Saturday, June 30, 2007

Just another casualty

From the Guardian:
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) - A U.S. soldier who died in Iraq and was the son of a king in this African country was buried here Saturday in a princely ceremony.

Spc. Ebe Firmin Emolo, 33, joined the army two years ago and became a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. He was killed along with three others when their vehicle struck an explosive in April.

Emolo was a prince, the youngest son of King Nanan Boa Kouassi III of the Agni people, said Ettien Amoakon, the chief of staff of Ivory Coast's defense minister, who assisted with the burial.

In the town of Abengourou, 130 miles northeast of Abidjan, Emolo's coffin was followed by hundreds of mourners, including U.S. military representatives and members of the royal family.

The crowd wept as he was laid in the ground in a cemetery.

``As a soldier, Emolo was one of the best,'' said U.S. Gen. Maj. David T. Zabecki, who accompanied the body on behalf of the U.S. Army.

Relatives told the BBC that Emolo first went to America as a student, then married an American woman, before joining the army.

What do you do with a suicide bomber?

If he finished his mission, you throw him in a potters field hole without ceremony.
— The two men had come to the common end of all human journeys. Their bodies, swathed in bloody white sheets, lay on a rocky hillside. Awaiting them were two thin rectangles of shallow graves. The city of Kabul was responsible for the burial. No mullah had been asked to preside over this earthly farewell.

“One of these guys needs a smaller hole,” one gravedigger said, laughing.

The bigger of the bodies belonged to an old man, Khan Mir. His body had gone unclaimed, and the obligations of an Islamic funeral were forgone because he was a pauper. The identity of the other man was unknown. He was only half a body really, a headless torso with but a right arm and a right leg. His interment was meant to be ignominious because he was a suicide bomber, or yak enteher kunenda.

“Cover them with rocks and throw on the dirt,” the chief gravedigger called out.

In Kabul, the burial of a suicide bomber occurs at a secret time in a secret place, the forgettable end to what most here consider an unforgivable act.
Some do not finish their mission, for them a small cell in a detention center. Some are contrite.
Pakistani members of the Taliban “came to my high school to recruit volunteers and told us if you didn’t join the jihad, you would go to hell and never see the brides in paradise,” he said. So he underwent suicide training in the Pakistani tribal areas.

But now hindsight, as well as capture, had made Farmanullah realize he was being used as a political plaything, he said. “We were told that everyone in Afghanistan was an infidel,” he said. “Now I know this is not so.”
And some are not.
At first, he said he was sorry he had not completed his suicidal mission. Then he expressed ambivalence.

“At the training camp I had allowed myself to become too emotional,” he said, mentioning that movies he had been shown were probably one-sided and had overstoked his zealotry. But while he was now glad he had not killed the Afghan governor, some of his suicidal resolve remained. “U.S. soldiers are still killing Muslims,” he said. “I still believe in jihad against America, and some things are worth death.”
But what really matters is that, somewhere, another is stepping forward to take their places and, if enough is left, fill another anonymous hole in the ground.

Al Gore writes

And you should read.

Help stop Republican Obstructionism

You know, when the minority party in the Senate, the one with No Constructive Ideas, prevents the passage of majority approved legislation with a Filibuster. You can read more about it from Digby and if you want to do something, send a message to Sen. Harry Reid here.

Terrists learn their bomb making skills from movies

What other explanation can there be for the latest in "devastating" bomb plots from Great Britain. It seems a couple of guys tried to drive a burning Jeep into an airline terminal, not realizing that vehicles do not explode in real life like they do in the movies. The result, one of the guys in the Jeep was badly burned, a small fire started and damage was done to the terminal entrance. And a lot of people had their travel plans disrupted. And in the end we should be glad these morons weren't the brightest bulbs in the chandelier.

ADDENDUM: There was one level headed witness in Glasgow. At the end of the AP report there is this quote.
Grey said the car did not explode. "There were a few pops and bangs that seemed to be the tires and the petrol."
Good thing they stuck him at the end so he wouldn't ruin a good story.

UPDATE: Larry Johnson speaks wisely, again, about this event.
If today's events at Glasgow prove to be linked to the two non-events yesterday in London, then we should heave a sigh of relief. We may be witnessing the implosion of takfiri jihadists--religious fanatics who are incredibly inept. While I am not an explosives expert I am good friends with one of the world's foremost explosives experts. Propane tanks and petrol (gas for us Americans) can produce a dandy flame and a mighty boom but these are not the tools for making a car bomb long the lines of what we see detonating on a daily basis in Iraq.

My main beef remains that much of the cable news media reacts to this nonsense like a fifty year old guy on Viagra or Cialis--they pop major wood. And the same warnings are appropriate--an erection lasting more than four hours may be harmful. Amen.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Larry Johnson looks at the latest HUGE TERRA ATTACK!

And he is not very impressed. No, really, not at all. Maybe enough people pissed themselves to raise Our Dear Embattled Leader a few points in the polls. Maybe not.

UPDATE: Compare Larry Johnson's take on this with the breathless prose of Paisley Dodd of the AP.
Police thwarted a devastating terrorist plot on Friday, discovering two Mercedes automobiles loaded with nails packed around canisters of propane and gasoline set to detonate and kill possibly hundreds in London’s crowded theater and nightclub district....

...Had they exploded, at least hundreds of people would have been killed (emphasis added)
Unfortunately, more people read Paisley's fear mongering than read Larry's knowledgeable take on the event.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Well, are you feeling lucky, pussy!

From the NY Times:
When Bella returned to the auto service shop, he lifted the van's hood to find a kitten sitting next to the radiator on the steamy day.

Bella said radiators can generate about 350 degrees of heat, but the kitten came out unscathed. So he named her ''Lucky.''

He said he plans to take the kitten home, where he hopes she'll get along with his four Rottweilers.
Four Rottweilers, that's a leg and a couple of ribs each; unless Dick Cheney shows up first.

Says it all

From Holden at First Draft comes this question and answer with which Our Dear Embattled Leader displays his policy toward the military.
Q Mr. President, I just returned from a week at the United States Army War College in Pennsylvania on national security. I walked away with so much more pride in our military. I would follow them anywhere. My question is: At the beginning of your speech -- that you said that you consult with the military. With all due respect, sir, how much do you really listen and follow them?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, a lot.
Probably had that shit eating smirk on his face at the time.

What crimes lie behind the White House stonewalling?

The Senate Judiciary Committee tried to find out the nice way and got nothing. Then they tried the hard way, with subpoenas. And Our Dear Embattled Leader and His Legion of Evil are promising to continue giving them nothing. Even if you had no inkling of the massive criminality the Republicans have brought to this administration, you would have to believe they are hiding something after reading the WaPo series on how they operate (links here). So have some fun, write a letter, make a call and ask the White House what they are hiding. Given their success rate at other endeavors, it may be worse than you thought.

Meanwhile, the Cheney-Bush War continues

From the WaPo, the newspaper that showed us who is really running the country (hint, his name isn't George}, we get this look at the latest from Iraq.
A massive car bomb exploded at a street-side bus depot during Baghdad's Thursday morning rush hour, killing at least 22 people and wounding more than 40 others in a tremendous explosion that set fire to scores of vehicles, Iraqi police said...

...The attack followed a late-night car bombing on Wednesday that killed at least 14 people near a major Shiite shrine in the Kadhimiya neighborhood in northern Baghdad, police reported.

Elsewhere, local residents found 20 headless bodies Thursday on the banks of the Tigris River in al-Mada'in, about 15 miles south of the capital, news agencies reported. A day earlier, 21 bodies were found in Baghdad, police said.
Nothing much here, let's move on.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bald Eagles to come off Endangered Species List

And just in time, too. Dickwahd al-Cheney was getting tired of hunting lawyers.

Our Dear Embattled Leader's Glorious Little War is working very well

So well that the only place Osama and his Al Qaeda can hang with their buds is down in dear old Waziristan. You know that funky little province in western PAKISTAN! Ah yes, Pakistan, our dear friends and glorious ally in the war against Osama and his Al Qaeda.
While the U.S. presses its war against insurgents linked to al Qaida in Iraq, Osama bin Laden's group is recruiting, regrouping and rebuilding in a new sanctuary along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, senior U.S. military, intelligence and law enforcement officials said.

The threat from the radical Islamic enclave in Waziristan is more dangerous than that from Iraq, which President Bush and his aides call the "central front" of the war on terrorism, said some current and former U.S. officials and experts. Bin Laden himself is believed to be hiding in the region, guiding a new generation of lieutenants and inspiring allied extremist groups in Iraq and other parts of the world.

