Frank Rich: "The Armstrong Williams News Hour"

Rich has an excellent column on propaganda, PBS, and the Bush Administration that starts out:

HERE'S the difference between this year's battle over public broadcasting and the one that blew up in Newt Gingrich's face a decade ago: this one isn't really about the survival of public broadcasting. So don't be distracted by any premature obituaries for Big Bird. Far from being an endangered species, he's the ornithological equivalent of a red herring.

Let's not forget that Laura Bush has made a fetish of glomming onto popular "Sesame Street" characters in photo-ops. Polls consistently attest to the popular support for public broadcasting, while Congress is in a race to the bottom with Michael Jackson. Big Bird will once again smite the politicians - as long as he isn't caught consorting with lesbians.

That doesn't mean the right's new assault on public broadcasting is toothless, far from it. But this time the game is far more insidious and ingenious. The intent is not to kill off PBS and NPR but to castrate them by quietly annexing their news and public affairs operations to the larger state propaganda machine that the Bush White House has been steadily constructing at taxpayers' expense. If you liked the fake government news videos that ended up on local stations - or thrilled to the "journalism" of Armstrong Williams and other columnists who were covertly paid to promote administration policies - you'll love the brave new world this crowd envisions for public TV and radio.

There's only one obstacle standing in the way of the coup. Like Richard Nixon, another president who tried to subvert public broadcasting in his war to silence critical news media, our current president may be letting hubris get the best of him. His minions are giving any investigative reporters left in Washington a fresh incentive to follow the money.
Gee, I hope there is one reporter with balls left - and I don't meant Geraldo's brass cojones.

Another Look at the Attorney General's Naked Lady

Click here and uh.. notice if you notice something about the statue. It took me three minutes to figure out what was wrong with this picture. (It's the heat, damn you!)

And, btw, Ouch!

Ashcroft's Boobs Drop Out of His Dress

Err... let me rephrase that. I think the 90+ heat here is getting to me.

Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeftinforms us that the naked woman statue - known to the rest of the world as the Spirit of Justice but poor repressed John couldn't recall her name because a) justice just wasn't his thing and she had really big boobs - that John Ashcroft had draped in ... well... drapes... has been uncovered again.

Apparently, the new Atty Gen, Gonzalez, has been working with Mr. Bush long enough that he's not embarrassed by a big boob or two.

(Yes, I snark, therefore I am.)

Need Help Sorting Out Downing Street Memo Facts?

Rolling Stone offers a cheat sheet. Go read.

Thanks to Buzzflash for the link.

Life in Iraq Goes from Bad to Worse


One year after Iraq regained its sovereignty from the United States, the country has made significant political progress, holding a crucial election and forming a new government. Yet relentless attacks have overshadowed the success, leaving Iraqis in a perilous situation - facing the growing prospect of years of violence.

For Washington, that could mean years more of a large and costly military presence in Iraq.

In this hot and very bloody summer in Iraq, sectarian tensions are high, insurgents are maintaining a two-month-old surge in attacks and the Americans show no sign of pulling out.

``Life has become impossible in Iraq,'' an infuriated Rasheed al-Baldawy said as he surveyed the devastation outside his store on Friday.

``It's going from bad to worse. I cannot fully explain it - electricity, water, telephones, and these are just utilities. As for security, just look around you,'' said al-Baldawy, a slender and bespectacled father whose kitchen appliance store was damaged in Thursday's blasts in Karradah.


the triumph and the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari that took office in April have failed to make any headway in solving Iraq's major problems: security, crime, corruption, unemployment and crumbling utilities.

A senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters, said al-Jaafari's government was virtually in total control of policy, but that the United States called all the shots on security matters.

Regardless of who is in charge, Iraq is a country that is unlikely to get a respite anytime soon. It's people have been visited by so many tragedies in the past two years that some, from time to time, look back with nostalgia at aspects of life under Saddam.

Since al-Jaafari came to office nearly two months ago, at least 1,240 people have been killed. More than 1,700 U.S. troops have died since the war began in March, 2003.

President Bush and al-Jaafari remained upbeat on the future of Iraq, with both men convinced the insurgency is destined for defeat and that Iraq's U.S.-sponsored political process would be successful.

After meeting Friday with al-Jaafari at the White House, Bush rejected calls for a timetable to withdraw America's 135,000 troops, saying it would be tantamount to conceding defeat. He vowed to achieve victory over the insurgents.

Bush's renewed pledge to stay the course in Iraq and not order troops home until Iraqis are ready to take responsibility for security, came after America's top commander in the Persian Gulf, Gen. John Abizaid, said the insurgency was not showing signs of weakness. Arab fighters, he added, were sneaking into Iraq in growing numbers.


The most pressing danger facing Iraq, however, is the prospect of civil war as a result of increased sectarian attacks between Sunnis and majority Shiites.

The Karradah bombings followed a spate of car bombings barely 12 hours earlier in Shula, another Shiite area in Baghdad, in whic The latest of these assassination came Friday when gunmen killed Shiite cleric Samir al-Baghdadi along with two of his bodyguards. Al-Baghdadi represented Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in Baghdad's al-Amin district.

Former Joint Chiefs Leader Refers to this Administration's Incompetence in War

The whole article is worth a read, but here are snippets from Zbigniew Brzezinski's Dem response to Bush's radio blather today:

In the Democratic radio response, Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser in the Carter administration, alleged that the war has been conducted with "tactical and strategic incompetence."

"Two years later, America finds itself more isolated than ever before, the object of unprecedented international mistrust," Brzezinski said. "As a result, we are not as safe as we should be here at home."

He said the war has turned Iraq into a training ground for terrorists and noted that Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, has not been captured. "The violence in Iraq continues at increasing rates and American casualties continue to mount," Brzezinski said.


While Bush says progress is being made, Brzezinski points to a Pentagon warning that the Army Reserve is turning into a "broken" force.

In January, the military services' own estimates indicated that at the pace of U.S. deployments to Iraq, the Pentagon would be hard pressed by next year to provide enough reserve combat troops. Army Reserve chief Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly advised at the time that his citizen militia was "rapidly degenerating into a 'broken' force."

"Patriotism and love of country does not demand endless sacrifice on the part of our troops in a war justified by slogans," Brzezinski said.

White House "Puzzled" Over Dems' Ire at Rove's Remarks

WASHINGTON - A White House official said Friday the administration finds it "somewhat puzzling" that Democrats are demanding presidential adviser Karl Rove's apology or resignation for implying that liberals are soft on terrorism.

"I think Karl was very specific, very accurate, in who he was pointing out," communications director Dan Bartlett said, contending the comments weren't aimed at all Democrats. "It's touched a chord with these Democrats. I'm not sure why."

Congressional Republicans earlier joined the White House in standing solidly behind Rove, saying he shouldn't apologize and that he was outlining a philosophical divide between a president who sought to win the war on terrorism by taking the fight to the enemy and some Democrats who questioned that approach.

Well, in my limited experience, it isn't just Dems who are upset. Lots of Republican New Yorkers are as well. Independents, too.

And there's already been some reporting back from the troops that they weren't happy to hear that Rove said Dems wanted them to die; see, the troops already know that the WH isn'treally supporting them - after all, they're there without body armor, without vehicles with armor, often without bullets, knowing that if they make a wrong step the Pentagon will try them and profess no blame themselves, and that the WH and Congressional Reprehensibles have cut funding to their hospitals, benefits, and veterans' programs.

3 Things to Acknowledge About Iraq

I agree wholeheartedly with this Times' editorial. What about you?

To have the sober conversation about the war in Iraq that America badly needs, it is vital to acknowledge three facts:

The war has nothing to do with Sept. 11
. Saddam Hussein was a sworn enemy of Washington, but there was no Iraq-Qaeda axis, no connection between Saddam Hussein and the terrorist attacks on the United States. Yet the president and his supporters continue to duck behind 9/11 whenever they feel pressure about what is happening in Iraq. The most cynical recent example was Karl Rove's absurd and offensive declaration this week that conservatives and liberals had different reactions to 9/11. Let's be clear: Americans of every political stripe were united in their outrage and grief, united in their determination to punish those who plotted the mass murder and united behind the war in Afghanistan, which was an assault on terrorists. Trying to pretend otherwise is the surest recipe for turning political dialogue into meaningless squabbling.

