Saturday, April 08, 2006

"You say we're headed to war. I don't know why you say that."

That's what President Bush told reporters on December 31, 2002... as the unstoppable march to war grew.

For months, buzz has been growing about a possible war with Iran. I keep telling myself that is just people being paranoid, that the White House wouldn't really be foolish to provoke a war with Iran. I want to believe that their lust for military supremacy and their desire for an October surprise will be trumped by the more rational forces around them . But the warmongering has been too prevalent to ignore. They have been fishing for a pretext, including the nuclear program and unverified claims tying Iran to the violence in Iraq. And we have seen recent reports indicating planning is underway.

Now Seymour Hersh has a huge scoop in the New Yorker-
The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups. The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium...

At one point, the article states that President Bush sees Ahmadinejad as the next Hitler (meaning he should stopped now rather than later) and that Bush believes that "that saving Iran is going to be his legacy". That's funny, I thought saving Iraq was going to be legacy. Ohh right, that didn't work out so well.

And a look on their starry-eyed outlook on what will happen-
One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that "a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government."

Again, this was their misguided belief with Iraq too. It's the whole 'we will be greeted as liberators' line again. But, as history tell us, bombing campaigns/invasion do not cause a people to rally behind the bombers against their government. If anything, it will split those in Iran sympathetic to us and we will see many of them instinctively rallying behind their leaders (after all, is that not the Republicans' logic on how censure of Bush will help them?)

The scariest part... part of the U.S. planning involves using bunker-buster nuclear bombs. Boy, when Bill Frist said the Republicans wouldn't be afraid to use the nuclear option, I didn't realize he meant this!

While the few Congressional members who've been briefed on this seem enthusiastic about the decision (no doubt because they only chose to brief the specific members- Joe Lieberman on the left, Pat Roberts on the right- who will cheer them on here), many in the military hierarchy are concerned-
The Pentagon adviser on the war on terror confirmed that some in the Administration were looking seriously at this option, which he linked to a resurgence of interest in tactical nuclear weapons among Pentagon civilians and in policy circles. He called it “a juggernaut that has to be stopped.” He also confirmed that some senior officers and officials were considering resigning over the issue. “There are very strong sentiments within the military against brandishing nuclear weapons against other countries,” the adviser told me. “This goes to high levels.” The matter may soon reach a decisive point, he said, because the Joint Chiefs had agreed to give President Bush a formal recommendation stating that they are strongly opposed to considering the nuclear option for Iran. “The internal debate on this has hardened in recent weeks,” the adviser said. “And, if senior Pentagon officers express their opposition to the use of offensive nuclear weapons, then it will never happen.”

This is hardcore stuff. There should be no doubt that any critics on these decisions, like General Shinseki on Iraq, will be muted by Rumsfeld and the White House. I can already tell the same idiots who planned the Iraq debacle will be in charge of this mess too.

Getting back to the idea of another preemptive war to gain the peace, I said this last month-
Nobody in this world, save for Tony Blair, sees the United States as a force for peace any longer. We are bullies, making demands of our enemies, but refusing to cooperate with them, and then acting angered and confused when they react in a hostile manner. Has there ever been an administration with this great a predilection toward military action over diplomacy?

Had we ignored the non-threat that was Iraq, we could've kept our military resources focused on Al Qeada and simultaneously begun diplomatic relations with Iran in 2002... which was, of course, before the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Done right, we could've made great progress by 2006. But the White House never made any real diplomatic efforts. With Iraq, they at least bothered with the pretense of diplomacy. And after the historical bungling of Iraq by this administration, the fact that anyone in this country would let them even discuss the possibility of another preemptive war is, almost literally, insane. Our military is broke and depleted and this administration has proved it cannot competently do much of anything, let alone engage in war.

Add nukes into the mix... well, we could have a big problem on our hands.

Now here's my big question- Why won't the Democrats or the media point out how insane (and transparently political) this is? They let him go into Iraq without a plan and without finishing the job in Afghanistan (it's still unfinished). Now, with Iraq in tatters and inflaming terrorism worldwide, how can even one single member of Congress allow the President to suggest starting a new war?

We now know that that Iraq civil war "could affect the entire Middle East". And let's also point out that Bush's failure with Iraq has strengthened Iran's power in the region. And both Afghanistan and Iraq are now anti-U.S. theocracies... their theories on regime change and democracy-by-the-bomb have backfired on them every single time.

This administration is beyond incompetent; they are delusional warmongers. They have yet to win a war, let alone show any idea on how to properly (or humanely) wage one. They made us the scorn of much of the world. Yet here we are, in another election year, discussing the possibility of war with a country far larger than Iraq or Afghanistan and whose leaders will not fold like Saddam did.

Will not one Democrat step forward now to point that out?

No doubt the White House will do it different than Iraq just to avoid comparison. Less emphasis on ground troops (so they'll have less flag-draped coffins to hide from the public), more emphasis on air strikes (more shock, more awe!). I also imagine they'll keep journalists out of the country to prevent more kidnappings and, you know, reporting on all the destruction that's occurring.

Finally, let me just state this... Yes, Iran IS a problem. But, as with Iraq, they are not an imminent threat to us. They have not attacked us. They have threatened Israel, yes, but we are not Israel. In addition, we don't even know for sure how powerful they really are! Most of the scarier reports are, upon closer inspection, not as serious. It will be years before they have nuclear weapons and that allows us time to find a solution (time we've wasted on other matters). I agree we should not simply ignore the issue, cross our fingers, and hope for the best. But this administration is part of the problem, not the solution. Any support we may have for finding a real solution with Iran, including support in that country's citizenry, will be destroyed the second war begins. And the president will of course act unilaterally, ignoring the rest of the world, to do what Jesus Dick Cheney his gut tells him is right. And it will backfire as always. This administration has a dangerous knack for taking volatile situations and making them worse.

They should listen to words of caution like this-
“If you attack,” the high-ranking diplomat told me in Vienna, “Ahmadinejad will be the new Saddam Hussein of the Arab world, but with more credibility and more power. You must bite the bullet and sit down with the Iranians.”

Agreed. War is the easy choice for those like Bush. They need to take the hard way instead.

This insanity of rushing to war needs to be stopped dead in its tracks before President Bush starts WWIII. I have to believe that the Congress and the press will not fall for the same trick twice. I also believe the American people are past the point where they will buy into this all-too-familiar story one more time. But my expectations/hope often don't mesh with reality.

