Saturday, September 30, 2006

Gonzales Must Go

Traditionally, the Attorney General of the United States has been the Attorney for the United States, not the legal buttboy for the President. This has borne out over many generations, with a few notable exceptions, most of whom ended up in disgrace.

Gonzales is now warning, forcefully, judges and justices, not to 'substitute their personal views for the president's judgments in wartime.'

He said the Constitution makes the president commander in chief and the Supreme Court has long recognized the president's pre-eminent role in foreign affairs. "The Constitution, by contrast, provides the courts with relatively few tools to superintend military and foreign policy decisions, especially during wartime," the attorney general told a conference on the judiciary at Georgetown University Law Center.

"Judges must resist the temptation to supplement those tools based on their own personal views about the wisdom of the policies under review," Gonzales said.

And he said the independence of federal judges, who are appointed for life, "has never meant, and should never mean, that judges or their decisions should be immune" from public criticism.

"Respectfully, when courts issue decisions that overturn long-standing traditions or policies without proper support in text or precedent, they cannot _ and should not _ be shielded from criticism," Gonzales said. "A proper sense of judicial humility requires judges to keep in mind the institutional limitations of the judiciary and the duties expressly assigned by the Constitution to the more politically accountable branches."

Just impeach his ass.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Shrillness Rules

Atrios wants us all to be 'shrill', since the whole quiet 'lambs to the slaughter' meme isn't working. Cenk (at HuffPo) seems to be catching the spirit:

When we fight back against the Republicans on an issue of colossal importance like the new Torture Bill, I often hear from people that we shouldn't do it because "we have to win" politically. To which I want to scream - No shit, Sherlock!

Really, you wanted to win? I never thought of that.


On the other hand, if you fight all the time, you fight hard, you fight sloppy, you fight clean, you fight with conviction - you become a fighter. And then people get scared of you! They know to not even nominate a guy like Sam Alito because he won't have a chance. You'll rip him apart in the hearings.

Yes, you might screw up a couple of things along the way, but in the end, you send the message. We are strong and we will not back down under any circumstances. We are fighters!

We will fight to protect the United States, we will fight to protect the constitution, we will fight for our laws, we will fight for our values, we will fight for you and your family, we will fight for morality and we will fight to keep you safe and America proud.

That's how you win.


And through all of these losses, I have been told that "we have to win." I'm going to put that down in the ironic category. As long as we don't root out this loser mentality that the Republicans will beat us up if we dare to take them on, we will never win first.

Even if the Democrats manage to take one of the Houses of Congress this election because of historic mistakes by the Republicans (and then they'll be all proud as if they earned it - this is the worst administration in history, you should be wiping the floors with them), you think they're going to stand up then?

I'm not so sure. I know there are genuine fighters on the Democratic side. I know a majority of the party voted the right way on this torture bill. I know they are infinitely better than the Republicans who don't just assent to the idea of torture and secret detentions, they relish it.

My guess is that people like Henry Waxman, John Conyers and Louise Slaughter are going to take the fight to these guys. But I am not at all sure the rest of the party will follow. I can see it now - you don't want to seem too partisan by doing hearings before the 2008 election, remember we have to win in 2008 ...

Wrong, Unconstitutional

From WaPo:

Speaking about today's passage of the execrable Detainee Bill:

"This is wrong. It is unconstitutional. It is un-American," said Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the committee's top Democrat. He said it was intended to choke off access to Guantanamo to "ensure that the Bush-Cheney administration will never again be embarrassed by a United States Supreme Court decision reviewing its unlawful abuses of power."

Most Republicans said lawsuits from Guantanamo inmates were clogging the courts and detracted from the war on terrorism.

Those poor courts; wouldn't want to overwhelm with having to do justice things or anything... how pre-9/11!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Froomkin Speaks

From today's White House Briefing:

Today's Senate vote on President Bush's detainee legislation, after House approval yesterday, marks a defining moment for this nation.

How far from our historic and Constitutional values are we willing to stray? How mercilessly are we willing to treat those we suspect to be our enemies? How much raw, unchecked power are we willing to hand over to the executive?

The legislation before the Senate today would ban torture, but let Bush define it; would allow the president to imprison indefinitely anyone he decides falls under a wide-ranging new definition of unlawful combatant; would suspend the Great Writ of habeas corpus; would immunize retroactively those who may have engaged in torture. And that's just for starters.

