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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

69% of Americans Believe Cheney Committed Treason

So says this Wall Street Journal poll:
Six in 10, including 43% of Republicans, say there should be a public investigation and hearings into exposure of operative Valerie Plame's identity. Republican congressional leaders don't plan to go along. Among conservatives, 60% say other administration officials aside from Libby may have acted illegally. Fully 69% of Americans hold Cheney personally responsible for the matter; 54% hold Bush responsible

Do Tell

The Bush Administration Is Betraying Veterans

So says retired Marine General Joseph Hoar:

Speaking on the Veterans Day weekend, the former U.S. military commander in the Middle East said "President Bush has consistently refused to provide enough" money for veterans' health care.

"Earlier this year, his administration admitted that they were $1 billion short in funding for critical health care services," he said. "They also repeatedly tried to increase the cost of prescription drugs and health care services for veterans nationwide."

And the worst is yet to come:

Hoar also said, "Thousands of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will require mental health care, yet the Bush administration has not taken action to deal with this emerging problem."

Note who the retired general points out as being supportive of the veteran's needs:

In contrast, Democrats are working to improve the current health care system and strengthen mental health care services, he said.

Any questions?

Hypocrites, Bigots, and Traitors

Olbermann exposes the blatant hypocrisy of Rick Santorum, the utter tastelessness of Mitt Romney, and the radical traitorous views of Bill O'reilly and Pat Robertson. Other cable news "journalists" please take note (video).

Lowering the Bar

With all the topnotch treatment, I can't imagine why the Army would have to reduce their recruitment expectations:

The Defense Department opened its new recruiting year with good news: announcing yesterday that the Army met its goal for October. But officials also said that the Army lowered the October recruiting goal by about a third from last year's. Army officials said that they recruited 4,925 soldiers into active duty in October, the first month of the new fiscal year, exceeding the monthly goal of 4,700. Last October, the Army slightly exceeded its goal of 6,935.


Write your own caption...

Shorter Washington Post: Bush Lied

Via the front page, Milbank and Pincus display some watchdog qualities, albeit more retriever than rottweiler, but the message is clear:

Bush and his aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than did lawmakers, who were dependent on the administration to provide the material. And the commissions cited by officials, though concluding that the administration did not pressure intelligence analysts to change their conclusions, were not authorized to determine whether the administration exaggerated or distorted those conclusions.

National security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, briefing reporters Thursday, countered "the notion that somehow this administration manipulated the intelligence." He said that "those people who have looked at that issue, some committees on the Hill in Congress, and also the Silberman-Robb Commission, have concluded it did not happen."

But the only committee investigating the matter in Congress, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has not yet done its inquiry into whether officials mischaracterized intelligence by omitting caveats and dissenting opinions. And Judge Laurence H. Silberman, chairman of Bush's commission on weapons of mass destruction, said in releasing his report on March 31, 2005: "Our executive order did not direct us to deal with the use of intelligence by policymakers, and all of us were agreed that that was not part of our inquiry."

Bush, in Pennsylvania yesterday, was more precise, but he still implied that it had been proved that the administration did not manipulate intelligence, saying that those who suggest the administration "manipulated the intelligence" are "fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments."

In the same speech, Bush asserted that "more than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power." Giving a preview of Bush's speech, Hadley had said that "we all looked at the same intelligence."

But Bush does not share his most sensitive intelligence, such as the President's Daily Brief, with lawmakers. Also, the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community's views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force in that country.

In addition, there were doubts within the intelligence community not included in the NIE. And even the doubts expressed in the NIE could not be used publicly by members of Congress because the classified information had not been cleared for release. For example, the NIE view that Hussein would not use weapons of mass destruction against the United States or turn them over to terrorists unless backed into a corner was cleared for public use only a day before the Senate vote.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Libby's Infomercial

Blitzer aired an interview with Scooter Libby from 2 years ago that basically amounted to an advertisement for his now infamous novel. Wolf actually appeared to be quite enthusiastic about the book; it must be a wolf meets bear sort of thing. Yes, one could say that I am being hypocritical for perpetuating the promotion, but the spectacle of it all was just too amusing to pass up. I guess the proceeds will go towards his defense fund (video).

Camelot Responds

Kennedy out classes Bush as he eloquently admonishes the shameless Veterans Day political attack on the Democrats (video).

