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January 27, 2007

Newsweak.

new poll from that magazine puts WorstPresidentEver at 30 percent.

Loser. I hope the people at that magazine will stop their tongue bathings and call the Bush presidency what it is: a failure.

via Atrios.

January 26, 2007

Rove And Bartlett To Be Subpoenaed

HAH!

White House anxiety is mounting over the prospect that top officials—including deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and counselor Dan Bartlett-may be forced to provide potentially awkward testimony in the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis (Scooter) Libby.

Both Rove and Bartlett have already received trial subpoenas from Libby’s defense lawyers, according to lawyers close to the case who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters. While that is no guarantee they will be called, the odds increased this week after Libby’s lawyer, Ted Wells, laid out a defense resting on the idea that his client, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, had been made a “scapegoat? to protect Rove. Cheney is expected to provide the most crucial testimony to back up Wells’s assertion, one of the lawyers close to the case said. The vice president personally penned an October 2003 note in which he wrote, “Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the other.? The note, read aloud in court by Wells, implied that Libby was the one being sacrificed in an effort to clear Rove of any role in leaking the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, wife of Iraq war critic Joe Wilson. “Wow, for all the talk about this being a White House that prides itself on loyalty and discipline, you’re not seeing much of it,? the lawyer said.

The Bushistas forced too many people into being sacrificial lambs for a long time (cf. John DiIulio, Paul O'Neill, George Shinsheki, George Tenant, Colin Powell) why are they surprised that someone might screw them back?

"Angry American" Now Angry About The Eye-Rack War

Flag-hugging country singer Toby Keith is now telling Newsday that he "never did" support the Eye-Rack war:

"Never did," he says -- and he favors setting a time limit on the occupation. He says he suspects civil war in Iraq is inevitable and predicts the Kurds will be the victors: "I promise you, they'll end up with it all."

That is despite the fact that he voted for Bush twice and has performed in front of Photoshopped images of Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks ( maligned for criticizing Bush over the war) together with Saddam Hussein. It must be very goddamn lucrative to be such a weathervane.

via Thinkprogress.

Update: Hmm, looked like Keith was having serious doubts about the war around the time the Bush propoganda about there not being an insurgency was demolished along with the UN building, but in the end decided to put all his eggs in Bush's and Condoleeza's baskets:

"Look, my stance is I pick and choose my wars. This war here [in Iraq], the math hasn't worked out for me on it. But I'm smart enough to know there's people smarter than me. [National security advisor] Condoleezza Rice, [Secretary of State] Colin Powell, George Bush — this is their job, and I have to trust in them. I support the commander in chief and the troops."

Don't Trust The Military To Report The Facts

Apparently, the story of how five soldiers died in an ambush by Iraqis posing as American soldiers didn't go down as first reported:

Four American soldiers were abducted during a sophisticated sneak attack last week in the Shiite holy city of Karbala and their bodies were found up to 25 miles away, according to new information obtained by The Associated Press.

The brazen assault, 50 miles south of Baghdad on Jan. 20, was conducted by nine to 12 militants posing as an American security team. They traveled in black GMC Suburban vehicles _ the type used by U.S. government convoys _ had American weapons, wore new U.S. military combat fatigues, and spoke English.

In a written statement, the U.S. command reported at the time that five soldiers were killed while "repelling the attack." Now, two senior U.S. military officials as well as Iraqi officials say four of the five were captured and taken from the governor's compound alive. Three of them were found dead and one mortally wounded later that evening in locations as far as 25 miles east of the governor's office.

The U.S. officials said they could not be sure where the soldiers were shot after being captured at the compound. Iraqi officials said they believe the men were killed just before the Suburbans were abandoned.

The commando team also took an unclassified U.S. computer with them as its members fled with the four soldiers and left behind an American M-4 automatic rifle, senior U.S. military officials said.

The new information has emerged after nearly a week of inquiries. The U.S. military in Baghdad did not respond to repeated requests for comment on reports that began emerging from Iraqi government and military officials on the abduction and a major breakdown in security at Karbala site.

The two senior American military officials now confirm the reports, gathered by The Associated Press from five senior Iraqi government, military and religious leaders. The U.S. military also has provided additional details from internal military accounts.

As mcjoan from The Daily Kos said, this story was initially covered up in hopes of not furthering the opposition to the troop escalation. Well, since it was reported during the Friday night dump, the Bushelvikis may well get their wish.

Why I Hate Georgia III

If teenagers were investigated an prosecuted under Georgia's outrageous strict pedophile law, you couldn't build enough jails to hold the offenders:

Genarlow Wilson is standing on a threshold all right, at the end of the last hall of Burruss Correctional Training Center, an hour and a half south of Atlanta. He's just a few feet from the mechanical door that closes with a goosebump-raising whurr and clang. Three and a half years after he received that letter, he's wearing a blue jacket with big, white block letters. They read: STATE PRISONER.

He's 20 now. Just two years into a 10-year sentence without possibility of parole, he peers through the thick glass and bars, trying to catch a glimpse of freedom. Outside, guard towers and rolls of coiled barbed wire remind him of who he is.

Once, he was the homecoming king at Douglas County High. Now he's Georgia inmate No. 1187055, convicted of aggravated child molestation.

When he was a senior in high school, he received oral sex from a 10th grader. He was 17. She was 15. Everyone, including the girl and the prosecution, agreed she initiated the act. But because of an archaic Georgia law, it was a misdemeanor for teenagers less than three years apart to have sexual intercourse, but a felony for the same kids to have oral sex.

Afterward, the state legislature changed the law to include an oral sex clause, but that doesn't help Wilson. In yet another baffling twist, the law was written to not apply to cases retroactively, though another legislative solution might be in the works. The case has drawn national condemnation, from the "Free Genarlow Wilson Now" editorial in The New York Times to a feature on Mark Cuban's HDNet.

Well, at least Wilson wasn't punished for "molesting" a white girl. You know what to do.

Media Whore Of The Year, 2004-2005

When Mediawhoresonline.com was up and running, it had a contest to see who was the biggest Media Whore during the year. One person in particular won it two straight years, from 2004 to 2005. Can you guess who it is?

That's right, it's Little Russ. The same jackhole who let his program to be used as a message machine for Bush's selling of the Eye-Rack war and the continued occupation. Of course Russert will deny up and down that his program was used for propaganda purposes, but yesterday's testimony at the Scooter Libby trial put an end to that lie:

Memo to Tim Russert: Dick Cheney thinks he controls you.

This delicious morsel about the "Meet the Press" host and the vice president was part of the extensive dish Cathie Martin served up yesterday when the former Cheney communications director took the stand in the perjury trial of former Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Flashed on the courtroom computer screens were her notes from 2004 about how Cheney could respond to allegations that the Bush administration had played fast and loose with evidence of Iraq's nuclear ambitions. Option 1: "MTP-VP," she wrote, then listed the pros and cons of a vice presidential appearance on the Sunday show. Under "pro," she wrote: "control message."

"I suggested we put the vice president on 'Meet the Press,' which was a tactic we often used," Martin testified. "It's our best format."

Perhaps Little Russ will be chastened by this new revelation that he was merely part of the administration's Wurlitzer. I wouldn't expect it, however, since Little Russ continues to give Republicans, especially John McCain, free passes on his Meet the Press shows to peddle their bullshit, even when it completely contradicts what they've said on previous appearances.

Via Brad Delong

January 25, 2007

Generalissimo Petraeus

I used to have charitable feelings for General Petraeus and his efforts in Eye-Rack after seeing how he is only one the handful of characters in the debacle that actually done things right, at least according to the books written by Michael R. Gordan and Thomas E. Ricks. But now that he is the head ground commander in Eye-Rack, he has taken a dangerously fascist tone, as outlined by Glenn Greenwald:

In a move that is unusual for an active-duty officer, Petraeus also spoke against pending Senate resolutions disapproving of the new Bush administration strategy. Asked by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) whether those resolutions would give encouragement to the enemy by exposing divisions among the American people, he replied: "That's correct."

Glenn Greenwald, in his usual eloquent and biting commentary, details the ramifications of the general's comment, including another crusade by the reich-wing blogosphere and the echoing of that rhetoric by the Vice President himself. Quoting a single piece of that post would do a disservice to the entire message, so as they say go read the whole thing.

Glenn Kessler And The Washington Post Calls Bullshit On Bush

Imagine that, a reporter that compares Bush's public statements with actual facts on the ground:

In his State of the Union address last night, President Bush presented an arguably misleading and often flawed description of "the enemy" that the United States faces overseas, lumping together disparate groups with opposing ideologies to suggest that they have a single-minded focus in attacking the United States.

Under Bush's rubric, a country such as Iran -- which enjoys diplomatic representation and billions of dollars in trade with major European countries -- is lumped together with al-Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. "The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat," Bush said, referring to the different branches of the Muslim religion.

Similarly, Bush asserted that Shia Hezbollah, which has won seats in the Lebanese government, is a terrorist group "second only to al-Qaeda in the American lives it has taken." Bush is referring to attacks nearly a quarter-century ago on a U.S. embassy and a Marine barracks when the United States intervened in Lebanon's civil war by shelling Hezbollah strongholds. Hezbollah has evolved into primarily an anti-Israeli militant organization -- it fought a war with Israel last summer -- but the European Union does not list it as a terrorist organization.

At one point, Bush catalogued what he described as advances in the quest for freedom in the Middle East during 2005 -- such as the departure of Syrian troops from Lebanon and elections in Iraq. Then, Bush asserted, "a thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics and in 2006 they struck back." But his description of the actions of "the enemy" tried to tie together a series of diplomatic and military setbacks that had virtually no connection to one another, from an attack on a Sunni mosque in Iraq to the assassination of Maronite Lebanese political figure.

Read the whole thing, including the debunking of Bush's upbeat claims about job performances and budget deficits. But the real crime is his lumping together Shiite extremists with Al Qaeda, and it is doing nothing but pissing off the people we are supposed to be supporting:

Iraqi Shi'ite officials on Wednesday dismissed as "ridiculous" U.S. President George W. Bush's comment that Shi'ite militants were as big a danger to the United States as Sunni al Qaeda.

. . .An official from a top Shi'ite party in Iraq said Washington would lose focus in fighting terrorism if it decided to open up a new front against Shi'ite militias.

"Comparing Shi'ite militias to al Qaeda is ridiculous. They are protecting their own communities after a three-year onslaught by terrorists and only a few outlaws take revenge. How are the militias a threat to the United States?" he said.

"The only solution is to give the government control of its own forces," said the official, who declined to be identified.

That's the Uniter, uniting everybody against us.

Obama's Balancing Act

Michael Fletcher of the Washington Post dares to explore the elephant in the room regarding Barack Obama's candidacy: in his quest to appeal to white voters, will black people still trust him?

The question of how Obama chooses to define and approach race looms large as he moves closer to formally launching his campaign next month. Although he rides a wave of enthusiasm among Democrats who like his vision of a different kind of politics and see him as an alternative to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), it is not clear that his multiracial message can excite black voters hungry for affirmation of their top concerns.

Melissa V. Harris-Lacewell, a Princeton University professor who has followed Obama's political ascent, said that he may be forced to choose: "You can be elected president as a black person only if you signal at some level that you are independent from black people" -- a move she said would be "guaranteed" to make black people angry. "He is going to have to figure out whether there is a way not to alienate and anger a black base that almost by definition is going to be disappointed," she said.

Already, that balancing act is causing some strains. Some of Obama's longtime black supporters in Illinois are grumbling about the largely white crowd of advisers who now surround Obama as he gears up his national campaign. "Who does he represent? That is what people are worried about," said Lorenzo Martin, publisher of the Chicago Standard newspapers, a chain of black-oriented weeklies that circulate in the southern suburbs. "When you look and see who is surrounding him, you are not going to see too many brothers. What you see is the liberal left."

