Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rumsfeld to testify at Tillman hearing

Source: Army Times

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will testify before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday morning about what Defense Department leaders knew about the friendly fire death of Cpl. Pat Tillman, the committee confirmed late Tuesday.

The hearing, “The Tillman Fratricide: What the Leadership of the Defense Department Knew,” will begin at 10 a.m. in Room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Also confirmed to appear are retired Gen. Richard Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; retired Gen. John Abizaid, former commander of U.S. Central Command; and retired Gen. Bryan Douglas Brown, former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command.

The only invited speaker who has not confirmed his attendance is retired Lt. Gen. Philip Kensinger, former commander of Army Special Operations Command. According to the committee, a subpoena has been issued for Kensinger to appear...[Open in new window]
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Defense and Security, The Tillman Fratricide

The Tillman Fratricide: What the Leadership of the Defense Department Knew

On Wednesday, August 1, 2007, at 10:00 a.m. in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing to examine what senior Defense Department officials knew about U.S. Army Corporal Patrick Tillman’s death by fratricide.

In April, the Committee held a hearing investigating the death of Cpl. Tillman.

The following witnesses will testify:

  • The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense
  • Gen. John P. Abizaid (Retired), Former Commander, U.S. Central Command
  • Gen. Richard B. Myers (Retired), Former Chair, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Gen. Bryan Douglas Brown (Retired), Former Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command
  • Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger, Jr. (Retired), Former Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command
Andrea Mackris said Falafel Boy O’Reilly was going to pay a personal visit to her

Going into C&L’s archives, I found this interview Andrea and her lawyer did on the TODAY Show back in Oct. 04….She says she went forward with the suit because Bill was going to pay her a little visit….

Andrea Mackris: Mainly the last time I had spoken to Bill and when this inappropriate conversation had happened—the last time. He said it was going to be in person. And, ummm…I felt extremely threatened for many reasons…

She either had a very good memory or she recorded it…

Well, it’s one or the other, OK?

I was told that there was more than one taped call..

Can you imagine BillO making a personal appearance after he allegedly “sexually harassed” her? Many of you may have forgotten, but Andrea never made public her lawsuit. It was Bill O’Reilly himself who did and also sued her lawyer. I guess he thought he could intimidate them….You might say he thought FOX was invincible…

Video at link in title...
Bill is INSANE. Not only should he be off TV (where the average age of his audience is 71) but he should be off the streets.
His ravings are evidence of dangerous mental illness. He is a threat to people & he shouldn't be allowed to scare the elderly who watch his show.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Click image to enlarge

Fear and Loathing in Middle America

By Sasha Abramsky, The American Prospect
Posted on July 30, 2007, Printed on July 30, 2007

This article is reprinted from the American Prospect.

Every so often, you pick up a book and two pages in your nose is glued to it. Not necessarily because of the subject matter per se -- though good subject matter certainly helps -- but because the prose is so damned electric.

Usually, I've found, when it comes to reportage like this, the book's author has a single name: Hunter S. Thompson. Recently, though, I've added another name to my stuck-nose lexicon, having been utterly ensnared by Joe Bageant's Deer Hunting With Jesus.

Bageant grew up in a fundamentalist Christian, ultra-working-class family in a claustrophobic little Virginia town named Winchester. Then, in his own terminology, he made his escape. He moved west and made a pretty decent career for himself in the world of journalism. A few years ago, though, he felt a craving for his childhood home and, now deep into middle-age, decided to relocate once more.

So the self-proclaimed socialist, atheist, heavy-drinking, three-times-married Joe returned home, to a landscape dominated by rabid, demon-battling fundamentalists (including his younger brother, a fire-and-brimstone preacher); NASCAR; overpriced mobile homes; greasy food; depressing, dead-end, anti-union workplaces; and gung-ho patriots whose pick-up trucks boast bumper stickers such as "Kick their ass. Take their gas."

Lucky for us, Bageant didn't hop on the next plane back west, and didn't chalk it all up to a terrible, misconstrued nostalgia. Instead, he stuck to his guns -- literally -- and tried to understand why people in his part of the country, people he genuinely loves despite his utter detestation of their politics, are so dyed-in-the-wool conservative that it'd take the Apocalypse to prize them away from supporting George W. Bush.

"In the days before the spine of the labor movement was crushed, back when you could be a gun owner and a liberal without any conflict, members of the political left supported these workers, stood on the lines taking beatings at the plant gates alongside them," he argues. "Now there is practically no labor movement, and large numbers on the left are comfortably ensconced in the true middle class... From that vantage point, liberals currently view working whites as angry, warmongering bigots, happy pawns of the American empire -- which begs the questions of how they came to be that way, if they truly are."

Deer Hunting With Jesus gets down-and-dirty with Bageant's friends, acquaintances, beer buddies, family members. He tells stories of jobs lost, of health catastrophes brought on by lifetimes of overwork and under-privilege, of huckster subprime mortgage brokers preying on near-illiterate clientele, of grown men chasing nickel-an-hour pay raises and people a paycheck away from bankruptcy swearing blind everyone can make it rich in America. He reports on karaoke nights, fundamentalist church gatherings, civil war re-enactors, and premillenialists longing for a foreign policy that can nudge nearer a nuclear apocalypse and the onset of End Times.

A common theme throughout his book is fraud, and the peculiar vulnerability to fraud of closed-in, under-invested-in communities such as Winchester: religious charlatans pushing dodgy theories into the heart of the political process; wealthy, educated men and women deliberately curtailing the educational opportunities of the poor, giving them just enough schooling to know how to dream the American Dream, but not nearly enough to ever be able to challenge their poverty and make that dream a reality; workers "encouraged" by companies like Wal-Mart to be hostile to the "special interests" represented by trade unions...[Open in new window]


Joe's Blog:


Why the White House Keeps Hiding Behind General Petraeus

By Frank Rich, The New York Times. Posted July 30, 2007.

The White House has done everything possible to create the appearance that Gen. David Petraeus has all the responsibility for the occupation of Iraq -- but it's really an attempt to shield Bush from the failure in Iraq.

There was, of course, gallows humor galore when Dick Cheney briefly grabbed the wheel of our listing ship of state during the presidential colonoscopy last weekend. Enjoy it while it lasts. A once-durable staple of 21st-century American humor is in its last throes. We have a new surrogate president now. Sic transit Cheney. Long live David Petraeus!

It was The Washington Post that first quantified General Petraeus's remarkable ascension. President Bush, who mentioned his new Iraq commander's name only six times as the surge rolled out in January, has cited him more than 150 times in public utterances since, including 53 in May alone.

As always with this White House's propaganda offensives, the message in Mr. Bush's relentless repetitions never varies. General Petraeus is the "main man." He is the man who gives "candid advice." Come September, he will be the man who will give the president and the country their orders about the war.

And so another constitutional principle can be added to the long list of those junked by this administration: the quaint notion that our uniformed officers are supposed to report to civilian leadership. In a de facto military coup, the commander in chief is now reporting to the commander in Iraq. We must "wait to see what David has to say," Mr. Bush says.

Actually, we don't have to wait. We already know what David will say. He gave it away to The Times of London last month, when he said that September "is a deadline for a report, not a deadline for a change in policy." In other words: Damn the report (and that irrelevant Congress that will read it) -- full speed ahead. There will be no change in policy. As Michael Gordon reported in The New York Times last week, General Petraeus has collaborated on a classified strategy document that will keep American troops in Iraq well into 2009 as we wait for the miracles that will somehow bring that country security and a functioning government...[Open in new window]

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Of Marx, Christ, and the Persecution of Radicals: How Will Humanity Survive the Capitalist Threat?

By Jason Miller


A few days ago, one of my closest friends hit me with a heavily loaded question.

“Are you a Communist?” she queried.

