Various Items

December 15, 2007 at 6:52 am | Posted in America, American politics, Barry Bonds, baseball, Bush Administration, CIA, Civil War, Congress, conservatives, corruption, Democrats, Ethiopia, Foreign Policy, George W Bush, Iran, Iraq, Israel, King George, Middle East, mukasey, Musharraf, Pakistan, Peace, Republicans, secret combinations, Somalia, Terrorism, Thoughts, War, World Events | Leave a comment

There are a few items in the news today that I feel are important.

Justice Department Seeks Delay in CIA Tapes

Surprise, surprise. The Bush Administration Justice Department does not wish for Congress to really know what was going on at the CIA when they destroyed evidence. What do you think, Mr. Chuck Shumer? Ms. Diane Feinstein? Was Mukasey worth this? Did you really think he would allow you into the deepest darkest corners of the Bush administration? Serious, high crimes have been committed by the Bush administration, ordered from Bush himself. Do you really think he would let you in?

Do Congressional Democrats realize just how frustrating they have been at allowing the Bush administration and the minority Republicans to thrash them so many times? Do Congressional Democrats realize just how frustrating it is for citizens to see them capitulate at the mere THREAT of filibuster. LET THEM FILIBUSTER ALREADY! Let them do it guys! Let’s see Republicans talk themselves to death! Let them truly be obstructionist. Why do you give them such political victories, by both giving in to their demands without making them sweat for it, and letting them take the public relations coup?

I think we need new Democratic leadership. Y’all are cowards. Yes, you Mr. Harry Reid. Yes you, Ms. Nancy Pelosi. What do Bush and the Republicans have on you? Why do you bend over for them? STOP IT!

Musharraf Lifts Pakistan’s State of Emergency.

Heh, one wonders why. Let’s see, the reason given for the state of emergency two months ago was a threat to the state of Pakistan by Al-Qaeda. Now that the state of emergency was removed, can anyone point to any reduced threat from Al-Qaeda? Any evidence? Are they still a threat to Pakistan? Hmmm.

Maybe the real reason had to do with Pakistan’s Supreme Court, which was about to rule against Musharraf. Let’s see. Musharraf declares emergency, martial law, basically. He removes justices from the Supreme Court he didn’t like, and places ones on there that would rule in his favor. He arrests some thousands of lawyers—a true threat to the viability of the state, no doubt—-but, well…nothing really drastic done against the stated threat, Al-Qaeda. Huh.

So, who, besides Musharraf, can even consider the upcoming elections as anything but fair?

Ethiopians said to push civilians into rebel war.

This piece of news is important because Ethiopia entered into Somalia at our request. We again farmed out what we should have done to someone else. Now that someone else, in this case, Ethiopia, is stretched too thin. Because many of its troops are in Somalia, Ethiopia does not have enough to deal with the rebels in a really dry region between Somalia and Eritrea. This is bad because it is undermining the strength of a fairly stable country on Africa’s horn. Meanwhile, over in Somalia, the Islamic militants increase their power.

Huh, I wonder if Bush will pull a Bush senior move and send soldiers into Somalia just before he gets out of office forcing his Democratic successor to handle his mess.

Sealed off by Israel, Gaza a beggar state

I don’t get Israel. I don’t think they realize the enormity of the problem in Gaza, and that by continuing to starve them out, it will only be worse for them. 1.5 million people is a hell of a lot of people. I’m sure Israel would love it for them not to be there anymore, but there is no way for that to happen.

It is really sad. A peace conference photo-op was done at Annapolis just a few weeks ago, but notably absent are the conflicting parties. Where was Hamas? Where was Hesbollah? Where was Iran? Interestingly, where was Iraq? How can you make peace with your enemy if you do not invite them to a peace conference?

Voters offer mixed responses on Clemens’ HOF chances

On baseball here. The Mitchell Report has certainly increased baseball talk, here in mid-winter. I’ll be fascinated to see what happens in the Spring. But I wanted to quote from Ray Ratto, who is quoted in this piece. I think he makes some very interesting points in regards to baseball, the Hall of Fame, numbers, and more importantly, the business itself.

“I would vote for Bonds on the first ballot, as I would vote for Clemens, because the Hall of Fame isn’t church,” Ratto said. “It’s the history of baseball, and this is part of the history of baseball. I can assure you that Bud Selig will be voted into the Hall of Fame, and he is the commissioner whose name will be linked with the steroid era by first ignoring it, then profiting from it, and finally blaming others for it.

“I know that Cap Anson is in the Hall of Fame, and he was instrumental in the creation of the color line, which is way worse than PEDs. So this discussion ends up being an excuse for people with no institutional memory or understanding to claim a moral superiority they’re not really equipped to display.”

