Saturday, April 15, 2006

The really, really important issues 

Iraq is in flames, Iran is a nuclear crisis (whether or not it need be) the immigration debate is raging, oil is at $70 a barrel, global climate change is accelerating, the post-Katrina recovery effort is floundering, there is no budget for the coming fiscal year.

And the Republicans are preparing their agenda for the fall elections:
GOP Campaign to Focus on Flag Burning, Gay Marriage, Abortion
Thank God they're on top of things, because if we can't get this nationwide epidemic of flag burning under contol, we could be in some real trouble.


Friday, April 14, 2006

Who keeps you safe? 

While the boys and girls at the Department of Homeland Security are putting out warnings about evil eco-terrorists "sending continuous faxes in order to drain the ink supply from company fax machines," local law enforcement in Minnesota and Ohio has actually busted some real domestic terrorists.

Of course, there's always the ATF around to keep things interesting. My compliments to the General.


Vote on Rummy's Demise 

Over at TPM Cafe, former CIA and counterterrorism guy Larry Johnson says Rummy's goose is cooked.

At DKos, McJoan wonders whether Bush will offer Republican Lite Lieberman the SecDef job, so Joe won't have to worry about getting his ass whupped in the '06 election.

Go vote on what becomes of Rummy.



Or else not. Kevin Drum has the curious tale of another Cheney to Libby to reporter leak, this one involving Joe Wilson's report, which he claims is still classified.


Just Plain Nuts 

NJ Star-Ledger via First Draft via Duncan:
It's hard to believe that with one military venture gone bad in Iraq and a world that now sees Washington as the greatest threat to peace, the Bushies would contemplate attacking a second nation, this time with tactical nukes. Which prompts two questions: Are these guys obsessed with a messianic sense of world mission that has robbed them of common sense? Or are they just plain nuts?
Or, what you get when you mix the messianic complex with a guy who was never too bright to begin with. Shaken, not stirred.


Kiss of Death 

Bush gives Rummy "strong show of support."

Meanwhile, 6 Iraqi policemen are dead and dozens missing near a U.S. base. And a series of bombings killed at least 5 people in 3 Iraqi cities.


Happy Spring Holiday 

The Onion pokes Faux News' O'Reilly. Go Listen.

Thanks and a very happy spring holiday to DL.


Tax Advice 

With the income tax filing deadline looming like a Rumsfeld resignation, Bill from Portland Maine shares a little tax advice from semi-famous tax guru Dave Berry:
Taxpayer name: Here's a tax-saving opportunity few taxpayers take advantage of: Instead of simply writing your name, write your name plus the word "DECEASED." This can save you big money down the road.

Presidential Election Campaign Fund checkoff box: If you check this box, $3 of your taxes will be earmarked for a special fund to pay for presidential campaigns. Notice that the government does not permit you to earmark the money for poor people, or sick people, or national defense. No, the government permits you to earmark money only for the purpose of enabling politicians to produce TV commercials designed to appeal to voters who have the IQ of a Vienna sausage.
Then there's that great line from Tree Top Flyer (made famous by Stephen Stills):
Don't pay taxes 'cause I never file . . .
Have a great weekend.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Heck of a job, Rummy 

SF Gate:
Crusty and unapologetic, Donald H. Rumsfeld is the public face of an unpopular war and a target of unrelenting criticism. A growing number of commanders who served under him say he has botched the Iraq operation, ignored the advice of his generals and should be replaced.

The White House insists the defense secretary retains President Bush's confidence. Few close to the administration expect him to be shown the door.

"The president believes Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a very fine job during a challenging period in our nation's history," Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said Thursday as the administration circled its wagons around the embattled Pentagon chief.

Two more retired generals called for Rumsfeld's resignation on Thursday, bringing the number this month to six.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ed Solves the Immigration Problem 

And the Utah Problem, too.



I'm still grappling with America invading and occupying another sovereign nation because we thought they might do something bad . . . someday . . . maybe.

Now we're faced with the spectre of America using its nuclear first-strike capability against another sovereign nation (albeit, only one letter off from the previously mentioned one), because we think they might do something bad . . . someday . . . maybe.