The war has not made the world, or this nation, safer from terrorism. The breeding grounds for terrorists used to be Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia; now Iraq has become one. Of all the justifications for invading Iraq that the administration juggled in the beginning, the only one that has held up over time is the desire to create a democratic nation that could help stabilize the Middle East. Any sensible discussion of what to do next has to begin by acknowledging that. The surest way to make sure that conversation does not happen is for the administration to continue pasting the "soft on terror" label on those who want to talk about the war.

If the war is going according to plan, someone needs to rethink the plan. Progress has been measurable on the political front. But even staunch supporters of the war, like the Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, told Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a hearing this week that President Bush was losing public support because the military effort was not keeping pace. A top general said this week that the insurgency was growing. The frequency of attacks is steady, or rising a bit, while the repulsive tactic of suicide bombings has made them more deadly.

If things are going to be turned around, there has to be an honest discussion about what is happening. But Mr. Rumsfeld was not interested. Sneering at his Democratic questioners, he insisted everything was on track and claimed "dozens of trained battalions are capable of conducting anti-insurgent operations" with American support. That would be great news if it were true. Gen. George Casey, the commander in Iraq, was more honest, saying he hoped there would be "a good number of units" capable of doing that "before the end of this year."

Americans cannot judge for themselves because the administration has decided to make the information secret. Senator John McCain spoke for us when he expressed his disbelief at this news. "I think the American people need to know," he said. "They are the ones who are paying for this conflict."

Angry Letters in the Times about Bush and Rove

Here. Note the demands for Bush himself to apologize.

If We Wiped Out the Taliban...

Why do we keep seeing reports that a) they're back in power and b) that we're killing so many of them in continued warfare? I mean, the president doesn't even reference any combat in Afghanistan. I'm not sure he remembers we're at war there.

Support for Draft at Record Lows

Also from Editor and Publisher:

NEW YORK With military recruitment shortfalls reaching a near-crisis, a new Gallup poll suggests further troubles, as far fewer American adults express support for their children enlisting. Gallup also has found that Americans opposed the return of the military draft by overwhleming numbers, with 85% against it, the highest level ever.

In what it calls a “significant decline,” Gallup found that by a bare majority, of 51% to 48%, parents would support a decision by one of their children to join the military. This is down from 66% positive to 29% negative in 1999.

Surprisngly, there is only slight difference among parents who have served in the military and those who have not. Just 56% of the veterans would support a decision to join the milltary.

Yet Another Embarrassing White House Press Engagement: McClellan Shills for Rove

Snippets from coverage published at Editor and Publisher:

Q He said the Democrats wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. That's not injecting politics into the tragedy of September 11th?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think it's talking about the different philosophies for winning the war on terrorism. The President recognizes that the way to win the war on terrorism is to take the fight to the enemy, to stay on the offensive, and to work to spread freedom and democracy to defend the ideology of hatred that they espouse, and the ideology of tyranny and oppression.

Q So will the President ask Karl Rove to apologize?

MR. McCLELLAN: Of course not, Jessica. This is simply talking about different philosophies and different approaches. And I think you have to look at it in that context. If people want to try to engage in personal attacks instead of defending their philosophy, that's their business. But it's important to point out the different approaches when it comes to winning the war on terrorism. And that's all he was doing.


Q Was Karl Rove speaking last night as a Deputy White House Chief of Staff?

MR. McCLELLAN: He is the Deputy White House Chief and Senior White House Advisor, and I would encourage you to go look at his remarks and what he said.

Q Especially given the venue, being in New York, where there is, obviously, a very strong personal connection for many people to what happened on 9/11 and the immediate bipartisan support the President enjoyed right after those events, does the President think the tone of what Mr. Rove was saying is fair and appropriate?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you bring up a very good point. It was in New York, it was to the New York Conservative Party. So he was talking about the different philosophy between conservatives and liberals and different philosophy for approaching the war on terrorism. That is a very important priority for all Americans and it's very important that the American people know what we are doing to win that war on terrorism. And that's why he was talking about it and telling it like it is when it comes to the different approaches for winning the war on terrorism.

Q You think that was perfectly appropriate?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I just said that he was talking about the different philosophies. The President has talked about the different philosophies when it comes to winning the war on terrorism. And he was speaking to a specific audience about those philosophies and talking about the philosophy that we stand for and the approach that we stand for....
I often wonder how McClellan sleeps at night.

About the USDA's Mad Cow Assurances: Don't Listen

With the USDA/FDA so eager to tell you we're safe from meat from those two recently diagnosed mad cows, consider this: we slaughter 35 million cows in this country for meat.

How many do we test for mad cow?


With those odds, the possibility that for every diagnosed mad cow, another 1,000 more go undiagnosed is pretty high. Really bad odds.

Here, we don't eat much red meat. When we do, it's locally grown, by farmers who would never think to feed cow parts to those cows. With these odds, if you can't be vegetarian (I've been several times, but recurrent anemia usually drives me back out of it again), know your beef source. If you don't know them, don't buy the beef.

Evidence Suggests New South Candidate Ralph Reed Knew Exactly Where Money Came From

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (I'd like to think this will end Reed's political aspirations - remember, he helped Bush's campaign - but probably not):

Washington — Lobbyist Jack Abramoff sought guidance from political strategist Ralph Reed in disguising Indian tribal money sent to anti-gambling campaigns whose leaders were wary of accepting casino cash, according to documents released Wednesday.

The e-mail exchanges also indicate that Reed knew from the beginning of his professional association with Abramoff in 1999 that a Mississippi Indian tribe with casino interests was bankrolling much of his anti-gambling activity in Alabama against a state-sponsored lottery and video poker.

Even as religious conservatives denied an alliance with out-of-state gamblers, Reed — acting on behalf of gaming opponents — submitted campaign budgets through Abramoff to the Mississippi Band of Choctaws, according to the e-mails.

The cost of placing inserts in church bulletins and organizing a rally of pastors in Alabama, along with hundreds of thousands of dollars in TV and radio ads, was borne by the Choctaws, according to invoices submitted by Reed.

Have Some Thoughts to Share with Karl Rove?

Call him.

His number is (202) 456-2369.

No. Really. It's his phone number at the White House.

Wow, All These High-Ranking Gay GOP Operatives/Appointees from an Administration Who Wants to Torture Gays into Straightness

Blogactive brings us this:

All you need to do is call up gay man Israel Hernandez, former right hand man to Karl Rove and now a Bush nominee for assistant secretary of commerce.

The NY Daily News' Rush & Malloy column chats about the nominee's hearing, during which most of the room was referred to. Izzy went so far as to intro mom, dad and sister. Where's the long-term boyfriend people wondered.

From Friday's Daily News:
    President Bush isn't letting potential howls from the Christian right stop him from nominating an openly gay man as assistant secretary of commerce.

    Just in time for Pride Week, Bush has tapped longtime aide Israel Hernandez for the post, which also carries the title of director general of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service.
It's little secret the head of the RNC - Ken "I cannot confirm or deny that I'm a heterosexual" Mehlman" is gay. There has been some speculation that Jeff Gannon was having sexual trysts at the White House with a ranking admin official (and as you may remember, Jeff was a gay hooker for hire).

Nearly 80% of Independents Disapprove of Bush's Performance

Wow. Posted at MyDD:

It's the number among the Independents that's gone way off the Bush reservation. Look at the spread:

Approve Disapprove
Republicans 84 12
Independents 17 75
Democrats 18 77

It's an alignment I've not seen in many years, since '98 probably. What it says is that Independents and Democrats have a potential new majority, apart from the lockstep Republicans.

John Kerry, Joined by 9, Writes Letter on Downing Street Memo

Raw Story brings us the skinny.

Here, however, is the text of the letter also signed by Kennedy, Boxer, Corzine, Lautenburg, Durbin, and others:

Dear Senator Roberts and Senator Rockefeller:

We write concerning your committee's vital examination of pre-war Iraq intelligence failures. In particular, we urge you to accelerate to completion the work of the so-called "Phase II" effort to assess how policy makers used the intelligence they received.

Last year your committee completed the first phase of a two-phased effort to review the pre-war intelligence on Iraq. Phase I-begun in the summer of 2003 and completed in the summer of 2004-examined the performance of the American intelligence community in the collection and analysis of intelligence prior to the war, including an examination of the quantity and quality of U.S. intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the intelligence on ties between Saddam Hussein's regime and terrorist groups. At the conclusion of Phase I, your committee issued an unclassified report that made an important contribution to the American public's understanding of the issues involved.

