Believe in Christ "

And everybody knows that the Episcopalians don't really "Believe in Christ". That is why they are being investigated by the IRS and these good folks are not.
Worried that discontent among conservatives and the lack of a clear standard-bearer to follow President Bush might cost Republicans in November, top evangelical leaders pleaded with their followers Friday to put aside frustrations and turn out for GOP candidates.

The appeals, coming on the opening day of a weekend-long rally and strategy conference, included entreaties to pastors to use their pulpits on behalf of the social conservative agenda.
This advocacy is not a problem because it is directed in favor of Republicans or as they are known to this crowd, "God's Real Chosen People".
Kicking off the conference Friday, Dobson joined other evangelical chieftains in lobbying pastors to feel more free to advocate for conservative causes from the pulpit despite recent investigations by the Internal Revenue Service into alleged partisan activities by churches.
See, you don't have to worry because IOKIYAR in your efforts.

Thoughts on Our Dear Embattled Leader's Kangaroo Court bill

John Dean takes the time in his column at to examine the atrocious, and atrociously named, "Bringing Terrorists to Justice Act of 2006". With it, ODEL seeks a grant of authority from Congress to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants to whomever he designates with no recourse when he screws up, as is his wont. You don't believe me, consider this:
In summarizing the proposal, the draft makes clear it will not follow court-martial law as an example of a "regularly constituted court." In fact, there is no "regularly constituted court" in the United States that follows the procedures requested by the Administration.

More specifically, the bill states: "In a time of ongoing armed conflict, it generally is neither practicable nor appropriate for combatants like al Qaeda terrorists to be tried before tribunals that include all of the procedures associated with courts-martial."

Accordingly, the proposed legislation declares that the tribunals will not "share classified information with the accused" -- or, apparently, the accused's attorney, even though that attorney would be an officer of the court, if not a commissioned military officer. The bill also declares permissible "the use of hearsay evidence" because "applying the hearsay rules from the Manual for Courts-Martial or from the Federal Rules of Evidence would make it virtually impossible" to convict the terrorists. And it says terrorists will not benefit from the guarantee of "speedy trials" and other "technical rules."

In short, the Administration has asked Congress for legislation that, on its face, fails to meet the standard of creating tribunals that qualify as "regularly constituted court[s] affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."
Or this:
One of the most sweeping provisions of this proposed law takes the federal courts out of the business of providing any redress whatsoever, to anyone who becomes entangled - correctly or incorrectly - on the wrong side of the war on terror. It simply removes federal jurisdiction "to hear or consider any claim or cause of action, including an application for a writ of habeas corpus" filed by any non-citizen of the United States who has been detained "as an unlawful enemy combatant." (Many bloggers have called for Democrats to filibuster the proposed law for this reason alone.)

This term is vaguely defined to mean anyone who the President or the Secretary of Defense claims is "part of or affiliated with a force or organization--including but not limited to al Qaeda, the Taliban, any international terrorist organization, or associated forces--engaged in hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents; in violation of the law of war;" or has "committed a hostile act in aid of such a force or organization so engaged;" or has "supported hostilities in aid of such a force or organization so engaged."

In short, this could include anyone the federal government (Bush and Rumsfeld will delegate and re-delegate this authority) labels "an unlawful enemy combatant." The type of tragic case that comes immediately to mind is that of Maher Arar. Arar, a Canadian, was arrested on September 26, 2002, when he landed at Kennedy Airport in New York, traveling home from a vacation in Tunisia. American officials sent him to Syria, where he was tortured for ten months.
In short, if ODEL or any of his designated Bushovik cronies say "you're it", then you're it and may whatever God you pray to have mercy on your soul because they won't. And we have all seen how often they 'never make mistakes'.

And if you think they are only going after the bad guys, just remember this; they are removing any barrier between us and Gitmo if they decide that you should be next.

Feeling safer yet?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Our Dear Embattled Leader is the equal of Osama Bin Laden

Yes, it is true. Our Dear Embattled Leader has now killed as many Americans in His Glorious Little Wars as Osama did on 9/11.
Now the death toll is 9/11 times two. U.S. military deaths from Iraq and Afghanistan now match those of the most devastating terrorist attack in America's history, the trigger for what came next. Add casualties from chasing terrorists elsewhere in the world, and the total has passed the Sept. 11 figure.

The latest milestone for a country at war comes without commemoration. It also may well come without the precision of knowing who is the 2,973rd man or woman of arms to die in conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, or just when it happens. The terrorist attacks killed 2,973 victims in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
Celebrations of ODEL's prowess are being held in abeyance pending the outcome of the November elections.

Poodle Point #12 & 35

New York Times Editorial of September 22, 2006

A Bad Bargain

Here is a way to measure how seriously President Bush was willing to compromise on the military tribunals bill: Less than an hour after an agreement was announced yesterday with three leading Republican senators, the White House was already laying a path to wiggle out of its one real concession.

About the only thing that Senators John Warner, John McCain and Lindsey Graham had to show for their defiance was Mr. Bush’s agreement to drop his insistence on allowing prosecutors of suspected terrorists to introduce classified evidence kept secret from the defendant. The White House agreed to abide by the rules of courts-martial, which bar secret evidence. (Although the administration’s supporters continually claim this means giving classified information to terrorists, the rules actually provide for reviewing, editing and summarizing classified material. Evidence that cannot be safely declassified cannot be introduced.)

This is a critical point. As Senator Graham keeps noting, the United States would never stand for any other country’s convicting an American citizen with undisclosed, secret evidence. So it seemed like a significant concession — until Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, briefed reporters yesterday evening. He said that while the White House wants to honor this deal, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Duncan Hunter, still wants to permit secret evidence and should certainly have his say. To accept this spin requires believing that Mr. Hunter, who railroaded Mr. Bush’s original bill through his committee, is going to take any action not blessed by the White House.

