Saturday, December 10, 2005

Discussing Withdrawal: Confusion In The Ranks

No, I'm not talking about the Democrats!

I'm talking about the Bush administration, which is simultaneously denying any timetable for withdrawal and also planning on withdrawing troops in the coming weeks and months... From the AP:
Bush rejects Iraq timetable, Republicans assail critics

President George W. Bush on Friday forcefully rejected a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq as his Republican Party assailed Democratic critics with an ad using the white flag of surrender.

"There are some who are arguing for a fixed timetable of withdrawal, I think it's a wrong policy," Bush said. "A fixed timetable of withdrawal would embolden the enemy, would confuse the Iraqis and would send the wrong signal to our young men and women in uniform."

However, as I noted on Thursday, Sec. of Defense Rumsfeld has stolen John Kerry's plan proposed a plan to have "some 20,000 U.S. troops ... return home from Iraq after next week's elections, and [then] some of the remaining 137,000 forces could pull out next year."

Mr. President, is Mr. Rumsfeld emboldening our enemies, confusing the Iraqis, and sending the wrong signal to our young men and women in uniform? Should I have Howard Dean prepare a white flag ad with Rummy in it?

Remember everyone- When Democrats make proposals for bringing our troops home (and do so in a very public way, so as to involve the American public in the debate and exchange of ideas), it's defeatism and treason!

When the Bush administration (quietly) does it, they are great leaders!

Don't question the logic... that's unpatriotic!

The Hostage Crisis

As you may have read, four Western peace workers (two Canadians, a Briton and an American) were kidnapped in Iraq and are being held hostage. They were taken by a group known as Swords of Truth, which said it would kill them today if its demand for the release of thousands of prisoners from Iraqi jails is not met. The Iraqi government and the U.S. military have released some prisoners, but they say this was part of normal release operations and not in response to the hostage situation.

Here's what I noticed about this as I watched a report on it on MSNBC this morning... I have not heard President Bush mention these hostages. Ohh sure, four hostages is probably not a big enough deal amidst all the progress victory democracy violence occurring there, but surely it is worthy of acknowledgement by the Commander-in-Chief.

After all, was not Jimmy Carter's reelection campaign thwarted because of his inability to properly respond to the Iran hostage situation? I know about this matter very well, for you cannot mention Mr. Carter's presidency to a conservative without them ranting about it. Certainly, that was a much higher-profile situation, but at least President Carter tried to resolve it. Is it too much to expect at this point that the President even acknowledge this current hostage situation?

This is just one piece of a large picture. The main problem is that the President refuses to acknowledge the violence and chaos that rules Iraq. For how can he lash out at war critics like Howard Dean if he admits the country is a disaster area? Ohh sure, in every speech or two, the President will make some vague reference to "hardships" or "setbacks" or something like that, but he never states specifics, rather leaving the listener to imagine all that is going wrong in Iraq is the Baghdad Kinkos using the wrong font when printing up copies of their Constitution.

Last week, the President gave an upbeat speech on the U.S. economy. The day before the speech, 10 Marines were killed in a violent attack. The President was aware of this (as confirmed later by Scott McClellan), yet the President did not see fit to acknowledge this loss in his speech that morning. After all, those pesky dead Marines might ruin his super-happy speech. It's the same type of apathetic attitude that caused him to ignore all the parents of dead soldiers outside his ranch this summer, because he needed to "get on with his life". And it's why the media is not allowed to show flag-draped coffins. And why the President has yet to attend the funeral of even one fallen soldier. Because the deaths of brave men and women are upsetting and inconvenient to his upbeat appraisal of the situation in Iraq.

Rest assured, whether these four hostages are killed or not, I would not expect to hear much about it from the President.

Torture: Un-American & inefficient

I was reading the Daily News yesterday and read the most idiotic editorial. Entitled "Our man at the UN", its main purpose is to praise the work of (recess appointee) UN Ambassador John Bolton, calling his work a "delight". Ignoring that adjective, the paragraph that truly got me eyes rolling was about the U.S.'s use of torture (oops, sorry, we don't do that) as an interrogation tool. The editorial blows off this "this phony-baloney 'torture' business [which] continues to be a labored issue in some quarters of Europe". They dismiss the issue and even say we should "thank our lucky stars" the U.S. is willing to do anything to stop the "bad guys". Vice President Cheney, please let Mr. Zuckerman have his editorial page back.

I must confess to strongly disliking their editorial board. The editorials often come off ill-informed and very amateurish. And for a middle-of-the-road paper, their editorials often lean very conservative. They basically make most of the same points the Post's editorials do, except the News doesn't sound like Sean Hannity when they do it (for instance, the News today has jumped on board the War on Christmas bandwagon).

Still the idea of not only defending our "aggressive interrogation", but praising it, is very upsetting to me. The editorial writers simply come off as ignorant on the subject as Rush Limbaugh. Have any of the News editorial writers even fought in a war? Have they been subjected to "aggressive interrogation"? And, if so, did they find it worked for their enemies? And do they approve of us using these barbaric, and illegal, tactics in return?

Luckily for readers of the News, that same day an opinion column by Errol Louis ran on the opposite page. He gets the point and has a lot more knowledge and examples to back it up than the editorial board. Entitled "Un-American & inefficient", his column describes the "ducking, dodging and double-talk" the Bush administration has used to defend themselves on the torture issue. Louis also shakes his head at the fact that a slight majority in poll seem to favor its use.

Mostly, his column describes numerous examples to prove torture is ineffective, if not simply immoral. He uses the story of John McCain fooling his torturers in Vietnam by 'giving up' the names of the Green Bay Packers in substitute of his unit (hey, at least someone reads Newsweek). He also tells the stories of two other tortured POWs, Larry Chesley and Jack Bomar, who also lied to their captors. Louis didn't mention the alarming al-Libi example, but he made his point well enough. Furthermore, he gives the example of Israel, "where real ticking bombs go off with depressing regularity", which outlawed torture because it was useless. He concludes by stating "The administration will - and should - continue to get international condemnation until it comes clean on the question of the secret prison camps and publicly makes clear that torture, an unreliable and immoral practice, will not be practiced by American military or intelligence forces. Not ever."

Agreed. Tell it to Mortimer.

Links of the Day

Roundup of stories of interest...

-The U.S. threw a tantrum and stormed out of treaty talks on global warming.

aka- "Mommy, I don't wanna acknowledge the environment!! Waaahhhhhhh"!:
U.S. Delegation Walks Out of Climate Talks

Also, did President Bush threaten the U.N. against letting Bill Clinton speak on the issue?

-Seriously, what the hell is the matter with Kansas?:
Spanish At School Translates to Suspension

Between this and intelligent design, I fear for any child in their school system.

-Valerie Plame spent her last week at the CIA:
Valerie Plame Said to Leave Job at CIA

Somewhere in Washington, Robert Novak is... not caring.

-And finally, was Saddam willing to leave power to avoid an invasion of Iraq?:
UAE official: Hussein was open to exile-

UAE deal died at Arab League meeting days before Iraq war

He Was For Questioning Bush Before He Was Against It

More on Joe Lieberman, the flip-flopper...

