Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fallout from McClellan book: The Iraq war’s “complicit enablers,” then and now

By Bill Van Auken, WSWS

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s new book indicting the Bush administration for employing a “political propaganda campaign” and deception to drag the US into an “unnecessary war” in Iraq has unleashed a wave of bitter recriminations from the Republican right, while prompting opportunist attempts by Democrats to exploit the tell-all memoir for their own political purposes.

As McClellan began making the rounds of television news interviews, former White House counselor Dan Bartlett described the book, “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception,” as “total crap” and called the ex-press secretary’s actions “beyond the pale.” Former White House counter-terror aide Frances Townsend told CNN that McClellan was “self-serving, disingenuous and unprofessional.”

Meanwhile, both Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton worked McClellan’s book into their Democratic presidential campaigns.

Clinton lionized McClellan, declaring “this young man essentially apologizes for having been part of misleading America for three years. He talks about how difficult it was that our president and those working with him didn’t, either level with the American people, or didn’t change course when circumstances demanded it.”

Apparently anxious to shift the subject from the run-up to the Iraq war, when Clinton was one of the majority of Democrats in the Senate voting Bush a blank check to invade Iraq, she continued: “There isn’t any doubt that President Bush has misled us. The question now is, what kind of president do we need going forward.”

The Obama campaign used the book to counter charges by Republican candidate Senator John McCain that the Democratic front-runner lacked experience in relation to Iraq. “On the day after the former White House press secretary conceded that the Bush administration used deception and propaganda to take us to war, it seems odd that Senator McCain, who bought the flawed rationale for war so readily, would be lecturing others on their depth of understanding about Iraq,” read a statement issued by the Obama campaign.

No attempt was made to draw out the staggering implications of the confirmation, from inside the White House, that a war that has cost over one million Iraqi lives and killed or wounded tens of thousands of US troops was launched through “deception and propaganda.” It was merely used as a talking point to promote Obama as a better candidate than his Republican rival...[Open in new window]

Friday, May 30, 2008

Vice President Cheney says Iraq withdrawal would lead to future return engagement

NEW YORK: Vice President Dick Cheney warned that a Democrat-led troop withdrawal could condemn a future generation of American soldiers to return to the Iraqi battlefield.

In a Thursday evening speech in Manhattan that touched on tax cuts, energy, U.S. security and the conflict in Iraq, Cheney told more than 700 Republican donors that it was critical for Republicans to win Congress and retain the White House on Nov. 4.

"The stakes are very high," Cheney said at the New York Republican State Committee's annual dinner-fundraiser. "Whether the issue is the economy or energy or the federal courts or national security, the right answers for our nation are not coming from Democrats but from Republicans."...

...Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama has said he would remove U.S. combat troops within 16 months of taking office. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has said she would begin a pullout within 60 days after becoming president. The Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain, supports continued U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

The Democratic National Committee, asked to comment on Cheney's speech, said: "The Bush-Cheney-McCain propaganda machine was hard at work again tonight as Dick Cheney promised McCain's 100 years in Iraq and not the change of course Americans are looking for."...[Open in new window]

One wag has suggested we parachute Cheney into Sadr City with a 'We Apologize' note pinned to his suit.

That would make for some vivid video for the 24/7 cable 'news' poop shoots.

I guess one thing to feel better about in the face of this madman's gibberish is he's always wrong.
Hitler Aides "Puzzled," "Saddened" by von Stauffenberg Assassination Attempt

Wolf's Lair, Prussia, July 21, 1944 -- "This isn't the Claus von Stauffenberg I knew," said puzzled SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler about today's unsuccessful assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler, echoing sentiments heard across the Nazi high command.

Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels was equally perplexed. "If Claus disagreed with the Fuhrer, why didn't he say something?" said Goebbels. "He had plenty of opportunities to speak up."

"I had lunch with Claus just a month ago," noted Party chancellery head Martin Bormann. "I thought I knew him. We were colleagues. Friends. He didn't have a single negative word to say about Hitler. Sure, he was pissed at Mengele, but that you could understand. This is so -- so sad. So disappointing."

Luftwaffe general staff chief Werner Kreipe was less circumspect. "Total scheisse ," he called von Stauffenberg. "He owed everything to Hitler. Trying to kill him was a complete betrayal of his trust." Asked why von Stauffenberg turned against Hitler, Kreipe's only comment was, "Follow the money."

--Marty Kaplan :[Open in new window]

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Jeff!!! Jeff Gannon!!! Is that you???"

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Has Michelle Malkin actually achieved 'the impossible dream'? Has she out-loony-ed Bill O'Reilly?

Rachael Ray ad pulled as pundit sees terror link

Malkin claimed scarf similar to those worn by murderous Islamic extremists

Dunkin' Donuts pulled a television spot featuring talk show host and Food Network personality Rachael Ray this weekend after a Fox news commentator associated it with terrorists.

In the ad, Ray is wearing a scarf that Michelle Malkin said in her nationally syndicated column resembled a kiffiyeh, Middle Eastern garb that is "popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos."

Dunkin's Senior Vice President for Communications Margie Myers issued a statement saying the scarf "was selected by a stylist for the advertising shoot. Absolutely no symbolism was intended.

"However, as of this past weekend, we are no longer using the online ad because the possibility of misperception detracted from its original intention to promote our iced coffee."

In her column, Malkin also noted that it could appear at times that actor Colin Farrell, rapper Kanye West and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean have been photographed in similar scarves that were "distinctive hate couture."...[Open in new window]

Is "distinctive hate couture" the new "war on Christmas"? Is it just the spring time version?

Oh & by the way: Fuck you Dunkin' Donuts. You suck. A fatwa upon you & all your windows.

From Salon: [Open in new window]

Push-back against McClellan book begins

News about the contents of former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's new book leaked only Tuesday night, but by Wednesday morning the counterattacks had begun in full force. It's not surprising to see that, of course: Republicans were bound to be unhappy with a book that roundly criticizes George W. Bush's administration, suggests the president had indeed once done cocaine, and says that there may have been collusion between two key figures in the Valerie Plame scandal.

The Drudge Report's headline on the Politico's article on the book this morning is "Scott the Snitch." An unnamed former White House senior advisor told NBC, "This book has left many of Scott’s closest friends puzzled and shocked ... He never expressed any reservations while serving. To do so in a highly publicized book is what makes people lose faith in those who work in Washington

Appearing on Fox News Tuesday night (video of the appearance is below), Karl Rove questioned one part of McClellan's book, an account of a 2005 meeting between Rove and Scooter Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Without direct knowledge of the content of the meeting, McClellan wrote that it may have been so that the two men could get their stories straight as they were becoming the focus of inquiries into the leak of Plame's identity:

I have no idea what they discussed, but it seemed suspicious for these two, whom I had never noticed spending any one-on-one time together, to go behind closed doors and visit privately ... I don't know what they discussed, but what would any knowledgeable person reasonably and logically conclude was the topic?

