Friday, April 06, 2007

Weekend Video Theatre: The Secret of Easter... Revealed!

From this week's 'South Park', Stan and Kyle finally learn the true story of Easter-

[Bonus: Stephen Colbert takes on the 'War on Easter'.]

War Defenders: Using The Troops As Political Shields

This cartoon sums up how conservatives are framing the next stage of the war debate-

There are so many things wrong with this, but let me start with the most shameless.

First, ever since the war began, the President, his congressional allies, and his civilian defenders have used the troops as political shields to deflect any criticism of the war (when they're not using them for photo-ops). Against the war? Then you must hate our troops. Criticizing the administration's policies? You're insulting the sacrifices of our troops. Advocate any kind of withdrawal from Iraq (phased, long-term, it doesn't matter)? You're undermining our troops. Want to cut/decrease funding? You're putting our troops in danger. Etc etc.

Tom Tomorrow did a brilliant cartoon on this just last month. It's a bludgen... optimally designed for maximum emotional appeal. And it has war critics so scared that most war rebuttals have added to them '...but that doesn't mean I don't support the troops!', as if it needs to be said. It's disgusting to use these men and women as shields for political battles. Of course, by relying on this emotional appeal, the war defenders avoid having to counter the actual realities of this war.

Secondly, the implication in this cartoon is that Congress throws away money all the time on silly, frivilous things, but won't spare any $$ for the war. The amount of money spent on this war already is obscene. One count has the war costing America $1.2 trillion. Another count says that Americans pay $6,300 for every additional second we spend in Iraq. Congress has hardly been starving the war. As Daniel Gross said in his amazing Slate piece-- 'If the Iraq War Were a Corporation: How a real CEO president would turn it around'-- pouring billions into a failing enterprise with no strings attached is just poor management.

Moreover, the majority (well over half) of our federal budget goes to military spending. Much of which is just pork, fraud, and waste (as evidenced by how few people cared about the billions 'lost' in Iraq by all those we outsourced the war to).

God forbid some of that spending be redirected to numerous depleted domestic initiatives.

Thirdly, as a segue from the second point, the spending bills have done little (and will do little) to actually help the troops. Many troops' families are on welfare or other government assistance programs. Most troops lack proper body armor and/or their vehicles aren't properly armored either. As recent scandals have shown, their medical care at home has been either cut or privatized to great detriment. The much-heralded troops get very little of the military spending (it mostly goes, again, to pork)... what little % they do get will always be there and made available by Congress, one way or another.

If Democrats can't get on top of this NOW, they may well lose this round.

[PS- The troops? They're getting redeployed/recycled back earlier than scheduled. Again.]

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Odds and Ends

It snowed this morning a little. Al Gore's been proven a liar for sure. Here's more news...

Headline of the day: 'Mortgage crisis calls American Dream into question'

Among many other things calling it into question, yes. We'll add it to the list.

And are you a corporate CEO? If so, the economy's great! You're not? Well, sucks to be you.

Alberto Gonzales is hard at work this week running the Justice Department training for his upcoming do-over testimony before Congress. Keeping track of ones lies and cover stories must be grueling. Just resign, dude.

(Oh, why was the 'purge' bad? Because it gave us new U.S. Attorneys like Rachel Paulose.)

Many new questions arise about how Iran handled the capture of the British sailors.

Finally, political junkies are super-excited leading primary candidates are raising tons of $$.

What Has The Right-Wing's Panties In A Twist Now?

With the Iraq war now just wearing Americans out, with the Iran/Britain crisis peacefully resolved, with the hypocrisy of the White House criticism of Speaker Pelosi's Syria visit exposed (see- here, here and here), the Bush cultists-- who get angrier the more isolated they become-- need something to bang their war drums about and give themselves a collective warrior stiffy.

