Monday, April 30, 2007

If we are what we eat

Does the melamine in the Chinese gluten which killed all those pets and was recalled and was sold as "salvage" to hog farmers and chicken farmers tp feed their herds and is known to have been consumed by US folks having dinner mean that some of us will end up looking like cheap dinnerware?

And just for the hell of it, has anybody noticed the element of criminal fraud involved in using melamine to imitate the test results of a high protein gluten?

But for you, only $498 Billion

The cost of Our Dear Embattled Leader's Glorious Legacy in Iraqistan just keeps going up. The $78 Billion in the supplemental bill and the $116 Billion in the regular budget for the 5th year of ODELGLII are starting to add up.
The combined spending requests would push the total for Iraq to $564 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.
At the same time, there are other, better uses for all those bucks.
What could that kind of money buy?

A college education - tuition, fees, room and board at a public university - for about half of the nation's 17 million high-school-age teenagers.

Pre-school for every 3- and 4-year-old in the country for the next eight years.
Yeah, yeah, I know that those pie in the eye schemes of spending money on people instead of corporations is somehow unAmerican, but it does present a memorable comparison for what is being done with the money from your pocket.

Oh, don't worry about that $78 Billion, ODEL will veto it so the soldiers won't go and waste it.

Monday Music Blogging

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Do you really think that food is safe to eat?

Then consider these facts.
Only about 1 percent of food from other countries undergoes inspection at U.S. points of entry. Often, reviews include little more than a paperwork check.

"The big red strawberries in the middle of gloomy January are very pretty," Odabashian said. "But they're very likely being produced in countries with far less regulation than what we have here."


The FDA has jurisdiction over 80 percent of food produced in this country, including seafood, fresh produce and processed foods.

Yet it has only several hundred inspectors for at least 60,000 food processing plants across the nation, Doyle said. In contrast, the USDA, which oversees meat and poultry, has 7,600 inspectors for 7,000 U.S. plants.
The FDA was long a thorn in the side of food and drug producers. Thanks to the efforts of Republicans over the years, culminating with the reign of Our Dear Embattled Leader, it no longer bothers industry. And if a few of you have to die or at least shit your brains out, well that is a small price to pay for our country's corporate welfare.

The New York Times seeks answers

Or, more to the point, wants others to seek the answers. In its lead editorial today it urges the Democratic Congress to investigate and find the answers to all our questions about Our Dear Embattled Leader and his evil minions greatest crimes and failures over the last 6 years. The Times, in its best Grande Dame manner, calls for such things as, "We hope Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, enforces the subpoena of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to discuss prewar claims about Saddam Hussein’s long-gone weapons programs." And "It is imperative for Senator John Rockefeller, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, to finish two remaining studies on prewar intelligence that his Republican predecessor,". It is good to hear a call for probing investigations but one point is sadly missing from all of this. Not once does the NYT mention its own failure to investigate many of these same questions. Some investigative reporting by the Times and others, if not finding the answers, could have done much of the initial spadework needed for successful investigations. Nor is there any apology for feeding us instead the lurid, and false, tales of Chalabi's girl Judy or the fatuous fluff of "La Bumiller" and don't get me started on AdNags.

The NYT may be on the right track in calling for answers, but the public also deserves some answer as well. And the best way to get those answers would be for the Times reporters to start doing some real journalism.

Somewhere, over the rainbow...

"The reality is the Republican brand right now is just not a good brand," said Tim Hibbitts, an independent Oregon pollster. "For Republicans, the only way things really get better … is if somehow, some way, Iraq turns around."
Either that or green cheese is found on the moon.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Have you ever wondered why

Your doctor prescribes a particular drug? The WaPo has a revealing look at the relationship between the pharmaceutical companies and the members of the medical profession. It is not pretty.
One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week found that 94 percent of doctors have some type of relationship with the drug industry -- most commonly accepting free food or drug samples, which about 80 percent of physicians did. More than one-third of the 1,662 physicians who responded to a survey conducted from November 2003 to June 2004 reported being reimbursed by the drug industry for costs of going to professional meetings or continuing medical education, and 28 percent said they had been paid for consulting, giving lectures or signing up patients for clinical trials.
And there is more to it. The bottom line is that there is no free lunch, not even for doctors. All of this adds heavily to the cost of those drugs and you don't always get the best medicine for your condition. But the profits are worth it.

Bush's Legacy - Success in Iraq, Texas style

And the NY Times gives us a look at the latest follow up on some of the administrations much touted successes in that beleaguered country.
The inspections ranged geographically from northern to southern Iraq and covered projects as varied as a maternity hospital, barracks for an Iraqi special forces unit and a power station for Baghdad International Airport.

At the airport, crucially important for the functioning of the country, inspectors found that while $11.8 million had been spent on new electrical generators, $8.6 million worth were no longer functioning.

At the maternity hospital, a rehabilitation project in the northern city of Erbil, an expensive incinerator for medical waste was padlocked — Iraqis at the hospital could not find the key when inspectors asked to see the equipment — and partly as a result, medical waste including syringes, used bandages and empty drug vials were clogging the sewage system and probably contaminating the water system.

The newly built water purification system was not functioning either.
They all look great when shiny new and then we should all move along to the next shiny new success, don't look back now. The truly sad part is the accompanying failure of those responsible to show the least concern over the collapse of the projects at the same time they were demanding that all their shiny new projects be publicized instead of car bombs and troop deaths.
Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh, commander of the Gulf Region Division of the Army Corps, told a news conference in Baghdad late last month that with so much coverage of violence in Iraq “what you don’t see are the successes in the reconstruction program, how reconstruction is making a difference in the lives of everyday Iraqi people.”

And those declared successes are heavily promoted by the United States government. A 2006 news release by the Army Corps, titled “Erbil Maternity and Pediatric Hospital — not just bricks and mortar!” praises both the new water purification system and the incinerator. The incinerator, the release said, would “keep medical waste from entering into the solid waste and water systems.”

But when Mr. Bowen’s office presented the Army Corps with the finding that neither system was working at the struggling hospital and recommended a training program so that Iraqis could properly operate the equipment, General Walsh tersely disagreed with the recommendation in a letter appended to the report, which also noted that the building had suffered damage because workers used excess amounts of water to clean the floors.

The bureau within the United States Embassy in Baghdad that oversees reconstruction in Iraq was even more dismissive, disagreeing with all four of the inspector general’s recommendations, including those suggesting that the United States should lend advice on disposing of the waste and maintaining the floors.
All those reconstruction dollars being poured down a dry hole. Just what you would expect of a failed Texican oil man.

Shit, now it's illegal to drive Canadian!

In the spirit of paranoia brought upon us by the Bushoviks, the good folks of Georgia bring us this tale of southern justice.
Mrs. Kuehn, who was driving to Florida to visit her in-laws with her husband, Scott Kuehn, 24, brother-in-law Michael Kuehn and friend Dan-Que Pham, said her ordeal began when she was attempting to leave the highway to stop for dinner at about 5:20 p.m. Saturday.

Taking the wrong exit, Mrs. Kuehn said she made a U-turn before pulling the black Volvo station wagon into the restaurant parking lot.

That's when she heard a voice over a loudspeaker, ordering her not to park the car. Seeing the flashing emergency lights and realizing it was a police officer, she pulled over.

A Georgia state trooper told her he was giving her citations for going 55 miles an hour in a 35 zone and failing to stop at a stop sign. But instead of writing a ticket, the officer told her she had to post a bond before she could resume her trip.

As she broke down in tears, Mrs. Kuehn said the officer threatened to handcuff her if she didn't get in the back seat of his cruiser for the trip to what she thought would be the area police station.

Instead, she was driven to the detention centre where she spent the next 11 difficult hours separated from her husband, even though he collected the $222 U.S. to post her bond within three hours of her arrest.

While the first few hours were spent sitting in a cold, common holding room, Mrs. Kuehn said she was never read her rights and jail officials offered little in the way of explanation about what was happening to her.
Damn! You know those good ol' boys is losing touch with reality when they arrest a white woman. Are you next?

Keith Olbermann

Just in case you missed it elsewhere.

Terrorist group broken up in Alabama

But since they were all home grown white boys, you won't hear much about it in the news. And, as usual, nothing will come from Fox.
Simultaneous raids carried out in four Alabama counties Thursday turned up truckloads of explosives and weapons, including 130 grenades, an improvised rocket launcher and 2,500 rounds of ammunition belonging to the small, but mightily armed, Alabama Free Militia.

Six alleged members of the Free Militia also were arrested by federal authorities and are being held without bond...

