Saturday, June 02, 2007

Another Radical Hero

What’s Senator Mitch McConnell hiding?

He is hiding his and other senators’ campaign finance information by blocking legislation that would require electronic reporting.

As Senate Minority Leader, he is also hiding the identity of an anonymous Republican senator whose objections to “The Senate Campaign Disparity Act” (S. 223) have stymied efforts to give the public more information on sources of campaign contributions in the Senate.

The irony in this situation is that there is a secret objection to legislation that would generate more transparency for senators.

Another "Star Wars" Failure


Imagine how well it would work in the wild, as it were, although it's working great as a pork barrel project....

Friday, June 01, 2007

RudyL Flip-Flopping on 9/11

On Tuesday, members of a 911 truth activist group confronted former Mayor Rudy Giuliani at a New York fundraiser about the fall of the World Trade Center.

"How come people in the buildings weren't notified?" asked one member of the group. "And how can you sleep at night?"

Giuliani's politely-phrased response, caught by WNBC newscameras filming the event, was "I didn't know that the towers were going to collapse."

That response contradicts remarks the former New York City mayor made about being warned about the collapse during a phone interview with onetime ABC anchor Peter Jennings on September 11, 2001, as shown in a transcript WNBC obtained from the Giuliani 2008 campaign.

Giuliani told Jennings, "I--I went down to the scene and we set up headquarters at 75 Barkley Street, which was right there with the police commissioner, the fire commissioner, the head of emergency management, and we were operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was going to collapse. And it did collapse before we could actually get out of the building, so we were trapped in the building for 10, 15 minutes, and finally found an exit and got out, walked north, and took a lot of people with us."

Go to the record and you'll see the truth: Rudy's great accomplishment vis a vis 9/11 was all talk. That and milking his lies to a frtune and maybe the White House.

Iraq Forever!


Our Beloved Leader: Crazy like a Fox -- or a Loon?

We report, you decide:
As we noted the other day, we've heard two reports from what appears to have been the same visit some Texas-based bigwigs paid to George W. Bush recently.

In the president's version of the story, "a bunch of our buddies from Texas" visited the White House and asked him, "Man, how come you're still standing?" And he told them: "I'm inspired by doing this job. I believe strongly in the decisions I have made. I firmly believe that we are responding to this initial challenge of the 21st century in proper fashion."

In the version of the story posted by the Nelson Report, some "big money players up from Texas" managed to "get out exactly one question" before Bush went off on "an extended whine, a rant, actually, about [how] no one understands him, the critics are all messed up, if only people would see what he's doing things would be OK, etc."

Now, as Think Progress reports, there's a third version of the story. In the version set forth today by columnist Georgie Anne Geyer in the Dallas Morning News, friends of the president from Texas were "shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated, 'I am the president!' He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of 'our country's destiny.'"

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Official Seal of this Blog


Faux Vox Populi

"Sky-high gas prices, meeting with Iran, Jimmy Carter in the news, it feels great to be 9 years old again."

How Rudy was the Hero of 9/11

Even allowing the speaker here a bit of oratory license, we nonetheless feel compelled to point it out: Rudy doesn't have combat experience. He doesn't have national security experience, either. He walked through the smoke and dust on 9/11 and held a bunch of press conferences at which he uttered a bunch of emotional and reassuring phrases. But the actual recovery effort he ran, while praised by some, has attracted a whole bunch of criticism, too.

Falwell's Greatest Hits (Cont's): Racist

"The true Negro does not want integration.... He realizes his potential is far better among his own race." - Rev. Jerry Falwell

The late Rev. Jerry Falwell was one of the most powerful men in American religious and political life. He was also an avowed segregationist, contending that Africans were the cursed descendants of Ham, and worthy only of subservience to white people. He was an adamant opponent of civil rights legislation, calling the Civil Rights Act a "civil wrong."

