Subject to Change, version 2.0
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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

July 11 Comes and Goes: No Iraq Indicators.

 Two weeks ago, David Broder pointed out that the Bush administration was soon going to face a make-or-break moment regarding its Iraq policy: Under a little-noticed provision of the defense spending bill passed by Congress in May, Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld has until July 11 to send Capitol Hill a ...

[Think Progress]
3:08:23 PM    

"And which principle considers your blood real blood and our blood water?" - Osama bin Laden

1:50:23 PM    

The 2+Scalia Scenario.

Novak is reporting that Rehnquist will step down tomorrow morning, creating a two seat vacuum on the Court. That, as it happens, is the subject of a provocative article penned by Loyola Law professor Richard Hasen in today's TNR....

[Ezra Klein]
1:49:17 PM    

Sandy Frank: The Stateless Enemy

Most wars are between two states (or groups of states), and hostilities end only when one surrenders to the other. But in the war on terror our opponent is not a state, and this has raised a huge problem for those of us who want to end the war – and the killing – as quickly as possible: we don’t have anyone to surrender to.

Immediately after 9/11, we could conceivably have surrendered to either Saudi Arabia – source of most of the suicide hijackers – or Afghanistan – harborer of mastermind Osama bin Laden. But the Saudis disclaimed any connection and, in the case of Afghanistan, the administration predictably squandered the opportunity and attacked. Afghanistan surrendered - no doubt recalling Germany, Japan, and The Mouse That Roared – leaving us stuck. Even bin Laden was in hiding.

We then compounded our problem by attacking Iraq. Perhaps we were hoping to surrender to them, but any hope of that vanished when they cleverly surrendered to us first.

This has left us with few good options. We could try to accede to our enemies’ demands: pull out of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, release the prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, side with the Palestinians – no doubt we can come up with others. But even if we do all that, absent formal surrender we face the possibility of further conflict.

Two suggestions: first, maybe leaving bin Laden alive was not a failure but rather a clever tactic to preserve him as someone to surrender to. We’ll have to find him, of course, but that could be a workable strategy. Otherwise, perhaps the United Nations could establish an Office of Surrender Acceptance to handle situations like this, functioning as a last resort third party to accept surrenders. After all, this is bound to come up again.

- Sandy Frank
 [The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
1:47:46 PM    

Yank Rove's security clearance.

There have been a number of excellent responses from Dems on the Hill to the Rove scandal, but one stands out for me.

Harry Reid said, "The White House promised if anyone was involved in the Valerie Plame affair, they would no longer be in this administration. I trust they will follow through on this pledge." [...]

[The Carpetbagger Report]
11:35:48 AM    

"Turd Blossom" Must Go.

Pressure is building on the White House to fire Karl Rove (whom his boss calls "Turd Blossom"). Could Rove's arrogance and ruthless political tactics actually be catching up with him?

11:35:05 AM    

Monday, July 11, 2005

qWagmire: Could someone tell Bush that obeying the law is not optional?
I understand, I really do. I mean, it's easy to see how a kid growing up in Bush's privileged position would come to think that the law was optional what's to consult about? Why not just submit the report by deadline? NOTE I love the URL that AP used for this story (which was about Bush's latest He Man speech at Quantico): Let's get out our...

- Lambert
9:15:05 PM    

Keep licking my boots, peon, there's still a little liquid rubber stuck to the heel.

I was just trying to craft a post on the underexposed issue that napalm is being used in Iraq (article sent by reader labyrus) that had more meat to it than just, "Read this! Napalm in Iraq! Is there anything these criminally minded fuckheads in power won't do?" and I cruised a couple blogs looking for inspiration and the very first one I clicked on was Hullabaloo and at the very top of the page Digby quotes the most asshattery, boot-licking bullshit imaginable from Powerline.

"The media feeding frenzy will, indeed, be massive. But absent a serious claim of a statutory violation or perjury, it's questionable whether anyone apart from liberal bloggers and other pre-existing Bush haters will partake in the media's dog food. This isn't a top presidential aide accepting an expensive gift, or engaging in lewd sexual conduct. It's a top aide providing truthful information to journalists in response to lies told to embarrass the administration and our government."

9:14:14 PM    

Paul Krassner: Quickie

George Bush promised that he would fire the leaker. Now that Karl Rove has been revealed as the leaker, what will Bush do? Obviously, he'll ask Karl Rove what to do.

- Paul Krassner (
[The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
9:12:39 PM    

Who Said This?.

Physicists everywhere will breathe a sigh of relief to learn that quantum mechanics is no longer part of their domain:When we say, "a physical basis for consciousness" we are forgetting that everything physical is at the most fundamental...

[Political Animal]
9:11:04 PM    

Bush Now Exporting Fear To Other Countries

It's bad enough that SOB King George has his own citizens walking around in fear, now he decides to export it to Canada and Australia. From the World Conference on Disaster Management in Toronto on Monday.Conference speaker Ty Fairman, who has worked with the FBI investigating bombings and chemical attacks around the world, said Canadians need to wake up to the possibility that they could be...

- canuk
9:09:53 PM    

Iran-Contra Redux.

And they wonder why we’re suspicious: WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Robert Earl, who destroyed national security documents during the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, is working as chief of staff to acting Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, the Pentagon said on Monday. Earl destroyed and stole national security documents while working for Lt. Col. Oliver North during a secret arms [...]

[Suburban Guerrilla]
9:09:08 PM    

Problems at the National Guard.

Here's the serious news:The Army is running perilously low on its Reserve and National Guard soldiers who largely fill certain critical support jobs, like military police and civil affairs officers and truck drivers. Marine Corps reservists...

[ Political Animal]
3:13:15 PM    

Have You Forgotten?.

An excerpt from today's gaggle :

QUESTION: You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke about Joseph Wilson's wife. So don't you owe the American public a fuller explanation. Was he involved or was he not? Because contrary to what you told the American people, he did indeed talk about his wife, didn't he?

MCCLELLAN: There will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.

QUESTION: Do you think people will accept that, what you're saying today?

MCCLELLAN: Again, I've responded to the question.

QUESTION: You're in a bad spot here, Scott...


... because after the investigation began -- after the criminal investigation was under way -- you said, October 10th, 2003, "I spoke with those individuals, Rove, Abrams and Libby. As I pointed out, those individuals assured me they were not involved in this," from that podium. That's after the criminal investigation began.

Now that Rove has essentially been caught red-handed peddling this information, all of a sudden you have respect for the sanctity of the criminal investigation.

This is starting to give me a stomach ache. The way we liberal bloggers have been following this, it's easy to see this as an enormous game of partisan "Gotcha!" that we're all wrapped up in.

Well, it's not.

I know that evoking 9/11 is a game that both sides of the aisle like to play to smear the other side, but I honestly can't shake the mental imagery of the last four years of bloody chaos. Usually my mind focuses on two or three images at a time. This morning, for example, it was the people diving out of the burning WTC towers to escape the smoke, the grainy video of Danny Pearl saying "I am a Jew" just prior to being beheaded, and the shredded double decker bus in London. Other times I think about the gaping hole in the Pentagon or the photos that leaked of row after row of American flag draped coffins. Whatever it it, the message that's drilled into my subconscious is the same :

Thousands of people have been killed already, but there are still others out there who want to murder you right now.
September 11th obviously effected everyone in profound ways, so I would never imply that my grief and fear is something unique to one political persuasion or another. But it still puzzles me when something this big only seems to generate outrage on one side of the aisle.

Right now there are people who want to murder as many Americans as possible. It doesn't matter to them who their victims voted for, what religion they are, if they're rich or poor, black, white, whatever. As long as the bodycount is high, it doesn't matter who gets hit. The fact that the WTC towers were financial centers was secondary to the fact that hitting the largest buildings in the country at mid-morning would maximize the terrorists' bloodshed. With these people wanting to kill so indiscriminately, it seems that the best means to this end is to make sure that we stop the spread of the appropriately-named weapons of mass destruction.

Yet here we are, almost four years later, and we've got a situation in which we're 99% certain that the right hand man to the guy who's in charge of keeping our nightmares for becoming a reality has been undercutting efforts to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. I honestly cannot understand why everyone who was effected by 9/11 isn't outraged about this. I really can't.

I don't know what's more frightening. Being kept up at night with neurotic fears about mushroom-clouds and evil terrorists, or the suspicion that the people who are supposed to be taking this fight seriously aren't having the same nightmares.

[The Talent Show]
3:12:08 PM    

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The B-52s saved me from dorkitude.

1989 was an overall a shitty year. I moved from what any reasonable person would deem as red state hell into a red state hell that put the previous red state hell to shame. Indeed, the small town we moved to was so small and backwards, it made El Paso look like a fucking metropolis. We moved to 1957, a joke that still gets me laughs to this day.

