Thursday, August 31, 2006


Let me explain something to the Republicans. When you start a war, it is and should be the number one story every day in the news, until it’s over. Americans are in harm’s way every single day at your bidding. People, often innocent civilians, are killed every single day. This war is rightly hung around your necks because you wanted it and forced it upon the country. Don’t whine now
[Glenn Greenwald] Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist sat for an interview with bloggers Captain Ed and Powerline's John Hinderaker and Scott Johnson. Sen. Frist gave many notable answers, but the most notable, by far, was his complaint that Democrats are putting the "spotlight" on the war in Iraq . . .

[Frist]: I think what they’re doing – it’s such a political problem – is that they’re taking the spotlight and doing whatever they can to focus that spotlight on Iraq . . .

Why this focus on Iraq scares the Republicans so much
In the study, half of the respondents were asked questions about President Bush and the war in Iraq before answering questions about the Senate race, and half were asked about the Senate race first. Among those respondents who were asked about Bush and Iraq first, [Democrat] Menendez held a two point advantage, 41 to 39 percent. But among the respondents who were not primed to think about the war in Iraq, [Republican] Kean held an 11 point advantage, 47 to 36 percent.

[Matt Stoller] When voters hear Iraq, they think Democrats are strong. When voters hear nothing or they hear terrorism, they think Republicans are strong. There will be an October surprise of some sort, either a ramping up of Iran or just jawboning. We know it. So let's just get ready and make sure that this election is about 'the overseas war on terror', ie. Iraq, and not who's tough enough to turn America into a complete security state.

Bush gears up for (are you ready?) ANOTHER public relations blitz to build up support for the war in Iraq
[Steve Benen] It's like a football coach who only knows how to call one play. . .

As the WSJ noted, this latest series of speeches will be "the president's third major round of Iraq addresses in less than a year." Indeed, the whole strategy is looking awfully familiar. Consider this item from the Washington Post, under the headline, "Bush Goes on Offensive To Explain War Strategy":

President Bush plans to begin a series of speeches next week again explaining the administration's strategy for winning the war in Iraq, as the White House returns to a familiar tactic to allay growing public pessimism about the war that has helped keep the president's approval rating near its historic low.

That was from March, though it might as well have been from this morning.

To be fair, there are subtle differences between these "major public-relations offensives." The first round of speeches — let's call them the "don't believe your lying eyes" series — sought to convince Americans that the war effort really isn't a disaster. The second round tried to emphasize that the president really does have a plan to succeed; we just have to be patient.

This third try will emphasize what Republicans everywhere will be saying between now and the first Tuesday in November: this is bad, but the alternative is worse. (In other words, expect to hear "If we leave before the mission is done, the terrorists will follow us here" quite a bit.) . . .
[Ezra Klein] I'd love to know which "major public-relations offensive to strengthen support for the Iraq War" we're at now. Is this the fifth? The seventh? The twelfth? Because while Rummy accuses Democrats of "campaigning on fear" (see, irony's not dead!) and Bush denounces all of us who eventually want to stop running Iraq, I'm getting, well, bored. This is the third set of major speeches Bush has given on the issue this year, and the song and dance remains the same. We can't abandon the mission, we must stay the course, any sort of orderly withdrawal or redeployment is catnip for terrorists, and so on. . .

The White House explains its new PR offensive (once again intentionally blurring the War in Iraq with the War Against Terror)
Q What is different about this particular push than the previous three over the past year, and even before that, dating all the way back? He's always highlighted the high stakes involved. He's always highlighted the fact that there needs to be an ability to adapt to the enemy and fight in different ways. What is different about this one?

MS. PERINO: Our nation is heading into the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, and it is important that the President be talking to the American public about this war that we didn't start . . .

[NB: This WHAT??!??]

Great story from Ron Suskind’s new book
"In mid November 2004, a few weeks after the President's reelection... Cheney wanted a portion of a particular CIA report declassified and made public. [CIA analytical chief Jami] Miscik knew the report - it was about the complex, often catalytic connections between the war in Iraq and the wider war against terrorism. The item the Vice President wanted declassified was a small part that might lead one to believe that the war was helping the broader campaign against violent Jihadists. The report, she knew, concluded nothing of the sort. To release that small segment would be willfully misleading. She told the briefer to tell Cheney that she didn't think that was such a good idea. The Vice President expressed his outrage to Porter Goss."

Porter Goss then had one of his deputies call the analyst and tell her "Saying no to the Vice President is the wrong answer."

Here it comes: The Big Lie
President Bush warned on Monday that Democrats might cut off funding for Iraq if they win control of Congress in November . . .
President Bush and his surrogates are launching a new campaign intended to rebuild support for the war in Iraq by accusing the opposition of aiming to appease terrorists and cut off funding for troops on the battlefield, charges that many Democrats say distort their stated positions.

Bush suggested last week that Democrats are promising voters to block additional money for continuing the war. Vice President Cheney this week said critics "claim retreat from Iraq would satisfy the appetite of the terrorists and get them to leave us alone." And Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, citing passivity toward Nazi Germany before World War II, said that "many have still not learned history's lessons" and "believe that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased."

Pressed to support these allegations, the White House yesterday could cite no major Democrat who has proposed cutting off funds or suggested that withdrawing from Iraq would persuade terrorists to leave Americans alone. . . .

[NB: Yes, my friends, those treasonous Democrats plan to leave our brave men and women stranded in the hot sands of the desert with no boots, no bullets for their guns, no food, no body armor (oops – drop that one). . .

Once again we see how vicious these liars really are. Here’s the truth of the matter:
The most explicit proposal to end the U.S. deployment to Iraq has the backing of only 17 out of the 201 House Democrats. . . That House measure, the “End the War in Iraq Act of 2005,” (H.R. 4232) was proposed by Rep. Jim McGovern, D- Mass. and would simply cut off funding for the Iraq deployment, except for money needed for "the safe and orderly withdrawal" of U.S. soldiers.]