Enter today's faux-scandal... The Democrats 'quitting' the 'war on terror'. This is based on a Military Times report that "The House Armed Services Committee is banishing the global war on terror from the 2008 defense budget [because the chairman] doesn’t like the phrase." It further adds that they want to "be specific about military operations and 'avoid using colloquialisms.'" Said one congressional aide, 'We were just trying to avoid catch phrases.' OMGZZ!!11! Scandalous!

In a typically breathless editorial, the NY Post states-
[The Iranian announcement] eclipsed a significant revelation about what the Democratic takeover of Capitol Hill really means.

The Military Times newspapers disclosed yesterday that Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee have instructed staffers to stop using the phrase "global war on terror."...

...No big deal?

Quite the contrary.

As House GOP leader John Boehner noted: "How do Democrats expect America to fight and win a war they deny is even taking place?"

After all, while the Democrats may not be interested in global terror, the global terrorists are interested in America.

Remember 9/11?...

Of course I do. You guy used it to justify 90% of the things you've done in the last 5 years.

I will also note that the version of this in the physical paper has a picture of Speaker Pelosi wearing a head scarf wearing while visiting a mosque on her trip... just in case you need further convincing of how childish and silly these people are (*).

[*I admit I'm not a fan of the scarf (or most religions' customs), but a custom is a custom.]

Maybe the NY Post editorial board-- most notably John Podhoretz, longtime White House friend-- missed the memo this past December when Donald Rumsfeld said "I don't think I would have called it the war on terror... it is not a 'war on terror.' Terror is a weapon of choice for extremists who are trying to destabilize regimes and (through) a small group of clerics, impose their dark vision on all the people they can control. So 'war on terror' is a problem for me." President Bush has also mentioned-- but not often-- that the phrase is inaccurate.

Finally, I am curious what kind of war on terror are we fighting? The kind where we funnel money to terrorist-linked groups when it serves our interests? The kind where we spy on hippies? Or use color-coded fear charts, but abandon them coincidentally after reelection? The kind where we allow large groups to regroup while we launch a war of choice elsewhere? Or the kind where our Homeland Security chief fears we are unprepared to deal with 'clean skin' terrorists?

Perhaps the NY Post will explore those questions tomorrow. I'll begin holding my breath.

War Games

Republicans have a habit of offering 'advice' to Democrats when they are most nervous-- ie. such as last August when VP Cheney and others warned Democrats that criticizing the Iraq war would lead to their electoral doom in 2006. Democrats fell for this trick in 2002 (voting for the Iraq war, etc) and in 2004 (John Kerry apologizing for practically every other thing he said), but 2006 was the year they called the GOP's bluff... and won.

With the Democrats not blinking in their fight to use the Iraq appropriations bill to push for an end to the war, war/Bush defenders (because it's the same thing to them) are jumping over each-- again-- to assure the Democratic party that this will be their political doom.

In Monday's NY Post-- a fair and balanced newspaper-- Dick Morris and Eileen McGann warn of the 'Dems' next debacle'-
"DEMOCRATS in Congress are heading into a game of chicken with the Bush White House akin to the Gingrich-Clinton government shutdown battle of 1995-96. The roles are reversed this time - so the Republicans are likely to prevail.

[Blueduck's note... Umm, Dick, as you of all people should remember, Mr. Clinton actually had political/popular support for his position. Mr. Bush does not. Key difference. Continue, please, though.]

The consequences will be lasting. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will find their party shattered. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be forced to choose sides in their party's schism...

...Inadvertently forced into triangulation, Pelosi and Reid will be the unwilling instruments of a schism in their party from which it may not recover until after the 2008 election. The fault lines between those willing to fund the war without a withdrawal amendment and those who insist on a date certain for a pullout will define a growing split within the party akin to the one that drove students into the streets of Chicago outside the party convention in 1968..."

Wow, 1968 reference! I thought we were pretending it was 1972.

These are, of course, the same people who declared that Pelosi was a failed leader before she was even sworn in as Speaker, that she would never get a majority on her Iraq withdrawal votes, that Democrats only one the election because they'd become so super conservative, etc... Being wrong this often does not lend credibility.