To which I replied:

I do not belong nor militate in any formal communist party in the U.S. Nor do I belong to any other political entity or party. Furthermore, I do not subscribe to a specific doctrine, ideology, or dogma. My allegiance is to my core principles and values, which are premised on honesty, justice, humanity, responsibility, critical thinking, open-mindedness, egalitarianism, compassion, a belief in a Higher Power of my understanding, and many of the teachings of Christ.

My personal beliefs aside, communism is an incredibly loaded word. Our infinitely mendacious educational, social, and media infrastructures begin inculcating reflexive rejection of “all things communist or socialist” into US Americans from the moment they draw their initial breath.

Why is the establishment so desperate to vaccinate us against the “disease” of communism?

Because at its hopelessly rotten core, capitalism, which is manifested most strongly in the United States, is about exploitation, hyper-competitiveness, “rugged individualism”, survival of the fittest, concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, profits above all, property over people, greed, and selfishness. Perhaps worst of all, this pyramid scheme masquerading as a “moral” economic system inevitably leads to wars fueled by its insatiable demands for new markets, more resources, and cheaper labor. Why else would 350 million out of 6.5 billion people spend a trillion dollars a year on a military that has the capacity to destroy our planet thousands of times over, dwarfs the combined firepower of the rest of the world, and plagues over 130 countries with its “benign” occupations? We in the United States maintain a carefully crafted façade as the “benevolent champions of democracy”, but will quickly install ruthless tyrants and commit mass murder (euphemistically labeling our victims as “collateral damage”) if sovereign nations dare to resist our economic rape and plunder.

And for those who have swallowed the specious argument that “true capitalism” doesn’t exist, you’re dreaming. Pinch yourself hard enough and you may awaken before it is too late. Capitalism is a cancer upon the sentient beings of the Earth and we are suffering through its advanced stages. Finance capital reigns supreme, massive oligopolies abound, wealth is increasingly accumulating in the hands of the few, imperial wars to expand markets and attain resources are increasing in frequency, and the insatiable greed driving this appalling perversion is raping and destroying the Earth.

Some opine that if we could just dismantle the “socialist” aspects of our socioeconomic system in the United States, restoring an unbridled free market, the world would be a much better place. Certainly our cynical plutocracy would welcome such a transition. However, it is hard to envision too many working people truly welcoming a return to ten year olds working twelve hour days, company towns, death and dismemberment on the job with no recourse against employers maintaining perilous work environments, miserly wages that would make today’s working poor look relatively affluent, blatantly monopolistic business practices, and wanton disregard for the environment.

History has clearly demonstrated that “free markets” are “free passes” for acquisitive sociopaths who thrive on bullying and exploiting a large percentage of the Earth’s sentient beings. And despite the ridiculously few and relatively minor restraints that social unrest has forced the opulent class to implement in the US, adept players in the deadly game of capitalism have refused to surrender their “inalienable right” to fuck the rest of the human race in their relentless charge to attain the power and wealth they so desperately crave to distract them from the existential agony of their spiritual emptiness...[Open in new window]

Friday, July 27, 2007

Dangers of a Cornered George Bush

By Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity & Dr. Justin Frank
July 27, 2007

Editor’s Note: As the nation and the world face 18 more months of George W. Bush’s presidency, a chilling prospect is that Bush – confronted with more defeats and reversals – might just “lose it” and undertake even more reckless military adventures.

In this special memorandum, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) collaborated with psychiatrist Justin Frank, author of Bush on the Couch, to assess the potential dangers and possible countermeasures available to constrain Bush:

Recent events have put a great deal more pressure on President George W. Bush, who has shown little regard for the constitutional system bequeathed to us by the Founders. Having bragged about being commander in chief of the “first war of the 21st century,” one he began under false pretenses, success in Iraq is now a pipedream...

Unless Checked

If the constitutional process of impeachment is under way when President Bush orders our military to begin a war against Iran, there is a good chance that, rather than salute like automatons and start World War III, our senior military would find a way to prevent more carnage until such time as the representatives of the people in the House have spoken.

This administration’s capacity for mischief would not end until conviction in the Senate. But initiating the impeachment process appears to be the only way to launch a shot across the bow of this particular ship of state. For it is captained by a president with a psychological makeup likely to lead to new misadventures likely to end in a ship wreck unless the Constitution is brought alongside and a new pilot boarded.

We are grateful that Dr. Frank agreed to collaborate with us and to issue under VIPS auspices the psychological assessment that follows...

No Conscience

George W. Bush is without conscience, and it would require a lengthy series of clinical sessions to find out what happened to it. By identifying himself as all good and on the side of right, he has been able to vanquish any guilt, any sense of doing wrong.

In Bush on the Couch I gave examples illustrating that remarkable lack of conscience. From his youthful days blowing up frogs with firecrackers to his unapologetic public endorsement of torture, there has been no change.

Observers are gradually becoming aware of this fundamental deficit. For example, after watching the president’s press conference on July 12, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan wrote, “He doesn't seem to be suffering, which is jarring. Presidents in great enterprises that are going badly suffer: Lincoln, LBJ with his head in his hands. Why doesn't Mr. Bush?”

No Shame

George W. Bush seems also to be without shame. He expresses no regret or embarrassment about his failure to help Katrina victims, or to tell the truth. He says whatever he thinks people want to hear, whether it be “stay the course” or “I’ve never been about ‘stay the course.’” He does whatever he wants.

He lies—not just to us, but to himself as well. What makes lying so easy for Bush is his contempt—for language, for law, and for anybody who dares question him.

That he could say so baldly that he’d never been about “stay the course” is bone chilling. So his words mean nothing. That is very important for people to understand.

Fear of Humiliation

Despite having no shame, Bush has a profound fear of failure and humiliation. He defends himself from this by any means at his disposal—most frequently with indifference or contempt.

He will flinch only if directly confronted about being a failure or a liar. Otherwise world events are enough removed from him that he can spin them into his intact defense system.

This deep fear helps to explain his relentlessly escalating attacks on others, his bullying, and his use of nicknames to put people down. There is fear of being found out not to be as big in every way as his father.

What a burden to have to face his many inadequacies—now held up to the light of day—whether it is his difficulty in speaking, thinking, reading, managing anxiety, or making good decisions. He will not change, because for him change means humiliating collapse. He is very fearful of public exposure of his many inadequacies...[Open in new window]

Thursday, July 26, 2007

AP: New details on Tillman's death

By MARTHA MENDOZA, AP National WriterThu Jul 26, 7:59 PM ET

Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player's death amounted to a crime, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

"The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators.

The doctors — whose names were blacked out — said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.

Ultimately, the Pentagon did conduct a criminal investigation, and asked Tillman's comrades whether he was disliked by his men and whether they had any reason to believe he was deliberately killed. The Pentagon eventually ruled that Tillman's death at the hands of his comrades was a friendly-fire accident.

The medical examiners' suspicions were outlined in 2,300 pages of testimony released to the AP this week by the Defense Department in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Among other information contained in the documents:

Read on:[Open in new window]


Everytime the article says 'Pentagon' think 'George W. Bush appointee Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon' & all the lying will make more sense.

Remember GWB's pledge to “bring decency and respect back to the Offal Office.” He really did mean offal.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy says he will subpoena White House adviser Karl Rove

By LAURIE KELLMAN and LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writers 5 minutes ago

Senate Democrats called for a perjury investigation against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Thursday and subpoenaed top presidential aide Karl Rove in a deepening political and legal clash with the Bush administration.

"It has become apparent that the attorney general has provided at a minimum half-truths and misleading statements," four Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote in a letter to Solicitor General Paul Clement.

They dispatched the letter shortly before Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced the subpoena of Rove, the president's top political strategist, in remarks on the Senate floor. The White House has claimed executive privilege to block Congress from receiving documents or testimony by current and former presidential aides.

