Alberto Gonzales has tendered his resignation to the Bush Administation.
It's about damned time, IMHO.
Gonzo is the lying. Gonzo is the torturing. Gonzo is the spying. Or at least the blame for many of them is gone. The question now is whether or not we'll go back to the way things were, or continue with the Gonzo policies with new faces.
Time will tell.
Any other Resignations will occur soon, as Bush has asked that people leave or stay until the bitter end and decide over August vacation.
Bush and Cheney only have one more August vacation left, and I hope to make it an eventful one.
Let's go kick them out. There's only two left (Condi will be a bonus).
This is good news on a cold day...another Neocon instigator is out of power.
The US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, today became the Bush administration's latest foreign policy hawk to fall victim to the Democratic takeover of Congress. With senators refusing to confirm his nomination, the White House bowed to the inevitable and said Mr Bolton would step down in a few days.
The White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said President George Bush had reluctantly accepted Mr Bolton's decision to leave the UN post when the current session of the US Congress ended, possibly at the end of the week.
If you don't know why Bolton was totally unfit to represent the U.S. at the U.N., watch this clip.
WASHINGTON — Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., said Thursday he plans to evict Dick Cheney from an office the vice president uses on Capitol Hill.
That office has been historically designated for the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
Last week, Rangel called Cheney a "son of a bitch" after the vice president said the gravel-voiced New Yorker "doesn't understand how the economy works."
Rangel later said he should have confronted Cheney in private.
Sure, confront him in private...investigate his ass is public, if you please.
BTW, Cheney is on record saying that most responsible of economic things, "deficits don't matter." 
Sorry, but the VP can't be impeached fast enough. For the good of the country and the world, he should step down.
Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill was told "deficits don't matter" when he warned of a looming fiscal crisis.
O'Neill, fired in a shakeup of Bush's economic team in December 2002, raised objections to a new round of tax cuts and said the president balked at his more aggressive plan to combat corporate crime after a string of accounting scandals because of opposition from "the corporate crowd," a key constituency.
O'Neill said he tried to warn Vice President Dick Cheney that growing budget deficits-expected to top $500 billion this fiscal year alone-posed a threat to the economy. Cheney cut him off. "You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don't matter," he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: "We won the midterms (congressional elections). This is our due." A month later, Cheney told the Treasury secretary he was fired.
Hmmm, let's see...if the troops are calling for Rumsfeld to go...and Bush refuses to kick him out....who's not supporting the troops now?
ONE of the most respected journals covering the US military has called for Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to be sacked, adding to the chorus urging President George W. Bush to oust the Iraq war architect.
News of the coming editorial in the influential Army Times and other military periodicals came as leading neoconservative Richard Perle, who chaired a committee of Pentagon policy advisers early in the Bush administration, stunned foreign policy experts with the admission that if he had his time over again, he would not have supported the invasion of Iraq. -- "The time has come, Mr President, to face the hard bruising truth," said an editorial appearing in the November 13 issues of the weekly Military Times group of newspapers, which include the Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times. "Donald Rumsfeld must go. Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised.
"And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt."
BTW, Perle's (i.e. the Prince of Evil) admission that Iraq was a mistake is only an admission that Bush and Rummy screwed it up. It is not a repudiation that the entire idea of starting wars to spread freedom is retarded (which is my contention).
Regardless of the Neocons admissions, it is good to see a voice coming from the Armed Forces. This is very similar to Kevin Tillman's letter. There are a number of very disgruntled troops, but only those on the outside can say so. Duty and honor prevent those from currently serving from complaining publicly.
Let's start off this latest Iraq update with a quick joke.
Q: How many Bush Administration officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: There is nothing wrong with the light bulb; its conditions are improving every day. Any reports of its lack of incandescence are delusional spin from the liberal media. That light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect. Why do you hate freedom?
-- Next we seen that veterans are finally laughing in the faces of "Stay the Course"-ites.
PALMETTO -- Republican Vern Buchanan was interrupted by laughter during a debate before a group of veterans Thursday when he insisted that the White House has a strategy for the war in Iraq.
Buchanan had objected to Jennings' repeating her frequent charge that the Bush administration doesn't have a strategy for winning the war.
"But there is a strategy and it needs to be flexible," he said.
Some of the veterans started chuckling, and Buchanan had to stop speaking after telling them that he expected the White House would adopt a more flexible strategy.
"I was pretty surprised that there was such a reaction," said Jennings, noting that the audience was asked before the debate to hold applause or any other responses until the end of the debate.
And if that's not good enough to make you laugh, let's not forget the latest from our Comedian-in-Chief.
SPRINGFIELD, Missouri (Reuters) - President George W. Bush challenged Democrats on Friday to offer their plan for winning in Iraq as he swept across Republican strongholds in the U.S. heartland to try to help his party's candidates survive on Election Day.
Encouraging audience participation from thousands of Republican loyalists at a rally, Bush said Democrats should be asked, "What's your plan?" for winning in Iraq and a host of other national security issues separating the parties.
"What's your plan?" the audience yelled back.
"Truth is the Democrats can't answer that question," he said. "Harsh criticism is not a plan for victory."
Umm, I hate to have to point this out, but the first step of the "Democrat Plan" is to fire Donald Rumsfeld. Bush has already refused to do so...so why continue giving suggestions that will be ignored?
You know what a good sign of an idiot is? Short and selective memory.
After reading Kerry's comments to a GOP audience in Georgia, Bush said Kerry's statement was "insulting and it is shameful. The members of the United States military are plenty smart and they are plenty brave and the senator from Massachusetts owes them an apology." The White House tipped off the networks to when Bush would attack Kerry, so the comments could be carried live and make the evening news.
Now we'll head to Iraq itself for a bit and see how things are going. If you haven't been following this stuff...let's just pick one word..."worse".
BAGHDAD Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki put himself at odds with the American government that backs him on Wednesday, distancing himself from the American notion of a timetable for stabilizing Iraq and criticizing an American-backed raid on a Shiite militia enclave.
Speaking in Baghdad just hours before President Bush gave a news conference in Washington, Maliki tailored his remarks for his own domestic audience, reassuring the millions of Shiites who form his power base that he would not bend to pressure by the American government over how to conduct internal Iraqi affairs.
His comments stood in stark contrast to the message given on Tuesday by the two top American officials in Iraq, General George W. Casey Jr. and Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who said the timetable for political measures was one the Iraqi government had accepted.
Maliki's stance differs sharply from views presented by American officials, who speak of Shiite death squads as an evil equal to that of the Sunni Arab insurgents. But it fits snugly inside the circle of hardening Shiite sentiment that the American military, in keeping full control of security, has not given the Iraqi government full powers to intervene when Sunni militias or insurgents carry out sectarian cleansing.
"Most of the officials feel like their hands are tied," said one Shiite politician, who asked not to be identified because the topic was sensitive. "They can't take critical decisions at critical times."
The politician cited the example of Saab al-Bour, a largely Shiite town with Sunni Arab outskirts northwest of Baghdad, from which hundreds of Shiite families have fled in the past month after attacks by Sunni insurgents. Shiites were "crying for help," he said, but the government could not come to their aid because of confusion over which country's troops were responsible for the area.
