Friday, March 31, 2006

THOMAS SPARGO: Then & Now: A tale of Republican corruption or A slimer slimed

Then (December 2000) from AP story:

Thomas Spargo of Albany, N.Y., a GOP elections observer called by the Bush team, testified that ballots in Miami-Dade were ``subjected to a lot of mishandling.'' Gore's lawyers tried to get that stricken from the record, but the judge refused.

Gore lawyer Kendall Coffey questioned Spargo about his role in GOP demonstrations at the Miami-Dade canvassing board on Nov. 22, a display Democrats claim intimidated the counters and was a factor in their decision to stop. The board chairman has said it was not a factor.

Coffey displayed a photograph of Spargo among the demonstrators.
Spargo played down the episode.

"There was some, if you will, chanting,'' he said when Judge Sauls asked him what was going on that day.

He said the chanting was to protest that the canvassers were excluding Republicans and the media from their proceedings.

Spargo said there was nothing approaching a riot. ``There was no fighting, there was no roughhousing,'' he said.

Panel Calls for Removing N.Y. Judge

(AP)— A state commission has recommended removing a judge who sought donations to his defense fund from lawyers who were trying cases before him.

In the opinion released Friday, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct also scolded Justice Thomas Spargo for giving out $5 gift coupons for gas and coffee and buying drinks for potential voters in a local campaign in 1999.

Spargo will accept the removal rather than appeal to the state's highest court, said his lawyer, E. Stewart Jones Jr...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mosul slips out of control as the bombers move in
By Patrick Cockburn in Mosul Published: 31 March 2006

When the 3,000 men of the mainly Kurdish 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Division of the Iraqi Army go on patrol it is at night, after the rigorously enforced curfew starts at 8pm. Their vehicles, bristling with heavy machine guns, race through the empty streets of the city, splashing through pools of sewage, always trying to take different routes to avoid roadside bombs. "The government cannot control the city," said Hamid Effendi, an experienced ex-soldier who is Minister for Peshmerga Affairs in the Kurdistan Regional Government.

He is influential in the military affairs of Mosul province with its large Kurdish minority, although it is outside the Kurdish region. He believes: "The Iraqi Army is only a small force in Mosul, the Americans do not leave their bases much and some of the police are connected to the terrorists." In the days since a suicide bomber killed 43 young men waiting to join the Iraqi army at a recruitment centre near Mosul last week soldiers in the city have been expecting a second attack."

We are not leaving the base in daytime because we know other bombers are waiting for us," said a soldier at a base near Mosul's city centre...
The photo of Mosul above is from Howard Kaloogian's last extensive fact-finding tour of the ME.

Bush meltdown: "My Dad FOUGHT the Japanese!"

He's yelling, saying that the 'murcan people don't need a president who chases polls and focus groups, that in thirty years he'll be thanked, that he's doing what he believes, and it's amazing that he sits down at a table with Koizumi and negotiates when his dad fought the Japanese.

This man is clearly off his meds.

From Democratic Underground thread by Bush_Eats_Beef on Wed.:
Do you realize how much fun it's going to be when John Conyers has subpoena power?

Release the Hadley Memo
By: Rep. John Conyers

The most infamous example of the Administration's manipulation of pre-war intelligence is the sixteen words in the 2003 State of the Union Address, in which the President falsely claimed to the American people and the Congress that Iraq was attempting to acquire uranium from Africa. Until now, the Administration's line of defense has been that the President did not know about dissenting viewpoints on this issue and, therefore, acted in good faith when he presented this claim in an unequivocal fashion.

In a moment reminiscent of the revelation that the President received a memo entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" prior to the September 11 attacks, we now learn -- via fellow Huffington Poster Murray Waas of the National Journal -- that the President received a memo advising him that the notion that Iraq was seeking nuclear weapons was anything but an unequivocal view within his own Administration. We also know that the Administration orchestrated an effort to cover up this fact before the 2004 elections.

According to National Journal, then-Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley summarized a National Intelligence Estimate for the President in October 2002. In that summary, Hadley specifically said that while many agencies believed the aluminum tubes were "related to a uranium enrichment effort," the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Energy Department's intelligence branch "believe that the tubes more likely are intended for conventional weapons."

What did the President do just 3 months later? He stood before Congress, the American people, and the world and contradicted his own experts. During his January 2003 State of the Union Address, he claimed, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production." He failed to mention that not all of our intelligence sources saw it that way...
Insulating Bush
By Murray Waas, National Journal© National Journal Group Inc.
Thursday, March 30, 2006

Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address -- that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon -- might not be true, according to government records and interviews...

'War' on Christians Is Alleged
Conference Depicts a Culture Hostile to Evangelical Beliefs:

Tom Delay is being persecuted for his religious beliefs!

Now here's a general principle I want to introduce. The clueless should NOT confer with other clueless people. You just get more cluelessness when you do that.

Or is Delay getting a headstart on his obligatory 'prison conversion?'
Iraq bases spur questions over US plans
By Becky Branford BBC News

The Pentagon has requested hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency funds for military construction in Iraq, fanning the debate about US long-term intentions there.

The money will add to an existing bill of $1.3bn for military construction in the Middle East and South Asia - primarily Iraq and Afghanistan - in the last five years.

Much of the 2006 emergency funding is earmarked for beefing up security and facilities at just a handful of large airbases in Iraq.

This has prompted some to wonder whether the US has plans to maintain a permanent military presence - something the government has repeatedly denied.

But those concerned include the US House Appropriations Committee, which has demanded a "master plan" for base construction from the Pentagon before the money can be spent.

In a 13 March report accompanying the emergency spending legislation, it said the money was "of a magnitude normally associated with permanent bases".

A week later, after top US General John Abizaid refused to rule out a long-term presence, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the bill stating its opposition to permanent bases...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ann Coulter:Fraudulent voter & neo-nazi skank:

Elections officials to query GOP pundit
Wednesday, March 29, 2006

This time, claiming she doesn't even live here — as GOP pundit Ann Coulter has been doing on this spring's college speaking tour when she's questioned about her February election meltdown on Palm Beach — isn't going to cut it.

Palm Beach County's elections supervisor has given the right wing's unofficial mouthpiece 30 days to explain why she voted in the wrong precinct...

ITMFA:Dan Savage's New Site:

Historians will remember White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, who resigned today, for pushing hard for the illegal, warrantless NSA domestic spying program and for selling the Iraq war to Congress, the media, and the American people...

From "Ron Suskind's as-told-to account of former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's stormy tenure, The Price of Loyalty:

"Go get me Andy Card," Bush said to one of the Secret Service agents. Card, the designee as chief of staff, entered from an adjoining room . . . Bush looked impatiently at Card, hard-eyed. "You're the chief of staff. You think you're up to getting us some cheeseburgers?"
Card nodded. No one laughed. He all but raced out of the room
Some straight 'loogie' on the truth-challenged candidate Kaloogian from TPM MUCKRAKER

Some History on Kaloogian's Move America Forward
By Paul Kiel - March 29, 2006, 4:29 PM

Howard Kaloogian's "Truth Tour" to Iraq in July, 2005 was sponsored by Move America Forward, a non-profit, "non-partisan" outfit that Kaloogian founded. You might have never heard of them before, but you certainly know their work. It includes:

-- Producing a series of TV ads late last year that claimed Iraq did in fact have WMDs;

-- Shuttling pro-war protestors to Crawford to counter Cindy Sheehan's "Camp Casey" as part of their "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" tour;

-- a campaign supporting John Bolton's contentious nomination" for UN ambassador - including financing the ad campaign in Ohio that attacked Sen. George Voinivich (R-OH) for not backing Bolton;

-- backing U.S. detention policies at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by selling 'I [Heart] Gitmo' bumper stickers."