"We have now reached a point where the accumulated evidence shows that political considerations factored into the unprecedented firing of at least nine United States attorneys last year," said Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee...[Open in new window]


Rove under oath is the Holy Grail of Bush Administration sleeze.

London Review of Books


James Meek

Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill · Serpent’s Tail, 452 pp, £12.99

In a James Bond film, viewer credulity gets its toughest workout with the hero’s tour of, and subsequent escape from, the villain’s lair. This power-crazed evil genius, this smug gentleman in a tightly tailored suit posing as a bold entrepreneur: how was he able to construct a paramilitary base over a dozen square miles in the middle of, say, the United States, without its raising an eyebrow among the local constabulary? How did he get the zeppelin hangar past the county planning board? Such vast amounts of concrete. Such tunnels, such golf-carts, such fleets of helicopters armed with machine-guns. Such tours of firing ranges where hired muscle in beige boiler suits incinerates cardboard targets with grenades and automatic weapons. ‘What do you think of our little playground, Mr Bond?’

Even in this privatisation-hardened age, even in the United States, the notion that military installations are a monopoly of government remains so ingrained that in 2003, when the Chilean-American arms go-between José Miguel Pizarro Ovalle first saw the real-world mercenary processing centre run by the private firm Blackwater in North Carolina, he had to reach for the imagery of Cubby Broccoli. ‘It’s a private army in the 21st century,’ he gushed to Jeremy Scahill.

It was like out of a Dr No movie . . . It’s a gigantic facility with a military urban terrain. It’s a mock city where you can train with real-life ammunition or paintball, with vehicles, with helicopters. Gosh, impressive, very impressive . . . I saw people from all over the world training there – civilians, military personnel . . . Wow, it was like a private military base.

It is a private military base, spread over seven thousand acres, near the town of Moyock and the Great Dismal Swamp, with firing ranges, tactical exercise areas and an armoury (containing more than a thousand weapons, according to the Virginian-Pilot, the local newspaper, though there is no law preventing Blackwater stocking as many as it wants). There are also the 21st-century equivalent of barracks (convention-style hotel rooms), an office block in which the door handles are fashioned from machine-gun barrels, and a memorial rock garden to the 25 Blackwater employees and one Blackwater dog killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The centrepiece of the memorial is a bronze sculpture of a pensive boy hugging a folded American flag to his breast. Since Pizarro visited (he later recruited hundreds of Chilean mercenaries to work in Iraq for Blackwater, some of them amnestied for their deeds under the Pinochet regime), construction has continued apace. Blackwater is building a 6000-foot airstrip and facilities to house its aviation wing of 20 transport planes and helicopters, as well as a large hangar for the construction of airships and a plant to make an armoured vehicle called the Grizzly.

The founder and owner of Blackwater, Erik Prince, the 38-year-old heir to a fortune made by his father (a Michigan entrepreneur who invented the illuminated car sun visor), is not, legally, a villain. It doesn’t make him a villain that he is a privately educated, avowedly devout Roman Catholic, a former member of US Navy special forces and the father of six children. It doesn’t make him a villain that he has declared: ‘Our corporate goal is to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did to the postal service.’ It doesn’t make him a villain that he is part of the right-wing Republican DeVos-Prince dynasty of Michigan, which has bankrolled radical Christian evangelical movements that campaign against homosexuality, abortion and stem-cell research. The fact that he was an intern in the administration of the elder President Bush, but found him too liberal and backed the extreme right-winger Pat Buchanan to replace him, doesn’t make him a villain; nor does the fact that he has given a quarter of a million dollars in campaign contributions to Republican politicians. It doesn’t make him a villain that he donated half a million dollars to an organisation set up by Charles Colson, a felon convicted for his role in the Watergate scandal, to get prisoners to become born-again Christians in exchange for better jail conditions (in 1996, Colson floated the possibility of a Christian coup against the re-elected President Clinton). Nor does it make Prince a villain that, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when survivors were desperate for food, drinking water, shelter and medical supplies, his company flew ammunition into New Orleans to supply the groups of heavily-armed mercenaries it had rushed to the disaster zone. It is true that he helps fund campaigners against high taxation and welfare spending, while the hundreds of millions of dollars Blackwater has taken in fees since 2001 have come almost exclusively from the US taxpayer. Yet this does not make him a villain.

A man who hires a squad of elite lawyers to fight to protect his company from liability for anyone’s death, foreign or American, anywhere overseas, despite at least one incident of Blackwater mercenaries in Iraq shooting dead an innocent man; despite the death in Fallujah of four Blackwater mercenaries to whom the company hadn’t given proper armoured vehicles, manpower, weapons, training, instructions or maps; despite the death of three US servicemen in Afghanistan at the hands of a reckless Blackwater aircrew, who also died: well, casual observers might think this would render Erik Prince a villain. Yet it would make him a villain only in some liberal, humanistic, ethical sense. In the eyes of American law, Prince has done nothing villainous; on the contrary, he is a patriot and a Christian, which is to say, a good man...[Open in new window]

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Robert Dreyfuss: Another Cheney-Linked Hawk Down

Vice President Cheney is losing a trusted aide: David Wurmser, Cheney's chief adviser on Middle East affairs and perhaps the Bush administration's most radical hawk. According to multiple sources, Wurmser will leave the office of the vice president (OVP) in August for the private sector, where he will start a risk-consulting business.

In June, Wurmser's name appeared in a front-page New York Times story. In that account, based in part on reporting that first surfaced in Steve Clemons' blog, The Washington Note, Wurmser was alleged to have told thinktanks and conservative policy analysts that Vice President Cheney disagreed with President Bush's decision to use diplomacy to dissuade Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons. According to the Times, Wurmser said "that Mr. Cheney believed that Rice's diplomatic strategy was failing, and that by next spring Mr. Bush might have to decide whether to take military action."

Reflecting Wurmser's close ties to the Israeli military establishment and Israel's right-wing Likud bloc led by Bibi Netanyahu, Clemons reported that Wurmser was colluding with Israel to force a showdown: "Cheney is planning to deploy an 'end run strategy' around the President if he and his team lose the policy argument," wrote Clemons. "The thinking on Cheney's team is to collude with Israel, mudging Israel at some key moment in the ongoing standoff ... to mount a small-scale conventional strike" on Iran's nuclear facilities, thus forcing a U.S.-Iran confrontation in its wake.

In the 1990s, David and Meyrav Wurmser joined Richard Perle and Douglas Feith to author the famous "Clean Break" paper that they presented to Netanyahu, in which they called for strong Israeli action to force regime change in Iraq and Syria and to redraw the map of the Middle East. Before joining the Bush administration in 2001, David Wurmser worked at the American Enterprise Institute and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

In the Bush administration, David Wurmser and a colleague, Michael Maloof, founded the predecessor organization to the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, where they sought to develop intelligence linking Saddam Hussein's Iraq to Al Qaeda. That work, carried out under Feith's supervision, has been widely discredited, and a recent report from the Pentagon's own inspector general declared that their conclusions were not supported by the underlying intelligence. Wurmser also spent time as an aide to John Bolton at the State Department before joining Cheney's OVP as his chief Middle East specialist...[Open in new window]
The Life and Times of the CIA
Wall Street Brokers, Ivy League Professors, Soldiers of Fortune, Ad Men, Newsmen, Stunt Men, Second-Story Men, and Con Men on Active Duty for the United States
By Chalmers Johnson

This essay is a review of Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner (Doubleday, 702 pp., $27.95).