Complicating matters is that Obama appears certain to encounter fierce competition for the black vote from the other leading Democratic presidential contenders. Black Democrats prefer Clinton 3 to 1 over Obama, and four out of five of black Democrats view her favorably, much higher than the 54 percent who have a favorable view of Obama, according to combined findings from two Washington Post-ABC polls taken in December and January. Clinton also enjoys close ties to top black elected officials, and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, remains extremely popular among African Americans.

Former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.), who launched his presidential campaign from New Orleans's devastated Lower Ninth Ward to highlight his commitment to attacking poverty, is also expected to make a strong appeal to black voters. And waiting in the wings is another African American, Al Sharpton, a candidate in 2004 who is considering running again.

"If we're talking about the urban agenda," Sharpton asked earlier this month in discussing his possible candidacy, "can you tell me anybody else in the field who's representing that right now?" And, in remarks that were widely interpreted as referring to Obama, he added: "Right now we're hearing a lot of media razzle-dazzle. I'm not hearing a lot of meat, or a lot of content. I think when the meat hits the fire, we'll find out if it's just fat or if there's some real meat there."

Actually, Obama shouldn't worry about being overly obsequient to black voters since blacks vote overwhelmingly Democratic no matter who's running. If Harold Ford Jr. lost his Tennessee senate race, despite his running as some kind of religious conservative who bashes gays, he would be right to blame white people, since 95 percent of black voters voted for him. In that light, Obama's right move is to pretty much continue what he's doing and try not to piss off too many white folks, especially since the early all-important primaries are held in such monochromatic states like Iowa and New Hampshire. If he wins those two, so goes the rest of the primary, the election and the almost guaranteed black votes that goes with it.

(One sidenote, the article says that uberconservative wackjob Alan Keyes who disowned his own daughter for coming out as a lesbian, supports direct reparations for black descendents for slaves. Huh, who knew?)

Surge Protection

Remember the infantry batallion that was pulled from Afghanistan in order to support WorstPresidentEver's Surge? Well guess how they are going to cover their ass on that. That's right, screwing over more soldiers looking to come home:

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon has decided to extend the combat tour of 3,200 soldiers from a 10th Mountain Division brigade in Afghanistan for four months in hopes of quelling the violence.

The decision comes a week after Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with commanders in Afghanistan and heard a request for more troops.

Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, at first asked for about 1,200 troops. Gates said he was "strongly inclined" to meet the commander's request but wanted to consider other options before deciding how many to hold over.

Ben Abel, a spokesman for Fort Drum, N.Y., where the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division is based, confirmed that Gates had decided to extend the brigade's tour.

George Bush Still Don't Like Black People

Nope.

On New Orleans, Not A Word From Bush; No Mention Of Hurricane Katrina Rebuilding Effort In State Of Union Address

(CBS/AP) New Orleans is still a mess and the pace of recovery across the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Katrina's strike remains achingly slow after 17 months. But none of this captured President Bush's attention on the year's biggest night for showcasing policy priorities.

In the president's State of the Union speech last year, delivered just five months after the disaster, the devastation merited only 156 words out of more than 5,400.

On Tuesday night, the president spoke for almost exactly as long before a joint session of Congress. But Katrina received not a single mention.

"At this time I almost broke my TV, knocked it off the stand," Chris Davis, told CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian. Davis, a Vietnam veteran, is one of the displaced residents from New Orleans now living near Baton Rouge, La.

"People were already feeling forgotten. I think this may potentially reinforce that," Toni Bankston, a mental health caseworker, told CBS News.

Officials in Louisiana were also disappointed by the oversight.

"The governor is supremely disappointed," said a spokeswoman for Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco. "The president's speech was promoted as focusing on his domestic priorities, yet we see where hurricane recovery is on his list. It's not even on the radar."

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said, "With nearly 6,000 words about the nation's priorities, not one single word was devoted to the rebuilding and protection of affected areas of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. It was a glaring omission."

Republican Sen. David Vitter's criticism was more muted.

"I was disappointed somewhat," Vitter said, "but I didn't necessarily expect a significant mention primarily because the federal government has provided a great deal of funding and aid and because most of the hurdles we face are at the state level."

By contrast, in the days ahead of the president's address, Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia compared the U.S. money being spent on Iraqi reconstruction with the fraction committed to the Gulf Coast rebuilding. And, chosen to give the Democratic response to Mr. Bush on Tuesday, Webb brought up the continuing struggle of Katrina victims right away, listing "restoring the vitality of New Orleans" just behind education and health care among his party's most pressing priorities, according to the text of his speech distributed in advance.

Maybe Bush REALLY thinks New Orleans is getting along fine. Perhaps he should check the news for once in his sad little life:

In an exceedingly rare move for a public school system, hundreds of children seeking spots in the city's schools have been turned away -- "wait-listed" -- and told that the campuses have no room, school officials said Tuesday....

In November 2005, the state Legislature voted to take control of 107 New Orleans public schools performing below the state average. That legislation put those campuses under the control of the Recovery District, leaving just 16 of the city's highest-performing schools under the local School Board's control....

Flozell Daniels, who is married to Orleans Parish School Board member Heidi Daniels, recalled trying to enroll a cousin's fourth-grade child in a Recovery District school and being told of the wait list.

"I intellectually understand how difficult this is, but it is morally criminal and it is illegal to keep a child from getting an education in America," he said. "It's unconscionable."

January 24, 2007

Why I Hate Georgia II

Like I said before, a bunch of rednecks and bamas. No number of "good decent folks" that supposedly reside there can absolve the entire goddamn state for this:

ATLANTA — A potentially explosive dispute in the City Too Busy to Hate is taking shape over a proposal to break Fulton County in two and split off Atlanta's predominantly white, affluent suburbs to the north from some of the metropolitan area's poorest black neighborhoods.

Legislation that would allow the suburbs to form their own county, to be called Milton County, was introduced by members of the Georgia Legislature's Republican majority earlier this month.

Supporters say it is a quest for more responsive government in a county with a population greater than that of six states. Opponents say the measure is racially motivated and will pit white against black, rich against poor.

"If it gets to the floor, there will be blood on the walls," warned state Sen. Vincent Fort, an Atlanta Democrat and member of the Legislative Black Caucus who bitterly opposes the plan. "As much as you would like to think it's not racial, it's difficult to draw any other conclusion."

The legislation calls for amending the Georgia Constitution to allow the return of Milton County, which succumbed to financial troubles during the Depression and was folded into Fulton County in 1932.

The former Milton County is now mostly white and Republican and one of the most affluent areas in the nation. Atlanta and its southern suburbs are mostly black, are controlled by Democrats and have neighborhoods with some of the highest poverty rates in America. (Buckhead, a fashionable Atlanta neighborhood of clubs, restaurants and mansions, would remain in Fulton County.)

Sacrifice

Hell, this fucktard administration and their military industrial corruption complex can't even sacrifice the armored Humvees needed for their cool refreshing Surge™

WASHINGTON // After nearly four years of war in Iraq, the Pentagon's effort to protect its troops against roadside bombs is in disarray, with soldiers and Marines having to swap access to scarce armored vehicles and the military unsure whether it has the money or industrial capacity to produce the safe vehicles it says the troops need.

On Jan. 10, The Sun reported that most of the 21,500 troops President Bush has ordered to Iraq as reinforcements will not have access to specialized blast-resistant armored vehicles because they are in such short supply.

But the problem runs deeper than that. In congressional testimony and interviews last week, senior Army and Marine Corps officers acknowledged that they are struggling just to meet the needs of service members already in Iraq. Even if the Pentagon can find millions of dollars not currently budgeted, and even if it can find factories to produce the armored vehicles, most U.S. troops in Iraq will not have access to the best equipment available, as President Bush has often promised.

The Army acknowledged last week, for example, that it is still 22 percent short of the armored Humvees it needs in Iraq despite heated criticism in 2004 and 2005 over the lack of armored vehicles. Army officials said it will be another eight months before that gap can be filled.


It's Over. We've Failed. Let's Move On.

When even supposedly heart-warming feel-good stories such as this one conveys the utter hopelessness of the situation, then the war is surely lost:

That night, they had their first real test. It was nearing midnight, the generator had failed, there was no heat, the radio was malfunctioning — and an Iraqi girl no more than 4 was dying in the bitter cold on an Army cot.

At the same time, a loud firefight erupted outside, apparently an attack on an Iraqi Army checkpoint nearby.

Captain Peterson had brought the sick child to the base because her family was afraid to travel after curfew and no Iraqi government ambulance would dare visit the neighborhood after dark, if at all.

One of the company’s medics, Cpl. Peter Callahan, 23, worked by flashlight, trying to soothe the girl, whose body was rejecting the medication her parents had given her.

“She needs to go to the hospital right now,? he told Captain Peterson. With no time to call in support, Captain Peterson quickly arranged a convoy to the nearest hospital — a risky proposition even in daylight and with more soldiers to provide security.

But the girl’s Sunni family resisted, fearing they would be killed at the hospital, which was in Shula, the Shiite district, if the Americans left them there.

Frustrated, Captain Peterson said over the radio, “I think they are pretty much willing to let this kid die instead of all dying together.?

The Americans decided to head to a safer hospital farther away. But time was running out; the girl’s pulse was dropping fast, dipping below 25.

Corporal Callahan gave her a small shot of atropine, which was all he had, to increase her heart rate. She stabilized, and when he emerged with the girl alive and breathing, he and her parents could barely contain their joy. He had saved her life.

A competent and charitable occupation of a country would have a running civilian medical infrastructure in place, and hospitals wouldn't be poles of sectarian violence and partisanship. But since this is not a competent occupation, the soldiers have to resort to this ad-hoc method of helping this girl. Hopefully this will sway the family to support Americans, but it is still a drop in a bucket and we do have a sad cumulative record of increasing anti-occupation sentiment among the Iraqis.

January 23, 2007

Torture Doesn't Work And We Do Not Live In 24's World - That Is All

Arthur Silber highlights a new study by the Intelligence Science Board telling us that there is no evidence that the "controversial interrogation approaches" (aka torture) used by the WorstPresidentEver's fight against the terra-ists actually work, and that some of the techniques have actually hindered our efforts.

Even worse, the "painful and coersive techinques" that are used were not founded on experience or knowledge that it would get results, but were either made up on the fly with the interrogators using their captives as human guinea pigs, or they were influenced by the examples presented by popular culture, especially the FOX show 24. Silber of course uses this as further evidence of the corrosive effect that show has had on our nation:

You need not wonder any longer why I have written about the great evil conveyed by 24, although I admit that even I was not prepared to find confirmation on this point in precisely this form.

. . .So there you have it: a series like 24, with its genuinely monstrous messages, serves as the basis for national policy, and as the "justification" for the systematic use of torture.

I honestly do not know how to express my profound revulsion in response to this latest story. So I will simply say that I am truly at a loss for words, and end this entry here.

But for some perverted reason, I still watch it and get a kick out of the show. Just last week a suitcase nuclear bomb exploded in an LA suburb, a situation which is at the height of absurdity. We can only see how this season will turn out. Hell, even the producers don't have a clue how the season will end, which just lends to the general craziness of the show and its utter unpredictability. Will it top the arrest and prosecution of the President of the United States last season? We'll see.

The Lizardbrain

As Kevin Drum says why is the Washington Post giving prime op-ed space to Dick Cheney's daughter, Elizabeth Cheney, so that she could rehash old arguments that have already been debunked or have lost traction quite a while ago?

Apparently her viewpoints have elicited a lot of responses - most of them negative.

Worse Than Vietnam

Even when the CIA ran the notorious Phoenix Program during Vietnam, it still was ineffective in getting rid of the Vietcong and was ultimately deemed a failure since it provided poor intelligence, ostracized the population and led to corruption.

Today in Eye-Rack, according to a new CQ article, the CIA could only dream of running such covert operations as extensive as that, given that most of the Iraqi population has already antagonized the Americans, appearing with Americans is now considered a taboo, and operating in the open is very dangerous anyways. As they say, read the whole thing and realize that there is no hope for success in Eye-Rack.