The "Truth Tour" sent five conservative radio-talk-show hosts to U.S. military bases in Baghdad for "a week of upbeat broadcasts."

And according to the WSJ, the group grew out of the successful 2003 recall effort in California...

Rep. Clay calls for pulling U.S. troops from Iraq

Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr. called for pulling out American troops from Iraq Monday and blasted President George W. Bush as an "incompetent chickenhawk."

"President Bush took this country to war by choice, not because we had to fight but because he wanted a fight," Clay said, according to a text of the speech he gave Monday at St. Louis Community College at Meramec in Kirkwood.

Noting the billions of dollars spent on the war and the 2,000-plus death toll of U.S. soldiers, Clay, D-St. Louis, said the sacrifice of American lives "is not being shared equally" and asked why Bush's twin daughters had not enlisted...
(Secret biological weapon: Clamidia)

U.S. President George W. Bush speaks about democracy to the Freedom House conference at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill in Washington, March 29, 2006. REUTERS/Larry Downing
(It looks like he's about to hock a Kaloogian on the Constitution & Bill of Rights.)
See? (You traitorous liars) Things are calm in "downtown Baghdad". (Except that's a picture of Istanbul. The man holding hands with a woman in a top with spaghetti straps is a tip-off.)

Congressional Candidate Slams Press Coverage of Iraq--With Bogus Photo
By E&P Staff
March 29, 2006

How far will critics of media coverage of the Iraq war go to prove reporters are wrongly focusing on the negative?

One answer came this week, in a shocking if amusing episode featuring one Howard Kaloogian, a leading Republican running for the seat in Congress recently vacated by indicted Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham.

He posted on the official Web site for his campaign a picture taken in “downtown Baghdad,” he said, during his visit to the city, which supposedly indicated that the media was wrong about the level of violence in the city. “We took this photo of downtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq,” he wrote. “Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism."...
Phrase of the day: Hock a Kaloogian.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The disastrous foreign policies of the US have left it more isolated than ever, and China is standing by to take over
Martin Jacques
Tuesday March 28, 2006
The Guardian

"Our power, then, has the grave liability of rendering our theories about the world immune from failure. But by becoming deaf to easily discerned warning signs, we may ignore long-term costs that result from our actions and dismiss reverses that should lead to a re-examination of our goals and means."

These are the words of Henry Hyde, chairman of the House international relations committee and a Republican congressman, in a recent speech. Hyde argues that such is the overweening power of the US that it may not hear or recognise the signals when its policy goes badly wrong, a thinly veiled reference to Iraq. He then takes issue with the idea that the US can export democracy around the world as deeply misguided and potentially dangerous. He argues: "A broad and energetic promotion of democracy in other countries that will not enjoy our long-term and guiding presence may equate not to peace and stability but to revolution ... There is no evidence that we or anyone can guide from afar revolutions we have set in motion. We can more easily destabilise friends and others and give life to chaos and to avowed enemies than ensure outcomes in service of our interests and security."

It is clear that the US occupation of Iraq has been a disaster from almost every angle one can think of, most of all for the Iraqi people, not least for American foreign policy. The unpicking of the imperial logic that led to it has already commenced: Hyde's speech is an example, and so is Francis Fukuyama's new book After the Neocons, a merciless critique of Bush's foreign policy and the school of thought that lay behind it. The war was a delayed product of the end of the cold war and the triumphalist mentality that imbued the neocons and eventually seduced the US. But triumphalism is a dangerous brew, more suited to intoxication than hard-headed analysis. And so it has proved. The US still has to reap the whirlwind for its stunning feat of imperial overreach.

In becoming so catastrophically engaged in the Middle East, making the region its overwhelming global priority, it downgraded the importance of everywhere else, taking its eye off the ball in a crucial region such as east Asia, which in the long run will be far more important to the US's strategic interests than the Middle East. As such, the Iraqi adventure represented a major misreading of global trends and how they are likely to impact on the US. Hyde is clearly thinking in these terms: "We are well advanced into an unformed era in which new and unfamiliar enemies are gathering forces, where a phalanx of aspiring competitors must inevitably constrain and focus options. In a world where the ratios of strength narrow, the consequences of miscalculation will become progressively more debilitating. The costs of golden theories will be paid for in the base coin of our interests."

The promotion of the idea of the war against terror as the central priority of US policy had little to do with the actual threat posed by al-Qaida, which was always hugely exaggerated by the Bush administration, as events over the last four and a half years have shown. Al-Qaida never posed a threat to the US except in terms of the odd terrorist outrage. Making it the central thrust of US foreign policy, in other words, had nothing to do with the al-Qaida threat and everything to do with the Bush administration seeking to mobilise US public opinion behind a neoconservative foreign policy. There followed the tenuous - in reality nonexistent - link with Saddam, which provided in large measure the justification for the invasion of Iraq, an act which now threatens to unravel the bizarre adventurism, personified by Donald Rumsfeld, which has been the hallmark of Bush foreign policy since 9/11. The latter has come unstuck in the killing fields of Iraq in the most profound way imaginable...
A Goverment Gone Mad--Eric Alterman:

When future historians look back at America’s reaction to the attacks of 9/11 and see that our leadership decided to ignore the many, many, vulnerabilities of our homeland to devastating attacks that could easily kill millions while at the same time, going off on a foolish and counterproductive tangent to remake a nation that had nothing whatever to do with the attack, thereby ignoring a real threat and creating a new one where none existed before, I do think they will study us as an example of a government gone mad...
Albright says Republicans wanted war with Iraq in '98
The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA - Republicans urged the Clinton administration to invade Iraq as early as eight years ago, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Monday at a political fundraiser.

"I remember when we were in office, starting in 1998, various Republicans were coming to us wanting a ground invasion," Albright said.

She did not name the people she said made those requests nor say what prompted them. But 1998 was when the Iraqi government defied a United Nations-imposed "no-fly" zone and began firing on planes attempting to enforce it.

Albright's remarks came in response to a question about an article in Monday's editions of The New York Times. The story said the Bush administration had decided to go to war two months before doing so "even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons."...
Fitzgerald Will Seek New White House Indictments
By Jason Leopold t r u t h o u t Report
Tuesday 28 March 2006

It may seem as though it's been moving along at a snail's pace, but the second part of the federal investigation into the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson is nearly complete, with attorneys and government officials who have remained close to the probe saying that a grand jury will likely return an indictment against one or two senior Bush administration officials.

These sources work or worked at the State Department, the CIA and the National Security Council. Some of these sources are attorneys close to the case. They requested anonymity because they were not permitted to speak publicly about the details of the investigation.

In lengthy interviews over the weekend and on Monday, they said that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has started to prepare the paperwork to present to the grand jury seeking an indictment against White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove or National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Rove said cooperating in CIA leak inquiry

Larisa Alexandrovna
Published: Monday March 27, 2006

Karl Rove, Deputy White House Chief of Staff and special adviser to President George W. Bush, has recently been providing information to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the ongoing CIA leak investigation, sources close to the investigation say.

According to several Pentagon sources close to Rove and others familiar with the inquiry, Bush's senior adviser tipped off Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to information that led to the recent "discovery" of 250 pages of missing email from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney...

