Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Germany seeks 13�over CIA 'kidnap' - CNN.com

Does this sound like the United States of America you grew up in? Is this the same country that held the moral high ground against the Axis and pulled off the Berlin Airlift and rebuilt war-ravaged Europe with the Marshall Plan? I didn't think so. Germany seeks 13�over CIA 'kidnap' - CNN.com

Scooter, Judy and the cool kids.

So there they were – Judith Miller and Scooter Libby, discussing Joseph Wilson’s op-ed piece and Valerie Plame, Joseph Wilson’s CIA employee wife.

Do you suppose it ever crossed their minds that Wilson, Plame and their children were real people with real lives, not some vague abstractions?

Do you think for a moment Libby had other-than-vile intentions in bringing the Plame-Wilsons to Miller’s attention?

Do you think Miller, who perhaps more than any other member of the mainstream media, shilled, flacked and worried the Iraq war into existence, passed up the chance to go with the Plame-Wilson story out of some sense of professional ethics?

Such silly, shallow and vane little people. They are like courtiers six ranks back in the throng at some function at Louis XIV’s court at Versailles.

And there they were, toying with the lives of others – feeling entitled – even obligated to do so.

The days to come at the Libby trial will be full of these high school cool kids gone to seed. People like Robert Novak and Tim Russert. Vainglorious preening people. Millionaires who’ve allowed – and continue to allow – themselves to be played for fools. Pompous asses who ignored the stink of the Clinton impeachment, stood by for the coup that was Bush vs Gore, allowed – and continue to allow – the conflation of 9/11 and Iraq and parroted the false alarms about WMD’s.

Our national politics are their office politics. Nothing more – and certainly nothing personal. God, it’s galling.

Louie Anderson used to have a bit where he said that he wished somebody would come up with an “asshole Bullet” that only killed you for five minutes.

You’d come to, face down on the sidewalk and realize somebody had killed you for five minutes and you’d sit up and say, “Damn. I must have been a real asshole.”

Where are the asshole bullets when we really need them?

Monday, January 29, 2007

And another thing

Another observation on the Plame/Wilson/Libby/Cheney trial/story/crapola/thing: The push-back about Mrs. Wilson sending her husband out of nepotism never made much sense. Niger sounds like a truly terrible place – a latter day heart of darkness type place, Haiti on crack.

If you were going to spiff your spouse a company trip, wouldn’t the south of France make more sense? Or Tahiti?

I can’t picture a phone call from your spouse saying, “I put in the high-sign – the company’s sending you to Niger.”

Never heard this addressed.

A question...

So here’s the question: At what point do you start to question Cheney’s sanity?

Clearly, he’s either lying or delusional about how things are going for the United States of America in Iraq. And, clearly, (as it is coming out at the Libby trial), he is one viciously vindictive son of a bitch.

The American business word is full of viciously vindictive sons, (and daughters), of bitches. Mean-assed, obsessive-compulsive, overly competitive, completely selfish millionaires constitute one of those natural resources that we’ll always have in abundance.

The question is: Is this particular mean-assed son of a bitch crazy? Legitimately, over the top, round the bend nuts?

I say yes. Crazier than Humphrey Bogart as Captain Queeg in “The Caine Mutiny.” Paranoid. Delusional. Not thinking right.

If he were just a rich business guy being crazy would be no problem. But he’s the VP. The question is, can we start making the case for the fact that he’s certifiably nuts?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

WorkingForChange-Tomgram: Where do the American dead come from?

The Decision Maker

Does the Decision Maker have any realization whatsoever that he has yet to make a good decision on anything – any policy, appointment, troop deployment – anything?

Okay. Maybe on one thing. He accepted Rumsfeld’s resignation, but that’s it.

This man has failed at everything he has ever tried. He is batting 0-for-a lifetime.

Why in the name of God should he be given the opportunity to make so much as one more decision – especially when it comes to sending young men and women to the shit hole he created when he decided to occupy Iraq?

