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July 31, 2007

Good Thing Flori-DUH Doesn't Allow Gays To Adopt Kids

Otherwise, this might very well happen:

Nine adults and teenagers were held captive, abused and starved by their adoptive Florida mother for as long as 15 years, authorities tell ABC News.

Judith Leekin, 62, allegedly duped four different New York City adoption agencies into allowing her to adopt 11 children, all of whom authorities believe she later abused. Leekin is also thought to have kept all of the state-issued funds intended for the children, spending it on her own personal expenses.

While 10 of the 11 adopted Leekin children have been found, one still remains unaccounted for. The 10th child, who was not found in the home at the time of the police investigation, is a 19-year-old male who authorities tell ABC News was found within the last day in the state of Florida.

The Port St. Lucie Police Department was led to Leekin's home after locating an abandoned 18-year-old woman who told officers that her mother, now known to be Leekin, kept all of her children tied up in various parts of her Florida home.

. . ."The home was a beautiful, well-maintained home in a very nice neighborhood," said Robert Vega, a spokesman for the Port St. Lucie Police Department. "The landscaping is probably the nicest in the entire neighborhood." After further investigation and being granted entrance by Leekin, however, authorities were shocked to find eight people being held hostage in one of the home's bedrooms.

George Bush Don't Black/Women/Disabled/Religious/Etc People

Congress today passed a bill that would reverse the Alito Court's infamous ruling on Ledbetter vs. Goodyear. Bush has threatened to veto the bill that protects against pay discrimination.

And along the mainstream media landscape, crickets are chirping.

(via Atrios)

July 30, 2007

The Anbar Miracle

. . .

BAGHDAD: Three U.S. soldiers were killed in fighting west of Baghdad, the military said Monday.

The soldiers assigned to Multi-National Force — West died
Thursday while conducting combat operations in Anbar
province, according to a brief statement.

July 25, 2007

Lucky Duckies

You may lose your house, but at least you aren't like the Joads.

(via Atrios)

July 19, 2007

Washington Post Advocates Attacking Nuclear-Armed Pakistan

Needless to say, Katherine Grahm must be doing cartwheels in her grave:

If Pakistani forces cannot -- or will not -- eliminate the sanctuary, President Bush must order targeted strikes or covert actions by American forces, as he has done several times in recent years. Such actions run the risk of further destabilizing Pakistan. Yet those risks must be weighed against the consequences of another large-scale attack on U.S. soil. "Direct intervention against the sanctuary in Afghanistan apparently must have seemed . . . disproportionate to the threat," the Sept. 11 commission noted. The United States must not repeat that tragic misjudgment.

And here, folks, are my favorite remarks from the WP's own comment thread:

Once again. the Post reveals its warmongering point-of-view, and a childish understanding of foreign policy. Someone needs to give the Post an "Olmert Award" for pseudo-macho stupidity. With our recored of inept military action in the area, the most likely result will be a nuclear-armed Islamic state. That will have unthinkable effects on India and the region. Will US troops go in to try to grab the nukes? And if that fails? I suspect American aircraft carriers and other military assets are within range. Attacking ANOTHER Islamic state is probably the stupidest thing possible, although one can never underestimate the neocons.

I’m not really surprised that the Post’s editors are stupid enough, after everything we've seen, to suggest attacking a country armed with nuclear weapons.

I just cannot believe that that so many readers are falling for the same old tricks all over again.

Actually, scratch that. I do believe it. I never believed that most of my fellow commentators here really opposed the Iraq war in 2003. They just turned against it when they finally realised they were losing.

Now, Cheney is pushing for war against Iran, but others in the Administration resist. Yet they all agree it would be politically smart to stimulate a bit of US jingoism in time for the election campaign. They feel the urge to double down…why not compromise on Waziristan?

Given the time necessary to place troops and pump up the war fever, the drumbeat would have to start about now. Let the word go forth to the neoconservative outlets that sold the Iraq war. Just do what you did in 2002-3. The lemmings will follow...trust us.