Al Qaida, its allies in Afghanistan's Taliban movement and Pakistani radicals "have free rein there now," said Marvin Weinbaum, a former State Department intelligence analyst who's with the Middle East Institute, a Washington policy organization.
Waziristan is so peaceful that it has been turned into the main campus of Osama U, where they teach all the latest tactics brought back from Iraq. But have no fear, the US and Pakistan have been in high level discussions to decide what to do.
The issue has been a focus of recent talks in Washington and Islamabad between senior Pakistani and U.S. officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney.
With Dickwahd on the job it should turn into a total disaster in no time.

Even down to the air you breathe

That is how far the reach of the Evil Grand Vizier Dickwahd al-Cheney goes in the world. The final part 4 of the WaPo series is today. Sadly, it doesn't get any better.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Lugar & Voinovitch come out against the war

Well, at least they say so. Most likely they are sounding boards for "Big Swinging" Gates to get some numbers support to show to Our Dear Embattled Leader in Gates' effort to get Dickwahd al_Cheney hand out of ODEL's ass. None of them need be believed until they put their votes where their mouths are.

50 Real Americans

The 50 Presidential Scholars brought to the White House to be used as props for another inane set of remarks from Our Dear Embattled Leader. Instead they gave him a letter they had written about matters of deep concern to them.
The handwritten letter said the students "believe we have a responsibility to voice our convictions."

"We do not want America to represent torture. We urge you to do all in your power to stop violations of the human rights of detainees, to cease illegal renditions, and to apply the Geneva Convention to all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants," the letter said.
ODEL poo-poohed their concerns with a pious "the United States does not torture and that we value human rights" according to the mouthpiece of the day. And after the ceremony, he promptly called Uncle Dickwahd and asked that the kids be sent to Gitmo. Uncle Dickwahd just laughed at the petulant little boy.

UPDATE: MoDo adds some more to the story.

The Hand up Bush's ass

The Washington Post has Part 3 of its series on The Evil Grand Vizier Dickwahd al-Cheney today. This one covers domestic issues.

Part 1

Part 2

Monday, June 25, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Cheney will go to his grave like others before him thinking he was a great patriot who should not be bound by the laws of this country, or the laws of war. But even with all that secret extra-legal power he yielded and bestowed for all these years, he couldn't show success on any front when it mattered."
Laura Rozen, via Froomkin

Why we Torture

Or Part 2 of the Washington Post series on Richard Bruce Cheney, a man who knows no limits and his evil minions. It is long and detailed so I will just drop this one little tidbit.
A backlash beginning in 2004, after reports of abuse leaked out of Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay, brought what appeared to be sharp reversals in courts and Congress -- for both Cheney's claims of executive supremacy and his unyielding defense of what he called "robust interrogation."

But a more careful look at the results suggests that Cheney won far more than he lost. Many of the harsh measures he championed, and some of the broadest principles undergirding them, have survived intact but out of public view.

Monday Music Blogging

I post this just because I like musicians who know what to do with their instruments.

And because it reminds me of one night in Naples....nuff,said.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Republican vote caging in Ohio.

McClatchy has another name and another state to add to Republican voter fraud in the '04 election. This time we are in Ohio, already famous for Tom Noe's CoinFund fraud that laundered state funds into Republican campaign contributions.
Four days before the 2004 election, the Justice Department's civil rights chief sent an unusual letter to a federal judge in Ohio who was weighing whether to let Republicans challenge the credentials of 23,000 mostly African-American voters. The case was triggered by allegations that Republicans had sent a mass mailing to mostly Democratic-leaning minorities and used undeliverable letters to compile a list of voters potentially vulnerable to eligibility challenges. In his letter to U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott of Cincinnati, Assistant Attorney General Alex Acosta argued that it would "undermine" the enforcement of state and federal election laws if citizens could not challenge voters' credentials. Former Justice Department civil rights officials and election watchdog groups charge that his letter sided with Republicans engaging in an illegal, racially motivated tactic known as "vote-caging" in a state that would be pivotal in delivering President Bush a second term in the White House.
With Republicans, one crime is never enough.

It must be working.

From the good people at McClatchy.
Despite major ground-air offensives to the north and south of Baghdad, the deadliest place for U.S. troops remains the capital.

U.S. forces launched their largest assault of Baqouba, the provincial capital of Diyala about 35 miles north of Baghdad, five days ago. Since then, 29 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq -- 22 of them in Baghdad, nearly all by roadside bombs, according to a tally on

One U.S. soldier, Army Spec. Darryl Linder, 23, of Hickory, N.C., has been killed in the Diyala offensive so far....

....U.S. forces dominated the initial Diyala assault, code-named Arrowhead Ripper. Iraqi forces joined later, but the U.S. military still dominates the operation. By appearing without American military officials, Sunday's press conference _ beamed to Baghdad from Baqouba _ may have tried to suggest Iraqis now are leading the charge.
Oh, What a Lovely War.

A tale of interdepartmental cooperation.

Michael Isikoff, writing in Newsweek, gives us this look at how the 'fix' works in the White House, as well as giving us a good reason why Gonzo remains in office. Back in January J. William Leonard, the chief of the Archives' Information Security Oversight Office, wrote a letter to Gonzo asking for a ruling on Dickwahd's refusal to allow oversight of his handling of classified information. Gonzo has yet to reply, but this much is known,
Why didn't Gonzales act on Leonard's request? His aides assured reporters that Leonard's letter has been "under review" for the past five months—by Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). But on June 4, an OLC lawyer denied a Freedom of Information Act request about the Cheney dispute asserting that OLC had "no documents" on the matter, according to a copy of the letter obtained by NEWSWEEK. Steve Aftergood, the Federation of American Scientists researcher who filed the request, said he found the denial letter "puzzling and inexplicable"—especially since Leonard had copied OLC chief Steve Bradbury on his original letter to Gonzales. The FOIA response has piqued the interest of congressional investigators, who note Bradbury is the same official in charge of vetting all document requests from Congress about the U.S. attorneys flap. Asked about the apparent discrepancy, Justice spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the OLC response "was and remains accurate" because Leonard's letter had generated no "substantive work product."
As in, no "substantive work product" after a quick trip through the shredder? Or just the usual inability of Bushovik appointees to produce anything worth looking at. Only time will tell.

Larry King & Paris Hilton - Perfect Together

If you are feeling worn down by all the serious stuff happening in the world, you can look forward to a bit of irrelevant clap-trap this week.
After deals with ABC and NBC fell through last week, Paris Hilton will now give her first post-jail interview to Larry King on CNN on Wednesday night.

Prepare for the melee to come in September

According to the NY Times, we will have not only a report from the "Surge-On" Gen. Petraeus,we will also have one from Amb. Ryan "What a Crock" Crocker and an independent report for Congress and one prepared by the intelligence community. With multiple reports of a size necessary to impress there is no doubt that the waters will be very, very muddy and every Senator and Congressmoop will be able to find one that supports his or her position on Iraq. Regardless of their findings, one thing is already quite clear.
Little doubt remains that General Petraeus will argue for continuing the troop increase. His deputy, Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, told reporters on Friday that Iraqi forces were “getting better,” “staying and fighting,” “taking casualties” and adding to their numbers.
Where would the "Surge-On" General be without faithful Gen. Odie Cologne. Of greater importance is the position of the White House.
Advisers to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and senior members of Congress who have discussed the issue with Mr. Gates have described one of his central goals as trying to turn down the heat in Iraq, transforming the war from the central national security crisis confronting the nation to an important but manageable long-term foreign policy and military issue. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has expressed similar views, but it is unclear whether Vice President Dick Cheney or President Bush will try to squeeze every possible month out of the troop increase.
So the inside battle between Dickwahd and the Work Wife and The Big Swinging Gates will really decide what happens next. But not before the country is overwhelmed by a hurricane of fustian and bombast.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Thanks for NOTHING!

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth explains why the FISA court never had to rule on the NSA wiretapping program.
The former chief judge of a secret national security court took a swipe Saturday at the administration's recently halted domestic spying program and said he insisted from the outset that the information gleaned must not be co-mingled with intelligence gathered under court warrants.

Because of that precaution, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said, he never had to rule on whether President Bush had the power to launch the separate, warrantless spying program in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Lamberth's seven-year term on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ended in May 2002....

....When the NSA program to monitor overseas calls was first proposed in late 2001, Lamberth said, he had "many discussions" with Attorney General John Ashcroft and John Yoo, a Justice Department lawyer whose legal opinions argued that the president has expansive emergency powers during wartime.

"My primary motivation was, if the president was going to assert this authority, that it be done totally separately," he said. "If anything was presented to the FISA court that came from that program, the FISA court had to be told about it. Then we had to rule on whether it was illegally obtained or not."
Good move! The tried and true Sgt. Schultz defense. If we see nothing we will say nothing. And how appropriate, what with Col. Klink running the country.