To make things even worse, it was my first year of junior high school. I failed a bunch of classes, girls and boys both wanted to beat me up, I was so scared of the vile bitches that cornered me on the playground and demanded to know why I wore "boys'" shoes (at the time, athletic sneakers were popular in big towns but not in 1957 West Texas where they were considered unfeminine), I threw up but not to control my weight and I menstruated but not in a cool Judy Blume novel way. Shit sucked bad. And the music was worse. The "cool" kids all like Milli Vanilli, which I didn't give two shits about. I gave a helluva effort to seem like I like the boy bands of the time, but mostly I was scared.

1989 was the year that the B-52s released their extremely stupid song "Love Shack". Being a dumb shit kid, I loved it. My aunt, who was a few years older than me, loved the B-52s and latched onto my love of the song to bestow upon me a copied tape that had their first album on side one and and Wild Planet on side two. I loved it. I am surprised I did not fry it I played it so much. The first album especially grabbed my attention--it was weird, decadent, beautiful and the song "Dance This Mess Around" in particular was fucking perfect. They sang about sexual decadence, dancing 'til dawn, but more than anything they sang about how gorgeous music is and could be.

I didn't know their entire story then--I didn't know about how they were just jamming and having fun and how Ricky Wilson played on a Sears Silvertone and how they got swept into the New York scene and how they inspired John Lennon to get back into writing music and how Ricky, whose underrated guitar work was the backbone of the band, died of AIDS and how their popularity on the mainstream charts came after they lost his brillance or anything like that. If I had known those things, maybe I wouldn't have learned the prejudice that was hard to unwind that bands peak early and decline. Who knows what they would have been, after all, if Ricky had lived? But I did learn something that would fuck me up from then on--I related to the B-52s, which made me a weirdo and I would never, ever fit in.

I came out with my secret love my junior year of high school and put the tape of their first album on for my friends and tried to get them to understand the punk rock awesomeness of "52 Girls" and the downright Dusty Springfriend-esque surreal beauty of "Dance This Mess Around". I played them "Rock Lobster", thinking that its strange pop appeal would break through, but it was sort of long and they got bored and thought it was stupid.

9:30:00 PM    

Christian cop tries to convert during arrest.

 [The Raw Story | A rational voice - Alternative news]
9:28:49 PM    

UK And US Secretly Planning Iraq Pullout

Britain And America are secretly preparing to withdraw most of their troops from Iraq - despite warnings of the grave consequences for the region. The British newspaper The Mail reports:A secret paper written by Defence Secretary John Reid for Tony Blair reveals that many of the 8,500 British troops in Iraq are set to be brought home within three months, with most of the rest returning six...

- canuk
9:28:04 PM    

When Did The White House Plame Outing Really Start?.

Hmm. Via a Paul Lukasiak posting at TPMCafe comes this July 6th 2005 Walter Pincus piece that I'd seen previously, but I admit I didn't really "get" the potential importance of the nut grafs the first time I read it:

On July 12, 2003, an administration official, who was talking to me confidentially about a matter involving alleged Iraqi nuclear activities, veered off the precise matter we were discussing and told me that the White House had not paid attention to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's CIA-sponsored February 2002 trip to Niger because it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction.

I didn't write about that information at that time because I did not believe it true that she had arranged his Niger trip. But I did disclose it in an October 12, 2003 story [here] in The Washington Post. By that time there was a Justice Department criminal investigation into a leak to columnist Robert Novak who published it on July 14, 2003 and identified Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative. Under certain circumstances a government official's disclosure of her name could be a violation of federal law. The call with me had taken place two days before Novak's column appeared.

Now, here's the thing about that bolded sentence. Even presuming Novak's column was seen at the White House before publication: Novak's column didn't say that.

[Daily Kos]

9:25:54 PM    

JOURNAL: The Controlled Chaos Exit Option.

Reuters has published details of a leaked memo from the British Ministry of Defense. The memo indicates that both the US and the UK will draw down troop levels in Iraq over the next year (8,500 to 3,000 for the...

[Global Guerrillas]
9:24:51 PM    

Friday, July 08, 2005

Stephen Elliott: And Then There Was A Knock

The Strange Detention of a 71 year old Afghan Hindu Man and His 69 Year Old Wife

First comes the knock. There are two, maybe three, uniformed officers from the Department of Homeland Security. They tell the boy they want to take his parents in for questioning. Have them back in two to three hours. The father, Gokal Kapoor, is 71, his wife, Sheila Kapoor, 69. Old people. Hindus from Afghanistan. Two hours, they'll be back, see ya.

It takes several days and several lawyers to find out where they are. They're being held in Pamunkey Regional Jail, in Hanover, Virginia, a red and white brick structure at the end of a circular drive. The web page boasts "a state-of-the-art facility" with a housing capacity for 400 inmates. The jail serves the needs of all "user agencies, law enforcement, courts, attorneys, and community organizations." Mostly it's used to house criminals awaiting trial or convicted of misdemeanors serving less than twelve months. In Pamunkey there is a commissar, run by AraMark. If the prisoner has money in his or her account they can get Snickers bars and Pepsi, soap, feminine hygiene products, underwear. They can even get cups of noodles but not the kind in styrofoam; has to be in a see-through container. Also, no non-dairy creamer. Non-dairy creamer is flammable. There is separate housing for males and females. Male and female prisoners have no access to one another. So Sheila and Gokal don't see one-another anymore. The prisoners spend their time in their unit's day room. They can make phone calls, collect. Very expensive. Sheila's sister comes to visit, drives an hour, but she is turned away. She didn't fill out the paperwork correctly.

No one is sure why Gokal and Sheila have been arrested. They are not accused of anything, they are not interrogated. It seems it was part of a sweep of immigrants working in airports. Gokal is a baggage handler at Dulles. Sheila is an assistant for disabled passengers. But the authorities are not answering questions. Yesterday the Kapoor's were fingerprinted. Looks like they are being readied for deportation. Hard to say. Welcome to The Department Of Homeland Security.

They arrived in America in 1997 fleeing the vicious persecution of Hindus in Afghanistan (imagine statues exploding on mountain sides, a small minority forced to wear identifying insignias, beaten and forced to convert to Islam or pay fines). Sometimes an asylum case can take a while to work its way through the system. Following the American invasion of Afghanistan an immigration judge decided that the Kapoors no longer needed asylum in America, though they'd lived here for years and were very old. Though they had social security numbers and held jobs. They obeyed the law, their son went to school, and they appealed the judge's decision. Two months ago their work permits expired. Eighteen days ago, June 22, on the day they were arrested, their son graduated from high school.

There are thousands of aliens with final deportation orders against them in the Washington-Virginia area. Few are arrested.

Gokal has a successful brother, Dr. Wishwa Kapoor, head of internal medicine at The University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Kapoor has been in America thirty years. He is an American citizen. He retains a lawyer for his brother, Michael Maggio. The Washingtonian called Mr. Maggio "Washington's best immigration lawyer". Mr. Maggio thinks the whole thing is very unusual. He's quoted in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette - "Why, given the limited resources at the Department of Homeland Security, do they go after a 70-year-old Afghan man who's no threat to anyone and who faces being sent to one of the most dangerous countries in the world?

"And how are they going to deport him, anyway? The government there is barely functioning -- who's going to do the paperwork? There's no direct flight to Kabul, so they have to send him through a transit country, which means they'd have to send a U.S. agent to escort him ... does anyone think this is the best use of taxpayer dollars?"

He hopes it's just a mistake. But then yesterday the fingerprinting. One has to ask, is it possible? OK, septuagenarians thrown in jail for a few weeks, a mistake, ha ha, part of living in America. They're just tired and poor, yearning to breathe free. It happens. I mean, it's not like they were kept in a super-max. Sure, they haven't done anything wrong and they haven't been allowed to see each other, but it's just jail, a short term facility, it's not prison. Pamunkey, it even sounds funny. And there's a commissar, you can buy Snickers bars. Fine, we locked up some very old people for a few weeks, what's done is done. But are we really going to deport them? I mean, can't we, as a society, just apologize, send the old people home, scarred but still alive. Are we really going to deport Hindus to Afghanistan? After eight years? Their whole family in America and no reason to suspect them of anything. Is this what America has become? Are there no checks and balances for this broken system?


more information:


- Stephen Elliott

- Stephen Elliott (

 [The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
4:34:30 PM    

David Corn: Time for Rove Withdrawal?

What's a I-wanna-see-Rove-go-to-jail fanatic to do now?

For the past few weeks, the Plame/CIA leak was in the news far more so than it had been ever since the CIA first asked the Justice Department in September 2003 to investigate the leak from Bush administration officials that outed an undercover CIA official working on WMD issues (Valerie Wilson, a.k.a. Valerie Plame), who was married to a critic of Bush's war in Iraq (former Ambassador Joseph Wilson). That leak first appeared in a Bob Novak column published on July 14, 2003; Novak cited two unnamed "senior administration officials" as his sources.

