Saturday, July 02, 2005

"It will destroy the earth." 

Publius has an earth destruction watch going, compliments of another radical cleric who hates science.


More Impeachment Fodder 

Somehow I missed this today. Thanks to Susie for catching it.

From Digby:
According to Gardiner, "It was not bad intelligence" that lead to the quagmire in Iraq, "It was an orchestrated effort [that] began before the war" that was designed to mislead the public and the world. Gardiner's research lead him to conclude that the US and Britain had conspired at the highest levels to plant "stories of strategic influence" that were known to be false.

The Times of London described the $200-million-plus US operation as a "meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress, and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein."

The multimillion-dollar propaganda campaign run out of the White House and Defense Department was, in Gardiner's final assessment "irresponsible in parts" and "might have been illegal."

"Washington and London did not trust the peoples of their democracies to come to the right decisions," Gardiner explains. Consequently, "Truth became a casualty. When truth is a casualty, democracy receives collateral damage." For the first time in US history, "we allowed strategic psychological operations to become part of public affairs... [W]hat has happened is that information warfare, strategic influence, [and] strategic psychological operations pushed their way into the important process of informing the peoples of our two democracies."
Not just liars; elitist, manipulting, liars. The worst kind of bottom feeding scum.


Blog a Freeway for Freedom 

The Freeway Blogger encourages the brave and the bold to get your statement out there for the 4th of July:

"This Fourth of July, I ask you to find a way to thank the men and women defending our freedom by flying the flag..." -George W. Bush

Signpainting parties against the war are being organized across the country over the 4th of July weekend with posting scheduled to start on the 5th. So far we have over 400 confirmed freewaybloggers for this action and should have well over a thousand by week's end.

Here's the link.

Please encourage your readers to join in this action: cardboard and paint is all it takes. Ideas for signs are welcome too.

Peace, Scarlet P. the freewayblogger

What better way to celebrate your freedom than to make sure you keep some of it.

Have fun. Be safe.


Frog Walk Round-Up 

Looks like Joseph Wilson's description of Karl Rove being led out of the White House in handcuffs may finally come true.

Lawrence O'Donnell says that there at least one more source who can confirm that Rove was the of the Valerie Plame leak. In fact, he says:
Too many people know this. It should break wide open this week. I know Newsweek is working on an 'It's Rove!' story and will probably break it tomorrow.
Josh Marshall reminds us that the investigation may go in some interesting directions and that timing is everything. Duncan quotes this piece by Michael Isikoff:
Initially, Fitzgerald's focus was on Novak's sourcing, since Novak was the first to out Plame. But according to Luskin, Rove's lawyer, Rove spoke to Cooper three or four days before Novak's column appeared. Luskin told NEWSWEEK that Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and that "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA." Luskin declined, however, to discuss any other details. He did say that Rove himself had testified before the grand jury "two or three times" and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him. "He has answered every question that has been put to him about his conversations with Cooper and anybody else," Luskin said. But one of the two lawyers representing a witness sympathetic to the White House told NEWSWEEK that there was growing "concern" in the White House that the prosecutor is interested in Rove. Fitzgerald declined to comment.
A few people, including Armando and Duncan picked up on an Editor & Publisher piece about the Plame grand jury asking for lots of White House documents. Turns out that story was a year or so old. E&P has since pulled it.

John in DC thinks it could be to fun to watch Flounder spin this one, considering back in 2003 CNN caught him doing his usual schtick:
McClellan said that if anyone at the White House leaked Plame's identity, he should be fired, and pursued to the "fullest extent."

"No one was authorized to do this. That is simply not the way this White House operates and if someone leaked classified information it is a very serious matter," he said.
Finally, Digby ponders the state of modern journalism,
Moreover, is it normal that members of the press know the answer to a major mystery but they withhold it, as a group, from the public? I thought their job was to reveal the answers to major mysteries. In fact, this seems like the scoop of the decade. Back in the day, reporters were racing to get the news of semen stains and talking points on the air mere seconds before their rivals. Now, they all keep quiet?
and wonders if maybe we need to convene another conference on "blogger ethics and professional journalistic standards."

Yep. Right after we all high five as we watch Rover do the frog walk out of the White House in handcuffs. Party on!


Things are going great 

Avedon pointed out an interesting post by Chris Bowers at MyDD in which Chris looks at some polls that indicate the drop in Bush's approval ratings is the result of a drop in support by Democrats and Independents. Let's call these folks the slow learners, but at least they're finally getting it.

