Thursday, May 31, 2007

Minnesota US Attorney Targeted for Supporting Voting Rights

The LA Times has the latest breakdown on the voting rights abuse "pattern" that makes up one big part of the Gonzales DOJ scandals.

It's really not that hard to understand.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Another Bush Victory In Iraq The Media Has Overlooked

The New York Times has the latest on a conservative, moral values victory that the media has mostly overlooked.

The piece is entitled: Desperate Iraqi Refugees Turn to Sex Trade in Syria.

Who Is Alan Foley?

Who was the the head of the CIA's Weapons Intelligence Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Center (WINPAC) who is reported to have made the following statement to his staff in December 2002:

"If the president wants to go to war, our job is to find the intelligence to allow him to do so."

If there is any justice, we should be hearing a lot more about this in the near future.

(vis Kevin Drum).

Conservative Christians Victimized Through Media Overrepresentation

I don't know if there is a more annoying rant than that of Conservative Christians claiming to be victims of the media.

Media Matters, however, has done a study that has bore some fruit for this rant.

Among the study's key findings:

* Combining newspapers and television, conservative religious leaders were quoted, mentioned, or interviewed in news stories 2.8 times as often as were progressive religious leaders.
* On television news -- the three major television networks, the three major cable new channels, and PBS -- conservative religious leaders were quoted, mentioned, or interviewed almost 3.8 times as often as progressive leaders.

In major newspapers, conservative religious leaders were quoted, mentioned, or interviewed 2.7 times as often as progressive leaders.

Maybe Christian conservatives wouldn't look so bad if the Pat Robertsons and Bill Donohues weren't on the airwaves all the time. Maybe if the media quit referring to conservative Christians by their chosen nick of "morals voters," others wouldn't be so offended by such arrogance.

Are Americans Willing to Accept 100+ Dead Per Month?

For the second month in a row, troop deaths in Iraq have easily surpassed the 100 mark; with 117 dead last month and 118 dead so far this month. These aren't logs to throw on the fire in the hope of warming Bush's legacy. Each one of these lives touches many others and we lose the contributions each of these valuable individuals would likely make to our society.

My rough calculation is that the surge is increasing troop deaths by approximately 50%.

America doesn't want this war, hates this President and will not stomach these deaths.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Burma's Military Dictatorship Extends Suu Kyi's Confinement

Every year the military dictatorship that controls Burma (called Myanmar by the dictators) with a brutal iron fist, plays a cruel trick on Aung San Suu Kyi, the last elected leader of Burma and its most prominent pro-Democracy leader. Within days of her release, an order is executed extending her detention for another year. The latest order was just issued. Here's CNN's report.

Suu Kyi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, has now been held in detention 11 of the last 17 years. Others in Burma's pro-democracy movement have been disappeared or killed.

The State Department will certainly throw out some critical words and then Condi will hit the shoe stores. As in the past, I won't hold my breath waiting for them to make this issue a real priority. There are, after all, gas fields just off the coast.

For more on the atrocious human rights record of Burma's military dictatorship, here are links to dozens of reports prepared by Human Rights Watch.

Finally, here's Damien Rice's great tribute to Aung. Maybe John Boehner ought to shed a tear for this one instead of a bogus fumnding victory that will cost hundreds of American soldiers their lives:

CIA Passed on Main Street Common Sense on Post-Saddam Iraq; Bush Ignored It

A commenter provides this link to a story on MSNBC detailing CIA assessments provided to the White House regarding the specific dangers posed by a Post-Saddam Iraq.

As for some potential scenarios, one report provides:

“The United States will face negative consequences with Iraq, the region and beyond which would include:

* Anarchy and the territorial breakup of Iraq;
* Region-threatening instability in key Arab states;
* A surge of global terrorism against US interests fueled by (militant) Islamism;
* Major oil supply disruptions and severe strains in the Atlantic Alliance.”

Yet, you didn't need a CIA report to understand these dangers. I heard these problems discussed incessantly before the war in water cooler talk, at anti-war marches, at coffee houses & bars, etc. Oddly, these common sense dangers were not discussed as frequently in the media. It was a weird disconnect where we kept hearing about a Post-Saddam Iraq showering us in flowers and sweets.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Burying The Minimum Wage

An overlooked political boner pulled by the Democrats was tossing the minimum wage increase into the Iraq funding bill. I guess the thinking was that a victory - finally - on a minimum wage increase would appease liberals upset over the funding bill.

