Monday, July 31, 2006
Dafna Linzer of the WaPo reported on Sunday "Report on Prewar Intelligence Lagging : Information Democrats Want Most Might Not Come Out Until After Election" and, via Senate staffers as her anonymous sources, reveals that Senator Roberts appears to have just flat out lied when he told Congress and the world back in late 2005 that the report was almost finished. Harry Reid had of course closed down the Senate in an effort to get Roberts off the pot but the rascal and his party seems to have not learned much.
My understanding is that way back in early 2004 Pat Roberts and a few others convinced the Democratic leadership (focusing on Jay Rockerfeller of WV) to split up the investigation of pre-war intelligence failures as "a matter of fairness" with the election looming. Phase I of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report examined how the intelligence agencies did their job. Phase II would look at how the White House handled and used this or other information.
Back in April of this year Alexander Bolton of The Hill provided us a good updated on the status of this mess. I think this is the first time Roberts began backing off his 2005 representations. There were suggestions in this reporting that another split could occur in the report (Perhaps we could call it Phase IIA?) with the less controversial segments, allegedly three back then, drafted and just around the corner. Meatloaf assures me that "two outta three 'aint bad" but darned if I'm not so certain that we ought to still be waiting for anything! Especially since the two, except for the Chalabi angle in one portion, have been explored to a large extent by Phase I. We'll still need to wait for the stuff on Chalabi. Wonder why?
"The dumbest fucking guy on the planet" Douglas Feith is too blame according to Roberts. Why seek his "cooperation" Senator? Subpoena his ass! He's teaching over at Georgetown. Jesus General located Professor Feith's syllabus so surely he'll be easy to serve. I don't think that "Feith and Friends" Fox News program worked out so they can't find him hanging out at Dick Cheney's favorite network.
I wonder if John Rendon is available? Scooter's admittedly occupied, but Condi and Rummy and... are still around. Pat Roberts and Dick seem to be on speaking terms. Dubyah, as long as we don't interfere with his exercise schedule, could surely work some time in for this Committee. Plus it seems like a call from any of the leaders up at Bu$hCo could motivate pretty much anybody that is needed to assist.
You've got a little over three month until the mid-terms. Surely there's time to get things rolling. Peace ... or War!
Sunday, July 30, 2006
At the start of the month, our Prime Time Propagandist was named "Outlander of the Day", an admittedly short lived concept, that gives you a little background on the Stossel style of journalism.
Ever the advocate for school choice, even getting prime time opportunities to shill his seemingly biased and misleading "reporting", Mr. Stossel appears via TownHall, amongst other illuminaries of the wingnut welfare and corporate journalist class, with "Smearing education choice".
Read the column and then tell me who is doing the "smearing"! Jabbing at the Gray Lady is always good for some read meat for the base and then telling the informed readers of TownHall they just don't like capitalism and free markets, much less "conservative Christian" schools, seals the deal for me.
"Torturing the data" is the phrase he uses to lament the DOE's own researchers applying what he admits is a valid statistical tool, namely regressional analysis, to control for poverty and parenting factors.
It's "telling to me" that you cite international comparisons, claiming the Times/mainstream media leave this out of their reporting as they are "eager to defend a unionized government monopoly". You admit American kids compare favorably to students of other developed nations in early years, as measured by all knowing tests I'm sure, and then fall behind in later grades. There's no way the fact that the U.S. doesn't openly track out kids to manual labor, technical, and university programs in kid's early teenage years like these other nations generally do would have anything to do with this is there John?
No cultural factors in play are there? Concentrated poverty ... don't be silly! Professional educators that point out these concerns and offer solutions are obviously defending their lucrative and respected turf. Why don't they, after two plus decades of conservatism controlling educational policy, admit they don't have the answers?
School choice under the beloved market would solve all our problems! Doctrine rescued. Bureaucrats/unions and the NYT smeared. Conservative Christians defended from persecution! Well done Sir Stossel!
Finally, in your column you cited various studies, with no links or references, that support some of your arguments. While I'm expecting Jay Greene and/or The Manhattan Institute was/were involved in some I'm not going to do the work of looking. If you take the lottery winners that made it into a school with wealthier and more motivated fellow students and compare them with kids left behind in perhaps poorer populations, then I'm not so sure who is guilty of torturing the data.
I'm not surprised John Stossel can find a place for his work on TownHall yet the fact that ABC gives his type time to do their shilling continues to amaze me. I guess the market does have all the solutions for "journalists" like John Stossel. Peace ... or War!
Saturday, July 29, 2006
I grieve! Four "ours" of course yet as much so for "theirs" as these deaths were avoidable given a little less cowboy and a lot more cooperation. I was against the invasion of Iraq from the start yet I still feel guilt. I think Mr. Greeley is right to think Americans that supported this Bu$hCo cabal's hyper-aggressive stance would and should feel shame.
Here's what he writes:
I also grieve for the young men and women that are in Iraq, often cycled in and out on tour after tour, and being scarred by the experience. The costs in blood, soul, and treasure continue to rise. I noticed where our KIA numbers are approaching 2600 and wounded nears 20,000.
... The New York Times reported that during recent months a hundred Iraqis die violently every day, 3,000 every month. In terms of size of population, that is the equivalent of 300,000 Americans a month, 10,000 every day. ...
Rarely do Americans tell themselves that the United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, is responsible for this slaughter. In a spasm of arrogance and power, we destroyed their political and social structure and are now unable to protect them from one another. Their blood is on the hands of our leaders who launched a war on false premises, without adequate forces, without plans for the time after the war and then sent in inept administrators who could not provide even a hint of adequate public services.