Iraq might be ready to take over security duties in 12-18 months, U.S. general says (and that’s supposed to be the GOOD news)
[Chris] Wow, like we haven't seen enough of this routine. Does Casey think that the American public is a bunch of idiots? Same, same and it's getting really old. . .

Keith Olbermann on Rumsfeld: just go, listen or read it for yourself
The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.

Donald S. Rumsfeld is not a prophet. . . [don't miss it!]

I try to avoid shrillness and hyperbole here, but these same maniacs really do want to stage an attack against Iran

Here’s how bad it is: even ever-reasonable and moderate Matt Yglesias blows his stack
The Iran debate has really become rather surreal. You have the "Islamofascist" locution jumping from the fever swamps of rightwing punditry into the mouth of the President of the United States. You have the Secretary of Defense issuing dire warnings of another Munich. These things are being done by the exact same people who, four years ago, were utterly dismissive of claims that invading Iraq was likely to serve Iranian interests better than American ones. Indeed, you have the exact same people who two years ago were assuring us that it made sense to commit American blood and treasure to fight Sunni insurgents on behalf of Iranian-backed Shiite militias now saying we need to commit more blood and treasure in Iraq to stop . . . Iranian-backed Shiite militias. . .

And then there's the small matter that our purported would-be Hitlers in Teheran were trying to reach a comprehensive peace agreement with the United States as recently as 2003. Their proposal was rejected by the Bush administration. Not rejected, I remind you, because the Bushies found the details of the proposal inadequate and Teheran refused to compromise further. No! It was rejected without any effort at negotiation because, at the time, the administration was busy threatening to overthrow the government of Iran as the second or third item in an ambitious plan to overthrow every government in the region. . .

I'm sorry to have gone on at such great length here, and a little nervous about stepping outside the "sensible" zone with my commentary on this topic, but somebody needs to call bull$#*t on the prevailing elite consensus about Iran. Of course it would be better to find a way to persuade, cajole, whatever Iran out of going nuclear -- the spread of nuclear weapons is, as such, bad for the USA. But there's no need -- absolutely no need -- for this atmosphere of panic and paranoia.


What the HELL is going on here?!
From a reader who covers the White House: "So, I’m reading Powerline, as I do every day. And I’m skimming Hinderaker’s account of meeting with Frist … and suddenly I see it. 'He tells a chilling story of receiving a call from President Bush a week before the recent British airline bomb plot was disrupted. The message at that time, communicated to less than a handful of top federal officials, was that a terrorist plan was known to be in progress which could kill several thousand Americans, but there was no assurance that it could be stopped.' Um, beg pardon? Can this be true? Bush told Frist fully one week before the bust that there as some kind of plot that 'could kill several thousand Americans'? Why would Bush provide such useless, vague information with zero security value? Did Frist ask for any more information? Who else was told that 'there was no assurance that it could be stopped'? Any Congressional Democrats on that call list?"

The Goofus Files
BRIAN WILLIAMS: . . . Do you have any moments of doubt that we fought a wrong war? Or that there's something wrong with the perception of America overseas?

BUSH: Well those are two different questions, did we fight the wrong war, and absolutely -- I have no doubt -- the war came to our shores, remember that. We had a foreign policy that basically said, let's hope calm works. And we were attacked.

WILLIAMS: But those weren't Iraqis.

BUSH : They weren’t, no, I agree, they weren't Iraqis, nor did I ever say Iraq ordered that attack, but they're a part of, Iraq is part of the struggle against the terrorists. Now in terms of image, of course I worry about American image. We are great at TV, and yet we are getting crushed on the PR front. I personally do not believe that Saddam Hussein picked up the phone and said, “al-Qaida, attack America.” . . [read on]

The public has lost interest, but do you remember all the excuses from the Bush gang about how narrowly focused their warrantless spying program was?
[Holden] Note that in this case both ends of the telephone conversations (which were illegally eavesdropped upon without a warrant) were within the United States despite Bush Assministration claims that they only eavesdrop sans warrant on calls where one party is located abroad. . .

As I often repeat here, Rove 101 says, “always accuse others of what you yourself are guilty of”


The kind of people they are (part 1)
Hey Commie:

Imagine my chagrin when I used a search engine to find commentary about myself, and there was your shallow, dilettante, asshole self, labeling me a "white supremacist."

Being the shallow, nigger-loving dilettante that you are, you probably DO consider niggers to be your equal (who am I to question this?): Yet, unlike you and your allies, I have an I.Q. in excess of 130, which grants me the ability to objectively evaluate the Great American Nigro (Africanus Criminalis.). . . [more of the same deleted] . . .

I honestly pray to God that some nigger fucks, kills and eats you and everyone you claim to love!

Earl P. Holt III
4029 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO
63110-3621 . . .
George Allen [R-VA] speaking today . . . "You can tell a lot about people by the folks they stand with" . . .

He’s not the only one:

The kind of people they are (part 2)
[WP] A federal judge on Tuesday allowed an anti-affirmative action proposal to go before Michigan voters despite agreeing that it won a place on the November ballot through widespread fraud. . . . Opponents said the advocacy group misrepresented the referendum's ultimate aims while petitioning to put the issue on the ballot. The group submitted more than 508,000 voter petition signatures, far more than the 317,517 required by state law. The ballot wording approved by the state elections director twice refers to a ban on "affirmative action," a phrase that did not appear on the group's petition.

[Avedon Carol] A group formed calling itself "the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative" and collected signatures on "a civil rights petition". Nothing on the papers informed signers that the initiative was for an anti-Affirmative Action proposal. The judge agrees that this was fraud but allows the proposal onto the ballot anyway despite the fact that it is not the proposal petition-signers were led to believe they were supporting.