In February 2004-well over a year ago-the committee agreed to expand the scope of inquiry to include a second phase which would examine the use of intelligence by policy makers, the comparison of pre-war assessments and post-war findings, the activities of the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG) and the Office of Special Plans in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and the use of information provided by the Iraqi National Congress.

The committee's efforts have taken on renewed urgency given recent revelations in the United Kingdom regarding the apparent minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair and his senior national security advisors. These minutes-known as the "Downing Street Memo"-raise troubling questions about the use of intelligence by American policy makers-questions that your committee is uniquely situated to address.

The memo indicates that in the summer of 2002, at a time the White House was promising Congress and the American people that war would be their last resort, that they believed military action against Iraq was "inevitable."

The minutes reveal that President "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

The American people took the warnings that the administration sounded seriously-warnings that were echoed at the United Nations and here in Congress as we voted to give the president the authority to go to war. For the sake of our democracy and our future national security, the public must know whether such warnings were driven by facts and responsible intelligence, or by political calculation.

These issues need to be addressed with urgency. This remains a dangerous world, with American forces engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other challenges looming in Iran and North Korea. In this environment, the American public should have the highest confidence that policy makers are using intelligence objectively-never manipulating it to justify war, but always to protect the United States. The contents of the Downing Street Memo undermine this faith and only rigorous Congressional oversight can determine the truth.

We urge the committee to complete the second phase of its investigation with the maximum speed and transparency possible, producing, as it did at the end of Phase I, a comprehensive, unclassified report from which the American people can benefit directly.


Happy Birthday, George Orwell

Had you lived, you would not have believed that 1984 would pale in comparison to "freedom and liberty" in the Bush years.

Also happy birthday to my late brother Robert and to my partner's mom in New Jersey (sorry, no, he didn't send a card).

Karl? Remember How Lee Atwater Left This World?

DC Media Girl reminds Karl Rove - Lee Atwater's protege - how the grand marshall of dirty, no good politics left this earth:

I’m not going to get on my high horse and scold Rove for his disgusting, inappropriate, offensive, divisive statements about liberals and 9/11. Others are already on the case.

No, I think I’ll take another approach. I’d like to remind Rove of how his buddy in bastardy, dirty politics and general scumbaggery Lee Atwater ended his days. It might be food for thought:
    Atwater’s "deathbed confession" remains controversial to this day. Many interpreted it as a renunciation of the political decade he had helped make possible. "Long before I was struck with cancer, I felt something stirring in American society," he said. "It was a sense among the people of the country -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- that something was missing from their lives, something crucial. I was trying to position the Republican Party to take advantage of it. But I wasn’t exactly sure what ’it’ was. My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood."

    For many readers, there was a credibility problem. He’s been a bastard all his professional life, said his critics, and now we’re supposed to believe him when he says he really loves us?

The Supremes and Your House

Xavier at Pibb Show tackles a subject I have not: yesterday's truly horrendous decision in the New London case that any municipality at any time can seize private property and hand it over to a developer. In the past when this was used, there usually had to be a clear and compelling public interest for taking land. But in the Supremes ruling yesterday, there didn't seem to be much of a standard required which means - at least in theory - that all you need to do is have a municipal official in your pocket if you want to grab somebody else's property.

Let's cut to Xavier but I encourage you to read his whole post:

Given the cozy relationships between corporations, developers and city governments, it wouldn't appear to take much "leaning" to get a city to do a major company's bidding - after all, that already happens now. As the homeowners' petition stated, if the Supreme Court ruled in their favor, the sky would not fall. But if the Court ruled in favor of New London, the floodgates would open. Maybe that lady in Atlantic City whose home is surrounded by one of Donald Trump's casinos should start packing. Tonight.

Seeing the Forest Pegs the Outrage Exactly

From Dave at Seeing the Forest:

White House Chief of Staff comments on Karl Rove saying that the "motive" of liberals is they want American troops to die. Here
    Andy Card just said this on CNN:

    "Karl Rove's speech was a speech that I think reflected some of the rhetoric that a lot of people feel."

Karl Rove and Andrew Card are not Republican Party officials, they are government officials. When they speak, they speak for the President and the government of the United States. This is the government of the United States telling people that liberals want American troops to die.

Remember the Seeing the Forest Rule: When right-wingers make accusations, you need to look at whether it is just a cover for something THEY are really doing. Here they are accusing Democrats of wanting to kill American troops. But who sent those troops to Iraq?
God sent the troops to Iraq? Remember? George is the Chosen One. ::cough::

Is the Truth Finally Rising to the Surface?

Hoffmania presents some examples from today's Los Angeles Times (you know, where Michael Kinsley recently suggested that he didn't want to be disturbed from his nap by people wanting to hear the details behind the Downing Street Memo).

Here's a snip, but go read the rest:

Today's LAT is almost overflowing with - uh...truth. First, there's an editorial essentially calling Cheney a liar.

    Heads in the Iraqi Sand

    Vice President Dick Cheney has never been one to let reality get in the way of his message. With his credibility already strained after it turned out that none of his pre-war assertions about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were true, he is nonetheless still deluded by wishful thinking. A case in point: his recent assertion that increased violence in Iraq indicates the insurgency there is in its "last throes, if you will."

    No, we won't, and neither, as it turns out, will the Army's top brass. Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Persian Gulf, essentially said that was nonsense while testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. "I believe there are more foreign fighters coming into Iraq than there were six months ago," he said, adding that the strength of the insurgency is "about the same" as it was six months ago.

    Abizaid's remarks indicate that the military is not going to let itself become the fall guy for the administration's mistakes, including its refusal to adequately plan for the postwar occupation (which the latest British "Downing Street memos" confirm).

Froomkin of WaPo - and Taegan Goddard - Get it Right

From Political Wire:

Dan Froomkin has the best explanation of why Karl Rove made his controversial comments earlier this week and why he'll never apologize for them.
    "Rove has a brilliant and so far unbeatable strategy when it comes to political warfare: He doesn't defend his candidate's weaknesses, he attacks his opponent's strengths. Unapologetically.

    "Consider the 2004 campaign, when Rove was faced with a Vietnam problem. A war hero was running against his boss, who had opted to stay well out of harm's way. Rather than defend, Rove attacked -- and put John Kerry on the defensive.

    "Today, Democrats are uniting against the war and the public is increasingly worried and critical about Bush's leadership. So what's Rove doing? Rather than defend against their criticisms, Rove has decided to go for the jugular."
When Democrats like Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) back down from justified criticism of Bush administration actions and others chastise their party chairman for his tough words, it's no wonder Republicans hold all the cards in Washington, D.C. right now.
Absolutamente. Durbin apologizes while Rove laughs and spins.

There are Christians on the Left, too, Folks

Tapped brings us this, and it's an interesting read (and more interesting because the nutwing fundamentalist honchos are already going after this group):

JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: LEFTWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS. There's a new Christian lobby in town, and it's come to call the Falwells of the world out for what they are. Rob Garver profiles the newly launched Christian Alliance for Progress.

We're Becoming Hated Even Among Our Friends - Consider This

Besides news this week that in surveys, people in other countries find a place like China far more ethical and sane to deal with than the U.S. under the Bushies, here's this from The Times about an Italian judge ordering CIA operatives arrested:

MILAN, June 24 - An Italian judge has ordered the arrest of 13 operatives of the Central Intelligence Agency accused of kidnapping an Egyptian cleric on a Milan street two years ago and sending him to a prison in Egypt for questioning, Italian prosecutors and investigators said today.

Judge Chiara Nobili of Milan signed the arrest warrants on Thursday for 13 people the documents identified as C.I.A. operatives suspected of seizing the radical imam Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, as he walked to his mosque here for noon prayers on Feb. 17, 2003.

His family says that he has been tortured by his Egyptian captors.

Investigators said the court documents, which remain under seal, identify the 13 operatives by their real names as well as their cover names. In the warrants, Judge Nobili said that all 13 suspects were linked to the C.I.A. and that several served as diplomats at the United States Consulate in Milan, investigators said.

The judge's action represents the first time that American operatives face prosecution by a foreign criminal justice system for carrying out the C.I.A.'s policy of "extraordinary rendition," the legal term for the agency's practice of seizing terror suspects in one country and delivering them to be detained in another, including countries that routinely engage in torture. Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 100 terrorism suspects have been transferred by the United States to Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and other countries, where some former captives have said they were tortured.