Americans have held onto control over security partly because they do not trust that Iraqi forces are up to the job. They also fear selective enforcement by the government in favor of Shiites, who form a large part of Iraq's security forces, particularly its police, whose ranks are infiltrated by militias.
BTW, this new "timeline" mentioned above is a much needed change in strategy from the Administration, and one I advocated a couple of years ago. They still haven't figured out the "conditional" part, but they'll probably get around to it at some point after floundering in the dark for another year or so.
That is...if "Iraq" still exists a year from now. There have already been calls and legislation proposed to split Iraq into a 3-autonomous section Republic. It has a good bit of support from the Kurds and the Shia, but isn't liked by the Sunnis or the Americans.
Regardless, we have a new indcation of how bad things have gotten since the Shia started fighting back via a powerpoint slide leaked to the New York Times.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 -- A classified briefing prepared two weeks ago by the United States Central Command portrays Iraq as edging toward chaos, in a chart that the military is using as a barometer of civil conflict.
The slide includes a color-coded bar chart that is used to illustrate an "Index of Civil Conflict." It shows a sharp escalation in sectarian violence since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February, and tracks a further worsening this month despite a concerted American push to tamp down the violence in Baghdad.
In fashioning the index, the military is weighing factors like the ineffectual Iraqi police and the dwindling influence of moderate religious and political figures, rather than more traditional military measures such as the enemy's fighting strength and the control of territory.
The conclusions the Central Command has drawn from these trends are not encouraging, according to a copy of the slide that was obtained by The New York Times. The slide shows Iraq as moving sharply away from "peace," an ideal on the far left side of the chart, to a point much closer to the right side of the spectrum, a red zone marked "chaos." As depicted in the command's chart, the needle has been moving steadily toward the far right of the chart.
If you take a look at the chart, you'll see one of the biggest issues and the most obvious conundrums about the situation. On the one hand, the U.S. is counting on the Iraqi Army and Police "standing up" to take over the fight against the militias and insurgency. The problem? The Iraqi Army and Police are the militias, and, to a lesser degree, the insurgency. Both are horribly infiltrated. So our best hope is rotten to the core.
And speaking of rotten to the core, here's Something Awful's take on the next evolution of military recruiting (done under the guise of public service)
When [the messaging] started again this August I resolved to put a stop to it the only way I knew how: become a nuisance to the school teacher until he or she got the new tech support guy to uninstall MSN. That meant somehow making the teacher think leaving MSN installed on the computer was a bad idea. I didn't really want to get arrested for exposing the kids to porno links or, god forbid, just ask them to uninstall it. I decided on the much more patriotic course of changing my MSN name to Sergeant Haymaker and posing as a particularly unethical recruiter for the United States Marine Corps.
Let's start this off with the usual White Houst denials of fact.
WASHINGTON — The White House said Friday that U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney was not talking about a torture technique known as "water boarding" when he said dunking terrorism suspects in water during questioning was a "no-brainer.''
Human rights groups said Cheney's comments amounted to an endorsement of water boarding, in which the victim believes he is about to drown.
In an interview Tuesday with WDAY of Fargo, N.D., Cheney was asked if "a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives.''
The vice president replied, "Well, it's a no-brainer for me but for a while there I was criticized as being the vice president for torture. We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in.''
Now, to put the question in context, you need to know that Cheney was talking to some right-wing radio nutjob. You know the type, they love torture. They love the idea of brown people being drowned and revived and then giving up the next 9/11 plot...just like they saw on 24 the night before. Which is to say, they live in a militarist fantasy world. So Cheney goes to these "friendly" media outlets and reassures the nujtobs, his only surviving support group, that he is, indeed, torturing brown people, and don't let the liberal media tell you otherwise.
There's a bit of wink-wink, nudge-nudge, about the whole deal, but this is pretty solid evidence that not only does the U.S. use this technique to extract information, but that our Vice-President is extremely supportive of its use. When something is a "no-brainer" that means that only a person without a brain wouldn't do it. Hence, Cheney assumes he has a brain, and tortures people. This is much easier for Cheney, as he no longer has a heart.
“We will win this election because Republicans understand the values and priorities of the American people,” Mr. Bush said. “We’ll win this election because our priorities and our values do not shift with the latest political opinion poll or focus group.”
Don't you just love that false bravado? That sense that our leaders know sooo much more than us, and that Republican priorities (wars, paiges, torture) are really American priorites. Surely this man realizes he is one of the most consistently unpopular Presidents precisely because his values (hate them gays, start them wars, fear them Ayrabs) are NOT shared by most of the American people.
But it gets better (or worse, if you happen to be a citizen here). Bush then goes on to say (regarding Iraq and the WTC).
Mr. Bush was disdainful of Democratic arguments that the war in Iraq has made the United States less safe than before by stoking anti-American resentment, thus creating a breeding ground for terrorists in the Middle East.
“Iraq is not the reason the terrorists are at war against us,” he said. “I would remind the House Democrats our troops were not in Iraq when the terrorists first attacked the World Trade Center in 1993.”
Correct, jackass, our troops weren't in Iraq in '93. But our troops were in Saudi Arabia, after smashing Iraq in '93, as NOTED BY THE PEOPLE WHO ATTACKED US IN '93!!!
I mean, does this guy even read the statements made by our enemies? Does he have any idea what inspires them? I really don't think he does, or perhaps like Cheney, there's one reality he sells to his base and another reality he tries to foister on the rest of us.
I wonder if he would be kind enough to remind House Democrats who it was that attacked us on 9/11 and whether or not it was Iraq (and whether or not he is "dead or alive").
Next we get the other side of his "thinking 'bout terra".
“You do not create terrorists by fighting the terrorists,” Mr. Bush said. “Our goal in Iraq is victory.” That victory will come through a combination of resolve and tactical flexibility, he said, repeating a theme he has often embraced in recent weeks.
This is totally retarded. No, you don't create terrorists by fighting terrorists. No one said that. What many of us said back before the invasion, during the screwing up on the invastion, and WHAT THE U.S. INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES SAID LAST MONTH is that by invading a country that hasn't attacked us, and wasn't a threat to us, WE HAVE CREATED A NEW GENERATION OF TERRORISTS!!
I'm actually kind of surprised he didn't say that we'll defeat the terrorists and accomplish the mission by staying the course and dunking them in water.
As something of an aperitif, I offer this Bjork video, which kottke loved so much.It's quite the story within a story about a story about a book....and stays accessible through it all.
Before we get to the bashing, I just want to address the complaints of some about "bashing Bush" in general. They seem to think that actually laying out complaints is somehow unpatriotic. They seem to think that Bush is undeserving of bashing. They seem to think the U.S. has improved greatly during the 21st century. If any of them read this...realize something...I only bash Bush because of the things he has don and said. There's no other thing to go after him. It's not about who he is, or where he's from...it's about what he has done in office, and to stay in office, that really needs to be addressed.
I think it's important to start off with something like that, because next we move on slightly more serious matters. In this case, a warning from a previous President.Ike is a bit behind the times however. While he speaks of the "Military Industrial Complex" in this speech, the name has been updated to go along with the times. Nowadays, folks like me call 'em the "Neocon Imperial Militarists" (NIM for short).
