Wednesday, November 30, 2005

AIPAC Has a Point

Josh points to this article reporting that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is upset with the WH for not pushing for sanctions against Iran.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee criticized the White House for not pushing the U.N. nuclear watchdog to recommend sanctions for Iran.

The Bush administration backed a European Union bid last week to reopen negotiations with Iran that would allow Iran to continue with its nuclear program as long as it exports its uranium to Russia for enrichment.

There is no question that Iran is pursuing nukes and the rest of the world doesn't want to deal with it. Likely Europe doesn't want to upset business relationships with Iran.

We invaded Iraq for much less. Unlike Iraq, Iran actually has a nuclear program and poses a real threat to our friends in the region and stability in the ME. So where are those balls for which Gdub is so famous?

The truth is we're bogged down in Iraq and don't have the reach to do anything about Iran. In other words, the folly in Iraq is an ongoing threat to the national security of the United States.

But of course, the Bushies would never admit this, so suddenly their all about detente. WTF?

And when Iran actually does go nuclear, the GOP will blame the Ds for being soft on them, and America will believe them.

Taking Down the WSJ

Jack Shafer does an excellent job to taking down the WSJ and others who've recently wanted to compare Wright's transgressions to the current GOP.

Jim Wright was an amateur.

Wright and Wrong and Cunningham

(Via TPM)

A Patriotic American

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff General Peter Pace is a patriotic American. Donald Rumsfeld is not.

Go read Kevin to learn why.

'Nice Tries'

Piggybacking on Josh's 'nice tries list', Digby reminds us of the K Street Project.

Go read Digby.

"What the Republicans Need,....

is 50 Jack Abramoffs. Then this becomes a different town."

Grover Norquist in 1995.

(Via Josh)

National Strategy for Victory in Iraq

Behold! National Strategy for Victory in Iraq

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

More on Andrea the Shill

firedoglake: Andrea Mitchell Watch Day 3 -- Anatomy of a Circle Jerk

Shiite Death Squads

Kevin has the story at The Washington Monthly

This Makes No Sense

This morning's WaPo says that a Time reporter will testify to the grand jury essentially as a defense witness.

Supposedly, conversations Rove's attorney Robert Luskin had with his friend and Time reporter Viveca Novak would be exculpatory to Rove, and Luskin's representation of this fact is why Rove wasn't indicted last month.

This makes absolutely no sense. Who gives a rat's ass what a defense attorney says to 3d parties and how is this, in any way, evidence of anything?

But targets don't get to call witnesses and the conversations of those not involved in the crime being investigated are nothing more than hearsay.

The only scenario that makes sense to me is that Viveca was somehow involved in the underlying crime (say, Rove testified that he could not recall the reporter who told him about Plame and Viveca was that reporter, etc) and came to Luskin who came to Fitz. So Fitz will not put this testimony to the grand jury and cross her, etc.

What am I missing?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Mathew Has More on the West Wing Meltdown

Unease in the West Wing | Mathew Gross

Saving Colin Powell?

Like rats fleeing a sinking ship.

Ex-Powell Aide Criticizes Detainee Effort,
In an Associated Press interview, former Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson also said President Bush was "too aloof, too distant from the details" of postwar planning. Underlings exploited Bush's detachment and made poor decisions, Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson blamed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and like-minded aides. He said Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard."
This ship is sinking fast and Powell's friends are trying to distance him from the carnage.

Powell's problem is that he could have spoken out and used his popularity to stop much of the madness.

Cyrus Vance resigned in protest.

What did Powell do? NOTHING! Well, he actually did something, he lied his ass-off at the UN.

Screw Colin Powell. I hope he goes to his grave full of regret for what he took part in.

The Duke is Out

and going to jail.

Duke Cunningham coped a plea today to taking $2.4M in bribes and resigned.

Here is a link to the AP Story.

Now, he will begin to 'atone'. Maybe he'll help OJ look for the real killers.

135 More Casualties?

The Left Coaster reports that the official DoD fatality court has jumped by 135 people without explanation.

The Left Coaster: Rummy's Untidy New Iraq Body Count

UPDATE: The DoD has corrected their casualty report. Their total is now 2106.

Andrea Mitchell: Liar

As you may know, Andrea Mitchell is married to Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan. She has also been a shill for the GOP for a very long time.

Way back in Oct 2003, she reported that it was well know "inside Washington" that Plame was a CIA agent and thus had no 'cover' to blow. This was a lie.

I'm no fan of Don Imus and haven't listened to him in years, but am taking great delight in him having stuck it to Mitchell on her blatant lie, which she now admits was a misstatement made out of confusion. She just can't stop lying, because the truth is worse: She's a GOP plant in the MSM who manufactures stories to please the Rs.

Go read Just One Minute for the whole story. You'll really enjoy it.

JustOneMinute: Andrea Mitchell, Take Two

The End of Rove?

I'm back from diving. I'll try and catch up in the next few days.

This is a huge story, if it's true. Raw Story claims that Fitzgerald is going back to the grand jury with this,

...Rove'’s former personal assistant, Susan B. Ralston ...testified in August about why Cooper'’s call to Rove was not logged. Ralston said it occurred because Cooper had phoned in through the White House switchboard and was then transferred to Rove'’s office as opposed to calling Rove'’s office directly....

But those close to the probe tell RAW STORY that Fitzgerald obtained documentary evidence showing that other unrelated calls transferred to Rove'’s office by the switchboard were logged. He then called Ralston back to testify.

Earlier this month, attorneys say Fitzgerald received additional testimony from Ralston -- who said that Rove instructed her not to log a phone call Rove had with Cooper about Plame in July 2003.

Ralston also provided Fitzgerald with more information and "clarification"” about several telephone calls Rove allegedly made to a few reporters, including syndicated columnist Robert Novak, the lawyers said.

If this story is accurate, how can Rove continue to serve while waiting for an inevitable indictment on a major obstruction charge(s)? What a huge disservice he would do to the President to be still on the job when he's indicted for what would be a Watergate-like cover-up, instructing an assistent to alter records and lie about it, etc.

It's too good to be true.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Slow News Weeks but Lots of Action Behind the Scenes

Looks like the White house is feeling the pressure of the anti-war movement. Condi Rice made a speech on Wednesday in which she claimed the Iraqi Army is about ready to take over control of the country. And Bush himself is expect to tout the same crap in a speech later this week. Amazing how much progress was made in just a few months. The never cut and run crowd seems to be getting ready to cut and run. They'll use the excuse that the new government is ready to assume control, but we all know that the whole thing is they are shaking in their boots about the midterm elections.

The possibility of a large number of R's being charged in the Indian casino mess, including Tom DeLay and Dennis Hassert, doesn't bode well of them. And the trouble in the Senate with Frist's stock sales are not yet over. Finally, the R's are finding out that name calling only works to shore up the radical right base and turns off the middle of the roaders after a while.

Let's just hope the D's don't screw it up by trying to cater to every fringe group to win support when the R's seems to be doing a good job of screwing it up themselves. As Don has said many times on this blog, it is easier to the minority party that can raise issues than the majority trying to keep control in tough times, especially if the ethics issues keeps popping up.

In case you didn't see it, the big reason for all the sales so early this Christmas season is that the retailers are concerned that once you get your first winter heating bill, the disposal income stream will drop like a rock and people will snap those purses and wallets tighter than the plastic film everyone is putting on their windows. We'll see what happens. Here in Chicago, the price of gas is done to $2.21 a gallon. I was traveling over the holidays and saw it as cheap as $2.02. Think we'll ever see below $1.50 again? As an economist, I'd say no and say that would be a good way to control demand. But as a consumer, I know I don;t think I can cut out a lot of my trips in the car, especially in the winter in Chicago. Until Detroit brings out a true fuel efficient car, look for prices to continue to go up.

