Friday, August 31, 2007

Westmoreland Petraeus Sure Says a Lot of Stuff

Yesterday, Republican Congressman Joe Porter claimed General Petraeus:

"...said there would be genocide, gas prices in the U.S. would rise to eight or nine dollars a gallon, al-Qaida would continue its expansion, and Iran would take over that portion of the world if we leave,"


Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently had dinner in Baghdad with Gen. David Petraeus, at which time he expressed concerns that “troops were being pushed to the limit.” Durbin told the Chicago Tribune that “Petraeus concurred,” and will likely tell President Bush about the problem in his report next month. “I expect the general to acknowledge to the president what I said about troop morale and the readiness of the troops to continue this battle at this level,” said Durbin. “He said as much over dinner.”

While these are not exactly mutually exclusive statements, they are pretty close.

Aw, Goddammit!

Found at TBogg's place (mine's the slightly longer version)...but even my cynical heart declares this the cutest thing EVER!

Meanwhile, it was a two cicada morning ending with

a rawide. Now as soon as somebody vacuums the floor it will be perfect.

Since I went to college...

It's a new one on me that the "Pass-Fail" grading standard is suddenly "TOO HIGH" a curve to expect people to meet.

Dog & Pony Show

When war reaches comic opera absurdity, it becomes time to end it. Not only is Petraeus or Crocker or someone distributing leaflets on visiting Congresspersons, but they are ONLY shown what the Bush Administration wants them to see:

Brief, choreographed and carefully controlled, the codels (short for congressional delegations) often have showed only what the Pentagon and the Bush administration have wanted the lawmakers to see. At one point, as Moran, Tauscher and Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.) were heading to lunch in the fortified Green Zone, an American urgently tried to get their attention, apparently to voice concerns about the war effort, the participants said. Security whisked the man away before he could make his point.

Tauscher called it "the Green Zone fog."

"Spin City," Moran grumbled. "The Iraqis and the Americans were all singing from the same song sheet, and it was deliberately manipulated."

But even such tight control could not always filter out the bizarre world inside the barricades. At one point, the three were trying to discuss the state of Iraqi security forces with Iraq's national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, but the large, flat-panel television set facing the official proved to be a distraction. Rubaie was watching children's cartoons.

When Moran asked him to turn it off, Rubaie protested with a laugh and said, "But this is my favorite television show," Moran recalled.

Porter confirmed the incident, although he tried to paint the scene in the best light, noting that at least they had electricity.

"I don't disagree it was an odd moment, but I did take a deep breath and say, 'Wait a minute, at least they are using the latest technology, and they are monitoring the world,' " Porter said. "But, yes, it was pretty annoying."

Now that's some spin out of Porter, a Republican naturally (yesterday he claimed he was told by Green Zone Bosses that if we leave Iraq gas would be $9 a gallon). Iraq's National Security Adviser is watching CARTOONS and to him it is "monitoring the world".

Obviously Porter is familiar with ongoing operations in the Oval Office.

Explains a hell of a lot.

By the way, I'm pretty sure that no matter how little electricity the rest of Baghdad has, somehow the GREEN FUCKING ZONE always finds a way to have it 24/7. But nice try at extrapolating Congressman Porter.

Interesting Days

Little did I know while I was at the Polk County Courthouse doing the tasks that I've done for years...the really clerical aspects of my profession...that actual news was breaking out in the venerable Polk County Courthouse.

Polk County Judge Robert Hanson struck down Iowa's prohibition on same-sex marriage Thursday.

In his 63-page decision, Hanson wrote that the statute excluding same-sex couples from marriage "violates Plaintiff's due process and equal protection rights for the aforementioned reasons including, but not limited to, the absence of a rational relationship to the achievement of any legitimate governmental interest." Therefore the law is "unconstitutional and invalid."

The case was filed by civil rights group Lambda Legal on behalf of six same-sex couples and their families. Each couple was denied a marriage license from Polk County officials on the grounds that they did not meet the gender requirements according to Iowa law.

There was a lot of reason to think the judge in this case would rule for the state, most courts have ruled for the state -- not all, but most. It is a huge victory. I'm not optimistic about the chances in the State Supreme Court. Iowa's Supreme Court is not exactly the most liberal court in the country (to be fair it is not the most conservative by a long-shoe either).

But for today, it is a huge victory.

And a far more relevant one for national politics. A stay will be sought (and likely obtained) and it is highly unlikely our State Supreme Court will reach a decision before the Presidential Caucuses.

The "culture wars" in the GOP just got turned up another notch -- and they are always big in the GOP contests in the Iowa Caucuses.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Allow me to say...

That "Governor Goodhair" is ten times the man George W. Bush is.

Gov. Rick Perry accepted a parole board recommendation Thursday to spare condemned inmate Kenneth Foster, the getaway driver in a 1996 murder who had been scheduled for execution within hours.

The sentence had drawn protests from death penalty opponents because Foster wasn't the actual shooter.

Foster was convicted of murder and sentence to death under Texas' law of parties, which makes non-triggermen equally accountable for a crime. Another condemned man was executed under the same statute earlier this year.

"After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster's sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment," Perry said in a statement.

"I am concerned about Texas law that allowed capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously and it is an issue I think the Legislature should examine."

The extra statement on this ridiculous law earns an extra kudo.

Good for Perry, a Republican and the people who shed light on this injustice.

Via Digby.

Pumping and Surging (non-wide stance edition)

Good ol' "Honest", "Trustworthy" General Westmoreland Petraeus, never one to engage in fearmongering or baseless hyperbole.

"...they said there would be genocide, gas prices in the U.S. would rise to eight or nine dollars a gallon, al-Qaida would continue its expansion, and Iran would take over that portion of the world if we leave," Jon Porter (R-NV) said Wednesday in a phone interview from Las Vegas.

Surveying the landscape

An unpopular President spins moonshine, that his modern day Westmoreland pushes (keep the surge goin' or you'll pay $9 for gas!) -- while neither the Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of Defense, nor more than a handful of Republicans are willing to join almost all Democrats in winding down.

Slow motion suicide. If we weren't being dragged down with them, it would be tough not to rubberneck.

Meanwhile, September will be the time to roll out the Iran War Plans.

Best Laid Plans of C-Span gone awry

I guess Brian Lamb will just have to take more John Birch Society calls:

Sadly, the pilot wasn't picked up.

Grading on a Curve

Clusterfuckistan when viewed in light of actual neutral evaluatons:

Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of a Government Accountability Office report. The document questions whether some aspects of a more positive assessment by the White House last month adequately reflected the range of views the GAO found within the administration.

The strikingly negative GAO draft, which will be delivered to Congress in final form on Tuesday, comes as the White House prepares to deliver its own new benchmark report in the second week of September...

While it makes no policy recommendations, the draft suggests that future administration assessments "would be more useful" if they backed up their judgments with more details and "provided data on broader measures of violence from all relevant U.S. agencies."...

The person who provided the draft report to The Post said it was being conveyed from a government official who feared that its pessimistic conclusions would be watered down in the final version -- as some officials have said happened with security judgments in this month's National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq.

And in response, the White House whined GAO is too neutral and refused to put a thumb Norm Podhoretz on the scale.

"while we've all seen progress in some areas, especially on the security front, it's not surprising the GAO would make this assessment, given the difficult congressionally mandated measurement they had to follow."

Yes, as opposed to the "wanker's C" that George Bush would impose. After all it's only been $500 Billion, 3,733 KIAs, 30,000 casualities, a hundred thousand to a million killed and up to 2 million refugees, certainly by now we've got to cut the Bush Administration's war some fuckin' slack!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I have officially had it reaffirmed that

...while Larry Craig is arguably the dumbest man alive, his GOP colleagues are the biggest fucking jerks in the country.

