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May 29, 2006

No Blood For Oil Shortages

Three years in Eye-Rack, and all we got is rolling oil shortages:

BAGHDAD - As Iraq's brutal summer heat sends temperatures soaring above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), a dire shortage of petroleum products is damaging the economy and cutting electricity supplies in Baghdad to new lows.

The shortage is due to a host of reasons, including rivalries among political parties in the south, but an interior ministry spokesman said the security situation was a major cause.

"In addition to attacks on pipelines, trucks carrying petroleum products are in the sights of the rebels. Some gas stations had to close after their drivers refused to go pick up gasoline and other products stored in the dangerous areas around Baghdad," said Assem Jihad.

The capital has some 160 gas stations, of which half are privately run, and long lines of motorists stretch in front of those still selling gasoline.

May 19, 2006

Iraqnam, Part II

The Homeless Soldier:

Some Iraq war vets go homeless after return to US

By Daniel Trotta

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The nightmare of Iraq was bad enough for Vanessa Gamboa. Unprepared for combat beyond her basic training, the supply specialist soon found herself in a firefight, commanding a handful of clerks.

"They promoted me to sergeant. I knew my job but I didn't know anything about combat. So I'm responsible for all these people and I don't know what to tell them but to duck," Gamboa said.

The battle, on a supply delivery run, ended without casualties, and it did little to steel Gamboa for what awaited her back home in Brooklyn.

When the single mother was discharged in April, after her second tour in Iraq, she was 24 and had little money and no place to live. She slept in her son's day-care center.

Gamboa is part of a small but growing trend among U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars -- homelessness.

On any given night the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) helps 200 to 250 of them, and more go uncounted. They are among nearly 200,000 homeless veterans in America, largely from the Vietnam War.

Advocates say the number of homeless veterans is certain to grow, just as it did in the years following the Vietnam and Gulf wars, as a consequence of the stresses of war and inadequate job training.

Homeless veterans have remained in the shadows of the national debate about Iraq, although the issue may gain traction from the film "When I Came Home," which won an award the month for best New York-made documentary at the city's Tribeca Film Festival.

What? You mean those asinine car magnets aren't enough?

May 17, 2006

Bill O'Reilly, Defender Of White Christian Privilege

Yesterday on his show, O'Reilly said that "lefty zealots" like the New York Times who opposes WorstPresidentEver's plan to use the International Guard as a band-aid against illegal immigration said the agenda behind the opposition is that we hate whitey. From MediaMatters:

O'REILLY: Now in 1986, President Reagan thought he could solve the [immigration] problem by granting about 3 million illegal aliens amnesty. The New York Times was in heaven, editorializing back then, quote, "The new law won't work miracles but it will induce most employers to pay attention, to turn off the magnets, to slow the tide." Of course, just the opposite happened. But the Times hasn't learned a thing. That's because the newspaper and many far-left thinkers believe the white power structure that controls America is bad, so a drastic change is needed.

According to the lefty zealots, the white Christians who hold power must be swept out by a new multicultural tide, a rainbow coalition, if you will. This can only happen if demographics change in America.

An open-border policy and the legalization of millions of Hispanic illegal aliens would deeply affect the political landscape in America. That's what The New York Times and many others on the left want. They might get it. And that's the "Memo."

Well, I can't really blame O'Reilly for stating the truth that white Christians control this country and enjoy privilege. Apparently it's the same type of mentality that's behind Bush's home county in Texas rejecting a resolution to apologize for lynching blacks:

McLennan County commissioners on Tuesday declined to adopt a resolution apologizing for lynchings in the area in the 1800s and early 1900s.

But after rejecting the Community Race Relations Coalition's document by a 4-to-1 vote, commissioners said they would work on a resolution they all could accept.


At least two commissioners have said they oppose an apology because the lynchings happened before current leaders and residents were born. They also have said the murder or rape victims of the black men who were lynched should not be forgotten.

Yeah, you'd like to think we came a long way from the past, but it appears that there are limits to enlightenment.

The Coming New Rounds of "Utter Disasters"

Historian Douglas Brinkley recently called embattled New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin an "utter disaster" in his new book because Nagin couldn't evacuate the whole city. Well, via First-Draft, there's a new poll of Gulf Coast residents that suggests that Nagin outdid what normal circumstances would demand:

Mayfield [National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield] outlined the poll at the launch of the 2006 National Hurricane Survival Initiative, an educational campaign aimed at preparing and protecting residents in vulnerable coastal areas. He said 13 percent of residents in coastal states said they might not or would not evacuate even if ordered to leave.