Finally, a few thought on GM. The planned cuts are too little too late. GM needs to eliminate most of the current divisions and build fewer cars. I know that means massive layoff and I predict a bankruptcy in which the union contracts are tossed. Good bye to major section of the middle class. But the business model both Ford and GM are using is flawed. They make more money from their financial group than they do from building cars. That has got to stop. I am a big proponent of unions, but in this case, greed took the place of common sense and the unions have signed their own death certificates in the auto industry.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Been Out of Town Will Start Blogging

All,

Like Don, I have been out of town at a convention that hasn't given me any time to watch the news or even do more than glance at a newspaper. I'll get caught up tomorrow and have some commentary tomorrow night.

Tim

Friday, November 18, 2005

Think Progress has More Scoop on Manipulated Intel

The Rendon Group: Proof The Administration Manipulated Intelligence,

From “Saddam Hussein’s Development of Weapons of Mass Destruction” [White House website]:

In 2001, an Iraqi defector, Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri, said he had visited twenty secret facilities for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. … Mr. Saeed said Iraq used companies to purchase equipment with the blessing of the United Nations - and then secretly used the equipment for their weapons programs.

None of al-Haideri’s claims were true. Today’s Rolling Stone reveals that the administration’s use of al-Haideri’s lies to justify the Iraq war were “the product of a clandestine operation…that had been set up and funded by the CIA and the Pentagon for the express purpose of selling a war.”

'Attack' is all They've Have

Have you've likely heard, Rep Murtha, the conservative D from PA has called for the withdrawal of American troops.

From the WaPo,

Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), a decorated Vietnam War veteran, said many of those troops are demoralized and poorly equipped and, after more than two years of war, are impeding Iraq's progress toward stability and self-governance.

"Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency," Murtha said in a Capitol news conference that left him in tears. Islamic insurgents "are united against U.S. forces, and we have become a catalyst for violence," he said. ". . . It's time to bring them home."
_____

In sometimes vitriolic terms, Republican leaders accused Democrats of siding with terrorists, and Democrats countered that Bush deceived the nation in starting a war that he has no strategy for ending. The bitter exchanges came as polls show Americans are increasingly eager to have Iraqis assume control so U.S. troops can come home.

Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) declared: "Murtha and Democratic leaders have adopted a policy of cut and run. They would prefer that the United States surrender to the terrorists who would harm innocent Americans. To add insult to injury, this is done while the president is on foreign soil."

The Rs really are just a one-trick pony. Attack, attack, attack.

When their numbers first began to slide, post election, the R appeared to not know what to do without an enemy to attack. Now, with Ds challenging the war, they are back on the attack.

Josh documents the vicious attacks on Murtha.

Cheney is now back into full attack mode, and doing what Rs do best, casually calling everyone who disagrees with them traitors.

This has worked in the past for them, especially as Ds have been slow to shot back, like Murtha did yesterday responding to Cheney's remarks,
I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done.
I'm very curious to see if this new round of attacks works. It seems to me that a problem the Rs have on these attacks is that everything they say about the Ds is equally true of the American public where a majority now believes they lied about he war, favor bring the troops home, etc.

If we assume the new attacks don't work (Bush continues to slide in the polls) what else will they do?

We have yet to see just how ugly the Rs can get.

And a final thought on Murtha. When the history of this war is written, will Murtha's remarks from yesterday but the turning point?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Go Get'em Roy Blunt!

New York Times
WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 - House Republican leaders were dealt a rare defeat today as Democrats and about two dozen Republicans teamed up to kill a $142 billion health and education spending bill.

Many members said the bill's defeat, by 224 to 209 votes, was the first rejection of an appropriation measure they could recall since Republicans assumed House control in 1995. The loss left the leadership uncertain whether to bring up another budget measure, which calls for $50 billion in cuts over five years.

On Holiday

I'm off for a week of scuba diving in the Caribbean. I won't be able to check in.

Hopefully, Tim will drop in on occasion for an update.

Marty Kaplan: Journalism: R.I.P.

Atrios points to Marty Kaplan's column today,
Mainstream journalism has cancer. The diagnosis – stage three, terminal – was made this week, by anyone with eyes to see.

Before now, the symptoms were alarming, but there was still hope. Fox’s “liberal media” lie; the reduction of all debates to polarized left/right shouting matches; the triumph of infotainment and missing-white-women-as-news over information we actually need to know; the substitution of he-said/she-said for shoe-leather and fact-finding; the social coziness of reporters and sources; the bottom-line obsession; the consolidation of power in fewer and fewer owners' hands' the politicization of public broadcasting – these, and more, were tumors, but their fatal metastasizing was not inevitable.

But the coverage of the battle between the White House and the Democrats over the use of prewar intelligence, and the reporting on l’affaire Woodward, is the end of the road for the mandarin gatekeepers.

If the Judy Miller saga left anyone wondering what high-church journalism’s standards are about sourcing, confidentiality, and citizen responsibility, the Bob Woodward tale now makes it clear: They make the rules up as they go along....
There's more, and it's worth a read.

Hope?

Did I speak too soon?

AP: Senators Threaten to Hold Up Patriot Act
A bipartisan group of senators told congressional leaders Thursday they will try to block reauthorization of the Patriot Act to protest the elimination of Senate-pushed protections against "unnecessary and intrusive government surveillance" in a House-Senate compromise.

"If further changes are not made, we will work to stop this bill from becoming law," GOP Sens. Larry Craig, John Sununu and Lisa Murkowski and Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin, Russ Feingold and Ken Salazar said in a letter to the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

This came a day after House-Senate negotiators crafted a tentative compromise to make most provisions of the existing law permanent, and set new seven-year sunsets for rules on wiretapping, obtaining business records under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and new standards for monitoring "lone wolf" terrorists who may be operating independent of a foreign agent or power.
Now is the time to contact your senators, no matter the party, and let them know that you are not happy with the wholesale reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Tell them that liberty is NOT the enemy.

Concern for the Patriot Act comes from both sides of the isle.

Who Was Woodward's Source?

While I find it interesting that this nugget has popped up after we thought the guts of the Plame investigation was over, I'm not as excited as some about the recent Woodward revelation.

I'm under no illusions about who Bob Woodward is, so I can't get excited about any possible ethical lapses-- Bob has no ethics.

If you are interested, Kevin at The Washington Monthly has a good rundown about who might be Bob's source.

A Major Democratic Failure

It's hard to maintain faith in the Democratic leadership.

If not now, when?

Congress Arrives at A Deal on Patriot Act
House and Senate negotiators reached a tentative agreement yesterday on revisions to the USA Patriot Act that would limit some of the government's powers while requiring the Justice Department to provide a better accounting of its secret requests for information on ordinary citizens.

But the agreement would leave intact some of the most controversial provisions of the anti-terrorism law, such as government access to library and bookstore records in terrorism probes, and would extend only limited new rights to the targets of such searches.

For President Bush, renewal of the act would provide a boost as he looks to restore his image as a strong commander in chief in combating terrorism. And Democrats said yesterday that the administration largely got what it wanted -- a major break after lawmakers challenged the White House in recent days on the conduct of the Iraq war, budget policies and tax cuts.

The deal would make permanent 14 Patriot Act provisions that were set to expire at the end of the year. Three other measures -- including one allowing law enforcement agents access to bookstore and public library records -- would be extended for seven years, or three years longer than the Senate had agreed to. The House initially extended the provisions for 10 years but later voted to accept the Senate's four-year extension.

Also extended for seven years is a provision allowing roving wiretaps that follow an individual who may use multiple means of communication, rather than targeting a single phone line. The agreement also extends for seven years a provision of a separate intelligence law passed last year that allows federal investigators to track an individual not connected to a foreign government but suspected of operating as a "lone wolf" terrorist.
There's more.