On other issues, the three rebel senators achieved only modest improvements on the White House’s original positions. They wanted to bar evidence obtained through coercion. Now, they have agreed to allow it if a judge finds it reliable (which coerced evidence hardly can be) and relevant to guilt or innocence. The way coercion is measured in the bill, even those protections would not apply to the prisoners at Guantánamo Bay.

The deal does next to nothing to stop the president from reinterpreting the Geneva Conventions. While the White House agreed to a list of “grave breaches” of the conventions that could be prosecuted as war crimes, it stipulated that the president could decide on his own what actions might be a lesser breach of the Geneva Conventions and what interrogation techniques he considered permissible. It’s not clear how much the public will ultimately learn about those decisions. They will be contained in an executive order that is supposed to be made public, but Mr. Hadley reiterated that specific interrogation techniques will remain secret.

Even before the compromises began to emerge, the overall bill prepared by the three senators had fatal flaws. It allows the president to declare any foreigner, anywhere, an “illegal enemy combatant” using a dangerously broad definition, and detain him without any trial. It not only fails to deal with the fact that many of the Guantánamo detainees are not terrorists and will never be charged, but it also chokes off any judicial review.

The Democrats have largely stood silent and allowed the trio of Republicans to do the lifting. It’s time for them to either try to fix this bill or delay it until after the election. The American people expect their leaders to clean up this mess without endangering U.S. troops, eviscerating American standards of justice, or further harming the nation’s severely damaged reputation.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tom Toles Today


Once a poodle, always a poodle

And because the poodles just love having their tummys scatched, the Good Old US of A will now condone torture of prisoners and Stalinist trial methods. As predicted earlier this week, the Fabulous Three in the Senate have returned to the feet of their master and will do as he commands.
The White House and rebellious Senate Republicans agreed Thursday on rules for the interrogation and trial of suspects in the war on terror, and President Bush urged Congress to make them law before adjourning for midterm elections.

"I'm pleased to say that this agreement preserves the single most potent tool we have in protecting America and foiling terrorist attacks," the president said, shortly after administration officials and key lawmakers announced agreement following a week of high-profile intraparty disagreement.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, one of three GOP lawmakers who told Bush he couldn't have the legislation the way he initially asked for it, said, "The agreement that we've entered into gives the president the tools he needs to continue to fight the war on terror and bring these evil people to justice."

"There's no doubt that the integrity and letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions have been preserved," McCain said, referring to international agreements that cover the treatment of prisoners in wartime.
And just like last time, Our Dear Embattled Leader will ignore whatever annoying "restrictions" may be placed in the law. And John McCain can brag about standing up to ODEL and still cuddle up close to his favorite best buddy. You know, by the time his term ends, ODEL will have committed so many crimes that he will have to retire to another country, preferably one without an extradition treaty.

The falling gas prices are merely a thank you to Our Dear Embattled Leader

For all his hard work in preserving the profits of Big Oil. One of the easier ways they did so was simply to call off the watchdogs.
Four government auditors who monitor leases for oil and gas on federal property say the Interior Department suppressed their efforts to recover millions of dollars from companies they said were cheating the government.

The accusations, many of them in four lawsuits that were unsealed last week by federal judges in Oklahoma, represent a rare rebellion by government investigators against their own agency.

The auditors contend that they were blocked by their bosses from pursuing more than $30 million in fraudulent underpayments of royalties for oil produced in publicly owned waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The agency has lost its sense of mission, which is to protect American taxpayers,” said Bobby L. Maxwell, who was formerly in charge of Gulf of Mexico auditing. “These are assets that belong to the American public, and they are supposed to be used for things like education, public infrastructure and roadways.”
The Republican Way, take everything that belongs to us and give it to their good friends. And, by the by, don't expect gas prices to stay down after the election. If nothing else, the new War in Iran should send them through the roof.

Next he will deny that he is Hispanic

Because despite a few surface differences, there really is no difference between AG Alberto "Electrodes" Gonzalez and George Felix Allen. As reported in the NY Times, Electrodes showed that he too could lie like a Republican.
In an embarrassing turnabout, the Department of Justice backed away Wednesday from a denial by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales of responsibility for the treatment of a Canadian who was seized by American authorities in 2002. The man was deported to Syria, where he was imprisoned and beaten.

Asked at a news conference on Tuesday about a Canadian commission’s finding that the man, Maher Arar, was wrongly sent to Syria and tortured there, Mr. Gonzales replied, “Well, we were not responsible for his removal to Syria.” He added, “I’m not aware that he was tortured.”

The attorney general’s comments caused puzzlement because they followed front-page news articles of the findings of the Canadian commission. It reported that based on inaccurate information from Canada about Mr. Arar’s supposed terrorist ties, American officials ordered him taken to Syria, an action documented in public records.

On Wednesday, a Justice Department spokesman said Mr. Gonzales had intended to make only a narrow point: that deportations are now handled by the Department of Homeland Security, not the Department of Justice.
The Goddess of Republican Truth must crawl under a rock each day to avoid the sun.

Don't lock the door, Grover's coming over

But perhaps they should have hidden the silver. Grover being noted anarchist and BFF of Jack Abramoff, Grover Norquisling. Thanks to the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Democratic Party and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the White House visitors logs have been made public. And what a rogues gallery of visitors it was!
White House officials say Norquist, who runs the nonprofit Americans for Tax Reform, was cleared for 97 visits to the White House complex between 2001 and 2006 - a couple of times a month if spread evenly over the five-year period.

A half-dozen of the visits were to events that involved the president....

....[Ralph] Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition and an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia earlier this year, got 18 meetings, including two events with Bush.....

....The White House also released records showing White House appointments landed by some of Abramoff's former lobbying associates.