Corporate killers
[Andrew Rice] The WP, following a Boston Globe scoop, fronts a piece that says that scientific studies have determined that the amount of nicotine in cigarettes increased an average of 10 percent between 1998 and 2004. The cigarette companies say they have no idea how it could have happened. A judge in a recent federal lawsuit determined that the companies have "designed their cigarettes to precisely control nicotine delivery levels." More nicotine makes cigarettes more addictive and harder to quit.

Joe Lieberman SAYS he doesn’t want to undermine the Democratic cause. But what does he say when it is pointed out that his increasingly cozy relationship with Connecticut Republicans could jeopardize a Democratic takeover of the House?
"They should have thought of that during the primary, but here we are."
[Chris Bowers] I have watched the video, which is difficult to stomach and which I will not reproduce here since it is Faux News, and there seem to be two ways to read this quote. One reading would be that Lieberman thinks that instead of voting their conscience, Democratic primary voters should have instead capitulated to his threats to leave the party. The other reading is that the party establishment, which gave their complete support to Lieberman during the primary, should never have allowed the primary to happen in the first place. Either way, Lieberman clearly views his run as revenge against Democrats for actually engaging in party democracy. So, either voters should be swayed through threats, or votes should not be allowed to take place. No matter which reading is accurate, Lieberman's sheer disdain for democracy is overwhelming. As far as he is concerned, democracy is only useful as long as it allows you to remain in power, and now he is just a tough parent punishing bad children who actually had the gall to vote for someone else. This is pure, arrogant, aristocracy, through and through.

Is Lieberman riding off into the sunset?

Well, it’s official – it was Ted Stevens (R-AK) who issued that secret hold which blocked a bill calling for open disclosure of govt grants and contracts (and whose exposure, by the way, is a great victory for grassroots efforts on the net). And Stevens is without question one of the worst abusers of the system. But wait, it gets better: his reason for blocking it?
[Justin Rood] Why did Alaska GOP Sen. Ted Stevens (the $250 million "Bridge to Nowhere" Ted Stevens) say he's holding up a $15 million proposal to create transparency in government spending?

He's worried about the cost.
But Sen. Coburn's spokesman John Hart questioned Stevens' motive. "The only reason to oppose this bill is if he has something to hide," Hart said. . .

Do you think it’s just an accident that Ken Tomlinson, after bringing a more conservative bent to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, was rewarded with a new job in the State Dept even after being fired for misconduct at CPB?
Mr. Tomlinson was ousted from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting last year following a separate inquiry that found evidence that he had violated rules meant to insulate public television and radio from political influence. . .

[Steve Benen] We're dealing with a man who has lied, schemed, and politicized his way through nearly three years of government service. But let's not forget one key detail: he's still working in the administration, in a key diplomatic post.

Nearly a year ago, Tomlinson resigned from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, after a series of amateurish scandals. Yet, despite all of his humiliating hackery at the CPB, Karl Rove also made Tomlinson the head of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, an independent government commission that oversees the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty, and Radio Sawa and its sister TV network, Alhurra — making Tomlinson a key person in America's international diplomacy.

As Franklin Foer explained in a very good TNR piece a year ago, Tomlinson has run the BBG just as he ran the CPB, "purging the bureaucracy of political enemies, zealously rooting out perceived 'liberal bias,' and generally politicizing institutions that have resisted ideological intrusions for decades."

And now he's been caught, again, misusing government resources and violating government personnel policies. How long will the White House stand by this clown?

[NB: Steve’s a pretty smart guy – but he misses the point here. Tomlinson is doing EXACTLY what they want him to be doing, and they will keep him in harness as long as they can, until the law or public pressure force them to get rid of him]

Lazy journalism
[Cleveland Plain Dealer] In a county that proudly paints itself political red, where about 70 percent of voters backed President Bush in 2004, Nathan Estruth showed up at a park Saturday morning to hear the blue people.

In particular, he wanted to listen to Ted Strickland, the Democratic candidate for governor who, with U.S. Senate candidate Sherrod Brown, was headlining a three-day bus tour promoting the party's statewide ticket in some of Ohio's most Republican counties.

Estruth, a father of four who typically votes Republican, milled in the back of a partisan crowd of about 100. . . At the urging of a friend, he came to give the Democrats, who have been out of power in Ohio for more than a decade, a chance to win his vote. . .

After the 40-minute rally, Estruth said he was not ready to vote Democratic. He was put off, he said, by their harsh rhetoric.

"I wanted to see if he was an executive with clear plans for fixing the state," he said about Strickland. "What I got was partisan talk. He confirmed my worst fears."

[Kos] So, um, who is Nathan Estruth? The president of Common Sense Ohio, a Blackwell-allied group running hundreds of thousands of attack ads across Ohio targetting Strickland.

And the dumbass reporter Mark Maymik at the Cleveland Plain Dealer represented him as an unbiased regular voter.

More lazy journalism
State Department official source of Plame leak

[NB: Lazy because (1) while Armitage was a source, possibly even the first source to discuss Plame with reporters, he wasn’t the only source; (2) Armitage wasn’t the one who told Novak that Plame was a CIA operative, and (3) Armitage wasn’t the person to start intentionally circulating the Plame/Wilson connection within the government: that was Libby (presumably at Cheney’s bidding)]
[Jeralyn Merritt] The Times says this ends the mystery. I disagree. The question remains of whether there was a concerted effort to use Valerie Plame Wilson's undercover or classified employment status with the CIA in an attempt to smear Joe Wilson. . .

[NB: And also whether there was a concerted effort to cover up the conspiracy through lying and convenient forgetfulness – which is what has Libby in trouble, not the leak itself]


Will we ever know the truth of what happened in the Ohio 2004 presidential vote?
“We’re not claiming that what we found reveals a huge conspiracy,” Mr. Rosenfeld said. “What we’re claiming is that what we found at least reveals extremely shoddy handling of ballots, and there are some initial indications of local-level ballot stuffing.”