This is some pretty serious stuff, and there's a lot more where that came from. Like this excerpt from a speech by General Smedley Butler in 1933. Yes, people have known this for a while. I'm sure I could wander through the annals of military history and find many more examples of soldiers pointing out the often inane aspects of organizaed warfare. Regardess..here's General Butler's take.
War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.
I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.
I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
And since I'm very much into quoting combat veterans in this post, let's take a look at the thoughts of another one. While you haven't heard much from Kevin Tillman before, his brother Pat gained national fame when his death was used as a prop by Bush during the 2004 campaign . Kevin goes on at lengh regarding the situation.
Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can't be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.
Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is. -- Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It's interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.
Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes. -- Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.
Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.
Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.
Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.
Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.
Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.
Somehow torture is tolerated.
Somehow lying is tolerated.
Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense. Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.
Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.
The top US military commander in Iraq and the powerful American ambassador to the country gave a rare joint briefing in Baghdad today to stress that control of the country was transferring to Iraqis and that the future lay largely in local hands.
The briefing, coming two weeks before the congressional mid-term elections in America, in which the Iraq war has emerged as the defining issue, sought to clarify the US mission in the country and put forward a timeline of political developments that Washington expects Iraqi leaders to achieve within the next 12 months.
Actually, I guess it's more that the Iraqi puppet government is on a timeline. Those who have studied a bit of history regarding the U.S.'s stupid wars know what is happening now is a set up for the next stage of the great game, i.e. passing of the buck on responsibility. It simply couldn't be the people who dreamed up and started this war that were wrong...noo....it was the liberals that didn't support it and the weak-kneed transition goverment that doomed the project to failure.
The sad part is that a whole bunch of people will buy it. How else can this asshat stay stocked wiht oxycontin?
WASHINGTON — Rush Limbaugh has accused actor Michael J. Fox of exaggerating the physical effects of his Parkinson's disease in political ads urging viewers to vote for Democrats in next month's election.
The conservative radio host told listeners Monday that Fox's lurching, palsied movements in a TV ad for Missouri Senate challenger Claire McCaskill were "an act." Limbaugh noted that Fox, a longtime advocate for research on embryonic stem cells, has said he sometimes does not take his medication in order to illustrate Parkinson's severe physical effects. Uncontrolled shaking and stiffness are among the symptoms of the nerve disease. -- John Rogers, Fox's spokesman, called Limbaugh's remarks "shameful."
It's an appalling, sad statement," Rogers said. "Anybody who understands Parkinson's disease knows it's because of the medicine that one experiences" body movements like those seen in the ad.
Fox, who has had Parkinson's for 15 years, is supporting candidates who would vote to expand research using stem cells from human embryos.
It is sad to see someone who (mind boggles) gets respect from a large portion of our population saying such ridiculous things. Also, I hope the Dems keep hammering away at the anti-science, anti-evolution, anti-intelleigence culture that the Republicans brought to Washington. If Alex P. Keaton wants to join in on the bashing, I'm all for it.
UPDATE: Some days I actually have hope.
I said before is, it's like saying a person with cancer is faking it because they lost their hair," Kirby said. "There's no logic to it."
For the last six years, Kirby has watched her husband, Kevin, suffer from Parkinson's. His tremors and twitches are not as severe as Fox's.
Kirby emailed everyone she knows to boycott advertisers of the Limbaugh show, and she took it a step further.
"We've been Republicans, dyed in the wool, forever, and we didn't vote Republican at all this time," Kirby said.
Limbaugh has since apologized for his remarks. But the Kirbys say the damage is done.
That's enough about what level of idiot it takes to continue supporting Bush. If there are still a few who don't get it, this next link stands as even more evidence that we are in bad shape...and will get worse if we don't come up with a sane Iraq policy.
Troops With Stress Disorders Being Redeployed (CBS News) Army Staff Sgt. Bryce Syverson spent 15 months in Iraq before he was diagnosed by military doctors with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and sent to the psychiatric unit at Walter Reed Medical Center, CBS News correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi reports.
"It ended up they just took his weapon away from him and said he was non-deployable and couldn't have a weapon," says his father, Larry Syverson. "He was on suicide watch in a lockdown."
That was last August. This August, he was deployed to Ramadi, in the heart of the Sunni triangle -- and he had a weapon.
He's still there. Under pressure to maintain troop levels, military doctors tell CBS News it's become a "common practice" to recycle soldiers with mental disorders back into combat.
[full story] Cutting corners like this will only lead to another Haditha.
Things are so bad for Bush now, even fate is conspiring to bash him.
Everything seemed to be going wrong for Bush last week, even the metaphors. On the way to the Allen fund raiser, we stopped for a photo op at a picturesque farm stand outside Richmond. There was a pile of pumpkins sitting on a flatbed truck, and both Allen and Bush tried to hoist an aesthetically pleasing pumpkin by the stem. Both stems snapped. "If you break it, you pay for it, Mr. President," said Richard Keil of Bloomberg News, echoing Colin Powell's famous rule at the outset of the Iraq war. Bush didn't seem to get the joke. "I suppose you're right," he said, and tried to buy the broken pumpkin.
For those from the 20th Century visiting the 21st, we have an update for you. "Civil War" is now called "Sectarian Struggle". Yes, the alliteration is nice, but it still means countryman killing countryman....and countrywoman and countrychildren. Geez, maybe Bush can use "the google" to figure out WTF is going on in the world...it's worked wonders for me.
Pre-pre-final link: It looks like others have noticed, as I did, that the RNC is now airing Al Qeada Terror™ Brand commericals.
I'm not at all sure terrorists would consider this footage useful for propaganda purposes, but a reasonable case can be made — indeed, has been made — that the latest commercial from the Republican National Committee is far closer to an "enemy propaganda film" than anything we've seen on CNN.
Finally...please...suck it up and vote for the Dems.
Bonus: Forward looking link.
Bush faces political nightmare if Democrats win
WASHINGTON, Oct 22 (Reuters) - If Democrats win control of the U.S. Congress in the Nov. 7 election, it would turn the Capitol upside down and create a political nightmare for the already embattled President George W. Bush.
If his Republicans lose the majority, Bush would hear newly empowered calls to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and would suddenly face promised Democratic-led congressional investigations with subpoena power into the unpopular war.
Bush, whose public approval ratings are below 40 percent, would also face Democratic demands he offer "mainstream" rather than "right-wing" judicial nominees if he wants them confirmed.
[full story] This is the hope. There have been so many shady deals and strange b.s. in D.C. that hasn't been investigated while Bush has been in control, it will be nice to see some accountability. Also, I think the last few years have illustrated how one-party control of the country (any country) is not a good thing.
Mary, the mother, complained to the Post that the government used her son for weeks after his death. She said she was particularly offended when President Bush offered a taped memorial message to Tillman at a Cardinals football game shortly before the presidential election last fall.
 This is perhaps the worst part of the situation, and why Bush has been so bad for America, and why...even if Bush recalled the concept of honor and resigned tomorrow...we would still face an uphill climb to get back where from we came.
