On a trip to Iraq yesterday by Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), the troops he took questions from had one constant query to pose to him: "When are we going to get out of here?" A Connecticut constituent of the Senator, Spc. Will Hedin, said to McClatchy News, "We're not making any progress. It just seems like we drive around and wait to get shot at." Lieberman had his own take on the situation: "Overall, I would say what I see here today is progress, significant progress from the last time I was here in December. And if you can see progress in war that means you’re headed in the right direction."
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
I spent the day on the National Mall. If you haven't visited Washington DC as an adult you really need to go. Walking the length of the Mall from the Capital to the Lincoln Monument is an experience every American should have.
Since my last trip, the WW II Memorial (pictured) was complete and is very impressive. It's more than the monument itself, but also the way the public interacts in the monument. It's very well done.
What I didn't know is that the National Mall is a Memorial Day gathering spot for bikers from around the country, many of whom appear to be Vietnam vets......and, judging from a patch on their popular black leather vests, not big Jane Fonda fans.
Friday, May 25, 2007
This country is united in our support for our troops, but we also owe them a plan to relieve them of the burden of policing someone else's civil war. Governor Romney and Senator McCain clearly believe the course we are on in Iraq is working, but I do not.It's past time for some 'in your face' to the GOP cowards who don't have the cajones to admit a disaster of their own making.
And if there ever was a reflection of that it's the fact that Senator McCain required a flack jacket, ten armored Humvees, two Apache attack helicopters, and 100 soldiers with rifles by his side to stroll through a market in Baghdad just a few weeks ago.
Governor Romney and Senator McCain are still supporting a war that has cost us thousands of lives, made us less safe in the world, and resulted in a resurgence of al-Qaeda. It is time to end this war so that we can redeploy our forces to focus on the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and all those who plan to do us harm.
Writing at his blog, The Washington Note, Steve tells us that Cheney's people are making the rounds in conservatives circles to force an attack on Iran.
Multiple sources have reported that a senior aide on Vice President Cheney's national security team has been meeting with policy hands...explicitly stating that Vice President Cheney does not support President Bush's tack towards Condoleezza Rice's diplomatic efforts and fears that the President is taking diplomacy with Iran too seriously.
This White House official has stated to several Washington insiders that Cheney is planning to deploy an "end run strategy" around the President if he and his team lose the policy argument.
The thinking on Cheney's team is to collude with Israel, nudging Israel at some key moment in the ongoing standoff between Iran's nuclear activities and international frustration over this to mount a small-scale conventional strike against Natanz using cruise missiles (i.e., not ballistic missiles).
This strategy would sidestep controversies over bomber aircraft and overflight rights over other Middle East nations and could be expected to trigger a sufficient Iranian counter-strike against US forces in the Gulf -- which just became significantly larger -- as to compel Bush to forgo the diplomatic track that the administration realists are advocating and engage in another war.
Well, those days are over. The POTUS and GOP have had nothing to offer but fear for years now, and they are falling back on it in a big way.
By now you've probably heard that President Bush responded yesterday to press questions on Iraq by telling the reporters their children are in danger from Al Qaeda. First it was David Gregory from NBC and then it was the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg.
Dana Mibank writing in today's WaPo weighs in,
This last warning was perplexing, because Rutenberg has no children, only a brown chow chow named Little Bear. It was unclear whether Bush was referring to a specific and credible threat to Little Bear or merely indicating there was increased "chatter in the system" about chow chows in general.Everyone understands that the "if we don't fight them there, we will be fighting them here" thing is dumb beyond word, right?
The US military in Iraq is not fighting to prevent people from leaving Iraq. In fact, people are leaving Iraq in droves everyday as soon as they get the money to leave. Homeland Security and several other agencies, on the other hand, are working constantly to keep terrorist from entering the US, but this HAS NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH OUR MILITARY IN IRAQ!
Al Qaeda is not going to swim across the ocean to invade the East coast and they don't have a navy,.....or an air force.....or missiles...or pilot-less drones! If you believe they do, or that they might, you are very, very dumb.
The Dems have suffered a failure of leadership and completely capitulated.
I've been thinking a lot about this and really don't know what to think.
Kevin's seems to be the most reasonable here so go read Kevin: The Washington Monthly
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The key to understanding this comes at the end when the reporter reminds us that Rush has a niche audience who either don't care or, more likely, agree with the racism.
This kind of thing will not end until corporate sponsors decide that they can no longer afford to be associated with such things. It was the sponsors who did in Imus.
What is needed here is an organized effort to publicly identify the sponsors and a letter writing campaign and publicity campaign to expose them and pressure them to withdraw their support.
It would have been interesting if the reporter had gone to Rush's biggest sponsors (I have no idea who they are because I don't listen) and asked them what they think of "Barack the Magic Negro" and how they feel about such speech in 2007. Does "Barack the Magic Negro" reflect the view of X Inc.? What does X Inc. say to African-Americans who might be offended by this?
Of course these same sponsors also sponsor The Today Show, which is perhaps the biggest problem with our modern MSM.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
Even with overwhelming public support, our leaders in Congress have been out-maneuvered and are poised to capitulate.