Ineptitude in a time of peace would be one thing. If his decisions hadn’t been so tragically bad, if they hadn’t plunged us into that quagmire, if the troops were home where they belong, and the biggest decision he faced was deciding who to appoint as Under Secretary of Agriculture, well okay. Let him be The Decider.

But he is inept in a time of war. His decisions have been unrelentingly, consistently wrong. Nothing about his decision to send even more troops into Iraq would lead anyone to suspect there is reason to hope for a better outcome.

That particular decision flies in the face of the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. It is neither all-in nor all-out, but rather a continuation of an absurd status quo – an occupation – a propping up of an inept government – an opportunity for our enemies to glean training from us – training they will use against us elsewhere in the Decision Maker’s misguided, “War on Terror.”

The burn rate on money expended to support this decision is now more than two billion dollars a month. We’re borrowing that money from the Chinese. It does not appear on the books that the Decision Maker, in the State of the Union Address, so nobly promised to balance by 2012.

The burn rate on our human treasure continues unabated. We lose two or three wonderful selfless young people every day.

As bad as the decisions the man makes, the decisions he doesn’t make are worse. The Decision Maker. My ass.

Dana Milbank - In Ex-Aide's Testimony, A Spin Through VP's PR - washingtonpost.com

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Justices defend Florida recount decision - Yahoo! News

These smug bastards. They disenfranchised the majority of Americans (remember - Gore won the popular vote) and set up everything that has happened since.

"Get over it."

Get bent, Tony.Justices defend Florida recount decision - Yahoo! News

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Explainer In Chief. In French.

Aux Barricades!

By MAUREEN DOWD
WASHINGTON

Being president can be really, really hard.

“Sometimes you’re the commander in chief,” W. explained to Scott Pelley on “60 Minutes.” “Sometimes you’re the educator in chief, and a lot of times you’re both when it comes to war.”

President Bush has been dutifully making the rounds of TV news shows, trying to make the case that victory in Iraq is “doable.” He thinks the public will support the Surge if he can simply illuminate a few things that we may have been too thick to understand. For instance, he says he needs to “explain to people that what happens in the Middle East will affect the future of this country.” Yes, Mr. President, we get it.

He also told Jim Lehrer last night that in 20 years, radical Shiites could be warring with radical Sunnis and Middle Eastern oil could fall into the hands of radicals, who might also get weapons of mass destruction.

So after scaring Americans into backing the Sack of Iraq by warning that radicals could get W.M.D., now he’s trying to scare Americans into supporting the Surge in Iraq by warning that radicals could get W.M.D.

So many deaths, so little progress.

It’s unnerving to be tutored by an educator in chief who is himself being tutored. The president elucidating the Iraqi insurgency for us is learning about the Algerian insurgency from the man who failed to quell the Vietcong insurgency.

During his “60 Minutes” interview, Mr. Bush mentioned that he was reading Alistair Horne’s classic history, “A Savage War of Peace,” about why the French suffered a colonial disaster in a guerrilla war against Muslims in Algiers from 1954 to 1962.

The book was recommended to W. by Henry Kissinger, who is working on an official biography of himself with Mr. Horne.

Mr. Horne recalled that Dr. Kissinger told him: “The president’s one of my best students. He reads all the books I send him.” The author asked the president’s foreign affairs adviser if W. ever wrote any essays on the books. “Henry just laughed,” Mr. Horne said.

It seems far too late for Mr. Bush to begin studying about counterinsurgency now that Iraq has cratered into civil war. Can’t someone get the president a copy of “Gone With the Wind”?

Maybe it was inevitable, once W. started reading Camus’s “L’Etranger,” set in Algeria, that he would move on to Mr. Horne. As The Washington Post military correspondent Tom Ricks wrote in November, the Horne book has been an underground best-seller among U.S. military officers for three years, and “Algeria” has become almost a code word among counterinsurgency specialists for the mess in Iraq. The Pentagon screened the 1966 movie “The Battle of Algiers” in 2003, but the commander in chief must have missed it.