His segregationist ardor became inconvenient when he sought a national audience. He removed many of his sermons from the 1950s and 1960s from his Liberty University archive. His lies paid off as the media made Falwell the Christian spokesman for all issues related to religion and politics. They soft-pedaled or even ignored his attacks on the civil rights movement. Yet Falwell's followers were under no misapprehension. They knew what their man wanted and followed in his foot steps.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Wisdom of Bill Keller

Obviously, he was qualified because he is dumber than Pinch therefor non-threatening. Wait, that's not to qualify him as Times EIC??
"We can't let our reverence for quality become a straitjacket in new media," he warned.

He's right. Who needs quality in journalism?

Doctor, Heal Thyself! A Little Rightist Dementia

A nutjob whines on the Journal op-ed page ("the asylum"):
There is a problem when some journals let antipathy for business interests and left-leaning views interfere with the medical decisions that they make, bending standards or stepping outside their mandate, using their prestige and influence in ways that distort medical facts in the aim of influencing political outcomes.
This kind of blatant lying burns my ass. He is so wrong. First, the problem in the journals has been the complete opposite: studies reported in the journals that had been corrupted by big business' business requirements.

Second, the loony doctor has, um, neglected or forgotten to add any proof. Sure, Doc, I'll take it on faith -- that's the scientific way....

What I've Been Wondering for Five and a Half Years

"If somebody can tell me what he did on 9/11 that was so good, I'd love to hear it. All he did was give information on the TV." -- NYFD Deputy Chief Jim Riches, whose firefighter son died on 9/11, foreshadowing [ed.: I hope!] the sort of treatment Rudy Giuliani will be getting from firefighters as he campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Really, Why are We in Iraq?

Talk about the ultimate flip-flopping; six years and no definitive, concrete, consistent answer. Krugman has the latest fake reason:
To keep the war going, the administration has brought the original bogyman back out of the closet. At first, Mr. Bush said he would bring Osama bin Laden in, dead or alive. Within seven months after 9/11, however, he had lost interest: "I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure," he said in March 2002. "I truly am not that concerned about him."

In all of 2003, Mr. Bush, who had an unrelated war to sell, made public mention of the man behind 9/11 only seven times.

But Osama is back: last week Mr. Bush invoked his name 11 times in a single speech, warning that if we leave Iraq, Al Qaeda - which wasn't there when we went in - will be the winner. And Democrats, still fearing that they will end up accused of being weak on terror and not supporting the troops, gave Mr. Bush another year's war funding.

The Last Memorial Day 2007 Cartoon??


The Dementia and Dishonesty of the Rightist Blogosphere

An archtypal example. They really are unbelievably crazy....

And for more dementia, here's Bill O'Reilly foaming at the mouth....

Monday, May 28, 2007

Falwell's Legacy

Just the worst, absolutely psycho nutjobs.

Competition of the Day

The General reminisces; how many more failures of Our Leaders can you come up with?

Just a few innocent mistakes
I hope we can all get past this whole Justice Department scandal now that Monica Goodling has admit ed she made a mistake and broke the law by vetting civil service applicants for ideological and theistic correctness. After all, everyone makes a mistake. Goodling and the Administration who worked for should be entitled to a few as well.