Bitter Fruit

In honor of the fallen...

Please watch, and share.

Speaking of History

My how times have changed...

"You can support the troops, but not the president." - Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years." - Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?" - Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"The President is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy." - Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy." - Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy." - Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush

"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning. . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area." - Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today." - Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)

Rewriting History

Today Bush attempted to obfuscate the facts by accusing the Democrats of rewriting history due to their recent charges of being misled on the case for war. The simple fact of the matter is that the Democrats are just now gaining access to the intelligence that was contrary to the White House's agenda, such as the following:

This is the first report from Ibn al-Shaykh in which he claims Iraq assisted al-Qaida’s CBRN [Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear] efforts. However, he lacks specific details on the Iraqis involved, the CBRN materials associated with the assistance, and the location where training occurred. It is possible he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers. Ibn al-Shaykh has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest.

Saddam's regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements. Moreover, Baghdad is unlikely to provide assistance to a group it cannot control.

Oddly enough, this didn't seem to make it into Bush's little temper tantrum today. Go figure.

George Bush on Iraq, Circa 1999

The co-author of Bush's autobiography, Mickey Herskowitz, recalls candid conversations, regarding the future political aspirations of the then Texas governor:

He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999, said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. It was on his mind. He said to me: "One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief." And he said, "My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it." He said, "If I have a chance to invade... if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency."

Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father's shadow. The moment, Herskowitz said, came in the wake of the September 11 attacks. "Suddenly, he's at 91 percent in the polls, and he'd barely crawled out of the bunker."

The Devil's Own


Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman fought back valiantly with a conference call to reporters. But for a time, the call was effectively diverted by anti-GOP interlopers who got on a call intended for invited reporters only.

The access information for the call was posted -- unbeknownst to RNC officials -- on the well-known liberal Web log DailyKos.

So, instead of simply parrying the expected questions from reporters concerning the gubernatorial losses in New Jersey and Virginia, Mehlman also found himself ear-to-ear with one antagonist who asked sarcastically: "Given the results of the election, do you think Satan has taken over the country?"

"Next question," scolded Mehlman.

The Daily Show: Petrol Sounds

Stewart exposes Congress's mock hearing on the oil industry's price gouging for the patronizing charade that it is (video).

Veterans Day

The Bush Administration and their enablers will no doubt attempt to capitalize on the day with verbose speeches of mock patriotism, flag wrapping, yellow ribbon hanging, and other insincere gestures of gratitude, but actions speak much, much louder than words...

To this day, Bush has never attended the funeral of a single soldier killed in combat.

Troops and their families have to pay for their own body armor.

The National Guard Reserves are being forced into extended service, without an end in sight.

Troops wounded in action are seeing their wages garnished for their medical care.

Troops are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder -- with many committing suicide and murder -- yet the administration cut funding for treatment.

They have proposed to cut combat pay and other benefits for troops after the "Mission Accomplished" photo-op; since then over 1,500 troops have died.

Troops are being used and manipulated for propaganda, most notably Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch.

Shameless, absolutely shameless.

Fox News: Bush 36% Job Approval

Even the White House cheerleaders are losing their ability to prop up the lame one:
Today, 36 percent of Americans approve and 53 percent disapprove of the job Bush is doing as president. For comparison, two weeks ago 41 percent said they approved and 51 percent disapproved, and at the beginning of his second term 50 percent approved and 40 percent disapproved (January 25-26).

Larry King Live: Judy Miller

King gives his usual freepass -- for lack of a better word, interview -- to the infamously unapologetic Queen of Iraq (video).

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Quack, Quack

With 3 years left to go, Bush is already losing his presidential super-powers; first a pullback on the Patriot Act:
Congress is moving to curb some of the police powers it gave the Bush administration after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, including imposing new restrictions on the FBI's access to private phone and financial records. A budding House-Senate deal on the expiring USA Patriot Act includes new limits on federal law enforcement powers and rejects the Bush administration's request to grant the FBI authority to get administrative subpoenas for wiretaps and other covert devices without a judge's approval.
Then a rejection on the ANWR drilling:

House Republicans, after long hours scrounging for votes to pass their five-year budget, Wednesday night dropped a provision that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

And now a revolt on tax cuts to the wealthy:
A battle between House Republican conservatives and moderates over energy policy and federal anti-poverty and education programs left GOP leaders without enough votes to pass a budget measure they had framed as one of the most important pieces of legislation in years. Across the Capitol, a moderate GOP revolt in the Senate Finance Committee forced Republicans to postpone action on a bill to extend some of President Bush's most contentious tax cuts.
Time to waddle back to Crawford, Mr. President.