It's a red-letter day for the country. It's also a telling day for our political system.

The people have lost confidence in their president. Despite that small recent uptick in the polls, Bush remains deeply unpopular with the American public, mistrusted by a majority, widely considered out of touch with the nation's real priorities.

But he's still got Congress wrapped around his little finger.

Today's vote will show more clearly than ever before that, when push comes to shove, the Republicans who control Congress are in lock step behind the president, and the Democrats -- who could block him, if they chose to do so -- are too afraid to put up a real fight.

The kind of emotionless, he-said-she-said news coverage, lacking analysis and obsessed with incremental developments and political posturing -- in short, much of modern political journalism -- just doesn't do this story justice.

Detainee Court Access Amendment Voted Down

In a narrow victory, more notable for the fact that Republican defections outnumbered Democratic, the Senate voted down the Specter-Leahy amendment that would have allowed detainees the right to challenge their incarceration in court.

The Senate today narrowly rejected a measure that would have allowed suspected terrorists to challenge their detention in federal court, as the body moved closer to passing a White House-backed bill to authorize special military tribunals for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.

In a key vote on an amendment sponsored by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Senate voted 51 to 48 against deleting from the bill a provision that rules out habeas corpus petitions for foreigners held in the war on terrorism. The writ of habeas corpus, which is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, allows people to challenge in court the legality of their detention, essentially meaning that they cannot be held indefinitely without charge or trial.

In the vote on the Specter-Leahy amendment, 43 Democrats and one independent were joined by four Republicans in the unsuccessful effort to include the provision. Fifty Republicans and one Democrat voted against the amendment, and one Republican did not cast a vote.

The four Republican senators voting for the measure were Lincoln D. Chafee of Rhode Island, Gordon H. Smith of Oregon, John E. Sununu of New Hampshire and Specter. Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska was the lone Democrat to vote against it. Not voting was Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Me.).

This bill is an abomination. This amendment, while only a bit of lace and silk piled on Frankenstein's monster, was at least a baby step in the right direction. Every Senator who voted for this has abrogated his duties to 'protect and defend' and forfeited his right to BE a Senator. Find out if your Senator voted against the amendment and vote him, if you have to wait another four years for the opportunity. This is treason.

Cenk Strikes Again

Cenk Uygur, at HuffPo, has a great rant about the Detainee Bill (why don't we call it what it is, the End of America as We Know It Bill?) He sums it all up pretty well.

I can understand if the average citizen doesn't comprehend the idea of habeas corpus, but a United States senator? It is the foundation of western government. An accused must be allowed to see a judge. If the executive branch has the sole authority to hold people indefinitely without ever charging them, we cease to be a civilized country. That is nearly the textbook definition of tyranny. What is left of America?!

What have you let Al Qaeda do to us? You let them win by destroying who we are.

No more excuses. Any Republican who votes for this tomorrow can never be called anything but radical. Any journalist that calls any of them moderate again should be fired on the spot. Any Democrat who votes for this is the worst kind of coward. I am tired of giving them one more chance. Stand up, you spineless weaklings. You have the right to filibuster to protect all of us against this very thing. Use it!!!

There's also a link to the very powerful NYT editorial blasting the bill, the Congress, and the Admin.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

NIE Release Causes Ruckus

Keep lying and getting caught at it long enough, and even the Gang of 500 may start to question your veracity. Wapo on the NIE release:

In announcing yesterday that he would release the key judgments of a controversial National Intelligence Estimate, President Bush said he agreed with the document's conclusion "that because of our successes against the leadership of al-Qaeda, the enemy is becoming more diffuse and independent."

But the estimate itself posits no such cause and effect. Instead, while it notes that counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged and disrupted al-Qaeda's leadership, it describes the spreading "global jihadist movement" as fueled largely by forces that al-Qaeda exploits but is not actively directing. They include Iraq, corrupt and unjust governments in Muslim-majority countries, and "pervasive anti-U.S. sentiment among most Muslims."


In describing Iraq as "the 'cause celebre' for jihadists," the document judges that real and perceived insurgent successes there will "inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere," while losses would have the opposite effect. It predicts that the elimination of al-Qaeda leaders, particularly Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed after the estimate was completed in April, would probably leave that organization splintered into disparate groups that "for at least a time, pose a less serious threat to U.S. interests" than the current al-Qaeda structure.