Repeat after me, " liberty is NOT the enemy."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Roe Fatigue

Over at TPM Cafe, where I hang-out some, I've put up my post on Roe Fatigue.

I posted it their in hopes of getting some comments. You people are too quiet.

Slave Labor

I think we may have hit a new low. The DOJ needs to investigate this, and if true, people need to be jailed.

Pandagon: Slave wage, er, slavery, in the Gulf

Alito's 'Personal Crusade'

From Think Progress,
Just as Alito tries to distance himself from his 1985 Justice Department application (where he wrote he "personally believed" that a woman'’s right to choose is not protected in the Constitution), more evidence has emerged of his personal commitment to overturn Roe v. Wade. From the Boston Globe (11/16/05):
Albert Lauber, who served with Alito in the solicitor general'’s office, said Alito had been instrumental in drafting arguments for why the court should uphold laws in Pennsylvania and Illinois, which imposed numerous restrictions on abortions.
Alito wasn't just doing tasks asked of him by his boss. Alito wasn't'’t originally assigned to the case, but he still approached Lauber and asked to help argue for "“overturning the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion [Roe v. Wade]"”:
Sam said, "‘I know this is not in your area."’ He kind of volunteered to be helpful.
Alito wasn'’t just an '“advocate for the Reagan administration.' He sought out work that helped advance his personal agenda.
Am I the only one on the left who suffers from Roe fatigue? I'm going to write a post on this.

Is Gdub going Nixon?

Kevin at The Washington Monthly has written the post I've been writing in my head for the past 24 hours.

As Kevin notes, stories of Gdub cracking are not new, but always of dubious sourcing. I will ad to Kevin's a couple reports from my memory. The first dates back to his election loss in 2000. The report goes that Gdub had no idea that the election was tight because no one had told him (remember, he doesn't read the paper). Gdub was stunned at the loss and angry at his aids for losing the election.

The second were reports from last year when the campaign wasn't going so well, of him moving between shouting obsenities at staff and quoted scripture to them.

It was also leaked from the WH that the Meyers pick for SC came from an isolated Gdub who was angry at this staff.

Here is my bottom line: First, I don't believe anything Capital Hill Blue has to say.

Second, I think one doesn't have to look very hard to find a history of Gdub not dealing well with adversity. He is a classic underachieving spoiled 'rich kid' who can't cope with things not going his way.

Third, It does not appear that events for Bush will improve for the forseeable future. So, if the above reports are true, we will likely know within the next several months because he will have an outburst that can't be hidden.

Wow, Now Woodward

From today's WaPo,

Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward testified under oath Monday in the CIA leak case that a senior administration official [not Libby or Rove] told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame and her position at the agency nearly a month before her identity was disclosed.

In a more than two-hour deposition, Woodward told Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald that the official casually told him in mid-June 2003 that Plame worked as a CIA analyst on weapons of mass destruction, and that he did not believe the information to be classified or sensitive, according to a statement Woodward released yesterday.

Meanwhile, Back in Washington,

Republicans fight to get tax cuts through
....The Senate Finance Committee voted 14-6 to endorse a package that would cut taxes by $60 billion over five years but would omit a GOP priority of preserving reduced tax rates for investment income. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, a moderate Republican holding a pivotal vote on the committee, rejected the extension.

"The reality is, this is a very different world than where we were even six months ago," Snowe, said, pointing to budget deficits, rebuilding efforts along the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, ongoing operations in Iraq and rising energy costs.
Um, who's going to explain to Sen Snowe that budget deficits, Iraq and rising energy costs did NOT come up a mere 6 months ago?

And Snowe is one of the sane ones.

'A Fiscal Hurricane'

I can't believe this didn't get more attention in the blog world yesterday. I caught this when at the airport.

From the Wednesday USA Today,
WASHINGTON — The comptroller general of the United States is explaining over eggs how the nation's finances are going to hell.

"We face a demographic tsunami" that "will never recede," David Walker tells a group of reporters. He runs through a long list of fiscal challenges, led by the imminent retirement of the baby boomers, whose promised Medicare and Social Security benefits will swamp the federal budget in coming decades.
_____

Sadly, it's no laughing matter. To hear Walker, the nation's top auditor, tell it, the United States can be likened to Rome before the fall of the empire. Its financial condition is "worse than advertised," he says. It has a "broken business model." It faces deficits in its budget, its balance of payments, its savings — and its leadership.

Walker's not the only one saying it. As Congress and the White House struggle to trim up to $50 billion from the federal budget over five years — just 3% of the $1.6 trillion in deficits projected for that period [and $70 billion in tax cuts]— budget experts say the nation soon could face its worst fiscal crisis since at least 1983, when Social Security bordered on bankruptcy.

Without major spending cuts, tax increases or both, the national debt will grow more than $3 trillion through 2010, to $11.2 trillion — nearly $38,000 for every man, woman and child. The interest alone would cost $561 billion in 2010, the same as the Pentagon.
And the Comptroller is not the only one,

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, dispassionately arms 535 members of Congress with his agency's stark projections. Barring action, he admits to being "terrified" about the budget deficit in coming decades. That's when an aging population, health care inflation and advanced medical technology will create a perfect storm of spiraling costs.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, sees a future of unfunded promises, trade imbalances, too few workers and too many retirees. She envisions a stock market dive, lost assets and a lower standard of living.

Kent Conrad, a Democratic senator from North Dakota, points to the nation's $7.9 trillion debt, rising by about $600 billion a year. That, he notes, is before the baby boom retires. "We're not preparing for what we all know is to come," he says. "We're all sleepwalking through this period."

Stuart Butler of the conservative Heritage Foundation projects a period from now until 2050 in which tax revenue stays stable as a share of the economy but Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security spending soars. To avoid big tax increases, he says the government has to "renegotiate" the social contracts it made with its citizens.

Alice Rivlin and Isabel Sawhill of the centrist Brookings Institution put their pessimism into a book titled Restoring Fiscal Sanity. Rivlin, who became the first director of the Congressional Budget Office in 1974, says it will take an "economic scare" such as the 1987 stock market crash to spur action. Sawhill likens the growing gulf between what the government spends and takes in to a "Category 6 fiscal hurricane."

There's more and everyone should read the article.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Whole complexion of the Alito Confirmation has now changed.

In meeting with Ds following disclosure of Alito's 1985 comments,Alito sought to explain those remarks,
"He said, first of all, it was different then," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told reporters after meeting with Alito. "He said, 'I was an advocate seeking a job, it was a political job, and that was 1985. I'm now a judge, I've been on the circuit court for 15 years, and it's very different. I'm not an advocate, I don't give heed to my personal views. What I do is interpret the law.' "

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) recounted a similar conversation. "He indicated that that was 20 years ago and it was a job application....
Teddy Kennedy, not missing the obvious implication of this "defense",
Kennedy said Alito, 55, told him he wrote the memo as someone "who was interested in getting a job" in the Justice Department as deputy assistant attorney general.

"So I asked him, 'Why shouldn't we consider that the answers you are giving today are an application for another job?" Kennedy said.
Of course, Alito goes on to make a more nuanced argument that his view in the last 20 years have "matured".

It would not be unreasonable for Alito to say that in 1985 Roe was a mere 12 years old and still very young as SC decisions go and very controversial in legal circles. Now at 32 years old, and repeatedly reaffirmed (including the Casey decision), Roe (which is still controversial in legal scholarship for good reason -- but that's another matter) has very different legal standing-- what Spector calls a "super precident". And given the reaffirmations of Roe these last 20 years changes everything. I know many of you will never believe him on this, and I don't know that I believe him either, but I'm just sayin,...