UNITED NATIONS --Several governments around the world have tried to rebut criticism of how they handle detainees by claiming they are only following the U.S. example in the war on terror, the U.N. anti-torture chief said Monday.
Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special investigator on torture, said that when he criticizes governments for their questionable treatment of detainees, they respond by telling him that if the United States does something, it must be all right. He would not name any countries except for Jordan.
"The United States has been the pioneer, if you wish, of human rights and is a country that has a high reputation in the world," Nowak told a news conference. "Today, many other governments are kind of saying, 'But why are you criticizing us, we are not doing something different than what the United States is doing?'"
BAGHDAD -- A senior US diplomat said the United States had shown "arrogance" and "stupidity" in Iraq but was now ready to talk with any group except Al Qaeda in Iraq to facilitate national reconciliation.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera television aired late yesterday, Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department offered an unusually candid assessment of America's war in Iraq.
"We tried to do our best, but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq," he said.
The sad part? He backed off his truth telling after a call from home mentioned how "truth" went of style around 2000 and "truthiness" is all the rage nowadays.
Ed note: Yea, I've been gone for a while. The problems still remain, but I'm trying to work through them with my hosting company.
UPDATE: What's so funny, Mr. President?
UPDATE: Ever seen a grown man fellate a Vice-President (who likes being compared to Darth Vader?)?
Can I please have 5 minutes on tape with Cheney? He can be exposed as an evil man in 2 minutes or less, with a couple simple questions. The fact that he talks about "the terrorists" taking actions that could kill hundreds of thousands of people somehow overwhelms the fact that HE HAS TAKEN ACTIONS THAT HAVE KILLED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE.
Neocons believe in the things most of all. 1) Might Makes Right. 2) The Ends Justify the Means.
Once you understand this, you'll know why they are evil. Or, coversely, you can just look at what they've done.
UPDATE: Here's Imus on Limbaugh. Good way to put it.
Oh well, useful idiots abound. --  Essentially this post is about the triplet "Stay the Course" which was the GOP "strategy" in Iraq (yes, I know, "keep going the same way" is a bloody awful way to run a war, but that's what they picked). That phrase, "stay the course", is no longer polling well, so they decided to stop using it. They also decided that they had never been using it, and anyone who said they did was obviously a "cut and runner".
How our national legislature has become a stable of thieves and perverts -- in five easy steps
by MATT TAIBBI
"The 109th Congress is so bad that it makes you wonder if democracy is a failed experiment," says Jonathan Turley, a noted constitutional scholar and the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington Law School. "I think that if the Framers went to Capitol Hill today, it would shake their confidence in the system they created. Congress has become an exercise of raw power with no principles -- and in that environment corruption has flourished. The Republicans in Congress decided from the outset that their future would be inextricably tied to George Bush and his policies. It has become this sad session of members sitting down and drinking Kool-Aid delivered by Karl Rove. Congress became a mere extension of the White House."
There's a few things about this that illustrate what horrible leadership our country is presently enduring. Let's start off with the accurate comparisons to the worst war in American history.
Asked whether he agreed with the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who wrote that attacks in Iraq seem "like the jihadist equivalent of the Tet offensive", Mr Bush said: "He could be right. There's certainly a stepped-up level of violence, and we're heading into an election."
For those that can't see the blatant hypocrisy of Bush talking about Iraq and elections, take a moment and recall what happened moments after the 2004 election. A refresher...and recall...this was after Bush kept talking before the election about how good things were going in Iraq.
November 8, 2004
Iraq's interim government declared a state of emergency for 60 days on Sunday ahead of January elections amid spiraling insurgent attacks that have killed 60 Iraqis in two days. Prime Minister Allawi said the move, which will grant his government sweeping powers to impose order, was intended to ensure that upcoming elections would be held in a secure environment. He said the measures were a message to insurgents of his determination to root them out, as he warned rebels in Fallujah once more to give up amid intense preparations for an expected assault on the city west of Baghdad.
Jump ahead two years and during another election cycle, and we see the same kind of b.s. being pulled again. The difference this time is Bush is complaining about the Iraqis "standing up" against U.S. forces. From Exhibit C.
The insurgents' goal was to force the US to lose its will to continue in Iraq, Mr Bush said.
"My gut tells me that they have all along been trying to inflict enough damage that we'd leave," he told American ABC television.
So they idea of fighting is to win? And WTF is up with his gut? Is he following Colbert's Book of Thinking With Your Gut? 
Also, and I know this is a difficult truth to face, but much of our problem in Iraq is because Iraqis are standing up and doing so against the Neocon's goals.
He then does something as dishonest as the Republicans did back in '04, i.e. saying "Saddam/9-11" over and over again (updated now to "Insurgents/Terrorists").
"And the leaders of al-Qaeda have made that very clear. They believe that if they can create enough chaos, the American people will grow sick and tired of the Iraqi effort and will cause [the] Government to withdraw."
O.k. quick question...what is Al Qaida or the Mahdi Army that recently seized a city in Iraq?
We used to be the home of the brave, but 12 years of Republican leadership, and one big attack, have...somehow...turned our nation yellow. By campaigning on fear, the Republicans illustrate, again, why they can never win a War on Terror™...their use of fear during campaigns increases our susceptibility to the tactic.
Exhibit E: This crap is just ridiculous. Click on "Listen to the Ads" and then listen to a few. They should, if you have a similar conscience to me, make you sick.
The guerrillas in Iraq are strong because they are popular. A leaked Pentagon poll last month showed that 75 per cent of the five million-strong Sunni community support armed resistance.
The present slaughter in Iraq is taking place because the existing ethnic and sectarian hostilities have combined with animosities that have been created by the occupation. For instance, a Sunni ex-army officer supporting the resistance now sees a Shia serving in the Iraqi army or police force not just as the member of a different Islamic sect but as a traitor to his country who is actively collaborating with the hated invader.
The last excuse for the occupation was that at least it prevented civil war, but this it very visibly is not doing. On the contrary it de-legitimises the Iraqi government, army and police force, which are seen by Iraqis as pawns of the occupier. When I've asked people in Baghdad what they think of their government, they often reply: "What government? We never see it. It does nothing for us."
Please, wake up, America. It is time for these people to go.
By the way, before I get started, if anybody needs anything else at their tables, just speak slowly and clearly into your table numbers. Somebody from the NSA will be right over with a cocktail. Mark Smith, ladies and gentlemen of the press corps, Madame First Lady, Mr. President, my name is Stephen Colbert and tonight it's my privilege to celebrate this president. We're not so different, he and I. We get it. We're not brainiacs on the nerd patrol. We're not members of the factinista. We go straight from the gut, right sir? That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. I know some of you are going to say "I did look it up, and that's not true." That's 'cause you looked it up in a book.
BAGHDAD, Iraq Oct 20, 2006 (AP)— The Shiite militia run by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr seized total control of the southern Iraqi city of Amarah on Friday in one of the boldest acts of defiance yet by one of the country's powerful, unofficial armies, witnesses and police said. -- The Mahdi Army fighters stormed three main police stations Friday morning, planting explosives that flattened the buildings, residents said.