The scary part (really scary, if you stop and think about it) is that the Republican base that supports Bush through thick and thin represents a ruling minority in American that thinks things are going just great.

These are your friends and neighbors who are delighted that Bush is kicking terrorist ass in Iraq, that the economy is chugging along just fine, and that it's about damn time we put the lid on all this talk about abortion rights, gay rights, civil rights, human rights -- in fact just about all rights except property rights, gun owner rights, and of course, Christian rights.

Time to pay attention, folks. The next general election is 16 months away, and in my little burg the next local election is only 10 months out. We need to reach out to our "independent" brothers and sisters, bring them a message of hope, pull them into the fold of the big-tent progressive alliance, and get them motivated and active rolling into the next elction cycle.

The alternative is life under a repressive fascist theocracy. Our children deserve better.


Celebrity News 

You know you wanted some. And every good on line magazine has some.

Brooke Shields has responded to Tom Cruise with an
Op-Ed in the New York Times.
I WAS hoping it wouldn't come to this, but after Tom Cruise's interview with Matt Lauer on the NBC show "Today" last week, I feel compelled to speak not just for myself but also for the hundreds of thousands of women who have suffered from postpartum depression.
Thanks to AMERICABlog for helping us stay on top of the lives of the rich and beautiful.


Friday, July 01, 2005

Even in Utah 

News Flash! They are beginning to notice Bush's hypocrisy in Zion.

Thanks to Ed Partridge for the link. We probably have a lot in common, Ed.


Bork Disses O'Connor 

The attacks by the radical wrong have begun, setting the stage for the Cheney administration to nominate a wingnut.

Vai AtlerNet:
Bork then (again, calmly, without hysterics or sparks) asks the reporter to quit identifying O'Connor as a moderate "I wish you'd stop using that word," pushing for "activist" instead.


Lincoln Memorial Video Too Liberal?? 

Wingnuts say the video is slanted to the left. Their snivling has pressured the Park Service into revising the video to include more right wing marches:
``The video gave the impression that Lincoln would have supported abortion and homosexuality,'' said the Web site of Rev. Louis Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition. It cited footage showing events at the memorial staged by abortion-rights and gay-rights supporters and war opponents but no similar footage from Christian and conservative interests.

Sheldon said he complained to the White House and said in a broadcast transcript that was distributed among Park Service executives: ``If Bush is in office, let's have it our way. Let's make it fair now.''
A radical cleric like Sheldon of the American Taliban clearly thinks that "fair" means having it his way. Luckily the Park Service is responding with all due haste, so Sheldon didn't have to issue a fatwa calling for a public stoning of park offcials.


Thursday, June 30, 2005

Talkin' them Chimpeachment Blues 

Duncan notes a Zogby poll that says 42% of Americans want impeachment if it is found that Bush misled the the nation about the reasons for going to war in Iraq.

Ahead of the curve, Veterans for Peace has drawn up Declaration of Impeachment and a petition to support it (as of this posting, it looks like the on line petition is still under construction).

Get some.


Pentagon moves the goal posts to the 30 yard line 

Via Kos, the army has adjusted its recruitment goals for June downward, thus meeting its quota. This despite the fact that they said they would have to increase the quota numbers during the summer months in order to meet the annual goal.
They claim victory.
For the first time since January, the Army met its monthly recruiting goal in June, but still faces what some senior Army officials say is a nearly insurmountable shortfall to meet the service's annual quota.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard B. Myers, told a town-hall meeting at the Pentagon today that the Army had exceeded its June quota, but gave no details. Senior Army officials said in interviews earlier in the day that the Army had exceeded the goal of 5,650 recruits by about 500 people. The Army Reserve also made its first monthly quota since last December, the official said.
What a load of bull. Remember this?
On Friday, the Army is expected to announce that it met only 75 percent of its recruiting goal for May, the fourth consecutive monthly shortfall in the number of new recruits sent to basic training. Just over 5,000 new recruits entered boot camp in May.

But the news could have appeared worse. Early last month, the Army, with no public notice, lowered its long-stated May goal to 6,700 recruits from 8,050. Compared with the original target, the Army achieved only 62.6 percent of its goal for the month.

Army officials defended the shift on Tuesday, saying it was not uncommon to change monthly goals at midyear. They said that the latest change reflected the reality that the Army was not going to meet its May goal, and that it made more sense to shift some of that quota to the summer months, traditionally a better season for recruiters to attract new high school graduates.
Stay tuned for further adventures in Credibility Canyon.