Bush is refusing to give at all, despite suggesting otherwise, and at this point, why should he. The Dems have made his veto of a troop funding bill their problem and it looks like they will go down with it around there necks.
My guess is that the 'no confidence vote' will go about as well. Such votes are pointless if you can't get every D and at least one third of the Rs to go along. What they should be doing is lining up support for articles of impeachment for the AG -- that's leadership. This is silly.
If Pelosi and Reid have any cajones, they will send Bush back the bill he vetoed. That bill was the compromise.
This is exactly what happens when you bid against yourself in negotiations. They lost this fight when they set out to send a second bill to Bush without him actually being forced to come to the table and through compromise hammer out a bill. Bush, while giving some lip service to negotiate, has refused any compromise. So, either send him nothing or the same bill again.
Bush is the Commander in Chief. Funding troops is as much his problem as it is Congress.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
It appears that Wolfowitz will be leaving the World Bank shortly (of course it also "appears" that Gonzales will be leaving Justice....).
Wolfowitz demands that he's the real victim in this matter and insists that he be allowed to leave with his honor in tact. And when one considers Wolfowitz resume (10 years formulating the Bush Admin's plan for the invasion and occupation of Iraq and now the World Bank fiasco) as it stands today, it's hard not to be sympathetic. My guess is his unemployment benefits will run out before he finds a new position...
The only problem is that in watching this whole sordid affair play out, it is paintfully clear that Wolfowitz has no honor to salvage or restore.
Remember, while Wolfowitz' conduct of lavish unearned (in the workplace anyway) raises and gratuities to his girlfriend have been a public revelation, they were not a revelation to Wolfowitz. Paul knew perfectly well what he had done for his girlfriend and why he did it. Had he had any honor to begin with, he would have long ago done the honorable thing and stepped down to avoid the public disclosures and grief he has caused the institution, his colleagues, the Bush Administration and his family and friends.
Steve Clemons at TPM Cafe asks: What Happened to Wolfowitz the Strategist?
Of course the short answer is that sad as it might be, we are seeing Wolfowitz the strategist. His plan to survive at the World Bank is working out as well as his plan for the invasion and occupation of Iraq....
Steve actually has a very good post that is worth the read.
Update:Wolfowitz to Resign at End of June
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is prepared to spend an unprecedented $1 billion of his own $5.5 billion personal fortune for a third-party presidential campaign, personal friends of the mayor tell The Washington Times.
"He has set aside $1 billion to go for it," confided a long-time business adviser to the Republican mayor. "The thinking about where it will come from and do we have it is over, and the answer is yes, we can do it."
"You have to remember, at the end of the day, the recommendations reflected the views of the deputy attorney general. He signed off on the names," Gonzales told reporters at a National Press Club forum in Washington. "And he would know better than anyone else, anyone in this room, anyone — again, the deputy attorney general would know best about the qualifications and the experiences of the United States attorneys community, and he signed off on the names."
....Sounding more like a cast member of the Sopranos than an international leader, in testimony by one key witness Mr Wolfowitz declares: "If they fuck with me or Shaha, I have enough on them to fuck them too."A Bush administration official seeing himself above the law?
The remarks were published in a report detailing the controversy that erupted last month after the size of Ms Riza's pay rises was revealed. The report slates Mr Wolfowitz for his "questionable judgment and a preoccupation with self-interest", saying: "Mr Wolfowitz saw himself as the outsider to whom the established rules and standards did not apply."
No wonder Dick "go fuck yourself" Cheney supports Wolfowitz.
Paul Kiel updates us from Comey's testimony today.
According to Comey, he was on his way home when he got a call from Ashcroft's wife that Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card were on their way to the hospital*. Comey then rushed to the hospital (sirens blaring) to beat them there and thwart "an effort to overrule me."What did it take to ultimately force concessions from the WH?
After Comey arrived at the hospital with a group of senior Justice Department officials, Gonzales and Card arrived and walked up to Ashcroft, who was lying barely conscious on his hospital bed. "Gonzales began to explain why he was there, to seek his approval for a matter," Comey testified. But Ashcroft rebuffed Gonzales and told him that Comey was the attorney general now. "The two men turned and walked from the room," said Comey.
A "very upset" Andrew Card then called Comey and demanded that he come to the White House for a meeting at 11 PM that night.
According to Comey's testimony this morning, only when faced with resignations by a number of Justice Department officials including Comey, his chief of staff, Ashcroft's chief of staff, Ashcroft himself and possibly Robert Mueller, the director of the FBI, did the White House agree to make changes to the program that would satisfy the requirements of the Justice Department to sign off on it (Comey refused to name the program, but it's apparent from the context and prior reports that this was the warrantless wiretapping program).The reminds me of the reason I will never forgive Colin Powell for the Iraq war. Powell was the one man who both knew better, and had the power / stature to stop it with his threatened resignation. What did he do? He went before the UN and lied. So, as I've said here before, fuck Colin Powell. I hope he never has a decent night's sleep the rest of his life.
Monday, May 14, 2007
A group of anonymous employees are asking President Bush to fire their boss, the top watchdog at the Commerce Department, and opt for a special counsel to investigate him.And you can bet this was written by anonymous Republicans because they would be the only ones naive enough to think Bush would ever entertain such a thing. Dems would have sent it to Waxman.