It is true that President Bush will veto the current bill(s) just passed in the House and Senate. And it is true that will put Congress in the position of having to scrap together a new bill that can get passed with a majority vote.

But the message here is clear... the Democratic leadership wants to end the war. The President wants to prolong it. And the polls are pretty clear which side in that fight the public is backing (latest Pew poll says "A solid majority of Americans say they want their congressional representative to support a bill calling for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq by August 2008").

Whether funding will be appropriated in some form while this goes on will be a footnote.

(And the President is, of course, lying about the funding urgency.)

And if NBC's Andrea Mitchell is to believed, the moderate center of the Republican caucus secretly opposes the surge and is about 5 months away from cracking. Take that with a grain of salt, of course.

In addition, in regards to the President's veto threat on this legislation, it should also be noted that The Decider has also threatened to veto over a dozen bills passed by the new Congress (from stem cell research funding to cutting of student loan interest rates to negotiation over prescription drug prices to ending Big Oil subsidies, etc). All the public will see here is the President vetoing one more piece of popular legislation.

(Oh, and all the pork in the bill? Some of it deserves a closer look.)

So I will hold onto hope that the Democrats will ignore those of their opponents offering them 'advice', just as they successfully did last Fall. They may be taking a political risk in trying to wind down the war, but it is one that they have support for. And, in the end, it's just the right thing to do.

Bush Administration In A Nutshell

Sam Fox, a Republican fundraiser, gave money in 2004 to the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, a group partially responsible for John Kerry's defeat that year against President Bush. In 2007, President Bush nominates Fox as US ambassador to Belgium. The Congress objects. The White House agrees to formally withdraw the nomination last month.

Now? President Bush recess-appointed Fox into the position while Congress was on vacation.

Heckuva job, Bushie.

[UPDATE: Besides the ethical issues/cronyism, this one might be downright illegal.

UPDATE #2: More new recess appointments reiterate the President's habit of appointing cronies ideologically opposed to the very job they're supposed to do. When conservatives say they hate government, they mean it.]

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Iranian Hostage Crisis II: British Boogaloo... The Finale!!

Not sure how this came to be, but I suppose all that matters for now is that it's over.

AFP: 'Iran frees British sailors after 13-day crisis'

[PS- Drudge, who'd hyped the crisis, now thinks a mark on McCain's head is bigger news.

PPS- In related promising Mideast news, Speaker Pelosi's much-maligned trip to Syria (diplomacy = OMG!!1!) is getting good press as Syria indicates that it is willing to hold peace talks with Israel. Right-wing hawks = pissed.

UPDATE: Josh at TPM has thoughts on why the White House was really mad at Pelosi's trip.]

"...Shot Rings Out In The Memphis Sky..."

39 years ago today... Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis.

Through the bitter snark, Wonkette's post is as good take as any on his abandoned legacy.

[PS- Found this video on YouTube featuring Robert Kennedy's speech the night King died.]

Picture of the Day

That's pretty impressive... most ventriloquists can't throw their voice from that far away.

[NY Times: Bush Blames Democrats for Impasse Over Iraq Bills]

The Death Star Truth Movement

We've all seen the footage of the destruction of the Death Star and felt its consequences as our Imperial leaders struck back across the galaxy. But what really happened that day?? There are a lot of unanswered questions... One man investigates.

Uncomfortable Questions: Was the Death Star Attack an Inside Job?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Supreme Court: Government Can Regulate Carbon/Greenhouse Gases

Some good news came yesterday from the Supreme Court in deciding Massachusetts v. EPA-
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court today issued a “stunning rebuke” to the Bush administration and "ruled that the federal government does indeed have authority to regulate greenhouse gases linked to global warming."