In Miami County, Mr. Rosenfeld said, the team found discrepancies of 5 percent or more in some precincts between the people in the signature books and the certified results. . .

Ann Coulter calls for the murder of another public official

Are people wising up to the scam? Fox News ratings “dropping precipitously”

If you don’t think the traditional media is threatened by the bloggers, look at the lengths this article goes through to paint the whole blogosphere as a bunch of whacked-out nuts


Bonus item: Here is the subversive, dangerous, highly offensive Arabic t-shirt that got a young man kicked off an airplane (thanks to Ahmad S. for the link)

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


It’s all they have left
[Robert Steinback] The perception that Bush's popularity grows as the threat of terrorism rises remains a powerful one, particularly with Vice President and chief White House ideologue Dick Cheney. If news reports are correct, Cheney both pressured the British to reveal their investigation earlier than they felt necessary, then used this prior knowledge to try to frighten U.S. voters inclined to support anti-Iraq war candidates like Ned Lamont, who upset Sen. Joe Lieberman in Connecticut's recent Democratic primary.

This perception is built on the notion that a frightened, trembling America is a pro-Bush America. . .

But that was back when most Americans hadn't yet grasped that conventional warfare isn't the prescription for fighting terrorism. Kicking butt militarily felt real good for a while. That was before it became clear the extremist enemy had devised a counter-strategy previously tested against the Soviet Union: Bog down the opposing military machine far from home, then wear it down psychologically through expensive and bloody attrition.

Americans aren't falling for this ''only more war can protect you from the evil terrorists'' routine as easily as they once did . . .
[Matt Yglesias] Accepting the Bush administration's view that the more dangerous the Bush administration makes the world the more we need to keep on keepin' on with the Bush approach is . . . absurd.

First up, Dick Cheney
"I know some have suggested that by liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, we simply stirred up a hornet's nest. They overlook a fundamental fact: We were not in Iraq on September 11th, 2001, and the terrorists hit us anyway."

[Steve Benen] Cheney has been using this one quite a bit, and it's a fascinating example of multi-layered dishonesty. First, relying on the straw-man tack the White House is so found of, Cheney insists critics of the war in Iraq believe the U.S. "simply stirred up a hornet's nest." Has anyone actually made this argument? No matter; Cheney can't be bothered with details.

Second, you'll notice, of course, that the VP is once again subtly connecting the war in Iraq and 9/11. He's quite fond of doing so.

And third, the more I think about Cheney's argument, the more wanton it appears. To follow the VP's logic, the Middle East has been a hornet's nest for a while, long before 9/11. As he sees it, does this mean there was nothing wrong with invading Iraq under false pretenses and hitting the hornet's nest with a stick for a while?

Then, Don Rumsfeld goes even farther
[Tim Grieve] Proving that he can still show Dick Cheney a thing or two, Donald Rumsfeld offered up what Matt Yglesias calls the "full wingnut monte" in a speech before the American Legion today.

Among the secretary's insights:

The war president: "We are truly fortunate to have a leader of resolve at a time of war. Through all the challenges, he remains the same man who stood atop the rubble of lower Manhattan, with a bullhorn, vowing to fight back."

The big questions: "We need to face the following questions: With the growing lethality and availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased? Can we really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists? Can we truly afford the luxury of pretending that the threats today are simply 'law enforcement' problems, rather than fundamentally different threats, requiring fundamentally different approaches? And can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America -- not the enemy -- is the real source of the world’s trouble?"

The straw-man arguments: "The struggle we are in is too important -- the consequences too severe -- to have the luxury of returning to the old mentality of 'Blame America First.'"

And finally, the let's-forget-that-whole-civil-war-thing finale: "In Iraq, a country that was brutalized and traumatized by a cruel and dangerous dictatorship is now undertaking the slow, difficult, and uncertain steps to secure a new future, under a representative government -- one that is at peace with its neighbors, rather than a threat to their own people, their neighbors, and to the world."
[Matt Yglesias] For his latest trick, in a speech to the American Legion, Don Rumsfeld gives the full wingnut monte. America faces an undifferentiated fascist menace. Bush's critics are appeasers who don't understand the lessons of history who blame America first and hate freedom. The media is treasonous and a free press is a luxury we can ill-afford in this time of crisis. Etc.

This, I think we can assume, is the fall campaign. The idea is to psyche the Democrats out. To make them think they can't win an argument about foreign policy. To make them act like they can't win an argument about foreign policy. And to thereby demonstrate to the American people that even the Democrats themselves lack confidence in their own ability to handle these issues. . . .

[Steve Benen] If you missed Donald Rumsfeld's remarks today. . . you missed the Defense Secretary at his least sensible. This guy was on a roll, lashing out at "quitters," who "cannot stomach a tough fight" and are inclined to "blame America first." Throw in a few straw-man attacks and some sycophantic praise for the president and you get the idea. It was quite a string of bumper-sticker slogans. . . [read on]

Rumsfeld, creator of a Pentagon office designed to disseminate fake news, says that a gullible media is his biggest nightmare
"That's the thing that keeps me up at night," he said during a question-and-answer session . . . "They are actively manipulating the media in this country" by, for example, falsely blaming U.S. troops for civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.

Oh really?
The platoon commander for the squad of Marines who killed as many as two dozen Iraqi civilians during an attack in Haditha last year recommended later that the sergeant who led the attack receive a medal for his heroism that day, according to military documents.