And even though I know that the lunatics are running the asylum (all three branches for the time being), it's still hard for me to fathom. I'm not alone.

Here's Billmon:
Maybe the idea of the United States would launch a nuclear first strike - albeit a "surgical" one - is too hard for most Americans, including most American journalists, to process. (I'm talking about normal people here, not the genocide junkies over at Little Green Footballs) It's even harder to square with our national self-image than the invasion of Iraq. We're the global sheriff, after all - Gary Cooper in a big white hat. And while Gary Cooper might shoot an outlaw down in a fair fight at High Noon, he wouldn't sneak into their camp in the middle of the night and incinerate them with nuclear weapons. That's not how the Code of the West is supposed to work.

Even my own hyperactive imagination is having a hard time wrapping itself around the idea. I'm familiar enough with Cold War history to know the United States has at least considered the first use of nuclear weapons before - in Korea and even in Vietnam - and I know it was long-standing U.S. strategic doctrine never to rule out a nuclear response to a Soviet conventional attack on Western Europe. But the current nuclear war gaming strikes me as much more likely to end in the real thing - partly because the neocons appear to have convinced themselves a "tactical" strike doesn't really count, partly because of what Hersh politely refers to as Bush's "messianic vision" (Cheney may have his finger on the bureaucracy, but Shrub is still the one with his finger on the button) but mostly because I think these guys really think they can get away with it. And they might be right.
Maybe we should just tell the rest of the world to go ahead and get the war crimes trials ready. We'll be happy to hand the bastards over right after the guilty verdicts in the Senate.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Another Good Marine 

Who was against the war from the git.

Thanks to AMERICAblog for the link.


The Winning Game Plan 

Kevin Drum has an interesting take on Lawrence Kaplan's report on the Iran-Syria Operations Group (ISOG).

First, here's Kaplan:
Although a spokesman for the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) declines to comment on its existence, and the press has yet to carry a single mention of it, last month the administration formed something called the Iran-Syria Operations Group (ISOG) — a group headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Liz Cheney, the purpose of which is to encourage regime change in Iran. It's no secret that Cheney has over $80 million at her disposal to promote democracy in Iran. But ISOG isn't simply about promoting democracy. It's about helping to craft official policy, doing so not with one but two countries in its sights, and creating a policymaking apparatus that parallels — and skirts — Foggy Bottom's suspect Iran desk.
Kevin shows a keen grasp of recent history:
Kaplan, for reasons that are obscure, apparently accepts at face value the official explanation that "ISOG has no role to play on security issues, doesn't coordinate at all with White House efforts against Iran at the United Nations, and confines itself to promoting regime change from within." Sure it does. That's why the Vice President's daughter is in charge of it.

In any case, connect the dots. "Promoting regime change from within" = the Iranian exile community. The Iranian exile community = source of dubious intelligence about Iran's nuclear program. Iran's nuclear program = excuse to go to war. Why change a winning game plan?


Another twist on the Jesus tale 

from the Absurdist in comments at AltHippo:
A crowd was preparing to stone a woman who had been caught committing adultery.
Jesus tried to stop them by saying, “let whoever is without sin among you, cast the first stone.”

Just then a stone came flying from the back of the crowd and struck the woman.

Jesus blurted out, “Mother, I’m trying to make a point here.”


The Hole in the Leak Story 

Avedon sums up quite nicely why the White House jive about leaking the NIE information to a reporter in order to "inform the public" is just so much incoming:
It does seem rather odd that an editor at the Capitol's leading paper would be unaware that if you just want to inform the public, you don't have to hand super-secret leaks to reporters under the table, because you have the magical ability to put out a press release. You can do White House briefings and babble at the gaggle and present it on the weekly radio address and hold press conferences and - good God, Hiatt, how can you pretend not to know this stuff?
So, let's stop pretending that it wasn't what it was.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Dear Mr. President 

If you haven't already, go over to Friday Fishwrap and listen to Pink and the Indigo Girls sing a song for you and me. Turn it up.

Thanks to Duncan. Turned my Sunday around.


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