Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Rovian Era
Published: April 1, 2007

Turn over a scandal in Washington these days and the chances are you’ll find Karl Rove. His tracks are everywhere: whether it’s helping to purge United States attorneys, coaching bureaucrats on how to spend taxpayers’ money to promote Republican candidates, hijacking the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for partisan politics, or helping to organize a hit on the character of one of the first people to publicly reveal the twisting of intelligence reports on Iraq.

Whatever the immediate objective, Mr. Rove seems focused on one overarching goal: creating a permanent Republican majority, even if that means politicizing every aspect of the White House and subverting the governmental functions of the executive branch. This is not the Clinton administration’s permanent campaign. The Clinton people had difficulty distinguishing between the spin cycle of a campaign and the tone of governing. That seems quaint compared with the Bush administration’s far more menacing failure to distinguish the Republican Party from the government, or the state itself.

This was, perhaps, the inevitable result of taking the chief operative of a presidential campaign, one famous for his scorched-earth style, and ensconcing him in the White House — not in a political role, but as a key player in the formation of policy. Mr. Rove never had to submit to Senate confirmation hearings. Yet, from the very start, photographs of cabinet meetings showed him in the background, keeping an enforcer’s eye on the proceedings. After his re-election in 2004, President Bush formally put Mr. Rove in charge of all domestic policy.

In that position, as David Kirkpatrick and Jim Rutenberg reported in The Times, Mr. Rove took a lead role in selecting federal judges and the hiring — and firing — of United States attorneys. Mr. Rove’s staff maneuvered to fire the prosecutor in Arkansas and replace him with a Rove protégé, and also seems to have been involved in the firing of a United States attorney in New Mexico who refused to file what he considered to be baseless charges of election fraud against Democrats.


The investigation of the firings of the United States attorneys seems to be closing in on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who should have been fired weeks ago. But Congress should bring equal scrutiny to the more powerful Mr. Rove. If it does, especially by forcing him to testify in public, it will find that he has been at the vortex of many of the biggest issues they are now investigating...[Open in new window]
Intel Vets Question the Iran-UK Crisis

March 30, 2007

Editor’s Note: Below is an assessment by a group of former U.S. intelligence analysts about the crisis between Iran and the United Kingdom over the seizure of 15 British naval personnel for allegedly crossing into Iranian territorial waters:

From: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Brinkmanship Unwise in Uncharted Waters

The frenzy in America’s corporate media over Iran’s detainment of 15 British Marines who may, or may not, have violated Iranian-claimed territorial waters is a flashback to the unrestrained support given the administration’s war-mongering against Iraq shortly before the attack.

The British are refusing to concede the possibility that its Marines may have crossed into ill-charted, Iranian-claimed waters and are ratcheting up the confrontation. At this point, the relative merits of the British and Iranian versions of what actually happened are greatly less important than how hotheads on each side—and particularly the British—decide to exploit the event in the coming days.

There is real danger that this incident, and the way it plays out, may turn out to be outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s last gesture of fealty to President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and “neo-conservative” advisers who, this time, are looking for a casus belli to “justify” air strikes on Iran.

Bush and Cheney no doubt find encouragement in the fact that the Democrats last week refused to include in the current House bill on Iraq war funding proposed language forbidding the White House from launching war on Iran without explicit congressional approval.

If the Senate omits similar language, or if the prohibition disappears in conference, chances increase for a “pre-emptive” US and/or Israeli strike on Iran and a major war that will make the one in Iraq seem like a minor skirmish. The impression, cultivated by the White House and our domesticated media, that Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-majority states might favor a military strike on Iran is a myth.

But the implications go far beyond the Middle East. With the Russians and Chinese, the US has long since forfeited the ability, exploited with considerable agility in the 70s and 80s, to play one off against the other. In fact, US policies have helped drive the two giants together. They know well that it’s about oil and strategic positioning and will not stand idly by if Washington strikes Iran....[Open in new window]
Monica Goodling, One of 150 Pat Robertson Cadres in the Bush Admin
by Max Blumenthal
Huff Post

"Monica Goodling, a previously unknown Justice Department official who served as liaison to the White House, has become a key figure in the Attorneygate scandal. When newly released emails revealed the prominent role Goodling played in engineering the firing of seven US Attorneys, Goodling pled the Fifth Amendment, refusing to testify under oath.

Josh Marshall writes that Goodling may be "afraid of indictment for perjury because she has to go up to Congress and testify under oath before the White House has decided what its story is."

Goodling's involvement in Attorneygate is not the only aspect of her role in the Bush administration that bears examination. Her membership in a cadre of 150 graduates of Pat Robertson's Regent University currently serving in the administration is another, equally revealing component of the White House's political program.

Goodling earned her law degree from Regent, an institution founded by Robertson "to produce Christian leaders who will make a difference, who will change the world." Helping to purge politically disloyal federal prosecutors is just one way Goodling has helped fulfill Robertson's revolutionary goals. ...[Open in new window]
Will Bush Sneak Troops Out In The Night?
posted March 30, 2007

I do not understand all the Republican rhetoric about handing a victory to the enemy if a withdrawal date is set for the Iraq war. I do not understand why this is telling the enemy our game plan or strategy.

Does Bush plan on leaving the troops over in Iraq forever? He keeps stating that the troops will come home when the job is done, whatever that means, but when he feels the job is done, or whoever the next President is, when he/she feels the job is done, and the withdrawal of troops is announced to the country, won't "the enemy" know our plans then as well? Won't that also be handing the enemy a victory? Isn't this also giving away our game plan?

Unless Bush intends a permanent occupation of Iraq, this rhetoric makes no sense to me. Does he plan on sneaking all the troops out of Iraq in the middle of the night once he feels the mission is accomplished, for real this time, only to have the enemy wake up, scratch their heads and say, Now where did they go?

Some may reply, well they won't come home until the enemy is defeated. Well since Iraq is in a civil war, it is hard to pinpoint exactly who the enemy is, don't you think? And the real enemy here is a mindset, the mindset of radical Islamic extremists who hate the West and Israel. This mindset continues from generation to generation. Thousands upon thousands of Iraqi citizens - including women and children - who had nothing to do with Sadaam's regime have died in this war. Perhaps we are actually helping the enemy by raising up a new generation that hates America and Israel with a passion never known before.

Did anybody else see that special on the news about all the children in Iraq with extreme psychological and mental trauma because of the constant gunfire and explosions? There is little help for these children because the thin resources available are aimed at children missing skin and limbs. These children who wake up screaming every night have nowhere to turn. Thank God we liberated them.

At this point, would it be unreasonable to impeach President Bush? Now of course some people do not understand what impeach means. It does not mean to be removed from office; it means to be brought to trial. Because this war was started based on two premises - the presence of WMDs and a connection to 9/11/01, and because neither of these have surfaced, is it unreasonable to bring the President before Congress and Senate on trial and force his administration to present the evidence used to establish these premises?

Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.

Bush's 2nd term has been an extreme letdown. I voted for him in 2004 and even supported going into Iraq like most of America. The only war I was alive for prior to March 2003 was the Gulf War, so in my mind, I imagined a similar experience for the Iraq War. Swift victory, quick results.

Though I am traditionally Republican, I applaud the Democrats for forcing the President's hand on this issue. Vetoing this bill will be Bush's way of telling the nation, I will not negotiate. I will not move to the center. I will not bend, buckle, discuss, or acknowledge any authority in America except me.

So now, what can the Democrats and my fellow disgruntled Republicans do? Count down the days until Jan. 20, 2009, and wait on the world to change.

Sadaam is dead. Iraq has a new government. If their police and security is weak, that is their problem. I say not one more dollar, not one more death, bring our troops home.

D. Thomas Jenkins
From the Chattanoogan
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House Dems Want Former Abramoff, Rove Aide for Questions

Much to the chagrin of the White House, House Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) wants to hear from Susan Ralston.

Jack Abramoff's former personal assistant, Ralston became Karl Rove's assistant in 2001, where she was his "implant" at the White House.