... "We classify these groups as violent and anti-government," said Jim Cavanaugh, who supervises the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operations in portions of the South. "They stockpile things and live off a fear, a paranoia they're going to need weapons and explosives because some event is going to happen when they will need them."

"Any time you have a self-appointed colonel or a self-appointed major and they've got weapons and explosives, it is a recipe for tragedy," Cavanaugh said.
Oh! so they had a colonel and a major, so they must have been a "well regulated milita". Nothing to see here, let's move along, folks.

The Oil Patch Boys want $4 gasoline

And it looks like they are going to get it. In CNNMoney yesterday there was an article with these quotes.
Gasoline prices, already above $3 a gallon in some states, could charge higher this summer and hit $4 a gallon in some locations, according to one industry expert.


Five states - California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Nevada - already have average prices above $3 a gallon, according to the motorist organization AAA. In California, the average price of gas has reached $3.35 a gallon.

Kilduff said it will be in those states, and possibly New England and the northern Midwest, where prices have the best chance of hitting $4 a gallon, mostly as a result of localized refinery problems.
Well, today, on cue, there was this on the CNN website.
Flames and smoke poured into the sky Saturday over an oil refinery where lightning set off a fire and an explosion that was felt miles away, authorities said.

Flames and smoke boiled hundreds of feet into the air from two 80,000-gallon tanks in the Wynnewood Refinery complex, officials said.
Now I will admit that even I don't think the Oil Patch Boys can call down the lightning, but this is the second time in 2 years that this refinery has had a fire. But even though it is just a pair of storage tanks, we can all expect a jump of at least 10 and more likely 20 cents a gallon next week. $4 is this years Holy Grail.

Our Dear Leader to withhold armored vehicles for Iraq

In an attempt to prove his point about the Democrats harming the troops.
Like most of the Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles in Anbar province, this one has been hit as many as three times by enemy fire and bomb blasts. Yet, to date, no American troops have died while riding in one.

But efforts to buy thousands more carriers - each costing about $1 million - could be delayed if the White House and Congress do not resolve their deadlock over a $124.2 billion war spending bill.

About $3 billion for the vehicles is tied up in the legislation. The spending plan has stalled because of a dispute over provisions that would set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

At a hearing last month, lawmakers urged the Army to get more of the carriers to the battlefront as quickly as possible. The vehicles, with their unique V-shaped hull that deflects blasts outward and away from passengers, are considered lifesavers against the No. 1 killer in Iraq - roadside bombs.
But His Fatuousness will veto the funds that will provide these vehicles to the troops for the sole purpose of saying the Democrats made him do it. Let us review the main point that is often overlooked. Our Dear Embattled Leader has no intention of following any legislative attempt to restrict his legacy. Even were he to sign the bill, he would never obey any injunction to withdraw and end his own greatest fiasco. So any pontificating about the "necessity" of the veto is just so much manure to be flung at those who dare to oppose his decisions. And many more people will die because Himself is never wrong.

Another day, another car bomb near a Shiite shrine

And the people getting blown up are not important leaders or mover-n-shakers, they are just the everyday "Joe 6 Falafel" types trying to live a normal life in abnormal times.
A parked car exploded Saturday near one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines in the Iraqi city of Karbala, killing at least 55 people and wounding dozens, officials said.

The explosion took place in a crowded commercial area near the Imam Hussein shrine in Karbala, 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Baghdad, officials said.

At least 55 people were killed and 70 wounded, said Salim Kazim, the head of the Karbala health department....The explosion took place as the streets were filled with people heading for evening prayers at the Abbas shrine and the adjacent Imam Hussein shrine, two of Iraq's holiest Shiite sites.
But we all know that they won't count against the "Surge" because the perps used a car instead of a Black & Decker.

From the Dept. of Belaboring the Obvious

A World Bank committee investigating president Paul D. Wolfowitz has nearly completed a report that it plans to give the institution's governing board, concluding that he breached ethics rules when he engineered a pay raise for his girlfriend, three senior bank officials said Friday.
A third grader could have told them the same thing. According to Wolfie's lawyer, he has vowed not to give in to the facts, but will maintain he has the right to give oodles of public boodle to his cuddle-bunny.

Utah hates us for our freedoms

How else can you explain the reaction to the BYU student protests against the presence of the Evil Grand Vizier Dickwahd al-Cheney at their commencement and their subsequent efforts to hold an alternate ceremony. The latest effort is simply appalling.
Now BYU Alternative Commencement has received an email from a local businesswoman named Denise Harman, who claims that all BYU students participating in activities against Dick Cheney are being tracked by local businesses. "Many businesses are noting the names involved," she says.

Why are business tracking the names of soon to be graduating students? "You are being tagged as trouble makers and added to massive 'Do Not Hire' lists," says Denise Harman, who hires hundreds of graduates every year.

She adds curtly, "Just thought you should know that activities have consequences."
No Gestapo man with his "Ve know vere you liff und ve are vatchink your family" could be any more chilling in its intent. Mr Vogel does not state whether this fascistic response is cult based, but it is quite clear that some 100+ years after becoming a state, there are still people in Utah who have no idea what it means to be an American.

Quote of the Day

"The challenge we face today is not how to win in Iraq; it is how to recover from a strategic mistake: invading Iraq in the first place," he said. "The president has let (the Iraq war) proceed on automatic pilot, making no corrections in the face of accumulating evidence that his strategy is failing and cannot be rescued. He lets the United States fly further and further into trouble, squandering its influence, money and blood, facilitating the gains of our enemies."
Lt. Gen. William Odom, Ret., the Army's top intelligence officer and head of the National Security Agency during the Reagan administration,

The end of a career

Lt. Col. Paul Yingling has written a sharp criticism of the Army's general officers actions or lack of them in the run up to and the execution of the fiasco in Iraq. When you begin your atack on your superiors with this quote from Frederick the Great,
"You officers amuse yourselves with God knows what buffooneries and never dream in the least of serious service. This is a source of stupidity which would become most dangerous in case of a serious conflict."
you know there will be a bunch of new assholes in the Pentagon. Being a military man, he gives little credit to the civilian leadership for their role in the continuing disaster. Our Dear Embattled leader has too often shown his lack of tolerance for anyone who doesn't tell him what he wants to hear. The generals failures are real, but could they have changed anything without a military revolt against the civilian leadership?

Friday, April 27, 2007

There he goes again

The undisputed king of lowered expectations is doing it again. This time Our Dear Embattled Leader is fiddling with what we should expect to see as signs of 'progress' in Iraq. From their formerly small position, he and his minions are trying to chivvy them down to minuscule.
The Bush administration will not try to assess whether the troop increase in Iraq is producing signs of political progress or greater security until September, and many of Mr. Bush’s top advisers now anticipate that any gains by then will be limited, according to senior administration officials.

In interviews over the past week, the officials made clear that the White House is gradually scaling back its expectations for the government of President Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The timelines they are now discussing suggest that the White House may maintain the increased numbers of American troops in Iraq well into next year.

That prospect would entail a dramatically longer commitment of frontline troops, patrolling the most dangerous neighborhoods of Baghdad, than the one envisioned in legislation that passed the House and Senate this week.
If you can't get the success you want, you redefine the failure you have. Success is way overrated anyway.

Call the White House, tell George what America wants.

The phone number is shown at the end.

Just waiting for George to veto funds for the troops.

Congress has given Our Dear Embattled Leader the troop funding he requested for His Precious Little War. And they have included a demand that ODEL act like a man. Needless to say, this act of lese-majeste has infuriated him. So now we wait for Li'l Georgie to veto funding for the troops, all the while wrapping himself in a cloud of pious malarky about his love of the troops and excellent deciderations for protecting the US. All of which could not be farther from the truth but his remaining believers will howl in righteous anger with him. And many more people will die before it is all over.

UPDATE: E J Dionne gets it. Why does anyone believe him?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Riverbend will be leaving Iraq

And her quiet words seem rather flat compared to the many emotions that came through her previous posts. This time her words mask the deep emotions that must be playing within her and her family.
So we've been busy. Busy trying to decide what part of our lives to leave behind. Which memories are dispensable? We, like many Iraqis, are not the classic refugees- the ones with only the clothes on their backs and no choice. We are choosing to leave because the other option is simply a continuation of what has been one long nightmare- stay and wait and try to survive.