Sen. Lieberman this past Wednesday:
"It’s time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be the commander in chief for three more critical years and that in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril."

And what he said in July 2003, as he prepared his Presidential bid:
"In our democracy, a president does not rule, he governs. He remains always answerable to us, the people. And right now, the president’s conduct of our foreign policy is giving the country too many reasons to question his leadership. It’s not just about 16 words in a speech, it is about distorting intelligence and diminishing credibility. It’s not about searching for scapegoats; it’s about seeing, as President Kennedy did after the Bay of Pigs, that presidents stand tall when they willingly accept responsibility for mistakes made while they are in charge."

Hmmm... I liked that Joe better. Donald Rumsfeld, give him back please.

Also- related: Lieberman's Iraq Stance Brings Widening Split With His Party

[Hat tip-
Think Progress]

Why Torture Doesn't Work, Pt. 374

More on the al-Libi saga...

NY Times: Qaeda-Iraq Link U.S. Cited Is Tied to Coercion Claim

The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner [Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi] while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials...

...The new disclosure provides the first public evidence that bad intelligence on Iraq may have resulted partly from the administration's heavy reliance on third countries to carry out interrogations of Qaeda members and others detained as part of American counterterrorism efforts...


Sounds like 'enhanced interrogation techniques' are really helping the President's flexibility to defeat terrorism!

Limbaugh Is Torture

Rush Limbaugh claimed this week that Sen. McCain said torture worked on him:
Limbaugh repeated's false claim that McCain "admitted that torture worked on him"

Apparently, Mr. Limbaugh doesn't read Newsweek.

(PS- Of course, the idea alone of defending torture makes me wanna waterboard myself until I pass out)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Rewriting History

More bullshit fun from Dangerous Donny Rumsfeld...

Here is what Mr. Rumsfeld said on NewsHour w/ Jim Lehrer yesterday:

"I was very careful. I never predicted any number of deaths or the cost or the length because I’ve looked at a lot of wars, and anyone who tries to do that is going to find themselves wrong, flat wrong… I don’t know anybody who had any reasonable expectations about the number or the length of the war or the cost of the war. I just don’t — no one I know went out and said these are how those three metrics ought to be considered. And you can take it to the bank."

Looks like it's time for another... History Lesson!

*“It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”
-Donald Rumsfeld (February 7, 2003)

*"I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . (in) weeks rather than months."
-Vice President Cheney (March 16, 2003)


*"There's a lot of money there [in Iraq]. To assume we're going to pay for it all is just wrong."
-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz to Congress on February 27, 2003

*“The administration’s top budget [Mitch Daniels] official estimated today that the cost of a war with Iraq could be in the range of $50 billion to $60 billion… Mr. Daniels declined to explain how budget officials had reached the $50 billion to $60 billion range for war costs…”
-New York Times report (12/31/02)

*Q: If your analysis is not correct, and we’re not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?

Cheney: Well, I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators.
-From a Meet the Press interview (3/16/03)

*"It's approximately 500, of which — I can get the exact numbers — approximately 350 are combat deaths."
-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz wrongly answering a question on how many U.S. soldiers died... he was off by about 200. (April 29, 2004)

You guys might want to stop talking. Your lies are getting way too easy to point out.

You do realize people document the things you say, right?

[Hat tip-
Think Progress]

What Planet Indeed.

I took this screengrab from the Huffington Post because I found it amusing...

Ummm, Arianna, you should probably juxtapose those stories better.

Did he say bomb?

That is the question being asked in the shooting of Rigoberto Alpizar by federal air marshals...

Passengers: Alpizar Didn't Say 'Bomb'

The airline passenger shot to death by federal marshals who said he made a bomb threat was agitated even before boarding and later appeared to be desperate to get off the plane, some fellow travelers said.

One passenger said he "absolutely never heard the word 'bomb' at all" during the uproar as the Orlando-bound flight prepared to leave Miami on Wednesday.

Federal officials say Rigoberto Alpizar made the threat in the jetway, after running up the plane's aisle from his seat at the back of the jetliner. They opened fire because the 44-year-old Home Depot employee ignored their orders to stop, reached into his backpack and said he had a bomb, according to authorities...

Links of the Day

-Iran, you really need to shut the fuck up:
Iran's Leader Voices Doubt On Holocaust

I repeat, if only for your own good, STFU.

-Another report on the President moving on from all that New Orleans business:
Bush's Attention Wanders From Katrina as Reconstruction Lags

Just three months ago, President George W. Bush couldn't talk enough about the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast and the effort to rebuild it... That now seems a distant memory. Bush hasn't been back to the region in almost two months, and he doesn't speak about it much anymore -- four times in November and twice so far this month, and then only fleetingly. In a 44-minute speech on the economy on Dec. 5, Bush mentioned hurricane damage in the context of urging Congress to pass energy legislation...


Get to the important stuff, media!!! Has Trent Lott's new porch been built yet?

-Homeland Security stops terrorists... and Democratic senators:
The Congressional No-Fly List

Phew! I feel safer already!

-And finally, Condi keeps on trying' over in Europe:
Rice 'Clears the Air' With NATO Allies

"One thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo"

Last spring, Republican operatives believed that "their attention to the Terri Schiavo issue could pay dividends with Christian conservatives whose support they covet in the 2006 midterm elections". Her personal, private suffering was used and hijacked by public figures like Tom Delay and Dr. Bill 'I can diagnose people via videotape!' Frist to promote their pet issues, including activist judges and the pro-life agenda.

Terri's husband took that personally and is getting involved to prevent it happening to others...

Michael Schiavo Launches PAC

Michael Schiavo, whose effort to end life support for his brain-damaged wife divided a nation, is starting a political action committee that will challenge candidates based on where they stand on government's reach in private lives.

Nine months after a fierce political and legal fight over Terri Schiavo, Michael Schiavo said his experience with political leaders "has opened my eyes to just how easily the private wishes of normal Americans like me and Terri can be cast aside in a destructive game of political pandering."

The PAC's website: TerriPAC

A perfect bookend for what started out as a promising year for the fundamentalist wing of the Republican party.

Masters Of War

Speaking of war architects who will never be held accountable...

Wolfowitz Says Iraq War Might Not Have Occurred if United States Knew Hussein Had No WMD

Former U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said yesterday that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq might not have occurred if the United States had known there were no weapons of mass destruction in the country, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, Dec. 5).

“I'm not sure based on the evidence we know now that we could have been absolutely convinced that there was no danger, absolutely no danger,” Wolfowitz, a chief promoter of the invasion who is now president of the World Bank, said at the National Press Club. “If somebody could have given you a Lloyd’s of London guarantee that weapons of mass destruction would not possibly be used, one would have contemplated much more support for internal Iraqi opposition and not having the United States take the job on the way we did.”...

Odd, because it has been revealed in the last two years that many reputable intelligence sources (including some in the CIA and other top agencies) repeatedly warned you on the validity and reliability of the WMD info.

And do you mean you started this war solely because of WMDs and for no other reasons?

That's funny, Mr. Wolfowitz, because you said in a May 2003 interview that:
"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction, as the core reason."

Is this new lie of yours just more of that same bureaucracy?