You know, the man pled guilty to a misdemeanor. He lived the life of a hypocrite and continues to do so.

But lots of these assholes have cheated on their wives, like for instance John McCain, and they find gay sex unbecoming of a Senator, but wearing a diaper to a prostitute -- or just good ol' fashion cheating to be just fine (except of course for Democrats). And let's not even get into how much fun it is for some of these guys to brag about how they and a buddy managed to "beat up a guy for being gay" and treat it as a delightful yarn. I wonder how much Tucker bragged about this during the Matthew Shepard incident?

The fact is, there isn't much difference -- other than a chance to prove how much you hate "teh gay".

What a bunch of self-righteous pricks.

And this is without getting into the lies, spinning, enabling and malfeasance that goes into Iraq -- apparently the perpetual clusterfuck.

I haven't taken any wide-stances in Public Restrooms... least lately...

But I still think Larry Craig & Chris Matthews would appreciate this:

A BRITISH artist sparked an outcry last night after unveiling a portrait of US President George Bush made from PORN magazines.

Jonathan Yeo, 36, cut up more than 100 top-shelf publications for the piece.

He decided to do it after curators at the Bush Library in America backed out of a commission for him to do a proper portrait.

Happy Anniversary

Two years ago, Nero goofed around while an American City, perhaps the classic American City, drowned. The years since have seen one delay, excuse, and fuck up, after another from those in charge of the response on all levels. But really, it all starts at the top.

An Unmistakable Sign

But Mitt Romney thought it meant he was supposed to blow off Larry Craig.

(AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

How shocking

This this guy...

Would go to "Burning Man" and burn early.

(AP Photo/Pershing County Sheriff's Office)

And they're gonna lie & spin so well

That another $50 Billion will do the trick until the Spring (when another $100 Billion will do, along with $200 Billion for Iran).

The request -- which would come on top of about $460 billion in the fiscal 2008 defense budget and $147 billion in a pending supplemental bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- is expected to be announced after congressional hearings scheduled for mid-September featuring the two top U.S. officials in Iraq. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker will assess the state of the war and the effect of the new strategy the U.S. military has pursued this year.

Meanwhile, Bush will return to another crime scene, New Orleans, which has managed to see plenty of money going into wealthy Republican building of prime real estate that isn't in New Orleans.

$500 Billion wasted on Iraq, and of course, providing basic medical services to 47 million Americans can't be done because it's a waste of tax dollars.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Un-Brainy Brian

Funny thing about representative government -- unless you are George Bush -- you have bosses that you can displease immensely. Apparently, the "dog & pony" show isn't very effective with Briny Baird's bosses.

Hundreds at a raucous and hostile town hall Monday night let U.S. Rep. Brian Baird know that they disapprove of his support for the troop surge in Iraq. Many suggested the Vancouver Democrat is not representing the will of his district...

"We don't care what your convictions are," said Jan Lustig of Vancouver. "You're here to represent us."

Lustig added, "You're not representing us with this stance."

To that, Baird quietly replied, "I understand." ...

"I disagree with you so profoundly," said David Piper of Vancouver.

The auditorium, packed with about 550 people, exploded in applause and cheers when Piper then said, "This administration takes us illegally into war. . . . Shouldn't we be getting rid of this administration?" ...

Phil Massey of Vancouver praised Baird for "all the good things you did for so many years. That being said, you've just broken my heart."

Massey added, "You've screwed up, my friend. You have screwed up, and you have to change course." ...

Bob Goss of Vancouver left before its conclusion.

On the way out of the auditorium, he recalled campaigning in his neighborhood last November on behalf of Baird.

And next November, when Baird might seek re-election?

"I'm seriously looking for an alternative," Goss said.

And there's more:

He was hammered by Jon Soltz, the young, good looking, charismatic chairman and co-founder of political action committee Soltz is also an Iraq war veteran, having served in 2003. Speaking calmly and to raucous applause, he said Baird (who recently returned from a visit to Iraq) was fooled “by a dog and pony show” and is unfortunately “providing cover for President Bush.”

Baird is a profile in courage imbecility.

Not how reality remembers it

David Brooks comes to the defense of the establishment (how unexpected):

Anti-establishment sentiment once had merit, but it has reached the point of absurdity, and Alberto Gonzales represented many of its failings. He lacked the experience, the professional stature and the insider knowledge required of a good attorney general. He was part of an administration that was unthinkingly hostile to elite opinion, even when the elites were making sense.

Now he is out, almost like in Little League, by mercy rule. And perhaps it’s part of a pattern. Vietnam discredited the old establishment of the Wise Men and the Best and the Brightest. The events of the past few years have exposed the pretensions of the anti-Washington outsider.

Except for one glaring gargantuan elephant in the room. The biggest clusterfuck of all Bush clusterfucks is Iraq.

The "Texas Mafia" wasn't the group pushing this glorious misadventure. No, it was the "established" right-wing think tankers that went not into the White House but the Defense department and the punditry. Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, Doug Feith, various Kagans, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, and the biggest establishment figure of all, Dick Cheney. All D.C. insiders who pushed to a receptive George Bush arguably the biggest fuck up in American foreign policy history.

It wasn't Abu Gonzales (though he affably stepped aside for non-Texans like David Addington and John Yoo on allowing sadism).

And when these policy wanks, did wank us into a needless voluntary war against a secular dictatorship in the name of fighting extremist Islam, the old establishment fell into line, including David Brooks, who promptly started calling criticism of the pushers of this glorious plan anti-semitic -- always obsequiously adding to the quality of the discourse that Bobo.

As bad as they are, and they are bad, the Texas Mafia were merely the grease on the skids, as the right-wing think tanks engaged in the "experiment" that has killed hundreds of thousands and gotten us stick in the sandbox with one lie after another, lies that continue after the fabricated non-defined "victory".

"Douchey, Douchey, Douchey!"

These Bush rally squads may finally be getting the hang of it.

No petulance here. Cripes!

(AP Photo/Ken Lambert, Pool)

Golly, I wonder why that is?


Zalmay Khalilzad told the daily Die Presse the Middle East was now so disordered that it had the potential to inflame the world as Europe did during the first half of the 20th century.

Dangerous Liaisons

It would have been more fitting with current headlines if Larry Craig, now EX-Senate Liaison to Romney's campaign, had been caught soliciting at a kennel. I don't know whether Craig has taken a wide or narrow stance on such matters though.

I predict before this year is over, some Republican, affiliated with one of the Presidential Campaigns is going to be caught "naked dwarf-tossing".

Monday, August 27, 2007

"As rich and precious as unicorn sashimi"

HTML Mencken, Sage of Sadly, No!, has posted Part II of his definitive takedown of Super Wingnut Little Ritchie "We're Winning" Lowry. Don't miss it.

And here's Part I in case you missed it. Part III is on the way.

("As rich and precious as unicorn sashimi?" I think I am in love.)

Procedural Perfectionism

No doubt you heard about the Deutsche Bank Building fire that killed two New York City firemen two Saturdays ago. The fire pissed off a lot of NYers, not only because the whole World Trade Center construction site seems like a giant accident waiting to happen, but also because many of us consider these two firemen two more 9/11 victims. But for 9/11, Deutsche would not have had to be demolished. But for Deutsche's demolishment, no dead fireman.