C.I.A. officials have declined to discuss details of such cases, but senior officials have defended the practice, which began a decade ago, as a legal way to thwart terrorist activities. The C.I.A. usually carries out such renditions with the backing of foreign governments, but the Italian authorities said they knew of no such agreement between Italy and the United States in the case of Mr. Nasr.

Remember, Italy was one of our "Coalition of the Bullied" friends.

You're a Traitor if You Don't Love Bush and All He Does

Hunter at DailyKos points out what is all too obvious to most of us now but not to the happy Koolaid Konsumers:

Conservative blogger John Cole continues to have a complete rundown of the pro-Rove defenses, and isn't much impressed with any of them. See here, here, here, here, and here.

Bottom line: those defending Rove are full of it. While the RNC and White House are so far solidly endorsing Rove's attacks, the defenses are intellectually bankrupt, and it doesn't take longer than a few choice quotes to prove it. It's also become clear that the Rove hatchet job -- coming in the middle of a highly unusual publicity blitz by Rove himself, which itself is being cited as the initial preparations for a full-scale White House attack against their critics -- was fully intentional.

There's going to be blowback, here. New Yorkers and others aren't going to sit by while the White House itself calls them traitors.

We now know these talking points were White House approved and distributed. That's why this is so important: there's more of this coming, for anyone who doesn't sharply toe the Bush Administration line, and it's happening right now for a reason. The stories coming out in the next month are going to be very, very bad for Bush and for everyone involved in selling the Iraq War. Bush's numbers have absolutely tanked, the Downing Street documents are getting more and more attention, Bush and Cheney are increasingly seen as so out-of-touch with ground reports from Iraq as to border on slightly delusional, and Senate Democrats are beginning to increasingly demand specific documents relating to the ("fixed?") claims made by the Bush Administration in the runup to the Iraq War.

Therefore, anyone who doesn't support Bush's failed and increasingly unpopular policies is a traitor. That's the line they're going with.

The Flag Burning Amendment

This one has been a strange pickle. First, you have the usual suspects saying unusual things. Some liberals/progressives are saying, "What's wrong with the amendment since no one should be burning the flag" while some conservatives are saying, "There are bigger fish to fry so why this?"

As I've said, I'm not a great believer or practitioner in tearing down symbols. I've never burned a flag and suspect I never will.

My problem with the amendment - besides the fact that it was floated by "Duke" Cunningham, a man maybe a half step away from federal indictment for being such a prick and a thief and a liar - is that it raises a symbol - the flag - above the Constitution's promise of free speech. Just like the snowflake babies who have more value than an adult woman who might choose not to have a baby, the symbol is more important than the people it represents. THAT is what bothers me.

Stephen Hayes from the Weekly Standard: The Problem Isn't the Iraq Quagmire or that the President Lied

Instead, Mr. Hayes - a man with the IQ of wow.. maybe a LaShawn Barber - on "Hardball" tonight says the real problem is that people are complaining that the president lied. Everything would be fine in Iraq - and no car bombings would occur - if only people didn't complain that the president lied.


And they pay him for that.

The White House Spinning

Tonight, the White House came out in defense of Karl Rove's remarks, standing behind them only to say later that Rove only intended his harsh words for members of MoveOn.

But go back and look at the transcript and it's pretty clear he wasn't just talking about MoveOn. Nor did the White House specify MoveOn when they first jumped to his defense.

No, friends, this is a deliberate measure to take attention off the Downing Street Memo docs, which are far more important than the crew at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue wants us to believe.

Richard Cranium on The Draft

MissM points us to this at the AllSpinZone. Go, read. I'll be here waiting when you come back, just twiddling my thumbs and subverting GOPspeak while I work on five books.

Shana Alexander Dead

I enjoyed some of her writing.


Blame Duck President?

Check out this cartoon from ZenComix. It's great!

Kudos to David at In Search of Utopia for pointing to it.

In Praise of Oliver Willis

Oliver wrote a stirring piece today (entitled "It's Time to Stand") that I think sums up how I feel quite accurately:

I am not one of the people who feels Karl Rove is a political genius. I think he’s a talented political operative with a good dose of luck on his side. That said, does anyone believe the flag amendment and his attack on the Democrats just happened out of coincidence? Rove’s legacy will be tied to George W. Bush and right now he sees his great triumph, Bush’s re-election, currently stuck in the second term blahs. The few legislative achievements he’s got are paybacks to his supporters, but not the sort of transformative work Presidents want written in their obituaries.

The Republican party stands for nothing if they aren’t demonizing the Democratic party as anti-American. They did it when Bill Clinton was President, and they’ve done it since the moment George Bush obtained the White House. That is what they’re doing now. They’ve got nothing more than passing legislation that does nothing to actually help America, preferring instead to gin up the slack jawed folks who are their most ardent supporters with a neverending river of bigotry, hate, and bile. To date the left has become their enablers, preferring to play to some form of mythical “moderation” while these idiots defecate on our national foundations. Many Democrats (including myself in the past) have preferred the path of least resistance, trying to appeal to the mythical center while at the same time ignoring our core values.

We have to stop this now. In order to preserve this nation, we must stop giving in to the Republicans and their hatred of America’s diversity of race, thought, ideology, and values. In the early part of the 20th century, those who championed racist hatred were in the majority. For many, the “right” thing politically would have been to walk in lockstep with the klan and their ilk. But they were wrong, and the people who supported them were wrong. We have to stand up for the right things, even if you’re in the minority, even if you’re not doing the politically expedient thing, because standing up for what’s right is the moral thing to do.

To the Hillary Clintons, Harry Reids, John Edwardses, Joe Bidens, and other leaders of our side - it is time to draw a line in the sand. It is time, at long last, to cease with the smiles and the well-wishes and to make clear that the time to declare open political warfare on these people is long past due.
Thanks to both Skippy and David at In Search of Utopia for pointing this post out.

The General's Operation Yellow Elephant: A Point of Clarification

I know some folks have come here for the first time because of the banner and ad I have running for Operation Yellow Elephant, the brainchild of General JC Christian, somebody whose work I admire and enjoy tremendously.

If you visit the General, he lays out pretty clearly that Operation Yellow Elephant is designed to target Young Republicans - college age and in good health - who are so damned gung ho about Bush's wars yet so critical that more aren't enlisting; the general - I believe - suggests that these fine folks enlist themselves if they believe so damned much in Bush's wars.

Here, I haven't always made it obvious about the General's specific target group. So any confusion there is mine, not his (or is it His?). But I clearly think it's a grand idea and I support it wholeheartedly. If I've contributed to this confusion, I apologize. But blame me, not the General. I assumed people would follow the links to the general's site and learn more - silly me!

[That's another thing a progressive or liberal does that GOPers like Rove and Bush cannot: they clarify and take responsibility. You should learn from it, boys!]

More Marines and Civilians Die in Iraq While Mr. Cheney Calls Iraq a Success!

From CNN:

Two U.S. Marines were killed and three Marines and a sailor were unaccounted for after a suicide bomber's vehicle exploded near a convoy in Falluja, a U.S. military official said today. Thursday night's blast wounded 13, the military said. Some of the casualties were women, the official said.
Gee, Dick, if it's so nice there, why don't you take Lynne and the girls there on a vacation.

Maybe Lynne and the girls could enlist. Heck, you too, you ole son of [gun].

One of the 9/11 Widows Has Some Words for Fat Genius Villain, Karl Rove

From Huffington Post by Kristin Breitweiser:

Mr. Rove, the first thing that I would like to address is Afghanistan - the place that anyone with a true “understanding of 9/11” knows is a nation that actually has a connection to the 9/11 attacks. One month after 9/11, we invaded Afghanistan, took down the Taliban, and left without capturing Usama Bin Laden - the alleged perpetrator of the September 11th attacks. In the meantime, Afghanistan has carried out democratic elections, but continues to suffer from extreme violence and unrest. Poppy production (yes, Karl, the drug trade) is at an all time high, thus flooding the world market with heroin. And of course, the oil pipeline (a.k.a. the Caspian Sea pipeline) is better protected by U.S. troops who now have a “legitimate” excuse to be in that part of Afghanistan. Interesting isn't it Karl that the drug “rat line” parallels the oil pipeline. (Yet, with all those troops guarding that same sliver of land, can you please explain how those drugs keep getting through?)