And your friend Condi revealed this little nugget just this past October:
"But the fact of the matter is that when we were attacked on September 11, we had a choice to make. We could decide that the proximate cause was al-Qaeda and the people who flew those planes into buildings and, therefore, we would go after al-Qaeda and perhaps after the Taliban and then our work would be done and we would try to defend ourselves... Or we could take a bolder approach, which was to say that we had to go after the root causes of the kind of terrorism that was produced there, and that meant a different kind of Middle East."

That foreign policy philosophy Condi described sounds awfully familiar, Paul.

Also- when asked how he accounted for U.S. intelligence failures before the war, Wolfowitz replied:
“Well, I don't have to..."

Tell that to these guys, sir.

Rumsfeld's Exit Strategy

The Daily News has more fuel for the rumors that Rumsfeld is planning to step down:
Rummy exit expected; Lieberman eyed for job

Sneaking out the back door, Rummy?

The rumors of his pending retirement (and faux-bipartisan replacement with leading Republican Democrat Joe Lieberman) is just further proof that Rumsfeld will never be held accountable for the war he started. This was his war, he bungled it from day one, and the loss of tens of thousands of lives is on his head. He cannot be written off merely as another incompetent civil servant. The mistakes he made caused by his indifference to our troops and to U.S./international law are much more than simply a series of bad decisions. It was the hubris of one of a group of men who believed they were destined to resphape the world and are not bound by laws or morality. If the United States were ever to prosecute its own for war crimes, Mr. Rumsfeld would be a good place to start. And the President, who has refused to fire (or accept the resignation of) Rumsfeld, is also complicit.

For the sake of our military, Rumsfeld should go, but it should not be gracefully.

No Exit Strategy For Record Deficit

“We are not going to put an artificial timetable on this thing. We are going to give the president well-considered proposals and then he will decide where he wants to go.”
-Treasury Secretary John Snow (speaking yesterday on tax reform)

No timetables!

That would only provide comfort to the tax terrorists who want to take our hard-earned money!

Sending The Wrong Message

Below are two stupid comments.

Which one do you think has put our troops in danger?

A- "I wish the president had paid more attention to the history of Iraq before we had gotten in there. The idea that we're going to win this war is just plain wrong."
-Howard Dean (December 5, 2005)

B- "There are some who feel like the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on."
-President George W. Bush (July 3, 2003)

If you answered "A", you probably work for Rupert Murdoch. Say hi to Sean for me.

[Related- Howard Stern defends Howard Dean]

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Stay The Course, Pt. II

Followup to this entry from this afternoon...

John Kerry re-explained his plan for Iraq on last Sunday's 'Face The Nation':
"It is more dangerous to the mission to leave them in the large numbers they're in today in the status quo. The president keeps saying we're going to stay the course. Staying the course leaves the Iraqis the option of making the decision of when they stand up. If you say to the Iraqis--here's what I believe the president should do. I--these elections are incredibly important. I believe they're going to be successful. We want them to be successful. The day after the election, the president of the United States should announce to the Iraqis and the world, `Because they were successful, because the referendum was successful, I am withdrawing the 20,000 additional troops we put in to do them.'"

Sen. Kerry first proposed this post-election 20,000 troop withdrawal idea months ago.

And here's what an AP story said today about Rumsfeld:
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Thursday he expects some 20,000 U.S. troops to return home from Iraq after next week's elections, and he suggested that some of the remaining 137,000 forces could pull out next year.

"If conditions permit, we could go below that," he said in the latest administration hint of at least a modest reduction next year....

When a Democrat proposes a plan for bringing our troops home, he is a TRAITOR.

When the administration proposes the exact same plan months later, they are... I don't know, you tell me.

Hypocrites? Liars? Desperate to save their own asses? All of the above?

You're Not The Only Person, Janice

I liked this letter in yesterday's Metro...

Parks memorials are hypocritical

Am I the only person who thinks it's offensively ironic that our government is praising Rosa Parks so much? They're the ones who threw her in jail! Are Bush and Bloomberg going to give medals to all the people today committing civil disobedience against our unjust government? Nope. They're throwing 100 percent of today's Rosa Parks in jail. Unbelievable!

--Janice Amato (Manhattan)

Absolutely... we are right to honor her, but are hypocritical to simultaneously punish those who emulate her.

Intelligent Design: Worth Beating Up A Professor Over

Proving once again that many of the Christians in this country need to turn off the 700 Club and maybe pick up a copy of the New Testament, a Kansas University professor planning a course called "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies" was attacked by two men (likely angry at this rebuke to fundamentalism) over the class. The professor was throroughly beaten; he didn't know the attackers, but they made reference to the course during the attack.

Merry Christmas, guys!

Let us hope, for the sake of science and the safety of professors, this editorial is correct:
Intelligent Design Might Be Meeting Its Maker

And God-Man shows us Intelligent Design in action!!

A Very Beazley Christmas

The annual White House Christmas video is up at their website:

Look at the right side menu... Click on 'A Very Beazley Christmas'

Hey, I'd rather the President film himself talking to dogs than joke about WMDs.

Mission Accomplished

As we did with Jose Padilla, our top ally is learning that torture hinders, not helps, the war on terror...

Torture evidence inadmissible in UK courts, Lords rules (Guardian - UK)

Evidence that may have been obtained by torture cannot be used against terror suspects in British courts, the House of Lords ruled today.

A panel of seven Law Lords voted unanimously to allow an appeal by eight detainees who are being held without charge on suspicion of being involved in terrorism, against a controversial Court of Appeal judgment passed in August 2004...

Also- Andrew Sullivan has an article in New Republic on torture:
The Abolition of Torture

And he had this to say about John Bolton's declaration that "it is inappropriate and illegitimate for an international civil servant to second-guess the conduct that we're engaged in in the war on terror, with nothing more as evidence than what she reads in the newspapers."-

Sullivan: "Bolton is surely aware that the evidence that the U.S. has engaged in torture, and 'cruel, inhuman and degrading' treatment of detainees may be found in more than just the newspapers... [W]hen you have bungled a war this badly, and committed war-crimes in the process, what would Bolton have us do? Trust, sadly, is no longer an option. It no longer became an option the minute looting broke out in Iraq and the secretary of defense, responsible for maintaining order in a country he had just invaded, shrugged his shoulders. From that moment of complete and proud dereliction of duty, we were on notice that these people couldn't be trusted."

Once again Andrew hits the nail on the head on this issue.

Stay The Course

Reduce troop levels??! Sec. Rumsfeld, you damn surrender monkey! We have to stay forever...

...Or when it's convenient for you and your boss. Whenever. It's cool.

Troop Levels in Iraq Could Be Cut in 2006

And this is radically different than what Murtha wanted... how?

Also related-
Iraq Deployment May Be Cut, Sources Say

The Pentagon has tentative plans to halt the scheduled deployment of two brigades to Iraq and instead send in smaller teams to support and train Iraqi forces in what could be an early step toward an eventual drawdown of U.S. forces, defense officials said Wednesday.

The proposal comes amid growing pressure from Congress and the public to pull troops out of Iraq. Details are still under discussion, and it would largely depend on the military and political conditions there after the parliamentary elections next week, said the officials...

...Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is preparing to announce the plan after the Iraq election next Thursday, if all goes well, they said...

Links of the Day

I guess this is becoming a daily thing.

Links to stories of interest that I don't have time to comment on...

-1- Worried that Congress was gonna let the Patriot Act expire? Well fear not!!
House, Senate Reach Deal on Patriot Act

House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement Thursday to extend the USA Patriot Act, the government's premier anti-terrorism law, before it expires at the end of the month. But a Democratic senator threatened a filibuster to block the compromise.

"I will do everything I can, including a filibuster, to stop this Patriot Act conference report, which does not include adequate safeguards to protect our constitutional freedoms," said Sen. Russ Feingold (news, bio, voting record), D-Wis., who was the only senator to vote against the original version of the Patriot Act...

-2- The NY Times had an editorial on Sen. Clinton's growing pandering:
Senator Clinton, in Pander Mode

Arianna Huffington predicts Hillary's '08 strategy: HuffPo Exclusive: Secret Memo Reveals Hillary's Red State Strategy for '08

Ohh, why can't she be patriotic and agenda-free like Joe Lieberman?

-3- Sami Al-Arian, another victory in the war on terror. Just not for us.
Sami Al-Arian: The Terror Verdict TV Networks Ignored

-4- Finally, Fox News invites you to their 'Holiday Party':

Pack it up, Bill, even your own company is exposing your crusade as a joke.

'War' on 'Christmas': Jon Stewart Smacks Down Bill O'Reilly

The phony 'War on non-Christians Christmas' crusade by Bill O'Reilly and his FOX brethren (used to distract from real issues and/or suck all the joy out of a season of peace and love) has finally jumped the shark.

O'Reilly's desperation reached new levels as he chose his latest target- Jon Stewart and the 'Secular Central' network. On last Friday's episodes of the radio and TV "Factor"s, O'Reilly introduced a 'Daily Show' segment from "last night", featuring correspondent Samantha Bee making jokes about Christmas. O'Reilly, telling Stewart "we're up for the fight", states with no concept of hyperbole- "[E]ternal vigilance is the price of liberty. And over the next three weeks, we will be vigilant on this subject."

As if this wasn't ludicrous enough on its own, the Daily Show segment he played?.... From last December. O'Reilly no doubt knew this, because a) that was last year's calendar behind Ms. Bee in the segment, and b) Bee is very pregnant now and was not in the clip. Finally, apparently unaware that other cultures and holidays exist Mr. Stewart is Jewish and does not celebrate the holiday, O'Reilly wished him a Merry Christmas.

Media Matters has the story and clips-
Continuing his fight against the "war on Christmas," O'Reilly falsely claimed year-old Daily Show clip aired previous night

Last night, the Daily Show responded and, in doing so, smacked down Bill'O like the sad, pathetic man he is. Jon Stewart begins by quickly summarizing the 'controversy' and playing the clip from the "Factor". Jon then thanks O'Reilly for his warm greetings. Jon next brought out the very-pregnant Samantha Bee to sarcastically figure out when that clip was filmed. Stewart then acknowledges the horrors that the "liberal, secular fags" at Comedy Central have unleashed upon Christmas. He then schools Bill'O with a history of where the phrase 'happy holidays' originates from. Stewart then finishes the segment by saying-
"If Bill O'Reilly needs to have an enemy, needs to feel persecuted, here's my Kwanzaa gift to him. Are you ready?... I'm your enemy, make me your enemy. I, Jon Stewart, hate Christmas, Christians, Jews, morality. And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together at Osama's HomoBortion Pot and Commie Jizzporium."

Crooks and Liars has video:
The Daily Show slams O'Reilly over using a year old "DS" Christmas bit

Stephen Colbert, again mocking Bill'O to perfection, also tackled the issue the other night.

Fake war on Christmas.... OVER.

Better luck next year, Bill'O.

Condi and Europe: A Short Play

Rather than another long entry about Condoleeza Rice's disastrous trip to Europe, I have opted for a simple short play to summarize the diplomatic excursion. Playing the part of Condoleeza Rice tonight will be- a finger puppet of Ms. Rice. Playing the part of Europe will be- the Swedish Chef.

And action...

Condi: "The U.S. doesn't torture people."

Europe: "Sorry, we don't believe you."

Condi: "Dang."


Dissecting The Insurgency

There's an excellent article in the new issue of Time magazine looking at the current state of the Iraq insurgency and how it may not be too late for the U.S. to extract those who want involvement in the political process. The article makes clear the distinctions between the geniune insurgency (Iraqi dissidents) and the outside Al Qaeda forces that got involved and have overshadowed it (a distinction the Bush administration is only just now addressing publicly). The article makes the observation that some insurgents may be growing angry at how Zarqawi has overtaken the insurgency forces and that is where the hope lies. If U.S. officials and forces can reach out those these members sympathetic to the political process, and slowly convince them to end the violence, then that is the key to victory.

How likely is this? The article doesn't entirely cover all the hurdles to that, but does note that "so long as U.S. troops are in combat in Iraq" the insurgency will continue to find those willing to fight the troops and also that victory is "still a long way off".

The article:
The New Rules of Engagement-

As the insurgency rages on, a TIME investigation reveals a new U.S. push to exploit splits in its ranks. Can that help lead to an exit?

Highlights in examining the insurgency:
The Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi and his network of hard-line jihadis have long been the driving force of the insurgency, transforming it from a nationalist struggle to one fueled by religious zealotry and infused with foreign recruits. But... Iraqis are reclaiming the upper hand, forcing al-Zarqawi to adjust. Differences between Baathist insurgent groups and al-Qaeda are driven by discomfort with al-Zarqawi's extreme tactics and willingness among some Iraqi commanders to join the political process.

That's why U.S. officials in Iraq are reaching out to the Sunnis, the insurgents and former Baath Party members as part of a program to quell the violence by peeling them away from al-Zarqawi. "The fault line between al-Qaeda and the nationalists seems to have increased," says Ambassador Khalilzad

Mostly Baathists, nationalists and Iraqi Islamists, they oppose the occupation and any Baghdad government dominated by Iraqis sheltered from Saddam by foreign-intelligence agencies, such as Iran's or the U.S.'s. But they don't oppose democracy in Iraq. Many voted in the Oct. 15 constitutional referendum and have plans to participate in the Dec. 15 election. Few see a contradiction between voting and continuing to battle U.S. forces. "I voted in the referendum, and I'm still fighting, and everybody in my organization did the same," says Abu Marwan, the Army of Mohammed commander. "This is two-track war--bullets and the ballot. They are not mutually exclusive."

Adopting the long-standing attitudes of secular Baathists, some Sunni leaders tell TIME they have lost patience with al-Zarqawi and would consider cutting a political deal with the U.S. to isolate the jihadis. "If the Americans evidenced good intent and a timetable for withdrawal we feel is genuine, we will stand up against al-Zarqawi," says Abdul Salam al-Qubaisi, spokesman for the Association of Muslim Scholars. ... Baathist insurgent leader Abu Yousif, who has met with U.S. intelligence officers, says, "The insurgency is looking for a political outlet--once we have that, we could control al-Qaeda."