On the one hand, I know that leaving the country and starting a new life somewhere else- as yet unknown- is such a huge thing that it should dwarf every trivial concern. The funny thing is that it’s the trivial that seems to occupy our lives. We discuss whether to take photo albums or leave them behind. Can I bring along a stuffed animal I've had since the age of four? Is there room for E.'s guitar? What clothes do we take? Summer clothes? The winter clothes too? What about my books? What about the CDs, the baby pictures?
How easy can it be to be forced from your home and country because of the idiot choice of Texican shitass who would rather be drinking?

River, I wish you and your family Good Luck and Godspeed in your journey to a safe haven.

From McClatchy's Iraqi staff, we get a blogpost from someone who can't leave Iraq.

If we don't count them, they don't count.

They being the victims of car bombs in Iraq. The Bushies have discovered that if their numbers are not included in the death totals, the Bushies can then say the 'Surge' is working!
Bush administration officials have pointed to a dramatic decline in one category of deaths - the bodies dumped daily in Baghdad streets, which officials call sectarian murders - as evidence that the security plan is working. Bush said this week that that number had declined by 50 percent, a number confirmed by statistics compiled by McClatchy Newspapers.

But the number of people killed in explosive attacks is rising, the same statistics show - up from 323 in March, the first full month of the security plan, to 365 through April 24.

Overall, statistics indicate that the number of violent deaths has declined significantly since December, when 1,391 people died in Baghdad, either executed and found dead on the street or killed by bomb blasts. That number was 796 in March and 691 through April 24.

Nearly all of that decline, however, can be attributed to a drop in executions, most of which were blamed on Shiite Muslim militias aligned with the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Much of the decline occurred before the security plan began on Feb. 15, and since then radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered his Mahdi Army militia to stand down...

... Deaths from car bombings and improvised explosive devices, however, increased from 361 in December to a peak of 520 in February before dropping to 323 in March.

In that same period, the number of bombings has increased, as well. In December, there were 65 explosive attacks. That number was unchanged in January, but it rose to 72 in February, 74 in March and 81 through April 24.
As someone once said, there are lies, damn lies and statistics, and the Bushies love to use all three to the fullest. But like all things the Bushies ignore, it does not make the problem go away. All those folks that were blown up are still dead, even if George doesn't know about them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Just a Reminder

On Wednesday at 9 p.m. EDT, PBS stations will air the first in a new season of the "Bill Moyers Journal" that reports how some of the nation’s most influential news organizations failed to challenge the Bush administration’s faulty case for war in Iraq. Moyers’ show highlights, by contrast, the skeptical reporting by journalists from this bureau [McClatchy/Knight-Ridder] that raised questions about the intelligence relied on by the president to make the argument for war.

If you just have to be somewhere else, set your TiVo. If you have to watch American Idol, just shoot yourself.

Create a Slogan

SusanG over at Kos has a diary describing the elimination of references to "a long war" in militarys communications about Iraq. More smoke and mirrors, you say? Why yes it is, but it masks a serious problem. They have nothing to take its place.
Admiral Fallon does not appear to have come up with a catchy substitute for his predecessor’s turn of phrase.

"We continue to look for other options to characterize the scope of current operations," said Colonel McLaughlin, the spokesman.
Now is the time for all Americans to come to the aid of their country. Use the comment section to display your new way of saying "War Without End, Amen".

Cowards should not diss a veteran

All the more so when the veteran is a decorated WWII bomber pilot who is also a veteran politician with a store of integrity that a stadium full of Republicans could not match. If you have not read the whole of Sen. George McGovern's response to the Evil Grand Vizier Dickwahd al-Cheney, you owe yourself a treat to do so. The excerpts are fine but the whole is a glory.

Quote of the Day

Vice President Cheney should be the last person to lecture anyone on how leaders should make decisions.

Leaders should make decisions based on facts and reality, two words that seem to be foreign to the Vice President

This is the same guy who said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and that we would be greeted as liberators. And it's the same guy who continues to assert that Saddam Hussein had links to al Qaeda long after our own intelligence agency conclusively refuted this notion. To suggest he lacks credibility would be an understatement.

The Vice President's and others' attacks on those who disagree with their failed policies are signs of desperation. They are lashing out because they know the days are numbered for their failed strategy and that the American people and a bipartisan majority are determined to force this Administration to change course in Iraq.
Sen Harry Reid D-NV in a prepared statement responding to a baseless attack by Evil Vizier Dickwahd al-Cheney.

Two of the Best

Tom Toles

Pat Oliphant

Monday, April 23, 2007

Epitaph for a reporter

Leila Fadel, writing for McClatchy, describes the life and death of an Iraqi reporter. Her story both inspires and saddens the reader, but in the end she is dead like so many other Iraqis because of George W Bush.
Khamael Muhsen, was a journalist with Radio Free Europe, the U.S.-government funded broadcaster. She'd been a famous television personality in Saddam Hussein's era. Now the 54-year-old is a statistic, her body dumped on the side of the road like so much garbage, one of at least 158 journalists, most of them Iraqis, who've been killed since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Our Dear Embattled Leader's Fabulous 15

The AP has a rundown of the ethically challenged Bushovik minions who have been caught so far. I guess they lost their integrity on the flight to DC.

And don't even imagine that this list is in any way final.

Quote of the Day

"But like it or not, George W. Bush is still the commander in chief — and this is his war,"
Sen. Harry Reid D-NV, reminding America of Our Dear Embattled Leader's only legacy.

Monday Music Blogging

In all my years, I never could figure out why the NRA did not adopt this tune as their anthem.

Tom Paxton

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Texicans aren't all peckerwoods

Even though there are enough of them to elect people like Our Dear Embattled Leader. This story from CNN shows there are some decent people there.
A jury awarded $9 million to a black man who suffered permanent brain damage after being beaten and dumped in a field by four men in 2003.

Billy Ray Johnson, 46, lives in a nursing home because of the injuries he suffered in the beating. In the criminal case, the men accused of assaulting him were fined and sentenced to probation and jail time, but none served more than 60 days behind bars.

In a four-day civil trial in District Court that ended Friday, jurors found James Cory Hicks and Christopher Colt Amox responsible for Johnson's injuries. Defendants Dallas Chadwick Stone and John Wesley Owens previously reached confidential settlements, attorneys said.

A jury of 11 whites and one black deliberated less than four hours before returning a unanimous verdict, said attorneys for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which brought the lawsuit on behalf of Johnson.
Just to clarify one point, he was not simply found in a field the next morning.
He was found unconscious on a fire ant mound and had suffered a serious concussion and bleeding in the brain.
Them are some fine boys there.

I had a post about this last year.

Karl Rove v Sheryl Crow

Despite having Rich Little as the headliner last night, there was some entertainment after all. It seems that Ms. Crow and Laurie David had the temerity to speak to The TurdBlossom himself. You don't have to imagine his horror at finding himself face to face with real people, the ladies have written about it themselves.
In his attempt to dismiss us, Mr. Rove turned to head toward his table, but as soon as he did so, Sheryl reached out to touch his arm. Karl swung around and spat, "Don't touch me." How hardened and removed from reality must a person be to refuse to be touched by Sheryl Crow? Unfazed, Sheryl abruptly responded, "You can't speak to us like that, you work for us." Karl then quipped, "I don't work for you, I work for the American people." To which Sheryl promptly reminded him, "We are the American people."
Doesn't like being touched by Sheryl Crow, is Turd gay? Whatever, this should get the hive mind buzzing. Can't wait to hear what that drug addled old colostomy bag, Rush, will have to say about it.

And another thing, just who does Turd think the American people is?

Thought for the day

As we read the daily reports of violence, with their attendant body counts, from Iraq, I was stirred by a memory from years past. First, the count.
Gunmen shot and killed 23 members of an ancient religious sect in northern Iraq on Sunday after stopping their bus and separating out followers of other faiths, while at least 20 people were killed in car bombings in the capital...

..Police said 13 people died - five policemen and eight civilians. The wounded included 46 policemen and 36 civilians.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, a parked car bomb exploded in the Sadiyah neighborhood, killing seven civilians and wounding 42, police said. A roadside bomb then struck a police patrol coming to check on the blast, killing one officer and wounding two others.

In all, at least 72 people were killed or found dead in Iraq on Sunday, including 24 bullet-riddled bodies and two brothers who were shot to death in the volatile city of Fallujah, a day after the chairman of the city's council was assassinated.

The U.S. military also reported the deaths of three soldiers. Two were killed in attacks in Baghdad on Saturday, while the third died from an unidentified non-combat cause that was still under investigation, the military said.
Now think back to the beginning of this fiasco and all the days since then. In all that time Our Dear Embattled Leader, who seems to have made it his crusade to kill as many troops and Iraqis as possible, has never, ever, told the American people the real reason he started this disaster.