The Wheels of Justice . . . 

Apparently there weren't enough of us in the jury pool to make it through the selection process. So we were all excused.

That was too bad. I really wanted to do the jury thing today. Ah well.


Jury Duty 

I've got jury duty today (and maybe tomorrow) so blogging will be light. I'm guessing they don't have WiFi inside the courthouse, and I probably wouldn't be allowed to blog during the trial even if they did.

Be good.


You know it's true 

Armando quotes Bob Herbert:
The incompetence at the highest levels of government in Washington has undermined the U.S. troops who have fought honorably and bravely in Iraq, which is why the troops are now stuck in a murderous quagmire. If a Democratic administration had conducted a war this incompetently, the Republicans in Congress would be dusting off their impeachment manuals.
And you just know that Rush and Falafel Boy would be screaming for it.


always an option . . . irretrievably lost 

Under the circumstances, the mindless chants of "failure is not an option" are starting to sound like the desperate prayers of the terminally ill. Failure is always an option -- particularly for morons who launch a war of choice under the impression that they can't possibly lose it.
Go read.


Two unstoppable forces: freedom and equality 

Spain legalizes gay marriage.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Whoever publicly profanes the Reich 

Meanwhile, Avedon posts a comment which puts the flag-burning amendment into its proper historical context:
The Republicans have wanted a "flag protection" law for a long time, for the same reason - to coerce by force of law allegiance to their idea of patriotism."

Which is literally what the Nazis did.

RGB 1-I, 548, Statutory Criminal Law of Germany:

"Whoever publicly profanes the Reich or one of the states incorporated into it, its constitution, colors or flag or the German armed forces, or maliciously and with premeditation exposes them to contempt, shall be punished by imprisonment"
No comment necessary.


Congress reverses course, finds funds for veterans 

From Avedon, via Rachel at Air America, via Veterans for Common Sense, via the AP, Republicans in Congress realized that it would have looked bad for the Turkey in Chief to be giving a big speech at Fort Bragg while Congress was rejecting a bill that would have given the VA money to cover its shortfall -- a shortfall that resulted when the VA forgot to plan for the additional cost of treating the veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Senate Republicans made their decision as Nicholson told lawmakers in the House and Senate that demand for veterans health programs rose by 5.2 percent this year, more than the 2.3 percent increase that had been forecast.

About one-quarter of this year's $1 billion shortfall results from the services needed by veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, he said, adding that the estimate of roughly 23,000 returning veterans proved far below the actual total of 103,000.
Can't help but wonder what the other three quarters of the shortfall was from, since they missed the mark on returning veterans by around 300%. Maybe the conservative hatred of science is beginning to drift into arithmetic territory.

UPDATE Wednesday Evening: Kevin Drum links to Michael Froomkin, who says its probably cowardice (as opposed to incompetence):
I suspect this is worse than incompetence: This shortfall may not be unexpected at all. I wouldn't be surprised if it were intentional. By not appropriating money in the regular or even the supplemental Iraq appropriation, the administration avoided having to admit they expected any casualties in Iraq -- much less estimating how many there might be.
Intentionally shortchanging our returning war veterans so the Cheney administrationon can cook the books on the actual cost of this war. I can't think of anything more despicable.



Susie says:
For the first time ever, I had a positive experience watching a Bush speech, because I was with the Liberal Drinkers at Tangier and every time Bubble Boy said a familiar line, I’d yell, “Nixon!” and everyone would drink.
Alcohol induced flashbacks. Peace with honor and similar Republican crapola from pathological liars. Bad crazies.

Susie also quotes Digby, who apparently watched the whole thing sober (don't think I could do that). Go read.


"The Protestant Pope" 

Over at TPMCafe, Todd Gitlin says Bush has lost Bob Costas. Josh Marshall says Bush has lost David Gergen. Can the American public be far behind. Let us pray.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Destroying Families 

Bill in Portaland Maine shares this jewel from 'Nothing's Sacred' by Lewis Black:
And I'm not just talking about rednecks here. Even Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania, a well-educated man and one of the highest-ranking Republicans in the Senate, doesn't have a clue. Instead of just shutting his mouth because he doesn't know anything, he actually said that homosexuality was a threat to the American family. Of course, he didn't explain why, he just said it as if it were written in stone.

