Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bush admits criminal acts and says he's proud of them

In Address, Bush Says He Ordered Domestic Spying
President Bush acknowledged on Saturday that he had ordered the National Security Agency to conduct an electronic eavesdropping program in the United States without first obtaining warrants, and said he would continue the highly classified program because it was "a vital tool in our war against the terrorists."

Then Bush blasted thouse that would not support unconstitutional and criminal acts...
He also lashed out at senators, both Democrats and Republicans, who voted on Friday to block the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act

Hubris and the continued exploitation of fear.
He said the Senate's action "endangers the lives of our citizens," and added that "the terrorist threat to our country will not expire in two weeks,"

If its a trade then, liberty or death....Freedom for Safety An old trade -- and a useless one
"We’re likely to experience more restrictions on personal freedom than has ever been the case in this country," pronounced Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor last year after visiting Ground Zero. So we have, in ways large and small, profound and trivial. The worst part of the freedom-for-safety swap is that it’s never a done deal; the safety providers are endless hagglers, always coming back for more. This fall’s major homeland security legislation, unfinished at press time, will doubtless renew the negotiations.

Who knows where it will end? Freedom and privacy rarely, if ever, disappear in one fell swoop. In just a year, we’ve become accustomed to unnamed "detainees" being held in secret by the Department of Justice (and to the DOJ refusing to comply with state and federal court rulings to release the names of suspects); to the possibility of equally secret "military tribunals" (it’s all right -- they won’t be used against U.S. citizens, except maybe "bad apples" like dirty bomb suspect Jose Padilla, and wasn’t he a gang member anyway?); to state and federal agencies’ dragging their feet on releasing documents legally available through open government laws; and to legislators such as Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) constantly pushing the limits of the USA PATRIOT Act. (DeWine wants to allow the FBI to wiretap legal immigrants on the weakest "suspicion" of criminal activity.)

The Pandora's Box was already opened with the Patriot Act which after 9-11 people from across the political spectrum were willing to tolerate in that balancing act between safety and security Patriot Act II Fact Sheet
The passage of the original USA Patriot Act marked a significant expansion of law enforcement authority combined with an equally significant erosion of civil liberties. It was enacted with almost no input from Congress. Indeed, efforts by the House Judiciary Committee to craft more balanced legislation were brushed aside by the Administration and by the House Republican leadership. The new, Patriot Act 2 proposal not only further erodes civil liberties, its provisions go to the very heart of our system of checks and balances and government accountability.

Will future terrorist see our embrace of constitutionally guaranteed liberties as a weakness ? Frankly, who the hell cares what the terrorists think. Laura Rozen writes,
Let's face it. It's hard to imagine that any real terrorists out there are not highly conscious of the likelihood of surveillance. Did bin Laden or Zawahiri or Mullah Omar read the NYT today and smack their forehead and say, Jesus Christ, they are on to me! All those calls from Minnesota, I thought nobody would be monitoring!

Give'em Hell Harry was right

Power Line Wombat Blog says that the distinquished Senator Harry Reid of the great state of Nevada is a liar. Democrats Criticize Bush For Saying DeLay's Innocent
Democratic leaders sternly criticized President Bush yesterday for saying former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) is innocent of felonious campaign finance abuses, suggesting his comments virtually amounted to jury tampering before DeLay stands trial.

"The president of the United States said a jury does not need to assemble, that Tom DeLay is innocent," said Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). "To have someone of his stature, the president of the United States, prejudge a case is something I've never seen before."

snip
During an interview Wednesday on the Fox News Channel, Bush was asked whether he believes DeLay is innocent of the charges of money laundering and conspiracy that led to his indictment in Texas and resignation from the House Republican leadership in September. "Yes, I do," the president replied.

The president is in fact saying that one should not assume either innocense or guilt, that he of the two thousand dollar cowboy boots and current inhabitant of 1600 Penn. Ave has already reached a verdict and ol' Tom is innocent, we don't in fact need no stink'n jury. So Harry was 100% correct in admonishing the cattleless cowboy.The President was wrong to use his office to advocate for a verdict before the trial has even begun.Score. Harry 1, Paul at Power Line Lies 0.
no links to Power Line Lies

Friday, December 16, 2005

Elections good for Iraq, reasons for the war still not valid.

Glenn Greenwald writes What exactly do Iraqi elections prove? in referring to the circle jerk of right-wing bloggers whining about the supposed lack of celebration by the center to left bloggers.
Left unsaid amidst all of this sloganeering and melodramatic genuflecting to purple ink is what, exactly, these elections are supposed to have proven in the greater debate over the Iraqi War. Aside from the emotional manipulation which these elections afford – nobody raised in the U.S. and instilled with an appreciation for democracy can help but feel some pleasure for Iraqis as they vote to choose their leaders; exactly what arguments advanced by war critics are supposed to be undermined by these elections, and what pro-war justifications are bolstered? The answer is none.