Is he a back door man?

He is, after all, a Rear Admiral. I ask after reading this in the Navy Times.
Rear Adm. Peter J. Williams was fired from his position and reassigned Thursday for having an inappropriate relationship and misusing government property, according to a statement released by the Navy.
Being an evil minded person, I thought that the misused government property was the other (lower ranking) party in the relationship. Silly me, they were talking about a cell phone. Yet this story has so few details that speculation can run rampant.

Think about it.

How our country was screwed

On Sunday the Washington Post begins a 4 part expose of how Dickwahd al-Cheney has subverted the government of the United States. The Manchurian Candidate did not run for President, he ran for Vice President after making sure the had the right loser on the top of the ballot.
Bush works most naturally, close observers said, at the level of broad objectives, broadly declared. Cheney, they said, inhabits an operational world in which means are matched with ends and some of the most important choices are made. When particulars rise to presidential notice, Cheney often steers the preparation of options and sits with Bush, in side-by-side wing chairs, as he is briefed.
Li'l Georgie is the Big Picture guy, which is management speak for the guy who has no clue what is going on. Dickwahd is the detail guy and as we all know, the Cheney is in the details.

Read it and weep, for our country.

Quote of the Day

"Tribes mean informal laws, which are against the principles of … the state. When you go toward tribes, it means you are in a very weak, weak position."
Iraqi Cabinet aide, speaking about the US Army's use of tribal elements to combat al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Our Dear Embattled Leader listens to his Evil Grand Vizier.

How else to explain the dear boy's insistence that Uncle Dickwahd's unique take on ODEL's Executive Order applied to him, too. If Uncle Dickwahd don't have to show anybody, then he don't neither, so there! And the explanations have given birth to such flights of fancy as this one from Under Assistant Junior Press Gasser Tony Fartto.
Fratto conceded that the lengthy directive, technically an amendment to an existing executive order, did not specifically exempt the president's or vice president's offices. Instead, it refers to "agencies" as being subject to the requirements, which Fratto said did not include the two executive offices. "It does take a little bit of inference," Fratto said.
My dear Mr. Fartto, I have never heard the word inference used to describe something dragged kicking and screaming out of your ass. Perhaps a better explanation is this.
Several security experts said they were not aware that the president had exempted his own office from the oversight requirements.

But they said it fit what they saw as a pattern in the administration of avoiding accountability, even on matters of national security.

"If the president and the vice president don't take their own rules seriously, who else should?" said Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive,
Sounds more like it.

Are we winning yet?

Thomas Ricks examines that question in the WaPo today. While he does have responses from the usual cheerleaders like Gen. Odie Cologne and "Fatuous Fred" Kagan the troublig quotes come from people in the field who can see what is happening.
An officer working in Arrowhead Ripper, the subsidiary offensive in Diyala province, said wearily, "We just do not have the forces in country right now to have the appropriate level of presence across the country."

"I believe we have enough U.S. troops for this specific operation," said a U.S. military strategist there, referring to Phantom Thunder. "I do not believe we've ever had enough troops to do all of the tasks we should be doing in Iraq."

"For the control and retain phases, we will need reliable Iraqi security forces in sufficient numbers," said Lt. Col. Douglas A. Ollivant, a senior Army planner in Baghdad. "There are clearly not yet enough reliable forces."

Even so, some insiders worry that the new push will still prove to be too little, too late. "We have lost the fight for public and political support, so no matter how successful we are militarily, we are being led to failure," said one U.S. intelligence expert involved in Iraqi operations.
Even the name of the operation in Baghdad speaks volumes in a military not known for its appreciation of irony, "Phantom Thunder".

Friday, June 22, 2007

I obviously need a little more zip

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Odie Cologne comes close to insubordination

That pretty much sums the remarks of the good general has he acknowledged the fact that 80% of the "alQaeda" leadership left town before the attack began. And he blamed it on loose lips in the American command.
“Frankly, I think they knew an operation was coming in Baquba,” General Odierno said in a teleconference briefing with Pentagon reporters from the American military headquarters in Baghdad. “They watched the news. They understood we had a surge. They understood Baquba was designated as a problem area. So they knew we were going to come sooner or later.”

Still, he implied American commanders may have played a part by flagging the offensive in advance. “I think they were tipped off by us talking about the surge, the fact that we have a problem in Diyala Province,” he said.
That is not how generals speak to the press. Odie can say that back at the office to the "Surge-On" General or "Big Swinging" Gates, but he is on thin ice when he goes public. Maybe the job is too much for Odie.

Stacked deck, rigged game, crooked deal

That would pretty much sum up the process of determining whether to keep a detainee at Gitmo. With a presumption of guilt, those brought in had little chance of going anywhere. And now a Reserve officer who was part of the initial examinations has given a sworn affadavit with details of how it worked.
In an interview yesterday, Mr. Abraham, 46, said the hearing process included what amounted to a presumption that detainees were guilty. He said he felt that some people involved in gathering evidence for the tribunals did not have the training to understand either the legal process they were being asked to run or the intelligence materials they were reviewing.

As a result, he said in the interview, the hearing often had the predictable result even if there was little specific evidence against the detainee. “If what you fear is the consequence of somebody being released, what better way to assuage that fear than to not release him?” he asked.
We have them, therefore they must be guilty. Old Joe Stalin could not have said it any better.

More on this from the Boston Globe.

Good news Friday, Bushovik style.

General Odie Cologne says some troops can come home next spring. Even though that is about one and a half Freidman units, he still manages to lard his remarks with caveats, as if he can't wait to say them.
The U.S. may be able to reduce combat forces in Iraq by next spring, if Iraq’s own security forces continue to grow and improve, a senior American commander said Friday.

Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the top day-to-day commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, did not predict any U.S. reductions but said it may be feasible by spring. There are currently 156,000 U.S. troops in Iraq...

...“There’s so many things that could happen between now and then,” he said, referring to next spring.
There really are " so many things that could happen" but saying so covers the reality that US troops have no need to be there. Gen. Odie Cologne and his boss, "Surge-On" General Petraeus are really determining the feasibility of staying there, with the result already known.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Green Zone has been elevated to the Orange Zone

At least nine mortar rounds or rockets exploded inside the fortified Green Zone at about 10 a.m. Thursday, in what's become a near-daily demonstration of the limitations of the U.S.-led security crackdown and militants' resolve to rain terror on even the most protected area of Baghdad.

The U.S. military announced the deaths of 14 American troops over the past two days, including five slain Thursday in a single roadside bombing in Baghdad that also killed four Iraqis.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, 18 civilians were killed and more than 70 wounded when a gunman rammed a truck bomb into a municipal building in the Suleiman Bek area, destroying the building and damaging neighboring homes.
And the "Surge-On" General Petraeus is already writing his September report about how things are getting better, with a little help from Gen. Odie Cologne..

Dickwahd al-Cheney is a law unto himself.

Something that most of us have seen clearly for several years. But now, Rep Waxman is is calling for the Evil Vizier to explain himself. At the very least he has to explain why he is above reporting requirements mandated by his nominal boss.
In a letter to Cheney Thursday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., questioned "both the legality and wisdom" of the vice president claiming an exemption from the order, noting recent controversies involving members of Cheney's staff and classified information.

Former Cheney Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was convicted in March of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with a federal investigation into the identification, in a leak to the media, of CIA undercover operative Valerie Plame.

In May 2006, Leandro Aragoncillo, an aide in the vice president's office, admitted in federal court that he stole classified U.S. intelligence information and passed it on to officials plotting a coup in the Philippines.

"This record does not inspire confidence in how your office handles the nation's most sensitive security information," Waxman wrote. "Indeed, it would appear particularly irresponsible to give an office with your history of security breaches an exemption from the safeguards that apply to all other executive branch officials."
Unless the exemption is meant to cover your Republican ass, then IOKIYAR and never look back.

What I want to know

I have noticed several blogs with an ad that has under a headline of
this picture of Angelina Jolie.

I want to know which one she calls Church and which one she calls State?

Is Halliburton making funny with the books?

We know you all believe that but according to Bloomberg there may be actual evidence of such behavior.
Anthony Menendez, who was Halliburton's director of technical accounting research and training, has accused the world's second-largest oilfield-services company of using so- called bill-and-hold accounting and other undisclosed practices to ``distort the timing of billions of dollars in revenue.'' In short, Menendez says this allowed Halliburton to book product sales improperly, before they occurred.
Lot's of companies try this and lot's of companies get caught doing it. I can't imagine why they would try this unless they thought they had some sort of official immunity to act with impunity. Ya' think?

Bye bye Gitmo, bye bye

UPDATE: Never mind!

If the report from CBS news is to believed, this idea is on the table and enjoys growing support among White House insiders.
The Bush administration is nearing a decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and move the terror suspects there to military prisons elsewhere, The Associated Press has learned.

