Thursday, July 11, 2013

El Douche Whines for More Federal Funds

WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday formally appealed a federal decision to limit further federal aid to West, as the town rebuilds from a devastating plant explosion. In May, the Federal Emergency Management Agency turned down the state's request for the community to receive a major disaster declaration, which would have provided funding and assistance rebuilding public infrastructure and recovery services such as crisis counseling and hazard mitigation support. The agency did provide emergency funds to individual residents. “The scope of damage caused by April's explosion has devastated this small community, and further inaction by the Obama administration to deny additional federal aid is simply unacceptable,” Perry said in a news release. “On behalf of the people of West and McLennan County, I am appealing the president's decision in order to get this community assistance they qualify for, deserve and need to get back on their feet and on the road to recovery.” [Of course, this is the same El Douche who has been traveling around the country enticing companies to move to Texas because of its light-to-nonexistent regulation of business, including safety regulations] more:

Monday, July 08, 2013

El Douche Announces He Won't Run For Reelection

SAN ANTONIO, Tex. — Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor of Texas and an unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate in 2012, announced that he would not seek another term in Austin but would instead “pray and reflect and work to determine my own future path.”

Monday, August 29, 2011

What Bernanke Really Thinks About the Economy

http://www.theonion.com/articles/drunken-ben-bernanke-tells-everyone-at-neighborhoo,21059/

Friday, April 08, 2011

The GOP and Malthusianism

The events of the past week bring to mind the principle of Malthusian Catastrophe: The Republicans' insertion of Planned Parenthood defunding into the budget debate, like its longstanding broad-based war on womens' reproductive rights, accelerates population growth while its attack on Medicaid ensures

Friday, January 02, 2009

PetitionSpot


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Message from Detroit



Krugman v. The Invisible Hand


Recognize anyone in this

cartoon by Tom Tomorrow?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

More Great Depression Economics

Robert Heilbroner on the Great Depression:

"In retrospect it was inevitable. The stock market had been built on a honeycomb of loans that could bear just so much strain and no more. And more than that, there were shaky timbers and rotten wood in the foundation which propped up the magnificent show of prosperity.

***

The national flood of income was indubitably imposing in its bulk, but when one followed its course into its millions of terminal rivulets, it was apparent that the nation as a whole benefited very unevenly from its flow. Some 24,000 families at the apex of the social pyramid received a stream of income three times as large as 6 million families squashed at the bottom--the average income of the fortunate families at the peak was 630 times the average income of the families at the base. Nor was this the only shortcoming. Disregarded in the hullabaloo of limitless prosperity were two million citizens out of work, and ignored behind their facade of classical marble, banks were failing at the rate of two a day for six years before the crash. And then there was the fact that the average American had used his prosperity in a suicidal way; he had mortgaged himself up to his neck, had extended his resources dangerously under the temptation of installment buying, and then had ensured his fate buying fantastic quantities of stock--some 300 million shares, it is estimated--not outright, but on margin."


--Robert Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers pp. 247-48 (5th ed. 1980)

Friday, December 28, 2007

RIP Benazir Bhutto


"Politics today is increasingly becoming a game of mudslinging. Opponents exchange charges over corrupt or unethical behavior. The public grows increasingly cynical about the system and the elected leaders it produces.Will democracy, in its moment of greatest triumph, face its greatest threat from the instant-information age? An age when each publication or television station is so anxious to put the news out first that it leaves them little time for proper research or investigation into the credibility of those making the charges or the charges themselves."
--Benazir Bhutto 06/20/1997

Monday, June 25, 2007

Borked Again

Judge Robert Bork, one of the fathers of the modern judicial conservative movement whose nomination to the Supreme Court was rejected by the Senate, is seeking $1,000,000 in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages, after he slipped and fell at the Yale Club ofNew York City.

***

Judge Bork has been a leading advocate of restricting plaintiffs' ability to recover through tort law. In a 2002 article published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy--the official journal of the Federalist Society--Bork argued that frivolous claims and excessive punitive damage awards have caused the Constitution to evolve into a document which would allow Congress to enact tort reforms that would have been unconstitutional at the framing

Windows Vista Tech Support



Friday, June 01, 2007

The "Commmander Guy" Totally Loses It


"[F]riends of the president from Texas were "shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated, 'I am the president!' He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of 'our country's destiny.'"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

GONZO


The Gonzometer has Fredo at 86%.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Bush Almost Blows Himself Up



Credit Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally with saving the leader of the free world from self-immolation.
Mulally told journalists at the New York auto show that he intervened to prevent President Bush from plugging an electrical cord into the hydrogen tank of Ford's hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid at the White House last week. Ford wanted to give the Commander-in-Chief an actual demonstration of the innovative vehicle, so the automaker arranged for an electrical outlet to be installed on the South Lawn and ran a charging cord to the hybrid. However, as Mulally followed Bush out to the car, he noticed someone had left the cord lying at the rear of the vehicle, near the fuel tank.
"I just thought, 'Oh my goodness!' So, I started walking faster, and the President walked faster and he got to the cord before I did. I violated all the protocols. I touched the President. I grabbed his arm and I moved him up to the front," Mulally said. "I wanted the president to make sure he plugged into the electricity, not into the hydrogen This is all off the record, right?"

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Religion and the Troops

"There is nothing inherently wrong with Christianity or Islam, and there is no reason that they should be in conflict. It is astonishing. The two have the same God, the same prophets, the same principles for the most part, and just as Christians have been slaughtering each other in the name of Jesus Christ for centuries, Muslims have been slaughtering each other in the name of Mohammed for centuries. Muslims and Christians have been slaughtering each other in the name of the same God. Muslims, Christians and Jews all have the same God.

It is not easy to get people to die for Richard Nixon, but it is possible to get people to die for Mohammed or Jesus. So religion is again being exploited by politicians in various parts of the world. It is a terrible tragedy, but it is happening.

Likewise, whenever there is a war, politicians always say, 'You may not like this, this may be hard or whatever, but at least support the troops.' Support those good, honest American/German/you-pick-the-country boys at the front, which really means, 'Support me" or 'Don't criticize me,' otherwise 'you are not supporting the troops.'"

--Jim Rogers

Monday, March 26, 2007

Slate's Gonzo-Meter



Slate has the Gonzo-Meter at 75%

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Dope on Rudy Giuliani

Read it here.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Mr. Fusion is Here at Last


A group of scientists have created a portable refinery that efficiently converts food, paper and plastic trash into electricity. The machine, designed for the U.S. military, would allow soldiers in the field to convert waste into power and could have widespread civilian applications in the future.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Molly Ivins RIP

The Rude One pays tribute.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Thoughts on Hunter Thompson's Death

"For every Democrat there are two closet Republicans complaining about what they are about to vote for again. I'm not an expert on American politics or, for that matter, English politics, but I have a sixth sense about people and their 'terminal anxiety'--that last-minute decision in the privacy of a polling booth. Why change in mid-stream? Better to see this one out in case they have a master plan. Sure, I can scream for one leader, support him/her, but not now, not yet. Which is exactly what happened when George W. Bush, a certified halfwit, got re-elected in 2004. That was the thinking process that really killedHunter S. Thompson. That broke his spirit. That was it. Not even Gonzo could cut through that Gordian knot."