Summary: Bill O'Reilly repeatedly accused the "heavily liberal" media of "looking to undermine" the Bush administration "for their own ideological purposes." O'Reilly also declared that "with the rise of the internet" the "far left now dominates the liberal agenda. ... To these Kool-Aid drinkers, no personal attack is out of bounds, no distortion too dishonest to use. They're all about the end justifying the means."...
Working class fight war while well-off defend it

...This is not a truth the middle class is eager to confront. Each time I write a column about the disproportionate burden borne by our working-class men and women, I get countless angry letters and e-mails — tirades from the affluent denouncing me for fomenting race-consciousness (I've said nothing about race) or class warfare. Others write to me that they know somebody whose son or daughter or nephew or co-worker is a college graduate who volunteered to serve. (That's the exception that proves the rule.) We don't want to admit that we've left the burden of defending an affluent nation to those who enjoy less of its affluence. That's too ugly to think about...
There they go again, reporting on actual occurrences rather than re-writing administration press releases. Who do they think they are, a free press or something?

March 27, 2006
U.S. and Iraqi Forces Clash With Shiite Militia, Killing at Least 17 By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN

BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 26 — American and Iraqi government forces clashed with Shiite militiamen in Baghdad tonight in the most serious confrontation in months, and Iraqi officials said the fighting left at least 17 Iraqis dead, including an 80-year-old imam.

The fighting erupted at a very combustible moment in Iraq, with sectarian tensions rising, leadership problems deepening, and dozens of mutilated bodies continuing to surface on Iraqi streets today.

Another concern is that the clash could open an old wound, because the militiamen who were killed worked for Moktada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric who has already led several bloody rebellions against American forces.

Security in Baghdad seems to be deteriorating by the hour, and it is increasingly unclear who is in control. Earlier today, the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that American forces raided a secret prison and arrested several Iraqi policeman...
Monday, March 27, 2006

69 Killed in Separate Outbreaks of Violence

All hell broke loose in Iraq on Sunday, but I'm darned if I can figure out most of what happened or why. It seems possible that the US committed two major military blunders that will worsen its relationship with Iraqi political forces.So they found 30 decapitated bodies near Buhriz, an old Baath stronghold in Diyala northeast of Baghdad. Those killed were a mix of Shiites and Sunnis.Then a mortar shell landed near the house in Najaf of Muqtada al-Sadr, the nationalist Shiite cleric whose followers are already upset with Sunnis over the blowing up of the Askariyah Shrine in Samarra. There were casualties, but Muqtada wasn't harmed. Everyone just dodged a bullet along with Muqtada, since if the mortar had killed him, Iraq would have been thrown into even greater chaos...
Iraq minister says US, Iraqi troops killed 37

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's security minister, a Shi'ite political ally of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, accused U.S. and Iraqi troops on Monday of killing 37 unarmed people in an attack on a mosque complex a day earlier.
"At evening prayers, American soldiers accompanied by Iraqi troops raided the Mustafa mosque and killed 37 people," Abd al-Karim al-Enzi, minister of state for national security, said.
"They were all unarmed. Nobody fired a single shot at them (the troops). They went in, tied up the people and shot them all. They did not leave any wounded behind," he told Reuters...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bush lied. Some of us knew it and some of us didn't. What we should all be able to agree on though is that Bush & Co. work for us. We're not his loyal subjects. We got rid of that over 200 years ago. We ('the people') are the boss. What happens when you lie to the boss? You get fired, that's suggest otherwise is unAmerican. Impeachment in this case is a no-brainer. It's exactly what should happen.

Bush Was Set on Path to War, Memo by British Adviser Says

LONDON — In the weeks before the United States-led invasion of Iraq, as the United States and Britain pressed for a second United Nations resolution condemning Iraq, President Bush's public ultimatum to Saddam Hussein was blunt: Disarm or face war.

But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.

"Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning," David Manning, Mr. Blair's chief foreign policy adviser at the time, wrote in the memo that summarized the discussion between Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair and six of their top aides.

"The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March," Mr. Manning wrote, paraphrasing the president. "This was when the bombing would begin."

The timetable came at an important diplomatic moment. Five days after the Bush-Blair meeting, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was scheduled to appear before the United Nations to present the American evidence that Iraq posed a threat to world security by hiding unconventional weapons.

Although the United States and Britain aggressively sought a second United Nations resolution against Iraq — which they failed to obtain — the president said repeatedly that he did not believe he needed it for an invasion...

BROOKLYN (March 22, 2006) --- A nude Britney Spears on a bearskin rug while giving birth to her firstborn marks a ‘first’ for Pro-Life. Pop-star Britney Spears is the “ideal” model for Pro-Life.

(Why don't they just have a statue of a cockroach laying it's eggs?)
Near Paul Revere Country, Anti-Bush Cries Get Louder
By Michael Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 25, 2006; A01

HOLYOKE, Mass. -- To drive through the mill towns and curling country roads here is to journey into New England's impeachment belt. Three of this state's 10 House members have called for the investigation and possible impeachment of President Bush.

Thirty miles north, residents in four Vermont villages voted earlier this month at annual town meetings to buy more rock salt, approve school budgets, and impeach the president for lying about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction and for sanctioning torture.

Window cleaner Ira Clemons put down his squeegee in the lobby of a city mall and stroked his goatee as he considered the question: Would you support your congressman's call to impeach Bush? His smile grew until it looked like a three-quarters moon.

"Why not? The man's been lying from Jump Street on the war in Iraq," Clemons said. "Bush says there were weapons of mass destruction, but there wasn't. Says we had enough soldiers, but we didn't. Says it's not a civil war -- but it is." He added: "I was really upset about 9/11 -- so don't lie to me."

It would be a considerable overstatement to say the fledgling impeachment movement threatens to topple a presidency -- there are just 33 House co-sponsors of a motion by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) to investigate and perhaps impeach Bush, and a large majority of elected Democrats think it is a bad idea. But talk bubbles up in many corners of the nation, and on the Internet, where several Web sites have led the charge, giving liberals an outlet for anger that has been years in the making...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Hey, don't blame me, this is GOOD NEWS. If you're a neocon/greater Israel creepazoid like Daniel Pipes, that is...(Civil War in Iraq? by Daniel Pipes New York Sun:

March 26, 2006
Bound, Blindfolded and Dead: The Face of Atrocity in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 25 — Mohannad al-Azawi had just finished sprinkling food in his bird cages at his pet shop in southern Baghdad, when three carloads of gunmen pulled up.

In front of a crowd, he was grabbed by his shirt and driven off.

Mr. Azawi was among the few Sunni Arabs on the block, and, according to witnesses, when a Shiite friend tried to intervene, a gunman stuck a pistol to his head and said, "You want us to blow your brains out, too?"

Mr. Azawi's body was found the next morning at a sewage treatment plant. A slight man who raised nightingales, he had been hogtied, drilled with power tools and shot.

In the last month, hundreds of men have been kidnapped, tortured and executed in Baghdad. As Iraqi and American leaders struggle to avert a civil war, the bodies keep piling up. The city's homicide rate has tripled from 11 to 33 a day, military officials said. The period from March 7 to March 21 was typically brutal: at least 191 bodies, many mutilated, surfaced in garbage bins, drainage ditches, minibuses and pickup trucks...
Critical thinking: Francis Fukuyama turns on Bush's foreign policy in his brutal critique, After the Neocons, says Martin Jacques

After the Neocons: America at the Crossroads
by Francis Fukuyama

This book is a brutal critique of neoconservatism as practised by the Bush administration: and it is all the more damaging for the fact that Francis Fukuyama has himself been strongly identified with the neo-conservative cause. His tone is measured but the comprehensive nature of his demolition of Bush's foreign policy leaves it - and neo-conservatism - in tatters. What, of course, has really done for Bush is "events", above all those in Iraq. Rarely has a policy been exposed so rapidly and comprehensively on such a grand scale, but then wars have a habit of doing precisely that: the rhetoric and platitudes are suddenly and mercilessly subject to the cold test of reality.