President Bush's national security and legal advisers are expected to discuss the move at the White House on Friday and, for the first time, it appears a consensus is developing, senior administration officials said Thursday.
I guess more folks are beginning to see the negatives outweighing the positive effect (if any) beyond Dickwahd's delight. True, Dickwahd and Gonzo still see Gitmo as the crown jewel of their achievements, but the Condi-Gates cabal is growing stronger. And while Dickwahds greatest fear will be realized
Cheney's office and the Justice Department have been dead set against the step, arguing that moving "unlawful" enemy combatant suspects to the U.S. would give them undeserved legal rights.
They will be scattered among other military prisons, so Dickwahd will surely be able to hide a few and still have his fun.

McCain is toast

Tied for fifth place in Iowa, with 6 percent. Falling to fourth place in South Carolina, with 7 percent. Mason-Dixon Polling & Research conducted both polls of likely Republican voters, which had error margins of plus or minus 5 percentage points. This after an ongoing Senate debate on immigration that highlights McCain's opposition to his party's base on a hot-button issue, and the informal entry into the race of former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, who shot ahead of the Arizona senator in state polls and several national surveys.
Poor old man can't even beat a straw candidate like Fred. It sure is hard to pretend you're a maverick when your nose is jammed up Our Dear Embattled Leader's ass.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

This says it all

From McClatchy:
Inside a fortified conference room and through the prism of U.S. and Iraqi military officials, a security plan to pacify the country was working on Wednesday. Outside, extremists blew up mosques, lobbed mortars into Baghdad's heavily protected Green Zone and generated a steady drumbeat of violence.

The two sides of Our Dear Embattled Leader

Stem cell research is bad because:
"The Congress has sent me legislation that would compel American taxpayers, for the first time in our history, to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos," Bush said.
Yes, good people, he believes that the destruction of unused embroyos to no end is a much better good than letting the little darling snowflakes contribute some good through research. But we all know how Our Dear Leader thinks that Iraq is the "cat's whiskers". What he and his Republican enablers have created in Iraq is good and fits right in with his "Culture of Life". Stuff like this

- 1 policeman (national police) was killed and 3 others wounded in an IED explosion targeted their patrol around in Palestine street east Baghdad 3,15 pm.

- The final casualties� number of yesterday explosion near Khillani mosque (Shiite mosque) increased into 78 people killed and 128 wounded.

- 3 civilians were wounded when a mortar shell hit Al Saidiyah neighborhood south Baghdad around 3,00 pm.

- Gunmen assassinated the general director of the Iraq American contracts company Ali Kadhim Jwad Allaw in Sleikh neighborhood north Baghdad around 3,30 pm.

- An IED exploded targeting an American convoy in Hurriyah neighborhood west Baghdad around 3,00pm. No casualties reported.

- A mortar shell hit the US embassy inside the Green Zoon downtown Baghdad around 7 pm. No casualties reported.

- 29 anonymous bodies were found in Baghdad today. 19 bodies were found in Karkh, the western side of Baghdad in the following neighborhoods (4 bodies in Saidiyah, 3 bodies in Amil, 3 bodies in Bayaa, 2 bodies in Ghazaliyah, 2 bodies in Jihad, 2 bodies in Mansour, 2 bodies in Jamiaa and 1 body in Qadisiyah). 10 bodies were found in Rusafa, the eastern side of Baghdad in the following neighborhood (3 bodies in Sleikh, 2 bodies in Sadr, 2 bodies in Zayuna, 2 bodies in Rashad and 1 body in Al Qanat Street. Diyala.

- 7 policemen including an officer when gunmen attacked their check point in Al Tahwila area in Khalis town north of Baquba. A governmental source said that the attach happened around 5,15 when more than 30 gunmen attacked the check point.


- A big force of Kirkuk police directorate raided the neighborhoods of Wahid Huzairan (1st of June) and Al Mansiyah downtown Kirkuk city early morning today. 10 suspects were arrested and 21 AK47 rifles confiscated. Babil

- gunmen blew up three Sunni mosques today. Usama Bin Zaid mosque was blown up with IED around 10 am downtown Eskandariyah town north of Hilla city. The second mosque was Abdallah Al Jobori mosque which was blown up around 11. the third mosque, Sfoog mosque in Jbala neighborhood 50 Kms north of Hilla city was exploded afternoon.

What is in the water over at Walter Reed?

From CNN:
A security guard at Walter Reed Army Medical Center opened fire at another guard Wednesday outside a busy entrance to the hospital, police said. No one was injured.

The guards had been arguing at about 8:30 a.m. when one of them fired as many as 10 shots, Lt. Jimmie Riley said.
More contract employees?

Hamas speaks out

And you can read what Ahmed Yousef has to say in two Op-Eds, one in the WaPo and one in the NY Times. Whatever your position on the matter, it is worth the read.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

America, land of magnanimity and compassion

Unless you are an Iraqi. Don't even begin to think that working for the US in Iraq gives you any advantage. McClatchy tells the story of one translator who sought to get a visa to the USA when his work made Iraq just too hot for his survival.
The job is risky: Many terps - there are no official figures on how many - have been hunted down and killed by Sunni Muslim insurgents and Shiite Muslim militias, and an unknown number have quit their jobs after receiving death threats. Eighteen, including some from Afghanistan, have been given sanctuary in the United States, according to figures compiled by the office of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

But dozens, some with knowledge of sensitive U.S. operations and infrastructure in Iraq, have been denied entry. No longer assets to the American war effort and shunned as traitors by their communities, they've fled to Syria, Jordan and other countries.
But America is a compassionate country that takes care of those who risk every thing for American interests. People who see their father shot because of what they do for Americans. People whose fiancee's are killed because of what America has done in Iraq.
He fled to Jordan, where he waited two weeks for an appointment with the U.S. Embassy in Amman. He said he was humiliated from the moment a Jordanian employee at the embassy's front desk heard his story and derided interpreters as spies. He said she asked, "How can you live with yourself?"

The reception wasn't any warmer when he finally got to plead his case before a visa officer. He recalled tearfully explaining his situation to the officer and asking for special consideration in light of his service to the American military.

"She was looking at me as if from a high hill. She was typing and I thought it was a good sign, but then she said, `I'm sorry,'" Abdul Kareem recalled. "I told her, `I was helping your country, I was working with your army,' but she kept saying `sorry.' I was begging her to listen, and she finally said, `Sir, please leave or we'll have to escort you.'"
Poor fool, doesn't he realize that America is a throw away society? No deposit, no return.

Ms. Rudi blew off Iraq Study Group meetings

To raise money for himself, naturally, after all he is a Republican. Newsday has the details of NYC's very own Fearless Leader on his quest for big time bucks instead of big time foreign policy.
Rudolph Giuliani's membership on an elite Iraq study panel came to an abrupt end last spring after he failed to show up for a single official meeting of the group, causing the panel's top Republican to give him a stark choice: either attend the meetings or quit, several sources said.

Giuliani left the Iraq Study Group last May after just two months, walking away from a chance to make up for his lack of foreign policy credentials on the top issue in the 2008 race, the Iraq war.

He cited "previous time commitments" in a letter explaining his decision to quit, and a look at his schedule suggests why -- the sessions at times conflicted with Giuliani's lucrative speaking tour that garnered him $11.4 million in 14 months.
Never let it be said that Rudi was anything more than a flash in the pan. Maybe now the rest of the country will see it.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Not that I want to start rumors..

But I hear that George has asked the State Dept for someone to teach him Argentine.

REUTERS/Larry Downing

The Gonzo Effect

Or what you can expect a lot more of the longer Our Dear Embattled Leader keeps his favorite chihuahua as Attorney General. According to the LA Times, defense attorneys are beginning to question the integrity of US Attorneys and their prosecutions if the is any political connection.
Missouri lawyers have invoked the controversy in challenging last year's indictment of a company owned by a prominent Democrat, on suspicion of violating federal wage and hour laws. The indictment, which came two months after the owner announced that she was running for political office, was obtained by a Republican U.S. attorney who also has been criticized because he charged workers for a left-leaning political group on the eve of the 2006 midterm election.

A lawyer in a child pornography case recently defended his client at a federal trial in Minnesota in part by questioning the motives of the Republican U.S. attorney, who has come under scrutiny in the congressional investigation into the prosecutor purge.

Lawyers for a former county official in Delaware who has been accused of corruption asked a judge in early May to allow them to subpoena the Justice Department and White House for documents to see whether political motives factored into charges being brought against the official. They cited the brewing controversy inside the Beltway.