John at AmericaBlog has a wrap-up of media response.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Larry Johnson on the NIE

At TPM, Larry Johnson analyzes and explains a lot about the NIE; the hows, whys, and wherefores. Good Stuff, with some useful links as well.

The NIE That Wasn't... isn't ... er, whatever. Hot on the news that Shrub will release the Iraq NIE that has everyone's panties in a wad (although scrubbed to non-existence, I'm sure), comes the news that there's ANOTHER Iraq NIE, only apparently, it's so bad that Bu$hCo decided NOT to call it an NIE, cuz those have to be shared with the boys on the Hill, and you can't trust them not to air you undies, particularly if they're slightly soiled.

Bolton Nomination Dead?

Looks like they've finally driven a stake through this puppy.

Monday, September 25, 2006


The FBI has apparently started talking about the anthrax attacks again. You remember. As the dust of 9/11 settled, five people were killed by anthrax which was sent through the mail, some of it to Capitol Hill. A lot of sound and fury at the time, then nothing, absolute silence for five years.

And now, there's 'word' that the FBI is 'widening' its investigation (really? NOW?) It also appears that a lot of what we were told about the anthrax in 2001 was (gasp!) incorrect (and not in the 'erring on the side of caution' sense!) So, now, five years later, with massively lowered rhetoric, the FBI makes announcements about it.

If this weren't election related, why announce anything now? It's not like the public is clamoring for updates on on-going investigation. In lower profile cases like this, is it usual for the FBI to announce anything but an arrest (they don't like to look incompetent and anything short of an arrest appears incompetent.) Is it just an attempt to rile the electorate and add additional 'you're all going to DIE!!!!! if you don't re-elect us Repugs!' factor to the election?

Booman sums it up best (not just for THIS, but for any subject discussed by the Govt):

Here's a piece of advice: Believe nothing this administration tells you. Nothing. Either they were lying then or they are lying now.

Booman has a good then and now comparison of FBI statements that highlights the hypocrisy. And in this administration, if you can highlight an hypocrisy, you've got good aim.....

What's Wrong with the MSM......

... in four easy pictures.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

It's Official

The War in Iraq is crippling the War on Terror and making the whole situation worse.

Wanna Scare Yourself Shitless?

Read Gary Hart's little ditty (at HuffPo) on the possible (probable?) run up to trashing Iran. The really scary part is that every word makes sense, and that should scare the shit out of you if nothing else.

The steps will be these: Air Force tankers will be deployed to fuel B-2 bombers, Navy cruise missile ships will be positioned at strategic points in the northern Indian Ocean and perhaps the Persian Gulf, unmanned drones will collect target data, and commando teams will refine those data. The latter two steps are already being taken.

Then the president will speak on national television. He will say this: Iran is determined to develop nuclear weapons; if this happens, the entire region will go nuclear; our diplomatic efforts to prevent this have failed; Iran is offering a haven to known al Qaeda leaders; the fate of our ally Israel is at stake; Iran persists in supporting terrorism, including in Iraq; and sanctions will have no affect (and besides they are for sissies). He will not say: ...and besides, we need the oil.


In more rational times, including at the height of the Cold War, bizarre actions such as unilateral, unprovoked, preventive war are dismissed by thoughtful, seasoned, experienced men and women as mad. But those qualities do not characterize our current leadership.

For a divinely guided president who imagines himself to be a latter day Winston Churchill (albeit lacking the ability to formulate intelligent sentences), and who professedly does not care about public opinion at home or abroad, anything is possible, and dwindling days in power may be seen as making the most apocalyptic actions necessary.

Clinton Slays Anti-Christ!!!

Film at ThinkProgress!

It's always amazed me that the able, useful, brilliant Mike begat the useless, pointless, sack o'shit Chris. Well, young Mr Wallace bit off a trifle more than he could chew when he tried to ambush Big Bill on Faux News the other day (for broadcast this morning.) The transcripts have been all over the blogosphere this week, and were great reading; the clips are finally hitting the net, and are even better watching. Go watch a master bitchslap a lying cunt of a Fauxnews operative and enjoy the sport of it all. And pretend ANYONE in the Dem Party today could do the same with the same panache.

