Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Friendly Bit Of Advice

A note to the leaders of the Democratic Party: It is an election year. So when the Republicans, whom you are defeating in all the national polls, run around hysterically purporting to give your party 'advice' to not critique the Iraq war and its continuation, as Ned Lamont has done successfully, because it makes you seem 'extreme'....

....Please, for the love of God, be smart enough to realize this means that you have them running scared (so scared they'd insinuate voting for Democrats 'encourages' terrorists) and that is they who are extreme, and also know that disapproval of the Iraq war has long been the real mainstream along with many of your other positions, and thus please continue to take them to task and hold them accountable for their poor leadership all across the nation.

If you're stupid enough to take 'advice' from your opponents, or even the same beltway-insider Dems (like the consultants who told you to push out Paul Hackett) who have lead you to defeat three national election cycles in a row, then frankly you may not even deserve to be elected. You've finally started to get your act together (and luckily haven't take their bait yet); so don't flinch now because Karl Rove screams 'boo'.

Thank you.

(Oh, it might also be a good idea to remind voters what a lousy job they've been doing on real peace and security, healthcare, job creation, the ever-growing deficit, oil dependency, education, and anything even remotely forward-thinking.)

See also Joe Conason's great article on this topic.

[PS- The politically odd-timing of the official media announcement of Britain's foiling of the terror plot is also something someone might want to look into, if only because there is a track record here.]

Friday, August 11, 2006

As The World Turns

France and the U.S. agree on a U.N. resolution "that would authorize the deployment of 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers in south Lebanon to support a Lebanese force as it takes control of the region [from Hezbollah militias] and Israel withdraws."...

...While Israel prepares for a wider ground offensive in Lebanon.

And there you go.

UPDATES: Israeli Prime Minister Olmert has agreed to accept this ceasefire agreement.

As has now the leader of Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, Israel triples troops in Lebanon, as the U.N. races to enforce this new ceasefire.

Bush Administration Tries To Exempt Itself From War Crime Prosecution

There have been a lot of ramifications for the Bush administration- unseen by most Americans thanks to an unattentive media- in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which ruled that the U.S. is not exempt from the Geneva convention and other laws in undertaking a war on terror. Most concerning the administration right now is the fact the ruling opened them up to the possibility of being prosecuted for war crimes in the wake of countless abuses. Nat Hentoff discusses this in his Village Voice column this week, noting that "the Supreme Court's most shameful instruction to the administration was that, in the way it treats its prisoners anywhere in the world, the standard must be Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, to which this country is a signatory." Spoiler alert: they've violated the hell out of that Article. More importantly, Hentoff adds at the end that "the Bush administration is devising ways to persuade Congress to let it weasel out of the Supreme Court's findings in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld- that George W. Bush has been creating, with regard to his treatment of detainees, a country with no laws."

The Washington Post has details on how radical that weaseling is-
The Bush administration has drafted amendments to a war crimes law that would eliminate the risk of prosecution for political appointees, CIA officers and former military personnel for humiliating or degrading war prisoners, according to U.S. officials and a copy of the amendments...

...The draft U.S. amendments to the War Crimes Act would narrow the scope of potential criminal prosecutions to 10 specific categories of illegal acts against detainees during a war, including torture, murder, rape and hostage-taking.

Left off the list would be what the Geneva Conventions refer to as "outrages upon [the] personal dignity" of a prisoner and deliberately humiliating acts -- such as the forced nakedness, use of dog leashes and wearing of women's underwear seen at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq -- that fall short of torture...

Did you hear that, Lyndie? You may soon be off the leash hook!

The next day, the LA Times had more details on how this would go-
The Bush administration has drafted amendments to the War Crimes Act that would retroactively protect policymakers from possible criminal charges for authorizing humiliating and degrading treatment of detainees, according to lawyers who have seen the proposal.

The White House, without elaboration, said in a statement that the bill "will apply to any conduct by any U.S. personnel, whether committed before or after the law is enacted."...

Just to be clear- these revisions would be retroactive, so that not only would future abuses would be legally cleared, but all past ones would be excused too. That sounds pretty unconstitutional to me, if not simply frightening in its implications. We already know that certain GOP Senators are working on legislation that would give amnesty for the President's violation of wiretapping laws since 2001; what other crimes are they planning to retroactively okay?

I hope more people than a few journalists are watching this. This needs to be stopped.

Moving on to a related topic- the President's warrantless wiretapping program (also justified by the same extraconstitutional theories used to justify the administration's detainee policies). Crooks and Liars caught an O'Reilly segment last night indicative of how Bush supporters have distorted what is the real scandal behind the program. Discussing news that surveillance may have helped apprehend the U.K. terror suspects, O'Reilly said to Sec. Chertoff, "The fact that the NSA was able to intercept these phone calls that were made in the United States to al-Qaeda in Britain. By using the very controversial, although I understand that warrants were obtained for this by the FISA court... does that mean in your opinion that the Bush administration is, ahhh, justified now in its original policy? Is this a big win politically for you guys?".

The bold was added by me... Did O'Reilly even listen to what he said? He said that, in this case, the government did get the legally-required FISA warrant for that surveillance. If there was a warrant/court oversight- then there is no scandal! The scandal is that the President has been violating the law by refusing to get warrants required by both the 1978 FISA law and the U.S. constitution! It is illegal and unnecessary. That is the scandal. What part of that don't Bush supporters seem to understand??!

As Glenn Greenwald succintly notes in a detailed article on this point, "The NSA eavesdropping scandal has never been about whether the government should eavesdrop. It is about whether the president has the right to break the law."

Finally, Greenwald looks at a new court ruling potentially harmful to freedom of the press.

[PS- Surprise, surprise... the President's approval rating drops once again:
Poll: Bush may be hurting Republicans (AP)]

Make Love Sense, Not War

As part of the larger 'weak on terror' GOP narrative playing itself in that ol' liberal media this week, there is also a sub-talking point... that's apparently 1972 all over again and those crazy hippies and their buddy George McGovern are going to send the Democratic party in a downward spiral. Far out, man!

I was planning to go on a long rant about how stupid that narrative is-- although we do have another scandal involving the Republican party and the Watergate hotel-- but I used my rant powers in the previous entry. Instead, I will let others tackle this.

Anonymous Liberal writes that "Voters in 1972 did not have any historical context for understanding what was happening in Vietnam. America had not previously been involved in such a debacle; we had never lost a war... Now people have a very relevant historical analogy to draw upon... [But] there is nothing at the moment even remotely comparable to the anti-war movement of the 60s and 70s. There are no sit-ins, no demonstrations, no unrest, and no 'dirty hippies' to frighten the masses. In short, there is nothing about the current 'anti-war movement' that seems likely to create a cultural backlash or alienate otherwise like-minded voters."