But after a report last October by Waxman's committee (then chaired by Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA)) showed that Ralston had accepted thousands of dollars in gifts from Abramoff without compensating him, she abruptly resigned.

At the time, the White House was clear that Ralston's resignation meant the end of the issue. "She recognized that a protracted discussion of these matterrs would be a distraction to the White House and she's chosen to step down," said deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino. "We support her decision and consider the matter closed."

But it's not closed, according to Waxman, who, in a letter sent today, invited Ralston to appear before the committee on Thursday, April 5, to answer questions about Abramoff's access to the White House.

The hearing will also be a good opportunity for Waxman to press for more details about White House employees' use of outside email accounts provided by the Republican National Committee. Ralston used such outside accounts when corresponding with Abramoff, even writing to him once, “I now have an RNC blackberry which you can use to e-mail me at any time. No security issues like my WH email.”[Open in new window]

'We Were Torturing People For No Reason' -- A Soldier's Tale

By Tara McKelvey, The American Prospect. Posted March 31, 2007.

Interrogator Tony Lagouranis says he discovered and indulged in his own evil at Abu Ghraib prison, and now fears that it will be his constant companion for the rest of his life.

The Torturer's Toll

Tony Lagouranis is a 37-year-old bouncer at a bar in Chicago's Humboldt Park. He is also a former torturer. That was how he was described in an email promoting a panel discussion, "24: Torture Televised," hosted by the NYU School of Law's Center on Law and Security in New York on March 21. And he doesn't shy away from the description.

As a specialist in a military intelligence battalion, Lagouranis interrogated prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Al Asad Airfield, and other places in Iraq from January through December 2004. Coercive techniques, including the use of military dogs, waterboarding, and prolonged stress positions, were employed on the detainees, he says. Prisoners held at Al Asad Airfield, which is located approximately 110 miles northwest of Baghdad, were shackled and hung from an upright bed frame "welded to the wall" in a room in an airplane hanger, he told me in a phone interview after the NYU event. When he was having problems getting information from a detainee, he recalls, the other interrogators said, "Chain him up on the bed frame and then he'll talk to you." (Lagouranis says he didn't participate directly in hangings from the frames.)

The results of the hangings, shacklings, and prolonged stress positions -- sometimes for hours -- were devastating. "You take a healthy guy and you turn him into a cripple -- at least for a period of time," Lagouranis tells me. "I don't care what Alberto Gonzales says. That's torture."

Lagouranis was on the NYU panel -- along with Jane Mayer, a New Yorker staff writer; Stephen Holmes, an NYU School of Law professor and author of an upcoming book, The Matador's Cape: America's Reckless Response to Terror; Jill Savitt, director of public programs for Human Rights First; and Wesleyan University professor Richard Slotkin -- to talk about torture and its role in the Emmy-Award-winning 24.

Back during the NYU event, Lagouranis had sat behind a long table on a stage with his sleeves rolled up and his arms folded across his chest. Toward the end of the discussion, he leaned forward and told the audience that, ultimately, the abuse of prisoners could not be blamed on shows like 24. "I'm from New York City. I'm college-educated," he said. "But you put me in Iraq and told me to torture, and I did it and I regretted it later."

It is clear that he and others like him will be dealing with the fallout from the war, especially those aspects that have been hidden from public view, for a long time. "I didn't know I would discover and indulge in my own evil," he writes in his forthcoming book. "And now that it has surfaced, I fear that it will be my constant companion for the rest of my life." ........[Open in new window]

Friday, March 30, 2007

The First Contract

New questions arise concerning Mitchell Wade's first White House contract -- and his connections to the vice president.

By Laura Rozen
Web Exclusive: 03.30.07

From 1991 to 1993, a young lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve was working as a program manager in a Pentagon intelligence office. His name was Mitchell John Wade. His boss, the assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications and intelligence, was Duane P. Andrews. Andrews's job at the Pentagon was essentially to serve as intelligence advisor to the secretary of defense. The secretary of defense at the time was someone that Andrews knew well and respected immensely: Dick Cheney.

Back during the Reagan administration, Andrews had served as a professional staff member to the House Intelligence Committee, of which Cheney, then a Wyoming Republican congressman, was a prominent member. In a recent interview with a federal technology magazine, Andrews lists Cheney as his personal, lifelong hero.

In 1993, at the end of George H.W. Bush's presidency, Cheney went on to become CEO of the oil services giant Halliburton; Andrews joined the massive government contractor SAIC, where he would rise to become CIO; and Wade, then 30 years old, moved to form his own defense contracting firm, MZM, Inc. But it wasn't until 2002 that MZM would get its first federal government contract: a peculiar one-month, $140,000 contract from the White House, later revealed to be for providing computers, office furniture, and specialized computer programming services to the Office of the Vice President.

Wade's company would later get three more contracts from the White House and tens of millions of dollars in contracts from the Defense Department and other federal agencies, many of them for classified intelligence work. In the summer of 2005, of course, it all began to unravel for MZM, after journalist Marcus Stern of the San Diego Union Tribune/Copley News service noticed that San Diego congressman Duke Cunningham had sold his house to a company that listed as its name a Washington, D.C. street address, 1523 New Hampshire Ave. This was the address of MZM. After an extensive investigation that led to a sprawling federal probe run out of the San Diego U.S. attorney's office (the now-fired Carol Lam), Wade pled guilty last year and is awaiting sentencing on charges related to bribing Cunningham, who himself pled guilty on bribery-related charges and is serving out an eight year prison sentence. In February, three more indictments were issued in the case, this time against a San Diego-based defense contractor and Bush/Cheney Pioneer with whom Wade had closely worked, Brent Wilkes; Wilkes's longtime friend-turned-CIA executive director Kyle Dustin Foggo, who is accused of steering Wilkes CIA contracts and has since resigned; and the nephew of a Greek American businessman who is accused of laundering some of Wilkes's and Wade's bribes to Cunningham through his mortgage company. [Open in new window]

Message To The Man In The Bunker

by William Greider

Take a deep breath. The nation has arrived at an extraordinary political moment. The Congress is about to instruct the President he should withdraw from the ongoing war. Yes, I know the fine print in the House and Senate versions has lots of wiggle room. But the congressional action is still breathtaking when you think about it, possibly without historic precedent.

I assumed it would take many months and numerous failed efforts for the new Democratic majority to reach this juncture. When House leaders kept softening their terms, I even thought it might be a good thing for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to lose the first time around. She would then be assailed by outraged Americans and get the message: stiffen up, this is not business as usual. I was mistaken. Many of the final details are disappointing, but the message has been delivered and received–get out of Iraq. It will rule politics until the American exit actually occurs.

Democrats did not create this new dynamic–it arose volcano-like from the American people–but Democrats have had the wisdom to embrace it. I remember the torturous struggle in the Sixties waged by congressional opponents–Republicans and Democrats–trying to end the war in Vietnam. Their first resolutions were mild and deferential, politely urging Lyndon Johnson to start negotiating for peace. They were rejected. Subsequent measures raised the ante, but it took years of frustrating failure to get Congress to speak clearly. By comparison, the shift in politics this time moved like lightning.

Democrats now have the Republicans in a political vise and will keep squeezing them. Let Bush veto whatever anti-war measure House and Senate finally produce. Let the president’s GOP troops uphold his veto. Democrats will then rally for another legislative assault on the willfully blind chief executive. Each new roll call will stick it again to the Republicans. Do they want to stand with the public’s common-sense grasp of reality? Or are they going to keep voting with the crackpot commander-in-chief and his delusional search for victory?...[Open in new window]

"I’m at a loss to understand why it is that even some people on our side and the conservative media think throwing Gonzales away is going to stop this. Now, they’ll say, “Well, that’s not what we’re trying to do. We want competence. We are conservatives, and we have high values, and high standards.” This is a battle going on here. There’s an election that’s going to hinge on stuff like this, and everybody the administration throws overboard is a tantamount admission to people that pay scant attention to politics there’s all kinds of corruption going on in there." --Rush Limbaugh

Thursday, March 29, 2007

James Dobson: 'Fred Thompson Worships Satan'

Inexplicably powerful Jesus freak leader James Dobson isn’t interested in teevee actor Fred Thompson’s unannounced campaign for the GOP nomination. Why?