Rumsfeld: we’re ready to take on an additional war if necessary

Harry Reid responds
Secretary Rumsfeld’s reckless comments show why America is not as safe as it can or should be five years after 9/11. The Bush White House is more interested in lashing out at its political enemies and distracting from its failures than it is in winning the War on Terror and in bringing an end to the war in Iraq. If there's one person who has failed to learn the lessons of history it's Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld ignored military experts when he rushed to war without enough troops, without sufficient body armor, and without a plan to succeed. Under this Administration's watch, terror attacks have increased, Iraq has fallen into civil war, and our military has been stretched thin. We have a choice to make today. Do we trust Secretary Rumsfeld to make the right decisions to keep us safe after he has been so consistently wrong since the start of the Iraq War? Or, do we change course in Iraq and put in place new leadership that will put the safety of the American people ahead of partisan games? For the sake of the safety of this country, it is time to make a change.

Learning from history?
Rumsfeld Says War Critics Haven’t Learned Lessons of History

Yeah, right:

Matt Yglesias traces the Bush gang’s war policies to what he calls “The Green Lantern Theory.” I believe it can be traced to a somewhat different historical precedent. . . .
Up at Cato Unbound you can find Reuel Marc Gerecht's latest argument for bombing Iran. . . . Like a lot of conservative writing on foreign affairs it puts a huge amount of weight on things like will, resolve, and perceptions of strength and weakness. It's a view of things that reminds me of nothing so much as the Green Lantern comics, which I enjoy a great deal but regard as a poor guide to national security policy.

As you may know, the Green Lantern Corps is a sort of interstellar peacekeeping force . . . with the most powerful weapon in the universe, the power ring. . . . The ring is a bit goofy. Basically, it lets its bearer generate streams of green energy that can take on all kinds of shapes. The important point is that, when fully charged what the ring can do is limited only by the stipulation that it create green stuff and by the user's combination of will and imagination. . . .

Suffice it to say that I think all this makes an okay premise for a comic book. But a lot of people seem to think that American military might is like one of these power rings. They seem to think that, roughly speaking, we can accomplish absolutely anything in the world through the application of sufficient military force. The only thing limiting us is a lack of willpower.

What's more, this theory can't be empirically demonstrated to be wrong. Things that you or I might take as demonstrating the limited utility of military power to accomplish certain kinds of things are, instead, taken as evidence of lack of will. Thus we see that problems in Iraq and Afghanistan aren't reasons to avoid new military ventures, but reasons why we must embark upon them: "Add a failure in Iran to a failure in Iraq to a failure in Afghanistan, and we could supercharge Islamic radicalism in a way never before seen. The widespread and lethal impression of American weakness under the Clinton administration, which did so much to energize bin Ladenism in the 1990s, could look like the glory years of American power compared to what the Bush administration may leave in its wake."

I don't even know what else to say about this business. It's just a bizarre way of looking at the world. The wreakage that the Bush administration is leaving in its wake is a direct consequence of this will-o-centric view of the world and Gerecht takes it as a reason to deploy more willpower.
[Atrios] Rumsfeld fully embraces the Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics.

[WP] Rumsfeld said there was no doubt the United States could win militarily in Iraq if it stayed the course. . . . "The important question is not whether we can win. Of course we can win. We won't lose a single battle," he said. "But do we have the will?"

Triumph of the Will:

Reason #8492 for being in Iraq: to help prevent the civil war that our invasion and mismanagement precipitated

Yes, the Washington media may be sick and tired of the trivial matter of the govt lying to dupe the country into a bloody, costly, and unnecessary war – but fortunately, not everyone is. A comprehensive timeline from Mother Jones (thanks to Kevin Drum for the link)

Who said this?
"Let me make a generalized statement about a trend I see in the U.S. Congress that I find disturbing, that applies not only with respect to the Iranian situation but a number of others as well . . . I think we Americans sometimes make mistakes . . . There seems to be an assumption that somehow we know what's best for everybody else and that we are going to use our economic clout to get everybody else to live the way we would like."

Irony alert!
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday that Iraq's future would depend on its enforcing the rule of law, but only its people and political leaders could decide what type of law that would be.

Gonzales said after meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh that they had discussed the use of "extraordinary measures," referring to policies toward prisoners and detainees. He added that the U.S. would not tell Iraq how to handle the issue.

"It is difficult to decide what is appropriate now and what is allowed under the law. This decision will be made by the Iraqi government," Gonzales said. He did not offer specifics or elaborate. . .


Are we surprised? The latest terrorist bombing scare in the UK “may have been” a bit exaggerated

The failure of the levees in New Orleans, Bush tells us, is yet another reason why we need more off-shore drilling!

Bush’s economy
[WP] A measure of U.S. consumer confidence slid in August to a nine-month low as worries about job growth and the economy overshadowed the Federal Reserve's recent pause in some two years of raising interest rates . . .
Median earnings are down, the number of uninsured is up. . .
[Steve Benen] Earlier this year, the Bush administration announced that it no longer saw any reason for the Census Bureau to keep producing its annual report on poverty and income. It may be the only government survey that researchers how income changes affect their poverty status, health coverage, and use of government services, but the Bush gang decided policy work could be done just as well without it.

Fortunately, the report survived administration opposition and was released today. Given the results, it's not hard to understand why Bush wanted to keep the results hidden. . .

Since 2000, Americans have been getting poorer, and national rates of severe poverty have climbed sharply, according to a study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. . .

Armitage admits Plame role

What we now know (and don’t know)

Once a crook, always a crook: more trouble for Ken Tomlinson
State Department investigators have found that the head of the agency overseeing most government broadcasts to foreign countries has used his office to run a “horse racing operation” and that he improperly put a friend on the payroll. . . The report said that the official, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, had repeatedly used government employees to perform personal errands and that he billed the government for more days of work than the rules permit. . .

Mr. Tomlinson, a Republican with close ties to the White House, was ousted last year from another post, at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, after another inquiry found evidence that he had violated rules meant to insulate public television and radio from political influence.

George Allen’s racist pals: “The first rule of Macaca Club is, you do not talk about Macaca Club. The second rule of Macaca Club is, you DO NOT talk about Macaca Club. . .”