What drew all the recent attention to the investigation was the face-off between special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and two reporters--Time's Matt Cooper and The New York Times' Judith Miller. Fitzgerald, in pursuit of the leakers (who may have violated a federal law making it a crime for a government official to identify a clandestine CIA official), wanted Cooper, who cowrote a Time article that also reported that unnamed government officials had said Valerie Wilson was a CIA official, and Miller, who had written nothing on this subject, to testify before his grand jury and talk about what their sources had told them. Initially they both resisted. And the ensuing clash--as troubling as it was for those of us who care about protecting reporter-source confidentiality--was a goldmine for anyone trying to figure out what has been happening with Fitzgerald's investigation. His inquiry has been surprisingly low on leaks, and it had been hard to suss out what he was doing and whether he was achieving any progress. But his fight with Miller and Cooper pushed facts and hints into the public record.

As regular readers of this blog know, Fitzgerald's tussle with these reporters moved Karl Rove to the top of the suspects list. Though much remains unknown, it does seem probable--as Lawrence O'Donnell has blogged about here and as Newsweek's Michael Isikoff reported--that the source Fitzgerald has so much wanted Cooper to talk about is Rove. Why is Fitzgerald intensely interested in Rove? We can only guess at this moment. But it's not unreasonable to presume this is because Fitzgerald considers him a chief suspect--even though Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, has told reporters that Rove did not name Valerie Plame as a CIA official to any reporter and that Fitzgerald has informed Rove he is not a target. (For a thorough analysis--by me--of what the recent court proceedings do and do not tell us about Fitzgerald's investigation and Rove's place in it, click here.

But now Fitzgerald's fight with Miller and Cooper is done. Miller is sitting in a jail in Virginia, dispatched there by federal District Court Judge Thomas Hogan until she cooperates with Fitzgerald or his grand jury expires in four months. Cooper is a free man. Time magazine, over his objections, surrendered his emails and notes to Fitzgerald. Still, Fitzgerald wanted Cooper to testify before the grand jury. Cooper was prepared to say no and be imprisoned. Then at the last-minute, Cooper declared that his confidential source--Rove?--had granted him a personal waiver to speak to the grand jury about his conversations with this source. But this waiver did not allow Cooper to speak in public about this source.

With the Miller and Cooper cases resolved, we will be left with no new tea leaves to read. Fitzgerald's investigation will proceed under the cloak of secrecy that covers (or is supposed to cover) all federal criminal probes. Some, of course, leak. (Remember Ken Starr?) But Fitzgerald's inquiry has been rather tight. I've had Justice Department officials tell me that they tend to hear nothing about Fitzgerald's actions. Cooper's upcoming testimony to Fitzgerald's grand jury will be confidential. So what he says--or does not say--about Rove will>here to see that. The article is headlined, "Novak Squealed."

- David Corn
[The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
10:55:35 AM    

Tony Blair In Purgatory: Forget for a moment that ...
Tony Blair In Purgatory:

Forget for a moment that Sarasota, Florida is about 860 miles from Washington, DC, roughly twice the distance that Gleneagles, Scotland is from London. Forget for a moment that after the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, President Bush continued to read to schoolchildren until he was taken on a multi-state flight around the United States, while Tony Blair yesterday rushed back to London to assure his nation before rushing back to Scotland to assure that the work of the G-8 Summit would be accomplished. Forget that Bush's first words to America on 9/11 were to thank the school children, declare it a tragedy, and offer a moment of prayer, while Tony Blair, before leaving for London, spoke to the UK about terrorism, resolve and the world. Forget that Bush's speech to the nation that fucked-up day was given by a man looking like a deer in headlights, including a reassurance that capitalism was fine and a Bible quote, while last night in England, Blair gave a speech that's been described as Churchill-like in its rallying call and was also compassionate towards Muslims.

Forget all that. And think about Tony Blair for just one moment: dicked over time and again by George Bush and the United States on every world issue except for the war in Iraq. Think about the Prime Minister, coming back to London from that fine resort in Scotland, ready to hear about and talk about carnage. And let us think that, for a moment, he may have wondered if he's been played for a sucker by the neocon right and the White House. As the death toll rises, perhaps a thoughtful man, which we here in the U.S. with our thoughtless leaders often hope Blair is (in the same way we thought Colin Powell was an honest man), couldn't be blamed for second-guessing himself. Oh, no, he can't show it. But perhaps, in his sickened heart of hearts, as the police try to dig out the shattered corpses from the tunnels, Blair knows, fucking knows he's walked down the garden path with the very man who would put a bullet in the back of his skull if such an act would benefit the powerful in the United States, that he's tossed his chips onto a table filled with cheaters. Sure, he tried to bluff with sexed up documents and lies of his own, but he had no idea who he was dealing with.

In the end, Blair knows that once you've tossed in your ante, there's no gettin' out until the pot is played.
- Rude One [The Rude Pundit]
10:24:37 AM    

The 'Oscars of Idiocy'.

How about a little Friday diversion from the usual political news? My friends at the World Stupidity Awards emailed this week to let me know about their third annual ceremony to be held in Montreal on July 22nd. The show will be hosted, appropriately enough, by Lewis Black (of Jon Stewart fame).

There are some nominations, [...] [The Carpetbagger Report]
9:54:34 AM    

Iraq And Iran To Cooperate On Defense.

8:58:01 AM    

No One's Advantage.

No One's Advantage [The terror attack near the G8 summit location] "works to...the Western world's advantage, for people to experience something like this together." —Brian Kilmeade, Fox News host, in an on-air exchange July 7, 2005....

8:55:57 AM    

We investigated ourselves and we're innocent.

Really. The Pentagon, responding to charges that its medical personnel mistreated military detainees, conducted its own examination and found no widespread abuses, a spokesman said Thursday. The most laughable part is the last line. Last month, the Pentagon issued new...

[Body and Soul]
8:55:12 AM    

Throwing Down The Gauntlet To The Right

BBC World Service said early this a.m. that more credence was being given to the Islamic jihadist website claiming responsibility for yesterday's London blasts, but nothing conclusive has yet been learned. For all the discussion over how coordinated the attacks were, I can't help note that the destruction was actually miniscule compared to what it could have been, and because of that, I'm tempted...

- Riggsveda
7:05:48 AM    

London calling .

 The Tube is mostly back on, except for the Circle Line, the Hammersmith & City, the Piccadilly between Hyde Park Corner and Arnos Grove, and the western sections of the District Line. It seems fairly miraculous to me that the rest of the District Line and the Northern and Central Lines appear to be running normally.

So, let me tap into my terrometer and see how terrorized I feel this morning.

Hm, I don't feel any more terrorized than I felt two days ago. I just don't seem to have that wild urge to make a big show of how macho I am in the face of fear. I wonder why.

Oh, yes, it was because it seemed like only a matter of time before the effects of this insane invasion and occupation reached these shores, and while one could hope against hope that somehow we would be safe, one would have had to be dumber than dirt to think there was some magic barrier preventing it.

And neither will more stupid ideas that make life more complicated for ordinary people but will merely be an interesting - but surmountable - challenge to terrorists.

I see by my trackbacks that people who still believe in "The War on Terror" absolutely do not get it:

We are at war with them, people. What is bad for us is good for them, what is bad for them is good for us.
Re-focusing our attention on what is really important was a mistake on their part. It works to our advantage.
This idea that the attacks refocus our attention on "what is really important" is nuts. Perhaps the war-supporters need acts of violence against the west in order to give them a shot of adrenalin so they can keep cheerleading this disaster, but we're not doing anything to stop terrorism. On the contrary, we have given terrorism a vital shot in the arm.

On January 20th of 2001, Al Qaeda's moment was passing. Many Muslims had once found the radical movement intriguing, yes, but their terrorist tactics had come to turn people off. Far from growing, they were fading, shrinking.

9/11 would have been their last, desperate gasp. The Muslim world, by and large, was as horrified and outraged by the attack on America as anyone else.

A wise president who truly wanted to protect us from terrorism might have done any number of things, but attacking Iraq was surely not one of them. Neither was invading Afghanistan and then leaving a mess behind.

And neither was this:

Falluja should go down in history as a case study on how truth is subverted, co-opted, buried, and ignored. The first US-led siege of Falluja, a city of 300,000 people, resulted in a defeat for Coalition forces. Prior to the second siege in November, its citizens were given two choices: leave the city or risk dying as enemy insurgents. The people of Falluja remembered the siege of April all too well. They remembered being trapped when Coalition forces surrounded and blockaded the city and seized the main hospital, leaving the population cut off from food, water, and medical supplies. Families remembered the fighting in the streets and the snipers on the rooftops, which prevented movement by civilians. They remembered burying more than 600 neighbors - women, children, and men - in makeshift graves in schoolyards and soccer fields.