“I don’t think he’s a Christian,” Dobson said Tuesday. So what is the Law & Order star? A Muslim terrorist? A neocon Jew? A sword-wielding turbaned Sikh? A baby-eating Satanist?

When informed that Thompson was indeed baptized by the Church of Christ, Dobson’s spokesman said that doesn’t matter because even though Thompson is a total right-wing conservative, he doesn’t bounce around jabbering about Jesus all the time, so he’s not a “committed Christian.”

Dobson prefers a “real Christian” like sociopathic monster Newt Gingrich, who is probably the vilest person to ever serve in Congress — and that’s saying a lot. Gingrich is such a repulsive amoral scumbag that when he heard Elizabeth Edwards and Tony Snow had cancer again, he immediately served them both with divorce papers.

Dobson Offers Insight on 2008 Republican Hopefuls [US News & World Report]


The above funny stuff is from Wonkette.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

From Crooks & Liars: Vid clip:[Open in new window]

During an interview on "The Situation Room" this afternoon, John McCain told Wolf that he needs to "get up to speed" and stop reporting three-month-old news from Iraq. According to McCain, the surge is working! and the streets of Baghdad are safe for Americans to go strolling down. The only problem? Michael Ware, who is, ya know, in Baghdad, says McCain hasn't a clue…

"Honestly, Wolf, you'll barely last twenty minutes out there. I dont know what part of Neverland Senator McCain is talking about when he says we can go strolling in Baghdad."

"To suggest that there's any neighborhood in this city where an American can walk freely is beyond ludicrous. I'd love Senator McCain to tell me where that neighborhood is and he and I can go for a stroll."


I LOVE all the wacky Republican candidates. What a crew!
Rudy, Newt, 'Weathervane' McCain etc. All rise for President Newt! Psst, Kid, come over here, President Rudy wants to buy yez a drink.
Serial adulterers, wackjobs, crooks & liars. Only after W could this crew of weirdos seem like presidential material.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Hank & Gus : Just a couple of mass murderers sayin', "hey & get 'er done; it's about time we started throwing political opponents out of airplanes."

Hey maybe it is?

Mission Accomplished without the plane landing.
Link to Wiki article on Operation Condor:[Open in new window]

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Kissinger's extradition to Uruguay sought over Operation Condor

Sun Mar 25, 3:00 AM ET

(AFP) An attorney for a victim of Uruguay's 1973-1985 dictatorship has asked his government to request the extradition of former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger over his alleged role in the notorious Operation Condor.

Condor was a secret plan hatched by South American dictators in the 1970s to eliminate leftist political opponents in the region. Details of the plan have emerged over the past years in documents and court testimony.

The Latin American dictatorships of the time "were mere executors" of a "plan of extermination" hatched in the United States by a group led by Kissinger, said attorney Gustavo Salle, who represents the family of Bernardo Arnone...[Open in new window]
When Will Fredo Get Whacked?


PRESIDENT BUSH wants to keep everything that happens in his White House secret, but when it comes to his own emotions, he’s as transparent as a teenager on MySpace.

On Monday morning he observed the Iraq war’s fourth anniversary with a sullen stay-the-course peroration so perfunctory he seemed to sleepwalk through its smorgasbord of recycled half-truths (Iraqi leaders are “beginning to meet the benchmarks”) and boilerplate (“There will be good days, and there will be bad days”). But at a press conference the next day to defend his attorney general, the president was back in the saddle, guns blazing, Mr. Bring ’Em On reborn. He vowed to vanquish his Democratic antagonists much as he once, so very long ago, pledged to make short work of insurgents in Iraq.

The Jekyll-and-Hyde contrast between these two performances couldn’t be a more dramatic indicator of Mr. Bush’s priorities in his presidency’s endgame. His passion for protecting his power and his courtiers far exceeds his passion for protecting the troops he’s pouring into Iraq’s civil war. But why go to the mat for Alberto Gonzales? Even Bush loyalists have rarely shown respect for this crony whom the president saddled with the nickname Fredo; they revolted when Mr. Bush flirted with appointing him to the Supreme Court and shun him now. The attorney general’s alleged infraction — misrepresenting a Justice Department purge of eight United States attorneys, all political appointees, for political reasons — seems an easy-to-settle kerfuffle next to his infamous 2002 memo dismissing the Geneva Conventions’ strictures on torture as “quaint” and “obsolete.”

That’s why the president’s wild overreaction is revealing. So far his truculence has been largely attributed to his slavish loyalty to his White House supplicants, his ideological belief in unilateral executive-branch power and, as always, his need to shield the Machiavellian machinations of Karl Rove (who installed a protégé in place of one of the fired attorneys). But the fierceness of Mr. Bush’s response — to the ludicrous extreme of forbidding transcripts of Congressional questioning of White House personnel — indicates there is far more fire to go with all the Beltway smoke...[Open in new window]
The Iraq
Saturday, 24 March 2007
by Larry C Johnson

While working this past week on a terrorism exercise (location undisclosed) I had a chance to chat with several active duty military officers. One soldier, a Colonel, told me he had been on the Army planning staff and that the Army was "crisped". Crisped means toasted, fried. It is the term firefighters use to refer to a body found in a burned out building--i.e., crispy critter. And it is all because of Iraq. Now this should not hit anyone as a newflash. Outgoing Chief of Staff of the Army said as much in Congressional testimony in February. The damage to the Army is deep and serious. We have lost our ability to respond to another international crisis. At present the Army units are either deployed in Iraq, coming back from Iraq (beat up and depleted) or training to go. There is no reserve.

The damage to the personnel goes beyond the physical wounds inflicted by improvised explosive devices and snipers. The damage it encompasses the thousands grappling with the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). And the damage surpasses the tens of thousands grieving the death of their soldier, including children deprived forever of a parent. There are broken families, soaring divorce rates, homelessness among returning vets, and some suicides. David Cloud does a great job of detailing this mess.

The destruction of equipment is equally daunting. We will be paying for at least the next decade to replenish the Bradleys, the Humvees, and the transport aircraft that have been destroyed and worn out in this civil war. There is no cheap out.

So as Nancy Pelosi and the new democratic majority celebrate the hollow victory of finally setting a timetable to withdraw U.S. forces from the morass of Iraq, we must be sure to sit down and count the cost we must pay in the years to come to rebuild and restore the Army that has been wasted in the streets of Baghdad, Fallujah, and Ramadi. However, there is no congressional appropriation that can heal the broken hearts, mend the shattered bodies, resurrect dead parents, or restore destroyed families. There are some things we can never fix or make better...[Open in new window]

There are only 666 days left of the Bush/Cheney madness.

It's been a real low-point in US history.
But they still have time to blow everything up so there'll be fewer people to remind them.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Where are the laptop bombardiers now?
Iraq is suffering for the hubris of Western liberal interventionism, says Alexander Cockburn


My mobile phone rang. It was my brother Patrick, calling from Sulaimaniyah, three hours drive east through the mountains from the Kurdish capital of Arbil in northern Iraq. He gave me a brisk precis of the piece he'd file the next day: every road was lethally dangerous; every Iraqi he met had a ghastly tale to tell of murder, kidnappings, terror-stricken flights, searches for missing relatives. Life was measurably far, far worse for the vast majority of Iraqis than it had been before the 2003 onslaught.

Not thousands, not tens of thousands, but hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died. Not hundreds of thousands but two million have fled the country, mostly to Syria and Jordan. It's the largest upheaval of a population in the Middle East since the Palestinian Naqba of 1948. Saddam dragged his country into ruin. Then the US took it from ruin to the graveyard, plundering the corpse as it did so.