-- Ralph Steadman, The Joke's Over: Bruised Memories: Gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson and Me 2006

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Whining Republicans

"Thirty-one-year-old Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) is not a large man, standing perhaps 5 feet 3 inches tall in thick soles. But he packed a whole lot of chutzpah when he walked into the House TV gallery yesterday to demand that the new Democratic majority give the new Republican minority all the rights that Republicans had denied Democrats for years."

***

"Omitted from McHenry's plea for fairness was the fact that the GOP had ignored Pelosi's 2004 request -- while routinely engaging in the procedural maneuvers that her plan would have corrected. Was the gentleman from North Carolina asking Democrats to do as he says, not as he did?
"Look, I'm a junior member," young McHenry protested. "I'm not beholden to what former congresses did."
Anne Kornblut of the New York Times asked McHenry if his complaint might come across as whining.

"I'm not whining," he whined."


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Iraq War Longer than WW II

WASHINGTON -- The war in Iraq has now lasted longer than the US involvement in the conflict that President Bush's father fought in, World War II.


As of today, the conflict in Iraq has raged for three years and just over eight months.

Only the Vietnam War (eight years, five months), the Revolutionary War (six years, nine months), and the Civil War (four years) have engaged America longer.

More here.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Public Service Announcement



For our Colorado voters.

Talking Points

Bill Maher's talking points for today and tomorrow.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Time Magazine Finally Gets It



Read the story here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Why to Vote Against the Republicans

The Rude Pundit explains.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Keep your jesus off my penis

GOP Voting Machine Fraud

From Florida:

"Mauricio Raponi wanted to vote for Democrats across the board at the Lemon City Library in Miami on Thursday. But each time he hit the button next to the candidate, the Republican choice showed up. Raponi, 53, persevered until the machine worked. Then he alerted a poll worker."

More here.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Letterman-O'Reilly: Round 2

Olberman on stay the course and Tony Snow

Stay the Course Redux

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Worst Person in the World



He's also a
big fat idiot.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cheney Admits to Waterboarding


The V.P. of Torture says it's a "no-brainer."

Monday, October 23, 2006

President Bush on Iraq: It's Never Been Stay the Course

It's time to change the course. Courtesy of YouTube

Arrogance and Stupidity

In an interview with Al-Jazeera, a senior U.S. diplomat acknowledges
that the U.S. acted with "arrogance" and "stupidity" in Iraq.

The State Department explanation: Bad translation of the interview.

Here's the relavant excerpt from the transcript:

"Of course, some historians, history will judge American history in
Iraq. We tried to do our best but I think there is much room for
criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was
stupidity from the United States in Iraq."

Stay the Course?

October 2006 Bush interview with George Stephanopoulos:

"STEPHANOPOULOS: Exactly what I wanted to ask you about, because James Baker said that he's looking for something between cut and run…

BUSH: Cut and run and.

STEPHANOPOULOS: … and stay the course.

BUSH: Well, listen, we've never been stay the course, George. We have been — we will complete the mission, we will do our job and help achieve the goal, but we're constantly adjusting the tactics, constantly."

Compare:


BUSH: We will stay the course. [8/30/06]

BUSH: We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq.
[8/4/05]

BUSH: We will stay the course until the job is done, Steve. And
the temptation is to try to get the President or somebody to put a
timetable on the definition of getting the job done. We’re just going
to stay the course. [12/15/03]

BUSH: And my message today to those in Iraq is: We’ll stay the
course. [4/13/04]

BUSH: And that’s why we’re going to stay the course in Iraq. And
that’s why when we say something in Iraq, we’re going to do it.
[4/16/04]

BUSH: And so we’ve got tough action in Iraq. But we will stay the
course. [4/5/04]

Per ThinkProgress.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A Day of National Shame

Thanks to the Republican Congress, the President can now have you killed. And there is nothing that anyone can do about it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Early Halloween


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

181 Reasons Not To Vote For Joe Lieberman

Read them here, courtesy of davefromqueens at Daily Kos.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Double Standard

Edith Jones investigates a bankruptcy judge for writing a letter to
NPR about Bush's policies:

"A local federal judge's radio show diatribe about tactics in the war
on terrorism is turning into a test of what members of the judiciary
can say when they sound off publicly.
Venting in an e-mail to National Public Radio, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge
Leif M. Clark last week denounced the recently passed legislation that
limits the rights of terror suspects to challenge their detentions and
see certain evidence against them.

"These are the tactics of the old Soviet Union, not of a country that
stands for freedom and the rule of law," Clark, responding to a NPR
discussion of the legislation, opined in the message that was posted in
full on the network's Web site and read aloud Thursday on Morning
Edition.

The result: Clark's e-mail now is under review by the chief judge of
the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the tribunal that disciplines federal
judicial misconduct in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi."


***

"Fifth Circuit Chief Judge Edith H. Jones said that while no one has
formally complained about Clark's e-mail, she has the authority to
initiate a disciplinary review. Given current political concerns about
judicial discipline, she added, it was her responsibility to consider
the matter seriously.

Even so, Jones stressed she hasn't yet made up her mind. Clark's
comments "may or may not be a violation of anything," she said."


In other news, Richard Posner writes a friggin' book defending the
suspension of civil rights in times of "national emergency."


No double standard at work here, right?

Sound Financial Planning

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A man who couldn't find steady work came up with a
plan to make it through the next few years until he could collect Social
Security: He robbed a bank, then handed the money to a guard and waited for
police.

***

He pleaded guilty to robbery, and a court-ordered psychological exam found him competent.

"It's a pretty sad story when someone feels that's their only alternative," said defense attorney Jeremy W. Dodgion, who described Bowers as "a charming old man."

Prosecutors had considered arguing against putting Bowers in prison at taxpayer expense, but they worried he would do something more reckless to be put behind bars.

"It's not the financial plan I would choose, but it's a financial plan," prosecutor Dan Cable said.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Chimp and the Poodle at the Gay Bar

Watch this.

Sunday Bloody Sunday

The Chimp covers the U2 song.

Monday, August 07, 2006

GOP Candidate for Congress


Friday, March 17, 2006

Buy this Shirt


An American clothing label, translated from the French.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Paging Ann Coulter


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Another Bush Scapegoat

(CBS/AP) Former FEMA head Michael Brown says newly released tapes show that he did, in fact, know the danger Hurricane Katrina posed to the Gulf Coast and that he warned White House officials about it before the storm hit.

...

The tapes show Brown on a video teleconference the day before the hurricane made landfall warning President Bush, Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff and other top officials of the looming danger.