Commerce Inspector General Johnnie E. Frazier is already being investigated by a congressional committee, the Office of Special Counsel and the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE), for charges ranging from retaliation against subordinates to fraud, contract abuse and wasteful spending. Frazier's job is ferreting out waste, fraud and abuse at the Commerce Department.
"Johnnie E. Frazier should be dismissed...in order to conduct an effective, 'independent' investigation," states the letter to Bush, which was written on official stationery bearing the logo of the Commerce Department Inspector General's Office.
McClatchy Washington Bureau,
...."What responsible person and responsible government would ask you to put yourself at risk like that? We don't belong here," the employee said, adding, "They're not going to send us home because it's going to be another admission of failure."
Embassy employees have been ordered not to talk about security concerns or precautions with reporters, but three State Department employees in Baghdad discussed the issue with McClatchy Newspapers. All three asked not to be identified for fear that they'd lose their jobs.
The officials also complained that important security precautions appeared to have been set aside during highly publicized official visits. During a March 31 visit from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a high-profile presidential candidate, the embassy lifted a requirement that bulletproof vests and helmets be worn at all times. When a rocket landed outside the U.S. Embassy while Vice President Dick Cheney and several reporters visited last week, no warning sirens were sounded.
"Where were the sirens then?" one official asked. "We don't belong here, and people are afraid to say it."
Deputy undersecretary of defense Paul Brinkley is the DoD point man for Iraq reconstruction. Brinkley wants to reopen dozens of government-owned factories in Iraq to try and gets lots of people back to work so that militia work will seen much less appealing.
Seems reasonable, right?
Brinkley's counterparts at State have responded by calling him a "Stalinist" and one accused him of helping insurgents build better bombs. The ideologues from State want everything to be free enterprise (and likely foreign owned) and if slander were not enough, these kooks from State want the CIA to weigh in and dispute Brinkley's work.
Brinkley and his colleagues at the Pentagon believe that rehabilitating shuttered, state-run enterprises could reduce violence by employing tens of thousands of Iraqis. Officials at State counter that the initiative is antithetical to free-market reforms the United States should promote in Iraq.Is it any wonder our efforts in Iraq are an abysmal failure?
The bureaucratic knife fight over the best way to revive Iraq’s moribund economy illustrates how the two principal players in the reconstruction of Iraq — the departments of Defense and State — remain at odds over basic economic and political measures. The bickering has hamstrung initiatives to promote stability four years after Saddam Hussein’s fall.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
As regular readers know, I've been friends with Sen Clinton for many years. I've also written here, many times, that I do not believe Sen Clinton will ever be the Democratic nominee.
The NYTs has an excellent profile today of the Clinton campaign and Bill's role therein. If you doubted it before, I think when you read this you will understand why Sen Clinton could take this race down to the wire.
In a New Role, Senator Clinton’s Strategist in Chief.
Friday, May 11, 2007
So why the hell is it coming from the Republican senator from Tenn?
Just wait for the headlines about the GOP leading the way out of Iraq.
European leaders have told the Bush administration that Paul D. Wolfowitz must resign as president of the World Bank in order to avoid a vote next week by the bank’s board declaring that he no longer has its confidence to function as the bank’s leader, European officials said Thursday.That it has come to our allies having to threaten to reduce their contributions to the World Bank tells you all you need to know about the lack of character of Bush.
The officials said the board was drafting a resolution reflecting its view that the relationship between Mr. Wolfowitz and the governing body of the bank had “broken beyond repair.” They noted that, if he remained in office, some European countries were planning to reduce contributions to the World Bank that would aid poor countries and instead would channel the money to European agencies and other groups for distribution.
“The administration has been told that its battle to save Wolfowitz cannot be won,” said a European official, who like others who discussed the matter spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is confidential. “His relationship with the board is not only damaged. It is broken.”
It's a shame and an embarrassment.
We cannot fight global terrorism without our allies and this is how we treat them.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Boehner: All House Members ‘Except One Voted To Send Our Troops Into Iraq’
133 members of the House voted against the Iraq war authorization (126 Ds and 6 Rs), including my Congressman at that time, Jerry Costello and my current Congressman Lacy Clay.
Iraq veteran and former 4th ID Gen. John Batiste “has been asked to leave his position as a consultant to CBS News” over a new VoteVets ad criticizing the Iraq war. He was interviewed tonight by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. Watch it:
While I'm a great admirer or Gen Batiste and thrilled that he is speaking out, CBS really didn't have a choice. His ad is awesome but he has taken sides, and CBS is not Fox.
Bush seeks compromise on Iraq benchmarks
Pelosi is right, Bush's 'compromise' will be toothless benchmarks with no consequences for failure.
“I invited him into my home,” Deb said of Giuliani, fighting back tears.
Greg has an unbelievable story up today of the America's Mayor snubbing an Iowa farm family who weren't wealthy enough to make good props on his anti-estate tax crusade.
From the Anamosa Journal Eureka,
OLIN–Last weekend Deb and Jerry VonSprecken of Olin received a call from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s campaign office asking them if they would be interested in holding a campaign rally on May 4, after she had donated to his campaign.How much you want to bet Edwards will hold a rally at this farm within the month?