Some plain facts are in order for those that think it perfectly acceptable in the course of a civil democracy to lie, exaggerate, distort and exploit on the road to an uneccessary war. First, the truth is none of the 101st Fighting Hypocrites have done nothing for the war effort so the smug self back patting is undeserved. The reuglar troops and the National guard are fighting it, many of them Democrats and independents. While I'm sure some share the neocons' vision, many believe at the very least that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake and that given that they must do their duty regardless of politics, that the war has been waged in an incompetent manner largely due to the mismanagement of the Whitehouse.
I am happy for those Iraqis that survived both Saddam and "shock and awe". I hope they turn this mess around. Pardon us realists for knowing that a constitution and an election do not a democracy make. Look at the bigger picture if you want to spread democracy. Is the way its to be done? Will we invade Egypt and make them stop outlawing political groups that the government doen't approve. China is far from being democratic and conservatives are trampling each other in the rush to do business with them. The neocon cheerleaders will have to pardon us for seeing the hypocrisy. If freedom is on the march and being lead by Bush and the Wing-Nuts of Blogsville then you're doing a very Potemkin job of it. Look behind the curtain, freedom has been slowly spreading since the end of the Cold War and its being done more effectively by individuals with determination and a pen then the chickenhawk right-wingers and their shrill circle jerk. When their children ask, what did you do to free Iraq, all they'll be able to say is I stood squarely behind the Bush administrations right to lie to America and the world; we burned down Iraq to save it, and we paid 1.2 billion a week to rebuild it while other authoritarian governements had a nice chuckle at lunch.
Indeed, many of those non-democratic tyrannies, including hardened dictators in the Middle East, are our allies and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

If Bush was right, why did he resort to smears

Congress doesn't see same intelligence as president, report finds

We all remember this:
"Some of the most irresponsible comments - about manipulating intelligence - have come from politicians who saw the same intelligence I saw and then voted to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein," Bush said on Wednesday in his most recent speech. "These charges are pure politics."

America, helped along by this administration is certainly willing to believe that the news of any dissenting opinion emanating from Washington is "just politics", but regardless of public cynicism, facts are facts.
The Congressional Research Service, by contrast, said: "The president, and a small number of presidentially designated Cabinet-level officials, including the vice president ... have access to a far greater overall volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information, including information regarding intelligence sources and methods."

Unlike members of Congress, the president and his top officials also have the authority to ask U.S. intelligence agencies more extensively for follow-up information, the report said. "As a result, the president and his most senior advisers arguably are better positioned to assess the quality of the ... intelligence more accurately than is Congress."

The CRS report identified nine key U.S. intelligence "products" that aren't generally shared with Congress. These include the President's Daily Brief, a compilation of analyses that's given only to the president and a handful of top aides, and a daily digest on terrorism-related matters.

Playing the partisan politics card at absolutely every turn only plays most of the time, eventually even the most partisan among us have to admit to the unbiased facts. Bush lied when he said that Congress had access to the same intelligence he did. Bush also came to certain conclusions based on what he saw, how and why did he come to those conclusions od also in question. As Iraq was not an urgent threat or even much of a threat to the United States, many people wonder if this president hasn't been negligent or irresponsible on the road to an unnecessary war..

Blogs for Bush pushes intelligence propaganda and weakens America

First Blogs for Bush posts on Senator Kerry's suggestion that Bush be impeached. It doesn't matter if Kerry was joking or not, there may be grounds for impeachment, but given the current political landscape it isn't likely to happen. Blogs for Bush is taking it seriously anyway and states:
John Kerry knows very well that intelligence was never manipulated, and that several other country's intelligence agencies all concluded Iraq had WMD. Three independent reports have all concluded intelligence was never manipulated.

What are these three reports that categorically clear Bush
The Robb-Silberman Commission On The Intelligence Capabilities Of The United States Regarding Weapons Of Mass Destruction, The Bipartisan Senate Select Committee Report On The U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq, The British Butler Report, Review Of Intelligence On Weapons Of Mass Destruction.

"Political pressure" may or may not be the issue, but political parsing or cherry picking of the intelligence that was provided. Second, the fact is that Robb-Silberman Commission has only completed phase I of its investigation and did not specifically investigate whether the Bush administration misled Congress or the public about intelligence. From the report as posted by Blogs for Bush,
As we discuss in detail in the body of our report, analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments. We conclude that it was the paucity of intelligence and poor analytical tradecraft, rather than political pressure, that produced the inaccurate pre-war intelligence assessments.