I Care, Harry

Harry Shearer has an update on the Army Corps of Engineers and their role in the floodwall failures that caused the flooding of much of downtown New Orleans. Larger news and the effects of scandal fatique buried this story, but Harry dug it up...

New Orleans. It's Official: Nobody Cares

The Imperial Presidency

On leaking and spying, two great articles on the President's theory of power-

Knight Ridder: Libby testimony shows a White House pattern of intelligence leaks
The revelation that President Bush authorized former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to divulge classified information about Iraq fits a pattern of selective leaks of secret intelligence to further the administration's political agenda.

Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other top officials have reacted angrily at unauthorized leaks, such as the exposure of a domestic wiretapping program and a network of secret CIA prisons, both of which are now the subject of far-reaching investigations.

But secret information that supports their policies, particularly about the Iraq war, has surfaced everywhere from the U.N. Security Council to major newspapers and magazines. Much of the information that the administration leaked or declassified, however, has proved to be incomplete, exaggerated, incorrect or fabricated...


Balkinization: Reductio Ad Dictatorem

Attorney General Gonzales' admitted on Thursday that President Bush believed that he could legally spy on American citizens' phone calls and e-mails occurring solely within the United States. Previously the Administration had argued that it had authority to intercept and listen to conversations coming from overseas or going overseas without a warrant and without abiding by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). It asserted that the President had inherent authority to intercept intelligence coming from the nation's enemies and that the President was also authorized to do so by the September 18th, 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Al-Qaeda and other organizations which participated in the 9-11 attacks. Thus, the Administration argued, either the AUMF superseded FISA's requirements prohibiting warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens, or else FISA was unconstitutional to the extent that it conflicted with the President's inherent powers as commander-in-chief.

Gonzales' latest admission-- that the President can also engage in purely domestic spying without a warrant-- might seem like a pretty significant grab of power, far beyond what the President said he could do before. But if you understand the Administration's theory of its own power, Gonzales' statement should not be at all surprising. The distinction between domestic communications and international communications is irrelevant to the theory. The latest revelation shows that the President's theory all along has been radical, unreasonable, and dangerous...

...This theory, taken to its logical conclusions, gives the President the ability to treat anyone living in the United States, including particularly U.S. citizens, as wartime enemies without having to prove their disloyalty to anyone outside the executive branch. In so doing, it offers him what can only be called dictatorial powers-- that is, the power to suspend ordinary civil liberties protections on his say so. The limits on what the President may do under this theory are entirely political-- the question is whether the American people will stand for what the President has done if they discover what he has done in their name. But if the American people don't know what their executive is doing, they can hardly be in a position to object. And so the President has tried to keep secret exactly what he has done under the unreasonable and overreaching theory of Presidential power that his Administration has repeatedly asserted in its legal briefs and public statements...

This is the tie that bonds all these scandals together.

Big Brother Is Watching

President Bush insists that his warrantless spying program (now with domestic fun!) doesn't target innocent Americans. Of course, as I noted in my last entry on the leak authorization, anyone who gives this President the benefit of the doubt is a fool. Besides the government's known efforts in spying on protestors and activists, we've had confirmation from FBI whistleblowers that the NSA sent "a steady stream of telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and names to the F.B.I. in search of terrorists" and that "virtually all of them... led to dead ends or innocent Americans". More and more information confirms this type of activity.

The facts continue to betray the President on this...

Wired: Whistle-Blower Outs NSA Spy Room
AT&T provided National Security Agency eavesdroppers with full access to its customers' phone calls, and shunted its customers' internet traffic to data-mining equipment installed in a secret room in its San Francisco switching center, according to a former AT&T worker cooperating in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's lawsuit against the company.

Mark Klein, a retired AT&T communications technician, submitted an affidavit in support of the EFF's lawsuit this week. That class action lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco last January, alleges that AT&T violated federal and state laws by surreptitiously allowing the government to monitor phone and internet communications of AT&T customers without warrants.

On Wednesday, the EFF asked the court to issue an injunction prohibiting AT&T from continuing the alleged wiretapping, and filed a number of documents under seal, including three AT&T documents that purportedly explain how the wiretapping system works...

Read it and weep.

And on the connection to what the President has told us, Klein insists-
Klein said he came forward because he does not believe that the Bush administration is being truthful about the extent of its extrajudicial monitoring of Americans' communications.

"Despite what we are hearing, and considering the public track record of this administration, I simply do not believe their claims that the NSA's spying program is really limited to foreign communications or is otherwise consistent with the NSA's charter or with FISA," Klein's wrote. "And unlike the controversy over targeted wiretaps of individuals' phone calls, this potential spying appears to be applied wholesale to all sorts of internet communications of countless citizens."

Of course, if the White House is asked about this, I'm sure Scott McClellan will simply insist that this is one of those bad leaks that hurts America by informing Americans their basic rights are being stripped away terrorists that we utilize surveillance technology. This is in contrast to the President's secret, back-door 'declassifications' which make help America be informed (not by public disclosure, just ya know through anonymous leaks to friendly reporters). They will also state they can't comment on the constitutional abuses 'operational details' of any national security programs. And the Attorney General will issue a statement reminding us of the President's imperial inherent authority to do, well, anything he wants. Alberto Gonzales says you're getting sleepy, very sleeepyyy....

You can read Mark Klein's statement about this- here.

This sort of thing is not new, but this seems to represent the greatest abuses we've seen.

Think this story will get major press? Nah, I didn't either. Consider yourself depressed informed, though.

Saturday Morning Funnies: Week In Review

It's been a loonnggg week. And I am sleepy. So, instead of a lengthy post, I will just let some of our nation's finest political cartoonists summarize this past week's events. I'm watching Bill Maher now and will be back to posting as regular tomorrow evening. Until then, enjoy the pretty pictures... I declassified them just for you.









The President Talks To Rep. McKinney

From the un-PC parody site

Hi-larious! Recommended read, you'll laugh out loud.

I've been debating for days whether I cared about this BS story or not (the right-winger bloggers have been treating it like it was their Downing Street Memo or something of that magnitude... they really are desperate to sniff after a Democratic scandal, aren't they?), but after seeing her on 'Real Time w/ Bill Maher', I will say that this woman is nuts. I don't know what happened with her and that Capitol guard (and I'm not sure I even care), but damn this lady is out of her mind. Seriously.

[PS- Download their patriotic posters! Show your love for W's America!]

Friday, April 07, 2006

President Bush: Leak Investigation Focuses On His Role (Pt. II)

This new AP report has a good summary of this saga:
Libby Says Bush OK'd Leaks, Filing Alleges

Truth Dig has a good compilation of links on this story. Andrew Sullivan has commentary.