But the right, never ones to be daunted by more dead bodies (and never waiting a decent interval to pounce), saw Deutsche as an opportunity to exploit yet another tragedy for its own purposes. Daniel Henninger, one of the most mendacious and contemptible right-wing shills out there, penned a Wingnut Street Journal column that blamed "an American system engulfed in proceduralism and legalism" for the Deutsche clusterfuck. Yes, according to Henninger, but for procedures and lawyers, Deutsche would never have happened.
Except that, as usual, Hennigner is full of shit. Today we learn via the NY Post, a paper of which Henninger no doubt approves since it's also owned by his new boss, Mr. Murdoch, that Deutsche might have been prevented if a few more procedures had actually be followed.

The department had said last week it didn’t have a plan in place to fight fire at the former bank tower, which was being dismantled and cleaned of toxic debris floor by floor. It also acknowledged that it had not inspected the building’s standpipe system, which connects fire hoses to its water supply, in over a year, even though it should have done so every 15 days.

The standpipe was broken at the time of the Aug. 18 blaze; inspectors later found pieces of it disconnected in the tower’s basement.

And this doesn't even begin to address the mysterious (and aptly named) John Galt, the shell corporporation of a subcontractor working the Deutsche demolition job.
I read Henninger's column when it first appeared and merely rolled my eyes. Then I saw the Post this morning and wanted to roll the paper up and shove it down Henninger's miserable throat.

Hard to believe

But as the second anniversary of Katrina approaches, Bush apparently really is going to appoint one of the primary fuck-ups to be Attorney General.

So a big "Fuck You" to the Gulf Coast.

Oh, and thank goodness we're putting yet another Texas crony in charge of Homeland Security now...right when everyone's hair is on fire about a pending terror attack.

Would we really expect anything less from Bush?

Breaking News

Alberto Gonzales resigning so he can not recall spending time with Andy Card's family!

In two days it is the second anniversary of Katrina hitting New Orleans. That seems the right time to appoint Michael Chertoff as his replacement doesn't it?

The perfect "fuck you America" moment for George Bush -- and he loves those.


Oh, the broad cheers for the right-wingers and their love for French President Nicolas Sarkozy is going to be mighty, mighty short.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has offered to apologise to Iraq if he had meddled in its affairs.

The statement comes a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Maliki demanded an official apology because Mr Kouchner had suggested he resign.

Meanwhile President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for a clear timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq.

He was making what was described as his first major foreign policy speech since becoming president in May.

Mr Sarkozy said such a timetable would force the various Iraqi parties to accept responsibility for the country's future.

Sacré bleu!

Why isn't this guy on Hannity & Colmes?

Live From Congress

He sounds pretty much in the GOP mainstream, like he and John Derbyshire hang out together.

And here's another piece GOP sponsored legislation we can support.

Better call "Geek Squad"

If I was a commenter at "The Corner" I'd talk about what a horrible message this sends to our troops in the sandbox.

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters)

President George W. Bush's wife, Laura Bush, has been suffering from a pinched nerve in her neck and shoulder area, and will not travel with the president to the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Sydney next month, the White House said on Sunday.

Sounds like some new ball-bearings are in order, I know where they can find some...


It isn't just Bush (though he has done more than any other individual) acting like an idiot who thinks he just found the secret of life, when he finds an M&M in the couch cushions.

Suddenly, everyone hates Maliki - and Maliki says "No, I hate you more."

The drumbeat to replace the guy who, for all their faults, was the product of the last engineering effort we pushed, so we can get around to installing a dictator is the latest, but most appropriate sickening dirge for our Iraq clusterfuck. And really, thanks so much Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin for your assistance down this path -- here, have a metaphorical bag of flaming shit.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, we'll end up replacing a dictator we used to like, but enabled (IRAN) until we didn't (KUWAIT); for one we'll also end up hating, but whom Iran will find quite tolerable.

Heckuva job, Bushie.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday Art Blogging

Jackson Pollock

"Full Fathom Five"

1947. Oil on canvas with nails, tacks, buttons, key, coins, cigarettes, matches, etc., 50 7/8 x 30 1/8"

Cost Plus

Taibbi is back with a doozy of a Rolling Stone article, The Great Iraq Swindle, that stars, among others, "Moron's Moron" (and Ole 60 Grit hubby) Jim O'Bierne, the aptly named Custer (and partner Battles), and KBR marketers who think outhouses are a great venue for customer satisfaction surveys.

Pour yourself a stiff drink before you read this one.

Blowing It

More on how the Bush Administration blew it with Bin Laden all for our glorious misadventure in Eye-rack from a very lengthy article in Newsweek:

The American effort to chase bin Laden into this forbidding realm was hobbled and clumsy from the start. While the terrain required deep local knowledge and small units, career officers in the U.S. military have long been wary of the Special Operations Forces best suited to the task. In the view of the regular military, such "snake eaters" have tended to be troublesome, resistant to spit-and-polish discipline and rulebooks. Rather than send the snake eaters to poke around mountain caves and mud-walled compounds, the U.S. military wanted to fight on a grander stage, where it could show off its mobility and firepower. To the civilian bosses at the Pentagon and the eager-to-please top brass, Iraq was a much better target. By invading Iraq, the United States would give the Islamists—and the wider world—an unforgettable lesson in American power. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was on Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board and, at the time, a close confidant of the SecDef. In November 2001, Gingrich told a NEWSWEEK reporter, "There's a feeling we've got to do something that counts—and bombing caves is not something that counts."

When Franks refused to send Army Rangers into the mountains at Tora Bora, he was already in the early stages of planning for the next war. By early 2002, new Predators—aerial drones that might have helped the search for bin Laden—were instead being diverted off the assembly line for possible use in Iraq. The military's most elite commando unit, Delta Force, was transferred from Afghanistan to prep for the invasion of Iraq. The Fifth Special Forces Group, including the best Arabic speakers, was sent home to retool for Iraq, replaced by the Seventh Special Forces Group—Spanish speakers with mostly Latin American experience. The most knowledgeable CIA case officers, the ones with tribal contacts, were rotated out. Replacing a fluent Arabic speaker and intellectual, the new CIA station chief in Kabul was a stickler for starting meetings on time (his own watch was always seven minutes fast) but allowed that he had read only one book on Afghanistan. One slightly bitter spook, speaking anonymously to NEWSWEEK to protect his identity, likened the station chief to Captain Queeg in "The Caine Mutiny." (CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano insists "station chiefs go through a rigorous, multistep selection process, designed to get leaders with the right skills in the right places.")

I Believe That Children Are Our Future

Miss Teen USA 2007 finalist, Lauren Caitlin Upton of South Carolina, on her fellow Americans' poor grasp of geography:

/via friend T.

It's almost comical

The Mustache of Understanding writes a column today wondering how Bin Laden is winning the P.R. war against George Bush?

This from the guy, who as Atrios noted said this just after the invasion:

What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, um and basically saying, "Which part of this sentence don't you understand?" You don't think, you know, we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we're just gonna to let it grow? Well, Suck. On. This.

Not only are we governed by morons, the morons are commented upon by morons.


David Broder's Unity'08 fantasy life is becoming similar to a "Freshman at a small midwestern university who never thought this would happen to him."

It's quite pathetic.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Att'n Tim Russert et al

When the Kagan & the Kristols start spewing the story of the MIRACULOUS SURGE, will this be mentioned?

This year's U.S. troop buildup has succeeded in bringing violence in Baghdad down from peak levels, but the death toll from sectarian attacks around the country is running nearly double the pace from a year ago.

Some of the recent bloodshed appears the result of militant fighters drifting into parts of northern Iraq, where they have fled after U.S.-led offensives. Baghdad, however, still accounts for slightly more than half of all war-related killings — the same percentage as a year ago, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press.

The tallies and trends offer a sobering snapshot after an additional 30,000 U.S. troops began campaigns in February to regain control of the Baghdad area. It also highlights one of the major themes expected in next month's Iraq progress report to Congress: some military headway, but extremist factions are far from broken.

