Sunday, July 31, 2005

excerpt from Cold Fury 


From Cold Fury

"The problem not only with fundamentalist Christians but with Republicans in general is not that they act on blind faith, without thinking. The problem is that they are incorrigible doubters with an insatiable appetite for Evidence. What they get off on is not Believing, but in having their beliefs tested. That’s why their conversations and their media are so completely dominated by implacable bogeymen: marrying gays, liberals, the ACLU, Sean Penn, Europeans and so on. Their faith both in God and in their political convictions is too weak to survive without an unceasing string of real and imaginary confrontations with those people—and for those confrontations, they are constantly assembling evidence and facts to make their case."

I would add to that that they see sin in gay Marriage but none in US troops torturing Iraqi prisoners. They see the Devil in Secularism but no problem with Christian law as rule. Today, the Republican Party is the Anti- USA. If there were a Devil today it would be the American right as a whole.


Large Excerpt from Richard Posner in NYT 


The argument that competition increases polarization assumes that liberals want to read liberal newspapers and conservatives conservative ones. Natural as that assumption is, it conflicts with one of the points on which left and right agree - that people consume news and opinion in order to become well informed about public issues. Were this true, liberals would read conservative newspapers, and conservatives liberal newspapers, just as scientists test their hypotheses by confronting them with data that may refute them. But that is not how ordinary people (or, for that matter, scientists) approach political and social issues. The issues are too numerous, uncertain and complex, and the benefit to an individual of becoming well informed about them too slight, to invite sustained, disinterested attention. Moreover, people don't like being in a state of doubt, so they look for information that will support rather than undermine their existing beliefs. They're also uncomfortable seeing their beliefs challenged on issues that are bound up with their economic welfare, physical safety or religious and moral views.

So why do people consume news and opinion? In part it is to learn of facts that bear directly and immediately on their lives - hence the greater attention paid to local than to national and international news. They also want to be entertained, and they find scandals, violence, crime, the foibles of celebrities and the antics of the powerful all mightily entertaining. And they want to be confirmed in their beliefs by seeing them echoed and elaborated by more articulate, authoritative and prestigious voices. So they accept, and many relish, a partisan press. Forty-three percent of the respondents in the poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center thought it ''a good thing if some news organizations have a decidedly political point of view in their coverage of the news.''

Being profit-driven, the media respond to the actual demands of their audience rather than to the idealized ''thirst for knowledge'' demand posited by public intellectuals and deans of journalism schools. They serve up what the consumer wants, and the more intense the competitive pressure, the better they do it. We see this in the media's coverage of political campaigns. Relatively little attention is paid to issues. Fundamental questions, like the actual difference in policies that might result if one candidate rather than the other won, get little play. The focus instead is on who's ahead, viewed as a function of campaign tactics, which are meticulously reported. Candidates' statements are evaluated not for their truth but for their adroitness; it is assumed, without a hint of embarrassment, that a political candidate who levels with voters disqualifies himself from being taken seriously, like a racehorse that tries to hug the outside of the track. News coverage of a political campaign is oriented to a public that enjoys competitive sports, not to one that is civic-minded.

We saw this in the coverage of the selection of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's successor. It was played as an election campaign; one article even described the jockeying for the nomination by President Bush as the ''primary election'' and the fight to get the nominee confirmed by the Senate the ''general election'' campaign. With only a few exceptions, no attention was paid to the ability of the people being considered for the job or the actual consequences that the appointment was likely to have for the nation.


Journalists are reluctant to confess to pandering to their customers' biases; it challenges their self-image as servants of the general interest, unsullied by commerce. They want to think they inform the public, rather than just satisfying a consumer demand no more elevated or consequential than the demand for cosmetic surgery in Brazil or bullfights in Spain. They believe in ''deliberative democracy'' - democracy as the system in which the people determine policy through deliberation on the issues. In his preface to ''The Future of Media'' (a collection of articles edited by Robert W. McChesney, Russell Newman and Ben Scott), Bill Moyers writes that ''democracy can't exist without an informed public.'' If this is true, the United States is not a democracy (which may be Moyers's dyspeptic view). Only members of the intelligentsia, a tiny slice of the population, deliberate on public issues.

The public's interest in factual accuracy is less an interest in truth than a delight in the unmasking of the opposition's errors. Conservatives were unembarrassed by the errors of the Swift Boat veterans, while taking gleeful satisfaction in the exposure of the forgeries on which Dan Rather had apparently relied, and in his resulting fall from grace. They reveled in Newsweek's retracting its story about flushing the Koran down a toilet yet would prefer that American abuse of prisoners be concealed. Still, because there is a market demand for correcting the errors and ferreting out the misdeeds of one's enemies, the media exercise an important oversight function, creating accountability and deterring wrongdoing. That, rather than educating the public about the deep issues, is their great social mission. It shows how a market produces a social good as an unintended byproduct of self-interested behavior.

The limited consumer interest in the truth is the key to understanding why both left and right can plausibly denounce the same media for being biased in favor of the other. Journalists are writing to meet a consumer demand that is not a demand for uncomfortable truths. So a newspaper that appeals to liberal readers will avoid exposés of bad behavior by blacks or homosexuals, as William McGowan charges in ''Coloring the News''; similarly, Daniel Okrent, the first ombudsman of The New York Times, said that the news pages of The Times ''present the social and cultural aspects of same-sex marriage in a tone that approaches cheerleading.'' Not only would such exposés offend liberal readers who are not black or homosexual; many blacks and homosexuals are customers of liberal newspapers, and no business wants to offend a customer.

But the same liberal newspaper or television news channel will pull some of its punches when it comes to reporting on the activities of government, even in Republican administrations, thus giving credence to the left critique, as in Michael Massing's ''Now They Tell Us,'' about the reporting of the war in Iraq. A newspaper depends on access to officials for much of its information about what government is doing and planning, and is reluctant to bite too hard the hand that feeds it. Nevertheless, it is hyperbole for Eric Alterman to claim in ''What Liberal Media?'' that ''liberals are fighting a near-hopeless battle in which they are enormously outmatched by most measures'' by the conservative media, or for Bill Moyers to say that ''the marketplace of political ideas'' is dominated by a ''quasi-official partisan press ideologically linked to an authoritarian administration.'' In a sample of 23 leading newspapers and newsmagazines, the liberal ones had twice the circulation of the conservative. The bias in some of the reporting in the liberal media, acknowledged by Okrent, is well documented by McGowan, as well as by Bernard Goldberg in ''Bias'' and L. Brent Bozell III in ''Weapons of Mass Distortion.''

Journalists minimize offense, preserve an aura of objectivity and cater to the popular taste for conflict and contests by - in the name of ''balance'' - reporting both sides of an issue, even when there aren't two sides. So ''intelligent design,'' formerly called by the oxymoron ''creation science,'' though it is religious dogma thinly disguised, gets almost equal billing with the theory of evolution. If journalists admitted that the economic imperatives of their industry overrode their political beliefs, they would weaken the right's critique of liberal media bias.

The latest, and perhaps gravest, challenge to the journalistic establishment is the blog. Journalists accuse bloggers of having lowered standards. But their real concern is less high-minded - it is the threat that bloggers, who are mostly amateurs, pose to professional journalists and their principal employers, the conventional news media. A serious newspaper, like The Times, is a large, hierarchical commercial enterprise that interposes layers of review, revision and correction between the reporter and the published report and that to finance its large staff depends on advertising revenues and hence on the good will of advertisers and (because advertising revenues depend to a great extent on circulation) readers. These dependences constrain a newspaper in a variety of ways. But in addition, with its reputation heavily invested in accuracy, so that every serious error is a potential scandal, a newspaper not only has to delay publication of many stories to permit adequate checking but also has to institute rules for avoiding error - like requiring more than a single source for a story or limiting its reporters' reliance on anonymous sources - that cost it many scoops.

Blogs don't have these worries. Their only cost is the time of the blogger, and that cost may actually be negative if the blogger can use the publicity that he obtains from blogging to generate lecture fees and book royalties. Having no staff, the blogger is not expected to be accurate. Having no advertisers (though this is changing), he has no reason to pull his punches. And not needing a large circulation to cover costs, he can target a segment of the reading public much narrower than a newspaper or a television news channel could aim for. He may even be able to pry that segment away from the conventional media. Blogs pick off the mainstream media's customers one by one, as it were.

And bloggers thus can specialize in particular topics to an extent that few journalists employed by media companies can, since the more that journalists specialized, the more of them the company would have to hire in order to be able to cover all bases. A newspaper will not hire a journalist for his knowledge of old typewriters, but plenty of people in the blogosphere have that esoteric knowledge, and it was they who brought down Dan Rather. Similarly, not being commercially constrained, a blogger can stick with and dig into a story longer and deeper than the conventional media dare to, lest their readers become bored. It was the bloggers' dogged persistence in pursuing a story that the conventional media had tired of that forced Trent Lott to resign as Senate majority leader.