Fifteen percent of Florida residents said they wouldn't evacuate.

The majority of residents said they preferred to weather the storm at home and wanted to be there to protect their property, while three percent said they would stay for their pets.

Of those who do evacuate, one in five residents said they would only leave 12-24 hours before a storm makes landfall.

As scout_prime said, "only" 10 percent of New Orleans residents did not evacuate. Perhaps the soupbowl situation the city found itself in demanded that every person should be shipped out or left to die, but as we see, there is little one can do to overturn human nature, even after Katrina showed the importance of safety above all.

Either Git Married Or Git Moving

This is what happens when you give these fundyclown whackjobs an inch over stuff like gay marriage or abortion. Soon we will live in a country governed by Leviticus:

Mo. Town Denies Unmarried Couple Permit

BLACK JACK, Mo. - The city council has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together, and the mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction.

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit after moving into a home in this St. Louis suburb because they have three children and are not married.

The town's planning and zoning commission proposed a change in the law, but the measure was rejected Tuesday by the city council in a 5-3 vote.

"I'm just shocked," Shelltrack said. "I really thought this would all be over, and we could go on with our lives."

The current ordinance prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by "blood, marriage or adoption." The defeated measure would have changed the definition of a family to include unmarried couples with two or more children.

There's your vaunted "Christian" family values for ya, kick the children in the streets simply because their parents decide to live "in sin." Jesus, save us from your followers.

I Like My Wimmen In The Kitchen, Barefoot And Pre-Pregnant

That's right all you fertile women of marriageable age, according to the Center For Disease Control, every women should act like they will become pregnant and bear a child. No longer are you rational human beings capable of making decisions about reproduction on your own. You are now vessels for creating the next generation of Americans:

New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.

Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.

While most of these recommendations are well known to women who are pregnant or seeking to get pregnant, experts say it's important that women follow this advice throughout their reproductive lives, because about half of pregnancies are unplanned and so much damage can be done to a fetus between conception and the time the pregnancy is confirmed.

The recommendations aim to "increase public awareness of the importance of preconception health" and emphasize the "importance of managing risk factors prior to pregnancy," said Samuel Posner, co-author of the guidelines and associate director for science in the division of reproductive health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which issued the report.

Other groups involved include the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the March of Dimes, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention's Division of Reproductive Health and the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

The idea of preconception care has been discussed for nearly 20 years, experts said, but it has drawn more attention recently. Progress toward further reducing the rate of unhealthy pregnancy results, including premature birth, low birthweight and infant mortality, has slowed in the United States since 1996 "in part because of inconsistent delivery and implementation of interventions before pregnancy to detect, treat and help women modify behaviors, health conditions and risk factors that contribute to adverse maternal and infant outcomes," according to the report.

May 16, 2006

Corporate Fascism Approved

You know how in civics class you are taught that whenever a legislative body passes a law, any citizen can challenge the constitutionality of that law in a courtroom? Well yesterday according to David Sirota, the Supreme Court just ruled that when it comes to state legislators and local municipalities approving multimillion-dollar giveaways to corporate fat-cats, even if it results in DIRECT harm to the schools and other basic services, you have absolutely no standing to challenge the abuse of taxpayer's money:

In a unanimous decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a lower court ruling that would have invalidated massive taxpayer giveaways to Corporate America. The Supreme Court has long been the victim of a hostile takeover by Big Money interests. It is a court now headed by a corporate lawyer that has repeatedly gone out of its way to protect Corporate America's ability to bleed the middle class dry. Today's ruling, though, is particularly egregious. Not only did the court strike down an important ruling, but it essentially emasculated taxpayers' ability to bring any such lawsuits against their own government in the future. The details are as shocking as they are disgusting. As the Associated Press reports, "two years ago, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Ohio's tax credit on new equipment, saying the practice hinders interstate commerce because the incentives are available only to businesses that invest in Ohio." In other words, plaintiffs correctly noted the credits are creating a race to the bottom that violate interstate commerce laws by forcing states and cities to compete with each other to give away more and more taxpayer cash to Big Business. In the Ohio case, the tax credit was used to give DaimlerChrysler roughly $300 million in taxpayer cash - cash that Toledo's county auditor says was siphoned away from local schools, forcing the city to close up to nine schools or fire 380 school workers.