"Those revelations dramatically reinforce the reasons to believe that considerations beyond mere law enforcement are behind this prosecution," the lawyers wrote.
So we may now see Republicans being responsible for child pornographers being put back on the street. And Lord knows what else may have to be let go. But as we all remember, IOKIYAR!

Hey, they can remember where the DELETE button is!

And the Republicans in the White House and the RNC have used it often enough to feel that they have protected their man Karl.
The RNC has preserved more than 140,000 e-mails sent or received by Rove, but only 130 were written before President Bush won re-election in 2004, according to the report. The committee has preserved another 100,000 e-mails from two of Rove's top lieutenants, former White House political director Sara M. Taylor and deputy political director W. Scott Jennings, according to the House Oversight Committee.

But the RNC has no e-mail records for 51 of 88 White House officials -- such as Ken Mehlman, the White House political director from 2001 through early 2003 -- who used their servers in addition to government e-mail accounts, according to a summary of the panel's report.
Mehlman must have been really careless that they couldn't "save" even a handful of his e-mails. At least a quarter of a million e-mails from Rove, Taylor & Jennings. Somewhere, somebody forgot to delete something important, but until Waxey releases them we will have to wait.

Quote of the Day

"Voters are going to be mad with us until we end the war."
Joe Biden

Monday Music Blogging

A little late, this was my fathers favorite tune and my mothers, too. It was their song. So having missed them both again this year, I post this in their memory.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Alaska is not exactly a hotbed of legislative honesty.

This is not the latest news but you can get some juicy details from:

The Anchorage Daily News about Sen. Ted Stevens R-AK.

Carl Hiassen about Rep. Don Young R-AK.

Scratch a scandal, find a Republican.

From the Dept. of Gee, Ya' think?

McClatchy has a story with this headline:
Arming Sunni militias undercuts Iraqi government, critics say
And this quote:
"It is the U.S. basically acknowledging that Iraq is in a civil war," said Vali Nasr, an expert on Shiism at the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan foreign policy organization. "And that the (Iraqi) government is irrelevant."
But don't you worry, Gen. Odie Cologne thinks it is a good idea.
Odierno said that the Sunnis working with U.S. forces are checked closely and are asked to sign a statement that they will not fight U.S. forces or the government.
Yeah, right!
in Amariyah Abu Bilal, a leader of an Islamic Army cell working with the U.S. military there, said he is committed to expelling the "occupation."

"We fight the occupation to liberate our lands," he said.
Shouldn't Odie Cologne know who the "occupation" is?

The sad tale of Tony Taguba

You remember him, the general who wrote the report on Abu Ghraib. Under oreders he investigated the allegations of torture there, found them true and paid for his efforts with his career because he did not cover his superiors asses. Seymour Hersh, writing in this weeks New Yorker, uses the arc of Taguba's story to detail further the criminality being conducted in our name by people who appear more intent on what they do than why they do it. People in power, military and civilian, have always covered up their follies and mistakes and it is quite disturbing to read about it. Still, even now it is important to read what they did not want you to know. The words of Gen. Taguba express this best.
“From the moment a soldier enlists, we inculcate loyalty, duty, honor, integrity, and selfless service,” Taguba said. “And yet when we get to the senior-officer level we forget those values. I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable.”

Quote of the Day

All our relatives are here, in one house, but every day my daughter asks me when we're going back to Iraq. I tell her we can't go back because the Americans have occupied our country."
Sahar Mahmoud, 30, a Sunni mother and refugee in Syria.

Who cries for the contractor?

Just their families it seems. And I am not talking about the armed cowboys who shoot up everything in sight, but the truck drivers and other rear echelon civilians hired to do work in support of the military. In Iraq, there is no rear echelon and trucks are a prime target. As promised, they all were covered by insurance, and like all who have ever filed a claim, they are in for the fight of their lives, sometimes literally.
A Times investigation of a taxpayer-financed insurance system, based on reviews of scores of cases, has found a pattern of repeatedly blocked claims for treatment of psychological injuries sustained by civilian workers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some seriously afflicted contract workers have been dumped into indigent medical care programs, according to court records. Many have had to wage lengthy legal battles to win payments for psychological treatment. At least four have committed suicide after returning home from Iraq, according to court records and interviews with attorneys and family members.
And with no one to go to bat for them the insurance companies are having their way all too often. But the insurance companies say they are doing what they are supposed to do, like this.
"Companies benefit, both from a financial perspective and a customer satisfaction perspective, to settle claims as quickly as possible," said Chris Winans, an AIG spokesman. "We are in the business of paying claims and in the business of making people's lives whole again."

AIG fought Walker's claim for nearly a year and a half, despite a finding by one of its own experts that Walker needed psychological treatment — until July 2006, when a judge finally ruled in Walker's favor.

Walker said that he understood that working in Iraq could be risky, but that he never expected his toughest battles to take place after he returned home.

Insurance company officials "were fighting because they didn't want to pay," said Walker, 46, a Georgia resident. "Whatever they could do to keep it going as long as possible, they did. They were hoping that I would give up and let it go."
Or maybe hoping that he would do to himself what the Iraqis couldn't.

Wesley Clark moving to MSNBC

A good move for both, and one less rational voice on Fox. Maybe now Fox will have room for Tucker.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The China Trail

The NY Times has a look at the FDA investigation into the source of poison labeled as glycerin from China. Despite its fatal effects, the Chinese have proven to be almost as closed to western investigators as they were so famously during Mao's years. Adding to the problem are the 'entrepreneurial' efforts of various middlemen around the world. But in the end it is simple fraud with a lethal outcome. And the perpetrators operate under the protection of a rising commercial power with little interest in who dies outside its borders.

George & Ehud may have scored here.

What to make of the aftermath of the turmoil in Gaza? It just might work out for the neo-conmen and the Likudniks. On the one side in the West Bank they have the secular and modestly more moderate Fatah types. And on the Gaza side the have the ultra conservative, poisoned by religion Hamas types. Or to put it another way, on the West Bank you have your ghetto for the "house arabs" and in Gaza you have the Israeli military's new artillery and bombing range.

40 %

That is how much of Baghdad is "controlled" by the various security forces.
Security forces in Baghdad have full control in only 40 percent of the city five months into the pacification campaign, a top American general said Saturday as U.S. troops began an offensive against two al-Qaida strongholds on the capital's southern outskirts...

...Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno said American troops launched the offensive in Baghdad's Arab Jabour and Salman Pac neighborhoods Friday night. It was the first time in three years that U.S. soldiers entered those areas, where al-Qaida militants build car bombs and launch Katyusha rockets at American bases and Shiite Muslim neighborhoods.
So Gen. Odie Cologne says 40% of Baghdad is as safe as an Indiana marketplace. Just another 11% and Our Dear Embattled Leader can claim that he owns the city and has a mandate to rule. In the meantime, the usual numbers of bodies are found and the bombs still explode.

Something to do this weekend

Senator Feinstein has introduced legislation (S.1249) that will require President Bush to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Tell your Senator -- support sending Scooter Libby to Guantanamo, or shut it down by co-sponsoring S.1249. Then, forward the action link on to some friends -- let's ALL tell the Senate to send Libby to Gitmo -- or shut down the American gulag for good.
You can send a message to your Senator here.

And don't forget to tell your friends.

And so it begins

The Surge, that is. According to the latest announcement from Gen. Petraeus
General David Petraeus announced the offensives at a news conference on Saturday.

"Literally in the last 24 hours, we have launched a number of different offensive operations in the Baghdad belts in particular," he said, "and we're continuing a number of operations that have been ongoing in Baghdad itself."

General Petraeus says the operations are targeting areas that have been al-Qaida safe havens, and bases for launching car bomb attacks. "A fairly large, coordinated offensive operation, with all of these surge forces, has only just now been launched," he said.
This should give him time to report the planned success to Our Dear Embattled Leader in September. And if it doesn't succeed? The Republicans are already talking up the need for another Friedman Unit.

Private armies growing in Iraq

And unlike those seen in previous conflicts, these are currently being bought and paid for by our tax dollars. The WaPo has a front page article on the Republican predilection for replacing troops who fight for their country with the military whores who are out for the biggest paycheck.
The military plans to outsource at least $1.5 billion in security operations this year, including the three largest security contracts in Iraq: a "theaterwide" contract to protect U.S. bases that is worth up to $480 million, according to Scott; a contract for up to $475 million to provide intelligence for the Army and personal security for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and a contract for up to $450 million to protect reconstruction convoys. The Army has also tested a plan to use private security on military convoys for the first time, a shift that would significantly increase the presence of armed contractors on Iraq's dangerous roads.