Via Americablog.

January 22, 2007

George W. Nixon

CBS sez WorstPresidentEver is at 28 percent.

Loser.

Bush At 33 Percent Sez Washington Post

Loser. And it's the most Bush-friendly poll out there, so that's saying a lot.

"Once They Stand Up. . ." Part VIII

Bush allus sez he'll lissen to the good folks in Eye-Rack an' give 'em what dey want. So when they establish a timetable for withdrawal, will he adhere to it? The eight ball says "yeah, right":

The Sadr bloc returned to the assembly after a parliamentary committee and the speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, agreed to a series of demands, said Falah Hasan Shenshel, a member of the Sadr bloc.

The demands included establishing a timetable for the buildup of Iraqi troops and the withdrawal of U.S. troops, and a condition that the presence of foreign troops would not be extended without a vote by the assembly, Shenshel said. U.S. troops should retreat from Iraqi cities and return to their bases by the end of August, he said.

"By doing so, America would confirm that it came to Iraq as a liberator and not as an occupier," Shenshel said.

Enjoy Your Surge, Bush.

It's gonna be a doozy:

KARBALA, Iraq - Chilling details emerged Sunday of gunmen posing as American and Iraqi soldiers in an ambush on U.S. troops in Karbala a day earlier that killed five Americans and wounded three.

On Saturday, a civil affairs team of American soldiers sat with local leaders in Karbala's provincial headquarters to discuss security for Ashoura, a Shiite commemoration of the massacre of the revered Imam Hussein that began Sunday.

Outside, danger was approaching. A convoy of seven white GMC Suburbans sped toward the building, breezing through checkpoints, with the men wearing American and Iraqi military uniforms and flashing American ID cards, Iraqi officials said. The force stopped at the police directorate in Karbala and took weapons but gave no reason, said police spokesman Capt. Muthana Ahmed in Babel province.

A call was made to the provincial headquarters to inform them an American convoy was on its way, said the governor of Karbala, Akeel al-Khazaali. But the Americans stationed inside the building, which acts as a coordination center for Iraqi officials, Iraqi security forces and U.S. forces, had not been informed, Iraqi officials said.

As the U.S. soldiers and the Iraqis scrambled to figure out if the men were Americans or an illegally armed group, the convoy arrived and the gunmen tried to break in.

The gunmen launched grenades, mortars and small arms fire, according to a U.S. military statement. The U.S. military said Sunday it was still not clear if the gunmen were Sunni or Shiite militia. Abu Abdullah, a commander in Karbala of the Mahdi Army, the militia led by firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, on Sunday denied involvement in the attack.

After 15 minutes of fighting, the gunmen fled towards Hilla, the capital of Babel, a mixed Sunni-Shiite province, Ahmed said.

January 21, 2007

Why I Hate Georgia

I used to live in Georgia (Athens, thereabouts) and I couldn't get out of there fast enough. Bunch of rednecks and bamas, and the wealth divide makes it sure that the rich couldn't care less about those at the bottom. from the New York Times:

CLARKSTON, Ga., Jan. 20 — Early last summer the mayor of this small town east of Atlanta issued a decree: no more soccer in the town park.

“There will be nothing but baseball and football down there as long as I am mayor,? Lee Swaney, a retired owner of a heating and air-conditioning business, told the local paper. “Those fields weren’t made for soccer.?

In Clarkston, soccer means something different than in most places. As many as half the residents are refugees from war-torn countries around the world. Placed by resettlement agencies in a once mostly white town, they receive 90 days of assistance from the government and then are left to fend for themselves. Soccer is their game.

But to many longtime residents, soccer is a sign of unwanted change, as unfamiliar and threatening as the hijabs worn by the Muslim women in town. It’s not football. It’s not baseball. The fields weren’t made for it. Mayor Swaney even has a name for the sort of folks who play the game: the soccer people.

Caught in the middle is a boys soccer program called the Fugees — short for refugees, though most opponents guess the name refers to the hip-hop band.

The Fugees are indeed all refugees, from the most troubled corners — Afghanistan, Bosnia, Burundi, Congo, Gambia, Iraq, Kosovo, Liberia, Somalia and Sudan. Some have endured unimaginable hardship to get here: squalor in refugee camps, separation from siblings and parents. One saw his father killed in their home.

Black Hawk Down, Part. . . uh, I Stopped Keeping Count.

12 killed. Nineteen total today Saturday. And to think how the media raked Clinton over the coals for the same number of deaths in that other fabled Black Hawk Down incident.

The example of Time Magazine was the worst. Back in 1993 when the Battle of Mogadishu happened, the magazine wastes no time filling its pages with images of dead American soldiers being dragged in the street. This was just a couple years after they refrained from showing grisly photos from the first Gulf War. Now they are engaging in the same form of censorship with this war, except they are acting shocked, SHOCKED, that they would so "recklessly" give the Black Hawk Down incident so much unfiltered coverage at the time. They shouldn't be so shocked. It all depends upon which party the president is from.

Sorry for the digression, but it will be interesting how the librul media will handle this latest Black Hawk down incident.

January 19, 2007

Stephen Colbert Did Not Go Far Enough

It has now been confirmed that the White House Correspondents Association has chosen a well known safe humorist for their annual dinner with the president because they do not want a repeat of what happened last year. As Colbert said during his roast, I have nothing but contempt for these people.

January 18, 2007

Off Brand Somalis

If the Somali refugees are going to begin to operate in this city, can't they choose better names than Rough Tough Somalis, The Hot Boyz Gangs and The Somali Mafia? Come on, put some thought into it.

The Hack Is Back

What's it been, a little short of two months since Bernard has written a column and I beat up on him? And wasn't it three months ago that Bernard has given the Eye-Rackee government three months to solve the security and political situation?

Well, the deadline is up and the streets of Baghdad are still filled with blood. But it appears that sometime during the hiatus, he has decided to kick the can further down the road and concentrate on ways to bash the Democrats now that they (*gasp*) share actual power in our government. No more of that condescending snark he used to practice when Democrats had no control of government, now he's launching a fusillage of trenchant rage against the powers that be of the Democratic party.

This time he's losing his bile over the fact that Pelosi and Reid (but not several Republicans, a "commanding majority" of the country and the plurality of the military) strongly oppose the current splurge of troops being peddled by WorstPresidentEver. Of course Pelosi, Reid, most of the country and the military want us to lose in Eye-Rack because backing the president no matter what is the key to the victory we now have today.

But once again, the insidious little weasel tries to misrepresent what Harry Reid said just a month ago. On the December 17th edition of This Week, Reid said he would support the escalation IF it were part of a plan to withdraw troops in a year. Two days later when he realized that the troop escalation is just another open-ended delaying tactic he became adamantly opposed to the troop splurge.

Then he tries to say that Charles Rangel and the rest of the Democrats want equal opportunity terror attacks on Americans because they refuse to fight in a country that had NOTHING TO DO with the September 11th attacks. This is despite the near universal opinion that the Eye-Rack war did nothing but INCREASE the probability of more terror attacks.

And last, he says that we must continue with our failed policies in Eye-Rack for the good of the Eye-Rackees, despite the fact that huge majorities of Iraqis want us out now, even if they have to kill for it. But Darren Bernard alone knows what is good for them, a sentiment that is the very province of colonial imperialism.

So Bernard forgets his three-month deadline, lies about what Harry Reid said, claims that Democrats want Americans to die from terror attacks and ignores the fact that Iraqis want us out immediately. In the seriatims of hackery, Darren Bernard has probably hit a new record.

What If There's A Cure For Cancer, But It Was Too Unprofitable To Invest In?

Digby links to this All Headline News article that reports that a university researcher in Canada may have found a cheap and effective way to fight cancer, but the money-grubbing pharmaceutical companies whose profit margins the pubilc sector must protect at all times is not going to financially support the research:

It is expected there would be no problems securing funding to explore a drug that could shrink cancerous tumors and has no side-effects in humans, but University of Alberta researcher Evangelos Michelakis has hit a stalemate with the private sector who would normally fund such a venture.

Michelakis' drug is none other than dichloroacetate (DCA), a drug which cannot be patented and costs pennies to make.

It's no wonder he can't secure the $400-600 million needed to conduct human trials with the medicine - the drug doesn't have the potential to make enough money.

Michelakis told reporters they will be applying to public agencies for funding, as pharmaceuticals are reluctant to pick up the drug.

At roughly $2 a dose, there isn't much chance to make a billion on the cancer treatment over the long term.

Yeah, it's not enough they had to make the National Institute of Health a flea market for new, publicly funded research for private companies to exploit and profit from, now they will refuse to participate in a potentially revolutionary treatment for a devastating disease because they might not be able to charge exorbitant prices to administer it? I'll remember this once I see another Paxil commercial on television.

January 17, 2007

B-But They Were Wrong About Stuff Too!

I don't usually waste my time reading commentary by smug-ass warmongers, but today's op-ed by Jonathan Chait that appeared in today's Strib forced my hand:

Radar magazine recently published an article bemoaning that pro-war liberal pundits have not been drummed out of the profession for their error. In it, lefty foreign policy guru Jonathan Schell sniffs, "There doesn't seem to be a rush to find the people who were right about Iraq and install them in the mainstream media."

Being right about something is a fairly novel experience for Schell, and he's obviously enjoying it immensely. But before we genuflect to Schell's wisdom, it's worth recalling that his record of prognostication is not exactly perfect. After the 9/11 attacks, Schell railed against attacking the Taliban, which was sheltering Osama bin Laden and much of the Al-Qaida hierarchy. "A military strike against the Taliban or any other regime is full of perils that ... are far greater than the dangers we already face," he warned. For instance, he wrote, "millions of Afghans could starve to death this winter," Pakistan's government could be overthrown, etc.

Shyeah, and we all know how swimmingly our invasion of Afghanistan is going. We might even outlast the Russians. But wait, wait, you have to read the next part, it's goddamn priceless:

Or go back to the last war we fought with Iraq. Schell insisted that we could force Iraq to leave Kuwait with sanctions alone, rather than by using military force. But the years that followed made it clear just how impotent that tool was. Saddam Hussein endured more than a decade of sanctions rather than give up a weapons of mass destruction program that turned out to be nonexistent. If sanctions weren't enough to make him surrender his imaginary weapons, I think we can safely say they wouldn't have been enough to make him surrender a prized, oil-rich conquest.

Yep, because Saddam didn't hand over the weapons he never had, the sanctions didn't work. Nice fucking trainwreck of logic, Chait.

What I don't understand is why support for the first Gulf War is automatically a good thing. Yes, it was done cheaply, quickly and relatively few casualties, it had a real international coalition and it was popular with those watching the fireworks on CNN back home. But in the end, we defended one autocracy from the invasion of another autocracy just after we supported Iraq's failed invasion of a neighboring theocracy.

And today, you can't go to any Arab country (except Kuwait) and justify the Gulf War as anything other than an oil war. It's easy to say in hindsight that the Gulf War is an easy one to support, since any victory has many fathers, but don't discount the fact that there were legitimate reasons for opposing it as well.

Abu Gonzalez Blinks

Guess the Bushelvikis decided that spying on Americans without warrants isn't a good idea after all:

The Justice Department announced today that the National Security Agency's controversial warrantless surveillance program has been placed under the authority of a secret surveillance court, marking an abrupt change in approach by the Bush administration after more than a year of heated debate.

In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said that orders issued on Jan. 10 by an unidentified judge puts the NSA program under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret panel that oversees most intelligence surveillance in the United States.

Gonzales also wrote that the current NSA program will effectively be abandoned after its current authorization expires in favor of the new approach.

The change marks a dramatic turn of events for the Justice Department, which has strenuously argued for more than a year that the NSA spying program was legal and that the foreign intelligence court was poorly suited to oversee the program, as many lawmakers had advocated.