Another lying scandal for Bill Frist (R-TN) – and this one may cost him
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist acknowledged Tuesday that he may not have met all the requirements needed to keep his medical license active — even though he gave paperwork to Tennessee officials indicating that he had. . .

Haven’t had much here on the Bob Corker (R) vs Harold Ford (D) Senate race in Tennessee. Even when the Republicans may not be corrupt, they have a way of acting like it (thanks to Buzzflash for the link)
What Is Corker Afraid Of?
That is the question most folks in Tennessee are asking these days as Bob won't release his full tax returns and he won't agree to debate Congressman Ford. Cleary, he is afraid of something, but what? . . .

Narrowing the list of who put the “secret hold” on the govt openness and accountability bill

Is he the one?

The latest ploy to try to retain Tom DeLay’s seat for the Republicans


[NB: Here’s my question – are they INTENTIONALLY causing confusion (cf “butterfly ballots”) in order to set up an election appeal?]

We’ve been reviewing likely Democratic pick-ups in the House and Senate: here’s the latest on governor’s races

Just yesterday I was ranting about the wrongness of having the heads of state re-election committees for Bush, like Katherine Harris (FL) and Ken Blackwell (OH), also serving in their capacity as Secretaries of State to oversee the elections and vote-counting. It really is outrageous. Well, thanks to Avedon Carol we learn that someone is doing something about it
"Finally, there's a focused and innovative national campaign against Republican voter suppression, voter intimidation, and voter fraud: Secretary of State (SOS) Project," says Glenn Smith at MyDD. And yes, it sure seems like something that should have started immediately after Katherine Harris' partisan tricks as Secretary of State in Florida. It should not be possible to put the head of a candidate's local campaign in charge of running the election, but this is what's going on in our country, and it shows.

“The SoS campaign will allow us to contribute to candidates who will fight these undemocratic forces. How often do we talk to discouraged progressive voters who back away from participation because they believe the elections are rigged by suppression, or by voting machines that provide no auditable paper trail? Well, now we can tell them there's a national effort aimed precisely at that problem.”

No, they don’t practice racial profiling: but don’t try to wear a t-shirt with Arabic writing on an airplane

Bush’s book club

The Goofus Files
We need to get homes available for people. A renewed New Orleans is a New Orleans with new homes. Everybody understands that. The people here, and those who have left, they all tell me one thing -- particularly those who -- "I miss New Orleans," is what they say. . . [read on]

Events like the JonBenet Ramsey feeding frenzy are beyond our scope here – but the media’s taste for sensationalism and gullibility have larger implications
[Steve Benen] TV "news" devoted as much as 15 times more coverage of the bogus Ramsey arrest, while the New York Times devoted 13 reporters to Karr's hoax and two to the NSA case. . . . The degree of the screw-up is breathtaking. . .

[NB: As if this will make them act any differently the next time. . . ]

Bonus item: Kyra Phillips (CNN) makes a fool of herself (thanks to Crooks and Liars for the link)

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Remember in June when Prime Minister Maliki of Iraq negotiated a national reconciliation plan that included a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops? My, did the Bush gang rush to put a lid on THAT notion – and of course, we see how well national reconciliation has gone without that condition. Well, darn if that pesky Prime Minister isn’t at it again


Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki predicted it "will not be long" before US troops can start withdrawing from his country but would not commit to a timetable. . . .

[Andrew Rice] It's been an exceptionally bloody couple days everywhere in Iraq: "Over all, more than 100 Iraqis were killed Sunday and Monday," according to the NYT, including at least 13 in a Baghdad car bombing. Which somewhat takes the wind out of yesterday's lead LAT story, which was headlined: "Deaths Drop in Iraqi Capital." . . .

The “backdoor draft”

Ah, those dastardly “some people”
[Dick Cheney] "Some in our own country claim retreat from Iraq would satisfy the appetite of the terrorists and get them to leave us alone," Cheney told a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention . . . [read on]

We can play this game too:

Dick Cheney: more powerful even than you think
[NB: read it all, but get this] And at this point, accountability is tough because Cheney prefers total secrecy. When The American Prospect's Robert Dreyfuss requested the names of people who serve on the vice president's staff, he was told this was classified information. Seriously — public aides, on the public's payroll, working for a public official, have to be kept secret. Why? Because Cheney says so.


George Bush, bully boy (thanks to Avedon Carol for some of the links)
The U.S. news media always makes light of George W. Bush’s tendency to put down others through disparaging comments about their personal appearances or by assigning them silly nicknames. It’s just the “inner frat boy” coming out, we’re told. . . [read on!]

The kind of man he is:
The former FEMA chief cited what he called an e-mail "from a very high source in the White House that says the president at a Cabinet meeting said, 'Thank goodness Brown's taking all the heat because it's better that he takes the heat than I do.'" . . .

During a trip to West Point on June 1, Bush pulled White aside for a private talk. "As long as they're hitting you on Enron, they're not hitting me," said Bush. . . .

[NB: This says it all, doesn’t it? What would you say about a person like this in any other walk of life? What would you say if a friend talked this way? Now imagine this is your President]

Bush on the couch:

This has been said before, but not usually so well: one of the classic Rovean themes is that rain AND no rain are good news for them – they can’t lose, they will argue it either way. And the media are happy to play along
[Glenn Greenwald] One of the important points you learn from listening to political pundits is that every event and every controversy is always good for the Republicans. No matter what the controversy is -- even if it arises from the President's getting caught breaking the law -- the more it's talked about, the more political benefits will accrue to the Republicans, because most Americans are on their side. . . .

When the NSA scandal first broke, Bush's approval ratings were in the high 40s. . . . I recall those days all too well. The NSA scandal was going to be Bush's political salvation. It would shift the debate back to terrorism, where they always win. Americans are too simplistic and stupid to care about the rule of law or privacy. They only want to cheer on the swaggering, sometimes-reckless Cowboy as he smashes the Bad Guys with machismo and grit. . . The White House did everything possible to convince journalists that they welcomed the NSA scandal because it would be so politically beneficial for them. . . [read on!]