"We're going to need everything that we can possibly muster, not only in this state and in the region, but the nation, to respond to this event," Brown warned in the Aug. 28 briefing. He called the storm "a bad one, a big one" and implored federal agencies to cut through red tape to help people, bending rules if necessary.

...


...

Brown said in the interview that National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield was sounding the alarm about the coming storm and "everyone in the room heard that. Everyone in the room knew the disaster we were facing. It was a disaster we had thought about for two years and had sought funding for so we could do the catastrophic planning to respond to a disaster like that," he said.

For months since the devastation of Katrina, Brown has been the chief scapegoat for what many see as the Bush administration's most glaring failure in its response to the outcry from millions of victims who went without food or shelter for days after the storm. Throughout the controversy Brown maintained he and the Bush administration were fully aware of the danger posed by the Category 4 storm and that he tried, sometimes in vain, to speed officials to take action.

...

Mr. Bush, who participated in the call from his ranch in Texas, didn't ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck on Aug. 29, but he assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: "We are fully prepared."




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Nobody With Brains: Orrin Hatch Edition

What Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said about Saddam Hussein’s relationship with al-Qaeda on Saturday:

Nobody denies that [Saddam Hussein] was supporting al-Qaeda…Well, I shouldn’t say nobody. Nobody with brains.

What the bi-partisan 9-11 commission said about Saddam Hussein’s relationship with al-Qaeda:

The Sept. 11 commission reported yesterday that it has found no “collaborative relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda, challenging one of the Bush administration’s main justifications for the war in Iraq.

Hatch made his remarks at an invitation-only luncheon. They’ve only been reported in a small Utah paper, The St. George Daily Spectrum.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Dick Cheney Shoots People



From Editor & Publisher:

NEW YORK The more than 18-hour delay in news emerging that the Vice President of the United States had shot a man, sending him to an intensive care unit with his wounds, grew even more curious late Sunday. E&P has learned that the official confirmation of the shooting came about only after a local reporter in Corpus Christi, Texas, received a tip from the owner of the property where the shooting occurred and called Vice President Cheney's office for confirmation.

The confirmation was made but it is not known for certain that Cheney's office, the White House, or anyone else intended to announce the shooting if the reporter, Jaime Powell of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, had not received word from the ranch owner.

More here.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Delay's Payoff




He's no longer The Hammer, now call him The Bagman.

Tom Delay is now on the House Appropriations Committee, where he can really funnel the payoffs.

The GOP is about as much interested in campaign finance reform as Pablo Escobar was in drug control.

A Picture Worth $70,000




President Bush grabbing Henry Cuellar’s cheeks at the State of the Union. After liberal blogs posted the photo, Rodriguez’s campaign has raked in the cash, more than $70,000 from online donors, according to ActBlue, a Democratic online clearinghouse.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

John McCain is Insane

Read this latest exchange between Senators McCain and Obama and decide who is the scumbag.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Earth is Still Not Flat

Bush Says America Must End its Addiction to Oil

In related news:

Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay warn that the GOP must curb its reliance on graft

Michael (heck of a job, Brownie) Brown warns that Louisiana must reduce its reliance on FEMA, and

Dick (Big Time)Cheney declares the CIA must reduce its use of torture.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday Afternoon Joke

A man enters a bar and orders a drink. The bar has a robot bartender.
The robot serves him a perfectly prepared cocktail, and then asks him,
"What's your IQ?" The man replies "150," and the robot proceeds to make
conversation about global warming factors, quantum physics and
spirituality, biomimicry, environmental interconnectedness, string
theory, nano-technology, and sexual proclivities.

The customer is very impressed and thinks, "This is really cool." He
decides to test the robot. He walks out of the bar, turns around, and
comes back in for another drink. Again, the robot serves him the
perfectly prepared drink and asks him, "What's your IQ?" The man
responds, "about a 100." Immediately the robot starts talking, but this
time, about football, NASCAR, baseball, cars, beer, guns, and breasts.
Really impressed, the man leaves the bar and decides to give the robot
one more test. He heads out and returns, the robot serves him and
asks, "What's your IQ?" The man replies, "Er, 50, I think."

And the robot says....... real........ slowly........
"So............... ya .......... gonna......... vote .........
for........... Bush ........ again???"

Miserable Failure

Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) -- A majority of Americans said the presidency of George W. Bush has been a failure and that they would be more likely to vote for congressional candidates who oppose him, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.

Fifty-two percent of adults said Bush's administration since 2001 has been a failure, down from 55 percent in October. Fifty- eight percent described his second term as a failure. At the same point in former President Bill Clinton's presidency, 70 percent of those surveyed by Gallup said they considered it a success and 20 percent a failure.

More here.

Bachem Macuno Strikes Again

Oprah is sitting on the couch next to President Bush. She looks very, very unhappy. His lips are pursed nervously.
'Mr. President, when I selected your book, A Million Little Pieces of Democracy, I thought it was a work of non-fiction.'
'Oprah, I understand that. My advisors tell me that I am perfectly within my rights to call it non-fiction. Congress gave me full powers to entertain readers, and I am very serious about that responsibility.'
'But according to The Smoking Gun, there is a lot in the book that isn't true.'
'I was writing with the best intelligence available to me. Intelligence agencies around the world supported the book as factual.'
'To a greater or lesser extent.'
'You bet.'
'Well,' Oprah sighed, exasperated, 'It is difficult for me to talk to you because I really feel duped... I feel that you betrayed millions of readers.'
'Now, I know that people may feel that way. But this really isn't about the book at all.'
'What isn't?'
'The book.'
'The book isn't about the book, sir?'
'That's right!'
A confused pause. 'Then what is the book about?'
'It's about spreading Democracy.'
'Into a million little pieces?'
'The more pieces Democracy is in, the freer we are as a people.'

More here.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Press Likes Blowjobs

On January 22, the day after The Washington Post first broke the Lewinsky story, that paper ran a total of 11 articles, written by or using contributions from at least 20 reporters, and comprising 11,844 words dedicated to allegations that the president lied about a consensual relationship.

The New York Times gave the story similar treatment, running a total of eight articles, written by at least eight reporters, comprising 9,044 words.

In contrast, on December 17, 2005 -- the day after the initial disclosure of the Bush administration's use of the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct illegal spying on American citizens, the Washington Post ran three articles, involving eight reporters and 3,227 words -- and that's generously including a USA Patriot Act article in the tally.

Similarly, the Times ran two articles, involving four reporters and 3,076 words.

All told, on January 22, 1998, the Times and the Post ran 19 articles (five on the front page) dealing with the Clinton investigation, totaling more than 20,000 words and reflecting the words of at least 28 reporters -- plus the editorial boards of both newspapers.

In contrast, on December 17, 2005 the Times and the Post combined to run five articles about the NSA spying operation, involving 12 reporters and consisting of 6,303 words.

So, the press likes stories about blowjobs more than they like stories about Presidential abuses of the Constitution, by a factor of 3:1.

