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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Why Mike Huckabee Cannot Be The Next President

December 5, 2007 at 12:13 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, George W Bush, Mike Huckabee, Republicans | 9 Comments

Man, all these Republican candidates really have some reprehensible beliefs/pasts/actions that just make them, well, reprehensible. Mike Huckabee is apparently no exception.

The basic gist of the story is this. Mike Huckabee was governor of Arkansas in 1996. A distant relative of Bill Clinton and the daughter of a major Democratic campaign contributor was raped by Wayne Dumond. He was tried and convicted. Conservatives went ballistic to have this man released. Mike Huckabee pardoned the rapist.

Within a year of being freed, Dumond traveled to Missouri, where he raped and killed another young woman, and was the lead suspect in another rape and murder case.

This is reprehensible. Yet another strike against compassionate conservatism. Yet another strike against conservative Christianism. Do these guys realize how much they shoot Christianity in the foot? Do they realize how much they make Christianity look barbaric and, well, UN-Christlike?

Republicans today have it really tough. The only candidate that even has any morals or principles he has consistently kept is Ron Paul. But he will ruin the country with his policies. It really is very sad what George Bush has done to this party.

Americans and Nation Building

November 15, 2007 at 12:52 pm | Posted in American politics, conservatives, corruption, Republicans, Revising History | Leave a comment

Mr. Robert Novak writes today about the ineffectual and dismal nation building going on in Iraq. He writes:

This faulty allocation of U.S. funds is part of a broader problem in Iraq: Americans are not good at nation-building. The huge embassy in Baghdad is run by Foreign Service officers on the same model as U.S. missions worldwide whose function is reporting, not managing. Similarly, legal policy in Iraq is handled by assistant U.S. attorneys who focus on arrest and detention.

I’m sorry Mr. Novak, as experienced as you are in Washington, you are still a hyper-partisan who would rather paint everybody bad than the Republicans. It is the Bush administration and the Republicans that are bad at nation building, not Americans. They may be Americans, but they do not represent all of America. And yes, they are indeed terrible at nation-building (heck you should have figured that out back before Bush was elected when he scorned and scorned nation building). But there are Americans who actually are quite good at nation building. They just don’t belong to the Republican party.

Excellent Commentary on Iraq, From Early On

November 5, 2007 at 4:40 pm | Posted in conservatives, corruption, Iraq, Republicans | Leave a comment

And another hit and run, in which is asked a most pertinent question:

I find myself with a few spare minutes and make the mistake of reading Thomas Friedman again. His conclusion after a long, dull and witless ramble about the introduction of “democracy” to Iraq (just what the Gulf region needs, more puppet states) reads “If [it is] done right, the Middle East will never be the same. If done wrong, the world will never be the same”. There’s not much you can say to that except “shut up you silly man”. But it does inspire in me the desire for a competition; can anyone, particularly the rather more Bush-friendly recent arrivals to the board, give me one single example of something with the following three characteristics:

1. It is a policy initiative of the current Bush administration
2. It was significant enough in scale that I’d have heard of it (at a pinch, that I should have heard of it)
3. It wasn’t in some important way completely fucked up during the execution.

It’s just that I literally can’t think what possible evidence Friedman might be going on in his tacit assumption that the introduction of democracy to Iraq (if it is attempted at all) will be executed well rather than badly.

This was asked in February 2003.

Why this administration is losing me on Iraq, in which it is clearly laid out in August 2003 that if the Bush administration would not increase troop size immediately, the mission would end up being a failure. An excellent analysis.

The D-Squared Digest One Minute MBA – Avoiding Projects Pursued By Morons 101, in which sound business principles are applied to show how foolish it is to follow Bush into war.

Operation Agent Snipe, in the which it is highlighted how we were bamboozled by the WMD trick to our great detriment.

finally, The duToitification of the Western Conservative, in which the wimpification of the modern Conservative is well highlighted.

Will Bush Follow Musharraf’s Lead?

November 5, 2007 at 5:31 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, conservatives, corruption, liberals, neo-conservatives, Republicans, secret combinations | 14 Comments

Juan Cole wonders:

If Bush and Cheney are ever tempted into extreme measures in the United States, Musharraf has provided a template for how it would unfold. Maintain you are moving against terrorists and extremists, but actually move against the rule of law. Rubin has accepted the suggested term of “lawfare” to describe this kind of warfare by executive order.