He adds that "The Democrats have a very different message this time around... the primary argument offered by Democrats critical of the Iraq War is that it has made us less safe, that by invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 or al Qaeda, we diverted our attention from the real enemy and actually exacerbated the terrorist threat. That's a fundamentally hawkish critique. Indeed, the primary advocates of this view--people like Al Gore, Howard Dean, and Wesley Clark--all have indisputably hawkish records on foreign policy. And yet they are the darlings of the netroots and the 'anti-war movement.'... Moreover, the netroots and Democratic activists don't want pacifist Democrats. They just want Democrats who are right about this war. That's why they love Gore and Dean and Clark."

I think that hits the nail right on the head.

Digby also has a good post on this topic, looking at how much-- to the shock of conservatives and pundits-- the world has changed since that era (they just are a little slower at accepting that change). He does make a good point, going back four years from the talking point narrative to the 1968 election. Both candidates that year ran against the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon won- and handily I might add- because the Democrats were viewed as being largely responsible for what had gone wrong in the war. The GOP now fears that fact- the party responsible for a failed war will pay the price at the ballot. Digby looks at this from Nixon's acceptance speech for the nomination that year-
"And this great group of Americans - the forgotten Americans and others - know that the great question Americans must answer by their votes in November is this: Whether we will continue for four more years the policies of the last five years...

...For four years this administration has had at its disposal the greatest military and economic advantage that one nation has ever had over another in a war in history. For four years America's fighting men have set a record for courage and sacrifice unsurpassed in our history. For four years this Administration has had the support of the loyal opposition for the objective of seeking an honorable end to the struggle.

Never has so much military and economic and diplomatic power been used so ineffectively. And if after all of this time, and all of this sacrifice, and all of this support, there is still no end in sight, then I say the time has come for the American people to turn to new leadership not tied to the mistakes and policies of the past. That is what we offer to America.

And I pledge to you tonight that the first priority foreign policy objective of our next Administration will be to bring an honorable end to the war in Vietnam. We shall not stop there. We need a policy to prevent more Vietnams. All of America's peacekeeping institutions and all of America's foreign commitments must be reappraisal..."

That same speech could be given by the Democrats this year about Iraq and the GOP would condemn them. How far they've fallen. They could learn a lot from 1968 Nixon instead of 1973 'Tricky Dick' Nixon. Yes, the difference with Nixon was that he intended to stay in a little longer than his opponent, but post-election reality soon blurred that line.

In conclusion, I'll agree with Digby when he states that, "Phantom hippies are the least of our problems. Is it too much to ask that the media not fall for Karl Rove's manufactured spin for just one minute and recognize that this nation's foreign policy is being run by incompetent political hacks and neocon fanatics at a time of maximum danger? It's fun to take these little trips down memory lane and all, but really, we have serious issues to deal with and the current government is doing a terrible job of it. Perhaps we could take our eyes off the rear view mirror for a minute or two and deal with the fleet of mack trucks that are coming right at us."

[Further reading:
-Glenn Greenwald (Salon): Democrats united on Iraq and Lamont
-Mark Schmitt (TPM Cafe): Vietnam Analogies Everywhere!
-Eric Alterman: The Punditocracy vs. History ]

Taking It Seriously

As I noted in my updates yesterday, my cynicism was validated that the White House and Republicans would use news of a thwarted plot in the U.K. to revitalize the 'Republicans = tough; Dems = terror lovers' talking point. My cynicism was further widened when I learned that the White House had been briefed on this plot several days ago, meaning that they began the post-Lamont victory rhetoric with full knowledge that this story was about to break. Yes, again, that's Bush/Cheney- using the war on terror for political gain since 2001. Take a bow.

Besides, the usual talking heads repeating the talking points (from the National Review to Fox News... see as a prime example this NY Post editorial which only seven paragraphs into a twenty-nine paragraph editorial ties the attack to 'surrender to terror' Dems like Ned Lamont, who is clearly the official new GOP boogeyman), the White House seized on this yesterday as well. President Bush said the plot was a 'reminder' that we are at war with terrorists, as if people had forgotten. The reason for this clear... a surge of new polls showing that Democrats are preferred on dealing with terrorism, as well as a number of other issues. Only one news organization- AFP- actually dared to report on this aspect of the story. They wrote in their wire report-
US President George W. Bush seized on a foiled London airline bomb plot to hammer unnamed critics he accused of having all but forgotten the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Weighed down by the unpopular war in Iraq, Bush and his aides have tried to shift the national political debate from that conflict to the broader and more popular global war on terrorism ahead of November 7 congressional elections...

...His remarks came a day after the White House orchestrated an exceptionally aggressive campaign to tar opposition Democrats as weak on terrorism, knowing what Democrats didn't: News of the plot could soon break...

Bolded added for emphasis. A White Official is quoted in the article as saying, "Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big". Umm, yea. I don't get the feeling that people waiting for hours on airport security lines is going to 'play big' at any time.

The fact is, as far as I'm concerned, is that President Bush has never taken this terrorism thing seriously; we should just all be glad our intelligence/law-enforcement agencies are filled with dedicated and hard working people (those who Run Suskind calls the 'invisibles') who've always done their best. If he had taken it seriously, he wouldn't have fought the 9/11 Commission at every turn, would've seen our dependency on foreign oil as the security threat it is, would've finished the job in Afghanistan instead of signing on for the Cheney/Rumsfeld debacle in Iraq, wouldn't have told the rest of the world to piss off, wouldn't have viewed laws/treaties as dispensable just because he could, and wouldn't have used the war to demonize and destroy his political enemies. The real answer is fear. "They're Still OUT THERE", the cover of today's Newsday warns us. It has served them well in the past few years and now they're happy to dole out a few more servings to anyone who's interested. I personally am optimistic that we've come too far for that to work, but we'll see.

UPDATE: In regards to an official GOP fundraising letter that went out in the last day or two reiterating all the above-mentioned talking points, the RNC blames... 'a low-level staffer'. You may have heard of him; he's the 'Not me!' ghost responsible for all their dirty tricks.

Keith Olbermann did a good report on the plot and known details last night.

UPDATE #2: At least two newspapers called them on this- the Philadelphia Daily News and Boston Globe.

Many liberals/progressives are condemning this and trying to put it back in perspective.