Among them, Neil Volz, a former aide to Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney, had 18 appointments, including one to attend a large event featuring Bush on Sept. 11, 2001, that was canceled because of the terrorist attacks. Volz has pleaded guilty to conspiring to corrupt Ney and others with trips and other largess.

Another - Tony Rudy, a former aide to then-Texas Republican Rep. Tom DeLay - had 13, none with Bush. Rudy has pleaded guilty to conspiring with Abramoff.
So thanks to the Democrats and the CREW crew, we now know how many visits from ciminal elements and known associates were made to this White House. But not to worry, as ODEL and his crew know, IOKIYAR.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tom Toles Today

Our Dear Embattled Leader loves the taste of feet

How else can you explain this report from CNN regarding ODEL and his tactful remarks on Pakistan.
President Bush said Wednesday he would order U.S. forces to go after Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan if he received good intelligence on the fugitive al Qaeda leader's location.

"Absolutely," Bush told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an interview scheduled for air Wednesday afternoon.

Although Pakistan has said it won't allow U.S. troops to operate within its territory, "we would take the action necessary to bring him to justice."

But Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, told reporters Wednesday at the United Nations that his government would oppose any U.S. action in its territory.

"We wouldn't like to allow that at all. We will do it ourselves," he said.
ODEL says once again that national boundaries and emotions are of no concern to him. But the rest of us would do well to remember that a large part of the Pakistani population really does love Osama and would get rid of Musharraf in a heartbeat. And this is a country that has tested nuclear weapons and workable delivery systems. They also have a history of giving nuclear technology and materiels to anyone with enough money. So why is Our Dear Embattled Leader trying to upset the Pakistanis? Are the mid-term elections campaigns really going that badly? Or is Georgie really that stupid?

Whichever reason it is, remember in November.

Uh-oh! Hugo is on to the plan of Our Dear Embattled Leader.

The New York Times reports that Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela and mortal enemy of ODEL gave a rip snorting speech at the UN today. ANd in doing so, he revealed the Bushovik plan for the rest of the world, at least that part that has oil.
“Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world.”
And it seems that to show his power, ODEL left one of his famous farts for Hugo to find.
“Yesterday, the devil came here,” Mr. Chávez said, alluding to Mr. Bush’s appearance before the General Assembly on Tuesday. “Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of.”
Hugo shouldn't worry though, Our Dear Leader has promised never to take the army out of Iraq while he is Preznit. Hugo might catch a few bombs, but with no boots left for the ground work, he won't get thrown out.

Rules for the Real World

New York Times editorial 9/20/06

The White House has been acting lately as though the struggle over the proper way to handle prisoners is a debate about how tough to get with Osama bin Laden if he’s ever actually caught. This week, we’ve had two powerful reminders of the real issue: when a government puts itself above the law, innocent people are put at risk.

On Monday, Canada issued a scathing report about the story of a Canadian citizen, Maher Arar, who was abducted by American agents in late 2002 and turned over to Syrian authorities, who obligingly tortured him for 10 months until he signed a transparently false confession. The report said Mr. Arar never had any connection to terrorism. But the United States stonewalled Canada’s investigation, which concluded that the Americans misled Canada about their plans for Mr. Arar. Sending him to Syria, where he would certainly be tortured, was not just immoral and un-American, it was a violation of international law.

In Iraq, American authorities have been holding an Iraqi-born photographer for The Associated Press for five months without charging him with any crime. Military officials say they have evidence that Bilal Hussein has “strong ties” to insurgents, but refuse to show it to Mr. Hussein, his lawyers, The A.P. or even to the Iraqi courts. We don’t know the truth. But we know how to get at it: If the Americans have evidence against Mr. Hussein, they should present it. If he committed a crime, he should be charged. If not, he should be set free.

These two cases illustrate vividly why Congress needs to pass an effective law on the handling of prisoners that not only provides for legal military tribunals to try dangerous men like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who is believed to have organized the 9/11 attacks, but also deals with the other men, perhaps hundreds, wrongly imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay, and sets rules for the future.

The bills now before Congress don’t meet the test. The White House’s measure endorses the practice of picking up any foreign citizens the United States wants, abusing and even torturing them, and then trying them on the basis of secret evidence. It effectively repudiates the Geneva Conventions, putting American soldiers at risk.

The other bill, written by the only three Republican senators who were willing to defy the White House, preserves the conventions and creates a respectable trial process. But it defines “illegal enemy combatant” so broadly that the administration could apply it to almost any foreigner it chose, including legal United States residents. Both bills choke off judicial review and allow even those acquitted by a military tribunal to be held indefinitely.

Either bill might be acceptable if the United States government were infallible. As it is, they would legalize the sorts of abuses of power that the United States fought against in other countries for most of the 20th century.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

OK so it's a surprise to someone

But most of us knew this was coming, although I thought it would be announced after the election.
The top American commander in the Middle East said the more than 140,000 soldiers now in Iraq are likely to be needed there at least until next spring because of continuing sectarian violence and the effort to secure Baghdad.

“I think that this level probably will have to be sustained through next spring, and then we’ll re-evaluate,” General John P. Abizaid told reporters at a breakfast roundtable.

American commanders have said previously that they expected current troop levels to be maintained through the end of the year unless security improved, but General Abizaid’s comments were the first indication that commanders believe reductions are unlikely until well into next year.
Our Dear Embattled Leader did say he was never going to bring them home, except in the own individual 'gift boxes'. Besides they will all be needed in the next war against Iran, coming soon to a Persian Gulf state near you!

Monday, September 18, 2006

No Pardon for Our Dear Embattled Leader

MoveOn has a petition against the George Bush Torture Amnesty Bill that the Republicans are going to try and sneak through the Senate. Sign the petition to stop this travesty.

Two Tom Toles Today

They go well together

The elegance of police understatement.