Yet, a minimum wage increase was an issue that put Republicans, especially those up for reelection in 2008, in a tough spot. It is popular supported but hated by the Repugs biggest campaign contributors.

Put it in the Iraq funding bill let Republicans off the hook. They can now say that they had to place priority on funding the troops. Plus it put a lot of liberal Democrats to vote against an issue near and dear to them. Indeed, the minimum wage issue is passing through the media like a whisper on a windy night.

The Democrats should have kept pounding away on the minimum wage issue as a stand alone issue. Keep forcing the Republicans to filibuster it. Making them pay at the polls for their unpopular position. Wrapping it into the funding bill was like handing them a get-out-of-jail-free card.

The Cost of Funding ...

will be 80 plus Coalition troop lives a month.

Not a single soldier would die from defunding but 80 plus a month will die from the continuation of Bush's failed policies in Iraq.

Odd, how any body can take seriously the notion that funding the troops continued presence in Iraq is stabbing them in the back. The Republicans continue to turn the world upside down and the media pretends not to notice.

Criminals & Liars: Goodling Describes Gozales' DOJ

TPM Muckraker has this great roundup of all the bombs dropped by Monica Goodling in her testimony yesterday. It includes her calling McNutty a liar and admitting to to crimes in taking political affiliation (& religion?) into account for new hires (The Dems amazingly failed to ask who else was involved in this partisan exercise).

Missing from the TPM roundup are the admissions by Goodling of a number of inaccurate statements made by Gonzales. O Dub made the catch on this one and video of that testimony is below:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bush Finally Has Plan To End Al Qaeda

From Newsweek:

In a bold move to undermine the international terror network, President George W. Bush today named former deputy defense secretary and World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz to be the new president of Al Qaeda.

You can read the rest of Any Borowitz's hunorous piece here.

Proximity Crimes In Iraq

The New York Times has an interesting article detailing a day in the search for the three missing soldiers. In one day, one soldier is killed by a land mine that also wounds others. A second soldier is killed by a sniper's bullet. The soldiers forge forward with courage and determination.

An interesting tidbit contained in the article involves the arrest of five Iraqis who are in a building near where the land mine took the life of the American soldier. They are checked against a list of suspected insurgents and found not to be listed. They are arrested anyway purportedly for being in the "proximity" of the bombing.

It struck me as an odd tactic likely to net many innocent Iraqis and create animosity toward the Americans and Iraqi security forces in those wrongly jailed as well as their families. On the other hand, proximity arrests probably take a number of actual insurgents into custody.

My question is whether there is any evidence or studies that support this tactic. My initial thought is that it sounds likely to be counterproductive.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bush's Hostages

As everyone knows by now, Congress is apparently on the verge of caving to Bush on Iraq war funding. The word on the street - at least where I live - has been that Bush is holding the troops hostage.

It appears that point is starting to seep in. Here's Krugman:

There are two ways to describe the confrontation between Congress and the Bush administration over funding for the Iraq surge. You can pretend that it’s a normal political dispute. Or you can see it for what it really is: a hostage situation, in which a beleaguered President Bush, barricaded in the White House, is threatening dire consequences for innocent bystanders — the troops — if his demands aren’t met.

You can read more of what Krugman wrote at Economist's View.

Hot Tubbing with the Duke

TPM Muckraker does the legwork and finds this great passage from the new book The Wrong Stuff, a book written by the reporters who exposed the Duke Cunningham corruption wing:

...even Wilkes drew a line on what he would do for the congressman. For one thing, Wilkes was totally disgusted by the hot tub Cunningham put on the boat's deck during the autumn and winter. What repelled Wilkes -- and others invited to the parties -- was both the water Cunningham put in the hot tub and the congressman's penchant for using it while naked, even if everybody else at the party was clothed. Cunningham used water siphoned directly from the polluted Potomac River and never changed it out during the season. "Wilkes thought it was unbelievably dirty and joked if you got in there it would leave a dark water line on your chest," said one person familiar with the parties. "The water was so gross that very few people were willing to get into the hot tub other than Duke and his paramour." That was a reference to Cunningham's most frequently seen girlfriend, a flight attendant who lived in Maryland.