Hagel Shows Some Real Cojones

From tomorrow's WaPo,
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) strongly criticized yesterday the White House's new line of attack against critics of its Iraq policy, saying that "the Bush administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them."

With President Bush leading the charge, administration officials have lashed out at Democrats who have accused the administration of manipulating intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. Bush has suggested that critics are hurting the war effort, telling U.S. troops in Alaska on Monday that critics "are sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy. And that's irresponsible."

Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran and a potential presidential candidate in 2008, countered in a speech to the Council of Foreign Relations that the Vietnam War "was a national tragedy partly because members of Congress failed their country, remained silent and lacked the courage to challenge the administrations in power until it was too late."

"To question your government is not unpatriotic -- to not question your government is unpatriotic," Hagel said, arguing that 58,000 troops died in Vietnam because of silence by political leaders. "America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices."
'bout time. Of course, that such a no-brainer statement is newsworthy speaks volumes at the damage these ignorant fools have done to our nation.

Frist Has Lost the Senate

I was in Chicago all day on business and came home to learn that Frist has lost control of the Senate. Sure, there were other examples (the Democratic Senate shutdown, the budget bill, etc) but today's vote -- in my mind anyway -- seems to confirm that the previous events were not just the result of a rough couple weeks. Frist no longer controls the Senate. This is not to say the the Ds control the Senate -- they clearly do not -- but the days of GOP Über-control are over.

Senate Presses for Concrete Steps Toward Troop Withdrawal From Iraq

Monday, November 14, 2005

No Right to Abortion, Alito Argued in 1985

The WaPo now has the story.

Republicans Continue to Hide Behind Democrats on Iraq

Responding to reports that the RNC is putting together an ad of Bill Clinton in 1998 saying that Saddam posed a potential threat based upon WMD, Mathew gets it right.
They really are getting desperate. The difference between acknowledging a potential threat and taking appropriate steps to minimize it versus marching off half-cocked toward an unneccessary war is not lost on the American people, however. It's the difference between presidents of both parties for 30 years pursuing a policy of detente with the Soviet Union and pushing the big red button. Damn good thing George Bush was too drunk to serve before the Soviet Union fell. (Unfortunately for all of us, he's probably drunk again.)

An Itemization

Kevin Drum at The Washington Monthly does an excellent job of itemizing the Bushies misstatements on Iraq.

Alito's Confirmation Just Got Interesting

And from Rev Moon's Washington Times, no less.

Link.
Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, wrote that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion" in a 1985 document obtained by The Washington Times.

"I personally believe very strongly" in this legal position, Mr. Alito wrote on his application to become deputy assistant to Attorney General Edwin I. Meese III.
_____

In direct, unambiguous language, the young career lawyer who served as assistant to Solicitor General Rex E. Lee, demonstrated his conservative bona fides as he sought to become a political appointee in the Reagan administration.

"I am and always have been a conservative," he wrote in an attachment to the noncareer appointment form that he sent to the Presidential Personnel Office. "I am a lifelong registered Republican."

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Judy's Retirement

You no doubt know at this point, that Judy Miller has "retired" from the NY Times.

The Times publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. was on Charlie Rose Thursday night where he removed any doubt anyone might have that he is a complete fool. Of course, he can't be fired because his family owns the paper, and since his name is "Arthur" he must be publisher. Apparently, it's the law.

Anyway, again on this topic, Matt sums it up perfectly.

"Wow! Brazil is Big"

I missed this earlier this week.

Link,
At one point, [Brazil's president Luiz Inacio Lula] da Silva even exhibited a map of his country, which is larger than the continental United States. "Wow! Brazil is big," Amorim quoted the U.S. president as responding.
Really makes you proud, doesn't it?

It's Hard to Overstate the Enormity of the Abramoff Scandal

Josh has a post up pointing to a newspaper article linking the Jr sen from TX to the scandal.

This scandal is a who's-who of Right wing-nut politics.

John Edwards Plan for Iraq

Friends ask me all the time who I think will be the next president. Of course, I have no idea, but I'm as certain as any guesser can be that neither a Bush nor a Clinton will by on that November ballot.

If I had to place a bet today, it would be on John Edwards as the next POTUS.

To that end, John has an op/ed in the Sunday WaPo wherein he takes a position on Iraq.

To my knowledge, John is the second presidential hopeful to lay out such a plan. Last spring, Joe Biden, in an address to the Brookings Institution laid out his plan for Iraq.

But John Edwards does something that Biden has not. John admits his vote for the war was a mistake. His op/ed begins:
I was wrong.

Almost three years ago we went into Iraq to remove what we were told -- and what many of us believed and argued -- was a threat to America....

It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002. I take responsibility for that mistake. It has been hard to say these words because those who didn't make a mistake -- the men and women of our armed forces and their families -- have performed heroically and paid a dear price.

To my knowledge, Biden has never admitted as much, and continues to argue that the invasion was the right thing to do. Joe will never be POTUS.

John believes that it is still possible to leave Iraq with some dignity if we temper our expectations. Iraq, for instance, will never be a Jeffersonian democracy.

Here is what John thinks,
A plan for success needs to focus on three interlocking objectives: reducing the American presence, building Iraq's capacity and getting other countries to meet their responsibilities to help.

First, we need to remove the image of an imperialist America from the landscape of Iraq. American contractors who have taken unfair advantage of the turmoil in Iraq need to leave Iraq....

Second, this redeployment [of US troops] should work in concert with a more effective training program for Iraqi forces. We should implement a clear plan for training and hard deadlines for certain benchmarks to be met. To increase incentives, we should implement a schedule showing that, as we certify Iraqi troops as trained and equipped, a proportional number of U.S. troops will be withdrawn.

Third, we must launch a serious diplomatic process that brings the world into this effort....

America's leaders -- all of us -- need to accept the responsibility we each carry for how we got to this place. More than 2,000 Americans have lost their lives in this war, and more than 150,000 are fighting there today. They and their families deserve honesty from our country's leaders. And they also deserve a clear plan for a way out.

Obviously, there are more details I've left out.

The 'we've made this mess and we need to try and fix it' argument has always appealed to me. Not because I thought it would be easy, but because I felt that we had a moral obligation as a nation to attempt to fix the mess these fools have made in our name. I've gone away from this thinking after last November simply because I had no hope that Bush or anyone working for him had the capability to formulate and execute a workable plan.

I'm willing to consider that some fresh leaders might be able to make Iraq slightly less a mess. I'm skeptical, but if it's possible, it needs to be done.

Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument

The WaPo decides to do a little fact reporting. How refreshing.

Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument

Friday, November 11, 2005

'About That NIE'

Matt has more showing that Bush is a liar.

Libby Testimony Is Key To Rove Inquiry

A few weeks ago following Libby's indictment I explained how prosecution of this nature work.

Murry Waas writing the National Journal confirms my theory.
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald delayed a decision on whether to seek criminal charges against Karl Rove in large part because he wants to determine whether Lewis (Scooter) Libby,...can provide information on Rove's role in the CIA leak case, according to attorneys involved in the investigation.

Even if Fitzgerald concludes in the near future that he does not have sufficient evidence to charge Rove, the special prosecutor would not rule out bringing charges at a later date and would not finish his inquiry on Rove until he hears whatever information Libby might provide -- either incriminating or exculpatory -- on Rove's role, the sources said.
This could easily go on for the remainder of Bush's term.

Of course, Rove should resign. If this were any other admin, R or D, that would have happened by now but it's hard to imagine Bush without Rove and who tells Bush Rove has to go?

Who at the WH doesn't believe that he or she actually works for Rove, and who in Congress could come to the WH and tell Gdub that Rove has got to go? DeLay? Frist?