Bloggers on the right have also been critical of McClellan. At the Weekly Standard's blog, Stephen F. Hayes, who's previously written two books sympathetic to the Bush administration and its worldview, said, "Ask fifty Washington reporters for an assessment of Scott McClellan and forty-nine of them will give you some version of this: He's a nice guy who was in way over his head. (Most of them will be tougher in their analysis of his intellect.)" At the National Review's the Corner, Katherine Jean Lopez wrote, "The question: Is he a liar then or now? He should have resigned in protest if he thought Bush was the liar and dolt he claims he was. What a disgrace this kind of book is."

There you go. A loyal Bushista wakes up, tells the real story & it's a disgrace. How back-asswards can you get?

Oh yeah, Scotty was stupid. Stupid for getting involved with criminals, that is.

Be careful Scotty. These people will do anything to hide the truth. Anything...


White House: McClellan is 'disgruntled'

Former press secretary alleges Bush used propaganda to mislead Americans

WASHINGTON - The White House blasted former press secretary Scott McClellan Wednesday, claiming that his new book about President Bush and the Iraq war shows McClellan is a "disgruntled" former employee.

"Scott, we now know, is disgruntled about his experience at the White House," press secretary Dana Perino said in a statement. "For those of us who fully supported him, before, during and after he was press secretary, we are puzzled. It is sad — this is not the Scott we knew."

Perino said Bush is aware of McClellan's claims: "The book, as reported by the press, has been described to the President. I do not expect a comment from him on it — he has more pressing matters than to spend time commenting on books by former staffers."

"In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president's advantage," McClellan writes...[Open in new window]
I wonder what the description to the presidense was?
" Well, Sir, it has no pictures so you might not like it."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Exclusive: McClellan whacks Bush, White House

Mike AllenTue May 27, 7:18 PM ET

Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan writes in a surprisingly scathing memoir to be published next week that President Bush “veered terribly off course,” was not “open and forthright on Iraq,” and took a “permanent campaign approach” to governing at the expense of candor and competence.

Among the most explosive revelations in the 341-page book, titled “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception” (Public Affairs, $27.95):

• McClellan charges that Bush relied on “propaganda” to sell the war.

• He says the White House press corps was too easy on the administration during the run-up to the war.

• He admits that some of his own assertions from the briefing room podium turned out to be “badly misguided.”

• The longtime Bush loyalist also suggests that two top aides held a secret West Wing meeting to get their story straight about the CIA leak case at a time when federal prosecutors were after them — and McClellan was continuing to defend them despite mounting evidence they had not given him all the facts.

• McClellan asserts that the aides — Karl Rove, the president’s senior adviser, and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff — “had at best misled” him about their role in the disclosure of former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity...[Open in new window]


See, Scotty, this is what happens when you hang out with war-profiteers, Israel Firsters & Republican dirty tricksters, nothing but heartache.

See, you have a little conscience, you just didn't have a clue.

But, it's not too late to settle the historical score about the scum you served.


Ex-Bush spokesman: President used 'propaganda' to push war

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The spokesman who defended President Bush's policies through Hurricane Katrina and the early years of the Iraq war is now blasting his former employers, saying the Bush administration became mired in propaganda and political spin and at times played loose with the truth.

In excerpts from a 341-page book to be released Monday, Scott McClellan writes on Iraq that Bush "and his advisers confused the propaganda campaign with the high level of candor and honesty so fundamentally needed to build and then sustain public support during a time of war."

"[I]n this regard, he was terribly ill-served by his top advisers, especially those involved directly in national security," McClellan wrote.

McClellan also sharply criticizes the administration on its handling of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

"One of the worst disasters in our nation's history became one of the biggest disasters in Bush's presidency," he wrote. "Katrina and the botched federal response to it would largely come to define Bush's second term."

Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino said the White House would not comment Tuesday because they haven't seen the book.

Frances Townsend, former Homeland Security adviser to Bush, said advisers to the president should speak up when they have policy concerns.

"Scott never did that on any of these issues as best I can remember or as best as I know from any of my White House colleagues," said Townsend, now a CNN contributor. "For him to do this now strikes me as self-serving, disingenuous and unprofessional."

Fox News contributor and former White House adviser Karl Rove said on that network Tuesday that the excerpts from the book he's read sound more like they were written by a "left-wing blogger" than his former colleague...[Open in new window]


See, Scotty, now you're just slime to your former buddies. They're Republicans. They don't know jack about loyalty. It's all about what you can do for them. Now that you're on the path of truth you're nothing to them.

When you were there, close enough, you should have 'got some'. Maybe with a box cutter for the irony. You'd be a national hero now.

I hope it works out for you. Better late than never I guess. Stay out of small planes.

Monday, May 26, 2008

‘Everybody hates George Bush.’
(except for this guy.)

Via Atrios, the Dallas Morning News reports that “even Texas Republicans such as Dallas Rep. Pete Sessions are distancing themselves from President Bush”:

"The president, Mr. Sessions told a group of eighth-graders visiting the Capitol last week from Akiba Academy in Dallas, “is doing everything he thinks is correct,” and yet “the American people are fed up…. we’ve lost the House and Senate, and everybody hates George Bush.”...[Open in new window]

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder

By Vincent Bugliosi, Vanguard Press
Posted on May 24, 2008, Printed on May 25, 2008

The following is an excerpt from Vincent Bugliosi's new book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.

With respect to the position I take about the crimes of George Bush, I want to state at the outset that my motivation is not political. Although I've been a longtime Democrat (primarily because, unless there is some very compelling reason to be otherwise, I am always for "the little guy"), my political orientation is not rigid. For instance, I supported John McCain's run for the presidency in 2000. More to the point, whether I'm giving a final summation to the jury or writing one of my true crime books, credibility has always meant everything to me. Therefore, my only master and my only mistress are the facts and objectivity. I have no others. This is why I can give you, the reader, a 100 percent guarantee that if a Democratic president had done what Bush did, I would be writing the same, identical piece you are about to read.

Perhaps the most amazing thing to me about the belief of many that George Bush lied to the American public in starting his war with Iraq is that the liberal columnists who have accused him of doing this merely make this point, and then go on to the next paragraph in their columns. Only very infrequently does a columnist add that because of it Bush should be impeached. If the charges are true, of course Bush should have been impeached, convicted, and removed from office. That's almost too self-evident to state. But he deserves much more than impeachment. I mean, in America, we apparently impeach presidents for having consensual sex outside of marriage and trying to cover it up. If we impeach presidents for that, then if the president takes the country to war on a lie where thousands of American soldiers die horrible, violent deaths and over 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians, including women and children, even babies are killed, the punishment obviously has to be much, much more severe. That's just common sense. If Bush were impeached, convicted in the Senate, and removed from office, he'd still be a free man, still be able to wake up in the morning with his cup of coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice and read the morning paper, still travel widely and lead a life of privilege, still belong to his country club and get standing ovations whenever he chose to speak to the Republican faithful. This, for being responsible for over 100,000 horrible deaths?* For anyone interested in true justice, impeachment alone would be a joke for what Bush did...[Open in new window]

Friday, May 23, 2008

Joe Biden in today's WSJ:

Republicans and Our Enemies
May 23, 2008

On Wednesday, Joe Lieberman wrote on this page1 that the Democratic Party he and I grew up in has drifted far from the foreign policy espoused by Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy.