Realistically, how many conservatives would actually be upset if, say, Bush were to keep power and go around arresting liberals…

New Steps Toward War With Iran

October 25, 2007 at 5:43 am | Posted in Bush Administration, Iran, Republicans, secret combinations, War | 11 Comments

Keep an eye on this administration, everybody. They are slowly setting the stage for what will be called a “no-brainer” in Cheney’s words: war with Iran. We talk about it so much it will soon become an inexorable inevitability.

The Bush administration will announce a long-debated policy of new sanctions against Iran on Thursday, accusing the elite Quds division of the Revolutionary Guard Corps of supporting terrorism, administration officials said Wednesday night.

The administration also plans to accuse the entire Revolutionary Guard Corps of proliferating weapons of mass destruction, the officials said. While the United States has long labeled Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, the decision to single out the Guard reflects increased frustration in the administration with the slow pace of diplomatic negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Both designations will put into play unilateral sanctions intended to impede the Revolutionary Guard and those who do business with it. This is the first time that the United States has taken such steps against the armed forces of any sovereign government.

The action against the Revolutionary Guard, first reported by The Washington Post, would set in motion a series of automatic sanctions that would make it easier for the United States to block financial accounts and other assets controlled by the Guard. In particular, the action would freeze any assets the Guard has in the United States, although it is unlikely that the Guard maintains much in the way of assets in American banks or other institutions.

The decision will be announced jointly on Thursday by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the administration officials said. “This is going to be a broad and wide-ranging effort,” a senior administration official said. “We will be freezing assets, and there will be ripple effects of where we can go from there.”

And that is EXACTLY the point of this move. Where do you think they can go from here? The more the Bush administration takes these steps, the easier it will be for them to argue with Americans that that secret attack on Iranians they will be taking in a few months was absolutely necessary for your safety, America, even though it had nothing to do with your safety.

You are being bamboozled again.

Republicans Revive Plot to Steal California Votes

October 23, 2007 at 6:56 pm | Posted in American politics, conservatives, corruption, Elections, Republicans, secret combinations, Voter Suppression | 7 Comments

They are at it again.

See, the problem is that because of centuries of gerrymandering there are particular districts in each state that are safely in one camp or the other, and there is no getting around it. What Republicans want to do is steal California delegate votes. They want the 20 or so votes from safe Republican districts (which will tilt the overall vote count). The problem is that these Republicans do not want to do this nationally (say in Texas or Florida or Ohio), just California, the biggest electorate prize.

Of course if this is done nationally, then it would wholly ruin democracy, as the only districts that will even get candidates to show up are the very very few that still happen to be competitive. As it is right now, because of the outdated electoral college system, only a few states actually count in the general election (Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, etc). Voters in states like Massachusetts, Texas, New York, and California (not to mention all the small states like Rhode Island—very liberal—or Wyoming—very conservative—that will also not get any candidates stopping by, even though that was supposedly the purpose of the electoral college—to make smaller states competitive), do not count.

I believe that we must remove the electoral college system from our election process. Make the election truly representative of the plurality of voters.

$180 Billion Dollars For Iraq, ZERO Dollars For American Children

October 4, 2007 at 8:33 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, conservatives, corruption, family values, George W Bush, King George, McCain, Mit Romney, Mitt Romney, Republicans, Ron Paul | 12 Comments

DemFromCT puts it in perspective what Bush’s veto of the child health care bill really means.

George W. Bush is requesting $180 billion dollars for next year ALONE. The child health care bill would have cost $60 billion OVER FIVE YEARS. This is the priority of the Republican party. The four top contenders on the Republican side were all against this bill. Put them in office, America, and your children will never see health care. But you will see more warfare.

Oh and Ron Paul? What did he think? he voted against it.

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!

Romney to Address Secret Combination Group – the Council for National Policy

September 26, 2007 at 3:43 pm | Posted in American politics, conservatives, corruption, Evangelicals, Mit Romney, Mitt Romney, neo-conservatives, Republicans, secret combinations | 13 Comments

Showing that indeed he’s turned to the dark side and forever given up his moderate roots, Mitt Romney will speak to the extremist secret combination group, The Council for National Policy, where Dick Cheney will speak too. Here is what this group thinks:

“The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs, before of after a meeting,” the New York Times reported.

