Uh Oh: Israel Wants to Fly Over Iraq to Attack Iran

I, myself, would file this in the "oh, fuck!" department because whether Israel decides to attack Iran all alone means the U.S. will go to war with Iran in the next blink. Israel could devastate Lebanon in a "war by proxy" for America against Iran and Syria, but going after Iran means we'll be dragged along even if we didn't have the Bush-Sees-Nukes-As-Diplomacy Regime. Remember, too, that VP Dick Cheney has spent ALL week spewing increasingly heated rhetoric at Iran.

From the UK Daily Telegraph:

Israel is negotiating with the United States for permission to fly over Iraq as part of a plan to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

To conduct surgical air strikes against Iran's nuclear programme, Israeli war planes would need to fly across Iraq. But to do so the Israeli military authorities in Tel Aviv need permission from the Pentagon.

A senior Israeli defence official said negotiations were now underway between the two countries for the US-led coalition in Iraq to provide an "air corridor" in the event of the Israeli government deciding on unilateral military action to prevent Teheran developing nuclear weapons.
Let me add that the Bushies keep calling Iraq its own country. I don't believe Iraq would like to be a "tool" for Israel's aggression against Iran which amounts to Israel (who isn't supposed to have the bomb but does) can attack Iran (because it doesn't have the bomb but someday could). So the Iraqis should be able to VOTE on whether to allow this shit. No?

If you think you have a headache now, well... just wait.

Minnesota? Could You Please Stuff a Bush Action Doll in Michelle Bachmann's Mouth and Duct Tape It In Place, Puh-leez?

You remember Michelle Bachmann, the new U.S. House Rep(rehensible) from Minnesota's 6th district who all but dry-humped President Bush at the State of the Union address? The one who the Secret Service looked ready to jump even as she clearly wanted to jump Bush (poor Condi Rice - a black woman's role in the Bush Administraton must be an incredibly frustrating thing, especially when other female wingnuts lust for Dubya).

Well, Bachmann has apparently appointed herself Bush's chief assadvocate to claim we must attack Iran immediately. She also claims that there's a plan to partition up Iraq (sadly true) and give Iran a big piece (I don't think so, lady... and trust me when I say, Ms. Bachmann, that cunt (a word I have only applied to three women in this lifetime) is probably a more accurate term for you than lady).

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune blog (and h/t to BlogRevolution for the pointer):

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann claims to know of a plan, already worked out with a line drawn on the map, for the partition of Iraq in which Iran will control half of the country and set it up as a “a terrorist safe haven zone” and a staging area for attacks around the Middle East...
Bachmann's at best a twit... or is it festering twat? Definitely a dim-bulb terrorist in her own right!

But hey, I report. You decide.

WaPo: Too Few Contract Workers To Rebuild Iraq

I guess giving Iraqis - rather than Halliburton, Bechtel, etc. - the money to rebuild themselves is just too wild an idea?

Here's the story from WaPo.

And Iraq Explodes in Yet More Violence

MSNBC is reporting that a truck has just blown up outside a mosque, killing at least 35 and injuring countless civilians there to pray (as with Jews, Muslims celebrate their holy observance day Friday-into-Saturday).

Meanwhile, the Bush Administration now insists that al Qaeda is responsible for the chlorine explosion attack(s) that hurt so many in Iraq, claiming they have proof of a chlorine bomb factory.

Right: people lie all the time and we're supposed to believe them (the Bushies). What? They forgot to blame it on Iran this time?

Political Cartoons - Part II

Also available from Political Cartoons.

The first one is my political favorite, but the one with Uncle Sam fascinated by Anna Nicole Smith's death while Iran and North Korea watch is powerful.

More Political Cartoons Part 1

On the subject of Bush, Cheney, the Iraq Escalation/Surge, and Tony Blair's announcement of Great Britain's exit strategy for its troops from Iraq; from New Jersey, India, and Canada... all available at Political Cartoons.

How About An Al Gore-Barack Obama Ticket?

I dunno. To me, that sounds fairly appealing. It would give Obama a good shot at the presidency in four to eight years and, say what you want about Al (up for an Oscar tomorrow and a Nobel Prize in April, I believe), it sure looks like he won the 2000 presidential election, James Baker and the U.S. Supreme Court aside.

BTW, here's the link to DraftGore.

(Psssst: Can you tell Hillary Clinton makes me ill?)

Jeff Danziger: Rightwing Pundits and War Cheerleaders William (Bill) Kristol, Dinesh D'Souza, and Rich Lowry

I love this Jeff Danziger cartoon!

Fox Attacks: (But You Can) Hit Fox Where It Hurts

Visit this site to learn how.

Thanks to Buzzflash for the link.

As Bushies Create NEW Problems In Iraq, Country Runs Out of Food

The Shi'ites in Iraq are screaming, "Oh, shi'it!" over what they call the U.S. military's ham-handed 12-hour arrest of the son of a major Shi'ite leader while Alternet reports that, besides not having much in the way of electricity, parts of Iraq are running out of food supplies, too.

Mind you, the Shi'ites son was detained as he tried to cross back into Iraq from Iran. But that's sort of like living on the border between Florida and Georgia where you live in one state and happen to attend church in the other. Shi'ites in Iraq and Iran have always moved back and forth between each other, even when Saddam threatened them with execution.

On the food supply issue in Iraq:

The lack of security in Iraq is leading now to a collapse in food supplies.

"Look at us begging for food despite the fortunes we have," 60-year-old Um Muthanna from Baghdad said. Standing at a vegetable market in central Baghdad where vegetable supplies are not what they used to be, Um Mahmood despaired for Iraq.

"A country with two great rivers should have been the biggest exporter in the world, but now we beg for food from those who participated in killing us." Iraq is rich in oil and agricultural resources.

Local and international aid flooded into Iraq in 2004, the year following the invasion, but much of the supply was blocked off after the kidnapping of many aid activists in the country.
The food the Iraqis did get was often not what they needed, or wanted.

Right Nutwing Wants Jeb Bush To Run (A/K/A Can't We Be Done With Dynasties?)

You know, I would think that just about everyone - the world over - would be damned sick of having a Bush in office. ANY Bush, ANY office. But no, some of the extreme right nutwing wants Jeb Bush to run for president in 2008.

Have I mentioned these people are not only psychotic but that they actively plot the pathological and quite miserable destruction of both the U.S. and the world? I did? Oh, okay.

(But here's something scary from the Eleanor Clift Newsweek column I cited above: Jeb is on a short list for V.P. for 2008. Oh goody: we'll be seeing al Qaeda as responsible for the deaths of other Terri Schiavos.)

Lieberman Won't Leap To GOP - Or So He Says

Apparently trying to quell conjecture that Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman (and remember: you can't spell Lieberman without L-I-E) would jump from "independent Democrat" status with which he was only just elected to the Senate (after years as a Dem) to the Republican Party, Joementum says he won't go.

One issue is that - no longer so tainted by all that non-Connecticut money the Rovean Empire pushed into Joe's campaign - Connecticut voters could impeach and/or remove him if he switched.

This is called trying to have one's cake (Republican war rhetoric) and eat it, too (hope that once Iraq ends, maybe voters won't remember how much he wanted us in there, to stay there). Joe has to realize, very sadly, that today's far right ranking Repugs are never going to let someone non-Christian white extremist anywhere near a position of true power.

And that brings me to my next post.

True, Americans DO Underestimate Iraqi Deaths; But Here's WHY

MSNBC is reporting that Americans, by and large, underestimate the number of deaths of innocent civilians in Iraq by the tens of thousands. But let me tell you exactly WHY they do.