In striking down the lower court ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court not only ruled against Ohio taxpayers, but against all taxpayers. Chief Justice John Roberts, formerly a corporate lawyer, said in the official opinion that "State taxpayers have no standing ... to challenge state tax or spending decisions simply by virtue of their status as taxpayers." In other words, not only will the Ohio law remain, but state taxpayers throughout the country now have no legal right to challenge the decisions of their bought-and-paid-for elected officials who are selling off our government to the highest bidder.

To get a sense of just how far reaching an affront to taxpayers' rights this ruling is, consider that USA Today earlier reported that taxpayers in other states were moving forward with similar cases. As just one example, in North Carolina, taxpayers have challenged the state's $242 million giveaway to Dell Computer. Now, the Supreme Court has essentially said they aren't even allowed to bring such a case. Want to try to stop Wal-Mart from abusing interstate commerce laws by extorting a billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies? Forget even having your case heard in court - your Supreme Court says you have to simply sit back and accept higher taxes to fund this kind of largesse.

Remember - these taxpayer giveaways are accelerating and come at a huge cost in terms of higher taxes for individuals. As USA Today noted, "In 1977, nine states gave tax credits to corporations [but] by 1998, that number had grown to 36." At the same time, "individual income taxes are growing at a faster rate than corporate income taxes" because state/local governments are recovering the tax giveaways from ordinary citizens. According to the Census Bureau, "corporate income taxes collected rose 6.5% from 1994 to 2004, while individual income taxes collected went up 49.7%."

Also remember that, as Greg LeRoy notes in his book The Great American Jobs Scam, these taxpayer giveaways often do not result in the benefits Big Business promises. In fact, many of the corporations that receive these taxpayer giveaways never even follow through on the economic development or job creation they promise.

May 15, 2006

Ask, And Ye Shall Be Used

The Wall Street Journal has a report on how General-turned-critic John Batiste claims he's been repeatedly denied additiional troops and other necessities in this war - and Paula Zahn is a despicable bushbot harpie

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Six days after he called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to leave his post, retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste faced a crushing moment of doubt.

Earlier that morning, Mr. Rumsfeld had brushed off Gen. Batiste and other critics as inflexible bureaucrats, uncomfortable with change. A few hours later, President Bush vowed to stand by his secretary.

Now CNN's Paula Zahn was grilling Gen. Batiste: "So, do you plan to continue with these kinds of attacks ... when the president has made it clear he's not budging?"

"I have yet to determine if I will do that or not," Gen. Batiste said.

Afterward, the 53-year-old officer retreated to a deserted parking garage outside the television station. For 30 minutes, he paced up and down, he says, literally shaking. Military officers, like Gen. Batiste, are constantly reminded that their role is to advise civilian leaders and execute their orders -- even if they disagree with them.

Now he was stepping way out of that culture. Gen. Batiste and his wife, the children of career military officers, had spent their entire lives in the Army. He fought in the first Gulf War, led a brigade into Bosnia, and in 2004 commanded 22,000 troops in Iraq, losing more than 150 soldiers.

"I was shocked at where I was," he says. "I had spent the last 31 years of my life defending our great Constitution." Over the course of the war in Iraq he says he saw troop shortages that allowed a deadly insurgency to take root, felt politics were put ahead of hard-won military lessons and was haunted by the regretful words of a top general in Vietnam.

. . .Gen. Batiste stands out among the generals who have called for Mr. Rumsfeld to resign because he is the only one who served in a high position in the Pentagon and commanded troops in Iraq. He turned down a promotion and resigned last fall. He then spent the next seven months trying to decide whether to speak out in public, weighing a strong sense of duty and respect for his chain of command against a feeling that he owed it to his soldiers and their families to speak out.

Among the generals who have spoken out, "the only one that really shocked everyone was Batiste," says Don Snider, a professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

. . .In 2001, Mr. Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz arrived at the Pentagon with a mandate from President Bush to transform the military into a lighter, faster force. Mr. Wolfowitz tapped Gen. Batiste, who had been recommended by his superiors, to become his senior military assistant.

Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Wolfowitz kicked off their tenure with a massive review of military spending. To ensure that the generals and Congress didn't organize to block change, Mr. Rumsfeld insisted that much of the review initially be conducted in secret. As Mr. Wolfowitz's aide, Gen. Batiste had access to some of the high-level discussions.