It's not like this administration is completely mistake-ridden. These are the only mistakes I could come up with after thinking about it for a whole 5 minutes.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior Julie A. MacDonald sends a confidential endangered species document to a guy she met on an on-line role-playing game. Her unofficial online consultant, apparently lacking an email account of his own, asks her to send it to his father's email account.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks David P. Smith tracks Biff the Elderly Buffalo to a corner of his pen and successfully bags his arthritic trophy by shooting him in the eye.
Al Hurra, the government owned and operated public relations television network broadcasts terrorist messages, including exhortations to commit violence against Jews, to the Middle East. The mistake is excused because none of the management speaks Arabic.
Upon taking Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld stations troops to defend the Oil Ministry against looters while leaving museums, arms depots, and nuclear facilities unguarded.
The Vice President's Chief of Staff makes a mistake when he lies to the FBI and a federal grand jury.
White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andrew Card attempt to strongarm a drugged, semi-coherent, hospitalized John Ashcroft into approving a state security apparatus operation against the people.
Jose Padilla is arrested for plotting to explode a dirty bomb. The charges are later changed and Padilla is accused of plotting to turn on the gas in a number of apartments and then light a match to them. Those charges were eventually dropped and currently, Padilla is charged with being a Chechen Resistance recruiter and filling out an application to be a terrorist.
8.8 billion dollars is placed on pallets and transported to Iraq where it is never heard from again.
In preparation for Hurricane Katrina, a FEMA contractor makes a web site inquiry about renting buses to evacuate New Orleans residents. The contractor finally orders the buses 18 hours after storm makes landfall.
The Department of Defense releases an 105 year old man from Guantanamo after it is determined he isn't a terrorist.
The White House Press Office issues credentials to an ideologically correct manwhore.
The US Government transports Maher Arar, a Canadian Citizen, to Syria to be tortured. He is released a year later when it was determined that he is innocent.
The President picks an ideologically correct horse show judge to run FEMA.
380 tons of explosives disappear from the Al QaQaa arms depot in the weeks between the fall of Iraq and the day the Pentagon decides to finally secure the facility.
Nuclear waste is taken from the Tuwaitha nuclear waste dump during the weeks between the fall of Iraq and the day the Pentagon finally sent troops to guard the facility.
Ahmad Chalabi, the man who supplied much of the intelligence about Iraq's WMD capabilities, and was the Defense Department's choice to lead the first Iraq government, is arrested for telling the Iranians that we had broken their codes.
President Bush, forgetting a briefing where he was told that Katrina would likely breach New Orleans levies, tells the world that no one could have predicted it.
President Bush and his consort, Condoleeza Rice declare that no one could have foreseen the events of 911. Later, Sec. Rice confirms that just one month before 911, she and the President discussed a Presidential Daily Briefing titled "Bin Laden determined to attack inside the U.S.," in which the threat of hijacked planes being flown into buildings was mentioned.
The Department of Defense fails to plan for anything after the fall of Iraq.

Don't This Say it All... So Sad


Memorial Day: One Father's Loss

I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose. We Were Both Doing Our Duty.
By Andrew J. Bacevich
The Washington Post

Sunday 27 May 2007

Parents who lose children, whether through accident or illness, inevitably wonder what they could have done to prevent their loss. When my son was killed in Iraq earlier this month at age 27, I found myself pondering my responsibility for his death.

Among the hundreds of messages that my wife and I have received, two bore directly on this question. Both held me personally culpable, insisting that my public opposition to the war had provided aid and comfort to the enemy. Each said that my son's death came as a direct result of my antiwar writings.

This may seem a vile accusation to lay against a grieving father. But in fact, it has become a staple of American political discourse, repeated endlessly by those keen to allow President Bush a free hand in waging his war. By encouraging "the terrorists," opponents of the Iraq conflict increase the risk to U.S. troops. Although the First Amendment protects antiwar critics from being tried for treason, it provides no protection for the hardly less serious charge of failing to support the troops - today's civic equivalent of dereliction of duty.

What exactly is a father's duty when his son is sent into harm's way?

Among the many ways to answer that question, mine was this one: As my son was doing his utmost to be a good soldier, I strove to be a good citizen.

As a citizen, I have tried since Sept. 11, 2001, to promote a critical understanding of U.S. foreign policy. I know that even now, people of good will find much to admire in Bush's response to that awful day. They applaud his doctrine of preventive war. They endorse his crusade to spread democracy across the Muslim world and to eliminate tyranny from the face of the Earth. They insist not only that his decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was correct but that the war there can still be won. Some - the members of the "the-surge-is-already-working" school of thought - even profess to see victory just over the horizon.

I believe that such notions are dead wrong and doomed to fail. In books, articles and op-ed pieces, in talks to audiences large and small, I have said as much. "The long war is an unwinnable one," I wrote in this section of The Washington Post in August 2005. "The United States needs to liquidate its presence in Iraq, placing the onus on Iraqis to decide their fate and creating the space for other regional powers to assist in brokering a political settlement. We've done all that we can do."