I always liked Ray Ratto. I grew up in the Bay Area and read his opinions frequently. I think he says it best here. Firstly that the Hall of Fame already includes cheaters, as well as racists and womanizers. It isn’t church. We don’t need to deify these players.

More important is his point about how the business of baseball profited from these past 12 years of steroid and human growth hormone abuse. I remember seeing a comment from a reader on CNN.com who said that Barry Bonds was being used. This commentator wrote when Barry was indicted by the grand jury on perjury. Barry Bonds may be done playing baseball for good. But that is a point rarely made.

Barry Bonds was indeed used. Bud Selig was silent because Barry Bonds brought in money. Look at just this last year’s revenue, over $6 billion dollars, according to sources. $6 billion dollars. That’s almost as good as America’s most popular sport—where enhancement drugs are also abused—football. On what did those baseball owners profit? On juiced up players of course. How much revenue did the San Francisco Giants get from the year 2000-2007? Shall we look at what profit Peter Magowan made during that time? How about Steinbrenner and the Yankees?

Baseball millionaire owners profited from their players getting juiced. And who gets blamed now? The players of course. Rape them for all they’ve got and then throw them to the trash compactor when you’re through with them. Who is the public face of the San Francisco Giants? Barry Bonds of course. Who is the money behind the San Francisco Giants? Peter Magowan. Who will pay for the juiced player? Barry Bonds of course. Who will profit from the juiced player? Peter Magowan.

Remember that.

Mitchell Report can’t be good for baseball’s short term business

Read for yourself:

George Mitchell’s steroids report hasn’t just rocked the game of baseball. It figures to shake the business of baseball, too.

As an industry, MLB has been even hotter than Josh Beckett in October. It posted record revenues of $6 billion this year. Baseball has more than doubled its take of a decade ago and is closing fast on the NFL as the top-grossing league in sports.

The Mitchell Report, though, could jeopardize that run. Maybe Commissioner Bud Selig just couldn’t stand too much prosperity. He ordered up the Mitchell Report and re-focused attention on a problem that, in many fans’ eyes, had faded as a concern.

Just remember who profited on baseball’s steroids. Not the players who get the fans’ wrath. Oh no. People like Bud Selig. I wish we had our priorities straight, here in America.

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Ms. Rice Makes It Too Easy

October 13, 2007 at 6:23 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, condoleezza rice, Congress, corruption, Russia | Leave a comment

she says, about Russia:

“In any country, if you don’t have countervailing institutions, the power of any one president is problematic for democratic development,” Rice told reporters after meeting with human-rights activists.

“I think there is too much concentration of power in the Kremlin White House. I have told the Russians Americans that. Everybody has doubts about the full independence of the judiciary. There are clearly questions about the independence of the electronic media and there are, I think, questions about the strength of the Duma Congress,” said Rice, referring to the Russian American parliament.

Who disagrees?

Cowards, the Whole Lot of Them!

October 9, 2007 at 5:46 am | Posted in Congress, corruption, Democrats | 7 Comments

Damn those Democrats in Congress! They are more afraid of being branded “soft on terrorism” than listening to their own DAMN CONSTITUENTS! Wake up you stupid idiots!

If They’re So Afraid of MSNBC, How Could They Possibly Take On Terrorists?!?

September 29, 2007 at 6:44 am | Posted in Congress, conservatives, corruption, Republicans, secret combinations | Leave a comment

Republican Congressmen and women are now boycotting MSNBC because of David Schuster’s strong stance against the poor little old Rep Blackburn of Tennessee. She thought she was going in for a safe interview, for a free shot at evil dastardly liberals. She was shocked, SHOCKED to find someone hit back. How DARE HE! “I’m a Republican Congresswoman! How dare you stick it to me!”

What a bunch of sissies!

The BEST News of the Week!

September 5, 2007 at 9:42 am | Posted in American politics, Congress, conservatives, corruption, Iraq, Larry Craig, Military, Republicans, secret combinations | Leave a comment

Thank you Senator Larry Craig, for deciding not to resign. This means you keep your story in the news, and well keep the Pentagon propaganda machine on the back burner:

TPM Reader KB understands the nexus between imperialism and 24 hour cable …

If Sen. Larry Craig reconsiders and steps all over Gen. Petraeus’ week of surge, Bill Kristol’s head will explode. That Penatagon media war room they set up will be useless in the face of this cable TV zoo.

Support Larry Craig, everbody!

George Bush on Vietnam

August 23, 2007 at 8:20 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Congress, corruption, Democrats, George W Bush, Iraq, Vietnam | 1 Comment

all the gory details. Apparently comparisons to Vietnam only work when they are politically convenient for you.