One of these parties started at the Capital Grille with Cunningham ordering his usual filet mignon -- very well done -- with iceberg lettuce salad and White Oak. Wilkes used the dinner to update Cunningham on the appropriations he wanted. Cunningham then took the whole group back to the boat where they drank more wine, sitting on white leather sofas while Cunningham told more war stories. Cunningham then took his clothes off and invited all to join him in the polluted hot tub that was hidden from the neighbors by a white tarp. There were no takers.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Repugs to Vote for Guy in Reagan Mask

In his "Modern World" strip, Tom Tomorrow posts this great 'toon.

"No Man Left Behind" Redux

The hunt for the three kidnapped American soldiers continues. According to this report the search is taking a toll on our soldiers. There is also a suggestion that the hunt has decreased the number of troops available for Green Zone security and that may explain, in part, today's mortar bombing of the Parliament Building. One fact that seems beyond dispute is that other troops are dying in this search.

Following the "No Man Left Behind" creed is a tricky proposition. I believe strongly that the policy aids troop morale generally. But I am concerned about following it when the chances of saving those are so dire that it seems we are going to lose more soldiers in an effort that is likely in vain. I discussed this issue previously regarding the captured and still missing American soldier, Ahmed Qusai Al-Taie. For him, we started with the creed and abruptly called the search of at the beckoning of Nouri Al-Maliki (acting quite possibly on a call from Al-Sadr). The decision stunk of political expediency, and quite possibly racism, instead of a calm and sober pragmatism.

Here the military leadership has put so much into the search that a pull back will be a blow to morale. On the other hand, we clearly lack the troops to conduct this search, maintain the surge and continue with all the other burdens that have been piled on our soldiers.

The optimist in me prays for the miracle that these troops are found alive. However, the realist in me believes the odds they are alive is too low to justify losing numerous other troops in the ongoing search. The military has made a tremendous effort to recover the three soldiers. An effort that any other soldier can certainly appreciate will be made on his or her sake under similar conditions. But I believe most if not all of the soldiers would not want a search and rescue effort that is becoming self-destructive to continue, even for themselves.

Parliament In Green Zone Breached Again

ABC News is reporting that a suicide bomber has killed two MPs in Iraq's Parliament Building.

This is the second time in recent weeks that suicide bombers have been able to get into the heavily-guarded Green Zone and kill MPs.

UPDATE: I misread the initial report, today's attack was a mortar bombing that struck the parliament building and resulted in no deaths. The suicide bombing reference was, in fact, a reference to the earlier attack on April 12th.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Blair In Iraq

Check out the expressions of the guys behind him.

The one on just behind his right ear is about to boot. The one in the upper left can barely contain his disdain. But its the one on the right Blair really ought to be worried about.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Immigration Reform

Looks like a compromise that virtually no one can fully understand has been reached on immigration reform.

Here is some of the little I know so far. It has an amnesty program fraught with numerous hurdles certain to frustrate more than assist. (Do these Richie Richies know how hard it will be for a working class immigrant to come up with $5,000?)

It has a guest worker program which sounds more employer friendly than worker friendly.

For citizenship, it focuses less on family and more on societal success (standards that don't seem to include having done hard, back breaking work for little pay).

So the question remains for a pro-immigration liberal like myself (and, yes, I'm aware that liberals aren't all on the same page as me on this issue), is it a worthy start that should be supported or does supporting this legislation block the ability to get something better in the future?

One undeniably good thing about it is that its causing a lot of the nutters' heads to explode.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Stoning A 17 Year Old Girl To Death: Is This What Our Troops Are Fighting For?

Remember that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you saw the video of Damien "Football" Williams slamming a cement block to the head of Reginald Denny during the LA riot of 1992.

Well, CNN has posted a brutal video of an "honor killing" in the mainly Kurdish region of Northern Iraq. Here's a link to CNN's home page where the video is located in "top stories" and "best video."

The 17 year old girl was reportedly stoned to death - in part, with what appears to be a cement clock - for falling in love with a Sunni boy. But this is no singular act of anarchy. This is the rule of law in that locale. You can see the police standing by and a horde of people involved in this murder.