According to CNN, Willie Nelson and his band were busted for marijuana and magis mushrooms in Louisiana today. According to the news release:
"When the door was opened and the trooper began to speak to the driver, he smelled the strong odor of marijuana,"
Whoo-eee! I'll just bet he did!

Now the trooper will have to spend the rest of his days denying that he inhaled.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Well, whaddaya know?

Your Ideal Pet is a Cat

You're both aloof, introverted, and moody.

And your friends secretly wish that you were declawed!

What's Your Ideal Pet?

Traumatic brain injuries are the signature wound of Iraq

And Billmon has all the details. WARNING: It's a gruesome report.

3 Bold Republicans prepare to fold

And in the NY Times article it appears the good ol' boy Lindsey Graham is the cheapest suit in the bunch.
The Bush administration and three prominent Republican senators opposing its effort to codify broad standards for terror-detainee treatment gave signs of seeking compromise today, as both sides face intense political pressures over their positions.

“I think we can get there from here,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of the three senators, all with deep military backgrounds, whose resistance has stymied the Bush administration. Seeming to weigh his words, Mr. Graham added: “I’m willing to compromise. I hope common sense will prevail.”
On the other hand the position of Our Dear Embattled Leader is clear.
President Bush has been adamant on the matter, and as recently as Friday he showed no appetite for compromise.
So the give and take on this issue is all give by the Three Soon to Be Stooges and all take by ODEL. Raise your hand if you didn't see this coming like a freight train on a flat track.

Just in case you don't remember what the fight is all about, the Washington Post has another editorial today that explains in detail what the horrible homunculus, Our Dear Embattled Leader, wants to do.

Quote of the Day

"We didn't go in to Iraq because of terrorism. We have terrorists in Iraq because we went in there."
Jim Webb on Meet The Press

Freedom of religion if it is the right church.

The IRS is going after a well known liberal church because of a sermon against Li'l Georgie's Glorious War. For preaching a sermon in line with the tenets of his religion, Rev. George F. Regas and the All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena is under investigation and in danger of losing its tax free status.
The Internal Revenue Service has ordered a prominent liberal church to turn over documents and e-mails it produced during the 2004 election year that contain references to political candidates.

The IRS is investigating whether All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena violated the federal tax code when its former rector, the Rev. George F. Regas , delivered an antiwar sermon on the eve of the last presidential election.

Tax-exempt organizations are barred from intervening in political campaigns and elections,.....

.....In a sermon two days before the 2004 election, Regas did not urge parishioners to support President Bush or challenger John F. Kerry, but was critical of the Iraq war and Bush's tax cuts, Bacon said in an interview in November when the investigation was announced.

``He explicitly said, `I am not telling you how to vote.' That is the golden boundary we did not cross," Bacon said.
Compare this state of affairs to a quote from Joe Scarborough in his WaPo piece today.
After all, it must be tough explaining to voters at their local Baptist church's Keep Congress Conservative Day
Just wondering when was the last time anybody investigated a Baptist church? Not that there is anything wrong with Baptists, even if they do worship the wrong God.

What Our Dear Embattled Leader wants

The AP has a detailed piece on various elements of the US extraterritorial prison system established since ODEL began his wars of conquest. What they report is truly vile and disgusting to any true American.
In the few short years since the first shackled Afghan shuffled off to Guantanamo, the U.S. military has created a global network of overseas prisons, its islands of high security keeping 14,000 detainees beyond the reach of established law.

Disclosures of torture and long-term arbitrary detentions have won rebuke from leading voices including the U.N. secretary-general and the U.S. Supreme Court. But the bitterest words come from inside the system, the size of several major U.S. penitentiaries.

"It was hard to believe I'd get out," Baghdad shopkeeper Amjad Qassim al-Aliyawi told The Associated Press after his release - without charge - last month. "I lived with the Americans for one year and eight months as if I was living in hell."

Captured on battlefields, pulled from beds at midnight, grabbed off streets as suspected insurgents, tens of thousands now have passed through U.S. detention, the vast majority in Iraq.

Many say they were caught up in U.S. military sweeps, often interrogated around the clock, then released months or years later without apology, compensation or any word on why they were taken. Seventy to 90 percent of the Iraq detentions in 2003 were "mistakes," U.S. officers once told the international Red Cross.
70 to 90% are "mistakes"? So we grab the wrong people, treat them like the worst people and then throw them back on the street as if they weren't people. You have to love the way the Bushoviks win friends and influence people.

And there is no way to know how many people released have since joined the insurgency because of their treatment. We will never know, but we can be sure that others have died because of it.
As with others, Karim's confinement may simply have strengthened support for the anti-U.S. resistance. "I will hate Americans for the rest of my life," he said.

ADDENDUM: The AP also has a lengthy piece on the fate of one of its photographers in Iraq, held by US troops for 5 months without any charges or hearings.
Executives said it's not uncommon for AP news people to be picked up by coalition forces and detained for hours, days or occasionally weeks, but never this long. Several hundred journalists in Iraq have been detained, some briefly and some for several weeks, according to Scott Horton, a New York-based lawyer hired by the AP to work on Hussein's case.

Joe Scarborough's electoral advice

In the Washington Post today Joe is giving advice to his Republican colleagues on how to be re-elected, but the litany of Republican failures he presents should the Democrats constant talking points from now to November.
I can't help but feel sorry for my old Republican friends in Congress who are fighting for their political lives. After all, it must be tough explaining to voters at their local Baptist church's Keep Congress Conservative Day that it was their party that took a $155 billion surplus and turned it into a record-setting $400 billion deficit.

How exactly does one convince the teeming masses that Republicans deserve to stay in power despite botching a war, doubling the national debt, keeping company with Jack Abramoff, fumbling the response to Hurricane Katrina, expanding the government at record rates, raising cronyism to an art form, playing poker with Duke Cunningham, isolating America and repeatedly electing Tom DeLay as their House majority leader?.....