Countdown: Meet the Mayor

Olbermann interviews Michael Sessions, Hillsdale Michigan's new 18-year-old mayor elect; can't say I'm impressed, but all things being relative, he appears no less articulate than our president (video).

Stepford Pundit

Norah O'Donnell defends the Bush Administration's sinking polls with a freaky over-the-top performance worthy of Bryan Forbes' classic thriller (video).

Bravo Senator, Bravo

Ted Kennedy:

150,000 American troops are bogged down in a quagmire in Iraq because the Bush Administration misrepresented and distorted the intelligence to justify a war that America never should have fought.

As we know all too well, Iraq was not an imminent threat. It had no nuclear weapons. It had no persuasive links to Al Qaeda, no connection to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, and no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

But the President wrongly and repeatedly insisted that it was too dangerous to ignore the weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Saddam Hussein, and his ties to Al Qaeda.

In his march to war, President Bush exaggerated the threat to the American people. It was not subtle. It was not nuanced. It was pure, unadulterated fear-mongering, based on a devious strategy to convince the American people that Saddam's ability to provide nuclear weapons to Al Qaeda justified immediate war.

Administration officials suggested the threat from Iraq was imminent, and went to great lengths to convince the American people that it was.


What was said before does matter. The President's words matter. The Vice President's words matter. So do those of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense and other high officials in the Administration. And they did not square with the facts.

The Intelligence Committee agreed to investigate the clear discrepancies, and it's important that they get to the bottom of this, and find out how and why President Bush took America to war in Iraq. Americans are dying. Already more than 2000 have been killed, and more than 15,000 have been wounded.

The American people deserve the truth. It's time for the President to stop passing the buck and for him to be held accountable.

Support the Troops: Veterans Day Edition


[Veterans' Affairs Committee] Chairman Buyer recently announced that veterans service organizations will no longer have the opportunity to present testimony before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees.

"The tradition of legislative presentations by veterans service organizations dates back to at least the 1950s. And the timing of this announcement -- just before Veterans Day -- could not have been worse," said DAV National Commander Paul W. Jackson.

"The right to fully participate in the democratic process is a cornerstone of our nation," said Commander Jackson. "Eliminating these joint hearings is an insult to the men and women who have fought, sacrificed and died to protect our Constitutional rights, including the right to petition the government."

Social Graces

If George didn't have so much blood on his hands, I'd almost feel sorry for him; the boy king is just so damn pathetic:

Bush, who appeared almost playful, fastened the heavy medal around Muhammad Ali's neck and whispered something in the heavyweight champion's ear. Then, as if to say "bring it on," the president put up his dukes in a mock challenge. Ali, 63, who has Parkinson's disease and moves slowly, looked the president in the eye -- and, finger to head, did the "crazy" twirl for a couple of seconds.

The room of about 200, including Cabinet secretaries, tittered with laughter. Ali, who was then escorted back to his chair, made the twirl again while sitting down. And the president looked visibly taken aback, laughing nervously.


The pretzel'd logic the wingnut base regularly consumes from Fox News -- without question -- never ceases to amaze me. According to Bill O'Reilly the Iraq War is Jacques Chirac's fault:
But this French thing, I mean to us -- just remember this: If Jacques Chirac had stepped up and looked Saddam in the eye and said, "You either let those U.N. inspectors do their job unfettered, or I'm going with the U.S.A. and Britain," Saddam would have blinked. There wouldn't have been an Iraq war. This Iraq War is on Chirac. It's right on his head. That's where it is.

Too Many Lies About Torture To Keep Straight

Let the backpedaling begin:

Lott appeared to tell the reporters that the source on the secret prisons in Eastern Europe came from a Senate Republican who had been at the Nov. 1 luncheon. CNN reported Lott's remarks citing a fellow Senator as the leak on the Nov. 2 story, as did at other news organizations, including Roll Call and Congressional Quarterly.