First up, Glenn Greenwald blogging for Salon-
[T]his [GOP] effort is as incoherent as it is manipulative. Nobody doubts that there are Muslim extremists who would like to commit acts of violence against the U.S. and the West. No political disputes are premised on a conflict over whether terrorism exists or whether it ought to be taken seriously. As a result, events such as this that reveal what everyone already knows -- that there is such a thing as Islamic extremists who want to commit terrorist acts against the U.S. -- do nothing to inform or resolve political debates over the Bush administration's militaristic foreign policy or its radical lawlessness at home.

Opposition to the war in Iraq, for instance, is not based upon the premise that there is no terrorist threat. It is based on the premise that that invasion undermines, rather than strengthens, our campaign to fight terrorism...

...Nor is opposition to the president's lawbreaking somehow undermined when it is "revealed" that there are terrorists in the world who are trying to attack the U.S. Opposition to warrantless eavesdropping, for instance, is predicated on the fact that a constitutional republic that exists under the rule of law cannot tolerate a president who defies the law at will, and is further based on the indisputable fact that the president is fully able to eavesdrop on terrorists in compliance with the law, i.e., by obtaining warrants...

...But Bush followers who exploit terrorist threats for political gain and to gin up support for the president's policies are not pursuing rational arguments. They leap at the chance to manipulate terrorist stories because they want to ratchet up the fear levels, precisely because fear obviates rational analysis and increases the willingness of citizens to cede more power and control to the government, to place more blind faith in political officials in exchange for a feeling of protection.

Next, Arianna Huffington-
[Vice President] Cheney knows damn well that, far from making us safer, "an aggressive posture" on Iraq has had the exact opposite effect. In a survey of 100 top foreign-policy experts (both Republicans and Democrats), 84 believed that we're losing the war on terror and 87 thought Iraq has had a negative impact on our efforts to defeat terrorists...

...[It is a] war that 60 percent of Americans are against. A war that is the defining foreign policy initiative of the Bush administration -- an initiative that has been an abject failure on every level. A war that has put the GOP's back against the electoral wall. So it's firing back with it's favorite weapon -- fear...

...They know being against the war in Iraq doesn't mean you are against fighting the war on terror. It means you are against a failed policy that has created more terrorists than it has killed, that has cost America 2,591 lives and $305 billion dollars, that has thrown Iraq into a bloody sectarian civil war, and that has so lessened our standing abroad that we are unable to be a real power broker in an exploding Middle East.

Finally, Ivo Daalder at TPM Cafe-
...What appears to have cracked this case is not a war strategy or military offensive, but good intelligence, skilled detective work, and months of careful surveillance — the kind of traditional law enforcement strategies and defensive measures that Bush and his administration have always shunned.

This apparent success also undermines the second core element of the administration’s war on terror — the notion that effective counter-terrorism action requires ignoring established procedures and the rule of law. As the Brits have shown, there is no need to subvert the law, or civic liberties, to conduct effective counter-terrorism operations. And when the UK government found that some laws (e.g., on the duration of detention) might interfere with effective investigations and actions, it has sought to change the law through established parliamentary procedures rather than to ignore it as Bush has been wont to do.

We still live in a very dangerous world, where evil men concoct evil plots aiming to inflict “mass murder on an unimaginable scale.” But that reality should not be mistaken for justifying the ill-conceived strategies Bush has touted to deal with this danger over the past 5 years.

In conclusion, what was uncovered in the U.K. should be looked at seriously, not as another campaign ad.

[PS- John at Americablog is still suspicious about the details of this thwarted plot, urging for Americans to discern between hype and reality of what we are told. One very, very good question he asks is this- If President Bush and Cheney were briefed on this plot/threat several days ago, why did the new security measures only go into effect at airports yesterday, only after the official announcements? "Why was it safe on Monday, but not safe on Friday?", he wonders. He also doesn't think, if the details of this plot are correct, that it's a good idea to dump a potentially explosive liquid into a big bin filled with other potentially explosive liquids. But officials always overreact at first... these new restrictions may be temporary.]

How Conservatives View Terrorists

I missed this Ruben Bolling cartoon a few weeks ago (when the SWIFT story broke), but found it yesterday on Salon and wanted to post it. The NY Times story on that program was branded as treason by the Bush cultists. Terrorists would never known from all the speeches in 2001/2002 about going after their bank transactions and finances that the U.S. government would... go after their bank transactions and finances. You see, despite the notion that terrorists are sooo dangerous that we have to throw away essential liberties to defeat them- they are also kind of dumb too!

Why God, Why?

I understand that most Americans don't follow politics/current events. I understand that most Americans are not American history buffs. That's fine. But sometimes it needs to be said... there are a lot of fucking idiots in this country. Read it and weep-
Some 30 percent of Americans cannot say in what year the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington took place, according to a poll published in the Washington Post newspaper.

While the country is preparing to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives and shocked the world, 95 percent of Americans questioned in the poll were able to remember the month and the day of the attacks, according to Wednesday's edition of the newspaper.

But when asked what year, 30 percent could not give a correct answer...

[*smashes head into wall*]

The 30% who didn't know the year is mindblowing enough, but did I just read that 5% of those polled didn't know the month and day of 9/11??! Ohh, ohh, I need to lay down now.

I guess those '9/11- Never Forget' bumper stickers should've had the date imprinted on them.

[PS- And let us not forget that 50% of Americans still believe that Iraq had WMD.]

Thursday, August 10, 2006

U.K. Plot Thwarted / U.S. Puts Itself On Code Red

Sorry, the only Code Red I like is a flavor of Mountain Dew.

Anyway, here's the big news this morning... British police thwarted a terrorist plot which they said was to involve using carry-on luggage as explosives on planes. They have also arrested a number of suspects. Security at airports today is at the highest level ever in response. I spoke with an online friend this morning who was set to come back to the U.S. this week from the U.K. and this is definitely causing concern.

Beyond recognizing this as an important news story, and a job well done for Scotland Yard and the British authorities, I am not as concerned about it as some will likely be (keep an eye on Michelle Malkin's blog today for the most hysterical coverage). What more can be said? When we the citizens respond to terrorism (read: not the government, whose job it is to respond and prepare), we validate it. I think people are beginning to understand that again.

I am concerned, however, with potential political appropriation of this here in the U.S. of A. With polls showing that Americans now support Democrats over Republicans on the issue of terrorism 46% to 38%, and with the usual GOP war on terror talking points making a comeback in the post-Lieberman fallout, one would have to be naive to believe that this won't be used by the White House and Republican leaders as some sort of electoral tool against the Democrats, liberals, or other political boogeymen in the next few days to distract from their innumerous political problems (and also re-justify everything from the Iraq debacle to warrantless wiretapping).