Think Progress Corrects Gdub

One of the talking points coming from the Rs is that the Senate Intel Committee's report found no manipulation of pre-war intel.

Bush retold this lie today in his speech.

Think Progress does a nice job correcting the record with specific examples of manipulations.

What The Senate Intel Commitee Found: Bush Admin Manipulated Case For War:

Essentially, the Bush administration took the intelligence that was presented to them in the classified NIE and twisted it to present a stronger case for war in the public version of the NIE. Here are some examples:

Classified NIE: “Although we have little specific information on Iraq’s CW stockpile, Saddam Hussein probably has stocked at least 100 metric tons” of such poisons.
Unclassified NIE: The phrase “although we have little specific information” was deleted. Instead, the public report said, “Saddam probably has stocked a few hundred metric tons of CW agents.”
[Senate Intel Cmte Report]

Classified NIE: “Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating BW [biological weapons] agents and is capable of quickly producing … a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery by bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers and covert operatives.”
Unclassified NIE: The words “potentially against the U.S. homeland” are inserted at the end of the statement.
[Senate Intel Cmte Report]

Classified NIE
: Stated Iraq was developing unmanned aerial vehicles “probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents.”
Unclassified NIE: A footnote in the classified version from the Air Force stating its disagreement with this claim was eliminated. The Senate Committee report stated the public NIE missed “the fact that… [the] agency with primary responsibility for technological analysis on UAV programs did not agree with the assessment.”
[Senate Intel Cmte Report]

Classified NIE
: Included a reference to State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research dissenting view on whether Iraq would have a nuclear weapon this decade.
Unclassified NIE: Did not contain any mention of INR’s dissent.

Lies and Lying Liars

I'm really surprised that DITSUM No. 044-02 has not gotten more press attention.

This document was prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency in February of 2002 -- more than a year before the invasion of Iraq -- and concluded that the sole witness relied upon by the Bushies to push the line that Al Qaeda was being trained by Saddam in bomb making and the use of poison gas was probably "intentionally misleading the debriefers".

The document -- or at least parts of it -- were just recently declassified and released by Senator Carl Levins office.

My guess is that the document is not getting a lot of attention because it has been years since anyone believed any of those lies anyway. Even so, this document is very important because it tells us what the Admin knew to be true while telling a very different story to the Congress and American people.

Robert Scheer, writing in the Los Angeles Times sees the significance of this document,
The report demolished the credibility of the key Al Qaeda informant the administration relied on to make its claim that a working alliance existed between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. It was circulated widely within the U.S. government a full eight months before Bush used the prisoner's lies to argue for an invasion of Iraq because "we've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases."
_____

Folks in the highest places were very interested in claims along the lines Libi was peddling, even though they went against both logic and the preponderance of intelligence gathered to that point about possible collaboration between two enemies of the U.S. that were fundamentally at odds with each other. Al Qaeda was able to create a base in Iraq only after the U.S. overthrow of Hussein, not before. "Saddam's regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements," accurately noted the DIA.
Scheer gets it. Knowing from February 2002 that these claims were bogus, Scheer writes,
Yet Bush used the informant's already discredited tall tale in his key Oct. 7, 2002, speech just before the Senate voted on whether to authorize the use of force in Iraq and again in two speeches in February, just ahead of the invasion.

Leading up to the war, Secretary of State Colin Powell tried to sell it to the United Nations, while Vice President Dick Cheney, national security advisor Condoleezza Rice, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith repeated it breathlessly for homeland audiences. The con worked, and Americans came to believe the lie that Hussein was associated with the Sept. 11 hijackers.

Even CIA Director George Tenet publicly fell into line, ignoring his own agency's dissent that Libi would not have been in a position to know what he said he knew. In fact, Libi, according to the DIA, could not name any Iraqis involved, any chemical or biological material used or where the training allegedly occurred. In January 2004, the prisoner recanted his story, and the next month the CIA withdrew all intelligence reports based on his false information.

One by one, the exotic intelligence factoids Bush's researchers culled from raw intelligence data files to publicly bolster their claim of imminent threat — the yellowcake uranium from Niger, the aluminum tubes for processing uranium, the Prague meeting with Mohamed Atta, the discredited Iraqi informants "Curveball" and Ahmad Chalabi — have been exposed as previously known frauds.

When it came to selling an invasion of Iraq it had wanted to launch before 9/11, the Bush White House systematically ignored the best available intelligence from U.S. agencies or any other reliable source.
This is a perfect example of why the Bushies so very much fear a real Congressional investigation into pre-war intel fabrications.

This is also a perfect example of the Bushies latest attacks designed to cast blame on the consumers of their lies is so absurd.

CIA Personnel Don't Want to Torture

The Knight-Ridder Washington Bureau has a great story up today quoting current and past CIA operatives who make the case against US torture.

Link
....many former and some current CIA operatives say - morality aside - that mistreatment and torture aren't useful interrogation tactics and the loophole should be rejected.

"We ought to declare we don't do this. We ought to declare the intelligence isn't worth it," said Frank Anderson, a former chief of the CIA's Near East and South Asia division in the agency's Operations Directorate, the clandestine service.

There's also the question of what brutality does to those who carry it out, Anderson said.

"I will rebel against anyone who wants my son to torture, because it won't ever heal," he said, speaking at a conference this week sponsored by the Middle East Institute.

Anderson's views were echoed, with some variation, in interviews with a half-dozen current and former CIA and military officers with extensive field experience....
Conservatives love to point to the bold Israelies who don't stand on sissy morality to protect their people, and insist we must follow their lead,....except in this case.
The Israelis, Baer said, have learned that they can gain valuable information by establishing personal relationships with the inmates and gaining their trust.

"They found that torture, abusive tactics, made things overall worse for them politically," Baer said. "The Israelis are friendly with their prisoners. They play cards with them and allow them to contact their families. They are getting in their minds to determine what makes up a suicide bomber."

Angry Desperation Sets In

From today's WaPo,
Bristling from fresh assaults on its justification for war, the White House dispatched national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley to the briefing room to issue a rebuttal to "the notion that somehow the administration manipulated prewar intelligence about Iraq." The administration's judgment on the threat posed by Iraq, he said, "represented the collective view of the intelligence community" and was "shared by Republicans and Democrats alike."

"Some of the critics today," Hadley added, "believed themselves in 2002 that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, they stated that belief, and they voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq because they believed Saddam Hussein posed a dangerous threat to the American people. For those critics to ignore their own past statements exposes the hollowness of their current attacks."
Complete BS.

Yes, many major Ds were too quick to jump on this bandwagon and deserve criticism.

But to suggest that the consumers of the lies were as culpable as the liars is just absurd and they know it. Where does this leave the American people, Mr. Hadley? They believed you too.

More than once I've cited to information about many, many doubters of their intel who were just silenced as the intel the Bushies wanted was manipulated, altered and out right fabricated to meet their needs.

Successive investigations have documented the failure of U.S. intelligence agencies to correctly judge Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs before the war, including a commission appointed by Bush that concluded that the intelligence was "dead wrong." The government relied on lying sources, fragmentary information and unwarranted analysis, the commission found, resulting in one of the "most damaging intelligence failures in American history."

Democrats immediately took issue with Hadley's account. Within minutes of his briefing, the Senate Democratic caucus issued a statement saying the responsibility did not fall on lawmakers who voted to authorize use of force: "Some critics of how the administration misused intelligence did believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. What these critics object to is the hyping of the intelligence by the Bush administration."

In a separate statement earlier in the day, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) recounted the various urgent warnings about supposed Iraqi weapons delivered by Bush and his advisers in the months leading up to the March 2003 invasion -- warnings that all proved overstated if not flatly wrong.