“We thought it would be an honor and agreed,” said Jerry....
“We started making phone calls. We got the sheriff and fire department and Olin school was going to let out early. We were also expecting kids from the Anamosa school,” Jerry explained. “Deb even went around and personally invited people.”
On Tuesday Deb received a call from Giuliani’s Des Monies office and was asked to call New York.
“They wanted to know our assets,” she revealed, and added that she and Jerry have a modest 80 acre farm and raise cattle.
Later she received a call from Tony Delgado at the Des Monies location.
“Tony said, ‘I’m sorry, you aren’t worth a million dollars and he is campaigning on the Death Tax right now.’ then he said they weren’t going to be able to come,” Deb continued.
This actually sounds Watergate like,
The Bush administration has withheld a series of e-mails from Congress showing that senior White House and Justice Department officials worked together to conceal the role of Karl Rove in installing Timothy Griffin, a protégé of Rove's, as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.These emails, according to Waas, "were made available to National Journal by a senior executive branch official, who said that the administration has inappropriately kept many of them from Congress."
The withheld records show that D. Kyle Sampson, who was then-chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, consulted with White House officials in drafting two letters to Congress that appear to have misrepresented the circumstances of Griffin's appointment as U.S. attorney and of Rove's role in supporting Griffin.
How long before there is talk of reauthorizing the Independent Counsel act?
So Rudy had decided to face the issue head-on,
After months of conflicting signals on abortion, Rudolph W. Giuliani is planning to offer a forthright affirmation of his support for abortion rights in public forums, television appearances and interviews in the coming days, despite the potential for bad consequences among some conservative voters already wary of his views, aides said yesterday.It should be interesting...
At the same time, Mr. Giuliani’s campaign — seeking to accomplish the unusual task of persuading Republicans to nominate an abortion rights supporter — is eyeing a path to the nomination that would try to de-emphasize the early states in which abortion opponents wield a great deal of influence. Instead they would focus on the so-called mega-primary of Feb. 5, in which voters in states like California, New York and New Jersey are likely to be more receptive to Mr. Giuliani’s social views than voters in Iowa and South Carolina.
My guess is that Rudy will be toast. Even if his strategy works in the moderate GOP states (and who's to say it won't) what does he do in the general with the 3 million evangelical voters who didn't come out to vote in 2000 (Bush lost) but did in 2004 (Bush won by 3 million votes) stay home?
....The Iraqi bill, drafted by a parliamentary bloc loyal to anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, was signed by 144 members of the 275-member house, according to Nassar al-Rubaie, the leader of the Sadrist bloc.If this bill passes out of Parliament, the WH reaction should be priceless.
The Sadrist bloc, which sees the U.S.-led forces as an occupying army, has pushed similar bills before, but this was the first time it had garnered the support of a majority of lawmakers.
The bill would require the Iraqi government to seek approval from parliament before it requests an extension of the U.N. mandate for foreign forces to be in Iraq, al-Rubaie said. It also calls for a timetable for the troop withdrawal and a freeze on the size of the foreign forces.
Twisting in the wind.....
Think Progress has a good post on LaHood's appearance this morning on CNN, complete with the relevant transcript.
I think it's safe to say, Has LaHood implies, that no one has ever spoken to Bush the way he was spoken to yesterday.
It would be interesting to know the full background of this meeting, whose idea it was, who at the WH set it up, or even if the idea originated in the WH.
Here is a taste of the Think Progress report:
This morning on CNN, Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL) — one of 11 Republican members to have recently visited the White House and plead with President Bush to change course in Iraq — described the meeting as “unvarnished, about as frank and honest as I have ever been to at the White House.” Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) told Bush at the meeting that the president’s approval rating was at 5 percent in one section of his northern Virginia district.
LaHood further added that Bush was taken aback by the concerns expressed by the congressional delegation. “He listened very carefully. I think he was a little — I don’t know if surprised is the right word, probably maybe sobered,” LaHood said. “The fact is that, I don’t know if he’s gotten that kind of opinion before in such a frank and no holds barred way but he was very sober about it and he listened very intently.” Watch it:
DoD Breaks it's Promise to Troops of 12 to 15 months rest
via Think Progress:
On April 11, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that tours of duty for the Army would be extended from 12 months to 15 months, effective immediately. In exchange for the extensions, soldiers would receive at least a year home between deployments. This rest time was intended to “provide some long-term predictability for the soldiers and their families…particularly guaranteeing that they will be at home for a full 12 months,” Gates added. Watch it:
But Gates has not kept his promise. Stars and Stripes reports:
The Army is sending a company of Europe-based soldiers back to Iraq before the unit has had a full 12 months of “dwell time,” or at-home rest.
Members of the 1st Armored Division’s 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, Company A, learned Tuesday that they are scheduled to head back to Iraq in November, just nine months after the 150-soldier company left the combat zone in February after a 13-month deployment.
A recent Pentagon report concluded that soldiers on extended and repeated deployments “were more likely to suffer acute stress, and that mental health problems correlated with higher rates of battlefield misconduct.”