Rudy's Dangerous Demagoguery

Today, we get news that two military officers are being relieved of their rank because they failed to properly protect the three American soldiers who were kidnapped and brutally murdered last June in Baghdad. Certainly, the actual murderers deserve primary blame for the death of the three soldiers and it is not appropriate to say the officers "invited" death upon the soldiers, but it is fair to hold the officers to account for the failures even if their role in the deaths of the soldiers was unintentional and passive. Indeed, it would be irresponsible not to look at the situation and determine if there was negligence or recklessness on our part that allowed these soldiers to fail prey to a known danger.

Yet, in Tuesday night's Republican debate, the nutters are cheering on Rudy for an exchange he had with Ron Paul about whether American interventionism held any blame for 9/11. Here's the exchange:

It should be noted that the first person to dumb-down this discussion is the media jackass who attacks Paul with the loaded question of whether he is saying we "invited" 9/11. Rudy then jumps in and says Paul is saying just that (even though Paul never says so) and then condemns Paul's position as absurd and one that should be immediately renounced. In doing so, Rudy is implicitly arguing that no one can decently question the secondary causes of 9/11 beyond condemning the actual perpetrators and planners of the murders. Obviously, it's in Rudy's best interest to have such a limit on talk of 9/11 in place as he can then avoid questions about his failures in placing the emergency command center in the World Trade Center, his failure to correct the manifest communication problems that existed between the New York Fire and Police Departments that appear to have lead to the many deaths and what role he played, if any, in protecting rescue workers from the contaminated air at the Trade Center sites.

Now Paul, of course, was simply restating the old line Republican formulation for noninterventionism (a position I certainly don't agree with). Not really that shocking of a position. But for his part, Paul could have done a much better job of standing up to Rudy by calling him out on twisting his words.

What concerns me the most about this exchange is the willingness of Rudy to use demagoguery to stifle a necessary discussion on how best to stop future threats of terrorist attacks. He exploits 9/11 to conjure up fear and portray himself as the tough guy savior from future 9/11s. The nutters cheer this kind of stuff wildly. But haven't we already seen this approach played out in full by our current President? And to disastrous consequences at that.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Halo 3 Set To Drop On Sept. 25th

Okay nerds, it's time to get your geek on!

Microsoft anounced today that Halo 3 for the Xbox 360 will be released on September 25th. That should be right about the time you nerds are ready to come out of whatever closet you're hiding in as you secretly play Viva Pinata.

As for me, there's no way I'll be waiting in whatever mile-long, geek-infested line you'll need to stand in to get Halo 3 at its likely midnight release. But don't be surprised when, on Xbox Live, you taste the heat from a Spartan Laser fired by some gamer playing under the Macswain tag. You'll realize then - in your death throes - that I paid some geek to wait in line for me (& mow my lawn).

The Rule of Law: Bush DOJ Style

TPM Muckraker has this tidbit on how Alberto Gonzales and the DOJ have just blown off a Congressional subpoena for the Karl Rove e-mails.

What will the children think?

Feingold Bill to Cut Funding Iraq War Goes Down

The bill went down 29-67.

First off, a big thanks to the Democrats - and note that it is Democrats alone - that are willing to stand up to the "stabbed in the back" bullshit being pimped by Bush and the rightwing nutters.

Apparently, however, a number of Dems believe the President will truly hold the troops hostage and leave them in Iraq even without funding. I guess there is evidence of that in that Bush has sent them in without the proper equipment in the first place. Still, the Congress needs to keep pressing Bush on ending this continuing tragedy.

There are no fairy tale endings to this debacle.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The "Stabbed In The Back" Cartoon

The latest cartoon controversy sweeping the country involves this lame, piece-of-shit by Michael Ramirez that was published in Investors Business Daily:

Kevin Drum believes we should "call off the language police on this one." I'm inclined to agree to the extent people are claiming it rises to the level of hate speech for which one should lose their job (something that may be happening but which I haven't seen). But I disagree to the extent Kevin seems to be tut-tutting those who are responding with a strong voice in rebutting the "stabbed in the back" meme and pointing out the Nazis' use of such propoganda.

Liberals need to stand up and go toe-to-toe against this kind of bullshit.