But it was clearly impossible for a Senator to have been the initial source, since that meeting broke up after 2 p.m. and the secret-prison story -- a more than 2,800-word opus which included sources in intelligence communities around the globe -- was filed and slapped down in the next day's paper.

Instead, Lott was really complaining about a different Post story, one that ran Monday, that focused on Cheney's role in trying to defeat an anti-torture amendment sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Initially on Wednesday, Lott blamed CNN for misreporting or misunderstanding his comments Tuesday. Told that several other reporters heard the same thing, Lott said it's possible that they also misunderstood him or that he was answering a question about the Nov. 7 story and the reporters thought he was talking about the Nov. 2 story.

"Two separate issues, they got tangled up," Lott explained.

The Booming Economy

I'm not an economist, but I would suspect when a nation is spending much more than it's earning, that would tend to be a bad thing:

So far this year, the deficit is running at an annual rate of $706.4 billion. This puts the country on track to far surpass the old deficit record of $617.6 billion set last year and gives critics ammunition to argue that President Bush's trade policies are not working.


The 11.4 percent increase in the deficit reflected the fact that imports jumped by 2.4 percent to a record $171.3 billion in September, driven by the higher oil bill and a big increase in imports of consumer goods such as televisions, clothing and toys.

U.S. exports actually fell by 2.6 percent to $105.2 billion in September, the biggest monthly decline in four years. However, analysts cautioned that the drop-off was heavily influenced by a strike at aircraft-maker Boeing which sharply curtailed shipments of jetliners during the month.

The deficit with China jumped by 8.9 percent during the month to a record $20.1 billion and through September is running at an annual rate approaching $200 billion, far above last year's record deficit of $162 billion, which was the highest imbalance ever recorded with a single country.

But hey, that's just me. What do I know? I must not have the economic foresight of our president.

The Daily Show: Pork Projects

Rob Corddry covers the government's wasteful spending on education and other frivolous social programs (video).

Impeachapalooza '06

The Nelson Report makes an excellent point; platform this:
Sounds like a pretty solid case for an impeachment proceeding, were there anything resembling either a sense or shame, or national ethics, in the Leadership of the House of Representatives and Senate. Something to be argued out in the 2006 Congressional campaigns?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Operation Phantom Fury

An Italian documentary produced by RAI News 24, substantiates the claim that the US military has been exploiting the dual use of white phosphorus, particularly during the attack on Fallujah last November (video).

Turd Blossomed: Special Privileges Edition

Karl Rove -- who was identified by Bob Novak as the source for outing a covert agent's identity -- has retained his security clearance, despite the fact it is the norm to have clearances revoked for much less serious offenses:

An intelligence analyst temporarily lost his top-secret security clearance because he faxed his resume using a commercial machine.

An employee of the Defense Department had her clearance suspended for months because a jilted boyfriend called to say she might not be reliable.

An Army officer who spoke publicly about intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks had his clearance revoked over questions about $67 in personal charges to a military cellphone.

Most Americans In Michael Moore Territory...

Ironically, the Bush loyalists will soon be saying: Dude, where's my country?

Robber Barons

Lou Dobbs weighs in on the oil industry's new tax breaks and soaring profits (video).

White Phosphorus

The Pentagon states that it's used only for illumination; the following Marine account says otherwise:

After pounding parts of the city for days, many Marines say the recent combat escalated into more than they had planned for, but not more than they could handle. "It's a war," said Cpl. Nicholas Bogert, 22, of Morris, N.Y.

Bogert is a mortar team leader who directed his men to fire round after round of high explosives and white phosphorus charges into the city Friday and Saturday, never knowing what the targets were or what damage the resulting explosions caused.

"We had all this SASO (security and stabilization operations) training back home," he said. "And then this turns into a real goddamned war." Just as his team started to eat a breakfast of packaged rations Saturday, Bogert got a fire mission over the radio. "Stand by!" he yelled, sending Lance Cpls. Jonathan Alexander and Jonathan Millikin scrambling to their feet.

Joking and rousting each other like boys just seconds before, the men were instantly all business. With fellow Marines between them and their targets, a lot was at stake. Bogert received coordinates of the target, plotted them on a map and called out the settings for the gun they call "Sarah Lee."