Fukuyama is good at reading "the moment", the most famous example being The End of History, a rather poor book that received far more attention than it deserved, but which succeeded very effectively in capturing the zeitgeist after the collapse of the Berlin wall. One suspects that Fukuyama has accurately read the runes once more and that his book anticipates a sea-change in the American mood. Indeed, the latter seems already to be under way, with support for Bush dipping to new and dangerous lows. The invasion of Iraq has failed so comprehensively that it seems bound to stimulate much soul-searching in Washington over the coming years. The defeat in Vietnam had a long-lasting effect on American foreign policy: the Mesopotamian disaster may come to be seen in not dissimilar terms.

Fukuyama engages in a root-and-branch critique of Bush's foreign policy.
He sees the rise of neoconservatism as in part an excessive response to the defeat of the Soviet Union, with the belief that such an apocalyptic event, leading to a wholesale regime-change in eastern Europe, was of more general significance and could be imitated elsewhere. Beware triumphalism - it is a poor guide to action and so it has proved in Washington. This was accompanied by an overblown belief in the effectiveness of military action together with the idea that American casualties in the new era of hi-tech weaponry could be kept to a minimum, as they had been in the first Gulf war and in Kosovo. In addition, there have been the hugely exaggerated claims about the threat posed by both Islamic terrorists and Saddam Hussein, which were so obviously make-believe that it is difficult to understand how so many purportedly intelligent people could possibly have fallen for them. The straw men have been downed one by one: the link between Saddam and al-Qaida, the mirage of the WMD, leaving just regime-change, and now that is crumbling before our eyes as Iraq seems to be sinking tragically into civil war. Fukuyama forensically examines the Bush/neo-conservative case and dismantles it brick by brick...

"Wow. This is even sleazier than it first appeared. According to Talking Points Memo, the former first lady is actually one of the investors in the very company to which she gave a "charitable contribution." Josh asks the right questions:
So how is it exactly you get away with making a tax subsidized contribution that you stipulate must be used to purchase products from a company in which you are a partial owner?
Isn't that a scam of some sort?
The Bush family really has no shame. The son hoodwinked America. The mother finagles charitable contribution for her own benefit. They're just blue blooded grifters."...

Good stuff from Joe Wilson at Daily Kos:

"It still amazes me when I still see that drunk Bill Kristol on tv every week still spewing the same nonsense he was spewing 3 years ago."

"You know when they first started trying to come up with a way to discredit me, which we now know started in March of 2003, they went through the old standbys. 'He's had 3 wives, he's a womanizer, he's done drugs.' But then they realized they couldnt' use those because I've never actually denied them. I mean I'm the first to admit that, unlike Ken Mehlman and David Dreier, I really like women. Beyond that, going to UC-Santa Barbara in the late 60's, if you weren't smoking pot it was you who was the weird one."

"I hear Ann going around exalting Joseph McCarthy. I recently read a book by Owen Lattimore called Ordeal by Slander in which he details the way in which McCarthy smeared him and attempted to destroy his life and the battle for his freedom that ensued. I wish Ann would read that book and see who she is using as a hero. Joseph McCarthy was a Nazi sympathizer who tried to destroy the lives of innocent people through a political witchhunt. That is who these people like Ann Coulter support. Remember that. Ann Coulter and her ilk are not only someone you would not want at your dining room table, they're people I wouldn't even allow in my home."

Friday, March 24, 2006

Battle for Baghdad 'has already started'
By Patrick Cockburn in Arbil
Published: 25 March 2006

The battle between Sunni and Shia Muslims for control of Baghdad has already started, say Iraqi political leaders who predict fierce street fighting will break out as each community takes over districts in which it is strongest.

"The fighting will only stop when a new balance of power has emerged," Fuad Hussein, the chief of staff of Massoud Barzani, the Kurdish leader, said. "Sunni and Shia will each take control of their own area." He said sectarian cleansing had already begun...
Oh yeah, here's the 'good news': Some people were not slain today in Bush's illegal & immoral war in Iraq.
Chris "we're all neocons now" Matthews on IMUS this morning. (Too late, you're still a turd.)

Matthews: "Well I am just going to stick to this point that the president led us in there with the background music of American culture. Everybody was led to believe that we were getting payback, we were avenging what happened on 9/11 and that we are going to get them. Vice President Cheney said we are going to attack terrorism at its base. Over and over the language was, this is where it came from, in fact most recently the President suggested that it was always the hot pursuit, like a new York police chase, we chased them back into their country. We pursued the terrorists back to Iraq and it's all nonsense. The reason there are terrorists in Iraq today like Zarqawi is we created the opening by blowing the country apart.

From the beginning it's been not true. Now you can't prove motive and you can't prove somebody lies, but from the beginning everything about how they've got WMD's, they are a threat to us, they are going to bomb us with a nuclear weapon, this country is going to be an easy liberate, it's going to be a cake walk. As Cheney said as recently as ten months ago the insurgents are in their last throws. Everything that is said is not true. And right to the end here, here we are now and it's not a civil war and when Allawi the prime Minster is saying it is a civil war and here is the president quoting his own people that it's not a civil war. I mean the denial has been continuous. So you really can't count on the administration to tell you what is going on. That is just the fact. You've got to check it out.

By the way, the president said this week that he wants the whole truth about what is going on in Iraq, the whole truth and that the media isn't telling the whole story. I'll tell you what we are not telling. We are not showing pictures of the twenty five hundred bodies coming back because they won't let us show the pictures. They don't want the whole truth out and that's the fact."
Please help the Dems take back the house and watch the subpoenas fly! Fresh headlines about Republi-scum corruption daily. Good times...

Justin Rood digs up some more MZM contracts the Pentagon might want to investigate. It makes sense that, as the Post reports today, undersecretary of defense for intelligence Steve Cambone is particularly interested in how MZM got contracts with the Counter Intelligence Field Activity, and seemed to have such an intertwined relationship with CIFA generally, because CIFA ultimately reports to him. (Chain of command: Cambone to Acting Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Counterintelligence Roger W. Rogalski to CIFA Director David A. Burtt II). Do the Defense homeland security contracts Justin found report ultimately to Cambone as well? ...
Abramoff to Testify on Mob-Style Hit?
By Paul Kiel - March 24, 2006, 12:56 PM

News from Florida, where the three henchmen who gunned down SunCruz owner Gus Boulis are standing trial for murder.

Two of the accused murderers, Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello and Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari were on SunCruz's payroll, and the question has always been how much Abramoff and Kidan knew about this. Maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe not.

In any case, Big Tony's lawyer doesn't think it was and wants to hear what Jack Abramoff and his partner Adam Kidan know - or will admit to. He's subpoenaed them to find out.

Their "SunCruz purchase is 'at the heart' of the murder case", says Big Tony's attorney...
Bush's Requests for Iraqi Base Funding Make Some Wary of Extended Stay

WASHINGTON — Even as military planners look to withdraw significant numbers of American troops from Iraq in the coming year, the Bush administration continues to request hundreds of millions of dollars for large bases there, raising concerns over whether they are intended as permanent sites for U.S. forces.

Questions on Capitol Hill about the future of the bases have been prompted by the new emergency spending bill for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives last week with $67.6 billion in funding for the war effort, including the base money.

Although the House approved the measure, lawmakers are demanding that the Pentagon explain its plans for the bases, and they unanimously passed a provision blocking the use of funds for base agreements with the Iraqi government.

"It's the kind of thing that incites terrorism," Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said of long-term or permanent U.S. bases in countries such as Iraq. Paul, a critic of the war, is co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill that would make it official policy not to maintain such bases in Iraq. He noted that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden cited U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia as grounds for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks...
The War Lovers
By John Pilger

"ICH" -- - -The war lovers I have known in real wars have usually been harmless, except to themselves. They were attracted to Vietnam and Cambodia, where drugs were plentiful. Bosnia, with its roulette of death, was another favorite. A few would say they were there "to tell the world"; the honest ones would say they loved it. "War is fun!" one of them had scratched on his arm. He stood on a land mine.