Read more here.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Dershowitz Explains How to Fix the Confirmation Process

"I propose that the Judiciary Committee take a page from other Congressional committees by hiring outside lawyers to conduct their hearings. They should bring in three or four first-rate trial lawyers with backgrounds in constitutional scholarship to ask the hard questions. Of course Committee members will consult with the litigators to ensure that they cover all the issues of concern to the senators. But during the hearings, the senators' job will be to listen and then to vote.

History provides instructive examples of committee lawyers helping conduct important Congressional hearings. Congress hired outside counsel to examine witnesses in both the Watergate and Iran Contra sessions. Supreme Court confirmation hearings are no less important. The next time a seat on the Court opens, the Judiciary Committee members should check their egos and hire lawyers who will force both the Committee and the nominee to put substance before spectacle."

Read more here.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Pat Robertson is Smoking Crack Again

Rev. Pat Robertson has claimed the deteriorating health of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is divine punishment for a soft stance on Israel.

Robertson also pointed to the November 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as further evidence that God is punishing leaders willing to divide Israel.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bush Elected Presnit of Iraq


Read This Ad




Click image to enlarge. From the ACLU.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Cheney to Elderly: KMA, YOYO

Big Time breaks a Senate tie to cut funding for the elderly, the sick and the poor.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Grounds for Impeachment

House Judiciary Democrats have issued a report alleging gross misconduct by Bush. The Report was produced at the request of Representative John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee. He made this request in the wake of the President’s failure to respond to a letter submitted by 122 Members of Congress and more than 500,000 Americans in July of this year asking him whether the assertions set forth in the Downing Street Minutes were accurate.

"In brief, we have found that there is substantial evidence the President, the Vice President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war with Iraq; misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and other legal violations in Iraq; and permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of their Administration.

There is at least a prima facie case that these actions by the President, Vice-President and other members of the Bush Administration violate a number of federal laws, including (1) Committing a Fraud against the United States; (2) Making False Statements to Congress; (3) The War Powers Resolution; (4) Misuse of Government Funds; (5) federal laws and international treaties prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; (6) federal laws concerning retaliating against witnesses and other individuals; and (7) federal laws and regulations concerning leaking and other misuse of intelligence."

Read the full Report here.

"Terrorists" Now Include Catholic Workers, Environmentalists, Poverty and Animal Rights Groups

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 - Counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show.

***

One F.B.I. document indicates that agents in Indianapolis planned to conduct surveillance as part of a "Vegan Community Project." Another document talks of the Catholic Workers group's "semi-communistic ideology." A third indicates the bureau's interest in determining the location of a protest over llama fur planned by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Conyers Introduces Resolutions to Censure Bush and Cheney

The Bush Resolution here.

The Cheney Resolution here.

House Resolution 636 seeks to censure the President for failing to respond to repeated requests for information on pre-war intelligence, possible war crimes against detainees and violation of international law, and retaliatory action against critics of the administration. House Resolution 637 seeks censure the Vice President for the same alleged abuses of power and failure to respond to repeated requests for information and testimony.

Bush Flip-Flops on Search Warrants

Bush, April 2004:

"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."


Bush, December 2005:

“To save American lives, we must be able to act fast and to detect these conversations so we can prevent new attacks. So, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, I authorized the interception of international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. … This program has targeted those with known links to al Qaeda. I've reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks, and I intend to do so for so long as our nation is -- for so long as the nation faces the continuing threat of an enemy that wants to kill American citizens.”

'Berto: Congress Authorized Us to Wiretap Americans, But We Didn't Ask for Such Authorization Because We Were Afraid Congress Wouldn't Give It

"Q You have stretched this resolution for war into giving you carte blanche to do anything you want to do.

ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES: Well, one might make that same argument in connection with detention of American citizens, which is far more intrusive than listening into a conversation. There may be some members of Congress who might say, we never --

Q That's your interpretation. That isn't Congress' interpretation.

ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES: Well, I'm just giving you the analysis --

***

Q If FISA didn't work, why didn't you seek a new statute that allowed something like this legally?

ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES: That question was asked earlier. We've had discussions with members of Congress, certain members of Congress, about whether or not we could get an amendment to FISA, and we were advised that that was not likely to be -- that was not something we could likely get, certainly not without jeopardizing the existence of the program, and therefore, killing the program. And that -- and so a decision was made that because we felt that the authorities were there, that we should continue moving forward with this program."

Bush: "Get Lost Judiciary, I Interpret the Law"

"The legislature's job is to write law. It's the executive branch's job to interpret law."

—GWB, Austin, Texas, Nov. 22, 2000

Who could have imagined he was serious?

John Dean: Bush Has Admitted to an Impeachable Offense

Raw Story reports:

"Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has become the first in the Senate to raise consideration of impeachment of President George W. Bush for authorizing spying on Americans without warrants, RAW STORY has learned.

In a release issued this evening, Boxer said she's asked "four presidential scholars" for their opinion on impeachment after former White Housel counsel John Dean -- made famous by his role in revealing the Watergate tapes -- asserted that President Bush had 'admitted' to an 'impeachable offense.'"

More here.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bush and Nixon: Above the Law

David Frost Interview of Richard Nixon, May 19,1977:

FROST: So what in a sense, you're saying is that there are certain situations, and the Huston Plan or that part of it was one of them, where the president can decide that it's in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal.


NIXON: Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.


FROST: By definition.


NIXON: Exactly. Exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president's decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a law. Otherwise they're in an impossible position.

Alberto Gonzalez, December 19, 2005:
"We believe that the president has the inherent authority as commander in chief under the Constitution to engage in signals intelligence of our enemy, against al Qaeda, but we also believe the president has statutory authority."

Friday, December 16, 2005

You Don't Know the History of Cooking Oil. Tom Does.

Cruise Blasted by 9/11 Firefighters

HOLLYWOOD - Outspoken actor Tom Cruise has been criticized by
firefighters suffering the effects of smoke inhalation from the World
Trade Center terrorist attacks for his controversial views on their
treatment.

The Scientology devotee has urged emergency services victims to give
up their medication and inhalers as part of a 'purification rundown,’
which favors sauna sessions, ingestion of cooking oil and large doses
of niacin as cures instead.

As co-founder of the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project,
Cruise has also supported a new Scientology clinic preaching these
remedies near the Ground Zero site.

But the unorthodox therapy has been slammed as ridiculous and
potentially harmful by members of the medical profession, as well as
sufferers themselves.

Deputy Fire Commissioner Frank Gribbon tells gossip site PageSix.com,
"If our doctors are prescribing medication, and they (Scientologists)
are saying 'don't take it,' that's a problem for us."

More here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ken Lay: Department of Justice Prosecutors are Terrorists

Ken Lay accuses the Department of Justice of launching a "wave of terror."

These guys really have no shame.

Bush Finally Faces Reality, Sort of

Well, it took four years, but Bush finally admits he took us to war
based on faulty intelligence.