Hmmm, I wonder why…

What do they want?

In the summer of 1981, Woody Jenkins, a former Louisiana state lawmaker who served as the group’s first executive director, told Newsweek bluntly, “One day before the end of this century, the Council will be so influential that no president, regardless of party or philosophy, will be able to ignore us or our concerns or shut us out of the highest levels of government.”

Huh, sound familiar to y’all, my fellow Mormon readers?

The DailyKos diary I just linked to provides the most information about them, and is aptly titled Sith Lords of the Ultra-Right.

Get to know this secret combination, America. They’ve been ruling the country for twenty of the past twenty eight years.

You Will Be Bamboozled This Week, America

September 9, 2007 at 3:04 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, conservatives, corruption, Iraq, Military, Republicans, Revising History, secret combinations, United Nations, violence, War, War on Terror, World Events | 14 Comments

Let’s just be clear about all the obfuscation you will be hearing, all the muddying of the waters that you will hear this week from General Petraeus and Ambassador Corker. They are Bush loyalists, and will not tell you the truth.

First off is this little nugget in one report out today:

For two hours, President Bush listened to contrasting visions of the U.S. future in Iraq. Gen. David H. Petraeus dominated the conversation by video link from Baghdad, making the case to keep as many troops as long as possible to cement any security progress. Adm. William J. Fallon, his superior, argued instead for accepting more risks in Iraq, officials said, in order to have enough forces available to confront other potential threats in the region.

The polite discussion in the White House Situation Room a week ago masked a sharper clash over the U.S. venture in Iraq, one that has been building since Fallon, chief of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees Middle East operations, sent a rear admiral to Baghdad this summer to gather information. Soon afterward, officials said, Fallon began developing plans to redefine the U.S. mission and radically draw down troops.

One of those plans, according to a Centcom officer, involved slashing U.S. combat forces in Iraq by three-quarters by 2010.

They’re not planning at all to withdraw, or even reduce the size of our forces in Iraq before 2010. They’re in this for the long haul, whether you like it or not, America. Will you stand for this? They won’t care if a Democrat is in power in 2009. They’ll press on the lie to ensure more Americans are over in Iraq to die for…well, we’re not quite sure what. Some “victory” whatever the hell that means.

The second comes from this fascinating report about a UN report supposed to come out now. But notice what is going on:

The United Nations has delayed the release of a quarterly report on human rights in Iraq to avoid criticizing Washington and Baghdad while they are seeking to rally congressional and international support for the war effort, according to U.N. officials.

The move follows a request by Ryan C. Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, to Ashraf Qazi, the United Nations’ top envoy in Baghdad, saying Iraq needs “several weeks” to study the report, according to an account by a senior U.N. official. The delay will effectively postpone debate over the United Nations’ view of Iraq’s sectarian violence — and U.S. and Iraqi efforts to combat it — until after Crocker and Gen. David H. Petraeus deliver a crucial assessment of conditions in Iraq to Congress this week.

A draft of the U.N. report, which was completed last month, focuses primarily on violence committed by Iraqi militias and insurgents, according to U.N. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. But it also documents abuses by U.S. and Iraqi forces during more than four months of the U.S.-backed military buildup in Baghdad. It faults Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government, saying it lacks commitment to improving its rights record.

Gee, why would we want to avoid criticizing Washington and Baghdad while they’re trying to build support? Shouldn’t we know the full picture as they are trying to build support? Why hide? Doesn’t the truth set you free?

So just know America. You will be bamboozled.

Oh, and the political positioning by Republicans now is all about 2012. They’re pretty certain to lose 2008 to the Democrats and are trying to position the war so whatever Democratic leader starts in 2009 has a losing war to end, thereby creating the perfect opportunity for Republicans to come back in 2012 as the “saviors” of America from those dastardly liberals.

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!

Senator Larry Craig Reconsiders His Resignation

September 4, 2007 at 8:29 pm | Posted in corruption, Larry Craig, Republicans | Leave a comment

Well, that didn’t take long. It looks like Larry Craig no longer wishes to resign. Good for him!