I sometimes remember these almost endearing fools when I find myself faced with another kind of war lover – the kind that has not seen war and has often done everything possible not to see it. The passion of these war lovers is a phenomenon; it never dims, regardless of the distance from the object of their desire. Pick up the Sunday papers and there they are, egocentrics of little harsh experience, other than a Saturday in Sainsbury's. Turn on the television and there they are again, night after night, intoning not so much their love of war as their sales pitch for it on behalf of the court to which they are assigned. "There's no doubt," said Matt Frei, the BBC's man in America, "that the desire to bring good, to bring American values to the rest of the world, and especially now to the Middle East … is now increasingly tied up with military power."

Frei said that on April 13, 2003, after George W. Bush had launched "Shock and Awe" on a defenseless Iraq. Two years later, after a rampant, racist, woefully trained, and ill-disciplined army of occupation had brought "American values" of sectarianism, death squads, chemical attacks, attacks with uranium-tipped shells and cluster bombs, Frei described the notorious 82nd Airborne as "the heroes of Tikrit."

Last year, he lauded Paul Wolfowitz, architect of the slaughter in Iraq, as "an intellectual" who "believes passionately in the power of democracy and grassroots development." As for Iran, Frei was well ahead of the story. In June 2003, he told BBC viewers: "There may be a case for regime change in Iran, too."...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Apocalyptic president

Even some Republicans are now horrified by the influence Bush has given to the evangelical right

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday March 23, 2006
The Guardian

In his latest PR offensive President Bush came to Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday to answer the paramount question on Iraq that he said was on people's minds: "They wonder what I see that they don't." After mentioning "terror" 54 times and "victory" five, dismissing "civil war" twice and asserting that he is "optimistic", he called on a citizen in the audience, who homed in on the invisible meaning of recent events in the light of two books, American Theocracy, by Kevin Phillips, and the book of Revelation. Phillips, the questioner explained, "makes the point that members of your administration have reached out to prophetic Christians who see the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism as signs of the apocalypse. Do you believe this? And if not, why not?"

Bush's immediate response, as transcribed by CNN, was: "Hmmm." Then he said: "The answer is I haven't really thought of it that way. Here's how I think of it. First, I've heard of that, by the way." The official White House website transcript drops the strategic comma, and so changes the meaning to: "First I've heard of that, by the way."

But it is certainly not the first time Bush has heard of the apocalyptic preoccupation of much of the religious right, having served as evangelical liaison on his father's 1988 presidential campaign. The Rev Jerry Falwell told Newsweek how he brought Tim LaHaye, then an influential rightwing leader, to meet him; LaHaye's Left Behind novels, dramatising the rapture, Armageddon and the second coming, have sold tens of millions.

But it is almost certain that Cleveland was the first time Bush had heard of Phillips's book. He was the visionary strategist for Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign; his 1969 book, The Emerging Republican Majority, spelled out the shift of power from the north-east to the south and south-west, which he was early to call "the sunbelt"; he grasped that southern Democrats would react to the civil-rights revolution by becoming southern Republicans; he also understood the resentments of urban ethnic Catholics towards black people on issues such as crime, school integration and jobs. But he never imagined that evangelical religion would transform the coalition he helped to fashion into something that horrifies him.

In American Theocracy, Phillips describes Bush as the founder of "the first American religious party"; September 11 gave him the pretext for "seizing the fundamentalist moment"; he has manipulated a "critical religious geography" to hype issues such as gay marriage. "New forces were being interwoven. These included the institutional rise of the religious right, the intensifying biblical focus on the Middle East, and the deepening of insistence on church-government collaboration within the GOP electorate." It portended a potential "American Disenlightenment," apparent in Bush's hostility to science.

Even Bush's failures have become pretexts for advancing his transformation of government. Exploiting his own disastrous emergency management after Hurricane Katrina, Bush is funneling funds to churches as though they can compensate for governmental breakdown. Last year David Kuo, the White House deputy director for faith-based initiatives, resigned with a statement that "Republicans were indifferent to the poor".

Within hours of its publication, American Theocracy rocketed to No 1 on Amazon. At US cinemas, V for Vendetta - in which an imaginary Britain, ruled by a totalitarian, faith-based regime that rounds up gays, is a metaphor for Bush's America - is the surprise hit. Bush has succeeded in getting American audiences to cheer for terrorism.
Iraq: Biggest Corruption Scandal in History - Newsweek

...And there is much more to come, especially on the little-noticed issue of contracting in Iraq, which the watchdog group Transparency International last year warned could become “the biggest corruption scandal in history." The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction is expected to issue a harshly critical report in May concluding that the CPA did not have disciplined contracting procedures in place, according to several people involved in drafting the report. If the Democrats manage to get control of the House later this year, it's all going to come in an avalanche of subpoenas and new investigations. Not that the Republicans have been entirely sitting on their hands. When Rep. Christopher Shays, a Connecticut Republican, agreed to subpoena records of funds transmitted to Iraq, his House Government Reform Subcommittee learned that nearly $12 billion in U.S. currency was shipped to Iraq from the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, much of it with little accountability...
...and remember kids 'Bush Crime Family' is NOT a partisan slur, it's a FACT...

Bush Uncle -- Under Feds' Scrutiny -- Cleans Up In Sale of Contractor
By Justin Rood - March 23, 2006, 12:30 PM

Oh man. The Bush family's on a roll today.

President Bush's uncle just picked up close to $3 million from the sale of a defense contracting company that's currently under federal investigation.
William H.T. Bush -- the family reportedly calls him "Uncle Bucky" -- was a director of the company, Engineered Support Systems, Inc. When the company was bought by DRS Technologies in January, Uncle Bucky raked in $1.7 million in cash and $800,000 in stock, according to the LA Times, which broke the story.

The company has enjoyed several no-bid contracts with the Pentagon for Iraq war support equipment.

The SEC is currently probing questionable stock sales by several major shareholders in the company, including Uncle Bucky. Apparently the Pentagon cut short a major contract with ESSI for generators because they didn't work right; some ESSI executives, including Uncle Bucky, cashed out holdings before alerting other shareholders -- seven months later -- that the deal had gone sour...
Hired guns unaccountable (6,000 Mercenaries in Iraq)

About 6,000 non-Iraqi security contractors are operating in Iraq. During nine months in 2004-05, contractors reported firing into 61 civilian vehicles; no one was ever prosecuted. Security analysts say it is likely that such incidents are vastly underreported.

Security contractors supporting the U.S. effort in Iraq regularly shoot into civilian cars with little accountability, according to a News & Observer analysis of more than 400 reports contractors filed with the government.

In the documents, which cover nine months of the three-year-old war, contractors reported shooting into 61 vehicles they believed were threatening them. In just seven cases were Iraqis clearly attacking -- showing guns, shooting at contractors or detonating explosives.

There was no way to tell how many civilians were hurt, or how many were innocent: In most cases, the contractors drove away. No contractors have been prosecuted for a mistaken shooting in Iraq...
Administration Reports Undermine Right Wing’s Media Bashing on Iraq

The latest White House talking point on Iraq is that the media is systematically ignoring the “good news” about the war. Secretary Rumsfeld has led the charge, and right-wing bloggers are serving as an echo chamber. Last night, Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe explained what’s going on:

"At a time when…conservatives in general are feeling very disillusioned about the war and about their president, you’ve got to find something to rally around. Beating up the media is one of those."

So far, the public isn’t buying the spin: 60 percent of Americans believe that the media are reporting events in Iraq either accurately or better than they really are. And they’re right.