The American people may not know it but they have some severe problems with one of their official governmental entities, the Central Intelligence Agency. Because of the almost total secrecy surrounding its activities and the lack of cost accounting on how it spends the money covertly appropriated for it within the defense budget, it is impossible for citizens to know what the CIA's approximately 17,000 employees do with, or for, their share of the yearly $44 billion-$48 billion or more spent on "intelligence." This inability to account for anything at the CIA is, however, only one problem with the Agency and hardly the most serious one either.


The possibility that CIA funds are simply being ripped off by insiders is also acute. The CIA's former number three official, its executive director and chief procurement officer, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, is now under federal indictment in San Diego for corruptly funneling contracts for water, air services, and armored vehicles to a lifelong friend and defense contractor, Brent Wilkes, who was unqualified to perform the services being sought. In return, Wilkes treated Foggo to thousands of dollars' worth of vacation trips and dinners, and promised him a top job at his company when he retired from the CIA.

Thirty years ago, in a futile attempt to provide some check on endemic misbehavior by the CIA, the administration of Gerald Ford created the President's Intelligence Oversight Board. It was to be a civilian watchdog over the Agency. A 1981 executive order by President Ronald Reagan made the board permanent and gave it the mission of identifying CIA violations of the law (while keeping them secret in order not to endanger national security). Through five previous administrations, members of the board -- all civilians not employed by the government -- actively reported on and investigated some of the CIA's most secret operations that seemed to breach legal limits.

However, on July 15, 2007, John Solomon of the Washington Post reported that, for the first five-and-a-half years of the Bush administration, the Intelligence Oversight Board did nothing -- no investigations, no reports, no questioning of CIA officials. It evidently found no reason to inquire into the interrogation methods Agency operatives employed at secret prisons or the transfer of captives to countries that use torture, or domestic wiretapping not warranted by a federal court.

Who were the members of this non-oversight board of see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil monkeys? The board now in place is led by former Bush economic adviser Stephen Friedman. It includes Don Evans, a former commerce secretary and friend of the President, former Admiral David Jeremiah, and lawyer Arthur B. Culvahouse. The only thing they accomplished was to express their contempt for a legal order by a president of the United States.

Corrupt and undemocratic practices by the CIA have prevailed since it was created in 1947. However, as citizens we have now, for the first time, been given a striking range of critical information necessary to understand how this situation came about and why it has been so impossible to remedy. We have a long, richly documented history of the CIA from its post-World War II origins to its failure to supply even the most elementary information about Iraq before the 2003 invasion of that country...[Open in new window]

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Romney’s ’Special Ops’ staffer: Aide details ’very secretive’ work on MySpace page
By Casey Ross
Boston Herald Reporter
Tuesday, July 24, 2007 - Updated: 04:53 AM EST

An aide to former Gov. Mitt Romney who was linked to the campaign’s alleged use of phony badges has created personal Internet pages where he boasts that he’s a top secret “special ops” employee who toils in the “underbelly of politics.”
Will Ritter, who helps plan Romney’s presidential campaign events, included the bizarre, Jason-Bournesque job description on Internet networking pages that also contain boisterous pictures of him hoisting a champagne bottle in a hot tub and other party shots.
The Romney campaign has been besieged by allegations of questionable conduct by aides on the campaign trail. Ritter’s boss, Jay Garrity, stepped down last week after the Herald reported he was accused of distributing phony badges to Ritter and another campaign staffer...[Open in new window]
Mitt's a neo-Nixonian sleezeball. All 'values' candidates are. D'uh.

(The great deciderer deciding whether he's getting in or getting out of a truck & whether he's going to sit in the drivers lap or push him out of the way or stick his ass in his face, scramble over him & ride shotgun.)

"...Many of us intelligence analysts have found utility in relying, in part, on short studies applying psychoanalysis to develop profiles of foreign leaders. (This marriage of psychoanalysis and intelligence work actually goes back to the early 1940s, when the OSS commissioned such studies on Hitler.) We called them “at-a-distance personality assessments.”

Three years ago Justin Frank, M.D., a psychiatrist here in Washington, wrote a book “Bush on the Couch” in which he provided keen insights into the president’s mode of thinking—or not thinking.

Eager to use every tool at our disposal, VIPS recently asked Dr. Frank to update his observations, with a view to forecasting, to the extent possible, how Bush is likely to react to the building pressures of the coming weeks and months. We will issue, perhaps as early as this week, Dr. Frank’s latest analysis, fortified by our own input. But we already have his preliminary analysis; there is no other word for it: Scary.

In a quick note to us this morning [July 23], Dr. Frank noted we are “dealing with a potentially cornered man [who] could lash out, and it is possible that the best way would be to bomb Iran.... Whatever the root causes of Bush’s pathology, we have a dangerous man running things...grandiose and unchecked.”

Some snippets from the Memorandum that Dr. Frank is drafting for issuance under VIPS auspices:

“George W. Bush is without conscience...and destructive, willfully so. He has always likes to break things...most shocking is the way he is breaking our armed forces.

“He doesn’t care about others, is indifferent to their suffering...He is almost constitutionally missing the ability to sympathize or empathize...More indifferent to reality than out of touch with it, he makes up whatever story he wants.

“Ultimately, he is psychologically unstable...His goal is to destroy things [and he can do that] without experiencing anxiety or a sense of responsibility. An equally important goal is to protect himself from shame, from being wrong, from being found small and weak.”...[Open in new window]

Bush: still selling the same broken down old used truck.

Bush warns anew of terror threat

By BEN FELLER, Associated Press Writer 28 minutes ago

President Bush sought Tuesday to strengthen the connection between the terrorist network al-Qaida and the unceasing Iraq war, prodding people to remember the threat of attack at home.

By stressing al-Qaida's burgeoning operation in Iraq, Bush again aimed to frame the war in the public's mind as a matter of protecting the United States. Yet the war itself has turned into a valuable recruiting tool for al-Qaida, senior intelligence officials concede...


Al-Qaida, led by Osama bin Laden, orchestrated the terrorist strikes on the United States by turning hijacked airplanes into killing machines. That was almost six years ago.

Now a fresh intelligence estimate warns that the United States is in a heightened threat environment, mainly from al-Qaida. The terror group is seizing upon its affiliate, al-Qaida in Iraq, to recruit members and organize attacks, the report found.

Bush sees such linkage as grounds for sticking with the fight in Iraq.

Yet his critics argue just the opposite point — that the war is not reducing the threat to America, but increasing it by swelling and unifying al-Qaida's numbers.

Al-Qaida had no active cells in Iraq when the U.S. invaded in March 2003, and its operation there is much larger now than before the war, U.S. intelligence officers say...


In broad strokes, Bush's approach links the Iraq war to an event that Americans remember deeply — the Sept. 11 attacks — as not the sectarian strife among Iraqis. That violent infighting among Iraqis has caused much of the United States to see little point in the U.S. mission...[Open in new window]

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What a smarmy hypocrite William the Bloody Kristol is. Never passing up the opportunity to dismiss the Democrats as lightweights, Kristol declares that FOX News should hold a debate of the Democratic candidate spouses, because they’re so much more interesting than the actual candidates. But when Juan Williams points out that the “trophy wife” of the official GOP stealth candidate Fred Thompson should be included as well…well, that’s just unfair...[Open in new window]
I'd like to see Elizabeth Edwards beat William Kristol to death. By accident, of course.
Is there anyone who thinks she couldn't do it?
Shit, Tammy Faye What's-it could do it & she's dead!