That requires a) compromise, and b) acknowleding that not everyone we fight are the "evildoers".

I do not believe this administration is capable of that.

The article also has these poll findings-
-47% favor withdrawing most troops in the next 12 months
-53% disapprove of Bush's job as President overall
-60% disapprove of his handling of Iraq
-50% feel the U.S. was wrong to invade Iraq
-51% feel the war has made us more vulnerable to a terrorist attack
-48% believe the President deliberately misled in the buildup to war

Finally- CNN has a special section for news on the Iraq stories...
Iraq: Transition of Power

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

President Bush Praises Iraq Progress, Murtha Warns Of Long Haul

President Bush gave another speech today about Iraq-
Bush Lauds Iraq Progress, Cites Challenges

Trying to build support for Iraq war strategy, President Bush acknowledged Wednesday that reconstruction has proceeded with "fits and starts" but asserted that spreading economic progress is lifting hopes for a democratic future...

John Murtha has responded...

In his response speech, Murtha provides a timeline of the war.

Think Progress also has this eye-opening bombshell from Murtha:
"Twenty years it’s going to take to settle this thing. The American people is not going to put up with it; can’t afford it. We have spent $277 billion. That’s what’s been appropriated for this operation. We have $50 billion sitting on the table right now in our supplemental, or bridge fund we call it, in the Appropriations Committee. They’re going to ask for another $100 billion next year...

...[I got that figure] where I get all my figures: the military."

Crooks and Liars has video: Murtha Responds...

Further reading-
-Democrats lambast Bush over Iraq reconstruction

-Bush’s Speech: Ask Me No Questions, I’ll Tell You Some Lies

Gulf Opportunity Zone

[Flashback- President Bush Makes With The Talky Talk.]

How The Bushes Stole Christmas

The liberal secularist Bush family declares war on Christmas...

George and Laura refuse to acknowledge Christmas on their annual cards-
'Holiday' Cards Ring Hollow for Some on Bushes' List

And it was reported in the Washington Post that "Laura Bush, ducking into the Georgetown Pottery Barn yesterday for barely five minutes, wearing a bright blue suit and wishing shoppers 'Happy Holidays' in a very perky way. Didn't buy anything -- maybe just making her wish list?".

Laura, you just made baby Jesus cry.

I expect a full Fox News boycott of the Bushes will commence immediately.


Sen. Lieberman this week warning those who criticize the President on the war:

"It's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge he'll be commander-in-chief for three more years. We undermine the president's credibility at our nation's peril."

But this was Sen. Lieberman in 1998 in his condemnation of Pres. Clinton's extramarital affair:

"The implications for our country are so serious that I feel a responsibility to my constituents in Connecticut, as well as to my conscience, to voice my concerns forthrightly and publicly. And I can think of no more appropriate place to do that than on this great Senate floor....

...The president's intentional and consistent statements, more deeply,may also undercut the trust that the American people have in his word. Under the Constitution, as presidential scholar Newsted (ph) has noted, the president's ultimate source of authority, particularly his moral authority, is the power to persuade, to mobilize public opinion, to build consensus behind a common agenda. And at this, the president has been extraordinarily effective.

But that power hinges on the president's support among the American people and their faith and confidence in his motivations and agenda, yes; but also in his word."

No wonder President Bush likes him so much.


Another quick roundup of stories of interest...

-Federal air marshals shot a man claiming to have a bomb:
Officials: Passenger killed after claiming to have bomb

Another victory for Bush in the war on terror.

-The administration objects to a story labeling Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito as a conservative.

Shhh, guys, your base might hear you. The promise of an insanely conservative Justice is the main reason they voted to reelect you idiots and remain the 35-40% of Americans who still support you through Iraq, Katrina, torture, the leak case, and everything else. Please don't disappoint them. This country needs to stop 'judicial activism' that gave us disgusting verdicts like Brown v. Board of Education and Miranda v. Arizona.

The article that prompted this response: Review of cases shows Alito to be staunch conservative

Also.... Alito, the Christmas candidate?

-Condoleeza Rice's attempt to spin torture in Europe isn't going so well-
Amid Criticism, Rice Seeks to Clarify Interrogation Policy

And conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan continues to be one of the people best covering the torture issue. Evaluating a new NY Times story on the issue, Sullivan concludes "Just re-read those paragraphs. Your president is a repeated and unrepentant liar on the gravest moral issues now facing the country". Amen, dude.

-Finally- Juan Cole looks at the unintended consequences of Bush's Iraq policy:
How Bush Created a Theocracy in Iraq

Fitzgerald II: Plamegate Boogaloo

Patrick Fitzgerald returns before a grand jury to continue his investigation.

Please White House press corps, ask Scotty about this. I haven't heard the phrase "ongoing investigation" in a while.

CIA leak prosecutor again goes before grand jury

Saddam Is A Man Of His Word

True to his word, Saddam did not show up to court today.

Saddam Protests Treatment With No-Show

See, upon first glance, Saddam comes off as crazy with all of this. But I think he knows exactly what he is doing. The guy knows that his trial is just a formality- everyone knows he's guilty and everyone knows he's likely getting executed. So he needs to take control of the trial. And to do so, he's taking a cue from the American (celebrity) justice system.

He is turning the trial into comedy, into a circus. And as we have seen from our examples here (O.J., Michael Jackson), the more of a circus the trial becomes, the more likely it is for acquittal, no matter what the evidence is. I don't think it'll work in Iraq (I foresee no pro-Saddam protests outside the courtroom), but he has succeeded into turning something that might've resembled the Nuremberg trials into the Michael Jackson trial, minus the pajamas.

Tom Delay, take note.

Do Unto Others...

Because I enjoy reading his blog, I am giving a plug for Andrew Sullivan's new column in Time magazine. The column is about the new Pope's ban on gay men from entering the priesthood. Not that hyperbole and the church are strangers, but you have to roll your eyes at Pope Benedict's statement that gay priests pose a threat to "priestly life". I suppose I just don't get the subtle differences between a gay celibate priest and a straight celibate priest. Perhaps the gay ones look too fay when reading from the book of Christ.

Yes, it's nice to have gone from a largely beloved Pope to... this.

The column-
The Vatican's New Stereotype:

Why its new rules barring gay priests turn Jesus' teaching on its head

[PS- See also this relevant blog post from last month- OF NO "SOCIAL VALUE"]

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Terrorists For Troop Withdrawal

If the cartoons in the Daily News weren't bad enough (well-meaning, but dumb), they have nothing on the stuff in Rupert Murdoch's NY Post. This little gem was in yesterday's paper-

This cartoon is idiotic on so many levels, one doesn't know where to begin. Mostly, it portrays those who want to see our troops brought home safely and swiftly as a bunch of clueless hippies (I suppose that 'sentimental' fool John Murtha should be included too) opposed to democracy in Iraq. That is such an insult to the honest, intelligent arguments made for withdrawal and to the over half of Americans who have strong concerns about our presence in Iraq. Secondly, a cheap (and ugly) shot at Cindy Sheehan is unnecessary for the artist's main point and was only added for that extra punch.

The main premise of the cartoon- the presence of Zarqawi in the rally- is meant to reiterate the White House talking point that withdrawal supporters are terrorist supporters... that our goal (withdrawal) is the same goal of the terrorists.