Tales from the Crypt

And the crypt keeper himself, Michael Chertoff, gives us another look at why we should be afraid, be very afraid. However, Mikey chooses to inflate the image of the bloody minded, fiendishly clever terrist taking over the world and taking us down if we are not properly quaking in our shoes. And liberally (can I use that word?) sprinkled though the piece is the ultimate icon, "9/11". He conspicuously does not mention his repeated failure to secure our borders and ports of entry, but that was not what he was hired to do, was it. It is not quite as cathartic as a slasher movie, but read it if you need a frisson of fear.

Overall, Mikey does a workman like job of waving the bloody flag.

Karl Rove is The Borg Queen?

Gary Wolf, writing in the LA Times, has an op-ed suggesting that instead of the traditional government administration structure, the Bushoviks have developed a 'hive mind' system to decision and execution. He explains how the received wisdom of the crowd can explain the curious answers Gonzo gave in his boffo Senate appearance this week.
Almost exactly three years ago, then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice appeared before Congress to talk about why she hadn't felt it necessary to take any special action after being warned that Osama bin Laden was determined to strike in the United States. "If there was any reason to believe that I needed to do something," Rice said at the time, "I would have been expected to be asked to do it." At the time, this sentence seemed a marvel of tortured syntax and evasive passivity. But with Gonzales' testimony in hand, we can now read it differently. What Rice was saying was not that she was too disengaged or too inexperienced to do her job. Instead, she may merely have been expressing her trust in the distributed system of knowledge that gives the Bush administration its remarkable confidence.

The hive mind has a curious blindness, however. It has reasons for doing things, but those reasons are typically inaccessible to its members. Pressed hard, Gonzales simply looked at the committee and admitted that he was baffled as to why he did what he did. Repeatedly, he was asked what criteria were used to select individuals for firing. "I would like to know," he said. "I would like to ask that question."
Hive mind or Borg, it works if you don't want to believe that Gonzo was lying or too stupid to live on his own. But, correct me if I am off base on this, wouldn't that make Colin Powell 7 of 9?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Bring them home

MoveOn and VoteVets have collaborated on a VideoVets project designed to air the faces and voices of Iraq veterans and military families expressing their opposition to Li'l Georgie's Glorious War.

You can see the clips here.

And nothing is free, you can help them here.

Scratch a Republican and you find corruption

Thanks be to Josh Marshall at TPM for finding these two tales of how the Republican Party is polluting the moral and ethical reservoir of America. The first involves good old fashioned money for services rendered by Rep Rick Renzi, detailed by the Wall St Journal.
That investigation has now become a formal public-corruption probe by a federal grand jury in Tucson. On Thursday, the grand jury authorized a search warrant of a Renzi family business. Investigators have uncovered evidence that Mr. Renzi received a cash payment from his former business partner, funneled through a family wine company, after a second investor group pursuing an unrelated land swap agreed to pay $4 million for the alfalfa field, according to people contacted in the course of the two-year investigation.
The second displays how even a Republican and neo-conman like Paul Wolfowitz will succumb to the power of the penis.
State Department officials familiar with the details of this matter confirmed to me that Shaha Ali Riza was detailed to the State Department and had unescorted access while working for Elizabeth Cheney. Access to the building requires a national security clearance or permanent escort by a person with such a clearance. But the State Department has no record of having issued a national security clearance to Riza.

State Department officials believe that Riza was issued such a clearance by the Defense Department after SAIC was forced by Wolfowitz and Feith to hire her. Then her clearance would have been recognized by the State Department through a credentials transmittal letter and Riza would have accessed the State Department on Pentagon credentials, using her Pentagon clearance to get a State Department building pass with a letter issued under instructions from Liz Cheney.

But State Department officials tell me that no such letter can be confirmed as received. And the officials stress that the department would never issue a clearance to a non-U.S. citizen as part of a contractual requisition. Issuing a national security clearance to a foreign national under instructions from a Pentagon official would constitute a violation of the executive orders governing clearances, they say.
Golly gee! Another scandal involving a Cheney, only this time the dick is named Wolfowitz. Time will tell if she learned how to cover her trail as well as the old man.

The party that lost the war

Is now making a great noise to drown out the voice of the man who dared reveal their crime. And the REPUBLICAN PARTY is hoping that they will be able to continue a sad record of covering up their failures by blaming those who expose their total responsibility for the event. Whether it is the World Trade Center, the aftermath of Katrina or, the greatest failure of all, Iraq, all Americans should NEVER FORGET that it was the REPUBLICAN PARTY that changed this nation from a 'Can-Do' country to a shamefully inept nation that can't get anything right. Now, as they try to distract us from the truth of what Sen. Harry Reid D-Nev said,
"I believe myself that the secretary of state, secretary of defense and — you have to make your own decisions as to what the president knows — (know) this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday,"
It is time for all Americans to shout back, today, and every day until election time when we can throw the bastards out and hopefully into jail where they belong.

Republican voter fraud

Once again McClatchy shows itself to be the Gold Standard of news services. This time they give us an in-depth look at the Republican voter fraud that underpins the current US Attorney scandal. Our Dear Embattled Leader and his minions, like any good bunch of quislings, know that they must appear to be doing the jobs within the rules if they are going to subvert the rules from within the system.
Joseph Rich, who left his job as chief of the section in 2005, said these events formed an unmistakable pattern.

"As more information becomes available about the administration's priority on combating alleged, but not well substantiated, voter fraud, the more apparent it is that its actions concerning voter ID laws are part of a partisan strategy to suppress the votes of poor and minority citizens," he said.
And the USA scandal freaks them out because people are now getting a a look at their efforts. And like all cockroaches, they can't stand the light of day.

UPDATE: Robert Parry has a look at the fraud being perpetrated to cover the fraud.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Quote of the Day

If you aren't prepared to invest your son or daughter in continuing this war, then it's time for you to give some serious thought to how and when it can be ended, and what the candidates for president in 2008 are saying about an open-ended commitment of other Americans' sons and daughters to a war we can't afford and can't win.
Joseph Galloway

Thursday, April 19, 2007

1-2-3 What are we fighting for?

Don't ask me I don't give a damn. This sure sounds like Vietnam.

We can now throw "As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." onto the shitheap of Bushian lies about why we are in Iraq. From Nancy A. Youssef, reporting for McClatchy, we get this latest shift in war policy for Iraq.
Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces.

Training Iraqi troops, which had been the cornerstone of the Bush administration's Iraq policy since 2005, has dropped in priority, officials in Baghdad and Washington said....

....U.S. forces complained that the Iraqi forces weren't getting the support from their government and that Iraqi military commanders, many who worked under Saddam Hussein, weren't as willing to embrace their tactics. Among everyday Iraqis, some said they didn't trust their forces, saying they were sectarian and easily susceptible to corruption.

Most important, insurgents and militiamen had infiltrated the forces, using their power to carry out sectarian attacks.

In nearly every area where Iraqi forces were given control, the security situation rapidly deteriorated. The exceptions were areas dominated largely by one sect and policed by members of that sect.
I have to re-read my Stanley Karnow to see if "The light at the end of the tunnel" is next.

Compassion - Army style

From the Army Times:
A Decatur soldier with five months left on his enlistment tried unsuccessfully to get an extension on his two-week leave to stay with his dying mother, who is hospitalized on life-support.

Sgt. Tim Robinson requested another week in a letter faxed to his unit explaining that his mother, Kate Mae Jones, was dying of kidney and heart failure. His request included a note from his mother’s doctor concerning her condition, but his commanding officer denied the extension.

As his scheduled Tuesday departure neared, he went to Redstone Arsenal to get help from the Judge Advocate General Corps but was told he had to go through the American Red Cross first. Without time to go through the proper channels, he left to return to his unit.

“It’s either that or get arrested,” said Robinson, 39. “And I don’t want that. I don’t want to put any more stress on Mom.”

The Decatur Daily reported that his 62-year-old mother, on life-support machines and unable to speak, was tearful as she watched her son leave Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

An adult speaks to children.

Following the shootings at Virginia Tech, some people, too many people, have been saying that the students should have done something to save themselves. Some brave (in a Cowardly Lion sort of way) heroes have even offered their fearless reactions to such a situation. Over at Alternate Brain, Gordon offers up a dose a reality about this sort of nonsense.

Read it and share it with those who don't know any better, yet.

The first one

Like the first drop of water that flowed downhill to begin the Grand Canyon.
April 17, 2007

Dear Colleague:

This week I intend to introduce Articles of Impeachment with respect to the conduct of Vice President Cheney. Please have your staff contact my office . . . if you would like to receive a confidential copy of the document prior to its introduction in the House.