(Transcript also available at the link above)


I link to the Washington Post a lot for news, but not much for commentary (except Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing, which is indispensable reading), and today's column from 'the Dean', David Broder, shows why.

Broder has been almost desperate in his heaping of praise on the 'Independents' (the three torture compromisers and Joementum, primarily) and seeking bipartisanship more desperately than Diogenes looked for a non-Repug. It's been almost funny, but today's column is just over the top. I think Broder must have vacationed in some sunny clime without a hat.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

All Torture, All the Time....

Nathan Hammersmith at dKos has a great summation of the quality of McCain, et al, in Rebels? Mavericks? Assholes, More Like. Great read.

So, to the media, I say this: If spineless wretches like John McCain, John Warner and Lindsey Graham are rebels and mavericks, then what the holy fuck are Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Jesus, Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, Marcus Garvey or John/Robert Kennedy, say, now that "rebel" and "maverick" mean "dickless bastard with a seriously damaged moral compass who'd happily give the thumbs-up to whatever a depravity-addled child of privilege desires"? I'll tell you what they are: mavericks and rebels. As for McCain, Warner and Graham, they're partisan shitfucks who put their country's welfare - and its citizens - dead last.

Again, to the media: fuck you very much.

Nathan needs to learn to let go and say what he feels.

Bin Laden Dead.....Again.....

I want to see a body. Habeas Corpus, baby! Till I see a body, I ain't givin' up my duct tape!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Why electing Dems matters

mcjoan at dKos has a great post on the torture debacle and ends with the following, which pretty much sums it all up neatly:

The New York Times and the Washington Post have now both laid bare the truth about the would-be maverick GOP rebels. It comes down to this: the only way the Bush administration will be held accountable is with a Democratic Congress. The only opposition this administration will ever have is from Democrats.

That has to start now. The Democrats have been absent from this debate for too long. Going to the mattresses on this legislation is not only the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do. The American people, the media, the Democratic base have to know that finally, there is a line over which this administration and it's enablers like McCain and all his Rubberstamp colleagues can't go. That's the line that further diminishes our moral standing in the world, that endangers our own men and women in uniform, that is one more step toward the coronation of the worst president in our history as king.

Oh Jeez

Well, we all pretty much knew it would happen, but sorta hoped, somehow, the Rebel Repugs would grow a set and actually stand up to the Preznit. But, wishes not being fishes, they didn't and we're all fucked. The not-so-big three, Warner, Graham, and McCain, basically caved in to the Presidiot's demands and gave him most of what he wanted.

This is going to shred what's left of our reputation in world circles, inflame the Muslim 'street', and put our troops, in Iraq and anywhere there's conflict, in more danger. TPM reader JC spells this out pretty bleakly.


THE GOOD NEWS about the agreement reached yesterday between the Bush administration and Republican senators on the detention, interrogation and trial of accused terrorists is that Congress will not -- as President Bush had demanded -- pass legislation that formally reinterprets U.S. compliance with the Geneva Conventions. Nor will the Senate explicitly endorse the administration's use of interrogation techniques that most of the world regards as cruel and inhumane, if not as outright torture. Trials of accused terrorists will be fairer than the commission system outlawed in June by the Supreme Court.

The bad news is that Mr. Bush, as he made clear yesterday, intends to continue using the CIA to secretly detain and abuse certain terrorist suspects. He will do so by issuing his own interpretation of the Geneva Conventions in an executive order and by relying on questionable Justice Department opinions that authorize such practices as exposing prisoners to hypothermia and prolonged sleep deprivation. Under the compromise agreed to yesterday, Congress would recognize his authority to take these steps and prevent prisoners from appealing them to U.S. courts. The bill would also immunize CIA personnel from prosecution for all but the most serious abuses and protect those who in the past violated U.S. law against war crimes.

In short, it's hard to credit the statement by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) yesterday that "there's no doubt that the integrity and letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions have been preserved." In effect, the agreement means that U.S. violations of international human rights law can continue as long as Mr. Bush is president, with Congress's tacit assent. If they do, America's standing in the world will continue to suffer, as will the fight against terrorism.

Update: Wapo has a compelling column by Vladimir Bukovsky, who knows whereof he speaks, when he talks about the slippery slope this will be for us if we go the “torture is okay” route.