It is incredible that the Post can run this editorial and not once mention the impact the war in Iraq has had on our ability to conduct military operations in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Not only is it incredible, it is hypocritical for your editorial to run this editorial while backing Bush on Iraq. Sometimes I wonder if the editorial board reads the news stories that the Post runs.

What kind of nuts are you guys at the Post? Attack a nuclear nation? Overturn an unstable Pakistani government and perhaps turn it over to the supporters of al Qaeda? That's what's likely to happen if we start attacking inside Pakistan. My, wouldn't Qaeda love to have nukes for its terror operations! What is it about the Post and Bush that lead them into moves that empower our worst enemies?

Of course, if Pakistani terrorists nuked us, we'd nuke them back to the stone age. But is that a process we want to go through?

(via Kevin Drum)

July 18, 2007

Chasing Ghosts

Big Bad Terra-ist Jihadist Leader turned out to have never existed:

Leader of Al Qaeda group in Iraq was fictional, U.S. military says
By Michael R. Gordon Published: July 18, 2007

BAGHDAD: For more than a year, the leader of one the most notorious insurgent groups in Iraq was said to be a mysterious Iraqi named Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi.

As the titular head of the Islamic State in Iraq, an organization publicly backed by Al Qaeda, Baghdadi issued a steady stream of incendiary pronouncements. Despite claims by Iraqi officials that he had been killed in May, Baghdadi appeared to have persevered unscathed.

On Wednesday, a senior American military spokesman provided a new explanation for Baghdadi's ability to escape attack: He never existed.

Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, the chief American military spokesman, said the elusive Baghdadi was actually a fictional character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor named Abu Adullah al-Naima.

July 15, 2007

$40 Million Here, $40 Million There. . .

The royalists who brought us into Eye-Rack truly live in a different world than, well, the rest of the world. The sad thing is that the UN itself seems to be complicit in the swindling:

IRAQ'S ambassador to the United Nations, Hamid al Bayati, likes the high life. Bayati, who's been on the job for just over a year, is said to be living in a $22,000-a-month apartment at Trump World Tower on First Avenue. He's renting while the Iraqi U.N. Mission and official ambassador's residence on East 79th Street undergo a $40 million renovation. Where did the Iraqis get the cash? Newsmax.com reports the U.N. Security Council is paying with funds it once used to finance the now-terminated U.N. Iraq arms inspectors. When asked about the lavish use of the cash, Bayati refused comment. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad shrugged off the Iraqis' lush lifestyle by telling reporters, "$40 million is not a lot of money."

"That Motherfucker Tried To Take Out My Dad"

The real reason why we are in the quagmire revealed.

July 14, 2007

Nope, Still Wrong

Matt Stoller may be right when he said that Hillary Clinton is so popular among Democrats despite her prowar vote and, up until recently, pro-war stance because there were a lot of Democrats who were also hoodwinked by Bush's push into Eye-Rack. Forgiveness of Hillary will in fact be forgiveness of themselves.

If that's true, then it's all the more reason to oppose her in the first place. I remember the debate back then, and it doesn't take a lot of evidence or knowledge of Eye-Rack to know that an invasion was going to be disastrous. I mean the first Bush didn't invade Eye-Rack because he says it will only result in a quagmire which will eliminate any support he had for the original Persian Gulf campaign. Saddam Hussein's army was only a third of what it what it was back before the Persian Gulf war. The UN inspectors weren't finding any weapons, ESPECIALLY after Colin Powell's "convincing" speech before the Security Council. And let us not forget the ethnic and sectarian divide that would rear its head in the event of a power vacuum. If they couldn't get a grasp of those geopolitical realities back then, how can we trust them to govern the world in the future?

(via Atrios)

Army Broken STRAWNG!!!