Also, like with wiretapping, a big issue is that the President has contradicted many prior assurances.

Day two... We'll see if the White House press corps gets around to asking about this. Let's preview the answer(s)- "The President has the right to declassify...", "ongoing investigation", "The President has a right to defend his case for war (with selectively leaked, misleading info)", "inherent executive authority", "please go away".

(UPDATE: Scott McClellan does indeed play the "ongoing investigation" card)

This AP headline says it all- White House Declines to Counter Leak Claim

One hopes that (in addition to the contradiction between the official declassification date and this leak) someone will push the point that, yes, the President does have the power to declassify, but that's not the issue... it's the political (ab)use of that power that makes this a 'leak' and scandalous. 'Declassifying' something in secret so Scooter can pass it on to his reporter pal to settle a political grudge is a big issue. There are procedures to be respected; the President isn't a law to himself. And we've already seen how this selective leaking of heretofore classified information has connections to the Plame saga. As the odious Henry Kissinger once said, "I never leak. I de-classify." There are also preexisting questions of the Vice President's role in this.

It's proof of a growing problem... the Bush administration's creeping monarchism.

Sure, the Podhoretzes will always defend the President against his foes (real or imagined), but only a fool at this point gives the President the benefit of the doubt. When Congress or other parties want important information declassified and made public, the White House stonewalls to the full extent of their power. They declassify and leak for their gain only, and they classify for their gain as well. It's a political game to them and it's time to address this very serious pattern of behavior.

[See also previous entry- President Bush: Leak Investigation Focuses On His Role]

We're All Harry Taylor

Yesterday, during one of of the President's carefully hand-selected 'war on terror' town hall PR meetings, a bit of truth snuck in through Mr. Harry Taylor who probably will not be getting an invite to the President's next speech in town...
Q You never stop talking about freedom, and I appreciate that. But while I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water and eating safe food. If I were a woman, you’d like to restrict my opportunity to make a choice and decision about whether I can abort a pregnancy on my own behalf. You are –

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not your favorite guy. Go ahead. (Laughter and applause.) Go on, what’s your question?

Q Okay, I don’t have a question. What I wanted to say to you is that I — in my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by my leadership in Washington, including the presidency, by the Senate, and –


THE PRESIDENT: No, wait a sec — let him speak.

Q And I would hope — I feel like despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration, and I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself inside yourself.

The President thanked him and wanted on to say that he would not apologize for his decisions in regards to the wiretapping. You can read the transcript of this exchange- here. The President's response is a non-stop parade of spin. He clearly expects/knows most people don't know enough about this scandal to tell the difference... Let's play a game; see if you can count the lies. I got four just on a first reading (Bush's legal support crew came up with the idea of this program, not people in the security/law enforcement agencies; the idea of listening to Al Qaeda's phone calls wasn't a new one, the issue here is the laws that govern that; the decision was taken to Congress only after the fact, and late in the game, to only a few members who were not allowed to voice any public objections; and FBI officials and others have confirmed the program was not used on a limited basis). How many did you get?

Video- here.

The best part? Look at the women in that picture... they're so scandalized!

And they booed him. They booed a man for voicing his opinion. Bush's bubble must be comfy.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the President and the GOP's ratings have hit new lows.

[See also the AP article- Bush Defends Surveillance Policy]

Take A Stand

Sen. Tom Harkin said the following this week on his support for censure-
"I’m embarassed that more Democrats haven’t lined up on this. I mean, for crying out loud, the Republicans, they can see fit to impeach… IMPEACH a president, Bill Clinton for lying about having an extramarital affair. But they won’t stand for a censure. The Democrats don’t have the guts to stand up to censure a President who misled us, who lied to the American people, who broke the law and violated the Constitution of the United States in spying on the American people. I tell you, we’ve got to get some more backbone to a lot of Democrats. We need to hear from people. We need to hear from people. The American people need to know, and to show support for this resolution."


On this note, The Nation has a great editorial on this issue.

Meanwhile, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee is angry at the White House's stonewalling on the investigations into the program. Sounds like the chairman is trying to undermine the war on terror!:
Senior House Republican criticizes Gonzales-
Sensenbrenner accuses attorney general of ‘stonewalling’ on eavesdropping

And Reuters has a report on the continuing saga of how the Pentagon has been keeping records of peaceful political activists... Of course I'm sure the President isn't abusing his NSA program with that kind of activity (*cough*):
Pentagon says improper data in security database

It's not as if the Attorney General gave the thumbs up for warrantless domestic spying... Wassat? He did? Oh.

Finally, considering what we learned yesterday about the President's political use of national security information and his hypocrisy on leaks, etc, I would that hope that more Senators would be fired up to stand up to this President and tell him he's gone too far. The President can't make up/interpret the law at will. The Democrats who were very vocal on the leak issue yesterday (ie. Dick Durbin, Harry Reid) are those who abandoned Feingold on his censure stand. They are right to take a stand on the former, but they should fight for the latter as well. As the above-linked Nation editorial concludes-
The opposition party that too rarely opposes appears to stand for nothing. There does not seem to be any principle, not even respect for the rule of law, that motivates most Democrats. As such, they come off as the party that will compromise on anything and everything in order to win elections. In so doing, cynical Democrats create another undeserved opening for Republicans who have argued, time and again and with considerable success, that Bush, Cheney and their Congressional allies may not always get things right but at least they operate from a place of conviction.

Democrats now have another opportunity to change that- Stand with Feingold. Censure the President.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Congress Gets Its Immigration Reform On... Or Not

The Senate moderates try fail to get a bill signed soon as the right-wingers bitch about 'amnesty'-

AP: Congress Unites for Illegal-Immigrant Deal
Putting aside party differences, Senate Republicans and Democrats coalesced Thursday around compromise legislation that holds out the hope of citizenship to many of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the United States unlawfully...

What are the proposed Senate bill's provisions? Well here we go-
• Illegal immigrants who have been in the country for at least five years could receive legal status after meeting several conditions, including payment of a $2,000 fines and any back taxes, clearing a background check and learning English. After six more years, they could apply for permanent residency without leaving the United States. They could seek citizenship five years later.

• Illegal immigrants in the country for between two and five years could obtain a temporary work visa after reporting to a border point of entry. Aides referred to this as "touch base and return," since people covered would know in advance they would be readmitted to the United States.