Of course, we can't be confident that they are sincere about their changes until we know all the details, but I hope the Conventional Wisdom doesn't ignore the fact that they've announced this change only after the Democrats took control of Congress.

Did We Paint That School?

3 Bombs Kill at Least 70 at University in Baghdad

By DAMIEN CAVE
Published: January 17, 2007

BAGHDAD, Jan. 16 — At least 70 people were killed at a largely Shiite university in northeastern Baghdad on Tuesday when a wave of explosions tore through a crowd of students and employees leaving the main gate minutes after classes ended.

Witnesses said the lethal strike of two car bombs and a suicide bomber at Mustansiriya University left the campus littered with shattered glass, body parts, ashen books and charred metal.

As one of the most deadly attacks on Shiites since the summer, it suggested that Sunni insurgents remain unfazed, even brash, in the face of the American military’s newest plan to secure the capital.

The attacks came only a day after a fresh spark for Sunni outrage: on Monday, the sudden hanging of Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam Hussein’s half brother, and Awad Hamad al-Bandar, Mr. Hussein’s former chief judge, ended with Mr. Ibrahim’s head being severed from his body by the noose.

. . .In all, at least 108 people were killed in the capital, an Interior Ministry official said, and 25 more were found dead, many showing signs of torture.

And we have to endure 6-9 months of this shit before declaring Bush's escalation a failure.

JAMming With The Eye-Rack Army

How cute. They think they are going to pacify Sadr City with this army:

BAGHDAD -- The Iraqi soldiers broke into chants to commemorate the 86th anniversary of the creation of their army.

"Muhammad, Haider, Fatima, Hasan and Husayn!" shouted a group of dancing soldiers, bellowing the names of the prophet and other long-dead Islamic icons revered by Shiite Muslims.

A second later, the name of a living Shiite figure came out of the din. "Moqtada! Moqtada!" one soldier exclaimed, invoking the name of Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric and leader of the Mahdi Army militia that American officials blame for many of the worst acts of violence in Baghdad.

Standing quietly in the crowd were four U.S. Army officers, there to represent the team of American soldiers advising the Iraqis. "Sounds like the Mahdi militia is in the tent," said their interpreter, Mohammed Noshi.

JAM of course meaning Jaish al-Mahdi, or Mahdi Army.

It's All Falling Into Place

The only reason Bush is pushing for an escalation virtually everybody opposes is because it's a delaying tactic in order for him to leave office without having to deal with the Eye-Rack problem like a man. The plan is that he announces his addition of more troops in order to project the image that he is trying, diddle around for at least six month telling all your critics that your plan was not given enough time to work.

Six months after that when it's been revealed that your plan is a spectacular failure, this country will already be in the middle of a major presidential campaign with primary races in both parties. Bush will say his hands are tied because he doesn't want to implement a major policy in deference to the next president. Of course, the Eye-Rack disaster will not look good for Republicans and Americans will likely vote a Democrat to inherit the shitmire, and if s/he is unable to solve it or withdraws the troops, then it will be her/his war to lose.

Welp, via ThinkProgress Phase Two of "Operation: Cover His Ass" has already been announced:

The top generals on the ground are trying to keep expectations low. Yesterday, Gen. George Casey, the outgoing top U.S. military commander in Iraq, warned that it is “going to take time? and no one should evaluate the impact of the plan until “summer or Fall.?

Wiener Savage Lights A Cross For MLK.

Janet Jackson's left nipple (almost) gets exposed, Al Jazeera isn't allowed to broadcast in this country, but this openly white supremacist horseshit gets to air without penalty.

January 16, 2007

Monday Night Massacres

I knew back during the Watergate era, purges of U.S. attorneys like this would be all over the news. More here.

Via Kevin Drum and Atrios.

January 15, 2007

"A Raw Deal"

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More stuck than you think, assholes

Even when the soldiers get a notice telling them about their extention of their tours of duties, the higher ranked messenger doesn't even bother with putting lipstick on a pig:

Dear Families,

I have been made aware that the 1/34 BCT will be extended in Iraq for an unspecified period of time. We have not yet determined how this decision will affect the mission of the BCT, but will provide as much information as possible once the unit has been able to analyze any mission change and determine what information is appropriate to disseminate while maintaining operational security.

The President has given his message and the troops currently in Iraq are being extended. This includes 1st BCT!

Is this a raw deal? Of course! We have every right to be angry, but the reality is that the long awaited homecoming will be pushed back.

The message I want to give is that now, probably more than ever, is the time to reach out to each other and through mutual support, weather this set-back. I will be asking the State of Minnesota to step up to help the families of our soldiers. My hope is that this would help ease the burdens.

I am so proud of our soldiers and airment and their families. We owe all of you so much and will do our utmost to help you through this change and disappointment.

Please be sure to send this information to as many family members as possible so that they are receiving the information from our family vice hearing about it through the media.

God Bless!!

Larry W. Shellito
MG, The Adjutant General
Minnesota National Guard

When I heard that the Minnesota National Guard was going to be the only division to have their tours extended for up to two years, I thought "wouldn't it be ironic if it was the very same Minnesota National Guard company that mocked John Kerry for his botched joke during the runup to the midterm elections?"

Well whattaya know, sure enough it is the very same unit of the Minnesota National Guard that is being held back in the shitmire by the Decider they decided to support at the time. Despite the fact that John Kerry has stated emphatically dozens of times that no soldier was the target of his misunderstood dig at Bush, and despite the fact that John Kerry is decorated veteran himself, those Guardsmen decided to take Bush's blinkered interpretation of Kerry's speech and provide a priceless photo-op for the Bush smear machine.

And what do they get as thanks for their efforts to give Bush a boost? More painful separation from their families and loved ones, more time with the inurgent bombs and IEDs and more of the same misery you get in the sandbox.

And do you know what? Fuck em. They chose to lie in bed with the WorstPresidentEver and his wet dreams of "victory", they can stay in the piddle he created. I'm done holding their hands and reaching out to them with my sympathies. Maybe in the future when they are truly contrite (or if there's a draft) will I champion their cause. But for now, let them know that they cannot come home because they have made a deal with the devil.

January 14, 2007

Eye-Racknam: Strategic Hamlet Edition

These people have learned nothing:

'Gated communities' planned for Baghdad

New U.S. strategy calls for creating zones of safety in the Iraqi capital, then working outward.

By Julian E. Barnes, Times Staff Writer
January 11, 2007

WASHINGTON — The military's new strategy for Iraq envisions creating "gated communities" in Baghdad — sealing off discrete areas and forcibly removing insurgents, then stationing American units in the neighborhood to keep the peace and working to create jobs for residents.

The U.S. so far has found it impossible to secure the sprawling city. But by focusing an increased number of troops in selected neighborhoods, the military hopes it can create islands of security segregated from the chaos beyond.

The gated communities plan has been tried — with mixed success — in other wars. In Vietnam, the enclaves were called "strategic hamlets" and were a spectacular failure. But counterinsurgency experts say such zones can work if, after the barriers are established, the military follows up with neighborhood sweeps designed to flush out insurgents and militia fighters.

The strategy, described in broad terms by current and former Defense Department officials, is an attempt to re-create the success military units have had in smaller Iraqi cities, most notably Tall Afar.

This is the "success" they are trying to replicate:

A suicide bomber killed four civilians in a crowd outside a police station Wednesday in the northern Iraqi city Tal Afar, police said.

At least 12 people were also injured by the blast when the bomber walked into a crowd of people gathering outside the building about 90 miles east of the Syrian border, an officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Around the same time, another suicide bomber targeted the convoy of Tal Afar's mayor. A child was killed and four other people were wounded in that attack, including the mayor's driver, said Mosul police Brig. Abdel-Karim Khalaf. The mayor survived, he said.

Via Steve Gilliard.

Don't Believe The Hype

Glenn Greenwald details an NPR oral essay by conservative columnist/activist Rod Dreher in which Dreher recants his support for the Eye-Rack war, for WorstPresidentEver and his band of fellow travellers, and for authoritorianism. Dreher also admits that the dirty fucking hippies (and most of the country at the time) were right to oppose the Vietnam War and to question authority and he was wrong to castigate them for hating America and for assuming Democrats are wimps and Republicans are strong.

Apparently Glenn Greenwald and most of the liberal bloggers that trackbacked to his post are singing hosannas that the tide has finally turned against the Bush Republicans and all they stand for. But one blogger wasn't fooled. Chester N. Scoville at The Vanity Press notes that there are some very telling inconsistencies in Dreher's oral essay, namely that the conduct of the war has taught him to abandon his complete trust in American presidents and their policies, even though in the same breath he chronicled how the "wimpiness" of Jimmy Carter threw him into the arms of Ronald Reagan. And lord knows when Clinton was in office he wasn't quick to defend the Commander in Chief from the attacks of his fellow conservatives.

That rank disingenuousness is proof positives that these scumbuckets will quickly forget their opposition to the Eye-Rack war and learn to love the shitmire again once the dust settles. And they will quickly blame the Democrats for denying them their glorious victory, either because we haven't clapped hard enough or haven't allowed them to kill enough mud-slims.

As I've said before, we've done the same dance with Vietnam. Most people understood that the war couldn't be won, but quickly forgot and were fooled again by the myth of unilateral American hegemony. Know that it will happen again with Eye-Rack if we continue to hold the hands of the warmongers. Until the country realizes the full disaster of the policy they've given sanction to, they will never learn.

January 12, 2007

The Killing Machine

Three months before he allegedly killed an Iraqi family after raping a young girl, Private Stephen Green was diagnosed by army mental-health experts as being a "homicidal threat". Did they immediately remove him from duty and prepare a comprehensive treatment program? Nope, they shipped him off to Anbar with some pills and told him to get some sleep:

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- An Army private charged with the slaughter of an Iraqi family was diagnosed as a homicidal threat by a military mental health team three months before the attack.

Pfc. Steven D. Green was found to have "homicidal ideations" after seeking help from an Army Combat Stress Team in Iraq on Dec. 21, 2005. Green said he was angry about the war, desperate to avenge the death of comrades and driven to kill Iraqi citizens, according to an investigation by The Associated Press.

The treatment was several small doses of Seroquel - a drug to regulate his mood - and a directive to get some sleep, according to medical records obtained by the AP. The next day, he returned to duty in the particularly violent stretch of desert in the southern Baghdad suburbs known as the "Triangle of Death."

No follow-up exams or further treatments were scheduled, records indicate. But Green had a conversation with his battalion commander one month after the examination in which he expressed hatred for all Iraqis.

The rest of the long article deals with the sorry state of how the military treats it's soldiers who suffer from mental problems and a bio of how Green got to where he is. A chilling quote comes at the end, however:

Lt. Col. Richard Anderson, the military judge hearing that case, asked Barker why he agreed to participate.

"I hated Iraqis, your honor," Barker replied. "They can smile at you then shoot you in your face without even thinking about it."

Now that people are going to be trapped in the shitmire for more than two years at a time, with a population that hates their guts, how many of these feelings will manifest themselves? God only knows.

January 11, 2007

Prodigal Children

I blogged about this article in the Washington Post two days ago and merely pointed out that the generals knew that they could only scare up 20,000 troops for any escalation. It was early in the morning and I was tired.

But Steve Benen catches an eye-popping passage in the article that reveals the extent of the Bush Administration's monumental carelessness and incompetence, all in an effort to raise the finger to his dad:

I realize that the Bush White House looked at the Iraq Study Group with some disdain. So-called “elder statesman,? mostly friends of Bush’s dad, weren’t going to come in and tell the president how to wage his war, no siree. Within a few minutes of Bush thanking ISG members for their work, Bush made the panel instantly irrelevant. The report that was going to “change everything? went from front-of-the-bookstore to remainder-table-discount in a matter of days.

But far more troubling is the notion that the Bush administration has shaped its escalation plan in part to spite the ISG.

Although the president was publicly polite, few of the key Baker-Hamilton recommendations appealed to the administration, which intensified its own deliberations over a new “way forward? in Iraq. How to look distinctive from the study group became a recurring theme.