There's plenty of blame to go round. You'd think that these days the cheerleaders for war were limited to a platoon of neo-cons, as potent in historical influence as the Knights Templar supposedly were. But it was not so; the coalition of enablers spread far beyond Cheney's team and the extended family of Norman Podhoretz, the founding neo-con who, as editor of Commentary, led the liberal defection into the Reagan camp in the late 1970s.

Atop mainstream corporate journalism perch the New York Times and the New Yorker, two prime disseminators of pro-invasion propaganda, written at the NYT by Judith Miller, Michael Gordon and, on the op-ed page, by Thomas Friedman. The New Yorker put forth the voluminous lies of Jeffrey Goldberg and has remained impenitent to this day.


But today, amid Iraq's dreadful death throes, where are the parlour warriors? Sometimes I dream of them - Tom Friedman, Christopher Hitchens (left), Rushdie - like characters in a Beckett play, buried up to their necks in a rubbish dump on the edge of Baghdad, reciting their columns to each other as the local women turn over the corpses to see if one of them is her husband or her son.

Liberal interventionism came of age with the onslaught on Serbia. Liberal support for the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq were the afterglows. Now that night has descended and illusions about the great crusade are shattered for ever, let us tip our hats to those who opposed this war from the start – the real left, the libertarians and those without illusions about the "civilising mission" of the great powers. ...[Open in new window]
This guy's unbelievable.
One of the things he's doing in this photo from today is denouncing 'political theater'.
On with the show...!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Military Ill Prepared For Other Conflicts
By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 19, 2007; Page A01

Four years after the invasion of Iraq, the high and growing demand for U.S. troops there and in Afghanistan has left ground forces in the United States short of the training, personnel and equipment that would be vital to fight a major ground conflict elsewhere, senior U.S. military and government officials acknowledge.

More troubling, the officials say, is that it will take years for the Army and Marine Corps to recover from what some officials privately have called a "death spiral," in which the ever more rapid pace of war-zone rotations has consumed 40 percent of their total gear, wearied troops and left no time to train to fight anything other than the insurgencies now at hand.

The risk to the nation is serious and deepening, senior officers warn, because the U.S. military now lacks a large strategic reserve of ground troops ready to respond quickly and decisively to potential foreign crises, whether the internal collapse of Pakistan, a conflict with Iran or an outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsula. Air and naval power can only go so far in compensating for infantry, artillery and other land forces, they said. An immediate concern is that critical Army overseas equipment stocks for use in another conflict have been depleted by the recent troop increases in Iraq, they said....

The Army's vice chief of staff, Gen. Richard A. Cody, described as "stark" the level of readiness of Army units in the United States, which would be called on if another war breaks out. "The readiness continues to decline of our next-to-deploy forces," Cody told the House Armed Services Committee's readiness panel last week. "And those forces, by the way, are . . . also your strategic reserve."

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked last month by a House panel whether he was comfortable with the preparedness of Army units in the United States. He stated simply: "No . . . I am not comfortable."...

.....the recent increase of more than 32,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan has pushed already severe readiness problems to what some officials and lawmakers consider a crisis point....
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No, it's not the Jerry Springer Show. It's the pro-war people.
Notice that they are NOT in Iraq. But they do think other people should be.
The word you're, perhaps, looking for is 'coward'. Or 'asshole', maybe.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Jean "schmidthead' Schmidt slips in puddle of vomit.
I feel sorry for the vomit...[Open in new window]
A lot of repuglican women are going to start hating Valerie Plame Wilson if they don't already. It will have everything to do with abnormal psychology & very little to do with the truth or the facts at hand. It'll be funny listening to the dog's bark.
People will say & think it's 'only natural', but it's not. It's neurotic.
Go figure,neurotic conservatives? Now THAT'S a natural. 'Bushista'-style conservatism IS a mental illness.

VIDEO: Valerie Plame Confirms Her Covert Status Prior To Novak Leak

This morning, in her testimony under oath before the House Government and Oversight Committee, Valerie Plame Wilson asserted that she was in fact a covert officer at the time that columnist Robert Novak revealed her employment at the CIA. “In the run-up to the war with Iraq, I worked in the Counterproliferation Division of the CIA, still as a covert officer whose affiliation with the CIA was classified,” Plame sad in her opening testimony.

She added, “While I helped to manage and run secret worldwide operations against this WMD target from CIA headquarters in Washington, I also traveled to foreign countries on secret missions to find vital intelligence.” Watch it: [Open in new window]

The right-wing, aided by the mainstream media, have engaged in an unhalting effort to spread false claims that Plame was not covert, despite the fact that the CIA, Plame’s former colleagues, and Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald have all previously reported that she was covert. The conviction of Scooter Libby only intensified conservatives’ efforts to further propagate their lie:

Washington Post editorial: “The trial has provided…no evidence that she was, in fact, covert.” [Washingotn Post, 3/7/07]

Mort Kondracke: “I frankly don’t think since Valerie Plame was not a covert officer that there was a crime here.” [Fox, 3/9/07]

Sean Hannity: “She did not meet the criteria, in any way, shape, matter or form as a covert agent.” [Fox, 3/6/07]

Robert Novak: “No evidence that she was a covert agent was ever presented to the jury.” [Fox, 3/6/07]

Brit Hume: “Whether the woman was covert, Valerie Plame was covert within the meaning of the law, remains at this point, still unclear. Unlikely she was.” [Fox, 3/6/07]

Victoria Toensing: “Plame was not covert. She worked at CIA headquarters and had not been stationed abroad within five years of the date of Novak’s column.” [Washington Post, 2/18/07]

UPDATE: On September 30, 2003, National Review editor Jonah Goldberg claimed, “Wilson’s wife is a desk jockey and much of the Washington cocktail circuit knew that already.” But today Plame rebutted Goldberg, stating, “It was not common knowledge on the Georgetown cocktail circuit that everyone knew where I worked.”


My name is Valerie Plame Wilson, and I am honored to have been invited to testify under oath before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the critical issue of safeguarding classified information.

I am grateful for this opportunity to set the record straight.

I’ve served the United States loyally and to the best of my ability as a covert operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency. I worked on behalf of the national security of our country, on behalf of the people of the United States, until my name and true affiliation were exposed in the national media on July 14th, 2003, after a leak by an administration official.

Today I can tell this committee even more.

In the run-up to the war with Iraq, I worked in the Counterproliferation Division of the CIA, still as a covert officer whose affiliation with the CIA was classified. I raced to discover solid intelligence for senior policymakers on Iraq’s presumed weapons of mass destruction program.

While I helped to manage and run secret worldwide operations against this WMD target from CIA headquarters in Washington, I also traveled to foreign countries on secret missions to find vital intelligence.

I loved my career, because I love my country. I was proud of the serious responsibilities entrusted to me as a CIA covert operations officer. And I was dedicated to this work.

It was not common knowledge on the Georgetown cocktail circuit that everyone knew where I worked. But all of my efforts on behalf of the national security of the United States, all of my training, all the value of my years of service, were abruptly ended when my name and identity were exposed irresponsibly.

NY TIMES: Editorial
Phony Fraud Charges
Published: March 16, 2007

In its fumbling attempts to explain the purge of United States attorneys, the Bush administration has argued that the fired prosecutors were not aggressive enough about addressing voter fraud. It is a phony argument; there is no evidence that any of them ignored real instances of voter fraud. But more than that, it is a window on what may be a major reason for some of the firings.

In partisan Republican circles, the pursuit of voter fraud is code for suppressing the votes of minorities and poor people. By resisting pressure to crack down on “fraud,” the fired United States attorneys actually appear to have been standing up for the integrity of the election system.

John McKay, one of the fired attorneys, says he was pressured by Republicans to bring voter fraud charges after the 2004 Washington governor’s race, which a Democrat, Christine Gregoire, won after two recounts. Republicans were trying to overturn an election result they did not like, but Mr. McKay refused to go along. “There was no evidence,” he said, “and I am not going to drag innocent people in front of a grand jury.”...Before David Iglesias of New Mexico was fired, prominent New Mexico Republicans reportedly complained repeatedly to Karl Rove about Mr. Iglesias’s failure to indict Democrats for voter fraud. The White House said that last October, just weeks before Mr. McKay and most of the others were fired, President Bush complained that United States attorneys were not pursuing voter fraud aggressively enough.