Frank O’Donnell of Clean Air Watch writes, "The Supreme Court has confirmed that carbon dioxide can be controlled under the Clean Air Act. That means California and other states have the clear right to limit greenhouse gas emissions if the Bush administration won’t."...

(You can pretty easily guess where the four dissenting votes came from)

The link above has some background info on the case.

Of course, this important ruling will be meaningless unless the people in power-- Congress, state governments, etc-- actually take this ball and run with it. There have been encouraging signs in that regard (ie. in California), but no larger action yet. Considering we've been having a circular debate on this issue for over 15 years now, maybe we should take what we can get.

[Related reading: GLOBAL WARMING-- 51 Things We Can Do (Time)]

The War On Terrorism Hippies...

...Some more revelations about past battles in this important struggle-
A secret FBI intelligence unit helped detain a group of war protesters in a downtown Washington parking garage in April 2002 and interrogated some of them on videotape about their political and religious beliefs, newly uncovered documents and interviews show.

For years, law enforcement authorities suggested it never happened. The FBI and D.C. police said they had no records of such an incident. And police told a federal court that no FBI agents were present when officers arrested more than 20 protesters that afternoon for trespassing; police viewed them as suspicious for milling around the parking garage entrance.

But a civil lawsuit, filed by the protesters, recently unearthed D.C. police logs that confirm the FBI's role in the incident...

No time to find Osama. Gotta interrogate Michael Moore. Very serious war they're fighting.

Odds and Ends

If current events is a hooker, I'll play the pimp. Here's the news...

Encouraging news on the Iran/Britain prisoner situation: "Britain called for direct talks with Iran over 15 captive Britons Tuesday after speaking for the first time with the chief Iranian negotiator. The announcement followed the sudden release of an Iranian diplomat in Iraq that raised new hope in resolving the standoff." This follows some other hopeful compromises yesterday.

And conservatives pundits say... wimpy British sailors need to free themselves or die!!

Criticisms of Speaker Pelosi's Syria trip ignore the GOP officials who've visited.

New revelations confirm obvious-- Henry Kissinger just as nuts and power-hungry as Nixon.

Meanwhile, over in 'Purgegate', the White House decides that it's finally time for Alberto Gonzales to go back to Congress to spin away his previous perjured statements and obstruction discuss some new revelations.

'60 Minutes' had an excellent report on Sunday night on the controversial Medicare Prescription Drug Bill from a couple of years ago. It appears-- *shock*-- that it pharmaceutical industry lobbyists practically wrote the entire bill and did some real-arm twisting to get it passed. A disturbing look at one of the GOP Congress' most odious pieces of legislation.

Fox News asks its viewers some fair and balanced poll questions.

Finally, YouTube devotes an entire section to videos about the 2008 candidates.

The Iraq War: Some More Inconvenient Truths

I'll have more thoughts on this later. In the meantime, here's some related odds and ends...

The President held a press conference this morning to yell at the Democrats speak about the war while Congress is on vacation. There was nothing new in the speech... except another big, fat lie by ol' Bushie. He said, "And so I decided to, at the recommendation of military commanders, decided to send reinforcements."

This is not true (natch). In December, the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously opposed the idea. His current military commanders in Iraq at the time-- Gen. George Casey and Gen. John Abizaid-- shared that assessment. They were removed, of course, and replaced with Generals who would support the President's escalation plans (which were, in turn, born out of neocon thinkthanks). This is/was Bush's plan, through and through.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post revisits the infamous sixteen words in the 2003 State of the Union address ('The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.') that pushed us further down the path to war. The article just has more confirmation-- but not a real surprise-- that they knew it was a fraud, but rolled with it anyway. They explore the history behind this.

Finally, the NY Times reports that, while we buy time in Iraq, Al Qaeda 2.0 is growing.


A returning sailor is reunited with his son. It's okay if you cry; I won't tell.

Watching this, I'm also sad thinking of those children whose parents never came home at all.