About 800 black-clad militiamen with Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers were patrolling city streets in commandeered police vehicles, eyewitnesses said. Other fighters had set up roadblocks on routes into the city and sound trucks circulated telling residents to stay indoors.
First, the ad.Then, the latest reason to kick him out.
President George W Bush has signed into law a bill that sets standards for the interrogation and prosecution of foreign terror suspects held by the US. The law aims to enshrine defendants' human rights, but still restricts their right to challenge their detention.
It follows a Supreme Court ruling in June that military tribunals set up to prosecute detainees at Guantanamo Bay violated US and international law.
A US spokesman said preparations would now begin to try Guantanamo suspects.
At a ceremony in Washington, Mr Bush said it was a rare occasion when a president signed a law that he knew would save American lives.
"I have that privilege this morning," he said, calling the Military Commissions Act "one of the most important pieces of legislation in the war on terror".
This is the sad part...he doesn't even realize how he's given our enemies the greenlight to torture, try, and summarily execute American soldiers. The worst part...he's proud of himself for doing so.
At the tribunals, defendants will be allowed to see some - but not necessarily all - of the evidence against them. The law also bars non-US citizens from filing habeas corpus petitions challenging their detentions in federal court.
Civil liberties groups say the law does not guarantee detainees' rights, and legal challenges are to be expected.
The BBC's Jonathan Beale in Washington says that although the law says detainees cannot be subjected to inhumane or cruel treatment, it is not clear which interrogation techniques can still be used.
The US defence department has laid charges against 10 detainees and is preparing to charge about 65 more.
There are about 450 detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison facility on Cuba, according to the Bush administration.
Yes, you read that right. The 385 folks in Gitmo that haven't, and it would seem, won't, be charged with crimes now "officially" (according to U.S. "law") don't have any rights to challenge their internment.
King John is probably jumping for joy, as now hereditary rulers can once again rule the citizens of other countries (and those within their own they deem unworthy) with impunity.
UPDATE: Recently the population of the United States crossed the 300,000,000 threshhold.
Every single one of those citizens should see this latest move as nothing more, and nothing less, than A SLAP IN THE FACE.
UPDATE: KO on this b.s. "Your words are lies, sir." KO does a fairly solid job of pointing out that what Bush said while signing the bill was utter and total bullshit.
I can certainly attest to this general lack of good information on the part of Bush supporters after a conversation I had at the hotel bar last evening. My counter-arguer was not only ignorant of the situation in Iraq and this bill, but wouldn't even listen to simple and basic explanations regarding why I feel the way I do about the direction our country was moving. The general response was "liberals are stupid". Actually, that was the whole argument. To make matters worse, when asked the simple question, "What do you mean by 'liberal'". The definition given was "stupid people".
Finally, and on the same point. Here's what Dennis Hastert had to say about this wholly un-American legislation.
The Democratic plan would gingerly pamper the terrorists who plan to destroy innocent Americans' lives. While House Republicans work to deal with these dangers like establishing Terrorist Tribunals that will prosecute enemies of America, Democrat Leader Pelosi and 159 of her colleagues voted in favor of NEW rights for terrorists.
"The House Democrat Leader does not understand that our fight for freedom does not just happen on the battlefield but also on the floor of the House of Representatives. It should come as no surprise that the Democrats in the House put their liberal agenda ahead of the security of America."
You know what the really scary part is about the Republican rhetoric surrounding the election? Under the new law, they can actually imprison indefinitely those giving material support to "terrorists", which is exactly what their rhetoric is saying that Democrats are doing. I just hope Denny realizes how hypocritical his statement was, as the law he is touting as a part of the "fight for freedom" does nothing but take freedoms away, and our fight "on the battlefield (of Iraq)" is only accomplishing the mission of spending billions of dollars to create more extremists.
And yes, Hastert is one of those "hims" that needs kicking.
Then we get a closer look at why we really invaded Iraq.
HOUSTON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. oil companies are slowly building their relationships with the Iraqi government in anticipation of a new legal regime that will allow them to invest there, the Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. said Monday.
"I see very strong interest from U.S. energy companies in Iraq," Ambassador Samir Shakir Mahmood Sumaida'ie told Dow Jones Newswires after a speech in Houston. The companies "have visited me at the embassy and expressed that interest," while "waiting for things to be put in place," he said.
The passage of a new investment law in the next two or three weeks and a new hydrocarbons law "within this year" will create the right conditions for major U.S. investments, he said.
U.S. oil companies are "already building up their relationship with the ministry of oil" and providing training to Iraqi technicians, said Sumaida'ie, who added that he would meet with Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) executives on Monday.
The Iraqi oil sector has suffered from the turmoil that has submerged the country since a U.S.-led coalition overthrew Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003. Violence and the lack of a federal petroleum law has kept foreign companies at bay.
But oil majors are reportedly discussing investments in the Iraqi Kurdistan, where the security situation is better than in other areas, the region's oil minister said recently.
Finally, we'll take a look at how the Neocons leveraged resources here to try and take them over there.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's wife says in a new biography that President George W. Bush used her husband to sell the war in Iraq.
In "Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell" by Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post, Alma Powell describes the administration's treatment of her husband as callous.
"They needed him to do it because they knew people would believe him," Mrs. Powell said.
Powell, the first black secretary of state, gave DeYoung six interviews for the book. He told her he never considered resigning even though he had disagreements with the president about the 2003 invasion.
ENNIS HASTERT SHOULD RESIGN as speaker of the House of Representatives. Not necessarily because he failed to act quickly when shown evidence suggesting that Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) was abusing his power with teenagers — not all the details are known, though the ones that are don't look good. No, the Illinois Republican should resign because he's an unimaginative politician and an uninspired legislator. Unfortunately, these days that just makes him a typical congressional Republican.
At his job-preserving news conference Thursday, Hastert said, "The buck stops here," then proceeded to blame some of this Republican scandal on the Democratic Party. "I haven't done anything wrong, obviously," he added. -- Start with his laugh-out-loud assertion Thursday that the Republican Party has been "holding the line on spending." From 1999, when Hastert was elected speaker, to 2005, non-defense discretionary spending increased 34%, according to the Heritage Foundation. Pork-barrel line items have grown exponentially on Hastert's watch, and ballyhooed attempts at reform have largely fizzled. Instead of trying to prevent his colleagues from raiding the public purse, Hastert has saved his scorn for judges who authorize the FBI to search the offices of fellow lawmakers charged with crimes.
The same Republican Party that swept into a House majority 12 years ago amid fire-breathing promises to clean house and inject new blood is now led by a 19-year veteran whose oldest son is a lobbyist.
(AP) Rep. Chris Shays, who is facing a tough challenge from an anti-war Democrat, on Wednesday called for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to resign — a rare demand from a longtime Republican.
The Connecticut lawmaker also accused officials at the Defense Department of withholding information about the Iraq war from Congress.
“I am losing faith in how we are fighting this war,” Shays, a longtime supporter of the conflict, said in an interview. “I believe we have to motivate the Iraqis to do more.”
Shays, who was elected in 1987, said defense officials stopped cooperating with his congressional subcommittee after Shays proposed setting a timeline for troop withdrawals. Shays, who had previously opposed such a timeline, offered the plan in August following his 14th trip to Iraq since the war began.