In fact, it is the policies that President George W. Bush has pursued, and that John McCain would continue, that are divorced from that great tradition – and from the legacy of Republican presidents like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Sen. Lieberman is right: 9/11 was a pivotal moment. History will judge Mr. Bush's reaction less for the mistakes he made than for the opportunities he squandered.

The president had a historic opportunity to unite Americans and the world in common cause. Instead – by exploiting the politics of fear, instigating an optional war in Iraq before finishing a necessary war in Afghanistan, and instituting policies on torture, detainees and domestic surveillance that fly in the face of our values and interests – Mr. Bush divided Americans from each other and from the world.

At the heart of this failure is an obsession with the "war on terrorism" that ignores larger forces shaping the world: the emergence of China, India, Russia and Europe; the spread of lethal weapons and dangerous diseases; uncertain supplies of energy, food and water; the persistence of poverty; ethnic animosities and state failures; a rapidly warming planet; the challenge to nation states from above and below.

Instead, Mr. Bush has turned a small number of radical groups that hate America into a 10-foot tall existential monster that dictates every move we make...[Open in new window]

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lost parrot tells veterinarian his address

TOKYO - When Yosuke the parrot flew out of his cage and got lost, he did exactly what he had been taught — recite his name and address to a stranger willing to help.

Police rescued the African grey parrot two weeks ago from a neighbor's roof in the city of Nagareyama, near Tokyo. After spending a night at the station, he was transferred to a nearby veterinary hospital while police searched for clues, local policeman Shinjiro Uemura said.

He kept mum with the cops, but began chatting after a few days with the vet.

"I'm Mr. Yosuke Nakamura," the bird told the veterinarian, according to Uemura. The parrot also provided his full home address, down to the street number, and even entertained the hospital staff by singing songs...[Open in new window]

Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America

By Arianna Huffington
Posted on May 22, 2008, Printed on May 22, 2008

The following is an excerpt from Arianna Huffington's new book, Right Is Wrong.

The Radical Takeover

The most sweeping takeover of the new millennium didn't take place among the telecoms or the big oil companies, or in Silicon Valley. It took place in Washington, but we can see and hear and feel its effects nationwide on our televisions, radios, and computer screens. And America is much the worse because of it. I'm talking about the takeover of the Republican Party by its own lunatic fringe, and the Right's hijacking of America.

Ronald Reagan's GOP has been replaced by the dark, moldering, putrefied party of Bush, Cheney, Rove, Limbaugh, and Coulter. Morning in America has given way to Midnight in America.

Yes, the Republican Party has always had its far-right cowboys, its Jesse Helmses and Spiro Agnews. Yet they were removed from the party's more sober core.

But these days, judging by the opinions and actions of the Republicans in office and the party's candidates for president, it has become impossible to tell where this core stops and the fanatical fringe begins. Just look at what the party is endorsing.

We have a Republican Party that continues to back the White House's delusions about Iraq at the expense of our military, our treasure, our safety, and our standing in the world.

We have a mainstream on the Right that supports torture, that confirmed an attorney general nominee who is officially agnostic on torture, and that rallies behind a president who refuses to define what the very word "torture" means.

We have a mainstream that supports -- even applauds -- the behavior of thuggish Blackwater mercenaries, that supports the gutting of our civil liberties, that opposes universal health care, and that has views on immigration that wouldn't have been heard outside a John Birch Society meeting ten years ago...[Open in new window]

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Obama rally--Waterfront Park-- Portland, OR--5/18/08

McCain Can Run, but Bush Won’t Hide

THE biggest gift President Bush has given his party this year was to keep his daughter’s wedding nearly as private as Connie Corleone’s. Now that his disapproval rating has reached the Nixon nadir of negativity, even a joyous familial ritual isn’t enough to make the country glad to see him. The G.O.P.’s best hope would be for both the president and Dick Cheney to lock themselves in a closet until the morning after Election Day.

Republicans finally recognized the gravity of their situation three days after Jenna Bush took her vows in Crawford. As Hillary Clinton romped in West Virginia, voters in Mississippi elected a Democrat in a Congressional district that went for Bush-Cheney by 25 percentage points just four years ago. It’s the third “safe” Republican House seat to fall in a special election since March.

Party leaders have been haplessly trying to identify possible remedies ever since. It didn’t help that their recent stab at an Obamaesque national Congressional campaign slogan, “The Change You Deserve,” was humiliatingly identified as the advertising pitch for the anti-depressant Effexor. (If they’re going to go the pharmaceutical route, “Viva Viagra” might be more to the point.) Yet for all the Republican self-flagellation, it’s still not clear that the party even understands the particular dimensions of its latest defeat and its full implications for both Congressional races and John McCain in November.

The Mississippi election was actually a runoff, required by law after a preliminary vote left neither candidate with the required 50 percent. In the last round, on April 22, the Democrat, Travis Childers, beat the Republican, Greg Davis, 49 percent to 46 percent. (The rest went to minor candidates.) On Tuesday, that margin increased dramatically: the Republican remained at 46 percent while the Democrat jumped to 54 percent.

What happened in the intervening three weeks helps explain why. The G.O.P. didn’t merely step up its expensive negative campaign, attempting to take down Mr. Childers (who is a white, conservative Democrat) by linking him with Mr. Obama, a ranting Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Nancy Pelosi. It also brought in the party’s big guns. Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain recorded mass phone pitches for Mr. Davis. Karl Rove and Mr. Cheney campaigned for him.

The vice president’s visit was last Monday, the centerpiece of a get-out-the-vote rally in DeSoto County, a G.O.P. stronghold. “We’ll put our shoulders to the wheel for John McCain,” the vice president promised as he bestowed his benediction on Mr. Davis. Well, he got out the vote all right. In the election results the next day, the Childers total in DeSoto County increased 142 percent, while the Davis count went up only 47 percent.

The district as a whole is the second whitest in Mississippi. (Its black population is 27.2 percent.) It’s the sole district Mr. Obama lost to Mrs. Clinton in the state’s Democratic primary in March. Yet even in this unlikely political terrain the combination of a race-based Republican campaign and the personal intervention of Mr. Cheney energized enough white moderates and black voters to flip the district to the Democrats. Keep in mind, it’s the Deep South we’re talking about here. Imagine how the lethal combination of the Bush-Cheney brand and backlash-inducing G.O.P. race-baiting could whip up a torrential turnout by young voters, black voters and independents in true swing states farther north and west...[Open in new window]


Rich nails it. Read the whole thing.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bush, Obama, and the Hitler Card

May 16, 2008 10:20 AM ET | John Mashek

Just when you thought the Bush-Cheney administration could stoop no lower in foreign policy, the president has played the Hitler card in this presidential race.

The venue for this outlandish move wasn't in Washington or even the ranch in Texas but before the Knesset in Jerusalem. The Jewish state, and the important Jewish electorate back home, are naturally sensitive to any references to Nazi Germany.

Bush was speaking of appeasement against those who would negotiate with terrorists. The White House spokeswoman, with a straight face, claimed the reference was not to Sen. Barack Obama.