I asked Mr. Horne, who was at his home in a small village outside Oxford, England, what the president could learn from his book.

“The depressing problem of getting entangled in the Muslim world,” he replied. “Algeria was a thoroughly bloodthirsty war that ended horribly and cost the lives of about 20,000 Frenchmen and a million Algerians. There was a terrible civil war. ...De Gaulle ended up giving literally everything away and left without his pants.”

President de Gaulle had all the same misconceptions as W., that his prestige could persuade the Muslims to accept his terms; that the guerrillas would recognize military defeat and accept sensible compromise; and that, as Mr. Horne writes, “time would wait while he found the correct formula and then imposed peace with it.”

Mr. Horne also sees sad parallels in the torture issue: “The French had experience under the Nazis in the occupation and practiced methods the Germans used in Algeria and extracted information that helped them win the Battle of Algiers. But in the long run it lost the war, because it caused such revulsion in France when the news came out, and there was huge opposition to the war from Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.”

In May 2005, Mr. Horne gave a copy of his book to Rummy, with passages about torture underlined. “I got a savage letter back from him,” the author said.

The best thing now, he said, is to try to “get around the mullahs” and “get non-Christian forces in there as quickly as possible, mercenaries. As Henry said the other day, if only we had two brigades of Gurkhas to send to Baghdad.”

Meanwhile, maybe W. should move on to reading Sartre. “No Exit,” perhaps.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Winning friends. Influencing people.

U.N.: 34,000 Iraqis killed last year - Yahoo! News

Probably low. About 60% of American losses in Vietnam. Nice going, George. U.N.: 34,000 Iraqis killed last year - Yahoo! News

Monday, January 15, 2007

Troops Home Now

George Bush’s troop surge, plus all of the sacrifice our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are making, combined with the noisy rhetoric (right and left) the rest of us are putting out, is triggering one big Vietnam flashback for me.

That war was unfair. This war is even more so. It is time for our troops to come home.

It is time.

We have deprived them of the comfort and company of their families and friends for too long. We have set their careers back decades. We have given them a vague mission and put them into situations where they can die, but can’t win – all without inconveniencing ourselves in the least.

“They volunteered,” callous, safe and comfortable people say. “They knew what they were getting into.”

To which I would respond, “Fuck you.”

“Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.”

Generation after generation, this country lets a certain kind of people evade going to war. They are richer than average. They display a unique combination of cowardice, selfishness and cunning.

They talk patriotism. They wear flags in their lapels and put their hands over their hearts whenever they hear the national anthem. But when the chips are down, they always find a way to thrust somebody else – or somebody else’s kid – into the front lines.

They don’t do war. Not personally. They’ll shill for war. They’ll back idiot politicians who want to send more troops. But they won’t go – not actually go. Not them.

God they are detestable. They lack the courage (physical or moral) to volunteer for the war they support. They would be afraid to spend even one night in a barracks full of the young black, Hispanic and middle class white American kids they so blithely want to send surging off to Baghdad.

Barracks life or prison life – what’s the difference?

None to them. To them military service is what taxes were to Leona Helmsley – something for “little people.”

No doubt there is an elite corps of military people – a backbone – a group of people who take great (and much deserved) pride in every aspect of their service, their branch of service, and the selfless traditions of our military. No doubt members of that elite corps is more than capable of speaking for themselves about surges, staying the course, the mission – the whole shooting match.

But, God damn it, it’s time. If there is surging to be done, let the selfish assholes back here who think it’s a good idea do it and bring our proud, selfless troops home now.

Troops Home Now

George Bush’s troop surge, plus all of the sacrifice our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are making, combined with the noisy rhetoric (right and left) the rest of us are putting out, is triggering one big Vietnam flashback for me.

That war was unfair. This war is even more so. It is time for our troops to come home.

It is time.

We have deprived them of the comfort and company of their families and friends for too long. We have set their careers back decades. We have given them a vague mission and put them into situations where they can die, but can’t win – all without inconveniencing ourselves in the least.