What really sticks in the craw of conventional journalists is that although individual blogs have no warrant of accuracy, the blogosphere as a whole has a better error-correction machinery than the conventional media do. The rapidity with which vast masses of information are pooled and sifted leaves the conventional media in the dust. Not only are there millions of blogs, and thousands of bloggers who specialize, but, what is more, readers post comments that augment the blogs, and the information in those comments, as in the blogs themselves, zips around blogland at the speed of electronic transmission.

This means that corrections in blogs are also disseminated virtually instantaneously, whereas when a member of the mainstream media catches a mistake, it may take weeks to communicate a retraction to the public. This is true not only of newspaper retractions - usually printed inconspicuously and in any event rarely read, because readers have forgotten the article being corrected - but also of network television news. It took CBS so long to acknowledge Dan Rather's mistake because there are so many people involved in the production and supervision of a program like ''60 Minutes II'' who have to be consulted.

The charge by mainstream journalists that blogging lacks checks and balances is obtuse. The blogosphere has more checks and balances than the conventional media; only they are different. The model is Friedrich Hayek's classic analysis of how the economic market pools enormous quantities of information efficiently despite its decentralized character, its lack of a master coordinator or regulator, and the very limited knowledge possessed by each of its participants.

In effect, the blogosphere is a collective enterprise - not 12 million separate enterprises, but one enterprise with 12 million reporters, feature writers and editorialists, yet with almost no costs. It's as if The Associated Press or Reuters had millions of reporters, many of them experts, all working with no salary for free newspapers that carried no advertising.

How can the conventional news media hope to compete? Especially when the competition is not entirely fair. The bloggers are parasitical on the conventional media. They copy the news and opinion generated by the conventional media, often at considerable expense, without picking up any of the tab. The degree of parasitism is striking in the case of those blogs that provide their readers with links to newspaper articles. The links enable the audience to read the articles without buying the newspaper. The legitimate gripe of the conventional media is not that bloggers undermine the overall accuracy of news reporting, but that they are free riders who may in the long run undermine the ability of the conventional media to finance the very reporting on which bloggers depend.

Some critics worry that ''unfiltered'' media like blogs exacerbate social tensions by handing a powerful electronic platform to extremists at no charge. Bad people find one another in cyberspace and so gain confidence in their crazy ideas. The conventional media filter out extreme views to avoid offending readers, viewers and advertisers; most bloggers have no such inhibition.

The argument for filtering is an argument for censorship. (That it is made by liberals is evidence that everyone secretly favors censorship of the opinions he fears.) But probably there is little harm and some good in unfiltered media. They enable unorthodox views to get a hearing. They get 12 million people to write rather than just stare passively at a screen. In an age of specialization and professionalism, they give amateurs a platform. They allow people to blow off steam who might otherwise adopt more dangerous forms of self-expression. They even enable the authorities to keep tabs on potential troublemakers; intelligence and law enforcement agencies devote substantial resources to monitoring blogs and Internet chat rooms.

And most people are sensible enough to distrust communications in an unfiltered medium. They know that anyone can create a blog at essentially zero cost, that most bloggers are uncredentialed amateurs, that bloggers don't employ fact checkers and don't have editors and that a blogger can hide behind a pseudonym. They know, in short, that until a blogger's assertions are validated (as when the mainstream media acknowledge an error discovered by a blogger), there is no reason to repose confidence in what he says. The mainstream media, by contrast, assure their public that they make strenuous efforts to prevent errors from creeping into their articles and broadcasts. They ask the public to trust them, and that is why their serious errors are scandals.

A survey by the National Opinion Research Center finds that the public's confidence in the press declined from about 85 percent in 1973 to 59 percent in 2002, with most of the decline occurring since 1991. Over both the longer and the shorter period, there was little change in public confidence in other major institutions. So it seems there are special factors eroding trust in the news industry. One is that the blogs have exposed errors by the mainstream media that might otherwise have gone undiscovered or received less publicity. Another is that competition by the blogs, as well as by the other new media, has pushed the established media to get their stories out faster, which has placed pressure on them to cut corners. So while the blogosphere is a marvelous system for prompt error correction, it is not clear whether its net effect is to reduce the amount of error in the media as a whole.

But probably the biggest reason for declining trust in the media is polarization. As media companies are pushed closer to one end of the political spectrum or the other, the trust placed in them erodes. Their motives are assumed to be political. This may explain recent Pew Research Center poll data that show Republicans increasingly regarding the media as too critical of the government and Democrats increasingly regarding them as not critical enough.

Thus the increase in competition in the news market that has been brought about by lower costs of communication (in the broadest sense) has resulted in more variety, more polarization, more sensationalism, more healthy skepticism and, in sum, a better matching of supply to demand. But increased competition has not produced a public more oriented toward public issues, more motivated and competent to engage in genuine self-government, because these are not the goods that most people are seeking from the news media. They are seeking entertainment, confirmation, reinforcement, emotional satisfaction; and what consumers want, a competitive market supplies, no more, no less. Journalists express dismay that bottom-line pressures are reducing the quality of news coverage. What this actually means is that when competition is intense, providers of a service are forced to give the consumer what he or she wants, not what they, as proud professionals, think the consumer should want, or more bluntly, what they want.

Yet what of the sliver of the public that does have a serious interest in policy issues? Are these people less well served than in the old days? Another recent survey by the Pew Research Center finds that serious magazines have held their own and that serious broadcast outlets, including that bane of the right, National Public Radio, are attracting ever larger audiences. And for that sliver of a sliver that invites challenges to its biases by reading The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, that watches CNN and Fox, that reads Brent Bozell and Eric Alterman and everything in between, the increased polarization of the media provides a richer fare than ever before.

So when all the pluses and minuses of the impact of technological and economic change on the news media are toted up and compared, maybe there isn't much to fret about.

Richard A. Posner is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School and, along with the economist Gary Becker, the author of The Becker-Posner Blog.


President Carter Speaks Out 



"I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A.," he told a news conference at the Baptist World Alliance's centenary conference in Birmingham, England. "I wouldn't say it's the cause of terrorism, but it has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts."

Carter said, however, that terrorist acts could not be justified, and that while Guantanamo "may be an aggravating factor ... it's not the basis of terrorism."

Critics of President Bush's administration have long accused the U.S. government of unjustly detaining terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base on the southeastern tip of Cuba. Hundreds of men have been held indefinitely at the prison, without charge or access to lawyers.

"What has happened at Guantanamo Bay ... does not represent the will of the American people," Carter said Saturday. "I'm embarrassed about it, I think its wrong. I think it does give terrorists an unwarranted excuse to use the despicable means to hurt innocent people."


Saturday, July 30, 2005

More Loss Of Influence 


Hmmm. Rumsfeld managed to salvage our base in Kyrgyzstan earlier this week, but the Chinese and Russians appear to have had a much easier time convincing Islam Karimov to give us the boot:
Uzbekistan formally evicted the United States yesterday from a military base that has served as a hub for combat and humanitarian missions to Afghanistan since shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Pentagon and State Department officials said yesterday.
In a highly unusual move, the notice of eviction from Karshi-Khanabad air base, known as K2, was delivered by a courier from the Uzbek Foreign Ministry to the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, said a senior U.S. administration official involved in Central Asia policy. The message did not give a reason. Uzbekistan will give the United States 180 days to move aircraft, personnel and equipment, U.S. officials said.
It's unfortunate that we didn't see this coming and try to leave on our own initiative rather than theirs. At least then it could have been done as a political statement.


Calling Scotland Yard 


Why is it that the British can find all the perpetrators of a terrorist attack after only two weeks of a terrorist blast and we can’t seem to know who called whom from the White House three years after it happened?

Why is it that Britain accomplished this without turning their own laws inside out?

Why is it that Britain produces the photos and whereabouts of the suspects and we don’t even know the name of the nerd who put anthrax in an envelope three years ago?

Why is it that Italians and French and Spanish police can arrest Al Quaeda operatives with regularity but we have no fucking idea where OBL is?


Suggested new names For Global War On Terror. 


Central Asia Extreme Make-Over

SpongeBob Oil Pants

Operation Liberate Iraqi Petroleum

CSI: Baghdad. Special WMD Unit

No Oil Well Left Behind

It Takes A Brigade To Destroy A Village

The Oil Whisperer.

Trading AK Fire.

Everyone Loves Oil.

There’s Something About Osama.

Like Oil For Chocolate.


Friday, July 29, 2005



Former Bush aide turns critic as Iraq inspector

During a routine audit last summer of an American office in charge of doling out reconstruction funding in Hillah, Iraq, U.S. government investigators made a series of startling discoveries.

The office had paid a contractor twice for the same work. A U.S. official was allowed to handle millions of dollars in cash weeks after he was fired for incompetence. Of the $119.9 million allocated for regional projects, $89.4 million was disbursed without contracts or other documentation. An additional $7.2 million couldn't be found at all.