Already, we hear familiar rhetoric from the administration. Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said this morning that the plot is 'suggestive' of Al Qaeda involvement. Do they have proof? Maybe, but they've cried wolf so many times, one would have to be stupid to not be a little suspicious.

Now, there's no doubt this was a legitimate plot. It's clear that the British authorities are worried about this and are taking precautions. My concern isn't with that aspect of the story; it's solely with how U.S. politicians will rhetorically use it to continue the line of dialogue they started in the wake of the Lamont victory and the polls that back up the Democratic party positions.

John at Americablog just put a good post up sharing these same concerns I had. He cites numerous other cases- Jose Padilla, the recent Miami group- that were touted as major Al Qaeda plots and turned out to be much less than advertised. I agree we need to ask questions and learn more.

John also does not believe this raising of the domestic terror alert is entirely a coincidence given recent political developments. I think it probably is a coincidence, though a bit of a convenient one for the White House. Such suspicion is understandable given the numerous, oddly-timed Homeland Security press conferences and alerts between 2002 and the 2004 presidential race which, upon further inspection, were not what they were made out to be. Even Tom Ridge later admitted politics influenced such decisions. Keith Olbermann even did a top-notch, in-depth report on this- 'The Nexus of Politics and Terror'- last October, which cited over a dozen of the top examples.

In conclusion, is that what it seems? Very likely. But it'd be stupid/lazy not to ask questions.

I'll happily rescind my cynicism and apologize if the Republicans prove me wrong today.

UPDATE: So far, I'm being proved wrong here. The President did briefly speak on this story (terrorists want to blow up our freedom, etc, you know the rest), of course. Josh Marshall shares his two cents on all of this. Harry Shearer wants to see a greater focus on the empirical rather than rhetorical.

UPDATE #2: No apology's forthcoming; my cynicism has been borne out. Glenn Greenwald has all the humorous details on what the usual suspects are saying today about the terror-sympathizing libs who want you to die. And guess who joined the Republicans in this chorus? 'Independent' Joe Lieberman. Expect more.

Finally, doesn't much of this prove wrong the President's actions and policies in combating terrorism (particularly his 'fight them over there' idiocy)? I think so. Solid international police work > misguided military quagmires. Our (struggling) mission in Afghanistan being a necessary exception, of course. I think we had a presidential candidate who tried to explain that once... Oh, and as with Canada's recent success, it must be noted that British officials uncovered this without flouting civil liberties, treaties, or government oversight. How odd.

Poll: Disapproval of Iraq War At Highest Level Yet

Note to America: President Bush and the Republican party say you're not in the mainstream.

Just thought you should know... Poll: 60 percent of Americans oppose Iraq war
Sixty percent of Americans oppose the U.S. war in Iraq, the highest number since polling on the subject began with the commencement of the war in March 2003, according to poll results and trends released Wednesday.

And a majority of poll respondents said they would support the withdrawal of at least some U.S. troops by the end of the year, according to results from the Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted last week on behalf of CNN...

...Because you can tell them how you feel in November.

[PS- Let's officially take bets now- 1) President Bush stubbornly stays the course out of continued delusion and misplaced pride? Or, 2) An October surprise of troop withdrawals to be seen on every news channel? My money's been on the latter for months. What say you, blog readers?

See also previous entry: Meanwhile, In Iraq...]

Holy Crap, There's (Still) A War Going On!

Here's a depressing, if not at all surprising, headline:
'U.N.'s Mideast diplomatic efforts falter'

Diplomacy is understandably tough when negotiating between two groups bent on each other's complete annihilation. I remain hopeful that some temporary ceasefire can be reached, but understand this is far from over. From the article-
Diplomatic efforts to reach quick agreement on a U.N. resolution aimed at ending the escalating Israeli-Hezbollah conflict faltered Wednesday over differences between the United States and France on the timing of an Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon...

...The U.S.-French draft circulated Saturday calls for "a full cessation of hostilities," with Hezbollah immediately stopping all attacks and Israel ending offensive military operations. But Israel would still be allowed to take defensive action and there is no call for the withdrawal of its troops from southern Lebanon, which is Hezbollah's stronghold....

And that is apparently been the issue behind the holdup (surprise, surprise).

The U.N.'s also considering a peacekeeping force to enforce agreements/protect the border.

Americablog has a good entry up skeptical about all this.

Here's a headline, perhaps a sign of how long this is dragging on, I didn't expect to read:
'U.S. directs criticism at Israel'
The White House said Wednesday neither Israel nor Hezbollah should escalate their month-old war, a pointed comment after Israel decided to widen its ground invasion of southern Lebanon.

Although White House press secretary Tony Snow said the message was for both sides, his remarks came as Israel's Security Cabinet voted to expand the war effort in an attempt to deal further blows to Hezbollah. The criticism was among the administration's strongest concerning longtime ally Israel since the fighting began...

So that's where that stands. Tony Snow also added that "I think at this point it's beyond any of us to come up with a firm prediction about when you get a resolution." Okay then. Even more depressing... Yesterday was the deadliest day for Israeli casualties since this war began; Monday was the deadliest for the people of Lebanon.

UPDATE: A friend on my LiveJournal community blog defends the Israeli point of view.

While another points me to this blog taking a deeper look at the conflict.

[See also previous entries for my personal thoughts on all this:
-Holy Crap, There's A War Going On!

Finally, Yahoo News has a special subsection for the latest news on the conflict.]

Lamont/Lieberman: The Fallout

Here's where that race stands... Ned Lamont now has the full support of the Democratic party, with members popping up all day to officially give him their support. An encouraging sign. None, however, seems to have convinced Sen. Lieberman to accept defeat gracefully and drop the Independent run (and Joe's still telling anyone who will listen how Democrats betrayed him and how important he is to America).

As for the Republicans, they're ignoring their candidate in Connecticut, instead choosing to defend Lieberman and use his fall to cement talking points that polls show stopped working. This is what we're hearing from them... Democrats rejected Lieberman because they want to lose the war. The Democrats won't stop another 9/11, because terrorism doesn't bother them. The Democrats are far-left crazies now. *yawn* I'm tired of those songs; let's change the station, guys.