Eyewitness accounts both by the Bush administration and by journalists on the ground back up the media’s perspective of the chaos and refute the right-wing’s claims of journalistic neglect:

State Department Human Rights Practices report on Iraq, 3/8/06:

"[A] climate of extreme violence in which people were killed for political and other reasons. … Bombings, executions, killings, kidnappings, shootings, and intimidation were a daily occurrence throughout all regions and sectors of society. An illustrative list of these attacks, even a highly selective one, could scarcely reflect the broad dimension of the violence."

U.S. Agency for International Development report on Iraq, 1/2/06:

"Former regime elements, foreign fighters and Islamic extremists continue to conduct terrorist attacks with devastating effect upon Iraqi civilians."

NBC reporter, Richard Engel, “the only television news correspondent to cover the entire war in Iraq for an American television network from Baghdad,” 3/22/06:

"I think the security problem is the overall story and most Iraqi’s I speak to say — actually most reporters get it wrong — it’s the situation on the ground is actually worse than the images we project on television."...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Iraq War: Air of permanence
Wednesday, March 22, 2006

While most Americans are focused on how soon U.S. troops can get out of Iraq, the Army and Air Force are pouring an awful lot of concrete there.

An Associated Press investigative report suggests that there is a certain air of permanence to the military construction we're doing in Iraq. Massive development at several U.S. outposts raises the prospect that the administration may be contemplating the U.S. installations designed to outlast insurgency and the creation of a stable Iraqi government.

The administration may see strategic advantages to a U.S. military footprint in the oil-rich but volatile Middle East. It would give the military more "punch" than aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf and perhaps deter aggression by Iran.

But the risks are vast. U.S. military presence in the Middle East was among the rationale claimed by Osama bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks. The establishment of long-term U.S. bases would shatter the administration's claim that Americans are in Iraq as "liberators, not occupiers."...

13 suggested audience questions for Bush's next public appearance

"Mr. President, were you born awesome, or did you have to practice?"

"Mr. President, some say that we should pull down our pants and let the terrorists use our bare buttocks for target practice. Do you agree?"

"Mr. President, when you next talk to God, can you tell him that Shirleen's psoriasis is acting up again?"

"Mr. President, your wife is just beautiful, I mean really beautiful. And you have such beautiful daughters. And your mom and dad are just so great, and I love your brother Jeb, he's great too. Thanks."

"Mr. President, why do liberals hate America? Feel free to name names."

"Mr. President, there's nothing I'd like more than to feel your tongue lapping against the underside of my ballsack. How about it?"

"Mr. President, when you go to bed at night, do you find it hard to sleep because you're so excited about how well the war is going?"

"Mr. President, when you find Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, will you use them on the Democrat party? I think those people should be exterminated."

"Mr. President, I'm 100% pro-military and stand strongly behind the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but I don't want to join the army because I sometimes get carsick. Is it okay if I just sit at home and watch Black Hawk Down instead?"

"Mr. President, can you sign my boobs?"

"Mr. President, given that the former Iraqi prime minister recently said that there is definitely a civil war in Iraq, how much do you want to slap him in his stupid face?"

"Mr. President, when you were interrupted on the morning of 9/11 you were reading The Pet Goat. Did you ever find out what happened to the goat?"

"Mr. President, do you prefer Hannity or Colmes?"
The march of folly, that has led to a bloodbath
The Iraq War: Three Years On
By Robert Fisk 03/20/06

"The Independent" -- -- It is the march of folly. In 1914, the British, French, and Germans thought they would be home by Christmas. On the 9th of April 2003, corporal David Breeze of the 3rd Battalion, 4th US Marine Regiment - the very first American to enter Baghdad - borrowed my satellite phone to call his home in Michigan. "Hi you guys, I'm in Baghdad," he told his mother. "I'm ringing to say 'Hi, I love you. I'm doing fine. I love you guys.' The war will be over in a few days. I'll see you all soon."...

...Was this because we no longer have leaders who have experienced war at first hand? When I grew up, Churchill and MacMillan were Prime Ministers, men who fought in the First World War and who led us through the Second World War. Eden had been in the wartime Cabinet with Churchill. Tito had been wounded by German shellfire in Yugoslavia, Jack Kennedy had commanded a torpedo boat in the Pacific, de Gaulle fought in the Great War, and later helped to liberate France from the Nazis, but Blair, however much he may claim to be a friend of God, has no such distinction; nor Bush, who dodged Vietnam; nor Cheney, who also dodged Vietnam; nor Gordon Brown, nor Condoleezza Rice; nor John Howard of Australia. Colin Powell was in Vietnam; but he has gone, trailing his ignominious February 2003 UN performance on weapons of mass destruction...

...For this was to be an ideological war. From its creation by the loonies of the American right - as a pro-Israeli policy to aid Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu - and then foisted on Bush, to the hell-disaster that Iraq now represents, the real war had to be turned into myth; nightmares into dreams; destruction into hope; terrible truths into profound mendacity...

...What was it Bush told us a few weeks ago? That 30,000 Iraqis had been killed since the invasion, his very words a racist admission; for what he actually said was: "30,000 more or less". More or less, give or take a few hundred. Would he have dared to say that US casualties were "2,000 more or less"? Of course not. Our dead are precious; they are individuals with widows and children. The Iraqis? Well, they are lesser beings whose casualties cannot be revealed to us by the Iraqi Ministry of Health, on orders from the Americans and British; creatures whose suffering, far greater than our own, must be submerged in the democracy and freedom in which we are drowning them; whose casualties "More or less" are probably nearer to 150,000. After all, if 1,000 Iraqis could die by violence last July - in Baghdad alone; and if they are being killed at 60 or 70 a day, then we have a near genocidal bloodbath on our hands. Iraqis, however, are now our Untermenschen for whom, frankly, we do not greatly care....

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hidden camera captures VP presiding over bizarre luciferian human sacrifice ritual
The mainstream media picking up on an item from the GWB bag o' bullshit:
(if you ever get really bored watch FOX NEWS and count the stories they 'report' that begin with the phrase "People say" or "It's been said", etc. It means they have no source for what they're about to say. It mean they're pulling their info out of their butts. The champ at this kind of misinfo is Rush Limbaugh but he's just a radio entertainer, he doesn't front himself off as a news network the way FAUX does. Sorry if this bursts your balloon re: Rush. You didn't think he was a journalist, did you? F_ck! He's no more a journalist than Hannity or O'Reilly or...or...or any of those snarling wingnut jerks.)

The President And The Straw Man

(AP) "Some look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude that the war is lost and not worth another dime or another day," U.S. President George W. Bush said recently.

Another time he said, "Some say that if you're Muslim you can't be free."

"There are some really decent people," the president said earlier this year, "who believe that the federal government ought to be the decider of health care ... for all people."

Of course, hardly anyone in mainstream political debate has made such assertions.

When the president starts a sentence with "some say" or offers up what "some in Washington" believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.

The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Mr. Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position...
Iraqi diplomat gave U.S. prewar WMD details
Saddam’s foreign minister told CIA the truth, so why didn’t agency listen?

In the period before the Iraq war, the CIA and the Bush administration erroneously believed that Saddam Hussein was hiding major programs for weapons of mass destruction. Now NBC News has learned that for a short time the CIA had contact with a secret source at the highest levels within Saddam Hussein’s government, who gave them information far more accurate than what they believed. It is a spy story that has never been told before, and raises new questions about prewar intelligence.

What makes the story significant is the high rank of the source. His name, officials tell NBC News, was Naji Sabri, Iraq’s foreign minister under Saddam. Although Sabri was in Saddam's inner circle, his cosmopolitan ways also helped him fit into diplomatic circles.