• Officials said it could take as long as 13 to 14 years for some illegal immigrants to gain citizenship. It part, that stems from an annual limit of 450,000 on green cards, which confer legal permanent residency and are a precursor to citizenship status.

• Illegal immigrants in the United States for less than two years would be required to leave the country and apply for re-entry alongside anyone else seeking to emigrate.

Separately, the legislation provides a new program for 1.5 million temporary agriculture industry workers over five years.

It also includes provisions for employers to verify the legal status of workers they hire, but it was not clear what sanctions, if any, would apply to violators.

To secure the border, the bill calls for a virtual fence — as opposed to the literal barrier contained in House legislation — consisting of surveillance cameras, sensors and other monitoring equipment along the long, porous border with Mexico.

Sounds much saner than what the House proposed. No fence = good. It provides a path to citizenship, which is the most important thing. I'm still not too keen on any 'guest worker' programs (do our work and then get out!) unless said workers can be put on the same path to citizenship as everyone else. Still, it seems effort was made to find compromise here. As long as common sense prevails over the irrational (and racist) hysteria that the far-right Malkin types have been screeching about, we're on the right track.

Wonkette has a good analysis: The Immigration Bill: What the Hell?

Will the House approve of this new, revised bill? I'll guess... no.

And so this election year xenophobic saga will continue, especially since reports indicate this bill will not pass muster with the right. Perhaps the best we can hope for at this point is that this will all continue to stall until after November when electoral politics won't get in the way.

[PS- While there's still work to be done (as I noted, the revised ain't perfect), it's important to note that none of this compromising would've happened had it not been the 500,000+ who took to the streets in protest over the GOP's insane planned legislation. Let this stand as a testament to the power of protest. If enough people stand up on an issue, Congress will act. If only we could get 500,000 people in the streets over the Iraq war or wiretapping or torture or the Gulf Coast or...]

President Bush: Leak Investigation Focuses On His Role

"There’s just too many leaks, and if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is."
--President George W. Bush, (September 30, 2003)

Earlier, I posted an update on Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the CIA leak, which included an update with a report that the President himself authorized the leaking of an Iraq-related National Intelligence Estimate to the NY Times' Judy Miller, thus placing him directly in the chain of events that led to the Plame leak. What does it all mean? A lot of people are discussing that today. Here's a sampling-

National Journal (Murray Waas): Libby Says Bush Authorized Leaks has the documents: Libby: Bush Authorized Plamegate Leak

Firedoglake: Bush Authorized Libby NIE Release to Press

Andrew Sullivan: Bush Nailed

Wonkette: Scooter: “Bush Said I Wouldn’t Get In Trouble!”

The next time the White House or their Justice Department seeks to jail reporters/whistleblowers for exposing wrongdoing (ie. warrantless wiretapping, secret CIA torture prisons), let's keep this in mind.

And this White House wants to be trusted more with wiretapping (especially with no oversight) than the leak-free FISA court? Seriously? This just cuts to their credibility on so many issues where they have been defensive about leaks that have 'harmed' them or national security (or more the former- they consider any harm to them as a threat to national security anyway). After revelations like this, in addition to their numerous failures of national security (Osama still at large, the Iraq debacle, the port saga, the Katrina aftermath, etc etc), I do not understand how this administration still has credibility on this issue. National security to them is only as important as it is useful politically.

Meanwhile, the gang at TPM Muckraker look at what is likely to be the White House's defense here, via a section from a recent Fitzgerald filing-
Defendant further testified that he at first advised the Vice President that he could not have this conversation with reporter Miller because of the classified nature of the NIE. Defendant testified that the Vice President later advised him that the President had authorized defendant to disclose the relevant portions of the NIE. Defendant testified that he also spoke to David Addington, then Counsel to the Vice President, whom defendant considered to be an expert in national security law, and Mr. Addington opined that Presidential authorization to publicly disclose a document amounted to a declassification of the document.

It's the fancy talk version of the old "When the president does it that means that it is not illegal" Nixon defense.

Arianna Huffington also gives her take on this defense-
Call it Addington's Theory of Presidential Magic: Take a classified document. Wave the president's wand over it. Say the secret word ("WHIG-y, WHIG-y"). And, presto-chango, the super secret info is now a Judy Miller exclusive!

Of course, this kind of powerful presidential magic can only be used very sparingly -- declassifying information the White House wizards think will help cover the administration's collective ass while keeping classified information such as the one-page summary of the NIE that shows Bush played fast and loose with intel in making the case for war.

It's declassification as PR tool. Cherry-pick and leak. Repeat as necessary.

Meanwhile, the White House Press Corps fails to ask McClellan about this. What more does the President have to do to get the press to focus on this scandal? Punch a cop? This scandal goes deep and reveals much about how far this administration was willing to go to protect their case for war, especially after it had been debunked.

[PS- PowerLine's Scott Johnson says poor Bushie just had to defend himself against his nasty liberal detractors. He ignores that the main points in Wilson's report were, of course, completely accurate and even the administration would not try to refute its basic findings on the intel at this points. He also, as always, ignores the numerous other evidence that has accrued over the past couple years clearly showing how the White House knew the intel they were presenting was iffy (if not inaccurate) and pushed for war anyway. He also ignores the hypocrisy of leaking for your benefit while criminalizing whistleblowers for their leaks. Never underestimate the ability of the remaining Bush supporters to spin his scandals to his favor... At least he mentioned the story, while most conservative blogs would rather discuss Rep. McKinney or Mexicans.

Andrew Sullivan has a followup post on these defenses and a second on Presidential hypocrisy.]

[PPS- TPM Muckraker on how this was a secret one-off, partial declassification... aka a "leak".]

The Department of Homeland Predators?

It seems that the recent revelation that the deputy press secretary for Homeland Security trying to seduce underage girls online was just the tip of the iceberg. Since then, we've had news that two other officials at Homeland have been involved in similar crimes.

TPM Muckraker reports that Frank Figueroa (who used to run Operation Predator- which goes after sex criminals) was busted last year for exposing himself to a girl in a food court. And AmericaBlog finds a recent report about a third Homeland official- Michael Burks- who was caught in an MSNBC sting operation trying to have sex with an underage girl.

Is this why we can't find Osama? All the Homeland people are trying to score underage girls?

Methinks Homeland Security has some 'splaining to do.

[PS- Regarding the original Homeland Security pervert story, I think the folks at Truth Dig said it best- "Troubling for two reasons: (a) This shows the moral fiber of the people entrusted to spy on Americans; (b) this shows the incompetence and foolishness of the people entrusted to secure our borders—this kind of sting is the oldest trick in the book." Indeed.]