She Stuck Her Tongue Out At Them

September 4, 2007 at 11:40 am | Posted in Alberto Gonzales, Bush Administration, corruption, Republicans, secret combinations | Leave a comment

Wow, Mrs. Ashcroft stuck her tongue out at Andrew Card and Alberto Gonzales as they left the hospital room. Is there anymore doubt about what the real purpose of Gonzales and Card coming to the hospital to get a signature from a dying John Ashcroft over that of Jim Comey? Read the following account from Jack Goldsmith’s book coming out:

Goldsmith also witnessed perhaps the most well-known confrontation over the administration’s aggressive tactics: the scene at Ashcroft’s hospital bed on March 10, 2004, when Gonzales and Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, visited the hospital to demand that the ailing Ashcroft approve, over Goldsmith and Comey’s objections, a secret program that was about to expire. (Goldsmith refuses to identify the program, but Robert S. Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, has publicly indicated it was the terrorist surveillance program.) As he recalled it to me, Goldsmith received a call in the evening from his deputy, Philbin, telling him to go to the George Washington University Hospital immediately, since Gonzales and Card were on the way there. Goldsmith raced to the hospital, double-parked outside and walked into a dark room. Ashcroft lay with a bright light shining on him and tubes and wires coming out of his body.

Suddenly, Gonzales and Card came in the room and announced that they were there in connection with the classified program. “Ashcroft, who looked like he was near death, sort of puffed up his chest,” Goldsmith recalls. “All of a sudden, energy and color came into his face, and he said that he didn’t appreciate them coming to visit him under those circumstances, that he had concerns about the matter they were asking about and that, in any event, he wasn’t the attorney general at the moment; Jim Comey was. He actually gave a two-minute speech, and I was sure at the end of it he was going to die. It was the most amazing scene I’ve ever witnessed.”

After a bit of silence, Goldsmith told me, Gonzales thanked Ashcroft, and he and Card walked out of the room. “At that moment,” Goldsmith recalled, “Mrs. Ashcroft, who obviously couldn’t believe what she saw happening to her sick husband, looked at Gonzales and Card as they walked out of the room and stuck her tongue out at them. She had no idea what we were discussing, but this sweet-looking woman sticking out her tongue was the ultimate expression of disapproval. It captured the feeling in the room perfectly.”

What kind of men go to the hospital to get approval from a dying man who relinquished his position of power to his number two? What kind of morals do those men have? What is their priority? These are the kinds of men that make hardcore conservatives like John Ashcroft look like a perfect angel. These are the kinds of men that have been running our country these past six years. Pray that this ends quickly.

Bush’s Legacy

September 4, 2007 at 10:25 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, George W Bush, Iraq, King George, Middle East, Republicans, Revising History, secret combinations | Leave a comment

If you have paid close attention these past six years to President Bush, you’ll learn one very important thing. He doesn’t like leaving behind a recorded trail that ties him to the bungling mess that was his creation. He wishes to remain accountable-free of all the messes he created. It is the only way he can justify that his actions are “right.” Most importantly, it is the only way he sees that his legacy will not be tarnished by his mistakes. He can’t have a recorded account of him admitting to anything bad. Abu Ghraib? Not his problem—those were the grunts’ fault. Torture? Certainly not his call. That’s the CIA’s baby. Losing Iraq? No way was it his fault. No, that’s the Democrats for not backing him fully. Every mistake is someone else’s fault in Bush’s eyes. Nothing can touch him.

So just this past week, when interviewed for the New York Times, Bush was asked about the policy of letting the Iraqi Army go free and unemployed, probably the worst decision of the war. What was Bush’s reply?

In an interview with Robert Draper, author of the new book, “Dead Certain,” Mr. Bush sounded as if he had been taken aback by the decision, or at least by the need to abandon the original plan to keep the army together.

“The policy had been to keep the army intact; didn’t happen,” Mr. Bush told the interviewer. When Mr. Draper asked the president how he had reacted when he learned that the policy was being reversed, Mr. Bush replied, “Yeah, I can’t remember, I’m sure I said, “This is the policy, what happened?’ ”

He can’t remember? The biggest, most important decision of post-war Iraq and he can’t remember? Or is it that he doesn’t want a recorded account of him actually saying that it really was his decision. Well, Paul Bremer, who is the man who executed that policy doesn’t apparently want to be Bush’s fall guy. He reveals that indeed, Bush KNEW.