Sen. John MCain, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, wasn't listening to this disclaimer. He pointedly ripped Obama for being willing to sit down with the leaders in Iran despite their wacky views.

The Democrats reacted quickly. Obama called it a political stunt. Bush was reminded that his first secretary of state, Colin Powell, had said we should be at least willing to talk to Hamas...

...This should put Obama on notice that the Republican smear machine will go after him on everything. Immediate responses will be essential if he is to survive.

Back in 2004, Sen. John Kerry promised to respond immediately to any attack on him or his record. He dilly dallied when the Swift Boat veterans questioned his Purple Hearts in Vietnam, and Kerry paid the price. Remember this came from a group backing a man who escaped service in Vietnam in the Texas National Guard.

Fasten your seat belts, all voters from Vermont to California; it is only May and Adolph Hitler has already made it into this election seven months away...[Open in new window]
Chalmers Johnson on Our ‘Managed Democracy’
Posted on May 15, 2008

By Chalmers Johnson

It is not news that the United States is in great trouble. The pre-emptive war it launched against Iraq more than five years ago was and is a mistake of monumental proportions—one that most Americans still fail to acknowledge. Instead they are arguing about whether we should push on to “victory” when even our own generals tell us that a military victory is today inconceivable. Our economy has been hollowed out by excessive military spending over many decades while our competitors have devoted themselves to investments in lucrative new industries that serve civilian needs. Our political system of checks and balances has been virtually destroyed by rampant cronyism and corruption in Washington, D.C., and by a two-term president who goes around crowing “I am the decider,” a concept fundamentally hostile to our constitutional system. We have allowed our elections, the one nonnegotiable institution in a democracy, to be debased and hijacked—as was the 2000 presidential election in Florida—with scarcely any protest from the public or the self-proclaimed press guardians of the “Fourth Estate.” We now engage in torture of defenseless prisoners although it defames and demoralizes our armed forces and intelligence agencies.

The problem is that there are too many things going wrong at the same time for anyone to have a broad understanding of the disaster that has overcome us and what, if anything, can be done to return our country to constitutional government and at least a degree of democracy. By now, there are hundreds of books on particular aspects of our situation—the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bloated and unsupervised “defense” budgets, the imperial presidency and its contempt for our civil liberties, the widespread privatization of traditional governmental functions, and a political system in which no leader dares even to utter the words imperialism and militarism in public.

There are, however, a few attempts at more complex analyses of how we arrived at this sorry state. They include Naomi Klein, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” on how “private” economic power now is almost coequal with legitimate political power; John W. Dean, “Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches,” on the perversion of our main defenses against dictatorship and tyranny; Arianna Huffington, “Right Is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe,” on the manipulation of fear in our political life and the primary role played by the media; and Naomi Wolf, “The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot,” on “Ten Steps to Fascism” and where we currently stand on this staircase. My own book, “Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic,” on militarism as an inescapable accompaniment of imperialism, also belongs to this genre.

We now have a new, comprehensive diagnosis of our failings as a democratic polity by one of our most seasoned and respected political philosophers. For well over two generations, Sheldon Wolin taught the history of political philosophy from Plato to the present to Berkeley and Princeton graduate students (including me; I took his seminars at Berkeley in the late 1950s, thus influencing my approach to political science ever since). He is the author of the prize-winning classic “Politics and Vision” (1960; expanded edition, 2006) and “Tocqueville Between Two Worlds” (2001), among many other works.

His new book, “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism,” is a devastating critique of the contemporary government of the United States—including what has happened to it in recent years and what must be done if it is not to disappear into history along with its classic totalitarian predecessors: Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Bolshevik Russia. The hour is very late and the possibility that the American people might pay attention to what is wrong and take the difficult steps to avoid a national Götterdämmerung are remote, but Wolin’s is the best analysis of why the presidential election of 2008 probably will not do anything to mitigate our fate. This book demonstrates why political science, properly practiced, is the master social science...[Open in new window]

"Ah. After a gaff like the one I made yesterday I need a little quality time with Prince Bandar. Maybe if I'm a good little love poodle he'll hold off increasing production & lowering oil prices 'til right before the election. Shnirk shnirk shnirk. I am soooo clever."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chris Matthews Stumps Right-Wing Radio Host: ‘Tell Me What Chamberlain Did?’ ‘I Don’t Know’»

On MSNBC’s Hardball tonight, right-wing radio host Kevin James attempted to defend President Bush’s comments comparing Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) to Nazi appeasers because he favors talking with our enemies. James compared Obama to Neville Chamberlain, about whom James could only cry: “He’s an appeaser!”

Matthews pressed James at least 19 times over five minutes to simply explain what Chamberlain had done in 1938 and 1939 to make him an “appeaser.” James could only shout his talking point over and over, prompting Matthews to threaten to end the interview:

MATTHEWS: You don’t know what you’re talking about, Kevin. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Tell me what Chamberlain did wrong.

JAMES: Neville Chamberlain was an appeaser, Chris. Neville Chamberlain was an appeaser, all right? […]

MATTHEWS: I’ve been sitting here five minutes asking you to say what the president was referring to in 1938 at Munich.

JAMES: I don’t know.

MATTHEWS: You don’t know, thank you.

Watch it: [Open in new window]


The only way right wing bloviators on radio & TV get by is that their audiences are as stupid & uninformed as they are.

Is there anybody normal who really thinks Rush or Sean or Bill O are intelligent?

I know there must be.

This clip is funny. This second-stringer is really clueless. Score one for the cheese-eating weasel Matthews. He nailed this guy.

Larisa Alexandrovna
All the President's Nazis (real and imagined): An Open Letter to Bush
Posted May 15, 2008 | 07:48 PM (EST)

Dear Mr. Bush,

Your speech on the Knesset floor today was not only a disgrace; it was nothing short of treachery. Worse still, your exploitation of the Holocaust in a country carved out of the wounds of that very crime, in order to strike a low blow at American citizens whose politics differs from your own is unforgivable and unpardonable. Let me remind you, Mr. Bush, of your words today:

"Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along," Bush said at Israel's 60th anniversary celebration in Jerusalem.

"We have heard this foolish delusion before," Bush said in remarks to Israel's parliament, the Knesset. "As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

Well Mr. Bush, the only thing this comment lacked was a mirror and some historical facts. You want to discuss the crimes of Nazis against my family and millions of other families in Europe during World War II? Let me revive a favorite phrase of yours: Bring. It. On!

The All-American Nazi

Your family's fortune is built on the bones of the very people butchered by the Nazis, my family and the families of those in the Knesset who applauded you today:

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's grandfather was a director of a bank seized by the federal government because of its ties to a German industrialist who helped bankroll Adolf Hitler's rise to power, government documents show.

Prescott Bush was one of seven directors of Union Banking Corp. (search), a New York investment bank owned by a bank controlled by the Thyssen family, according to recently declassified National Archives documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Fritz Thyssen was an early financial supporter of Hitler, whose Nazi party Thyssen believed was preferable to communism...

...Both Harrimans and Bush were partners in the New York investment firm of Brown Brothers, Harriman and Co., which handled the financial transactions of the bank as well as other financial dealings with several other companies linked to Bank voor Handel that were confiscated by the U.S. government during World War II.