There is no evidence of rampant voter fraud in this country. Rather, Republicans under Mr. Bush have used such allegations as an excuse to suppress the votes of Democratic-leaning groups. They have intimidated Native American voter registration campaigners in South Dakota with baseless charges of fraud. They have pushed through harsh voter ID bills in states like Georgia and Missouri, both blocked by the courts, that were designed to make it hard for people who lack drivers’ licenses — who are disproportionately poor, elderly or members of minorities — to vote. Florida passed a law placing such onerous conditions on voter registration drives, which register many members of minorities and poor people, that the League of Women Voters of Florida suspended its registration work in the state....


The United States attorney purge appears to have been prompted by an array of improper political motives. Carol Lam, the San Diego attorney, seems to have been fired to stop her from continuing an investigation that put Republican officials and campaign contributors at risk. These charges, like the accusation that Mr. McKay and other United States attorneys were insufficiently aggressive about voter fraud, are a way of saying, without actually saying, that they would not use their offices to help Republicans win elections. It does not justify their firing; it makes their firing a graver offense...[Open in new window]
It is what it is. Politics. It's never been about anything except winning, by hook or by crook, elections for the current crop of republicans, genus 'Bushista'. It's not about leadership, good policy, statesmanship. It's all about maintaining power & favoritism toward the ultra wealthy; the people GWB once described as the 'haves & the have-mores'. These people need to be dealt a severe blow. Their 'generation of Republican rule' needs to become a perpetual reminder of what happens when you're lying cheaters & thieves, not to mention mass-murderers & war-profiteers. Get them all. Beat them down.
If you are by a computer this morning, don't miss the Valerie Plame hearing which will be webcast on C-Span as well as the Oversight Committee's website.

Chairman Henry A. Waxman announced a hearing on whether White House officials followed appropriate procedures for safeguarding the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson. At the hearing, the Committee will receive testimony from Ms. Wilson and other experts regarding the disclosure and internal White House security procedures for protecting her identity from disclosure and responding to the leak after it occurred. The hearing is scheduled for Friday, March 16.

The witnesses are:

* Ms. Valerie Plame Wilson, former employee, Central Intelligence Agency * Dr. James Knodell, Director, Office of Security, The White House
* Mr. Bill Leonard, Director, Information Security Oversight Office, National Archives and Records Administration
* Mr. Mark Zaid, Attorney
* Ms. Victoria Toensing, diGenova & Toensing, LLP

I'm looking forward to hearing Valerie Plame Wilson tell her side of the story.

10:00 AM EDT
2:00 (est.) LIVE
House Committee
National Security Issues
Oversight and Government Reform
Henry Waxman , D-CA
Mark S. Zaid
The beginning and end of this live program may be earlier or later than the scheduled times.
A Day in Life of Joe Republican By Anonymous

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance -- now Joe gets it, too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his workday. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a workers compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It's noontime, and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC, because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he were educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self- made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."
CIA classmates gather in support of her Friday Hill appearance

WASHINGTON - Former CIA officer Valerie Plame, who was exposed after her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, criticized President Bush's pre-war intelligence on Iraq, will testify Friday before a House committee probing how the White House dealt with her identity.

Plame is expected to tell Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, that she was, in fact, a classified undercover agent and that her career at the CIA was destroyed in the summer of 2003 when her name became public in a column written by Robert Novak...[Open in new window]


Cheney did it. He exposed a working undercover CIA officer. Why?

Petty political payback? Maybe.

She was working on WMD proliferation in the middle east. Maybe he wanted to silence someone who knows he lies when he plays the fear card. And he and the rest play it over and over and over again. Cheating and lying is the Bush administration legacy. It'd be nice to make 'caught doing it' part of the legacy. No?


Rove implicated; goodie.

White House political adviser Karl Rove raised questions in early 2005 about replacing some federal prosecutors but allowing others to stay, an e-mail released Thursday shows. The one-page document, which incorporates an e-mail exchange in January 2005, also indicates Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was considering dismissing up to 20 percent of U.S. attorneys in the weeks before he took over the Justice Department...[Open in new window]

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Leahy Says He’ll Subpoena Rove, Discusses Potential Crimes Involved In Attorney Purge

Today on CNN’s Situation Room, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) blew off White House signals that Karl Rove and other senior Bush officials may resist testifying before Congress on the U.S. Attorney purge.

“Frankly, I don’t care whether [White House Counsel Fred Fielding] says he’s going to allow people or not. We’ll subpoena the people we want,” Leahy said. “If they want to defy the subpoena, then you get into a stonewall situation I suspect they don’t want to have.” Asked whether he’ll subpoena Rove, Leahy answered, “Yes. He can appear voluntarily if he wants. If he doesn’t, I will subpoena him.”

Leahy also addressed the right-wing talking point that the U.S. Attorney firings are meaningless because there “was no crime.” Leahy said that while President Bush has the authority to fire attorneys at will, “if it is done to stop an ongoing investigation, then you do get into the criminal area.” Regardless, he said, the administration’s politicization of attorneys “hurts law enforcement. That hurts fighting against crime.” Asked if he thinks any Bush officials may have committed perjury, Leahy said, “We’ll find that out.”

Watch it:[Open in new window]

"Hey, mistakes were made. Let's move on..."
Not so fast, Speedy...

Gonzales to go to Capitol Hill 'later this week'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is expected to go to the Hill "later this week and next week" to further explain the US attorney dismissals, according to Justice Department officials.

The officials had no immediate information on who he would meet with and whether those meetings would be public.

Handy dandy timeline from Talking Points Memo of one aspect of the latest skanka-riffic sleaze-cloud that hovers ever-present over the Bush administration :
(Images: George 'alkie-hitler' Bush & two people he thought would make good Supreme Court Justices, Gonzales & Meiers.)

Below I noted this paragraph in tonight's article from McClatchy ...

In an e-mail dated May 11, 2006, Sampson urged the White House counsel's office to call him regarding "the real problem we have right now with Carol Lam," who then the U.S. attorney for southern California. Earlier that morning, the Los Angeles Times reported that Lam's corruption investigation of former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., had expanded to include another California Republican, Rep Jerry Lewis.

The timing is well worth noting. But the Lewis investigation wasn't the only trouble Lam was making. Look what else was happening in the couple weeks before May 11th ...

April 28th, 2006 -- Cunningham-Wilkes-Foggo "Hookergate" scandal breaks open. Probe grows out of San Diego US Attorney's Office's Cunningham investigation. CIA Director Goss denies involvement.

April 29th, 2006 -- Washington Post reports that Hookergate's Shirlington Limo Service had $21 million contract with Department of Homeland Security.

May 2nd, 2006 -- Kyle "Dusty" Foggo confirms attendence at Wilkes/Cunningham Hookergate parties.

May 4th, 2006 -- Watergate Hotel subpoenaed in San Diego/Cunningham/Hookergate probe.

May 5th, 2006 -- WSJ reports that Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, who Goss installed as #3 at CIA, is under criminal investigation as part of the San Diego/Cunningham investigation.

May 5th, 2006 -- Porter Goss resigns as Director of Central Intelligence.

May 6th, 2006 -- WaPo reports on questionable DHS contract awarded to Shirlington Limo, the 'hookergate' Limo service under scrutiny as part of the San Diego/Cunningham investigation. Similar report in the Times.

May 7th, 2006 -- House Committee to investigate DHS contract with Hookergate's Shirlington Limo.

May 8th, 2006 -- Lyle "Dusty" Foggo resigns at CIA.

May 11th, 2006 -- LA Times reports that Cunningham investigation has expanded into the dealings of Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), House Appropriations Committee Chairman.