To many officials in both Baghdad and Washington, the only thing more surprising than the problems was the identity of the man who had uncovered them: Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

Mr. Bowen is a Texas lawyer who parlayed a job on George W. Bush's first gubernatorial campaign into senior posts in Austin and Washington. He began the Iraq war lobbying for an American contractor seeking tens of millions of dollars in reconstruction work. Last October, California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman singled him out in a report on "The Politicization of Inspectors General" in the Bush administration. The report suggested that such auditors wouldn't be "independent and objective."

Government Has Become A Nanny

Our government now treats us with the condescending air of an imperious patriarch, minutely monitoring our behavior and expecting instinctive obedience to increasingly ridiculous rules.
By William Marvel

As a naval officer my father grew accustomed to obedience, and he never seemed to recover from that expectation. My mother often doubted the wisdom of his ways, and her noncompliance drove him to imperious monologues on the proper management of a household, to which she would listen patiently. When he had finished she would say "Yes, O Great White Father," and then return to the same activity that had inspired his peroration.


Thursday, July 28, 2005



If At First You Don’t Succeed, Cheat

After the House first voted to defeat the Central American Free Trade Agreement, GOP leaders "kept the voting open for another 47 minutes," and "told their rank and file that if they wanted anything, now was the time to ask."

NYT Mum About Miller

That’s it. The NYT is involved in the Plame leak. Asses Soon as I get a chance, they’re coming off the blogroll.

In e-mail messages this week, Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, and George Freeman, an assistant general counsel of the newspaper, declined to address written questions about whether Ms. Miller was assigned to report about Mr. Wilson's trip, whether she tried to write a story about it, or whether she ever told editors or colleagues at the newspaper that she had obtained information about the role played by Ms. Wilson.

top of the morning 


Judith Miller, Hachetman

But a very different scenario is being floated in the halls. Here it is: It's July 6, 2003, and Joe Wilson's now famous op-ed piece appears in the Times, raising the idea that the Bush administration has "manipulate[d]" and "twisted" intelligence "to exaggerate the Iraqi threat." Miller, who has been pushing this manipulated, twisted, and exaggerated intel in the Times for months, goes ballistic. Someone is using the pages of her own paper to call into question the justification for the war -- and, indirectly, much of her reporting. The idea that intelligence was being fixed goes to the heart of Miller's credibility. So she calls her friends in the intelligence community and asks, Who is this guy? She finds out he's married to a CIA agent. She then passes on the info about Mrs. Wilson to Scooter Libby (Newsday has identified a meeting Miller had on July 8 in Washington with an "unnamed government official"). Maybe Miller tells Rove too -- or Libby does. The White House hatchet men turn around and tell Novak and Cooper. The story gets out.

This is why Miller doesn't want to reveal her "source" at the White House -- because she was the source. Sure, she first got the info from someone else, and the odds are she wasn't the only one who clued in Libby and/or Rove (the State Dept. memo likely played a role too)… but, in this scenario, Miller certainly wasn't an innocent writer caught up in the whirl of history. She had a starring role in it. This also explains why Miller never wrote a story about Plame, because her goal wasn't to write a story, but to get out the story that cast doubts on Wilson's motives. Which Novak did.

Yankee Go Home

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq's transitional prime minister called Wednesday for a speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops and the top U.S. commander here said he believed a "fairly substantial" pullout could begin next spring and summer.
Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said at a joint news conference with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the time has arrived to plan a coordinated transition from American to Iraqi military control throughout the country.

This civil war, which has in fact been underway for some time, isn't just frightening the citizens of Baghdad, whose lives have become a living hell as a result. It's also alarming the American president, who sees it as a threat to his legacy. The disintegration of Iraq after a long, bloody civil war would be precisely the opposite of the peaceful, democratic and prosperous development US President George W. Bush had planned to bestow upon Iraq and the rest of the region with his military intervention.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Jessica Simpson Says The Actual Gritty Footage of Iraq They Took Was Stolen 



JESSICA SIMPSON wants to know where missing footage of her and husband NICK LACHEY's harrowing trip to Iraq got to - because she thinks Americans would like to see just how bad conditions are there.

The pop singers-turned-reality TV couple travelled to the war-torn nation to visit US troops as part of a recent ABC TV variety special, and they were both left shellshocked by what they saw.

But all the controversial moments and harrowing footage of the trip didn't appear in the fun-filled TV show.

Simpson says, "It was unbelievable. They didn't show a lot of what really went on with the enemy attacks and the shelling. There was so much stuff that went on and somehow the tapes got mysteriously misplaced.

"It put everything in perspective for me. It really did teach me the definition of sacrifice. I can't even fathom being out there right now. I was ready to come home."
27/07/2005 03:12

find it here





Paul Reichoff is pissed

Radio host Michael Graham broadcasts ignorance and hate on WMAL-AM (630) in Washington, D.C. Check this out from the Washington Post:

"The show host touched off the flap during a discussion of the Muslim community's response to recent acts of terrorism. Graham suggested the fault lies with Muslims generally because religious leaders and followers haven't done enough to condemn and root out extreme elements. "The problem is not extremism," Graham said, according to both CAIR and the station. "The problem is Islam." He also said, "We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam.""

No we are not, you idiot. By the way, as someone who has served on the ground in Iraq, I can tell you for certain that this type of talk will really do nothing to help our troops trying to win hearts and minds in a country that is 95% Muslim!

This isn't the first time Michael Graham has embarrassed America.

Just a few weeks ago, he was a key component of "The Truth Tour."

To quote PVT Gomer Pyle, "Well, surprise! Surprise!"

That's right! Graham was a member of the gang of propagandist radio hosts who recently went to Iraq to broadcast the truth about the war. Now he continues to support the war effort by giving the world more reason to hate Americans. The US Army killed 50 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan today. And Michael Graham just created a few hundred more. If he really wants to support America, he will shut the hell up.

Good people, we have to be involved. Ignorance must be squashed in its infancy before it has the chance to grow and infect other people. Sure, Graham has the right to say this crap. And we have a right to boycott his piece of shit radio station. And flood it with emails and phone calls demanding that Michael Graham be fired.

Contact WMAL now.

Support America. Help get this bigot off the air.

The coverup, in short, is going well.

It's a good bet that there has already been some lying under oath. One theory about the puzzling tenacity and ferocity of special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald — why he is sending journalists to jail for refusing to provide information he already has about an activity that probably wasn't even a crime by people other than the ones he is persecuting — is that he's switched his attention from the leak itself to perjury by White House officials who were asked about it earlier in the investigation.

Perjury is your classic coverup method, and still is used when other methods have failed. Advances in the science of spin since Watergate, however, have made a high-risk, Nixon-style coverup unnecessary in many situations.

President Bush says he won't publicly comment about the Plame case while the investigation continues. But the reason the investigation continues is partly his fault. He should have determined early on who leaked Plame's CIA identity to members of the press, and dealt with it.

Why didn't Bush two years ago just ask Karl Rove and a few others in the administration whether they had leaked Plame's identity to Bob Novak and the others? Why doesn't he ask Rove now? Is it because he knows the answer? Or because he doesn't want to have to fire Rove?

As a precaution against such a catastrophe, Bush now says he will fire anyone found to have broken the law by outing an undercover intelligence operative. Previously he had said he would fire anyone who outs an intelligence officer, period.

Why do they hate us?

And although Scheuer says it is our actions, not our beliefs and lifestyles that drive radical Islam, he is not discounting the role of Islam, as more or less a glue holding al Qaeda together.

“It’s the central most important idea”, he told me, “and it’s the political correctness in our own society that prevents our leaders, whether it’s the first President Bush, or this one, or Mr. Clinton from saying ‘listen my fellow citizens these people are angry at us because they believe we’re attacking their religion not because we have McDonalds or we have early primaries in Iowa.’ No one has stood up and said that and until we realize that the motivation is religious, a religion under threat, we’re going to continue to lose this fight.”

For his frankness, Scheuer has drawn criticism from the left and the right. Despite his two master’s degrees, his Ph.D., his 22-years with the Agency, including 4 years being the point person on Bin Laden, no elected officials seek out his guidance. “No sir, they kind of avoid me like grim death,” he told me when I asked.

Why is that the case?

“Well, several of the issues that are tied up in what we need to do or at least think about doing -- our support for Israel and our need to wean ourselves from Arabian Gulf oil -- are martyrdom operations for US politicians.”

In other words, because Scheuer advocates an examination of our policy with Israel, some are quick to leap to the conclusion that he wishes to abandon Israel. I asked him if he is suggesting such a policy?

“No, certainly not. I think what we need to do need is support the Israelis as long as it’s in the interests of the United States. My bottom line on all of these issues, is when I was hired to work at the CIA, my job was not to be the guardian of the world but be the guardian of the American people, and our foreign policy should be designed to do that, to protect Americans first.”