Initial plans called for shrinking the Army by as much as 20%, to pay for high-tech airplanes, space and missile defense systems. In discussions with Mr. Wolfowitz, Gen. Batiste argued the virtues of a big Army, drawing on his Bosnia experience.

Some on Mr. Wolfowitz's staff say Gen. Batiste often offered a parochial Army view. He touted the Crusader artillery cannon, which was too heavy to move by plane and didn't mesh with President Bush's vision of light, agile forces. Studies dating to the Clinton administration branded the cannon unnecessary. Mr. Rumsfeld eventually spiked it.

The general says he forged a close relationship with Mr. Wolfowitz. "He is a brilliant, dedicated hard-working man," Gen. Batiste says. "I didn't always agree with him, but he listened. He was a fair man." Mr. Wolfowitz declined to comment for this article.

Gen. Batiste didn't feel the same way about Mr. Rumsfeld, who served as a Navy pilot from 1954 to 1957. Mr. Rumsfeld's plan to cut the Army by 20%, before 9/11, reflected a belief that new technology made it possible to win wars with smaller ground formations. "He came in with a lot of ideas about warfare that I thought were just bankrupt," Gen. Batiste says.

But he kept his reservations about the war plan to himself. "You don't know what you don't know until you are there on the ground," Gen. Batiste says. In January 2004, after a personal sendoff from Mr. Wolfowitz, his division deployed to Iraq. Gen. Batiste oversaw a territory about the size of West Virginia in the heart of the Sunni Triangle.

Once in Iraq, he believed some of his reservations were justified. Like most units in Iraq at the time, the 1st Infantry Division's humvees lacked armor. His soldiers contracted with Iraqis to weld whatever metal they could find to the sides of their humvees.

He also felt the unit didn't have enough reconstruction funds. When Mr. Wolfowitz came to visit in June 2004, Gen. Batiste said that his division had spent $41 million in three months on rebuilding. It had $23 million left for the remaining six months of the year. That wasn't enough, he says, to repair infrastructure destroyed by decades of misrule and sanctions, such as sewer, electrical or health-care systems. In addition, reconstruction funds put unemployed Iraqi men, who offered a potential recruiting pool for the enemy, on the U.S. payroll.

Over the course of the year-long tour, Gen. Batiste says he had to deal regularly with troop shortages. On three occasions, he was ordered to send soldiers to help other U.S. units in the cities of Najaf and Fallujah to put down revolts. Typically, the Army holds a couple of units in reserve to deal with unforeseen flare-ups. But the desire to keep the force as lean as possible meant there were no extra troops in Iraq.

Each time his soldiers left their area, attacks, intimidation and roadside bombs spiked, Gen. Batiste says. "It was like a sucking chest wound," he says. Relationships that soldiers had painstakingly built with local sheiks -- who had been persuaded to cooperate with U.S. forces at great risk to themselves and their families -- were lost when the soldiers were sent elsewhere, he says.

Gen. Batiste told Mr. Wolfowitz about this problem during the June 2004 visit, saying increased unrest in his sector was the "direct result of the boots-on-the-ground decrease." But he told Mr. Wolfowitz he believed his soldiers were making progress.

Gen. Batiste says he also relayed his concerns to his military bosses in Baghdad. "I always spoke out within my chain of command. I spoke my mind freely and forcefully," he says. His immediate commanders, Lt. Gen Thomas Metz and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, didn't respond to requests for comment. His commanders were sympathetic, Gen. Batiste says, but he doesn't know whether his concerns were relayed to the Pentagon.

Just weeks before his troops left Iraq, the general had an opportunity to confront Mr. Rumsfeld publicly. The secretary, who was making a 2004 Christmas tour through Iraq, came to meet with him and take questions from his troops.

Gen. Batiste introduced Mr. Rumsfeld to his soldiers as a "man with the courage and conviction to win the war on terrorism." The general says he was disillusioned with Mr. Rumsfeld's leadership at the time, but felt he needed to pump up his soldiers who were in the final days of a grueling, bloody deployment.

After the speech, Mr. Rumsfeld, accompanied by reporters, met with Gen. Batiste in his plywood office, in the corner of one of Saddam Hussein's unfinished marble palaces. Mr. Rumsfeld asked the general whether he had been given everything he needed, Gen. Batiste recalls. Not wanting to discuss problems in front of the press, he says he deflected the question, by talking about his efforts to train Iraqi security forces.