Rumsfeld “simply is refusing to cooperate with a committee that oversees the Department of Defense,” Shays said. “To me he has crossed the line.”
Neocons gone wild indeed. Time for the travesty to end.
After walking about 25 miles yesterday, I was more than a little sore this morning. Doug, a Vietnam-era vet from Oregon, met me in front of the Jensen Historical Farm and we started walking. Doug isn’t the only one who traveled from Oregon for the walk. Don, a World War II vet, came down as well. They both heard the interview on Democracy Now! and decided it was worth the drive.
I invited them both over for dinner. Don, a vibrant 89-year-old with a snow white beard, pulled me close. “We were loyal soldiers. We understand loyalty. But we’re also little Youssarians as well,” he said with a twinkle, referring to the main character of Catch-22 who recognized the insanity of war and was thusly considered to be insane.
Don left last night, so this morning Doug and I continued on into Sardine Canyon. Doug and I had the same job in the military and we had fun comparing notes.
The trees have started to loose their leaves, but the colors that are left were brilliant. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful walk.
Just past Mantua (pronounced man-a-way), a car slowed to a stop. A man rolled down the window and said he wanted to shake my hand. I did so just as I heard the honk of a speeding semi-truck coming our way. The woman driving wisely pulled over into the emergency lane and we spoke for a second. An improvised explosive device hit their son during a convoy in Iraq. They said he was OK, but the right side of his body will never be the same. Their son, now returned home, was driving through the canyon and saw me walking, but didn’t notice in time to stop. They said he called them up and told them to drive up the canyon and shake my hand.
I was honored. It was a reminder of why this walk is so important. Real people are being killed or injured."
Our President, by his own declarations and new laws, has just declared himself, and the majority of our government, to be terrorists.
"STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) - President Bush, on a campaign swing in the West, is telling voters that the Democratic Party is weak-kneed on national security and shouldn't be trusted to hold the reins of Congress.
'If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party, it sounds like - it sounds like - they think the best way to protect the American people is, wait until we're attacked again,' Bush said Monday at a $360,000 fundraiser in Reno, Nev., for state Secretary of State Dean Heller's congressional campaign.
And if you read the new laws along with the latest National Intelligence Commission's (leaked) National Intelligence Estimate report, you see that Mr. Bush is not "weak-kneed", he is a full-on terrorist.
From the new law.
`(1) UNLAWFUL ENEMY COMBATANT- (A) The term `unlawful enemy combatant' means--
`(i) a person who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents who is not a lawful enemy combatant (including a person who is part of the Taliban, al Qaeda, or associated forces); or
`(ii) a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense.
We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives ; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere.
- The Iraq conflict has become the cause celebre for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement . Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.
We assess that the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities and are likely to do so for the duration of the timeframe of this Estimate.
- Four underlying factors are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement: (1) Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness ; (2) the Iraq jihad; . (3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations ; and (4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims.all of which jihadists exploit.
Six times the (excerpt of the leaked) report blames the war in Iraq (and neocon policies) for helping the terrorists.
Bush's War in Iraq is....  ...Creating a new generation of terrorists. That's material support.  ...Creating a new, global, generation of terrorists. That's HUGE material support.  ...A demonstration of corruption, injustice and Western domination. All of which lend material support to the terrorist vision.  [ibid]  ...Not working. One could also throw the recent Israeli war on Lebanon in the mix...except it hadn't happened yet when the report was written. Things are worse now, particularly in Lebanon, which had been seeing some progress.  ...Making all Muslims think worse of the U.S. This lends support to terrorists, because as Bush said, "if you are not with us, you are with the terrorists". Bush policy has made it impossible for moderate Muslims to be with "us", and there's only one other choice.
Now we get back to the original story, and some other hypocritical stuff Bush said.
'That's not the way it's going to be under my administration. We will stay on the offense,' the president said. 'We will defeat the enemy overseas so we do not have to face them here at home.'"
First off, where are the signs of progress? The NIE says the reverse is happening. Second off, where is this millions strong Mujaheddin army that is about to invade the U.S. with tanks and choppers? Third off, how is it in any way moral for innocent people to be butchered in Iraq so we can feel free at home?
That third off is almost nonsensical. This "fight them over there" meme is the reason they want to attack us at home. It's not an either/or situation. This fear-mongering, selfish, immoral tripe should be attacked with the utmost fervor. It is, perhaps, the most immoral popular saying in the U.S. since the KKK was sidelined.
Back to the article, and Bush's answer to some of these criticisms.
They are citing a National Intelligence Estimate, which the president has partly declassified, suggesting that the war in Iraq has helped recruit more terrorists.
Bush disputes the claim, saying that if policymakers in Washington become convinced that fighting terrorists creates terrorists, then America will return to a pre-Sept. 11 mentality of waiting to be attacked.
This is another bullshit dichotomy that people let pass. The choice isn't between invasion and isolation. There are ANY NUMBER of actions that fall short of invading another country and forcibly changing their government and culture (which doesn't work, BTW) and not doing anything. Not doing anything was the Bush administrations terror policy from January 20, 2001 until September 11, 2001`.
Then, their terror policy became "invade Iraq".
Now, back to the "who's a terrorist now" question....and the answer: Bill Frist.
QALAT, Afghanistan — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday that the Afghan war against Taliban guerrillas can never be won militarily and urged support for efforts to bring "people who call themselves Taliban" and their allies into the government.
The Tennessee Republican said he learned from briefings that Taliban fighters were too numerous and had too much popular support to be defeated on the battlefield.
[full story] That "too much popular support" bit is a direct reflection of the bullet points noted in the NIE. It's why Iraq is a total failure (along with a slightly less failed Afghanistan policy). Speaking of Iraq as a total failure. Has anyone else noticed that is the neocons and only the neocons that want the U.S. to stay there?
The Washington Post reports today on two more surveys of Iraqi opinion. First, State Department polling found that "In Baghdad... nearly three-quarters of residents polled said they would feel safer if U.S. and other foreign forces left Iraq, with 65 percent of those asked favoring an immediate pullout." Second, PIPA has released the results of its latest round of polling today, which will show that "71 percent of Iraqis questioned want the Iraqi government to ask foreign forces to depart within a year. By large margins, though, Iraqis believed that the U.S. government would refuse the request, with 77 percent of those polled saying the United States intends keep permanent military bases in the country." Third, the Post mentions that "The director of another Iraqi polling firm, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared being killed, said public opinion surveys he conducted last month showed that 80 percent of Iraqis who were questioned favored an immediate withdrawal."
[full story] The Bush administration talking point is that pulling out of Iraq would make the terrorists stronger, leading to that "perceived" victory condition in the NIE mentioned above (very, very few people paraphrasing that bit include the "perceived" in their assessment, they miss that it is about a propaganda victory, not an actual one), however, the poll, and the NIE, say otherwise.
First, the poll.
The PIPA survey also shows that all Iraqi ethnic groups overwhelmingly oppose al-Qaeda, with 94% overall holding an unfavorable view of the jihadists. Those findings further support a point I've been making for a while now, that the prospect of al-Qaeda taking over Iraq in the wake of an American withdrawal is an unrealistic bogeyman which should not guide American decisions its Iraq policy.