May 12th, 2006 -- Federal agents working on the San Diego/Cunningham investigation execute search warrants on the home and CIA office of Kyle "Dusty" Foggo.

-- Josh Marshall [Open in new window]
Was I a good American in the time of George Bush?

Rebecca Solnit
Wednesday March 14, 2007
The Guardian

Was I a good American? How good an American was I? Did I do what I could to resist the takeover of my country and the brutalisation of my fellow human beings? How much further could I have gone? Were the crimes of the Bush administration those that demand you give up your life and everyday commitments to throw yourself into maximum resistance? If not, then what were we waiting for? The questions have troubled me regularly these last five years, because I was one of the millions of American citizens who did not shut down Guantánamo Bay and stop the other atrocities of the administration.

I wrote. I gave money, sometimes in large chunks. I went to anti-war marches. I demonstrated. I also planted a garden, cooked dinners, played with children, wandered around aimlessly, and did lots of other things you do when the world is not crashing down around you. And maybe when it is. Was it? It was for the men in our gulag. And the boys there. And the rule of law in my native land.

Before the current administration, it had always been easy to condemn the "good Germans" who did nothing while Jews, Gypsies and others were rounded up for extermination. One likes to believe that one will be different, will harbour Anne Frank in one's secret annex, smuggle people across the border, defy the authorities who do evil. Those we scornfully call good Germans merely did little while the mouth of hell opened up.

I now know the way that everyday life can be so absorbing, survival so demanding, that it seems impossible to do more on top of it or to drop the routine altogether and begin a totally different life. There is the garden to be watered, the aged parent in crisis, the deadline looming; but there are also the crimes against humanity waiting to be stopped. Ordinary obligations tug one way even when extraordinary ones tug the other way. The Bush administration is by no means the Third Reich, but it produced an extraordinary time that made extraordinary demands on US citizens, demands that some of us rose to - and too many did not...[Open in new window]
‘Loyalty’ to Bush and Gonzales Was Factor in Prosecutors’ Firings, E-Mail Shows

Published: March 14, 2007

WASHINGTON, March 13 — Late in the afternoon on Dec. 4, a deputy to Harriet E. Miers, then the White House counsel and one of President Bush’s most trusted aides, sent a two-line e-mail message to a top Justice Department aide. “We’re a go,” it said, approving a long-brewing plan to remove seven federal prosecutors considered weak or not team players.

Documents Regarding the Department of Justice Firings From the House Judiciary Committee Web SiteThe message, from William K. Kelley of the White House counsel’s office to D. Kyle Sampson, the chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, put in motion a plan to fire United States attorneys that had been hatched 22 months earlier by Ms. Miers. Three days later, the seven prosecutors were summarily dismissed. An eighth had been forced out in the summer.

The documents provided by the Justice Department add some new details to the chronicle of the fired prosecutors but leave many critical questions unanswered, including the nature of discussions inside the White House and the level of knowledge and involvement by the president and his closest political aide, Karl Rove.

The White House said Monday that Mr. Bush and Mr. Rove had raised concerns about lax voter fraud prosecutions with the Justice Department. And several of the fired attorneys told Congress last week that some lawmakers had questioned them about corruption investigations, inquiries the prosecutors considered inappropriate. The documents do not specifically mention either topic.

While the target list of prosecutors was shaped and shifted, officials at the Justice Department and the White House, members of Congress and even an important Republican lawyer and lobbyist in New Mexico were raising various concerns...[Open in new window]

I think the boys in the backroom will have a big glass of impeachment. And step on it...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tomgram: The Seymour Hersh Mystery

A Journalist Writing Bloody Murder…
And No One Notices

By Tom Engelhardt

Let me see if I've got this straight. Perhaps two years ago, an "informal" meeting of "veterans" of the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal -- holding positions in the Bush administration -- was convened by Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams. Discussed were the "lessons learned" from that labyrinthine, secret, and illegal arms-for-money-for-arms deal involving the Israelis, the Iranians, the Saudis, and the Contras of Nicaragua, among others -- and meant to evade the Boland Amendment, a congressionally passed attempt to outlaw Reagan administration assistance to the anti-communist Contras. In terms of getting around Congress, the Iran-Contra vets concluded, the complex operation had been a success -- and would have worked far better if the CIA and the military had been kept out of the loop and the whole thing had been run out of the Vice President's office.

Subsequently, some of those conspirators, once again with the financial support and help of the Saudis (and probably the Israelis and the Brits), began running a similar operation, aimed at avoiding congressional scrutiny or public accountability of any sort, out of Vice President Cheney's office. They dipped into "black pools of money," possibly stolen from the billions of Iraqi oil dollars that have never been accounted for since the American occupation began. Some of these funds, as well as Saudi ones, were evidently funneled through the embattled, Sunni-dominated Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to the sort of Sunni jihadi groups ("some sympathetic to al-Qaeda") whose members might normally fear ending up in Guantanamo and to a group, or groups, associated with the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.

All of this was being done as part of a "sea change" in the Bush administration's Middle Eastern policies aimed at rallying friendly Sunni regimes against Shiite Iran, as well as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Syrian government -- and launching secret operations to undermine, roll back, or destroy all of the above. Despite the fact that the Bush administration is officially at war with Sunni extremism in Iraq (and in the more general Global War on Terror), despite its support for the largely Shiite government, allied to Iran, that it has brought to power in Iraq, and despite its dislike for the Sunni-Shiite civil war in that country, some of its top officials may be covertly encouraging a far greater Sunni-Shiite rift in the region.

Imagine. All this and much more (including news of U.S. military border-crossings into Iran, new preparations that would allow George W. Bush to order a massive air attack on that land with only 24-hours notice, and a brief window this spring when the staggering power of four U.S. aircraft-carrier battle groups might be available to the President in the Persian Gulf) was revealed, often in remarkable detail, just over a week ago in "The Redirection," a Seymour Hersh piece in the New Yorker. Hersh, the man who first broke the My Lai story in the Vietnam era, has never been off his game since. In recent years, from the Abu Ghraib scandal on, he has consistently released explosive news about the plans and acts of the Bush administration...[Open in new window]

AIPAC backed removal of Iran war provision

AIPAC lobbying helped remove a provision from a bill that would have required President Bush to seek congressional approval for war against Iran. A number of congressional sources confirmed that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee backed dropping the provision from the Iraq war spending bill introduced Tuesday by Democrats. The bill ties funding to deadlines for withdrawal from Iraq.

AIPAC and a number of Democrats close to Israel said the provision would have hampered the president as he attempted to leverage Iran into backing down from its alleged nuclear weapon plans. Others said the provision simply reasserted the constitutional role of the U.S. Congress in declaring war that is believed to have been eroded by Bush during the Iraq war.
..[Open in new window]


I think it's time for the US to get out of Israel's business & for them to get their hands out of our pockets. See how they do for awhile on their own.

Then maybe a little while down the road we could invade & occupy them because they have nuclear WMD. The only middle eastern country that does as far as I can tell.

Maybe that'd set off WWIII & we could all die laughing at the only country that's used nuclear weapons (us) mutually self-destructing with the only country in the middle east that has nuclear weapons.



Historians Approve Sweeping Resolution Against Bush Policies Stemming From War

The American Historical Association’s membership has ratified a resolution that condemns what it describes as U.S. government violations of civil liberties “during the war in Iraq and the so-called war on terror.” The Bush administration, the resolution states, has violated “principles of free speech, open debate of foreign policy, and open access to government records in furthering the work of the historical profession.”

Among those violations, the resolution states, are the exclusion of foreign scholars, the reclassification of previously unclassified documents, the suspension of habeas corpus in certain cases, and the use of unacceptable interrogation techniques at Guantanamo, Abu-Ghraib, and elsewhere.

“Whereas a free society and the unfettered intellectual inquiry essential to the practice of historical research, writing, and teaching are imperiled by the practices described above,” the resolution continues, and “whereas the foregoing practices are inextricably linked to the war in which the United States is presently engaged in Iraq,” the association’s membership should “take a public stand on behalf of the values necessary to the practice of our profession … and do whatever they can to bring the Iraq war to a speedy conclusion.”