Note that there is a distinct difference between political pressure and whether or not the administration included any caveats or dissents from the intelligence community. As concerns analysts being pressured, there seems to be some disagreement by members of the intelligence community:
From a Prospect article referring to the CIA, ....
From 2001 on, its covert operatives and analysts were ignored, pressured, and forced to toe the administration’s line; neoconservative ideologues considered those operatives to be virtually part of the enemy camp. Many of those who remain inside the CIA are distraught, convinced that their work is wasted on an administration that doesn’t want to hear the truth. “How do you think they feel?” asked one recently retired CIA officer with three decades of experience. “They’re watching a fucking idiotic policy, run by idiots, unfold right before their eyes!”

snip
In fact, analysts were pressured, and heavily so, according to Richard Kerr. A 32-year CIA veteran, Kerry led an internal investigation of the agency's failure to correctly analyze Iraqi weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities, preparing a series of four reports that have not been released publicly.

snip
Unlike the outside reports that looked at the same issues, however, Kerry's concluded that CIA analysts felt squeezed -- and hard -- by the administration.Everybody felt pressure,Kerry told me. A lot of analysts believed that they were being pressured to come to certain conclusions. I talked to a lot of people who said, ‘There was a lot of repetitive questioning. We were being asked to justify what we were saying again and again.There were certainly people who felt they were being pushed beyond the evidence they had.

snip
When David Kay, the CIA’s point man on searching for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, said that the weapons weren’t there, Goss told a packed news conference. Those weapons are there.He defended Bush-Cheney right down the line on Iraq policy, blocking efforts in the House or at the hpsci to investigate prewar intelligence about the weapons.

The second phase of the Robb-Silberman Commission's report on whether the Whitehouse manipulated any intelligence has not been completed.
Let's look at the The Bipartisan Senate Select Committee Report and the Blogs for Bush quote,
The Committee did not find any evidence that Administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities.

Bush has said and not surprisingly Blods for Bush agrees that the report found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence in regards to Iraqs' supposed WMDs or WMD programs. This misses the point.
But neither that report nor others looked at how the White House characterized the intelligence it had when selling its plan for war to the world and whether administration officials exaggerated the threat. That's supposed to be the topic of a second phase of study by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Not the best analogy but, imagine I say a car is coming and you turn to the person next to you and say a car is coming at them at 100mph. You've taken what I said in fact and embellished it in a way that I didn't intend. Is that what the Whitehouse did with the intel it recieved. The Downing Street memos (minutes actually) suggest that Bush and company's intent was to embellish.
C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

and
. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.


In challenging war's critics, administration tinkers with truth
In fact, a series of secret U.S. intelligence assessments discounted the administration's assertion that Saddam could give banned weapons to al-Qaida.

In other cases, Bush and his top lieutenants relied on partial or uncorroborated intelligence.

For example, Cheney contended in an August 2002 speech that Iraq would develop a nuclear weapon "fairly soon," even though U.S. intelligence agencies and the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency had no evidence to support such a claim.

It should also be noted that there was dissent about Iraq alleged attempts to build a nuclear weapon,
Cheney, Sept. 8, 2002: But we do know, with absolute certainty, that he (Saddam) is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon.

Department of Energy and State Department intelligence analysts did not agree with Cheney, and his claim as we all know turned out to be false.
DIA Letter
Specifically, newly declassified information from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) from February 2002 shows that, at the same time the Administration was making its case for attacking Iraq, the DIA did not trust or believe the source of the Administration’s repeated assertions that Iraq had provided al-Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training. Additional newly declassified information from the DIA also undermines the Administration’s broader claim that there were strong links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

No Chemical and Biological Weapons Training

The Administration made repeated assertions that Iraq had provided al-Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training. For example, President Bush said in a speech in Cincinnati on October 7, 2002, “We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.” In February 2003, the President said, “Iraq has provided al-Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training.”


The British Butler Report, Review Of Intelligence On Weapons Of Mass Destruction ? Should Blogs for Blog really want to sight this report ?
The Decision to Attack Iraq

The report disclosed that the government had first considered in March 2002 that its previous policy of "containment" of Saddam might not be adequate and that stronger action - although not necessarily military action - might be needed. While there had been grounds for concern given Iraq's previous record, the report said that there was "no recent intelligence that would itself have given rise to a conclusion that Iraq was of more immediate concern than the activities of some other countries".

It said that ministers were advised that military action against Iraq could only be justified if the country was held to be in breach of previous UN Security Council resolutions requiring it to disarm. Officials also warned that for the Security Council to back the view that Saddam was in breach of his obligations it would need "incontrovertible" proof that Iraq was engaged in "large scale activity". However, the Butler report said that ministers were advised by officials "that the intelligence then available was insufficiently robust to meet that criteria".