Now Karl, a question for you, since you seem to be the nation's self-styled sensei with regard to 9/11: Is Usama Bin Laden still important? Lately, your coterie of friends seems to be giving out mixed messages. Recall that in the early days, Bin Laden was wanted “dead or alive.” Then when Bin Laden slipped through your fingertips in Tora Bora, you downgraded his importance. We were told that Bin Laden was a "desperate man on the run,” and a person that President Bush was not "too worried about". Yet, whenever I saw Bin Laden's videos, he looked much too comfortable to actually be a man on the run. He looked tan, rested, and calm. He certainly didn't look the way I wanted the murderer of almost 3,000 innocent people to look: unkempt, panicked, and cowering in a corner.

Karl, I mention Bin Laden because recently Director of the CIA, Porter Goss, has mentioned that he knows exactly where Bin Laden is located but that he cannot capture him for fear of offending sovereign nations. Which frankly, I find ironic because of Iraq--and let's just leave it at that. But, when you say that “moderation and restraint” don't work in fighting terrorists, maybe you should share those comments with Mr. Goss because he doesn't seem to be on the same page as you. Unless of course, Porter is holding out to announce that Bin Laden is in Iran. (Karl, I want Bin Laden brought to justice, but not if it means starting a war with Iran - a country that possesses nuclear weaponry. The idea of nuclear fallout in any quadrant of the world is just not an acceptable means to any ends, be it capturing Bin Laden, oil or drugs. But, Afghanistan and Bin Laden are old news. Iraq is the story of today. And of course, it appears that Iran will be the story of next month. But, I digress.)

More to the point, Karl when you say, “Conservatives saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and prepared for war,” what exactly did you do to prepare for your war? Did your preparations include: sound intelligence to warrant your actions; a reasonable entry and exit strategy coupled with a coherent plan to carry out that strategy; the proper training and equipment for the troops you were sending in to fight your war? Did you follow the advice of experts such as General Shinseki who correctly advised you about the troop levels needed to actually succeed in Iraq? No, you didn't.

It has always been America's policy that you only place soldiers' lives in harm's way when it is absolutely necessary and the absolute last resort. When you send troops into combat you support those troops by providing them with proper equipment and training. Why didn't you do that with the troops that you sent into Iraq? Why weren't their vehicles armored? Why didn't they have protective vests? Why weren't they properly trained about the rules of interrogation? And Karl, when our troops come home – be it tragically in body bags or with missing limbs – you should honor and acknowledge their service to their country. You shouldn't hide them by bringing them home in the dark of night. Most importantly, you should take care of them for the long haul by giving them substantial veteran's benefits and care. To me, that is being patriotic. To me, that is how you support our troops. To me, that is how you show that you know the value of a human life given for its country.
I am SOOOO tired of everyone using the 9/11 dead as an excuse to get behind their dipshit ideas, from Frist to Bush to Rove to the idiots behind the latest flag-burning amendment.

So it's nice to hear from the family of 9/11, who are pretty sick and tired of Bush- and Rove- and GOP-Speak as well.

Michael Schiavo's Comment on His Wife's Grave Marker

The Moderate Voice has a piece up today about Michael Schiavo's sentiment placed on the grave marker for his wife, Terri. I only read through it once, but what I read, I don't quite agree with. The sentiment seems to side with the Schindlers (Schiavo's parents), saying "this is one last dig!"

But here's what appears on the grave marker: "I kept my promise."

Michael Schiavo did - so far as we can tell - keep his promise. He pledged to stay with her until death they did part and he did. He said he promised Terri he would not commit her to a lifetime as a vegetable and, for the most part, he did just that.

I do agree with one anonymous poster at Moderate Voice: that what was on the grave marker is none of our business. If the Schindlers hadn't once more cried about it, we wouldn't know about this.

Michael Schiavo is the only person in this tragedy - besides the tragic woman herself whose brain was largely gone - who didn't treat his wife like a promotional scheme or a way to get on TV. Jeb, the parents, Randall Terry, et al, horrified much of America with their behavior but at least with the parents, we could try to assume they had their daughter's best interests at heart even if it didn't always seem that way (even if they didn't complain about Michael until after the father demanded and did not receive a big financial windfall). Terry, the priests, and Bush along with Frist and other politicians were shameful.

God should get them for this.

Horse Hockey, Gitmo Style

I missed the name of the ranking military person who called CNN today to give his "rebuttal" of all the reports of bad treatment at Gitmo, but his basic line was, "Gitmo is wonderful. The prisoners just love it here except those who throw urine and feces. Nobody has ever done anything mean to these prisoners. We had the same meal there that the prisoners had and it was wonderful. The media lies whenever it says there are abuses at Gitmo."

Say what?

This fellow goes down there on a tour facilitated by the White House and the DoD to see exactly that Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfelt wanted him to see. For all I know, this military person is under contract to Halliburton - CNN doesn't tend to disclose these things, like when Bill Schneider makes fun of a Dem that he's a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Just as Mr. Bush encouraged journalists "to go there and see for yourselves", they're only going to get the permitted tour.

This proves nothing. Zip. Zero.

That no one is permitted to see anything that isn't on the official tour may indicate something right there.

On Hillary: I Second That Sentiment

Continental Op at Red Harvest posts this which, I have to say, mirrors my feelings almost completely:

In an appropriately dismissive review of the Ed Klein biography of Hillary Clinton, Doug Ireland pretty much sums up my own feelings about both the presumptive Democratic nominee in 2008 and her right-wing detractors:
    Personally, I have little use for Hillary Clinton, and I'm appalled that the Democratic base has been taken in by her and thinks she's a "liberal." When the imprint she's left on public life is carefully examined, it is that of an unprincipled opportunist who will say or do anything to achieve and hang on to power. Klein makes the latter judgment, but at the same time he pretends to find in Hillary a closet left-liberal who will swing the White House wildly to the left if she's elected president. And he does so by ignoring much already on the public record, and with such exaggerated rhetoric, as to make this book quite useless to anyone who is not a right-wing Hillary hater.
Hillary isn't a liberal. She never was. In 1970s mentality, she would be a slightly to the right of center Republican. Do NOT believe for a minute she's Bill, who isn't all that liberal either.

I Should Go to Bed

.... before my head explodes from Bush-Rovian madness.

Arrivederci, baby. Oh, yes, and to my French friends: Happy St. Jean Baptiste Day.

Truth Revealed: North Korea Crisis is Based on What Bush Did(n't Do)

Lovely. He does nothing right yet never admits to doing anything wrong:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il attempted to engage President Bush directly on the nuclear weapons issue three years ago but the administration spurned the overture, two American experts on Asia said on Wednesday.

Writing in the Washington Post, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea Donald Gregg and former journalist Don Oberdorfer expressed concern that Kim's November 2002 initiative was never pursued and urged Bush to respond positively to his current overture, made last week.

When Bush took office in 2001, U.S. officials estimated Pyongyang had fuel for one or two nuclear weapons. Now, that estimate is up to at least half a dozen and, the authors said, "many believe their claim to have fabricated the weapons themselves."

Gregg and Oberdorfer said they visited Pyongyang in November 2002, after then-U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly was there and accused the North of pursuing a secret program of enriching uranium for nuclear weapons.

The North froze its weapons-related plutonium program in 1994 under an agreement with the United States.

But the discovery of the uranium program -- which Pyongyang first acknowledged and then denied -- fanned administration doubts about the North's trustworthiness.

It also led to an impasse between Pyongyang and Washington during a period when officials say the North advanced its nuclear capability.
The Bushies are not trustworthy either. ::sigh::

Cheney Says Tonight "Iraq Will Be a Success Story Eventually... Meanwhile

A leading general says the insurgency is as strong now as before the elections and new terrorists are cropping up all the freaking time:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Iraqi insurgency is as active as six months ago and more foreign fighters are flowing in all the time, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East said Thursday, despite Vice President Dick Cheney's insistence that the insurgency was ``in its last throes.''

Gen. John Abizaid, testifying at a contentious Senate hearing alongside Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, gave his view of the war in response to lawmakers who expressed concern about progress in Iraq and support at home.

``People are beginning to question, and I don't think it's a blip on the radar screen,'' said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Added Joe Lieberman, D-Conn.: ``I fear that American public opinion is tipping away from this effort.'

What drugs is Cheney taking?'