Rats Jumping Off The Ship

A few days ago I wrote about Matthew Dowd (the President's chief campaign strategist for his reelection... the one who told him to ignore the country at large and just rile up the base) speaking out in newfound opposition to the failed leadership of his old boss, and now another former true believer throws in the towel.

Former GOP campaign operative-- and friend to the Bush and Cheney families-- Vic Gold has a book coming out entitled "Invasion of the Party Snatchers: How the Holy-Rollers and the Neo-Cons Destroyed the GOP" (note: Mr. Dowd, however, hasn't written a book; he's just speaking out in general). Here's what he has to say about the Grand Old Party nowadays-
..."For all the Rove-built facade of his being a 'strong' chief executive, George W. Bush has been, by comparison to even hapless Jimmy Carter, the weakest, most out of touch president in modern times," Gold writes. "Think Dan Quayle in cowboy boots."

Gold is even more withering in his observations of Cheney. "A vice president in control is bad enough. Worse yet is a vice president out of control."...

OMG!!1!! What a moonbat!!

The article also notes-
Under Bush and Cheney, he argues, the GOP has moved away from principles of small government, prudent foreign policy and leaving people alone to live their private lives — all views Gold associates with his hero, Goldwater. "Invasion of the Party Snatchers" makes plain Gold's contempt for the direction of his party and the guidance of its leaders.

Bold added by me... because I need to point out that Bush/Cheney may have exasperated those problems, but the larger fact is that the GOP hasn't believed in any of those things since the 1970s at the latest.

The Bush/Cheney crew have been the worst by far, but they just took what their recent predecessors started and took it to its most grandiose, incompetent, and undemocratic extreme. Until former Bush agonistes like Mr. Dowd and Gold acknowledge that, the GOP will never be able to fix itself.

[PS- White House reaction to Dowd? Ignore him, he's obviously psychologically disturbed.]

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sen. McCain Takes A Stroll Around Baghdad...

...with "100 American soldiers, with three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships overhead".

[UPDATE: Talking Points Memo calls it McCain's "Dukakis-in-a-tank moment".]

Gitmo Justice Revealed

On Saturday, I linked to news that Australian David Hicks-- one of the more high-profile prisoners at Guantanamo Bay-- pleaded guilty "to supporting terrorism in exchange for a nine-month prison sentence under a plea deal that forbids him from claiming he was abused in U.S. custody." Kind of odd, no?

But that's just what's on the surface of this story! Andrew Sullivan digs a little deeper and discovers just how corrupt and hollow the Guantanamo 'justice' system is (and the Bush/Cheney 'war on terror' in turn). He writes-
So Cheney goes to Australia and meets with John Howard who tells him that the Hicks case is killing him in Australia, and he may lose the next election because of it. Hicks's case is then railroaded to the front of the Gitmo kangaro court line, and put through a "legal" process almost ludicrously inept, with two of Hicks' three lawyers thrown out on one day, then an abrupt plea-bargain, with a transparently insincere confession. Hicks is then given a mere nine months in jail in Australia, before being set free. Who negotiated the plea-bargain? Hicks' lawyer. Who did he negotiate with? Not the prosecutors, as would be normal, but Susan J. Crawford, the top military commission official. Who is Susan J. Crawford? She served as Dick Cheney's Inspector General while he was Defense Secretary...

...If you think this was in any way a legitimate court process, you're smoking something even George Michael would pay a lot of money for. It was a political deal, revealing the circus that the alleged Gitmo court system really is. For good measure, Hicks has a gag-order imposed so that he will not be able to speak of his alleged torture and abuse until after Howard faces re-election. Yes, we live in a banana republic. It certainly isn't a country ruled by law. It is ruled by one man and his accomplice.

Is it 2009 yet?

Speaking of, that year may not bring magical salvation from these horrors if leading GOP candidates have their way. Glenn Greenwald notes that both Mitt Romney and Rudy Guiliani were asked if they believe the President "should have the authority to arrest U.S. citizens with no review." Neither said no.