This is very strange. Apparently, Bin Laden is on the FBI “Most Wanted” list – sure, no surprise. But he’s on it for the U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa on Aug. 7, 1998, not for 9/11

More efforts to turn Democrats into Republicans Lite

From Greg Palast (c/o Susan Madrak) – a great report on how “accountability” for the failures of Katrina is proceeding
[Greg Palast] Here’s the key thing about a successful emergency evacuation plan: you have to have copies of it. Lots of copies — in fire houses and in hospitals and in the hands of every first responder. Secret evacuation plans don’t work. . . Specifically, I’m talking about the plan that was written, or supposed to have been written two years ago by a company called, “Innovative Emergency Management.”

Weird thing about IEM, their founder Madhu Beriwal, had no known experience in hurricane evacuations. She did, however, have a lot of experience in donating to Republicans. . .

While in Baton Rouge, I dropped in on the headquarters of IEM, the evacuation contractors. The assistant to the CEO insisted they had “a lot of experience with evacuation” — but couldn’t name a single city they’d planned for when they got the Big Easy contract. And still, they couldn’t produce the plan. . .

It’s been a full year now, and 73,000 New Orleanians remain in FEMA trailers and another 200,000, more than half the city’s former residents, remain in temporary refuges. . . . Should they come home? Rebuild? Is it safe? Team Bush assures them there’s nothing to worry about: FEMA won’t respond to van Heerden’s revelations. However, the Bush Administration has hired a consulting firm to fix the failed evacuation plan. The contractor? A Baton Rouge company named “Innovative Emergency Management.” IEM.

Accountability starts at the top:

How they play it: hiding government spending so that the federal budget looks more balanced – just until the elections

The Big Story about this fall election is the prospect for a Democratic takeover in Congress – but you wouldn’t know that from reading the news

The latest count: 15-20, maybe 25 gains in the House:

The kind of people they are: Rhode Island edition

George Allen (R-VA) steps in macaca . . .
James Webb (D) 47.9
George Allen (R) 46.6

You could call John McCain (R-AZ) a prostitute, but that would be a terrible slur against prostitutes. . . .
MCCAIN: I believe that the “Christian Right” has a major role to play in the Republican Party. One reason is because they’re so active and their followers are. And I believe they have a right to be a part of our party. I don’t have to agree with everything they stand for, nor do I have to agree with everything that’s on the liberal side of the Republican Party. If we have to agree on every issue, we’re not a Republican Party. I believe in open and honest debate. Was I unhappy in the year 2000 that I lost the primary and there were some attacks on me that I thought was unfair? Of course. Should I get over it? Should I serve — can I serve the people of Arizona best by looking back in anger or moving forward?

RUSSERT: Do you believe that Jerry Falwell is still an agent of intolerance?

MCCAIN: No, I don’t. I think that Jerry Falwell can explain how his views on this program when you have him on.
[Tucker Carlson] McCain ran an entire presidential campaign aimed primarily at journalists. He understood that the first contest in a presidential race is always the media primary. He campaigned hard to win it. To a greater degree than any candidate in thirty years, McCain offered reporters the three things they want most: total access all the time, an endless stream of amusing quotes, and vast quantities of free booze. . . . I saw reporters call McCain "John," sometimes even to his face and in public. I heard otherse, usually at night in the hotel bar, slip into the habit of referring to the Mccain campaign as "we"- as in, "I hope we kill Bush." It was wrong, but it was hard to resist.

More unanswered questions on the Armitage/Plame story: something’s not quite right about the published accounts

If the White House wants their press secretaries to retain ANY credibility with the press, they’d better start giving them better information

Remember the “secret hold” one lone Senator used to block a bipartisan bill requiring more openness on govt grants and contracts? The folks over at TPM Muckraker are using the resources of the blogosphere to find out who it was (although of course it depends on 100 Senators all telling the truth, so . . .)

Bonus item: The respect he deserves

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Monday, August 28, 2006


On asking Democrats what they would do to fix the mess in Iraq
[Chris Murphy, D-CT] "It is like dropping a raw egg and asking me what my plans are for putting it back together," said Chris Murphy, the Democrat challenging Rep. Nancy L. Johnson (R-Conn.). Murphy favors bringing home National Guard and reserve units, or about 25,000 of the 138,000 U.S. troops stationed in Iraq, beginning next year, and leaving it to Bush's military commanders to determine the rest of the exit strategy.

Joe Lieberman, of course, thinks it’s much simpler than that
“I believe that the best way for us to win the war in Iraq is to come together - the administration, Congress, and Republicans and Democrats - to find a solution that will allow our troops to come home with Iraq united and free, with the Middle East stable and the terrorists denied a victory.”

[NB: Thanks, Joe – we’ll get right on that]

As we linked yesterday, Republicans are publicly distancing themselves more and more from Bush’s war in Iraq (and privately express even greater fury over the mess it has become). But the media narrative is “Republicans united, Democrats divided,” so of course they have to shape a story that fits that theme
Democrats Split Over Timetable For Troops

In fact:
[Dem from CT] So here's the deal, editors. Let's make it simple for you.

1. Stay the course is a failure that has led to civil war. Democrats are united in wanting a course correction.

2. There's no easy way for the egg to be put back, but never forget it was the fumble-prone President who dropped it.

3. Clean-up is messy, but necessary. Get the kids out of the kitchen who made the mess, and put the grownups back in charge, or the mess will never get cleaned up.

4. There are several plans being discussed, from Feingold's to Murtha's to the position statement by Dem leadership to the idea floated last week by Byman and Pollack (who at least acknowledge civil war). The public does not demand a finished product by November. They do demand serious work and effort on the task. That includes oversight, which this Congress has never implemented. And it includes accountability (Pollack forgot to include himself, by the way, although Rumsfeld's head seems to be first in line these days).