One nasty morning Comrade Stalin discovered that his favorite pipe was missing. Naturally, he called in his henchman, Lavrenti Beria, and instructed him to find the pipe. A few hours later, Stalin found it in his desk and called off the search. "But, Comrade Stalin," stammered Beria, "five suspects have already confessed to stealing it."

Also out of the Wapo family, Dan Froomkin’s White House Briefing starts out perfectly:

Pay no attention to the news stories suggesting that the White House caved in yesterday.

On the central issue of whether the CIA should continue using interrogation methods on suspected terrorists that many say constitute torture, the White House got its way, winning agreement from the "maverick" Republican senators who had refused to go along with an overt undoing of the Geneva Conventions.

The "compromise"? The Republican senators essentially agreed to look the other way.

Once again (see Monday's column ) there was so much disingenuousness flying through the airwaves that straight news reporting simply wasn't up to the task of conveying the real meaning of the day.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Interestinger and Interestinger

Senate Judiciary commitee defeats WH torture bill. I don't know if this is just Spector trying to get in on the 'Bush Free' vibe the GOPers are trying to develop, or if it was indeed an act of conscience (bet you know which way I lean on that one!), but it is another blow to the WH in their vile conspiracy to innoculate themselves against past misdeeds and allow future misdeeds. Tentative thumbs up to the Juds.

Great Idea

One of my pet peeves is the whole electronic voting debacle. It's wrong on so many levels, not the least of which is the idealogical bias of the guys that own and run the companies in charge of it all.

Brad Friedman, at HuffPo, has a great post for remedying the situation, at least for this election cycle.

Frist IS a Moron.....

...and Reid is SOOO kewl.

Billy Boy went on a rampage Monday, in the Senate, blaming the Dems for the do-nothing Congress. Reid counter-attacked, then Reid and Durban went Abbott and Costello on his ass, on the floor of the Senate. Rich Stuff! Bob Geiger at Huff Po reports.

Treading Water

Eric Boehlert, at Media Matters, has a long post today on the press's continuing fascination with the non-existent Bush Bounce. Shrub is mired in longest, lowest approval rating miasma of any President ever (it may not be true, but in Presidential Poll report, accuracy is for suckers) and yet. with every poll, some if not all of our Fourth Estaters are trying, desperately, longingly, to show that THIS is indeed the long predicted Bush Bounce.

Is it just the desire not to be proven wrong (looking over the last few years of reportage, has that really been a problem for anyone but HRH Judy Miller?) or what? I don't understand it at all. Bu$hCo treats the press like something to scraped off their shoe and these guys fall all over themselves to fellate the Regal Appendage.

He also discussed Shrub's poll results and their place within historic context; how this is the worst performance by any modern President. And the fact that this is never, ever, under any circumstance mentioned, except to lie that it isn't all that bad in comparison. But it is:

Here then, is some much-needed historical perspective to put Bush's standing in context:

  • According to Gallup, on the eve of President John F. Kennedy's 1963 assassination, he was suffering the worst job-approval ratings of his presidency -- 58 percent.
  • In 1968, when the war in Vietnam was claiming hundreds of U.S. casualties each week, President Lyndon Johnson was considered so unpopular that he didn't even run for re-election. Johnson's average Gallup approval rating for that year was 43 percent.
  • When Reagan's second term was rocked by the Iran-Contra scandal, his ratings plummeted, all the way down to 43 percent.
  • This year, according to the Gallup numbers, Bush has averaged an approval rating of 37 percent.

Bush's dismal ratings put him well within range of the country's recent failed presidencies, like the one of his father, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon. That's the historical company Bush keeps, although you'd never know that from journalists who refuse to connect the dots and refuse to treat Bush's second term as the failure that a majority of Americans say it is.

Well, I Feel Better Now

In today's Wapo, Gen Abizaid is quoted, when asked whether we're winning in Iraq:

"Asked point-blank whether the United States is winning in Iraq, Abizaid replied: 'Given unlimited time and unlimited support, we're winning the war.'"

By Their Words.....

In his speech yesterday, Preznit Numbnuts called on Muslims to abandon extremism and listen to 'voices of moderation' amongst them. There's a psychological phenomenon in which the crazy (technical term, sorry!) person sees the things he hates most in himself in other he hates or fears; I've forgotten the term, so sue me! It seems this is, as in much of Shrub's expository excesses, true in the War on Terrah.