Millikin, 21, from Reno, Nev., and Alexander, 23, from Wetumpka, Ala., quickly made the adjustments. They are good at what they do. "Gun up!" Millikin yelled when they finished a few seconds later, grabbing a white phosphorus round from a nearby ammo can and holding it over the tube. "Fire!" Bogert yelled, as Millikin dropped it.

The boom kicked dust around the pit as they ran through the drill again and again, sending a mixture of burning white phosphorus and high explosives they call "shake 'n' bake" into a cluster of buildings where insurgents have been spotted all week. They say they have never seen what they've hit, nor did they talk about it as they dusted off their breakfast and continued their hilarious routine of personal insults and name-calling.

Black Helicopters

With Bush's approval ratings hovering in the mid-30s, Cheney's approval at 19, numerous scandals, multiple indictments, failure after failure; the RNC still manages enough arrogance to make incendiary statements like this:

Harry Reid's vicious and out of touch attack today highlights why he is a leader of the country's minority party. The American people respond to leaders who are interested in solving problems, not politicians who are on the lookout for black helicopters. Democrats should focus on finding an agenda, instead of the far-flung conspiracy theory of the day.

Paid for by the Republican National Committee.

Some might call it confidence, others would rightfully call it desperation.

Miller Times

It's official, bye-bye Judy:

The New York Times and Judith Miller, a veteran reporter for the paper, reached an agreement today that ends her 28-year career at the newspaper and caps more than two weeks of negotiations over the conclusion of a tumultuous episode.


Lawyers for Ms. Miller and the paper negotiated a severance package whose details they would not disclose. Under the agreement, Ms. Miller will retire from the newspaper, and The Times will print a letter she wrote to the editor explaining her position. Ms. Miller originally demanded that she be able to write an essay for the paper's Op-Ed page refuting the allegations against her, the lawyers said. The Times refused that demand - Gail Collins, editor of the editorial page, said, "We don't use the Op-Ed page for back and forth between one part of the paper and another" - but agreed to let her to write the letter.

Pentagon: Detainees Must Be Treated Well

Which in practice will translate to anything goes, but no dogs:

Thrown on the defensive by abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, the Pentagon has issued a broad new directive mandating that detainees be treated humanely and has banned the use of dogs to intimidate or harass suspects.


The directive says that "acts of physical or mental torture are prohibited" and directs that any violations be reported, investigated, and punished when appropriate. But the only specific prohibition in the directive says that dogs used by any government agency "shall not be used as part of an interrogation approach or to harass, intimidate threaten or coerce a detainee for interrogation purposes."

Blue Tuesday

So says Town Hall, an "interactive community on the Internet to bring Internet users, conservative public policy organizations, congressional staff, and political activists together under the broad umbrella of conservative thoughts, ideas and actions."

Odd News: Hillsdale Michigan Edition

Once again the old adage is proven correct, fact is indeed stranger than fiction:

An 18-year-old high school student has been elected mayor after mounting a write-in campaign to oust the 51-year-old incumbent. With all the votes counted, Michael Sessions had 732 votes to 668 for Mayor Doug Ingles, according to unofficial figures posted on the city's Web site.


Pending clearance by the County Board of Canvassers on Thursday, Sessions will be the youngest mayor in city history, the Hillsdale Daily News reported. Sessions was 17 and not yet qualified to get on the ballot in the spring. But one day after his birthday, on Sept. 22, he registered to vote. The next day, he signed up as a write-in candidate.

He used $700 from a summer job to fund his race.

Harboring Traitors

Ahmad Chalabi will be visiting the White House today, Arianna Huffington has some additional recommended stops for his visit:

1. FBI Headquarters. Chalabi is currently under investigation, suspected of telling the Iranian government that America had broken the code it used for secret communications -- an offense the administration said could "get people killed". When this information came to light 17 months ago, Condi Rice promised a criminal investigation of the charges. But close to a year and a half later, the FBI has still not questioned Chalabi. Now seems like a perfect time. Condi can walk him over to the Hoover Building after their meeting and make all the necessary introductions.

2. United States Congress. I'm sure the Senate intelligence committee (or at least its Democratic members) would like to speak to Chalabi as part of the Phase II investigation into the Bush administration's use of false and misleading intelligence to help sell the war -- false and misleading intelligence that Chalabi, after all, played a central role in supplying. I'd love to see Dick Durbin grill Chalabi under oath about his relationship with the White House Iraq Group, his relationship with Curveball, and his predictions of a problem-free occupation. Members of the House, including John Conyers, are also very interested in talking to him. It might be very useful for the Deputy Prime Minister (and wanna-be PM) to get "An Insider's View of Democratic Politics at Work in America".