``It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong,''
Bush said today in the final speech in a series intended to outline his
Iraq strategy. ``Given Saddam's history and the lessons of September
the 11th, my decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right
decision.''

***

``I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq,'' the president
said at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington. ``I'm
also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our
intelligence capabilities, and we're doing just that.''

Surprised that Rove let him fess up.
But maybe Rove is preoccupied with other things. Word is Fitzgerald is
back before the grand jury today.

Torture: Slicing the Salami

Michael Kinsley explains.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Terminator Lives Up to His Name

Schwarzenegger finally gets to off someone for real.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Condi Corleone Can't Dodge Torture Questions

Read it here

Connecticut Apologizes


Republican Family Values

One day a fourth-grade teacher asked the children what their fathers
did for a living.

All the typical answers came up: fireman, mechanic, businessman,
salesman, doctor, lawyer and so forth.

But little Justin was being uncharacteristically quiet, so when the
teacher prodded him about his father, he replied, "My father's an
exotic dancer in a gay cabaret and takes off all his clothes in front
of other men and they put money in his underwear. Sometimes, if the
offer is really good, he will go home with some guy and have sex with
him for money."

The teacher, obviously shaken by this statement, hurriedly set the
other children to work on some exercises and then took little Justin
aside to ask him, "Is that really true about your father?!"

"No," the little boy said, "He works for the Republican National
Committee and helped re-elect George W. Bush, but I was too
embarrassed to say that in front of all the other kids."

Monday, December 05, 2005

Condi Corleone Chides Europeans for Detention Center Complaints

"Sometimes, these efforts are misunderstood," she said.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Suppressed DOJ Memo Found Delay's Texas Redistricting Plan Illegal

"Justice Department lawyers concluded that the landmark Texas congressional redistricting plan spearheaded by Rep. Tom DeLay (R) violated the Voting Rights Act, according to a previously undisclosed memo obtained by The Washington Post. But senior officials overruled them and approved the plan.

The memo, unanimously endorsed by six lawyers and two analysts in the department's voting section, said the redistricting plan illegally diluted black and Hispanic voting power in two congressional districts. It also said the plan eliminated several other districts in which minorities had a substantial, though not necessarily decisive, influence in elections.

***

The 73-page memo, dated Dec. 12, 2003, has been kept under tight wraps for two years. Lawyers who worked on the case were subjected to an unusual gag rule. The memo was provided to The Post by a person connected to the case who is critical of the adopted redistricting map. Such recommendation memos, while not binding, historically carry great weight within the Justice Department.

***

Mark Posner, a longtime Justice Department lawyer who now teaches law at American University, said it was 'highly unusual' for political appointees to overrule a unanimous finding such as the one in the Texas case.

'In this kind of situation, where everybody agrees at least on the staff level . . . that is a very, very strong case,' Posner said. 'The fact that everybody agreed that there were reductions in minority voting strength, and that they were significant, raises a lot of questions as to why it was' approved, he said."

Full story here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Iraq: The Most Foolish War in 2014 Years

"There is a remarkable article in the latest issue of the American Jewish weekly, Forward. It calls for President Bush to be impeached and put on trial 'for misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC sent his legions into Germany and lost them'.

To describe Iraq as the most foolish war of the last 2,014 years is a sweeping statement, but the writer is well qualified to know.

He is Martin van Creveld, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and one of the world's foremost military historians. Several of his books have influenced modern military theory and he is the only non-American author on the US Army's list of required reading for officers."

Read more here

The Texas Miracle

How Texas ranks among the 50 states, according to
Texas Monthly Magazine, May 2005 issue:

50th in:
Percentage of population with health insurance
Percentage of high school graduates age 25 and over
Percentage of insured low-income children
Average consumer credit score
Per capita spending on government employee wages and salaries
Per capita spending on government administration
Affordability of homeowners’ insurance
Affordability of residential electric bill

49th in
Tax revenue raised per capita
Per capita spending on state arts agencies
Total general expenditures per capita
Per capita spending on water quality
Amount of monthly Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits paid



48th in
Per capita spending on parks and recreation
Mean Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) scores
Average spending per child on child protection
Percentage of workforce represented by a union

47th in
Amount of welfare and food-stamp benefits paid
Percentage of poor who receive Medicaid

46th in
Per capita spending on environmental protection
Per capita spending on mental health
Per capita spending on the protection of open spaces
Average hourly earnings

45th in
Per capita spending on public health
Number of secondary teachers with degrees in the subject they teach
Percentage of women ages 50–69 who received mammograms within the last
two years
Total assets of banks, trust companies, and savings institutions
Home ownership rate


And here's the Top 5:


5th in
Total crime rate
Number of diabetes deaths per 100,000 people

4th in
Percentage of children living in poverty
Per capita consumption of energy

3rd in
Percentage of population that is malnourished

2nd in
Sales tax dependence
Percentage of population that goes hungry
Overall birth rate
Teenage birth rate
Amount of exposure to ozone pollution
Number of hazardous-chemical spills
Number of inmates per 100,000 people
Number of highway fatalities
Number of adults diagnosed with diabetes



1st in
Child population growth
Percentage of uninsured children
Percentage of home refinance loans that are sub-prime mortgage loans
(generally three to four percentage points or more higher than a
comparable prime market loan)
Amount of toxic and cancerous manufacturing emissions
Number of clean-water permit violations
Number of environmental civil rights complaints
Per capita consumption of electricity
Number of job discrimination lawsuits filed
Number of deaths attributed to floods
Number of executions

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Rude Pundit Declares War on Christmas

Read it Here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

No Exit Strategy


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Scalia is Smoking Crack Again

November 22, 2005 -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says the high court did not inject itself into the 2000 presidential election.

Speaking at the Time Warner Center last night, Scalia said: "The election was dragged into the courts by the Gore people. We did not go looking for trouble."

But he said the court had to take the case.

"The issue was whether Florida's Supreme Court or the United States Supreme Court [would decide the election.] What did you expect us to do? Turn the case down because it wasn't important enough?"

Er, Nino, Bush filed that lawsuit, not Gore. And "certiorari" is discretionary.

Bill Maher's Advice for President Bush

"Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more. There's no more
money to spend--you used up all of that. You can't start another war
because you used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term
has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Listen to your
Mom.

The cupboard's bare, the credit cards maxed out. No one's speaking to you.
Mission accomplished.

Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk
away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the
baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How
about cowboy or spaceman? Now I know what you're saying: there's so many
other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't.

I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela.
Eliminating the sales tax on yachts Turning the space program over to the
church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote.
But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now.

Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly
I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe
that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he
never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes.

On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four
airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New
Orleans.

Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm
just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side.

So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is: 'Take a hint.'"

The Hammer and the Slammer: Part II

"Promising to cooperate fully in a federal probe, a former partner of lobbyist Jack Abramoff entered a guilty plea Monday to a charge that he and the lobbyist conspired to bribe public officials, including a senior Republican member of Congress, and defrauded Indian tribes of millions of dollars.