"In his march to war, President Bush exaggerated the threat to the American people," Kennedy said. "It was not subtle. It was not nuanced. It was pure, unadulterated fear-mongering, based on a devious strategy to convince the American people that Saddam's ability to provide nuclear weapons to al Qaeda justified immediate war."

Hadley yesterday offered no direct critique of the prewar intelligence and instead said that at the time it was compelling evidence that also convinced the Clinton administration and other governments.

Of course Hadley didn't offer a critique of the intel they provided for the same reason that these frauds fight for all it's worth to prevent a Congressional investigation into their crimes on pre-war intel.

Let's again review Kevin Drum's conclusion that I posted a couple days ago.
In any case, if it's really true that the Bush administration did nothing to spin, exaggerate, or lie about WMD before the war, why are war supporters so relentlessly trying to suppress any congressional investigation into this? You'd think they'd welcome it instead. For a bunch of innocent bystanders, they sure are acting awfully guilty.

DNC National Organizing Kickoff

From the DNC:

Are you ready to build the Democratic Party? Do you want to be part of an organizing machine that competes in every precinct of every county in every state? Do you want to help Democrats win in 2006 and beyond?

On November 15, thousands of Democrats will gather around the country and take part in our National Organizing Kickoff. During this event, Democrats will gather in communities across America for a night of grassroots action. Governor Dean will host a conference call and brief everyone on the progress of the Democratic Party's 50-state strategy.

All you need to do is show up. Find an event in your community and signup to attend by visiting:

http://www.democrats.org/events/find

These meetings will be an incredible opportunity to become a leader of the Democratic Party in your neighborhood. In order to compete in every state we need leaders in every precinct. You demanded a party that works from the grassroots up -- now is your chance to be a part of that movement.

We cannot wait until the last minute to start organizing for 2006 -- we need to start now. It is vital that everyone who cares about the future of our party plays an active role in building it. Find an organizing meeting in your area and RSVP by visiting:

http://www.democrats.org/events/find

Don't pass up your chance to be a part of our 50-state strategy from the start. This is an event you don't want to miss.

Thank you,

Tom McMahon
Executive Director
Democratic National Committee

P.S. -- Don't miss Governor Dean on NBC's 'Meet the Press' this Sunday -- check your local listings for the time in your area.

DeLay Admitted the Crime

DeLay tried to cop a plea to a midemeanor after admitting the crime to prosecutors.

From today's WaPo,
The last-minute negotiations between the lawyers and Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle were arranged after DeLay made what Earle considered a seriously damaging admission about his fundraising activities during an Aug. 17 meeting with the prosecutor in Austin.

At that session, DeLay acknowledged that in 2002 he was informed about and expressed his support for transfers of $190,000 in mostly corporate funds from his Texas political action committee to an arm of the Republican National Committee in Washington and then back to Texas, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named.
_____

As disclosed by sources involved with the case, the new details present a more complete picture of the sequence of events leading to the indictment of DeLay at the end of September. They reveal the unusual lengths to which DeLay and his lawyers were willing to go to avoid charges that would force him to leave his powerful post -- and how it was DeLay's own words that ultimately got him in trouble with the prosecutor.

Denial

Rice, in Iraq, Says Strategy Against Rebels Is Working

New York Times

MOSUL, Iraq, Friday, Nov. 11 - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise stop on Friday in this violent, Sunni-dominated city in northern Iraq , declaring that it had recently become a success story for the strategy of using Iraqi forces to quell the insurgency.

On her way to Mosul, a detour in her trip to the Middle East, Ms. Rice said she wanted to show that the American approach of "clear, hold and build" was working despite criticism at home that the Bush administration lacked a plan for success in Iraq and for the eventual withdrawal of American forces.

"We are working to better unify our political and military activities in the field," Ms. Rice said, citing the creation of three "provincial reconstruction teams," one in Mosul and two in other northern cities, Kirkuk and Hilla. In general, she said, the American objective was to "redefine the mission" toward more cooperation between military forces and the effort to rebuild the area.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

And These People Question Our Morals?

Via TPM, From the AP,
Frist told reporters Thursday that while he believed illegal activity should not take place at detention centers, he believes the leak itself poses a greater threat to national security and is "not concerned about what goes on" behind the prison walls.

"My concern is with leaks of information that jeopardize your safety and security -- period," Frist said. "That is a legitimate concern."
But not Valerie Plame.

The US is running gulags and his only concerned is that someone made this public.

How long will it take us to get their stink off our country?

This is Your GOP

We have to hang these guys around their necks like an albatross.

Moderate Rs are in denial about most of their parties positions. We all have these people as friends who go on about b. We must make them embarrassed to vote R.

Link
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town Thursday that disaster may strike there because they "voted God out of your city" by ousting school board members who favored teaching intelligent design.

All eight Dover, Pa., school board members up for re-election were defeated Tuesday after trying to introduce "intelligent design" _ the belief that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power _ as an alternative to the theory of evolution.

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city," Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club."

Fleeing like Rats

House leaders ended up pulling from the floor their budget bills while Senate leaders pulled their tax cutting bill. The moderate Rs are in full revolt.

From tomorrow's WaPo,

"The fractures were always there. The difference was the White House was always able to hold them in line because of perceived power," said Tony Fabrizio, a Republican pollster. "After Tuesday's election, it's 'Why are we following these guys? They're taking us off the cliff.' "

Acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) did not dispute that.

"One of the challenges of any second-term administration is you always lose a certain amount of identification with the Congress, because everybody in the Congress in the first term knows you'll be out there in the next campaign with them," Blunt said in an interview yesterday. "Your motives are always a little more suspect when you don't have to face the voters again."

Can Blunt survive this? When does the whispering campaign begin against Frist?

Here is the money quote,
"I've told the leadership they're asking for the dismantling of the Republican conference" with this budget, said Rep. Sherwood L. Boehlert (R-N.Y.), a leading moderate. "The clear evidence from Tuesday's election results is that Americans are moderate. They need to start listening to us."
And the conservatives are referring to their moderate GOP brothers as "liberal republicans". Just try to imagine exactly what a "liberal republican" would be? Joe Lieberman?

Meanwhile, back in the Senate,
the Senate Finance Committee broke up in disarray yesterday morning after failing to secure support for a tax package that would have extended the president's 2003 cut to the tax rates on dividends and capital gains. Joining the panel's Democrats, Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) declared she could not support a tax cut that primarily benefited the rich as Congress was trying to cut programs for the poor. But when the panel's chairman, Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), tried to win approval of a tax package without the investment tax cuts, panel conservatives refused to go along.
Has Christmas come early this year?

Go read the whole Post article because there is more. For instance, in an 82 to 9 vote yesterday, the Senate approved an amendment to the defense authorization bill by Kerry to require Rummy to disclose to Congress the existence of clandestine terrorism detention facilities in foreign countries. Think about that: 82 votes almost half of which would have to be Rs.

David Dreier's Quote of the Day

Only cutting benefits to wealthy medicaid recipients.

GOP Imploiding?

While it does not look good for them for the next 3 years, I'm not yet ready to count them out.

But Josh isn't so sure. In a series of posts this afternoon he suggests that the GOP is collapsing.
...Moderate Republicans have toed the Bush line because they've believed he could protect them, as indeed he has. They don't believe that now. So a lot of them don't want to go into the election next year with ANWR drilling hanging over them.

They balk on the left and then in response the 'wingers on the other right refuse the compromises they've agreed to. Suddenly the whole thing starts to pull apart since there's no centripetal force, no organizing power to hold things together -- sort of like Hobbesian state creation run in reverse.

The recognition has sunk in: The president is unpopular and weak. And it's every Republican for him or herself.

No matter the degree, it will be fun to watch.