3. New York Times Washington Bureau. I'm sure that Bill Keller and Jill Abramson would fly to down for the chance to talk to Chalabi about his relationship with Judy Miller and find out exactly how he managed to convince her to write utterly bogus front page stories like the one about the engineer who swore he had personally seen 20 different WMD sites (Miller's story on the engineer, whom Miller deemed "reliable" and "credible", came just three days after he had failed a CIA lie detector test). (Note to Chalabi: don't be surprised it Pinch Sulzberger declines to fly down for the meeting).

4. Arlington National Cemetery. And finally, how about a quick meet and greet with the families of the over 17,000 U.S. soldiers killed or wounded in a war Mr. Chalabi was central in selling to our leaders? Maybe he can reminisce about the Pentagon meeting held a week after 9/11 during which he made the case for taking on Iraq. He can also explain what he meant in 2004 when he shrugged off charges he had deliberately trumped up claims about Saddam's WMD by saying, "We are heroes in error". He can then lead a discussion about who are the bigger heroes, Chalabi or the 2,057 American soldiers who have died in Iraq.

Ah, Memories

Write your own caption...

The Daily Show: Interro-Gate

Stewart weighs in on the Bush Administration's torture policies (video).

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Countdown: Credibility Gap

Olbermann pulls no punches with his coverage of the White House's mixed messages regarding torture, and for that matter, neither does Harry Reid (video).

Democrats Win NJ and VA Governor Races

The tide has finally turned:
Democrats won both governors' races Tuesday, with Sen. Jon Corzine easily beating Doug Forrester in New Jersey and Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine soundly defeating Jerry Kilgore in Virginia despite a last-minute campaign push from President Bush.

Frist Leak Probe Backfires


This morning, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) wrote a letter to intelligence committee chairmen about the recent leak of information to the Washington Post about secret CIA detention centers in Europe.

In the letter, Frist and Hastert claimed the leaks "could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences" for the security of the United States, and warned of a "dangerous trend" of leaking "that, if not addressed swiftly and firmly, likely will worsen."

But today, in an off-camera meeting with reporters, Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) revealed that the leak likely came from a Senator or Senate staffer who attended a GOP-only meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney last week, where the detention centers were discussed.


Think globally, act locally... Go to the polls.

Fancy Airs


[Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tim] Kaine's Republican challenger, Jerry Kilgore, got support Monday from President Bush, who made a last-minute dash into Virginia to urge die-hard conservatives to help turn out voters for the former attorney general.

"The thing I like about this fellow is he grew up on a farm," Bush said in a brief stop on his return from a South American trade mission. "He doesn't have a lot of fancy airs."

The Daily Show: Protests Abroad

Stewart weighs in on the Paris riots, and Bush's less than welcome reception in Argentina (video).

Napalm 2.0

Breaking yet another of the Geneva Conventions, this time with the use of chemical weapons:
Powerful new evidence emerged yesterday that the United States dropped massive quantities of white phosphorus on the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the attack on the city in November 2004, killing insurgents and civilians with the appalling burns that are the signature of this weapon. Ever since the assault, which went unreported by any Western journalists, rumours have swirled that the Americans used chemical weapons on the city.
Of course the Bush Administration completely denies the claims:
In December the US government formally denied the reports, describing them as "widespread myths". "Some news accounts have claimed that US forces have used 'outlawed' phosphorus shells in Fallujah," the USinfo website said. "Phosphorus shells are not outlawed. US forces have used them very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes.
Ah, illumination. This is what the "illuminated" are reporting:
A biologist in Fallujah, Mohamad Tareq, interviewed for the film, says: "A rain of fire fell on the city, the people struck by this multi-coloured substance started to burn, we found people dead with strange wounds, the bodies burned but the clothes intact."
Sound familiar?