The Bush Administration went into Iraq making it very clear they would NOT be counting civilian deaths. First, then Defense Secretary insisted that there simply wouldn't be that many and then he said it simply wasn't a priority in a situation that grew very quickly out of control (although I'd certainly argue that the instant they realized they could not control it they should have done something ELSE). Only then, very grudgingly, did the DoD release Iraqi civilian death numbers which seemed remarkably small even back when Iraq wasn't quite the miasma of horror it started to be a year after we rolled in back in March 2003.

ONLY when independent organizations began coming up with very high death counts (and please bear in mind that those 1,000-3,000 civilian deaths you often hear on the news are JUST those bodies found and sent to ONE central morgue in beautiful downtown Baghdad) which I bet are STILL low for reality did the Bush Administration ever release any civilian numbers at all.

So there is a reason for Americans misjudging how many Iraqi civilians are dead: their own government lies to them on a minute-by-minute basis.

However, I would argue that by now, even the most fervent rightie should realize that the Bush Administration would choke to death on the slightest true statement. Thus, smart Americans and not so smart ones should distrust everything they say and with it, assume that innocent Iraqis are dying in droves.

I suspect that, should we even get out of Iraq a year from now (and we won't, apparently), we will learn at some point that as many as 2-3 MILLION Iraqis have died or been seriously, permanently injured. That's 10% of the country's population. Another 2-5 MILLION have fled the country. That's another 10-20% of the population under Saddam. For all the talk of insurgents, MANY civilians have been killed in U.S. action, either under Rumsfeld's orders or through actions of contractors.

I base this on information I've been tracking almost weekly from worldwide news sources (from 6,000 dead in Fallujah one day, etc.) since August 2003.

FYI For Bloggers And Others Who Want to Use StopIranWar.com Blogad

If you want to use the blogad for StopIranWar.com, you'll hit a problem when you copy the HTML code from this page UNLESS - and this hit me on two different blogging platforms as well as on one of my Web sites until I puzzled it out - you change all the stylized quotation marks in the text with straight ones.

I alerted the site via Feedback (only address I could find) but I don't know when/if someone will see and fix the code.


Bob Herbert: "From Anna to Britney to Zawahri"

Bob Herbert certainly gets today's media - and those willing to buy into their brain drain - correct with this piece you can read in full here:

Have they buried Anna Nicole Smith yet?

Are you kidding? Ms. Smith may be dead and rapidly decomposing, but there’s too much fun still to be reaped from her story to let it die just yet. This is world-class entertainment: Larry King, “Today,” CNN, The New York Times.

Even the judge in the televised hearing over what to do with Ms. Smith’s remains is milking his 15 minutes, like Judge Ito of O. J. Simpson fame. In a burst of wisdom from the bench, the judge, Larry Seidlin, said, “Like a Muhammad Ali fight, sometimes you have to wait the whole 10 rounds.”

When we were kids we were taught not to laugh at people who were obviously mentally or emotionally disturbed. With Ms. Smith, who was deeply and unmistakably disturbed, we put her on television and laughed and laughed. Would she say something stupid, or spill out of her dress, or pass out in public from booze or drugs? How hysterically funny!

Then her son died. Then she died, leaving an orphaned infant daughter. Instead of turning away chastened, shamed, we homed in like happy vultures. Whatever entertainment value Ms. Smith had when she was alive increased exponentially when she was kind enough to die for us. Now she’s on the tube around the clock.

The story, as they say, has legs.

There are other stories out there, but they aren’t nearly as much fun. The Times reported on Monday, for example, that Al Qaeda is getting its act together in Pakistan and is setting up training camps in an area that, apparently, we don’t dare trespass in.

According to the article, “American officials said there was mounting evidence that Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, had been steadily building an operations hub in the mountainous Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan.”

The article went on to say, ominously, “The United States has also identified several new Qaeda compounds in North Waziristan, including one that officials said might be training operatives for strikes against targets beyond Afghanistan.”

I imagine that there are a fair number of television viewers and newspaper readers who have trouble distinguishing the relative importance of celebrity stories, like the death of Anna Nicole Smith, from other matters in the news, like the reconstitution of forces responsible for the devastating Sept. 11 attacks.
Read it all here.

Hey, There's My Neighbor On "Real Time With Bill Maher"!

Haven't seen David Mamet in downtown Cabot too much lately (I used to see William H. Macy in the store far more frequently and them mostly over in Hardwick), but it's good to see him on HBO.

Love Your Little Doggy As Much As You Do Your Fur Coat?

Well, sadly, many little doggies get killed to have their fur end up in your fur coat when you think you're paying for sable and such, according to the American Humane Society.

Personally, I've never seen fur that looked better when worn as a coat or jacket by a human than it did on the living animal that had to die (in numbers) to provide it.

And no, I am not a PETA member. I just believe in treating animals decently, which means not to test lipsticks upon or kill for coats, etc.

Will Senator Joe Lieberman Leap - With Joe-Mentum - to the Republican Party?

Not that he's not there in their camp already but...

Keith Olbermann on "Countdown" on MSNBC just now raised the question of what the state of Connecticut, who elected Joe last fall for the first time as an Independent Democrat rather than as a Democrat, can do in light of strong indication Lieberman will change parties to Republican.

Now, I wasn't blogging back on May 24, 2001 (yeah, I remember the date by heart) when Vermont's own "Jumpin'" Jim Jeffords bolted from the GOP, saying the party had gone far too far to the extreme radical right nutwing for him to remain a Republican. I considered it a late birthday present. So yes, I favored his switch and spoke out loudly against those who muttered last of impeaching him or repealing his position.

With that in mind, I don't think anyone but the voters of a particular state - and not all states have laws on the books that allow this; Connecticut does not appear to have - who decide what action to take when the man or woman they send to Washington turns into a wholly different creature.

I just hope Lieberman realizes that the jump will end any possible hope EVER of getting near the oval office as elected leader in chief or VP. The extreme nutwing, sadly, will not allow a Jew to be considered which, in general, is much their loss, separate from the fact that the Lieberman of the last several years is a disgrace to Connecticut. He certainly is not the Lieberman I voted for while there.

Warning! Reading This Post May Result In A Serious Case of Whiplash

Now that the Democrats are trying to put together a vote to REPEAL the authorization Bush got to take us into the Iraq war, the White House NOW claims the U.S. cannot leave Iraq because of a U.N. resolution.

Er... the resolution we really didn't get from the U.N. because Bush not only treated them with complete and utter contempt and not only sent then Secretary of State Colin Powell into the U.N. Security Council to broadcast specific lies (and let's not forget the U.S. demanded that the painting "Guernica" by Picasso, which depicts the bloody innocent victims of war) on Iraq's "dangerous" to America and the World.

Is this NON resolution the resolution that prevents us from leaving? REALLY?

Man, let me call a personal injury attorney because they've given me another wicked case of whiplash.

Paul Krugman: "Colorless Green Ideas"

I found this Paul Krugman column (available in full at Welcome to Pottersville, btw) terrific, but also reminded me of a major columnist (who shall go nameless until his lawyer supposedly talks to my lawyer) who took a certain degree of embrage in an email to me because I mocked some of his views, including one on global warming. Ah, the ties that bind, especially when they're power red ones.

Anyhoo, trying to conserve energy - whether because of global warming and the effects our "temperature adjustment" mechanisms affect it or simply to preserve supplies on non-replenishing fuel sources - should be non-partisan AND color (as in blue vs. red) blind. Here's a snippet:

The factual debate about whether global warming is real is, or at least should be, over. The question now is what to do about it.