“They volunteered,” callous, safe and comfortable people say. “They knew what they were getting into.”

To which I would respond, “Fuck you.”

“Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.”

Generation after generation, this country lets a certain kind of people evade going to war. They are richer than average. They display a unique combination of cowardice, selfishness and cunning.

They talk patriotism. They wear flags in their lapels and put their hands over their hearts whenever they hear the national anthem. But when the chips are down, they always find a way to thrust somebody else – or somebody else’s kid – into the front lines.

They don’t do war. Not personally. They’ll shill for war. They’ll back idiot politicians who want to send more troops. But they won’t go – not actually go. Not them.

God they are detestable. They lack the courage (physical or moral) to volunteer for the war they support. They would be afraid to spend even one night in a barracks full of the young black, Hispanic and middle class white American kids they so blithely want to send surging off to Baghdad.

Barracks life or prison life – what’s the difference?

None to them. To them military service is what taxes were to Leona Helmsley – something for “little people.”

No doubt there is an elite corps of military people – a backbone – a group of people who take great (and much deserved) pride in every aspect of their service, their branch of service, and the selfless traditions of our military. No doubt members of that elite corps is more than capable of speaking for themselves about surges, staying the course, the mission – the whole shooting match.

But, God damn it, it’s time. If there is surging to be done, let the selfish assholes back here who think it’s a good idea do it and bring our proud, selfless troops home now.

U.S. and Iraqis Are Wrangling Over War Plans - New York Times

It's one thing for George Bush to fob this "surge" off on Americans who donn't want it. It's something else aaltogether to get the backing of Iraqi officials who evvidently don't want it either. U.S. and Iraqis Are Wrangling Over War Plans - New York Times

Crooks and Liars � Open Thread

Reader CH found this. Crooks and Liars � Open Thread

Krugman Rocks

January 15, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
The Texas Strategy

By PAUL KRUGMAN
Hundreds of news articles and opinion pieces have described President Bush’s decision to escalate the Iraq war as a “Hail Mary pass.”

But that’s the wrong metaphor.

Mr. Bush isn’t Roger Staubach, trying to pull out a win for the Dallas Cowboys. He’s Charles Keating, using other people’s money to keep Lincoln Savings going long after it should have been shut down — and squandering the life savings of thousands of investors, not to mention billions in taxpayer dollars, along the way.

The parallel is actually quite exact. During the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s, people like Mr. Keating kept failed banks going by faking financial success. Mr. Bush has kept a failed war going by faking military success.

The “surge” is just another stalling tactic, designed to buy more time.

Oh, and one of the favorite techniques used by the owners of savings and loan associations to generate phony profits — it involved making high-interest loans to crooked or flaky real estate developers — came to be known as the “Texas strategy.”

What was the point of the Texas strategy? Bank owners were certainly gambling — with other people’s money, of course — in the hope of a miraculous recovery that would bail out their negative balance sheets.

But the real point of the racket was a form of looting: as long as they could keep reporting high paper profits, S.&L. owners could keep rewarding themselves with salaries, dividends and sweetheart business deals.

Mr. Keating paid himself a million dollars just weeks before his holding company collapsed.

Which brings us to Iraq. The administration has spent the last three years pretending that its splendid little war isn’t a big disaster. There have been the bromides (we’re making “good progress”); the promises (we have a “strategy for victory”); and, as always, attacks on the media for not reporting the good news from Iraq.

Who you gonna believe, the president or your lying eyes?

Now Mr. Bush has grudgingly sort- of admitted that things aren’t going well — but he says his “new way forward” will fix everything.

So it’s still the Texas strategy: the war’s architects are trying to keep their failed venture going as long as possible.

The Hail Mary aspect — the off chance that somehow, things really will turn out all right — is the least of their motivations. The real intent is a form of looting. I’m not talking mainly about old-fashioned war profiteering, although there is no question that profiteering is taking place on an epic scale. No, I’m saying that the hawks want to keep this war going because it’s to their personal and political benefit.