Not for a second did I expect my own efforts to make a difference. But I did nurse the hope that my voice might combine with those of others - teachers, writers, activists and ordinary folks - to educate the public about the folly of the course on which the nation has embarked. I hoped that those efforts might produce a political climate conducive to change. I genuinely believed that if the people spoke, our leaders in Washington would listen and respond.

This, I can now see, was an illusion.

The people have spoken, and nothing of substance has changed. The November 2006 midterm elections signified an unambiguous repudiation of the policies that landed us in our present predicament. But half a year later, the war continues, with no end in sight. Indeed, by sending more troops to Iraq (and by extending the tours of those, like my son, who were already there), Bush has signaled his complete disregard for what was once quaintly referred to as "the will of the people."

To be fair, responsibility for the war's continuation now rests no less with the Democrats who control Congress than with the president and his party. After my son's death, my state's senators, Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry, telephoned to express their condolences. Stephen F. Lynch, our congressman, attended my son's wake. Kerry was present for the funeral Mass. My family and I greatly appreciated such gestures. But when I suggested to each of them the necessity of ending the war, I got the brushoff. More accurately, after ever so briefly pretending to listen, each treated me to a convoluted explanation that said in essence: Don't blame me.

To whom do Kennedy, Kerry and Lynch listen? We know the answer: to the same people who have the ear of George W. Bush and Karl Rove - namely, wealthy individuals and institutions.

Money buys access and influence. Money greases the process that will yield us a new president in 2008. When it comes to Iraq, money ensures that the concerns of big business, big oil, bellicose evangelicals and Middle East allies gain a hearing. By comparison, the lives of U.S. soldiers figure as an afterthought.

Memorial Day orators will say that a G.I.'s life is priceless. Don't believe it. I know what value the U.S. government assigns to a soldier's life: I've been handed the check. It's roughly what the Yankees will pay Roger Clemens per inning once he starts pitching next month.

Money maintains the Republican/Democratic duopoly of trivialized politics. It confines the debate over U.S. policy to well-hewn channels. It preserves intact the cliches of 1933-45 about isolationism, appeasement and the nation's call to "global leadership." It inhibits any serious accounting of exactly how much our misadventure in Iraq is costing. It ignores completely the question of who actually pays. It negates democracy, rendering free speech little more than a means of recording dissent.

This is not some great conspiracy. It's the way our system works.

In joining the Army, my son was following in his father's footsteps: Before he was born, I had served in Vietnam. As military officers, we shared an ironic kinship of sorts, each of us demonstrating a peculiar knack for picking the wrong war at the wrong time. Yet he was the better soldier - brave and steadfast and irrepressible.

I know that my son did his best to serve our country. Through my own opposition to a profoundly misguided war, I thought I was doing the same. In fact, while he was giving his all, I was doing nothing. In this way, I failed him.

Andrew J. Bacevich teaches history and international relations at Boston University. His son died May 13 after a suicide bomb explosion in Salah al-Din province.

Soldeir's Eye View of Iraq

Staff Sgt. David Safstrom does not regret his previous tours in Iraq, not even a difficult second stint when two comrades were killed while trying to capture insurgents.

“In Mosul, in 2003, it felt like we were making the city a better place,” he said. “There was no sectarian violence, Saddam was gone, we were tracking down the bad guys. It felt awesome.”

But now on his third deployment in Iraq, he is no longer a believer in the mission. The pivotal moment came, he says, this February when soldiers killed a man setting a roadside bomb. When they searched the bomber’s body, they found identification showing him to be a sergeant in the Iraqi Army.

“I thought: ‘What are we doing here? Why are we still here?’ ” said Sergeant Safstrom, a member of Delta Company of the First Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. “We’re helping guys that are trying to kill us. We help them in the day. They turn around at night and try to kill us.”

His views are echoed by most of his fellow soldiers in Delta Company, renowned for its aggressiveness.


They had seen shadowy militia commanders installed as Iraqi Army officers, they said, had come under increasing attack from roadside bombs — planted within sight of Iraqi Army checkpoints — and had fought against Iraqi soldiers whom they thought were their allies.