The really sad part is that Senate and House Democrats will cower to this idiot. Com’on boys and girls, show some guts! Stand up to the Boy Emperor and let the world know just what a weak idiot is running our country these days. Or forever be remembered in history as enablers of this madman.

The Worshipping of Ronald Reagan Continues

August 17, 2007 at 11:35 am | Posted in American politics, Congress, conservatives, corruption, Republicans, Ronald Reagan | 4 Comments

Now conservatives want to place a statue of him in Congress. As Think Progress notes:

During a visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told former first lady Nancy Reagan “that he is working with other senators who want to erect a statue of President Reagan” in the U.S. Capitol. “There could be no more fitting recognition than to welcome his likeness to the halls of Congress,’” McConnell told Mrs. Reagan. Ironically, Reagan never actually served in Congress.

I’m curious about conservatives and their deification of Mr. Reagan. Have they forgotten that they claim to be Christians who follow the Ten Commandments? What was the first commandment?

Bill Sali Is Against the Constitution of the United States of America

August 16, 2007 at 1:20 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Christianity, Congress, conservatives, corruption, Evangelicals, Mormon, Religion, Republicans, secret combinations | 1 Comment

Here is Article VI of the United States Constitution:

All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

And here is Congressman Representative Bill Sali:

“I think that Keith deserves a call from me — not necessarily because of what’s in my heart or in my mind, but because of how it’s been portrayed,” Sali said.

But Sali said he does think the country’s Founding Fathers created a government based on Christian principles and that the best course into the future is to follow those ideas.

The country’s creators fought for the “principles found in Scripture,” he said. “The dangerous part is straying from these principles.

“The idea that somehow we can move to multiculturalism and still remain the same — I think that’s a little dangerous, too,” he said. “From my standpoint, I believe the Founding Fathers were overwhelmingly Christian, and the God they were talking about is the God of the Bible.”

That is an explanation over these earlier comments:

We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes — and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers.

Clearly Mr. Sali is delusional and ignorant. I’m curious what conservative Mormons in Idaho who he represents think about him…

For example, here is a Founding Father who differed with Mr. Sali, some guy named Thomas Jefferson, who said:

The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it’s protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.” The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it’s protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.

I’m gonna side with Thomas Jefferson on this one, personally.

Senate to Call for Special Counsel to Investigate if Gonzales Perjured Himself

July 26, 2007 at 10:28 am | Posted in Alberto Gonzales, American politics, Bush Administration, Congress, corruption, Democrats, Perjury, Republicans, secret combinations | 4 Comments

Nice! At last, some real action. Good work Democrats!

A group of Senate Democrats called Wednesday for a special counsel to investigate whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales perjured himself regarding the firings of U.S. attorneys and administration dissent over President Bush’s domestic surveillance program.

“We ask that you immediately appoint an independent special counsel from outside the Department of Justice to determine whether Attorney General Gonzales may have misled Congress or perjured himself in testimony before Congress,” four Democratic senators wrote in a letter Wednesday, according to a draft obtained by The Associated Press.

“It has become apparent that the Attorney General has provided at a minimum half-truths and misleading statements” to the Judiciary Committee, they added.

UPDATED:

And here’s a great video of Jon Stewart getting past all the b.s. to what it is really about:

Raw Power vs The Rule of Law, or Why Democrats Can’t Do a Single Thing About Bush

July 19, 2007 at 9:49 am | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, Cheney, Congress, conservatives, corruption, Democracy, Democrats, Foreign Policy, George W Bush, Iran, Iraq, King George, liberals, Media, Military, nationalism, neo-conservatives, Republicans, Scooter Libby, secret combinations, Thoughts, Torture, violence, Voter Suppression, War, War on Terror, Washington DC, World Events | 8 Comments

I have closely observed the goings on of my government (as best as I can seeing how secretive they want to be) these past five years, ever since Bush decided to go to war with Iraq back in the summer of 2002. (Read Bill Schneider’s “Marketing Iraq: Why Now?” where you can read Andrew Card’s comment: “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” They decided over the summer to attack Iraq. The rest was all a matter of marketing, selling it to the American public). They got the war rammed down Americans’ throats, with an extremely complicit media rooting the Administration on, damned be anyone that stood in their way.

The corrupting influence of raw power began immediately after 9/11. I’m sure in the very first seconds of realizing the potential power the Executive could yield, the Administration probably had good intents, but those were just a few seconds. They realized just how much power they really had: raw power. And they realized they must keep it a secret, for if it really got out, they would be forced to follow the rule of law, and not the rule of raw power. They took advantage of all the support (90% approval ratings and support from many nations around the world) and ran with it as far as they thought they could go. Karl Rove told Republicans in January of 2002 to run with the war in the November elections and they would win seats. They did and they won seats. They got the war they wanted, on the cheap, small force, shock and awe military might that defeated a ragtag worn down Iraqi military in three weeks. No surprise there. No wonder so many neo-conservatives and their allies chortled after the war, and drank in their wine of success.