Government 'put Strain on JIC Neutrality'

On the dossier, the report said that it was a "serious weakness" that the JIC's warnings on the limitations of the intelligence underlying its judgments were not made sufficiently clear. While it said that the JIC had sought to offer a dispassionate assessment of the intelligence, the government's demand for a document which it could draw on in its advocacy of its policy had "put a strain on them [JIC] in seeking to maintain their normal standards of neutral and objective assessment".

The report went on: "In translating material from JIC assessments into the dossier, warnings were lost about the limited intelligence base on which some aspects of these assessments were being made. "Language in the dossier may have left with readers the impression that there was fuller and firmer intelligence behind the judgments than was the case. Our view, having reviewed all of the material, is that the judgments in the dossier went to (although not beyond) the outer limits of the intelligence available. "The prime minister's description, in his statement to the House of Commons on the day of publication of the dossier, of the picture painted by the intelligence services in the dossier as 'extensive, detailed and authoritative' may have reinforced this impression."

Iraq Judgment Should Have Been Reviewed After UN Inspection

The report also criticised the failure of ministers and the intelligence agencies to reassess their judgment of Iraq's capabilities after the UN inspectors returned in 2003 and failed to find any banned weapons. The report said they had "recorded our surprise that policy-makers and the intelligence community did not, as the generally negative results of Unmovic inspections became increasingly apparent, re-evaluate in early 2003 the quality of the intelligence".


Finally Blogs for Bush or more aptly Propaganda for Bush states," Pat Roberts, the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) says another forthcoming report will conclude the same thing." Which begs the question, do they know something we don't. Since the report has not been released yet and they're sure that it exonerates the Whitehouse in any manipulation of intelligence, wouldn't that suggest that they're jumping to conclusions in addition to twisting the reports that have been issued into a very misleading defense of their premises. So far a careful reader will conclude that Bush and Blogs for Bush have been less then honest. There is the direct lie, there is the lie of omission, and the lie of distortion. So far Bush and Blogs for Bush are guilty of all three.

The Top 10 Stories You Missed in 2005
The New Coalition of the Willing, Europe’s Zombie Constitution, Hot Air’s Shifting Winds and more......reading is fundamental and never ending.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

This may piss off some Democrats , but its worth a read. Democrats will most likely not win again until they do understand it..."

The most important reason why negative campaigning has worked so well for the Republicans is because their negative attacks on the Democrats create a positive impression of Republican candidates, who appear—in contrast—to be individuals who do not possess the defects that they have accused others of having. They define themselves [positively] by defining their Democratic opponents [negatively]. On a visceral level, what the Republicans actually “stand for” in the minds of Swing Voters on election day is that they are not Democrats—those defective people who seem to have been born to ruin everything. It’s simple, really. By bashing Democrats, Republicans present themselves as the desirable alternative.

Refried Rice

Things didn't work out too well the first time or maybe Rice did turn Iraq and the middle-east into an Eden of democracy and the vast liberal conspiracy just wouldn't let the media report it. Bush Appoints Rice To Stabilize Iraq…Again

and this silliness Sorry, Virginia, there is no “War on Christmas.”




Wal-Mart and Public Subsidies
The argument about whether it"s a bad thing that Wal-Mart employees use public programs needs a little perspective: We should recognize the quiet revolution that has taken place in social policy for low-income workers over the last twenty years. Two decades ago, Medicaid was an adjunct of welfare. With some exceptions, the only way to be eligible for Medicaid was to get welfare (AFDC): that meant exclusively non-working single parents and their kids. When families came off welfare, they also lost Medicaid, which was the key fact that made the argument of Charles Murray"s Losing Ground basically true: a parent might well be better off on welfare, with health care, than working at a minimum wage job without it, especially with the added costs of child care. That"s not because welfare was too generous, but because the low-end labor market was too cruel, and the cliff too steep.

Even for the best intentioned, this argument by Mark Schmitt is seldom well articulated. For the Clinites it would be just another wonk in the park. That is that the Clinton administration was focused on these kinds of issues, while the current cabal take taken the route that lowering taxes is the answer for everyting. Wal-Mart is a good illustration of why tha is not the answer. Wal-Mart has benefitted from lower taxes, while those benefits have not trickled down to their employees. For those that say well the public is benefitting from lower prices, they're making the social-darwinism argument of the I've got mine, tough luck if you didn't get yours school of selfishness.