As Colin Powell, who knows something about war, unlike the president and his top thinkers, told President Bush, "If you break it, you own it." If you shatter a society, it is yours, and you're responsible for it. The United States shattered Iraq and we are responsible for the ensuing chaos that we are unable to control. So a hundred human beings are killed every day, and the most powerful military in the world (as Messrs. Rumsfeld and Cheney insist) is unable to stop the killing.
On most of the standards for a just war, the invasion of Iraq was criminally unjust. Messrs. Wolfowitz, Cheney and Rumsfeld wanted to invade Iraq the day after the World Trade Center attack. They tried to persuade the people that Iraq was somehow involved in the attack. They insisted that the Iraqis possessed weapons of mass destruction. Their arguments for the war, we all know now, were not true.
There was, therefore, no just cause, no attempt to exhaust all possible alternatives short of war, no real hope for victory, no postwar plan, and no ability to prevent the postwar butchery that was easily predictable to those who understood Iraq. The war leaped from slogan to slogan -- weapons of mass destruction, the critical front in the global war on terror, stay the course, freedom and democracy in Iraq. All these slogans are false.
Were America's leaders deliberately lying? Did they really believe that the Shiites and the Sunnis would not murder one another, or did they know better? One must leave the state of their consciences to God. However, they should have known, and ...
I'm afraid it is too late to salvage much of any good from this disaster beyond trying to reduce the killing and hurting. That we can keep both ours and theirs safer with a gradual withdrawal seems like some middle ground that needs serious consideration. I've long thought a Murthaesque approach made sense. Putting our troops just over the horizon (perhaps horizons would be more accurate as a force up in the Kurdish areas over near Syria/Turkey and also East near Iran could keep Iraq's neighbors from getting too bold) might allow us (and Iraq!) to hold on long enough to get a new administration in our White House that might have a prayer of carrying out effective leadership. Splitting Iraq into three sectors could also perhaps defuse some of the tensions. Buying off and even empowering some of the Iraqi leaders that can create stable locales is a bargain that might work. Trying to get international support back in the mix seems foundational yet I think Bu$hCo has long ago burned that bridge. Humanitarian efforts should be a focus yet I know conditions of the ground might hinder.
Relying on "Stay the course!" and "We'll stand down when the Iraqis stand up." plus ginning up Rovian talking points to paint alternatives suggested from the left as "Cut and Run" is hardly working is it? Bu$hCo is simply in over their heads and the many foundational flaws in this administration and the GOP controlled Congress prevent little if any movement toward a remedy.
One final thing I'll add to Mr. Greeley's ideas are that while we "must leave the state of their consciences to God" we can hold them, and their party accountable, at the ballot box. Kansas Senator Pat Roberts surely isn't going to hold them accountable so shifting the control of the House and/or Senate to the Democrats will open up the possibility of real investigations and perhaps even a shift in strategy in Iraq. Peace ... or War!
Friday, July 28, 2006
This "War President" and his cabal of enablers have truly created a world that is going to require some grown ups to repair. Peace ... or War!
I'm not sure I really get why the US and Israel haven't yet come to terms with the fact that this fourth generation war cannot be won with classic military action. I suspect it is the neocon influence which, throughout many decades, never gave a passing thought to terrorism or assymetrical warfare. They have been stuck in a cold war mindset (a mindset that was wrong about the cold war too) and have consistently seen the world through the prism of rogue totalitarian states. This is why, in spite of the fact that everything is going to hell in a handbasket in a hundred different ways, they persist in focusing on Iran (formerly Iraq) and ignoring all the moving parts that make their aggressive plans to "confront" these regimes simpleminded and doomed to failure.
For Israel and the US it couldn't be worse. They have systematically chipped away at any moral authority they had while demonstrating that their military, diplomatic and economic power are paper tigers. What an excellent strategy for all concerned. Oh, and too bad about all the dead bodies that have been produced to create that sad outcome.
Although the actual poll is available in PDF format, I'll send you to the NPR "Morning Edition" story by Mara Liasson. With this poll narrowly examining fifty Congressional Districts that could go either way this fall, the results strongly suggest the GOP could very well lose the House.
Recalling the Republican's advantages of late in fundraising and GOTV is appropriate. I certainly hope the DNC and Progresssive organizations have people on the ground to assure a fair vote as well. With the loss of either Chamber the Bu$hCo crowd, and the GOP as a whole, can finally be forced to answer up. You know they fear this and will pull out every trick in the book to prevent.
This is going to be a fine fall for political junkies yet I'm so eager for a change in DC that I'll need to be careful not to overdose. Peace ... or War!
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Recent reporting from Mr. Ricks at the WaPo entitled "In Iraq, Military Forgot the Lessons of Vietnam - Early Missteps by U.S. Left Troops Unprepared for Guerrilla Warfare" seems consistent with what I heard this Tuesday when I wasn't playing farm hand. "Fiasco" is not too bold a term. In any other administration than Bu$hCo some accountability would exist for creating such conditions. Peace ... or War!
From a quick bounce around the book's site, one idea to offer is that historically these decisions that helped unleash Fundy Islam were surely made by relatively rational and well read people. They were often wrong maybe yet defensible. With Bu$hCo, the agenda seems to drive the reality. I'm so frustrated with our government not holding Bu$h to any responsibility, in Iraq or elsewhere, yet I suppose Karl Rove feels like this foolishness with Maliki will sell, at least in The Heartland. Peace ... or War!