More
here.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Senator Biden's Views on Iraq

November 21, 2005
Press Release

Biden Delivers Major Address on Iraq

***AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY***

Turning the Corner in Iraq

A speech by U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Council on Foreign Relations - New York City - November 21, 2005

Mr. BIDEN: Today, I want to talk to you about Iraq. I want to start by addressing the question on the minds of most Americans: when will we bring our troops home?

Here is my conviction: in 2006, American troops will begin to leave Iraq in large numbers. By the end of the year, I believe we will have redeployed at least 50,000 troops. In 2007, a significant number of the remaining 100,000 American soldiers will follow.

But the real question is this: as Americans start to come home, will we leave Iraq with our fundamental security interests intact or will we have traded a dictator for chaos?

By misrepresenting the facts, misunderstanding Iraq, and misleading on the war, this Administration has brought us to the verge of a national security debacle.

As a result, many Americans have already concluded that we cannot salvage Iraq. We should bring all our forces home as soon as possible.

They include some of the most respected voices on military matters in this country, like Congressman Jack Murtha. They’re mindful of the terrible consequences from withdrawing. But even worse, in their judgment, would be to leave Americans to fight – and to die – in Iraq with no strategy for success.

I share their frustration. But I’m not there yet. I still believe we can preserve our fundamental security interests in Iraq as we begin to redeploy our forces.

That will require the Administration not to stay the course, but to change course and to do it now.

And though it may not seem like it, there is actually a broad consensus on what the Administration must do.

Last week, 79 Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together and said to the President: we need a plan for Iraq.

Level with us. Give us specific goals and a timetable for achieving each one so we know exactly where we are and where we are going.

As I have been urging for some time, that will require as many changes at home as on the ground. The gap between the Administration’s rhetoric and the reality of Iraq has opened a huge credibility chasm with the American people.

The problem has been compounded by the President’s failure to explain in detail his strategy and to report regularly on both the progress and the problems.

As David Brooks reminded us in the New York Times yesterday, “Franklin Roosevelt asked Americans to spread out maps before them and he described, step by step, what was going on in World War II, where the U.S. was winning and where it was losing. Why can’t today’s president do that? Why can’t he show that he is aware that his biggest problem is not in Iraq, it’s on the home front?”

I want to see the President regain the American people’s trust. It is vital to our young men and women in Iraq today -- and to our security -- that we get this right. George Bush is our President – and he will be there for another three years. I want him to succeed.

Leveling with the American people is essential, but it is not enough.

The President has to be realistic about the mission and forget his grandiose goals. Iraq will not become a model democracy anytime soon.

Instead, we need to refocus our mission on preserving America’s fundamental interests in Iraq.

There are two of them: We must ensure Iraq does not become what it wasn’t before the war: a haven for terrorists. And we must do what we can to prevent a full-blown civil war that turns into a regional war.

To accomplish that more limited mission and to begin to redeploy our troops responsibly we must make significant, measurable progress toward three goals over the next six months:

One, we must help forge a political settlement that gives all of Iraq’s major groups a stake in keeping the country together.

Two, we must strengthen the capabilities of Iraq’s government and revamp the reconstruction program to deliver real benefits.

Three, we must accelerate the training of Iraqi security forces and transfer control to them.

Let me discuss each goal, one at a time.

POLITICAL SOLUTIONS

First, we need to build a political consensus, starting with the Constitution, that gives the Kurds, Shi’a, and Sunnis a stake in keeping Iraq together. Iraq cannot be salvaged by military might alone.

Last month, the Constitution passed overwhelmingly. But the vast majority of Sunni Arabs voted “no.” Unless changes are made by next spring, it will become a document that divides rather than unites Iraq.

All sides must compromise. Sunnis must accept the fact that they no longer rule Iraq. But unless Shiites and Kurds give them a stake in the new order, they will continue to resist it.

If the situation devolves into a full-blown civil war, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men won’t be able to put Iraq back together again.

Does anyone here support using American troops to fight a civil war against the Sunnis on behalf of the Kurds and Shiites? I don’t – and I doubt many Americans would. But if we fail to forge a political consensus soon, that is what our troops will be dragged into.

The Bush Administration was AWOL until the arrival of Ambassador Khalilzad this summer. We let the Iraqis fend for themselves in writing a Constitution. In our absence, no headway was made.

We can’t make those mistakes again. We need to be fully engaged. Next month, there is an election for the National Assembly, and I expect Sunnis to turn out in large numbers.

After the elections, we must turn our attention immediately to encouraging the Kurds and Shi’a to make genuine compromises.

Our Ambassador can’t be the only one in the room cajoling Iraqis. We need a regional strategy that persuades Iraq’s neighbors to wield their influence with the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds for political compromise. They will do it, because no one other than the terrorists has an interest in Iraq descending into civil war.

The major powers also have a stake. Europe has un-integrated Muslim populations that are vulnerable to Middle East extremism. India and China need stable oil supplies.

Our Allies must get over bruised feelings and help forge a political consensus. We must get over our reluctance to fully involve them.

We should form a Contact Group that becomes Iraq’s primary international interlocutor. That would take some of the burden off of us… and maximize the pressure on Iraq’s main groups to compromise.

I’ve called for a regional strategy and an international Contact Group repeatedly. So have three former Republican Secretaries of State – Shultz, Kissinger, and Powell. It’s what the Clinton Administration did in the Balkans. It’s what this Administration did in Afghanistan. Organized, sustained international engagement can make all the difference.

But it will only happen if America leads.

MINISTRIES THAT WORK/A RECONSTRUCTION PLAN

Second, we need government ministries that work and provide basic services, and we need to re-do the reconstruction program to deliver real benefits.

Right now, Iraq’s ministries are barely functional. They make FEMA look like the model of efficiency.

The Bush Administration belatedly has developed plans to build up the government’s capacity. But there aren’t enough civilian experts with the right skills to do the job.

We need a civilian commitment in Iraq equal to our military one. I recommend the President and Secretary of State consider ordering staff to Baghdad –- if there are shortages. Just as military personnel are required to go to Iraq, why shouldn’t the same apply to the foreign service? The dedication and courage of the foreign service officers I’ve met on my five trips to Iraq is extraordinary. They will take the toughest assignments if we ask them.

This should not be their burden alone. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Blair proposed individual countries be partnered with ministries. It’s a good idea. But it got a lukewarm reception. We should revive it.

Our military commanders tell me: we can’t defeat the insurgency unless we have a reconstruction program that makes a difference to ordinary Iraqis. Congress gave the Administration $20 billion for reconstruction. There is far too little to show for it.

Raw sewage is in too many streets. Lights are on less than half the day. The water isn’t safe to drink in too many homes.

Unemployment rates are around 40 percent. If 40 percent of Iraqis have no job and no hope, the insurgency will always find fresh recruits.