Ill leave this to Jane Hamster to sort out. Just when you think that it can't get any stranger. Bush can settle CIA leak riddle, Novak says.
"I'm confident the president knows who the source is," Novak told a luncheon audience at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh on Tuesday. "I'd be amazed if he doesn't."

"So I say, 'Don't bug me. Don't bug Bob Woodward. Bug the president as to whether he should reveal who the source is.'

Bug the president ? Why should we have to bug him. Didn't he say in the beginning of this whole thing that he wanted to get to the bottom of it all and that the leaker would be fired. Speak up W. Are they trying to drag it out to past the 2006 elections.
Was that why Rove apparently lied in his first grand jury appearance to drag it out past the 2004 elections to get Dubya re-elected.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

This week's fighting Dem at Kos CA-04: Tuesday Fighting Dem: Charles Brown
As a rescue helicopter pilot based in Thailand at the end of the Vietnam War, I participated in the evacuation of Phnom Penh, and the Mayaguez incident. I was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions in the Mayaquez incident.

Ok wing-nuts, thats your cue, another vet that doesn't tow your ideological line. Let the swiftboating begin.



AP: More Blacks Live With Pollution
An Associated Press analysis of a little-known government research project shows that black Americans are 79 percent more likely than whites to live in neighborhoods where industrial pollution is suspected of posing the greatest health danger.

It just doesn't have to be this way. Too bad the right-wing pundits and their supposedly Christian cohorts don't declare war on poverty, pollution, and lack of social mobility.

Arctic Oil Gets an Administration Gusher
"ANWR would supply every drop of petroleum for Florida for 29 years," she told a friendly audience at the Heritage Foundation yesterday, "New York for 34 years, Illinois for 43 years, California for 16 years or New Hampshire for 315 years."

So how many years would ANWR's oil keep the whole country fueled up?

Norton balked at the question. "When you look at it for the whole country, you really get somewhat of a deceiving picture," the secretary answered. She said that's "not the way this operates," and said the question "assumes that unless a source of energy is going to meet all of America's needs then it's not worth looking at."

For the record, ANWR's oil, using the administration's own estimates, would supply the whole country for 13 to 17 months before it runs out.

How do you frame a dismal proposition so that the average American buys it and makes opponents look like they're anti-oil independence. Norton is giving it a heck of a shot. As The Moderate Voice points out:
Laying out facts — even if people dispute them because of an honest disagreement over what they mean — can score you points. Laying out partial facts which cause reporters' jaws to drop in shock due to the exaggeration's magnitude, or laying out facts that a reporter or columnist can quickly refute, can lose you points that are hard to make up later...when you most sorely need them.

If credibility is a kind of currency backed up by the public trust, this administration is belly up in bankruptcy.

Bush's Burgeoning Body Count
It was, in effect, a proposal for a virtual "wall" made up of the seemingly endless and ever-growing list of top officials as well as beleaguered administrators, managers, and career civil servants who had quit their government posts in protest or were defamed, threatened, fired, forced out, demoted, or driven to retire by administration strong-arm tactics, cronyism, and disastrous policies.

Quite a list that includes
Sibel Edmonds: Hired shortly after the 9/11 attacks as an FBI translator of documents related to the war on terror (due to her knowledge of Turkish, Farsi, and Azerbaijani), Edmonds alleged security breaches, mismanagement, and possible espionage within the FBI in late 2001 and early 2002, and was fired. She then sued the Justice Department, alleging "that her rights under the Privacy Act and her First and Fifth amendment rights had been violated by the government," but her case was dismissed by a U.S. District Court judge after then-Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked the state-secrets privilege, which allows the government to withhold information to safeguard national security. A summary of a report by the Justice Department's Inspector General, released in January 2005, however "conclude[d] that Edmonds was fired for reporting serious security breaches and misconduct in the agency's translation program." Fired, March 2002

Possible goodies from Santa and Fitzgerald: Is a Rove Indictment Coming Soon?

Nitpicker and E.J. Dionne

Democrats are now complicit
Attacks of this sort on Democrats are effective because Democrats help make them so. Democrats are so obsessed with not looking "weak" on defense that they end up making themselves look weak, period, by the way they respond to Republican attacks on their alleged weakness.

To which Nitpicker responds with an answer so plain and real, its probably why no one will act on it.

Yes yes yes
As for the political "problem" of division over Iraq, I say quit treating it like a problem. I honestly think that a joint Democratic conference should be held publicly with senators and representatives making their cases for their points of view. Instead of being ashamed of internal conflict, we should be embracing it, pointing out that our party is a party of thoughts and ideas, while theirs is the party of marching in lockstep to consolidate power.