But in Sergeant Safstrom’s view, the American presence is futile. “If we stayed here for 5, even 10 more years, the day we leave here these guys will go crazy,” he said. “It would go straight into a civil war. That’s how it feels, like we’re putting a Band-Aid on this country until we leave here.”

Their many deployments have added to the strain. After spending six months in Iraq, the soldiers of Delta Company had been home for only 24 hours last December when the news came. “Change your plans,” they recall being told. “We’re going back to Iraq.”

Nineteen days later, just after Christmas, Capt. Douglas Rogers and the men of Delta Company were on their way to Kadhimiya, a Shiite enclave of about 300,000 people. As part of the so-called surge of American troops, their primary mission was to maintain stability in the area and prepare the Iraqi Army and the police to take control of the neighborhood.

“I thought it would not be long before we could just stay on our base and act as a quick-reaction force,” said the barrel-chested Captain Rogers of San Antonio. “The Iraqi security forces would step up.”

It has not worked out that way.


On April 29, a Delta Company patrol was responding to a tip at Al Sadr mosque, a short distance from its base. The soldiers saw men in the distance erecting barricades that they set ablaze, and the streets emptied out quickly. Then a militia, believed to be the Mahdi Army, began firing at them from rooftops and windows.

Sgt. Kevin O’Flarity, a squad leader, jumped into his Humvee to join his fellow soldiers, racing through abandoned Iraqi Army and police checkpoints to the battle site.

He and his squad maneuvered their Humvees through alleyways and side streets, firing back at an estimated 60 insurgents during a gun battle that raged for two and a half hours. A rocket-propelled grenade glanced off Sergeant O’Flarity’s Humvee, failing to penetrate.

When the battle was over, Delta Company learned that among the enemy dead were at least two Iraqi Army soldiers that American forces had helped train and arm.

Captain Rogers admits, “The 29th was a watershed moment in a negative sense, because the Iraqi Army would not fight with us,” adding, “Some actually picked up weapons and fought against us.”

The battle changed the attitude among his soldiers toward the war, he said. “Before that fight, there were a few true believers.” Captain Rogers said. “After the 29th, I don’t think you’ll find a true believer in this unit. They’re paratroopers. There’s no question they’ll fulfill their mission. But they’re fighting now for pride in their unit, professionalism, loyalty to their fellow soldier and chain of command.”

To Sergeant O’Flarity, the Iraqi security forces are militias beholden to local leaders, not the Iraqi government. “Half of the Iraqi security forces are insurgents,” he said.

As for his views on the war, Sergeant O’Flarity said, “I don’t believe we should be here in the middle of a civil war.”

“We’ve all lost friends over here,” he said. “Most of us don’t know what we’re fighting for anymore. We’re serving our country and friends, but the only reason we go out every day is for each other.”

“I don’t want any more of my guys to get hurt or die,” he continued. “If it was something I felt righteous about, maybe. But for this country and this conflict, no, it’s not worth it.”


Now 22, Sergeant Griffin is a Delta Company section leader. On the night of May 5, as he neared an Iraqi police checkpoint with a convoy of Humvees, Sergeant Griffin spotted what looked like a camouflaged cinderblock and immediately halted the convoy. His vigilance may have saved the lives of several soldiers. Under the camouflage was a massive, six-array, explosively formed penetrator — a deadly roadside bomb that cuts through the Humvees’ armor with ease.

The insurgents quickly set off the device, but the Americans were at a safe distance. An explosive ordnance disposal team arrived to check the area. As the ordnance team rolled back to base, they were attacked with a second roadside bomb near another Iraqi checkpoint. One soldier was killed and two were wounded.

No one has been able to explain why two bombs were found near Iraqi checkpoints, bombs that Iraqi soldiers and the police had either failed to notice or helped to plant.

A Post for Memorial Day

First, see how nicely we (Our Leaders) treat the wounded (not).

Speaking of Our Beloved Leaders, they celebrate Memorial Day this year with a hoped-for bang.

And this is what burns my ass: the liberals -- or maybe that should be liberal-manques --hold that we should bug out of Iraq because most people in nearly all polls oppose the war.