"The whole face of private security changed with Iraq, and it will never go back to how it was," said Leon Sharon, a retired Special Operations officer who commands 500 private Kurdish guards at an immense warehouse transit point for weapons, ammunition and other materiel on the outskirts of Baghdad.
So who would you want to watch your back, your buddy or someone only in it for the money? And the high paid hotshots are only around the VIP's or running a show, the rest are "other nationals" who get paid a lot less.
For security reasons, the convoys are limited to 10 tractor-trailers protected by at least four armored trucks filled with 20 guards: four Western vehicle commanders with M-21 assault rifles and 9mm Glock pistols, and 16 Iraqis with AK-47s.

The Western contractors, most with at least 10 years' experience, are paid about $135,000, the same as a U.S. Army two-star general. The Iraqis receive about a tenth of that.
But that makes it a lot easier when they don't make it.
"When you see the number of my people who have been killed, the American public should recognize that every one of them represents an American soldier or Marine or sailor who didn't have to go in harm's way," Holly said in an interview.
But despite all their losses, the various companies still turn a profit. None of them would be there if they didn't.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Neocons howl for fresh victims

How else can any sane person explain the the push by the Evil Grand Vizier Dickwahd al-Cheney and minions to start another useless war, this time with Iran. All the usual suspects are cranking up their puerile, baseless arguments for America to Pearl Iran's Harbor.
A year after President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced a new strategy toward Iran, a behind-the-scenes debate has broken out within the administration over whether the approach has any hope of reining in Iran’s nuclear program, according to senior administration officials.

The debate has pitted Ms. Rice and her deputies, who appear to be winning so far, against the few remaining hawks inside the administration, especially those in Vice President Dick Cheney’s office who, according to some people familiar with the discussions, are pressing for greater consideration of military strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.
Even that Faux favorite, The Raging FuzzLip has jumped in.
“Regime change or the use of force are the only available options to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapons capability, if they want it,” said John R. Bolton, the former United States ambassador to the United Nations.
It is damn scary to realize that Condoleeza Rice stands between us and Dickwahd getting the fresh blood he needs for immortality. And whoever wins has a long record of never being right about anything.

The end of an era

Veg-O-Matic king Ron Popeil used to love to say, "But wait, there's more!"

But only barely, it turns out, at least in regard to the company he founded.

Ronco Corp., based in the Simi Valley, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, declaring it has $32.7 million in debts and $13.9 million in assets.

Jeezus! They even fucked up mail call.

It seems that the was one more part of Walter Reed Army Medical Center that could be fucked up, and they did.
Army officials scrambled to deliver thousands of undelivered letters and packages – some with postal dates from May 2006 – addressed to soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Though the backlog was discovered in the hospital’s brigade combat center last week, Army leadership did not announce its efforts to correct the situation until issuing a press release almost 6 p.m. today. The release was titled, “Army takes immediate action to deliver backlogged mail.”

According to the press release, Maj. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, commander of the medical center, ordered “immediate counting, sorting and delivery of the mail, and relieved the contract-employee mail clerk of duties.”
"contract-employee mail clerk" No word yet if he worked for Halliburton. Those still in the hospital will get their mail this evening and those in other locations will get a letter of apology from the General with their mail. Experts consulted for this post suggest that the Army won't go much lower than this but caution against being overly optimistic.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

He can't even do that

Many years ago, leading Mob boss Frank Costello was brought before the Kefauver commission to testify about "the rackets". Being deeply involved in said criminal activities, Frank spent most of his time taking the 5th, when he was unable to plead faulty memory. In frustration one of the questioners asked him,"What have you done for your country Mr. Costello?", his reply was, "Paid my tax!"

Yesterday, another member of the DOJ's Abu Gonzo and His 40 Thieves testified in the Senate.
Hans von Spakovsky, who's seeking a full six-year term on the Federal Election Commission, deflected questions about whether he undermined voting rights laws, saying, "I was not the decision maker in the front office of the Civil Rights Division."

Time and again during his confirmation hearing, he cited either the attorney-client privilege or a cloudy memory for his purported role in restricting minorities' voting rights.

Von Spakovsky couldn't remember blocking an investigation into complaints that a Minnesota Republican official was discriminating against Native American voters before the 2004 election.

Under oath, he also said he didn't recall seeing data from the state of Georgia that would have undercut a push by senior officials within the Civil Rights Division to approve the state's tough new law requiring photo IDs of all voters. The data showed that 300,000 Georgia voters lacked driver's licenses. A federal judge later threw out the law as unconstitutional.
True, he did not take the 5th as often as Frank Costello. However, he is a Republican, so unlike the late mobster, he doesn't pay his tax.

Judge Walton thinks Scooter looks good in stripes.

If you hadn't heard, the WaPo and the NY Times have their stories up. So when the administrative chores are finished and they have chosen a prison to go with his new stripes, off he goes. Frankly I think Judge Walton has picked out the perfect outfit for Little Scooter.

Republicans start another Big Lie

This time beginning with their newest "house organ" The Politico. The speed with which it was picked up by others well known for their bone deep aversion to the truth suggests that this was planned well before the conference call with Sen Reid and a group of liberal bloggers. Josh Marshall and Greg Sargent have the details here and here.

When Tony Snow, well known for wanting to plant his seed in every lie he has ever met, takes up a story like this, you have to be as dumb as a shoelace to believe it.

You have a friend in the FBI

He or she had better be a friend, given all the information they may or may not have on you.
An internal FBI audit has found that the bureau potentially violated the law or agency rules more than 1,000 times while collecting data about domestic phone calls, e-mails and financial transactions in recent years, far more than was documented in a Justice Department report in March that ignited bipartisan congressional criticism.

The new audit covers just 10 percent of the bureau's national security investigations since 2002, and so the mistakes in the FBI's domestic surveillance efforts probably number several thousand, bureau officials said in interviews. The earlier report found 22 violations in a much smaller sampling.

The vast majority of the new violations were instances in which telephone companies and Internet providers gave agents phone and e-mail records the agents did not request and were not authorized to collect. The agents retained the information anyway in their files, which mostly concerned suspected terrorist or espionage activities.

But two dozen of the newly-discovered violations involved agents' requests for information that U.S. law did not allow them to have, according to the audit results provided to The Washington Post. Only two such examples were identified earlier in the smaller sample.
But don't you worry, the FBI doesn't go after innocent people.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


The Defense Dept released a report on the level of violence in Iraq.
In April, Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, had called the improvement in security "a good bit better," though he added that "I am not trying in any way, shape or form to indicate that this is a satisfactory situation whatsoever."

The report, however, pointed out that overall attacks and casualties had increased in Iraq 40 percent over the same period a year ago and that while sectarian murders declined, car bombings and other attacks increased. Violence in Baghdad dropped with the arrival of more American troops there, but rose in other areas, particularly Diyala province northeast of the capital and Nineveh, a mostly Sunni province to the north, the report said.

Since the report was written, U.S. officials have said that sectarian murders in Baghdad also have increased. According to statistics compiled by McClatchy Newspapers, there was a 70 percent increase in sectarian murders in Baghdad from April to May.
More and more people will die day after day. And Our Intrepid Deciderer has never, ever told us the real reason why.

Wednesday is Joe Galloway Day

You can read him here.

Political sanity

The chairman of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party has called for Shih-tzu Joe to resign after calling for a pre-emptive (read unprovoked) strike on Iran.
Chairman John Orman called Tuesday for Sen. Joe Lieberman to resign, saying his advocacy of a military strike against Iran could explode into a global conflict.

"He has crossed the line," said Orman, a professor of politics at Fairfield University. "His unilateral warmongering could lead to a new World War III."
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Bandar of the Billions

Newsweek has some more details on the question of whether british defense contractor BAE paid a $2 Billion bribe to Prince Bandar bin Sultan, commonly called Bandar Bush when he was ambassador to this country. It seems that he used the Riggs Bank for his transfers, many records of which are still available. The head of international operations at Riggs, until it was acquired by PNC, was Our Dear Embattled Leader's Uncle Jonathan. Isn't that special. Look under a rock and find a Bush. Look under a Bush and find a scandal.

What more can you say about lawyers?

From McClatchy:
The bodies of 2 lawyers exploded when police patrols tried to put them in the cars in Saidiyah neighborhood south Baghdad.
Fortunately no one was hurt by the barrister bombs.

Last year they blew up the Golden Mosque

And now, in a move designed to show how little the Maliki government and US troops could do, they blew up the Golden Mosque's minarets which had remained standing last year. This is expected to fire up more Sunni-Shia violence but no effect whatsoever on Our Dear Embattled Leader's insistence on staying until the Army and Marines are completely destroyed.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Look before you lick

To make sure the wires aren't hooked up yet.
U.S. and Iraqi forces on Tuesday raided a lollipop factory being used to make bombs, finding boxes full of explosives and two tons of fertilizer in the basement of the facility in northern Iraq, an Iraqi officer said.
Let's see Callard & Bowser top that.