Did I miss something? I read a lot, but never once have I heard about groups of gays hopping in vans and driving from suburb to suburb, threatening American families. If only somebody could convince Santorum this isn't the case. But in his demented mind, he apparently convinced himself that these same gays are driving into culs-de-sac from coast to coast, jumping out of the vans, running into houses just as families are settling in for their evening prayers, and f- -king each other...in front of the kids.

Of course, if it were happening that way, I could understand how families could fall apart and within six months show up on The Jerry Springer Show. Who could blame them? But, like I said, I read a lot, and when I'm not reading, I watch The Jerry Springer Show. A lot. So far, I'm happy to report, there is no concrete evidence to support Santorum's claim. Nothing...
Having lived on a cul-de-sac myself for most of the past 6 years I can confirm this to be true.

I should also add that I knew the same sex couples in the neighborhood. They would occasionally stop by the house and say hello while pushing a baby carriage down to the end of the street and back again. My family and I felt so threatened, we invited them in to meet our kids. Go figure.


The End of Times 

During my days in the intelligence field, one of my associates introduced me to the New York Times (even if we could only buy the Sunday edition), as a source I needed to read every week to get a broader perspective on international events.

After leaving the military I would regularly read the Times online. Krugman, of course, was a shining light in a sea of economic darkness once George II came to power. But I also began to notice some serious slippage in the quality of some reporting in the Times.

As time went on, the Times got worse. If you've been following along, you know what I'm talking about. Now it's clear that the end is at hand.
Billmon puts the pieces together:
Keller . . . announced several new policies in response to a recent report by the paper's Credibility Committee. Among them is a fresh attempt to diversify the Times' staff and viewpoints, and not in the usual racial or gender ways, but in political, religious and cultural areas as well.
The aim, he wrote, is "to stretch beyond our predominantly urban, culturally liberal orientation, to cover the full range of our national conversation."
Translation: We're sucking wind trying to grow revenue here in the five boroughs. And if we're gonna go toe to toe with USA Today and the Wall Street Journal in the national market, we gotta get more red-state friendly.
Go read the whole thing. Billmon looks at how the Times is now covering the Christian Right's gay hate agenda, then shows you how the 1963 civil rights movement would have been reported if the Times was as concerned then about convering what Keller refers to as the "full range of our national conversation."
It's as if the New York Times of, say, 1963, had published a long, respectful essay on the racial views of Sheriff Bull Connor and the White Citizens Council, one that relegated Martin Luther King to the second-to-the-last paragraph, but included extended passages along the lines of:
''States Rights'' is a buzzword in conservative Southern circles. It's a signal of the belief, and the policy position, that blacks are slow, stupid and lazy, and want nothing more than to collect welfare payments and rape white women.
At its essence, then, Southern conservative thinking about race relations runs this way. God intended for the races to be separate. Racial mixing results in miscegenation. Segregation is the root of the Southern way of life and to abolish it would be willfully to introduce disease to that root.
It's a shame. A great city like New York deserves better. So do the rest of us.


"The intelligence and facts were being fixed . . ." 

In the WaPo:
Dearlove, a veteran intelligence operative with a reputation for being hard-nosed and ambitious, had just returned from a visit to Washington, where officials say he met with Rice and CIA Director George J. Tenet.

According to the July 23 memo, Dearlove reported "a perceptible shift in attitude" in Washington. "Military action was now seen as inevitable," the memo said, adding that the president's National Security Council "had no patience with the U.N. route." Dearlove also included the observation that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
The fact-free administration was fixing the facts. Imagin that. Let the impeachements begin.


Bond. Democracy Bond 

Get yours today.


Monday, June 27, 2005

The Bad News War 

Armando notices that the All-Volunteer Army is not working out in the face of a prolonged, bloody war that is growing in its unpopularity.

Vietnam veteran Senator Chuck Hagel tells the American Legion that Iraq could be far worse than Vietnam.

I think the "Oh shit!" factor is about to hit the worst president in history right between the eyes.

I also notice that, despite all the administration's comments about it really being the Iraqi's country and they're going to have to assume responsibility for its security, nobody is using the term "Iraqification." Imagine that.


GOP Threatens Major League Baseball 

Via Duncan, Republicans hint they will punish baseball if George Soros is allowed to buy part of the Nationals:
I think Major League Baseball understands the stakes," said Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R), the Northern Virginia lawmaker who recently convened high-profile steroid hearings. "I don't think they want to get involved in a political fight."