Full Transcript of Rove's Remarks Which White House Failed to Post

Gee, I wonder why. From The Carpetbagger Report - click to read the full text of Rove's comments:

Reasonable people throughout the political world are outraged at Karl Rove's outrageous remarks from last night, which politicized 9/11 and slandered half the country. The calls for Rove to either apologize or resign his position at the White House are clearly justified.

But what, exactly, did he say, and what was the full context? It seems the White House has decided, for some reason, not to post a copy of Rove's speech on its site. Nevertheless, I've obtained a complete and unedited transcript of Rove's speech. It's long, but worth reading to see the pathological worldview of the man often described as "Bush's brain."

National Campaign to Impeach a President Who Lied Us into War(s)

Buzzflash points us to World Tribunal in Iraq.

Dept of Veterans Affairs Face $1Billion+ Shortfall

This is how Bush and Rumsfeld support the troops (not at all):

The Department of Veterans Affairs told Congress that its health care costs grew faster than expected and left a $1 billion hole in its budget this year, lawmakers said Thursday.

House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer, the Republican from Indiana, said the department can meet this year's health care costs by drawing on spare funds and money from other operations, including building construction.

But next year's health care budget falls well over $1 billion short, said Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.

"I was on the phone this morning with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson letting him know that I am not pleased that this has happened," said Craig, chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.

"This shortfall results from either deliberate misdirection or gross incompetence by this administration and the Department of Veteran Affairs," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington.

U.N. Blasts Us on Gitmo Situation

From CNN:

Four U.N. human rights experts criticized the U.S. government Thursday for failing to answer a January 2004 request to allow them to visit the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, citing allegations of torture against detainees.

"The lack of a definitive answer despite repeated requests suggests that the United States is not willing to cooperate with the United Nations human rights machinery on this issue," said the statement issued at a meeting of U.N. Commission on Human Rights representatives and experts.

Two U.S. government agencies appeared to point the finger at each other.

A Defense Department spokesman said the State Department would be responsible for responding to the request.

The Defense Department's spokesman also said representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross have visited and checked on detainees at Guantanamo Bay and will continue to do so under the Geneva Conventions.

But try to name once that this administration has a) ever acknowledged their wrongdoing b)ever changed course once it was determined that what they were doing was not working well or angered the entire rest of the world c)not turned around and tried to blame those not in power - i.e., Dems - for every problem.

You can't. It hasn't happened.


Just When You Thought the Pentagon Couldn't Get More Perverse

Comes this, where doctors and medical staff are being used to "design" torture programs for the military. My God.

Medical records compiled by doctors caring for prisoners at the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay are being tapped to design more effective interrogation techniques, says an explosive new report.

Doctors, nurses and medics caring for the approximately 600 prisoners at the U.S. naval base in Cuba are required to provide health information to military and CIA interrogators, according to the report in the respected New England Journal of Medicine. "Since late 2003, psychiatrists and psychologists (at Guantanamo) have been part of a strategy that employs extreme stress, combined with behaviour-shaping rewards, to extract actionable intelligence from resistant captives," it states. Such tactics are considered torture by many authorities, the authors note. Medical personnel belonging to the U.S. military's Southern Command have also been told to volunteer to interrogators information they believe may be valuable, the report adds. The report was published ahead of schedule last night on the journal's website "because of current public interest in this topic," the journal says.
The report's authors — Dr. Gregg Bloche, a physician who is also a law professor at Georgetown University in Washington, and Jonathan Marks, a London lawyer who is currently a fellow in bioethics at Georgetown's law centre — say that while Guantanamo veterans are ordered not to discuss what goes on there, making it difficult to know how, exactly, military intelligence personnel have used medical information for interrogation, they've been able to assemble part of the picture.

Today's Feel Good Petition

Honk if you want Karl fired if he won't resign.

Oops, the server appears overwhelmed; apparently Karl is behated by so many.

Why Do Republicans Hate and Endanger Our Troops Like This?

Posted by Greg Beato at Wonkette:

Yesterday at a GOP fund-raiser in Manhattan, Karl Rove explained that Dick Durbin's remarks about detainee treatment at Guantanamo Bay are "putting our troops in greater danger" because Al Jazeera "now broadcasts [his] words to the Mideast."

Today, the Republican National Committee released an ad called "Wild Thing." And guess what? It features Dick Durbin's remarks about detainee treatment at Guantanamo Bay. The same words that are putting our troops in greater danger, and yet the RNC is emailing the ad to "15 million grassroots supporters" and posting it at GOP.com, where terrorists, Al Jazeera producers, and the liberal saboteurs who want to undermine this great country of ours and put our troops at risk have access to it! Is it time to put Ken Mehlman on the Noodles Jefferson diet?

Fire Karl

Skippy points us to the lovely "Fire Karl" t-shirt offered at AmericaBlog.

Mmm... I like their "Bill Frist is in a Persistent Vegetative State t-shirt, too.

My Letter to Karl Rove, Bush's Brain Anus

Karl Rove
Senior Advisor
White House

Dear Mr. Rove:

After hearing your remarks Wednesday night, I want to encourage you to support a program you seem to dearly believe in: make the world safe from terrorists in Iraq.

With so many people calling for your termination, I want to invite you to enlist in the Army and join our brave troops in Iraq fighting on the front lines in Fallujah, Ramadi, and Baghdad.

Unmarried and childless, you don't have to worry about leaving a family behind. Finally, you can put your life where your mouth is as tens of thousands of other brave Americans (but too few Republicans in power) have done.

Finally, you'll be able to do what you enjoy most: "fucking people over like they've never been fucked before" (although these words are attributed to you, Mr. Rove, I find this very strange and offensive language for a) someone paid with our tax dollars and b) someone who is so beloved by the fundamentalist right).

Yes, you're quite fat and spineless except when hiding behind the spineless likes of a James Dobson, a Jerry Falwell, or a Pat Robertson, but considering Mr. Rumsfeld has called 50-, 60-, and even 70-year-old men and women into battle, I'm sure they can find a place for you.

Unfortunately, however, as you may have heard, we've got a shortage of body armor. So I'm afraid that - like so many of the other troops - you'll need to have a bake sale to raise money for your body armor. You'll probably need to buy your own bullets, too. Oh, and don't be surprised if you go unpaid for months and months at a time - this is also a common phenomenon for our brave soldiers.

BTW, if they ask you to be a test "detainee" at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, say no. Apparently our troops sometimes beat detainees into brain damage and sometimes death. But don't worry - we hear those are just "a few bad apples" and not representative of the general treatment offered.

So, Mr. Rove, when would you like to go? I hear there are more than 6,000 AWOL soldiers from Iraq so I would say your presence is needed immediately if not sooner. Would you be available for a Saturday transport?


Yours truly!

Katharine Chase
A liberal who doesn't want to offer you therapy but a position on the front lines in THIS Republican's war

Rove the Liar

Crooks and Liars brings us this:

If you don't understand why Karl Rove's remarks are pissing off Democrats, let's look at some more of the remarks: Just a quick trip down the memory hole brings up the September 14th Congressional Resolution, which states:To authorize the use of United States armed forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States. Whereas, on Sept. 11, 2001, acts of despicable violence were committed against the United States and its citizens...read on

It passed the House 420-1 and passed the Senate 98-0, with nary a mention of indictments, therapy, or calls for understanding.


Cole makes the point perfectly. Karl Rove sees the polls and knows the only way he can try to dig his party out from the shit storm they have created is by lying and attacking Democrats unmercifully. He is aware of the tepid, useless media that wouldn't have the imagination to look at this vote which completely repudiates Rove's statements. Well Karl, we are looking and everytime you lie, we'll be there.

AmericaBlog: White House stands by Rove's comments about Democrats and 9/11 The Democrat approach, according to the White House, is to not consider 9/11 a savage attack, and to be motivated by a desire to kill our own troops. McClellan just stood by the comments and basically explained that Rove was IN FACT talking about the differences between our two parties.

Rumsfeld Spanked

Well, almost as good. He basically indicated it was time for Rummy to wave bye-bye and return to Bechtel.

David Anderson at In Search of Utopia points us to the video Crooks and Liars posted of Ted Kennedy pin pricking the inflated ego that is Donald Rumsfeld.

Bangor News: Investigate the Facts in the Downing Street Memo

(I love New England and Yankees - the people not the team - sorry Hally!)