When asked yesterday about this nine-month deployment, Gates simply replied, “I’ll be very interested in finding out more about that.” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman’s response was that “there are some people, just by the nature of transferring units and things like that may not end up with the full 12 months.”
According to Whitman, the 12-month rest period between deployments “is a goal,” not a guarantee.
Bush received his first 'come to Jesus' meeting from the GOPGreg Sargent reports that The Speaker intends to schedule a vote today on the withdrawal of combat forces to commence in 3 months and be complete in 6 months. The text of the bill is here.
This Bill appears to be borne out of frustration at the inability to reach agreement on a second war funding Bill to send Bush. Sargent intially reported that Pelosi did not have the votes for the two-stage funding bill, but later updated to say she now has the votes. We should know later today.
In the background to the House drama, it appears 11 so-called moderate Republican members of Congress (including Missouri's own Jo Ann Emerson) had a 'Come to Jesus' talk with Bush yesterday. Think Progress has text and video of Russert's breathless report.
Is it just me? In reading today's WaPo report on the WH meeting I found a subtext portraying a weak and ineffectual Congressional Democratic leadership floundering to deliver a bill to fund the troops in Iraq. This is exactly the problem with 'bidding against themselves'.
The House and Senate delivered the POTUS a bill to fund the troops and an orderly withdrawal from Iraq. The President vetoed this bill and gave-up nothing in his demands.
Unless and until the POTUS offers something serious in the way of compromise, Congress should be standing pat on their funding bill making it clear to all that funding is now the President's problem. If they don't have the votes now to send back the same bill (and it's a safe bet they don't) than they should sit tight and let the GOP twist in the wind. The Dems hold the high ground here and the GOP knows it -- see the 'Come to Jesus' meeting that took place yesterday.
Instead, the Leadership has undertaken the impossible task of attempting to cobble some kind of bill together that pleases all and in the process making themselves appear to be the problem. They have let Bush do nothing and dump it all back on them.
Make no mistake, this so-called two step bill the house will vote on today is, in actuality, a capitulation to the POTUS. Can anyone imagine any scenario wherein come July Congress would vote to abandon our troops in Iraq by cutting off all future funding? Of course not. This was the very point of the vetoed bill! So now Bush, with nothing more than a veto had made the Democratic leadership jump from a publicly popular, well thought-out bill that helps the troops to a hasty, messy bill which could lead to huge PR problems. Well played by Bush and same on our leaders for allowing this to happen.
Fortunately, the Senate won't pass the two-step bill and even if they did, the POTUS, would save us with a second veto.
Watch this space. Today will be eventful!
UPDATE: The House “defeated legislation Thursday to require the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq within nine months. The vote on the nine-month withdrawal measure was 255-171.” The full roll call is HERE.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
So why should congress offer anything in return? In my law practice it seems that most of what I do these days in negotiate. Everyone knows the number 1 rule of negotiation is to never bid against yourself.
Congress sent Bush a bill which he vetoed. Bush's counteroffer it seems is nothing. He demands from Congress unconditional surrender.
Given the results of the last election and every public opinion poll on Bush and Iraq since, it is absurd for Congress to even consider such a thing.
With Bush offering nothing in return, the Democratic leadership shouldn't be in a hurry to do anything. Let the antiwar groups do their PR blitzes and ad buys and watch the Congressional GOP twist in the wind as public opinion continues to move against them. And finally, take the Edwards approach and send Bush back the same bill. (They may not have the votes today to send the same bill back to Bush which is all the more reason to let the GOP twist in the wind -- neither time nor public opinion or on their side.)
Is there any point to sending Bush a watered down 'benchmark' bill that Bush has vowed to veto?
If the Leadership can broker a benchmark bill with enough guaranteed GOP support to be veto proof should they send that to Bush and then override the veto?
Take the Edwards / Ward approach and send Bush back the same bill?
Bush is convinced the Dems don't have the guts to play at this level and will fold. From what I'm reading, I'm not so sure he's wrong.
What do you think?
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Of all the low points during the Bush administration, perhaps the most surreal was the week in December 2004 when Bernie Kerik was poised to become secretary of Homeland Security. By the traditional measures used to judge qualifications for this sort of job, Kerik was not an ideal candidate. The main points in Kerik's favor were his loyal service to Rudy Giuliani, first as driver for his mayoral campaign, then corrections commissioner, then police commissioner--the last of which was commemorated by the casting of 30 Kerik busts. On the negative side of the ledger were his multiple alleged felonies, including tax evasion and conspiracy to commit wiretapping (currently being investigated by federal prosecutors), and his (also alleged) ties to the DeCavalcante and Gambino crime families.
If a "Sopranos" writer proposed a plotline in which a Kerik-like figure rose through the ranks to become head of the department charged with preventing the next terrorist attack, he would be laughed off the show. So how did it almost happen in real life? The Washington Post recently reconstructed the Kerik nomination: The decisive factor seemed to be that Bush was "lulled by Kerik's swaggering Sept. 11 reputation."
54% of Americans who disapprove of President Bush’s decision to veto the Iraq funding bill that called for U.S. troops to leave Iraq by 2008.
When you put it in these terms, you can understand with the Democrats are backing down and throwing the GOP a lifeline on Iraq.