This should be done ten minutes ago. America has two choices right now, keep trying to believe in the liar-in-chief or a muddled message from Democratic Party leaders. Put the muddle out there, ket America decide with us and win smart in Iraq, not just decide 5000 casualtiesand years down the road to declare victory. Bush's victory is the same one Nixon and Kissenger screwed America with, we shouldn't let it happen again.

Monday, December 12, 2005

10 Years After Oklahoma City bombing

10 Years After the Oklahoma City Bombing
According to a recent public report, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)five-year budget planning document failed to mention right-wing domestic terrorist groups in its list of terrorist threats facing the United States, even though the document listed leftwing domestic groups such as environmental terrorists.
Democratic Members of the House Committee on Homeland Security are very concerned that this oversight demonstrates DHS administrators are not adequately considering right-wing domestic terrorist groups that are
focused on attacking America in order to further their political beliefs.
As the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City ten years ago demonstrated, right-wing domestic terrorists are capable of harming America in ways similar to al-Qaeda. Indeed, white supremacists, violent militiamen, anti-abortion bombers, and other right-wing hate groups have shown a remarkable ability to resist law enforcement
authorities. In 2003, for example, the American radical right staged a “comeback,” with the number of skinhead groups doubling from the prior year

Haven't the American far-right in fact taken the stance that any terrorist activities committed by their kindred domestic ideoloques are tolerable and that its not the act, but the nationality of the actor that matters. Invasions and nation building is the reponse to external terrorists, wouldn't some attention by the DHS and the FBI be the very least priority for domestic terror. A strong statement certainly, but America has a long history of domestic terror. There is a difference between environmental activists that use peaceful protests and nut jobs that put spikes in old growth treesl; the latter are rightly thought of as dangerous. That Right has no problem throwing the tree spikers in our face, why hasn't threre been an eqaul outcry against " white supremacists, violent militiamen, anti-abortion bombers, and other right-wing hate groups". As others have argued, its probably because right-wing extremism has been mainstreamed with the help of sympathetic media pundits, politicians, and internet wing-nuts.

Victims of Oklahoma City bombing struggle to get along 10 years later
In the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, Congress swiftly approved a $7 billion compensation package for the victims, whose families received an average of $2.1 million each. But every time the issue of compensation for other terrorism victims has been raised since then, lawmakers have ducked.

In 2002 and 2003, Congress declined to reopen the question of compensating victims of past terrorist attacks such as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Lawmakers have refused to provide any budget funding for a terror victims' compensation fund that Congress itself voted to establish.

A Senate committee conducted one hearing to examine a Bush administration proposal to set a standard compensation award for future victims of terrorism. Then it promptly dropped the matter.

Congress' decision to compensate the Sept. 11 families "set an incredible precedent that will be very powerful if a large event like this happens in the future," said Lloyd Dixon, an analyst at the RAND Institute for Civil Justice in Santa Monica, Calif., who conducted a study of Sept. 11 compensation issues. "But the bottom line is: There really isn't any ongoing strategy at this point of how we're going to deal with compensation if this happens again."

The lingering equity questions have embittered many Oklahoma City families, who wonder why Congress left them to rely on charities or struggle with insurance claims.

"'You don't count,'" is how Randy Ledger, an Oklahoma City survivor, says he and other victims of the attack interpreted the snub from Congress. "'You're just a bunch of redneck hicks down in Oklahoma.'"

Oklahoma City bombing killed 168 people and injured 842 others.

The new Domino Theory reincarnated as a Muslim caliphate

21st-Century Warnings of a Threat Rooted in the 7th
The word getting the workout from the nation's top guns these days is "caliphate" - the term for the seventh-century Islamic empire that spanned the Middle East, spread to Southwest Asia, North Africa and Spain, then ended with the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258. The term can also refer to other caliphates, including the one declared by the Ottoman Turks that ended in 1924.

Specialists on Islam say the word is a mysterious and ominous one for many Americans, and that the administration knows it. "They recognize that there's a lot of resonance when they use the term 'caliphate,' " said Kenneth M. Pollack, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst

For those that aren't old enough to remember, this sounds ominiously like the Domino Theory of communism during the Cold War. Apparently its being resurrected as a Muslim caliphate that for all practicle perpuses can only be used to fuel paranoia and somehow rationalize the continued stabling of the neocons in the middle-east.
"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
-- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

the only thing I.m confused about is whether they're taking most of their cues concerning governance from Goering or Niccolo Machiavelli. I suspect more Herman with a sizable dose of Niccolo -
In The Prince, Machiavelli offered a monarchical ruler advice designed to keep that ruler in power. He recommended policies that would discourage mass political activism, and channel subjects' energies into private pursuits. Machiavelli wanted to persuade the monarch that he could best preserve his power by the judicious use of violence, by respecting private property and the traditions of his subjects, and by promoting material prosperity. Machiavelli held that political life cannot be governed by a single set of moral or religious absolutes, and that the monarch may sometimes be excused for performing acts of violence and deception that would be ethically indefensible in private life.