True, Mr. Bush can’t win another election with phony claims of success in Iraq, the way he did in 2004. But escalation buys him another year or two to claim that we’re making progress — and it gives him another chance to prove that he’s the Decider, beyond accountability.

And as for pundits who promoted the war and are now trying to sell the surge: for a little while longer they can be Very Important People who have the president’s ear.

Meanwhile, the nation pays the price. The heaviest burden — in death, shattered bodies, broken families and ruined careers — falls on those who serve. To find the personnel for the Bush escalation, the Pentagon must lengthen deployments in Iraq and shorten training time at home.

And the back-door draft has become a life sentence: there is no limit on the cumulative amount of time citizen-soldiers can be required to serve on active duty. Mama, don’t let your children grow up to be reservists.

The rest of us will pay a financial price for the hundreds of billions squandered in Iraq and, more important, a price in reduced security.

Escalation won’t bring victory in Iraq, but it might bring defeat in Afghanistan, which the administration will continue to neglect. And it has pushed the military to the breaking point.

Mr. Bush calls his critics “irresponsible,” saying that they don’t have an alternative to his strategy. But they do: setting a timetable for withdrawal, so that we can cut our losses, and trying to save what can be saved. It isn’t a strategy for victory because that’s no longer an option. It’s a strategy for acknowledging reality.

The lesson of the savings and loan scandal was that when a bank has failed, you shouldn’t let the owner string you along with promises — you should shut the thing down. We should do the same with Mr. Bush’s failed war.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cheney to Congress: Can't run Iraq war by committee - CNN.com

With any luck, we're reacching the end of the era of government by sound byte. Let's hope "You can't run a war by committee" finds all of the traction it deseerves - which is none. No one is trying to run the war by committee. Tehy're trying to do what the Constitution says they are supposed to do: Oversee the people running the war, with the oversight taking place in all the appropriate committees.

The sooner that phrase joins the rest of this administration's platitudes onn the trash heap of history the better.Cheney to Congress: Can't run Iraq war by committee - CNN.com

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Withdrawals could start if Iraq plan works: Gates - Yahoo! News

Yes - and if we all clap reaal hard Tinkerbell won't die.Withdrawals could start if Iraq plan works: Gates - Yahoo! News

Official Attacks Top Law Firms Over Detainees - New York Times

If corporations boycott lawyers representing detainees, then boycott those corporations. It is unAmerican to deny detainees legal representation. Official Attacks Top Law Firms Over Detainees - New York Times

Bush: If you don't like my Iraq plan, tell me yours - CNN.com

Why? So you can ignore it like you ignored the Iraq Study Group? You're the decider. You took us to war. You know it's time to get out. Give the orders, take the blame, then get bent. Bush: If you don't like my Iraq plan, tell me yours - CNN.com

The Raw Story | Fox 'bashes' Boxer for 'childless Condi slur;' Snow says 'tacky;' Rice implies feminism set back; Boxer says GOP 'gettin this off' on

Typical Fox. Typical Murdoch. Typical right wing. The truth is, Ms. Rice does not have family members who will "pay the price" for George Bush's urge to surge. Te bigger truth (buried deep in this story) is that the Bush Administration does not have estimates of the numbers of soldiers who will "pay the price." Every new incident like this simply adds weight to the obvious truth that the people on the right who are trying to frame this dialogue have no sense of decency - and no respect for the men and women actually fighting and dying in this war.The Raw Story | Fox 'bashes' Boxer for 'childless Condi slur;' Snow says 'tacky;' Rice implies feminism set back; Boxer says GOP 'gettin this off' on lie

Federal Way schools restrict Gore film

"From what I've seen (of the movie) and what my husband has expressed to me, if (the movie) is going to take the approach of 'bad America, bad America,' I don't think it should be shown at all," Gayle Hardison said. "If you're going to come in and just say America is creating the rotten ruin of the world, I don't think the video should be shown."Federal Way schools restrict Gore film:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Pentagon abandons active-duty time limit - Yahoo! News

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Urge To Surge

This war is falling unnecessarily harshly on a noble and selfless group of young men and women. The rest of us know nothing about the meaning of the word "sacrifice." Charlotte Observer | 01/09/2007 | Military ponders surge

CNN.com - CNN Political Ticker

If failure is unacceptable, what should we do with those who (so far) have led us to failure? CNN.com - CNN Political Ticker

Whose surge is it anyway?