My response to those three talking points if I were running the Democratic party: Democrats rejected Lieberman because they don't want to lose the war; 'stay the course' is delusional. We need a change in direction badly, and we need an exit strategy. The Democrats are very concerned with preventing future attacks, which is why they proposed the 9/11 Commission the President tried to stop, why many of them did not want to unnecessarily invade Iraq which distracted us from the real issues and exacerbated our Mideast problems, and want to stop the President from abusing his war for domestic political gain. And if Democrats wanted to 'move left', they would've nominated Cindy Sheehan instead of a left-leaning moderate like Ned Lamont. Polls show the Democratic Party positions have long been the mainstream ones.

The fact is the Lamont win more likely than not has the Republicans very worried (hence, the mad rush to throw out talking points on the issue that got them this far-- 9/11). Ned's win is indicative of several things: That Democratic voters are very motivated heading toward November, that closeness to Bush and the war is a negative, and that people are unhappy with their incumbents (the 'throw the bums out' mentality). In regards to the anti-incumbent thing specifically, Josh Marshall has a good post on Tuesday's losses for Rep. McKinney (D-GA) and Rep. Schwarz (R-MI) as well.

Josh Marshall further looks at all this and just shakes his head-
I'm surprised at how easily many of my press colleagues pen stories like this recounting GOP press offensives without questioning whether it really seems likely to succeed.

What's really sad is that the nexus of national press and political operative bigwigs really needs to get over itself a bit here. Because once they do, they may actually be able to get over Joe Lieberman.

Joe Lieberman is not a world-historical figure.

He's not fighting some long twilight struggle.

He thinks he's both. But he's not.

That's a key point I wanted to highlight, because it happens all the time. Besides the conventional wisdom propensity I mentioned Tuesday morning, the media far too often just accepts GOP information as fact without a) taking time to journalistically analyze the story, or b) assume that the Republicans might, I don't know, have an agenda in presenting it. And yet they never do the same with the Democrats; they'd be smarter than that. But six years of all-GOP rule, coupled with fears of bias charges, has dampened their journalistic skeptism. As I've said many times before, whenever the Republicans boast loudest on an issue (Iraq, warrantless wiretapping, terrorism), it's a preemptive deflection on an issue they know they're vulnerable on.

Josh concludes-
Many Americans are not comfortable with the idea of just pulling out of Iraq. But the war is really unpopular. I think most Americans realize that the president thinks his Iraq policy is a rousing success and most Democrats don't. They get that. They see it. They understand it. If Republicans think the Martyrdom of Joe is going to be their killer issue, let them have at it. They're trying to knock the Dems off their stride but they're showing their desperation. The whole thing is, in both the most serious and frivolous senses of the word, a joke.

Bingo (and speaking of jokes, the Daily Show brilliantly tackled this race tonight).

Finally, as I said at the beginning, I am proud to see the Democratic leaders standing behind Ned Lamont... the voters' choice. I have often criticized the Democratic party for a lack of unity or fight, as well as a propensity to play it safe (by playing to a center that has moved considerably rightward). But they have turned it around in the past several weeks and really taking a more united, and aggressive, stance as the elections approach. They cannot allow themselves to become distracted.

As Howard Dean says in a new letter, "Our party is united on a new direction for our country." And Sen. Lieberman threatens to stand in the way of that. He served his country for 18 years in the Senate. Unless he wants his storied career to be remembered as ending on a downward spiral of sour grapes, he needs to do the right thing and walk away now.

[PS- Some online thoughts on Sen. Lieberman's fall and future plans:
-Salon War Room (Joan Walsh): Clueless Joe
-Salon War Room (Glenn Greenwald): The sad, sorry state of Joe Lieberman (Josh Marshall): Lieberman Lost the Old-Fashioned Way

PPS- On the issue of Republican support for Lieberman, even I was taken aback by the level of it today. Rush Limbaugh and others were very upset (oh, and by the way, George Bush is totally not a conservative; didn't ya know?). Tony Snow said at the White House that this is bad for America. Vice President Cheney said that Lamont's win encourages "al Qaeda types" who are "betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people". That's right, Mr. Vice President, that's what really concerns the terrorists- the Democratic Senate race in Connecticut... why they barely got any jihad done today, so glued were they to CNN. RNC Chair Ken Mehlman even refuses to say the candidate they will be backing is the Republican one. Finally, Karl Rove calls Joe to offer support. Gosh, I can't imagine why Democrats rejected him.]

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lamont Wins In Connecticut / Lieberman Concedes, Vows Independent Run

Well... it's over.

Hartford Courant: Lieberman Concedes Defeat In Senate Race
U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman conceded defeat in the Democratic primary just after 11 p.m. in the bitter Connecticut primary.

But Lieberman pledged to continue his candidacy as an independent in the general election in November...

...Challenger Ned Lamont defeated Lieberman by more than 10,000 votes, according to unofficial vote returns...

More good news for Democrats going toward November. May this give them strength to fight.

Lamont thanked all his supporters for a hard-earned victory. "They call Connecticut the land of steady habits," he said. "Today we voted for a big change."

I also finished watching Sen. Lieberman's 'concession' speech on CNN. It completely summarized why he lost... condescending, self-aggrandizing, with a total disdain for Democratic voters. He blamed his loss on those pesky partisan Democrats who just didn't appreciate him (instead of on his record of self-interest or pornographic definition of bipartisanship, natch). Explaining why Connecticut, the Senate, and- heck- all of America needs him to keep running, Lieberman explained "For the sake of our state, our country and my party, I cannot and will not let that result stand."

To quote Charlie Brown, 'Good grief'.

I hope all the Democratic party leaders who stumped for him are happy now. As activists have been trying to explain for months now, Lieberman always planned to stab the Democratic party in the back for his own benefit. They swore he would never do that and blew off the Independent run as a 'hypothetical' too silly to comment on. Well, I hope those who did stump for him- Clinton, Biden, Boxer, etc- will put the same effort into convincing their friend to drop this race and bow out gracefully, as Lamont always vowed he would have if he lost.

Ned Lamont can beat the Republican candidate in a two-way race. There seems to be little question there (it is Connecticut, after all). The Democratic leaders- so quick to rush to Joe's side all summer- need to step up today to support Lamont and stop Joe from sabotaging this crucial election out of fallen pride and ego. It would be dangerous to underestimate the impact on the midterm elections if they fail to do this.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Democratic party leaders begin to step up and support Lamont (DSCC leaders Reid and Schumer release a statement, Hillary Clinton cuts a check, and others join as well). Sen. Lieberman vows on ABC News no one will stop his Independent run- he's just that important, you see- and proceeds to subtlely echo GOP/Rove talking points in trashing the Democratic party, while swearing he remains loyal to them. What a mess.