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
This article is the type of reporting that ought to get coverage yet I'm not optimistic. People must understand how Bu$hCo has run rough shod over our laws and traditions. Read this piece and make sure your friends and family know of this development. I loathed John Ashcroft for his radicalism and find Alberto "Abu" Gonzales equally troubling for his loyalty to Bu$hCo. But the bottom line is that both were brought to power under the directions of Bu$hCo. His will be the worst administration ever and I can only hope we'll have a way to reverse the damage he's done. Peace ... or War!
In an acknowledgment of the department's special need to be politically neutral, hiring for career jobs in the Civil Rights Division under all recent administrations, Democratic and Republican, had been handled by civil servants -- not political appointees.
But in the fall of 2002, then-attorney general John Ashcroft changed the procedures. The Civil Rights Division disbanded the hiring committees made up of veteran career lawyers.
For decades, such committees had screened thousands of resumes, interviewed candidates, and made recommendations that were only rarely rejected.
Now, hiring is closely overseen by Bush administration political appointees to Justice, effectively turning hundreds of career jobs into politically appointed positions.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Given the disasters of Bu$hCo, many "conservatives" are trying to now offer that he's really not "conservative". While I agree up to a point, Dubyah's policies are certainly related to what Reagan started in the early 80s and Newt brought along in 1994.
I've long been a fan of The Campaign for America's Future and their "Straight Talk" effort gives us a nice chart, with the ability to read further, on "The Conservative Failure". Study this work to be ready to fight off "looney left" labels. I've found the better informed I became the less I had to deal with Dittoheads and those lightweights. It might not matter to some Christianist "Values Voter" types but the economic and environmental and health care and ... realities are especially hard to deny. Additionally, the rare conservative that can make a rational defense of their positions will have to work long and hard to explain away these failures. Peace ... or War!
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Do "conservatives" really think there are no moral and/or intellectual limits in defending "Our Leader"?
The WaPo's Jonathan Weisman, in his "With Insurance Policy Comes Membership - Unbeknown to Some, Those Signing Up With Firm Are Joining Conservative Group" , reveals Dick's "FreedomWorks" (formerly knows as "Citizens for a Sound Economy", has been getting members and money from the sale of Health Savings Accounts (HSA) from a company owned by millionaire Republican businessman J. Patrick Rooney. Dick Armey allegedly loves to fish, and from the image one would think he just loves fish, yet it seems like he's more than willing to reel in money and members through what seems not especially sporting.
Mr. Rooney was involved in "People of Color United" which might have made difference in Ohio this past 2004. Rooney thinks "the Lord would be pleased about" his HSA advocacy. Mr. Rooney attracted the attention of Mother Jones some ten years ago. I love how they described the HSA idea as "kooky" according to economist and health care experts yet we know how Bu$hCo and the GOP tends to treat experts, especially when there's money to be made. Rooney also has ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization that certainly needs watching.
That Dick Armey and J. Patrick Rooney have managed to make even more money and further their radical agendas by hiding the truth from regular folks they do business with surprises me not. They are opportunistic corporate shills that don't care about the little man. They are networked in with the GOP power structure who thinks government's only tolerable reason for existence is to give them an opportunity to make them more money. Peace ... or War!
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Very solid work. Peace .. or War!
In electing Republicans, America, you put people in charge of institutions they overtly, caustically loathe and proudly proclaim should not exist. Good thinking, USA, and stellar results: Katrina, Iraq, Medicare D, trade and budget deficits, mine disasters and on and on and on and ...
Conservatives have declared officially for decades that they hate public programs and love private business. Why then, do Americans profess shock when these same people run the public credit card up to bunker-busting levels to line the pockets of friendly corporations, leaving taxpayers - current and the as-yet unborn - the bill
It's the dine and ditch mentality writ large, and American citizens are the unfortunate waiters having their lowly pay docked to cover the deadbeat loss - and their future grandchildren's pay docked as well.
We are witnessing an orchestrated, unprecedented transfer of public wealth to private pockets, a national one-party feeding frenzy that's making beggars and beseechers of us all, and yet many Americans stand around muttering in a daze of semi-apathetic befuddlement about gosh darn how did all this come to be and how sure as shit, uh-huh, those Republicans shore were right, government doesn't do a the little guy a damn bit of good, no sirree bob. Better drown it some more. Cut them taxes, privatize something, anything, pronto! ...
Seems pretty straightforward to me. But hey, I'm a Democrat. You know, one of those people who think universal quality public education is a massive good to society, that maintaining our highways and levees and bridges and dams is part of what makes this country great, that paying first-responders and nurses what they're worth helps guarantee our public health and safety, that providing for fellow citizens who fall on hard times is not only the ethical thing to do, but the pragmatic one, ensuring that this country does not incubate a permanently inflamed and disgruntled underclass ready to drop a match on a pool of social gasoline.
Here's a thought - just a thought, mind you, beloved America: Perhaps it's time to return to government the party that has an ideological stake in making it ... you know ... succeed. Maybe, just maybe, it's time to raise our sights a wee bit and elect people who think public service is more than an opportunity for the "Biggest! Fire Sale! Ever!" for their friends and loved ones. Perhaps it's time to insist on greater - if not great - expectations from the employees we decide to hire or fire every two years to carry out our will under the constitution.
As one-party Republican rule has clearly shown, when you expect incompetence, corruption and deceit from your government, you get exactly what you vote for. In spades.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Today, Susan G at Kos reveals that Margaret Spellings, the Bu$hCo appointee over the DOE, claims, disengenously it seems to me, that this report was hidden from her. Over this past weekend she read in the papers about the report (from her own agency!) that trashes the right's position yet she still doesn't bother reading it. This is a few days before going to Congress and asking for $100 million to remedy the failures of public schools via a voucher program? "Heck of a job, Maggie!" Peace ... or War!