Under threat of a new siege, an estimated 50,000 families or 250,000 people fled Falluja. They fled with the knowledge that they would live as refugees with few or no resources. They left behind fathers, husbands, brothers and sons, as males between the ages of 15 and 45 were denied safe passage out of the city by US-led forces. If the displaced families of Falluja were fortunate, they fled to the homes of relatives in the surrounding towns and villages or to the city of Baghdad - homes that were already overcrowded and overburdened after 20 months of war and occupation. Many families are forced to survive in fields, vacant lots, and abandoned buildings without access to shelter, water, electricity, food or medical care and alongside tens of thousands of displaced and homeless people already living in the rubble of Baghdad.

What of the estimated 50,000 residents who did not leave Falluja? The US military suggested there were a couple of thousand insurgents in the city before the siege, but in the end chose to treat all the remaining inhabitants as enemy combatants.

Gee, is that enough revenge for an act that was committed by 19 men, none of whom were Iraqi?

Oh, but Falluja wasn't revenge for the three thousand people killed on 9/11. It was revenge for the killing of only four contractors in Iraq. And because those four men were murdered, the United States of America decided in its wisdom and righteous anger to terrorize an entire city.

Yes, I said "terrorize". That's what we're doing to those people. We have focused their minds on what is important.

[The Sideshow]

7:02:27 AM    

What Iraqis Want: Part II.

 As President Bush continued to spin developments in Iraq over the holiday weekend, few people noticed an important development in Baghdad, reported by Al-Hayat newspaper  83 members of Iraq's transitional parliament supported a demand for a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq. This represents nearly one-third of Iraq's democratically ...

[Think Progress]
7:00:50 AM    

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Rumor Central.

 Rehnquist will announce his resignation tomorrow, giving Bubble Boy a two-fer. Prediction: He’ll split the difference. A uniter, not a divider. Also, hot hot HOT rumors out of the Hill claiming Rove indictments to be announced within the week. We’ll see. Fitzgerald may have gotten enough from Matt Cooper’s testimony to proceed…

[Suburban Guerrilla]
9:47:35 PM    

A Must Read Today by Steve Soto.
Found this site thanks to a link on All Spin Zone

What Good Is An "Anywhere But Here" Anti-Terror Policy? (Link) What good is an anti-terror policy if your only consolation is that everyone else in the world suffers except you?

By (Pissed_Off_Patricia).
3:19:58 PM    

"This is not a case of a whistle-blower," said a federal judge who ordered Judith Miller to begin serving time at a "New Generation" jail. "It's a case in which the information she was given and her potential use of it was a crime... She has a waiver she chooses not to recognize."

5:24:35 AM    

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Tom Hayden: strategy for ending iraq war

A Strategy for Ending the Iraq War

“When you’re in the middle of a conflict, you’re trying to find pillars of strength to lean on”. – US military officer, Iraq, May 19, 2005)

INTRODUCTION. In January 2005, a group of fifty peace activists from the Vietnam and Iraq eras issued a global appeal to end the war. The appeal proposed undermining the pillars of war (public opinion, funding, troop recruitment, international allies) and building the pillars of peace and justice (an independent anti-war movement linked to justice issues, a progressive Democratic opposition, soldiers and families against the war, a global network to stop the US empire). This is an update on implementation of the strategy - see one-page guide for organizers at end.

OVERVIEW. The tide is turning. Public support for the war is down, as are the President’s ratings. Anti-war Democrats are back. Military recruiting is hitting a wall. The US strategy of Iraqization is failing. National anti-war actions are scheduled for late September. The bad news is that the good news is so recent. For six long months, the media and the Democrats have given the President a free pass, and the anti-war movement has floundered.
The war is not over – we should remember that the Vietnam War continued for seven years after President Johnson was forced to resign.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION. Among friends and local activists, practice discussion of these multiple scenarios with plans for responding to each:

1. Status Quo/Quagmire. How do we expand local anti-war coalitions, and double membership of local groups, going into the 2006 elections?
2. Bush escalates (e.g. sends more troops, invades Syrian border, bombs Iran, resumes draft). In any of these cases, is more radical action called for? How will it impose a cost on Bush, how will it expand the movement?
3. Bush mimics Nixon, promises peace, withdraws 10,000 troops as Iraq adopts constitution and elects new government. Would this defuse the anti-war movement going into 2006? Or will we be in a mode to keep on the offense? How will we argue that the strategy will not bring peace?
4. What do you need to respond? In each scenario, what resources or adaptations does your local group need to respond?

Analysis of the current situation

On the battlefield: a sinking quagmire

It is risky to base an analysis on battlefield reports, especially given the Pentagon’s propaganda, the media’s limitations, and the general lack of information about the Iraqi insurgency. Anything is possible, but clearly a sense of panic has set in among Washington decision-makers since the installation of the new Iraqi client regime a few months ago. For example, Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel says the war is being lost (NYT, June 21). Baghdad is “effectively enemy territory, with an ability to strike at will, and to shake off the losses inflicted by American troops.” (NYT, January 20, 2005) US casualties from guerrilla bomb attacks have reached "new heights", with 700 attacks with improvised weapons killing 71 Americans during the past six weeks (NYT, June 22). Military analysts recognize that the US cannot hold the territory it occupies. The airport road remains a nightmare. These are the classic contradictions of an occupying power trying to prop up an unpopular regime against a nationalist-based resistance. The training and deployment of Iraqi counter-insurgency troops (Iraqization) has failed so far, with US commanders saying it will take several years. “American troops have been conducting nighttime patrols to make sure the Iraqis stay awake”, according to an unusually candid front-page NY Times article (June 19). Sen. Biden was informed privately that of 107 Iraqi battalions, only three were fully-operational (June 6).

Against all evidence, however, senior correspondents like the Times’ John Burns continue to see the war through the filters of previous conflicts. Burns calls the Syrian-Iraqi border a new “Ho Chi Minh Trail”, ignoring the fact that there is no North Vietnam, no China, no Soviet Union serving as a “rear base” for the insurgents, but inadvertently lending support to the argument that the US should send more troops to seal the border. More unfortunately, Burns has penned an opinion piece called “The Mystery of the Insurgency” (May 15) which says “counter-insurgency experts are baffled”. Sounding like Mr. Kurtz in Conrad’s Heart of Darknesss, Burns cannot simply conclude that the US invasion itself is the cause of a fiery Iraqi nationalism, because that would imply that US withdrawal might lessen the violence.

Perhaps the most significant factor on the ground is the rise of an Iraqi movement calling for US withdrawal and ending the occupation. The peace movement should consider calling for US peace talks with the Iraqi peace movement.

In January of this year, a Brookings Institute report showed 82 percent of Sunnis and 69 percent of Shiites favored a “near-term US withdrawal” (NYT, Feb. 21, 2005). Just before the Iraqi elections, US intelligence warned that the winning faction would press for a withdrawal date. (NYT, Jan. 19, 2005). This was considered “grim” news and efforts were taken to squelch the peace sentiment. Next Harith al-Dari, a prominent Sunni cleric, along with the Muslim Scholars Association, called for a US withdrawal timetable, saying “We do not insist that the Americans withdraw at once, as long as they stay in their bases and cease to marginalize our political life.” (NYT, March 29, 2005)Then 100,000 Iraqi Shiites, the winners in the election, demonstrated on the streets of Baghdad calling for US withdrawal. (NYT, April 10). A few days later, the leader of a “hard-line” Sunni group “who says he has links with insurgent fighters” was rebuffed when he tried for weeks to open talks with American officials on behalf of the insurgents. (NYT, April 15, 2005). Last week 82 Iraqi members of the 285-member US-dominated parliament sent a letter calling for US withdrawal to Speaker Hajem Al-Hassani.(Journal of Turkish Weekly, June 19). “It is dangerous that the Iraqi government has asked the UN Security Council to prolong the stay of occupation forces without consulting representatives of the people who have a mandate for such a decision”, the letter said.

And as the HuffingtonPost reported yesterday, the London Sunday Times is describing secret and "deniable" talks between American intelligence operatives and insurgent groups responsible for suicide bombings.

The only conclusion one can draw from these scattered reports is that the Bush Administration is threatened by any peace sentiment among Iraqis before the US somehow defeats the insurgents. This leaves an opportunity for anti-war critics to call for cease-fire talks (publicly and back-channel) in support of the Iraqi majority. Many guerrilla conflicts have been suspended when the guerrillas’ legitimate demands were recognized as part of a political process. Secretary of State Rice seeks “inclusiveness” by inviting fifteen token Sunnis to the table while the US military occupies their neighborhoods. Instead she must understand “inclusiveness” to mean the inclusion of the majority of Iraqis who will at least tolerate the insurgency until the US agrees to end the occupation.