As George Bush announces a plan to escalate troop levels in Iraq, let’s all remember who put troops there in the first place – and who put those fools in a position to do so.

George Bush and the neocons launched this war. The Supreme Court of the United States launched George Bush and the neocons.

That aggregation of silly, shallow, thoughtless people – Supreme Court justices, Federalist Society fops, corporate robber barons, corrupt mainstream media flacks, and politicians on the take – stole the nation by stealing an election. Then they took the nation to war – and the world to the highly-profitable brink of World War Three.

These are wide-bottomed rich people. Gated community types. Most have never heard a shot fired in anger. The details of war – the numbers of killed and wounded, the prospect of their children actually having to fight and die in Iraq – don’t affect them or their thinking.

For them, the consequences of war, like Leona Helmsley’s fabled taxes, are for little people. Why should they (to paraphrase Barbara Bush the elder) waste their beautiful minds thinking about real death and suffering?

Better for them to talk in abstract terms and take the macro view. Will a surge of 20,000 troops do it? Or will we need 30,000? Should we plan on it taking a few months? Or is something more permanent in order?

Somewhere in America right now, are high school juniors and seniors who will die in Iraq at some point in the next two years. Future amputees and quadriplegics are hurrying around, being sixteen seventeen and eighteen year-olds.

That’s where this surge is going to come from. That, and troops who have been there through again – and again.

The recruiters are calling the high school kids. They’re using mailing lists that public schools have to provide to send direct mail pieces. They’re looking at their monthly quotas on their charts and wondering where they’ll come up with the bodies.

Meanwhile, the children of the privileged wander the halls of their private schools unphased. They will proceed from high school to college, and from college into some position in the sphere of their parent’s influence, where they will learn to discuss things like troop surges in the abstract, sans bullet holes, blood, quadriplegia, or any other qualm.

They will talk about what “we” ought to do in whatever in whatever situation the country is in then.

They will do so with the same comfortable certitude that their parents currently apply in Iraq:

“’We’ means your kid, not mine. My kid has other priorities.

“That said, don’t you think we ought to try a troop surge? We can’t let the terrorists win.”

Dowd On Our Dysfunctional Relationship With Iraq

Love Among the Ruins

By MAUREEN DOWD
WASHINGTON

It isn’t really a romance turned sour, because it was never sweet.

The American military’s cocky heroes were supposed to sweep in and carry off a poor, grateful Iraq to security and bliss, like Richard Gere did Debra Winger in the finale of “An Officer and a Gentleman.” The strategy was: Love lift us up where we belong/Where the eagles cry/On a mountain high.

Didn’t happen. Yet the search goes on, in this country obsessed with hookups and breakups, for the right relationship metaphor to describe our deadly embrace of Iraq.

My colleague Tom Friedman wrote last week: “Whenever I hear this surge idea, I think of a couple who recently got married but the marriage was never very solid. Then one day they say to each other, ‘Hey, let’s have a baby, that will bring us together.’ It never works. If the underlying union is not there, adding a baby won’t help.”

Juan Williams repeated Tom’s metaphor on Fox News, agreeing that “a bad relationship” cannot afford the “pressure” of a newborn.

One reporter who writes about the war told me he thinks of the American entrenchment in Iraq more like a marriage that’s run out of gas, but you decide to stay together because of the kids.

Bill Maher used a bawdier metaphor of a man who promises his date a glorious romp, doesn’t deliver, and then just refuses to admit it and get out.

Some women say that the Surge will not work because it’s like starting over with an old boyfriend: you think you’ve learned the pitfalls and can resume with more success — you can set benchmarks! — but instead you’re swiftly ensnared by the same old failures. And the most maddening romances, of course, are those in which you think you have the power, you should have the power, but somehow in the end, you don’t have the power.