UPDATE #2: Video of Lamont's victory speech and Sen. Lieberman's aforementioned speech.

Those concerns aside... let's enjoy the victory for now. Score one for the little guys.

[PS- In another highly-watched Democratic party, Hank Johnson knocks out Cynthia McKinney. Good riddance... Talking Point Memo's Election Central should have all the results from primaries across the country.

PPS- Andrew Sullivan's blog post on Joe's political downfall gets it exactly right.

As does this NY Times editorial- Revenge of the Irate Moderates]

New Poll Shows That Democrats Could Have A Good November

As we await the results from Connecticut, a new poll gives more hope to Democrats-
Most Americans describe themselves as being in an anti-incumbent mood heading into this fall's midterm congressional elections, and the percentage of people who approve of their own representative's performance is at the lowest level since 1994, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll...

...Especially worrisome for members of Congress is that the proportion of Americans who approve of their own representative's performance has fallen sharply. Traditionally, voters may express disapproval of Congress as a whole but still vote for their own member, even from the majority party. But 55 percent now approve of their lawmaker, a seven-percentage-point drop over three months and the lowest such finding since 1994, the last time control of the House switched parties...

The most startling poll finding? On the question of "Which political party, the (Democrats) or the (Republicans), do you trust to do a better job handling the U.S. campaign against terrorism?", the results are: Democrats 46%, Republicans 38%. This reflects a major shift in the political zeitgeist and an undermining of the issue Karl Rove had been able to most successfully exploit.

Hopefully the beginning of the end of national security as a partisan issue.

Glenn Greenwald summarizes some of the other findings-
A majority of voters now disapprove of the way the president is handling every issue they were asked about, including the "U.S. campaign against terrorism" (by a 47 to 50 percent margin). The percent approving of the president's approach to terrorism is the lowest since this poll began asking the question in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks...

...An overwhelming majority of Americans continue to disapprove of the way the President is handling Iraq (36-62). And the unpopularity of the Iraq war itself is staggering. By a margin of 59 to 39 percent, Americans answer "no" to this question: "All in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States, do you think the war with Iraq was worth fighting, or not?" Not only are "antiwar" sentiments the solidly mainstream position, but those who believe that the invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do are part of an ever-shrinking minority.

And it should be noted that of those who participated in the poll, "Only 18 percent described themselves as 'liberal,' while 42 percent self-identified as 'moderate' and 38 percent as 'conservative'". Opposition to this war is, and has been for some time now, the mainstream opinion of this country.

Greenwald continues with a warning to Democrats-
Reflecting what I believe is the principal hurdle Democrats must overcome, a plurality (48-47) of Americans believe that "the Democrats ... are not offering the country a clear direction that's different from the Republicans." Given how unpopular the Republicans are, it is just inexcusable that Democrats are not aggressively distinguishing themselves from GOP policies.

This failure is primarily due to the fact that Democrats inexplicably continue to follow the chronically wrong and hopelessly fear-driven advice of their Beltway consultants -- echoed by the baseless warnings issued in the last couple of days by Marty Peretz and Cokie Roberts -- which instructs Democrats to avoid any decisive opposition to Republican policies (especially foreign policies) lest they alienate mainstream Americans (who, as this poll conclusively demonstrates, themselves have decisively rejected those very GOP policies).

Agreed. Hopefully a Lamont win tonight will bring them back to reality.

[PS- Off-topic from the November elections, but taking off from this poll... it also has some interesting results on how Americans view the ongoing Israel/Lebanon conflict. I would definitely say my personal point of view is reflected in the majority, who seem to be taking a fair look at it. See the Greenwald link above for details.

Yahoo has news updates on that war. See also my previous entry for my thoughts on it.]

This Day In History

32 years ago today, President Nixon resigned from office.

Wikipedia- Richard Nixon

Lieberman/Lamont: It's Called 'Democracy'

Well today's the big day in one of the year's most talked about contests.

[Note: Updates added at the bottom]

I must say that I have enjoyed following this campaign. It has been a rare campaign that did not- for the most part- devolve into a mudslinging smear campaign... but has actually been debated on the issues and the merits of each candidate.

That is refreshing and gives me some hope for November (of course, one must never underestimate the power of incumbency and of uninformed voters who will show up and select the name they recognize most).

Despite that, conventional wisdom on the Connecticut Democratic primary- ie. not average Americans, but the type of people who've been in DC too long- seems mostly confused (though oddly enough, Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom section seems to get it). The narrative as a whole seems to center on anti-war radical and bloggers who don't appreciate the greatness of Joe Lieberman and want to hurt the Democratic party and drag it left... or something. The idea that Connecticut Democrats, or others across the country, have been unhappy with Sen. Lieberman for many years (predating the Iraq war, in fact) and simply have rallied around a solid alternative does not compute with them. Nor does the fact that Democrats, tired of losing elections due to inept and/or uninspired party leaders, might want to fix up their own house.

With that said, I thought I'd devote the bulk of this entry to quotes from some of Lamont's strongest online supporters, explaining what this is really all about... and complaining about why no one seems to get that.

First up, Christy at Firedoglake-
[W]e like to call ourselves "Democratic voters." Remember us? We live outside the Beltway, don’t spend all our time going to cocktail parties thrown by lobbyists and big campaign donors, and worry about such mundane things as making our rent, paying our rising energy bills, keeping our kids alive until they fulfill their military service obligation, and praying that our children don’t grow up in a world worse than the one in which we were raised. At the moment, we aren’t all that happy with how things are going.

You can call us "the American people" if that makes it easier for you.

Next up, Americablog-
It has been amazing to watch the DC-based punditry freak out over the campaign in Connecticut. Voters, real voters, actual people, are going to decide Joe Lieberman's future on Tuesday. In this election, voters are actually voting on issues and their beliefs. They're not being swayed by negative campaigns. They're deciding on the things that matter. What a concept. I think it's called democracy.

As Stephen Colbert satired last month, where some see an inquisition or an 'insurgency' in Connecticut, real people see... democracy. I will understand if it is hard to recognize at first.

Also, Americablog follows up with a retort to another piece of DC conventional wisdom-
I just heard Stephanopoulos start his coverage by saying the "anti-war movement" could send political shockwaves through the Democratic party on Tuesday (if Lieberman loses), and I don't like what I'm hearing. Worse yet it's the same kind of somewhat-lazy reporting we're hearing from every other reporter covering the issue.