As described by participants in the administration review, some staff members on the National Security Council became enamored of the idea of sending more troops to Iraq in part because it was not a key feature of Baker-Hamilton. (emphasis mine)

I had to read that a couple of times to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. The Bush gang decided to change course in Iraq, but went out of their way to “look distinctive? from the Iraq Study Group? Troop escalation wasn’t in the ISG report, so the Bush gang latched onto the idea because the ISG didn’t endorse it? As if this all some kind of exercise in Oedipal spite?

Exactly what kind of men-children are we dealing with here?

The type of men children who jokes about "calling his lawyer" when being asked questions about human rights abuse. The type who mocks those he puts to death after rejecting their pleas for clemency. The type use launches an undeclared war in order to look good to the voters.

Joe Lieberman Don't Like Black People

mcgee.jpg
Joseph Lieberman, artist's conception.

After all his high dudgeon over how Bush fucked up the response to the Katrina disaster, Lieberman, who won the chairmanship of the Senate Committees of Homeland Security and Government Affairs is going to give WorstPresidentEver a pass from any serious investigation:

Jan. 11, 2007 - Sen. Joe Lieberman, the only Democrat to endorse President Bush’s new plan for Iraq, has quietly backed away from his pre-election demands that the White House turn over potentially embarrassing documents relating to its handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans.

Lieberman’s reversal underscores the new role that he is seeking to play in the Senate as the leading apostle of bipartisanship, especially on national-security issues. On Wednesday night, Bush conspicuously cited Lieberman’s advice as being the inspiration for creating a new “bipartisan working group? on Capitol Hill that he said will “help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror.?

But the decision by Lieberman, the new chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to back away from the committee's Katrina probe is already dismaying public-interest groups and others who hoped the Democratic victory in November would lead to more aggressive investigations of one of the White House’s most spectacular foul-ups.

I just like to say to the Connecticut voters nice job voting in another assclown Republican to the Senate, and to all the Democrats who supported him during his campaign against Ned Lamont (looking at you Hillary Clinton, Obama) for your hand in his thumbing his nose towards victims of the Katrina disaster.

B-But Jon Carry Says Troops R Stoopid

joncarry.jpg
Suckers

Man, if people did this to the National Guard 40 years ago, we wouldn't be hearing of Bush the "fighter pilot" nor will there be Memogate. Nope, we'd get Bush the draft dodger kicking back daquiris in Tiajuana during the war:

The Pentagon has abandoned its limit on the time a citizen-soldier can be required to serve on active duty, officials said Thursday, a major change that reflects an Army stretched thin by longer-than-expected combat in Iraq.

....Until now, the Pentagon's policy on the Guard or Reserve was that members' cumulative time on active duty for the Iraq or Afghan wars could not exceed 24 months. That cumulative limit is now lifted; the remaining limit is on the length of any single mobilization, which may not exceed 24 consecutive months, Pace said.

In other words, a citizen-soldier could be mobilized for a 24-month stretch in Iraq or
Afghanistan, then demobilized and allowed to return to civilian life, only to be mobilized a second time for as much as an additional 24 months. In practice, Pace said, the Pentagon intends to limit all future mobilizations to 12 months.

Hey, those Minnesota guardsmen in those pictures clearly refused to find out the real context of Kerry's poorly delivered joke, and went ahead and provided their strongest support for Bush. Now he's stabbing them in the back, like he does to all his supporters he can misuse. I hope they have a learning curve.

via Kevin Drum.

Good Thing We Killed Saddam

Or else we may have to re-invade the country because he did things like these:

Sectarian violence against civilians has surged in Iraq while abuse, torture and killing of detainees in official custody is commonplace, Human Rights Watch has said in its annual report.

"Civilians remained the primary victims of directed or indiscriminate attacks perpetrated by Sunni and Shia armed groups," HRW said of a conflict that had grown "increasingly sectarian in nature."

. . .The group also pointed to "evidence of widespread torture and other ill-treatment of detainees in the custody of the Iraqi ministries of interior and defense."

Fueling suspicions of wrongdoing, the Iraqi government's own investigations "failed to lead to the arrest and prosecution of alleged suspects, despite mounting evidence," it said.

During a six-month span between December 2005 and May 2006, US and Iraqi inspectors "found consistent evidence of detainee abuse at most locations" during a check of eight government-run facilities in and around Baghdad.

At one interior ministry facility known as Site No. 4, "many of the 1,845 detainees displayed recent injuries consistent with severe beatings and electric shock."

New York Times Throws In The Towel

After weeks of dithering around the subject, the New York Times decides to say "fuck it" to the whole Eye-Rack war experiment and the impending escalation after they saw Bush's deer-in-the-headlights speech this night. This time they bring out the long knives:

President Bush told Americans last night that failure in Iraq would be a disaster. The disaster is Mr. Bush’s war, and he has already failed. Last night was his chance to stop offering more fog and be honest with the nation, and he did not take it.

Americans needed to hear a clear plan to extricate United States troops from the disaster that Mr. Bush created. What they got was more gauzy talk of victory in the war on terrorism and of creating a “young democracy? in Iraq. In other words, a way for this president to run out the clock and leave his mess for the next one.

. . .We have argued that the United States has a moral obligation to stay in Iraq as long as there is a chance to mitigate the damage that a quick withdrawal might cause. We have called for an effort to secure Baghdad, but as part of the sort of comprehensive political solution utterly lacking in Mr. Bush’s speech. This war has reached the point that merely prolonging it could make a bad ending even worse. Without a real plan to bring it to a close, there is no point in talking about jobs programs and military offensives. There is nothing ahead but even greater disaster in Iraq.

Indeed, now when will the rest of the media elite follow suit?

January 10, 2007

Democrats Pull A Boehner

Digby is right, Democrats can't win in the eyes of the reich-wing media. Apparently Steny Hoyer agreed to postpone congressional proceedings after minority leader John Boehner requested that he show his support for Ohio State in their bowl game against Florida. Did the reich-wing media hail this rare moment in bipartisan comity?

Nope:

Co-hosts Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and Brian Kilmeade made hay in their Monday show at the expense of Democrats, yucking it up repeatedly during the two-hour show over the fact that Democrats had broken their pledge to work five days a week by taking the day off Monday so members could attend the BCS title game between Ohio State and Florida.

Watch the video to see how they handle the fact Boehner was the one who requested the postsponement.

And how does Boehner thank his Democratic colleague for taking the political heat? Why by distancing himself from it:

"We just make the request - the majority makes the decision," said a spokesman for Boehner, a well-liked politico known for throwing A-list parties at the political conventions.

Snakes, all of them.

"We Must Go Up Before We Come Down"

Expect that new slogan when WorstPresidentEver delivers his latest "Tust me!" speech concerning his splurge of new troops. The Post has the article in which they say practically EVERYONE is opposed to the plan. That we already know. What's new, however, is that the Joint Chiefs are now going public over the fact that, well, we don't HAVE 20,000 troops to send to the shitmire - at least not right now:

Then there was the thorny problem of finding enough troops to deploy. Those who favored a "surge," such as Kagan and McCain, were looking for a sizable force that would turn the tide in Baghdad. But the Joint Chiefs made clear they could muster 20,000 at best -- not for long, and not all at once.

The fact that the established Washington elite in the media are not raising hell over the new fantasy mission truly is scary.

David Petraeus, Bush Stooge

Via Kevin Drum, Leon Panetta of the now neutered Iraq Study Group reports that none of the generals they've interviewed favored any type of escalation, including soon-to-be top commander of Eye-Rack forces on the ground David Petraeus:

When your bipartisan panel came to the conclusion that relying on Iraqi forces and embedding U.S. advisors was the right course of action, rather than a surge, did you think that you were reflecting the consensus of the U.S. military at the time? Yes. We sat down with military commanders there and here, and none of them said that additional troops would solve the fundamental cause of violence, which was the absence of national reconciliation. We always asked if additional troops were needed. We asked the question of [Gen. George] Casey and others, we asked it of Marine commanders in Anbar. Do you need additional troops? They all said the same thing: we don't need additional troops at this point; we need to get the Iraqis to assume the responsibility they're supposed to assume...

Did you interview Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who's about to take over command of multinational forces in Iraq? What did he recommend? He is now said to be a supporter of the surge.
At that time he was talking about the need to train and embed U.S. forces in the Iraqi army. (laughs)

So if Petraeus is toadying up to Bush for a plan he never supported just to get a promotion, he should immediately resign. He is just prolonging the catastrophe.

January 9, 2007

Apartheid Not Peace

And the Israeli apologist are ripping Jimmy Carter apart over the title of his newest book:

A Haifa University survey investigating Arabs and Jews' views on one another reveals disturbing results.

The poll showed that 75 percent of Jewish students believe that Arabs are uneducated people, are uncivilized and are unclean.

On the other hand 25 percent of the Arab youth believe that Jews are the uneducated ones, while 57 percent of the Arab's believe Jews are unclean.

Over a third of the Jewish students taking part in the survey confirmed that they are afraid of Arabs.

The poll was conducted by Dr. Haggai Kupermintz, Dr. Yigal Rosen and Harbi Hasaisi of Haifa University's Center for Research on Peace Education.

"You Don't Get A School! You Don't Get A School! You Don't Get. . ."

Steve Gilliard links to an opinion column by Eugene Robinson where he takes to task Oprah for her disparaging comments concerning American inner-city schoolchildren following her opening of her new all-girls' school in South Africa:

There can't be more than a handful of people on Earth who are better at choosing their words than Oprah Winfrey. So I was stunned last week to read a quote from her that was so . . . so totally un-Oprah.

She was talking about the new $40 million school for poor young girls she has built in South Africa and her awareness that some people would ask why she hadn't spent that money to benefit poor students at home. She already gives millions to educate underprivileged children in the United States, and anyway, she told Newsweek, the two situations are different. South Africa has desperate poverty and rudimentary infrastructure. The American educational system may have its faults, but "it does work."

Point made. But she wasn't done.

"I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn't there," she said. "If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don't ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school."

Oh, no, she didn't.

. . .The razor-sharp contrast that Oprah drew between young people in South Africa and those in the United States gets all fuzzy when you read her "What I Know for Sure" column in the December issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.

She writes of 10 South African orphans, ages 7 to 14, whom she took under her wing several years ago, hiring caretakers for them, sending them to a private boarding school, buying them a big house and hiring a decorator "to personalize each of their bedrooms." Last summer, she said, she went to South Africa and dropped by the house unannounced.

"I found them all at the homework table off the kitchen, doing their work," she wrote. "That's a good thing. But when I sat them down in the living room for a conversation, everyone's cell phone kept going off." But "the inner spark I was used to seeing in their eyes was gone, replaced by their delight in their rooms full of things."

The girls had "long, braided hair extensions flowing down their backs" and were wearing baseball caps. In general, the kids "could talk about what they owned -- the latest portable PlayStations, iPods, and sneakers -- but they couldn't speak of what they'd done."

Once again, those dastardly iPods and sneakers. But it seems that South African kids, as well as Americans, are susceptible to the evil lure of really cool stuff.

It's funny how the same pathologies that affect all kids whoever they are, whether it's drugs, violence or materialism, suddenly becomes more pathological once poor black kids engage in them, and makes them easier to write off.

But I just like to add what Robinson only hinted at in his column, that Oprah forgot where she came from. What is galling is that she herself grew up at one point in her life, at around the same age as the kids she criticized, in the inner city of Milwaukee with a single mother who was neglectful and allowed her to be sexually abused. In turn she led a life of sex, drugs and petty criminality. Materialism? Fuck, Oprah once conned Aretha Franklin out of $100 so she could stay a few nights at a hotel. She stole from her mother and faked a break-in so she could buy stylish glasses. In short, her irresponsible behavior led her to give birth to a premature baby at fourteen years of age that later died, a fact she rarely discusses for appropriate reasons. After that she was shipped off to Tennessee to live with her strict father, who finally set her straight.