The defense secretary then turned to Gen. Batiste's boss, Gen. Metz and asked: "What has Batiste told you he needs that he has not received?" according to a Dec. 26, 2004, account of the meeting by the Associated Press. Gen. Metz made no mention of troop levels, but said that Gen. Batiste could use some more unmanned spy planes and Iraqi linguists, the 2004 AP report says.

Today Gen. Batiste says the encounter left him furious with Mr. Rumsfeld. "We had fought and argued about these issues internally ad nauseam and a decision had been made ... . You get what you get and do the best you can. I am not going to air our dirty laundry in public. That is our culture," he says. "It was an outrageous question and he knew I couldn't give him an honest answer in a public forum. I felt as though I had been used politically."

Of course, the designated spokesliar for Rumsfailed said that Batiste had several opportunities to air his views, but we all know what becomes of his misgivings, they are dismissed out of hand, and if he persists he gets punished in some way.


One of the most telling quote of the article is this one:

His return to the U.S. was jarring. "It shocked me that the country was not mobilized for war," he says. "It was almost surreal." For some Americans, "the only time they think about the war is when they decide what color magnet ribbon to put on the back of their car."

That matches perfectly well with what a commenter named "Bruce Baugh" said over at Crooked Timber:

Talking with Mom and Dad about their personal histories led me to this association: what the war party bloggers have done is recreate the experience of being a child in World War II. They write patriotic essays and make patriotic collages, and get pats on the head and congratulations from the authorities. They watch diligently for the mutant, I mean, for the subversive among us, and help maintain the proper atmosphere of combined courage and vigilance. They are not expected to manage the family books, nor invited into discussion of the nitty-gritty, and it seldom occurs to them that there’s even a possibility there – that’s for the grown-ups, and rightly so.

Children indeed. They believe that "Trust me!" is the correct domestic policy and "Double or Nothing" is the foreing policy that will protect us all. Except they are not the ones who will foot the credit card bill.

via Atrios

Once His Playground, Now His Plaything

WorstPresidentEver confirms what any of us with half a brain could tell about his proposal to send the International Guardsmen to the Mexican border: a cheap political ploy:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush assured Mexican President Vicente Fox on Sunday he did not intend to militarize their countries' mutual border, but was considering sending National Guard troops there to temporarily support border control efforts.

"The president made clear that the United States considers Mexico a friend and that what is being considered is not militarization of the border, but support of border patrol capabilities on a temporary basis by National Guard personnel," White House spokeswoman Maria Tamburri said, describing a telephone conversation between Bush and his Mexican counterpart.

And the major networks are seriously considering carrying his bullshit speech on primetime during sweeps? God, his balls must taste like ice cream.

"We Know Who You're Calling"

I didn't know ABC News was a international terrorist organization:

Federal Source to ABC News: We Know Who You're Calling May 15, 2006 10:33 AM

Brian Ross and Richard Esposito Report:

A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we (Brian Ross and Richard Esposito) call in an effort to root out confidential sources.

"It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick," the source told us in an in-person conversation.

ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls.

Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.

So the media meritrixes kiss Bush's ass for nigh unto five years and all it got to show for it is the removal of their civil liberties? Maybe it's time for them to cut the crap and start doing some actual reporting on these criminals.

Remission Accomplished

About that other "good war" we also have going on:

Taliban Justice Returns to Afghanistan May 15, 2006 10:26 AM

Rahimullah Yusufzai Reports:

For the first time since losing power in December 2001, the Taliban has publicly executed a convicted murderer. Speaking from an undisclosed location, a Taliban spokesman told ABC News that the condemned murderer was executed in the presence of a large number of people in the town of Gizab in the Urozgan province. The prisoner was killed by gunshots fired by a relative of his victim.

. . .The spokesman said the execution shows the level of Taliban control in Urozgan. There the Taliban has the power to arrest and try criminals and publicly implement decisions of its Shariah courts.

Can WorstPresidentEver do anything right?

Achtung, Juan!

This is exactly what I was afraid of when this anti-illegal immigrant hysteria was whipped up by the conservative troglodytes looking to round up some must needed bigot votes:

Raids fill Hispanics with fear Legal or not, many stay at home BY RYAN CLARK AND KAREN GUTIÉRREZ | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITERS

FLORENCE - Yolanda Wysocki spent part of last week begging Hispanic parents to send their children back to Collins Elementary School.

But the parents were afraid. On Tuesday, 76 allegedly undocumented immigrants had been arrested in Florence. Could the same happen to them or their children?

