Wednesday, February 28, 2007
This is a big deal, maybe even, ultimately, the Watergate of the Dumbfuck administration. The most important aspect of it, to my mind, is the Lam firing in San Diego. She was the USA in charge of the Duke Cunningham and Wilkes-Foggo investigations/prosecutions. Both of these strike to the heart of how the Repugs operate, and how they put, in EVERY instance, personal and party loyalty ahead of everything, including patriotism and national security.
Any potential flaws or mismanagement at the CIA strikes to the very heart of our national security. If these guys aren't operating at peak efficiency, given the best tools, and left to operate free of external pressure, we are all at risk. The entire War Cabinet is probably liable to prosecution by the War Crimes Tribunal at this point, and if this all develops the way I think it will, the domestic side of the Cabinet may be on their way to jail as well. Assuming, of course, there are elections next year.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
have struck what seems like a historic deal to turn over congressional documents related to the Duke Cunningham investigation.
The prosecutors from California's Southern District have been chasing the documents, from the House Committees on Appropriations, Armed Services and Intelligence, since last May. After originally requesting the documents, prosecutors finally served a subpoena for them in December after negotiations apparently broke down.
The investigation resulted in two major indictments two weeks ago, against contractor Brent Wilkes and former CIA executive director Dusty Foggo, and is ongoing. As The Hill detailed, the indictment against Wilkes indicated that other lawmakers seem to be in prosecutors' sights.
Monday, February 26, 2007
The Army's highest-ranking officer and the former leader of the secretive world of Special Operations offered his thoughts on the importance of capturing or killing Osama bin Laden during a luncheon Friday.
They're probably not what anyone expected.
"I don't know whether we'll find him," said Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff. "I don't know that it's all that important, frankly."
Schoomaker, pulled out of retirement in 2003 to lead the Army, pointed to the capture of Saddam Hussein, the killings of his sons, Uday and Qusay, and the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as evidence that bin Laden's capture or death would have little effect on the threats to the United States,
"So we get him, and then what?" Schoomaker said. "There's a temporary feeling of goodness, but in the long run, we may make him bigger than he is today. He's hiding, and he knows we're looking for him. We know he's not particularly effective. I'm not sure there's that great of a return" on capturing or killing bin Laden.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
All in all, another long show, but well paced, never really dragged, and the Pilobus crew doing the dance routines were unbelievable. Now, just another year till the insanity starts again.
Oh, yeah. Some guy won in the documentary category for a film on incontinence, or something.
Although international concern is growing about Iran's nuclear program and its regional ambitions, diplomats here say most U.S. intelligence shared with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has proved inaccurate and none has led to significant discoveries inside Iran.
"Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that's come to us has proved to be wrong," a senior diplomat at the IAEA said. Another official here described the agency's intelligence stream as "very cold now" because "so little panned out."
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Friday, February 23, 2007
So if I read this correctly, Cheney is saying: Yes, it's a quagmire. But after 9/11 we needed to prove that we weren't weak.
Is that now the official White House position?
Monday, February 19, 2007
In a coordinated assault on an American combat outpost north of Baghdad, suicide bombers drove as many as three cars filled with explosives into the base on Monday, killing two American soldiers and wounding at least 17 more, witnesses and the American military said.
The brazen and highly unusual attack, which was followed by fierce gun battles and a daring evacuation of the wounded Americans by helicopters, came on a day of violence across the country that left more than 40 people dead in shootings, suicide bombings, mortar attacks and roadside explosions.
The violence was directed at civilians, Americans and the Iraqi security forces.
As American and Iraqi troops flood the streets of Baghdad in an attempt to stem the bloodshed, and thousands more Marines head out to the Sunni Arab heartland west of the city in Anbar Province, American and Iraqi military officials are concerned that militants will simply try to move to areas where the troop presence remains thin.