Oprah was lucky, she was one premature death and a deadbeat dad away from being just another stereotype of a black teenaged mother that her core audience of soccer moms won't give two shits about. And now she joining the chorus of those who write off inner-city schoolchildren? It's one thing for those types of comment if it came from some just another white conservative jackass speaking in racial codes. It's a truly sad thing when it comes from someone who has done so much for the poor and minority and has been through the same things herself.

"My Name Is Joe Klein, And I'm A Dumbass"

HI, JOE KLEIN!!

Originally, I wasn't going to pay attention to the attention Time columnist Joe Klein has been getting with his typically braindead commentary on his new blog. Apparently liberals are right about opposing the splurge and neocons are wrong about supporting it, but liberals are wrong to press the issue since some generals (excluding the ones that just got effectively fired by Bush for opposing the splurge) seem to be on board with it.

Ezra Klein, however, in an attempt to unsully his good name he shares with the other Klein, reveals the alarming exent of Joe Klein's practiced ignorance:

Let's recap: Klein is arguing that Paul Krugman is a lazy fool because he attributes the surge strategy to Frederick Kagan and the neocons. This week, in Time magazine, Michael Duffy, their main political reporter and a guy who presumably does "talk to key players" and "read the doctrines," reported that the surge "belongs to the neocons and in particular to Frederick Kagan," and made it clear that Kagan sought out Jack Keane to add credibility to his proposal. A far cry from Klein's claim that military intellectuals "are the motivating force behind Bush's new policy."

So only one of two interpretations can be true here: Either Joe Klein is wrong on the facts, or Michael Duffy is. In either case, Time magazine is paying someone to misinform their readership. Since Klein is so quick to throw out challenges ..., here's a question for him: Are you misrepresenting the facts in order to blast liberals, or is your magazine's cover story a heap of lies? I, by the way, am a subscriber, and so would really like to know.

But Ezra Klein isn't serious because he's a dirty fucking hippie who talks too much.

"Try Doing That With A Little More Attitude. . ."

Comedian Jordan Carlos calls out the lily-white mavens who runs the entertainment industry on their knee-jerk aversion to casting black actors and hiring black writers:

Entering the comedy world as a black man means you always stand out, even during off hours, such as one Christmas evening in New York at my first holiday comedy mixer. All of Gotham's comedic glitterati were there. I cornered a "Daily Show" writer, doing my best to get the inside track on a possible actor/writer gig. We broached the subject of black correspondents. He told me that they "tried a black guy once, but it didn't work out." I nearly threw my imported beer in his face. Tried it once and it didn't work? You say that about Toyotas, not a whole race of people. But to date, comedy writing is pretty whitewashed. As of this season, "Saturday Night Live" has no black writers. "The Daily Show" also doesn't have any, and neither does "The Colbert Report," a show on which I've played Stephen Colbert's black friend "Alan," a member of the staff. That's right. "The Colbert Report" had to hire an actor to play a black person who works on the show.

Indeed. They talk a good game about increasing the diversity of their programming, but they just don't want to put the work in. I've heard of prospective black magazine writers being turned away with suggestions that they try interviewing for Ebony or Black Enterprise. Sure, when people hear this, they might say "that isn't right" but will soon forget about it and assume diversity is a job for other people.

January 8, 2007

McCain Was For 20,000 More Troops Before He Was Against It.

Flippity-Floppity-Floo.

He also doesn't want to raise the necessary funds to pay for his excellent Surge. Media whores, wake the fuck up.

I'd Move To Eye-Rack If It Weren't For All The Violence

In addition to the troop splurge, WorstPresident ever is going to spend $1 billion dollars in a works program in Eye-Rack.

Meanwhile, in this hemisphere, the 2007 budget written by this maladministration is calling for inflation adjusted cuts of 14.5% into domestic job training programs (a total of 31 percent during the whole administration), according to the AFL-CIO.

I just hope this time the Dems will make them answer for such brain freezing cognitive dissonances.

Bush and Abramoff, BFFs

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Congress (CREW) was given a photograph of WorstPresidentEver and convicted criminal Jack Abramoff standing together at a fundraiser, despite the best efforts of the Bushies to conceal it.

So without further ado, say cheese:

bushabramoff.jpg
You rats.

(via ThinkProgress)

Saddam Hussein Declared Not Guilty For Slaughtering Kurds

The kangaroo court continues with its kabuki theatre:

An Iraqi court on Monday dropped all charges against former dictator Saddam Hussein nine days after he was executed. The trial continues for six other men for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Saddam and the others had been on trial for the killing of 180,000 Iraqi Kurds during the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war in a military operation code-named Operation Anfal.

Shortly after the court reconvened Monday, Chief Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa said the court decided to stop all legal action against the former president, since "the death of defendant Saddam was confirmed."

Where They Are Getting The Troops

It's not enough that Bush has to fuck up Eye-Rack beyond all recognition, now he has to toom Afghanistan to distaster as well. The Baltimore Sun reports that even though the troop level in Afghanistan is too small to effectively combat the resurgent Taliban rebels, and the commanders on the ground there saying they need additional troops, the War President who listens and responds to his generals decides to pull one Army battalion in order to provide enough troops for his Eye-Rack escalation:

The accelerating war here and the critical need for troops vastly complicate the crumbling security picture across the region - from Afghanistan, where the United States chose to strike back after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, to Iraq, where American troops have been unable in almost four years of fighting to establish basic security and quell a bloody sectarian war.

As a last-ditch effort, President Bush is expected to announce this week the dispatch of thousands of additional troops to Iraq as a stopgap measure, an order that Pentagon officials say would strain the Army and Marine Corps as they struggle to man both wars.

Already, a U.S. Army infantry battalion fighting in a critical area of eastern Afghanistan is due to be withdrawn within weeks in order to deploy to Iraq.

According to Army Brig. Gen. Anthony J. Tata and other senior U.S. commanders here, that will happen just as the Taliban is expected to unleash a major campaign to cut the vital road between Kabul and Kandahar. The official said the Taliban intend to seize Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest city and the place where the group was organized in the 1990s.

"We anticipate significant events there next spring," said Tata.

As Atrios would say, thanks Oh Wise Men of Washington.

What The. . .!

The Strib has pulled one of my favorite comics from the comics page, 9 Chickweed Lane, and replacing it with a cartoon of (surprise!) some precocious kid who likes to annoy adults. I guess the sensual artwork and the gay relationship in Chickweed proved too much for the moral scolds, so out it goes. It's too bad, because it was a good one too:

chickweed27330500070108.jpg

Meanwhile the all-around terrible Mallard Fillmore gets to stay (BTW, does anyone else think it's in poor taste that the comic drawn by a guy just arrested for drunk driving is now featuring a weeklong theme where the title character appears with what seems to be a mug of beer in his hand?)

January 6, 2007

Buyer's Remorse

A poll done by ABC News shows that 57 senators who served when the Iraq War Resolution was put up to vote would have voted against the authorization knowing what they know now. That number includes the 23 who had already voted against it at the time. The Repubs who were turned includes Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Mike Grassley, Mike Dewine and Arlen Spector.

Out of the 43 who didn't say they will vote against the war, Ben Nelson stands as the lone idiot Dem among the 15 who still stands by their vote for the disaster. Joe Lieberman, who obviously still stands by his vote, doesn't count since he's his own party now.

Blanche Lincoln and Zig-Zag Zell were among the 25 cowards who either refused to embarrass themselves even further or don't want to take a stand for sanity by answering the poll. Three of the senators, most famously Tim Johnson and Strom Thurmond, are incapacited.

Negroponte's Move WAS A Demotion

I thought Negroponte's move from Director of National Intelligence to Deputy Secretary of State was done because Negroponte doesn't want to face the blizzard of questions from the new Democratic Congress regarding how the Bush administration cherry-picked intelligence to bolster their case for the Eye-Rack war.

Now former UPI correspondent Richard Sale reports on Pat Lang's site that the Bushies were the ones who ordered the demotion, precisely because Negroponte was not a team player and might reveal too much to the likely hearings:

Contrary to the bland stories in The New York Times and Washington Post of Friday, Negroponte did not go voluntarily to State from his job as director of intelligence. In fact, there was tremendous administration pressure to get him out of his current job. The chief cause of the quarrel involved Negroponte's balking at at request from Vice President Cheney to increase domestic collection by the National Security Agency on U.S. citizens.

Negroponte flatly refused, Cheney bridled, and from then on the pressure built to get rid of him. (The White House did not return phone calls, but there is nothing new is that.)

The Bush people, chiefly Cheney and the president, were already annoyed by the fact that the Negroponte group has been busy producing drafts of reports that predict utter disaster in Iraq and which are utterly opposed to any increase of troops. Cheney and Bush both flared in wrath over this. Of course, intelligence is simply evaluated information. Its purpose is to help inform decisions by policymakers, as Pat as so often pointed out. But this this administration perceives objectivity as a inadequate commitment or as an absence of complete loyalty.

Always look for alterior motives with these rats.

Death And Coverup In Haditha

The Washington Post has a lenghty Sunday article on the findings revealed in the trial of the Marines accused of killing 24 civilians in Haditha, but I wonder when anyone will come around to investigating this:

Numerous Marine officers in the chain of command in Iraq -- including a major general -- knew about the civilian deaths almost immediately but did not launch an investigation for months, according to interview transcripts. Some lower-level officers did not believe that the Marines had done anything inappropriate, while high-ranking officers had limited information about the incident and did not inquire further.

Always the grunts who bear the burden. Always the grunts.

Not Gonna Work

surge.jpg
Not halal.

Guess who else is not a big fan of Bush's surge of an escalation?

Al-Maliki's aides said disagreement remained between Bush and Iraqi officials on key issues.

The Iraqi leader is uneasy about the possible introduction of more U.S. troops, and he has repeatedly refused U.S. demands to crush the militia of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, one of the prime minister's most powerful backers.

Any serious drive to curb the extreme chaos and violence in the capital would put not only American forces but al-Maliki's Iraqi army in direct confrontation with al-Sadr's Mehdi Army.

. . .Sami al-Askari, an al-Maliki political adviser, told The Associated Press on Friday that al-Maliki had not acquiesced to the reported White House plan to send as many as 9,000 more U.S. troops to Baghdad alone.

"President Bush told the prime minister he was ready to send additional troops, but al-Maliki said he would have to talk that over with his senior military officers to see if they were needed," al-Askari said.

via Matthew Yglesias.

He Reserves The Right To Snoop Into OUR Houses

with wiretaps, secret searches, and peeking into our e- and non-e mails, but we don't have the right to know who visited the White House?

White House visitor records closed Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The White House and the Secret Service quietly signed an agreement last spring in the midst of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal declaring that records identifying visitors to the White House complex are not subject to public disclosure.

The Bush administration didn't reveal the existence of the memorandum of understanding until last fall. The White House is using it to deal with a legal problem on a separate front, a ruling by a federal judge ordering the production of Secret Service logs identifying visitors to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

In a federal appeals court filing three weeks ago, the administration's lawyers used the memo in a legal argument aimed at overturning the judge's ruling. The Washington Post is suing for access to the Secret Service logs.

The five-page document dated May 17 declares that all entry and exit data on White House visitors belongs to the White House as presidential records rather than to the Secret Service as agency records. Therefore, the agreement states, the material is not subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

I guess they are loathed to let us find out about any more of Jeff Gannon's back-door visits.

You Have GOP To Be Kidding Me

Even the Israelis are saying that they were better off with Saddam still in power:

Jerusalem - Although few tears were shed in Israel over Saddam Hussein’s death last week, a small but growing chorus — including government officials, academics and Iraqi émigrés — is warning that Israel could find itself in more danger with him gone, and that it might even regret having welcomed his toppling.

“If I knew then what I know today, I would not have recommended going to war, because Saddam was far less dangerous than I thought,? said Haifa University political scientist Amatzia Baram, one of Israel’s leading Iraq experts.