A previously undisclosed exchange of letters shows that President Bush was told in advance by his top Iraq envoy in May 2003 of a plan to “dissolve Saddam’s military and intelligence structures,” a plan that the envoy, L. Paul Bremer, said referred to dismantling the Iraqi Army.

Mr. Bremer provided the letters to The New York Times on Monday after reading that Mr. Bush was quoted in a new book as saying that American policy had been “to keep the army intact” but that it “didn’t happen.”

The dismantling of the Iraqi Army in the aftermath of the American invasion is now widely regarded as a mistake that stoked rebellion among hundreds of thousands of former Iraqi soldiers and made it more difficult to reduce sectarian bloodshed and attacks by insurgents. In releasing the letters, Mr. Bremer said he wanted to refute the suggestion in Mr. Bush’s comment that Mr. Bremer had acted to disband the army without the knowledge and concurrence of the White House.

“We must make it clear to everyone that we mean business: that Saddam and the Baathists are finished,” Mr. Bremer wrote in a letter that was drafted on May 20, 2003, and sent to the president on May 22 through Donald H. Rumsfeld, then secretary of defense.

After recounting American efforts to remove members of the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein from civilian agencies, Mr. Bremer told Mr. Bush that he would “parallel this step with an even more robust measure” to dismantle the Iraq military.

One day later, Mr. Bush wrote back a short thank you letter. “Your leadership is apparent,” the president wrote. “You have quickly made a positive and significant impact. You have my full support and confidence.”

Kinda sucks for Bush when not all his players play the same game. Don’t they all know the rules of chess? The knight is supposed to fall and die for his king!

Let history judge correctly that Bush is at the heart of all the bad policies to have come out of our government these past six years. The buck does indeed stop with him and none other. His legacy is a failed Iraq. His legacy is a failed Afghanistan. His legacy is legalizing torture. His legacy is secret spying on Americans. That is the legacy of George W. Bush. His legacy is not peace. His legacy is not a stabilized Middle East. His legacy is not success. It is failure.

Senator Larry Craig’s Appointment, Jim Risch, is Also NOT Mormon

September 2, 2007 at 8:03 am | Posted in American politics, Christianity, Larry Craig, Republicans, secret combinations | Leave a comment

In my previous post on Larry Craig, my main point was to show that he is not a Mormon, because so many were asking that question on the web. Now that he is retiring, and will probably be replaced by Jim Risch, I want to point out that he too is not a Mormon. He is a Roman Catholic.

I also want to point to this great article on what Jim Risch thinks about residents of Louisiana in the wake of the worst natural disaster in our history. Jim Risch says:

“Here in Idaho, we couldn’t understand how people could sit around on the kerbs waiting for the federal government to come and do something. We had a dam break in 1976, but we didn’t whine about it. We got out our backhoes and we rebuilt the roads and replanted the fields and got on with our lives. That’s the culture here. Not waiting for the federal government to bring you drinking water. In Idaho there would have been entrepreneurs selling the drinking water.”

Good ol’ fashioned compassionate conservatism, eh? What’s worse, as Mark Schmitt writes:

Taken on its own terms, this is a cruel and unsympathetic statement, assuming that the deeply impoverished people of a city that had washed away could and should have just taken care of themselves. But if you look at what Risch was talking about, it’s truly astonishing.

The dam that broke in 1976 was the Teton dam, built on the Snake River just a few months earlier, at a cost of $100m. (That’s worth almost $500m today.) Built not by entrepreneurs, but by the federal government’s bureau of reclamation. It was built at the political insistence of a few millionaire ranchers and potato-growers, whose political allies had persuaded the government to build a series of dams that transformed a desert into some of the richest and wettest agricultural land in the country. And it was built despite predictions that it would fail.

And when it did fail, it was not the self-sufficient entrepreneurs of Idaho who “rebuilt the roads and replanted the fields.” It was, once again, the federal government. According to the government’s official history of the incident, federal agencies quickly rebuilt all the irrigation systems, and paid more than $850 million in claims to about 15,000 people who had lost property in the flood.