Dennis J. Kucinich

Member of Congress
Naturally we hope it won't take as long to complete but you have to start somewhere.

And today in Iraq

The sun came up in the east and bombs were set off in public places in Baghdad. Today's efforts were quite productive.
122 dead, 150 wounded in Sadriya market in central Baghdad;

• 28 dead, 44 wounded in an attack near an Iraqi Army checkpoint at one of the entrances to Sadr City, the official said;

• 11 civilians were killed and 13 others wounded when a parked car bomb detonated in central Baghdad's Karrada district. The car was parked near a hospital and a market;

• Four police officers were killed and 6 civilians wounded when a suicide car bomber exploded at an Iraqi police checkpoint in southern Baghdad;

• Four people were killed and eight were wounded by a bomber targeting a police patrol near a checkpoint in Saidiya, in southwestern Baghdad. Two of those killed were police and the other two were civilians;

• Two civilians were killed and 9 others wounded when a roadside bomb detonated at a busy intersection in central Baghdad.
Since the "surge" is not working very well, Prime Minister al-Maliki decided to try another tack.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has ordered the arrest of a top army officer after a string of bombings that killed more than 180 people Wednesday, the prime minister's office announced.
Probably just the first of many.

Picky, picky,picky

The White House, according to the latest reports, likes to pick through e-mails like a kid picks through his dinner.
President Bush's lawyers told the Republican National Committee on Tuesday not to turn over to Congress any e-mails related to the firings last year of eight U.S. attorneys before showing them to the White House.
Can't send any bunch of dirty old e-mails to Congress. Have to sanitize them first so all those old fellas don't catch something (wink, wink).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Quote of the Day

It is time for the White House to drop this trumped-up crisis talk and get down to the truth.

Let's take a look at what the House and Senate bills will actually do. We will provide our troops with body armor and specialized armored vehicles, which the Administration has failed to do. We will strengthen and improve health care for our troops and veterans, which the Administration has not done. And Congress will craft a responsible strategy for the Iraqis to take control of their own nation. Congress will insist on accountability and responsibility both from the Bush Administration and the Iraqi government.

These priorities, the White House claims, are extraneous and wasteful. I simply cannot understand why the President is so eager to send endless billions of taxpayer dollars to rebuild Baghdad, yet is unwilling to fund priorities here at home, such as rebuilding the Gulf Coast or providing first-class health care for our veterans and our troops returning home from war.
Sen. Robert Byrd D-WV, from his post at The Huffington Post

In the meantime...

McClatchy reports on a pair of happenings in DC that would be of note on a quiter newsday. The first is the news that Rep Don Young R-AK is lawyering up.
Young, an Alaska Republican in his 18th term, hired the D.C. legal team around March 12, as the U.S Attorney's office in Milwaukee was looking into campaign contributions by businessman Dennis Troha. Troha reportedly benefited from new truck-hauling rules that Young helped pass in 2005 as part of a major transportation spending bill.

Young, who received about $20,000 in campaign contributions from Troha, his family members and associates, has said he does not recall ever meeting the man. Nor did he know Troha would benefit from new rules Young favored allowing longer ``saddlemount" truck combinations.
"Gosh! You mean he didn't just give me money because he is a nice guy?"

The second item could be much more noteworthy in the end because it leads back to Jack Abramoff.
Kevin A. Ring, a key associate of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff who spent many hours lobbying his old boss, Rep. John Doolittle, has abruptly resigned his job at a Washington law firm.

Ring's departure raises questions about whether Doolittle's former legislative director has become a Justice Department target in the investigation into the Abramoff lobbying scandal, to which Doolittle also has been linked.
All the good scandals in DC lead back to Abramoff or Cheney. But unlike Cheney, Abramoff and some of his friends are singing.

UPDATE: The FBI has raided the home of Rep. Doolittle.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Gen. John J Sheheen explains

In the WaPo today the good general explains why he passed on the position of 'War Czar' for Iraq & Afghanistan. After reading it all, the General's original statement still says it best.
"The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going," said retired Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan, a former top NATO commander who was among those rejecting the job. Sheehan said he believes that Vice President Cheney and his hawkish allies remain more powerful within the administration than pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq. "So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks,' " he said.
Sometimes you can't improve on the original.

Monday Music Blogging

I thought it would be nice to have a little sing-along this week. CAUTION, contains uncivil language.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The sweet smell of success in Iraq.

From McClatchy comes this indicator of the success in the Bagdhad surge.
Two months into the U.S.-led Baghdad Security Plan, at least 289 people were killed and injured across Iraq on Saturday, including 36 dead in a car bomb attack in the holy Shiite city of Karbala. The carnage of a crowd teeming with women and children set off an angry mob of hundreds against the governor and police.

The morning bombing outside a bus station and marketplace ripped through vendor stands near a Shiite shrine where the grandson of the prophet Mohammed is buried.

Bodies littered the street and body parts were found as far as 160 yards from the site of the explosion. Three buses of passengers were charred and storefronts lay in shambles.

At least 167 people were injured in the bombing, but the death toll was expected to increase because of still-unidentified bodies and serious injuries, said Saleem Kadhim, spokesman for the Karbala health directorate.

As police and ambulances approached to carry away victims, angry residents shot at them, witnesses said. The police responded, firing bullets into the air to dissipate the angry crowd. As the bullets rained down, a child and elderly man were killed, witnesses said.
The failure of Our Dear Embattled Leader's fiasco is writ large every day in Iraq but don't you dare tell him how to fail. He is a Harvard MBA, he knows how to fail with the best of them. And all the people dying for his Glory, they just didn't know the right people.
Karim Hussein, 43, wept as he held his two dead sons. "Death to the governor," he shouted. "I can't understand. How did a car bomb get here to kill these people?"

An old man combed through the rubble searching for his wife.

"I can't find her," he cried. "I can't find her."

Our Dear Embattled Leader consults with his commanders on the ground

Except this time. Acting on the belief that it was General Petraeus' birthday, he decided to spring a surprise on the general.
The timing of the announcement raising the standard length of active Army Iraq deployments to 15 months took the U.S. commanding general in Iraq by surprise, according to a senior U.S. military official here.

Army Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the U.S. military operation in Iraq, learned of the change in policy during a briefing from his staff the morning after the Defense Department announcement, according to the senior military official. However, the official added, he was “pretty confident” that the content of the announcement did not come as a shock to Petraeus.
No, not a shock to someone who has been in the top levels of command through 6 years of the Bushoviks and 4 years of Li'l Georgie's Glorious War. And there was no real need to tell him, the general is a good soldier. He will take whatever they give him with a "Thank You, Sir! May I Have Another, Sir!"

Quote of the Day

Democrats are continuing to fight to fully fund our troops and give them a strategy for success worthy of their sacrifices. President Bush continues to insist that we follow his same failed strategy that has drawn our troops further into an intractable civil war.

"In the same week that we learned troops' tours will be extended, the White House admitted it can't manage the war and the Iraqi parliament was bombed in the most secure part of Iraq, all the President can offer the American people is a threat to veto funding for our troops and a stubborn refusal to change his failed policies.
Sen. Harry Reid D-NV, responding to another pack of lies from Our Dear Embattled Leader.

Gonzo publishes his opening statement

In the ever helpful WaPo editorial page. Perhaps by doing so he hopes to not have to repeat the multiple lies in it under oath. When you drop a whopper like this:
While I have never sought to deceive Congress or the American people,
you know the rest is just so much manure with filler.

It would be nice if the Bushoviks would stop trying to adjudicate their crimes in the media instead of the courts, where they belong.

EXTRA: The LA Times has a report on the somewhat less than hands-on management style of Gonzo.

"I want to kill somebody today,"

The Washington Post reports today on one example of unrestrained mercenaries in Iraq. With no one, military or civilian, having oversight for the merc's, bad things do happen.
"I want to kill somebody today," Washbourne said, according to the three other men in the vehicle, who later recalled it as an offhand remark. Before the day was over, however, the guards had been involved in three shooting incidents. In one, Washbourne allegedly fired into the windshield of a taxi for amusement, according to interviews and statements from the three other guards.
But there is justice in Iraq. Three of the merc's were fired for failing to file shooting reports in a timely manner. Oo-o-o!, that must hurt.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

R.I.P. Don Ho

Tiny Bubbles and a big smile. Aloha.