Bush and his enablers won't stop until our armed forces have been run into the ground:

WASHINGTON -- Nearly 12 percent of Army recruits who entered basic training this year needed a special waiver for those with criminal records, a dramatic increase over last year and 2 1/2 times the percentage four years ago, according to new Army statistics

With less than three months left in the fiscal year, 11.6 percent of new active-duty and Army Reserve troops in 2007 have received a so-called "moral waiver," up from 7.9 percent in fiscal year 2006, according to figures from the US Army Recruiting Command. In fiscal 2003 and 2004, soldiers granted waivers accounted for 4.6 percent of new recruits; in 2005, it was 6.2 percent.

Army officials acknowledge privately that the increase in moral waivers reflects the difficulty of signing up sufficient numbers of recruits to sustain an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq; the Army fell short of its monthly recruiting goals in May and June.

Since Oct. 1, 2006, when the fiscal year began, more than 8,000 of the roughly 69,000 recruits have been granted waivers for offenses ranging in seriousness from misdemeanors such as vandalism to felonies such as burglary and aggravated assault.

July 12, 2007

When The Waronterra Fails

Seems that Al Qaeda has completely reconstituted itself thanx to its Musharraf-approved safe haven in Northern Waziristan.

U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded al-Qaida has rebuilt its operating capability to a level not seen since just before the 2001 terrorist attacks, The Associated Press has learned.

The conclusion suggests that the group that launched the most devastating terror attack on the United States has been able to rebuild despite nearly six years of bombings, war and other tactics aimed at crippling it.

Still, numerous government officials say they know of no specific, credible threat of a new attack.

A counterterrorism official familiar with a five-page summary of the new government threat assessment called it a stark appraisal that will be discussed at the White House on Thursday as part of a broader meeting on an upcoming National Intelligence Estimate.

The official and others spoke on condition of anonymity because the secret report remains classified.

Counterterrorism analysts produced the document, titled "Al-Qaida better positioned to strike the West." The document pays special heed to the terror group's safe haven in Pakistan and makes a range of observations about the threat posed to the United States and its allies, officials said.

Al-Qaida is "considerably operationally stronger than a year ago" and has "regrouped to an extent not seen since 2001," the official said, paraphrasing the report's conclusions. "They are showing greater and greater ability to plan attacks in Europe and the United States."

The group also has created "the most robust training program since 2001, with an interest in using European operatives," the official quoted the report as saying.

At the same time, this official said, the report speaks of "significant gaps in intelligence" so U.S. authorities may be ignorant of potential or planned attacks.

July 11, 2007

Michelle Bachmann Proves Eye-Rack No Longer Safe For Self-Serving Congressional Junkets

Geez, the people of St. Cloud and the sixth district picked this woman over Patty Wetterling? Is there something in the water up there?

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann continued to stand by President Bush's military surge in Iraq, two days after returning from a congressional trip that put her in the line of fire while visiting Baghdad.

"It hasn't had a chance to be in place long enough to offer a critique of how it's working," said Bachmann, R-Minn.

. . .The delegation's visit was harrowing at times. While visiting with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker at the U.S. Embassy inside Baghdad's walled, high-security Green Zone on Friday, mortar blasts landed inside the American-controlled territory.

"This recorded message played four times while we were there, asking us to move away from any windows, to get on the ground and move to the center of the building," Bachmann said. "(Crocker) stayed in his seat and kept talking with us the whole time. He never moved."

. . .Security conditions in Iraq prevented Bachmann from meeting any Iraqis, leaving the Green Zone or staying in Iraq overnight. She and other congressional members were required to wear full body armor, including Kevlar helmets, during the entire trip, she said.

But she said she was encouraged by reports of progress from Crocker, Gen. David Petraeus and other personnel in Iraq linked to the surge.

A comprehensive report on military progress and whether the Iraqi government is meeting a series of political benchmarks Bush has set is expected.