He calls for 'the enemy' to listen to voices of moderation when he's muzzled, fired, or ridiculed the same amongst his own people. He appeals to the UN to follow the UN's own Universal Declaration of Human Rights, while it prohibits torture and calls for access to 'a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.' The very things he's trying to eliminate in his kabuki drama with McCain and Huckleberry.

See to that plank in your own eye, Mr President, and let the rest of us worry about the motes in ours.

Do You Feel Safer?

Daily, if not hourly, Preznit Chimp tells us HE has made us safer from terrah by swing his big manly, Texas (via Connecticut/New Hampshire/Maine, all well known Texas counties) dick at whoever raised his ire at that moment. So a moment of contemplation.

Five years ago today (and everyone sing Happy Birthday, cuz they ARE watching) the Department of Homeland Security was formed. Five years of making America safer. Savor the safetyness!

In that five years, the Terror Alert Level (ooooo) has been at YELLOW ("Be sorta/kinda afraid, and vote for US or die!") Level with a few sorties into the Orange ("Be pretty much paranoid, turn in those pesky brownskinned folks, and vote for US or DIE!") Level. You'd think, given the STERLING (not a level but what they're stealing in DHS contracts) job they've done protecting us, that we might have dropped into BLUE ("Relax a LITTLE and vote for US or maybe get a cold!") level for at least ONE 24 hour period, wouldn't ya? Just asking. I'm not asking for Green, just a delightful day of Blue.


I dont know how much of this is real and how much is smoke and mirrors (and with McCain and Graham in the mix, there's bound to be a LOT of smoke and mirrors), but the very fact that the US Fucking Senate is debating how much torture we should allow in order to win hearts and minds is just sickening. The Framers must be SOOOO proud. But what can you expect from folks who wake every morning and remind themselves, "Who Would Jesus Torture?"

Coup News

Well, it appears Thailand threw a coup and no one came. In what appears to be a completely bloodless (at least Thaksin gets home!) coup, the Thai armed forced overthrew the TRT govt and made the usual noises about elections down the road (in Thailand, amazingly enough, that almost always happens!) No reports of any deaths or injuries, and only two arrests: Thaksin's deputy PM and the coup-ers boss, the defense minister (maybe it was just a big job grievance?)

Bill in Portland Maine, at dKos, has the best summary:

HMM... to a strange little coup. In Thailand yesterday, tanks surrounded government offices and the army seized control of the media. They then declared a holiday, arrested the vice president and defense secretary, and vowed to keep the government's corrupt, power-abusing leader out of the country. Hey, can you guys come over and do the same thing for us??

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bangkok Blues?

Apparently (per CNN 'broken' news), there's a coup of some sort underway in Thailand. Tanks etc rolling into Bangkok, while Thaksin is in NYC at the UN. Could be interesting days in the Land of Smiles.

Sigh! There goes the bolthole I'd planned to escape to when Bush cancels the '08 elections! :)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Powell Fights Back

Bu$hco punching bag, Colin Powell, has struck back , seeking the remnants of his dignity. He lambasted the proposed 'clarifying' of the Gen Con statutes and questioned the results of the attempt on whatever's left of the US's reputation (moral high ground...what's that?) And he's starting to show some regrets for that whole messy Iraq thing he helped foment and just generally smacking back at Bu$hco. Way to grow a pair, Colin!

Powell, elaborating on a position first expressed last week in a letter to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), also argued that the administration's plan to "clarify" U.S. obligations under the Geneva Conventions would set a precedent for other nations that would endanger U.S. troops.


Powell has said he regrets that the Iraq invasion was launched on the basis of false intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs and Hussein's relationship with al-Qaeda, information that he vouched for in an address before a hostile United Nations. He has also said that he believes the administration should have sent more troops to invade Iraq and provided a better postwar plan.

Powell also allowed his name to be identified among those opposed to Bush's nomination of his former State Department subordinate, John R. Bolton, as Washington's U.N. ambassador.

Torture R Us

I've said it before, I'll say it again: torture, unless you're Jack Bauer, does not work. AJ at Americablog has a great post on this today.