Links of the Day

It's baacccck. Another day, another pile of depressing news.

Here's some links...

-A report confirms the obvious- Bush's tax cuts really help the rich, less so everyone else:
Big Gain for Rich Seen in Tax Cuts for Investments

-The GOP's sex-phobia (maybe that's why their friends at Homeland Security get all pent up and try to sleep with underage girls?) continues to do harm, this time hindering anti-AIDS efforts:
U.S. Focus on Abstinence Weakens AIDS Fight, Agency Finds

-Under Bush's control, the EPA seeks to help polluters, not stop them:
EPA Plan Could Let Plants Skirt Limits

9/11 As A Silencer

As loyal reader(s) of my blog know, I often read something in the NY Post that is so mindboggling nutty, I am forced to rant about it. Yesterday, I read such a thing. And thus a rant is born.

From their lead editorial yesterday-
Someone needs to remind The New York Times that 3,000 people were savagely murdered in the 9/11 terrorist attacks - and that America has both a right and a duty to protect itself from new strikes.

Because, judging from its stories and editorials, the paper seems to have no clue about any of this.

Their main point?
How else to explain its efforts to oppose - if not, undermine - almost every step taken to protect Americans?

Whether it's disclosing federal covert operations, endlessly bewailing doom in Iraq or smearing local cops assigned to public protests, the Times seems hell-bent on undermining America's will to defend itself.

They go on to blast a story the Times did on NYPD tactics during political gatherings/protests.

They call the paper's behavior "anti-American".

Perhaps they prefer the days when 'Run Amok' Judy Miller was helping the White House sell a war...

This is typical NY Post redmeat rhetoric: Anyone who questions the Bush administration's behavior is undermining the war on terror. I have written about this recurring theme of their editorials before- see here, here, and here for a few examples.

Let's round up the Post's current examples: Calling out the President's failed war? Questioning the constitutionality of spying on peaceful political protestors? Exposing the illegal, warrantless domestic wiretapping that was secretly being authorized by the President? No, that's not responsible journalism to them. It's treason.

In the end, I think NYC's favorite right-wing tabloid is jealous of their smarter older brother.

The editorial also doesn't even focus on war on terror-related programs or activities. Its focus is on police tactics in response to heated political rallies. Apparently, in the Post's world, left-wing activists are as dangerous a threat to America's security as Al Qaeda themselves. The paper describes them as 'militant' and 'itching for mayhem'. Yes, those Critical Mass protest bike guys are the next Zacarias Moussaoui. The Post has never seemed at all concerned at where Osama is (unlike Richard Cohen at the Daily News who rightfully discusses that failure) or the effect that the Iraq war has had in inflaming worldwide terrorism, but this Times report apparently is undermining the real front on the war on political activists terror.

Mainly, I am pissed off at their opening line- "Someone needs to remind The New York Times that 3,000 people were savagely murdered in the 9/11 terrorist attacks". This line, in subtle variations, have been used a lot by the right in the past few years when they are about to scold a Bush administration critic without focusing on the merits of the criticism. It's a line that's very popular on the far-right blogs (see this blog post and its comments I linked to a while back). And it has nothing to do with the topic the editorial addresses; it's there to score cheap emotional points.

The thrust of the line seems to boil down to "3,000 were murdered (by the guy we let get away)... So shut up in the name of the all-powerful, endless war on terror." It's an insulting line and childishly condescending. Nobody needs to be reminded about those attacks (least of all those in NYC) and what it told us about the world we live in. The Times has some problems over the years, but conspiring to undermine our country... umm, no I think it's safe to say that's not one of them. But the Post likes to insist that, as they do with any person/entity who questions King George's wisdom. Enter the line. It implies that the speaker is serious and tough and loves America like a man loves steak and that the party being addressed is a weak unamerican fool. Any argument that needs to resort to something that cheap as its opening line is lost before it began.

Bottom line- using the ghosts of 9/11 to silence dissent is the lowest form of political debate.

Sadly, it's something the NY Post and the President have in common.

Fitzgerald Keeps Digging

Does Patrick Fitzgerald know who leaked Plame's name? Is an indictment still in Rove's future for his role in this saga? What other revelations will surface as this case digs deeper? All questions that will addressed by reading the link below.

Another great, detailed update on the CIA leak investigation... Recommended read-

TruthOut: Fitzgerald Knew Identity of Leaker From Start

UPDATE: New evidence links President Bush to the chain of events in this case-
Bush Said to Have Cleared Early Release of Iraq Intelligence to Times (NY Sun)

Quote(s) of the Day

"I know we’ve made tactical errors, thousands of them, I’m sure."
-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice (March 31, 2006)


"I don't know what she was talking about, to be perfectly honest... [T]he enemy's got a brain; the enemy watches what you do and then adjusts to that, so you have to constantly adjust and change your tactics, your techniques and your procedures. If someone says, well, that's a tactical mistake, then I guess it's a lack of understanding, at least my understanding, of what warfare is about."
-A response by Secretary of Defense Rumseld (April 5, 2006)

If this administration cannot even quell its internal civil wars, I have no hope for them to save Iraq.

Stop this train, I wanna get off.

[PS- Think Progress has compiled a great update on the architects of this disaster:

The Missing Link

Ask me again why we're still defending evolution in 2006?

But since we are, here are some interesting new findings...

NY Times: Scientists Call Fish Fossil the 'Missing Link'
Scientists have discovered fossils of a 375 million-year-old fish, a large scaly creature not seen before, that they say is a long-sought "missing link" in the evolution of some fishes from water to a life walking on four limbs on land.

A model of the 375 million-year-old fish, which exhibits changes that anticipate the emergence of land animals.
In addition to confirming elements of a major transition in evolution, the fossils are widely seen by scientists as a powerful rebuttal to religious creationists, who hold a literal biblical view on the origins and development of life...

Tom Delay told me those fossils were just put here by God to test our faith!!!

Down with evil-ution!!

{*burns down museum*}

Ladies And Gentlemen, Your Liberal Media...

Watch as Chris Matthews gushes all over his pal Tom Delay-

Video via Harry Shearer at HuffPo: Found Object: DeLay on Hardball

Delay on Hillary- "Nothing worse than a woman know-it-all."

Except for maybe faux-Christian criminal politicians and their media allies, of course.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The War In Iran

The buzz is that the administration is definitely starting the planning.

And in an election year too! {*shock*}

Will the American people fall for the same trick twice? As usual- Stay tuned!