Mr. Halperin makes plenty of sense doesn't he? If our Congress doesn't push back after 2006 then I'm afraid history will judge us harshly. I'm sure the GOP swift boats are already in the water, along with other tactics being ready, to avoid both the loss of control of Congress and also to push back against those seeking investigations. If and when real oversight begins I'm sure the GOP will try to play it off as partisan politics but if this is handled correctly I'm thinking the American public's outrage over how the GOP looked the other way will more than outweigh the risks. Peace ... or War!
But even though Nixon's specific actions might have been more obviously illegal and more "corrupt" (in the sense that they were designed to advance his own career over his rivals), President Bush's claim of nearly limitless power — including the ability to engage in a range of activities that pose a fundamental threat to the constitutional order and to our civil liberties — overshadows all comparisons.
Among the many such activities are the seizure of U.S. citizens and their indefinite detention without charge or access to lawyers; warrantless wiretaps of citizens in violation of procedures mandated by Congress; and the seizing of individuals in foreign countries and their movement to third countries, where they have been subjected to torture in violation of U.S. laws and treaty obligations.
When these activities have leaked out, the president has not sought to deny them but has publicly defended them (and attacked the press for printing the information). The administration has vigorously opposed all efforts to have the courts review its actions, and when the Supreme Court has overruled the president, as it has several times now, the administration has given the court holdings the narrowest possible interpretation.
Congress has been treated with equal disdain. When the Senate voted overwhelmingly to prohibit torture and cruel and degrading treatment by all agencies, including the CIA, Vice President Dick Cheney warned lawmakers that they were overstepping their bounds and threatening national security. When Congress persisted and attached the language to a defense appropriations bill, the president signed the law with an accompanying statement declaring his right to disobey the anti-torture provisions.
The administration has repeatedly failed to inform Congress or its committees of what it was doing, or has told only a few selected members in a truncated way, preventing real oversight. Even leading Republicans, such as Michigan's Rep. Peter Hoekstra, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have voiced strong concerns.
During the Nixon years, the laws governing what the president could do and under what circumstances he needed to inform Congress were murky. There were no intelligence committees in Congress, and there was no Intelligence Oversight Act. There was no legislated prohibition on national security surveillance.
In response to Watergate and the related scandals of the Nixon years, however, Congress constructed a careful set of prohibitions, guidelines and requirements for congressional reporting.
Bush's systematic and defiant violation of these rules, as well as of the mandates of the Constitution and international law, pose a challenge to our constitutional order and civil liberties that, in the end, constitutes a far greater threat than the lawlessness of Richard Nixon.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
The piece references the work of John Dean, and I'm admittedly reluctant to link to "Conservatives Without Conscience" since I'm still not a huge Dean fan, which shared various studies on authoritarianism. Mr. Blumenthal writes:
20 to 25% of Americans! That's a huge number that can perhaps be stirred to action by fear and pressure. Again, I'm just not thinking the GOP is switching gears here. Congress might push back a little, at least for those candadates facing some moderate pressures, in an effort to cover things past the election. They need those "authoritarian" votes to have a prayer in 2006, possibly more than in 2008, and Karl Rove will be busy motivating them. Peace ... or War!
Conservatism, as Dean sees it, has been transformed into authoritarianism. In his book, he revives an analysis of the social psychology of the right that its ideologues spent decades trying to deflect and discourage. In 1950, Theodor Adorno and a team of social scientists published "The Authoritarian Personality," exploring the psychological underpinnings of those attracted to Nazi, fascist and right-wing movements. In the immediate aftermath of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's rise and fall, the leading American sociologists and historians of the time -- Daniel Bell, David Riesman, Nathan Glazer, Richard Hofstadter, Seymour Martin Lipset and others -- contributed in 1955 to "The New American Right," examining the status anxieties of reactionary populism. The 1964 Goldwater campaign provided grist for historian Hofstadter to offer his memorable description of the "paranoid style" of the "pseudo-conservative revolt."
While Dean honors Goldwater, he picks up where Hofstadter left off. "During the past half century," he writes, "our understanding of authoritarianism has been significantly refined and advanced." In particular, he cites the work of Bob Altemeyer, a social psychologist at the University of Manitoba, whose studies have plumbed the depths of those he calls "right-wing authoritarians." They are submissive toward authority, fundamentalist in orientation, dogmatic, socially isolated and insular, fearful of people different from themselves, hostile to minorities, uncritical toward dominating authority figures, prone to a constant sense of besiegement and panic, and punitive and self-righteous. Altemeyer estimates that between 20 and 25 percent of Americans might be categorized as right-wing authoritarians.
According to Dean's assessment, "Nixon, for all his faults, had more of a conscience than Bush and Cheney ... Our government has become largely authoritarian ... run by an array of authoritarian personalities," who flourish "because the growth of contemporary conservatism has generated countless millions of authoritarian followers, people who will not question such actions."
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Are we "happy" now thanks to folks like Ken Adelman? For more information on Mr. Adelman please consult the International Relations Center's Right Web and also the Center for Media & Democracy's SourceWatch.
Right of the right, Ken Adelman is especially close to Dick Cheney. Infamous for his predictions of an Iraq "cakewalk" in early 2002 and then prematurely gloating back even before the staging of Commander Codpiece's "Mission Accomplished" moment.