Then the NIE.
Concomitant vulnerabilities in the jihadist movement have emerged that, if fully exposed and exploited, could begin to slow the spread of the movement. They include dependence on the continuation of Muslim-related conflicts, the limited appeal of the jihadists radical ideology, the emergence of respected voices of moderation, and criticism of the violent tactics employed against mostly Muslim citizens.
- The jihadists. greatest vulnerability is that their ultimate political solution - an ultra-conservative interpretation of shari'a-based governance spanning the Muslim world is unpopular with the vast majority of Muslims. Exposing the religious and political straitjacket that is implied by the jihadists. Propaganda would help to divide them from the audiences they seek to persuade. - Recent condemnations of violence and extremist religious interpretations by a few notable Muslim clerics signal a trend that could facilitate the growth of a constructive alternative to jihadist ideology: peaceful political activism. This also could lead to the consistent and dynamic participation of broader Muslim communities in rejecting violence, reducing the ability of radicals to capitalize on passive community support. In this way, the Muslim mainstream emerges as the most powerful weapon in the war on terror.
That last bolded bit is, BY FAR, the most important part of the document. There, the document is saying, without a doubt, that Bush and Neocon policy is destroying the most potent weapon in the "War on Terror".
They are providing material support to the terrorists by providing robust propaganda opportunities for the enemy, taking actions that align with al-Qa'ida theory, vehemently supporting an invasion that is the biggest reason we are losing the "War on Overwhelming Fear", and alienating the only force that is capable of winning said war.
BURIED IN THE complex Senate compromise on detainee treatment is a real shocker, reaching far beyond the legal struggles about foreign terrorist suspects in the Guantanamo Bay fortress. The compromise legislation, which is racing toward the White House, authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights.
This dangerous compromise not only authorizes the president to seize and hold terrorists who have fought against our troops "during an armed conflict," it also allows him to seize anybody who has "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States." This grants the president enormous power over citizens and legal residents. They can be designated as enemy combatants if they have contributed money to a Middle Eastern charity, and they can be held indefinitely in a military prison.
Not to worry, say the bill's defenders. The president can't detain somebody who has given money innocently, just those who contributed to terrorists on purpose.
The fact that "on purpose" is in there should be scary. That's the general equivalent of "thoughtcrime". The action is immaterial, it's what you were thinking at the time that is the crime.
Legal residents who aren't citizens are treated even more harshly. The bill entirely cuts off their access to federal habeas corpus, leaving them at the mercy of the president's suspicions.
We are not dealing with hypothetical abuses. The president has already subjected a citizen to military confinement. Consider the case of Jose Padilla. A few months after 9/11, he was seized by the Bush administration as an "enemy combatant" upon his arrival at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. He was wearing civilian clothes and had no weapons. Despite his American citizenship, he was held for more than three years in a military brig, without any chance to challenge his detention before a military or civilian tribunal. After a federal appellate court upheld the president's extraordinary action, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, handing the administration's lawyers a terrible precedent. -- But the bill also reinforces the presidential claims, made in the Padilla case, that the commander in chief has the right to designate a U.S. citizen on American soil as an enemy combatant and subject him to military justice. Congress is poised to authorized this presidential overreaching. Under existing constitutional doctrine, this show of explicit congressional support would be a key factor that the Supreme Court would consider in assessing the limits of presidential authority.
Good work, but we still need a few orders of magnitude more people.
"Washington, D.C. - A rally against the Iraqi War at the U.S. Capitol, on Tuesday, September 26, 2006, led to the arrests of 71 protesters by the police, according to a spokesperson for one of the organizers. The passionate demonstration was co-promoted by the 'National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance' (NCNR) and the 'Declaration of Peace' organizations. These conscience-driven advocacy groups, antiwar and/or religious based, endorse the laudable principle of nonviolent resistance to and noncooperation with 'the U.S. government, the military, the corporate merchants of war, and all institutions that feed' the War, Mayhem and Death Machine of the Halliburton-challenged and Big-Oil-oriented Bush-Cheney Gang. The specific focus of the activists today was on pressuring the U.S. Congress to 'develop a comprehensive and rapid peace plan' for ending the Iraqi conflict and for bringing the troops home. "
Things you can count on the Republican leadership to screw up:
The deficit. Body armor. Medicare reform. Social Security reform. The minimum wage. Port security. The National Guard. Diplomacy. The Geneva Conventions. Fair elections. Clean elections. Intelligence. Protecting the Constitution. Protecting the Bill of Rights. Government transparency. Oversight. Separation of church and state. The middle class. The poor. Tax reform. Tax cuts. Bankruptcy law. Global warming. Disaster management. Defeating terrorists. Saying no to lobbyists. Saying yes to public opinion. Pre-war planning. Post-war planning. Competence. Civil rights. Civil liberties. Civil debate. Veterans' benefits. Hiring based on ability. Legal surveillance. Morality. Energy policy. Energy independence. End-of-life decisions among spouses. Inclusion. Learning lessons from history. Learning, period. Drug policy. Fiscal responsibility. Trusting the generals. Trusting the spooks. Trusting the experts. Basic honesty. Basic health care. Education. Creating jobs. Keeping CIA operatives' identities secret. Catching Osama. Playing nice. Playing fair. Refilling ice cube trays. Making paper airplanes. Or coffee. Tying their shoelaces. Making friends. Blowing their noses. Counting to ten five three. Sharing their toys. Telling the truth. Uniting the country. Protecting underage kids from a predatory congressman.
That last one is from this weekend. Kick out the hypocrites, including Hastert, post-haste.
"'You see,' my colleague went on, 'one doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not?—Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.
'Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, ‘everyone’ is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there would be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, ‘It’s not so bad’ or ‘You’re seeing things’ or ‘You’re an alarmist.’"
Bloomberg.com: WorldwideCondoleeza Rice now joins the group that thinks she, and the neocon administration, should resign.
"Rice also told reporters that she offered to resign as Bush's National Security Adviser as part of a broader house- cleaning following the president's reelection in 2004.
``I did tell the president at one point that I thought maybe all of us should go, because we had fought two wars and we had the largest terrorist attack in American history,'' Rice said, according to a State Department transcript."
Yup, losing two wars and allowing the worst attack in history to take place is certainly enough.
Don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.
I love this story for any number of different reasons. Let's get a bit of context first, then I'll go into the reasons for my love of this story.
"AMY GOODMAN: Were you able to print anything you wanted in the Anaconda Times?
SGT. MARSHALL THOMPSON: No, we were not able to print everything we wanted. We tried. We saw our mission as supporting the troops, so we were always trying to give them the good information of what was really going on, because they know what's going on. They're not being fooled by anybody. And so we wanted to be credible with them and print everything that happened. Of course, there is a level of censorship when you're working for the U.S. Army. It’s just the way it goes.
AMY GOODMAN: Like what? Give an example.
SGT. MARSHALL THOMPSON: There were a few times I wanted to do some stories about how, for instance, Turkey was sending special forces over the border to attack Kurdish groups, you know, without permission, violating Iraq's sovereign borders. I was kind of outraged, and I wanted to print that story, but that was one that got squashed.