Many Bush officials and lawmakers now talk about the Iraqis with impatience, as though they are deadbeat relatives who have got to stop putting the pinch on us for a billion a week and try harder, in the immortal words of Rummy, “to pull up their socks.”

They may still speak diplomatically, but in body language, Condoleezza Rice and her chosen new deputy, John Negroponte, radiate irritation with the Iraqis, as though they are the most irksome of cousins or in-laws who have long overstayed their welcome, or children who not only don’t thank you for presents but also leave the playroom a mess.

The favorite analogy of Rummy and others who pushed the war was parent-child. “If you never take the training wheels off a kid’s bicycle,” Paul Wolfowitz would say, “he’ll never learn to ride without them.”

But that is too Norman Rockwell for a scene straight out of Hieronymus Bosch.

At times, the American-Iraqi relationship seems so cursed that the most apt metaphor would be a fairy tale like “The Golden Goose” of the Brothers Grimm, in which a girl sees a bling bird that belongs to a despised boy and tries to pluck a feather for herself, but instead her hand gets stuck fast to the goose. Her sister comes along, thinking she can snatch a feather, but she gets stuck as soon as she touches the first girl. Then there’s a Surge, when the third sister rushes to help but ends up stuck in a daisy chain of disaster.

With the Surge, as with the invasion of Iraq, W. is like the presumptuous date “who reserves a hotel room and then asks you to the prom,” as my friend Dana Calvo put it.

Teddy Kennedy gave a speech at the National Press Club yesterday about his new legislation that would require Congressional approval before troop levels can be increased. Afterward, he was asked if he would try to block the escalation with an amendment to an upcoming Iraq spending request.

“The horse will be out of the barn by the time we get there,” Senator Kennedy replied. “The president makes his speech now. We’re going to get the appropriation request probably the end of January, early February.” He said it could take eight more weeks for Congress to act. “By that time, the troops will already be there,” he said. “And then we’ll be asked, are we going to deny the body armor to the young men and women over there?”

In other words, the president will ask us to the prom once he reserves the hotel room.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bush lifts Alaska oil, gas drilling ban - Yahoo! News

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Army asks dead to sign up for another hitch - CNN.com

Friday, January 05, 2007

White House visitor records closed - Yahoo! News

But of course, they have nothing to hide...White House visitor records closed - Yahoo! News

Think Progress � CBS: Military Tells Bush It Has Only 9,000 Troops Available For ‘Surge’

No doubt there are going to be pro-surge idiots at cocktail parties and get-togethers. Ask them where the troops come from. Think Progress � CBS: Military Tells Bush It Has Only 9,000 Troops Available For ‘Surge’

This Sunday on Meet The Press

MEET THE PRESS WITH TIM RUSSERT
01/07/07

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE)
Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC)
Armed Services Committee

Could the powers that be please stop trotting Joe Biden out as the token Democrat? He's old. He's irrelevant. He's dellusional. (He actually thinks people will forgive him for his role in the obscene bankruptcy reform legislation he and the Republicans fobbed through for all those Delaware credit card companies a year ago.)

And who can look at Lindsey Graham and not remember him sitting there on the House Judiciary Committee volting to impeach Clinton.A partisan hack - a complete, self righteous partisan hack.

And speaking of partisan hacks,Tim Russert has all the integrity of those other inside-the-beltway millionaires. If he leaaned any further to the right, the booth would havve to tell the camera operator to pan left.

Main stream media with all its hackery can't die soon enough.

These shows used to stand for something. Not any more. All sham and no substance.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Ms Dowd Goes To A Funeral

Maureen Dowd this morning in the New York Times:

January 3, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Stained Glass and Strained Egos

By MAUREEN DOWD
Washington

It was a scene that Mary McCarthy could have written the devil out of: a funeral for a fine, bland fellow that filled everybody with unfine, unbland thoughts. The formal serenity of the service, disguised, but only barely, the virulent rivalries and envies and grudges and grievances that have roiled this group for many decades.