That such a position has become even remotely acceptable is another sign of the post-9/11 psychosis I wrote about on Sunday.

'Here's $25 Million. Please Lose This Election For Me.'

I don't remember if I've written about this before (or just ranted on it to my friends), but as someone who generally supports the Democratic party, I'm always frustrated by the complete morons they hire to 'strategize' for them and run their campaigns (actually, I did sort of get into it last year when Paul Hackett was pushed out of the Ohio Senate race).

The final stretch of the 2006 stretch midterm race was definitely a step in the right direction-- running solid candidates, not backing down from GOP bluffs, running a truly national campaign-- but with 2008 coming, I worry that they may feel victim to the siren calls of the usual Democratic hucksters... you know, morons like James Carville who still think it's 1992.

The current issue of Rolling Stone magazine has an excellent article on this topic. I'd happily reimburse any Capitol Hill intern who decides to xerox this and put it under the office door of every Democrat in the building. The beginning-
2008 has the makings of a banner year for Democrats. The wave of discontent that swept the GOP from Congress last November is growing, and the Iraq debacle will make it difficult for Republicans to retain the White House. But there is one group of powerful Washington insiders who have a proven ability to derail the Democrats. Working behind the scenes, these top-tier operatives humiliated Mike Dukakis in a tank, muzzled Al Gore on the environment and portrayed John Kerry -- a lifelong crusader for gun control -- as a rifle-toting Rambo. Year after year they have made sure that the Democratic message comes across as little more than a fuzzy, focus-grouped drone about child tax credits, prescription-drug plans and the "fight for working families."

And here's the depressing news: The Democrats pay them millions to do it...

Worth reading.

Let's hope that the Democrats have learned their lessons. Losing elections isn't fun.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Weekend Video Theatre: 'What We Call The News'

Everybody remembers the 'Jib Jab' guys, right? Ohh sure, you know those guys who did some online political video cartoons around 2004/2005? Well, they have a new cartoon just out... this one ripping the news media a new one. Enjoy-

Taking On The 'War on Terror'

I'm probably preaching to choir among readers of this blog when I say that the 'war on terror'-- or, more specifically, the way it's been executed-- is just another political catchphrase more than an actual war. The Bush administration has certainly treated it that way (ie. using it as an excuse to spy on hippies and scapegoat Arabs and battle Democrats).

Of course, admitting this so that we as a nation can get over our post-9/11 mental disorder requires a national leader to stand up the noise machine. Say it and you will be accused of being a terrorist sympathizer, hating America, and all those other cliches.

But we desperately need someone who will come out and say-- fearlessly-- that, yes there are terrorists in the world and our foreign policy must factor this in, but that this isn't WWIII and that turning our whole system upside down to fight it is counterproductive. We must acknowledge that John Kerry was right in 2004 when he said that "it is not primarily a military operation. It's an intelligence-gathering, law-enforcement, public-diplomacy effort."... and that President Bush only got it right when said, also in 2004, that "I don't think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the — those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world." He quickly took this back.

I think the psychosis here is so deep, it will be many years before we get there.

One person who is strongly delivering this much-needed message, though, is former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. He writes in a Washington Post editorial that should be emailed to every congressman and senator, the following-
"The 'war on terror' has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration's elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America's psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us...

...Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare -- political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants..."

This really sums it up for me. I'll post some more, though-
"But the little secret here may be that the vagueness of the phrase was deliberately (or instinctively) calculated by its sponsors. Constant reference to a 'war on terror' did accomplish one major objective: It stimulated the emergence of a culture of fear. Fear obscures reason, intensifies emotions and makes it easier for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue. The war of choice in Iraq could never have gained the congressional support it got without the psychological linkage between the shock of 9/11 and the postulated existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction...