"(Gen. Petraeus) said al-Qaida in Iraq is off its plan and we want to keep it that way," she said. "The surge has only been fully in place for a week or so."

Only thirteen more months, only thirteen more months. . .

(via Americablog)

July 10, 2007

Gallup: Supermajority Of Americans Favor Policy Of Retreat And Defeat

And the chimp is at 29 percent, beating only Carter (by one percent), Nixon and Truman for below-freezing popularity.



Another Man On Death Row Freed After Belated DNA Tests

Guess what race he is.

So when is that prosecutor going to be put under criminal investigation like Nifong.

Michael Moore: 1, CNN: 0

Michael Moore fact checks the "fact checkers" at "The Most Trusted Name In News" and finds them wanting. Some of the mistakes are pretty embarrassing, like how they misquoted a statistic in Michael Moore's movie. Did they even watch that film?

Once again, Michael Moore demonstrates what every honest person must do with these clowns each and every time they are in front of their camera: call them out on their complicit bullshit.

July 8, 2007

How's That Surge Coming Along? Part XVIII

Looks like the bushies are forced to move the goalposts again:

The Iraqi government is unlikely to meet any of the political and security goals or timelines President Bush set for it in January when he announced a major shift in U.S. policy, according to senior administration officials closely involved in the matter. As they prepare an interim report due next week, officials are marshaling alternative evidence of progress to persuade Congress to continue supporting the war.

In a preview of the assessment it must deliver to Congress in September, the administration will report that Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar province are turning against the group al-Qaeda in Iraq in growing numbers; that sectarian killings were down in June; and that Iraqi political leaders managed last month to agree on a unified response to the bombing of a major religious shrine, officials said.

Those achievements are markedly different from the benchmarks Bush set when he announced his decision to send tens of thousands of additional troops to Iraq. More troops, Bush said, would enable the Iraqis to proceed with provincial elections this year and pass a raft of power-sharing legislation. In addition, he said, the government of President Nouri al-Maliki planned to "take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November."

This is not going to help their case:

BAGHDAD, July 8 -- Suicide attacks and other explosions across Iraq killed at least 170 people and injured scores over the last couple of days, including a massive truck bombing in a northern Shiite village that ripped through a crowded market, burying dozens in the rubble of shops and mud houses, Iraqi officials said.

At least 144 were killed Saturday, and at least another 26 people were killed Sunday when two car bombs exploded within five minutes of each other in the city's mostly Shiite Karrada district and a bomb hit a truck of newly recruited Iraqi soldiers traveling to Baghdad to aid in the crackdown on the violence, according to the Associated Press.

Shattering a relative lull in Iraq's violence, the attacks raised questions about whether insurgents who have fled an ongoing military offensive in Baghdad and Diyala province are regrouping and assaulting soft targets elsewhere, in less-secure areas with fewer troops.

The violence came as the U.S. military reported that 10 American soldiers had been killed over the last couple of days, all in combat or by roadside bombs in Baghdad and the western province of Anbar. The fatalities underscored the mounting death toll during the five-month security offensive, reinforced by thousands of U.S. troops, that is meant to help Iraq meet political and security goals set by the Bush administration.

Lies, Damn Lies And War Statistics

Gee, can't the spinmeisters make up their minds?

Earlier last week we had this:

Iraqi officials today attributed a sharp drop in civilian deaths to a US-led security crackdown that began in February. At least 1,227 Iraqi civilians were killed in June - the lowest total since February - along with 190 policemen and 31 soldiers, an officer from the interior ministry operations room told the Associated Press.

The numbers were a 36% drop from the ministry's May figures - 1,949 civilian deaths along with 127 policemen and 47 soldiers.

But the figures could not be verified independently, and many deaths are believed to go unreported. The Iraqi government recently decided to withhold civilian casualty numbers from the UN.

Now we have this:

Nearly five months into a security strategy that involves thousands of additional U.S. and Iraqi troops patrolling Baghdad, the number of unidentified bodies found on the streets of the capital was 41 percent higher in June than in January, according to unofficial Health Ministry statistics.