The roundup has drawn attention to Florence's Hispanic residents, less than 4 percent of the population.

Theirs is a world in which some are now staying locked inside their homes, fearful of police. Others have proper documentation, yet are met with suspicious glances. Still others - resigned to the risk of deportation - continue to openly look for work.

Collins Elementary School has 80 students in a special program for English language learners. The day of the arrests, 10 were absent.

One mother kept her children at home because her husband had been taken away by authorities that day.

Another was afraid to put her children on the bus because she thought she might never see them again, said Wysocki, an assistant teacher in the English-language program and a native of Mexico.

What's next, are we going to fill cattle cars with 12 million illegals?

May 13, 2006

"Once They Stand Up. . ." Part V

Oy ye vey:

BAGHDAD, Iraq — An armed confrontation between two Iraqi army units left one soldier and one civilian dead Friday, raising questions about the U.S.-trained force's ability to maintain control at a time when sectarian and ethnic tensions are running high.

The incident near Duluiyah, about 45 miles north of Baghdad, illustrates the command and control problems facing the new Iraqi army, which the Americans hope can take over security in most of the country by the end of the year. It also shows that divisions within the military mirror those of Iraqi society at large.

The trouble started when a roadside bomb struck an Iraqi army convoy, which police said was made up of Kurdish soldiers. Four soldiers were killed and three were wounded, police said. U.S. military officials put the casualty figure at one dead and 12 wounded.

The wounded were rushed to the civilian Balad Hospital. Police said that as the Kurdish soldiers drove to the hospital, they fired weapons to clear the way, and one Iraqi Shiite civilian was killed.

Shiite soldiers from another Iraqi unit based in Balad rushed to the scene, and the Kurds decided to take their wounded elsewhere, Iraqi police said. Iraqi troops tried to stop them and shots were fired, killing one Shiite soldier, Iraqi police said.

The U.S. account said an Iraqi soldier from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade was killed in a "confrontation" as the other Iraqi troops were trying to remove their wounded from the hospital. The U.S. statement did not explain why the troops wanted to take their wounded from the best-equipped U.S. medical facility in the country.

A third Iraqi army unit set up a roadblock and stopped the soldiers who were leaving with their wounded, the U.S. statement said. American troops intervened at the roadblock and calmed the situation.

I'm So Indicted

TruthOut has the scoop that Karl Rove is definitely going to be indicted and he's going to resign.

This calls for a happy dance


May 9, 2006

The New Affirmative Action

Looks like you can't get government contracts unless you're loyal to Chairman Boosh:

Once the color barrier has been broken, minority contractors seeking government work may need to overcome the Bush barrier.

That's the message U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson seemed to send during an April 28 talk in Dallas.

Jackson, a former president and CEO of the Dallas Housing Authority, was among the featured speakers at a forum sponsored by the Real Estate Executive Council, a national minority real estate consortium.

After discussing the huge strides the agency has made in doing business with minority-owned companies, Jackson closed with a cautionary tale, relaying a conversation he had with a prospective advertising contractor.

"He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years," Jackson said of the prospective contractor. "He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something ... he said, 'I have a problem with your president.'

"I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'I don't like President Bush.' I thought to myself, 'Brother, you have a disconnect -- the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn't be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don't tell the secretary.'

"He didn't get the contract," Jackson continued. "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe."

Looks like we are beyond the point of seeing how much WorstPresidentEver can get away with. It's now all out war.

May 8, 2006

Bush Culture Of Compassion Update: Mission Accomplished

Just found out on DU that Andrea Clark has just died after being transferred to a hospital in Chicago. One must wonder if the results might have been different if the Texas hospital haven't wasted time trying to kill her under the futile care law.

May 6, 2006

Fallujah II

Almost two years ago we've witnessed a turning point in the Iraq occupation when contractors in Fallujah were ambushed, burned alive, and had their bodies mutilated and dragged through the streets by a mob. At that time, Iraq began to become very unsafe for Westerners and it only got worse from there.

Now a similar situation erupted in Basra, and we can now cross that place as one of the "safe zones":

Iraqis Cheer Crash of British Helicopter


BAGHDAD, Iraq - A British military helicopter crashed in Basra on Saturday, and Iraqis hurled stones at British troops and set fire to three armored vehicles that rushed to the scene. Clashes broke out between British troops and Shiite militias, police and witnesses said.