Funny stuff: Just can't cry no more.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Mitt either really likes the Museum of Modern Art or he's really, really stupid. Dan Quayle stupid. Like angel Moron(i) stupid.
Another thing that bothers me about Mitt is he looks even less human than Tony Snow.
I guess a lot of rethugs are going for Ghouliani 'cause he's 'real'. A real corrupt ex-mayor of a real corrupt east coast city. An authentic crook.
And naming neo-con zany Norman Podhoretz to his foreign policy team is brilliant. Nobody knows that when Norm says 'we' as in "we must bomb Iran" he means Likudnik far right Israelis. It's really good to have real Americans on your team when you're running for President of the United States.
I LOVE the Rethuglican candidates. What a bunch of weirdos & misfits.
This from the Moonie owned UPI & an expert from CATO. Who believes anything from the Bushista neo-cons?
Morons, that's who.
Bush statements, especially regarding Iraq, are nothing but lies.
Impeach, remove, indict, convict, imprison, repeat as needed.

Expert: Al-Qaida can't conquer Iraq

WASHINGTON, July 20 (UPI) -- A leading U.S. expert says al-Qaida would not be able to take over Iraq if the U.S. military left the country.

"It is highly improbable that al-Qaida could use Iraq as the kind of safe haven it enjoyed in Afghanistan," Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president in charge of foreign policy and defense studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, said in a recently released memo.

The terrorist organization would not enjoy the same kind of protection and freedom as it did in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime because it is not embraced by most Iraqis, Carpenter wrote.

"Al-Qaida also had a much larger force in Afghanistan -- an estimated 18,000 fighters. Even the U.S. government concedes that there are fewer than 2,000 al-Qaida fighters in Iraq, and the Iraq Study Group put the figure at only 1,300," Carpenter wrote. "It strains credulity to imagine 1,300 fighters -- and foreigners at that -- taking over and controlling a country of 26 million people."

A poll conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland last year found 94 percent of Sunni Muslims in Iraq, 98 percent of Shiites and 100 percent of Kurds had a somewhat or very unfavorable view of al-Qaida, Carpenter wrote.

"Even if U.S. troops left Iraq, the successor government would continue to be dominated by the Kurds and Shiites, since they make up more than 80 percent of Iraq's population," Carpenter said. "That doesn't suggest a reliable safe haven for al-Qaida."...
[Open in new window]

From Media Matters:

A year later, Morgan still defending her comments about NY Times' Keller and treason


On the July 20 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, right-wing radio host Melanie Morgan said, "I still believe" that "anybody who leaks or publishes classified data in a time of war in highly successful program such as the SWIFT [bank-tracking program], they should be tried for treason. If they were found guilty of treason, I would have no problem with them being executed." Morgan was referring to comments she made on the June 26, 2006, edition of Hardball following the publication of a New York Times article three days earlier describing a secret Bush administration program designed to monitor international financial transactions by tapping into a database maintained by a banking consortium known as the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). After a commercial break on the July 20 Hardball, Morgan again defended her comments about Keller and the Times. Guest host Mike Barnacle responded: "You're kidding, right?"...[Open in new window]

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bush's Baghdad Mouthpiece

By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Thursday, July 19, 2007; 1:14 PM

The White House's favored talking point when it comes to the war in Iraq is an attempt to link the violence there with al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and 9/11.

Most of the violence is a result of Iraqis fighting each other and the U.S. occupation. Yet on July 4, at an Independence Day celebration in West Virginia, President Bush announced: "Many of the spectacular car bombings and killings you see are as a result of al Qaeda -- the very same folks that attacked us on September the 11th. A major enemy in Iraq is the same enemy that dared attack the United States on that fateful day."

He honed the point on July 10 in Cleveland: "The same people that attacked us on September the 11th is a crowd that is now bombing people, killing innocent men, women and children, many of whom are Muslims." At his July 12 press conference, Bush mentioned al-Qaeda 31 times.

His aides are also on message. Homeland Security Adviser Frances Townsend echoed Bush's comments (at the White House and on CNN) while spinning a critical intelligence report on Tuesday.

But lately the media has been pushing back a bit on this particular Bush deception.

On July 11, Jonathan S. Landay noted for McClatchy Newspapers that the group calling itself al-Qaeda in Iraq "didn't emerge until 2004." Michael Abramowitz wrote in The Washington Post that while the group's "militants are inspired by bin Laden, intelligence analysts say the Iraqi group is composed overwhelmingly of Iraqis and does not take direction from bin Laden." And the Los Angeles Times reported: "A Pentagon report late last year . . . said that Shiite Muslim militias, not Al Qaeda, were the largest threat to security in Iraq."

Not long after New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt's scolded his own paper for not confronting Bush on the issue, Times reporters Michael R. Gordon and Jim Rutenberg wrote in a front-page story that Bush's assertions "have greatly oversimplified the nature of the insurgency in Iraq and its relationship with the Qaeda leadership."

And the coverage of Tuesday's intelligence report (see yesterday's column) was full of skepticism over the White House's attempted conflation.

So what a stroke of luck it was for the White House when, just a day later, the chief military spokesman in Iraq revealed a dramatic story that would appear to support the president's new favorite talking point: Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner chose yesterday to announce the arrest -- two weeks ago -- of a man he called a leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, who he said had told interrogators about a close operational relationship between his group and Osama bin Laden's inner circle.

Was the timing coincidental? And is Bergner credible? Until recently he was a member of the White House's national security staff, holding the title of senior director for Iraq. Since taking up his new post in May, Bergner has made a series of politically charged allegations against both al Qaeda and Iran, many of which have been basically unverifiable.

More on Bergner's history below. But first, a look at what he announced yesterday...[Open in new window]


Froomkin is often well worth reading. Bookmark him.

Hot concert coming up. Tickets are in great demand (at maximum security facilities).

Check out the groupies below.
Here's some of the groupies

Why Is the White House Pretending That Saudi Insurgents in Iraq Are Iranian?
By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
Posted on July 20, 2007, Printed on July 20, 2007
http://www.alternet.org/story/57391 /

The Los Angeles Times is reporting nearly half of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops in Iraq have come from Saudi Arabia – one of Washington's closest allies in the Middle East. U.S. officials have so far refused to publicly criticize Saudi Arabia's role in Iraq, focusing instead on Iran. Democracy Now! spoke with an L.A. Times correspondent in Iraq, Ned Parker, and Toby Jones, a former Persian Gulf analyst with the International Crisis Group and history professor at Rutgers University.

Amy Goodman: We go now to Iraq to speak with Ned Parker, staff reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He joins us from Baghdad. Ned Parker recently wrote a widely read article on how Sunni militants from Saudi Arabia make up half the foreign fighters in Iraq. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Ned Parker. We saw over and over again on the Senate floor, as ultimately the attempt to pass the resolution that would begin withdrawal of troops from Iraq was defeated, we saw Iran raised and the idea that in Iraq US soldiers were fighting off Iranian insurgents, and that was part of what the battle in Iraq was all about, taking on Iran. You found that, in fact, there are more Saudi than Iranian foreign fighters in Iraq. How do you know this?

Ned Parker: Well, I mean, the Iranian issue is complicated, to say the least. And I don't -- it's from America's, US military's own numbers about foreign fighters in Iraq, that there are more Saudis fighting in Iraq than Iranians. I mean, that said, the Iranian element, there's no doubt that the Iranians are involved in Iraq, and if they are backing Shia militias, the military believes that this is with full government backing.

The Saudi issue is more complicated, because it's not really clear what the Saudi government is really doing. Are they actively involved in sending these Saudi fighters to Iraq, or are they just sort of letting it happen as a way to pressure the Shia government there? So, and then, Saudis are the United States's allies , so there's all that at play.

Democracy Now! cohost Juan Gonzalez: And your report also gives some indication of the total number of foreign fighters, which I found -- or at least the ones that are in custody, which I found to be somewhat low, in terms of what we might imagine. Could you talk about the actual numbers?