Davis, whose panel also oversees District of Columbia issues, said that if a Soros sale went through, "I don't think it's the Nats that get hurt. I think it's Major League Baseball that gets hurt. They enjoy all sorts of exemptions" from anti-trust laws.

Indeed, Hill Republicans could potentially make life difficult for MLB in a variety of ways.
Partisan scum.


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Bad news from Credibility Canyon 

Note to the youngsters: Back in the old days, the difference between the rosy reports from the White House and the reality on the ground in the Vietnam War was known as the "credibility gap."

Kevin Drum picked up on an LA Times headline about the divergent stories about how things are going in Iraq.
Bush and his aides have delivered a positive, if carefully calibrated, message. The war is not yet won, they acknowledge, but steady progress is being made. "We can expect more tough fighting in the weeks and months ahead," the president said in his weekly radio address Saturday. "Yet I am confident in the outcome."

But last month, Vice President Dick Cheney broke from the administration's "message discipline" and declared that the insurgency was in its "last throes." The White House has been paying a price ever since.

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), who supported the decision to go to war in Iraq, complained that the White House was "completely disconnected from reality." Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), another supporter of the war, charged that Bush had opened not just a credibility gap, but a "credibility chasm."

Even Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld distanced himself from the vice president's words. "I didn't use them, and I might not use them," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week. Rumsfeld said the insurgency could conceivably "go on for four, eight, 10, 12, 15 years, whatever…. We don't know. It is going to be a problem for the people of Iraq."
Ah, yes. A problem for the people in Iraq. Just can't help but wonder when it's going to be a problem for the chickenhawk scum who created the quagmire in the first place.

But former Reagan staffer Michael Deaver says it's not like Vietnam because there are no large demonstrations with National Guardsman gassing students in the streets. Silly Michael -- all the National Guardsman are either deployed to the war zones, or about to be.


Coming up on NPR: Newt 

NPR says they're going to have Newt Gingrich on All Things Considered next week. I'm not going to say that they're caving in to pressure from their conservative money managers. Hell, they've been doing that for years.

I'm sure Newt will spew blame and denial, and make it all sound very compassionate. I just hope, for the sake of consistancy (forget balance), NPR will follow Newt with Dick Cheney saying "increased violence and a growing number of foreign insurgents are signs that the United States is close to accomplishing its objective in Iraq." Follow that with George W. Bush saying "No nation can negotiate with terrorists." Then flash back to Saint Ronnie saying "The United States will not negotiate with terrorists." Then show Richard Nixon stating "I am not a crook." Finish it up with Senator Joe McCarthy saying he had a list of 205 card-carrying Communists working in the State Department.

Anytime NPR has a wingnut like Gingrich on the air, they have a duty to provide some historical context to his rants.


Go Vote 

for the greatest American ever (no women to choose from -- imagine that!)

I'm promoting the ABR (anyone but Reagan) movement. Thanks to Digby.


Blame, Denial, and the Power Junkies 

I've often thought there was a need for a good 12-step program for the power junkies that inhabit the Cheney administration.

Anne (Bird by Bird) Lamott, writing over at
TPMCafe, paints that picture much better than I could:
The White House and the war machine are collapsing, and their only hope would be to hit a bottom, like alcoholics and addicts have to do before they have a prayer of finding a solution. Until then, drunks keep lowering the bottom, justifying everything, lying even to themselves—or at any rate, that's what I did, until 19 years ago next week, when I was basically drinking just to keep all the flies going in one direction. That's where a lot of senators find themselves now.

I think that many in the majority party are finding themselves in the same psychic shape as alcoholics a few months before they finally seek sobriety, except for George Bush, who apparently does not have a clue. With alcoholism, other people can see that the alkie is, to quote one of my friends, in a state of pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization; but it takes what it takes for the alcoholic to realize that. This is why we have Karl Rove saying that when liberals saw the savagery of 9-11, we wanted to give the terrorists aid, comfort, and aromatherapy. So if the disease model of addiction holds true for this administration, there is something SO stinky and bad that has not quite yet had the light shined on it, that is the rock bottom truth of their madness, and that, tragically, even worse stuff than we already know will be revealed.
Two things stand out as charactoristic of junkies of any stripe before they hit bottom and figure out they need to make some serious changes. The first is the denial that they have a problem. And the second is that everybody else is to blame for the problem.

If Bush, Rove, Cheney, Rice, et al, aren't the poster children for blame and denial then I'll be happy to check myself into the clinic for serious hallucinations. You decide and let me know.


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