We should be out because we never should have gone in in the first place.

That cannot be stressed enough or often enough.

OTOH, Colin Powell, the famous enabler of this historic tragedy, had it exactly right (albeit after the fact): We broke it, we fix it.

An immediate or premature bug-out is not the solution.

Getting rid of all levels of our current Leadership is.

U.S. to World: Drop Dead


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Torture for Al-Qaida Dummies


The Genius of Our Beloved Leader

At a White House press conference this week, NBC's David Gregory asked the president a highly relevant question: "Can you explain why you believe you're still a credible messenger on the war?" Bush didn't hesitate. "I'm credible because I read the intelligence, David," he said.

The Economy in Iraq is Growing Again...


Today's Love for Rudy -- Not!


Dem Senate Still not Quite with the Program; the People have Spoken but the Dems Can't Quite Hear them Clearly

The report that Rockefeller dumped on a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend, rather than publishing prior to Thursday's debate, was produced by a method that any of us could have employed, namely reading things that had already been published and summarizing them. To make matters worse, the report looks only at what the prewar predictions were for what the post-invasion conditions would be in Iraq. The report does not even summarize and give its stamp of approval to the existing and overwhelming body of evidence that the pre-war claims about weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda were known at the time to be false. THAT is the report everyone's waiting to see. And we don't want just a boring report. We want hearings on television. But, just as the Democrats agreed to steer the Iran-Contra hearings away from any evidence that might lead to President Ronald Reagan's impeachment, the current crop of Cheney Democrats seems intent on avoiding discussion of high crimes and misdemeanors.

On February 12, 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee announced that it had agreed to investigate the following list of items. The new report looks only at item E. We have not yet seen any reports, much less hearings or subpoenas, related to A-2, A-3, A-4, C, or G.

A. The matters set forth in the joint release of the Chairman and Vice Chairman on June 20, 2003:

the quantity and quality of U.S. intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs, ties to terrorist groups, Saddam Hussein's threat to stability and security in the region, and his repression of his own people;
the objectivity, reasonableness, independence, and accuracy of the judgments reached by the Intelligence Community;
whether those judgments were properly disseminated to policy makers in the Executive Branch and Congress;
whether any influence was brought to bear on anyone to shape their analysis to support policy objectives; and
other issues we mutually identify in the course of the Committee's review;
B. the collection of intelligence on Iraq from the end of the Gulf War to the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom;
C. whether public statements and reports and testimony regarding Iraq by U.S. Government officials made between the Gulf War period and the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom were substantiated by intelligence information;
D. the postwar findings about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and weapons programs and links to terrorism and how they compare with prewar assessments;
E. prewar intelligence assessments about postwar Iraq;
F. any intelligence activities relating to Iraq conducted by the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG) and the Office of Special Plans within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; and
G. the use by the Intelligence Community of information provided by the Iraqi National Congress (INC).

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Russ Feingold (D-WI) tries to put the best spin on the current report that he can:

"The report released today by the Senate Intelligence Committee underscores that the Administration was indifferent to the predicted negative consequences of the war in Iraq. The intelligence community's assessments, made prior to the war and widely disseminated within the Administration, also directly contradict many of the assertions made at the time by the Administration. The intelligence assessments available to the Administration before the war directly contradicted assertions that the war would help us fight al Qaeda. The intelligence community assessed that, as a result of the war, al Qaeda would probably see an opportunity to accelerate its operational tempo and increase terrorist attacks, terrorist groups would probably be encouraged to take advantage of a volatile security environment to launch attacks within Iraq and al Qaeda would try to take advantage of US attention on postwar Iraq to reestablish its presence in Afghanistan. The war's devastating impact on the fight against al Qaeda and on our national security has been apparent for some time. That the Administration was warned of the negative consequences before the war shows just how reckless it was."

And the raw data is -- and always has been -- here.

25 Major News Stories that didn't Interest Big Media


Video of our Leader being... Well, Actually, Nature Stating its Position....


Another Memorial Day Comic Strip


Memorial Day Comic Strip