We were told before the war, oil would pay for reconstruction. Two-and-a-half years after Saddam’s statue fell, Iraq still is not exporting what it did before the war. They are 700,000 barrels per day below target. That is roughly $15 billion in lost revenues a year.

This President has the only oil company in the world losing money.

Projects have been delayed or never started. Now, the money is nearly gone, and the needs are still great. The President has yet to explain how he will fill the gap.

Of the $13.5 billion in non-American aid pledged at the Madrid conference two years ago, only $3 billion has been delivered, and even less spent.

The Administration is creating Provincial Reconstruction Teams, modeled on the civil-military effort in Afghanistan. They will focus on getting local governments to deliver services. It’s a good idea, but it’s long overdue – and it’s not enough.

We should step up our recruiting of Allied civilian experts for the reconstruction teams.

I would redirect our spending to Iraqi contractors and away from expensive multinationals. Iraqis don’t have to add a line item worth 40 percent of the value of a contract for security. I’m glad to save American taxpayers money.

And we need to get countries that have already pledged economic assistance to actually deliver it -- and pledge more.

It’s time for another Jim Baker mission. The President should ask him to convene a conference with our Gulf allies. These countries have seen huge windfall oil profits, from our pocket books. We’ve gone to war twice in the past decade to protect them and preserve security. It is past time that they step up – and give back.

BUILDING SECURITY FORCES

The third goal is to build Iraqi security forces that can provide law and order in neighborhoods, defeat insurgents, and isolate and eliminate foreign jihadists over time.

The Administration tread water on training for two years. Not until the arrival of General David Patreaus in June 2004, did we start a training program worthy of its name.

Back in Washington, all we have heard from this Administration is misleading number, after number.

In February 2004, Secretary Rumsfeld announced there were over 210,000 Iraqi security forces. He called it “an amazing accomplishment.” Seven months later he said there were 95,000. Now we’re supposedly back over 210,000 trained security forces.

When folks in Delaware hear numbers like that they ask me: why do we have 160,000 American troops in Iraq then?

What we need to know – and what the Administration has refused to tell us until recently – is how many Iraqis can operate without us, or in the lead with U.S. backing?

We’re finally starting to get answers. In September, General Casey said that, two and half years into the training program, one battalion -- less than 1,000 troops -- can operate independently. Another 40 or so can lead counter-insurgency operations with American support.

And there are real concerns that the security forces have more loyalty to political parties than to the Iraqi government that militia members dominate certain units and that others have been infiltrated by insurgent informants.

General Patreaus overhauled the training program. The result is much greater professionalism.

But training takes time. And just as it was getting on track, the Administration reassigned General Patreaus back home. That was a mistake.

The President must tell Congress the schedule for getting Army battalions, regular police, and special forces to the point they can act on their own or in the lead with American support.

We also need to accelerate our training efforts, but not at the expense of quality.

We should urge Iraq to accept offers from France, Egypt and other countries to train troops and police – especially at the officer level -- including outside Iraq

If embedding more Americans with more Iraqi units would do the job, do it.

We should devote whatever resources are necessary to develop the capacity of Iraq’s security ministries. Even the most capable troops will not make a difference if they cannot be supplied, sustained and directed.

And we must focus our efforts on the police, who are lagging behind. Establishing law and order through a competent police force is as important for Iraqis, as defeating insurgents is for us.

DEALING WITH THE INSURGENCY

That leads me to the final piece of the Iraq puzzle: forging an effective counter-insurgency strategy. Until recently, we have not had one.

Our forces would clean out a town. Then they would move to the next hornet’s nest, and the insurgents would return.

Why? Because we did not have enough U.S. troops… or any capable Iraqi troops… to hold what we had cleared.

Meanwhile, neither the Iraqi government nor our reconstruction efforts were capable of building a better future for those temporarily liberated from the violence.

The Administration finally seems to understand the need not only to clear territory, but to hold it, and then to build on it.

The critical question is this: who will do most of the clearing and the holding? We now have no choice but to gamble on the Iraqis.

In the past, I argued that we needed more American troops in Iraq for exactly that purpose. The failure to provide them… and the absence of capable Iraqis… made a “clear and hold” strategy impossible.

We also left huge ammunition depots unguarded, allowed unchecked looting, and created a security vacuum filled by Sunni insurgents, foreign jihadists and common criminals.

But the time for a large number of additional American troops is past.

What we need now is a different mix, with more embedded trainers, civil affairs units and special forces.

The hard truth is that our large military presence in Iraq is both necessary… and increasingly counter-productive.

Our presence remains necessary because, right now, our troops are the only guarantor against chaos. Pulling out prematurely would doom any chance of leaving Iraq with our core interests intact.

But our large presence is also, increasingly, part of the problem.

Two years ago, even one year ago, Iraqis were prepared to accept an even larger American presence if that’s what it took to bring security and real improvements to their lives.

Our failure to do just that has fueled growing Iraqi frustration. A liberation is increasingly felt as an occupation. And we risk creating a culture of dependency, especially among Iraqi security forces.

Even if more troops still made sense, we don’t have more to give. In fact, we cannot sustain what we have now beyond next spring unless we extend deployment times beyond 12 months, send soldiers back for third, fourth, and fifth tours or pull forces from other regions.

That is why it is virtually certain we will redeploy a significant number of forces from Iraq in 2006 and more will follow in 2007.

Assuming we succeed in preventing a civil war, perhaps 20,000 to 40,000 Americans will stay for some time after that to continue training and equipping the Iraqis to keep Iraq’s neighbors honest and to form a rapid reaction force to prevent jihadists from establishing a permanent base in Iraq.

If – if -- that redeployment is accompanied by measurable progress in forging a political settlement, building real Iraqi governing capacity and transferring control to effective Iraqi security forces, we can start the journey home from Iraq with our fundamental interests intact.

But if we fail to implement the plan I’ve described, then Iraq is likely to become a Bush-fulfilling prophecy – a terrorist training ground – and we’ll see a full blown civil war that could become a regional war.

If that happens, nothing we can do will salvage Iraq. We’ll be reduced to trying to contain the problem from afar. Those who today are calling for us to leave will be proved tragically prescient. I still believe that, if the Administration follows the plan I’ve outlined today – and if the President brings it to the American people and asks for their support -- we can start climbing out of the hole the Administration has dug and start to leave Iraq with our interests intact.

Iraqis of all sects want to live in a stable country. Iraq’s neighbors don’t want a civil war. The major powers don’t want a terrorist haven in the heart of the Middle East.

And the American people want us to succeed. They want it badly. If the Administration listens, if it levels, and if it leads, it can still redeem their faith.

Thanks for listening.

Friday, November 18, 2005

GOP to America: Fuck the Boss

Now they've really gone too far. GOP senators block a resolution to honor the 30th anniversary of Born to Run.

Big Friggin' Surprise

White House breaks its pledge of not commenting on the Plame investigation. As Think Progress reports:

"Karl Rove is commenting:

A spokesman for Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, who remains under investigation in this case, said his client didn’t discuss Ms. Plame with Mr. Woodward.