Aside from a few dead-enders on the political right, climate change skeptics seem to be making a seamless transition from denial to fatalism. In the past, they rejected the science. Now, with the scientific evidence pretty much irrefutable, they insist that it doesn’t matter because any serious attempt to curb greenhouse gas emissions is politically and economically impossible.

Behind this claim lies the assumption, explicit or implicit, that any substantial cut in energy use would require a drastic change in the way we live. To be fair, some people in the conservation movement seem to share that assumption.

But the assumption is false. Let me tell you about a real-world counterexample: an advanced economy that has managed to combine rising living standards with a substantial decline in per capita energy consumption, and managed to keep total carbon dioxide emissions more or less flat for two decades, even as both its economy and its population grew rapidly. And it achieved all this without fundamentally changing a lifestyle centered on automobiles and single-family houses.

The name of the economy? California.

There’s nothing heroic about California’s energy policy — but that’s precisely the point. Over the years the state has adopted a series of conservation measures that are anything but splashy. They’re the kind of drab, colorless stuff that excites only real policy wonks. Yet the cumulative effect has been impressive, if still well short of what we really need to do.

The energy divergence between California and the rest of the United States dates from the 1970s. Both the nation and the state initially engaged in significant energy conservation after that decade’s energy crisis. But conservation in most of America soon stalled: after a decade of rapid progress, improvements in auto mileage came to an end, while electricity consumption continued to rise rapidly, driven by the growing size of houses, the increasing use of air-conditioning and the proliferation of appliances.

In California, by contrast, the state continued to push policies designed to encourage conservation, especially of electricity. And these policies worked.

People in California have always used a bit less energy than other Americans because of the mild climate. But the difference has grown much larger since the 1970s. Today, the average Californian uses about a third less total energy than the average American, uses less than 60 percent as much electricity, and is responsible for emitting only about 55 percent as much carbon dioxide.
Read the rest here.

White House Opposes Majority of Americans, Will Brook No War Authority Limits

Why am I not surprised? I mean, it was just an overwhelming majority of the American people who said the Bush Administration and their Pentagon had fucked up Iraq beyong all comprehension so it was time to get some constitutionally-required oversight in place. From AP:

The White House said Friday it would oppose any attempt by Senate Democrats to revoke the 2002 congressional resolution authorizing the war in Iraq and leave U.S. troops with a limited mission as they prepare to withdraw.

Iraq Contractor Deaths High, Yet Go Largely Unnoticed

From AP:

In a largely invisible cost of the war in Iraq, nearly 800 civilians working under contract to the Pentagon have been killed and more than 3,300 hurt doing jobs normally handled by the U.S. military, according to figures gathered by The Associated Press.
Oh, and while we're on the topic, say hello to Wronged by Blackwater (this will make me scary new "friends" - ha!).

Of course, it's not just the bitching Blackwater, run by a zealot paramilitary religious nut, is it?

There's Cheney's Halliburton and its Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) subsidiary), Bechtel, and a host of others.

The Mentally Ill: "A Little Torture in Michigan"

Monkeyfister points us to this terrible - and sadly, less and less unusual - story of a man with manic depression who very quickly deteriorated and died in prison custody, presented by CBS. Solitary confinement and restraints can "break" a healthy person in a very short period of time. Yet throughout America as well as in America's "secret" prisons and Guantanamo Bay/Gitmo, often with people charged with no crime whatsoever or as in this case, a mere shoplifting charge, law enforcement and military and quasi military organizations use these techniques that result in unbelievable suffering, permanent mental illness, and, with growing frequency, death.

You wouldn't imagine these days that a mental patient could be chained to a concrete slab by prison guards until he died of thirst, but that’s how Timothy Souders died and he is not the only one.

Souders suffered from manic depression. And like a lot of mental patients in this country, he got into trouble and ended up not in a hospital, but in jail. It was a shoplifting case and he paid with his life.

As correspondent Scott Pelley reports, no one would have been the wiser, but a medical investigator working for a federal judge caught wind of Souders' death and discovered his torturous end was recorded on videotape. The tapes, which are hard to watch, open a horrifying window on mental illness behind bars.

Six months ago, Tim Souders was in solitary at the Southern Michigan Correctional Center. He was 21, serving three to five years. Though an investigation would show he needed urgent psychiatric care, Souders was chained down, hands, feet and waist, up to 17 hours at a time. By prison rules, all of it was recorded on a 24-hour surveillance camera and by the guards themselves.

The tape records a rapid descent: he started apparently healthy, but in four days Souders could barely walk. In the shower, he fell over. The guards brought him back in a wheelchair, but then chained him down again. On Aug. 6th, he was released from restraints and fell for the last time. Souders had died of dehydration and only the surveillance camera took notice.
Thanks, too, to Scott Pelley and CBS News/60 Minutes for presenting a story that would otherwise have gone unnoticed by all but those who loved this young man.

Beyond Belief: The U.S. Turns Yet Again To the Multiply, Universally Discredited Ahmed Chalabi in Iraq

I am beyond stunned. Ahmed Chalabi is the man STILL wanted for major financial fraud in Jordan, the man who helped "sell" us into the Iraq war to depose Saddam, the man who the Bushies seemed so eager to put up as interim Iraqi leader even as the Iraqis then favorable to U.S. intervention cried in horror at the very notion. The man who told us endlessly of massive weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that never, ever appeared anywhere, partially through the help of nitwits like "journalist" Judith Miller who wrote whatever Chalabi told her, unverified. The man who used to take $340K of U.S. taxpayer dollars each month to live in style. The man even the Bushies turned on at one point when Iraq first started to turn bad.

And yet it is Ahmed Chalabi the Bushies are turning TO again, this time to help lead Iraq through the Bush escalation there that no one wants but Bush, the neocons, perhaps Israel, and certainly Chalabi. This from the Wall Street Journal is far past sickening; it's in fact treasonous behavior on the part of the Bush Administration. Or, that is, MORE treasonous behavior.

In his latest remarkable political reincarnation, onetime U.S. favorite Ahmed Chalabi has secured a position inside the Iraqi government that could help determine whether the Bush administration’s new push to secure Baghdad succeeds.


And Here Is One Act You Can Perform: Stop the Iran War!

Brought to us by Wesley Clark and friends; yes, folks, the time is now to Stop the Iran War.

"And We Have Walked Ten Thousand Miles... er... Posts"

And so, here we are, at the official #10,000 on the blog post meter, reached in barely more than three years (and probably reached back in December, based on how many posts Blogger can eat on a hungry day).

Let me suggest to each of you a plan:

Practice random acts:

  • of leadership
  • of questioning authority
  • of speaking up and out and over the top of those who would silence you
  • of refusing to believe when someone tells you that you cannot do something
  • of holding your elected representatives responsible for their votes that are not just against your best interests but the best interests of the globe
  • of holding yourself accountable
  • of demanding more and NOT accepting less
  • of patriotism since American patriotism was NEVER (before Bush arrived) about sitting back, shutting up, and taking it like a peon

And, should you decide you happen to like the results you get (and trust me, I say from experience that you won't always), then practice one or more or ALL of these acts without randomness.

These were the tenets I made myself agree to when I decided to start this blog right after Christmas 2003, recovering from a serious illness that really should have killed me, and when I decided that, since I remained alive, I had to stop being such a scaredy cat.

Yes, I have suffered for my outspokenness. But - as much as I sometimes wish I could turn back the clock and NOT take this path - this is what I feel I must do for myself, my family, my community, my country, and my world. And, somehow, here I still am. Bruised but not exactly broken.