With no quarter given, as is his style it appears, Ken Adelman is increasingly willing to attack even Dubyah. The neo-cons aren't going without a fight it appears. The WaPo's Michael Abramowitz serves up "Conservative Anger Grows Over Bush's Foreign Policy" where the following appears:
Mr. Adelman, Bu$hCo mentioned "democracy" so many times for cover. No WMD, a growing insurgency, Iraq's infrastructure ran down already but now increasingly destroyed, civilian casualities, budget busting ruin to the treasury, mounting KIA numbers plus exponentially more wounded, etc. He didn't mean it! You know this dog won't hunt.
Kenneth Adelman, a Reagan administration arms-control official who is close to Vice President Cheney, said he believes foreign policy innovation for White House ended with Bush's second inaugural address, a call to spread democracy throughout the world.
"What they are doing on North Korea or Iran is what Kerry would do, what a normal middle-of-the-road president would do," he said. "This administration prided itself on molding history, not just reacting to events. Its a normal foreign policy right now. It's the triumph of Kerryism."
I agree Russia and Egypt are backing away from democracy yet they weren't under the past administration. Your "molding" efforts essentially broke the mold in that the U.S. is so bogged down with Iraq that the rest of the world might figure there's little we could do to stop them. The "realist" are back in vogue, which is hardly ideal in that they'll overlook the abuses of regimes if that is in the best interest of America, yet at least they know you can't create democracies by an aggressive military stance. Saudi Arabia's leadership, plus some of the other oil oligarchies that are hardly known for justice, have long been tied to Bu$hCo.
The period since the January speech reveals just a little more. The election of Hamas (Almost guaranteed after Israel was emboldened to do the Gaza pullout despite what the Palestinians begged them to delay on since they couldn't control the area!) was a surprise to Condi Rice but ought to give you an idea that this administration is simply in over its head.
If Bu$hCo was serious about spreading democracy, I think any reasonable person knows you seldom if ever do this via military power. Additionally, teaching others respect for the rule of law is hardly served when this Executive Branch is doing an end run around the law on torture, violating our own privacy laws, repressing the freedom of the press, etc.
Would that Bu$hCo were "a middle of the road" leader as he's likely going to be viewed by history as the poorest in at least the modern era. He is around Buchanan or Pierce levels even now. I'd settle for Daddy Bu$h or Slick Willy on their worst day as "normal diplomacy" seems to be better than no or wrong diplomacy. This simple minded, frat boy, dry drunk, lightweight, arrogant man hasn't the temperment to even muddle through the issues facing our nation right now. You and your type elected this disaster and then created the Iraq invasion so don't blame me/us.
As for the "Kerryism" reference, John Kerry actually served in combat rather than partying at the Diplomat down in Montgomery and campaigning for Mr. Blount. This military veteran understood the limitations and also the reasonable positives of projecting some military power. Senator Kerry authorized Bu$h to move forward, as many Democrats did, with the belief that he'd use some measure of restraint. We know now that Dick Cheny and his merry band of neo-con brothers rushed to war, gaming the intelligence and crushing opposition views as they did.
The good will of most of the world shown to our nation after 9-11 was squandered and I doubt John Kerry would have wasted that rare opportunity. Our allies were pushed aside and openly disrespected. John Kerry would not have abandoned the Clinton administrations's work on North Korea, as flawed as it was, as he was intelligent enough to appreciate the complexity of issues rather than listening to some far right hawks that have rarely if ever even seen war. He would have likely never scared Iran and North Korea into moving forward so assertively with their nuclear programs while at the same time alienating allies and cooperating governments through aggressive unilateralism. That we need the help of other nations now seems obvious but apparently not to Mr. Adelman.
The work of UN weapons inspectors in Iraq was working (obviously!) yet your war machine couldn't wait. Afghanistan was essentially abandoned and the hunt for bin Laden was outsourced. Rummy ignored and even booted military experts that did not want to experiment with his light and fast approach.
The threat of some Iraqi fighting men melting away to fight later as insurgents was dismissed, as was the idea that Iraq could become a magnet for other Islamist. People warning Bu$hCo about the dangers of occupying this land were held up as objects of scorn. Bu$h didn't have the faintest idea of Sunni and Shite (plus the Kurds) tensions and his handlers, your man Dick Cheney is the main one doing the handling of course, didn't want him to know. That Rummy didn't effectively plan for the end game and occupation is a given.
Concern over innocent civilians would not have been ignored by a Kerry administration. John Kerry wouldn't have rushed our men and women into combat lacking adequate body armor or the proper equipment. John Kerry would have never let his White House Counsel, now Attorney General, describe the Geneva Conventions as "quaint". John Kerry would have fired his Defense Secretary long ago for his ineffective leadership yet Abu Ghraib alone would have likely been enough. John Kerry would not have sent a flamethrower like John Bolten to the UN, much less do so over the objections of many in the Senate. John Kerry would not have rewarded Paul Brenner, George Tenet, and Paul Wolfowitz for their disastrous work related to Iraq.
On the Domestic Front, John Kerry would have also respected the limitations to Executive power by working with Congress. Of course if John Kerry (or Al Gore!) were President I expect Congress, if in the hands of the GOP certainly, would place aside their Rubber Stamps and "look the other way" roles of these Bu$hCo years. I truly enjoy comparing statements of the GOP leadership from back in the day with Bill Clinton with their pitiful excuses for Bu$hCo's radical administration yet I digress. I'll just briefly venture off into shooting the messengers over climate change, rewarding Big Pharma and Big Oil, cutting taxes on the Big Mules, ruining the treasury, making radical court appointments, favoring loyalty over competency, pandering to the Dobsonites, spying on Americans while violating FISA, ...