Michael Scheuer told me that he believes the safety of his children and grandchildren is dependent upon killing our enemies. “That’s exactly my prescription, sir, we’re in a position where we have to kill most of this first generation of Islamists.”

But to kill them, requires that we first understand their motivation. And on that basis, I am finally prepared to entertain the question of ‘why do they hate us’.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hackett Kicks Ass 


"All the chicken hawks back here who said, 'Oh, Iraq is talking bad about us. They're going to threaten us' - look, if you really believe that, you leave your wife and three kids and go sign up for the Army or Marines and go over there and fight. Otherwise, shut your mouth."


Karl Rove is having an affair 


Read all about it.




The Kurds Expect Their Own Country

THERE ARE NOT many places in Iraq where the locals want to celebrate American Independence Day. But, in Iraq's self-governing Kurdistan region, the newly elected government decided to host a Fourth of July party for their American allies. Top coalition officers were invited along with US civilians, food and drinks ordered (the secular Kurds serve and drink alcohol), and the Kurdistan prime minister had prepared his speech. Then America's top diplomat in the region delivered an ultimatum: She would not attend unless the Kurds flew Iraq's flag at the party. The Kurds refused and canceled the party.

John Bolton’s involved in Plamegate

Cut Fuel Consumption? You anti capitalist idiot!!!!!

WASHINGTON, July 25 - Working furiously to try to strike a deal on broad energy legislation, Congressional negotiators on Monday killed two major provisions aimed at curbing consumption of traditional fossil fuels like oil, natural gas and coal.

Pamela Constable Reminds us that we cannot win a war on terror by waging a “dirty war in the shadows.”

I don't think America is in immediate danger of losing its ethical compass and abandoning its principles. The military has investigated some of the most egregious known abuse charges; some lower-ranking perpetrators have been punished; senior administration officials repeatedly assert they do not condone torture. And yet in less than four years, we have already become a more belligerent, hardened, unapologetic culture, where the vehicle du jour is an imitation Humvee and critics of military policy or prison abuses find their patriotism called into question.

As long as there are American troops overseas, the nation must rally behind them and pray for their safe return. But if we hope to set an example for the world, to rob Islamic extremists of their ammunition for jihad -- to truly defeat terrorism -- we cannot do it by waging a dirty war in the shadows. As long as one hooded captive is screaming in a dungeon at America's behest, we are all participants in torture, and we are all its victims.


Dear Karen Hughes  


Dear Karen Hughes: Does "W" Stand for the Women of Iraq?

Dear Karen Hughes - According to the State Department website, here's one of the things that you said when you accepted the nomination for Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs on March 14th of this year: "I'll never forget visiting a literacy program overseas where young women were learning to read and I listened through a translator as a 13-year-old girl told me of her dreams of becoming a writer and her belief that women should be able to go to school and work and choose their own husband. And as I was leaving, the translator stopped me and said she wants to tell you something else. Please don't forget them, she said. Please help them live in freedom."

Mrs. Hughes, it looks like you're about to get that job, as a Senate committee approves your nomination on July 26th, no questions asked. But I have a few and here they are: Now that the rights of Iraqi women are about to obliterated, according to the new draft constitution, what are you going to say to that young girl? What will you say when some guy waves the Koran and takes away her pen? And later, her job? And then tells her she has to marry him? What will you tell her when her dream has become a nightmare? That you're sorry? You didn't think freedom would turn out this way? And what do you say to us, to Americans who are paying for this war? To Americans, including women, who are dying for this war? Will you say what you said in the last election? You remember -- "'W' stands for women"? Which women are those? Mrs. Hughes, please do not forget that little girl who stopped you on your way to the airport. Do not forget that many women voted for "W" and now their own kind in Iraq are about to be sent back to the Stone Age.


Monday, July 25, 2005

James Wolcott Says 


defeat? Us?

Shit..we left Vietnam on the skids of helicopters...

What's rising in Iraq is the spectre of American defeat and Iraqi chaos. We're are past the point when you could counter every article of which you disapprove by summoning Austin Bayfrom the bullpen for a positive spin, or seeking shelter in Winston Churchill's lion shadow, or being warned over and over that "failure is not an option" (yes, it is). We are past the point of listening to Joe Biden and others say we need more troops on the ground and more international cooperation. Neither cavalry is riding over the hill.

Where the warbloggers are actively denying the spectre of defeat, the political talkshows are passively denying it. Today--Sunday--it was all about the Supreme Court nominee and the Plame leak and not much else. Understandable. But at what point will attention be paid to the full enormity of what's unraveling in Iraq? Or will it be like global warming, which Russert, Stephanopolous, Chris Wallace, and the rest ignore altogether, as if waiting for heatstroke deaths to dot the capital lawns before acknowledging something momentous is happening. They're still waiting for the memo that'll verify what any fool can see.


Encouraging news 


This will not go away


Facism, defined 


We certainly would have concerns if there are amendments that some people seek that would interfere with the President's ability to effectively conduct the global war on terrorism. And there are some amendments that people have suggested that we believe might be unnecessary or duplicative. We want to make sure that there is nothing that restricts the President's authority to be able to do what he needs to do to protect the American people and prevent attacks from happening in the first place, and bring to justice those who seek to murder innocent civilians.

Scott McClellan


Lance says 


"The biggest downside to a war in Iraq is what you could do with that money. What does a war in Iraq cost a week? A billion? Maybe a billion a day? The budget for the National Cancer Institute is four billion. That has to change.

"Polls say people are much more afraid of cancer than of a plane flying into their house or a bomb or any other form of terrorism. It is a priority for the American public."

- Lance Armstrong, speaking after his victory yesterday in the Tour de France

A Letter To My Brother 


My brother, Evan and I grew up in an almost rural suburb of a large Southern town. As time passed, the county we grew up in became a part of the town and the town became a metropolis. Along the way, we both found religion to some degree. We grew up and lived through the civil rights marches in Birmingham, Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech on the National Mall, the synagogue bombing in Atlanta, the assassination of John and Robert Kennedy, the Six Day War, The Yom Kippur War.

You get the idea.

The other day Evan said to me “ you know I just hate those bastard suicide bombing Muslims. I don’t mean to say that every Muslim is a terrorist, but every terrorist seems to be a Muslim.”

I mean it just shocked me to hear such blatant bigotry out of my brother. I mean we grew up in a county where Blacks were called “Colored” or “N*****s”. Neither at the time seemed to be more than epithets. Our father was a fairly open flaming bigot and while he preached the good stuff, he often resorted to the basest analogies. But Evan and I were NOT that way.

So here’s a message to my brother who I love so much. Who is a hero in my family for how he took care of my Mom. But this is what I want to tell Evan about those Muslim suicide bombers. Now, this is not a defense of murder. Suicide bombing kills at least two of God’s creations. It would seem to be a crime all the time.

But it is not a crime to try and take a step back and look at this from another point of view. It is time to take a deep breath and before WWIII starts, at least try to understand what might getting under their skin.

Let’s begin first with a quick summary of some recent local history. Consider the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. That was a mass murder committed by White Christians. Bombs set off by white Christian Americans slaughtered dozens of children. No Muslims were involved. Just American nutcase Christians.

By the way, you and I grew up in the South and you know for sure that Blacks by the thousands were hung from trees in their own front yards. Many were tracked outside and beaten in front of their own families and many were tortured with blowtorches for a few hours and then hung.

So you see, terrorism is not the sole purview of Muslims. American White Christians have quite a history in terror. Whenever you see a burning cross, ask yourself “does this belong in the category of Terrorism?”

Consider that a White Christian assassinated Archduke Ferdinand II and that started WWI , where 116,000 Americans and 22 million Europeans perished. Kennedy and Dr. King were assassinated by White men. Yitzhak Rabin was murdered by a White Jew.

Consider the two greatest murderers in contemporary human history: Adolph Hitler, a White Catholic and Joseph Stalin, a White Atheist. Hitler murdered 11 million people in concentration camps and started a war that killed upwards of 60 million people. Stalin himself murdered 30 million people in Russia alone who opposed him.

See any Muslims there? Me neither.

Take as an example the fact that many of the Muslims you are talking about tend to be very religious people. They are religious in the same way that American Christians are religious. With the same furor that Southern Baptists feel that abortion is murder, Muslims feel that US airbases in Saudi Arabia is an extreme violation of Muslim law and Muslim sensibilities.

Why don’t you know that Evan?

(OK, here comes one of those crazy Leftist Conspiracies theories. Well Evan, it’s because the people who control the media and the people who control the government and the people who control the oil are all colluding to shape your opinions so they can grow richer and richer. When anti Bush or anti Drug Company or anti Oil Company news arises, the powers that be shut it down. Maybe you listen to right wing talk radio and think you’re getting a reasoned argument. OK OK– let’s not get distracted).