Torture is a great technique for making people say what you want. Looking to convert people to your religion? Torture is a quick way to do it (or to at least have people declare their conversion, more specifically). Want to have citizens declare allegiance to your autocratic state? Again, torture is the way to go. Need a confession, and not too concerned whether or not it's true? Yea for torture! Torture frequently elicits lies, specifically lies designed to satisfy the torturer and therefore end the pain -- and believe me, people will say anything to end the kind of pain and terror that comes from torture, even as a result of methods that don't leave physical scars, such as waterboarding. The information that comes from torture is of such questionable reliability that it is often hard to take seriously, and there are great risks of being diverted from accurate information through chasing down fake leads from people who lie to escape the pain.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Orianna Fallaci Dies

Orianna Fallaci, the incendiary Italian journalist, died yesterday of cancer in Florence, Italy. She was one of the most influential and divisive figures in journalism in recent (well, since the Viet Nam era) times. She managed to interview most of the major figures of the day from Qaddafi to Kissinger to Khomeni (is there a K-sound thing going on here?), generally elicited from them a) a brilliant interview and b) a sense of relief when she departed.

In recent years, her star was dimmed by her militant anti-Islamicism (she was on trial in Italy for defaming Islam.... like OSB hasn't done enough on that front?) As someone who fears fundamentalism in ALL religions, I can understand her fears, if not her solitary focus on Islam.

I hope, in the long run, she will be remembered for her stellar brilliance, and not her recent obsessions.

Prop 89

If I were designing a campaign finance reform law, California's Proposition 89, which those of us blessed/cursed to live in the Golden State will get to vote on in November, would just about match it line for line. It's a good combination of public financing without prohibiting private financing (just making it irrelevant.)

George Skelton, in the LA Times wrote a column the other day, in which he basically cried for the need for Prop 89, then set up a bunch of straw men to bash it. Kevin at Washington Monthly takes him to task well in his post yesterday.

This may be the most important domestic issue of our lifetimes. The only way to get control of government back from the corporate interests, and to get government to consider any ramifications of legislation other than how it affects (big) business, is to get the money out of the election process. As long as elected officials are dependent on big donors to get elected, and have to spend, by most estimates, at least HALF their time in office, shilling for bucks for the next election (and yes, I'm unalterably opposed to artificial term limits), we are doomed to pols sucking at the corporate tit and shitting on the rest of us.


I'm also pro Prop 87 and anti 88 (only cuz I smoke cigars and Rob Reiner's proposition is already bleeding me to death!) ;)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Is it just coincidence or is the first President not to understand Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions also the stupidest President we've ever produced (and we've produced a couple of doozies.....)?

It's pretty simple, Preznit Bozo. If you're worried about CIA junior officers not understanding the intricacies of Article 3, just issue a Presidential Directive:

If, at any point, now or in the future, some person, somewhere, might, in any way, consider the actions to be undertaken as some form of torture, don't undertake them.

Short, simple, understandable, even by Republicans.

Ney to Plead?

From the Plain-Dealer, via TPM:

Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney has agreed with the Justice Department to plead guilty to at least one criminal charge in a deal that could be announced as early as Friday, Capitol Hill sources said Thursday....

Capitol Hill sources close to Ney said the plea agreement was ready to be publicized on Thursday, but an announcement was delayed to avoid influencing a special election in Ney’s congressional district.

Adieu Ann

Growing up in Texas, my favorite governor, and probably my favorite person in politics, was Ann Richards. She was smart, funny, clever, and good, in the soul sense. Her loss to W for the Guv's office almost turned me off politics (it was all of our first exposure to the wonder that is Rove!)

There are a variety of memorials and stories of her on line today. The two best are from her long time bud, Molly Ivins, and dKos poster, wmtriallawyer.

Bye Ann. Go with God.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Deja Boom

I opened the day at Talking Points and the first post is:

U.N. Inspectors dispute U.S. intel report on Iran nuclear capability.

I mean word for word (with an exchange of ONE letter), we could have had the same headline in 2001-2-3.

Who we gonna believe this time? The Nobel Prize winners or the war criminals?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Olbermann Strikes Again!