The WaPo article also quoted Danielle Pletka in her role at AEI but left out her/their role with PNAC and other neo-conservative disasters. The piece also did not reference her support for Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress. As for her quote, I'm figuring the few enduring souls remaining her "friend", from the tons of folks linked to AEI that remain in the Bu$hCo administration plus others working their conservative magic elsewhere inside the beltway, do think they way she does. They've got to be "true believers" indeed to not see the folly that neo-conservative ideology represents.
Indeed the neo-cons are restless. They have no shame. Every mistake is the fault of another. You'd think the game would be up for most of their foolishness yet the simplicity of their reliance on military power and other forms of American arrogance remain attractive to at least part of our population. This may be especially so with the troubles of the near Middle East. That chaos ought to be Exhibit A to support the indictment of the neo-con fantasy that Iraq clearly was yet these folks will try to flip the weakness into a positive.
Let's not allow them to escape their past errors yielding consequences that we will unfortunately have to deal with long after Bu$hCo has gone back to the ranch. Right now the goal is to start cleaning up this mess in 2006 and then moving toward electing a grown up in 2008. Peace ... or War!
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
However, the most shocking thing he reveals is that Bu$h personally blocked DOJ lawyers from investigating the NSA's illegal spying that undeniably violates the FISA laws.
The Decider in Chief apparently decided he'll stop even quasi-independent lawyers from examining the program. Imagine if this had happened from 1993 to late 2000!
After hearing this, surely Arlen Specter's legislation providing cover for Bu$hCo violating the FISA legislation ought to be dead in the water. Peace ... or War!
I close most every post with "Peace ... or War!" My surname allegedly goes back to Highlander Scots from Viking stock that invaded Scotland and found it to their liking. My "clan" supposedly holds the above as their "motto". I'm not really sure if the motto is perfectly accurate but I've still found the line useful is processing my tendency to go at troubles when perhaps I should just avoid or at least delay. I am however certain that nations, and usually even individuals, should always seek to avoid war. More harm than good seems usually a given, especially in fighting the so called "Global War on Terror".
The above cartoon by Vince O'Farrel of Wallongong Australia spoke to me. Even Viking warriors can get over-scheduled. From the Sudan to many other places, I'm tired of the conflict. Too much killing and destruction for certain yet in the long run so much of what Bu$hCo has done is to create more hatred and extremism. Invading Iraq in the manner Dubyah and his neo-con handlers did will I think go down as the most consequential mistake of any American President.
I'll still end my post as I generally do but the "war" portion relates merely to how I hope to confront needless, and actually counter-productive violence, plus other injustices. Citizens have a duty to speak up and demand wise leadership from those elected to serve their government. Problems facing our nation and world go beyond war but starting with genuinely seeking peace seems foundational. Peace ... or War!
Monday, July 17, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Friday, July 14, 2006
I'd feared something like this was coming yet damned if I'm not shocked it is this poor of a solution. Here's the WaPo's Charles Babington and Peter Baker reporting "Bush Compromises On Spying Program : Senate Bill Would Permit Court Review" with the following being a huge cause for pause:
The White House conceded in part because it believes the NSA program will survive constitutional muster and the Specter bill will make it easier to argue that the program complies with congressional statutes as well. "We've always said it's constitutional," said one administration official who was not authorized to speak on the record.
The language acknowledging the president's constitutional authority to conduct intelligence operations also was important to the White House. "We see it as historic because here's a statute recognizing an authority the president says he has," the administration official said.
Still, that language alone might mean little because it did not define the scope of the authority or explicitly suggest that a president did not need to seek court approval for warrants. But at the same time, Specter agreed to repeal a section of the original FISA law that made it the exclusive statute governing such intelligence programs.
The combination of the statement acknowledging presidential authority and the deletion of the exclusivity clause left open the interpretation that Bush has the power to conduct other surveillance outside FISA's purview, a possibility administration officials noted with approval.
Today's initial post by Glenn is another must read, as is true of pretty much all of his work, for the level of angst and insight. He asks "What will Democrats do in the face of the Specter cave-in?" yet I expect they've first got to attack the idea that this is a "compromise". Congress has abandoned so much for Bu$hCo and darned if Arlen hasn't handed them even more cover. After The Supremes somewhat reeled in this Executive branch I'm frankly in shock that this legislation is apparently going to become law. Rove and Mehlman will hand out the talking points and we know which team has the votes, especially if the Centrist Democrats fall into line.
Shame on you Senator Specter. I know you've got to straddle the fence on some things to keep the wingnuts off you yet this is outrageous. Your" single bullet" theory back in the day on the JFK Warren Commission was "odd' yet I'm lost why a smart and powerful man would hand this gift to Bu$hCo. As to our Constitution and laws and traditions, goodbye indeed with men like Arlen Specter providing leadership. Peace ... or War!
Thursday, July 13, 2006
I'm still swilling Fat Bastard and other French wines yet I know you guys caught hell. Here's my favorite portion of his UN remarks:
Well done Sir. It should have been "peace" yet I'll still close with Peace ... or War!