Seriously, what has happened to today’s conservatives? Where have their hearts gone? Where has their sense of reasoning gone? Is this really the kind of man that Idahoans want representing them? Apparently this is a better man than a closeted homosexual who really didn’t do anything wrong.

On Iraq, Scrap It and Let’s Start Over

August 31, 2007 at 5:35 am | Posted in America, American politics, conservatives, Iraq, Military, Republicans, secret combinations | Leave a comment

That’s what one panel says we should do about Iraq and the police.

The commission, headed by Gen. James L. Jones, the former top United States commander in Europe, concludes that the rampant sectarianism that has existed since the formation of the police force requires that its current units “be scrapped” and reshaped into a smaller, more elite organization, according to one senior official familiar with the findings. The recommendation is that “we should start over,” the official said.

….However, a new attempt to disband an Iraqi force would also be risky, given the armed backlash that followed the American decision to dissolve the Iraqi Army soon after the invasion of 2003.

As Kevin Drum notes:

This is becoming a comedy of the absurd. Scrap the Iraqi police force? Start over from scratch? Is this a joke? Even if we could do it, it means (a) putting 26,000 armed and pissed off Iraqis back on the street, (b) running the country without a police force until a new one is recruited and trained, and (c) spending two or three years building a replacement. And that’s the good news. The bad news is that there’s no reason to think the shiny new police force would be any better than the old one. It didn’t improve after all our efforts in 2006, after all. The unpleasant truth is that there’s a reason the police force acts essentially as an extension of the Shiite militias — namely that that’s exactly how the Shiite government wants it — and no reason to think that’s going to change anytime in the near future.

So let’s take stock. Pretty much everyone has lost confidence in Nouri al-Maliki, though there’s no replacement in sight who seems like a better bet. The police force is so corrupt that the best advice the Jones commission can offer is to disband it completely and start over from scratch. And the Iraqi army, after three years of intensive training designed by one Gen. David Petraeus, has a grand total of six battalions capable of operating on their own.

In other words, except for the fact that Iraq has a disfunctional government, a disfunctional police force, and a barely functional army, things are going great. I can’t wait to see how Crocker and Petraeus spin this into an argument for staying another four years.

So Much For Democracy in Iraq

August 30, 2007 at 7:12 pm | Posted in American politics, corruption, Democracy, Iraq, Republicans, secret combinations | 5 Comments

Looks like the Bush administration is going to contract out to Allawi to instigate a coup and overthrow a democratically elected government in Iraq.

Of course this is no surprise. Republicans have a long history of overthrowing democratically elected governments that don’t do what they are told by their American masters. (see Eisenhower’s support of Operation Ajax – the 1953 Iranian coup d’etat and Nixon’s support of the Chilean coup of 1973.).

But, well…just what are our American soldiers dying for if it wasn’t to bring democracy to Iraq?

Senator Larry Craig Is NOT A Mormon

August 29, 2007 at 8:12 am | Posted in American politics, conservatives, corruption, Larry Craig, Republicans | 7 Comments

I’ve seen comments galore across the blogs that seem to confuse this, but let’s be clear. Senator Larry Craig of Idaho is NOT a Mormon. He is a Methodist. You can see it on his wikipedia citation. This is not to say that there aren’t gay closeted Republican Mormons out there, nor to dispel the rumor that Republican Mormons try to abuse their positions of power (plenty do). But just to be factual. That’s all.

Hallelujiah Gonzales Resigns!!!

August 27, 2007 at 8:53 am | Posted in Alberto Gonzales, American politics, conservatives, corruption, Republicans | Leave a comment

This is about the best political news of the summer and a great step forward for America. Alberto Gonzales has resigned as the Attorney General. I guess the White House saw the writing on the wall, that this man was a complete liar who totally brought down this administration to depths not seen before. And also they probably realized that Congress was quite serious about impeaching the idiotic Gonzales.

Unfortunately, the damage has been done. The cleanup from the mess Gonzales made will take quite a while to fix. And I don’t think Chertoff is the man to do it. (then again, I do think that as long as Republicans are in power, there is no fixing of the mess this administration has left in its wake).

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald rightly calls on Democrats to force Bush to call someone truly independent to the position, and not someone like Michael Chertoff. It is time for the Democrats to really make a stand. Com’on guys, show some courage!

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