Union Banking was seized by the government in October 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act...[Open in new window]

Bush slaps 'appeasement'; Obama takes offense

Dion Nissenbaum and David Lightman | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: May 15, 2008 03:30:32 PM

JERUSALEM — President Bush took the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary on Thursday to compare his American political opponents to Nazi appeasers and brand them as too willing to negotiate with terrorists, remarks that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama reacted to instantly as an attack upon him.

"We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history," Bush said in his 23-minute speech to Israel's parliament.

The president's pointed criticism appeared to be a veiled jab at Obama, who has suggested that the United States should talk with its adversaries, as well as at former President Jimmy Carter, who last month met with senior officials of the radical Palestinian group Hamas in Syria.

While the White House denied that Bush was criticizing Obama, the senator's campaign fired back immediately, calling the president's remarks an "extraordinary politicization" of U.S. foreign policy.

"It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence to launch a false political attack," the Illinois senator said in a statement.

"It is time to turn the page on eight years of policies that have strengthened Iran and failed to secure America or our ally Israel. Instead of tough talk and no action, we need to do what Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan did and use all elements of American power — including tough, principled, and direct diplomacy — to pressure countries like Iran and Syria."...[Open in new window]


It's fun to watch the chimp become irrelevant. To hear him make stupid statements trying to wound Obama that apply equally to his own Secs. of Defense & State.

What an idiot. People are just not buying what he's selling anymore & he just won't shut up.

Oh, he can say stuff in front of an audience of half-insane Likudniks on the other side of the world but it just ain't playing to the proverbial little-old-lady from Paducah.

If he realises what's happening to him he must be frustrated because he has the consciousness of a toddler throwing a tantrum.

It must be hell to work on his staff these days.

Republican Election Losses Stir Fall Fears

WASHINGTON — The Republican defeat in a special Congressional contest in Mississippi sent waves of apprehension across an already troubled party Wednesday, with some senior Republicans urging Congressional candidates to distance themselves from President Bush to head off what could be heavy losses in the fall.

The victory by Travis Childers, a conservative Democrat elected in a once-steadfast Republican district on Tuesday, was the third defeat of a Republican in a special Congressional race this year. In addition to foreshadowing more losses for the party in November, the outcome appeared to call into question the belief that Senator Barack Obama of Illinois could be a heavy liability for his party’s down-ticket candidates in conservative regions.

Republicans had sought to link Mr. Childers to Mr. Obama in an advertising campaign there. Republican leaders said they were looking to Senator John McCain of Arizona, the likely Republican nominee, as a model whose independent reputation appears to allow him to rise above party in a year when the Republican label seems tarnished.

But Mr. McCain’s advisers said the Mississippi race underlined his intention to distance himself as much as possible from Congressional Republicans. Mr. McCain has already been openly critical of some of President Bush’s strategies.

The level of distress was evident in remarks by senior party officials throughout the day...[Open in new window]

Biden calls Bush comments 'bullshit'

(CNN) — The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joe Biden, D-Delaware, called President Bush’s comments accusing Sen. Barack Obama and other Democrats of wanting to appease terrorists "bulls–t” and said if the president disagrees so strongly with the idea of talking to Iran then he needs to fire his secretaries of State and Defense, both of whom Biden said have pushed to sit down with the Iranians.

“This is bullsh**t. This is malarkey. This is outrageous. Outrageous for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, sit in the Knesset…and make this kind of ridiculous statement,” Biden said angrily in a brief interview just off the Senate floor.

“He’s the guy who’s weakened us. He’s the guy that’s increased the number of terrorists in the world. His policies have produced this vulnerability the United States has. His intelligence community pointed that out not me. The NIE has pointed that out and what are you talking about, is he going to fire Condi Rice? Condi Rice has talked about the need to sit down. So his first two appeasers are Rice and Gates. I hope he comes home and does something.”

He quoted Gates saying Wednesday that we “need to figure out a way to develop some leverage and then sit down and talk with them.”...[Open in new window]
They're trying to start the meme again. You know the one. If you're Nixon in China or Reagan with the Russians; if you see the absolute need to talk to your enemies rather than invading them then you're an 'appeaser'. A truly ridiculous idea that only monkey-boy-failure-president & the war profiteers & Israel-firsters that manipulate him from behind the scenes like.

Good on Joe for calling it like it is: bullshit.

Today's Must Read

OK, that's it! Let no one say that the administration has not handled the situation with its typical forbearance and caution. Other, rasher leaders would have shunned Ahmad Chalabi after it became apparent that his network of informants were liars and that he could not be trusted. But the U.S. has not been overly swift to act. Sure, there were suspicions that he had passed classified information to Iran, but this is not a group that rushes to judgment.

Now, however, the straw has finally broken the camel's back:

From Talking Points Memo:

I didn't think the Dems would pull this one off. The Republicans brought Cheney in late bout of campaigning -- maybe not such a bad idea. But it looks like Childers is going to win this thing. He's only narrowly ahead. But it's pretty much only his strong precincts that are still to report.

Late Update
: AP's called it. Childers takes Mississippi's 1st district, an incredibly Republican district.

Later Update: To put this into some broader perspective, the Republicans have lost three straight Republican districts to the Democrats in by-elections this year. Hastert's district in Illinois, Louisiana 6th, and now Mississippi 1st. Each successively more Republican than the last. In Mississippi 1st, President Bush got 62% of the vote there in 2004.

Symbolic Number Update: On the symbolic level, this pulls the House GOP caucus down to 199 -- below 200...[Open in new window]


It's looking more & more like November is going to be a slaughter, not close enough for the rethuglicans to steal.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tom Friedman’s Latest Declaration of War

by Glenn Greenwald

Today’s a very exciting day in America. Our nation’s most Serious foreign policy expert, the brilliant Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, has today declared our latest new war:

The next American president will inherit many foreign policy challenges, but surely one of the biggest will be the cold war. Yes, the next president is going to be a cold-war president — but this cold war is with Iran.

So congratulations to us. After years of desperately searching, we’ve finally found our New Soviet Union. Nay-saying opponents of the New War (those who Tom Friedman, in March of 2003, dismissed as “knee-jerk liberals and pacifists”) may try to point out that it’s a country whose defense spending is less than 1% of our own, has never invaded another country, and could not possibly threaten us, but those are just small details. Iran is our new implacable foe in Tom Friedman’s glorious, transcendent struggle — which, in 2003, on NPR, he called “the beginning of World War III . . . the third great totalitarian challenge in the last, you know, 60 years,” and which he today defines this way (featuring an amazingly disingenuous use of parenthesis):

That is the real umbrella story in the Middle East today — the struggle for influence across the region, with America and its Sunni Arab allies (and Israel) versus Iran, Syria and their non-state allies, Hamas and Hezbollah. As the May 11 editorial in the Iranian daily Kayhan put it, “In the power struggle in the Middle East, there are only two sides: Iran and the U.S.”