Good luck, my friends. It's worth it.

Of Israel and Iran - And U.S. "Cooking" Iran Intelligence (Again)

[Important note: Cernig's Newshog also reports that the IAEA has just announced that they have concluded the U.S. "evidence" against Iran is patently wrong.]

And no, it's not just because Israel is making noises about attacking Iran on its own (their argument: Iran's nuclear capability is a threat to them which ignores the fact that Israel is NOT supposed to have the bomb and has been fully a nuclear threat since at least the 1970s).

No, both these questions are posted by Cernig of Cernig's Newshog and they're excellent ones that I've wondered myself and don't much see the traditional press asking.

First, why are we told constantly that Europe is a hotbed of anti-semitic hatred when the vast majority of Israeli citizens (4 out of 5) are clamoring for EU status? Why would they want entry into the European Union if they felt so badly treated? Is this just Bush-U.S. spin?

Second, would the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Peter Pace, who said he doesn't buy all these bellicose rhetoric about "evidence" of Iranian complicity in the horrors of Iraq, be willing to attack Iran if Bush ordered it?

I was just debating this issue with someone last night; my question however was whether any military people here would ever take the extreme measure of open defiance of blatantly heinous and WRONG orders. I doubt America would easily recover from a military coup.

From Cernig's Newshog:

Gwynne Dyer, writing in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, poses an interesting question.
    So would Pace attack Iran if Bush ordered him to? His only alternative would be to resign, but he does have that option. Senior officers like Pace, while still bound by the code of military discipline, acquire a political responsibility as well. Like Cabinet ministers, they cannot oppose a government decision while in office, but they have the right and even the duty to resign rather than carry out a decision that they believe to be disastrous.

    ...The resignation of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- and possibly several of the other chiefs as well -- would be an immensely powerful gesture. It could stop an attack on Iran dead in its tracks, for the White House would have to find other officers who would carry out its orders. It would doubtless find them, but such a shocking event might finally enable Congress to find its backbone and refuse support for another illegal and foredoomed war.

    This is not a hypothetical discussion: My guess is that both the Joint Chiefs and the White House understand that the option of resignation is on the table. Consider the dance that was done around the question of Iran and "Explosively Formed Penetrators" in the past couple of weeks.

Helen Thomas: There's Petty and Stupid, And Then There's Bush Petty and Stupid

Since Bush rolled into office on the votes of the U.S. Supreme Court rather than the will of the majority of American voters in 2000 - and close to that again in Ohio in 2004 - this administration's biggest threat hasn't been Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, al Zarqawi, Saddam Hussein, or hell, not even Iran's Ahmedinejad. No, it's a little old lady (just 86 years young) from Hearst Newspapers (probably one of the few good things a Hearst publication ever offered): her name is Helen Thomas.

Having covered the White House for decades, Helen has always commanded a certain degree of respect and even had her own front row seat - the only one with her specific name upon it. But with the same petulance and pettiness that the Bush Administration has showed toward truth, truthtellers, whistleblowers, and too many times, its own soldiers on the ground, the White House is pushing Helen out of her assigned front row seat to the proverbial bleechers.

Of course, the White House press corps won't stand up for her and say this is wrong. For all these years of Bush, they've often sat there cowering like the worst schoolyard bullies-turned-wusses whenever Helen pipes up with a question THEY should have asked themselves and, of course, did not. And when she repeats the question when the liar at the podium like Fleischer, McClellan, and now Tony Snow(job) don't answer it or answer only in 400 rpm spin.

This is patently wrong!

And what is worse is that what this White House does to Helen Thomas it does to us ALL. As Cheney's words yesterday indicate, this White House isn't the least bit interested that the will of the people has spoken very loudly on Iraq - and I daresay on this administration as well.

We need to show the Bushies the door... not just the door out of the White House, or the door INTO a court on treason charges; we need to show them the door into federal prison.

I've had the pleasure of corresponding with Helen a few times. This woman has more integrity in a hangnail than ALL of the Bushies combined. It's time we stopped a dictatorship of thugs masquerading as a democracy.

"The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib": We Must Watch To Know What Was Done In Our Names

Here's the review by Tom Shales of the HBO-broadcast documentary of the prison abuses and completely inhuman treatment the Pentagon conducted at Abu Ghraib, "The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib".

But there's more than a good review that should make you try to see it.

What was done at Abu Ghraib - as at Guantanamo Bay/Gitmo and countless "secret" prison locations and others under the Bushies - has been perpetrated in our names and with our tax dollars financing this. We must know. We must do all we can to be sure it will not happen so easily again.

We also must understand and prevent another case where only the lowliest of soldiers serving be pointed at by Bush and a Rumsfeld and the Pentagon as "a few bad apples" when it's damned well apparent the orders came from the very top. That's Bush, that's Cheney, and that's Rumsfeld. We can be shocked and sickened by a Lindy England, for example, but Lindy was there under orders ostensibly from us.

And anyone who thinks that their conduct will STOP terrorism - well, better see a doctor, because you're in serious fantasyland.

My only wish was that this was not being broadcast solely on one of the most premium of cable networks. Everyone should see this.

But Dana Milbank, We're Frigging Tired of The Washington Press Corps Making Nice With the Bushies

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post tells us all about a mock press gaggle at the White House where Tony Snow gets to question reporters. It all went so nicely.

Dana? We are soooooooo unbelievably tired of the Washington press corps - with the noble exception of the tenacious little nicely-attired pitbull named Helen Thomas, God love her! - making nice with the White House.

Do you really think there would be so many blogs being written if we thought the Washington press corps was up to their jobs? But they aren't.

Well, At Least George S. Will Is Back to Normal

It was getting scary there for awhile as George S. "Red Power Tie" Will made so much sense I occasionally (perhaps as many as three times) quoted him in agreement with something this wingnutter wrote in a column I still don't understand how he rates.

But with last week's column suggesting that "who's to say global warming is bad because who's to say the world should be a "certain" temperature?", and this column saying Democrats who criticize the president lack courage (yes, Bush and Cheney ordering unending war from the sanctity of the White House while the French pastry chef serves them eclairs and Condi Rice pronounces them "brilliant!" takes serious balls), it's nice to know the rest of us can return to ignoring Will.

Hmmm... where was Will during Vietnam? Roosting with the other chickenhawks? Oh wait, there was that married woman he lived in sin with forever before the Right embarrassed him enough to marry her or something like that.

That takes courage, I suppose.

Uh Oh, Will Bush Declare War Against Chimpanzees Next?

With this news from the Washington Post:

Chimpanzees observed fashioning spears from sticks and using the tools to hunt small mammals.
...can Bush declaring war on chimps for their ability to make simple weapons be far behind?

I mean, chimps fit many of Bush's criteria for warmongering:
  • they don't recognize him as the second begotten son of God Himself (I often wonder if Dubya thinks Jesus was merely his prototype, a failed alpha version?)
  • they're brown
  • they're poor and far less powerful


If Cheney Wants To Lie To U.S. Troops About Iraq...

then he should damned well get his ass into downtown Baghdad, with NO protection and with a non-handpicked audience of both troops AND Iraqi civilians to do so.

But Cheney, who just loves to shoot - including his friends - is too damned big a coward to do that, of course. So Cheney goes to see troops in Japan to lie there. Grrrrrrrrrrr....

Vice President Dick Cheney said on Wednesday the United States wants to finish its mission in Iraq and "return with honor", despite the war's growing unpopularity at home and doubts among U.S. allies.