In street-level terms, it means life for average Iraqis appears to be even more perilous and unpredictable.

The figures are considered a minimum based on AP reporting. The actual numbers are likely higher, as many killings go unreported or uncounted. Insurgent deaths are not a part of the Iraqi count.

The findings include:

• Iraq is suffering about double the number of war-related deaths throughout the country compared with last year — an average daily toll of 33 in 2006, and 62 so far this year.

• Nearly 1,000 more people have been killed in violence across Iraq in the first eight months of this year than in all of 2006. So far this year, about 14,800 people have died in war-related attacks and sectarian murders. AP reporting accounted for 13,811 deaths in 2006. The United Nations and other sources placed the 2006 toll far higher.

• Baghdad has gone from representing 76 percent of all civilian and police war-related deaths in Iraq in January to 52 percent in July, bringing it back to the same spot it was roughly a year ago.

_According to the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization, the number of displaced Iraqis has more than doubled since the start of the year, from 447,337 on Jan. 1 to 1.14 million on July 31.

However, Brig. Gen. Richard Sherlock, deputy director for operational planning for the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said violence in Iraq "has continued to decline and is at the lowest level since June 2006."

He offered no statistics to back his claim, but in a briefing with reporters at the Pentagon on Friday he warned insurgents might try intensify attacks in Iraq to coincide with three milestones: the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S., the beginning of Ramadan and the report to Congress.



If we had an actual press that did, y'know, real reporting on broadcast news we'd have a lot more questions posed to the Bush Administration about stuff like this. You would think even those who support the war would be incredibly offended at such things...but that would detract from their talking points and their time from constantly watching that new Ted Nugent assassination fantasy video.

Your BUSH Administration at work:

One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted.

Or worse.

For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.

There were times, huddled on the floor in solitary confinement with that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and interrogators yelling the same questions over and over, that Vance began to wish he had just kept his mouth shut.

He had thought he was doing a good and noble thing when he started telling the FBI about the guns and the land mines and the rocket-launchers — all of them being sold for cash, no receipts necessary, he said. He told a federal agent the buyers were Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, State Department workers, and Iraqi embassy and ministry employees.

The seller, he claimed, was the Iraqi-owned company he worked for, Shield Group Security Co.

“It was a Wal-Mart for guns,” he says. “It was all illegal and everyone knew it.”

So Vance says he blew the whistle, supplying photos and documents and other intelligence to an FBI agent in his hometown of Chicago because he didn’t know whom to trust in Iraq.

For his trouble, he says, he got 97 days in Camp Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad that once held Saddam Hussein, and he was classified a security detainee.

Also held was colleague Nathan Ertel, who helped Vance gather evidence documenting the sales, according to a federal lawsuit both have filed in Chicago, alleging they were illegally imprisoned and subjected to physical and mental interrogation tactics “reserved for terrorists and so-called enemy combatants.”

For reporting corruption, they get treated like terrorists.

How's Dick Cheney's stock portfolio doin'?

Julie McBride testified last year that as a “morale, welfare and recreation coordinator” at Camp Fallujah, she saw KBR exaggerate costs by double- and triple-counting the number of soldiers who used recreational facilities.

She also said the company took supplies destined for a Super Bowl party for U.S. troops and instead used them to stage a celebration for themselves.

“After I voiced my concerns about what I believed to be accounting fraud, Halliburton placed me under guard and kept me in seclusion,” she told the committee. “My property was searched, and I was specifically told that I was not allowed to speak to any member of the U.S. military. I remained under guard until I was flown out of the country.”

How's Dick Cheney's stock portfolio doin'?

The men said they were cuffed and hooded and driven to Camp Cropper, where Vance was held for nearly three months and his colleague for a little more than a month. Eventually, their jailers said they were being held as security internees because their employer was suspected of selling weapons to terrorists and insurgents, the lawsuit said.

The prisoners said they repeatedly told interrogators to contact Carlisle in Chicago. “One set of interrogators told us that Travis Carlisle doesn’t exist. Then some others would say, ’He says he doesn’t know who you are,”’ Vance said...

And then one day, without explanation, he was released.

“They drove me to Baghdad International Airport and dumped me,” he said.

When he got home, he decided to never call the FBI again. He called a lawyer, instead.

“There’s an unspoken rule in Baghdad,” he said. “Don’t snitch on people and don’t burn bridges.”

For doing both, Vance said, he paid with 97 days of his life.

How's Dick Cheney's stock portfolio doin'?

And there's more

I bet Mickey O'Hanlon and Pollack have a life-long love affair with meeting with THE BRASS.

While he tries to whine and slime his critics by saying "we saw stuff you can't see" the "generals done show'd us", the reality of what the grunts he NEVER talks to gets ever clearer.

"This occupation, this money pit, this smorgasbord of superfluous aggression is getting more hopeless and dismal by the second," a soldier in Diyala province, north of Baghdad, wrote in an Aug. 7 post on his blog,

"The only person I know who believed Iraq was improving was killed by a sniper in May," the blogger, identified only as Alex from Frisco, Texas, said in a separate e-mail.

The Army's suicide rate is at its highest in 23 years: 17.3 per 100,000 troops, compared with 12.4 per 100,000 in 2003, the first year of the war. Of the 99 suicides last year, 27 occurred in Iraq.

The latest in a series of mental health surveys of troops in Iraq, released in May, says 45% of the 1,320 soldiers interviewed ranked morale in their unit as low or very low. Seven percent ranked it high or very high...

Is that a hot poker being hammered up my ass?

No, its just Michael O'Hanlon back to whine & war whore in the Washington Post.

Oh lord...

Worse, Finer and critics such as Rep. Jack Murtha and Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald have suggested that our analyses are based on a few days of military "dog-and-pony shows." Our assessments are based on our observations as well as on years of study. That experience creates networks of colleagues such as military officers whose off-the-record insights can inform ours and who in the past have often told us when they did not think their strategies were working or could work. While hardly making us infallible, this also led each of us to oppose predictions of a "cakewalk" before the invasion and to join Gen. Eric Shinseki in criticizing invasion plans that had too few troops and too little thought given to the post-invasion mission.

You see Michael, this is not what I would call a "great" defense. The bottom-line is that you have supported and make excuses about supporting this war for the beginning. And here you are, all of your "experience" and your "network of colleagues" (all of whom fucked up or didn't give a shit about whether they were fucking up) and you supported this ridiculous, disastrous, tragic never-ending war.

You are an enabler.

And furthermore...

raqi civilian fatality rates are down. The U.S. military has reported throughout much of 2007 that extrajudicial killings -- largely revenge murders by Shiite militias against Sunnis -- were down substantially since January...

Your manipulation of government propoganda stats SUCKS!

Kevin Drum virtually wrote a prebuttal to your incredible, war mongering, murderous duplicity yesterday.

And then he did it again.

And then finally the fraud that the situation in Al Anbar province has anything to do with the surge.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Dep't. of Unintended Ironies

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R - CA) on a Republican ballot initiative that would change the way California awards presidential electoral votes (to favor Republicans, of course):
"In principle, I don't like to change the rules in the middle of the game," the Republican governor told reporters
Uh, Arnold? How did you get to the governor's mansion?

You Say Allawi

And I say Maliki.

Anyone have a Chalabi?

Thinking of all the delicious possibilities must give Bush a Chubby.

What the SURGE has truly accomplished

Accelerated the ETHNIC CLEANSING:

Statistics collected by one of the two humanitarian groups, the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization, indicate that the total number of internally displaced Iraqis has more than doubled, to 1.1 million from 499,000, since the buildup started in February.