But this notion that we are violating Arab religious sanctity with our bases gets covered in European newspapers and on blogs. But the mainstream media is too busy looking for fiancées missing in Aruba to report the actual news here that might piss off their Republican bosses or fail to gain ratings.

For the purposes of this argument, let’s get back to the things that piss Arabs off. Israel. Their bible tells them that this is their land. Yet every time Palestinians have to stand in long lines, old men and old women and children in the sun and have their bags sniffed through by young Israeli women soldiers, we can’t imagine their humiliation and anger. When Israeli troops invaded Jenin and kicked their asses, it never occurred to anyone that this humiliated the hell out of the Palestinians. So you bet they killed kids in pizza parlors with satchel bombs. The difference here is we see the bombers as the cause of the lines and they see the lines as the cause of the bombs.

Yet no matter what, we take Israel’s point of view. To the Arabs, they see Israelis as people who can do no wrong in our eyes even when they are taking Palestinian lands.

I am not defending this- just pointing out that there is another point of view. That’s all.

The idea that Saddam had something to do with 9/11 has never been proven. Now, to the Arabs, the idea that Iraqis, basically Westernized Arabs, ( they smoke cigarettes and drive cars and dress western and even drink alcohol,) would have anything to do with these extreme right wing Al Quaeda types, is simply ridiculous.

So we invaded a country that had first had suffered a decade of sanctions that by many counts killed thousands of Iraqis, many of them children. One of the results of the first Persian Gulf War and the sanctions was a country with no air force, no navy, no space assets and an army comprised of three-dozen outsized divisions of 40 year old Soviet armor. They had no WMDs. Given a history of White Christian armies invading either Palestine or the Mesopotamian valley, this was just another bump in the history of their humiliation. Evan, estimates differ from 35,000 to 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed. Consider how humiliating announcing a “shock and awe” campaign might be to Iraqis who could not stop it and one that killed thousands of Iraqis- fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, uncles, cousins, all too much for us to even bother counting.

Remember they had opened their doors to not one or two but three weapons inspection teams who all reported that Iraq had no WMDs.

Consider the fact that Iraq is a living hell now- with up to 65 bombings a day where a slow motion civil war is unfolding. They have less electricity today than they had two years ago. Unemployment is rampart. Neighborhoods throughout the country are controlled by gangs, and a slow motion civil war is unfolding in their country. Even the radio pundits who visited there had to be under heavy convoy guard and saw basically nothing.

In short, we have so botched this invasion that we are slowly destroying what is left of Iraq. Yet when the world taps us on the shoulder and points that out, we just shout “So? Freedom is on the march…’

And think about Abu Gharaib. Think about the secret holding facilities in Gitmo and on Naval ships, where we have captured people are holding them against their will and having them tortured by agents from other countries. We are doing these things to them, whether you want to believe it or not. And as we release those who we could not get a confession from, they are telling their stories. They are telling them to the outlets that will print their stories- most of them in Europe and Asia. Not here, of course. So you just hear people like Bill O Reilly saying they were “coerced” and not “tortured”. Well, Evan, taking a man from his home, holding him with no legal representation, and forcing him to bark like a dog or get a beating is torture. You can parse out the word all you want with your talking head pundits, but it’s torture no matter how you think about it. Currently there are an additional 87 photos and four video tapes of rape and torture and murder that the Senate has seen, but Bush is blocking from your view.

I have seen them Evan. Wait until they finally come to light.

OK Evan, here is where the point is made.

No one believes that suicide bombers are doing the right thing. No one is defending that. But to single them out as the only terrorists is simply a failure to look at the facts. What you have done is buy the polemics of the asses who control the media. Try for one second to ask yourself why across the world, we are looked at as pariahs. Look at the grand view of history and you will see that Muslims have killed no more people than White Christians. And yes, while today suicide bombers come mostly in the flavor of Arab Muslims, terrorism comes in a all shapes and sizes and religions.

I love you Evan, try not to be a bigot.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Culture of Revenge 

Here is an interesting timeline in the mistake ridden political machine. Frank Rich points out the Hubris – quite literally the Greek term for tragic arrogance- of the Bush Administration that felt even one of their own agents in the field was fair game.

I personally believe that this is the turning point, and the issue that will not disappear.

That memo may have been the genesis of an orchestrated assault on the Wilsons. That the administration was then cocky enough and enraged enough to go after its presumed enemies so systematically can be found in a similar, now forgotten attack that was hatched on July 15, the day after the publication of Mr. Novak's column portraying Mr. Wilson as a girlie man dependent on his wife for employment.

On that evening's broadcast of ABC's "World News Tonight," American soldiers in Falluja spoke angrily of how their tour of duty had been extended yet again, only a week after Donald Rumsfeld told them they were going home. Soon the Drudge Report announced that ABC's correspondent, Jeffrey Kofman, was gay. Matt Drudge told Lloyd Grove of The Washington Post at the time that "someone from the White House communications shop" had given him that information.

Mr. McClellan denied White House involvement with any Kofman revelation, a denial now worth as much as his denials of White House involvement with the trashing of the Wilsons. Identifying someone as gay isn't a crime in any event, but the "outing" of Mr. Kofman (who turned out to be openly gay) almost simultaneously with the outing of Ms. Plame points to a pervasive culture of revenge in the White House and offers a clue as to who might be driving it. As Joshua Green reported in detail in The Atlantic Monthly last year, a recurring feature of Mr. Rove's political campaigns throughout his career has been the questioning of an "opponent's sexual orientation."

This will not disappear

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Blood In The Water 


I noticed a change in one of my brothers who listens to right wingish talk radio. Not Oxy-Contin Man, but others rightly slanted.

He is angry about the Rove affair. On principle, he says that guy should already be out. I can actually hear the outrage in his voice.

It's a bigger thing than you might imagine because my brother, like most people, has been giving W a free pass on so many issues, and not paying attention to what is happening behind the scenes. But I think there is something about these issues that may in fact pull apart the moderates. There are moderates who are biting their tonugues and going along with the power ride. But I think there are some moderates emerging who are saying enough is enough. You don't do that to an American agent.

It looks worse than anything Bush has done to cover his ass previously. Like the US Army, the Bush political machine is starting to show signs of wear. If nothing else, the gun fire should make it harder for them to push their agenda. It must be hard trying to qwell an insurgency while you are stabilizing a country. Similarly, it must be hard to govern when you're constantly covering your own ass.

On the horizon it looks like another political battle is brewing: the torture of innocents and the torture of children by Americans and in the presence of Americans. I will leave unfolding events to tell their own details. But we know Bush Administration officials have already started covering that up too.

At the end of the day Bush will have done more damage to the Constitution than any President in history. He may get away with it.

He may not.

And that brings me to my next topic. If Bush is in charge, then why does little of this sit on his shoulders?

Why is Bush not in the reason for Abu Gharaib? No, it's Gonzales or General Miller. Why is Bush not the target of the Plame investigation? No it's Rove or Libby or Cheney. Why is it that when politcial operatives rewrite scientific data, Bush's name is never mentioned?

Is it because we deep down believe that he is not in charge? Is is because he is so inarticulate and seems to clueless to actually be blamed with something as big as a deep cover operation to invade Iraq and manufacture the reasons? I don't know. But I have never seen so much praise and lee way given to someone who seems so utterly out of touch and with an almost sociopathic disregard for the pain he has caused.

Kennedy hurt and wept and struggled with his decisions. Hell Nixon wept. Bush doesn't seem to have any emotions other than faked outrage or a child hood bully's laughing condescension. Bush never seems to be the reason anyone is angry for anything.

I don't know exactly where all this is going, but my guess is that the press will have its day. And so will the CIA. Think about that. Who is really at fault in the Plame case? the Press? The CIA? Bush?...Of course not.


Friday, July 22, 2005



Torture Photos Blocked

On July 22, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) denounced the latest efforts of the Bush Administration to block the release of the Darby photos and videos depicting torture at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison facility. On June 2, 2004, CCR, along with the ACLU, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense, and Veterans for Peace filed papers with the U.S. District Court, charging the Department of Defense and other government agencies with illegally withholding records concerning the abuse of detainees in American military custody. Since then, the organizations have been repeatedly rebuffed in their efforts to investigate what happened at the prison.


Paul Rieckhoff on The Bullshit Squad 


Radio "Truth Tour" Ignores the Hard Facts

In an act of blatant propaganda, half-a-dozen conservative talk radio hosts spent the past week broadcasting from Iraq on a Defense Department-sponsored trip aimed at finding the "good news that the old-line liberal news media won't tell you about." The trip was sponsored by "Move America Forward"--the same idiots who sold "I Love Gitmo" bumper stickers on their website.

So what have they found? Not much at all. This has amounted to little more than a week-long pep rally, and it's a shame that taxpayer money was wasted on this misguided stunt. Baghdad is no place to improve a radio career, and if they're so interested in improving morale, why not go over with the U.S.O.?