Cheney, whose visit to Tokyo comes just weeks after Japan's defense minister said starting the Iraq war was a mistake, also insisted Americans would not back a "policy of retreat".

The defense minister's remarks forced Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to scurry to reassure Washington that Tokyo's backing for U.S. policy in Iraq was unchanged, although most Japanese think that President Bush was wrong to start the war.

"We know that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength, they are invited by the perception of weakness," Cheney said in a speech aboard the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier at Yokosuka Navy Base near Tokyo.

"We know that if we leave Iraq before the mission is completed, the enemy is going to come after us," Cheney said.

"And I want you to know that the American people will not support a policy of retreat," he added. "We want to complete the mission, we want to get it done right, and we want to return with honor," said Cheney, who heads on Thursday for Australia to meet Prime Minister John Howard, another backer of Bush's Iraq policy.
So I guess that the vast majority of Americans want to leave Iraq does not constitute any degree of reality for The Big Dick.

Actually, listen to the FULL speech and you see he called any of us not supporting Bush's excruciating Iraqi War adventure great perpetuators of terrorism.

Say Hello to...


And while I'm at it, if you folks have not visited yet, Cernig's Newhog is fast becoming a daily must for me. Sharp!

The Department of (In)Justice Just Can't Get Anything Right

Cernig's Newshog points us to this sadly-no-stunner-but-still-mind-reeling report in the Washington Post:

    Most of the Justice Department's major statistics on terrorism cases are highly inaccurate, and federal prosecutors routinely count cases involving drug trafficking, marriage fraud and other unrelated crimes as part of anti-terrorism efforts, according to an audit released yesterday.

    Inspector General Glenn A. Fine found that only two of the 26 sets of important statistics on domestic counterterrorism efforts compiled by Justice and the FBI from 2001 to 2005 were accurate, according to a 140-page report. The numbers were both inflated and understated, depending on the data cited and which part of the Justice Department was doing the counting, the report said.

    The biggest problems were in numbers compiled by the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, which counted hundreds of terrorism cases that did not qualify for the designation because they involved minor crimes with no connection to terrorist activity, the report said.

    ...A 2005 Washington Post analysis of terrorism cases tallied by the Justice Department's Criminal Division showed that most defendants were charged with minor crimes unrelated to terrorism.

    Fine's office examined similar data as part of its analysis but, unlike The Post, it accepted at face value any claims of a terrorism link by the government. Under those conditions, the report said, the Criminal Division actually understated the number of cases that would qualify as related to terrorism.
The only two entirely accurate sets of statistics were compiled by the FBI, said the inspector-general's report, but they got far more reports wrong too.

So the local pot dealer is getting counted as an Al Qaeda type? Oh goodie.

Maureen Dowd: "Obama's Big Screen Test"

Maureen Dowd just reminds us that this is going to be an interesting Democratic primary season. While it's not one I necessarily want determined by Hollywood, I'd prefer Hollywood to Rove- and Cheneywood. Rozius gives us all the Dowd that's fit to print, but here's a big snip:

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.- Hillary is not David Geffen’s dreamgirl.

“Whoever is the nominee is going to win, so the stakes are very high,” says Mr. Geffen, the Hollywood mogul and sultan of “Dreamgirls,” as he sits by a crackling fire beneath a Jasper Johns flag and a matched pair of de Koonings in the house that Jack Warner built (which old-time Hollywood stars joked was the house that God would have built). “Not since the Vietnam War has there been this level of disappointment in the behavior of America throughout the world, and I don’t think that another incredibly polarizing figure, no matter how smart she is and no matter how ambitious she is — and God knows, is there anybody more ambitious than Hillary Clinton? — can bring the country together.

“Obama is inspirational, and he’s not from the Bush royal family or the Clinton royal family. Americans are dying every day in Iraq. And I’m tired of hearing James Carville on television.”

Barack Obama has made an entrance in Hollywood unmatched since Scarlett O’Hara swept into the Twelve Oaks barbecue. Instead of the Tarleton twins, the Illinois senator is flirting with the Dreamworks trio: Mr. Geffen, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, who gave him a party last night that raised $1.3 million and Hillary’s hackles.

She didn’t stand outside the gates to the Geffen mansion, where glitterati wolfed down Wolfgang Puck savories, singing the Jennifer Hudson protest anthem “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” But she’s not exactly Little Miss Sunshine, either. Hillary loyalists have hissed at defecting donors to remember the good old days of jumping on the Lincoln Bedroom bed.

“Hillary is livid that Obama’s getting the first big fund-raiser here,” one friend of hers said.

Who can pay attention to the Oscar battle between “The Queen” and “Dreamgirls” when you’ve got a political battle between a Queen and a Dreamboy?

Terry McAuliffe and First Groupie Bill have tried to hoard the best A.T.M. machine in politics for the Missus, but there’s some Clinton fatigue among fatigued Clinton donors, who fret that Bill will “pull the focus” and shelve his wife’s campaign.

“I don’t think anybody believes that in the last six years, all of a sudden Bill Clinton has become a different person,” Mr. Geffen says, adding that if Republicans are digging up dirt, they’ll wait until Hillary’s the nominee to use it. “I think they believe she’s the easiest to defeat.”

She is overproduced and overscripted. “It’s not a very big thing to say, ‘I made a mistake’ on the war, and typical of Hillary Clinton that she can’t,” Mr. Geffen says. “She’s so advised by so many smart advisers who are covering every base. I think that America was better served when the candidates were chosen in smoke-filled rooms.”

The babble here is not about “Babel”; it’s about the battle of the billionaires. Not only have Ron Burkle and David Geffen been vying to buy The Los Angeles Times — they have been vying to raise money for competing candidates. Mr. Burkle, a supermarket magnate, is close to the Clintons, and is helping Hillary parry Barry Obama by arranging a fund-raiser for her in March, with a contribution from Mr. Spielberg.

Did Mr. Spielberg get in trouble with the Clintons for helping Senator Obama? “Yes,” Mr. Geffen replies, slyly. Can Obambi stand up to Clinton Inc.? “I hope so,” he says, “because that machine is going to be very unpleasant and unattractive and effective.”
Read it all here.

And yeah, Hillary does not warm the cockles of my heart. Nor, frankly, does Carville & Company. But Bill? Well, I'd do another four years of Bill. IF I had to.

Actually, after all these years of Bush & Cheney, there are whole months when dictatorships start to look good by comparison. ::sigh::

Closing In On 10,000 Posts


Dashboard reports I'm just 12 posts - er... make that 11 now - from hitting the 10,000th post mark on this lowly blog.

Someone needs to tell me to shut up. [Note: won't work. Ask my 5th grade teacher.]

Bad For Detainees, Bad for Democracy, Bad For America, Bad for the World

I have been meaning to write about Tuesday's really B-A-D federal appeals court decision FOR Bush's terror kangaroo court system and against detainees. While I am NOT a constitutional lawyer, I have been back and forth over it today and before and I do not see that its tenets are limited exclusively to American citizens. And that's not even arguing the never-never-land of limbo Bush has put many of these folks into at Gitmo and in secret prisons the world over!

For those who don't know about Tuesday's disastrous decision, here's CNN's piece and with it, their point summary:

  • Judges OK anti-terrorism provision barring detainees from civilian courts
  • Foreigners held in U.S. normally have right to contest their detention
  • Justice Department: Constitution doesn't protect foreign enemy combatants
  • Ruling is all but certain to be appealed to the Supreme Court

HaloScan Comments: A/K/A If At First (Or At Least, The First 59 Times), You Don't Succeed

Regular comments are back; this preserves all the comments left before they "disappeared" last Saturday.