Reports and studies, however, were there from the beginning that all was not well, and that continuing down this path would lead to serious problems for America. The most serious is the raw power employed by the Bush administration. Unchecked, the Bush administration began, right from the start, right from 2001 and early 2002, to employ power beyond what is written in the Constitution. Why? Because they saw what raw power there was in the Executive Branch and they took it. Even so, they knew they were doing wrong, or they wouldn’t be so secretive about it. Only those with something to hide, hide something. So right from the start, the United States of America began torturing people, employing techniques learned from the Soviets and the Nazis. They kept this as much of a secret as they could. For they knew if this were to get out, they would be in trouble. The American public still had more raw power over the administration, at least until after the 2004 presidential election. Once that election passed and Bush won, their raw power achieved the ultimate. For the next four years, no one could stop them. So some of their secrets could get out. In fact, by slowly getting out, the secrets became acceptable. Like any watcher of pornography, you can justify the soft porn at first, but you cannot justify the hardcore. Once you get enough of the soft porn, the hardcore becomes acceptable and even desirable. It soon becomes a part of who you are.

In 2006 something wonderful happened. America broke out of the spell of this administration and its evils. A lot of Democrats and liberals (and many independents) were hopeful to see a change.

Unfortunately that is not going to happen. You see, the Bush administration has tasted of raw power and they will not let go. In fact, even if the Democrats get a veto proof majority in these next 18 months, there is nothing to hold back the Bush administration from simply defying the veto overrides of Congress. Note with what impunity the administration is telling private citizens not to show up for Congressional subpoenas! They even claim executive privilege over documents related to Pat Tillman’s debacle. Why? Because they can. There is no raw power above them, so why should they listen to anyone or do anything for anyone? They answer to none but themselves.

We must realize that there is only one thing that can actually end this raw power by this administration over these next 18 months and that is a full on revolution where the American people rise up and kicks this administration out of power. Congress has no raw power to impeach this president. He will simply defy their will. Why should he bother with Congress? He has no incentive. He has nothing to lose.

America has not been in as dangerous and precarious position as it is today. We must go back to the rule of law. For the rule of law to have any real effect, those who broke the rule of law must be punished and held accountable. Otherwise, what is the purpose of law? Without any punishment, there is no law. Unfortunately this will not happen, and we will have to deal with the administration as currently constituted for the next 18 months. We will have to deal with a possible military strike on Iran. We will have to deal with attempts by this administration to fix the next election so that they ensure a Republican president and a security and secrecy over what they have done these past six years. What Republican candidate today is going to actually hold anyone in the Bush administration accountable for their crimes? What Republican candidate today will punish anyone in this administration?

For that matter, what Democrat will truly do what needs to be done? I bet that even they will come up with some rationale about healing the wounds of Bush’s divisiveness and let them get away with it. Again, if there is no punishment, can there really be a law? If there is no law, what do we have?

Jack Balkin writes about why this is so important:

At this point in Bush’s Presidency three things matter above all others. They motivate this final round of constitutional hardball: The first is keeping secret what the President and his advisers have done. The second is running out the clock to prevent any significant dismantling of his policies until his term ends. The third is doing whatever he can proactively to ensure that later governments do not hold him or his associates accountable for any acts of constitutional hardball or other illegalities practiced during his term in office.

If the NSA program and the Torture Memos were examples of the second round of constitutional hardball, the Libby commutation and Harriet Meiers’ refusal to testify before Congress are examples of the third round. Although his Presidency now seems to be a failure, Bush’s third round of constitutional hardball may be every bit as important as the first two. That is because if Bush is never held accountable for what he did in office, future presidents will be greatly tempted to adopt features of his practices. If they temper his innovations and his excesses only slightly, they will still seem quite admirable and restrained in comparison to Bush. As a result, if Congress and the public do not decisively reject Bush’s policies and practices, some particularly unsavory features of his Presidency will survive in future Administrations. If that happens, Bush’s previous acts of constitutional hardball will have paid off after all. He may not have created a new and lasting constitutional regime, but he will have introduced long-lasting weaknesses and elements of decay into our constitutional system.