I <3 Russ Feingold, Pt. II

Sen. Feingold's gay marriage support has got some blogs buzzing...

Andrew Sullivan: Feingold Backs Marriage

Truth Dig: Feingold Favors Legalizing Gay Marriage

AmericaBlog: Feingold's got balls

It's amazing that the average politician is so spineless that it's buzzworthy when one of them does the right thing. And even more amazing that that one is usually Russ Feingold. From campaign finance to the Patriot Act to the Iraq war to censure, he's been ahead of the political curve for years and is not afraid to go against the conventional wisdom of even his own party. To the right, he's an evil traitor for questioning the President's motives and behavior in wartime. To the left-of-center Democrats, he's a troublemaker who's messing up their system. To me, he's a patriot and a very rare breed of politician I would not just vote for because he's the best available option, but because I want him in office. All this principled stances may hurt his chances of appealing to swing voters (or maybe it'll help- Kerry's 2004 pandering didn't exactly win him votes), but I don't care. He's good people.

I'll say it again- More Feingolds, less of everybody else.

Homeland Security Rule #1...

...Don't molest little girls.

AP: Homeland Deputy Arrested in Seduction Case

[PS- Homeland Security safety tips! What, no duct tape?]

Two Deadlines and an Exit

"We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"
-John Kerry (April 23, 1971)

The guy who should've been President has written a great NY Times op-ed piece today proposing a strategy for Iraq. While Condi and Jack Straw pussyfooted around the issue in their 'surprise' visit (surprise! the country's so unstable you can't announce visits in advance!), Sen. Kerry insists we get tough with Iraq... and then get out. It's a very detailed plan and a workable one. But most importantly, it's bold, it's different, it's everything the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld 'cross your fingers and hope for the best' plan is not. Let's let the Senator explain...

He starts out-
WE are now in the third war in Iraq in as many years. The first was against Saddam Hussein and his supposed weapons of mass destruction. The second was against terrorists whom, the administration said, it was better to fight over there than here. Now we find our troops in the middle of an escalating civil war.

Half of the service members listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall died after America's leaders knew our strategy would not work. It was immoral then and it would be immoral now to engage in the same delusion. We want democracy in Iraq, but Iraqis must want it as much as we do. Our valiant soldiers can't bring democracy to Iraq if Iraq's leaders are unwilling themselves to make the compromises that democracy requires...

And his plan-
Iraqi politicians should be told that they have until May 15 to put together an effective unity government or we will immediately withdraw our military. If Iraqis aren't willing to build a unity government in the five months since the election, they're probably not willing to build one at all. The civil war will only get worse, and we will have no choice anyway but to leave.

If Iraq's leaders succeed in putting together a government, then we must agree on another deadline: a schedule for withdrawing American combat forces by year's end. Doing so will empower the new Iraqi leadership, put Iraqis in the position of running their own country and undermine support for the insurgency, which is fueled in large measure by the majority of Iraqis who want us to leave their country. Only troops essential to finishing the job of training Iraqi forces should remain.

He also calls for a massive summit meeting.

Best line-
We will defeat Al Qaeda faster when we stop serving as its best recruitment tool.


He concludes-
For three years now, the administration has told us that terrible things will happen if we get tough with the Iraqis. In fact, terrible things are happening now because we haven't gotten tough enough. With two deadlines, we can change all that. We can put the American leadership on the side of our soldiers and push the Iraqi leadership to do what only it can do: build a democracy.

Read the full column for all the details. It's worth reading, I promise you.

Meanwhile, the real President is staying the course. The losing course.

George, suck it up... and listen to John. It's time to end this.

[PS- Isn't it kind of BS that everyone always decries how the Democrats don't have plans for Iraq or national security or whatnot, and then when they do make public very detailed and workable strategies... everyone ignores it? I give them their fair share of crap, but the Democrats do have ideas. Good ideas. Nobody just ever talks about them, because it doesn't fit the storyline we've all accepted of the party.]

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I <3 Russ Feingold

Despite most of his fellow Democrats abandoning him on last Friday's censure hearing, he is continuing to stand on his principles and confront the issue. He was on Fox News Sunday this past weekend (smart move- he's better off converting the Bush supporters than preaching to choir on Daily Kos) to discuss the issue. You can see video- here. I found the video on the insane Expose The Left website; check out the first comment by 'Alex' in which he brilliantly "exposes" (to use the site's wording) what an idiot the person who posted the entry is. Good stuff. In the interview Chris Wallace tries to distort what Feingold is saying, but Feingold stays on track. Best line: "The Bill of Rights and Constitution were not repealed on 9/11."

Sounds like traitor talk. Go kiss your boyfriend Osama, you Dumbocrat! LOL! I made a funny.

Speaking of kissing boyfriends...

While most Democrats are too scared (see a running pattern here?) to take on the GOP on the obvious divisive election-year bigotry behind their gay marriage ban efforts, Russ Feingold is not. He is stating, without hesistation, that he supports full marriage rights for the gays and lesbians in his state. Imagine that- a politician who looks out for the rights of his constituents and not the fears/prejudices of the fringe.

From Raw Story:
United States Senator Russ Feingold this week indicated that he not only opposes a constitutional amendment in Wisconsin to ban gay marriage and civil unions, but in fact, favors full marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

Calling such a ban a "mean-spirited attempt to divide Wisconsin," Feingold urged constituents at a Paddock Lake "listening session" not to support it.

He went on to argue not just for civil unions, but gay marriage.

"Gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry and have access to the same rights, privileges and benefits that straight couples currently enjoy." Feingold went on to add, "[This] kind of discrimination ... has no place in our laws, especially in a progressive state like Wisconsin. The time has come to end this discrimination and the politics of divisiveness that has become part of this issue."

The Senator went on to argue that religious groups do not have to recognize any civil marriage.

Kudos as always to Sen. Feingold for not being afraid to stand on principle. As he told Chris Wallace, "I am one the least partisan members of the Senate by all accounts". And to many, that apparently makes him overly partisan. I say- More Feingolds, less Frists please.

[Hat tip for gay marriage link- State of the Day]


On a recent 'Real Time w/ Bill Maher', Graydon Carter said this about Bush:
"He speaks to the audience as if they're idiots. I think the reason he does that is because that's the way these issues were explained to him."

And everyone laughed. Because it was funny.

And then yesterday, I read this from Newsweek:
[Andy Card's successor Josh] Bolten endeared himself to Bush in the early days of the 2000 campaign. He could simplify complex policies in a way that Bush could understand and then explain to voters.

It's not so funny anymore.