Just think if, in the cartoon, the word "Bush" had been used instead of the word "Congress." The Right would flip and demand not only the cartoonist's job but also his/her head on a platter 4EVAH!!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Operation Hide The Truth

BarbinMD at DK has the latest and the other surge strategy ... the strategy to hide the dead and block the press from reporting bomb attacks.

Why should our troops die for gamed results?

Friday, May 11, 2007

American Media Ignores Freedom & Democracy Protests In Pakistan

Much like the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon or Orange Revolution in the Ukraine, Pakistanis have been staging larger and larger rallies against the existing government. Here the target is Bush's dictatorial buddy Pervez Musharraf and the populace is up in arms over his heavy handed sacking of the freedom & democracy loving Chief Judge of Pakistan's Supreme Court.

The American media only seems to love freedom and democracy movements that can be exploited by the right for political gain. One that puts Bush in a pickle is ignored despite the massive implications political unrest holds for the world.

Cernig at Newshoggers gives a more complete breakdown on why this ought to be big news here in the States.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bush To World: "Terrorism Is Okay"

All Spin Zone has all the gory details on how the DOJ tanked the prosecution of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles and, as a result, Carriles is a free man. His victims, including innocent civilians, women and children, are still dead.

Bush just gave Al Qaeda, terrorists and those who support them, another talking point in their terror recruitment efforts.

Saddam Lives!!!

CNN has a report on the new Iraq's horrendous judicial system.

Allegations of coercion and torture are ignored and trials are conducted by a kangaroo court.

Can some righty please tell me why we are sacrificing our troops and spending our money to assist this government?

The Phrase "UN Oil-For-Food Scandal" Goes AWOL

Another phrase that has gone AWOL from the incredible, shrinking Republican lexicon is: "UN Oil-for-Food Scandal." One reason, of course, is that the CPA's administration of the Iraqi oil proceeds after the invaision and the end of the UN program has been a thousand fold worse in terms of corruption.

Now, The New York Times has this piece about Chevron's soon-to-be acknowledgement that it was paying kickbacks to Saddam.

The key 'graph that has rightwing blowhards running from their "principles" is this one:

According to the Volcker report, surcharges on Iraqi oil exports were introduced in August 2000 by the Iraqi state oil company, the State Oil Marketing Organization. At the time, Condoleezza Rice, now secretary of state, was a member of Chevron’s board and led its public policy committee, which oversaw areas of potential political concerns for the company.

But don't expect Norm Coleman to take to the Senate floor (where he has immunity) and level allegations of criminal behavior as he did against George Galloway and don't expect the right to call for Condi's head as it did Kofi Annan's; those would presume principled behavior.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Media Pimps For Right On Terror Plots

A few weeks ago, we had an actual bomb - a real, live imminent threat - left near a women's health clinic that performed abortions in Austin, Texas. The terrorist or terrorists involved remain at large.

Media: Yawn.

Then came the Alabama militiamen who had stockpiled weapons allegedly in a plot to shoot Mexicans.

Media: Bury it!

Now we have word that 6 muslims accused of planning an attack on US soldiers at Fort Dix. Admittedly, they posed no imminent threat.

Media: Holy Shit!!! The sky is falling!!! Red Alert!!!

Now obviously all three stories deserve coverage. But shouldn't the emphasis of the coverage be based on issues of imminence and the actual level of threat involved. Hell, the Texas terrorist(s) remains at large. Instead, the media shows its bias by emphasizing the one story that the right wants to exploit for political gain.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Best Mugshot Ever

This guy was arrested for "allegedly" inhaling toxic vapors.

UPDATE: I got tired of looking at that guys dumb mug on my blog so I pulled down the photo. Clink on the link to see the goof.

Via The Smoking Gun.

Affirmative Action For The Federalist Society; Blacks Need Not Apply

TPM Muckraker has the latest on the DOJ's war, under Bradley Schlozman, on its own Civil Rights Department.

Here's the short of it. In the Criminal Section, not a single black has been hired since 2003, and, of 50 attorneys, only two are black. The same number as in 1978.

We also know of allegations that Schlozman asked about party affiliation of one applicant and that 7 of 14 career lawyers hired by Schlozman were members of the Federalist Society or Republican National Lawyers Association. "The average US News & World Report ranking of the law school attended by new career lawyers plunged from 15 to 65," reports the Boston Globe.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Hip Hop's "No Snitch" Problem

From the NYT:

Only 40 percent of American marines and 55 percent of soldiers in Iraq say they would report a fellow service member for killing or injuring an innocent Iraqi, a Pentagon study published Friday showed.