As someone noted, all we're doing with the surge (and most of our policy in Iraq) is playing Whack-A-Mole. Bash 'em here, they pop up over there.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
“If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from,” Mrs. Clinton told an audience in Dover, N.H., in a veiled reference to two rivals for the nomination, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina.
Her decision not to apologize is regarded so seriously within her campaign that some advisers believe it will be remembered as a turning point in the race: either ultimately galvanizing voters against her (if she loses the nomination), or highlighting her resolve and her willingness to buck Democratic conventional wisdom (if she wins).
Saturday, February 17, 2007
On the surge:
It seems almost inconceivable: The White House actually invites the press corps to hold it accountable -- but when the time comes, and a key benchmark is missed, the press is silent.
And yet that's exactly what has happened.
Back in January, when President Bush announced that in spite of the public opinion against the war in Iraq he was going to send in more troops, he repeatedly insisted that what was different this time was that the Iraqis were finally serious about stepping up.
Responding to reporters who were skeptical -- after all, they'd heard this many times before -- White House officials urged them to judge for themselves whether that would happen
"The Iraqis are going to have three brigades within Baghdad within a little more than a month. They have committed to trying to get one brigade in, I think, by the first of February, and two more by the 15th," the official said.
"So people are going to be able to see pretty quickly that the Iraqis are or are not stepping up. And that provides the ability to judge."
But at a Pentagon press conference yesterday, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Peter Pace acknowledged that only two of those three Iraqi brigades are there: "You've got two of the Iraqi brigades in -- that were going to plussed up in Baghdad in Baghdad now. The third one is moving this month," Pace said.
Other press reports suggest that even those two brigades are not anywhere near full strength.
And action in Baghdad seems thus far to be almost entirely led by Americans, in stark contrast to what was promised.
That was the plan.
Where's the accountability?
On the Iran Briefing:
The official Bush administration position on its earlier, unsubstantiated charges of direct Iranian government involvement in the shipping of explosive devices to Iraqi militants is that the anonymous military briefers in Baghdad on Sunday went too far.
But that's baloney.
Can any part of what the administration says about Iran's involvement in Iraq be taken at face value? Given recent history, certainly not without independent verification.
Bitch-Slapping the Snowster
More evidence yesterday that the White House will admit to almost nothing, and that press secretary Tony Snow will say just about anything.
From yesterday's press briefing:
"Q Slides from a pre-war briefing show that by this point, the U.S. expected that the Iraqi army would be able to stabilize the country and there would be as few as 5,000 U.S. troops there. What went wrong?
"MR. SNOW: I'm not sure anything went wrong. . . .
Friday, February 16, 2007
On to the Senate, which is set to vote on it tomorrow. Everyone is set to be there, except John "Escalatio" McCain, who apparently wants nothing to do with his pet idea, now that it's actually occuring. The resolution is not expected to make it to a debate, let alone a floor vote. Repugs want their cake, and a full tummy too, but not in public, please!
Oh, wait! He's not to be held to any account. Sorry, my bad.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Liberals represent 17 percent of the American public, and 19 percent of registered voters.
This group has nearly doubled in proportion since 1999, Liberals now comprise the largest share of Democrats and is the single largest of the nine Typology groups. They are the most opposed to an assertive foreign policy, the most secular, and take the most liberal views on social issues such as homosexuality, abortion, and censorship. They differ from other Democratic groups in that they are strongly pro-environment and pro-immigration, issues which are more controversial among Conservative and Disadvantaged Democrats.
Who They Are
Most (62%) identify themselves as liberal. Predominantly white (83%), most highly educated group (49% have a college degree or more), and youngest group after Bystanders. Least religious group in typology: 43% report they seldom or never attend religious services; nearly a quarter (22%) are seculars. More than one-third never married (36%). Largest group residing in urban areas (42%) and in the western half the country (34%). Wealthiest Democratic group (41% earn at least $75,000).