Those figures are broadly consistent with data compiled independently by an office in the United Nations that specializes in tracking wide-scale dislocations. That office, the International Organization for Migration, found that in recent months the rate of displacement in Baghdad, where the buildup is focused, had increased by as much as a factor of 20, although part of that rise could have stemmed from improved monitoring of displaced Iraqis by the government in Baghdad, the capital.

The new findings suggest that while sectarian attacks have declined in some neighborhoods, the influx of troops and the intense fighting they have brought are at least partly responsible for what a report by the United Nations migration office calls the worst human displacement in Iraq’s modern history.

The findings also indicate that the sectarian tension the troops were meant to defuse is still intense in many places in Iraq. Sixty-three percent of the Iraqis surveyed by the United Nations said they had fled their neighborhoods because of direct threats to their lives, and more than 25 percent because they had been forcibly removed from their homes.

So the TRUTH is any decrease in "sectarian violence" is because the surge has provided cover in giving people a chance to bug-out before they got killed. So all we've done is accelerate the progress to civil war.

Remember these stats every time Fred or various and sundry Kagans speak of their mighty surge.


Why was Peter Pace not re-appointed again?

Difficult Kweschenz?

Or because he would have said something like this:

WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is expected to advise President Bush to reduce the U.S. force in Iraq next year by almost half, potentially creating a rift with top White House officials and other military commanders over the course of the war.

Administration and military officials say Marine Gen. Peter Pace is likely to convey concerns by the Joint Chiefs that keeping well in excess of 100,000 troops in Iraq through 2008 will severely strain the military. This assessment could collide with one being prepared by the U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, calling for the U.S. to maintain higher troop levels for 2008 and beyond...

According to administration and military officials, the Joint Chiefs believe it is of crucial strategic importance to reduce the size of the U.S. force in Iraq in order to bolster the military's ability to respond to other threats, a view that is shared by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

Pace is expected to offer his advice privately instead of issuing a formal report. Still, the position of Pace and the Joint Chiefs could add weight to that of Bush administration critics, including Democratic presidential candidates, that the U.S. force should be reduced.

See Josh Marshall quote below.

And when you boil all this down what it comes down to is that the president now has very different interests than the country he purports to lead.

Full Circle

Oh, those Republicans you never know WHAT they'll come up with next:

A powerhouse Republican lobbying firm with close ties to the White House has begun a public campaign to undermine the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, CNN has confirmed...

A senior Bush administration official told CNN the White House is aware of the lobbying campaign by Barbour Griffith & Rogers because the firm is "blasting e-mails all over town" criticizing al-Maliki and promoting the firm's client, former interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, as an alternative to the current Iraqi leader.

Ah yes, Ayad "Six Shots to the Noggin John Gibson!" Allawi. Surely this is the man with the popular mandate to bring Iraq together. The man's party got a truly inspiring less than 14% of those Shiias who turned up to vote.

Although Allawi's list is among the three with more than two digits, in fact he lost big. Allawi had all the advantages of incumbency. He dominated the air waves in December and January. He went to Baghdad University and made all sorts of promises to the students there and it was dutifully broadcast, and there were lots of photo ops like that. Allawi's list also spent an enormous amount on campaign advertising. The source of these millions is unknown, since Paul Bremer passed a law making disclosure of campaign contributions unnecessary (the Bush administration's further little contribution to "democracy" in the Middle East). Despite these enormous advantages, clear American backing, money, etc., Allawi's list came in a poor third and clearly lacks any substantial grass roots in most of the country. It seems to have been the refuge of what is left of the secular middle class.

Allawi's defeat (he will not be prime minister in the new government) is a huge defeat for the Bush administration, though it will not be reported that way in the corporate media.

A truly unliked leader, an American agent, and cold-blooded killer made into a dictator.

Good thing we'd never done that before in Iraq!

So after 3,724 deaths, 27,000 American Casualties; half-a-trillion dollars (off budget ... and counting); two million refugees (and exploding) and somewhere between 100,000 and 1 million extra deaths of those we came to "liberate" from the grip of a dictator we have come to this...

Creating a dictator and an unpopular one (but who is allowed to write Op-Eds [or have them written] by Fred "Me Wrong?" Hiatt to help his unpopular cause). Only this dictator will end up being one we also won't like eventually...but Iran will love.

So pretty much the opposite of the whole fucking goal at the time the enterprise started.

And they'll call it "Mission Accomplished".

Brilliantly sums it up

Summing up a Jim Hoagland column that amazingly doesn't suck, Josh Marshall gets right to the point of it -- and I'd like to see some war opponents in Congress pick up this argument because it truly condenses it to it's essense:

We are bigger than Iraq.

By that I do not mean we, as America, are bigger or better than Iraq as a country. I mean that that sum of our national existence is not bound up in what happens there. The country will go on. Whatever happens, we'll recover from it. And whatever might happen, there are things that matter much more to this country's future -- like whether we have a functioning military any more, whether our economy is wrecked, whether this country tears itself apart over this catastrophe. But we'll go on and look back at this and judge what happened.

Not so for the president. For him, this is it. He's not bigger than this. His entire legacy as president is bound up in Iraq. Which is another way of saying that his legacy is pretty clearly an irrecoverable shambles. That is why, as the folly of the enterprise becomes more clear, he must continually puff it up into more and more melodramatic and world-historical dimensions. A century long ideological struggle and the like. For the president a one in a thousand shot at some better outcome is well worth it, no matter what the cost. Because at least that's a one in a thousand shot at not ending his presidency with the crushing verdict history now has in store. It's also worth just letting things keep on going as they are forever because, like Micawber, something better might turn up. Going double or nothing by expanding the war into Iran might be worth it too for the same reason. For him, how can it get worse?

And when you boil all this down what it comes down to is that the president now has very different interests than the country he purports to lead.

That really is the whole thing in the nutshell.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Even Money

Probably a payout not even the ever growing Bill Bennett would take that Al Maliki will be out soon.

But not just out soon, but fortuitously sometime between now and the Iraq War Talking Points Cavalcade of Mid-September. What with the NIE being leaked today about how the man Bush talks about God with is no longer great, but, in fact, terrible. It is clear now Maliki will go in a "timely" removal and a new "Crusader for Iraq" (surely the words then uttered by G.W. Bush) will be put in his place.

Ah, yes, a new leader requiring new support and a feeling that mandates optimism on pain of Joe Lieberman calling you a defeatist. Someone we need to give at least another Friedman or two, or hell let's make it three to. (F.U. F.U. F.U.)

A "Muslim You Want to Have a Beer with kind of Guy" Rich Lowry will call him in his ever deepening understanding of Iraqi culture.

It's all right in front of us, the THIS TIME IT'S DIFFERENT kind of thing, as the ever lasting Lucy Van Pelts of the foreign policy establishment crush the spirits of the rest of the nation and world like so many Charlie Browns.

You all know it's coming, Bobby Knight wants to you just lie back and enjoy it.

Perverts For Rudy

And he's in good company. More here.

Young "Age-Eligible" for service, non-serving War Whore

Matthew Continetti is the young Padawan to his vile Sensei Bill Kristol at The Weekly tax writeoff Standard.

Yesterday apparently on "Hardball" Matthew sang the praises of George Bush, voracious reader (yeah, right) but non-retainer of information. "Oh, he reads books every day".

I'm sure we all appreciate that "insight".

Henceforth, Matthew will be known to me as "McLovin"

Fez tassle wave to Eschatonian, Plantsman.

And now...

We ask the important question...

What literary work will Bush show he's never read next? I can just see him citing their titles:

-- "Pride of Prejudice"?