This displays a great ignorance of the reality of Iraq, which is the opposite. The terrorists may want us gone (or dead, I doubt they care either way), but Zarqawi most definitely does not. Just like our actions in the '80s inadvertantly helped facilitate the rise of Saddam and bin Laden, so too have we made a random terrorist like Zarqawi into a star. Our presence in that region is what fuels the insurgency (both the genuine Iraqi dissidents and the outside Al Queada forces). We are the best recruiting tool Osama (remember him?) and Zarqawi have ever had. Our invasion, but more specifically our presence as a occupying force with no sign of leaving and plans for permanent basing, allowed them to give truth to their rallying statements that the Great Satan U.S. wants to rain down its imperial fires onto the Muslim holy land. It doesn't matter if we believe that is true, what matters is that they do. And every month we stay there perpetuates it further.

Obviously, the interests of the Iraqi people must be factored in (after all, they're in this mess because of us), but they by and large want us to leave. No matter the situation, no country wants to be occupied. As President Bush said, "Of course they don't like being occupied. I wouldn't like being occupied either."

While the Iraqi security forces likely are not ready to handle the situation on their own, we can't (and shouldn't) hold their hands forever. At some point, their fate will be their own, and if we are to believe the White House (we are, aren't we?) they are making "great progress". Still, President Bush will not predicate our departure upon the Iraqis or when his generals (who he doesn't listen to anyway) say so. That decision is/was always going to be made when it's politically convenient for Bush. If his approval ratings hit 30%, or the Republicans look like they might lose the '06 elections, expect to see convoys of returning troops on every TV station.

Regarding the talking point that withdrawing now (or ever?) would make us less safe here at home, that is nothing but hot air. Our safety was not threatened by Iraq before we invaded (nuke heading our way in 45 minutes!), and I do not believe it will be threatened after we withdraw either. If the President's assurances that we are making Iraq a full-fledged democracy capable of securing itself and its borders are to be believed, then surely we have nothing to worry about, no?

This cartoon, and its argument, is an insult to intelligent people in America and in Iraq.

Finally, for more Post fun, check out today's Letters page. There's one letter accusing Murtha of treason, another questioning if Murtha will be in the next Michael Moore film, another accusing the 'liberal media' of ignoring pro-war representatives, and (because they had to), a letter noting that maybe Bush should've had a victory strategy before he invaded. Fair and balanced, as always.

Why I Voted For John Kerry

John Kerry was on "Face The Nation" this weekend and his interview reinforced all the reasons I chose to vote for him last year. A smart leader, a strong leader, who understands both the reality and importance of what we face. He's got a real handle on this war and how to end it soon, keeping in mind the interests of the Iraqis and our soldiers. Sen. Kerry not only answers all the questions asked, but does so in a straightforward manner. Scott McClellan, et al, take notes.

I give him all due criticism for running a horribly mismanaged campaign (mistakes he openly acknowledges in the interview), but he is a great Senator and would've made a great Commander-in-Chief for our nation and our troops. Alas, Diebold fate had other plans.

Read the transcript: FTN - 12/04/05

Also, a podcast of the interview is available on iTunes.

[PS- If you need a chuckle, watch Mr. Pilonidal Cyst try to spin it, saying Kerry called U.S. troops terrorists- He also praises Joe Lieberman, which should tell you all you need to know about that. I'm sure Rush will be traveling to Iraq soon to see his precious war up close.
John Kerry Calls American Troops Terrorists]

The White House's Tortured Definition of Torture

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. looks at the administration's use of semantics in defending themselves against torture claims. It basically goes like this- "We don't torture, because we choose not to call what we do 'torture'." It all depends on what the definition of is is.

The White House's Tortured Definition of Torture

I Can Change, I Can Change

I am hereby petitioning Court TV to broadcast round-the-clock coverage of the Saddam Hussein trial, as they did with the OJ trial 10 years ago. Ohh sure, this trial does lack colorful characters like Johnnie Cochran, Lance Ito, Kato Kaelin, and Rosa Lopez, but never underestimate the drawing power of Ramsey Clark. Plus, the lawyers keep getting killed, so we'll have always have new characters being introduced. And for my money, there's nothing more entertaining than Saddam's 'I'm not out order! You're out of order! This whole freakin' court is out of order!' antics.

To prove this can work, just look at what happened today alone:
Saddam Vows No Return to 'Unjust' Court

Saddam Hussein shouted Tuesday that he will not return "to an unjust court" when it convenes for a fifth session the following day. As the end of the session, when the judges decided to resume the trial Wednesday, Saddam suddenly shouted: "I will not return. I will not come to an unjust court! Go to hell!"

Saddam also complained that he had no fresh clothes and had been deprived of shower and exercise facilities. "This is terrorism," he said...


I can't wait for tomorrow's episode!!

"Relax, fella. You need a rest, guy."

CIA Prisons Confirmed, Suspects Hidden Elsewhere During Condi's Trip

Condoleeza Rice traveled to Europe this week on a diplomatic trip to discuss torture paid propaganda democracy. Haunting Ms. Rice's trip was the news about secret CIA terror prisons hidden around the continent, some supposedly in former Soviet bases in Eastern Europe, others possibly in Poland and Romania. Rice went out of her way to avoid discussing these prisons and the 'enhanced interrogation techniques' utilized there, but simply had this to say- "The captured terrorists of the 21st century do not fit easily into traditional systems of criminal or military justice, which were designed for different needs. We have had to adapt".

Adapt? Why how Orwellian of you, Ms. Rice.

ABC also reports that the U.S. rushed to get all the suspects out of the continent (and down to Africa) before Ms. Rice's arrival. Because, you know, it's uncomfortable to preach about democracy to people when you're running secret torture prisons in their backyard.

The ABC report:
EXCLUSIVE: Sources Tell ABC News Top Al Qaeda Figures Held in Secret CIA Prisons-

10 Out of 11 High-Value Terror Leaders Subjected to 'Enhanced Interrogation Techniques'

Two CIA secret prisons were operating in Eastern Europe until last month when they were shut down following Human Rights Watch reports of their existence in Poland and Romania.

Current and former CIA officers speaking to ABC News on the condition of confidentiality say the United States scrambled to get all the suspects off European soil before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived there today. The officers say 11 top al Qaeda suspects have now been moved to a new CIA facility in the North African desert...

Matty Has King Kong Fever

Matt Drudge is again leading with a story about how awesome "King Kong" is.

This is the second time in a week, too.

I guess there's no other stories to cover today, Matt?

FOX's War On 'Holidays'

See, you can really turn that one around, can't you?

As Stephen Colbert said last night:
"If there was one thing Jesus cared about- it was semantics."

Nothing more needs to, or should be, said about Fox New's "War On Christmas" fake issue used to rally the masses, increase ratings, and distract from real stuff like, oh, say the war concerns after this. On "Fox News Watch" yesterday, the Christmas war was the issue. The Fox people wasted no time in triangulating the discussion to the issue's big talking point- a secular assault on Christianity. They put up a poll entitled "Religion in America" asking people what holiday they celebrate. The results were 95% for Christmas and only small numbers for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or none. Take that other holidays!