This administration is by far the worst that America has ever seen. But it is far more dangerous than that. Their policies and their use of raw power has done serious and potentially permanent damage and harm to the rule of law and the Constitution. Note for example the audacity of Sara Taylor claiming her oath to the president rather than to the Constitution. When corrected, now how smugly she replied:

Leahy: And then you said, I took an oath to the President, and I take that oath very seriously. Did you mean, perhaps, you took an oath to the Constitution?

Taylor: Uh, I, uh, yes, you’re correct, I took an oath to the Constitution. Uh, but, what–

Leahy: Did you take a second oath to the President?

Taylor: I did not. I–

Leahy: So the answer was incorrect.

Taylor: The answer was incorrect. What I should have said is that, I took an oath, I took that oath seriously. And I believe that taking that oath means that I need to respect, and do respect, my service to the President.

Leahy: No, the oath says that you take an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. That is your paramount duty. I know that the President refers to the government being his government — it’s not. It’s the government of the people of America. Your oath is not to uphold the President, nor is mine to uphold the Senate. My oath, like your oath, is to uphold the Constitution.

This was an unscripted moment showing the reality of the raw power employed by the Bush administration. Loyalty is NOT to the Constitution, but to the president. Because the real raw power is not in the Constitution, but in Bush and Cheney. Note also Cheney’s ludicrous claim that is was not part of the executive branch, and thus cannot be held in check by any rules or regulations. These are but a few examples of the raw power employed by the Bush administration. (Heck, let’s not even bring up Scooter Libby!).

What can be done? At this point we must continue to reveal the secrets, show Americans just how much the Bush administration is not for the Constitution they took an oath to uphold. Continue forcing them to explain themselves. History will be the judge. If the administration attempts to start a fight with Iran, we must take to the streets and say NO! It won’t do much to actually stop them, but that’s all we can do, unless we’re riping for a real revolution.

On Lies, Credibility Gaps, Friedman Units, Good Christian Conservatives Gone Bad, and Approval Ratings

July 10, 2007 at 12:51 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, Cheney, Congress, conservatives, corruption, Democracy, Evangelicals, family values, friedman units, George W Bush, Iraq, King George, Republicans, Revising History, secret combinations | 3 Comments

For any but the hardcore conservative, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is nothing but a proven liar. Well evidence has come to light showing just how badly he has lied to the American people and under oath to Congress. You see, in April 2005 he testified to Congress the following:

“There has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse.”

When talking about the FBI’s new powers under the Patriot Act. Well, that was a lie.

As he sought to renew the USA Patriot Act two years ago, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales assured lawmakers that the FBI had not abused its potent new terrorism-fighting powers. “There has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse,” Gonzales told senators on April 27, 2005.

Six days earlier, the FBI sent Gonzales a copy of a report that said its agents had obtained personal information that they were not entitled to have. It was one of at least half a dozen reports of legal or procedural violations that Gonzales received in the three months before he made his statement to the Senate intelligence committee, according to internal FBI documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The acts recounted in the FBI reports included unauthorized surveillance, an illegal property search and a case in which an Internet firm improperly turned over a compact disc with data that the FBI was not entitled to collect, the documents show. Gonzales was copied on each report that said administrative rules or laws protecting civil liberties and privacy had been violated.

The reports also alerted Gonzales in 2005 to problems with the FBI’s use of an anti-terrorism tool known as a national security letter (NSL), well before the Justice Department’s inspector general brought widespread abuse of the letters in 2004 and 2005 to light in a stinging report this past March.

This is America’s top law enforcer.

Next comes General Kevin Bergner, a Bush administration operative who is now the spokesman in Iraq who said the following:

The U.S. command in Baghdad this week ballyhooed the killing of a key al Qaeda leader but later admitted that the military had declared him dead a year ago.

The incident shows the eagerness of the command to show progress in dismantling al Qaeda at a time when Democrats and some Republicans are pressing President Bush to withdraw troops from Iraq. Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander, has declared al Qaeda enemy No. 1 in Iraq.

Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner began his Monday news conference with a list of top insurgents either killed or captured in recent operations. He said they had been eliminated “in the past few weeks” and were “recent results.”

“In the north, Iraqi army and coalition forces continue successful operations in Mosul,” he told reporters. “Kamal Jalil Uthman, also known as Said Hamza, was the al Qaeda in Iraq military emir of Mosul. He planned, coordinated and facilitated suicide bombings, and he facilitated the movement of more than a hundred foreign fighters through safe houses in the area.” All told, Bergner devoted 68 words to Uthman’s demise.

Uthman was indeed a big kill, and the military featured his death last year in a report titled “Tearing Down al Qaeda.”

The Bush Administration wishes so badly to inform us that we’re fighting “Al-Qaida in Iraq” that they are willing to tell us that they’ve killed the same guy again a whole year later. Anybody wonder why some of us do not trust a single word that comes out of the mouth of a military spokesman?