Via Think Progress:
In an interview last night on the Charlie Rose Show, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pointedly said, “[O]ur friends in the [Middle East] need to know and the Iraqis need to know that we are not looking to leave Iraq.” “Ever?” Rose asked. Rice responded, “We are not going to leave an Iraq that is not capable of defending itself and with a foundation for future reconciliation.”
Rose then asked Rice if she believed she’ll have the support of the American people to continue the war. Rice claimed the American people are looking for “progress.” Rose replied, “But nobody can answer the question: If it doesn’t happen, what?” Avoiding discussion of a Plan B, Rice answered, “Charlie, because as the President said to you, we’re focused on having it happen.”
In the interview, Rose also noted that Rice once worked for President George H.W. Bush, who was “famous for insisting there be an exit strategy. [But] no one seems to know what’s the exit strategy [now],” he said. Rice responded that Iraq is “a long-term proposition.”
When Rose asked Rice if the administration was “looking for a strategy for the United States to exit from Iraq.” Rice answered, “No, we’re looking for a strategy that is going to do what we went there to do.”
Last month, Rose similarly asked President Bush, “Can you imagine a circumstance in which you would have to say, we did our best, good men and good women sacrificed their life, but we can’t in the end do what we want to do, and we have to leave?” “No,” Bush replied. “I can’t imagine that, because I believe that with time, this Iraqi government is going to be able to reconcile and move forward.”
The primary mission of U.S. forces in Iraq should evolve to one of supporting the Iraqi army, which would take over primary responsibility for combat operations. By the first quarter of 2008...all combat brigades not necessary for force protection could be out of Iraq. At that time, U.S. combat forces in Iraq could be deployed only in units embedded with Iraqi forces, in rapid-reaction and special operations teams, and in training, equipping, advising, force protection, and search and rescue.'We will enact the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group' should be the message coming from the Democratic leadership.
But of course, capitulation is hard work, and they seemed to have deferred to the GOP on bringing combat forces out of Iraq.
Today's headline in the WaPo: September Could Be Key Deadline in War.
So what happens in July when Gdub reports to Congress that everything is coming up roses in Iraq? Does anyone think not voting to release the remaining funding is a tenable position?
And I guess by sometime in September, when Bush reports again that everything is coming up roses in Iraq, then the GOP facing the 2008 election cycle will then agree with 70% of the American public and will allow the Dems to pass a bill for withdrawal?
I think Polosi and Reid need to attend a leadership seminar. They've been in the minority for too long.
Can't see Bush asking Wolfo to go, but I'm guessing he'll go soon enough following the release of the report of his wrongdoing for his girlfriend.
Monday, May 07, 2007
On March 12, 2007, the LATs published an editorial entitled, “Do we really need a Gen. Pelosi?” Employing harsh rhetoric, the Times condemned efforts by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to craft an Iraq redeployment bill:
House Democrats have brought forth their proposal for forcing President Bush to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by 2008. The plan is an unruly mess: bad public policy, bad precedent and bad politics. If the legislation passes, Bush says he’ll veto it, as well he should.
It’s absurd for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to try to micromanage the conflict, and the evolution of Iraqi society, with arbitrary timetables and benchmarks.
In just 55 days, the LA Times has undergone a full conversion on redeployment. In an editorial Sunday, the Times wrote that “the time has come to leave“:
After four years of war, more than $350 billion spent and 3,363 U.S. soldiers killed and 24,310 wounded, it seems increasingly obvious that an Iraqi political settlement cannot be achieved in the shadow of an indefinite foreign occupation. The U.S. military presence — opposed by more than three-quarters of Iraqis — inflames terrorism and delays what should be the primary and most pressing goal: meaningful reconciliation among the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.
The U.S. should immediately declare its intention to begin a gradual troop drawdown, starting no later than the fall. The pace of the withdrawal must be flexible, to reflect progress or requests by the Iraqis and the military’s commanders.The precise date for completing the withdrawal need not be announced, but the assumption should be that combat troops would depart by the end of 2009.
The LAT is one of a number of papers that have recently gone from supporting the war to backing a pullout. E&P notes a few others. These papers reflect an unmistakable trend: Public opinion is solidifying behind a withdrawal, proponents of the war are breaking ranks, and Bush is becoming more isolated in his position over time.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Boehner today:One could make endless ads with every war advocate making these statements going back years. Just think how effective it would be to feature McCain, Bush, Rice, Cheney, etc making 'in the next 90 days' or 'six months'over a period of years?
'Over the course of the next three to four months, we'll have some idea how well the plan's working. Early signs are indicating there is clearly some success on a number of fronts,' he said.
BOEHNER: I think it will be rather clear in the next 60 to 90 days as to whether this plan is going to work. And, again, that's why we need to have close oversight, so that we just don't look up 60 or 90 days from now and realize that -- that this plan is not working. We need to know, as we -- as we're -- we move through these benchmarks, that the Iraqis are doing what they have to do."
These ads would,....well make a mockery out of those advocating staying in Iraq.
The NYTs had a Sunday feature on the topic of evolution and the GOP.
One of my biggest frustrations with the Dems is their inability (or unwillingness) to hang this flaky crap around the necks of the GOP. There are many conservatives who have all kinds of crazy ideas, and not just obscure Congressman from East Jesus where-ever.