.....Even when the administration would not give generals the troops they needed to win the war in Iraq, Republican leaders did nothing. When the president refused to veto a single spending bill while the deficit spiraled upward, Republican leaders looked away. And when chaos was reigning in the streets of New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast in Katrina's horrific aftermath, Republican leaders remained mute.
Joe says that all they have to do to win is "Blame George W. Bush." This may work, because as Joe points out later in the piece it hard to get the Democrats to say anything. And what Joe doesn't say is that when they do say something, you never hear it. Perhaps Howard Dean should hire Joe to say it for them. He is a Republican so you know he's for sale.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Bush Untethered

New York Times editorial published September 17, 2006.

Watching the president on Friday in the Rose Garden as he threatened to quit interrogating terrorists if Congress did not approve his detainee bill, we were struck by how often he acts as though there were not two sides to a debate. We have lost count of the number of times he has said Americans have to choose between protecting the nation precisely the way he wants, and not protecting it at all.

On Friday, President Bush posed a choice between ignoring the law on wiretaps, and simply not keeping tabs on terrorists. Then he said the United States could rewrite the Geneva Conventions, or just stop questioning terrorists. To some degree, he is following a script for the elections: terrify Americans into voting Republican. But behind that seems to be a deeply seated conviction that under his leadership, America is right and does not need the discipline of rules. He does not seem to understand that the rules are what makes this nation as good as it can be.

The debate over prisoners is not about whether some field agent can dunk Osama bin Laden’s head to learn the location of the ticking bomb, as one senator suggested last week. It is about whether the United States can confront terrorism without shredding our democratic heritage. This nation is built on the notion that the rules restrain our behavior, because we know we’re fallible. Just look at the hundreds of men in Guantánamo Bay, many guilty of nothing, facing unending detention because Mr. Bush did not want to follow the rules after 9/11.

Now Mr. Bush insists that in cleaning up his mess, Congress should exempt C.I.A. interrogators from the Geneva Conventions. “The bottom line is simple: If Congress passes a law that does not clarify the rules — if they do not do that — the program’s not going forward,” Mr. Bush said. But clarity is not the issue. The Geneva Conventions are clear and provide ample room for interrogating terrorists. Similarly, in the debate over eavesdropping on terrorists’ conversations, Mr. Bush says that if he has to get a warrant, he can’t do it at all. Actually, he has ample authority to eavesdrop on terrorists, under the very law he is breaking, the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee, says that after being briefed on the wiretapping, she concluded that “this surveillance can be done, without sacrifice to our national security,” within the law. She has introduced a bill to affirm FISA’s control over all wiretapping. It would also give the authorities far more flexibility to listen first and get a warrant later when it’s really urgent. But the only bill Mr. Bush wants is a co-production of Vice President Dick Cheney and Arlen Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that gives the president more room to ignore FISA and chokes off any court challenges.

The best thing Congress could do for America right now is to drop this issue and let the courts decide the matter. Mr. Bush can’t claim urgency; it’s not as though he has stopped the wiretapping.

Legislation is needed on the prisoner issue, although not as urgently as Mr. Bush says. Three Republican senators, John McCain, John Warner, and Lindsey Graham, have a bill that is far better than the White House version but it, too, has some huge flaws that will take time to fix. It will be hard in an election year, but if the Republicans stand firm, and Democrats insist on the needed changes, they might just require Mr. Bush to recognize that he is subject to the same restraints that applied to every other president of this nation of laws.
Bush Unhinged would have been a better title.

To Republicans everything is pork

And along the way, all of "our kind" get a piece of the action. Sadly, skills and knowledge were unnecessary to work for the Coalition Provisional Authority in the days following the conquest of Iraq. All you needed was a level of correct political thought not seen since Mao's Great Leap Forward. And like the GLF, it was just as successful.
After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans -- restless professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers. But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon.

To pass muster with O'Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for Defense Department posts, applicants didn't need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration.
Before you feel sorry for the Iraqis, remember that this is how they have hired all their people in DC, too.

War with Iran - Before or After the Election?

I guess it all depends on Republican fortunes in the upcoming contests. There seems to be little doubt that the Bushoviks are running the same sort of scams that delivered us into a war in Iraq. From McClatchy we get the details.
Some officials at the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department said they're concerned that the offices of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney may be receiving a stream of questionable information that originates with Iranian exiles, including a discredited arms dealer, Manucher Ghorbanifar, who played a role in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal.

Officials at all three agencies said they suspect that the dubious information may include claims that Iran directed Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, to kidnap two Israeli soldiers in July; that Iran's nuclear program is moving faster than generally believed; and that the Iranian people are eager to join foreign efforts to overthrow their theocratic rulers.

The officials said there is no reliable intelligence to support any of those assertions and some that contradicts all three.

The officials said they fear a replay of the administration's mishandling of what turned out to be bogus information from Iraqi exiles in the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, documented earlier this month in a Senate intelligence committee report....

..... Adding to the unease, Rumsfeld's office earlier this year set up a new Iranian directorate, reported to be under the leadership of neoconservatives who played a role in planning the Iraq war.

Current and former officials said the Pentagon's Iranian directorate has been headed by Abram Shulsky. Shulsky also was the head of the now-defunct Office of Special Plans, whose role in allegedly manipulating Iraq intelligence is under investigation by the Pentagon's inspector general.