Quote of the Day

"To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the President calls them 'enemy combatants,' would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution -- and the country. For a court to uphold a claim to such extraordinary power would do more than render lifeless the Suspension Clause, the Due Process Clause, and the rights to criminal process in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments; it would effectively undermine all of the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. It is that power -- were a court to recognize it -- that could lead all our laws 'to go unexecuted, and the government itself to go to pieces.' We refuse to recognize a claim to power that would so alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic."
From the majority opinion of the panel of the 4th Circuit court, via Froomkin

The Surge isn't working and the Iraqis aren't standing up.

Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, who's been in charge of training police and soldiers in Iraq for nearly two years, gave no indication at a congressional hearing Tuesday that the Iraqis are performing well enough to start letting some American forces go home.

Dempsey said the Iraqis are making progress in building their military and police forces, but he also described serious problems, including the lack of a database to track whether Iraqis who attack Americans were some of those the U.S. trained.

Lawmakers on a House Armed Services subcommittee pressed Dempsey on how soon Iraqis might be ready to take over from Americans. "How would you answer the people back home who are saying, `Are we in a black hole?'" said Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C.

Dempsey said his wife at times asked him the same thing, as did two of his children who have served in Iraq as junior officers.
McClatchy doesn't have a quote of what he answered his wife and kids, but they do have a bunch of bad news concerning US efforts to build up the Iraqi security forces. The timeline is the same as it was two years ago, no steps forward, no steps back. The only good news is that, 4 years into the war, we should soon be able to know if we trained the guys shooting at us. Probably by checking the serial number on the M-4s they used.

Multi million dollar jets with million dollar smart bombs

Versus one poor dumb bastard in a truck full of explosives. Either way the bridges are destroyed and the routes are limited to the ones the bad guys have covered.
Military experts differ on whether the bridge bombings have any tactical significance. They could create chokepoints that clog U.S. supply convoys and isolate sectarian groups. However, they also restrict how insurgents move, and American troops can travel by air.

There's broader agreement that the sabotage makes the U.S. military and its flailing Iraqi government allies look powerless to protect even the country's basic infrastructure, let alone put Iraq on a course to recovery.

The closings of river crossings and thoroughfares keep ordinary Iraqis cooped up in their neighborhoods and homes, wary of venturing over bridges that might be targeted or taking dodgy detours.

They express frustration at the insurgents who are ripping at their country's battered infrastructure and the supposedly powerful government that can't safeguard bridges.
Just another reason to get out and let the Iraqis finish it themselves.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Monday Music Blogging

How can I go wrong with Nancy Griffith

This should work good

According to the New York Times:
With the four-month-old increase in American troops showing only modest success in curbing insurgent attacks, American commanders are turning to another strategy that they acknowledge is fraught with risk: arming Sunni Arab groups that have promised to fight militants linked with Al Qaeda who have been their allies in the past.

American commanders say they have successfully tested the strategy in Anbar Province west of Baghdad and have held talks with Sunni groups in at least four areas of central and north-central Iraq where the insurgency has been strong. In some cases, the American commanders say, the Sunni groups are suspected of involvement in past attacks on American troops or of having links to such groups. Some of these groups, they say, have been provided, usually through Iraqi military units allied with the Americans, with arms, ammunition, cash, fuel and supplies.
This will work as long as Our Dear Embattled Leader continues his support of al-Qaeda in Iraq but there will be a lot of soldiers and marines in deep shit when it stops. All that enemy of my enemy stuff only goes so far.

A judge is moved by the spirit

The Spirit of Justice that is. An appeals judge in Georgia threw out the god awful sentence of Genarlow Wilson, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual sex with a fellow high school student. The trouble was that he was 17 and she was 15 and the age of consent was in the middle.
The judge's ruling Monday threw out Wilson's 10-year sentence and amended it to misdemeanor aggravated child molestation with a 12-month term, plus credit for time served, and he would not be required to register as a sex offender.

"The fact that Genarlow Wilson has spent two years in prison for what is now classified as a misdemeanor, and without assistance from this court, will spend eight more years in prison, is a grave miscarriage of justice," wrote Judge Thomas H. Wilson, who is no relation to Genarlow Wilson.

"If this court or any court cannot recognize the injustice of what has occurred here, then our court system has lost sight of the goal our judicial system has always strived to accomplish ... justice being served in a fair and equal manner,"
the judge wrote.
The Georgia AG appealed this faster than lightning to keep the youngster in jail and save having to explain how he and others could have been so stupi. But their day will come.

Qoute of the Day

"The President cannot eliminate constitutional protections with the stroke of a pen by proclaiming a civilian, even a criminal civilian, an enemy combatant subject to indefinite military detention. Put simply, the Constitution does not allow the President to order the military to seize civilians residing within the United States and detain them indefinitely without criminal process, and this is so even if he calls them 'enemy combatants.' "
A three-judge panel of the conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reminding Our Dear Embattled Leader that he is president and not a king.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Slow day in Iraq

From McClatchy

-Around 2 a.m. Sunday, U.S. troops and gunmen clashed in the Fudheiliya neighborhood. Two of the gunmen were killed and 10 injured.

-Around 12 p.m. Sunday, the chairman of the Shiite Dialogue bloc (Jawad Kadhim Taba'taba'i) was assassinated by gunmen near Ibn Hayan bridge in the Sheikh Marouf neighborhood.

-Around 12:15 p.m. Sunday, a suicide car bomber targeted a gas station in the Bayaa neighborhood (southwest Baghdad), killing one person and injuring seven others.

-Around 12:30 p.m. Sunday, a suicide car bomber targeted another gas station in the Saidiya neighborhood (south Baghdad), killing one person and injuring three others.

-Around 5 p.m. Sunday, a roadside bomb targeted a foreign company convoy in the Saidiya neighborhood, but no one was injured.

-Around 6 p.m. Sunday, a roadside bomb targeted an American convoy. Three people were killed and five others injured, none of them American.

-Fifteen dead bodies were found in Baghdad Sunday, all in west Baghdad: two in Ghazalia, two in Doura, two in Jihad, two in Bayaa, two in Shurtaa, two in Amil, one in Jamia'a, one in Saidiya, and one in I'alam.


-Around 8:50 a.m. Sunday, a roadside bomb exploded in front of an army patrol, killing one soldier and injuring six others in southern Tuz.

-Around 9:45 a.m. Sunday, a suicide truck bomber blew up a police office in Tikrit, killing at least five policemen and injuring 30 others.


-Around 6 p.m. Saturday, police raided some houses in Kirkuk and took seven suspects into custody.

-Saturday night, a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol. No one was hurt, but a vehicle was damaged.

-Saturday night, gunmen wearing army uniforms opened fire on a car in the Nasir neighborhood in Kirkuk, injuring the driver.

-Around 5:30 a.m. Sunday, Iraqi police and U.S. soldiers raided the al-Wasity neighborhood in Kirkuk. They took five suspects into custody and seized 15 weapons.

-Around 4 a.m. Sunday, a roadside bomb exploded in front of a checkpoint at the Silo of Hawija (southwest Kirkuk). There were no casualties.

-Around 10 a.m. Sunday, a roadside bomb targeted an army patrol at Saman Bek, killing a soldier and injuring three others.

These folks have been caught in the middle too often not to recognize trouble

An editorial from the Daily Star, a Lebanese newspaper.
Monday, June 04, 2007

How many people will pay the price for Bush and Ahmadinejad's tough talk?


Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The fear of insanity being repeated here in the Middle East recently prompted Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to warn against the continuing political influence and uninterrupted aggressiveness of the "new crazies who say 'let's go and bomb Iran.'" The remark was widely viewed as a reference to US Vice President Dick Cheney, who recently issued a stern warning to the Islamic Republic from the deck of a US aircraft carrier in the Gulf, ominously close to the Iranian coast, that Washington would prevent Tehran from "dominating" the Middle East, and "continue ... delivering justice to the enemies of freedom." The vice president's rhetoric echoed the remarks heard prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, a misadventure from which he seems to have learned no lessons despite its results: enormous bloodshed among the Iraqi people, the erosion of the US Army and Marine Corps, and the weakening of American interests and influence across the region.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted on Friday that Washington is not preparing for war against Iran, but rather is pursuing "a diplomatic course," a policy that she claimed "is supported by all the members of [US President George W. Bush's] Cabinet and by the vice president." But Rice's reassurances do little to offset the bellicose words of the lunatics who are still working in the White House and still peddling the same confused analysis to support the same flawed doctrine of "pre-emptive war" that led to the current mess in Iraq.

Iran, too, has its share of irrationality in governance. On Sunday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that the clock was ticking toward the destruction of Israel, the same sort of refrain that has allowed the Western media to demonize the Islamic Republic and so to prepare the ground for possible assaults by the Americans and/or the Israelis.