-- "Uncle Tom Sawyer's Cabin"?

-- "Das Kapital One"?

-- "Jewish gay-dude on the Roof"?

-- "Lady Chatterly's Lover at a Small Midwestern University who never thought this would happen to Him"?

This speech was supposed to be newly reappointed Bush "strategist" Ed Gillespie's big debut.

Christ on a cracker, Ed, why don't you just cut out the middle man, call FoxNews and proceed to take a big steaming dump on Pennsylvania Avenue?

Since he brought it up

Bush and his Vietnam lessons, let us recall what he said he had learned in 1990:

A throwback, good-time frat brother, young Bush had little use for the antiwar movement. On the other hand, he didn't want to go to Vietnam. Draft deferments for graduate school were ending that spring of 1968. The Texas Air National Guard offered another way. "I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada," Bush explained to The Dallas Morning News back in 1990. "So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes."

So every time he brings up disasters "we" actually brought about in places like Cambodia, remember Bush's brave effort to be willing to strafe "the Boat People" if they'd wandered into the Gulf of Mexico. A task he undertook rather than even making an ACTUAL commitment to standing for something.

Fez tassle wave to Jo Fish for reminding me of the quote.


Congrats on your newest sociopath Atlantic:

One of the most facile dismissals of torture is that it doesn't work, so why bother? That's tempting, but it's too easy. Torture seems to me very likely to work provided that you can verify the information...

Ah, analogy without any supporting information behind it -- does that mean we cannot torture you?

Did it ever dawn on you Megan, that if you can "verify" information to begin with, it means you are getting information you already know from a person you are torturing.

Meaning you are torturing for no more than shits & giggles.

Well, works for Cheney.

"Do I spy...

A Hooters?

AP Photo, Jerry Larson

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Every Picture Tells a Story

Did you see this NYT slide show today?

If you didn't, you should. But fair warning: it's not for the faint of heart.

Bush & Vietnam analogies

When told of how Bush is now using "Vietnam" to support his policies on Iraq, historian Robert Dallek undoubtedly sighed in disgust and then said:

Historian Robert Dallek, who has written about the comparisons of Iraq to Vietnam, accused Bush of twisting history. "It just boggles my mind, the distortions I feel are perpetrated here by the president," he said in a telephone interview.

"We were in Vietnam for 10 years. We dropped more bombs on Vietnam than we did in all of World War II in every theater. We lost 58,700 American lives, the second-greatest loss of lives in a foreign conflict. And we couldn't work our will," he said.

"What is Bush suggesting? That we didn't fight hard enough, stay long enough? That's nonsense. It's a distortion," he continued. "We've been in Iraq longer than we fought in World War II. It's a disaster, and this is a political attempt to lay the blame for the disaster on his opponents. But the disaster is the consequence of going in, not getting out."


I've been wondering what the hell has been going on with Spitzer since his election. It's pretty clear that Andrew Cuomo hates his guts (and is, IMHO, overreaching at a very early stage in an effort to get Spitzer's job). But it's also clear now (thanks to Digby and The Albany Project) that there are other forces at work. Namely, this prick:

We are hot, athletic and very fit. We are seeking similar couples or exceptional muscular, well hung, single men. She's 40DD-24-36 and bi. She loves to fuck hard and deep. He's 195 lbs., trim, muscular and 8" +. She prefers jocks, miliary men, and body builders. No fat people or smokers need respond. Send photo and phone. No photo, no response! We are interested in DC, VA, MD, NYC, Miami, and LA.
Please be sure not to miss this, either. (SeaLinkrch for "Stone.")

So Roger Stone is back doing ratfucking ops against Spitzer. Here's the less gentile NY Post account of the insatiable Republican's dirty tricks (and his penchant for swinging -- and ooo00 -- it includes a picture of the gal who "loves to fuck hard and deep.") And here's Josh Marshall on The Whole Sick Crew.

I guess it makes sense that Stone is back to ratfucking. Stone's Wiki bio, which is fairly scrubbed, says he was 19 during his political debut (a/k/a "Watergate"). If we assume that was 1974, that makes him about fifty-two now, kind of long in the tooth to be suiting up with leather chaps and dog collars. Update: turns out ole Roger is 55. And that he gone the way of all Republicans, i.e., resigned two steps ahead of the cops to spend more time with his family. Update to the Update: check it out.

Somebody seems to think that...

Joining the "mile-high club" involves gin.

AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

Oh jeebus

Not this shit again! (in so many ways)

Dude who weaseled out of serving in Vietnam, advised by guys who also weaseled out of Vietnam, uses Vietnam to stiffen the spines of his enablers, members of the 101st Keyboarders who are managing not to serve in Iraq while cheering for others to stay and suffer in the sandbox.

Finally, the plan all comes together. Finally, after denying it so often, IRAQ IS VIETNAM all over again.

"Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left," Bush will say.

"Whatever your position in that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens, whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 're-education camps' and 'killing fields,' " the president will say.

The president will also make the argument that withdrawing from Vietnam emboldened today's terrorists by compromising U.S. credibility, citing a quote from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden that the American people would rise against the Iraq war the same way they rose against the war in Vietnam, according to the excerpts.

"Here at home, some can argue our withdrawal from Vietnam carried no price to American credibility, but the terrorists see things differently," Bush will say.

This is just atrociously galling.

First of all, for the third time in three weeks (because this is plainly the new Right Wing Line..."okay, it IS like Vietnam but...") this canard of an argument is being made now by Bush himself, which I guess is an off-handed admission of "OOPS, BUSH SURE DONE FUCKED UP!"

Second of all, this argument couldn't be made, just like Vietnam, if the original fuck up based on deception hadn't been made in the first place. The argument of we cannot end this fuck up because we fucked it up and the only way to minimize the fuck up is by telling America troops, "you're fucked" is not exactly the strongest argument ever made.

Third, as I've said a few times on this blog recently, Bush (and his minions) once again show all the subtle knowledge of history you'd expect from them after all these years.

ONCE AGAIN: Pol Pot would not have accomplished more than being a dumbfuck in the jungle if we, THE UNITA STATES O'MURICA! hadn't bombed the shit out of that country and made it the third-party victim of Nixon's Surge of the early 1970s.

We managed to never come to grips with the fact that we were the Khmer Rouge's enablers as much as our horrendous Iraq misadventure has been a huge boon for reactionary theocrats that will help drag the middle east down an even lower path. Pot and his group went from being place-holding countryside revolutionaries to being the group that at least stood up to the Americans who had managed to drop more than 100,000 tons of bombs primarily on civilians.

It's the kind of thing that can really piss a people off and did. We thus, as seemingly ever, managed to use brute force to create a boon for a lunatic. The thing that ended the Khmer Rouge guessed it, our old enemy Vietnam who invaded that nation and ended it. And you know who AIDED the fucking Khmer Rouge to resist Vietnam (hell, financed the border crossings that led to Vietnam snapping back)...THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! (That's right under Jimmy Carter, but right-wingers spare me your indignation, your crowd was fully on board at the time).

And, of course, Bush is also predicting that if we withdraw from Vietnam Iraq, they will never forgive us and all the dominoes will fall and we'll never be able to deal with them as friends or deal with them ever again.

So there!

It would be nice to see actual discussion of the errors of Bush's argument but that would require two things. First of all, it would require thought and a knowledge of history -- as opposed to inculcated cynism and second, Bush would have to be a Democrat.

Rally Squad

The Bush Administration -- literally writes the book on crushing dissent from the tender ears and eyes of Dear Leader:

Not that they're worried or anything. But the White House evidently leaves little to chance when it comes to protests within eyesight of the president. As in, it doesn't want any.