AMY GOODMAN: By who?
SGT. MARSHALL THOMPSON: By my commanders. They're all very well-intentioned, but nobody wants to get in trouble. And that was a story that looked like trouble, and so it did not make it.
AMY GOODMAN: Turkey, a U.S. ally, attacking the country that the U.S. is occupying.
SGT. MARSHALL THOMPSON: Exactly. Plus it was kind of -- they were using the same rationale that we used to go into Iraq, saying, well, they've got a terrorist problem. If they can't handle it, then we’ll go in and help them with it. And so we have no moral high ground there. We couldn't tell them not to do it. And they continue to do it to this day. "
One: It's no surprise, nor a fact worthy of condemnation, that the military press censors stories. It's something they have a right to do, and it's hard to argue against that right from a rational perspective. When one signs on to military service in the U.S., one becomes the property of the federal government. It is certainly that government's right to control, to a high degree, what outside information gets disseminated in such a context.
Two: The terrorist state of Iraq. The terrorist attacks by the Kurds really get no coverage in the U.S.  . One, rather obvious, reason for this is that is doesn't mesh with the "Kurdish Success Story" being touted by our slowly awakening media. Another, blindingly obvious, reason for this lack of coverage is that it would cast Iran in a victim, rather than agressor, role for terrorist actions. Also, Iran's recent shelling of Kurdish lands is, according to 21st Century American thinking, "fighting the war on terror". This would so confuse an American electorate being primed for an Iran attack that heads might spontaneously explode.
Four: I was raised in the Mormon church, and the vast majority of my [very large] family is quite active in said church. I've since become rational enough to realize that starting wars for material gain is not something Jesus Christ would even contemplate, much less endorse. Utah, as mentioned in the article, is the reddest state in the Union. It is an unwritten, but well understood, platform of the Mormon Church that voting for Democrats is like voting for Satan (but worse, as Democrats actually exist). My hope is that the actions of Sgt. Marshall Thompson will help a good people find their way, as they have become lost in their quest for salvation.
Five: This quote brings the whole point home.
AMY GOODMAN: How did you come to the conclusion that it's unjust?
SGT. MARSHALL THOMPSON: Well, it happened before the war started. I was on the fence. And when Colin Powell addressed the UN, I believed him, like most people did, I think. But then there was something in me that kept bothering me, and it was that the decision to go to war with Iraq was based on fear, fear of something that hadn't happened yet. And those are never good decisions. We can't make fear-based decisions. So I decided that even if they had weapons of mass destruction, that I was going to be opposed to the war.
Then, years later when I went to Iraq, spent a year there, saw what happened, it was only reinforced. And I knew that I was going to have to come home and do something to make it right for my participation in it and just because I feel more responsible for what goes on over there, having been there for one year.
"Three retired military officers who served in Iraq called today for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, telling a Democratic 'oversight hearing' on Capitol Hill that the Pentagon chief bungled planning for the U.S. invasion, dismissed the prospect of an insurgency and sent American troops into the fray with inadequate equipment.
The testimony by the three --two retired Army major generals and a former Marine colonel -- came a day after disclosure of a classified intelligence assessment that concluded the war in Iraq has fueled recruitment of violent Islamic extremists, helping to create a new generation of potential terrorists around the world and worsening the U.S. position."
He needs to go, and take his neocon buddies with him.
Yet more incompetence, this time affecting the people who are fighting Bush's War.
"WASHINGTON - The government used prewar data to estimate the cost of caring for veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, contributing to a $3 billion budget shortfall at the Veterans Affairs Department since 2005, congressional investigators say.
The department used 'unrealistic assumptions, errors in estimation and insufficient data' to project its budget, the Government Accountability Office said in a report Wednesday. Investigators also said the VA failed to estimate correctly the costs for these war veterans partly because the agency could not get accurate information from the Defense Department."
"Unrealistic Assumptions" and "Errors in Estimation"...I can't think of better metaphors for Neocon leadership....well, o.k....maybe "Incompetent War Mongerers" would work as well.
This is a curious exploration of the context of the War on Overwhelming Fear, if one assumes the givens of the Neocon Administation.
"George Bush cannot win the War in Iraq, because he no longer has public support--not for himself or for the war. He is a deeply unpopular President. About sixty percent of Americans think that he's doing a bad job. Even more of them strongly disapprove of the way he's handling the Iraq War.
Indisputably, his leadership has failed. And if we're in a war for civilization itself in Iraq, then we need a President we don't fundamentally dislike. Mothers and fathers don't give up their sons and daughters to die for civilization if they think those lives will be ill spent by a leader they distrust.
Another reason George Bush cannot win this war, is that he has surrounded himself with the worst diplomats since no one living can remember. We are losing the War in Iraq on several fronts, but the Public Relations Front is where we're getting slaughtered. And when it's a war about civilization, that's one place you need to hold the line. "
Bascially, the idea is that if we are in a war for civilization itself, we need a leader who has some credibility.
IMHO, the war for civilization is between those who think political issues should be solved peacefully, and those who wish to use violence to resolve differences. I know this goes against the common framing of the Neocons (who are selling it as "U.S. vs. the World"), but I think this is a much more rational dichotomy in which to explore the battle for civilization. BTW, saying that 'torture' is o.k., is not terribly civilized.
There is a simple way to lose the War on Overwhelming Fear (a.k.a. what the neocons call "The War on Terror"). That simple way is to keep telling people to be very, very afraid. That simple way is exactly what our leaders have been doing for the last 5 years.
One would think that it's a fairly simple equation. On one side of the war is Us. On the other side of the war is Overwhelming Fear (i.e. "Terror"). The obivous and most glaring strategy would seem to be to tell people "don't be afraid". It would seem that in a war on an emotion, directly attacking that emotion (with calm, reason, and humor) would be the most likely strategy to defeat it.
However, what we've seen during each election cycle since 9/11 is rampant fear-mongering. The strategy of the Neocons has been to try and ratchet up the fear in such a manner that those who would most viciously fight the people we are supposed to be afraid of gain the most public support.
This strategy has left our nation more afraid, and more susceptible, to terror attacks. Hence, the political strategy of turning up the fear in order to gain more support for killing people, has become self-defeating, as the terror now is greater than it was over 5 years ago.
And of course, there's Iraq to contend with.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Part of a classified intelligence report that says the war in Iraq has increased the terrorist threat against the United States has fueled calls by congressional Democrats for a new direction in the nation's war on terrorism.
U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials Sunday confirmed to CNN the contents of the leaked portion of the National Intelligence Estimate, which was first reported in the Sunday editions of The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Some intelligence officials have said as much in the past, but the newly revealed document is part of the government's first formal report on global trends in terrorism.
"Press reports say our nation's intelligence services have confirmed that President Bush's repeated missteps in Iraq and his stubborn refusal to change course have made America less safe," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said. "No election-year White House PR campaign can hide this truth."
It is very sad to see a country go from the land of the free and the home of the brave, to the land of watched and home of the scared...but that's the Republican strategy...and even more sadly...it seems to be working.