The British Speak While U.S. Republican Senators Go Mute: England To Withdraw Troops From Iraq

CNN has just reported that Prime Minister Tony Blair, often called George Bush's lap dog, has announced a sped-up timetable for withdrawing English troops from the abyss that Bush has made Iraq. British citizens have been screaming for an end to their participation in Iraq far longer than it has been popular here.

And with this announcement, can Blair's final days be long off? I doubt it.

Would that Bush's last days were less than the nearly 700 which remain.

Say Hello to...

Some of my new discoveries:

Messenger Puppet
Public Theologian
Rogue Genius
Threading the Needle

Osama bin Laden Missing From Bush's Threat 1,982 Days

Bob Geiger, each Monday, fills us in on the Osama bin Missing clock, or how long since President (man, it still hurts to type that) George W. Bush declared he would get Osama "dead or alive".

Bob's on a well-deserved vacation with his family, so here we are: 1,982 days since that declaration.

I no longer believe that Bush ever actually tried to find Osama.

There's an old saying, and yes, I think even people in Texas say it, that the truth usually lies somewhere between two extremes. Well, take the extreme from Bush that Osama was entirely responsible for 9-11 and everything bad around it as one, with the other extreme that Osama was the manufactured bogeyman that the Bush Administration, in its thirst for unlimited power and domination, put up as responsible for a series of events they helped orchestrate as the OTHER end of the spectrum.

Now, the middle ground between those extremes suggests that the Bushies have far more complicity in 9-11 than we perhaps ever will feel comfortable in accepting. and that we have no intention of finding Osama because, as our designated bogeyman, serves a much better purpose "on the loose", as a fear factor for us all, so Bush can continue his "War on Terror" which seems to create far more world terror than it resolves.


Fascinating: Japanese Grow Teeth From Simple Cells

This is fascinating, and is the harbinger of being able to grow whole new bodily (replacement) organs.

Iraq's Insurgents Get Their Weapons Not Just From America, But Largely From the Department of Defense

Read it and weep from Rosa Brooks (scroll down but I think the intro is well worth your time, too):

ACCORDING TO the defense lawyers at his trial, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby didn't lie to investigators about his role in outing covert CIA agent Valerie Plame. He was just so darn busy with pressing national security matters that he kept forgetting the chummy chats about Plame he'd had with NBC's Tim Russert and Time magazine's Matt Cooper — not to mention his two-hour lunch on the same subject with Judith Miller (late of the New York Times).

The ladies and gentlemen of the press appear skeptical about Libby's "bad memory" defense. But, personally, I find his claim entirely credible.

After all, in the run-up to the Iraq war, President Bush was so busy with pressing national security matters that he completely forgot to ask any questions about the gaping holes in the intelligence presented to him. Condoleezza Rice was so busy with pressing national security matters that she forgot to take false information about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction out of Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, even though the CIA told her that it was false. Dick Cheney was so busy with pressing national security matters (water-boarding prisoners; shooting small animals) that he totally forgot you're not supposed to pressure people to come up with bogus intelligence in the first place.

And the easily forgettable journalists mentioned above were so busy enjoying their access to administration national security officials that they forgot that journalists are supposed to actually investigate stuff, instead of just breathlessly repeating what an "anonymous source" told them over lunch.

Given all the forgetting that was going on back in 2003, why shouldn't we believe that Scooter had a faulty memory too?

Astute observers will have noticed that there's still an awful lot of national security-related forgetting going on today. The Bush administration, for instance, has already forgotten that relying on questionable intelligence can lead to disaster and has taken to announcing direct Iranian involvement in attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq as if it were incontrovertible fact.

According to some anonymous U.S. officials at a very secret, no-recording-or-photography-allowed session in Baghdad on Sunday, U.S. forces have discovered Iranian-made components in some of the bombs used by Iraqi insurgents. Naturally (having forgotten that there might be no war in Iraq at all if it hadn't been for excessive media respect for anonymous sources), every U.S. media outlet dutifully played along and reported the claims. Of course, those claims are hard to verify because both the evidence and the identity of the officials are secret.

Meanwhile, Bush, who keeps forgetting that our intelligence has at times been dangerously wrong, insists that he "can say with certainty that the Quds force, a part of the Iranian government, has provided these sophisticated IEDs that have harmed our troops…. When we find the networks that are enabling these weapons to end up in Iraq, we will deal with them."

Reinforce your bomb shelter, President Ahmadinejad.

Oh, wait; I forgot something too! (Just so you know, I'm also really busy thinking about pressing national security matters.) My fellow Americans, it is my duty to reveal to you that Iran is not the only powerful state that's arming the Iraqi insurgents. On the contrary. There's equally solid evidence that another major world power has been providing the Iraqi insurgents with thousands of new RPGs, machine guns, sniper rifles and other weapons.

Just who is behind this act of hostility? The United States — or anyway, the U.S. Department of Defense.

You heard me. According to the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, about 14,000 of the weapons bought (with your tax dollars!) for distribution to Iraqi security forces got, um, misplaced somewhere between getting to Iraq and being transferred to the Iraqi army and police. Instead, analysts say, many of those weapons ended up in the hands of You Know Who.

Bob Herbert: "The Real Patriots"

Read it all here:

If we could manage to get past the tedious and the odious — like the empty speculation on whether a woman can win, or whether Barack Obama is black enough — we might be able to engage the essential issue facing the U.S. at this point in our history.

And that is whether, once the Bush administration has finally and mercifully run its course, the country goes back to being a reasonably peaceful, lawful, constructive force in the world, or whether we continue down the bullying, warlike, unilateral, irresponsible, unlawful and profoundly ineffective path laid out by Bush, Cheney & Co.

The question is not so much whether a Republican or a Democrat takes the White House in the next election; it’s whether the American people can take back their country.

I don’t think most Americans are up for perennial warfare. And whatever the polls might say, it’s very hard for me to accept that the men and women who rise from their seats and cover their hearts at the start of sporting events are really in favor of dismantling the system of checks and balances, or holding people in prison for years without charging them, or torturing prisoners in U.S. custody, or giving the president the raw power and unsavory privileges of an emperor.

It was Richard Nixon who said, “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, operating behind the mammoth fig leaf of national security, took this theoretical absurdity to heart and put it into widespread practice.

There are, however, many thoughtful Americans who want to stop this calamitous disregard for the rule of law, two of whom I’ll mention today — Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr. and Senator Chris Dodd.

[...]The senator and Mr. Schwarz, in their different ways, are among the many quiet patriots who are spreading the word that the very meaning of the United States, the whole point of this fragile experiment in representative democracy, will be lost if the nation’s ironclad commitment to the rule of law is allowed to unravel.
See the Wealthy Frenchman for the rest.

Now This Is An Assclown of a Lawsuit

You know, psychological problems can and do take many forms. And I recognize, as someone who managed Internet chat rooms professionally for both America Online and Microsoft, among others, that such addictions do exist.

But this is patently ridiculous. I hope IBM (God help me) prevails except that his firing close to retirement age perhaps should be mitigated somehow:

A man who was fired by IBM for visiting an adult chat room at work is suing the company for $5 million, claiming he is an Internet addict who deserves treatment and sympathy rather than dismissal.

James Pacenza, 58, of Montgomery, says he visits chat rooms to treat traumatic stress incurred in 1969 when he saw his best friend killed during an Army patrol in Vietnam.

