Thursday, June 29, 2006

Osama's Deciding Vote For Bush

I remember when the Bin Laden tape appeared on the Thursday or Friday before the 2004 Presidential Election. My thought then was, "Oh shit! This is the one thing that could cause Kerry to lose." I believe it did, in fact, have such an impact.

Kevin Drum features an excerpt from Ron Suskind's new book in which Suskind reveals that Bin Laden's tape was intended to serve just that purpose.

Suskind states:

But an ocean of hard truths before them [media pundits] — such as what did it say about U.S. policies that bin Laden would want Bush reelected — remained untouched....On that score, any number of NSC principals could tell you something so dizzying that not even they will touch it: that Bush's ratings [in the U.S.] track with bin Laden's rating in the Arab world.

Why Rightwing Bloggers Should Remain Anonymous ...

because they're WHACKED!

TRex at FireDogLake has this week's example ... Pamela at Atlas Shrugs (best known for her fake rack and the legion of "heavy breathing, one handed typists" who follow her blog).

Monday, June 26, 2006

Woody Limbaugh

... busted with a bottle of viagra prescribed to someone else.

Too funny.

Beavs Win!!!

Congratulations to the Oregon State Beavers on winning the College World Series!

I didn't go to OSU but have a plethorta of friends --- including The Neighbor --- who did.

The kids from Corvalis played with heart, winning an incredible 6 elimination games, including tonight's 3-2 thriller.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bush To Employ "Jedi Mind Trick" Against North Korean Missile

This is the tale of two news stories - one involves the hard facts of REALITY, the other pure FANTASY.

The stark light of reality regarding the horrible conditions in Iraq broke through this last week in the form of a leaked memo from the American Ambassador in Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, to the State Department. It was shocking for its detailed description of the dangerous and freedom-lacking lives Iraqi embassy employees faced outside the Green Zone. I won't go into detail as I assume most of you have read it on the liberal blogosphere (if you haven't, you can access it here), but let's just say that if I were wearing the new khaki shorts my wife and kids gave my for Father's Day in Baghdad, I would be a good candidate for a bullet.

While receiving large play in the liberal blogosphere, the mainstream media was relatively quiet about the Khalilzad memo.

The media has not been so shy about covering our second tale. The second tale involves the Bush administration's chest-thumping claim of the possibility of using our "missle defense system" to shoot down any long range missile launched as a result of North Korea's threatened test. This story is pure Bush PR spin and involves a tale that simply is not going to happen. North Korea is unlikely to launch a long range missile anywhere near us and, even if they did, we will NOT seek to intercept it and expose that our missile defense has a 0% chance of success. It has NEVER succeeded - not once - under real world circumstances and has an abysmal success rate even under the most meticulously fixed settings.

The "Jedi Mind Trick" has as much chance of success in taking down the North Korean missile.

Bush Aide GUILTY!!!

David Safavian is the latest Republican to go down.

Time to Update the Culture of Corruption Roster:


Gov. Ernie Fletcher
Rep. Tom Delay
Rep. Duke Cunningham - GUILTY
Gov. John Rowland - GUILTY
Gov. George Ryan - GUILTY
James Tobin - GUILTY
David Safavian (White House) - GUILTY
Jack Abramoff - GUILTY
Ken Lay - GUILTY
Jeff Skilling - GUILTY
Scooter Libby (White House)
Tommy Noe - GUILTY
Michael Scanlon - GUILTY
Neil Volz - GUILTY
Claude Allen (White House)
John Colyandro
Jim Ellis
Shaun Hansen
Adam Kidan - GUILTY
Chuck McGee - GUILTY
Allen Raymond - GUILTY
Tony Rudy - GUILTY
Warren RoBold
Mitchell Wade - GUILTY

Rep. Jerry Lewis
Sen. Conrad Burns
Rep. Bob Ney
Gov. Bob Taft
Karl Rove (White House)
Dusty Foggo
Nine Fingers
Ed Buckham
Brent Wilkes


Brent Pfeffer - GUILTY

William Jefferson

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Republicans' "Two-Timing Trifecta"

Taegan Godard has the breakdown on all the affairs and divorces by three of the Republicans major contenders for a Presidential bid in 2008.

Who really has more respect for the institution of marriage ... gays or these guys?

Look out for the guy on the right.

Look out for the guy on the left.