By imposing a deadline of only a few days, would we merely be seeking a pretext for war? As a permanent member of the Security Council, I will say it again: [We] will not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes the automatic use of force.…Let us be clear-sighted. We are defining a method to resolve crisis. We are choosing how to define the world we want our children to live in.…
These crises have many roots. They are political, religious, economic. Their origins lie deep in the turmoil of history.…
There may be some who believe that these problems can be resolved by force, thereby creating a new order. But this is not what [we] believes. On the contrary, we believe that the use of force can arouse resentment and hatred, fuel a clash of identities and of cultures, something that our generation has a prime responsibility to avoid.…
To those who believe that war would be the quickest way of disarming Iraq, I can reply that it will drive wedges and create wounds that will be long in healing. And how many victims will it cause? How many families will grieve?…
We do not subscribe to what may be the other objectives of a war. Is it a matter of regime change in Baghdad? No one underestimates the cruelty of this dictatorship or the need to do everything possible to promote human rights. But this is not the objective of Resolution 1441. And force is certainly not the best way of bringing about democracy. Here and elsewhere it would encourage dangerous instability.…
Is it a matter of fighting terrorism? War would only increase it and we would then be faced with a new wave of violence.…
Is it finally a matter of recasting the political landscape of the Middle East? In that case, we run the risk of exacerbating tensions in a region already marked by great instability. Not to mention that in Iraq itself, the large number of communities and religions already represents a danger of a potential break-up.…
We all have the same demands. We want more security and more democracy. But there is another logic other than the logic of force. There is another path. There are other solutions. We understand the profound sense of insecurity with which the American people have been living since the tragedy of September 11, 2001. The entire world shared the sorrow of New York and of America struck in the heart. And I say this in the name of our friendship for the American people, in the name of our common values: freedom; justice; tolerance.…
But there is nothing today to indicate a link between the Iraqi regime and al Qaeda. And will the world be a safer place after a military intervention in Iraq? I want to tell you what my country's conviction is: It will not.…
Four months ago, we unanimously adopted a system of inspections to eliminate the threat of potential weapons of mass destruction and to guarantee our security. Today, we cannot accept, without contradicting ourselves, a conflict that might well weaken it. Yes, we also want more democracy in the world. But we can only achieve this objective within the framework of a true global democracy based on respect, sharing, the awareness of a true community of values and a common destiny, and its core is the United Nations. Let us make no mistake, in the face of multiple and complex threats, there is no single response, but there is a single necessity -- we must remain united.…
Today we must together invent a new future for the Middle East. Let us not forget the immense hope created by the efforts of the Madrid conference and the Oslo agreement. Let us not forget that the Mideast crisis represents our greatest challenge in terms of security and justice. For us, the Middle East, like Iraq, represents a priority commitment, and this calls for even greater ambition and boldness. We should envision a region transformed through peace; civilizations that, through the courage of reaching out to each other, rediscover their self-confidence and an international prestige equal to their long history and their aspirations.…
Mr. President, in a few days, we must solemnly fulfill our responsibility through a vote. We will be facing an essential choice: disarming Iraq through war or through peace.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
The administration has not taken the steps necessary to limit greenhouse gas emissions, barring some miraculous technological breakthrough. Aside from modestly raising fuel economy standards, it has not created a regulatory climate favorable to carbon reductions either in vehicles or in power plants. It has resisted mandatory limits on carbon emissions and the sort of ambitious fuel economy standards that would force automakers to innovate and help make smaller cars more attractive. It has resisted taxing carbon use, preferring instead to provide incentives for oil and gas extraction -- just the opposite of what's needed.Bu$hCo has the worst record of any President on many things yet the environment has to be one of his/their worst. Mother Jones says so as does Al Gore. The Sierra Club created a list of his environmental errors they labeled "Bush's 7 Deadly Sins" in 2004. Peace ... or War!
Monday, July 10, 2006
Sunday, July 09, 2006
That the President is seemingly so "stupid", and I'll admit I have an incredibly low opinion of Dubyah's intellect, ought not to distract us from what he/they have accomplished. We Lefty Progressives need to focus on attacking the flaws, and there are plenty, of Conservatism instead of simply bashing Bu$hCo.
This is especially true as we move toward 2008. The right has already started shedding Bu$h but after this fall's midterms you can expect the blame game to begin in full force. Faulting Bu$hCo management rather than the GOP's foundational beliefs may very well allow them to remain in power.
Several of Dr. Lakoff's books appear on my Amazon Wish List. Noam Chomsky influenced, this is one serious citizen with much to offer our world. Peace ... or War!
Friday, July 07, 2006
Thursday, July 06, 2006
One thing I have already learned was that originally Eisenhower planned to label his concern the "military-industrial-Congress complex". One trailer segment mentioned how the B2 Bomber has parts made in every state to assure Congress stays on board with the funding. The power of the purse seems to work both ways. Big money buys big rewards. Whie Bu$hCo and his Rubber Stamp Congress is the most openly bought and sold government yet the reality is that some centrist Democrats are on board as well. Even liberal or progressive legislators want their folks back home to get a share of the defense dollar.
Another comment I'll offer is to a portion of Ike's speech that reads as follows:
"Alert and knowledgeable citizenry" hardly applies today does it? Politicians, especially those to the far right, seem to pander to the lowest common denominator. I'm not so sure the American public of today would really be able to even understand Ike's concerns. Peace ... or War!
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Yesterday, The National Journal dropped his "Bush Directed Cheney To Counter War Critic" with sources indicating Federal Prosecutors were told this way back in 2004. Good review of the case as well.
It would have been appropriate to know this before the election, as would much about The Plame Affair and Iraq and ... Words such as "Get it out." or "Let's get this out." were allegedly used by The Cheerleader in Chief.
Of course Snow Job and The White House will have no comment since it is an ongoing investigation. "Silly Press Corp, Tricks are for Kings" works since Bu$hCo looks at the Press as a tool to use or simply ignore. Beating up on the NY Times works, even though Judy Miller carried your water to get us into Iraq and then The Gray Lady stalled on stories until after the election. Now they are useful to bash as "Red meat for the base".