92,000 More Troops Will Be Visiting Iraq Soon

The Bush Administration claims that great progress is being made, yet we keep sending more troops:

The Pentagon on Monday notified 92,000 fresh U.S. troops to prepare for rotation to Iraq over a two-year period beginning in mid-2006, but cautioned that the number did not signal immediate plans to slash a much-higher U.S. troop level now in that country. There are currently about 160,000 American troops in Iraq. That total, boosted to help security for elections in October and December, is above the usual "baseline" level of about 138,000 U.S. troops stationed there.

Speaking of which, whatever happened to all that talk about withdrawal and troop reduction?

The Fifth Estate: Dick Cheney

CBC's unauthorized biography of the most powerful and unscrupulous vice president in our nation's history (video).

Countdown: Iraq Reconstruction Corruption

Former CIA counter terrorism analyst, Phillip Giraldi, raises the often overlooked fact that the insurgency did not exist until long after the fall of Saddam. Giraldi points out that if the Bush Administration had a sufficient plan for the reconstruction effort, the Iraq insurgency could potentially have been avoided (video).

Learn more from Giraldi's piece: Money for Nothing at the American Conservative.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Mushroom Clouds

Take a trip down misinformation lane with the White House Iraq Group (video).

Hardball: Senator Carl Levin

Levin brings to light the newly declassified information that suggests the Bush Administration intentionally misled the nation to war (video).

Declassified Document Proves Bush Knew Iraq Pre-War Intelligence Was "Misleading" Since February 2002

Via Senator Carl Levin's office:

The Administration made repeated assertions that Iraq had provided al-Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training. For example, President Bush said in a speech in Cincinnati on October 7, 2002, "We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases." In February 2003, the President said, "Iraq has provided al-Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training."

Those assertions were based on the claims of a detainee, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, a long-time jihadist and senior military trainer for al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. However, as revealed by this newly declassified information, the DIA did not believe al-Libi’s claims at the time the Administration was making its assertions. Specifically, the DIA concluded the following in February 2002, which has never previously been publicly disclosed.

An excerpt from the declassified DIA document:

This is the first report from Ibn al-Shaykh in which he claims Iraq assisted al-Qaida’s CBRN [Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear] efforts. However, he lacks specific details on the Iraqis involved, the CBRN materials associated with the assistance, and the location where training occurred. It is possible he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers. Ibn al-Shaykh has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest.

Saddam's regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements. Moreover, Baghdad is unlikely to provide assistance to a group it cannot control.

Bush: We Do Not Torture

While it's certainly not breaking news that our president is a liar, the level of boldness was turned up a few clicks with this one:
The U.S. government is aggressively taking action to protect Americans from terrorism but "we do not torture," President Bush said on Monday, responding to criticism of reported secret CIA prisons and the handling of terrorism suspects.
Excuse me Mr. President, but what the hell do you call this?

Big Time Sadism

It's a reasonable assumption that the Bush Administration's policies on torture are -- in the minds of the enforcers -- simply a means to an end. While certainly detestable in itself, it did not appear to be, shall we say, something a wee bit personal. But based on the following report of Cheney's "impassioned pleas" for free reign on torture, for him the latter may in fact be the case:

Over the past year, Vice President Cheney has waged an intense and largely unpublicized campaign to stop Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department from imposing more restrictive rules on the handling of terrorist suspects, according to defense, state, intelligence and congressional officials.


In recent months, Cheney has been the force against adding safeguards to the Defense Department's rules on treatment of military prisoners, putting him at odds with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England. On a trip to Canada last month, Rice interrupted a packed itinerary to hold a secure video-teleconference with Cheney on detainee policy to make sure no decisions were made without her input.

Just last week, Cheney showed up at a Republican senatorial luncheon to lobby lawmakers for a CIA exemption to an amendment by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would ban torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners. The exemption would cover the CIA's covert "black sites" in several Eastern European democracies and other countries where key al Qaeda captives are being kept.


On Tuesday, Cheney, who often attends the GOP senators' weekly luncheons without addressing the lawmakers, made "an impassioned plea" to reject McCain's amendment, said a senatorial aide who was briefed on the meeting and spoke on the condition of anonymity because of its closed nature.

Used Car Salesman Heads Iraq Army Weapons Procurement

No kidding. You just can't make this stuff up:

Ziad Cattan was a Polish Iraqi used-car dealer with no weapons-dealing experience until U.S. authorities turned him into one of the most powerful men in Iraq last year -- the chief of procurement for the Defense Ministry, responsible for equipping the fledgling Iraqi army.