Bush & Zubaydah: The "Clear Vision" Problem

Kevin Drum points us today toward this incredible tidbit contained in Barton Gellman's review of Ron Suskind's new book:

Abu Zubaydah, his captors discovered, turned out to be mentally ill and nothing like the pivotal figure they supposed him to be....Abu Zubaydah also appeared to know nothing about terrorist operations; rather, he was al-Qaeda's go-to guy for minor logistics....And yet somehow, in a speech delivered two weeks later, President Bush portrayed Abu Zubaydah as "one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States."

[Other unrelated bungling described, all of which is worth clicking the link to read.]

Which brings us back to the unbalanced Abu Zubaydah. "I said he was important," Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. "You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" "No sir, Mr. President," Tenet replied. Bush "was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?" Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety — against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to" And so, Suskind writes, "the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered."

This is the problem with the Bushies' inability to ever admit a mistake. To do so would require changing your path to fit the circumstances. Here, it appears, it was more important to continue down a path that involved torturing a mentally ill man (though one who probably had done some heinous things) and, more importantly, wasting time and resources chasing down every utterance being coerced out of this literal whackjob's mouth.

Better that than admitting that Zubaydah's value was overstated by the President.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Japan - No Longer Willing

Japan has announced it will be withdrawing its personnel from Iraq.

I wonder if Moldova still has those 12 engineers there ... you know, the ones we paid to fly there and whose salaries we are paying and who were there, then really weren't there, until someone noticed and made them return.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Saddam's Prisons ... Still Horrid

In the continuing series of the "new boss same as the old boss", we are once again told about how the Shiite militias have infiltrated Iraq's prisons where the Shiites are continuing to engage in the wide-scale abuse and killing of Sunnis.

I wonder which corporation is cashing in on the drill bit contract?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Another Colbert Classic

Crooks & Liars has the video of Stephen Colbert's interview with Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland.

Colbert gets him to admit that he is the "do-nothingest" Conngressman and that he can't name the 10 Commandments despite supporting legislation that they be posted in public courts.

That's Odd

The Pentagon has not confirmed an American death in Iraq since last Friday, June 9th.

The last death confirmed was No. 2,497.

But now they've quietly noted that the 2,500th death has occurred.

Have they not been reporting deaths because of Bush's trip or to keep the media from having a face to go with the latest heartbreaking milestone or is there some other reason?

Judging Success in Iraq - Bush Needs New Demon

Those of us following the situation in Iraq closely tend to judge the success of the U.S. invaision by examining issues regarding the costs and supposed benefits that have resulted. We look at things like lost lives, taxpayer cost, infrastructure damage/reconstruction, whether the new government will respect human rights, etc.

The Bushies don't want you to look at these things but want to be able to claim it was all a success simply by mounting Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi to the hood of their car. While Zarqawi's death is certainly a benefit, it's impact is likely to be nominal.

The bigger problem is that this standard for success - the elimination of the latest exaggerated demon - only misleads for the short-term. With Zarqawi gone, people will start looking only at the larger factual picture. Thus, the need for a new demon ... and today, unsurprisingly, the Bushies are parading around pictures of some dope named Abu Al-Masri.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bums Over Baghdad

That would be White House appartchiks - Tony Snow and Dan Bartlett - having a Dukakis moment while flying over Iraq.

The boss was squirreled away somewhere far from the cameras curled up in the fetal position.

Iraqi Democracy

Sabrina Tavernise - who has done some excellent reporting from Iraq - posts her latest NYT must read (Qais Mizher - a new name to me - shares the byline). This time she reveals the problematic situation in Basra.

A quote that caught my eye, was this one:

"I cannot talk with you," said Sajid Saad Hassan, a professor at Basra University's agriculture college. "I haven't joined a party and no militia is protecting me."

And then there is this:

Qadim al-Muqdadi, a professor in Baghdad University's media college, explained: "Each political party believes he is better than the other at running the country. They don't rely on the power of thought; they rely on the power of the gun and the tribe."

Ahh ... what a beautiful democracy ... the Republicans must drool in envy regarding the party discipline being enforced by the Iraqi democrats.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Everything Bush Touches

Every four years, we Americans endure all the nationalistic sports coverage about how this is the year we will have a soccer team that makes a run into the late rounds of the World Cup. Inevitably, its followed by what happened today ...

the Americans taking a 3-0 ass-whoopin' from the Czech Republic.

But wait ... maybe it wasn't a case of media over-hype this time around. Buried in the AP's report of the game, I caught this possible explanation:

The Americans got a pregame pep talk from President Bush, who called from Camp David and wished them well.

Republican Humor

"I've got a map of 7-Elevens, a bunch of blue steel revolvers, and some ski masks. We're going to go all over the country and raise money in a very unique way."

-- Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), quoted by U.S. News and World Report, on how he might raise money to run for president in 2008.

(Via Taegan Godard's Political Wire).

What's next --- rape jokes?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tales of Bizarre Rightwing Projection

The Right proved again today that they don't know when to stop the self-parody.

First, we had Ann Coulter - a person who regularly exploits hate for selfenrichment - accusing 4 women who lost their husbands on 9/11 of exploiting their grief "to make a political point."

Next, there was John Bolton - a man who the right has cheered for his condescening attitude toward the UN - calling a UN aide who dared stand up to him and the Bush administration for undecutting the UN ... well ... uhm ... "condescending." Bolton's attempt to hide behind the American people by suggesting Mark Brown's criticism was aimed at us is just sickening. Bolton - it was aimed at you and you know it - the American people did not want you in this position that's why you were snuck through on a recess appointment. Only a sociopath would equate criticiusm of himself with an attack on the American people under these circumstances.

It's funny until you realize the free space Coulter is given by our media to spread her hate and that Bolton's position is actually important to saving and bettering lives throughout the world.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Whackjob Bait

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bush's Domino Effect

... has hit Somalia.

He can proudly place this success next to his end of sanctions against human rights abusing dictator Mohammar Qaddafi of Libya (a man actually involved in terrorism that resulted in American deaths).

Iraq's New Dance Craze: The Mailki Misstep

While Bush is out bashing gays ...

Iraq continues its downward spiral into anarchy. Over the weekend, the heads of 8 Sunnis (including a cleric) showed up in banana boxes. This was followed the next day by a group of thugs pulling a busload of folks over, including many high school kids, separating the Shiites from the Sunnis, and executing the more than 20 Shiites. And those are just two examples from a lengthy list of violent death being perpetrated day-in and day-out.

This all despite the fact that Bush has hailed the new "unity" government as a turning point. But just within weeks of Bush's statement, the new government is displaying troubling signs of incompetent leadership.

Bush's new man in Iraq is Prime Minister ____ Al Maliki [I'll look up his first name if he lasts out the year]. He, of course, follows in the line of earlier saviors named Garner, Bremer, Allawi and Al Jafaari. Maliki has promised to be a strongman who places priority on "security, security, security." But just this last week, he committed two major blunders that undercut his credibility as a leader.

His over-the-top generalizations of American troops committing regular human rights abuses was shocking to Americans. Maliki needs our soldiers but many must wonder about supplying such support to a man whose rhetoric puts our troops at greater danger.

More damaging may be his failure to fulfill his bold promise to nominate new leaders for the vacant spots atop the Interior and Defense ministrys. He inadvisedly set himself a deadline for putting forth the names and then failed to meet it when he could not bridge the broad sectarian divide on the issue. This certainly does not come across as a sign of strength and fosters the danger that future ultimatums will be viewed as insincere and then ignored.

I'll be candid. I don't think anyone can step into this morass and govern the whole of Iraq. But I still find it stunning that this is the best that the Bushies and their Iraqi partners can come up with.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

While You Were Looking At Harry Reid

The AP, with most of the television media following closely in tow, took us this week on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in its effort to smear Democrat leader Harry Reid. You may be so dizzy as to have missed the AP's less talked about piece concerning an actual finding by the FEC of a violation of campaign finance laws.

The lawbreaker ...

Republican Senate leader Bill Frist.

Via The Indomitable O Dub.

The Dutch & The Swedes Lead Fight for Justice on Human Rights Abuse

Good news on the human rights front!

The Netherlands had earlier agreed to host the trial of former Liberian strongman Charles Taylor and now Sweden has agreed to imprison him if he is convicted.

Bringing human rights abusers, like Taylor, to justice is no easy feat. In Taylor's case, a trial in Sierra Leone or Liberia ran a huge risk of destabilization given that he still has supporters throughout the region, including many in the Liberian parliament. The Netherlands stepped up to allow the trial there so as to avoid the impression that Taylor's prosecution is merely a matter of local political retribution.

One need merely think of how the Amins, Duvaliers and Pinochets of the past were able to escape justice for so long to realize what a sea change has occurred in order to bring today's abusers to trial.

Thanks to the good people of Holland and Sweden for being great members of an international community opposed to human rights abuse.

Insight Into Haditha & The Soldiers Who Patrol Anbar

KING TV in Seattle has posted an interview with James Crossan --- the raw footage of the interview, while lengthy, is compelling.

It gives incredible insight into what the soldiers - many very young - face in Anbar province and provides an explanation, though not an excuse, for what happened in Haditha.