One gets the felling, after putting all the pieces together that the neocon approach is to burn down the house in order to rid it of a couple rats. The rats need to be caught certainly, but burning down the house seems inappropriate at the very least.
"It is certainly correct to say that these people have a global design, but the administration ought to frame it realistically," said Mr. Esposito, the founding director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown. "Otherwise they can actually be playing into the hands of the Osama bin Ladens of the world because they raise this to a threat that is exponentially beyond anything that Osama bin Laden can deliver."

Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat professor for peace and development at the University of Maryland, said Al Qaeda was not leading a movement that threatened to mobilize the vast majority of Muslims. A recent poll Mr. Telhami conducted with Zogby International of 3,900 people in six countries - Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon - found that only 6 percent sympathized with Al Qaeda's goal of seeking an Islamic state.

Much of what we're fighting in Iraq is an insurgency that Bush created and terrorists that were not there before he invaded, but are there now. At what point does it occur to people that if this cabal of incompetents were surgeons half the country and a good part of the world would be suing them for malpractice.

*PS- I think that at the time, 1955 and later there was some evidence to support this theory, but thats another post another day.

The Shows Over Time to Go Home

Poll: Most Iraqis Oppose Troops' Presence
WASHINGTON - Most Iraqis disapprove of the presence of U.S. forces in their country, yet they are optimistic about
Iraq's future and their own personal lives, according to a new poll.


More than two-thirds of those surveyed oppose the presence of troops from the United States and its coalition partners and less than half, 44 percent, say their country is better off now than it was before the war, according to an ABC News poll conducted with Time magazine and other media partners.

There were no WMD, that was lie, no connections to Al-Queda, no connections to 9-11. That leaves us with the final rationale of the Right, that we went in to safe the Iraqis. Well they don't want us there. There are more terrorists cells in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan then there are in Iraq. If America's right-wing want so much to have a presense in Iraq, so let us stop you from packing and catching the next plane out. Oh, don't forget the batteries for Cheney's pacemaker and keep an eye on George he tends to leave when the going gets tough.

Jack Kelly, John H. Hinderaker and the CIA

Jack Kelly: Ciao, CIA,, this op-ed brings up a problem. How do you write a blog post on something is just plain weird. Weirdness is not automatically a bad thing, David Letterman is a little weird, but entertaining, that is not so much the case with Jack Kelly and Assrocket Hinderaker. Kelly subtitles his op-ed The spy agency is damaged beyond repair: Abolish it and start over. That does sound intriguing, something that could have been written by the ten surviving members of the far left in America or in this case the wombatty Right.
You know all this secret rendition stuff and secret prisons/holding centers, well they're part of a plot by the CIA to embarrass Bush.
"So the CIA established policies that it knew would be controversial and would damage American interests if revealed, and then leaked the existence of those policies to The Washington Post for the purpose of damaging the Bush administration," Mr. Hinderaker wrote.

A rogue CIA that subverts American democracy has long been a staple of moonbat mythology. How ironic that the rogues in the CIA should turn out to be leftists who harm America to benefit Democrats.

After reading these facts ? written so forcefully and with such authority that oh my god it must be true. Only who is the sole authority , the expert we're relying on for this bombshell revelation that the CIA is a bunch of " leftists" out to embarrass the Conservative Messiah from Texas is none other then John H. Hinderaker, otherwise known to his fans as Assrocket. He prefers the nom de plum Hindrocket, but what's an ass or hind between friends. According to his bio at Claremont Institute:
John H. Hinderaker is a lawyer with the Minneapolis law firm Faegre & Benson. For the past ten years Mr. Hinderaker has written with Institute fellow Scott Johnson on public policy issues including income inequality, income taxes, campaign finance reform, affirmative action, welfare reform, and race in the criminal justice system.

and a grad of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School.
Nope, Assrocket is not a former CIA, FBI, or military spook he's a lawyer that lives in Minnesota.
Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA operative in the Middle East, sees little hope the agency can be reformed:

The CIA's "muscle-bound bureaucratization, combined with the failure of the press to accurately represent to the public the Agency's actual problems ... holds out little hope that we will see the innovation needed to combat bin-Ladenism," he wrote last year.