Panel members Jane Hall and Neal Gabler wasted no time plowing through the white, powdery bullshit and calling this issue out for what it is. Gabler noted that the 'war on Christmas' theme was discussed as far as back as 1921 by Henry Ford and has anti-semitic roots to it. He later stated that "I want to talk about the media angle because we have avoided it. It's the elephant in the room. It's Fox News. Come on, it's Bill O'Reilly, it's Hannity, it's Gibson. They're demogogues who realized that in Christmas time you can rouse the masses on this issue. They'll do it every Christmas. They did it last Christmas, they'll do it next Christmas."

Jane Hall stepped in and stated, "Jesus is for tolerance. To have Bill O'Reilly, has made this a huge issue. He's obviously getting a lot of feedback. John Gibson has a book about it, another Fox anchor. I think this is a largely a fundraiser for Jerry Falwell to pick up on some run-amok-PC... Boycott the companies that have holiday wishes? What is the point of that?"

Finally, Gabler gets to the real meat of this nonsense- "We're at war, there's Darfur, there's an AIDS crisis and you're worried about whether people should say 'Merry Christmas'? What world do you live in?"

Crooks and Liars has video: FOX News Watch: Fox created the " War on Christmas" story

Relevent article/editorial from the NY Times:
This Season's War Cry: Commercialize Christmas, or Else

This video is funny, though, and actually frames a better argument than the Fox guys (I found it on the blog of that crazy liberal, Andrew Sullivan).

Finally- A Tom Tomorrow cartoon from last December:

[Flashback- Bill O'Reilly explains the true meaning of Christmas.]

Pre-Sleep Links.

A quick roundup of stories to soothe you to sleep educate and inform...

-Hillary Clinton is more than happy to keep letting people die in Iraq (for 'democracy') if it helps her win a few potential red state votes. But flag burning, something a democracy theoretically wouldn't have a problem with, is something she cannot tolerate. Or something she'll pretend to not tolerate. It's hard to keep track when Senator Thumb-In-The-Air is at work. Keep moving to the right, Hil... and I'll keep telling you to go fuck yourself.
Hillary Clinton Co-Sponsors Anti-Flag Burning Bill

-Tom Delay gets conspiracy charges dropped (on a technicality... go justice system, go!), but will be put on trial for the original money laundering charges. Delay's lawyers spinned this as great news for Tommy Boy. Well at least his buddies in Congress are standing behind him. Oh. Dang.

Judge allows DeLay trial on money laundering

Delay did get the support of Dick 'Torture Ally' Cheney, though... How'd that go, guys?

-Congress debates who should get the next round of tax cuts- The really rich or just the regular rich?
Congress's $70 Billion Tax Cut Pits Rich Against Super-Rich

-And the Ford company once again reinvents American values...

Caving in to our many wonderful bigoted 'Christian' fanatics.
Jaguar, Land Rover ads halted in gay media, Ford confirms

See also: Ford Fumbles with Phobias

Monday, December 05, 2005

It's Like Deja Vu All Over Again

Matt Drudge is leading with this OMG-SO-SCARY-LOOK-OUT-MIDDLE-AMERICA sensational headline-

Here we go again, go again...

Bush failed in his quest to capture bin Laden, so he invaded Iraq instead.

Bush is failing in his quest in Iraq, so I assume he will invade Iran instead.

But who do we invade after we fail there?

3/5s Of Americans Want A Good President

A new Time poll says that "Three in five Americans want the next U.S. president to be completely different from incumbent George W. Bush".

Wow. So 3/5s of Americans want a not-functionally-illiterate President who is also capable of the minimum amount of competence expected for the leader of the free world. That's... progress?

See the poll info:
Americans Want Different Type of President Next Time, Poll Says

Secretary of Defense Joe Lieberman?

It could happen.

Only in comparison to Rumsfeld could anyone think that's a good idea.

By all means, arrest let go Rumsfeld for his deadly incompetence, but spare us the idiocy of Lieberman.

(PS- I'm sure Rumsfeld won't be fired, but rather choose to 'spend more time with his family'.)

Will The Real McCain Please Stand Up?

The "straight talk" John McCain of 2000 is a distant memory compared to his current neocon-lite incarnation. He was supposed to be the maverick, the anti-politician. No he's just another career politician who just happens to be less odious than some of his brethren. His only big saving grace now is his no-compromise battle against torture... a battle that is only necessary because of the pro-torture President he campaigned for last year against his friend John Kerry. You know, the same President who smeared him and his wife and child in 2000.

Arianna Huffington looks at his Meet The Press appearance this weekend and wonders what happened to the old McCain. The new McCain praises the "good job" in Iraq, endorses intelligent design, meets with Jerry Falwell, and supports limiting the right to habeas corpus. Arianna examines his latest appearance:
Russert Watch: Where's the Real McCain?

The marquee guest was John McCain. Or, should I say, "John McCain." The guy who showed up on Meet the Press this morning looked like McCain, but didn't sound like McCain. What made the experience all that much stranger for me is that right after watching Meet the Press, I had breakfast with McCain's campaign finance reform partner, Senator Russ Feingold. Feingold had been on a visit to Iraq with McCain, and his fearless assessment of the reality there made it all that much harder to stomach the equivocations and rationalizations of the new and definitely not improved McCain.

If today's show was any indication, the Straight Talk Express has gone seriously off the road...

And Sen. McCain states in that appearance that Rep. John Murtha calling for withdrawal/redeployment of U.S. forces in Iraq is not because Murtha knows it's in the best interest of our nation's security, but because he's gotten "too emotional" about the war. Murtha, you fucking pussy!!

The full quote: "I think he has become too emotional and understandably so. He goes to funerals. He goes, as many of us do, out to Walter Reed, and he sees the price of war. And I think that that has had some effect on him…"

I suppose, Senator, that's why the President's apathetic approach has been so very successful, no?


Just thought I'd sort of check in with everyone out there in cyberspace. I'm curious who reads this blog, so thought I'd ask any readers to say howdy. I know a couple of my friends read the blog, just wondering how many others. How did you find the blog? Do you like it? How bad does it suck?

PS- If you have an idea to help stabilize Iraq, let me know. I got crayon all over my last proposal.

Fox News Viewers Are Very Informed

A new Fox News poll says now only 58% of Americans disapprove of the President.

Yes, it sure seems like his political woes are in their last throes.

This part caught my eye:
In addition, some Americans think there are still weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. A 42 percent plurality thinks Iraq had weapons before the war and moved or destroyed them, while 28 percent think there were no WMD at all. Almost one in five (19 percent) think there are still WMD in Iraq.

The weapons must be hiding behind all that democracy we gave them.

Making Progress

-Iraqi citizens try to 'assassinate' former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. With rocks.

Hey Ayad, you misunderstood, they were just celebrating our imminent victory there!

Allawi Claims Assassination Attempt

-And National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley defends (by changing the subject to the latest 'strategy' talking points) Cheney's statement earlier this year that the insurgency was in its "last throes".

Why does Hadley believe this? BECAUSE, THAT'S WHY! Okay??!