Saddam was feared and reviled in Israel, both as a tyrant and as an enemy of the Jewish state. He demonstratively supported Palestinian terrorists, and few have forgiven his bombarding of Israel with Scud missiles during the 1991 Gulf War.

“Retrospectively, justice has been done,? Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh told Israel Radio this week. Still, he cautioned, Israel must now be concerned “about what is liable to happen in the future.?

Saddam’s death, Sneh warned, could lead to “a reinforcement of Iranian influence in Iraq.? He said that Iraq had turned into a “volcano of terror? following the war, with “destructive energies? that could spill over into Jordan and Israel.

Such misgivings, though rarely aired publicly for fear of offending Washington, reach high into Israel’s security establishment. Yuval Diskin, director of the Shin Bet security service, told a group of students in a military preparatory program last May that Israel might come to regret its support for the American-led invasion in March 2003.

“When you dismantle a system in which there is a despot who controls his people by force, you have chaos,? Diskin said, unaware that the meeting was secretly recorded. “I’m not sure we won’t miss Saddam.? The tape was later broadcast on Israeli television.

Although Iraq was long feared as a formidable enemy of the Jewish state, on the eve of the invasion it was poor and powerless. Palaces across the country were made of cheap plaster. Nuclear and biological weapons seen as threats by the Bush administration were nonexistent.

Baram, the Iraq expert, said that before the war started, he advised American officials of problems they might face afterward. What he did not anticipate, he said, was the scale of terrorism that would spread across the country, calling it “much, much more than I expected.?

. . .Even some of those who suffered directly from Saddam’s brutality told the Forward that in retrospect, Israel was better off with him than without.

Baghdad-born Avraham Eini was a teenager when his father was arrested and tortured by Saddam’s security agents in the 1970s. “He later died of his wounds,? said 54-year-old Eini, who had escaped with his family and settled in Ramat Gan. Two decades later, in 1991, Iraqi Scud missiles fell 200 yards from his house.

Eini said he felt a sense of “revenge and relief? when Saddam was executed last week. Yet, he said, “Israel would be safer today if Saddam stayed in power."

Ijits

posted without comment:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Army said Friday it would apologize to the families of about 275 officers killed or wounded in action who were mistakenly sent letters urging them to return to active duty.

The letters were sent a few days after Christmas to more than 5,100 Army officers who had recently left the service. Included were letters to about 75 officers killed in action and about 200 wounded in action.

"Army personnel officials are contacting those officers' families now to personally apologize for erroneously sending the letters," the Army said in a brief news release issued Friday night.

The Army did not say how or when the mistake was discovered. It said the database normally used for such correspondence with former officers had been "thoroughly reviewed" to remove the names of wounded or dead soldiers.

"But an earlier list was used inadvertently for the December mailings," the Army statement said, adding that the Army is apologizing to those officers and families affected and "regrets any confusion."

It's Called An E-S-C-A-L-A-T-I-O-N You Morons!

mcgee.jpg
Joseph Lieberman, artist's conception.

The Great El Foldo John McCain describes what his fantasy "surge" of more cannon fodder to the shitmire is gonna be like:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- On the same day the top Democrats in Congress said a troop surge in Iraq would "stretch our military to the breaking point," Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain reiterated his support of increasing U.S. forces in the war-torn country and said they must be 'significant and sustained'.

"The worst of all worlds would be a small, short surge of U.S. forces," McCain said Friday during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute. "We tried small surges in the past and they've been ineffective because our commanders lack the forces necessary to hold territory after it was cleared."


Useless Idiot Joe Lieberman agrees:

WASHINGTON — Sen. Joe Lieberman joined Sen. John McCain on Friday in calling for a "substantial and sustained" increase in American troops in Iraq, at the same time opening the possibility he would support the Arizona Republican in his bid for the presidency. Lieberman praised McCain, who is considering a run for president next year, for his willingness to stand up for an unpopular policy.

"He's not taking an easy way out here," said Lieberman, who won re-election as an independent candidate in the November election after failing to win the Democratic nomination.

. . .Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute, Lieberman said the increase in troops "must be robust. It must be substantial. And, it must be sustained."

Hmmm, how else would you describe a significant addition of more troops to a war of which that higher number will be kept for a long indefinite period of time? Apparently to these pandering asses, it will be a temporary

surge.jpg

*Sigh* As I've said before, fuck it. Let these bastards have their escalation/"surge" and let them wallow in the certain failure it is going to produce. And it will be cerain since CBS just reported that the military only has 9,000 troops to send to Eye-Rack, with another 10,000 still in Kuwait. No detail on how many of those are combat troops.

January 5, 2007

Drunken Sailors at the U.

What's appropriate to go with a $40 million dollar increase to a $300 million eyesore that will host about six events out of a year? More money for a coach who will oversee the continued failure of the Gopher's football program:

On the day the University of Minnesota approved spending an additional $40 million on its new on-campus football stadium, school President Robert Bruininks said money will not be an issue in the search for a new coach.

Despite the increased pricetag for the stadium and a $4 million combined buyout owed to ousted football coach Glen Mason and men's basketball coach Dan Monson, Bruininks said he assured Athletic Director Joel Maturi that he will commit the financial resources to hire a "first-rate" coach.

It's just maddening, after going through years upon years of crippling tuition increases, seeing the General College and College of Human Ecology close down, and other places like the Community University Health Clinic face a 17 percent spending cut, that they would spend all kinds of money so that "student athletes" and their rich patrons can get their goddamn playgrounds. That stadium better generate the revenue to wash the university with money so it doesn't have to cut money on education, or else I can't be held responsible for what I'd do next.

January 4, 2007

Bush At 30 percent

Loser.

And the new Dem congress has a 68 percent approval rating. Let's see how fast they can fuck that one up.

Like A Bad Penny

Oh, oh, oh, you are NOT gonna guess the people behind Bush's new escalation strategy! I mean, I mean it can't possibly be the same ones who brought us the Vietnam escalation, the Reagan-era military build-up and the Eye-Rack war itself, right? I mean, those morons must've learned their lessons and crawled to whatever rathole they came from, right? right?

Analysis: Behind troop surge, a Neocon force

By Peter Spiegel, Times Staff Writer
January 3, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Ever since Iraq began spiraling toward chaos, the war's intellectual architects -- the so-called neoconservatives -- have found themselves under attack in Washington policy salons and, more important, within the Bush administration.

Paul Wolfowitz, who was the Defense Department's most senior neocon, was shipped off to the World Bank. His Pentagon colleague Douglas Feith departed for academia. John Bolton left the State Department for the United Nations.

But other neocons have moved back into the mainstream of steering Iraq policy. A key part of the new Iraq plan that President Bush is expected to announce next week -- a surge in U.S. troops coupled with a more focused counterinsurgency effort -- has been one of the chief recommendations of these neocons since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

This group -- which includes William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard magazine, and Frederick Kagan, a military analyst at the American Enterprise Institute -- was expressing concerns about the administration's blueprint for Iraq even before the invasion almost four years ago. In these neoconservatives' view, not enough troops were being set aside to stabilize the country. They also worried that the Pentagon had formulated a plan that concentrated too heavily on killing insurgents rather than securing law and order for Iraqi citizens.

They have long advocated for a more classic counterinsurgency campaign: a manpower-heavy operation that would take U.S. soldiers out of their large bases dotted across the country and push them into small outposts in troubled towns and neighborhoods to interact with ordinary Iraqis.

Until now, it was an argument that had fallen on deaf ears.

. . .The problems with the war gradually undermined the clout they had wielded. But perhaps the more important hurdle to their views being heeded — especially on military matters — was the White House's refusal to see its Iraq policy as a failure.

That changed this summer, when the spike in sectarian violence and the failure of an offensive to secure Baghdad created what one Pentagon advisor called a "psychological break" within the administration. Until then, neoconservatives argued, the administration saw little proof that Abizaid's plan, which was backed by Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the military commander in Iraq, was failing.

The main reason for the new ascendancy of the neocon recommendations, said Kristol, is that "the Rumsfeld-Abizaid-Casey theory was tried and was found wanting…. Some of us challenged it very early on, but, of course, then we were just challenging it as a competing theory."

Although Kristol, Kagan and their intellectual allies have pushed hard for their policy change for more than three years, they bristle at the notion that the idea of a larger troop presence in Iraq and a different approach to securing the country is wholly a neoconservative idea.

Yeah, nice for the mainstream press to finally catch up since the bloggers have noted the nuttiness of the think tank neocons for a while now. But to think that these morons still enjoy credibility at this stage of the war tells us that our policy is more fucked up than we gave credit for.

Washington Post Begins Series Of Hit Pieces Against New Democratic Majority

Can anyone out there remind me when this paper was this assiduous against the criminals and liars that dominated the Republican congress outside the Nixon administration?

Thought not.

January 3, 2007

Worst Of The Worst

So Jose Padilla has been declared an enemy combatant and forced into abuses and isolation that has resulted in mental damage and all for what? Seven wiretapped phone calls, none of which involved any terra-ist plots:

Tens of thousands of conversations were recorded. Some 230 phone calls form the core of the government’s case, including 21 that make reference to Mr. Padilla, prosecutors said. But Mr. Padilla’s voice is heard on only seven calls. And on those seven, which The Times obtained from a participant in the case, Mr. Padilla does not discuss violent plots.

That's the hallmark of the Bush administration, a national disgrace.

Thomas Ricks Knew There Were No WMDs, He Just Waited Eight Friedmans To Say It.

Jonathan Schwartz at A Tiny Revolution takes Washington Post reporter and recent Eye-Rack war pessimist Thomas Ricks to task for opportunistically declaring he never believed there was a weaponsofmassdestruction program in Eye-Rack when we invaded:

TIME: On the eve of the war, which of you believed that we would go in and find no WMD?...Why did you feel that way, Tom? RICKS: I thought that at most they would find some old mustard gas buried out in the '91 war that somebody had forgotten about. I remember asking the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs about a week before the invasion, "You don't know where the stuff is, do you?"

Schwartz then proceeds to list several pre-invasion articles by Ricks in which he obsequiously repeats the Bush administration line about their certitude regarding Saddam's WMD program. Of course, Ricks would simply say he was doing "he said, she said" journalism and avoided inserting too much of his own views in the article, except there was a conspicuous lack of "she said" in his journalism back then.

via Brad Delong.

Clusterfuck Defined

Once again, Nir Rosen describes the Saddam lynching and the events surrounding it with the detail and background rarely found in Western media:

The important Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha was due to begin over the weekend. For Sunnis it began on Saturday the 30th of December. For Shias it begins on Sunday the 31st. According to tradition in Mecca, battles are suspended during the Hajj period so that pilgrims can safely march to Mecca. This practice even predated Islam and Muslims preserved this tradition, calling this period 'Al Ashur al Hurm,' or the months of truce. By hanging Saddam on the Sunni Eid the Americans and the Iraqi government were in effect saying that only the Shia Eid had legitimacy. Sunnis were irate that Shia traditions were given primacy (as they are more and more in Iraq these days) and that Shias disrespected the tradition and killed Saddam on this day. Because the Iraqi constitution itself prohibits executions from being carried out on Eid, the Iraqi government had to officially declare that Eid did not begin until Sunday the 31st. It was a striking decision, virtually declaring that Iraq is now a Shia state. Eid al Adha is the festival of the sacrifice of the sheep. Some may perceive it as the day Saddam was sacrificed.

Haven't We Humans Suffered Enough?

Who will finally impale a stake into this vampire?

John Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, has accepted the position of deputy secretary of state, NBC News has confirmed. The job has been open for months since the resignation of Robert Zoellick.

So the killing fields in Central America and Eye-Rack aren't enough, where else are we going to see massacres at his hand?

Bush Can't Even Kill A Murderous Dictator Right

Even reliably wingnut columnist Charles Krauthammer has admitted that the lynching disguised as a state-sponsored execution was a total fiasco instead of an event that provided closure.