ANWAR Out!

According to the WaPo, The Ds and 22 moderate Rs have striped ANWAR out of the budget bill.

The WH is in real trouble. And, in case you didn't know, the reason ANWAR drilling is in the budget bill is because we taxpayer will take all the financial risk on searching for any oil in the refuge.

But, I think the following is even more interesting,
Even [without ANWAR] several moderate Republicans have said they still would oppose the bill, which would allow states to impose new costs on Medicaid recipients, cut funds for student loans and child support enforcement, trim farm supports, and restrict access to food stamps.

Those measures and others would save $54 billion over five years, but moderates have complained that those savings would be more than lost if the House moved forward with a $70 billion tax-cut extension bill next week.
It does not get enough coverage that all the budget cuts Gdub talks about are always offset with even larger tax cuts.

And of course, as I wrote about below, Bush's choice of budget cuts reflects the GOP priorites that the Ds need to exploit.

White House Altering Transcripts

It makes me wonder what other factual records they are "correcting".

From E & P:
At the Oct. 31 briefing, David Gregory of NBC News stated the following question to McClellan about White House aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby: "Whether there's a question of legality, we know for a fact that there was involvement. We know that Karl Rove, based on what he and his lawyer have said, did have a conversation about somebody who Patrick Fitzgerald said was a covert officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. We know that Scooter Libby also had conversations."

The official White House transcript states that McClellan's response was "I don’t think that's accurate."

But two outside news agencies, Congressional Quarterly and Federal News Service - which provide transcripts for a fee -both reported the response as "that's accurate."

The differing accounts have sparked a flurry of buzz on numerous blogs, such as thinkprogress.org, Wonkette, Eschaton and DailyKos. They say a video of the press briefing reveals McClellan saying "that's accurate."

White House officials contacted the news outlets and ask for a change to their versions of the transcript. [and they both refused having clearly heard McClellan say "that's accurate."]
_____

When asked about the fact that the White House version contradicts video accounts of the briefing, [WH Press spokesman]Perino added, "the White House stenographer was in the room and I was in the room" and they heard McClellan say "I don't think that's accurate'."

A Sustainable Message

Dan Balz, writing today in the WaPo has some good analysis of the events on Tuesday.

While "we're not George Bush" may make a lot of hay next year, it is not a sustainable message. The message to the Ds from Tuesday's election in VA is that we must understand that our candidates running in traditionally more conservative areas may not share all our views and we will need 'to get over it' if we are going to build a lasting coalition to take back this country.
Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) said there is an important lesson for Democrats in the Virginia results, arguing that Kaine turned the campaign in his direction by persuasively linking his opposition to the death penalty to his religious faith.

"If you have the luxury of running in New York or California, you might run a different campaign," he said. "But if you run in most of the swing states, for every progressive voter there are probably two swing voters. You've got to appeal to the moderate voters. Swing voters do not respond well to partisanship and to negative campaigning. What they're really looking for are people with integrity and people trying to solve their problems."
The swing voters who decide elections are not ideologues for the Right or Left. They are voters who care about basic bread and butter issues: security, jobs, education, affordable healthcare, fairness in taxes, clean air and water etc. They aren't interested in late term abortions, gay marriage, prayer in schools or all the other polarizing issues that the Right and Left bicker about.

The Ds are on the right side of all these issues, but we have to talk about them relentlessly and in ways that they understand. This means we can't allow the GOP to do what they do best, which is divide the voters with wedge issues.

This doesn't mean the Ds must abandon their values. Quite the opposite. But the Ds have to be the ones who define the issues and those issues have to be the ones people care about. Issues that effect all of our daily lives and our standard of living.

Bill Clinton was a genius at this. Who will be out next genius?

Everyone DID NOT Believe Iraq had WMD

As the Ds force Congressional scrutiny of the Bush Admins lies leading us to war, the standard GOP talking point is that everyone believed Iraq had WMD.

This is simply a lie, and Kevin at The Washington Monthly does a nice job of shooting this BS down.

Kevin concludes,
In any case, if it's really true that the Bush administration did nothing to spin, exaggerate, or lie about WMD before the war, why are war supporters so relentlessly trying to suppress any congressional investigation into this? You'd think they'd welcome it instead. For a bunch of innocent bystanders, they sure are acting awfully guilty.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Let's all get the pumper sticker!

A Message from Howard Dean

Last night was a sign of change to come. Democrats swept governor's races in New Jersey and Virginia -- a state George Bush won by 8 percent a year ago. These victories are proof that when Democrats have strong candidates and a strong agenda, we win. Voters in those states made a conscious choice to reject the Republican culture of corruption and their slash and burn politics.

They are not alone. We've all had enough -- enough of Republican incompetence, arrogance and corruption. We saw it in Virginia and New Jersey, we saw it on the Senate floor last week when Democratic Leader Harry Reid demanded accountability on Iraq, and we will see it every day from now until our country is put back on track. Democrats are ready to lead.

To celebrate the Democratic victories in Virginia and New Jersey yesterday, we will send a special "Enough is Enough" bumper sticker to everyone who contributes $25 or more in the next three days. Make your contribution now:

http://www.democrats.org/enoughisenough

The DNC invested $5 million in Virginia ahead of this election. It was $5 million not just for Tim Kaine, but for candidates up and down the ballot. It was $5 million not just for 2005, but for building a permanent Democratic infrastructure for the future.

We saw the first dividends last night. But these are not short term investments, and each one of us must take responsibility for building our party.

It's not business as usual for the Democratic Party. It's the day after the election, but our organization will stay in place and our work continues. We have a 50-state grassroots organizing strategy and we are committed to reaching and empowering every Democrat in every single precinct of every single state.

Taking this model nationwide is a multimillion-dollar commitment that is unprecedented for our party. All this work depends on you -- and you can support it by making a contribution now:

http://www.democrats.org/enoughisenough

Thank you for all that you have done -- but don't stop now, because this is just the beginning.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

P.S. -- In less than a week the work of the next year will begin with over 750 Organizing Kickoff meetings happening in neighborhoods across the country. You can learn more here: http://www.democrats.org/organizingkickoff.



Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee, www.democrats.org. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Contributions or gifts to the Democratic National Committee are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

DNC, 430 S. Capitol St. SE, Washington DC 20003

Bush's War on People of Faith

Amy Sullivan has an interesting post up at The Washington Monthly,
Today we learn that Bush's IRS is investigating a prominent liberal Episcopal church because of a sermon last fall in which the minister condemned Bush's policy in Iraq. (No word on whether the agency is also going after the Baptist church that kicked out members who voted for John Kerry. Or the churches that helped out the Bush/Cheney campaign last year by sending in their membership directories. Or the Catholic priests who told parishioners it would be a sin to vote for Kerry.)
This is a perfect example of the Democrats failure on message. The Rs get away with singling out the churchs who don't agree with their politics because we let them. You can believe the Rs would never allow this behavior from a Democrat POTUS, and why should they?

So why do we give them a pass on this? Why isn't every talking head D banging this drum?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What a Hoot

Arnold has several government "reform" initiatives on the ballot today.

When he showed up to vote, he had a problem. From the LATs,
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger showed up to his Brentwood neighborhood polling station today to cast his ballot in the special election — and was told he had already voted.

Elections officials said a Los Angeles County poll worker had entered Schwarzenegger's name into an electronic voting touch screen station in Pasadena on Oct. 25. The worker, who was not identified, was testing the voting machine in preparation for early voting that began the next day.

Somehow, Schwarzenegger's name was then placed on a list of people who had already voted, said Conny B. McCormack, the Los Angeles County registrar.

Schwarzenegger's aides were informed of the problem when they arrived this morning to survey the governor's polling station. The poll worker told the governor's staff he would have to use a "provisional" ballot that allows elections workers to verify if two votes were made by the same person. McCormack said the poll worker did the correct thing.