In September 2002, at a meeting of the U.N.’s General Assembly, Sabri came to New York to represent Saddam. In front of the assembled diplomats, he read a letter from the Iraqi leader. "The United States administration is acting on behalf of Zionism," he said. He announced that there were no weapons of mass destruction and that the U.S. planned war in Iraq because it wanted the country’s oil.

But on that very trip, there was also a secret contact made. The contact was brokered by the French intelligence service, sources say. Intelligence sources say that in a New York hotel room, CIA officers met with an intermediary who represented Sabri. All discussions between Sabri and the CIA were conducted through a "cutout," or third party. Through the intermediary, intelligence sources say, the CIA paid Sabri more than $100,000 in what was, essentially, "good-faith money." And for his part, Sabri, again through the intermediary, relayed information about Saddam’s actual capabilities...

Monday, March 20, 2006

From the 'You can't make this sh_t up' dept.:

Harris tells Christian group she believes God wants her in public service
By Brian E. Crowley
Palm Beach Post Political Editor
Sunday, March 19, 2006

FORT LAUDERDALE — Finding inspiration from God, The Last of the Mohicans and The Lord of Rings, Katherine Harris told hundreds of conservative Christians Saturday that she is "a work in progress."

Harris, who told a national television audience Wednesday that she would be spending $10 million to win Florida's U.S. Senate race, said she never would have entered politics if she did not believe that God wanted her to make public service part of her life...
A Top-Down Review for the Pentagon
Fox Island, Wash.

DURING World War II, American soldiers en route to Britain before D-Day were given a pamphlet on how to behave while awaiting the invasion. The most important quote in it was this: "It is impolite to criticize your host; it is militarily stupid to criticize your allies."

By that rule, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is not competent to lead our armed forces. First, his failure to build coalitions with our allies from what he dismissively called "old Europe" has imposed far greater demands and risks on our soldiers in Iraq than necessary. Second, he alienated his allies in our own military, ignoring the advice of seasoned officers and denying subordinates any chance for input.

In sum, he has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically, and is far more than anyone else responsible for what has happened to our important mission in Iraq. Mr. Rumsfeld must step down.

In the five years Mr. Rumsfeld has presided over the Pentagon, I have seen a climate of groupthink become dominant and a growing reluctance by experienced military men and civilians to challenge the notions of the senior leadership...

Wow! What a relief. On FACE THE NATION yesterday Dick Cheney made it clear he's not going to run for President. With an 18% job approval rating that was a close one.

Now on the other hand they did catch the BTK killer in Wichita a while back. Kansas may need a new serial killer. That's an election Deadeye Dick may be able to win.


There is not a lot of debate anymore about the fact that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is the loosest cannon in the arsenal.

Consider his claim, made in a Sunday oped piece in the Washington Post that, "Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis."

So who agrees with the Don's attempt at analogy?

Er, well, no one -- at least, no one in their right mind.

It is a measure of how out of touch Rumsfeld is not just with contemporary reality but also with well-established history that he has united both Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, foreign and defense policy veterans who are not often on the same page...
How to spot a baby conservative
Whiny children, claims a new study, tend to grow up rigid and traditional. Future liberals, on the other hand ...
Mar. 19, 2006.

Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.
At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals.

The study from the Journal of Research Into Personality isn't going to make the UC Berkeley professor who published it any friends on the right. Similar conclusions a few years ago from another academic saw him excoriated on right-wing blogs, and even led to a Congressional investigation into his research funding.

But the new results are worth a look. In the 1960s Jack Block and his wife and fellow professor Jeanne Block (now deceased) began tracking more than 100 nursery school kids as part of a general study of personality. The kids' personalities were rated at the time by teachers and assistants who had known them for months. There's no reason to think political bias skewed the ratings — the investigators were not looking at political orientation back then. Even if they had been, it's unlikely that 3- and 4-year-olds would have had much idea about their political leanings.

A few decades later, Block followed up with more surveys, looking again at personality, and this time at politics, too. The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity...

Top Ten Catastrophes of the Third Year of American Iraq

The American war against Iraq began on March 20, 2003, so today is the third anniversary. The Himalyan mistakes of the American administration of the country in its first two years have by now been much analyzed -- the punitive steps against even low-level Baath Party members, the firing of tens of thousands of Sunni Arabs, the dissolution of the army, the permitting of looting on a vast scale, the failure to understand tribal honor, the failure to get a handle on the early guerrilla war, the failure to understand Shiite Islam, the torture at Abu Ghraib, the failure to get services on line, the destruction of Fallujah, the ill-timed and ill-advised attempt to "kill or capture" Muqtada al-Sadr, the adoption of an election system that allowed the almost complete exclusion of the Sunni Arabs, etc., etc.Here, let us examine the top disasters of the third year in American Iraq...
Iraqi police report details civilians' deaths at hands of U.S. troops
By Matthew Schofield
Knight Ridder Newspapers

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi police have accused American troops of executing 11 people, including a 75-year-old woman and a 6-month-old infant, in the aftermath of a raid last Wednesday on a house about 60 miles north of Baghdad.

The villagers were killed after American troops herded them into a single room of the house, according to a police document obtained by Knight Ridder Newspapers. The soldiers also burned three vehicles, killed the villagers' animals and blew up the house, the document said...
Cap Pistol Shoot out in Pundit-land:
Here's my personal take on things. I was right from minute one. George Bush is a moron surrounded by war profiteers and Likudite double agents. I hope the Dems take back the house in November and impeach the mo'fo' and a lot more besides. We have to get to the bottom of the fake elections and have a real investigation into 9/11. The historical record won't be complete until we do. I want the whole truth to come out about everything including how stupid and heartless the 'Bush lovers' have been. There's going to be an awful lot of people who say, "they knew it all along". I don't want them to get away with it. Bushistas are like the 'good Germans' of the the 1930s. They're the enablers. They made the Bush crimes possible...

On Iraq, Plenty of Scores to Settle Even If the Dust Hasn't
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 20, 2006

For some liberal pundits, it's payback time.

For some conservative commentators, it's time for uncomfortable explanations.

For the rest of us, it's the best show in town.

It was probably inevitable, once the Iraq war started to go badly -- though how badly remains a matter of political dispute -- that those who opposed it from the start would begin kicking sand in the face of those who backed it from the start. Had the war been a smashing success, accusing fingers would undoubtedly be pointing in the opposite direction.

Some of those on the right now say they were wrong, or that they miscalculated, or that the Bush administration has bungled what remains a noble effort. Others insist the war is not going all that badly, given the difficulty of bringing democracy to Iraq, and that history's verdict is not yet in.

But this is no high-minded debate about military strategy and ancient religious hatreds. It is an old-fashioned smackdown by those who detest George W. Bush against those who once defended him.

Andrew Sullivan, the author and blogger, wrote in Time that he and his fellow neoconservatives made "three huge errors" in underestimating the difficulty of invading Iraq three years ago this week. "We have learned a tough lesson," Sullivan wrote, "and it has been a lot tougher for those tens of thousands of dead, innocent Iraqis and several thousand killed and injured American soldiers than for a few humiliated pundits."

This drew a blast from Paul Krugman, the liberal New York Times columnist, who wrote: "Mr. Sullivan used to specialize in denouncing the patriotism and character of anyone who dared to criticize President Bush, whom he lionized. Now he himself has become a critic, not just of Mr. Bush's policies, but of his personal qualities, too. . . .