Friedman Units. Those fun six month periods so generously created by Mr. Tom Friedman of the New York Times, where the most vital period in our conflict in Iraq is always the “next six months.” Well, today is July 10. Six months ago, Bush unveiled his “surge” strategy. Let’s see what proponents said six months ago about this new strategy. (Courtesy of Atrios):

Senator Kerry and Michael O’Hanlon:

So my question to each of you, in sum, is if there isn’t sufficient evidence of this kind of summitry and diplomacy — if there isn’t a sufficient political process in place — and I want your judgment as to whether or not there is — will more troops have any chance of, in fact, getting what we want, or is it going to make matters worse? And if it does, where are we after putting them in in six months if it hasn’t worked? Mr. O’Hanlon?

MR. O’HANLON: Senator Kerry, very tough question. I like your idea of a ledger. On the positive side of the troop surge proposal, I would say we all know tactically there have never been enough troops in Iraq to clear and hold. So that’s the tactical argument for this case. It would have been a much more compelling argument three and four years ago than it is today, but I think it remains at some level in the plus column. On the negative column, of course, we know that there is no political resolution of these very sectarian divides —

Brigadier General James “Spider” Marks:

FOREMAN: Six months from now, are we going to look at this area right here where most of them are going to go and say we’re better off or worse off?

MARKS: We need to say we’re better off.

ZAHN: We need to, but will we?

MARKS: There are ways to achieve that. And it’s not mutually exclusive. It’s not a political solution better than a military solution. All of these are essential ingredients to a solution. So it’s not a military strategy.

CBS News:

Pentagon officials expect US troops to stay in the streets for about six months before turning security over to the Iraqis. `If it hasn’t happened in six months,’ one official said, `we’ll know it’s not working.

Tim Russert:

Unless considerable progress is made in Iraq in a relatively short time, you will see Republicans crossing over and joining Democrats in challenging his Iraq strategy in a bipartisan way. This is a dead serious six months we’re approaching.

Chris Matthews:

MATTHEWS: Well, I don`t think it`s his last stand. I think it`s the second to the last stand. I think asking for more troops suggests hope that if we try a little harder, it will work. I think the next go-around, six months from now, or a year from now, perhaps, you`ll see the president come back to the American people and say, give me one last shot at this. I think he has one more chance after this. It`s not the end of the game.

This is the second to the last battle, I believe, of this war politically. But I do believe his numbers will continue to go down. I think we`ll see casualties in the streets of Iraq, Baghdad. It`s going to be a bloody campaign and I don`t think it`s going to yield stability.

Michael O’Hanlon:

He has one last shot, and that’s the way to look at it, I think. It’s Hail, Mary time.

Mary Matalin:

But we will be able to know in the next six months, although the sustained effort has to take longer than six months.

David Kerley:

You know, we’ve talked about that before here, Sam, on this program, that this is, the President believes, his last shot.

Pat Buchanan:

BUCHANAN: He has said it this time. The last test is right now.

This is why I`m saying, look, this is the last chance for Maliki, the last chance for the Americans. The acid test is whether they go after the Mahdi army, which I think knows we will go after them. And that`s why I think it may very well run to earth for the next six months.

SCARBOROUGH: We have to — we have to do that. We have to go after al-Sadr. We have to go after the Mahdi army. And, if we are, in fact, trying to start a democracy over there, and bring justice to Iraq, then, we have to arrest or kill al-Sadr.

Who still believes these bamboozlers?

Next, Good Christian Conservatives Gone Bad. I give you Senator David Vitter of Louisiana. He is a person found on Deborah Palfrey’s list of persons seeking, uh, companions, yeah, that’s what they are called…

Funny thing is that Senator Vitter has been one of the most outspoken people on banning same-sex marriage, because it is destructive to the family and all. Blah Blah Blah. It’s truly a Shakespearean comedy of errors, especially when you put into perspective what his wife said back in 2000 when talking about President Clinton’s West Wing escapades with one intern named Monica:

Asked by an interviewer in 2000 whether she could forgive her husband if she learned he’d had an extramarital affair, as Hillary Clinton and Bob Livingston’s wife had done, Wendy Vitter told the Times-Picayune: “I’m a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary. If he does something like that, I’m walking away with one thing, and it’s not alimony, trust me.”

Heh, the good Senator should probably get a good iron chastity belt ready.

The ironic thing is that Senator Vitter got his position after Senator Livingston resigned after his affair was disclosed. Senator Livingston, as some may recall, was one of the strongest voices against Clinton’s White House escapades with one intern named Monica. Ironic indeed.