Parker: Right. I mean, their numbers -- I mean, it's still -- I think the Americans would even say that their numbers aren't precise. It's based upon detainees arrested over the years, detainees currently in prison. Right now there's, I think, 130 foreign fighters in US custody. Of those, 45% are Saudi. The United States guesses that there are between sixty and eighty foreign fighters who cross into Iraq each month through Syria, so almost half of those, according to the United States, have been Saudi. So it is actually -- it's a fairly low number in the scheme of things, and the United States, even in releasing these numbers, were saying that the Saudi foot soldiers are being used as suicide bombers, for the most part, or fighters on the ground, people with, you know, a very quick shelf life, that are probably going to die. But they're quite open about the fact that the majority of al-Qaeda in Iraq, even if it has a foreign leadership, is Iraqi, and, I mean, that shouldn't be lost sight of. The vast majority of al-Qaeda in Iraq is Iraqi.
From the Grave, a Senator Exposes Bloody Hands on Capitol Hill
by Norman Solomon

It was a chilling moment on a split-screen of history. While the Senate debated the Iraq war on Tuesday night, a long-dead senator again renounced a chronic lie about congressional options and presidential power.The Senate was in the final hours of another failure to impede the momentum of war. As the New York Times was to report, President Bush “essentially won the added time he said he needed to demonstrate that his troop buildup was succeeding.”

Meanwhile, inside a movie theater on the opposite coast, the thunderous voice of Senator Wayne Morse spoke to 140 people at an event organized by the activist group Sacramento for Democracy. The extraordinary senator was speaking in May 1964 — and in July 2007.

A typical dash of media conventional wisdom had set him off. The moderator of the CBS program “Face the Nation,” journalist Peter Lisagor, told the guest: “Senator, the Constitution gives to the president of the United States the sole responsibility for the conduct of foreign policy.”

“Couldn’t be more wrong,” Morse shot back. “You couldn’t make a more unsound legal statement than the one you have just made. This is the promulgation of an old fallacy that foreign policy belongs to the president of the United States. That’s nonsense.”

Lisagor sounded a bit exasperated: “To whom does it belong, then, Senator?”

Again, Morse didn’t hesitate. “It belongs to the American people,” the senator fired back. And he added: “What I’m saying is — under our Constitution all the president is, is the administrator of the people’s foreign policy, those are his prerogatives, and I’m pleading that the American people be given the facts about foreign policy –”...[Open in new window]

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Generation Chickenhawk: the Unauthorized College Republican Convention Tour
By Max Blumenthal

On July 13, 2007, I visited Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, where the bodies of American soldiers killed in Iraq were freshly interred. Afterwards, I headed across the street to the Sheraton National Hotel, owned by right-wing Korean cult leader Sun Myung-Moon, to meet some of the war's most fervent supporters at the College Republican National Convention.

In conversations with at least twenty College Republicans about the war in Iraq, I listened as they lip-synched discredited cant about "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here." Many of the young GOP cadres I met described the so-called "war on terror" as nothing less than the cause of their time.

Yet when I asked these College Republicans why they were not participating in this historical cause, they immediately went into contortions. Asthma. Bad knees from playing catcher in high school. "Medical reasons." "It's not for me." These were some of the excuses College Republicans offered for why they could not fight them "over there." Like the current Republican leaders who skipped out on Vietnam, the GOP's next generation would rather cheerlead from the sidelines for the war in Iraq while other, less privileged young men and women fight and die.

Along with videographer Thomas Shomaker, I captured a vivid portrait of the hypocritical mentality of the next generation of Republican leaders. See for yourself...

Link with video:[Open in new window]
All the stuff normal, alert, non-Republican, 'Bushista' stooges suspect is true always turns out to be true.

Good news! It's never too late to hunt them down & give them what they deserve.

Cheney Suppressed Evidence in California Energy Crisis
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Investigative Report

Thursday 19 July 2007

In-depth investigation shows how Vice President Dick Cheney pressured federal energy regulators to conceal evidence of widespread market manipulation by energy companies during the California electricity crisis in 2001.

In a March 10, 2001 email, just a week or so after Cheney was briefed by Cruikshank about the Williams scheme, Kelliher emailed energy lobbyist Dana Contratto, asking Contratto if he was "King or Il Duce, "what would you include in a national energy policy, especially with respect to natural gas issues?" according to energy task force documents.

Cheney had just been informed by his longtime friend Thomas Cruikshank, the man who handpicked the vice president to succeed him at Halliburton in the mid-1990s, that federal energy regulators were close to completing an investigation into allegations that Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Williams Companies and AES Corporation of Arlington, Virginia had created an artificial power shortage in California in April and May of 2000 by shutting down a power plant for more than two weeks.

Cruikshank was a member of Williams's board of directors, and perhaps more importantly, had been one of many energy industry insiders advising Cheney's energy task force on a wide-range of policy issues, including deregulation of the nation's electricity sector, that would benefit Williams financially.

Cruikshank informed the vice president he had learned about the preliminary findings of FERC's investigation during a Williams board meeting earlier in March 2001. FERC, Cruikshank told Cheney, was in possession of incriminating audio tapes in which a Williams official and an AES power plant operator discussed keeping a Southern California power plant offline so Williams could continue to receive the $750 per megawatt hour premium for emergency power California's grid operator was forced to procure to keep the lights on in Southern California.

AES was the operator of two power plants in Los Alamitos and Williams marketed the electricity. The power plants were designated by the California Independent System Operator (ISO), the agency that manages the state's power grid, as crucial in order to ensure a reliable flow of electricity in the Southern part of the state. To stave off the potential for blackouts, the ISO was given the authority to pay top dollar for power if the power plants operated by AES, as well as power plants operated by other companies, were not in operation.

California's electricity crisis wreaked havoc on consumers in the state between 2000 and 2001. The crisis resulted in widespread rolling blackouts and forced the state's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, into bankruptcy. California was the first state in the nation to deregulate its power market in an effort to provide consumers with cheaper electricity and the opportunity to choose their own power provider. The results have since proved disastrous. The experiment has cost the state more than $30 billion...[Open in new window]

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Joseph A. Palermo
McGovern Democrats on the Prairie

Way out on a family farm about twenty miles north of Lemmon, South Dakota, across the railroad tracks and technically in North Dakota, I meet for the first time my wife's aunt and uncle and her 93-year-old grandmother. Astonishingly, they are all dyed-in-wool Democrats, and not just DLC centrist Clintonites, but super-liberal, left-wing George McGovern Democrats.

We immediately commenced in a Great Plains version of what Fox News likes to call "Bush bashing," which culminated in the 93-year-old daughter of the original couple who homesteaded these 160 acres back in 1907 asking me why hasn't anyone assassinated George W. Bush yet. Hearing this sentiment from a rural mid-western great grandmother of eight, who later also expressed her hope that aliens from another planet might abduct Bush, sent me into a fit of laughter. I also thought that I better immediately notify Homeland Security and the Secret Service because this elderly farmwoman clearly constituted a viable threat to our national security and could be a senior operative of that feared terrorist group, "Al Qaeda on the Prairie."

(The Bush supporters I spoke with on my trip to the Mountain States and the Midwest expressed their fear of terrorism, saying that 9-11 "changed everything." It seemed that those who are least likely ever to be victims of a terrorist attack were the ones who feared it the most and see the occupation of Iraq as somehow protecting them.)

If you stand still in silence outside the two little houses on the farm you can hear the rustling of the grasslands. The wind hums in your ears as if it traveled across a continent unimpeded. The ear cilia seem to vibrate at the same frequency as the prairie grass. The tractor sits idly by waiting to be set free on the land, and spools of hay dot the landscape receding into the distance playing an optical trick worthy of M.C. Escher. With no moon the plains are an empty blackness at night, vacant, the cones and rods of your eyes don't know what to do, and your retinas snap shut blocking light from tickling your occipital lobe. Now I know what agoraphobia feels like...