Hadley Defends Cheney’s Claim That Insurgency Was In Its “Last Throes”'

Money quote: "We think we're at a point where we have a strategy that will work."

Crooks and Liars has video.

-Finally, one of the President's fan stops by the White House to say hi.

Arkansas Man Scales White House Fence

Sunday, December 04, 2005

New Orleans/Katrina Updates

Documents released by Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco give a new insight into the early government response, at state and federal levels, to the storm. It doesn't paint a very good picture of how the White House responded to calls for assistance from Louisiana (and the very fact that Blanco released these is in stark contrast to the stonewalling tactics the Bush crew uses for everything from 9/11 to Iraq).

Not surprisingly, many of the Louisiana state officials are seen in the documents expressing frustration at the response, or lack thereof, and the way the White House tried to scapegoat them. "Rove is on the prowl", one memo from Blanco's chief of staff ominously said. The documents released by Blanco include 100,000 pages of memos, handwritten notes, e-mails, phone logs and other documents requested by congressional committees investigating Katrina.

The AP article:
Documents Show Katrina's Political Storm

..."I have determined that this incident will be of such severity and magnitude that effective response will be beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments and that supplementary federal assistance will be necessary," Blanco wrote [in a letter to President Bush a day before the hurricane hit].

Three days after the storm, Blanco wrote Bush asking that the 256th Louisiana National Guard Brigade be sent home from Iraq to help. The governor also asked for more generators, medicine, health care workers and mortuaries.

Five days later, Bush assistant Maggie Grant e-mailed Blanco aide Paine Gowen to say that the White House did not receive the letter.

"We found it on the governor's Web site but we need 'an original,' for our staff secretary to formally process the requests she is making," Grant wrote. "We are on the job but appreciate your help with a technical request. Tnx!"...

K THNX BYE LOL! [*slams head on desk*]

What, no emails from Brownie about what a "fashion God" he is?

The New York Times also looks at the story: A View of the Political Storm After Katrina

And what about those infamous buses that were never used? Turns out that's partially a federal failure too-
-Blanco says feds pledged buses
-Blanco and the Buses

And the cost of the rebuilding continues to be debated in Washington by those Republicans who, as we've seen in the last 5 years, sure do hate to spend money. Except on... well, everything. But the Gulf Coast, well I'm sure they can do more with less. A billion saved is a billion owed to the Chinese earned. Well, it's a good thing no one promised something like "one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen". Because if that was the case, all this fiscal bickering might seem counterproductive.

AP article:
Katrina Rebuild Hinges on Who Will Pay

Only the federal government has pockets deep enough to pay for a massive reconstruction effort. But there is a significant difference of opinion over whether — and if so, how — the government should raise the money...

In September, Bill Clinton advocated increased taxes to pay for Katrina reconstruction and the cost of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But President Bush has vowed not to raise taxes, or even to roll back the tax cuts he made during his first term in office...

...The federal government has already committed $62 billion to the Hurricane Katrina relief and reconstruction effort, and spent about one-third of that so far. Absent an increase in taxes or cuts in other federal programs, that money is being added to the federal deficit...

Well maybe if the U.S. is hit with a nuclear bomb, maybe the President would reconsider his tax cuts.

But probably not.

Still, amidst all of this, the residents of New Orleans (slowly) return home:
Last Closed Section of New Orleans Reopens

Sunday Editorials

Sunday reading-

-Frank Rich looks at Bob Woodward and other reporters who let their closeness with the White House cloud their reporting:
All the President's Flacks

-Jonathan Alter looks at how the use in propaganda in Iraq could hurt our efforts there:
The Real Price of Propaganda-

Exporting a bunch of budding Jayson Blairs simply feeds the unhelpful image of Americans as inept and hypocritical puppetmasters.

Victory in Iraq: HELP WANTED

Wanna make $1 billion dollars?

All you need to do is come up with a plan to stabilize Iraq.

The United States Agency for International Development is seeking applications (see for a new grant called the "Strategic City Stabilization Initiative". It is an unrestricted grant, open to "any type of entity". Non-humans, take note. The purpose of the grant is, basically, to stabilize 10 major Iraqi cities in an effort to defeat the insurgency. If the 'insurgency' even exists, that is; they're waiting to hear back from Rumsfeld on that. Anyway, the grant description:

The United States Agency for International Development is seeking applications for an Assistance Agreement from qualified sources to design and implement a social and economic stabilization program impacting ten Strategic Cities, identified by the United States Government as critical to the defeat of the Insurgency in Iraq. The number of Strategic Cities may expand or contract over time. USAID plans to provide approximately $1,020,000,000 over two years to meet the objectives of the Program. An additional option year may be considered amounting to $300 million at the discretion of USAID. Funds are not yet available for this program.


Which page of President Bush's detailed National Strategy For Victory document was this covered in?

I guess that's Bush's plan- Outsourcing - To pay someone, anyone, to come up with a plan. But not the Iraqis; I mean why should they determine the fate of their 'democracy'? And why a new program at all? Will we be in Iraq that much longer? Aren't things going well? Aren't we making progress? We're staying the course... and it's a good course. But I suppose it doesn't hurt to have a plan B. A billion dollar plan B. Conceived by the best 'entity' money can buy. Glad those thrifty Republicans not only have money for wartime tax cuts, but for projects like this too. Guess all our domestic problems are solved! And here I thought the Democrats were supposedly the ones who like to 'throw money at the problem'. Another stereotype reversed.

But if money's being given out, I want in.

Here's my proposal, all who want to join in on it with me are welcome. The plan is to pull a Halliburton and spend as little of the money on reconstruction as possible, and then "lose" the rest... right into our bank accounts! Ka-ching! War rocks!

The proposal:
My proposal is to just give the White House what they really want and rename the country "Iraqaburton". Control of the country will be handed over to a certain top defense contractor (to be determined without bid later). In exchange for laying down arms, insurgents will be granted amnesty and be given jobs (no pay, of course) rebuilding the country that they, and we, destabilized. They will be divided up into groups and redirected to the 10 key cities where they will be in charge of rebuilding the nation's damaged infrastructure, paving new roads, and pumping the country's oil into U.S. tankers where it will be transported to the United States for 'safe keeping'. As the country rebounds, the citizens of Iraqaburton will also be offered similar jobs (possibly for some pay, we'll see how much is left after we "misplace" some funds). The rest of the world will watch with 'shock' and 'awe' at this amazing, historic reconstruction. Iraqaburton will serve as a shining example to the rest of the Middle East of what the U.S. has to offer.

Let me know if you want in. We'll be so rich, we can buy Duke Cunningham a second yacht.

In Their Own Words

A classic Tom Tomorrow cartoon from October 2004:

My apologies to any troops whose morale I harmed by posting this.

Mmmmm, yellowcake...

The FBI is reopening investigation into the bogus Niger/uranium intelligence...

Why is the FBI trying to undermine the war on terror? [*wags finger*]

FBI Is Taking Another Look at Forged Prewar Intelligence

The FBI has reopened an inquiry into one of the most intriguing aspects of the pre-Iraq war intelligence fiasco: how the Bush administration came to rely on forged documents linking Iraq to nuclear weapons materials as part of its justification for the invasion...

[History- 16 words]