Finally, the news gets good for those who dislike Bush. His disapproval rating is as bad as Nixon’s. That’s right, no presidents have been as disliked than George W. Bush and Richard Nixon. Both have disapproval ratings at 66%. Nixon was lucky to have resigned when he did. Assuredly his numbers would have tanked even worse with impeachment proceedings going on. It is indeed a wonder how impeachment proceedings have not begun yet on George W. Bush, with all that has been said and done. But no worries, Bush still has 18 months to go even lower than Nixon and become America’s most hated president ever.

Visiting Our Nation’s Capital

June 27, 2007 at 7:11 am | Posted in American politics, Congress, Washington DC | 6 Comments

This past weekend my family and I visited Washington DC. It was my first trip to the capitol. I was in DC for the annual American Library Association Conference, and figured in bringing my family along so we could tour the city. I’ve blogged so much about the power brokers of DC that I was curious how I would feel walking around town. In all honesty, DC felt a lot like Bucuresti, the capitol of Romania, with grayish cement buildings reaching only a certain height.

The capitol building where Congress works, however, is a beautiful building.

The Capitol Building

My daughter enjoyed walking around the capitol…

Dan and Ava at the Capitol

…and even playing with a duck in the fountain in front of the capitol.

Ava and the Duck

I liked seeing the capitol building, especially as the day was a beautiful day.

The Capitol

I didn’t care much for the White House. Maybe it is the current occupants and the dark cloud they’ve placed over the building.

Iraq Will Miss Key Goals By September

May 29, 2007 at 9:50 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Congress, conservatives, Foreign Policy, George W Bush, Iraq, Military, Republicans, secret combinations, War | 2 Comments

But we knew this, because what goals have they actually reached even now? We were told back in January and February that in the “next few months” (the standard Friedman Unit is six months), we’d see signs of “success.” Well, eight Americans were killed just yesterday, Memorial Day of all days. Eight more Americans to remember in future Memorial Day celebrations.

The LA Times has details on just what Iraq will miss by September.

U.S. military leaders in Iraq are increasingly convinced that most of the broad political goals President Bush laid out early this year in his announcement of a troop buildup will not be met this summer and are seeking ways to redefine success.

In September, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, is scheduled to present Congress with an assessment of progress in Iraq. Military officers in Baghdad and outside advisors working with Petraeus doubt that the three major goals set by U.S. officials for the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki will be achieved by then.

Enactment of a new law to share Iraq’s oil revenue among Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish regions is the only goal they think might be achieved in time, and even that is considered a long shot. The two other key benchmarks are provincial elections and a deal to allow more Sunni Arabs into government jobs.

With overhauls by the central government stalled and with security in Baghdad still a distant goal, Petraeus’ advisors hope to focus on smaller achievements that they see as signs of progress, including local deals among Iraq’s rival factions to establish areas of peace in some provincial cities.

So in other words, the US military is going to attempt to gloss over some severe failures with small gains. Of course, Republicans and their dwindling supporters will try to further over-hype the significance of those small gains, while totally ignoring the severe failures. Well, hey Republican Senators and Congressmen, you better think clearly and rationally about that November 2008 election. A whole bunch of you are up for reelection. You want to win? Then give up your president. You want to stay in power and keep the Republican “dream” alive? Then give up your president. Give him up. Or, if you wish to keep your president, know, you will not survive the election as our representatives any longer.

Like A Scene out of the Godfather

May 16, 2007 at 11:09 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Congress, conservatives, corruption, George W Bush, neo-conservatives, NSA Warrantless Tapping, Republicans, secret combinations | 3 Comments

Wow, I don’t know who’s jaws did not drop at Comey’s testimony yesterday in front of the Senate. It is a must read, and must view. In fact, here is the video:

Continue Reading Like A Scene out of the Godfather…

To Democrats in Congress, a Warning: Restore Habeas Corpus

May 9, 2007 at 10:23 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Congress, Democrats, Republicans | Leave a comment

House Democrats are floating the possibility of tying the restoration of Habeas Corpus to the new attempt at funding the Iraq and Afghanistan war. Awesome. Do it guys! Do it now! Overturn the worst law to be passed under the Bush administration: The Military Commissions Act (or we can call it the anti-Habeas Corpus Act, or more appropriately, the Torture Act, or the I’m The American Dictator Act).

As Glenn Greenwald writes:

But none of that even matters. The right to be free of arbitrary executive imprisonment is — and, since the founding of America, always has been — a defining and distinguishing attribute of our country (notwithstanding shameful instances in our past where that right has been denied). All citizens — including, actually especially, those sent to represent the people in Congress — have an obligation to protect that right from government officials who seek to abolish it.