...The McGovern Democrats in these parts are severely outnumbered by the Bush lovers, but the fact that they've hung on to their New Deal values shows that Karl Rove's brand of "politics" has its limitations even in the remote heartland of America...[Open in new window]
Why Bush Is A Loser

By David Corn
Tuesday, July 17, 2007; 7:45 PM

Who knew Bill Kristol had such a flair for satire?

How else to read his piece for Outlook on Sunday, in which he declared, "George W. Bush's presidency will probably be a successful one"? Surely Kristol, the No. 1 cheerleader for the Iraq war, was mocking himself (and his neoconservative pals) for having been so mistaken about so much. But just in case his article was meant to be a serious stab at commentary, let's review Kristol's record as a prognosticator.

On Sept. 18, 2002, he declared that a war in Iraq "could have terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East." A day later, he said Saddam Hussein was "past the finish line" in developing nuclear weapons. On Feb. 20, 2003, he said of Saddam: "He's got weapons of mass destruction.... Look, if we free the people of Iraq we will be respected in the Arab world." On March 1, 2003 -- 18 days before the invasion of Iraq -- Kristol dismissed the possibility of sectarian conflict afterward. He also said, "Very few wars in American history were prepared better or more thoroughly than this one by this president." He maintained that the war would cost $100 billion to $200 billion. (The running tab is now about half a trillion dollars.) On March 5, 2003, Kristol said, "We'll be vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction."

After a performance like this -- and the above is only a partial review; for more details, Kristol, a likeable fellow, ought to have his pundit's license yanked. But he's back again with a sequel: W. will be seen as a wonderful president. His latest efforts should be laughed off op-ed pages. But in the commentariat, he's still taken seriously. So assuming the joke is indeed unintended, I'll examine Kristol's most recent fantasy as if it's real...[Open in new window]

Diane Sawyer is the original dumb blonde of TV 'News'...

On Good Morning America, Sawyer falsely claimed Reid "vows to filibuster"

During the July 17 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, co-anchor Diane Sawyer falsely claimed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) "vows to filibuster, talking all night to close out all topics besides a vote on Iraqi troop withdrawals." Sawyer was referring to Reid's plan to hold an all-night Senate debate prior to the July 18 cloture vote on a Democratic proposal to withdraw troops from Iraq. However, by planning to extend the Senate session throughout the night, Reid is not "vow[ing] to filibuster," as Sawyer reported. Rather, he is highlighting the Republicans' blocking of an up-or-down vote on the proposal; in other words, it is the Republicans who are filibustering the withdrawal proposal by requiring that 60 senators vote for the amendment in order for it to pass...[Open in new window]

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

From The Washington Note:[Open in new window]

NeoCons Exposed: Voyeurs Listen in to the "Real Stuff" on Trains and Ships
(for ships see story below from the Independent)

NeoCon High Priest Bill Kristol sits one row behind liberal blog-phenom diva Arianna Huffington and proceeds to chat about his role in nudging and tweaking President Bush's language.

Huffington reports:

Kristol was sitting a row behind me, talking on his cell phone with someone who apparently shared his optimism. "'Precipitous withdrawal' really worked," I overheard him say, clearly referring to the president's use of the term in that morning's press conference. "How many times did he use it? Three? Four?" he asked his interlocutor, and the conversation continued with a round of metaphorical back-slapping for the clever phrase they had "come up with."

I, of course, have no idea who was on the other end. Tony Snow, perhaps? After all, he and Kristol were colleagues before Snow left Fox. But whoever it was, the emphasis during their conversation on the significance of the "clever" phrase has been emblematic of the White House prepping of the president.

Instead of sending their boss out with the real facts or logical arguments, Bush's aides and their friends (see Kristol) concoct some nonsense phrase in the spin lab, hand it to him and tell him to go out there and repeat it as often as he can. The latest is "precipitous withdrawal." It's the new "cut and run."

It's actually not all that new: back in January 1969, Richard Nixon used it again and again in his famous "Silent Majority" speech: "The precipitate withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam would be a disaster not only for South Vietnam but for the United States and for the cause of peace." Again and again throughout the speech, Nixon used the phrase to paint the nightmarish consequences of a "precipitate withdrawal" from Vietnam.

Almost forty years later, George Bush is using the slightly tweaked "precipitous withdrawal" to paint his own nightmarish scenario of what will happen if American forces leave Iraq. And for that, apparently, we have Bill Kristol to thank. At least partially.

July 18, 2007
News Analysis

Six Years Later, the Same Threat

WASHINGTON, July 17 — Nearly six years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives expended in the name of the war on terror pose a single, insistent question: Are we safer?

On Tuesday, in a dark and strikingly candid two pages, the nation’s intelligence agencies offered an implicit answer, and it was not encouraging. In many respects, the National Intelligence Estimate suggests, the threat of terrorist violence against the United States is growing worse, fueled by the Iraq war and spreading Islamic extremism.

The conclusions were not new, echoing the private comments of government officials and independent experts for many months. But the stark declassified summary contrasted sharply with the more positive emphasis of President Bush and his top aides for years: that two-thirds of Al Qaeda’s leadership had been killed or captured; that the Iraq invasion would reduce the terrorist menace; and that the United States had its enemies “on the run,” as Mr. Bush has frequently put it.

After years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq and targeted killings in Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere, the major threat to the United States has the same name and the same basic look as in 2001: Al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri, plotting attacks from mountain hide-outs near the Afghan-Pakistani border.

The headline on the intelligence estimate, said Daniel L. Byman, a former intelligence officer and the director of the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University, might just as well have been the same as on the now famous presidential brief of Aug. 6, 2001: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”...[Open in new window]

Intelligence Puts Rationale For War on Shakier Ground

By Michael Abramowitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 18, 2007; A05

The White House faced fresh political peril yesterday in the form of a new intelligence assessment that raised sharp questions about the success of its counterterrorism strategy and judgment in making Iraq the focus of that effort.

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush has been able to deflect criticism of his counterterrorism policy by repeatedly noting the absence of any new domestic attacks and by citing the continuing threat that terrorists in Iraq pose to U.S. interests.

But this line of defense seemed to unravel a bit yesterday with the release of a new National Intelligence Estimate that concludes that al-Qaeda "has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability" by reestablishing a haven in Pakistan and reconstituting its top leadership. The report also notes that al-Qaeda has been able "to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attacks," by associating itself with an Iraqi subsidiary.

These disclosures triggered a new round of criticism from Democrats and others who say that the administration took its eye off the ball by invading Iraq without first destroying Osama bin Laden's organization in Afghanistan...[Open in new window]

Tonkin Gulf II and the Guns of August?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

07/17/07 "
WorldNet Daily -- -- " -- -- Is the United States provoking war with Iran, to begin while the Congress is conveniently on its August recess?

One recalls that it was in August 1964, after the Republicans nominated Barry Goldwater, that the Tonkin Gulf incident occurred.

Twice it was said, on Aug. 2 and Aug. 4, North Vietnamese patrol boats had attacked the U.S. destroyers Maddox and Turner Joy in international waters. The U.S. Senate responded by voting 88 to 2 to authorize President Johnson to assist any Southeast Asian nation whose government was threatened by communist aggression.

The bombing of the North began, followed by the arrival of U.S. Marines. America's war was on.

As Congress prepares for its August recess, the probability of U.S. air strikes on Iran rises with each week. A third carrier, the USS Enterprise, and its battle group is joining the Nimitz and Stennis in the largest concentration of U.S. naval power ever off the coast of Iran.

And Tonkin Gulf II may have already occurred.

(More at link above)

I usually don't post articles from World 'Nut' Daily or Pat Buchanan but...
From Reuters:

"Released as the White House confronts mounting pressure in Congress to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, the document marked the first time that the 16-agency U.S. intelligence community has warned publicly that the Iraq war poses a near-term threat to the United States.