A White House manual that came to light recently gives presidential advance staffers extensive instructions in the art of "deterring potential protestors" from President Bush's public appearances around the country.

Among other things, any event must be open only to those with tickets tightly controlled by organizers. Those entering must be screened in case they are hiding secret signs. Any anti-Bush demonstrators who manage to get in anyway should be shouted down by "rally squads" stationed in strategic locations.* And if that does not work, they should be thrown out.

But that does not mean the White House is against dissent -- just so long as the president does not see it. In fact, the manual outlines a specific system for those who disagree with the president to voice their views. It directs the White House advance staff to ask local police "to designate a protest area where demonstrators can be placed, preferably not in the view of the event site or motorcade route."

Which gives new light to the many times Bush has said things about how he enjoys meeting the public.

Welcome to George Bush's America.

*Like Munich or Nuremberg

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Best Commercial Ever

Friend showed me this today. Apologies if you've already seen. Laughed myself silly.

"Here's how you handle that Hurricane..."

"Get yourself another Brownie, Brownie."

REUTERS/Larry Downing

"Now, now, don't be offended Brownie, I'm just kiddin' -- about Brownie, not your ah, brown colorin', I like that, it's a good look for you -- as a Mexican."

AP Photo/CP, Adrian Wyld

"And just to show ya' Brownie, and in solidarity with your storm sufferin' people, I got ya' a little gift."

modified from REUTERS/Larry Downing

Freeper heads 'splodin'

Does not compute. Poor K-Lo, now she'll have to watch A-Team reruns.

Funny lady Janeane Garofalo is joining the cast of 24.

Although details of the casting are few and far between at this point, what I can tell you is this: 1) Come fall, she'll be a regular, 2) her character is a government agent who is part of the team investigating the crisis befalling Jack Bauer and Co. in the upcoming season, and 3) since the comedienne's persona often brings to mind Mary Lynn Rajskub's prickly Chloe, the potential for on-screen fireworks is greater than it has been during any of the show's previous bomb threats.

I'm pretty sure Rush Limbaugh's small nuts would not survive trying this with Janeane Garofalo:

Ah, the tired ol' theme

The trap of financial news networks and reports on the Stock Market are they focus TOTALLY upon the wealthy, be it a well-stocked portfolio, or the corporate bottom-line. Cutting payroll for example, is considered fan-damn-tastic for a stock.

But of all the offensive lies that are constantly repeated, the worst and most ridiculous, is the notion of "Bush doesn't get credit for how good the economy is". Golly, Larry Kudlow, why would that be?

Americans earned a smaller average income in 2005 than in 2000, the fifth consecutive year that they had to make ends meet with less money than at the peak of the last economic expansion, new government data shows.

While incomes have been on the rise since 2002, the average income in 2005 was $55,238, still nearly 1 percent less than the $55,714 in 2000, after adjusting for inflation, analysis of new tax statistics show...

...Total income listed on tax returns grew every year after World War II, with a single one-year exception, until 2001, making the five-year period of lower average incomes and four years of lower total incomes a new experience for the majority of Americans born since 1945.

The White House [ed: R - Tone Deaf] said the fact that average incomes were smaller five years after the Internet bubble burst “should not surprise anyone.”

The growth in total incomes was concentrated among those making more than $1 million. The number of such taxpayers grew by more than 26 percent, to 303,817 in 2005, from 239,685 in 2000.

These individuals, who constitute less than a quarter of 1 percent of all taxpayers, reaped almost 47 percent of the total income gains in 2005, compared with 2000.

The "economy" is good ONLY when it's good for most of its citizenry. I know it's a shock, but the guy making $11 an hour at Best Buy is just as much of a citizen as the CEO. His financial status should count for something more than being denied medical insurance for his kid by a Bush Administration regulation.

Time for Jim Cramer to scream about how bad off his beloved "stock traders" are.

The Power of Words

"Clerisy" (it is the new "meme") a word you never saw used outside of Scrabble until you beheld the power of the blogs.

All I know is I used that shit regularly between 14 and 17 and it kept me from looking like Noriega.

I now call upon all our loyal readers to tell me which "obscure", yet appropriate word, I, Atta J. Turk should try to push into the ether?

As an extra bonus if you could find one with a "Q" or an "X" in it I'd be even happier (TRIPLE NERD SCORE BITCHES!)

We've let these people have influence

They're fucking nuts...and our press is fucking lazy.

Exclusive: Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy
Philip Atkinson

Author: Philip Atkinson
Source: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
Date: August 3, 2007

The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed. But if he did this, his cowardly electorate would have instantly ended his term of office, if not his freedom or his life.

The simple truth that modern weapons now mean a nation must practice genocide or commit suicide...

If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting an Arabian Iraq into an American Iraq (therefore turning it from a liability to an asset); and boost American prestiege while terrifying American enemies.

He could then follow Caesar's example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court.

President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming “ex-president” Bush or he can become “President-for-Life” Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.

As Digby points out, the board of directors of the Family Security Matters has such right wing luminaries as Barbara Comstock, Monica Crowley, Frank Gaffney, Laura Ingraham and James Woolsey. A veritable who's who of enablers, cheerleaders, and perpetuators of the Iraqi clusterfuck.

And what is being proposed now? Nuke 'em.

Democratic candidates are constantly asked about whatever Cindy Sheehan or Al Sharpton said -- I'd love to have the current GOP Candidates have to deal with this filth.


"Forget Iraq, nuke Mecca" - Tom Tancredo

"Why not both?" - Rudy Giuliani

Tony Blair...keepin' busy

British dwarf's penis gets stuck to hoover.

"Oh, yip yip yip yip YIP!!!"

Something for Res

A "YouTube" of Cardinal Milfington from the late, great "Morning Sedition". Damn, I miss this segment.

Thank Goodness

Bush has found an issue that the base can rally around...

Hating children.

The Bush administration, engaged in a battle with Congress over whether a popular children's health insurance program should be expanded, has announced new policies that will make it harder for states to insure all but the lowest-income children.

Finally, the evil doers will pay!

"Won't somebody please think of the children?!"


Monday, August 20, 2007

You're a Genius! (Until You're a Schmuck.)

Just finished reading "The Rove Presidency" in The Atlantic (sorry, not online) and it's pretty clear that we're in the second half of the classic American "You're a Genius! (Until You're a Schmuck)" media cycles. Rove gets a dimwitted playboy selected for elected to the most powerful office in the world. He's a Genius! Against all odds, he does it again. He's The Architect! A Genius! Then Bush loses congress and Rove's The Guy Who Fucked Everything Up. He quits and everyone (yes, even Repubs) start piling on. He goes on tour to try to salvage his reputation (and maybe, as Rachel Maddow just said on "Countdown," to draw some attention away from his boss, who's on vacation and who everyone save the mouthbreathers pretty much hates at this point). "He's been fucking up since Day One!" "He made Crucial Mistakes along the way!" "And we never liked him much, either. So there."

You've been through this before. It happens all the time in business. Steve Case was a Genius! Until AOL bought Time Warner and he (and Gerald Levin) became World Class Schmucks. Jeffrey Skilling was on the side of the angels, until he was the Devil Incarnate. Carly Fiorina was The Bestest CEO Evah! until they booted her ass out of HP. Sub-prime mortgages are the bomb, until they are The Bomb.

I guess it's the same in politics and the only thing new is that tomorrow there will be more Geniuses -- and some of those will, somewhere down the road, become Schmucks. And when they do, the media will be there to tell us how they always knew he was a schmuck. But the media will never ever stop writing the Genius story because it's a lot less fun to be cautious , thoughtful, and/or honest than it is to write for posterity in the hope you'll be guy who discovered the next big Genius. Plus, if the Genius thing doesn't work out, there are always column inches to be filled writing the Schmuck narrative.