Both Ahmadinejad and Bush like to hold up Lebanon as an example of the effectiveness of their respective policies. The Iranian president said Friday that "the Lebanese nation destroyed the hollow power of the Zionist regime" during last summer's war. His American counterpart frequently champions "democracy in Lebanon," but he has shown no willingness to accept democratic verdicts that empower parties which resist US hegemony over the Middle East. For all their boasting, neither president was of much use to the Lebanese people as they were subjected to last summer's Israeli onslaught. In fact, Bush worked actively to prolong and intensify the Jewish state's rampage, and Ahmadinejad's ill-advised comments served the purposes of those who portrayed Hizbullah as an extension of Tehran - and so to openly belittle the value of Lebanese civilian lives.

Both Iran and the United States had until recently scaled back the bellicosity, but both still show a propensity to repeat the same mistakes. In order for the Lebanese, and all the people of this trouble region, to rest easily, we will most likely have to wait until 2009, when the crazies start leaving office.

Shih-tzu Joe Liebermann loves Dickwahd

Why else would the erstwhile Democratic senator be spouting rhetoric straight out of the Evil Grand Vizier's playbook? This morning on CBS’s Face the Nation Shih-tzu Joe called for a military strike on Iran.
Lieberman added that “if there’s any hope” of stopping Iran’s nuclear program, “we can’t just talk to them. … We’ve got to use our force and to me that would include taking military action.”
ThinkProgress has a clip of the bloodthirsty little peckerwood making the the threat, his jowls wagging menacingly.

ADDENDUM: John at AmericaBlog thinks Shih-tzu Joe is serving Israels interest with this position. I doubt that most Israelis would want to kick this hornets nest.

Why Scooter is getting off lightly

The next time some moran tells you that a poor little 50 some year old high government official still called Scooter is being cruelly used by the court, let them read Carol D. Leonnig's piece in the WaPo today. In fact beat them over the head with it. And hammer them often with the initial point.
1. Valerie Plame wasn't a covert operative.

Wrong. She was...

...a CIA "unclassified summary" of Plame's career, released in court filings before Libby's June 5 sentencing, puts this one to rest: The CIA considered her covert at the time her identity was leaked to the media. The CIA report said that Plame had worked overseas in the previous five years and that the agency had been taking "affirmative measures" to conceal her CIA employment....

...The CIA isn't famous for its clarity, but it's being pretty blunt on this issue: Langley says she was covert. Which other spook bureaucracy do you need to ask?
And if they still think that poor little Scooter doesn't look good in an orange jumpsuit then maybe you should just take a deep breath and teach them again, for the umpteenth time how to tie their shoelaces.

Quote of the Day

"It was a very good speech, in fact, but Bush now lacks credibility. Governments and opposition movements alike, no one is listening -- governments because they were very quick to understand U.S. policy shifts devaluing democracy promotion, and opposition movements because the U.S. has done very little to act on its promises."
Amr Hamzawy of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, stating why nobody listens to George anymore.

Plans! We need more plans!

And Thomas Ricks, writing in the WaPo, describes some of the plans being prepared for a drawdown of troops to a number that will be condemned to a long term tour in Iraq. This is supposed to be the "Korea solution" to the problem. What is not stated is what is to be done about the constant potshots and harassing attacks this stay behind force will face, unlike in Korea. And what to do as the boiling pot of the various power struggles in Iraq blow off the lid that a smaller force can no longer contain? And the lid will blow off until the Iraqis themselves work out the solution in their own fashion. There is one plan, the most unlikely, that will provide the best answer for this country.
The planning is shaped in part by logistical realities in Iraq. The immediate all-or-nothing debate in Washington over troop levels represents a false dilemma, some military officials said. Even if a total pullout is the goal, it could take a year to execute a full withdrawal. One official estimated that with only one major route from the country -- through southern Iraq to Kuwait -- it would take at least 3,000 large convoys some 10 months to remove U.S. military gear and personnel alone, not including the several thousand combat vehicles that would be needed to protect such an operation.
So it takes a year. The act of withdrawal and the necessary concentration of forces would minimize attacks and losses for US troops and wonderfully focus the efforts of the Iraqis to deal with the aftermath.

The only fly in the ointment is Our Dear Embattled Leader who will blow off any plan that requires him to diminish his heroic image in his mirror. But Hilary, Barack, John or Al can rest assured that the military WILL have a plan for whatever path they will take.

MoDo prefers gay soldiers to Mitt of the Perfect Hair, Teeth and Family.

Actually what she wrote was
Be honest. Who would you rather share a foxhole with: a gay soldier or Mitt Romney?

A gay soldier, of course. In a dicey situation like that, you need someone steadfast who knows who he is and what he believes, even if he’s not allowed to say it out loud.
She then proceeds to do a proper slice 'n dice of the Republican Party's presidential wannabes. Read it and weep.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Somebody's Surge is working

But it sure doesn't look like the one planned by that unmatched military genius, Our Dear Embattled Leader. According to McClatchy, large segments of Baghdad are being taken over by, surprise, the Mahdi Army!
In the past 10 days, the fiery Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia has resurfaced in force, making a push to roust Sunnis from Baghdad and to isolate Sunni enclaves in the west of the capital from their brethren in the south.

Mahdi Army militiamen in the Shiite dominated neighborhood of Bayaa were reinforced by other Shiite fighters and men in civilian clothes with weapons have cordoned off the area. In the past 10 days Mahdi Army activity has escalated, intensifying in the past two days with the capture of two Sunni mosques, residents and police said.

The push appears to be part of a strategy by the Mahdi Army to control swaths of the once Sunni-dominated west bank of the Tigris River. Late last year, the militia, which has long regarded itself as a protector of the Shiites, drove Sunnis out of Hurriyah, killing some and burning homes.

On Friday, the Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida dominated insurgent group, issued a statement on the internet calling on the Sunnis to fight against Shiite militia. The commentary appeared designed to shore up support for the extremist group that many Iraqi Sunnis have turned on.

"Now there is a supreme conspiracy to push Sunnis out of Baghdad," the statement said. "What you have to today is to depend on God and attack the rawafudh (Shiites), and the checkpoints of the pagan guards. The fall of one his almighty houses is a great tragedy."

The new escalation coincides with the withdrawal of Kurdish soldiers, who were stationed in the Amil and Bayaa area as part of the Baghdad Security Plan. The Kurdish pullback began Wednesday as their scheduled three-month deployment ended, according to Iraqi and U.S. military officials.
Sure sounds like the Iraqis are getting cranked up for a genuine, no holds barred civil war. And The Big Fool says we have got to keep US troops in the middle, catching it from both sides. Just as soon as his Surge starts everything will be OK. Once again pigs will fly before the Big Fool gets anything right.

Have you checked your meat lately?

More beef recalled because of E.coli. Here are the details from MSNBC.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a statement Saturday that United Food Group LLC had expanded an earlier recall to include approximately 5.7 million pounds of fresh and ground beef because they may be contaminated with a strain of E. coli.

The ground beef products subject to recall were produced between April 6 and April 20 and were shipped to retail stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. They were sold under brand names Moran’s All Natural, Miller Meat Company, Stater Bros., Inter-American Products, Inc., and Basha’s.

The grocery stores affected included Albertson’s, Basha’s, Grocery Outlet, Fry’s, “R” Ranch Markets, Save-A-Lot, Save-Mart, Scolari’s Wholesale Markets, Smart and Final, Smith’s, Stater Bros., and Superior Warehouse.

The products had sell-by dates from April 15-May 7, and product labels carried the establishment number “EST. 1241” inside the USDA mark of inspection or printed on the package. The frozen ground beef patty products bear a sell-by date between July 6 and Jan. 20, 2008.

On Friday, Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. recalled more than 40,000 pounds of ground beef shipped to Wal-Mart stores in 12 states after samples tested at a Sherman, Texas, plant showed signs of E. coli contamination.

No illnesses had been tied to the Tyson products. Springdale-based Tyson Foods Inc. said the recall was not related to contaminated ground beef distributed by United Food Group LLC.

The recalled Tyson products were sent to Wal-Mart stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, Tyson said.
Like the cow says, Eat Mor Chikin.

The best description, ever, of hockey.

Comes from Joel Stein, writing in the LA Times.
I've tried explaining the beauty of the sport to too many people, too many times. These are normal-size guys playing a contact sport while also ice skating, spinning beautiful ballet while beating the crap out of each other. Imagine how awesome "The Nutcracker" would be if they actually did what the title promised.
Sadly he fails to note the real reason most Americans don't appreciate hockey. It has too much go and not enough stop. Could you ever imagine the NFL with shift changes on the fly?

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