During the month of June, 453 unidentified corpses, some bound, blindfolded, and bearing signs of torture, were found in Baghdad, according to morgue data provided by a Health Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. In January, 321 corpses were discovered in the capital, a total that fell steadily until April but then rose sharply over the last two months, the statistics show.

Overall, the level of violent civilian deaths in Iraq is declining, according to the U.S. military and Health Ministry statistics, and there has been a steady drop in fatalities from mass-casualty bombings that have torn through outdoor markets, university bus stops and crowds assembled to collect food rations.

But the number of unidentified bodies found on the streets is considered a key indicator of the malignancy of sectarian strife. While the declining number of bombing victims suggests that efforts to control violence are showing some success, the daily slayings of individuals, in aggregate, speak to an enduring level of aggression.

So which is it? Is the surge creating slightly less bodies, or is it a resounding failure?

When Fashionable Ethnic Groups Go Bad, Part Deux

Those freedom-loving Kurds are acting up again:

IRBIL, Iraq: Security forces in northern Iraq's Kurdistan, the heartland of the Kurdish minority long tormented by Saddam Hussein, routinely torture detainees with beatings and electric shocks and hold hundreds of prisoners for long periods without charge, a human rights group said Tuesday.

The Human Rights Watch report — based on interviews conducted from April to October 2006 with more than 150 detainees — demanded a comprehensive overhaul of detention practices in the Kurdish region and urged an independent body to investigate torture claims.

"We are surprised that the Kurds are practicing such violations after they were victims of torture during the Saddam era," Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director for Human Rights Watch, said, referring to the ousted Iraqi leader's oppression of the Kurds.

"We appreciate the efforts by Kurdistan government to combat terrorism and secure Kurdistan, but we see that such violations against prisoners are not a good thing," she told a press conference in the northern city of Irbil.

July 6, 2007

Do Democrats Cause Cancer?

Once again, the bushbots over at FAUX Nooze are imitating satire with their more incredulous than usual comparison of national health care with terra-ism. But it was this detail that slayed me:

The chyron, by the way, told viewers during the segment, "National Healthcare: Breeding Ground For Terror?" It was in all caps, and it wasn't trying to be funny.

Really, do these people have no shame?

July 5, 2007

With The GOP, We Were Always At War With (Insert Country Here)

Matthew Yglesias points us to a report by James Fallows that before 9-11 Lynne Cheney was colluding with the neocons in search of the next Eeeeevil Empire for this country to go to war against, not because it would be good foreign policy or even, God help us, sane, but because constant war is always good for the Republican party.

Two commentators on his blog sums up the insanity well:

I think Mexico is the next big growth area as far as national security threats are concerned. Think of the synergies that can be created by combining anti-terrorist rhetoric and anti-immigrant rhetoric. The political rate of return will be very handsome for the GOP.


Land war in Asia.

My, these people are fracking brilliant.

(via Atrios)

July 2, 2007

Impeachment NOW!

WorstPresidentEver commutes Scooter Libby's prison sentence.

You pink-tutu Dems better do something now, or forever share his shame.

The Rainmaker

So much for leaving to Caesar's what is Caesar's, and leaving to God what is God's. Steve Benen posting at Crooks and Liars points out yet another chapter in Alabama's leadership on government intervention:

With the state’s weather forecasters not delivering much-needed rain, Gov. Bob Riley on Thursday turned to a higher power. The governor issued a proclamation calling for a week of prayer for rain, beginning Saturday.

Riley encouraged Alabamians to pray “individually and in their houses of worship.?

“Throughout our history, Alabamians have turned in prayer to God to humbly ask for his blessings and to hold us steady during times of difficulty,? Riley said. “This drought is without question a time of great difficulty.?

So if the prayers don't work, do they forsake God or pray harder?