Friedman laments that “Team America” — that’s really what he calls it — “is losing on just about every front.”
What’s most striking about Friedman’s formulation is that — in the 2003 NPR interview — this is what Friedman said about why 9/11 happened:

I did a documentary last year for the Discovery Channel on the roots of 9/11, and we went with a team all over the Arab-Muslim world for over a period of about six months and interviewed people on what 9/11 was all about. And our conclusion was 9/11 was really fed by three rivers of rage. One was about what we do — what we, the United States, do, whether it’s how we use resources, it’s our support for a dictatorial Arab regime so they’ll sell us cheap oil. It’s our backing for Israel when it does the right thing and when it does the wrong thing. 9/11 is fed, in part, by what we do, OK. . . .

The second and hugely important river of rage feeding 9/11 was a real overpowering sense of humiliation. . . . The Arab Human Development Report told us last year that 22 Arab states, not a single one has a freely and fairly elected government. . . .
And the third river of rage is how much these people hate their own governments, governments that keep them voiceless and powerless and prevent them from achieving their full aspirations in a world where they know how everyone else is living.

So 9/11 was caused by our backing of dictatorial Arab regimes, our unconditional support for Israel, our general interference in the Middle East, and the fact that Muslims aren’t free. So what does Friedman want to do now? Have the U.S. wage a “cold war” (at least) for dominance in the Middle East alongside our best friends: the dictators and monarchs of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf States (plus, incidentally, Israel). In other words, Friedman now wants to do everything that he himself said is what caused 9/11 in the first place.

There’s a reason that Friedman occupies the place he does in America’s foreign policy establishment. He’s perfectly representative of it. It’s an establishment in perpetual search of an Enemy and the next war. And finding it (or creating it) is the one thing they do well...[Open in new window]

Bush's Idea of Sacrifice

By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Wednesday, May 14, 2008; 1:12 PM

The nation is in despair over the war in Iraq and the toll it is taking on our troops and their families. But President Bush shows no outward sign of inner pain.

He is chipper in his public pronouncements. His weekly bike rides and daily workouts have put a perpetual spring in his step. He's always ready with a wisecrack. He just hosted his daughter's wedding at his multi-million dollar estate in Texas. He takes more vacations than any president in history. He has made clear that he doesn't lie awake at nights.

And yet now it turns out that Bush has indeed made a personal sacrifice on account of the war. According to the president yesterday, his decision to stop playing golf five years ago wasn't just an exercise in image control or a function of his bum knee -- it was an act of solidarity with the families of the dead and wounded.

Here's the relevant exchange in an interview Bush gave to Mike Allen of Politico:

Allen: "Mr. President, you haven't been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq?"

Bush: "Yes, it really is. I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as -- to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal."

Allen: "Mr. President, was there a particular moment or incident that brought you to that decision, or how did you come to that?"

Bush: "No, I remember when de Mello, who was at the U.N., got killed in Baghdad as a result of these murderers taking this good man's life. And I was playing golf -- I think I was in central Texas -- and they pulled me off the golf course and I said, it's just not worth it anymore to do."

This is the latest in a series of statements by Bush, the first lady and Vice President Cheney illustrating how far removed they are from the consequences of the decision to go to war -- and stay at war.

But giving up golf?

Not only is it a hollow, trivial sacrifice at best, Bush's story doesn't hold water. While he dates his decision to abjure golf to Aug. 19, 2003 -- the day a truck bomb in Baghdad killed U.N. special representative Sergio Vieira de Mello and more than a dozen others -- the Associated Press reported on Oct. 13, 2003, that he'd spent a "cool, breezy Columbus Day" playing "a round of golf with three long-time buddies...[Open in new window]


Bush is so gross. It's just beyond belief sometimes.

The print & broadcast media that report on him as if he was a normal human being are gross too.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Click to enlarge

Saturday, May 10, 2008

From the Los Angeles Times

Stabbing death shakes up L.A.-West Hollywood neighborhood

No one called police for over an hour as the victim cried for help near Poinsettia Park. Residents say the area has been growing more dangerous, and they are organizing to fight crime.
By Scott Gold
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

May 9, 2008

She'd tell him, time and again: Don't walk at night. The place has changed. It's not safe. They'd been married, though, for 44 years. After a certain point, it wasn't really a conversation; it was like a song they'd played a thousand times, enjoyed more for routine than anything else.

"Ne perezhivaitye," he'd tell her. "Don't worry."

He left their little apartment in West Hollywood at 9 p.m. March 9, a Sunday, walking out past a bookshelf full of all the dictionaries required of a Kazakhstani in L.A.: one in English, one in Russian, a Russian-to-English, a Spanish-to-English.

Katan Khaimov was a 70-year-old diabetic, but he was in great shape. He often walked for an hour or more, so his family didn't worry at first. But when 11 p.m. passed, his wife, Tamara, went looking for him.

On the west side of Poinsettia Park, below Santa Monica Boulevard, she pulled her car next to an intersection that had been cordoned off with yellow crime-scene tape.

"What happened here?" she asked a police officer.

"Who are you?" he said.

"I'm looking for my husband."

The fact that Khaimov was slain has been hard enough for his neighborhood to accept. But the awful coda of his life has added to the soul-searching. Neighbors, it turns out, heard him dying -- crying for help after being stabbed in the stomach -- for more than an hour before anyone called the police.

Officials say several residents in Khaimov's neighborhood, which straddles the cities of West Hollywood and Los Angeles, believed his moans were the sounds of a vagrant. Cars also passed by while he was lying next to the street, still alive, his head and one arm flopped over the curb.

"Nobody cared," said his 26-year-old daughter, Olga, the youngest of his four children. "To think that people didn't answer a man's cries for help. . . . Even if it is a bum. So what? Call the cops. It's a person, a human being."...[Open in new window]

Friday, May 09, 2008

Fox News Assistant Fired For (Time 100 Gala) Red Carpet Disclosure

TVNewser Exclusive: A 24-year-old Fox News Channel production assistant was fired this morning for something she said during the red carpet arrivals at the Time 100 Gala last night.

Insiders tell us the assistant, identified as Jennifer Locke, was on assignment with a camera crew to cover the entertainment angle of the event. When Sen. John McCain walked by, the assistant said, "I voted for you in the primary, you're going to win."

McCain was overheard saying to her, "You're not supposed to reveal that." Locke apparently continued to explain that she is the daughter of Vietnam veteran.

Insiders who were at the event were surprised and shocked to hear the disclosure, which was recorded on videotape. A Fox News insider called it "journalistically unacceptable." An FNC spokesperson would not comment on the personnel matter but did confirm Locke is no longer with the company, where she'd worked for a couple of years...[Open in new window]
I hope the next (non-crony) FCC commissioner has some fun with FOX NEWS NETWORK. S/He could let them stay on the air with the caveat: NEWS FOR NUTS or NON-NEWS FOR RIGHT WING CRANKS.

Who watches FOX NEWS for anything but comic relief?

The retarded people in my building do. They like to be told what to think. Bill Kristol makes sense to the retarded.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

...And in today's frightening redneck news...
Man who killed hikers in '81 suspected in shootings
Thursday, May 08, 2008 - 12:09 AM Updated: 06:57 AM

A Giles County man paroled from prison after serving 14 years for killing two hikers on the Appalachian Trail in 1981 now is suspected of shooting two campers just off the trail in Giles on Tuesday.