Condoleezza Rice and John Bolton are commenting:

Spokesmen for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was National Security Adviser at the time, and John Bolton, a former top State Department official and now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said neither was Mr. Woodward’s source.

President Bush, Andrew Card, Dan Bartlett and Karen Hughes, all commenting:

On Wednesday, the day Mr. Woodward’s disclosure first appeared in The Post, a long list of senior officials had sent word, either directly or through spokesmen, denying that they were the ones who provided the information to Mr. Woodward in mid-June 2003. They included Mr. Bush, Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff… Dan Bartlett, the counselor; Karen P. Hughes, former counselor and now under secretary of state for public diplomacy.

In truth, there is no policy not to comment. The policy is to issue as many denials as possible and stonewall on everything else."

A Message from Your VP



Courtesy of
Jesus' General.

Former CIA Chief: Cheney is "VP for Torture

A former CIA director has claimed that torture is condoned and even approved by the Bush government.

The devastating accusations have been made by Admiral Stansfield Turner who labelled Dick Cheney "a vice president for torture".

He said: "We have crossed the line into dangerous territory".

Read more here.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bush To America: Disagree With Me and You're "Dishonest and Reprehensible"

As Tim Grieve of Salon explains:

"The White House likes to insist that it doesn't concern itself with polls. We never believed that before, but now we're starting to wonder. How else can we explain the choice to engage in us-against-them politics on the question of Iraq?

The president's protestations notwithstanding, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have made a career out of dividing, not uniting. They came to Washington in 2000 on the losing side of the popular vote, and they did less than nothing once in office to bring the country back together. The attacks of 9/11 did that for them. Remember the 90 percent approval rating? Remember "We are all Americans"? It took time -- maybe a year too long -- but Bush and Cheney managed to squander every inch of that with divisive judicial nominations, with attacks on the environment, with cynical plays on civil rights and gay marriage, with a war that was neither necessary nor wise.

And here they are again. Revelation after revelation after revelation after revelation after revelation has shown that the Bush administration was less than truthful in its march to war, and now the president and his surrogates have struck back, not by addressing the substance of the accusations but by questioning the patriotism of those who are making them. Sen. Chuck Hagel -- a Republican -- called them out on it earlier this week, and he did it with remarkable eloquence:

"The Bush Administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them," Hagel said in a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations. "Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy nor what this country has stood for, for over 200 years ... Vietnam was a national tragedy partly because members of Congress failed their country, remained silent and lacked the courage to challenge the administrations in power until it was too late. Some of us who went through that nightmare have an obligation to the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam to not let that happen again. To question your government is not unpatriotic -- to not question your government is unpatriotic. America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices."

The president was asked this morning in Korea whether he agreed with Hagel or with the vice president, who said yesterday that criticisms of the administration's march to war are 'dishonest and reprehensible.'

'The vice president,' Bush said.

***

'Us against them' works when there's a lot of 'us' and not so many 'them.' But that's not how it is anymore. Bush and Cheney can circle the wagons and point their fingers at those on the outside. But it's small group inside the circle now, a much larger and still growing one outside. A substantial majority of the American people now believe that George W. Bush lied about the reasons for war. Keep forcing the country to take sides, Mr. President, and someone is going to be marginalized in the process. It isn't going to be them."

Cornered, Cheney Throws a Tantrum

As the Village Voice explains, the walls are closing in on Cheney.

Man Bites Dog: Pinochet Invokes the Bush Defense

Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator, has declared that God will pardon him for human rights abuses committed during his 17-year rule, according to newly released court documents.

Asked by Chilean judge Victor Montiglio about the killing of 3,000 Chilean civilians during the military government, Mr Pinochet, 89, said: "I suffer for these losses, but God does the deeds; he will pardon me if I exceeded in some, which I don't think."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More Torture

173 abused and tortured detainees found in secret jail cell.

Read more here.

Chuck Hagel to Bush: Stop Demeaning Democracy

In a speech to the Foreign Relations Council yesterday Republican Senator Chuck Hegel criticized Bush for attacking critics of the Iraq war:

"The Iraq war should not be debated in the United States on a partisan political platform. This debases our country, trivializes the seriousness of war and cheapens the service and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. War is not a Republican or Democrat issue. The casualties of war are from both parties. The Bush Administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them. Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy nor what this country has stood for, for over 200 years. The Democrats have an obligation to challenge in a serious and responsible manner, offering solutions and alternatives to the Administration’s policies.

Vietnam was a national tragedy partly because Members of Congress failed their country, remained silent and lacked the courage to challenge the Administrations in power until it was too late. Some of us who went through that nightmare have an obligation to the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam to not let that happen again. To question your government is not unpatriotic – to not question your government is unpatriotic. America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices."

Monday, November 14, 2005

O'Reilly Invites Al Qaeda To Attack San Francisco

From the November 8 broadcast of Fox News' The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: "Hey, you know, if you want to ban military recruiting, fine, but I'm not going to give you another nickel of federal money. You know, if I'm the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, 'Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead.'

And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.'"

Alito: In His Own Words

"It has been an honor and source of personal satisfaction for me to serve in the office of the Solicitor General during President Reagan's administration and to help to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly," he wrote.
"I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."

Friday, November 11, 2005

The White House Thinks You Are Stupid

Accusing Democrats of attempting to "rewrite history" of the run-up to the Iraq War, national security advisor Stephen Hadley argues that "the intelligence was clear in terms of the weapons of mass destruction," citing a National Intelligence Estimate provided to Bush. "The case that was brought to him, in terms of the NIE, and parts of which have been made public, was a very strong case."

Duh, Steve. What about the parts that weren't made public?

The whole point is that Democrats did not have access to the same intel as did the White House, nor were they aware of how the intel was being manipulated by Cheney and his gang.

Read more here.

Alito Broke His Promise to Congress Because it Was "Too Restrictive"

"Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito said yesterday that he was ''unduly restrictive" in promising in 1990 to avoid appeals cases involving two investment firms and said he has not made any rulings in which he had a ''legal or ethical obligation" to step aside.

***

Alito issued the letter one day after all eight Democrats on the committee called for voluminous records involving a 2002 case in which Vanguard was a defendant. They pointed out that Alito had promised at the time of his confirmation to the appeals court seat that he would avoid cases involving Vanguard; Smith Barney; First Federal Savings & Loan of Rochester, N.Y.; and his sister's law firm.

***

When he listed the companies in the 1990 questionnaire, ''my intention was to state that I would never knowingly hear a case where a conflict of interest existed," Alito said. ''As my service continued, I realized that I had been unduly restrictive."

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, criticized Alito's response in a statement Wednesday. ''I'm troubled to learn that Judge Alito does not stand by his 1990 promise to recuse himself from any cases involving the Vanguard companies," Kennedy said. ''His letter raises serious factual questions, as well as questions of law and judgment."

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