One of the groups co-sponsoring the event has asked for, "contributions for coffee, cookies and calling cards" for the Troops. These are Troops who need more than just cookies. They face serious problems both in the field and upon return, including a V.A. that is under-funded by nearly $3 billion. The commentator clowns might mean well, but they're doing the Troops a real disservice by ignoring the significant hurdles our men and women in uniform face.

Even before arriving in country, the so-called 'Truth Tour' had taken to depicting the conflict in rosy terms. After a barbecue at CENTCOM in Tampa, commentator Howard Kaloogian spoke with excitement about the upcoming, "vacation adventure."

Mr. Kaloogian, take your war tourism and stick it up your microphone. You and your buddies stayed for a mere four days in the luxiorious confines of the Green Zone and saw images like these. Real troops are there for a year and see images like these.

This is a war zone, not a photo op. For the Troops in Baghdad, Tikrit and Fallujah, who are being deployed for their second and third tours, this war is far from a 'vacation adventure.' This type of shameless cheerleading and agenda-driven journalism is an insult to those who have sacrificed on the frontlines of this war and experienced its terrible toll.

America needs leaders, not salesmen. If these Truth Tour super-patriots really want to support the war effort, there are plenty of slots in Army Civil Affairs units for aspiring radio show hosts. Maybe some of them will be inspired to sign up after their recent trip to the Sandbox.


Thursday, July 21, 2005



Iraqis Not ready

WASHINGTON, July 20 - About half of Iraq's new police battalions are still being established and cannot conduct operations, while the other half of the police units and two-thirds of the new army battalions are only "partially capable" of carrying out counterinsurgency missions, and only with American help, according to a newly declassified Pentagon assessment.

Not Reported On TV News

Washington: In a candid submission made on the American soil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the 2003 US invasion of Iraq was a ''mistake''.

Hamburger's and Wallsten's sources tell them that Karl Rove's animus toward Wilson was so intense that curiosity arose within the White House about it. When asked about this, Rove reportedly said, "He's a Democrat."

I do not understand why some things get this town upset while others don't, but those three words should make any honorable patriot of either party both furious and ashamed. Wilson spent two decades in his country's service -- in diplomatic postings in Africa, chiefly, but also at the National Security Council, and in Baghdad leading up to and during the Gulf War of 1991. Former Secretary of State James Baker once thanked him for his "outstanding service to the nation," and the current president's father was equally effusive in a late-1990 telegram to Wilson in Baghdad.

But to Rove, that service and those testimonials meant nothing. Rove had someone run Wilson's Federal Election Commission sheet and noticed, according to the Los Angeles Times story cited above, that Wilson's campaign donations "leaned toward Democrats." That was true. And that was enough: Nail him. Even though -- get this -- Wilson had donated $1,000 to the Bush campaign in 1999!

Every two days for the past two years more civilians have died in Iraq than in the July 7 London bombings.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005



Analysts said the timing was also designed to take media focus away from the troubles facing Bush's embattled adviser, Karl Rove.

Meet the Press host Tim Russert told anchor Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News that every Republican he had talked to on Tuesday said, "Thank God the White House is changing the subject.

By the way, Middle Aged Mothers get the most abortions

The Letter 


CIA Agents' Open Letter to U.S. Senate and House


18 July 2005


The Honorable Dennis Hastert, Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Dr. William Frist, Majority Leader of the Senate

The Honorable Harry Reid, Minority Leader of the Senate

We, the undersigned former U.S. intelligence officers are concerned with the tone and substance of the public debate over the ongoing Department of Justice investigation into who leaked the name of Valerie Plame, wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, to syndicated columnist Robert Novak and other members of the media, which exposed her status as an undercover CIA officer. The disclosure of Ms. Plame’s name was a shameful event in American history and, in our professional judgment, may have damaged U.S. national security and poses a threat to the ability of U.S. intelligence gathering using human sources. Any breach of the code of confidentiality and cover weakens the overall fabric of intelligence, and, directly or indirectly, jeopardizes the work and safety of intelligence workers and their sources.

The Republican National Committee has circulated talking points to supporters to use as part of a coordinated strategy to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife. As part of this campaign a common theme is the idea that Ambassador Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame was not undercover and deserved no protection. The following are four recent examples of this "talking point":

Michael Medved stated on Larry King Live on July 12, 2005, "And let's be honest about this. Mrs. Plame, Mrs. Wilson, had a desk job at Langley. She went back and forth every single day."

Victoria Toensing stated on a Fox News program with John Gibson on July 12, 2005 that, "Well, they weren't taking affirmative measures to protect that identity. They gave her a desk job in Langley. You don't really have somebody deep undercover going back and forth to Langley, where people can see them."

Ed Rodgers, Washington Lobbyist and former Republican official, said on July 13, 2005 on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, "And also I think it is now a matter of established fact that Mrs. Plame was not a protected covert agent, and I don't think there's any meaningful investigation about that."

House majority whip Roy Blunt (R, Mo), on Face the Nation, July 17, 2005, "It certainly wouldn't be the first time that the CIA might have been overzealous in sort of maintaining the kind of top-secret definition on things longer than they needed to. You know, this was a job that the ambassador's wife had that she went to every day. It was a desk job. I think many people in Washington understood that her employment was at the CIA, and she went to that office every day."

These comments reveal an astonishing ignorance of the intelligence community and the role of cover. The fact is that there are thousands of U.S. intelligence officers who "work at a desk" in the Washington, D.C. area every day who are undercover. Some have official cover, and some have non-official cover. Both classes of cover must and should be protected.

While we are pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an investigation and that the U.S. Attorney General has recused himself, we believe that the partisan attacks against Valerie Plame are sending a deeply discouraging message to the men and women who have agreed to work undercover for their nation’s security.

We are not lawyers and are not qualified to determine whether the leakers technically violated the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act. However, we are confident that Valerie Plame was working in a cover status and that our nation’s leaders, regardless of political party, have a duty to protect all intelligence officers. We believe it is appropriate for the President to move proactively to dismiss from office or administratively punish any official who participated in any way in revealing Valerie Plame's status. Such an act by the President would send an unambiguous message that leaks of this nature will not be tolerated and would be consistent with his duties as the Commander-in-Chief.

We also believe it is important that Congress speak with one non-partisan voice on this issue. Intelligence officers should not be used as political footballs. In the case of Valerie Plame, she still works for the CIA and is not in a position to publicly defend her reputation and honor. We stand in her stead and ask that Republicans and Democrats honor her service to her country and stop the campaign of disparagement and innuendo aimed at discrediting Mrs. Wilson and her husband.

Our friends and colleagues have difficult jobs gathering the intelligence, which helps, for example, to prevent terrorist attacks against Americans at home and abroad. They sometimes face great personal risk and must spend long hours away from family and friends. They serve because they love this country and are committed to protecting it from threats from abroad and to defending the principles of liberty and freedom. They do not expect public acknowledgement for their work, but they do expect and deserve their government’s protection of their covert status.

For the good of our country, we ask you to please stand up for every man and woman who works for the U.S. intelligence community and help protect their ability to live their cover.

Sincerely yours,

Larry C. Johnson, former Analyst, CIA


Mr. Brent Cavan, former Analyst, CIA

Mr. Vince Cannistraro, former Case Officer, CIA

Mr. Michael Grimaldi, former Analyst, CIA

Mr. Mel Goodman, former senior Analyst, CIA

Col. W. Patrick Lang (US Army retired), former Director, Defense Humint Services, DIA

Mr. David MacMichael, former senior estimates officer, National Intelligence Council, CIA

Mr. James Marcinkowski, former Case Officer, CIA

Mr. Ray McGovern, former senior Analyst and PDB Briefer, CIA

Mr. Jim Smith, former Case Officer, CIA

Mr. William C. Wagner, former Case Officer, CIA


Dear God 


please protect me from your followers


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Take That Wingnuts 


Say what you will about whether the United States was justified to invade this country. We’re well into the game, and it’s too late to argue over who got the ball first. But prior to April 2003, there were no suicide bombers in Baghdad, there was 24-hour electricity and people went out at night. Now, if you drive into town from the airport, there is a legitimate possibility you will get killed. How long can the insurgents keep it up? Who knows, but they haven’t let the dust and heat of summertime Iraq stop them. Let’s just say that the insurgency doesn’t take the day off because of weather conditions.


Where Hannity, Bennett and O Reilly’s Opinions Don’t Count. 