Things are so bad that the Bush administration is openly distancing themselves from the lynching, saying that they would have handled it differently. Yeah, maybe Bush would have mocked Saddam differently than how his Mahdi Army executioners taunted him.

The Puppet Wants His Strings Cut

maliki.jpg
Quitter

Okay so he hasn't resigned yet, but Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has made it clear that the idea was at the top of his Santa list:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has made clear he dislikes being the country's leader and would prefer to leave the job before his term ends.

In an extensive interview with a US newspaper, Mr Maliki said he would certainly not be seeking a second term.

A compromise choice, his tenure has been plagued by factional strife within both the country and government, and rumours the US has no faith in him.

"I wish I could be done with it even before the end of this term," he said.

"I didn't want to take this position," he told the Wall Street Journal. "I only agreed because I thought it would serve the national interest, and I will not accept it again."

Yeah, the Bushies now thinks he sucks as well. Can't say I blame the guy. I'd rather spend my time degreasing the floors at Burger King during closing time than be the leader of the shithole.

Three Cents To The Twenty

Shane from The Greet Machine was kind enough to buy two copies of the movie Cars within three days of each other from a Knollwood Target. He was also kind enough to post the reciepts. The price of the movies were still the same, but he had to pay more on the new year so some millionaire fatcat can have his billion-dollar sandlot (yes, with inflation and future costs, the ballpark WILL cost a billion dollars at least). Once again, thanx a lot Minnesota Legislators!

We've Been Ruled By A Pillhead Junkie Nutcase

New FBI files currently released reveals the degree that recently deceased Chief Justice Rehnquist was out of touch with reality during his tenure

Also in 1986, the FBI conducted an intensive investigation into Rehnquist’s dependence on Placidyl, a strong painkiller that he had taken since the early 1970s for insomnia and back pain. Rehnquist’s bout with drug dependence had been made public in 1981, when he was hospitalized for his back pain and suffered withdrawal symptoms when he stopped taking the drug.

The FBI’s 1986 report on Rehnquist’s drug dependence was not released at the time of his confirmation, though some Democratic senators wanted it made public. But it is in Rehnquist’s now-public file, and it contains new details about his behavior during his weeklong hospital stay in December 1981. One physician whose name is blocked out told the FBI that Rehnquist expressed “bizarre ideas and outrageous thoughts. He imagined, for example, that there was a CIA plot against him.?

The doctor said Rehnquist “had also gone to the lobby in his pajamas in order to try to escape.? The doctor said Rehnquist’s delirium was consistent with him suddenly stopping his apparent daily dose of 1400 milligrams of the drug — nearly three times higher than the 500-milligram maximum recommended by physicians. The doctor said, “Any physician who prescribed it was practicing very bad medicine, bordering on malpractice.?

Apparently he stopped taking the drugs in 1982, according to the same doctors who filled out his overdosage of the painkillers (that sounds a lot like the story Rush Limpballs is hanging on to). But still, that goes a long way to explain some of his ridiculous rulings over the years, especially his concurrent judgement in Bush v. Gore.

Thomas Jefferson: Terra-ist Sympathizer

Keith Ellison is making new waves by using the Koran previously owned by Thomas Jefferson himself in the private swearing-in ceremony, thereby unleashing new symbolisms into this Republican-manufactured "controversy". But don't worry, the wingnuts have a new answer to counter the fact that one of our founding fathers do not mind having the terra-ist handbook in his own personal library:

The Bashaw of Tripoli’s justification for war on American trading ships in the Mediterranean two hundred years ago, according to Thomas Jefferson, was that “it was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners.? By all means let Keith Ellison swear in using Jefferson's Koran, maybe afterwards he can look up the passages that discuss smiting the infidels at the neck and make great slaughter among them. Probably underlined.

These lizard brains have no compunction, do they?

via Daily Kos.

Now We Want YOU!

As highlighted by BarbinMD in The Daily Kos, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John M. Shalikashvili is now in favor of letting gays in the military. Has he finally seen the light and has realized that there is absolutely no evidence that homosexuals will undermine armies, that homosexuals have served valiantly and honorably in the armed forces for ages?

Nope, he has been turned because of cold mathematics:

Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.

The current military leadership likes to act like they serve only corporate and conservative interests when they are in fact in service of all Americans. Because they have for so long acted in the interests of an extremist minority in this country goes far to explain why they have fucked up in Eye-Rack.

Sacrifice

Post reporters Ann Scott Tyson and Scott White probaby wrote this article in anticipation of this news that WorstPresidentEver will emphasize the need for sacrifice in making his case for the coming escalation:

"Grenade!"

Manning a .50-caliber machine gun in the turret of a Humvee, Pfc. Ross McGinnis could see the insurgent on a rooftop fling a hand grenade at his vehicle. He shouted and tried to deflect it, but it fell inside. Four of his buddies were down there.

What followed was a stunning act of self-sacrifice. McGinnis, a 19-year-old from rural Pennsylvania and the youngest soldier in his unit, threw himself backward onto the grenade, absorbing the blast with his body. He was killed instantly. The others escaped serious injury.

. . .For much of the rest of the country, the reverberations of the conflict are limited to headlines and television images of explosions or discussions about Iraq policy. The nation's war dead are returned to the United States privately, their flag-draped coffins shielded from cameras.

"The fatal flaw was when right after September 11 the president asked everyone to go on with their lives. That set the stage for no one sacrificing," said a Special Forces team sergeant who recently served in Iraq. "That's why they aren't behind it, because they don't have a stake in this war. They aren't losing or gaining anything. If you don't see it, smell it, feel it, how are you connected?"

via DuVernois

Eye-Rackees: Give Us Saddam Back

Ninety percent of Eye-Rackees think the situation was better before Bush launched the invasion, according to a new poll released by the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies and Gulf Research Center.

Mazel-tov Bush, you are now worse than Saddam.

January 2, 2007

The Democratic Learning Curve.

Looks like the Dems are adjusting to the rumors that Republicans will abuse any political openings given to them in the name of "bipartisanship" in order to derail winning Democratic initiatives like raising the minimum wage or ethics reform:

As they prepare to take control of Congress this week and face up to campaign pledges to restore bipartisanship and openness, Democrats are planning to largely sideline Republicans from the first burst of lawmaking.

House Democrats intend to pass a raft of popular measures as part of their well-publicized plan for the first 100 hours. They include tightening ethics rules for lawmakers, raising the minimum wage, allowing more research on stem cells and cutting interest rates on student loans.

But instead of allowing Republicans to fully participate in deliberations, as promised after the Democratic victory in the Nov. 7 midterm elections, Democrats now say they will use House rules to prevent the opposition from offering alternative measures, assuring speedy passage of the bills and allowing their party to trumpet early victories.

Nancy Pelosi, the Californian who will become House speaker, and Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, who will become majority leader, finalized the strategy over the holiday recess in a flurry of conference calls and meetings with other party leaders. A few Democrats, worried that the party would be criticized for reneging on an important pledge, argued unsuccessfully that they should grant the Republicans greater latitude when the Congress convenes on Thursday.

The episode illustrates the dilemma facing the new party in power. The Democrats must demonstrate that they can break legislative gridlock and govern after 12 years in the minority, while honoring their pledge to make the 110th Congress a civil era in which Democrats and Republicans work together to solve the nation's problems. Yet in attempting to pass laws key to their prospects for winning reelection and expanding their majority, the Democrats may have to resort to some of the same tough tactics Republicans used the past several years.

You can only be so civil with a swarm of ankle-biting snakes. And Steve Gilliard is right, the reporters on the Post articles are either novices or Republican hacks. They talk about how the Democrats risk jeopardizing their "slim" majority in the house even though it's now larger than what the Republicans had for at least six years. That "slim majority" is 31 seats in the Hiouse, not 16 seats as the article claims. And of course, there is fuck all at what the Republicans are planning to do with the few bones Democrats will throw at them, or fuck all in any past relevant articles of the perfidy that they've done when they had the power.

Update:

Revenge is truly a dish best served cold. SusanG of The Daily Kos uses her long memory to recover the fact that back in 2004 Republicans dismissed Nancy Pelosi's proposal to codify a "Minority Bill of Rights". In fact, former Speaker Dennis Hastert refused to even dignify it with a response:

In keeping with the general atmosphere of the House these days, aides to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) said he will not respond to the two-page proposal from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Now that the thieving Republicans have gracelessly found themselves in the minority and are about to get a taste of the type of sidlining they've been doing to Democrats for the past decade, they are now seeing the wisdom of implementing a - you guessed it! - a Minority Bill of Rights:

Dear Republican Colleague:

Roughly 140 million Americans will be represented in the House by a Republican during the 110th Congress. Our fundamental duty is to guarantee that they receive just and meaningful representation in Congress. This can only be accomplished with bipartisan administration of the House, respect for customary and regular order in considering legislation, and establishing that the right of the minority party will be respected.

. . .With that in mind, please join us in co-sponsoring the Minority Bill of Rights, which we plan to introduce next week. The Bill of Rights is identical – in both letter and spirit – to a 2004 proposal made by then-Minority Leader Pelosi ....

If the Dems are going to throw those snakes any bones, make sure they are dry and without marrow. These pigs will sell their own daughters if they think it will give them political gain. In this case, I agree with Republican strategist Grover Norquist: bipartisanship with these clowns will be akin to date rape.

January 1, 2007

Commas

Don't know how long it will last, but the New York Times has a beautiful interactive mosaic of all the people who were slaughtered in WorstPresidentEver's vanity war.

Backlash

Happy now, morans?

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Enraged crowds protested the hanging of Saddam Hussein across Iraq's Sunni heartland Monday, as a mob in Samara broke the locks off a bomb-damaged Shiite shrine and marched through carrying a mock coffin and photo of the dictator.

The demonstration in the Golden Dome, shattered in a bombing by Sunni extremists 10 months ago, suggests that many Sunni Arabs may now more actively support the small number of Sunni militants fighting the country's Shiite-dominated government. The Feb. 22 bombing of the shrine triggered the current cycle of retaliatory attacks between Sunnis and Shiia, in the form of daily bombings, kidnappings and murders.

. . .Until Saddam's execution Saturday, most Sunnis sympathized with militants but avoided taking a direct role in the sectarian conflict -- despite attacks by Shiite militia that have killed thousands of Sunnis or driven them from their homes. The current Sunni protests, which appear to be building, could signal a spreading militancy.

Angered by taunts
Sunnis were not only outraged by Saddam's hurried execution, just four days after an appeals court upheld his conviction and sentence. Many were also incensed by the unruly scene in the execution chamber, captured on video, in which Saddam was taunted with chants of "Muqtada, Muqtada, Muqtada."

The chants referred to Muqtada al-Sadr, a firebrand Shiite cleric who runs one of Iraq's most violent religious militias. He is a major power behind the government of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Many Sunnis are also upset that Saddam was put to death the day that Sunni celebrations began for Eid al-Ahda, a major Muslim festival. The judge who first presided over the case that resulted in Saddam's death sentence said the former dictator's execution at the start of Eid was illegal according to Iraqi law, and contradicted Islamic custom.

The law states that "no verdict should implemented during the official holidays or religious festivals," said Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin, a Kurd.

Mr. 3,000

A real president would give addresses or attend funerals when marking a sad milestone. The worst president ever gives press releases.

CRAWFORD, Texas, Dec 31 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush mourned the death of the 3,000th U.S. soldier in Iraq, the White House said on Sunday, but cautioned war weary Americans that no quick end was in sight to the fight against terrorism.

. . ."The president believes that every life is precious and grieves for each one that is lost," said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel. "He will ensure their sacrifice was not made in vain."

Puh-thetic. I would just like to add that I certainly hope that Bush doesn't take comfort in his latest scalp from the Eye-rack pillaging. All that the Saddam execution signifies is the tranfer of power from a fascist, secular dictator to a cleric body of religious fanatics.