In papers filed in federal court in White Plains, Pacenza said the stress caused him to become "a sex addict, and with the development of the Internet, an Internet addict." He claimed protection under the American with Disabilities Act.

His lawyer, Michael Diederich, says Pacenza never visited pornographic sites at work, violated no written IBM rule and did not surf the Internet any more or any differently than other employees. He also says age discrimination contributed to IBM's actions. Pacenza, 55 at the time, had been with the company for 19 years and says he could have retired in a year.

International Business Machines Corp. has asked Judge Stephen Robinson for a summary judgment, saying its policy against surfing sexual Web sites is clear. It also claims Pacenza was told he could lose his job after an incident four months earlier, which Pacenza denies.

"Plaintiff was discharged by IBM because he visited an Internet chat room for a sexual experience during work after he had been previously warned," the company said.

Maureen Dowd: "The Giant Doom Magnet"

Brought to us by the man who exposes AssClowns like no other, JP at Welcome to Pottersville (although I'm a) disappointed to hear MoDo watches Oprah, the great hope of fat, dull white women America over and b) I get nervous about any "self-help" book Oprah endorses and c)yes, that was long before James Frey):

So I was sitting around watching “Oprah” yesterday afternoon when I realized how I could stop W. and Crazy Dick from blowing up any more stuff.

All I needed to do was Unleash my Unfathomable Magnetic Power into the Universe!
Energy flows where intention goes. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

Anyhow, Oprah taught me how to stop abusing myself and learn The Secret. I finally get it: because the Law of Attraction dictates that like attracts like, my negativity toward the president and vice president is attracting their negativity and multiplying the negative vibrations in the cosmos, creating some sort of giant doom magnet.

I need to examine my unforgiving stance toward them and use my power of visualization to let them know that in my consciousness and awareness, they cannot determine my destiny. I am severing those emotional and vibratory tonalities that keep me tied to their toxic energy, causing me to repeat the same old pattern of bemoaning in the newspaper their same old pattern of blundering in the Middle East.
Oprah did her second show in eight days on “The Secret,” the self-help book (and DVD) by Rhonda Byrne, an Australian reality-TV producer. The book hit No. 1 on the USA Today best-seller list this week.

At first glance, “The Secret” might seem like inane piffle, a psychobabble cross between Dr. Phil and “The Da Vinci Code,” a new-age spin on Norman Vincent Peale’s 1952 classic, “The Power of Positive Thinking” and the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.” But that’s a negative way of thinking.

James Arthur Ray, a teacher of The Secret method, who talked to Oprah, says it’s “very, very scientific.”

[...]Maybe W. should read the book. He likes things biblical, and “The Secret” says it takes its Creative Process from the New Testament.

He would learn, as Mr. Ray said, that “trying is failing with honor,” adding: “Take the word ‘try’ out of your vocabulary. You either do it or you don’t.”

W. could have applied that to Iraq, where he has always done only enough to fail, including with the Surge.

A main tenet of The Secret is learning to avoid the chain reaction of churlishness, which begins with a single thought: “The one bad thought attracted more bad thoughts, the frequency locked in, and eventually something went wrong. Then as you reacted to that one thing going wrong, you attracted more things going wrong.”

It’s an apt description of Iraq policy. A bad thought that led to more bad thoughts, and the negative frequency is now locked in on Iran, which is responding with its own negative frequency.

With The Secret, W. will realize that all he needs to do to change his current reality is admit that it’s fake. (Similar to the wisdom of Dorothy clicking her shoes three times.)

Once he stops his chain reaction of negative thought, I can stop my chain reaction of negative thought. And then there will be peace on earth and parking spaces for everyone.
Read the rest here.

But very, very scientific? Dear God.

Never forget that it was Oprah who brought us that OTHER huge Texas dolt, Dr. Phil.

Two More American Soldiers Dead

They were killed in an attack on an Iraqi base.

Gee, Bush is right: all the violence in Iraq just magically went POOF! at news of his chickenshit chickenhawk escalation.

Joe Conason: Why Americans Have Reason To Doubt The Future Of Our Democracy

From Salon:

It could happen here

In an excerpt from his new book, Salon's columnist explains why, for the first time since the resignation of Richard M. Nixon, Americans have reason to doubt the future of their democracy
And I happen to think Joe is right. There has never been a bigger threat to American democracy than the Bush-Cheney Administration.

Paul Krugman: "Wrong Is Right"

This may vie for one of my top 10 favorite Paul Krugman columns of all time. Read it all at Rozius, but here's a snip:

Many people are perplexed by the uproar over Senator Hillary Clinton’s refusal to say, as former Senator John Edwards has, that she was wrong to vote for the Iraq war resolution. Why is it so important to admit past error? And yes, it was an error — she may not have intended to cast a vote for war, but the fact is the resolution did lead to war; she may not have believed that President Bush would abuse the power he was granted, but the fact is he did.

The answer can be summed up in two words: heckuva job. Or, if you want a longer version: Medals of Freedom to George Tenet, who said Saddam had W.M.D., Tommy Franks, who failed to secure Iraq, and Paul Bremer, who botched the occupation.

For the last six years we have been ruled by men who are pathologically incapable of owning up to mistakes. And this pathology has had real, disastrous consequences. The situation in Iraq might not be quite so dire — and we might even have succeeded in stabilizing Afghanistan — if Mr. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney had been willing to admit early on that things weren’t going well or that their handpicked appointees weren’t the right people for the job.

The experience of Bush-style governance, together with revulsion at the way Karl Rove turned refusal to admit error into a political principle, is the main reason those now-famous three words from Mr. Edwards — “I was wrong” — matter so much to the Democratic base.

The base is remarkably forgiving toward Democrats who supported the war. But the base and, I believe, the country want someone in the White House who doesn’t sound like another George Bush. That is, they want someone who doesn’t suffer from an infallibility complex, who can admit mistakes and learn from them.

And there’s another reason the admission by Mr. Edwards that he was wrong is important. If we want to avoid future quagmires, we need a president who is willing to fight the inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom on foreign policy, which still — in spite of all that has happened — equates hawkishness with seriousness about national security, and treats those who got Iraq right as somehow unsound. By admitting his own error, Mr. Edwards makes it more credible that he would listen to a wider range of views.

[...]And as for Rudy Giuliani, there are so many examples of his inability to accept criticism that it’s hard to choose.

Here’s an incident from 1997. When New York magazine placed ads on city buses declaring that the publication was “possibly the only good thing in New York Rudy hasn’t taken credit for,” the then-mayor ordered the ads removed — and when a judge ordered the ads placed back on, he appealed the decision all the way up to the United States Supreme Court.

Now imagine how Mr. Giuliani would react on being told, say, that his choice to head Homeland Security is actually a crook. Oh, wait.

But back to Mrs. Clinton’s problem. For some reason she and her advisers failed to grasp just how fed up the country is with arrogant politicians who can do no wrong. I don’t think she falls in that category; but her campaign somehow thought it was still a good idea to follow Karl Rove’s playbook, which says that you should never, ever admit to a mistake. And that playbook has led them into a political trap.
Read it all here.

You Know What? I DO Want to Protect Iran

Yesterday, I got royally pissed to have the White House's Tony Snow(job) suggest that any politicians who berate the growing Bush Administration rhetoric against Iran simply wish to protect Iran.

Well, after giving this a great deal of thought last night: hell, yes!

I DO want to protect Iran.