These excerpts from opinions of the Appeals Court Judges on Rove would indicate that they think a serious crime was committed. That answers Bush’s new stance. And it answers the wingnut echo-chamber assertion that this is a non-event. Here are opinions of two of the judges

Judge David S.Tatel

In essence, seeking protection for sources whose nefariousness he himself exposed, Cooper asks us to protect criminal leaks so that he can write about the crime. The greater public interest lies in preventing the leak to begin with

More judges opinions…

Judge David B. Sentelle

How could one draw a distinction consistent with the court’s vision of a broadly granted personal right ( Freedom of the Press)? If so, then would it not be possible for a government official wishing to engage in the sort of unlawful leaking under investigation in the present controversy to call a trusted friend or a political ally, advise him to set up a web log (which I understand takes about three minutes) and then leak to him under a promise of confidentiality the information which the law forbids the official to disclose?

Can I Hear An Amen? 


"I'm tired of Republicans telling us we're pro-abortion. I served on the board of Planned Parenthood for five years. I don't know anybody who's pro-abortion," he said. "Most people in this country would like to see the abortion rate go down. That includes Democrats and Republicans. The difference between the parties is that we believe a woman makes that decision about her health care -- and they believe Tom Delay makes it."

Howard Dean


Monday, July 18, 2005

In Other News-Rude Pundit is On Fire 


The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse

The Supreme Court: Who Would Jesus Choose?:
At his brief press conference today with Prime Minister Singh of India (for whom it was everything he could do to refrain from showing his Apu imitation), President George W. Bush declared that the Consitution was a-okay with him when it comes to nominating a justice to the Supreme Court. Said Bush, acting as if he paid attention in Civics class, "I, of course, am the person that picks the nominee, and they get to decide whether or not the nominee gets confirmed. That's the way it has worked in the past. That's the way it's going to work in this administration." Which, if you think about it, is about as obvious as saying, "I'm gonna squeeze this here weasel really hard until it stops breathing and its bones break. Then that'll be one dead weasel." 'Cause, see, if it didn't work that way, one would have a super-weasel on one's hands and, well, shit, Bush already has Karl Rove.

This weekend, the new wires were all a-twitter with Bush's Saturday Radio Address That No One Listens To Except A Furiously Masturbating Ken Mehlman, where Bush described his ideal Supreme Court nominee, "My nominee will be a fair-minded individual who represents the mainstream of American law and American values. The nominee will meet the highest standards of intellect, character, and ability, and will pledge to faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our country."

AP said something like, "Bush Gives Hints" on a nominee. Well, no, not really. Bush stated the obvious. If Bush had said, "My nominee will be a batshit insane, crazy in love with Jesus toelicker who'll do my every bidding and allow us to sic savage dogs on naked vaguely brownish people, overturn Roe v. Wade and force women to have babies from frozen embryos so they don't have to ever enjoy the fucking, and kowtow to every orgiastic, profit-making whim of corporate America. I don't give a happy monkey fuck if the motherfucker's black, white, man, woman, or beagle. As long as judgey knows how to play ball, lie at the hearings, shred documents, and never fucked a living intern, judgey'll be okey-fuckin-dokey by me, 'cause, see, I are the President, and whatever I believe is mainstream, git it? And as far as high standards of intellect? Shee-it, if the bitch can string a sentence together, bitch is playin' in the right ballpark" then we'd've had a hint or two.

Of course, the Christian right is obsessed, like a two year-old boy discovering he's got a dick, with the nomination, 'cause, you know, Churchy wanna get paid. The Rude Pundit is a member of the Family Research Council's Super-Duper Prayer Team, and we've received our marchin' orders from Tony "No, Really, I've Never Stabbed Anyone...In a Shower" Perkins, which means they come straight from Jeeeesus. Announcing Justice Sunday II, Perkins also asked us to pray for the Congress because "confirming judges who meet God's requirements (Exodus 18:21-22) remains our chief concern."

In the Bible passage that's referenced in our prayer target, Moses's father-in-law exhorts Moses to find judges who not only "fear God," but they should be "men of Truth" who hate "covetousness." Now, the Rude Pundit's not makin' any bets on who the nominee is gonna be, but considering Bush's track record, "hating covetousness" ain't gonna be very high on the list of qualifications.





The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already cost taxpayers $314 billion, and the Congressional Budget Office projects additional expenses of perhaps $450 billion over the next 10 years.

Flypaper Backfires

''To say we must fight them in Baghdad so we don't have to fight them in Boston implies there is a finite number of people, and if you pen them up in Iraq you can kill them all," said Bergen. ''The truth is we increased the pool by what we did in Iraq."

Hiding Bigger Crimes

As prosecutors discover the story of how and why Valerie Plame was outed, the names of several prominent neoconservatives are going to be listed in the grand jury's indictments, and the activities of this very well-organized and ideologically coherent group will come under increasing public scrutiny. At which point, we at Antiwar.com would be well-entitled to exclaim "I told you so!" and would do so but for the indisputable bad taste of such a vulgar display. So we'll just refer to that column of a year ago, with a minimum of comment:

"The interconnecting threads of scandal that permeate the Washington milieu shouldn't be too surprising. Washington, the Imperial Capital, is neocon-occupied territory. You don't have to be a 'conspiracy theorist' to realize that, if you keep pulling on one thread, the whole garment will eventually come undone. I fully expect Fitzgerald to live up to his reputation as a nonpartisan 'bulldog' who goes where the evidence takes him, and isn't averse to taking down his fellow Republicans in the process.

We Are Becoming Klingons

The United States, he writes, is becoming not just a militarized state but a military society: a country where armed power is the measure of national greatness, and war, or planning for war, is the exemplary (and only) common project.


Who are we kdding? 


WASHINGTON, July 18 - President Bush changed his stance today on his close adviser Karl Rove, stopping well short of promising that anyone in his administration who helped to unmask a C.I.A. officer would be fired.

"If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration," Mr. Bush said in response to a question, after declaring, "I don't know all the facts; I want to know all the facts."

For months, Mr. Bush and his spokesmen have said that anyone involved in the disclosure of the C.I.A. officer's identity would be dismissed. The president's apparent raising of the bar for dismissal today, to specific criminal conduct, comes amid mounting evidence that, at the very least, Mr. Rove provided backhanded confirmation of the C.I.A. officer's identity.

He Ain’t Giving Up Rove

Who are are we kidding? Bush ain;t giving up Rove. We all hope he might but this isn't going to happen. This administration will tell any lie, move any goal post and destroy any one who gets in their way.

Lying About Everything 


Destroying the EPA

WASHINGTON, July 17 - The Office of Research and Development at the Environmental Protection Agency is seeking outside public relations consultants, to be paid up to $5 million over five years, to polish its Web site, organize focus groups on how to buff the office's image and ghostwrite articles "for publication in scholarly journals and magazines."

The strategy, laid out in a May 26 exploratory proposal notice and further defined in two recently awarded public relations contracts totaling $150,000, includes writing and placing "good stories" about the E.P.A.'s research office in consumer and trade publications.

In an era when nothing exists without a partisan political reason, now we see the big lie of fake news releases and PR companies being forced upon the EPA.

The EPA doesn’t need good PR. Just good science.

Fuck the Bushies. They have no morals about anything.


Sunday, July 17, 2005

WH LIED. period 


excepted from the startribune

They try to hide behind the specious claim that Joe Wilson "lied." Although Wilson did not lie, let's follow that reasoning to the logical conclusion. Let's use the same standard for the Bush administration. Here are the facts. Bush's lies have resulted in the deaths of almost 1,800 American soldiers and the mutilation of 12,000. Wilson has not killed anyone. He tried to prevent the needless death of Americans and the loss of American prestige in the world.

But don't take my word for it; read the biased Senate Intelligence Committee report. Even though it was slanted to try to portray Wilson in the worst possible light, this fact emerges on page 52 of the report: According to the U.S. ambassador to Niger (who was commenting on Wilson's visit in February 2002), "Ambassador Wilson reached the same conclusion that the Embassy has reached that it was highly unlikely that anything between Iraq and Niger was going on."

The Republicans insist on the lie that Plame got her husband the job. She did not. She was not a division director; instead she was the equivalent of an Army major. Yes, she recommended her husband to do the job that needed to be done, but the decision to send Wilson on this mission was made by her bosses.

At the end of the day, Wilson was right. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It was the Bush administration that pushed that lie, and because of that lie Americans are dying. Shame on those who continue to slander Joe Wilson while giving Bush and his pack of liars a pass. That's the true outrage.
© Copyright 2005 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.


Why I Am Beginning To Rethink The Shield Law 



On Miller:

We're into some deep ethical shit here, at least if you're a journalist or still have the values of one. Utlimately, it gets to a debate over the future of the First Amendment in a system increasingly dominated by money and power. But along the way, it makes an intermediate stop at the question of whether, net-net, it is still in the public interest for journalists to protect their sources from the long arm of the law.

I've always been an absolute supporter of the duty -- not the right, but the duty -- of reporters to protect their sources. There was a time when I would have been an equally unthinking, knee-jerk supporter of a federal shield law. But, after what's come to light about the Rovians and their cozy little circle of journalistic collaborators, I have to think about it.