The US may be missing an opportunity for back-channel talks about guarantees that the withdrawal will be peaceful, that oil supplies will be protected, and that Israel will not be attacked from Baghdad. No one can know – but Secretary Rumsfeld is proud of saying “we have no exit strategy, only a victory strategy.”(NYT, April 13, 2005) That’s what Americans in Saigon kept saying until they were jumping on helicopters from rooftops in 1975. The possibility cannot be discounted that the Green Zone will be attacked and overrun in an offensive like that in Saigon in January 1968. What then?

The US Military Recruitment Crisis Deepens

The single greatest achievement of the anti-war movement is the pressure on military recruitment as well as support for dissenting GIs. The previous generation of anti-war activists forced an end to the draft, which may be an obstacle too great for the President to surmount. That earlier generation has become the parents of this generation’s draft-age youth, a fact which deeply disturbs a Pentagon hoping to eradicate “the Vietnam Syndrome.”

“The Pentagon is especially vexed by a generation of more activist parents who have no qualms about projecting their own views onto their children.” (NYT, “Parents Emerging as Military Recruiters’ Big Obstacle”)

See also: on recruitment “death spiral”, NYT, May 13, 2005; “Army Recruiters Say They Feel Pressure To Bend the Rules”, NYT, May 3, 2005; “Army Recruiting More High School Dropouts to Meet Goals”, NYT, June 11, 2005. And then there’s this: at least 37 Army recruiters have gone AWOL since October 2002, NYT, Mar. 27, 2005)

The recruitment crisis is connected to a morale crisis on the battlefield itself. The first fragging (and killing) of American officers by an American soldier since the 2003 invasion was reported last week. (NYT, June 18)

“Coalition of the Willing” Weakens

You might not know it from the media, but the “coalition” having troops on the ground in Iraq has declined from 34 to 20 nations. The US’ two staunchest allies, Britain’s Blair and Italy’s Berlusconi, suffered politically in recent elections due to their pro-war stances. And the last paragraph of a New York Times article datelined Baghdad on March 13 reported that Ukraine was pulling out its 150 troops by October. It’s not just the “old Europe” that is opposed to sending troops, but America’s very own new allies inside the former Soviet Union.

Second to the US in troop commitments is not a government or country at all, but over 20,000 stateless mercenaries from former repressive armies in South Africa, El Salvador, Colombia, the US and the UK, all paid for by American taxpayers.(LAT, June 11, 2005).

“Coalition of the Willing” allies like Pakistan and Uzbekistan are increasingly in the news for torture and other human rights violations, drawing fire from concerned Congressmen who question whether the US trained those responsible for the recent massacre of hundreds in Uzbekistan, where terror suspects have been “rendered” by the US. (NYT, May 29, 2005)

Little noticed is that the US alliances in the war on terrorism are provoking violence elsewhere. For example, one thousand US troops are training African countries to combat terrorism to “get ahead of the power curve”, which has led to an Algerian attack killing 15 Mauritanians who were denounced as “agents of America in the region.” (June 10, 2005). The secret low-intensity warfare continues, provoking more anti-American hatred across the Islamic world.

Finally, Congress Wakes Up

The leadership of the Democratic Party – Reid, Pelosi, even Howard Dean – have been absolutely AWOL during the past six months, driving local Democrats and activists to despair and confusion. Thanks to local activists and Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Democratic conventions in California, Wisconsin and Massachusetts, passed anti-war resolutions at their conventions. But the party line was to dissociate from the Iraq issue altogether, stranding a courageous handful like representatives Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee who offered a withdrawal resolution in late January.

All that changed last week. The doves have found their wings. Rep. John Conyers led important hearings on the Downing Street Memoranda which showed top Bush officials were “fixing the evidence to fit the policy.” Over one hundred Democrats, including Pelosi, signed Conyers’ letter demanding answers from the Administration. Five hundred thousand petitions were carried by Conyers and others to the White House. Maxine Waters led a rebellion against Pelosi behind closed doors which resulted in the formation of a fifty-member “Out of Iraq” caucus. Five House Republicans broke ranks from the Administration for the first time, including the South Carolina Congressman who once proposed renaming French fries “freedom fries”. The Congress voted to protect public libraries from the Patriot Act.

An emboldened anti-war movement plans national actions for September 26.

Move.on, which was AWOL for months, tending to follow opinion rather than lead, joined the Conyers effort to solicit petitions from its members. Win Without War, similarly dormant for months, scheduled meetings and press conferences enthusiastically. The United for Peace and Justice official working group on pressuring Congress will hold its first meeting next week.

The grass-roots anger directed at the party leadership was having an effect, as reported by many members after visiting their constituencies. Public opinion was running sixty percent in favor of partial or total withdrawal. Hundreds of Iraqis and Americans had been killed since the installation of the new Iraqi government. The Downing Street documents proved once again that the reasons for war were fabricated. The Abu Graeb scandals were destroying the reputation of the Pentagon. Bush was declining in the polls. And so the politicians decided to show up.

All cynicism aside, that is great news. The climate has changed, at least for now. The rank-and-file of the anti-movement have an opportunity to move Congress from fence-sitting to forward motion.

A major moral force all along has been the military families, who unswervingly insist on accountability from the Administration and will not quite whatever the ups and downs of the war’s course.

It has to be recognized strategically that ending the war will require a left-right alliance. Those in the centrist establishment tend to be blinded to reality by their power, which results in muddled analysis and rhetoric (an explanation for Senator Biden, Senator Kerry, or the New York Times editorial writers). For example, when the library amendment to the Patriot Act passed with 38 Republican votes, one House strategist complained of “the crazies on the left and the crazies on the right, meeting in the middle.”(Washington Post, June 16, 2005).

The anti-war groups now will confer on how to deepen grass-root organizing in selected congressional districts around withdrawal, ending taxes for torture, military recruiting, etc. A key issue will be the costs of the war, easily available on on city, state, and federal levels. For example, the up-to-the-second total cost of the war now is $178, 136, 219, 056 (that actually was thirty minutes ago). That’s one billion dollars per week. These same funds could have purchased:

- nationally, health insurance for 46.4 million people, or Head Start enrollments for 27 million kids, or 8.6 million four-year college scholarships, or 3.5 million new elementary teachers, or seven years of fully-funded global anti-hunger efforts;
- the portion paid by Los Angeles taxpayers would fund 91, 851 four-year public university scholarships.

Carry those facts to the congressional district offices, PTA meetings and recruitment centers, and there will be effects. Some activists are discussing the construction of Iraq-style prison cages outside of congressional and/or recruitment offices – and leafleting passers-by from the inside. The tactical possibilities are endless.

Not only can the war’s end be hastened, but beyond the left-right alliance, the peace movement can contribute to the reconstruction of a locally-grounded new progressive movement conscious of the links between empire and domestic priorities. This would be a historical development of lasting importance. For example, out of the Vietnam experience came an American public suspicion of plans to police the world and executive secrecy that lasted beyond Watergate until human rights became an accepted principle of American policy. The same progressive momentum can be achieved through the ending of the Iraq war; in fact, it already has begun.

A Note of Caution

Unfortunately, the anti-war movement depends on the costly quagmire continuing in Iraq. Americans become frustrated at the sight of failure on television, failure coming home in coffins, failure of politicians to tell the truth. They are not against forcing a Saddam Hussein from power, even by questionable methods. They are not against using force and violence if they feel threatened or if the cause seems just. And by definition, they cannot oppose secret wars that go unreported on television.

Thus, Iraq is a moment of illumination that may not come again soon. It is on television as long as Americans are dying. It can also illuminate how power works in this country for this post-Vietnam generation.

So what will Karl Rove do?

He can escalate, de-escalate, or wait and see if the insurgency wears down and the Iraqis adopt a constitution and elect a government. It is no accident that the Administration’s current (public) blueprint ends in December, the beginning of the 2006 American election year. While Rove mulls the options, the peace movement should be undertaking an exercise in grass-roots scenario planning so that activists are prepared for any eventuality. (see proposal above).

For perspective, here are some facts from the Vietnam era, all drawn from historians George Herring and Chester Poch in 1968, The World Transformed.

After the Tet Offensive in January 1968, President Johnson dismissed the impact to reporters by joking that “there may have been a sargeant asleep with a beer in his hand and his zipper open, or a man in a jeep with a woman in his lap.” Privately, however, the Administration was going nuts. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs disclosed that an American defeat “was a very near thing”, that rural pacification efforts were destroyed, and that part of the countryside had fallen into enemy hands. The White House organized a “progress campaign” to target the media and public opinion with good news. For example, they deliberately under-estimated enemy combat strength by 120,000. By November 1967 fifty-one percent of the American people still believed the US was making progress. By January 1968, LBJ’s critics outnumbered supporters by 47 to 39 percent. But the combination of the presidential campaigns of Eugene McCarthy, Robert Kennedy, and the Tet Offensive resulted in the President sending Robert McNamara, the Wolfowitz of his era, off to the World Bank, and a few weeks later Johnson offered his resignation. But the war continued for seven more years, during which time a majority of its casualties were inflicted.