The study, which showed increasing rates of mental health problems for troops on extended or multiple deployments, also said well over one-third of soldiers and marines believed that torture should be allowed to gain information that could save the lives of American troops, or knowledge about insurgents.

Of the 1,320 soldiers and 447 marines who took part, about 10 percent said they had mistreated civilians through physical violence or damage to personal property.

$1.5 Million Signing Bonus Given To US Attorney Who Left Office Investigating Jerry Lewis

TPM Muckraker has the breakdown on the jaw dropping NYT piece about Debra Wang Yang, the former US Attorney in California's Central District (Los Angeles).

Yang's office was charged with investigating Republican Congressman Jerry Lewis and word is the White House (via Harriet Miers) really wanted her out. Wang got out before the December firings, claiming the grand catchall - "personal reasons" - for her resignation.

Well, there were apparently 1.5 million personal reasons as that is the number of dollars she got paid as a signing bonus to go to Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, the law firm notorious for its Republican connections.

In fact, Gibby Dunn represents Jerry Lewis. So, in effect, Wang's buy-out is coming, at least in part, from Lewis' fees and probably a bunch of Lewis' Republican protectors.

This should be headline news across the country.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I-Zheet M'Drurz Remains At Large!

Today we are supposed to celebrate the killing of some Al Qaeda guy I never heard of before. While it sounds like he was a pretty bad dude and needed to be captured or killed, he was not worth all the lives expended in this Iraq folly.

Many others remain at large, and the FBI's Craig Fenson gave this list of important terrorists; none of which, to my knowledge, have yet to be captured.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Nutters Of The Mainstream Right

Here's Thomas Sowell in the National Review Online (via TNR):

When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can't help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup.

Likely, he's fantasizing about his wet dream of "Bush Forever!" He thinks if he can start spreading the meme now, it can become reality by ... oh ... how 'bout ... January 2009.

This kind of talk should be reviled. Yet, to the right, Sowell's an intellectual giant worthy of a lifetime of wingnut welfare. His twisted thoughts get published in one of their major outlets.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Wilco's New Disc Drops On May 15th

Here's California Stars set to some dudes funky homemade video.

Bush the Hypocrite, Part MCLXXXVIII

Think Progress has the get on Bush's hypocrisy about an exit strategy (a term Republicans have excised from their lexicon) and on a timetable for withdrawal.

George W. Bush, 4/9/99, Houston Chronicle:

“Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”

And on the specific need for a timetable:

George W. Bush, 6/5/99, Scripps Howard/Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

“I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.”

I would caution though that the central issue in the debate between Bush & Congressional Democrats, an issue the media keeps losing sight of, is not timetables per se but the policy issue of withdrawing versus staying.

Given Bush's intent to stay and refusal to even draft a plan for withdrawal, Congress, through its funding power, can only force the withdrawal issue through timetables.

The media needs to raise the question on whether we should be working on withdrawing (if so, support the Democrats) or whether we should be staying until some yet-to-be defined victory (if so, support Bush).

What Our Troops Are Fighting For

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki has apparently set up a sectarian shadow government.

CNN has the story. Here's a taste:

Iraq's prime minister has created an entity within his government that U.S. and Iraqi military officials say is being used as a smokescreen to hide an extreme Shiite agenda that is worsening the country's sectarian divide.

The "Office of the Commander in Chief" has the power to overrule other government ministries, according to U.S. military and intelligence sources.

Those sources say the 24-member office is abusing its power, increasingly overriding decisions made by the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interior and potentially undermining the entire U.S. effort in Iraq.

The Office, as it is known in Baghdad, was set up about four months ago with the knowledge of American forces in Iraq. Its goal is ostensibly to advise Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki -- the nation's new commander in chief -- on military matters.

As I've been saying for a long time, we are not establishing freedom and democracy in Iraq but are establishing another generation of Saddams (this time Shia), or even worse (with a Islamic fundamentalist twist).

Obama Mania Is On The Rise!

Via O Dub, we get this flick showing that Halle Berry is on board!