Here's a crazy idea...

How about we have a President who doesn't need complex issues simplified for him? And how about he, in turn, doesn't dumb them down for us? We used to have them. Remember that? Remember when people expected the President to be intelligent? To be smarter and more in the loop than his staffers? I do. It's been a long six years since the last one, but I do remember.

[PS- Speaking of funny- check out this music video. Unintentional hilarity abounds.]

Immigration Debate Continues...

Newsweek has an excellent cover story this week on the immigration debate, choosing to do what all the right-wing shills won't... focus on the human side of this story. It's a great read; someone send Michelle Malkin a copy-

Newsweek: America's Divide-

The lawmakers see legals and illegals. But many immigrant clans are a mixture of citizens and relatives at risk. A portrait of a different kind of family.

And on the more political side, Andrew Sullivan looks at the implications for Republicans-
Sheriff Bush blinks in a Mexican stand-off

[See also previous entry: 'Mr. President, Tear Down Build Up That Wall!' ]

Tom Delay: A Chronology

For a short look back on the rise (and fall) of Rep. Delay, here's a timeline-

AP: Chronology of Events Involving DeLay

The Washington Post has more on Delay's legal woes-
Federal Probe Has Edged Closer to Texan

And still mere whispers from the conservative blogosphere... shhh... nothing to see here...

The Hammer Falls

Rep. Tom Delay, persecuted Christian and poster boy for GOP corruption, is going to leave Congress. has all the exciting details-
Rep. Tom DeLay, whose iron hold on the House Republicans melted as a lobbying corruption scandal engulfed the Capitol, told TIME that he will not seek reelection and will leave Congress within months...

Gosh, this couldn't be connected to all your former staffers and friends quickly becoming convicted felons as the Department of Justice works its way up to you, could it?

Not only he is leaving Congress... he's leaving the state of Texas!
DeLay said he is likely to leave by the end of May, depending on the Congressional schedule and finishing his work on a couple of issues. He said he will change his legal residence to his condominium in Alexandria, Va., from his modest two-story home on a golf course here in the 22nd District of Texas. "I become ineligible to run for election if I'm not a resident of the state of Texas," he said, turning election law to his purposes for perhaps on last time. State Republican officials will then be able to name another Republican candidate to face Democrat Nick Lampson, a former House members who lost his seat in a redistricting engineered by DeLay.

Said blueduck37, "Delay becomes ineligible to run for election if he's a criminal, a religious nutjob, and a disgrace to his country."

Considering there was no indication (publically anyway) that he was changing his reelection plans until this week, I think we can safely assume this decision was made over the weekend for one of two reasons (or maybe both)... The first is probably that polling indicated Delay was unlikely to win reelection. Even Delay's gerrymandering rape of Texas' congressional districts wasn't going to save him.

The second (and more important) reason is the aforementioned criminal investigation(s). Considering recent events, Delay and his lawyers were likely less confident about his ability to walk away from all of this. And after Duke Cunningham, the GOP cannot afford to have another sitting member of Congress go down. So Delay takes one for the team and walks away. This allows the Republicans to place a more marketable candidate in the seat in hopes that voters will be stupid enough to look at the corruption and criminality in a Delay vacuum and not see that the stink is coming from the party itself. So will they be stupid enough? Well, I would assume not, but we must wait until November to see the conclusion of that saga. Stay tuned, folks!

This shows that for all the right-wing's bravado about runaway liberal prosecutors, phony charges, media bias, and imminent reelection victory for Republicans in November, the truth is more powerful than spin. Mr. Delay is in big, big trouble. And the GOP is too. They're all scared and it's starting to show. They'll spend the next 6-7 months on a PR blitz to prove otherwise, but the facts are coming in at an alarming rate (it's been non-stop bad news/indictments for them since the Fall). Remember- people like Duke Cunningham and Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay weren't just random Republicans. They were the heart and soul of the GOP power machine.

Good riddance to them all.

[PS- PowerLine laments Delay's fall. His only problem, according to Hinderaker? Delay was "too liberal". (*head explodes*) ]

Jury: Moussaoui Eligible For Death Penalty

'Eligible'? Did he win (lose?) the terrorist raffle?

Reuters: Moussaoui eligible for death penalty

[PS- Wouldn't life in prison be better punishment? Isn't executing a guy who wants to be a martyr just giving him what he wants? Oh well, never get in the way of an angry populace looking for quick and easy revenge. I'll just say that- as a guy who doesn't believe in an afterlife- that rotting in a cell for life is far worse than the quick way out.]

Monday, April 03, 2006

Are We At War?

It was reported today that "A divided Supreme Court turned back a challenge to the Bush administration's wartime detention powers, rejecting an appeal from U.S. citizen Jose Padilla who until recently had been held as an enemy combatant without traditional legal rights." (Via NY Times) In light of the Court running away from this issue for the time being, and in addition to contradictory statements administration officials have made on the matter, Greg Saunders asks the question- Are we at war... or aren't we?

He concludes-
It’s easy to understand why the Bush administration wants it both ways: we’re at war because that gives them more power…but we’re also not at war because they would then have treaty obligations, such as under the Geneva Conventions.

Meanwhile, the AP, the rest of the U.S. media, and the Democratic party say nothing whatsoever about this. No one asks Bush the obvious question: “Is the United States at war?”

I guess everyone intuitively senses that the war’s quantum superposition, in which it exists and does not exist at the time, can only be sustained as long as we don’t observe the issue. If we did, the war’s wavefunction would collapse and it would be either one or the other.

This is a subject I've been thinking a lot about.

I will probably have a more in-depth post of my own later this week. Excited? I am.

Quote of the Day

"Saying that America is addicted to oil without following a real plan for energy independence is like admitting alcoholism and then skipping out on the 12-step program."
-Sen. Barack Obama, ripping into President Bush's oil policy

More of this, please.

Bush's Weapons Inspectors Lie

In a recent post, I highlighted how the President has continued to tell the lie that Saddam denied the weapons inspectors (part of Bush's larger lie that he actually didn't want war and the choice was Saddam's, not his). In reality, Hussein did allow the inspectors in, who were ordered to leave by President Bush when he told them it was going to be 'bombs away' in Iraq despite their findings (or lack thereof). Joe Conason has a great article on the continuation of this lie-

"Saddam chose to deny inspectors"

Bush repeated this bald-faced lie recently. The cowering press still lets him get away with it, but the public is no longer fooled.