Having disgracefully abdicated that responsibility back in September because they wanted to win the midterm elections, Democrats — now that they have won — can cleanse their historic sin only by committing themselves, not symbolically but in actuality, to the restoration of habeas corpus. Whether they are willing to do so will speak volumes about their true character and about whether their November victory will result in anything other than some televised hearings. If Democrats are too afraid even to take a stand against the Bush administration in defense of this centuries-old core American liberty, it is impossible to imagine any even minimally risky stands they are willing to take.

Democrats were quite cowardly back in September. They do have a chance now to save face, to do what is right. They have the votes. Force it back on the President. Let him threaten another veto, this time, vetoing the right of habeas corpus. Let it be public. Let the world know where the President of the United States, one George W. Bush really stands, publicly and clearly. If he chooses to veto this, he will go down in history as vetoing the right of habeas corpus. What President of the United States wishes to have that tied to his legacy?

Do it, Democrats! No more cowering.

Americans, contact your Congressional Representatives. Let them know you stand for the right of habeas corpus. Force this right back where it belongs.

Write Your Representative

Contact Nancy Pelosi’s Office

Washington Office:
235 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-0508
Phone: (202) 225-4965
Fax: (202) 225-8259

Contact Senator Harry Reid’s Office

Washington Office:
528 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-2803
Phone: (202) 224-3542
Fax: (202) 224-7327

Let them know you are behind it. Let them know the people demand their rights back.

Americans Disapprove of Bush’s Veto

May 8, 2007 at 3:37 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Congress, Democrats, Iraq, Republicans, violence, War on Terror | 2 Comments

(UPDATED)

54% of Americans oppose Bush’s use of the veto last week, and most Americans trust the Democratic Congress over the White House on Iraq.

Unfortunately, the numbers are not where they need to be. Too many Americans are still being frightened by Bush and company’s rhetoric. How to break through that…yeah, that’s going to take some time. I really do think when Americans step back and look objectively at this period in their history, they will be ashamed of what has transpired since Bush and the Republicans came to power. Hopefully they will come to this realization quick enough to break the Republican party for decades to come.

(Update)

I like how Michael over at Discourse.net puts it:

I am part of the majority. Why is it so silent?

Silent or not, I do think that the electorate will take its revenge at 2008. Bush is making Hoover look good. And Hoover defined his party for over a generation. We’ll get the enablers.

Indeed we will.

What Would the Founding Fathers Do? and Other Matters

April 19, 2007 at 7:58 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, Cho Seung-Hui, Congress, Democrats, George W Bush, Iran, Iraq, liberals, McCain, Middle East, Military, nationalism, Republicans, secret combinations, violence, Virginia Tech, War, War on Terror, World Events | 9 Comments

( Updated )

Many things in the news today that are noteworthy. The first is the foolish childish John McCain joking about bombing Iran. Continue Reading What Would the Founding Fathers Do? and Other Matters…

Congress Has FINALLY Listened to the Will of the People

March 27, 2007 at 5:46 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Congress, Democrats, Iraq, Military | Leave a comment

The Senate, under Harry Reid’s leadership voted to reject a provision to remove the language from the House version of the military funding bill that calls for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq by 2008. Well done, Congress. You FINALLY listened to your constituents. Keep it up Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. You are doing a good job.

And yes, if George W. Bush vetoes this bill, he is essentially saying that he does not support the troops. Congress has approved the funding (well almost, the Senate still has to work out their version). If Bush doesn’t accept the funding, then it is HE who chooses not to support the troops. Congress did its part. The president must do his and sign this bill.

She’s Throwing Sand In Our Eyes

March 27, 2007 at 7:26 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Congress, Democracy | 2 Comments

Underling Monica Goodling, a Justice Department official under Gonzales, subpoenaed to testify in front of Congress this week has refused to testify, claiming the Fifth. Her justification is pretty flimsy: Continue Reading She’s Throwing Sand In Our Eyes…

A Slow Monday

March 26, 2007 at 11:24 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Congress, Great Britain, Iran, Military, World Events | 8 Comments

Boy, I just don’t have much to talk about today. I wanted to share the following image taken from this article in Newsweek. I think it highlights exactly where the problem of corruption lies; not with Gonzales, but as you can see from the image, the man who walks next to him, in lock step, side by side, Fredo to his Michael. Just like in the Godfather Part II, the real corruption was with Michael all along, not just Fredo.

Looks like we’ll still be seeing Fredo, I mean Gonzales around until at least April, when he is to testify in front of Congress. He’s got about two weeks to tweak his lie well enough in front of Congress. We’ll see what happens.

Otherwise, in the news, Iran still holds those 15 British sailors. Britain demands their release, and the US is thankfully staying silent. Not much else. A slow Monday.

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