Here's the problem... Iraq is the problem. Not "the anti-war movement." Iraq.

The implication is that I/we don't like Lieberman because we're all generically-anti-war flower-power peaceniks. Some are, many aren't - I for one am certainly not a peacenik. As my readers know, some to their great disdain, I have no problem using military force when I think it's merited and just...

The problem isn't that Joe Lieberman supported the Iraq war, it's that he still thinks the Iraq war is going well today. That's just nuts. But it's worse than nuts. Lieberman has gone out of his way to support George Bush's positions on the Iraq war - not just by claiming that the war is going well when it's clearly gone terribly wrong - but Lieberman did something much worse. He defended Bush and misled the American people about the war in a manner that directly attacked his fellow Democrats. And that is not acceptable for a variety of reasons....

Agreed. I know very few liberals who are actually 'anti-war' in the true sense of that word. We just understand the difference between justified and unjustified ones. And even with the justified ones (ie. Afghanistan), we understand that good intentions mean nothing if not met with sound plans and policy (respect for human rights and international law is also always appreciated). I support a strong foreign policy. I don't support a reckless one. The attempt to paint Lamont's supporters- and more broadly, all those who've been opposed to our Iraq invasion- as weird, crazy hippies is the most cliche and lazy of critcisms. The views on this war expressed by Lamont and those that support him are those held by- yep- the majority of people in this country. The people who are the fringe are not us, but Sen. Lieberman and his far-right supporters (Limbaugh, Malkin, Kristol, et al).

Finally, Glenn Greenwald tackles the larger effects of the race in the Salon War Room-
...It is not hyperbole to describe a Lieberman defeat as an earthquake for the political establishment -- which is why virtually all members of that establishment, from both political parties and from its pundit class, have been enthusiastically supporting Lieberman. More than any other factor, what enables elected officials to be so unresponsive to the views of those whom they ostensibly represent is that their incumbency advantage effectively eliminates the fear of being removed from office...

...Beyond striking a blow against the Iraq war and the neoconservatives who are responsible for it, a Lamont victory would deal a hard blow to the power of incumbency and the entitlement mindset it has spawned. It would be seen, rightfully so, as a repudiation of the Beltway pundit and political classes that, from the start and with virtual unanimity, viewed the Lamont challenge with scorn, as a distasteful rebellion by the crazed, dirty, unenlightened masses. The most important impact of a Lamont win is that it would shake the foundations of a self-contained Beltway political structure that is as unresponsive as it is corrupt at its core.

And who outside of Washington DC could have a problem with that?

UPDATE: I just remembered another conventional wisdom talking point about this race that irks me... the idea that the left- champions of tolerance and diversity and the big tent- are now hypocrites and as close-minded as the conservatives they critique. Lanny Davis laments in the Wall Street Journal (after calling Lamont supporters McCarthyists) that "I came to believe that we liberals couldn't possibly be so intolerant and hateful, because our ideology was famous for ACLU-type commitments to free speech, dissent and, especially, tolerance for those who differed with us... Now, in the closing days of the Lieberman primary campaign, I have reluctantly concluded that I was wrong." To 'prove' his case, he selects a number of extreme blog comments he found (read: not actual blog entries, but random comments). What a tool; I could 'prove' that conservatives support ritualistic baby-killing if I dug through enough blog comments. More importantly, his larger point that the anti-Lieberman forces are not accepting of political diversity is a ridiculous, and lazy, argument. By that logic, it is 'intolerant' of Democrats not to just simply vote for Republicans. Party diversity is a plus for the Democrats-- having a member who openly undermines you for his own benefit is not. Again, the fact that there are good politicians and bad ones- and that many Democrats have long seen Lieberman as the latter- simply does not compute for the DC crowd.

UPDATE #2: It's noteworthy that the super-sensitive DC Dems aren't mad at Democratic voters for efforts today to to ditch loser Cynthia McKinney in her primary. Maybe she should've been nicer to the New Republic crowd. Adios, Cynthia.

UPDATE #3: Sen. Lieberman's website may have been hacked (or not?); uses the situation to control the media dialogue today (and the media is happy to speculate on this, rather than the issues). Lieberman insists on Lamont/blog conspiracy. I need an Advil. (Wonkette puts the faux-scandal in its proper context here and here)

Keep your fingers crossed- this one's important... and will be closer than people think.

[Related reading for reasons why Sen. Joe is in big trouble:
- (HuffPost): Hey Joe, Why'd You Put that Gun in your Hand?
-Daily Kos: 29 Reasons that Lieberman is In Trouble that have Nothing to Do With Iraq
-Glenn Greenwald: Why do neoconservative extremists love Joe Lieberman?
-Cliff Schecter (HuffPost): Quotable Joe Lieberman
-Americablog: Lieberman says Connecticut voters who oppose him have forgotten September 11 and are soft on national security]

Monday, August 07, 2006

Quote of the Day

"You know, I hear people say, Well, civil war this, civil war that. The Iraqi people decided against civil war when they went to the ballot box."
--President George W. Bush, this afternoon

(Video- here)

People don't vote on civil war at the ballot box, sir.

It just sort of happens; it's the inevitable result sometimes of a nation that is divided by regional and political conflicts. It is what happened to us in the 1860s and what is happening to Iraq now. Crucial difference is that ours was solely internal, while the Iraq is being fueled by region-wide (and centuries-old) conflicts and a continuing military occupation of their country.

Finally, in a sobering interview on ABC's This Week yesterday, Condoleeza Rice refused to say whether U.S. troops would pull out of that country if all-out civil war did begin, calling the very idea 'hypothetical'. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

Related articles:
-AFP: US sees ethnic strife -- not terror -- tearing at Iraq
-NY Times: Iraqi Death Toll Rises Above 100 Per Day, U.N. Says

UPDATE: The Iraqi Prime Minister (once again) criticizes U.S. policy. Did we win yet?

[PS- Those people talking about civil war? Includes our troops and civilian military leaders.

See also previous entry: Meanwhile, In Iraq...]

Report: Half of America 'Independent Of Reality'

I continue to be speechless.

AP: Half of U.S. still believes Iraq had WMD
Do you believe in Iraqi "WMD"? Did Saddam Hussein's government have weapons of mass destruction in 2003?

Half of America apparently still thinks so, a new poll finds, and experts see a raft of reasons why: a drumbeat of voices from talk radio to die-hard bloggers to the Oval Office, a surprise headline here or there, a rallying around a partisan flag, and a growing need for people, in their own minds, to justify the war in Iraq.