The vote, conducted electronically, was 1,550 in favor and 498 opposed, according to the association’s blog. The total number of voters constituted just under 15 percent of the association’s membership. The resolution was initially discussed in January at the group’s annual meeting, where it was decided to submit the measure for the entire membership’s consideration.

“The outcome indicates the deep disquiet scholars feel about damage done to scholarly inquiry and democratic processes by this misbegotten war,” Alan Dawley, a professor of history at the College of New Jersey, said in a news release. Mr. Dawley was the initial mover of the resolution, according to the statement...[Open in new window]
Unfortunately the person who really needs to read & comprehend this, can't.
Image: U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales departs after holding a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington March 13, 2007.

Lyrics to hideous Pat Boone song

SPOKEN: It was a moonlit night in old Mexico. I walked alone between some old
adobe haciendas. Suddenly, I heard the plaintive cry of a young Mexican girl.

You better come home, Speedy Gonzales
Away from tannery row
Stop alla your a-drinkin'
With that floozie named Flo
Come on home to your adobe
And slap some mud on the wall
The roof is leakin' like a strainer
There's loadsa roaches in the hall

Speedy Gonzales, why dontcha come home?
Speedy Gonzales, how come ya leave me all alone?

SPOKEN in a male Mexican accent: "Hey, Rosita-I hafta go shopping downtown
for my mudder-she needs some tortillas and chili peppers."

Your doggy's gonna have a puppy
And we're runnin' outta coke
No enchiladas in the icebox
And the television's broke
I saw some lipstick on your sweatshirt
I smelled some perfume in your ear
Well if you're gonna keep on messin'
Don't bring your business back a-here

Mmm, Speedy Gonzales, why dontcha come home?
Speedy Gonzales, how come ya leave me all alone?

SPOKEN in a male Mexican accent: "Hey, Rosita-come queek-down at the cantina
they giving green stamps with tequila!!"
After Libby, All Roads
Lead to Feith
by Jon Basil Utley

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was just a liar and a hatchet man for Vice President Cheney in the White House. Douglas Feith was inside the Pentagon. Lying to cover up the reason for the war is one thing; responsibility for the disastrous occupation policies is another.

In 2003 published "All Roads Lead to Feith" by the brilliant investigative reporter Jim Lobe. It should be passed out to every member of Congress.

Douglas Feith was the author of the orders to disband the entire Iraqi army and destroy the civilian government infrastructure. I was a student in Germany after the Second World War. Even after ousting the the Nazis, America did not dismiss every school teacher and village administrator, but that's what the U.S. government did in Iraq. Under Saddam, government officials had to join the Ba'ath Party; after his removal, all Ba'athists were fired. Critical oversight was given to Shi'ite Ahmed Chalabi, a liar promoted by the neocons, and his friends.

America needs comprehensive congressional hearings on the matter. Why did Feith give such orders? Did Rumsfeld or Cheney know about them? Was Feith trying to provoke a Shi'ite-Sunni civil war? What other disasters did Feith have a hand in?

Feith's actions are comprehensible if one connects them to his Likud loyalties. Was it the intentional policy of a faction inside Israel to wreck Iraq? One should never assume stupidity. There are often clever people behind apparently stupid policies.

Feith was a card-carrying member, so to speak, of the neocon-Likud-Netanyahu plan, "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm." This document urged Israel to end the Oslo Peace Accords, stop peace negotiations with the Palestinians, attack Syria, eliminate Saddam, and vastly widen the illegal settlements on the West Bank. (See "Losing Feith" for further details.)

Now Feith's machinations have been exposed before a congressional committee. A report by the acting Pentagon inspector general affirms that Feith manipulated intelligence to invent al-Qaeda-Saddam connections, a core argument for the American invasion of Iraq. But much more needs to be learned about Feith's role in the postwar disaster so that America does not again fall victim to liars with hidden agendas. A comprehensive report by former CIA officer Phil Giraldi in the March 12 issue of The American Conservative even questions whether Feith is a war criminal under the Nuremberg Judgments. Germans in equivalent positions were hanged for the crime of lying to start a war.

Some key facts about Douglas Feith:

  • He was the key channel providing distorted intelligence on Iraq from the CIA to the Bush administration.
  • His former law partner, Marc Zell, represented the Israeli settlers on the West Bank whose brutality so inflames the whole Muslim world.
  • Their law firm, Feith and Zell, was also hired by Northrop Grumman and other military contractors, presumably to use their connections inside Israel's government to procure contracts. One also wonders if more farsighted executives in the military-industrial complex did not see Feith and Zell as helping to push endless wars. After all, that helps business.
  • There are reports that Feith was involved in the Bremer decision to shut down Iraq's major government industries in order to "privatize" the economy. This was obviously another nation-wrecking measure, throwing thousands instantly out of work.[Open in new window]
  • BUSH AND THE PURGE....The New York Times has the latest on Purgegate:

    The White House was deeply involved in the decision late last year to dismiss federal prosecutors, including some who had been criticized by Republican lawmakers, administration officials said Monday.

    Last October, President Bush spoke with Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to pass along concerns by Republicans that some prosecutors were not aggressively addressing voter fraud, the White House said Monday.

    But which voter fraud are we talking about? Presumably one of the cases is that of John McKay, the Seattle U.S. Attorney who was insufficiently zealous in digging up dirt that might have helped defeat the Democratic candidate in a tight governor's race in Washington in 2004. Are there any others? Any cases of being insufficiently zealous in uncovering alleged Republican voter fraud?

    I'm guessing not. But as long as they've told us this much, let's hear the whole story. Which cases of voter fraud are we talking about? Once they've told us, we can all make up our own minds about whether this affair is as nonpartisan as the White House claims.

    UPDATE: The Washington Post has an even better story tonight based on emails and documents they've viewed. One tidbit:

    The documents also provide new details about the case of [Tim] Griffin, a former Rove aide and Republican National Committee researcher who was named interim U.S. attorney in Little Rock in December.

    E-mails show that Justice officials discussed bypassing the two Democratic senators in Arkansas, who normally would have had input into the appointment, as early as last August. By mid-December, Sampson was suggesting that Gonzales exercise his newfound appointment authority to put Griffin in place until the end of Bush's term.

    "There is some risk that we'll lose the authority, but if we don't ever exercise it then what's the point of having it?" Sampson wrote to a White House aide. "(I'm not 100 percent sure that Tim was the guy on which to test drive this authority, but know that getting him appointed was important to Harriet, Karl, etc.)."

    Important to Harriet and Karl! Inquiring minds want to know why. Read the whole thing...[Open in new window]

    Monday, March 12, 2007

    Ambassador recalled for conduct unbecoming

    Mon Mar 12

    (REUTERS) Israel has recalled its ambassador in El Salvador after he was found drunk and naked with sex toys lying nearby in the yard of his official residence, Israeli media reports said on Monday.

    A foreign ministry spokeswoman confirmed that the ambassador, Tsuriel Raphael, was recalled but offered no details. "The ministry sees his behavior as unbecoming of a diplomat," the spokeswoman said.

    Israeli media reported that local police found Raphael in the yard of the official residence in San Salvador. The reports said he was drunk, naked, and bound and gagged with a rubber ball in his mouth and sex toys lying near him.[Open in new window]

    Jesus loves...WAR!

    The Goy Who Cried Wolf

    The Israel lobby gives America's leading Christian right warmonger a warm welcome.
    By Sarah Posner
    Web Exclusive: 03.12.07

    Delegates at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference were treated to an air-brushed John Hagee last night, primed with his most innocuous talking points and stripped of his most outlandish Armageddon rhetoric. Hagee, the founder of the America's leading Christian Zionist lobby, Christians United for Israel, left his clumsy exegeses of Biblical prophecy back home in San Antonio. He is well-versed in bringing an audience of several thousand people to its feet, and he knew he didn't need his slide show of mushroom clouds and world-ending wars to work this crowd.