"If you're a former worshipful admirer of George W. Bush who now says, as Mr. Sullivan did at Cato, that 'the people in this administration have no principles,' you're taking a courageous stand. If you said the same thing back when Mr. Bush had an 80 percent approval rating, you were blinded by Bush-hatred. If you're a former hawk who now concedes that the administration exaggerated the threat from Iraq, you're to be applauded for your open-mindedness. But if you warned three years ago that the administration was hyping the case for war, you were a conspiracy theorist."...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

As Iraq War Heads Into 4th Year, Bush Pledges 'Complete Victory'
By Guy Gugliotta
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 19, 2006

On the eve of the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion, President Bush yesterday promised to "finish the mission" with "complete victory," urging the American public to remain steadfast but offering no indication when victory may be achieved.

"More fighting and sacrifice will be required," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "For some, the temptation to retreat and abandon our commitments is strong. Yet there is no peace, there's no honor and there's no security in retreat. So America will not abandon Iraq to the terrorists who want to attack us again."

Bush's address comes at a time when confidence in the administration's Iraq strategy appears to have reached a new low. A Washington Post-ABC News poll this month found that 65 percent of Americans think Bush has no plan for victory, while 35 percent -- the lowest level ever recorded by the poll -- think he does.

Bush used the radio address to draw attention to speeches he is giving to rally support for the war. Last week, he focused on efforts to train Iraqi troops and success at mitigating the threat of terrorist bombings and casualties caused by roadside "improvised explosive devices."...
And here's the good news Kool-Aid drinkers! Almost 3 and 1/2 out of 10 of you kinda believe this crap.
Oh...and by the way atrocity enablers, happy third anniversary, may you blow what's left of your brains out soon!
Some troops headed back to Iraq are mentally ill
By Rick Rogers
March 19, 2006

Besides bringing antibiotics and painkillers, military personnel nationwide are heading back to Iraq with a cache of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications.

The psychotropic drugs are a bow to a little-discussed truth fraught with implications: Mentally ill service members are being returned to combat.

The redeployments are legal, and the service members are often eager to go. But veterans groups, lawmakers and mental-health professionals fear that the practice lacks adequate civilian oversight. They also worry that such redeployments are becoming more frequent as multiple combat tours become the norm and traumatized service members are retained out of loyalty or wartime pressures to maintain troop numbers...
Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006
One Morning in Haditha
Last November, U.S. Marines killed 15 Iraqi civilians in their homes. Was it self-defense, an accident or cold-blooded revenge? A Time exclusive

The incident seemed like so many others from this war, the kind of tragedy that has become numbingly routine amid the daily reports of violence in Iraq. On the morning of Nov. 19, 2005, a roadside bomb struck a humvee carrying Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, on a road near Haditha, a restive town in western Iraq. The bomb killed Lance Corporal Miguel (T.J.) Terrazas, 20, from El Paso, Texas. The next day a Marine communique from Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi reported that Terrazas and 15 Iraqi civilians were killed by the blast and that "gunmen attacked the convoy with small-arms fire," prompting the Marines to return fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding one other. The Marines from Kilo Company held a memorial service for Terrazas at their camp in Haditha. They wrote messages like "T.J., you were a great friend. I'm going to miss seeing you around" on smooth stones and piled them in a funeral mound. And the war moved on.

But the details of what happened that morning in Haditha are more disturbing, disputed and horrific than the military initially reported. According to eyewitnesses and local officials interviewed over the past 10 weeks, the civilians who died in Haditha on Nov. 19 were killed not by a roadside bomb but by the Marines themselves, who went on a rampage in the village after the attack, killing 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes, including seven women and three children. Human-rights activists say that if the accusations are true, the incident ranks as the worst case of deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians by U.S. service members since the war began...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

So let me see, do I have this right? Saddam's torture was the bad kind of torture, our torture is the good kind of torture, is that it?

March 19, 2006
Before and After Abu Ghraib, a U.S. Unit Abused Detainees

As the Iraqi insurgency intensified in early 2004, an elite Special Operations forces unit converted one of Saddam Hussein's former military bases near Baghdad into a top-secret detention center. There, American soldiers made one of the former Iraqi government's torture chambers into their own interrogation cell. They named it the Black Room.

In the windowless, jet-black garage-size room, some soldiers beat prisoners with rifle butts, yelled and spit in their faces and, in a nearby area, used detainees for target practice in a game of jailer paintball. Their intention was to extract information to help hunt down Iraq's most-wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, according to Defense Department personnel who served with the unit or were briefed on its operations.

The Black Room was part of a temporary detention site at Camp Nama, the secret headquarters of a shadowy military unit known as Task Force 6-26. Located at Baghdad International Airport, the camp was the first stop for many insurgents on their way to the Abu Ghraib prison a few miles away.

Placards posted by soldiers at the detention area advised, "NO BLOOD, NO FOUL." The slogan, as one Defense Department official explained, reflected an adage adopted by Task Force 6-26: "If you don't make them bleed, they can't prosecute for it." According to Pentagon specialists who worked with the unit, prisoners at Camp Nama often disappeared into a detention black hole, barred from access to lawyers or relatives, and confined for weeks without charges. "The reality is, there were no rules there," another Pentagon official said...
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy
By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt
The centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy is its intimate relationship with Israel. Though often justified as reflecting shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, the U.S. commitment to Israel is due primarily to the activities of the “Israel Lobby.” This paper describes the various activities that pro-Israel groups have undertaken in order to shift U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.

Link to download PDF of this paper from the Kennedy School of Government Faculty Working Papers series:

Friday, March 17, 2006

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution : The 'values" party speaks:

Labored logic
Democrats have been buzzing about comments made by state Sen. Nancy Schaefer (R-Turnerville) at a recent eggs-and-issues breakfast in Hart County. We quote from the Hartwell Sun newspaper: "Commenting on illegal immigration, Schaefer said 50 million abortions have been performed in this country, causing a shortage of cheap American labor. 'We could have used those people,' she said."...

"He looked like an alternatively commander in chief, rock star, movie star, and one of the guys." (CNN's Lou Dobbs, on Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' speech, 5/1/03)

"Tommy Franks and the coalition forces have demonstrated the old axiom that boldness on the battlefield produces swift and relatively bloodless victory. The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered skeptics' complaints." (Fox News Channel's Tony Snow, 4/13/03)

"The war was the hard part. The hard part was putting together a coalition, getting 300,000 troops over there and all their equipment and winning. And it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but it is not as hard as winning a war." (Fox News Channel's Fred Barnes, 4/10/03)

"Maybe disgraced commentators and politicians alike, like Daschle, Jimmy Carter, Dennis Kucinich, and all those others, will step forward tonight and show the content of their character by simply admitting what we know already: that their wartime predictions were arrogant, they were misguided and they were dead wrong. Maybe, just maybe, these self-anointed critics will learn from their mistakes. But I doubt it. After all, we don't call them 'elitists' for nothing." (MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, 4/10/03)

Many more great quotes from the "librul" media (which, by the way, doesn't exist, except in the 'minds' of right wing cranks.) What wingnuts don't like isn't bias, what they don't like is facts.

Do You Feel Safe With This Man's Finger on the Button?

The Bush Doctrine of Nuclear Preemption

As our ears prick to the drumbeat of Bush v. Iran, a highly respected researcher from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) warns that Washington is edging toward a policy of nuclear preemption, and Teheran knows it.

Although the post 9/11 doctrine of USA military strategy known as "Global Strike" is often promoted as a post nuclear plan, Hans M. Kristensen finds documentary evidence that a "nuclear option" is included...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Something is simple Chris. You're simply an idiot for one. Are you or any of the other cheer-leaders going to apologize and quit your jobs? We want to keep watching Hichens slip further and further into acute alchoholism, that's fun to watch, but you ought to fall on your sword. Actually you should go nuts first and take out as many pro-war, pro-Bush 'pundits' as you can and then fall on your sword...but leave Hichens, he's so obviously insane, he's like the moral of the story: "see what can happen when you back an illegal and immoral war?"

"We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple."...