The White House said there was no credible information pointing to an imminent attack and the nation's alert status was unchanged at an elevated level.

Intelligence officials also said there was no evidence of al Qaeda cells operating inside the United States.

"But the warning is clear, and we are taking it seriously," said White House homeland security adviser Frances Townsend."


So, what does this all mean? What are we to take away from all this?

The Bushistas are going to let there be another attack on US soil for their political gain?

By 'fighting them over there', we're helping them get ready to fight us 'over here'?

White House homeland security adviser Frances Townsend is more manly looking than most males in the Bush administration?

The word 'homeland' has a really, really National Socialist ring to it?

We report, you decide...or guess...or whatever.


Neocons on a Cruise: What Conservatives Say When They Think We Aren't Listening
By Johann Hari, Independent UK
Posted on July 17, 2007, Printed on July 17, 2007
http://www.alternet.org/story/57001 /

I am standing waist-deep in the Pacific Ocean, both chilling and burning, indulging in the polite chit-chat beloved by vacationing Americans. A sweet elderly lady from Los Angeles is sitting on the rocks nearby, telling me dreamily about her son. "Is he your only child?" I ask. "Yes," she says. "Do you have a child back in England?" she asks. No, I say. Her face darkens. "You'd better start," she says. "The Muslims are breeding. Soon, they'll have the whole of Europe."

I am getting used to these moments - when gentle holiday geniality bleeds into… what? I lie on the beach with Hillary-Ann, a chatty, scatty 35-year-old Californian designer. As she explains the perils of Republican dating, my mind drifts, watching the gentle tide. When I hear her say, " Of course, we need to execute some of these people," I wake up. Who do we need to execute? She runs her fingers through the sand lazily. "A few of these prominent liberals who are trying to demoralise the country," she says. "Just take a couple of these anti-war people off to the gas chamber for treason to show, if you try to bring down America at a time of war, that's what you'll get." She squints at the sun and smiles. " Then things'll change."

I am travelling on a bright white cruise ship with two restaurants, five bars, a casino - and 500 readers of the National Review. Here, the Iraq war has been "an amazing success". Global warming is not happening. The solitary black person claims, "If the Ku Klux Klan supports equal rights, then God bless them." And I have nowhere to run.

From time to time, National Review - the bible of American conservatism - organises a cruise for its readers. I paid $1,200 to join them. The rules I imposed on myself were simple: If any of the conservative cruisers asked who I was, I answered honestly, telling them I was a journalist. Mostly, I just tried to blend in - and find out what American conservatives say when they think the rest of us aren't listening...

...They rush through the Rush-list of liberals who hate America, who want her to fail, and I ask them - why are liberals like this? What's their motivation? They stutter to a halt and there is a long, puzzled silence. " It's a good question," one of them, Martha, says finally. I have asked them to peer into the minds of cartoons and they are suddenly, reluctantly confronted with the hollowness of their creation. "There have always been intellectuals who want to tell people how to live," Martha adds, to an almost visible sense of relief. That's it - the intellectuals! They are not like us. Dave changes the subject, to wash away this moment of cognitive dissonance. "The liberals don't believe in the constitution. They don't believe in what the founders wanted - a strong executive," he announces, to nods. A Filipino waiter offers him a top-up of his wine, and he mock-whispers to me, "They all look the same! Can you tell them apart?" I stare out to sea. How long would it take me to drown?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Hell freezes over:

Source: Editor & Publisher

The Pittsburgh newspaper owned by conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife yesterday called the Bush administration's plans to stay the course in Iraq a "prescription for American suicide."

The editorial in the Tribune-Review added, "And quite frankly, during last Thursday's news conference, when George Bush started blathering about 'sometimes the decisions you make and the consequences don't enable you to be loved,' we had to question his mental stability."

It continued: "President Bush warns that U.S. withdrawal would risk 'mass killings on a horrific scale.' What do we have today, sir?

"If the president won't do the right thing and end this war, the people must. The House has voted to withdraw combat troops from Iraq by April. The Senate must follow suit...[Open in new window]
In case you don't remember, Scaife is the chief BM eating weasel behind the 'Arkansas Project' aka the 'vast right wing conspiracy' that went after Bill Clinton & ended up costing tax payers 60 or so million dollars to have kid-toucher Ken Starr write a porn novel call The Starr Report.
It's pretty damn amazing his paper has attacked Emperor Poopy Pants, the great deciderer.
Oversight Committee calls up Rumsfeld for hearing on Tillman death
Michael Roston
Published: Monday July 16, 2007

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced Monday morning that it has invited former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other ex-Bush military officials to testify on the friendly fire death of former professional football player and Army Corporal Pat Tillman.

"On Wednesday, August 1, 2007...the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing entitled 'The Tillman Fratricide: What the Leadership of the Defense Department Knew,'" stated a press release from the Committee of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA). "The hearing will examine what senior Defense Department officials knew about U.S. Army Corporal Patrick Tillman's death by fratricide."

In addition to Rumsfeld, the Committee has invited General Richard Myers (Ret.), former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, former Central Command head Gen. John Abizaid (Ret.), and three officers from the US Special Operations Command...[Open in new window]

Sunday, July 15, 2007

click to enlarge

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I want some of what this guy's on...

Why Bush Will Be A Winner

By William Kristol
Sunday, July 15, 2007; B01

I suppose I'll merely expose myself to harmless ridicule if I make the following assertion: George W. Bush's presidency will probably be a successful one.

Let's step back from the unnecessary mistakes and the self-inflicted wounds that have characterized the Bush administration. Let's look at the broad forest rather than the often unlovely trees. What do we see? First, no second terrorist attack on U.S. soil -- not something we could have taken for granted. Second, a strong economy -- also something that wasn't inevitable.

And third, and most important, a war in Iraq that has been very difficult, but where -- despite some confusion engendered by an almost meaningless "benchmark" report last week -- we now seem to be on course to a successful outcome...[Open in new window]

Friday, July 13, 2007

There are people who deserve to die. Here's one:

Weekly Standard Chickenhawk Called Out on C-SPAN

Mon Jul 09, 2007 at 06:08:32 PM PDT

Matthew Continetti from the Weekly Standard is taken to task by a C-SPAN caller for his support of the war while being unwilling to serve in it himself. Continetti attacks the caller and doesn't ever say why he's not willing to serve. He also does not acknowledge that there are a lot of soldiers there against their wills who are serving under stop-loss provisions.

He then goes on to take a call from a Republican who thinks it would be a good idea to offer to have illegal immigrants serve in Iraq as a path to citizenship. Continetti says it's not necessary and claims we're meeting our recruiting goals without it, which is a lie. The only reason we've met our recruting goals is because they've been lowered. Our soldiers have been stop-lossed and forced to serve for longer terms to make up the difference to the point where the military is being broken.

Continetti then gets another "reasonable" caller who says that the Iraq war was based on lies and on how the troops who are having their tours of duty being extended are being lied to. Continetti replies by trying to say that the war wasn't based on lies, ignores the question about the extended tours, and then says we should ignore how we got to Iraq and focus on what we do next, and then talks about the dilemma of the Democrats who voted for Bush's authority to begin with who are running for office.

Given that this guy is a Bill Kristol underling at the Weekly Standard, none of this is surprising out of him. Once again these chickenhawks who love war so much have little to say about their unwillingness to serve while smirking at the American public and making no apologies for their stance. The smug demeanor of this guy during the whole interview says a lot. He thinks he's better than the rest of us. I just thought this was one of the more sickening things I've watched on C-SPAN in a while. For the entire segment, go to C-SPAN.org and click on the recent videos link and hit the one titled Matthew Continetti, Weekly Standard, Associate Editor....[Open in new window]