Randall Lee Smith, 54, was in a Roanoke hospital yesterday after crashing a pickup truck in Giles, Sgt. Michael Conroy of the Virginia State Police said.

The truck belongs to one of the two wounded men, both of whom were airlifted to a hospital.

One, identified as Scott Johnston of Bluefield, was in serious but stable condition at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, hospital spokesman Eric Earnhart said. The condition and location of the other victim, identified as Sean Farmer of Tazewell, could not be determined last night.

Investigators said the two men were at a campsite just off the Appalachian Trail at Dismal Creek in the Jefferson National Forest when Smith opened fire on them Tuesday night.

Smith drove off in the truck, and the two wounded men drove another car at the campsite, known as the Lion's Den Campground, to a house in neighboring Bland County, where they called a rescue squad, investigators said.

The campsite is not far from where Smith killed two Maine hikers in 1981. The two hikers were walking the trail to raise money for retarded and troubled youths.

Laura Susan Ramsay, 27, was stabbed more than a dozen times and bludgeoned to death. Robert Mountford Jr., 27, was shot three times. The murders served as the basis for the 1984 novel "Murder on the Appalachian Trail."

In 1982, Smith pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder -- the chief prosecutor was uncertain he had enough evidence for a first-degree murder conviction -- and, as part of an agreement, he was sentenced to 30 years in state prison. He was paroled in 1996 after serving about 14 years.

After prison, Smith returned to Pearisburg, where he moved in with his mother, who died eight years ago, according to neighbors. Yesterday, Sherman Smith, an unrelated neighbor on Virginia Street, said Smith kept to himself.

"Nobody would hire him, so he never had a job," Sherman Smith said. "I'll miss the dog more than I'll miss him."

Yesterday, authorities closed a 25-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail from Pearisburg to state Route 606 in Bland. Roger Holnback, head of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club, which maintains 136 miles of the trail, said volunteers were shuttling hikers around the closed area.

"I just hope this doesn't reflect bad on the trail," Holnback said. "It was quite traumatic and sad news, and when something happens in proximity to the trail, people start to think it's unsafe."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ledeen one-ups Bolton: It’s ‘time to attack’ Iranian AND Syrian terror camps.

Yesterday, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton announced on Fox News his belief that “the use of military force” against Iranian training camps “is really the most prudent thing to do.” Responding to a Telegraph report on his comments today, American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Ledeen declared that Bolton is “right.” Adding that he’s “been proposing this for years,” Ledeen also said that “we should do the same thing to the Syrian camps as well.”

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Pentagon Targeted Iran for Regime Change after 9/11

Gareth Porter*

WASHINGTON, May 5 (IPS) - Three weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, former U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld established an official military objective of not only removing the Saddam Hussein regime by force but overturning the regime in Iran, as well as in Syria and four other countries in the Middle East, according to a document quoted extensively in then Undersecretary of Defence for Policy Douglas Feith's recently published account of the Iraq war decisions.

Feith's account further indicates that this aggressive aim of remaking the map of the Middle East by military force and the threat of force was supported explicitly by the country's top military leaders.

Feith's book, "War and Decision", released last month, provides excerpts of the paper Rumsfeld sent to President George W. Bush on Sep. 30, 2001 calling for the administration to focus not on taking down Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network but on the aim of establishing "new regimes" in a series of states by "aiding local peoples to rid themselves of terrorists and to free themselves of regimes that support terrorism."

In quoting from that document, Feith deletes the names of all of the states to be targeted except Afghanistan, inserting the phrase "some other states" in brackets. In a facsimile of a page from a related Pentagon "campaign plan" document, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein regimes are listed as "state regimes" against which "plans and operations" might be mounted, but the names of four other states are blacked out "for security reasons".

Gen. Wesley Clark, who commanded the NATO bombing campaign in the Kosovo War, recalls in his 2003 book "Winning Modern Wars" being told by a friend in the Pentagon in November 2001 that the list of states that Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz wanted to take down included Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somalia.

Clark writes that the list also included Lebanon. Feith reveals that Rumsfeld's paper called for getting "Syria out of Lebanon" as a major goal of U.S. policy.
Bolton: Striking Iran ‘Is Really The Most Prudent Thing To Do’

Yesterday morning, Fox News interviewed former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton to discuss whether America is close to striking Iranian targets, as new reports indicate the Bush administration is drawing up plans for a “surgical strike.” Bolton said that while there are “obviously risks associated” with a strike on Iran, the risks of not doing something are “far higher” at this point.

Fox anchor Jaime Colby asserted, “The Brits think we overestimate the threat of Iran in this particular case. Are they right or wrong?” Bolton — who has previously claimed that the “mullahs in Iran” want a Democratic president in 2008 — responded:

"I think they’re dead wrong on this. I think this is a case where the use of military force against a training camp to show the Iranians we’re not going to tolerate this is really the most prudent thing to do. Then the ball would be in Iran’s court to draw the appropriate lesson to stop harming our troops."

Fox anchor Colby reacted to Bolton’s war cries by concluding — without sarcasm — “That’s a good message to end on. Thank you.” Watch it:

General tells of shift in Fallujah strategy

Web Posted: 05/05/2008 12:52 AM CDT
By Sig Christenson

Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez joined the White House videoconference on the second day of house-to-house fighting between 2,000 Marines and entrenched guerrillas in Fallujah.

Crafted in Washington as a brass-knuckles response to the gruesome deaths of four Blackwater security guards killed the week before and strung up on a bridge, the battle had the full support of President Bush.

Sanchez, in a memoir to be released Tuesday, said Bush “launched into what I considered a kind of confused pep talk” about the battle for Fallujah and an upcoming campaign to kill or capture radical anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and cripple his militia.

“Kick ass!” Bush said. “If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell!”...[Open in new window]

Hot-blooded blueblood jailed for assault

he scion of a prominent Bay State family was jailed last week for a vicious attack on a Cambridge woman after a judge rejected efforts by his well-heeled kin to keep the man free due to a condition his lawyer dubbed “intermittent explosive disorder.”

Christopher Gardner Beaman, 24, a descendant of Henry Cabot Lodge, was sentenced to a year in jail after his petite former girlfriend told a rapt courtroom about the unprovoked attack that lacerated her liver and temporarily put her in a wheelchair.

“He hit me where all my vital organs were. If his fist had moved a little to the right or a little to the left, I would not be here today,” said the brunette from the witness stand at Somerville District Court on Thursday. “This would be a homicide proceeding.”...

...Beaman’s grandfather was the late Augustus Gardner Means, a former state representative and the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in 1960. Means was the great-grandson of Henry Cabot Lodge. His grandfather was state Rep. Augustus P. Gardner, for whom the State House auditorium is named...[Open in new window]
Wouldn't it be cool if all the psycho-rich-kids were going to jail? You know, like Bush.

Former Iraq Commander: Bernard Kerik was 'a waste of time' in Iraq

Monday, May 5th 2008, 4:00 AM

The former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq took aim at Bernard Kerik in an exclusive interview with the Daily News Sunday, calling his efforts to train Iraqi police in 2003 "a waste of time and effort."

Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top military leader in Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004, blasted the former police commissioner for failing to produce results while Kerik was the interim minister of interior in 2003.

"I would be hard-pressed to identify a major national-level success that his organization accomplished in that time," Sanchez told The News a day before his new memoir, "Wiser in Battle" hits bookstores nationwide.

"He is a very energetic guy. He is very confident - overconfident to an extent - and he is very superficial in his understanding of the requirements of his job," Sanchez said. "His whole contribution was a waste of time and effort."

Sanchez, who was in charge during Saddam Hussein's capture and the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, said Kerik put U.S. soldiers in danger many times by not telling the Army about his police operations.

"I went to see Kerik and asked him to knock it off," Sanchez writes. "'You're going to wind up in a firefight with our soldiers,' I said. 'We've got troops patrolling the neighborhoods, and if they see a group of unknown armed Iraqis show up, they're going to engage.'"

Sanchez said Kerik focused more on "conducting raids and liberating prostitutes" than training the Iraqis...[Open in new window]


Rudy Ghouliani wanted Bernie to head the Dept. of Homeland Security. He recommended it to pResident Pissypants.

A ham sandwich could do a better job of running the country than anyone in the Bush criminal administration.

It truly is like they're a crime family.

I hope the next president, who I'm fairly certain will be a Democrat, doesn't stand in the way of the peoples desire for revenge. The criminals should have everything that they've stolen taken away from them & serve terms in prison. There should be no mercy. That will be congresses job.

In post WWII France they hung collaborators. They shaved the heads of skanks who slept with them so everyone would know.

Not a bad idea, but I'm willing to give congress a first chance to make things right.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

An unrepentant view from inside the neocon bunker

They may have been chastened over Iraq but the hawks are hoping for a resurgence if John McCain becomes president

Had news of the meeting leaked a few years ago it would have been taken as evidence that a nefarious plot was being hatched by a sinister cabal of all-powerful ideologues and policy makers known as neoconservatives. For here they were, being served coffee and pastries – no alcohol – although it was evening: not just Perle, the host, but also Paul Wolfowitz, the former deputy defence secretary, officials from the Pentagon and Vice-President Dick Cheney’s office, and a smattering of neocon scribes and thinkers.

Five years on from the toppling of Saddam Hussein, it was a gathering of exiles who had mostly been stripped of their positions of power. The party was to commemorate – celebrate is not quite the right word – the publication of War and Decision by Douglas Feith, a leading neoconservative and former number three at the Pentagon, who has produced the first account of the origins and course of the “war on terror” to be written by a member of Donald Rumsfeld’s inner circle.

These days the neocons just hope for a respectful hearing.

Wolfowitz was punished for his part in the war when he was driven out of his job as president of the World Bank over exaggerated accusations that he pulled strings for his girlfriend, but he has not changed his views.

Mourning people’s short-term memories, he said: “Everyone says we’ve created a failed state in Iraq, but nobody stops to consider the failed state that Saddam was creating. He was hollowing out the country from the inside.”

Feith knows that when he goes to his grave, the words of General Tommy Franks, who led the invasion of Iraq, will be in every obituary. “The f****** stupidest guy on the face of the earth,” he called Feith. And George Tenet, the CIA director at the time, described him as “a man eager to manipulate intelligence to push the country into war” – a charge Feith vehemently denies...[Open in new window]

Shell firms shielded US contractor from taxes
Defense outfit may have saved millions

By Farah Stockman
Globe Staff / May 4, 2008

WASHINGTON - In March 2005, one of the Pentagon's most trusted contractors - Virginia-based MPRI, founded by retired senior military leaders - won a $400 million contract to train police in Iraq and other hotspots. Two months later, MPRI set up a company in Bermuda to which it subcontracted much of the work.

It was not the first time that MPRI executives had used a shell company in an offshore tax haven to perform government-funded work. A year earlier, MPRI headed a joint venture that won a $1.6 billion contract to provide US peacekeeping forces in Kosovo and elsewhere. Three months later, MPRI set up a company in the Cayman Islands to do the work.

Like MPRI's Bermuda subsidiary, the Cayman Islands company appears to have no phone number, website, or staff of its own there.

Rick Kiernan, an MPRI spokesman, declined to explain why the company created the two offshore entities and stressed that MPRI operates in "total adherence or compliance with the current law."

But tax lawyers say that MPRI appears to be avoiding the payment of roughly $4 million dollars a year in Social Security and Medicare taxes for the police-training contract alone and is sidestepping scrutiny by hiring workers through offshore entities based outside the jurisdiction of the Internal Revenue Service.

"The employer is trying to take itself out of the audit reach of the IRS," said California-based tax lawyer James R. Urquhart III...[Open in new window]
Probe of USS Cole Bombing Unravels
Plotters Freed in Yemen; U.S. Efforts Frustrated

By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, May 4, 2008; A01

ADEN, Yemen -- Almost eight years after al-Qaeda nearly sank the USS Cole with an explosives-stuffed motorboat, killing 17 sailors, all the defendants convicted in the attack have escaped from prison or been freed by Yemeni officials.

Jamal al-Badawi, a Yemeni who helped organize the plot to bomb the Cole as it refueled in this Yemeni port on Oct. 12, 2000, has broken out of prison twice. He was recaptured both times, but then secretly released by the government last fall. Yemeni authorities jailed him again after receiving complaints from Washington. But U.S. officials have so little faith that he's still in his cell that they have demanded the right to perform random inspections.

Two suspects, described as the key organizers, were captured outside Yemen and are being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. Many details of their alleged involvement remain classified. It is unclear when -- or if -- they will be tried by the military.

The collapse of the Cole investigation offers a revealing case study of the U.S. government's failure to bring al-Qaeda operatives and their leaders to justice for some of the most devastating attacks on American targets over the past decade.

A week after the Cole bombing, President Bill Clinton vowed to hunt down the plotters and promised, "Justice will prevail." In March 2002, President Bush said his administration was cooperating with Yemen to prevent it from becoming "a haven for terrorists." He added: "Every terrorist must be made to live as an international fugitive with no place to settle or organize, no place to hide, no governments to hide behind and not even a safe place to sleep."

Since then, Yemen has refused to extradite Badawi and an accomplice to the United States, where they have been indicted on murder charges. Other Cole conspirators have been freed after short prison terms. At least two went on to commit suicide attacks in Iraq...[Open in new window]

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Hundreds of Laptops Missing at State Department, Audit Finds
By Jeff Stein, CQ National Security Editor

Hundreds of employee laptops are unaccounted for at the U.S. Department of State, which conducts delicate, often secret, diplomatic relations with foreign countries, an internal audit has found.

As many as 400 of the unaccounted for laptops belong to the department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, according to officials familiar with the findings.

The program provides counterterrorism training and equipment, including laptops, to foreign police, intelligence and security forces.

Ironically, the Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program is administered by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), which is responsible for the security of the department’s computer networks and sensitive equipment, including laptops, among other duties. It also protects foreign diplomats during visits here.

DS officials have been urgently dispatching vans around the bureau’s Washington-area offices to collect and register employee laptops, said department sources who could not speak on the record for fear of being fired...[Open in new window]