Maxine Waters says some flaky thing and the GOP noise machine paints us all with the brush, and it's very effective. The GOP has worked for several years to make Dems look silly and it seeps into the social conscience with real impact. Meanwhile they have a monkey in the WH and the Dems have been impotent to respond.
How the hell does a bunch of draft dodgers make John Kerry look like a coward?
I can't tell you how many friends I have who simple deny the truth of these things about the GOP leadership. They have too or they couldn't vote for them. Their ability to deny bizarre and archaic beliefs held by those whom they vote for is a failure of the Democratic party.
The Democrats need to shine a light on their extreme views and hold the light on them. Make it hard for educated adults to vote for them.
The hatred of the war in Iraq will win us more seats in Congress in 2008 and likely the WH but it will not build a lasting ruling majority.
- 71% of Americans are dissatisfied with the direction of the country.
- 64% are disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job as POTUS.
- 62% believe Bush's recent actions in Iraq show that he is stubborn and unwilling to admit mistakes. A mere 30% believed he showed political courage.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
BAGHDAD -- Iraq is hemorrhaging doctors as violence racks the nation. To stem the flow, the Iraqi government has recently taken a cue from Saddam Hussein: Medical schools are once again forbidden to issue diplomas and transcripts to new graduates.
Hussein built a fine medical system in part by withholding doctors' passports and diplomas. Although physicians can work in Iraq with a letter from a medical school verifying their graduation, they say they need certificates and transcripts to work abroad.
The Dems need to be very careful not to upset President Bush.
May 5, 2007 - It’s hard to say which is worse news for Republicans: that George W. Bush now has the worst approval rating of an American president in a generation, or that he seems to be dragging every ’08 Republican presidential candidate down with him....Tread softly Democrats, tread softly....
This remarkably low rating seems to be casting a dark shadow over the GOP’s chances for victory in ’08. The NEWSWEEK Poll finds each of the leading Democratic contenders beating the Republican frontrunners in head-to-head matchups.
There seems to be no end to the nonsensical articles warning Democrats not to go to far in challenging a president with a 30% approval rating and his 23% approval rated war.
Of course when asked, most voters will tell you they favor 'bipartisianship'. Then again, if asked they will also tell you they favor mother love and apple pie. But as Greg correctly notes, these items aren't on the menu.
In the recent Pew Poll, 70% of Americans felt the Dems where either not going far enough or just about right in pushing Bush out of Iraq. Every poll for a very long time has shown a substantial majority favoring a planned exit from Iraq.
Can you imagine any paper in 1974 warning Dems not to be too disruptive with Nixon and that whole 'Watergate thing'?
Public opinion is solidified and it's not with Bush. When will the MSM get that memo?
Friday, May 04, 2007
Well, apparently, I was on to something.
Al Kamen - I'll Have My Chief of Staff Call Your Chief of Staff's Chief of Staff
Only three? How long before Giuliani and McCain flip flop on this issue?
Here are the positive/negative ratings:
- Ron Paul 37/28
- Mitt Romney 31/37
- Rudy Giuliani 23/44
- John McCain 20/45
- Mike Huckabee 15/39
- Tom Tancredo 10/48
- Sam Brownback 9/45
- Duncan Hunter 9/45
- Tommy Thompson 9/48
- Jim Gilmore 8/44
You might be asking yourself, 'who the hell is Ron Paul?' I did.
Well, turns out he is the only candidate who voted against the Iraq war.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
I'm not so sure.
What the GOP is talking about are meaningless non-binding benchmarks, reports, yada, yada, yada. It's all bullshit, pure and simple.
Bush has no intention of leaving Iraq while he is president.
The surge is nothing more than the President with his enablers in Congress throwing the bodies of American service members on the bonfire of his vanity. He cannot admit his colossal error.
The President has lost the trust of the American people, who want a mandatory timeline for withdrawal.
The Congressional Republicans know perfectly well they are toast on this issue and will not go down on Bush's sinking ship.
So why in the hell would the Democratic Leadership entertain, even for one moment, betraying the American people and each and very soldier and Marine in Iraq to throw a lifeline to these losers who have so arrogantly destroyed our army and the lives of thousands?
Why? I really want to know.
Have you called Majority Leader Harry Reid and told him that there can be no compromise on a mandatory timeline for withdrawal from Iraq? His phone number is 202-224-3542.
Have you called House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and told him that there can be no compromise on a mandatory timeline for withdrawal from Iraq? His phone number is 202-225-3130.
Please be polite. Here is what I said to the person answering the phone:
"Sir, my name is Don Ward. I'm calling from St. Louis. Please tell the Speaker that I called to let her know that I believe that there can be no compromise with the President on a mandatory timeline for withdrawal from Iraq. Thanks you for taking my message."
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
The lives of our military are at stake.
The future of the Democratic Party is at stake.
John Edward's new, and first, campaign ad takes aim at the veto . The ad will run in the DC market and is intended to influence Congress to send Bush the same bill repeatedly. Edwards is right. I'll post the ad from YouTube later.