Slowly but inexorably, as more and more information emerges, the conventional wisdom about the events leading to war in Iraq is shifting. The American public has joined the rest of the civilized world in questioning the arguments and motives of the war makers. Commentators who have habitually fashioned excuses for the White House seem to find that task increasingly burdensome and humiliating. The old lies no longer have much traction.

Yet even now, President Bush persists in blatantly falsifying the war's origins -- perhaps because, even now, he still gets away with it...

...For the third time since the war began three years ago, Bush had falsely claimed that Saddam refused the U.N. weapons inspections mandated by the Security Council. For the third time, he had denied a reality witnessed by the entire world during the four months when those inspectors, under the direction of Hans Blix, traveled Iraq searching fruitlessly for weapons of mass destruction that, as we now know for certain, were not there.

But forget about whether the weapons were there for a moment. The inspectors definitely went to Iraq. They left only because the United States warned them to get out before the bombs started to fall on March 19, 2003. But for some reason the president of the United States keeps saying -- in public and on the record -- that the inspectors weren't there.

Keeping the facts segregated from the myriad falsehoods isn't easy with this regime...

Recommended read.

What's sadder than the lies is that he is allowed to get away with them...

Iraq: Our Continuing Lil' Quagmire

As a NY Times editorial states, "Iraq is becoming a country that America should be ashamed to support, let alone occupy", the bad news continues to pour out of Iraq while the White House continues to insist everything is a-okay. The Times editorial focuses on the violence there, as well as the decidingly undemocratic religious extremists in charge of their government, and the steps our government is taking diplomatically to counter this. TruthDig has an excellent summary and complilation of articles on the 'desperation' in Iraq-
As the tortured bodies of Iraqi civilians pile up in the streets (50 dead on Sunday alone), and Condoleezza Rice and U.K. foreign secretary Jack Straw rush to Baghdad to plead with Iraqi officials to unify their government, the NY Times editorial page writes that "the United States, in its hubris, helped bring all this to pass," echoing conservative godfather William F. Buckley, who recently said, "the neoconservative hubris...overstretches the resources of a free country."

Meanwhile, much buzz is being made of Gen. Anthony Zinni's excellent interview on yesterday's 'Meet The Press'. Andrew Sullivan posts a good quote from Zinni, in which he blasts the Bush administration for their historically poor military planning and arrogance. He also discusses the way the administration mislead everyone on the case for war. You can see video of the interview on Crooks and Liars. Think Progress has a report on how Zinni called on Rumsfeld and others to resign (or- if it happens, 'spend more time with his family'). Hey, think if enough people ask, the President would listen? They also have a second report on how Zinni stated how the media is being made a scapegoat for all the problems in Iraq.

Speaking of scapegoating the media, I liked what this Huffington Post commenter had to say on our favorite chickenhawk journalists/armchair generals-
I believe the press has failed miserably in explaining the fantastic success of the American intervention in Iraq.

It is time to send Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Fred Barnes, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, David Frum, Podhoretz Sr. and Jr., to Iraq to tell the American people what is really going on.

Drop them outside the green zone, say, right about in the middle of the Sunni triangle, and let them report the truth.

I'm sure they won't need any American military protection because they are so fearsome and macho over here in the United States, when it comes to expending the lives of others to advance their agenda.

I'm looking forward to the first edition of Good Morning, Sunni Triangle!

Sounds good to me.

I'm sure they would make us all proud too.

Thou Shalt Not Lose Elections

A political operative has prepared "10 Commandments" for 2008 Democratic candidates.

Can't say I agree on every one (like ignoring the war), but it's an interesting list...

Daily Kos: Luntz focus group tests the early 2008 Dem field

Sunday, April 02, 2006

President Bush: Horrible President, But Tries To Fall Back On Being A 'Regular Guy'

Let the following be further proof that we have nothing more than a PR President.

Instead of fixing his administration's problems, he just wants to get the 'regular joes' to like him again...

Washington Post: The President as Average Joe-
Trying to Boost Support, Bush Brings Banter to the People

...As he takes to the road to salvage his presidency, Bush is letting down his guard and playing up his anti-intellectual, regular-guy image. Where he spent last year in rehearsed forums with select supporters, these days he is more frequently throwing aside the script and opening himself to questions from audiences that are not prescreened. These sessions have put a sometimes playful, sometimes awkward side back on display after years of trying to keep it under control to appear more presidential.

Call it the let-Bush-be-Bush strategy. The result is a looser president, less serious at times, even at times when humor might seem out of place. Aides used to dread such settings, worried about gaffes or the way Bush might come across in spontaneous exchanges. But with his poll numbers somewhere south of the border, they concluded that Bush handles back-and-forth better than he once did -- and that they have little left to lose...

(bold added by me)

And here also from the article is proof of how extremely low expectations have benefitted the President-
In the past couple of weeks, Bush has taken audience questions at two events, in addition to two news conferences. He has answered expansively, sometimes ranging beyond the talking points. He does not brutalize the English language as much (although last week he mangled the name of his ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, pronouncing it Kahl-i-had ). And he banters with audiences in a way he doesn't when delivering a conventional speech.

Wowee. Reread that slowly and think about this...


Wow, the President took questions! From actual unscripted Americans! He didn't always just regurgitate talking points! His brutal mangling of the English language is not as bad as before!! He makes jokes!! What a great President! I feel bad for ever complaining about Iraq, deficits, New Orleans, disastrous domestic policies, constitutional bastardizing whatever it is he's done wrong! We luv ya Dubya!

The article concludes-
"I gave the president a copy of our annual report, 'Freedom in the World,' before he took the stage," Melia explained to the audience.

The president gave his instant review: "Little print, no pictures."

Melia did not miss a beat and compared it to another book Bush likes to cite. "It's the bible of freedom," Melia said.

When the crowd laughed, Bush protested, " I'm the funny guy."

Yes, you are.

Please tell us the joke about the WMDs again. That was hilarious.

It Doesn't Get Any More Pathetic Than John McCain

John McCain tired himself out running away from his former statements and stands on today's 'Meet The Press'. Watch as the former maverick embraces the following things he once denounced- tax cuts for the rich, the Bush/Cheney 2000 campaign, and the 'agent of intolerance' Jerry Falwell. This guy wants to be President BAD. If he and Hillary get their party's nominations in '08, prepare for the Battle of the Triangulators.

Crooks and Liars has video of McCain going down in flames- here.

ThinkProgress also covers the tragedy: VIDEO: McCain Says Jerry Falwell is No Longer an ‘Agent of Intolerance’

Ohhh, the humanity.

Non Sequitur

Last week's-

And this week's-