Karl Rove: Schmuck.

On Tyranny and the Bush Administration

I am not optimistic we can pull out of the death spiral we have been in since September 11, 2001. In fact, given recent developments like the FISA amendment recently rammed through a compliant and hat-in-hand Congress run by fools, I am less optimistic than ever that we can ever undo the damage done the republic in the name of patriotism done by people who have no concept of it. Read Scott Horton on Padilla for a view on what's at stake.

But beyond this, the cases of Jose Padilla, John Walker Lindh and David Hicks—among a slew of others—presented a series of missed opportunities. If you have followed the histories of enduring empires of old, you know that people like Padilla, Lindh and Hicks have in the past been seized upon as special opportunities. America’s current counterterrorism effort is spectacularly unsuccessful in one essential area: penetration of the enemy camp. A truly proactive counterterrorism approach would recognize that naïve adventurers and misfits like Padilla, Lindh and Hicks present the perfect opportunity to get a look deep inside the enemy camp. They would be the perfect individuals to recruit and turn. And the great empires of old—the Romans, the Britons, the Russians to cite a few—excelled in doing exactly that.

But how do the Bush counterterrorism geniuses react when such a prize falls into their hands? They summon up press conferences and extol their success in the capture. That’s an act which in itself, makes the possible use of the captive as a double agent impossible.

It’s not coincidental that the counterterrorism effort has been such a stupendous failure in this area. There has been no serious effort to exploit the assets that are there and right before the government’s nose.

Instead, what is revealed as the priority tactic? Fear-mongering in the service of a domestic partisan political agenda.
As the Bush Administration is conceptualizing and implementing this law, the fact that Padilla thought bad thoughts about the United States and its Government is enough to lock him up for life. There is no requirement that he have actually taken a material step towards a plot to actually do something bad.

And with this, yet again, the Bush Administration is lining its own policies up with tyrannical practices of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centures that led ultimately to the Civil War and the legal revolution in England. The Court of Star Chamber regularly seized and tortured persons who were suspected of participating in Catholic plots against the monarchy. It was enough that the persons seized be proved to harbor sympathies with Catholic plotters who embraced terrorist methods. There was of course nothing delusional about these concerns. The plotters really existed. Moreover, they were heavily supported by hostile foreign powers, and they aimed to unsettle the country by assassinating the monarch, among other things. In the state security court of that era, there was no need to demonstrate that a person actually had taken a step to act on a plan—it was enough to show his sympathies and his entrance into a conspiracy.

The American Republic was founded upon a repudiation of this notion. But in this area again, the Bush Administration has worked with determination to undo three hundred years of legal history and to reinstate tyrannical practices of the past.

In the end this concept—of thought crime as a major tool for the enforcement of national security concerns—is the gravest issue to arise from the Padilla case. It needs to be monitored and offset through legislation that will resurrect the legal values and principles that existed before Bush’s wholesale onslaught against the Constitution began.

All of these things lead me to view the jury’s verdict in the Padilla case as an important development, but hardly the end of the case. Much remains to be done. Justice may, fairly meted out, involve punishment for Jose Padilla. But the time must come when his tormentors face justice as well.

As they say, go read the whole thing.

Holy Joe strikes again

Why it seems just the other day* I was stating we'd see a new Joe Lieberman editorial before Labor Day.

And, by golly, we have -- and the first line is certainly familiar:

The United States is at last making significant progress against al Qaeda in Iraq

Where have I heard that line before?

Monday Art Blogging

Take this Res:

Gainsborough's lesser work, "The Bush Boy"

Michael Ledeen has a heart attack

If only he was capable of speaking either Farsi or Arabic. Oh well, he is still an expert, just ask him.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accepted an invitation to visit neighboring Iraq, Iran's foreign minister said on Sunday, a move that would be unlikely to be welcomed by the United States.

Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki said Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had invited Ahmadinejad after Maliki visited Tehran on August 8-9, but added a final decision had yet to be taken.


President Bush has said that Iran will face unspecified consequences if it continues to assist insurgents. He and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are considering designating the Revolutionary Guard Corps, the elite military force that serves as the guardian of Iran's Islamic state, as a terrorist organization.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, however, recently made a friendly visit to Tehran, where he glad-handed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He has characterized U.S. accusations against Iran as a spat that he's trying to help mediate.

U.S. military officials say that Iran has supplied the Mahdi Army, which is loosely controlled by radical anti-American cleric Muqtada al Sadr, with explosively formed projectiles, or EFPs. Such devices have proven much more lethal against armored vehicles than the notorious improvised explosive devices, also known as IEDs.

Spokeswoman Conway said that since April, the military has found 217 weapons in four provinces south of Baghdad that it suspects were supplied by Iran. She said the military has not caught any Iranians or Iraqis smuggling weapons across the Iran-Iraq border, but she believes it soon will.

"Just because we're not finding them doesn't mean they're not there," Conway said.

You know, that last line calls for some snark I suppose about how that evidence is hinding with the WMD's in Norm Podhoretz's basement.

But I'd rather ram my head against a wall...preferably one with Michael Gordon acting as a buffer.


GOP Donor/Whackjob Bob Murray got to do his old vaudeville routines and get his 15 minutes of fame, stretched out over two weeks. While six men have apparently been given up for buried...that news coming not from the song & dance man, but from a Vice-President of the Company.

Murray was there to soak up his fame, and give misguided tours to the press to try to win them over while the Federal Mine Safety Director Strickler stood there with his thum up his ass -- there wasn't a microphone Murray wouldn't throw himself in front of while 6 men lied buried and 3 more died trying to rescue them -- and now this:

"It's likely that these miners may not be found," Rob Moore, vice president of mine operator Murray Energy, told reporters earlier Sunday.

And for what? To extract the fumes of what was in the mine they were in:

The coal that rattles on conveyor belts out of the hillsides of east-central Utah sold for 50 percent more last year than five years earlier. In Crandall Canyon, the section the mine crew was working Aug. 6 had already been harvested and abandoned by a previous owner. The mine's new owner sent crews back in to gather more.

Now that there's bad news and abandonment after his promises of the opposite, Murray is suddenly scarce.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Art Blogging

"Andrew Allfree"


Howard Hodgkin



Wackjob with a nice smile Mike Huckabee a little over a month ago, decried no one should listen to Michal Moore about health care because...MICHAEL MOORE IS FAT. Which, you have to say, is really original, we'd never heard that line from a conservative about Michael Moore before.

Well, say hello to Rupert Huckabee, I mean, David Huckabee -- a man who makes Jenna Bush seem like a character out of Jane Austen.

But what about his Glock-packing campaign trail roadblock of a son, David? The li'l Huckster briefly caught the national spotlight in April by getting arrested for trying to carry a loaded handgun through airport security. His father called the situation just "one of those stupid things," but it wasn't the first time the Baptist preacher's son has been an enticing target for bad press.

In 1998, a teenage Huckabee (he's now 26) was fired from his job at a Boy Scout camp for his reported involvement in an incident where a stray dog was brutally killed. While an elected student leader in college, his questionable private business dealings with a student organization created a local controversy that resulted in Huckabee bitterly paying for business licenses with over 6,000 pennies.

I've been following politics off and on, but has there ever been a series of Republican candidates with so many dog issues?

Mitt and his "Wind Tunnel of Shitty Death"; Judith and her "Kill Fido for Finance" and now this? When is Michael Vick announcing?

I really can't believe Frist isn't running just to add some balance with cat killing.