Cillizza as the numbers citing the latest Pew Poll,
Roughly six-in-ten people in the Pew sample (59 percent) said they want their member of Congress to back an Iraq funding bill that includes a timeline for American troops to begin withdrawing. Of that 59 percent, more than half (54 percent) said Democrats should "insist" on a timeline's inclusion in the legislation while 42 percent backed the party working with Republicans and the Bush Administration on a solution.The Pew poll is strikingly similar to the earlier CBS poll.
By contrast, only 33 percent of the overall sample said they preferred that their lawmaker oppose a timeline as part of the Iraq funding bill. But by a 54 percent to 41 percent margin, this minority said President Bush should stick to his guns and not compromise with Democrats.
The American people support the Dems on this topic in very large numbers. If the party fails them, how can the Dems expect the public's support ever again.
If you have not already done so, please let your member of Congress and both Senators know how you feel. If they support the bill, let them know that compromise is out of the question. If they oppose the bill, let them know your disappointment in their vote and support a withdrawal timeline. Always be polite!
And most important of all, contact Congressman Steny Hoyer, who as I type is negotiating a surrender to Republicans.
Here is Hoyer's contact information.
This is a defining moment. Don't stand on the sidelines!
The Army is shutting down Soldier Blogs
The U.S. Army has ordered soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages, without first clearing the content with a superior officer, Wired News has learned. The directive, issued April 19, is the sharpest restriction on troops’ online activities since the start of the Iraq war. And it could mean the end of military blogs, observers say.Yet another sign that things are going very badly in Iraq and Afghanistan.
State Department employees in Iraq seldom leave the capital's heavily fortified Green Zone. Even there, rocket and mortar attacks are frequent, and the sound of gunfire is constant. Suicide bombers have penetrated the zone on rare occasions, most recently on April 12.I guess Brown didn't get the memo about how well things are going in Iraq.
The department was prodded to act by the American Foreign Service Association. It reported that some diplomats had difficulty adjusting after leaving.
[Larry Brown, the State Department's director of medical services] said the State Department is considering forming support groups "for alumni of high-stress or unaccompanied posts" — jobs in countries where the threat is so high or schools and medical facilities so poor that diplomats cannot bring family members.
The number of jobs classified by the department as unaccompanied posts has more than tripled since 2001 to about 700.....
Although U.S. diplomats have served in violent places before, they have "never been put into an active war zone in this way," Brown said.
So the situation in Iraq remains so bleak that out diplomats are developing PTSD and are still forbidden to bring their families. And yet, the WH is still critical because the media only reports 'the bad news'.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's prime minister has created an entity within his government that U.S. and Iraqi military officials say is being used as a smokescreen to hide an extreme Shiite agenda that is worsening the country's sectarian divide.We need to get the hell out of this black hole before it's too late.
The Office of the Commander in Chief has the power to overrule other government ministries, according to U.S. military and intelligence sources.
Those sources say the 24-member office is abusing its power, increasingly overriding decisions made by the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interior and potentially undermining the entire U.S. effort in Iraq.
From the NYTs,
BAGHDAD, April 30 — The largest bloc of Sunni Arabs in the Iraqi Parliament threatened to withdraw its ministers from the Shiite-dominated cabinet on Monday in frustration over the government’s failure to deal with Sunni concerns.
President Bush stepped in to forestall the move, calling one of Iraq’s two vice presidents, Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni Arab, and inviting him to Washington, according to a statement issued by Mr. Hashimi’s office and the White House.
The bloc, known as the Iraqi Consensus Front and made up of three Sunni Arab parties, “has lost hope in rectifying the situation despite all of its sincere and serious efforts to do so,” the statement said.
If the Sunni group followed through on its threat, it would further weaken a government already damaged by the pullout two weeks ago of six cabinet ministers aligned with the renegade Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr and further erode American efforts to promote reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites.
Also on Monday, the White House expressed concern about a report in The Washington Post that aides to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki were involved in the arrests or removal of at least 16 army and police commanders, at least nine of whom are Sunni, who had been fighting Shiite militias.
Flashback to 1999, when George W. Bush criticized President Clinton for not setting a timetable for exiting Kosovo.
George W. Bush, 4/9/99, Houston Chronicle:
“Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”
And on the specific need for a timetable:
George W. Bush, 6/5/99, Scripps Howard/Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
“I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.”
Who can forget that glorious day 4 years ago when the war in Iraq ended?
E&P takes a look back at how the NYTs covered the story then.
Think Progress brings us ‘Mission Accomplished’ By The Numbers.
Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the situation then, compared to the situation now:
|May 1, 2003||Today|
|U.S. Troops Wounded||542||24,912|
|U.S. Troops Killed |
|Contractors Killed |
|Journalists and Media Assistants Killed |
|U.S. Forces in Iraq||150,000||146,000|
|Size of Iraqi Security Forces ||7,000-9,000||334,300|
|Number of Insurgents||less than 5,000||~70,000 (Sunni only)|
|Insurgent Attacks Per Day||8||148.9|
|Cost to U.S. Taxpayers||$79 billion||$421 billion|
|Approval of Bush’s Handling of Iraq||75%||24%|
|Percentage of Americans who Believe The Iraq War Was “Worth Fighting”||70%||34%|
|Bush’s Overall Job Approval||71%||32%|