Police Capt. Mushtaq Khazim said the helicopter was apparently shot down in a residential district. He said the four-member crew was killed, but British officials would say only that there were "casualties."

British forces backed by armored vehicles rushed to the area but were met by a hail of stones from the crowd of at least 250 people, who jumped for joy and raised their fists as a plume of thick smoke rose into the air from the crash site.

The crowd set three British armored vehicles on fire, apparently with gasoline bombs and a rocket-propelled grenade, but the soldiers inside escaped unhurt, witnesses said.

British troops shot into the air trying to disperse the crowd, then shooting broke out between the British and Iraqi militiamen, Khazim said. At least four people, including a child, were killed, he said. Two of the victims were adults shot by British troops while driving a car in the area, Khazim said.

The crowd chanted "we are all soldiers of al-Sayed," a reference to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, an ardent foe of the presence of foreign troops in Iraq.

Later the crowd scattered after hearing explosion, but groups of men set fire to tires in the streets and the situation remained tense. The chaotic scene was widely shown on Iraqi state television and on the Al-Jazeera satellite station.

The British are now using that as a signal that it's time to start packing:

The shooting down of the British military helicopter in Basra yesterday and the violent rioting that followed were grim reminders of the fragility of the security situation in southern Iraq. Although the region has escaped much of the daily mayhem of the Sunni areas of the country, the time has long gone since it was portrayed as a model of reconstruction. Once the British may have been out of this firing line and seen by the Shia population of the south as "liberators". Now the picture is very different.

The attack on the helicopter is a racheting up of the threat facing the UK forces. British commanders had drastically restricted movements by road after a series of deaths caused by sophisticated bombs allegedly supplied by Iran. Transport by air was adopted as a far safer option. However, the large numbers of operations had left crews more vulnerable to attacks. Safety devices fitted to helicopters protected them from surface-to-air missiles - but not from rocket-propelled grenades.

There has been another reason for curtailing the number of ground convoys. Co-operation and joint patrols with the Iraqi police have dwindled to the extent that British soldiers no longer leave their heavily fortified bases unless absolutely necessary. The main aim now is to keep as low a profile as possible while preparing for the withdrawal of the bulk of the 8,000 plus British forces during the next 12 months.

May 5, 2006

Milbank To Colbert Fans: "Get A LIfe!"

To his credit, high profile writers don't usually publicly entertain comments from their readers, but the way he was dismissive of those who wonder why the larger press world fails to appreciate Stephen Colbert's performance at the Correspondents' Dinner really cements the fact that the aforementioned monologue is a Rorschach test that reveals who are the truly the comfortable and the afflicted:

Milwaukee, Wis.: Dana, your comments about the WH Correspondents Dinner on Olbermann Monday night were disappointing. You are a very talented journalist and funny. You are not, however, nearly as funny as Mr. Colbert. Colbert executed political satire, flawlessly at the WH Correspondents dinner. The press in attendance didn't like Mr. Colbert revealing the truth about their complicity with the White House. The situation in the entire Middle East can get a lot worse and the price of a barrel of oil can go a lot higher.

Dana Milbank: Excellent question. You are right on top of the big issues of the day, Milwaukee.

For those of you dealing with less significant issues than Colbertgate, here's what happened. The comedian was not as funny as usual when he spoke to the White House Correspondents Association Dinner Saturday. He had the bad fortune of following Bush, who had a body double with him on the stage who spoke the president's inner thoughts.

Monday night, Keith Olbermann of MSNBC's Countdown, asked me:

Keith: "I like Stephen Colbert a lot and believe me, I'm all for smacking down presidents. I have done to one from each party in my tenure here. But was this the right tone at the right venue? Was there a line crossed here in some way?"

Me: "I don't think he crossed the line. I just think he wasn't terribly funny and had the misfortune of following Bush who actually did put on one of the better performances of his presidency."

Evidently, the full transcript did not arrive at the offices of Editor and Publisher, where Greg Mitchell decided that I had in fact said Colbert "was not funny." He neglected to mention that this misquote was uttered in the context of my defense of Colbert.

As you can see, this is all terribly consequential. Although I do think it says something about why the left is having trouble regaining power. There are so many fat targets out there, from gas prices to Iraq to health care. So what are the left wing activists doing? Attacking reporters for their views on whether a comedian was funny at a dinner.

Unsolicited advice for those who can't tear themselves from the Colbert criticism: Get a life.