Left to their own devices, corporate journalists seem increasingly inclined to act as an arm of the government, not a watchdog of it. Which means the licence granted by the traditions of the profession -- which in some ways extend even further than the legal rights guaranteed by the First Amendment -- can and are being used against the public interest, not to protect it. We seem to have run into yet another variation on the old Roman question: Quid custodiet ipsos custodes? Who shall watch the watchers?

In my humble opinion shield laws were meant for a time when journalists were by nature more honest and more courageous and let's just say it, more patriotic. The disappearance of the Fair Use Doctrine and the buying of newsrooms by corporations means that journalists lie and are often paid to lie. It's a new day in infotainment, news is dead. Controlled messaging has replaced the newsroom.

Hell Bloggers do more investigation on their asses and in their pajamas than all the newsrooms in America,


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Must. Read. 


An essay by E.L Doctorow

"I fault this president (George W. Bush) for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our twenty-one year olds who wanted to be what they could be.

On the eve of D-day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.

But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the WMDs he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man. He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the thousand dead young men and women who wanted to be what they could be.

They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life.... They come to his desk as a political liability which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq."...


..."He is the President who does not feel. He does not feel for the families of the dead; he does not feel for the thirty five million of us who live in poverty; he does not feel for the forty percent who cannot afford health insurance; he does not feel for the miners whose lungs are turning black or for the working people he has deprived of the chance to work overtime at
time-and-a-half to pay their bills --- it is amazing for how many people in this country this President does not feel.

But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is relieving the wealthiest one percent of the population of their tax burden for the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we breathe for the sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the safety regulations for coal mines to save the coal miners' jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a- half benefits for overtime because this is actually a way to honor them by raising them into the professional class.

And this litany of lies he will versify with reverences for God and the flag and democracy, when just what he and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of it...."


"...The president we get is the country we get. With each president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us into, is his characteristic

Finally the media amplify his character into our moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail: How can we sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective warmaking, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves."


ranting aloud 


Attaturk says

Ah, I can see you are afflicted with Post-Progressive Era Stress Disorder, PESD. There has been much of this the last twenty-five years as the drum beat of liberals being out of ideas has become a mantra of the right.

But, buck up, the fact is that the progressives never ran out of good ideas, it is just that there was no need to have "new" ideas for policies that had essentially given America forty years of virtually uninterrupted prosperity and world economic, military, and idealistic dominance.

The Republicans "idea" was quite simple; that all that stuff is just awful, unless some people do unbelievably well at the expense of others. Oh, and gays are really bad, but not as bad as women and their sinful uteri!

So just go out there and fight.

Or drink a lot.

I'm doing the latter right now. Ah, everclear and paxil, how did I ever make it without you?

wampum says

The US has about 20,000 fission and fission-fusion devices, and Russia has a slightly larger inventory of devices, and both states have large stockpiles of fissiles. Absent Mutual Assured Distruction of symmetric weapons inventoried states, there isn't a lot that can be said in favor of retention of these device inventories, or their primary historic delivery systems. NB that the current BRAC round does not define "military necessity or utility" in a nuclear weapons capacity context, and that the bases identified by the current SecDef (and war criminal) for closure or re-alignment map much more closely to the Red/Blue political division of the United States than to obsoleted nuclear weapons capacities -- the bombers, missile fields and boomers are budgetary untouchables.


All Bills Come Due Eventually 

Good God- More Lying Bush Appointees 


Forty-four government scientists have violated ethics rules on collaborating with pharmaceutical companies, a preliminary review by the National Institutes of Health shows.

Nine of the scientists may have violated criminal laws, the report said.

The review was outlined in a July 8 letter the agency's director, Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, sent to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating conflicts of interest by government researchers.

Because the N.I.H. is investigating 103 people who have been accused of ethics violations, Dr. Zerhouni had asked the committee to keep his letter confidential. But its leaders - Representatives Joe L. Barton, Republican of Texas and John D. Dingell, Democrat of Michigan - said in a statement yesterday that they were releasing it because of "the compelling public interest."


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Mid day rants 


Hand Full of Bad Apples My Ass

Interrogators at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, forced a stubborn detainee to wear women's underwear on his head, confronted him with snarling military working dogs and attached a leash to his chains, according to a newly released military investigation that shows the tactics were employed there months before military police used them on detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The techniques, approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for use in interrogating Mohamed Qahtani -- the alleged "20th hijacker" in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- were used at Guantanamo Bay in late 2002 as part of a special interrogation plan aimed at breaking down the silent detainee.

It is an insult to the dead to deny the link to Iraq

In the grim days since last week's bombing of London, the bulk of Britain's political class and media has distinguished itself by a wilful and dangerous refusal to face up to reality. Just as it was branded unpatriotic in the US after the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington to talk about the link with American policy in the Middle East, so those who have raised the evident connection between the London atrocities and Britain's role in Iraq and Afghanistan have been denounced as traitors. And anyone who has questioned Tony Blair's echo of George Bush's fateful words on September 11 that this was an assault on freedom and our way of life has been treated as an apologist for terror.

But while some allowance could be made in the American case for the shock of the attacks, the London bombings were one of the most heavily trailed events in modern British history. We have been told repeatedly since the prime minister signed up to Bush's war on terror that an attack on Britain was a certainty - and have had every opportunity to work out why that might be. Throughout the Afghan and Iraq wars, there has been a string of authoritative warnings about the certain boost it would give to al-Qaida-style terror groups. The only surprise was that the attacks were so long coming.

The media Closes Its Eyes

Runaway brides, celebrity trials, Laura Bush's stand-up act—the media would rather cover anything other than the unrelenting carnage in Iraq. So, although the flow of U.S. body bags is starting to hit home, Americans are still numb to the far greater agony the war has unleashed on the Iraqi people

Iraq Civilian Casualties

An Iraqi humanitarian organization is reporting that 128,000 Iraqis have been killed since the U.S. invasion began in March 2003.

Mafkarat al-Islam reported that chairman of the 'Iraqiyun humanitarian organization in Baghdad, Dr. Hatim al-'Alwani, said that the toll includes everyone who has been killed since that time, adding that 55 percent of those killed have been women and children aged 12 and under.

'Iraqiyun obtained data from relatives and families of the deceased, as well as from Iraqi hospitals in all the country's provinces. The 128,000 figure only includes those whose relatives have been informed of their deaths and does not include those were abducted, assassinated or simply disappeared.

The number includes those who died during the U.S. assaults on al-Fallujah and al-Qa'im. 'Iraqiyun's figures conflict with the Iraqi Body Count public database compiled by Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies. According to the Graduate Institute of International Studies' database, 39,000 Iraqis have been killed as a direct result of combat or armed violence since March 2003. No official estimates of Iraqi casualties from the war have been issued by the Pentagon, which insists that it does not do "body counts." The Washington Post on July 12 reported that U.S. military deaths in Iraq now total 1,755.

It’s Rove’s War

This is Karl Rove's war. From his command post next to the Oval Office in the West Wing of the White House, he is furiously directing the order of battle. The Republican National Committee lobs its talking points across Washington, its chairman forays the no-man's-land of CNN. Rove's lawyer, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal editorial board are sent over the top. Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay man the ramparts, defending Rove's character.

Mark Yost Is A Fucking Idiot

It's astonishing that Mark Yost, from the distance and safety of St. Paul, Minnesota, presumes to know what's going on in Iraq. He knows the reporting of hundreds of brave journalists, presumably including his own Knight Ridder colleagues Hannah Allam and Tom Lassetter, is bad because his Marine colonel buddy tells him so.


Mr. Yost's contention that 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces are stable is pure fantasy. On his visit to Baghdhad, he can check that by chatting with our resident British security consultant, who every day receives a province-by-province breakdown of the roadside bombs, ambushes, assassinations and other violence throughout the country.

If Baghdad is too far for Mr. Yost to travel (and I don't blame him, given the treacherous airport road to reach our fortress-like hotel), why not just head to Oklahoma? There, he can meet my former Iraqi translator, Ban Adil, and her young son. They're rebuilding their lives under political asylum after insurgents in Baghdad followed Ban's family home one night and gunned down her 4-year-old daughter, her husband and her elderly mother in law.

I think the failure of the media in general in covering this story is as egregious as the intelligence failure.

Undercounting the Dead

Official US. government reports on soldiers under US command killed in Iraq are so fragmented that they account for less than half of the total number, according to information uncovered as part of an inquiry by the Government of Puerto Rico regarding the total number of Puerto Rican war casualties.

This analysis was confirmed by El Diario/La Prensa's review of multiple documents, including official reports issued by the US Department of Defense, the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior and more than 230 battlefront reports, which reveal that more than 4,076 troops under US command have been killed in 799 days of battle.

This information contrasts markedly with the limited information on casualties generally issued by US military authorities, which focus only on US uniformed troops. These total 1,649.


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