Reuel, and I'll take Kelly's word for it is a former CIA employee, but what the hell does, "muscle-bound bureaucratization, combined with the failure of the press to accurately represent to the public the Agency's actual problems". You mean the CIA is failing to hold press conferences for the public that let them know how current operations are going. Its a shame. The CIA should turn their Virginia headquarters into a theme park with rides to get the public more involved snf gey rid of that "muscle-bound bureaucratization". I guess that presidential appointee and right-wing crony Porter Goss just can't do everything himself.
I think its great that Jacko has called on the international community in the form of a Swedish reporter no less to get the highest level of expert opinion on our clandestine services sloppy intelligence operations.
A Swedish journalist who prepared one of the first stories on the CIA flights that transported al-Qaida captives told Josh Gerstein of The New York Sun the CIA did a poor job of covering its tracks.

"I would say they didn't give a damn," Fredrik Laurin told Mr. Gerstein. "If I was an American taxpayer, I'd be upset."

Those Virginia farm boys better start packing their bags because:
"The CIA's war against the Bush administration is one of the great untold stories of the past three years," wrote lawyer and Web logger John Hinderaker in The Weekly Standard.

Assroket has delivered the sermon from the mount, he of the priviledged education, some might even say elite education has proclaimed from the POV of an expert on all things clandestine that BushCo is but a victim of those leftists at the CIA.
Unfortunately Assrocket has shown that he is not even much of an expert on the law and regards facts as trivial things.
More crackerjack analysis from our friend John Hinderaker on the right-wing blog Powerline:

Fitzgerald appears to have concluded that Plame was not, in fact, a covert agent

It seems that Assrocket can't comprehend simple English or has been known to fabricate, At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community.

Maybe it was all that complicated spook muscle-bound bureaucratization that confused Jack's go to boy for expert opinion. How does Assrocket do on some simpler points of law ?
Powerline’s “Super Lawyer” Needs Your Help »
John H. Hinderaker, who writes for the right-wing blog Powerline, bills himself as a Harvard-educated “lawyer with a nationwide litigation practice.” According to his law firm bio he was even named Minnesota’s 2005 “Super Lawyer of the Year.” For someone with such impressive credentials he seems to be quite confused about basic legal concepts. For example, he had this to say after reading DeLay’s criminal indictment:

Based on the indictment, which we linked to yesterday, it doesn’t appear that Earle has any evidence at all. In all probability, the DeLay indictment will be thrown out at some point…

An indictment, however, isn’t supposed to include evidence of a crime; it’s supposed to include an allegation of a crime. The Washington Post explains:

No evidence to support the conspiracy charge was cited in the indictment, which says only that DeLay and two named associates entered “into an agreement with one or more of each other” or with the committee to conduct the funds transfer. But Texas law permits such evidence to be left out of the indictment, so it is rarely included.

As we all know by now that even with a challenge to the original judge and a request for dismissal of charges, Assrocket's buddy the Bugman Tom Delay is going to trial for money laundering.

One can only reach one conclusion after reading Kelly's masterfully researched take-down of the CIA and the slew of experts he consulted, that even a crazy wombat can get published in the liberal media.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Interview with Mary Mapes at Kos

Mary Mapes was the producer at CBS that was invloved in breaking two important stories, the Abu Ghraib story for 60 Minutes and the story about GW's Texas Air National Guard service or lack of service. Hunter has an interview with her. I know that even some left blogs beat up on Dan Rather and now it seems that the only thing Dan mat be guilty of is inadequate preparation. Given that, why was or is this an important story. There are several reasons, but this is the one that is most omportant:
An Interview with Mary Mapes
"The tale of President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard is a key to who he is, to his character, to his understanding of how the world works, to his core. Much of what you need to know about the President's privileged youth, his access to special treatment, his empathy (or lack of it) for less advantaged individuals is contained in this story."

Mapes hasn't had an easy time of it
I also think that publishing someone's home address (mine) on the Internet, encouraging people to drive by and harass their targets is not just unfair, but potentially dangerous. A blogger put my picture on a conservative web site with a rifle scope superimposed on my forehead. That is not just juvenile. That is abusive and un-American. It felt dangerous to me when my seven-year-old son and I were in the camera sights of someone who pulled up outside our home, took pictures and sped off. There ought to be limits on that kind of behavior. Legal limits.

Mapes almost put up texta of documents at her site Truth and Duty

So much for family values

Chris Wallace attended that secret conservative ceremony where you sell your loyality to country and family, "60 Minutes'" Mike Wallace's son is an idiot. Sad. - This is the part that really bothers me, Chris coudn't just say he and his dad disagreed or no comment,
"Fox News Sunday" anchorman Chris Wallace says father Mike Wallace has "lost it" - after the legendary CBS newsman told the Boston Globe last week that the fact George Bush had been elected president shows America is "[expletive]-up."

The right is constantly accusing the left of hating Bush, true or not thats a far smaller sin then hating everyone that disagrees with their messiah.