From the Bangor News:

"Our goal is not merely to limit Iraq's violations of Security Council resolutions, or to slow down its weapons program. Our goal is to fully and finally remove a real threat to world peace and to America. Hopefully this can be done peacefully. Hopefully we can do this without any military action."

- George W. Bush, October 16, 2002

"It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."

- Downing Street memo, July 23, 2002

How can members of Congress avoid looking like anything but irrelevant busybodies if they will occupy themselves with Major League Baseball's steroid policy but refuse to consider information that President Bush may have intentionally misled the nation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein? Though the series of meeting minutes now known as the Downing Street memos may not turn out to be a smoking gun, they are worth knowing more about because they could help explain why the Iraq war has turned out as it has.

The British memos are both careful and vague. But they clearly convey a sense that the Bush administration was trying to figure out how to go to war against Saddam Hussein when the administration was saying publicly it was trying to avoid war. The contradiction is evident from the two comments above: Three months before the president says he hopes removing "a real threat to world peace and to America" can be done peacefully, the chief of the British intelligence service says in another part of the memo quoted above, "Military action was now seen as inevitable." The public does not know if this is an accurate assessment of the situation nearly three years ago; it does know that Knight Ridder in February of that year reported President Bush had already made up his mind to attack and had taken steps to begin the war, and it knows that the United States went to war on assertions about WMD that have proved inaccurate.

Taking a cue from the political right and its hounding of President Clinton over his statements concerning Monica Lewinsky and Whitewater, the political left wants congressional hearings and the impeachment of President Bush - he is assumed guilty. This isn't going to happen. But there is a useful question raised by these memos: To what extent did a determination to go to war before the WMD issue could be clarified, before the United Nations' votes and potentially with minimal regard for the aftermath of war force the United States into its current position?

The question isn't for a congressional hearing to answer but for a commission very much like the 9/11 Commission: bipartisan, carefully chosen, expertly staffed. It would look back seriously at the circumstances of the time, explain them, then gauge how they affected the prolonged, bloody post-war period. The commission's role would be to examine the assumptions that went into the war and point out where those assumptions were flawed. It would need subpoena power to accomplish this.

The administration might object to such a commission, but it also objected to the 9/11 Commission, at first, then relented. The intelligence reform that followed was possible only because of the commission's work. The Downing Street memos are not as easy to accept, but they are as necessary because revealing the planning at that time could improve how this nation goes to war.

It's Past Time for Karl Rove to Go

No man has ever been so mean-spirited, so partisan or run the country so carefully and completely into the dumpster from behind the shield of the presidency as Karl Rove, college dropout and "Bush's brain".

I am less angered by his completely inaccurate portrayal of Dems - who were more than happy to join with the Repugnantkins in bombing the hell out of Afghanistan and Iraq with few questions asked after 9/11 than I am with his attempts to make the Downing Street Memo into yet another political football of his. This is the man who has been behind every nasty, deadending, miserable thing in Washington, DC these last 5+ years, behind forcing Bush down our throats through rigged elections, through proving Bush has testacles by killing more than 1700 of our soldiers and tens if not thousands of Iraqis and Afghans, through "Mission Accomplished" and turning the horror of 9/11 into sound bytes and images for his own evil purposes.

Almost most egregious of all, we pay this asshole's salary. I want him GONE. Frog-marched out of the White House would be nice - after all, it's clear Rove was behind the outing of Plame and so much of the other shit that has gone on.

Read this from his appearance on "Hardball" Wednesday night where Mr. No-Chin-All-Blubber appeared with David Gregory substituting for Chris Matthews (whose absense is NEVER a loss):

GREGORY: As you well know, critics of this war have seized on what’s being called now the Downing Street Memo, based on meetings that Britain’s Chief of Intelligence had with American officials about the war. One issue that comes up in that memo and subsequent memos is British concerns about the fact that the White House in their view wasn’t adequately thinking about what happens after the regime falls.

ROVE: I'm glad you brought that up because I want to put that in context. First of all that is the British — a Brit making a comment about what he perceived to be U.S. policy. But remember the time frame, it is months and months and months before the balloon goes up in Iraq. And in those intervening months there was plenty of time planning for post-war efforts, vast amounts of planning. You never know exactly how a war is going to plan out. Napoleon once said, 'vast numbers of refugees enormous problems with food aid'- did not happen. Vast uprising- didn't happen. That we would see a vast uprising by hundreds of thousands of Iraqis- didn’t happen. War is ugly, but a lot went very well with this effort and in part it was because the United States government and our coalition partners used the months to plan for any eventuality.

GREGORY: But if you're talking about the number of troops necessary, the level of American casualties, the force and intensity of the insurgency…did the president mislead the American people about the cost of the war or was he just simply surprised by what happened?

ROVE: I would go back to the president’s statements over the last several years and I would defy you to find one speech which he talked about Iraq where he doesn’t say there would be difficult times ahead, that we had a long road to hope that a great deal of sacrifice was going to be called for by both the American people and by the Iraqis to achieve this goal. Look, we do not underestimate the ferocity and the anger and the viciousness of the people that we face. We are in a war. Some people may treat it as a law enforcement matter and be worried about indictments from the U.S. attorney from the southern district of New York. But we recognize this administration and the American people we are in a war and the only way you have a successful outcome in the war is to aim for a complete and total victory, which is exactly what we’re doing.
The emphasized part is pure bullshit. Remember cakewalk? Remember they'll greet us with flowers as their saviors? They're just rewriting history YET again.

From Shakespeare's Sister on the subject:
Clearly, he used questions about the Downing Street Documents to set himself up for his comments made in a speech Wednesday night:

"Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Rove said Wednesday night. "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war."

Today, the RNC issued talking points in support of Rove’s statement, in addition to an attack ad against Dick Durbin based on his Gitmo comments.

We need to get on this big time, because this is their defensive play—deflect all interest in the Downing Street Documents by some controversy and forcing the Dems (and liberals of all stripes) to defend themselves…again.
Oh, Rove and Cheney's vile stench is ALL over this crap.

Chickenhawks: Enlist or Forever Hold Your Peace

Steve Gilliard says what many of us think:

"If you will not serve in Iraq, and no one you know will serve, stop expecting someone else to do what you will not. Therefore, it is time to stop calling for more troops, or the US to make Iraq safe. We cannot do this and even Americans are refusing to join the fight. It is time to look at your actions and realize, that despite your ideals, you oppose continuing this war. In practical terms, you have decided that this war is not worth your life or anyone you know. And million of Americans have joined you in this decision. So, with this fact evident, it is time to call for US troops to withdraw from Iraq. Not save it, not add more boots on the ground. You have already voted by your actions. It is time that you match it with your words."

Radio Free Brattleboro Shut Down by Feds

Bear with me a moment and try not to dismiss this story as simply, "Well, hell, they were operating without a license so they deserved to be shut down."

Radio Free Brattleboro was indeed operating without a license. The feds had attempted to shut them down before, but were blocked by widespread community protest.

Very early this morning, federal marshalls came, seized their equipment, and padlocked the doors.

Here's why this is a shame. The FCC under Michael Powell was probably the worst incarnation of this organization ever, but it's often abused its power.

For many years now, they have made it impossible to get community broadcast licenses. Instead, the FCC has only been in the business of granting new licenses to big corporate pro-politico entities like Clear Channel.

Vermont is privileged to have a number of community, non-commercial stations, like WGDR in Plainfield (close to me and based out of Goddard College). But not every place has such, and can't get any alternative news or the views of the true community expressed.

So it's both a shame and almost criminal that the FCC forces communities to go the route that Radio Free Brattleboro had to go, and even more criminal that they shut them down.

The air waves used to belong to the people. Under Michael Powell, he sold the rights to corporations for a song and Bush support.

Liberals Like Christ

Daily Read at Trailing Edge Blog recommends this link and - after visiting - I see why.

Take a moment, won't you?

Sit Down and Shut Up

That's what Riggsveda posting at Corrente says the flag burning amendment is all about. I suspect he's quite right, too.

Staggering, Record Number of Iraq-Assigned US Soldiers Have Deserted

Six THOUSAND soldiers have deserted. 6,000!!!

Thanks to Buzzflash for this link to Canadian TV report:

NDP MP Bill Siksay is lending his support to a campaign aimed at allowing a growing number of American military deserters to find refuge in Canada.

According to the British Columbia MP, the issue resonates with a lot of Canadians.