How this could have happened is another story, having to do with divisions in the anti-war opposition and the machinations of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger. History, in other words, could repeat itself in Iraq.

Hopefully this scenario is wrong, but it is important always to hope for the best and plan for the worst. #


The strategy is to undermine the pillars that make the war possible, while building new pillars of peace and justice.

The Pillars of War

1. public opinion. Goal: to achieve a solid majority who believe the costs have outrun any benefits. Primary method: targeted education and outreach. Issues: casualties, budgetary cost, prison torture, contractor corruption, unilateralism, country becoming less safe.
2. Military recruitment. Goal: to limit the troops available to fight. Primary methods: increase pressure against military recruiters by parents and young people, support dissenting soldiers, oppose diversion of reserves and guard.
3. Congressional opposition. Goal: to increase bipartisan questioning of war and amendments to limit or end taxpayer funding. Primary methods: build anti-war coalitions in targeted congressional districts, demand hearings and accountability, pressure for withdrawal timetable and funding cuts. Issues: go to for information on the war’s costs.
4. Left-Right Alliance. Goal: encourage Republican and “red state” opposition to while building up progressive anti-war forces among Democrats, independents and Greens. Primary methods: stress costs in blood, taxes and reputation, expose fabrications that led to American deaths, work closely with military families. For Democrats build grass-roots opposition through groups like Progressive Democats of America.
5. Coalition of Willing. Goal: reduce allied troops in Iraq, increase military isolation of US. Primary methods: publicly defend countries that pull troops, support global peace and justice movement pressure on UK, Italy, etc., condemn coalition with known human rights abusers like Uzbekistan, Pakistan.

The Pillars of Peace and Justice

• build a long-term anti-empire, pro-democracy movement as permanent force
• link peace with domestic budget cuts
• link with working class through counter-recruitment
• link with environment/consumer through energy conservation/renewables
• link with civil liberties through anti-torture, anti-Patriot Act
• link with spiritual community through anti-Christian extremism
• link with conservatives through economic and security costs

Iraq Research and Education Project, 10536 Culver Blvd #H2, Culver City 90232

- Tom Hayden
 [The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
3:30:43 PM    

Craig Crawford: Media Lockdown

The New York Times' Judith Miller going to jail now. Time's Matt Cooper tells Federal Court today that his confidental source released him of obligation to protect identity. It sure helps the cause of protecting confidential sources that Cooper's source relieved him of the obligation. That leaves Miller's source(s) to do the same and end the cowardly hiding.

These are lousy facts to advocate freedom of the press, I know, because the source(s) might have committed a crime of treason. But this result goes way beyond the crummy facts of the case at hand. Thanks to the precedent being set in Miller's case, federal prosecutors in future cases will have the power to force reporters to reveal sources who are serving the public good. In other words, the power to threaten journalists with jail arising from this case will NOT be limited to the facts of this case. Good luck holding future prosecutors only to cases where sources allegedly committed treason. We will see this precedent cited in all sorts of attacks on the protection of sources.

posted by

- Craig Crawford (

[The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
3:05:43 PM    

And Then There Was One

A reference to an Agatha Christie detective novel where the characters are killed off one by one. Here it applies to the fact that only Judith Miller is left to go to prison to protect her sources. Matthew Cooper has agreed to testify:

In an about-face, Cooper told Hogan that he would now cooperate with a federal prosecutor's investigation into the leak of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame because his source gave him specific authority to discuss their conversation. "I am prepared to testify. I will comply" with the court's order, Cooper said.

Cooper took the podium in the court and told the judge, "Last night I hugged my son goodbye and told him it might be a long time before I see him again."

"I went to bed ready to accept the sanctions" for not testifying, Cooper said. But he told the judge that not long before his early afternoon appearance, he had received "in somewhat dramatic fashion" a direct personal communication from his source freeing him from his commitment to keep the source's identity secret.

Touching. Except that there are many other children who will never see their fathers and mothers again because they died in Iraq, and that, too, has something to do with the games this adminstration plays.

3:04:51 PM    

Judy Miller Goes To Jail.

 Judith Miller was just taken into custody, and will immediately serve a 120-day sentence in a federal District of Columbia facility, not exactly a nice place to be. Miller told the judge that she is still refusing to reveal her...

[The Left Coaster]
3:04:04 PM    

Going Native

So I'm listening to CBC Radio just now, where they were carrying listener reaction to an earlier interview with Canada's New York Times correspondent, some guy named Krause. He had opined that the level of public discussion was higher in the United States. This is too stupid to merit refutation (though a number of Canadian listeners did just that). Aside from the fact that, for this to be true,

- Tresy

3:03:09 PM    

The special prosecutor says that if Judith Miller can handle the desert in wartime she can cope with jail, and the Washington Post reports that "Sources close to the investigation say there is evidence in some instances that some reporters may have told government officials -- not the other way around -- that Wilson was married to Plame, a CIA employee."

3:02:35 PM    

Grim day. This case was useful precisely because so many people don't find Miller a sympathetic reporter. This is just grim. This week Miller, next month, who knows, it could be the Seymour Hershes of this world who expose Abu...

[War and Piece]
3:01:45 PM    

Cooper is Testifying.

COOPER IS TESTIFYING....Weird, weird, weird. As I mentioned yesterday, Karl Rove's lawyer says that Rove has signed a waiver allowing reporters to testify about their conversations with him in the Valerie Plame case. However, the nature of the waiver was...

 [Political Animal]
3:01:20 PM    

Peak everything.

Remember the great big hope to solve the twin problems of peak oil and global...

 [Booman Tribune]
10:08:12 AM    

Treasongate and Karl Rove (Part III).

UPDATE: Make sure you read the excellent commentary/roundup by Swopa - here and here. Continuing from my previous post, the curious case of Time magazine's Matt Cooper and the New York Times' Judith Miller had me thinking quite a bit...

 [The Left Coaster]
9:57:45 AM    

Judy & Matt's Day of Reckoning?.

 There's nothing quite like having one's idle conjecture be confirmed by the Washington Post. On...

 [Booman Tribune]
9:56:58 AM    

Where’s that Pulitzer?.

The New York Times has a very good story about how the White House and Senate leadership are telling right-wing pressure groups to cool their jets and lay off Alberto Gonzales. But the piece is marred by this astonishing blind quote: A senior White House official who spoke on condition ...

[Think Progress]
7:06:56 AM    

For the Bushes, Loyalty Runs One Way Only.

Susan Madrak: You really have to wonder what's going on in this SM relationship:

LONDON, July 4: President Bush told British Prime Minister Tony Blair to expect no favors at this week's Group of Eight summit of major industrialized countries in return for backing the war in Iraq. Blair, who has made tackling global warming and relieving African poverty the goals of his year-long presidency of the G-8, will host fellow leaders at the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland from Wednesday to Friday. "I really don't view our relationship as one of quid pro quo," Bush told Britain's ITV1 television in an interview. "Tony Blair made decisions on what he thought was best for keeping the peace and winning the war on terror, as I did."

Silly Tony Blair. Didn't anybody tell him that where the Bush family is concerned, loyalty runs one way and one way only?...

 [Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal]
7:03:55 AM    

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

They are more like our enemy, Part II.

Last night I wrote "How the Islamic crazies are like the Right" to hammer home how fundamentalist Islam has more in common with the radical religious right, the American Taliban, than it does with the American Left.

This is a key point-- it was easier for the Right to tie the American Left with our previous boogeyman, the communists, since we technically were nearer to the extreme left than where conservatives.