None of the eulogists noted the irony that the man who ushered out one long national nightmare had ushered in another, the one we’re living in now. It was Gerald Ford, after all, who gave America the gift of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld — the gift that keeps on taking.

The two former Ford officials, who doomed Iraq to civil war and despoiled American values, were honorary pallbearers yesterday, as was that other slippery and solipsistic courtier, Henry Kissinger.

The Group was even more on edge because of a remarkable trellis of peppery opinions that had tumbled out of the man in the coffin, posthumously. The late president, hailed as the most understated and decent guy in the world, had given a series of interviews on the condition they be held until his death — a belated but bracing smackdown of many of his distinguished mourners.

It was impossible not to wonder what the luminaries were truly thinking, as they sat listening to fugues of Bach and Brahms and encomiums to the ordinary-guy leader.

Nancy Reagan’s imperturbable expression behind her big square sunglasses did not disguise the gloating words visible in the bubble over her head: “And they call this a funeral?”

It could not compare, of course, to the incredible Princess of Wales treatment that her husband had for his state funeral. And Nancy, hypersensitive to any slights to her Ronnie, would not have been pleased with Mr. Ford’s interview with Michael Beschloss published in Newsweek, in which he blamed Ronald Reagan for costing him the 1976 election by challenging his nomination and then failing to hit the trail for him.

It was good of Mr. Ford to bring 41 and 43 together in a solemn respite from their uneasy competition over Iraq.

“Told you so, you sons of guns — we were right to stop at Safwan and stay out of Baghdad,” the father’s bubble read, as he watched Rummy and Henry the K, both of whom had treated Poppy with such veiled contempt, as though he were a feather duster. “Those vicious Moktada-loving Shiites dancing around Saddam’s dead body prove that Brent and I were right.”

Lynne Cheney glared at Poppy as he gave his eulogy, knowing that he privately thinks that the vice president has destroyed not only Iraq and American foreign policy, but the Bush family name. Her storm cloud of a bubble is expurgated.

Hillary’s bubble was full of mockery for another New Yorker in the National Cathedral: “You think you’re so smart, Rudy, but you leave your entire presidential battle plan in a hotel room for your rivals to find? The victim role doesn’t suit you.” Condi’s bubble was as opaquely dark as Hillary’s was risibly light — drooping with the inchoate fear that her nearby erstwhile mentor, Brent Scowcroft, had been right about Iraq after all.

As Poppy spoke from the altar, praising Mr. Ford’s generosity, he must have been mulling that his predecessor was ungenerous in spitting on him from the grave. Mr. Ford told Mr. Beschloss that Bush Sr. had sold out the party to the hard right and had taken a phony, pandering position on abortion.

Poppy had to have enjoyed watching Dr. K get up and lavish praise on his old boss, after Mr. Ford had sniggered to Bob Woodward that the “coy” Bavarian diva had “the thinnest skin of any public figure I ever knew.”

W. graciously walked Betty Ford down the aisle, even as he must have curdled inside about her husband’s telling Mr. Woodward that it had been “a big mistake” on the part of W., Dick Cheney and Rummy to justify the Iraq war with nonexistent W.M.D. “I just don’t think we should go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people, unless it is directly related to our own national security,” he said.

Ex-presidents weren’t supposed to criticize sitting presidents. Adding insult to injury, Woodward himself was in the cathedral. How did he manage to get all these deathbed confessions, W. had to wonder. “Jeez,” his bubble read, “does he have an interview with my old man in the can?”

Rummy’s pop-up was as cocky as ever: “Golly, I’ve been gone three weeks and things are really looking up in Iraq.”

James Baker’s secret thoughts were as bright as his tie: “I tried to help you out, son, but you’re too dang stubborn. Or ‘resolute.’ Stubolute. A clear case of TMC — too much Cheney.”

Dick Cheney’s bubble was trouble: “I’m surging, I’m surging, I’m surging.”

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