Apparently Milbank expects a cookie because he bravely defended a comedian's right to obliquely criticize WorstPresidentEver.

As Milbank's online colleague Dan Froomkin said on Thursday, the press reacted so negatively to Colbert because they were just as big a butt of the joke as WorstPresidentEver was that day. That wasn't a roast because roasts are done by people who don't have hostility towards the subject. The most telling bit of Colbert's monologue is the line where he claims to be the best candidate for the post of Press Secretary because " I have nothing but contempt for these people." (and we all should have nothing but contempt.) That wasn't a roast, that was an insult, and the the insulted are acting predictably.

Perhaps they are also being embarrassed because they have all been called out on their fawning over the administration and their maddening credulousness of almost every official White House line. Eric Boerlert's new book Lapdogs chronicles this new world order of media meretriciousness in frustrating yet familiar detail. Of course, when Milbank is asked by a reader to answer for the tail-wagging, he again wants a cookie:

Baton Rouge, La.: Attacking reporters for their views on whether a comedian was funny at a dinner.

We're attacking the Washington press corps because we don't think you've been doing your jobs. The Washington press corps was complicit in the run up to the war in Iraq and has never held Bush accountable for anything. It took Colbert to do the job for you.

Dana Milbank: Oh, dear. Baton Rouge really needs to get a life. Can somebody get Baton Rouge a life? Rochester? Milwaukee? Anybody?

Here's the lede of a front-page story I wrote in October, 2002. You might have missed it because you were busy complaining that somebody didn't think a Jay Leno routine was funny.

"President Bush, speaking to the nation this month about the need to challenge Saddam Hussein, warned that Iraq has a growing fleet of unmanned aircraft that could be used 'for missions targeting the United States.'

"Last month, asked if there were new and conclusive evidence of Hussein's nuclear weapons capabilities, Bush cited a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency saying the Iraqis were 'six months away from developing a weapon.' And last week, the president said objections by a labor union to having customs officials wear radiation detectors has the potential to delay the policy 'for a long period of time.'

"All three assertions were powerful arguments for the actions Bush sought. And all three statements were dubious, if not wrong. Further information revealed that the aircraft lack the range to reach the United States; there was no such report by the IAEA; and the customs dispute over the detectors was resolved long ago."

For those who forgot, he was referring to this article, "For Bush, facts are malleable." Sure, it seemed like a major journalism fete back then since an article that actually compare Bush's statement with the known facts at the time was the exception that prove the rule that the wider media was complicit with the right-wing lie machine. But reading it now, it's just an example of what would happen if journalists would do their damn jobs. And even at that he had to soften the charges that Bush was being "imprecise" by contrasting it with lies told by previous administrations and adding other qualifiers like saying Bush's statements are "dubious, if not wrong" when in fact they ARE wrong and Bush knows that they are wrong.

As I have said before, Colbert doesn't need the approval of these morons.

May 4, 2006

Clarity From The First Lady

Laura Bush, seemingly dispatched by the Bushelvikis to put her high approval ratings to good use, gave an interview on CNN claiming that the "Mission Accomplished" speech by WorstPresidentEver actually applied to those on the ship. Must they continue to make up myths about that episode?

It's The Economy, Stupids!

So what do you do when your One Party Government us faced with the Eye-Rack quagmire, an energy crisis and corruption from all sides? Why talk up the growing economy of course. Bernard just couldn't unnerstand why ordinary people can't see for the fact that the economy is going gangbusters. What, are you people blind? Five million jobs in three year! GDP's increased five percent! Dow 36,000 is coming any day now! The economy is not in the shitter, what the fuck is wrong with you people!

Well, sorry to have to break this to him, but just because the economy is going great for the elites doesn't mean it's going great for the rest of us. According to the true measure of how well the Average Joe is doing - median wages - the "economy" has only grown 1.5 percent from 2000-2004. Meanwhile, inflation has ballooned 10 percent during the same time. Compound that with the fact that poverty has increased every year Bush was in office, then you get an entirely different economic picture between the have mores and the have nots.

May 2, 2006

"Truthiness" Isn't Funny

Everyone else is talking about Stephen Colbert's routine at the White House Press Whores Dinner, so I might as well jump in.

Welp, it looked like the media heathers didn't seem to appreciate Colbert's biting humor, but they yukked it up when Bush jokingly couldn't find the weaponsofmassdestructions back in 2004.

Colbert doesn't need the approval of these inveterate retards.