People tend to become "independent of reality" in these circumstances, says opinion analyst Steven Kull.

The reality in this case is that after a 16-month, $900-million-plus investigation, the U.S. weapons hunters known as the Iraq Survey Group declared that Iraq had dismantled its chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs in 1991 under U.N. oversight. That finding in 2004 reaffirmed the work of U.N. inspectors who in 2002-03 found no trace of banned arsenals in Iraq....

...Timing may explain some of the poll result. Two weeks before the survey, two Republican lawmakers, Pennsylvania's Sen. Rick Santorum and Michigan's Rep. Peter Hoekstra, released an intelligence report in Washington saying 500 chemical munitions had been collected in Iraq since the 2003 invasion...

...But the Pentagon and outside experts stressed that these abandoned shells, many found in ones and twos, were 15 years old or more, their chemical contents were degraded, and they were unusable as artillery ordnance. Since the 1990s, such "orphan" munitions, from among 160,000 made by Iraq and destroyed, have turned up on old battlefields and elsewhere in Iraq, ex-inspectors say. In other words, this was no surprise...

..."Our top story tonight, the nation abuzz today ..." was how Fox News led its report on the old, stray shells. Talk-radio hosts and their callers seized on it. Feedback to blogs grew intense...

...Administration statements still describe Saddam's Iraq as a threat. Despite the official findings, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has allowed only that "perhaps" WMD weren't in Iraq. And Bush himself, since 2003, has repeatedly insisted on one plainly false point: that Saddam rebuffed the U.N. inspectors in 2002, that "he wouldn't let them in," as he said in 2003, and "he chose to deny inspectors," as he said this March.

The facts are that Iraq — after a four-year hiatus in cooperating with inspections — acceded to the U.N. Security Council's demand and allowed scores of experts to conduct more than 700 inspections of potential weapons sites from Nov. 27, 2002, to March 16, 2003. The inspectors said they could wrap up their work within months. Instead, the U.S. invasion aborted that work.

...The creative "morphing" goes on.

As Israeli troops and Hezbollah guerrillas battled in Lebanon on July 21, a Fox News segment suggested, with no evidence, yet another destination for the supposed doomsday arms.

"ARE SADDAM HUSSEIN'S WMDS NOW IN HEZBOLLAH'S HANDS?" asked the headline, lingering for long minutes on TV screens in a million American homes.

Bolded added by me.

And no comment.

I said everything I have to say on this subject in my last two entries:
-The Lie That Wouldn't Die
-WMDs: Santorum and Hoekstra Give It The Old College Try

Just another example of why reality is merely subjective in the rightwingoverse...

Big Oil's Approach To Global Warming: Attack Mock The Messenger

By now, you have seen the YouTube video making its way around the internet which mocks the documentary, 'An Inconvenient Truth'. The semi-amateurish-looking video depicts Al Gore as the Penguin from 'Batman' boring a bunch of penguins with all his global warming statistics, etc... The video then shows that everyone is really enjoying packed screenings of "X3" (which totally sucked, by the way) while screenings of Gore's film are attended only by a few sleepy penguins.

Take THAT, climate change!!!

So, anyone want to take a guess as to where the video came from? Wassat? A Republican public relations firm that shills for Exxon among other companies, you guessed? Ding ding, we have a winner...
...[C]omputer routing information contained in an email sent from [video creator] Toutsmith's Yahoo account indicate it didn't come from an amateur working out of his basement.

Instead, the email originated from a computer registered to DCI Group, a Washington, D.C., public relations and lobbying firm whose clients include oil company Exxon Mobil Corp.

A DCI Group spokesman declines to say whether or not DCI made the anti-Gore penguin video, or to explain why Toutsmith appeared to be sending email from DCI's computers. "DCI Group does not disclose the names of its clients, nor do we discuss the work that we do on our clients' behalf," says Matt Triaca, who heads DCI's media relations shop...

This isn't, of course, the first time that Gore has found himself the subject of attacks from that industry. I wrote about past examples that occurred around the movie's release- here and here.

Guys, don't make me send Pat Robertson to smite you now...

[PS- Meanwhile, Al Gore gets some political praise from Bill Clinton.]

9/11 Commission Chairs: We Weren't Thorough Enough

The report was thorough, but it comes as a surprise to no one that much was hidden...

AP: Book: Sept. 11 panel doubted officials
The Sept. 11 commission was so frustrated with repeated misstatements by the Pentagon and FAA about their response to the 2001 terror attacks that it considered an investigation into possible deception, the panel's chairmen say in a new book.

Republican Thomas Kean and Democrat Lee Hamilton also say in "Without Precedent" that their panel was too soft in questioning former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani — and that the 20-month investigation may have suffered for it.

The book, a behind-the-scenes look at the investigation, recounts obstacles the authors say were thrown up by the Bush administration, internal disputes over President Bush's use of the attacks as a reason for invading Iraq, and the way the final report avoided questioning whether U.S. policy in the Middle East may have contributed to the attacks...

I'm with Americablog on this one... why do all these government officials fuck up while on the job, and then write tell-all books after the fact passing the buck and assuring us how they really knew what to do all along, but were stymied by outside factors? In this case, Kean Hamilton admit they were too soft on interviewing certainly politicians who were popular with the media (ie. Guiliani for one) and also admit they didn't dig enough on certain issues. Is this a case of hindsight being 20/20 or did they realize it at the time? If it's the latter, then there's no excuse why they didn't just do their jobs and not worry about what the editorials might say. In short... government officials should do better jobs, so that the rest of us have less mea-culpa books to sit through later on.

And, of course, this news will be further fuel for the conspiracy theorists. The AP report on the Commission does further cement my belief that it is the White House itself which is most responsible for allowing these theories to grow. The secrecy with which they approached every aspect of their post-9/11 work implies they have something to hide. Me personally, I believe that they're simply hiding their own failures and agenda of an unfettered executive, but I suppose it's understandable why some might see a more sinister coverup.

(Sidenote for the conspiracy theorists... Even if you believe Bush, et al, were really that evil, let's face it, not a one of them were smart or competent enough to pull it off. Sorry. Just accept that they were asleep at the wheel and let's move on.)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Stop The Falsiness

For too long, Stephen Colbert (supposed defender of the 'truth') has used his lies to further his own agenda of right-wing egomania and anti-bear propaganda. Join Sen. Feingold and others in standing up to the Colbert regime.

It's time to stop the falsiness.... now.

Join the fight today!
Stop the Falsiness

(PS- Yes, this is all satire. A little humor break for Sunday.)