The New York Times gets it

At least the editorial writers do. The lead editorial sums up the real scandal in the US Attorney firings and gets to the Bushovik motivation for their criminal campaign.
It’s obvious why the Bush administration would edit those documents, but why the voting report? Because charges of voter fraud are a key component of the Republican electoral strategy. If the public believes there are rampant efforts to vote fraudulently, or to register voters improperly, it increases support for measures like special voter ID’s, which work against the poor, the elderly, minorities and other disenfranchised groups that tend to support Democrats. Claims of rampant voter fraud also give the administration an excuse to cut back prosecutions of the real problem: officials who block voters’ access to the polls.
And they have peeked behind the curtain to get a glimpse of The Wizard of Turd and his role in all that has happened.
It is vital that Congress get to the truth about these firings. Last week, the Republican National Committee threw up another roadblock, claiming it had lost four years’ worth of e-mail messages by Karl Rove that were sent on a Republican Party account. Those messages, officials admitted, could include some about the United States attorneys. It is virtually impossible to erase e-mail messages fully, and the claims that they are gone are not credible.

The only solution is to get these issues out into the open. It is good that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will finally testify in the Senate this week. But Mr. Rove, who seems to be at the heart of this affair, should also be required to testify under oath — and in public. Even the Wizard of Oz eventually came out from behind the curtain.
How nice it would be if we could just throw a bucket of water on Turd, or Mr. Blossom in the NYT style, and melt him.

It's all in the priorities.

The New York Times opines about the White House search fo someone to run the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In doing so they ask what must seem like a very foolish question to Republicans and other people who hate America.
National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told The Times he’d decided that “what we need is someone with a lot of stature within the government who can make things happen.” He said that top official would have the authority to “call any cabinet secretary and get problems resolved, fast.”

The immediate question, of course, is why Mr. Hadley and his team didn’t figure that out a long time ago, preferably when there was still some chance of fixing Iraq’s problems. For that matter, isn’t that what the president’s national security adviser is supposed to be doing in the first place?

Defense Secretary Robert Gates did Mr. Hadley no favor when he described the job as “what Steve Hadley would do if Steve Hadley had the time, but he doesn’t have the time to do it full time.” What could be more deserving of Mr. Hadley’s time than trying to figure out a way to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan and extricate the country from Iraq?
And to any bunch of loyal Bushies the answer is simple.


Wolfie's girl is a victim, too.

So says Shaha Riza. Now I happen to think that there are probably quite a few women in this world who would 'do the nasty' with a creature like Wolfowitz in return for a salary higher than the Secretary of State. And some would not be the least bit embarrassed to be found out doing so, as Ms. Riza is. Or perhaps it is this little fact that discomforts her.
Riza remains on the World Bank’s payroll though she left the State Department job in 2006 and now works for Foundation for the Future, an international organization that gets some money from the department.

Asked what Riza does at the foundation, State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said she is an adviser to the foundation’s board.
A sinecure for your sweetie used to be the height of scandal in government. Now it is just another Bushovik/Neo-Con ethical 'lapse'.

Quote of the Day

The president is not king, the president is the president of the United States. America is a democracy. We have to make decisions based on our judgment. Thus far, the president's judgment hasn't been good, in terms of say for example the war on Iraq.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, responding to NBC airhead Campbell Brown.

Friday, April 13, 2007

When contractors are valued more than troops

You get the deployment to Iraq of an airplane most noted for its ability to kill Marines in bunches. With the end of the Iraq fiasco looming with the end of Our Dear Embattled Leader's reign, the Boeing-Bell/Textron combine was champing at the bit to get their overpriced and undercapable V-22 Osprey into the action. The Pentagon finally relented, but not without major limits to how it may be used. One limit is that it not be used in a hot LZ.
The plane’s most widely cited design problem is that one of its propellers can get caught in its own turbulence as it comes in for a landing, and that can cause the V-22 to roll over and head into the ground.

For that reason, V-22 pilots are trained to steer clear of their own turbulence by rules prohibiting them from making the quick maneuvers used by helicopters to evade enemy fire. Instead, the V-22 must land at speeds as slow as nine miles an hour and in a fairly straight line....

...Should the V-22 lose power, it can not “autorotate” like a helicopter and allow the updraft of air to rotate its propellers for a hard, but survivable, landing. Because of this, according to the 2005 Pentagon report, emergency V-22 landings without power at altitudes below 1,600 feet “are not likely to be survivable.”
And, if that isn't enough to keep it safe at home consider this.
In preparation for deployment, the Pentagon ran tests last year in the New Mexico desert, similar to the climate of Iraq. In January, the Pentagon wrote about frequent failures with various parts and systems. The reason: “Extended exposure to the desert operating environment.”
Sounds like it will be a real big hit in Iraq, 24 Marines at a time.

The only good thing Dick Cheney ever did in his life was to try and kill the Osprey program. Even he couldn't do it.

With one born every minute, there must be a lot of you out there.

Suckers! And, according to Karl The Fixer, you are his base and he is appealing to you. Help him deny the cruel accusations that he deleted e-mails from his RNC accounts. Spread the word that he was so-o busy helping Our Dear Embattled Leader stay in power forever that he didn't notice the little fellers just wandering away, getting lost in the wilderness.

Now isn't that a nicer story than the malarkey that Rove's lawyer is peddling?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

One good scandal deserves another.

Our Dear Embattled Leader and his evil Republicans continued their efforts to inoculate the American public to GOP scandal. Just when you began to wrap your mind around the Republicans US Attorney scandal, with its deliberate perverting of the legal system to political purposes, another large and equally damaging scandal rears its Republican head. It seems that in violations of the Presidential Records Act AND the Hatch Act, ODEL's minions have not only deleted large numbers of e-mails from their RNC accounts (the raison d'etre of these accounts) but they have also managed to lose large numbers of e-mails from the official White House systems which is supposed to keep them forever. Check out Froomkin and Josh Marshall if you want the straight skinny. And CREW has the awful details.

Impeachment. It's not just for hummers anymore.

Quote of the Day

"I am calling on all the candidates in this race to join me in clearly standing up to the president once and for all by stating their support for the Feingold-Reid legislation that sets a firm timetable to end this war by March 31st, 2008. After more than 3,200 lives lost, tens of thousands wounded and $400 billion spent, it is time to bring an end to a war that at every turn has failed to make America safer. The hour is late. It is time to begin putting our country on a more secure path."
Chris Dodd, D-CT and presidential candidate

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

$3,000 per target

That is the extra pay that the "Million Dollar Baby", Our Dear Embattled Leader and his crew will provide Regular Army troops for the 3 extra months that are now required for a tour of duty in Iraq.
It was the latest move by the Pentagon to cope with the strains of fighting two wars simultaneously and maintaining a higher troop level in Iraq as part of President Bush's revised strategy for stabilizing Baghdad.

"This policy is a difficult but necessary interim step," Gates told a Pentagon news conference, adding that the goal is to eventually return to 12 months as the standard length of tour in Iraq and Afghanistan.
An interim step. Will that become the new "another 6 months"? But this only affects regulars, Jarheads, NG and Reserve will continue to serve their standard tours. That should be just the ticket to boost morale, all the way down the cellar stairs.


Read this report on MSNBC .
The White House wants to appoint a high-powered czar to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies, but it has had trouble finding anyone able and willing to take the job, according to people close to the situation.

At least three retired four-star generals approached by the White House in recent weeks have declined to be considered for the position, the sources said, underscoring the administration's difficulty in enlisting its top recruits to join the team after five years of warfare that have taxed the United States and its military.
You know that is 'Failure' writ large when you can't find a military man willing to run the whole show.
"The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going," said retired Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan, a former top NATO commander who was among those rejecting the job. Sheehan said he believes that Vice President Cheney and his hawkish allies remain more powerful within the administration than pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq. "So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks,' " he said.
Ah! The source of all failure, Dickwahd al-Cheney.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The "Soul" of a Republican

Not that they really have souls as God knows them, but the driving force of their whole being is marked out in this quote from Johanna Neuman in the LA Times via Froomkin:
"One new wrinkle under consideration by the White House would rewrite the law on legal immigration. Currently, family relations play a key role in obtaining visas that grant immigrants legal residency. Under proposals being discussed by Republicans in the Senate, business needs would take higher priority than family connections."
What could possibly be more important than the needs of Business?

You can not petition the President with prayer, or anything else

And Our Dear Embattled Leader took the opportunity to remind Congress and the American people that he does not and will not negotiate with them.They can talk all they want but
On one hand, Bush extended an offer to meet with lawmakers next Tuesday. On the other, the White House bluntly said it would not be a negotiating session.
And for good luck he repeated the lie that His Veto was all Congress' fault. As if they had any right to tell him what to do! And his audience for this declaration of war on Congress and the people was an American Legion post. You remember the American Legion, an organization of former veterans, notorious for their blind and vigorous support of all the Bushovik incompetence and failure in Iraq.