KO finished tonight's show with another commentary, this time blasting Bush for politicizing 9/11 and doing nothing constructive, period. As good or better than the two earlier ones.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Lessons of 9/11

From John at Americanblog:

The lessons of September 11
by John in DC - 9/11/2006 01:31:00 PM

  • The Constitution only applies when the going gets easy.
  • War is the answer, even when you forget the question.
  • The truth is for sissies.
  • America has never faced an enemy as dangerous and as intent on killing us as King George, the Civil War, World War I, the Germans, the Japanese, a nuclear Soviet Union Al Qaeda.
  • The real September 11 story was badly in need of editing.
  • Just because they say it makes it so.
  • We have always been at war with Oceania.
  • A fool is born every election day.
  • Due process is for the innocent.
  • Patriotism means never having to say you're sorry.
  • It's all Sandy Berger's fault.

These Guys are Scared Shitless!!!

From Josh at TPM this morning

Are you a Republican political operative with experience in dirty tricks and campaign-related criminal conduct? It may be time to dust off your resume.

You may have noticed the article in Sunday's Washington Postwhich explains that Republicans now believe that their only hope for avoiding electoral catastrophe in November is to put all their resources into hardball personal attacks against Democratic candidates around the country.

And who have they chosen to head up the effort?

According to the Post, that man is none other Terry Nelson.

Check out the article to find out who/what Terry Nelson is (hint: the words 'unindicted co-conspirator' figure prominently!)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Oh, Babeeeee... Bring on the Barristers!

According to a number of blogospheric sources, Path to 9/11 aired UNEDITED on Aussie and Kiwi TV tonight (this morning, whatever, damned International Date Line!!). AND will be broadcast, unedited, in Britain, tonight.

I don't know about Australia and New Zealand, but in Britain, the libel laws all but encourage the wounded party to sue for libel/defamation. And the penalties can be horrendous. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see one or more of the troika of CLinton, Albright, and Berger sue the bejeesus out of whichever network in the UK shows this excremental extravaganza, and makes me wonder if they can rope in ABC over there as well. It wouldnt be as easy here, tougher hurdles to jump, but it sounds to me as if this situation could clear most of the initial hurdles and get into court in the US. This will be fun to watch.

As someone (John @ Americablog?- I didnt make notes) said yesterday... ABC could soon stand for Albright,Berger,Carter.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

ABC's 'Path to 9/11'Still On Sched

Has Bob Iger replaced Doug Feith as the 'fucking stupidest man on the planet'?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy Birthday, Capt Kirk

I didnt know this, but Bill in Portland, Maine at dKos clues us in (as he does so often and so well) that today is the fortieth anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek (the original series, you young whippersnappers!)

I can remember waiting for it to show up, as a 12yo scifi fan, and just being in love with the series (no matter how cheesy and corny it sometimes seems in retrospect, it was LIGHTYEARS AHEAD (pun intended) of anything else on TV back in the olden days), and actually crying when I heard it had been cancelled. So track down an episode tonight, fry up some tribbles for light snacking, and celebrate with Capt. James Tiberius Kirk. If that doesn't work, track down the Comedy Central roast of Shatner..... the comedians are mostly worthless on it (WTF is Andy Dick doing there?), but the clips of the Shat from his heyday are PRICELESS!!!!

Bolton Nomination Dead

From TPM:

Several well-placed sources close to the Bolton nomination process have reported to me that the Bolton confirmation process is now dead.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is "highly unlikely" to reconsider Bolton's confirmation again as things now stand.

One insider reported, as far as the Committee is concerned, "we consider the confirmation over. It's dead."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Well, Good!

For reasons unknown, Sen. Lugar has pulled the vote on UN Amb (interim) Bolton from Thursday's committee mtg.

From Forbes:
Lugar said he removed the nomination from the agenda of Thursday's committee meeting after conferring with several senators.

Maybe they can't even get him out of committee?

Follow the Money

In all the flap about Path to 9/11 coming up (maybe) on ABC, I had missed the little fact that it's being presented commercial free. Which brings up the interesting question: who is paying for this piece of crap to be shown? Disney isn't going to show this out of the goodness of their heart (insert your own punchline here). Therefore, someone is 'sponsoring' it, even if surreptiously. Who?

Find that out and we may know a lot more about why this thing made it to air with the mistakes and falsehoods intact. Maybe it was the same people that wanted Mel (Are You a Jew?) Gibson in charge of a Holocaust miniseries?