Some officials say they fear the office, whose existence was first reported by the Los Angeles Times, is being used to funnel intelligence from Ghorbanifar, the arms dealer, and an Iranian exile group known as the Mujahedeen Khalq.
Same people, same M.O. This time, there is an army of 150,000 Americans who will find themselves caught between a Shiite rock in Iraq and a Shiite hardplace in Iran if they do. Not that the Bushoviks are much concerned about it. Fucking over the troops is a Bushovik way of life. It is the unintended consequences that are a problem because the only result of grand Bushovik schemes is unintended consequences and they are never prepared to deal with them. Imagine the worst, we will probably see it. Dealing with sky high gas prices will be the least of your worries

Tom Noe says Bush-Cheney made him do it

At his federal sentencing for campaign money laundering, the Toledo Blade reports that the Bush-Cheney folks made him do it. In his own words, he says:
I have pled guilty because I violated the federal campaign laws. In 2003, I was pressured by Bush-Cheney campaign officials to become a Pioneer for George Bush. In order to do that I needed to collect over $100,000 in campaign contributions. I knew the first step was to sell tickets to the Bush-Cheney fund-raiser in Columbus, Ohio, in October of 2003. I also knew that I had friends who would like to attend, and I wanted to help them attend. I knew what the campaign finance restrictions were. I also knew that I had given the maximum amount that I could give personally, so I recruited others to make contributions to the campaign for which I provided the funds. It totaled approximately $45,000. I knew it was wrong to do so.
It's a good thing those Republicans got values.

After two years, the RNC has finally said they will divest the illegal $45,000 from Noe, giving it to charity. This despite calls to return it to the Bureau of Workers Compensation from which Mr Noe stands accused of embezzeling $2,000,000.

The Shooter to fundraise for Shotgun Randy.

The Big Dick himself will be in Rochester to help his good buddy Randy Kuhl in his re-election bid in the NY-29 district. As this excerpt from The Raw Story illustrates, these two are perfect together.
If readers recall, widely reported divorce records showed that Kuhl, currently running for his second term, pulled not one but two shotguns on his wife during a 1994 dinner party at their home. Kuhl's ex-wife also described him as an abusive drunk who "hustled women."

Cheney, the man who may always be remembered for accidentally shooting his good friend on a hunting trip, has agreed to do a private photo-op at a Sept. 22 fundraiser for Kuhl in Rochester, N.Y. And, yes, you guessed it, Kuhl is considered vulnerable this year.

As one Democratic operative told HOH, "I can't tell what Cheney likes best about him—Kuhl's penchant for rubber-stamping the president or for combining beer with firearm use."
Eric Massa is running against this useless piece of meat. Use the ActBlue link on the right to give him a little help.

Well Done, WaPo!

The Washington Post is the newspaper of record in Washington DC and its editorial page is well known for its pucker-ups to this administration. That said it was a surprise to see the Friday editorial so highly critical of Our Dear Embattled Leader's efforts to legalize torture. It has got to be a truly bad position for the Post to lead with a paragraph like this.
PRESIDENT BUSH rarely visits Congress. So it was a measure of his painfully skewed priorities that Mr. Bush made the unaccustomed trip yesterday to seek legislative permission for the CIA to make people disappear into secret prisons and have information extracted from them by means he dare not describe publicly.
It continues and makes a compelling case to oppose ODEL and his evil minions. And it doesn't even mention that numerous skilled interrogators despise torture because it universally results in worthless information. So go ahead, make your voice heard by your Congessmoop. Help save America.

Them Republicans is always good for the economy

Or so they would have you believe. The latest update from the GAO says otherwise. According to the summary we are headed towards deep, deep fiscal doo-doo.
Although this year's deficit outlook has improved, the long-term continues to be unsustainable. GAO's current long-term simulations continue to show ever-larger deficits resulting in a federal debt burden that ultimately spirals out of control. The timing of deficits and the resulting debt build up varies depending on the assumptions used, but under either optimistic ("Baseline extended") or more realistic assumptions, current fiscal policy is unsustainable. Simulations are not forecasts or predictions. They are designed to ask the question "what if?" GAO's "what ifs" are that discretionary spending may grow faster or slower, and tax cuts may be renewed or allowed to expire--but in both cases, the Nation's long-term fiscal future is "at risk." Under any reasonable set of expectations about future spending and revenues, the risks posed to the Nation's future financial condition are too high to be acceptable.
Six years of absolute Republican control and all we get is this lousy report.

Remember in November.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Veterans speak out against torture

From the press release of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Stand with Fellow Combat Vets in Congress to Unequivocally Condemn Torture
President's Proposal Puts U.S. Troops in Unnecessary Danger

NEW YORK - The nation's first and largest organization of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, IAVA, released the following statement today from Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff, commending Senators McCain, Graham and Warner, and also General Colin Powell, for their unequivocal stand against the use of torture on enemy detainees.

"As veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, we stand with our fellow combat veterans in Congress. For the safety of our own troops, it is absolutely imperative that we take an unequivocal stand against the use of torture on all enemy detainees," said Paul Rieckhoff, an Iraq War veteran and the executive director of IAVA: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is also the smart thing to do."

"It is insulting that the President, who has never served in combat, would dismiss the credible and reasoned advice of men like Senator McCain, a brave combat veteran who endured years of torture as a prisoner of war," said Rieckhoff.

"This is an example of the President's questionable commitment to our troops, and his failure to grasp the dynamics on the battlefield," Rieckhoff said. "How can the President say to our men and women in uniform that he is willing to risk their safety unnecessarily? Maybe the President would understand the importance of this issue more clearly if he had personally served in combat."

"The President repeatedly tells us that this fight is tough, but those of us who have been there know that already," said Rieckhoff, "and the President's stand on this issue will only make it tougher."

IAVA is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization representing the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. To arrange an interview with Paul Rieckhoff or to learn more about IAVA, please contact Will Coghlan at 212-982-9699 or
Chickenhawks and deserters always think torture is cool.

Can you dig it?

The Iraqis think they can. And they should begin construction of a dry moat around the city of Baghdad in a few weeks.
The effort is one of the most ambitious security projects this year, with cars expected to be funneled through 28 checkpoints along the main arteries snaking out from the capital. Smaller roads would be closed. The trenches would run across farmland or other open areas to prevent cars from evading checkpoints, said the ministry spokesman, Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf.