But today, things look quite different. I started the ball rolling on similarities on that previous post. Here are more similarities, as submitted by readers:

Foreign Policy

Al Qaida/Taliban: World domination - do it our way or we attack
American Taliban: World domination - do it our way or we attack
Liberals: Peace and international cooperation

Executing Minors

Al Qaida/Taliban: Executing Minors OK
American Taliban: Executing Minors OK
Liberals: Find this to be a barbaric and embarrassing practice

Pop Culture

Al Qaida/Taliban: Hate it... kill it
American Taliban: Hate it... ban it
Liberals: Laugh at it... boycott it


Al Qaida/Taliban: Belief in their own infallibility
American Taliban: Belief in their own infallibility
Liberals: Willingness to consider other viewpoints


Al Qaida/Taliban: God is on our side and will help us kill our enemies
American Taliban: God is on our side and will help us kill our enemies
Liberals: God may or may not exist and will not help us kill anyone

Stem Cell Research

Al Qaida/Taliban: No Stem cell research
American Taliban: No Stem cell research
Liberals: Stem cell research


Al Qaida/Taliban: God choose Osama Bin Laden to defeat the Great Satan
American Taliban: God choose George W. Bush to lead us
Liberals: God didn't choose anyone

Use of Force

Al Qaida/Taliban: As a means of propagating a world view
American Taliban: As a means of propagating a world view
Liberals: As a last resort

Bush's War in Iraq

Al Qaida/Taliban: Love it!
American Taliban: Love it!
Liberals: It's a disaster


Al Qaida/Taliban: Control of the Press
American Taliban: Manipulation of the Press
Liberals: Freedom of the Press

Free Speech

Al Qaida/Taliban: Anyone who disagrees with us is an infidel and must be silenced
American Taliban: Anyone who disagrees with us is a traitor and must be silenced
Liberals: Anyone who disagrees with us is in for a spirited discussion


Al Qaida/Taliban: Conform or else
American Taliban: Conform or else
Liberals: Embrace diversity


Al Qaida/Taliban: You're either with us or against us
American Taliban: You're either with us or against us
Liberals: We're all in this together


Al Qaida/Taliban: Death to the infidels
American Taliban: Kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity
Liberals: Live and let live


Al Qaida/Taliban: Obedience to authority
American Taliban: Obedience to authority
Liberals: Critical reflection


Al Qaida/Taliban: Universe and man created 6,000 years ago by God
American Taliban: Universe and man created 6,000 years ago by God
Liberals: The Universe began as we know it at least 14 billion years ago, maybe more


Al Qaida/Taliban: Subservient to will of its leaders
American Taliban: Subservient to will of its leaders
Liberals: Will served by Representative government


Al Qaida/Taliban: Life is scary and uncertain, seek refuge in moral absolutes and scorn those that threaten those absolutes
American Taliban: Life is scary and uncertain, seek refuge in moral absolutes and scorn those that threaten those absolutes
Liberals: Life is scary and uncertain, seek refuge in accepting that respect for our fellow man and the individual choices he/she makes is eminently moral


Al Qaida/Taliban: A woman's place is in the home
American Taliban: A woman's place is in the home
Liberals: A woman's place is wherever she wants it to be


Al Qaida/Taliban: Marriage is only between a man and a woman
American Taliban: Marriage is only between a man and a woman
Liberals: Marriage is between any two people who love each other

We could keep this up all day, I suspect. Remember, the point isn't that the American Taliban is just like Al Qaida (though given the chance...), the point is that there's no reason that liberals would ever "root" for Al Qaida or the Taliban or any of the crazies in the Islamic fundamentalist world.

The reasons we hate the American Taliban are the same reasons we hate fundamentalists of all stripes -- they seek to impose their own moral code on the rest of society, and do so with the zeal and moral absolutism possible only from those who believe they are doing "God's work". [Daily Kos]

4:27:52 PM    

Dressing Up The 4th.

A number of you wrote urging me to post this image. I thought I would, along with this very incisive description from Eric, a BAGreader and professor: [This photo] appeared on the NY Times website front page on July...

4:20:08 PM    

Calling All Squad Cars.

I was quite taken aback by Bush's appearance and demeanor in the pre-G8 summit ITV interview with Trevor Macdonald, or at least by the portion I saw of it. For one thing, a transcript doesn't do justice with the sluffing-off...

[James Wolcott]
4:19:07 PM    

Pro-Impeachment Group and Website Hit The Ground Running.

Boy, that didn't take long. As I said last Thursday when the latest Zogby poll came out showing that Bush's starting off point for impeachment was 42% in favor, he is already in worse shape than Clinton was on the...

[The Left Coaster]
4:18:34 PM    


[The Raw Story | A rational voice - Alternative news]
4:16:51 PM    

Our Latest Enemy

Yes, NewsMax picked the 4th of July to let it slip that there's a Simmering Feud Between the U.S. and Canada. I assume that in a couple of weeks, the President will announce that “The people of the United States will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with socialized medicine, gay marriages, and maple syrup.” Condi will say that we'd better invade them now, because we don't want the smoking gun to be a hockey stick. Dick Cheney will remark, "I think it's not surprising that people make a connection between Mariah Carey Celine Dion and 9/11." And Rachel Marsden will promise us that our troops will be met with sweets and flowers -- because she's already decided which side she supports.

Anyway, here's part of the NewsMax story, which is mostly about the feud between Bill O'Reilly and Canada, but I guess any feud that involves Bill is America's feud:

Well before Canada's ambassador to the United States announced he was declaring war on the "Fox factor" and what he says is Fox News' anti-Canadian bias, a cold war between the news network and our neighbor to the north had been under way.


Fox, perceived as strongly in support of the Bush administration policies in Iraq, had become anathema to Canada's ruling elite.

Well, Fox, perceived as strongly supportive of most Bush administration policies (and also tabloid reporting), has become anathema to lots of people. So, I don't think it's worth going to war with our neighbors to the North just because they only let Fox News be broadcast to digital cable subscribers. Why should innocents suffer? (And by innocents, I mean people who don't want to watch "Hannity & Whosit" and "Fox 'n Friends 'n Bimbos.")

Anyway, here's the Rachel Marsden portion of the article:

Writing in earlier this year (Fox News Enters the Canadian Media Henhouse), Rachel Marsden, a public affairs and communications strategist, columnist and talk show host [and serial stalker] who has worked in politics and media in the United States and Canada, gave these examples of the way Canada's leftist Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) portrays the U.S.:

  • CBC aired a rabidly anti-Bush documentary entitled "The World According to Bush" – not once but three times – during the 2004 presidential election campaign.

And that's presumably why very few Canadian citizens voted for Bush in the 2004 presidential election.

  • Another program also broadcast by the CBC right before the election was "The Unauthorized Biography of Dick Cheney." The CBC Web site stated: "Cheney's remarkable life story involves the relentless accumulation of power in every form. ... [The CBC] will show how he accomplished this, what it involved in terms of costs for others and what history's judgement [sic] could be."

Not only did CBC broadcast a program claiming that Cheney's life story involves the accumulation of power in every form (oil, nuclear energy, coal, etc.), but they had the nerve to use the secondary spelling of "judgment"!

  • Finally, the CBC commissioned and aired a documentary titled "Stupidity," in which the message is that George W. Bush is officially a moron because, according to the press release issued by the producer, "a group of Canadian stupidity experts" says so.

Well, I think that Rachel has proven that the CBC is anti-America, all right. Yup, they aired three programs that seem critical of our Prez and VP, and therefore, they (and their whole liberal country) must hate us. But Rachel for one welcomes her new American overlords, and reminds them that she could be useful in rounding up others to toil in their underground stupidity mines.

For apparently she isn't any too fond of her native land Per her columns, never will you find a more wretched hive of scum and liberalism than Canada (at least, the parts of it that she writes about). Her lastest column deals with the stupid city of Toronto, and how it says it's going to get tough on people who don't recycle, but instead of jailing them or shooting them or something, the damned liberals in the city council will just send them warning letters.

Hey, the Mayor should at least talk tough about how the recycling scofflaws are evil doers, how they can run but they can't hide, and how the city should invade their homes, kill their leaders, and convert them to recycling. But noooo, the city is just a bunch of wimpy liberals, and nobody at all is going to get the death penalty for their pro-garbage crimes.

The City of Toronto has descended into a quagmire in the War on Garbage and now city council is calling in the troops. At least that’s what you would believe if you’ve been following all the hyperventilation this week suggesting the city will soon be imposing fines on people who don’t properly sort their recyclables.


Just as all the jihadists would have done if liberal John Kerry had been elected U.S. president last November, trash terrorists can chill out knowing that the lefty-dominated council is in charge of fighting this war.

And, as President Bush implied, there are links between the trash terrorists and al Qaeda -- so, it's a time for tough action.

Or it it?

The reality is that there will always be situations in which recycling is more of a hassle than it’s worth: You’re doing some quick de-cluttering and just want to open a big trash bag and dump everything in.

Yeah, when you're cleaning up a murder scene, you don't want to be bothered sorting the blood-soaked rags, rubber gloves, and murder weapon from the body. It's much more convenient to just open a big trash bag and dump everything in it.

You live in a small space and have nowhere to store your rotting compost.

They make you recycle your rotting compost in Canada? Man, their recycling laws are stringent!

You walk by those big silver trash/recycling bins on the street and would rather just drop your newspaper through whichever slot looks the cleanest, rather than risk getting a dose of hepatitis from one you’re actually supposed to be using.

Every year, thousands of men, women, and children die of hepatitis they caught from dropping their newspapers into dirty recycling bins. Don't let anyone YOU care about be part of that number -- join Rachel in her crusade to, um, whine about liberals. Thank you.

Oh, and when we actually invade Canada, we will fight them there so we don't have to fight them here. Because if we had to fight them here, they'd probably try to keep us from watching our beloved Bill O'Reilly, and might force us to recycle our rotting compost.

[World O'Crap]
12:38:03 PM    

Bush Advises Blair Not to Expect Special Treatment at G-8 Summit.