    Hagee's set-up man was the historian Michael Oren, who recited the history of restorationism, a Protestant movement dating back to the first settlers at Plymouth Rock that sought to return the Jews to Palestine and create a Jewish state. In Oren's telling, you would have thought that before Mearsheimer, Walt, and Carter came along, Jews and American Christians had spent the last several centuries in an idyllic, carefree frolic together, and that George W. Bush's forebearers were Jew-loving Zionists rather than arms-dealing tycoons so intent on consolidating power that they were willing to transact business with the Nazis. The placement of Oren's speech laid the groundwork for Hagee by insinuating that the war-mongering fundamentalist is nothing more than an innocuous heir to a quintessentially American love-fest between apocalyptic Christians and displaced Jews.

    In anticipation of Hagee's appearance at AIPAC's conference, there has been much discussion about whether Hagee is actually an anti-Semite who blames Jews for the Holocaust yet anticipates their conversion at the Second Coming -- and another debate over whether it's actually good for Israel or the world's Jews when groups like AIPAC ally themselves with him. But judging from the crowd's reaction, and that of delegates I spoke with afterwards, none of that mattered. Like other Jewish leaders I've talked to about Hagee, the attitude is simply that Israel has very few friends, and it needs all the friends it can get. If Hagee is willing to mobilize hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of conservative Christians to the cause, then they're willing to overlook his eagerness for the Second Coming (when we'll all become Christians), because it's just a silly fantasy that won't come to pass, anyway.

    Had Hagee come to Washington with his usual spiel, perhaps these delegates would have been mortified to learn that Hagee calls the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah "the Prophecy of the Trumpets," and says it represents the regathering of the church in anticipation of the Second Coming. He says the feast of Sukkot is significant because it will be the time of the Second Coming, and that the tallis, the Jewish prayer shawl, is a clear indication that there will be a Second Coming. You see, says Hagee, Jesus would not have left his tallis neatly folded up when he went off to his crucifixion if he didn't have plans to come back.

    Perhaps the AIPAC crowd would have dismissed all these strange distortions of their faith as an amusing but largely irrelevant sideshow to their single-minded mission of making more friends. But they never had to confront the issue because Hagee's speech was stripped of the most damning details.

    Whether Hagee is good for Israel is beside the point. The real problem is that he represents a catastrophe for the United States and its standing in the world -- not because he might love the Jews too much, or might in fact secretly hate them, but because he is leading a growing political movement completely lacking in a substantive understanding of world affairs. At a time when the Middle East faces seemingly intractable conflicts with dire geopolitical consequences, the notion that Hagee -- whose status is only elevated by invitations like AIPAC's -- is leading a political movement based on nothing more than a supposedly literal reading of his Bible only reinforces the view that the United States is being led by messianic forces at odds with world peace and stability. Young Americans should have a deeper understanding of Middle East politics in order to fully participate in civic discourse as American troops are fighting a seemingly unending war. But Hagee worries not about troop deployments, instead focusing on teaching the Bible in public schools. While religious fundamentalism is causing untold bloodshed around the world, Hagee frets about secularists who are "destroying America."

    When he does speak to actual Middle East politics, it's only to encourage the further destabilization of the region. Hagee has been agitating for a war with Iran for well over a year now, certainly not a single-handed effort on his part, nor one for which he would deserve sole blame should it happen. But if it does happen (and some think it already has begun), Hagee most certainly should be blamed for something else: convincing his minions that war is not only palatable, but required by God.

    Hagee's speech, laced with charged comparisons of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to men like Pharaoh, Haman, and Hilter, as well as countless Churchillian references, brought the crowd to its feet. "He's A-OK," said one AIPAC delegate who had never heard of Hagee before, adding that he wanted to get one of Hagee's DVDs for his grandchildren to watch. "I love him," enthused another delegate, a woman who had already learned of CUFI through conservative talk radio and had donated money to the cause. "Who else cares about Israel?"
    [Open in new window]
    Livni to AIPAC: U.S. can't show weakness on Iraq, Iran

    By Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz Correspondent, and The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Monday warned the U.S. not to show weakness in Iraq, during an address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, D.C.

    In a region where "impressions are important," said Livni, countries must be careful not to demonstrate weakness and surrender to extremists.

    "If we appease the extremists - if they feel that we are backing down - they will sense victory and become more dangerous not only to the region, but to the world," she said. "This applies to the decisions made on Iran, it is true for Iraq, and it is true across the Middle East."

    The comments could be construed as expressing support for the Bush administration's policy of toughing out a war that is increasingly unpopular domestically. [Open in new window]
    Feeble asshole who created threat warns against consequences (Bill Maher was right: "I have no doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power, people wouldn't be dying needlessly tomorrow...I'm just saying if he did die, other people, more people would live, That's a fact." )
    U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference 2007 in Washington, March 12, 2007.
    "Also addressing AIPAC, United States Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that an early withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq would lead to disaster and chaos in the Middle East, with either Al-Qaida or Iran emerging dominant from a bloody sectarian battle.

    Cheney laid out a dire sequence of events - all dangerous to Israel - that could arise if critics of the war, particularly those in Congress, mandate troop withdrawals or limit funding.

    "A precipitous American withdrawal from Iraq would be a disaster for the United States and the entire Middle East," he said.

    "A sudden withdrawal of our coalition would dissipate much of the effort that's gone into fighting the global war on terror and result in chaos and mounting danger," he said.

    As Congress prepares to debate a Bush administration request for nearly $100 billion to fund operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the rest of the year, Cheney predicted that rejection could lead to a major new surge in clashes between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

    "Moderates would be crushed, Shiite extremists backed by Iran would be in an all-out war with Sunni extremists led by Al-Qaida and remnants of the old Saddam regime," he said.

    The scenario, Cheney said, could then lead Sunni governments, such as Saudi Arabia, to support their compatriots in Iraq and counter Iran's influence, causing an escalation in sectarian violence and widening the conflict into a regional war.

    If Sunni extremists prevailed, Al-Qaida and its allies could recreate the safe haven they lost in Afghanistan, except now with the oil wealth producing weapons of mass destruction and underwriting their terrorist designs, including their pledge to destroy Israel.

    "If Iran's allies prevailed, the regime in Tehran's own designs for the Middle East would be advanced and the threat to our friends in the region would only be magnified," Cheney said.

    The vice president took aim at congressional efforts to reduce funding for the Iraq war or impose timelines for withdrawing troops, saying anti-war lawmakers are undermining U.S. troops in Iraq while professing in public to support them.

    "When members of Congress pursue an anti-war strategy that's been called 'slow bleeding,' they are not supporting the troops, they are undermining them," he said. "Anyone can say they support the troops and we should take them at their word, but the proof will come when it's time to provide the money."

    Cheney noted that some war opponents are among those calling for tougher action against Iran for both its support of anti-U.S. forces in Iraq and its nuclear program that Washington alleges is a cover for atomic weapons development.

    "It is simply not consistent for anyone to demand aggressive action against the menace posed by the Iranian regime while at the same time acquiescing in a retreat from Iraq that would leave our worst enemies dramatically emboldened and Israel's best friend, the United States, dangerously weakened," Cheney said.

    "Either we are serious in fighting the war on terror or not."
    (see link to Haaretz article above.)

    "Well, just as it’s important, I think, for a president to know when to commit U.S. forces to combat, it’s also important to know when not to commit U.S. forces to combat. I think for us to get American military personnel involved in a civil war inside Iraq would literally be a quagmire. Once we got to Baghdad, what would we do? Who would we put in power? What kind of government would we have? Would it be a Sunni government, a Shi’a government, a Kurdish government? Would it be secular, along the lines of the Ba’ath Party? Would be fundamentalist Islamic? I do not think the United States wants to have U.S. military forces accept casualties and accept the responsibility of trying to govern Iraq. I think it makes no sense at all."--Dick Cheney on ABC's THIS WEEK 4/7/91