“We’re going to build a trench around Baghdad so we can control the exits and entrances so people will be searched properly,” he said in a telephone interview. “The idea is to get the cars to go through the 28 checkpoints that we set up.”

American officials said the military had approved of the plan, which has been in the works for weeks. General Khalaf said he did not know how much the construction would cost or how many laborers would be employed.
If nothing else, this should increase emploment in the city for a while.

At least he doesn't suggest that work will make them free.

But Our Dear Embattled Leader still believes that he must triumph over all the bedrock moral values of America for his, as yet unknown, plan to defeat the terrists to work.
But while he said he would be happy to work with the legislators, Mr. Bush made it clear that he is not abandoning the main pillars of his anti-terrorism agenda. He insisted that Congress pass legislation providing for the trial of terrorist suspects by military commissions, that these trials not allow defendants access to secret intelligence and that Congress “clarify” the United States’ obligations regarding treatment of prisoners under the Geneva Conventions.
Right, this fool who can not even remember a simple phrase like "Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice shame on me" thinks he can bring clarity to the Geneva Conventions? And no doubt he will feed the worlds poor with cheese from his lunar cheese mining operations. Did you know that Brie comes from the dark side of the moon?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Quote of the Day

"In light of the rantings that went on for 30 minutes by two colleagues from the other side, I'd like to state for the record that America is not tired of fighting terrorism; America is tired of the wrongheaded and boneheaded leadership of the Republican party that has sent six and a half billion a month to Iraq while the front line was Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. That led this country to attack Saddam Hussein, when we were attacked by Osama bin Laden. Who captured a man who did not attack the country and let loose a man that did. Americans are tired of boneheaded Republican leadership that alienates our allies when we need them the most. Americans are most certainly tired of leadership that despite documenting mistake after mistake after mistake, even of their own party admitting mistakes, never admit they do anything wrong. That's the kind of leadership Americans are tired of."

She concluded,

"I’m not going to sit here as a Democrat and let the Republican leadership come to the floor and talk about Democrats not making us safe. They’re the ones in charge and Osama bin Laden is still at loose."
Sen. Mary Landrieu D-LA

Republicans never really were any good at National Security

Senate Panel respects the law

Under the banner "Senate Panel Defies Bush on Detainee Bill" the NY Times reports that several GOP senators have joined with their Democratic colleagues in upholding the rule of law regarding US detainees of undetermined guilt.
Hours after Mr. Bush huddled with House Republicans, he suffered a defeat on the other side of the Capitol, as the Senate Armed Services Committee endorsed legislation that would give suspected terrorists more legal protections than the president desires.

Four of the panel’s 13 Republicans joined all 11 Democrats in rejecting Mr. Bush’s proposal to keep defendants from seeing classified evidence against them. The vote came a day after the House Armed Services Committee adopted a measure that more closely parallels what the president wants.
As is his wont, Our Dear Embattled Leader then tried to smear these principled men and women by suggesting that they are not concerned with protecting the US. In fact, they are more concerned about that goal than ODEL and all his supporters. Without the rule of law, we will be condemned to stand with the Osamas and Saddams of this world, who see nothing wrong with harming anybody they don't like whenever they please. Poor old ODEL probably has daydreams of those halcyon days of his youth when he blew up frogs with firecrackers. I wonder if he has the "interrogations" filmed for his and Uncle Dick's enjoyment.

His pitiful remarks that he seeks "legal clarity" ignore the fact that the courts have already clarified the situation. Our Dear Embattled Leader is not above our law, he must obey it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tom Toles today

Remember Toxic Tommy Delay?

According to CNN he may be back in the doo-doo again.
The state's highest criminal appeals court said Wednesday it would consider reinstating a conspiracy charge against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, further delaying his felony money laundering trial.

A Travis County grand jury indicted DeLay and two political consultants last year on charges stemming from Republican fundraising during the 2002 legislative races.

A state district court judge later threw out one of two conspiracy charges. Prosecutors asked the appeals court to reinstate the dropped charge, and the court said Wednesday that it would consider that request.
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Different strokes for different folks

George Packer, writing in the New Yorker, illuminates the differences between Our Dear Embattled Leader who is seeking to legitimize his penchant for torturing those he can control and the US military which has to operate in the real world. Using ODEL's speech last week and the unveiling of the Army's new field manual on "human intelligence collector operations" he points out the surreal nature of ODEL and Planet Bushovik.
And when a reporter asked whether some of the now forbidden forms of torture might have been useful in gaining information, General Kimmons directly contradicted what his Commander-in-Chief was saying at the White House:

No good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years, hard years, tells us that. And, moreover, any piece of intelligence which is obtained under duress, through the use of abusive techniques, would be of questionable credibility, and additionally it would do more harm than good when it inevitably became known that abusive practices were used. And we can’t afford to go there. Some of our most significant successes on the battlefield have been—in fact, I would say all of them, almost categorically all of them, have accrued from expert interrogators using mixtures of authorized humane interrogation practices, in clever ways that you would hope Americans would use them, to push the envelope within the bookends of legal, moral, and ethical, now as further refined by this field manual. So we don’t need abusive practices in there.

Last week, in the guise of calling for fair trials, the President demanded that Congress give him the power to go on torturing detainees in secret prisons and use the evidence obtained against them. And last week the Army honorably closed the holes in moral conduct that the President, his counsel, the Vice-President, the Justice Department, and the Secretary of Defense pried open shortly after September 11th. It did so not only to remove the stain on its reputation and to protect its soldiers but because it cares more about the war than about the next election.
Those wacky Republicans never really did like the military. Perhaps that is why so few have served honorably.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

President Bush’s Reality

New York Times editorial 9/12/06

Last night, President Bush once again urged Americans to take terrorism seriously — a warning that hardly seems necessary. One aspect of that terrible day five years ago that seems immune to politicization or trivialization is the dread of another attack. When Mr. Bush warns that Al Qaeda means what it says, that there are Islamist fanatics around the world who wish us harm and that the next assault could be even worse than the last, he does not need to press the argument.