It is the 4th of July today but it seems like Fitzmas with this news. That Scooter's pardon prospects are rising matters not. I'd like to see a trial yet if the pardon goes through then perhaps some journalist, or maybe even a Republican Congress member or two, will press for answers. Either way is seems clear that "Bu$hCo lied and many have died!" Heck of a job Bu$hie in bringing honor back to the White House. Peace ... or War!
Sunday, July 02, 2006
David Neiwert's Ornicus post "Weird science from the far right" gets the tip of the tam for helping me recall that John Stossel, Corporate Journalist (as named by John K. Wilson) has long been due for this honor. FAIR knows the score on ABC's Tool of the Right. Way back in early 2000, almost a year before five Supreme Court justices annointed Bu$hCo by telling Florida to stop counting votes, Salon labeled him "Prime Time Propagandist"
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (one of ExxonMobil's favorites in the "think tank" mix) even has a Support John Stossel site! I'm surprised they reveal they are involved rather than trying to create an astroturf organization.
A quick reminder of what we Lefty Progressives are facing in trying to break down all the barriers to solutions. Peace ... or War!
Good stuff! Very true. I've been looking forward to January 2009 for a long time since we'll be shed of Bu$h yet I fear Bu$hCo willl live on. I know the Big Mules will have a hard time finding such a "stupid" SOB yet George Allen might come close, in act or reality. I'm not so sure he'll get past fellow Scot James Webb but we'll see. One thing I'll add is the need to have some doctrine and law upon which this GWOT can be based. Cheney/Addington and Rummy and ... have seeming just operated under their clearly radical and often ineffective approach. Throw in Karl Rove and the modern GOP and we've simply got a mess. Cleaning up after Bu$hCo is going to be a job for all of us. Peace ... or War!
THE SUPREME Court's rejection of the Bush administration's plan for terrorist trials has rightly been seen as a rebuff of the president's unilateral legal approach to fighting al-Qaeda. But in a subtler way, it is also a profound rebuke to Congress. The nation's legislature has mostly sat on the sidelines for the duration of the war on terror, letting the administration make its own rules -- and ride roughshod over the law as well as fundamental American values. The court's action forces the administration to invite Congress into the process of designing trials for enemy combatants. This presents a major opportunity to bring the legal framework of this conflict -- and the country's political system -- back into balance.
This chance is far broader than the relatively narrow question of how accused terrorists should face justice. There is an opportunity to provide legislative authorization -- along with limits, safeguards and accountability -- for all of the powers and practices the U.S. government may need in a long-term confrontation with violent Islamist extremism. Congress should audit the administration's treatment of prisoners, whether in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or in secret locations abroad. It should scrutinize its interrogation methods, including those that skirt prohibitions against torture. It should review the government's domestic surveillance and debate the proper balance between ensuring Americans' privacy and gathering intelligence effectively.
The immediate danger is that Congress will become reckless and hasty and abdicate the responsibility the court has given it. With midterm elections looming, the administration may push for quick legislative fixes. It may ask for a simple statutory authorization for the military commissions it wants to use for terrorist trials. It may also seek to counter the court's ruling that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which requires humane treatment for all detainees, includes al-Qaeda members. Having granted the administration a blank check for so long, Congress should not offer a rubber stamp.
Instead, and as a start, Congress needs to examine comprehensively what changes, if any, the administration truly needs in the ordinary rules of military justice to bring al-Qaeda suspects to trial. Many military lawyers believe terrorist trials could proceed smoothly using the normal system of courts-martial, which the military utilizes to try its own personnel. The administration has several concerns, chiefly the need to protect classified intelligence information and its desire to use evidence collected in the rough and tumble of war that might not be admissible in a conventional court-martial. Its own rules offered maximal flexibility at considerable risk to fairness. Congress must satisfy itself both that any deviations are truly needed and that they are no broader than absolutely necessary.
Legislators also have an important role to play concerning the court's holding on Geneva's Common Article 3, which could have a major impact on treatment standards for prisoners. The import of the decision is to make it a potential crime under U.S. law to treat prisoners inhumanely, yet the Geneva article is vague in its language. As a consequence, it is essential that Americans fighting the war get clear guidance as to what conduct is prohibited. Given the administration's ugly history of construing vague language requiring humane treatment as allowing inhumane treatment, it cannot be permitted a free hand in that interpretation.
At a minimum, Congress should force the administration to publish the guidance it gives to personnel in the field concerning the article's meaning. More broadly, it should consider legislation putting meat on the treaty's rather bare bones. It should consider every exceptional practice the administration has tried to justify: from "waterboarding" and other practices of torture and near-torture to "renditions" of suspects to foreign governments to the holding of prisoners incommunicado. One obvious place to start would be to stipulate that the CIA's network of secret prisons is not consistent with Geneva's requirements: Its detainees must be transferred to U.S. facilities, registered with the International Red Cross and guaranteed humane treatment.
Other issues not directly addressed by the court warrant close examination, too. As we have argued before, Congress should put on firmer legal ground the basis on which captives in this war are detained in the first place. It needs to gets a handle on the National Security Agency's program of domestic surveillance -- authorizing whatever part of it is necessary, subject to meaningful judicial and legislative oversight.
This is a moment in which this country can correct the mistake of five years ago, when the executive branch sought to fight a novel war based on a combination of outdated laws and new rules it made up on its own. The Supreme Court has created the chance to bring real law to the war on terror -- if Congress is willing to do its job.