And the Democratic response? It was reasoned and intelligent and nowhere nearly as powerful a sound bite as ODEL's lies.
"Congressional Democrats are willing to meet with the President at any time, but we believe that any discussion of an issue as critical as Iraq must be accomplished by conducting serious negotiations without any preconditions," they said in a joint statement.

"With his threat to veto such a plan for change in Iraq, President Bush is ignoring the clear message of the American people: We must protect our troops, hold the Iraqi government accountable, rebuild our military, provide for our veterans and bring our troops home. The president is demanding that we renew his blank check for a war without end."
Adult speech that will have no effect on the Lord of the Flies.

Mondays are never good days

Just ask the folks in Iraq.
A female suicide bomber wearing a black abaya detonated her explosives belt in a crowd of about 200 police recruits northeast of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 16 people, police and hospital officials said....

....Meanwhile, U.S. and Iraqi army forces were engaged in fierce fighting with gunmen in two Sunni-dominated neighborhoods of the capital, Fadhil and Sheik Omar, police and witnesses said. Police said one person was killed and 14 wounded in the crossfire. Repeated artillery fire rang out across Baghdad at midday Tuesday, but the target was unclear...

...Also Tuesday, the U.S. military announced the deaths of four U.S. soldiers _ three killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad and another killed in combat in western Anbar province.
Which may help to explain why so many people joined in the GTFO parades in Najaf and elsewhere. But Our Dear Embattled Leader says everything is going well, not to worry.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Quote of the Day

Our troops need this funding, and they need it soon.
From the letter sent by Mitch McConnell, Trent Lott and various other Republican congressional stooges to Speaker Pelosi, urging prompt action on the bill that Our Dear Embattled Leader is planning to veto.

Can't keep the little snot waiting.

Monday Music Blogging

Joan Baez & Bob Dylan

Sunday, April 08, 2007

A tale of two boat people

Carl Hiassen of the Miami Herald, gives us a look at how the current US immigration policies affect real people.
US. immigration policy is a sporting proposition.

Some boat people get locked up. Some boat people get to play ball.

Jean-Ferdinand Monestime, who landed on Hallandale Beach on March 28, is in government custody awaiting an asylum hearing that will likely result in his deportation.

Francisely Bueno, who landed on Big Pine Key in August 2004, is pitching for the Atlanta Braves' AA farm team in Pearl, Miss. The lefty is here to stay.
So we have a look at one man trying to escape from a failed state who has nothing of value for those who will decide his fate. And the other man was smuggled into this country by a sports agent who saw the potential of great profit in him and he will stay. The agent, however, is currently on trial for this and has offered a priceless defense.
Defense attorneys for the sports agent said he's innocent. They said he was acting out of compassion, not greed.
And the mare's nest of immigration law will remain unchanged because the 'issue' has become a button word that fires up emotions when pushed and no one cares that real people are involved. Unless there is some profit to be made.

Australian Attorney General will not enforce gag rule on Gitmo releasee

And a thank you to Lindsey at Majikthise for the find last week.
Hicks's US military lawyer, Major Michael Mori, has said his client could be sent back to Guantanamo if he talks to reporters.

But Ruddock said Canberra could not extradite Hicks back to the United States if he spoke to the media because he would not be breaking Australian law.

"In Australia, we have a position about freedom of speech,
" Ruddock told ABC television late on Tuesday.
Cheeky bastard, that one.

Homeless targets

In the Toledo Blade today is a sickening report on the increase in the number of assaults and murders of homeless people by kids, teenagers and even younger, looking for some excitement.
He looked to be 50-ish, and a resident of Orlando's streets, judging by the moldy jacket. And he'd been bludgeoned - so badly bludgeoned that he could hardly move.

Before being rushed to the hospital, where he died of his head injuries, the man, August Felix, described his attackers. Young fellows did it, he whispered to the officers who got to him first. Kids.

Within three months, two 16-year-olds and three 15-year-olds had been charged with second-degree homicide in the March 26, 2006, attack. The motive? "I don't think there was a motive," Sgt. Barbara Jones, a police spokeswoman, said, "other than, 'Let's beat someone up.'"...

....An overwhelming majority of the attackers - 88 percent - were 25 or younger; 95 percent were male. No less than 68 percent of those accused and convicted in attacks were between the ages of 13 and 19....

....-In Toms River, N.J., five high-school students were charged with beating a 50-year-old homeless man nearly to death with pipes and baseball bats - throwing hockey pucks at him for good measure - as he slept in the woods.

-In Butte, Mont., a 53-year-old homeless man was killed at a Greyhound bus depot because he refused to give another man a cigarette, according to court records. The victim's skull was fractured. The 22-year-old assailant received a 50-year prison sentence.

-In Spokane, Wash., a one-legged, 50-year-old homeless man was set on fire in his wheelchair on a downtown street; he died of his burns. Police charged a 22-year-old man with first-degree murder.

-In Nashville, Tenn., a 32-year-old homeless woman sleeping on a boat ramp was shoved into the Cumberland River, according to witnesses. Two men, ages 21 and 22, were charged with homicide in her drowning; authorities say the attack was unprovoked.

"Kids are even starting to videotape themselves hurting homeless people. That's something we never saw before."
What kind of country have we become? The only thing we seem capable of anymore is destroying and killing. We sure can do that!

Our Dear Embattled Leader once again mocks the Prince of Peace.

The Washington Post reports on what ODEL did this morning down there in Texas on his vacation. There are several interesting parts, first the lede, where we see Li'l Georgie acting the part of a caring Xtian.
President Bush, worshipping at an Army post, prayed for peace Sunday in an Easter service about avoiding the forces of sin and doing what is right.

"I had a chance to reflect on the great sacrifice that our military and their families are making," Bush said outside the chapel at Fort Hood after the service. "I prayed for their safety, I prayed for their strength and comfort, and I pray for peace."
Gotta love that last bit, "I pray for peace." Then he does something that is so in keeping with his character.
At the point in the service when people greeted those next to them, Bush walked around the chapel so he could shake hands with more worshippers.

"I'm breaking the rule, I know," Bush said, figuring no one would mind.
Who could possibly object to whatever Little Lord Georgieboy wants to do? He is The Deciderer, the Anointed One, the Son of Cheney.

And then it was back to the "ranch" where
the Easter menu included fire-glazed ham, green chili cheese grits souffle, roasted orange molasses sweet potatoes, roasted asparagus, coconut cake and ice cream....

...In Iraq, a new day brought more violence.

A pickup truck packed with artillery shells was detonated Sunday near a hospital south of Baghdad, killing at least 15 people. Separately, the U.S. military announced the weekend deaths of 10 American soldiers, including six killed on Sunday.

At least 3,280 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
And Our Dear Embattled Leader still has to veto the funding bill for the troops.

The termites of the Dept of Justice

Charlie Savage, writing in the Boston Globe today, takes a closer look at the Regents University Law School and the "success" it has had in placing alumnae in the Bushovik DOJ. The alma mater of skills challenged Monica Goodling has provided over 150 graduates from its program with many infesting the Dept. of Justice Civil Rights division. His example of the hiring process these future Ken Starr's underwentif frightening.
Previously, veteran civil servants screened applicants and recommended whom to hire, usually picking top students from elite schools.

In a recent Regent law school newsletter, a 2004 graduate described being interviewed for a job as a trial attorney at the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division in October 2003. Asked to name the Supreme Court decision from the past 20 years with which he most disagreed, he cited Lawrence v. Texas, the ruling striking down a law against sodomy because it violated gay people's civil rights.

"When one of the interviewers agreed and said that decision in Lawrence was 'maddening,' I knew I correctly answered the question," wrote the Regent graduate . The administration hired him for the Civil Rights Division's housing section -- the only employment offer he received after graduation, he said.
So the legal work of our government appears to be in the hands of a bunch of loyal Bushie 'welfare' hires. And a well worn KJV and an apt quote should help you escape prosecution, unless your tan is too deep.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Maybe I was wrong

When I made fun of Indiana congressmoop Mike Pence for comparing his stroll in the Baghdad market with an Indiana outdoor market. The LA Times has a first person report of a shopping trip to an Indiana outdoor market.
MY WIFE came into the living room wearing a Kevlar vest, helmet and night-vision goggles.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Have you completely forgotten, silly head? We're going to the market."