The governor, however, was allowed to use a regular ballot.

McCormack said she apologized to the governor's staff and would investigate what happened. She said nobody actually voted for Schwarzenegger in Pasadena, and the governor's votes today will be counted.
So what if you're not the governor?

Democrats Win Gov. Races in N.J., Va.

Democrats Win Gov. Races in N.J., Va. - Yahoo! News

Bush stumped for the GOP candidate Kilgore in the Governor's race in Virginia. I wonder how many more Rs will be asking Gdub to stay home as they seek election / re-election?

Torture

Of all our shameful behavior following 9/11, perhaps most shameful was our quick decent to torture.

As Mark Kleiman explains so well, torture is a bad idea on so many levels. At a purely pragmatic level torture doesn't work. People being tortured will tell you anything you want to hear, never mind the truth. Further, once you engage in torture, you loose the moral high-ground and the propaganda war. One of the reasons why the voters in our once allies find our government so distasteful is the unbelievable hypocrisy from Gdub and company. Remember when 'conservatives' used to speak so disdainfully for the 'red menace' and there brutal tactics?

As Mark concludes,
Isn't it extraordinary how it's the people who reject moral relativism and insist on the black-and-white difference between good and evil who argue for making exceptions when it comes to torture?
This hypocrisy may be lost on the American people, but it is not lost on our allies.

And as much as it pains me to say this, Andrew Sullivan has got this right. He begins by quoting Gdub today and then takes him down.
"There's an enemy that lurks and plots and plans and wants to hurt America again. So you bet we will aggressively pursue them but we will do so under the law. We do not torture," - president Bush, today.
If that's the case, why threaten to veto a law that would simply codify what Bush alleges is already the current policy? If "we do not torture," how to account for the hundreds and hundreds of cases of abuse and torture by U.S. troops, documented by the government itself? If "we do not torture," why the memos that expanded exponentially the lee-way given to the military to abuse detainees in order to get intelligence? The president's only defense against being a liar is that he is defining "torture" in such a way that no other reasonable person on the planet, apart from Bush's own torture apologists (and they are now down to one who will say so publicly), would agree. The press must now ask the president: does he regard the repeated, forcible near-drowning of detainees to be torture? Does he believe that tying naked detainees up and leaving them outside all night to die of hypothermia is "torture"? Does he believe that beating the legs of a detainee until they are pulp and he dies is torture? Does he believe that beating detainees till they die is torture? Does he believe that using someone's religious faith against them in interrogations is "cruel, inhumane and degrading" treatment and thereby illegal? What is his definition of torture?
And finally, in a in his lengthy column today, Dan Froomkin sums up the recent published articles on America's new-found passion for torture.

While it is hard to say which facet of this story is most troubling, Froomkin points to Jane Mayer's current New Yorker piece wherein she writes of the infamous 2003 DoJ memos,
A March, 2003, classified memo was 'breathtaking,' the same source said. The document dismissed virtually all national and international laws regulating the treatment of prisoners, including war-crimes and assault statutes, and it was radical in its view that in wartime the President can fight enemies by whatever means he sees fit. According to the memo, Congress has no constitutional right to interfere with the President in his role as Commander-in-Chief, including making laws that limit the ways in which prisoners may be interrogated.
Does this mean the president can summarily murder people he deems an enemy of the State?

These people are doing more damage to the soul of our nation than Osama could have ever hoped to have accomplished.

Comedy Gold, Indeed

Go Read Atrios.

Message, Message, Message

EJ, no doubt taking a que from many of my blog entries speaks to the issue a new message for the Ds.

Here is a taste,
Consider this vision statement: "The issue of government has always been whether individual men and women will have to serve some system of government of economics -- or whether a system of government and economics exists to serve individual men and women."

The words are Franklin D. Roosevelt's from his 1932 speech to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, FDR's boldest statement of purpose before he was elected. Roosevelt's point was that while powerful groups often claim to oppose a strong government role in the nation's economic life, they almost always seek government's protection for their own interests. Government's task, Roosevelt argued, was to intervene "not to hamper individualism but to protect it" by helping the less powerful confront economic difficulties and abuses of the system by the powerful.
Works for me.

Chalabi’s Rapsheet

As Ahmed Chalabi makes his triumphant tour of Washington, Think Progress (a great blog I don't link to enough) reminds us of Chalabi’s Sordid History

Update: Josh points to the speach yesterday on the floor of the House by 11/7/2005 Rep George Miller Regarding Ahmad Chalabi

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Myth about Cheney,....

is that he is competent.

Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly thinks the truth might be catching up with Dick.

Kevin points to a story in Slate which has yet another Doug Feith is so dumb anecdote and concludes,
As Benjamin points out, when you follow stuff like this back to its origin you invariably end up at the same place: Dick Cheney....

As a wise man said back in January 2003 regarding Cheney and his curiously enduring reputation for competence even in the face of mountains of contrary evidence, "his terrible judgment will, at some point, become impossible even for the Beltway crowd not to see." Looking back, perhaps historians will say that November 2005 was when they finally saw it.
Go read Kevin.

Back from South Beach

South Beach is another world. I felt, poor, old and midwestern.

I will try and do some more blogging between now and Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

What's This? Democratic Leadership?

And I thought all hope was lost.

The WaPo has the story.

I've said this many times here.

Message, message, message.

The Ds are on the right side of most issues and simply need effective, aggressive leadership to drive our points home.

This closed season has turned the GOP into whinny little children. And this was a perfect issue. How can the GOP defend their refusal to investigate the pre-war intel that most Americans now believe was ginned up. Brilliant and long overdue.

The Ds need an issue a week to pound the Rs right out of office.

Tim asked an important question I've been thinking a lot about. How long can Karl keep his job? Ordinarily, a man in his position would have resigned, but can anyone imagine Gdub without Rove?

So how much longer will Frist keep his job? I predict that starting tomorrow the whispering campaign will begin within the GOP to oust him.

More Big News from Washington

Some Conservatives Question Rove's Future

By Adam Entous, Reuters
WASHINGTON (Nov. 1) - Breaking with the White House and fellow conservatives, Republican Sen. Trent Lott and the head of the Cato Institute questioned on Tuesday whether top White House adviser Karl Rove, who remains in legal jeopardy in a CIA-leak probe, should keep his policy-making job.
Well, isn't this interesting? Is this the beginning of the end? Without Rove how will "W" think? The cycle of downward sprial is just beginning. Just wait for Fitzgerald to get one of the inter circle to flip. Payback is hell, my republican friends. 8 years of crap fling at the Clintons may come back to haunt you in the end.

Big Happenings Today

Josh has done a great job today with his post and his links in explaining what happened in the Senate today. The R's are as mad as hornets. Over at Fox News, they can hardly report the story. Talk about "bias main stream media." I may have to hold my nose and listen to the big windbag himself tomorrow to see what kind of vicious crab he'll fling toward Reid and Durban.

A few questions I'd like to see answered in the next few days. Have the Dems grown some balls and are now ready to take on the fight that many of us have hoped would happen since the first stolen election in 2000? I hope so. It looks like the R's can't maintain their leadership position. Rumor has it that Reid has forced a committee of 3 from each party to bring back a report on the bull at the White House and in the Senate to cover up the possible cover up of the Plume affair and the fake intelligence that led to the war in Iraq.

Is it possible that the R's are getting the mesage from back home that this war is pulling them into a "no win" situation that will cost them the House and the Senate in '06?

Is "W" (and by default Rove and Cheney)so deep in the dodo that the moderate R's are wiling to take back the party for the country club and kick out the far right nut cases? Only time will tell.

Tim