Liberals are second only to Enterprisers in following news about government and public affairs most of the time (60%). Liberals’ use of the internet to get news is the highest among all groups (37%).
A reporter friend told me recently that the administration is saying on background that the really slam-dunk evidence they're not yet able to release. But as I told this person, after the experience of 2002 and 2003, mere self-respect prevents me from putting any credence whatsoever in such claims.
If they had the evidence we'd be seeing it. But without any solid evidence, the president still wants to fool the American public into believing these bogus claims.
After the Iran war, we'll probably be walked back and shown that President Bush never really said that the Qods force was giving these weapons to the people using them against US troops. He didn't fib. We just didn't listen closely enough. He was just saying that the Qods folks gave them to someone. But he wasn't saying who. So before all our soldiers die and before the president makes yet a million more screw ups for which we'll pay for decades into the future, let's look closely at what he's actually saying.
Raises some interesting questions, and seems highly likely to me. The one thing we have to fight, and fight hard, is any legislative attempts to regulate/restrict/limit the internet in an 'emergency'. Once those access rights are limited (or gone), we'll have to fight a major battle to get them back.
"Asked by reporters yesterday to provide more information on the charge, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, 'The Iranians are up to their eyeballs in this activity.' He called the Baghdad presentation a 'very strong circumstantial case,' saying he was 'not going to try to embellish that briefing' and 'any reasonable person . . . would draw the same conclusions.'
"White House spokesman Tony Snow offered similar responses. 'Let me put it this way,' he said. 'There's not a whole lot of freelancing in the Iranian government, especially when it comes to something like that.'
"Pressed repeatedly, Snow answered, 'Look, the Department of Defense is doing this. What I'm telling you is, you guys want to get those questions answered, you need to go to the Pentagon.'
"A call to the Defense Intelligence Agency brought a referral to the main Pentagon press office. That office referred a caller to the Washington office of the Multi-National Force-Iraq, which responded with an e-mailed copy of Sunday's briefing slides -- containing no mention of the 'highest levels' allegation and a request for questions in writing. Written questions brought no response."
Sound and fury, signifying much, but meaning, ultimately nothing.... jeez, can Jan 2009 get here soon enough? We need to run them all out of town, hopefully with a stop in the Hague for judgment.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Kos muses on the consequences:
Think the Edwards campaign's blog troubles ended with Amanda Marcotte's resignation? Think the Edwards campaign's blog troubles end with Edwards?
As predicted, right wing activists have detected in the sheepish silence of the other Democratic presidential campaigns an opportunity to separate yet more top contenders from the herd, and turn Democrats against Democrats.
First on the block: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Congratulations, geniuses. And best of luck to you.
The indictment is finally in. TPM has great coverage.
More traditional (and less amusing) coverage: Times. Others have the same Reuters story. If they put up their own stuff, and it's interesting, I'll post it.
I want to be swinging from trees, bellowing in fury. And yet, between, this, Iraq, Iran, Libby/Plame, Cunningham, Abramoff, ad nauseum, I'm just sort of biliously numb. The combination of venality, criminality, hypocrisy, and bald-faced dishonesty have rendered me speechless.
Monday, February 12, 2007
But I'm too tired now, so I'll do it later!
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Friday, February 09, 2007
Update: Actually, he may be WORSE than that. I've been watching him with Blitzer (god is that a stupid sandwich or what?) and the longer he's on, the stupider he gets and the less sense he makes. Can you imagine basing any action, let alone a war of choice, on ANYTHING, this stupid motherfucker says? Unbelievable.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Well, today, Condi told a fib, boys and girls. And it's a whopper.