I want to protect ANY nation in the world from U.S. imperialist measures who is NOT trying directly to hurt us. We ALL have much bigger dangers facing us - and I would suggest many of them are based at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

There is no evidence that Iran is doing anything to us - although America, historically, has done a lot AGAINST Iran, including destabilizing this nation a number of times. The work of Kermit Rockefeller (Teddy's grandson or nephew), as one example.

Nor should we want to go to war with Iran for OUR sake. All military experts except those hand-picked by the Bushies say it would be far more disastrous for us than the war in Iraq has been.


Yet Another U.S. Military Helicopter Down

This time, it's in Afghanistan. Eight U.S. troops reported dead from the crash.

So Much For Claims Bush's Surge Has Quieted Iraq

From today's news:

Militants struck back Sunday in their first major blow against a U.S.-led security clampdown in Baghdad with car bombings that killed at least 63 people, left scores injured and sent a grim message to officials boasting that extremist factions were on the run.

The attacks in mostly Shiite areas — twin explosions in an open-air market that claimed 62 lives and a third blast that killed one — were a sobering reminder of the challenges confronting any effort to rattle the well-armed and well-hidden insurgents.

Instead, it was the Iraqi commanders of the security sweep feeling the sting.

Just a few hours before the blasts, Lt. Gen. Abboud Qanbar led reporters on a tour of the neighborhood near the marketplace that was attacked and promised to "chase the terrorists out of Baghdad." On Saturday, the Iraqi spokesman for the plan, Brig. Gen. Qassim Moussawi, said violence had plummeted by 80 percent in the capital.
Will they blame this on Iran, too? If so, Iran is killing its own (as in Shi'ites), no? Seems a tad counter-productive, but what makes sense in Bush's fantasy land of ever bigger guns and war?

Frank Rich: "Oh What A Malleable War"

Brought to us by Rozius, here's a snippet of Frank Rich's column today (February 18th):

Maybe the Bush White House can't conduct a war, but no one has ever impugned its ability to lie about its conduct of a war. Now even that well-earned reputation for flawless fictionalizing is coming undone. Watching the administration try to get its story straight about Iran's role in Iraq last week was like watching third graders try to sidestep blame for misbehaving while the substitute teacher was on a bathroom break. The team that once sold the country smoking guns in the shape of mushroom clouds has completely lost its mojo.

Surely these guys can do better than this. No sooner did unnamed military officials unveil their melodramatically secretive briefing in Baghdad last Sunday than Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, blew the whole charade. General Pace said he didn't know about the briefing and couldn't endorse its contention that the Iranian government's highest echelons were complicit in anti-American hostilities in Iraq. Public-relations pandemonium ensued as Tony Snow, the State Department and finally the president tried to revise the story line on the fly. Back when Karl Rove ruled, everyone read verbatim from the same script. Last week's frantic improvisations were vintage Scooter Libby, at best the ur-text for a future perjury trial.

Yet for all the sloppy internal contradictions, the most incriminating indictment of the new White House disinformation campaign is to be found in official assertions made more than a year ago. The press and everyone else seems to have forgotten that the administration has twice sounded the same alarms about Iranian weaponry in Iraq that it did last week.

In August 2005, NBC News, CBS News and The Times cited unnamed military and intelligence officials when reporting, as CBS put it, that "U.S. forces intercepted a shipment from Iran containing professionally made explosive devices specifically designed to penetrate the armor which protects American vehicles." Then, as now, those devices were the devastating roadside bombs currently called E.F.P.'s (explosively formed penetrators). Then, as now, they were thought to have been brought into Iraq by members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Then, as now, there was no evidence that the Iranian government was directly involved. In February 2006, administration officials delivered the same warning yet again, before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Timing is everything in propaganda, as in all showmanship. So why would the White House pick this particular moment to mount such an extravagant rerun of old news, complete with photos and props reminiscent of Colin Powell's infamous presentation of prewar intelligence? Yes, the death toll from these bombs is rising, but it has been rising for some time. (Also rising, and more dramatically, is the death toll from attacks on American helicopters.)

After General Pace rendered inoperative the first official rationale for last Sunday's E.F.P. briefing, President Bush had to find a new explanation for his sudden focus on the Iranian explosives. That's why he said at Wednesday's news conference that it no longer mattered whether the Iranian government (as opposed to black marketeers or freelance thugs) had supplied these weapons to Iraqi killers. "What matters is, is that they're there," he said. The real point of hyping this inexact intelligence was to justify why he had to take urgent action now, no matter what the E.F.P.'s provenance: "My job is to protect our troops. And when we find devices that are in that country that are hurting our troops, we're going to do something about it, pure and simple."
Read it all here.

While Republicans Insist Democrats Want to Cut Support To Troops, It's Bush's Pentagon Bankrupting Our Soldiers

We've heard numerous additional reports the last few weeks - and stretching back right to the October 2001 start of aggression against Afghanistan and our March 2003 entry into the Iraq War - that the Pentagon, which just keeps collecting more money for nothing but defense contractors and consultants who can get nothing right, is not equipping or supporting our troops.

Now comes this report in the Washington Post about the deplorable conditions under which our war-injured American troops face and must suffer through once Bush's constant state of war fells them:

Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan’s room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Iraq last February with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. But the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital and five miles up the road from the White House, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Thanks to Think Progress for the pointer.

More Snow Jobs, With Noxious Hume Fumes Added

Tony Snow, who was never a journalist to start with despite what he called himself, as White House spokesvillain, claimed today that any politician voicing concern about a possible war with Iran simply wants to protect Iran. What? Oh please! Tony, go fight in a fucking war and come back to us once you do! I think your insight might change a little. It's very easy to sit in Washington's toniest restaurants and opine like you know something (you don't, that's very clear) about a war you wouldn't be caught dead getting within two continents of.

Meanwhile, the best Fox NoiseNews Channel's Brit Hume can do is call Jack Murtha "senile" for trying to do the will of the people and get us out of the Iraq war that only profits the Bushies, the neocons, the energy companies with their sweetheart deals, AND the military industrial complex.

As Think Progress points out:

Numerous military and regional experts agree that there is no military solution for Iran. They say it would be “disastrous for the United States,” “empower reactionaries [in Iran] and validate their pro-nuclear argument,” and “usher in chaos and instability.” None of them are trying to “protect Iran.” Tony Snow’s hysterical rhetoric is false.

When It's The Senate That Makes You Sick!

[Update: I count 10 senators as not voting on the 56:34 vote that stalemated this action. To see who voted and how, check here.]

Yesterday's rare weekend Senate session was sickening, to say the least.

Mind you, the House of Reprehensibles who for the last several years have performed about as bad as any assemblage possibly could, managed to have three full days of Iraq debate, got some smart and long-needed things said by Dems AND Republicans alike, and managed to vote on the purely symbolic (and doesn't that rankle?) non-binding resolution against Bush's handling of Iraq.

But once again, Repugnants like Mitch McConnell - who proves that a turd wearing a $300 shirt and a $125 tie STILL looks like a bowel movement - would not so much as allow the Senate to debate the Iraq War four years after we entered the damned country (no wonder Iraqis are reticent to adopt democracy American-style).

And, in the same breath, these Repugnants said they could not vote or discuss even a symbolic no confidence measure on Bush UNLESS it was tied to a promise that there would be an UNLIMITED amount of money flowing from taxpayers' pockets to Bush and the Pentagon to ensure we can stay to completely dessimate Iraq - and start our destruction of Iran, I suppose - unchecked.

As displeased as I am with some Senate Democrats, I could rethink my anti-capitol punishment edict when it comes to the likes of Mitch McConnell and some of the others of the most smug Republicans. The sooner we're shed of the infection of the Bushlickers, the better.