After that, paths diverge. Mr. Bush has been marking the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11 with a series of speeches about terrorism that culminated with his televised address last night. He has described a world where Iraq is a young but hopeful democracy with a “unity government” that represents its diverse population. Al Qaeda-trained terrorists who are terrified by “the sight of an old man pulling the election lever” are trying to stop the march of progress. The United States and its friends are holding firm in a battle that will decide whether freedom or terror will rule the 21st century.

If that were actual reality, the president’s call to “put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us” would be inspiring, instead of frustrating and depressing.

Iraq had nothing to do with the war on terror until the Bush administration decided to invade it. The president now admits that Saddam Hussein was not responsible for 9/11 (although he claimed last night that the invasion was necessary because Iraq posed a “risk”). But he has failed to offer the country a new, realistic reason for being there.

Establishing democracy at the heart of the Middle East no longer qualifies, desirable as that would be. Where Mr. Bush sees an infant secular Iraqi government, most of the world sees a collection of ethnic and religious factional leaders, armed with private militias, presiding over growing strife between Shiites and Sunnis. Warning that American withdrawal would “embolden” the enemy is far from an argument as long as there is constant evidence that American presence is creating a fearful backlash throughout the Muslim world that empowers the fanatics far more than it frightens them.

Fending off the chaos that would almost certainly come with civil war would be a reason to stay the course, although it does not inspire the full-throated rhetoric about freedom that Mr. Bush offered last night. But the nation needs to hear a workable plan to stabilize a fractured, disintegrating country and end the violence. If such a strategy exists, it seems unlikely that Mr. Bush could see it through the filter of his fantasies.

It’s hard to figure out how to build consensus when the men in charge embrace a series of myths. Vice President Dick Cheney suggested last weekend that the White House is even more delusional than Mr. Bush’s rhetoric suggests. The vice president volunteered to NBC’s Tim Russert that not only was the Iraq invasion the right thing to do, “if we had it to do over again, we’d do exactly the same thing.”

It is a breathtaking thought. If we could return to Sept. 12, 2001, knowing all we have seen since, Mr. Cheney and the president would march right out and “do exactly the same thing” all over again. It will be hard to hear the phrase “lessons of Sept. 11” again without contemplating that statement.

Because your Republican government loves you

They will let you be a 'guinea pig' in a military test of new weapons, non lethal of course.
Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.

The object is basically public relations. Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions from others about possible safety considerations, said Secretary Michael Wynne.

"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," said Wynne. "(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press."
No need to worry about the domestic media criticizing any screwups.

Is anybody else bothered by their preference for making mistakes on US citizens?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Doing what he does the best

Writing on it, wrapping himself in it, stepping on it. It is truly a shame that he never shows the flag any respect.

We're beginning to see the light.

CNN has some poll results that show why the Republicans are trying to scare you half to death in advance of the election.
The percentage of Americans who blame the Bush administration for the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington has risen from almost a third to almost half over the past four years, a CNN poll released Monday found.

Asked whether they blame the Bush administration for the attacks, 45 percent said either a "great deal" or a "moderate amount," up from 32 percent in a June 2002 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.
They very much need to distract the public from any rational thought. It wouldn't do to have people realize the enormity of their failures.

Republicans are experienced

But you have to consider just what that experience is and where it comes from. Josh Marshall gives us a look at the past of the Republican chosen to run this years smear campaigns for the RNC.
According to the Post, that man is none other Terry Nelson.

And who is Terry Nelson?

Nelson has the unique distinction of being tied to two of the biggest cases of Republican campaign corruption in the Bush era. Nelson was implicated in the infamous New Hampshire phone-jamming scandal and he was an unindicted coconspirator in the political money-laundering case which ended Tom DeLay's career.
Sure seems like the official uniform of the Republicans should be the orange jumpsuit with matching manacles. The next time the Republicans say they have the experience, don't assume it has anything to do with National Security. The Republicans never really were any good at National Security. Their talents lie elsewhere.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

What you won't hear on Fox (or ABC)

The two reports of the Senate Intelligence Committee have been reviewed and analyzed by Billmon. Forget the headlines and sound bytes, go read what they really tell us.

Compare and Contrast

Big Dick had a whole show with Punkinhead this morning. As has been his habit since his strokes, he lied like a rug. But occasionally he did speak truthfully.
President Bush would have ordered an invasion of Iraq even if the CIA had told him that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday.
As a consequence of their single minded obsession with a toothless Saddam this happened.
On the videotape obtained by the CIA, bin Laden is seen confidently instructing his party how to dig holes in the ground to lie in undetected at night. A bomb dropped by a U.S. aircraft can be seen exploding in the distance. "We were there last night," bin Laden says without much concern in his voice. He was in or headed toward Pakistan, counterterrorism officials think.

That was December 2001. Only two months later, Bush decided to pull out most of the special operations troops and their CIA counterparts in the paramilitary division that were leading the hunt for bin Laden in Afghanistan to prepare for war in Iraq, said Flynt L. Leverett, then an expert on the Middle East at the National Security Council.

"I was appalled when I learned about it," said Leverett, who has become an outspoken critic of the administration's counterterrorism policy. "I don't know of anyone who thought it was a good idea. It's very likely that bin Laden would be dead or in American custody if we hadn't done that."
This would be completely unacceptable if it were done by a real president but was just fine with Our Dear Embattled Leader. It's enough to make a cynic think that ODEL never wanted to catch OBL. That ODEL needed OBL to be his "Emmanuel Goldstein". But the likely reason is that Republicans never really were any good at National Security.

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