...The culture of fear is like a genie that has been let out of its bottle. It acquires a life of its own -- and can become demoralizing. America today is not the self-confident and determined nation that responded to Pearl Harbor; nor is it the America that heard from its leader, at another moment of crisis, the powerful words 'the only thing we have to fear is fear itself'; nor is it the calm America that waged the Cold War with quiet persistence despite the knowledge that a real war could be initiated abruptly within minutes and prompt the death of 100 million Americans within just a few hours. We are now divided, uncertain and potentially very susceptible to panic in the event of another terrorist act in the United States itself...

He goes on to describe many of the ludicrous 'security' measures we now endure.

He concludes-
"The events of 9/11 could have resulted in a truly global solidarity against extremism and terrorism. A global alliance of moderates, including Muslim ones, engaged in a deliberate campaign both to extirpate the specific terrorist networks and to terminate the political conflicts that spawn terrorism would have been more productive than a demagogically proclaimed and largely solitary U.S. 'war on terror' against 'Islamo-fascism.' Only a confidently determined and reasonable America can promote genuine international security which then leaves no political space for terrorism.

Where is the U.S. leader ready to say, 'Enough of this hysteria, stop this paranoia'? Even in the face of future terrorist attacks, the likelihood of which cannot be denied, let us show some sense. Let us be true to our traditions."

Brzezinski discussed these themes with Bill Maher last weekend.

Time magazine's Joe Klein blogs about this editorial from Jerusalem, where he says he feels its authority. He adds his own personal take on this topic, from that perspective, he adds-
"It is no accident that many of those most anxious to posit the struggle against Al-Qaeda as a 'war,' even a 'World War' were neoconservatives with close ties to the Israeli government, especially when it was run by the right-wing Likud party...

...One aspect Brzezinski doesn't deal with is the domestic cynicism of the 'The War on Terror.' I am quite sure that Bush and Rove--reverse Roosevelts--will be remembered in history for their political use of fearmongering as a bludgeon against Democrats. They had nothing to sell by fear itself....

..The threat is real, and it must be confronted. But by bloating the threat of Islamist extremism, Bush has bloated the importance of Islamic extremists. As a Jew, I am embarrassed by the role that so many prominent Jews have had in empowering the enemy."

Ideally, these common-sense statements wouldn't need to be repeated so much.

In an ideal world, we would move on. But the world is not controlled by idealists.

Iranian Hostage Crisis II: British Boogaloo (Pt. 4)

The Telegraph (U.K.): Ministers seek deal with Iran for captives

ABC News: $4 Gas? Some Fear Iran Crisis Could Jack Up Prices

Quote of the Day

"Y’know, if I were George Bush and I had just had my ass handed to me in the elections last November, I would revert into 'preserve my legacy' mode. Bush needs a signature achievement to hang his Presidency on besides a shaky economy, divided public, and Middle Eastern country transformed into Hell on Earth. He should figure out a way to declare victory and bring the troops home, work with Democrats to pass (and claim credit for) some major piece of legislation, throw the divisive members of his Administration to the wolves (Rove/Cheney), and try to reinvent himself as a moderate in an attempt to make everyone forget why they hate him. Turn back into the 'guy you’d want to have a beer with' and get something done.

But that would require a level of self-awareness that George Bush has never exhibited. With the cocky demeanor that the President has adopted, he still seems to think his post-9/11 attitude will fly with a post-Iraq, post-Katrina American public. If the Bush Administration looks like a chaotic mess, it’s because George Bush has no idea that people can’t stand him. At this rate, things will only get worse for Bush and co.

Give it up, dude. You aren’t getting any more tax cuts. You aren’t going to 'reform' social security. You aren’t going to overhaul the tax code. You’re losing ground on abortion, stem cells, gay marriage, and every other issue that you ran on. Your presidency is over. You can either accept that fact and try to turn lemons into lemonade or you can just sit around the Oval Office and act like a petulant little boy."
--Greg Saunders with some much-needed advice for The Decider.

[Related reading: How Bush helped the GOP commit suicide (Salon)]