I placed my hand at my head. I'd been so caught up in stitching a minor wound I'd received earlier in the day after going to an outdoor fruit stand that I had completely forgotten.

"I'm a dope, aren't I?" I said, chuckling, slowly shaking my head back and forth. She chuckled too, also shaking her head. We both chuckled. Then I winced from where a stitch popped.

Carol helped the boys get ready, putting on their sneakers and body armor. I phoned the Indiana National Guard so that they could radio the 434th Special Air Wing at Grissom Air Force Base, which in turn scrambled two F-14 Tomcats. Then we hopped in the wagon.
And that is just the beginning. The dangers only increase as they get closer to the vegetables. Makes my shopping trips look like a stroll in a Baghdad market with Sen. McCain.

Howard Dean speaks for America.

He gave the Democratic response to Our Dear Embattled Leader's petulant whine today. Tune in here to listen to an adult.

And if you want, give a few jelly beans to the DNC to help the cause.

John Bolton criticizes King Abdullah

And the evil Grand Vizier Dickwahd al-Cheney counts the minutes until he is summoned to Riyadh for a blistering dressing down. Dickwahds people should know better.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Baghdad Welcome Wagon

Shashank Bengali, writing for McClatchy has a look at the new strategy in Baghdad to combat ongoing the civil war.
Call it a Baghdad housewarming.

In the week since the soldiers of the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment from Fort Riley, Kan., moved into an abandoned seminary in southern Baghdad's volatile Mekanik neighborhood, they've been peppered with small-arms fire, three mortar attacks and a rocket-propelled grenade.

The grenade was launched from 150 yards away and hit the windshield of a parked Humvee, but it didn't detonate. An Army sniper equipped with a .240-caliber machine gun had a clear bead on the attacker but didn't pull the trigger because there was a gaggle of children around.
The urban jungle does present new problems on top of the usual problems of counterinsurgency. Still, it is nice to know that the neighbors won't ignore you.

Monica has left the building.

Monica Goodling, that is. She gave her resignation today, Good Friday, in a brief three sentence letter. With everybody off for Easter, we expect she will have to wait until Monday to be resurrerected.

Dickwahd al-Cheney has slipped his meds again

The AP is reporting that the evil Grand Vizier has once again put for his long disproved lies about Iraq and Al-Qaida.
Vice President Dick Cheney repeated his assertions of al-Qaida links to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq on Thursday as the Defense Department released a report citing more evidence that the prewar government did not cooperate with the terrorist group.

Cheney contended that al-Qaida was operating in Iraq before the March 2003 invasion led by U.S. forces and that terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was leading the Iraqi branch of al-Qaida. Others in al-Qaida planned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“He took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq, organized the al-Qaida operations inside Iraq before we even arrived on the scene and then, of course, led the charge for Iraq until we killed him last June,” Cheney told radio host Rush Limbaugh during an interview. “As I say, they were present before we invaded Iraq.”
Poor old Dickwahd is not even presenting a pretense of sanity anymore. Is this his reality? Or is it just a ploy to allow Our Dear Embattled Leader to put brother Jeb in as VP to take his place in 2008?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Joe Galloway has been to war

And that gives him the right to call bullshit on the panty-sniffing cowards running this country. And call it he does.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

John McCain has been written off

By McClatchy among others. When the headline reads, "McCain not seen as a winner in 2008" the first three paragraphs of the article are just adding insult to injury.
John McCain has lost his maverick magic.

The Arizona senator lags behind rivals in fundraising for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. He's lost ground in public opinion polls.

And in this state where he claimed his biggest victory the last time he ran, many Republicans see him as old, tired or too willing to bow down to an unpopular president or to his onetime foils, such as Christian conservative leaders.
So sorry John, but it's been a long time since the glory days of the "Keating Five".

There he goes again

Sending another one of his royal "Fuck You"s to the Senate and the people of the United States.
President Bush named Republican fundraiser Sam Fox as U.S. ambassador to Belgium on Wednesday, using a maneuver that allowed him to bypass Congress where Democrats had derailed Fox's nomination.
Since Alito, has Our Dear Embattled Leader gotten any nominations through the Senate? The last time I looked, he was too afraid to send even a US Attorney nomination through normal channels.

The real junior birdmen

The Army Times has this report.
Soldiers who operate unmanned aerial vehicles now are eligible for award of the Aviation Badge, Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal.

The policy change will be included in an upcoming revision of Army Regulation 600-8-22 (Military Awards).

Under the new policy, approved last month, unmanned aerial vehicle system warrant officers and enlisted operators may be awarded the DFC or AM “if they are physically located on the aircraft (system) during the cited period, and all criteria for the decorations have been met.”

The Distinguished Flying Cross is a prestigious decoration that ranks just behind the Silver Star as a valor medal. It is awarded for heroism or extraordinary achievement.

The Air Medal is awarded for heroism, outstanding achievement or meritorious service. It ranks behind the Bronze Star, but in front of the Army Commendation Medal.
And which medal do you get for valiantly flying your damaged UAV into the enemy target after it was damaged by ground fire?

Fatuous ass

Our Dear Embattled Leader has shown his true self with greater frequency lately.
President Bush and his advisers have made a lot of ridiculous charges about critics of the war in Iraq: they’re unpatriotic, they want the terrorists to win, they don’t support the troops, to cite just a few. But none of these seem quite as absurd as President Bush’s latest suggestion, that critics of the war whose children are at risk are too “emotional” to see things clearly....

...This form of attack is especially galling from a president who from the start tried to paint this war as virtually sacrifice-free: the Iraqis would welcome America with open arms, the war would be paid for with Iraqi oil revenues — and the all-volunteer military would concentrate the sacrifice on only a portion of the nation’s families.

Mr. Bush’s comments about Mr. Dowd are a reflection of the otherworldliness that permeates his public appearances these days. Mr. Bush seems increasingly isolated, clinging to a fantasy version of Iraq that is more and more disconnected from reality. He gives a frightening impression that he has never heard any voice from any quarter that gave him pause, much less led him to rethink a position.

Mr. Bush’s former campaign aide showed an open-mindedness and willingness to adapt to reality that is sorely lacking in the commander in chief.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Quote of the Day

Democrats will send President Bush a bill that gives our troops the resources they need and a strategy in Iraq worthy of their sacrifices. If the President vetoes this bill he will have delayed funding for troops and kept in place his strategy for failure.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a statement released today.

“like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime,”

That was the assessment by the allegedly intelligent Mike Pence, Republican congressmoop from Indiana and fellow traveler with Sen. John "Never met a bomb target I didn't like" McCain, of the Baghdad market they toured on Sunday. I have never been to an Indiana market but I strongly suspect that they would fail to need this level of protection to visit.
The delegation arrived at the market, which is called Shorja, on Sunday with more than 100 soldiers in armored Humvees — the equivalent of an entire company — and attack helicopters circled overhead, a senior American military official in Baghdad said. The soldiers redirected traffic from the area and restricted access to the Americans, witnesses said, and sharpshooters were posted on the roofs. The congressmen wore bulletproof vests throughout their hour long visit.
This is not to say they were entirely shielded from reality.
During their visit on Sunday, the Americans were buttonholed by merchants and customers who wanted to talk about how unsafe they felt and the urgent need for more security in the markets and throughout the city, witnesses said.

“They asked about our conditions, and we told them the situation was bad,” said Aboud Sharif Kadhoury, 63, who peddles prayer rugs at a sidewalk stand...Ali Youssef, 39, who sells glassware from a sidewalk stand down the block from Mr. Kadhoury, recalled: “Everybody complained to them. We told them we were harmed.”
But these people, like most Americans, had never met a presidential candidate on the campaign trail before Sunday. Reality flowed off him like water off a ducks back as he and his crew strove to create the reality they needed for their message.
Mr. McCain was asked about a comment he made on a radio program in which he said that he could walk freely through certain areas of Baghdad.

“I just came from one,” he replied sharply. “Things are better and there are encouraging signs.”

He added, “Never have I been able to go out into the city as I was today.”
Have you ever noticed that the rich people always have good drugs?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Exit stage right.

Our Dear Embattled Leader loses another of his loyal minions today.
President Bush is losing his top day-to-day adviser on Iraq, the White House confirmed Monday.

Meghan L. O'Sullivan, who has played a key behind-the-scenes role in implementing Bush's controversial Iraq policies over the past four years, will leave later this spring.

Her departure, which follows that of her deputy, could leave the White House with a vacuum of long-term experience on Iraq policy,
Hm-m, "a vacuum of long-term experience on Iraq policy" in the White House. I am guessing that just about no one will notice the difference.

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