For example, Siksay told CTV's Canada AM early Wednesday, Canadians are widely opposed to the prison abuse reported at the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons.

"They're (also) outraged at the failure to produce any weapons of mass destruction, since that was one of the main reasons for going into this war," he added.

So far, that support has translated into 15,000 signatures on a petition organized by the community-based War Resisters Support Campaign.

"There's huge public support for these war resisters in Canada," Siksay said.

Joshua Key is one of dozens of U.S. soldiers who fled their army to seek refuge in Canada. After an eight-month tour in Iraq, Key said he couldn't face a return trip.

When asked whether that's not just part of the job, Key told Canada AM his Iraq tour wasn't exactly what he enlisted for.

"Everybody has a false interpretation that battle's supposed to be fought with tanks or between soldier and soldier," Key said, describing his frustration fighting a more amorphous enemy.

"It's just like you don't know what who it's going to be from one day to the next. You can't get rid of the whole population."

Once again, Canada has been a good friend and a good neighbor, but one we treat very badly.

House Ethics Chairman May Quit

Well, gee, considering he's been neutered, and the House wants to do literally anything but call Tom DeLay on his infinite amount of dirty tricks - because Tom will cut off funding to them - why shouldn't he?

From The Times today:

The chairman of the House ethics committee, Representative Doc Hastings, Republican of Washington, is warning that he may resign from the post this summer because of a stalemate of months with Democrats over whether and how to conduct investigations of Representative Tom DeLay and other lawmakers, Republican Congressional officials said.

They said Mr. Hastings had told colleagues privately in recent weeks that he might step down out of frustration with what he considered intractability of Democrats on the panel and their repeated public attacks on his leadership.

The committee is deadlocked over several issues, including staffing for the committee, and has been unable to pursue investigations of Mr. DeLay, the majority leader, or anyone else. House Republican officials say the departure of Mr. Hastings and the appointment of a new chairman could mean months of additional delay before the committee is able to resume any of its investigative work.

Mr. Hastings has also faced criticism in recent weeks over newly disclosed documents that show he has worked closely for years with lobbyists at a Seattle-based law firm that is under scrutiny because of its ties to Mr. DeLay. The firm's former star lobbyist arranged lavish overseas trips for Mr. DeLay, a Texas Republican.

Unless Hastings grows a backbone, we'll just wave him bye-bye.

The Detroit Free Press Gets It

On the Downing Street Memo, their op/ed page writes:

Granted, finding a way to end the ongoing bloodshed in Iraq is at present more pressing than re-examining the rationale that was developed to start the war there more than two years ago. But the so-called Downing Street memos are still too significant to be dismissed as simply old news -- as the White House would like -- or left to historians.

  • LOCAL COMMENT: Conyers letter

  • They speak to the credibility of the administration of President George W. Bush, which is now telling the American people that significant progress is being made in Iraq and the murderous insurgency there is in its final throes. Meantime, U.S. military leaders say rebel attacks have remained constant at 50-60 a day, and last month was the deadliest for Iraqi civilians since the March 2003 U.S. invasion.

    The Downing Street memos, excerpts of which you can read on this page, along with other commentary about them on the opposite page, shine some light on the internal thinking of the most secretive U.S. administration in modern times. They were prepared by top British officials as Prime Minister Tony Blair pondered his critical decision to join Bush in the war against Iraq.

    Based on meetings with administration officials, they support the premise that, despite public claims to the contrary, the Bush administration saw war against Iraq as a first, not last, option after the 9/11 attacks and manipulated bad intelligence to exaggerate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

    "The truth," a top British official said in a March 22, 2002, memo to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, "is that what has changed is not the pace of Saddam Hussein's WMD programs, but our tolerance of them post-11 September ... the programmes are extremely worrying but have not, as far as we know, been stepped up." Three days later, in a memo to Blair, Straw said that "there has been no credible evidence to link Iraq with UBL (Osama bin Laden) and Al Qaida."

    The United States, of course, found no deadly weapons in Iraq after toppling Hussein from power; and Al Qaeda had no presence in the country until the insurgency erupted.

    The eight memos also show British concern, bordering on alarm, for the lack of American plans for post-war Iraq at a time when the Bush administration was selling the belief that Iraqis would welcome their liberation and quickly embrace democracy. It has not, obviously, been such a smooth transition.

    Most important for today, the evidence reflects an administration that makes a major decision and then finds or fits the evidence to back it up and sell it. That's not thoughtful policy. It's marketing.


    Iraq Replaces Afghanistan as Terrorist Training Ground

    Says the CIA:

    A classified report from the U.S. spy agency says Iraqi and foreign fighters are developing a broad range of deadly skills, from car bombings and assassinations to tightly coordinated conventional attacks on police and military targets, the official said.

    Once the insurgency ends, Islamic militants are likely to disperse as highly organized battle-hardened combatants capable of operating throughout the Arab-speaking world and in other regions including Europe.

    Fighters leaving Iraq would primarily pose a challenge for their countries of origin including Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

    But the May report, which has been widely circulated in the intelligence community, also cites a potential threat to the United States.

    "You have people coming to the action with anti-U.S. sentiment ... And since they're Iraqi or foreign Arabs or to some degree Kurds, they have more communities they can blend into outside Iraq," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the report's classified status.

    Iraq has become a magnet for Islamic militants similar to Soviet-occupied Afghanistan two decades ago and Bosnia in the 1990s, U.S. officials say.

    Nice work, Bushies!

    On the Flag Burning Amendment

    Posted by Dave at Seeing the Forest:

    House Approves Flag-Burning Amendment,
      The House on Wednesday approved a constitutional amendment that would give Congress the power to ban desecration of the American flag...
    Let's take a practical look at what this is going to mean. Just using the example of clothing, people wearing flag clothing for July 4 celebrations or at Republican Party rallies will not be bothered by this. But Republican accusations that Democrats are traitors means that people at Democratic Party rallies who stray even slightly from flag handling guidelines will be subjected to the Right's smear machine.

    If you think this through, it will be used as another tool to smear Demcorats, and the only people who will be arrested will be protesting against the policies of Republicans in power.

    And the wording itself: "Desecration," "blasphemous behavior; the act of depriving something of its sacred character; 'desecration of the Holy Sabbath' " and here, "An act of disrespect or impiety toward something regarded as sacred". Great, an amendment establishing the John Birch Society as the official religion of the United States. And how many Democrats voted for it? How many in the Senate will? Watch your backs.


    Dick Durbin's Ill-Advised Apology

    The crew at TalkLeft also points us to Jeanne's post - a letter to Durbin - at Body and Soul:

    There's an understandable assumption on the left now that your courage failed you, that you caved in to enormous pressure. If that's true, your second speech was not only cowardly, it was astonishingly foolish. Take a look at the response of some of the people who demanded an apology now that they have it. They have nothing but contempt for your "teary-eyed" and "blubbering" apology. You've given the kind of people who celebrate everything you've fought against one more victory. You've made it far easier for them to argue that there is no torture problem, the only problem is Democrats and their overheated rhetoric.

    We must end this nightmare. You know that as well as I do. I hope you also know that you've set us back. We can't stand behind your words if you don't.

    Remember How We Heard the Supreme Court Decision on Medical Marijuana Wouldn't See the Feds Targeting Such "Compassionate Use" Groups?

    Well, bullshit. This posted by TChris at TalkLeft:

    Just two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that federal law enforcement officers need not respect state laws that authorize patients to use marijuana for medical purposes, federal agents today raided three San Francisco medical marijuana dispensaries.

    Southern Baptists End Disney Boycott

    What's not said here is that the boycott was a dismal failure, even among their own brethren who continued to go there on vacation.

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Southern Baptists ended an eight-year boycott of the Walt Disney Co. for violating "moral righteousness and traditional family values" in a vote on the final day of the denomination's annual convention Wednesday.

    "We believe for the boycott to be effective, it had to have a beginning and an ending," said Gene Mims, chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention committee that put the Disney resolution before some 12,000 members at the meeting.

    SBC delegates also approved a resolution that encourages parents to investigate their children's public schools to determine whether they are too accepting of homosexuality.
    Unfortunately, these folks consider any rhetoric that doesn't pronounce it's good to beat the holy shit out of a gay person as "too accepting of homosexuality".

    I'd love to hear what Jesus thinks of fundamentalist; I suspect He doesn't like them one damned bit. All that intolerance and hatred seems to disagree with His teachings, you know.