Bush Tries to Remake Image as Team Player

Warren Veith | London | July 5

LAT - President Bush, whose foreign policy is viewed in some countries as ill-conceived and arrogant, heads to an international summit this week intent on convincing the world that he knows the meaning of consensus. Yeah, right!

Bush Advises Blair Not to Expect Special Treatment at G-8 Summit

London | July 5

WaPo - President Bush told British Prime Minister Tony Blair to expect no favors at this week's Group of Eight summit of major industrialized countries in return for backing the war in Iraq. Blair, who has made tackling global warming and relieving African poverty the goals of his year-long presidency of the G-8, will host fellow leaders at the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland from Wednesday to Friday.

 [The Agonist]
11:10:27 AM    

Global savings glut, my ass...

What Global Savings Glut?.

What Global Savings Glut?Stephen Roach | New York | July 5Morgan Stanley - Another new theory has been concocted to rationalize unsustainable excesses. The notion of a “global saving glut” has been proposed -- and quickly accepted -- as a new and important excuse for mounting global imbalances. It is also thought to explain why interest rates are so low -- resolving the great conundrum of our time by stressing the mismatch between excess capital and limited investment opportunities. Finally, this theory implies that global imbalances are more benign than malign -- drawing into question the urgency for any rebalancing. I don’t buy the global saving glut hypothesis, and here’s why.

[The Agonist]
11:08:47 AM    

Where Have All The Statesmen Gone?.'s probably perfectly understandable, given the sharp, whiney, partisan tone that American politics has devolved to, that a person just can't gain a high enough vantage point to be able to discern anything resembling a true statesman in any of the blow-dried blowhards that populate our political scene. The sorts of true giants who endure in the history books only come along every occasional generation or so, and things don't look too good for this one. It's a little more surprising, perhaps due to lack of understanding, how European leaders seem to fall into the same sort of trap, but it is mildly amusing to watch how they diss and spin and fling the fecal matter, both within their own borders and with their neighbors. '

Today's example is the relationship between France and Britain, never alll that solid in the best of times but now even more rocky than normal because of a spirited competition over...the Olympics. French head honcho Jacques Chirac has fired the most recent shot, churning up a little tempest across the Channel by riffing on British food and mad cow disease... this how adults behave now? Did I miss the memo? I mean, the mad...

11:07:25 AM    

Rove has an easy out — which he'll no doubt ignore.

Over the holiday weekend, the investigation into the scandal surrounding the White House and Valerie Plame took an entertaining turn when reports surfaced that Karl Rove was, in fact, one of the leakers who exposed the identity of an undercover CIA agent.

The e-mails surrendered by Time Inc., which are largely between Cooper and his editors, [...]

[The Carpetbagger Report]
11:06:27 AM    

Fairness Abounds.

Atrios writes about this Times article on Democrats putting question marks after statements and provoking hysteria, and says the following:

Democrats are not allowed to ask questions about... well, as far as I can tell, anything. All questions of a nominee are inappropriate.

I think that's a bit off. Republicans are saying that Democrats are more than free to ask certain questions. It's just that the sanctity of the nomination process requires complete and total ignorance of any reason why the President might have made the nomination, or what they might do as a nominee. That, to me, seems perfectly acceptable. There's no constutional requirement that Supreme Court justices actually be qualified, and I'm perfectly fine with entrusting the highest court in the land to whoever walks in off the street.

Oh, wait, you mean the President can know what nominees believe, even if Senators can't (cuz that's eeevil)? Well...well, that's fucked up.

11:05:29 AM    

Out Of Touch.

The foreign policy establishment of both parties, but especially Republicans, is completely out of touch with the public when it comes to withdrawal. First, here is what the public thinks about withdrawal:
Gallup Poll. June 29-30, 2005. N=883 adults nationwide. MoE ±...


11:04:39 AM    

Stupid Questions to Judicial Nominees: Good for Ge...
Stupid Questions to Judicial Nominees: Good for Geese and Ganders :

So on one of the chatalot Sunday shows, Democrat Senator Charles Schumer declared that the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee would actually question a nominee to the Supreme Court on his or her views on, well, shit, legal issues. Said Schumer, "All questions are legitimate. What is your view on Roe v. Wade? What is your view on gay marriage? They are going to try to get away with the idea that we're not going to know their views. But that's not going to work this time."

To this Republican Orrin "Behold My Mormon Scowl of Repressed Libido" Hatch said, "Any member of the committee can ask whatever they want, no matter how stupid," adding that nominees had been pressed to give their views on potential judicial matters, "but never to the degree" Schumer hinted at. Later, on some other who-gives-a-shit talker, Republican baboon Jeff Sessions pronounced such questions on specific matters "highly objectionable," saying, "You cannot ask a judge to prejudge a specific matter."

Well, as usual, they'd've both done well to look at the recent history of hearings on nominees to the Supreme Court. Here's Orrin Hatch questioning Ruth Bader Ginsburg back in July 1993 about the death penalty: "But do you agree with all the current sitting members of the Court that it is constitutional? Is it within the Constitution?" Indeed, Hatch had berated Ginsberg endlessly trying to get her to pop her Constitutional cherry on offing criminals.

Ask a stupid question and, well, fuck, guess you get a stupid answer: Ginsburg responded that one must never ask a judge how she may vote on a case that might come before her. Hatch barked back, "But that's not what I asked you. I asked you is it in the Constitution?" which is precisely what she'd have to judge if she became a Supreme Court justice. Indeed, when Ginsburg continued to refuse to be drawn into a discussion of whether or not capital punishment is "cruel and unusual," Hatch was exasperated and demanded, "I think you ought to tell us where you really come down." In other words, a Republican Senator, in the minority, demanded to know how Ginsburg would judge capital punishment cases.

When Republican Senator William Cohen asked Ginsburg about discrimination based on sexual orientation, she again declined to answer because it was a possible case that she may have to decide. Ginsburg was more than willing to talk about decisions she had written, as in her frank discussion of abortion rights and women's rights in general. Cohen also pressed Stephen Breyer in 1994, when Breyer was a nominee, asking him directly for the future justice's personal opinion on the death penalty. (Oh, for the days when the Republicans only had a hard-on for killing the guilty.)

So, like, as ever, Republicans are hiding behind reportage and discussion devoid of any semblance of historical context. Or, to put it simply, they're just gonna lie and say whatever the fuck they want to get their way.

Out here in Left Blogsylvania, since Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement last Friday, there's been sooo much talk about whether the "Gang of 14" deal will hold, what the strategy will be wherein Bush will fuck us over one more time, will the nominee be batfuck-Ann-Coulter insane or just plain ol' nutzoid, and filibuster, filibuster, filibuster. The Rude Pundit declines to get involved until the inevitable motherfucker is nominated (because, you know, Bush always nominates motherfuckers).

Except to say this: it's time for so-called moderate Republicans to put the fuck up or shut the fuck up. When some odious, torture-supportin', rights abandonin', abortion-overturnin' piece of shit is the nominee, don't fuckin' hope and pray that Democrats will take the bullet for your pusillanimity in standing up to the White House. In other words, if you rely on the Democrat filibuster to shield you from expressing your disgust with the Bush administration, then you deserve your upcoming wacko-conservative primary challenger that the lunatic right will put up against you.

By the way, the Rude Pundit won't be joining in the encomiums to Sandra Day O'Connor's Supreme Court tenure. Sure, sure, sure, she happened to be an available conservative woman who happened to be a judge when Ronald Reagan was trying to shore up some street cred with half of America. But that's circumstance. Sure, sure, she was a swing vote in favor of abortion rights and affirmative action.

And she was also the swing vote on Bush v. Gore , which led us to this moment in history, with war in Iraq, the steady dismantling of rights that O'Connor supported, and the final rightward shift of the court itself. Fuck her. That one decision undoes all the others.

- Rude One
[The Rude Pundit]
8:11:17 AM    

It's education and health care, stupid!.

 Reader Joe P. has been paying attention and forwards this interesting article about a new Toyota plant in Canada. The first sentence pretty much sums it up. (...)

 [South Knox Bubba]
7:29:36 AM    

Now the Battle Begins - Justice O'Conner Resigns.

The Economist, U.K., July 1

7:27:47 AM    

First In Iraq and Now Afghanistan, Bush's Arrogance Is Punished.

The Frontier Post, Pakistan, July 5

7:27:16 AM    

Chelsea Peretti: SHARK SAFETY TIPS: CONTINUED! (With John Mulaney)

Due to the recent shark attacks in Florida (Fla.) and beyond, we are offering a refresher on Shark Safety.





"But surely this fella seems like he could be okay?" NO. DON'T.

"Not this guy either?" NOPE.



DO--------------------------------------->>>>(KIDDING. DON'T.)

"Hey what's that over there, let's go get Deb and Mike and check it out."
SMACK!! DON'T. D.o. n.o.t. ( S-h-a-r-k-! )













- Chelsea Peretti (
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1:51:50 AM    

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