As U.S. advisors looked on, Cattan embarked on a massive spending spree, paying hundreds of millions of dollars in Iraqi funds for secret, no-bid contracts, according to interviews with more than a dozen senior American, coalition and Iraqi officials, and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times. The money flowed, often in bricks of cash, through the hands of middlemen who were friends of Cattan and took a percentage of the proceeds.

Let me guess, a friend of Chalabi?

Supporting Our Troops

The Bush Administration way...

To this day, Bush has never attended the funeral of a single soldier killed in combat.

Troops and their families have to pay for their own body armor.

The National Guard Reserves are being forced into extended service, without an end in sight.

Troops wounded in action are seeing their wages garnished for their medical care.

They have proposed to cut combat pay and other benefits for troops after the "Mission Accomplished" photo-op; since then over 1,500 troops have died.

Troops are being used and manipulated for propaganda, most notably Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

West Wing: Live Debate

Of course it wasn't real, they actually debated the issues, and by no surprise the discourse was a timely reflection of the current political paradigm. All and all, the debate -- issue by issue -- was something our real candidates would be wise to aspire to in '08. The discussion regarding healthcare was particularly interesting... Medicare for all? The debate on educational funding was noteworthy as well.

In a nutshell the contrast of the up-and-coming liberal idealist versus the pro-big-business pro-tax-cut elder conservative reminded me more than just a little of the Cheney-Edwards debate. Much like the '04 vice presidential debate, the young Democratic candidate had the facts on his side, but lacked the experience and stature to deliver the point effectively -- or at least as effective as the point could be. Not sure if that was the intent, but that was my general perception.

As far as acting, Smits seemed a bit uncomfortable with the live format, but kudos to Alda for an awesome performance -- especially considering that Alda's real life politics are a polar opposite of his character's.

If Looks Could Kill

Write your own caption...

Jumping Ship

Presidential hopeful, Chuck Hagel attempts to distance himself from the Bush Administration abusive policies:
"I think the administration is making a terrible mistake in opposing John McCain's amendment on detainees and torture," Hagel, R-Neb., said on "This Week" on ABC. "Why in the world they're doing that, I don't know."
Expect more to follow...

Countdown: The World's Worst

Fox News won the coveted prize; Tom DeLay trailed by a close second (video).


One would think with the plethora of White House scandals, and that all so subtle whiff of impeachment in the air, the spin doctors would instruct George to avoid this sort of gesture.

Paris Riots

Atrios nails it:

I bounce back and forth between amusement and disgust at the right wing's bizarre and uninformed reaction to the events in Paris. Without getting into the of course important subtleties, think "60s race riots" as your comparison point, not "al Qaeda terrorists."

France treats its immigrant populations (which include, of course, 2nd and 3rd generation "immigrants") like shit. This isn't a "clash of cultures" it's rebellion by a repressed and marginalized underclass.

What Did Bush Know

The Judy Miller Times is finally asking the obvious:

The issue now for the White House is how long it can go on deflecting the inquiries and trying to keep the focus away from Mr. Bush.

While there has been no suggestion that Mr. Bush did anything wrong, the portrait of the White House that was painted by the special counsel in the indictment of Mr. Libby was one in which a variety of senior officials, including Mr. Cheney, played some role in events that preceded the disclosure of the officer's identity.

Mr. Bush was not mentioned in the indictment. But the fact that so many of his aides seem to have been involved in dealing with the issue that eventually led to the leak - how to rebut or discredit Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former diplomat who had challenged the administration's handling of prewar intelligence - leaves open the question of what the president knew.

Absolute Power...

As we in the reality-based community all anticipated, kiss your privacy good by:

The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters -- one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people -- are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.

Issued by FBI field supervisors, national security letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. They receive no review after the fact by the Justice Department or Congress. The executive branch maintains only statistics, which are incomplete and confined to classified reports. The Bush administration defeated legislation and a lawsuit to require a public accounting, and has offered no example in which the use of a national security letter helped disrupt a terrorist plot.


Career investigators and Bush administration officials emphasized, in congressional testimony and interviews for this story, that national security letters are for hunting terrorists, not fishing through the private lives of the innocent. The distinction is not as clear in practice.

Take what you want, leave what you don't.

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