Hell, even I remember the failed Iranian proposals. Maybe they all need a little more gingko. Helps me remember my name.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
But getting our policy in order is also being stymied because the political opponents of the war aren't willing to say that, yes, the policy has failed. Not 'defeated'. To be 'defeated' you need to have some other party 'defeat' you. This is just a failure. But whichever it is, that bogey is being used by the White House to scare off the opposition. It's a failure. There's no recovering it. And the unspeakable reality -- truly unspeakable, apparently -- is that it's not that bad. Horrible for the Iraqis. Horrible for the American dead. Terrible for American prestige, power and honor. All that. But not the end of the world. The future of our civilization isn't at stake. And our physical safety isn't at stake. We'll go on.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
The cash doesn't go to companies that can do a really good job, it just goes to companies that have political clout -- i.e. ones that recycle a share of their profits into campaign contributions. It's essentially the worst of both worlds, since you get the inherent problems of the public sector plus the need for owners to be taking a slice off the top in profit margins. It is, however, a very good deal for politicians interested in union-busting and for politicians interested in raking money in from government contractors. Shockingly, the GOP loves it.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Friday, February 02, 2007
From Spencer Ackerman, writing for TPM/Muckracker:
Wow, this is grim. According to the just-released Key Judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, political reconciliation is likely a bridge too far over the next year and a half.
The Sunnis remain "unwilling to accept minority status" and believe the Shiite majority is a stalking horse for Iran. The Shiites remain "deeply insecure" about their hold on power, meaning that the Shiite leadership views U.S.-desired compromises -- on oil, federalism and power-sharing -- as a threat to its position. Perhaps most ominously, the upcoming referendum on the oil-rich, multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk threatens to be explosive, as the Kurds are determined to finally regain full control over the city.
About Iran. This must have been one of the most controversial elements of the estimate: Iraq's neighbors are "not likely to be a major driver of violence or the prospects for stability because of the self-sustaining character of Iraq's internal sectarian dynamics." There's the expected qualifications that Iran and Syria are up to no good, but this is the major point. In other words, no matter how much Bush wants to lay the blame for the disintegration of Iraq on the meddlesome interference of Iran and Syria, the U.S.-sponsored political process itself -- indeed, the new, U.S.-midwifed Iraqi political order -- itself sows the seeds for the country's destruction. Apparently Bush could attack Iran to his heart's content, and Iraq would still remain inflamed.
Oh, and one final thought: this is just what's unclassified. If past NIEs are any prologue, what remains classified is much, much grimmer than what we see here. More likely than not, this is the most optimistic presentation of the NIE possible. Happy Friday.
From Young & Pincus, at WaPo:
From Young & Pincus, at WaPo:
The estimate, which represents the views of all elements of the intelligence community, presents a much grimmer picture of the situation in Iraq than the Bush administration has acknowledged in the past.
While saying the situation could change if the current level of violence is reduced, it also concludes that given the "current winner-take-all attitude and sectarian animosities infecting the political scene, Iraqi leaders will be hard pressed to achieve sustained political reconciliation in the [12 to 18 month] time frame of this estimate."
In contrast to recent claims by the administration that Iran and Syria have been important players in the sectarian violence, the NIE said "outside actors" are "not likely to be a major driver of violence or the prospects for stability." Instead it says that the disparate nature of the Iraqis, themselves, is at the root of the problem.
In a discussion of whether Iraq has reached a state of civil war, the public document says, on one hand, that the term "does not adequately capture the complexity" of a conflict that includes different groups of Shiites fighting each other, al-Qaeda and Sunni insurgents' attacks on U.S. and other coalition forces, and "widespread criminally motivated violence."
However, it also found that the phrase "accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict, including the hardening of ethno-sectarian identities, a sea change in the character of the violence, ethno-sectarian mobilization, and population displacements."
The document emphasizes that although al-Qaeda activities in Iraq remain a problem, they have been surpassed by Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence as the primary source of conflict and the most immediate threat to U.S. goals. Iran, which the administration has charged with supplying and directing Iraqi extremists, is mentioned but is not a focus.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Even more interesting (from Froomkin):
For some reason, there was no mention of this important story today in either The Washington Post, the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times.
kos weighs in