5. How we got there is vitally important to cover. It's not old news because it will affect how we deal with Iran. Unless we understand fully the mistakes made in Iraq, we will make them again.

Now how hard was that?

If consistency, factual evidence, and intellectual honesty meant anything, most right-wing pundits would have been ignored long ago – yet somehow they keep being taken seriously
[Glenn Reynolds, “Instapundit”] HOW LIKELY ARE YOU TO DIE WHILE SERVING IN IRAQ? About half as likely as Americans back home, reports the Washington Post. . . [read on!]

[NB: Ergo, Iraq is safer than here! Get it?]

Is it civil war yet?

Bush policies ARE giving birth to a new Middle East: and here’s what it looks like (thanks to Ahmad S. for the link)

Iranian sanctions can’t work – here’s why

New questions raised about the Armitage/Plame story (from the forthcoming book, Hubris): does it get Libby off the hook, or implicate him even more deeply?
[Newsweek] In the early morning of Oct. 1, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell received an urgent phone call from his No. 2 at the State Department. Richard Armitage was clearly agitated. As recounted in a new book, Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, Armitage had been at home reading the newspaper and had come across a column by journalist Robert Novak. Months earlier, Novak had caused a huge stir when he revealed that Valerie Plame, wife of Iraq-war critic Joseph Wilson, was a CIA officer. Ever since, Washington had been trying to find out who leaked the information to Novak. The columnist himself had kept quiet. But now, in a second column, Novak provided a tantalizing clue: his primary source, he wrote, was a "senior administration official" who was "not a partisan gunslinger." Armitage was shaken. After reading the column, he knew immediately who the leaker was. On the phone with Powell that morning, Armitage was "in deep distress," says a source directly familiar with the conversation who asked not to be identified because of legal sensitivities. "I'm sure he's talking about me."

[Swopa] "I'd start with the odd claim that Armitage didn't realize his apparently crucial role until reading Novak's October 1, 2003 column."

[Laura Rozen] If Armitage told Justice Department investigators about his role in the leak to Novak back in October 2003, how come Fitzgerald didn't include it in his timeline?

It’s still Libby!
[David Corn] The Armitage leak was not directly a part of the White House's fierce anti-Wilson crusade. But as Hubris notes, it was, in a way, linked to the White House effort, for Armitage had been sent a key memo about Wilson's trip that referred to his wife and her CIA connection, and this memo had been written, according to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, at the request of I. Lewis Scooter Libby, the vice president's chief of staff. Libby had asked for the memo because he was looking to protect his boss from the mounting criticism that Bush and Cheney had misrepresented the WMD intelligence to garner public support for the invasion of Iraq.

The memo included information on Valerie Wilson's role in a meeting at the CIA that led to her husband's trip. This critical memo was--as Hubris discloses--based on notes that were not accurate. (You're going to have to read the book for more on this.) But because of Libby's request, a memo did circulate among State Department officials, including Armitage, that briefly mentioned Wilson's wife. . . [read on]

Libby, if we recall, met with Armitage the week before his meeting with Woodward -- and it was Libby that requested a State Department backgrounder as to how Joe Wilson came to be sent to Niger. . . .

Is Colin Powell being set up?
[John Aravosis] And now the Bush crowd is getting one last dig at Powell even though he's already out of the picture. Will Powell respond, or yet again take the fall for an administration that never fully trusted him? Stay tuned. . .
Powell, Armitage and Taft, the only three officials at the State Department who knew the story, never breathed a word of it publicly and Armitage's role remained secret. . .

You knew, you just KNEW, that the Bush gang would respond to the Supreme Court decision that rejected their Guantanamo tribunals with stalling, secrecy, and minimal changes to create a patina of “reform.” Well, sure enough. . .

The kind of little story that is happening with more and more frequency now, and no one seems to notice
[Glenn Greenwald] This article from the San Francisco Chronicle details the truly amazing story of two U.S. citizens -- a 45-year old resident of the San Francisco area and his 18-year old son -- who, after travelling to Pakistan, have been barred by the Bush administration from re-entering the country. They have not been charged with any crime, and no court has ordered or even authorized this denial of entry. The administration is just unilaterally prohibiting these two Americans from re-entering their country. . . According to the article, the two Americans have already submitted to an FBI interview, but one of them -- the American-born 18-year-old -- "had run afoul of the FBI when he declined to be interviewed again without a lawyer and refused to take a lie-detector test. " For those actions -- i.e., invoking his constitutional rights to counsel and against self-incrimination -- he is being refused entry back into his country. . .

Yesterday, the head of the Army Corps of Engineers admitted that the repaired levees in New Orleans still might not withstand a major storm. So, of course you had to expect a major push-back on the Sunday talk shows
[Don Powell, Office of Gulf Coast Rebuilding] There is a widespread coordination, and I think we're ready. There's no question in my mind, we're ready . . There's been an extraordinary amount of effort by the Corps of Engineers on restoring and repairing the levees, and I believe that the levees are ready for the hurricane season.

The US Chamber of Commerce as a front organization
[AP] The pharmaceutical industry quietly footed the bill for at least part of a recent multimillion-dollar ad campaign praising lawmakers who support the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, according to political officials.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims credit for the ads, although a spokesman refused repeatedly to say whether it had received any funds from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. . . .

The Democrats have ABC (Anybody But Clinton), but a lot of Republicans are desperate to find an alternative to John McCain too. Here are some likely candidates

The kind of people they are
[DK] More bigotry from our enlightened Republican friends. This time it is Steve Laffey, candidate for U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, whose white sheet is showing, in columns he penned while in college in the early 1980s. . . [don’t miss it!]

“We are all macacans now” (thanks to Avedon Carol for the link)

Katherine Harris (R-Disneyworld) “clarifies” her comments on religion and politics
[AP] Separation of church and state is "a lie we have been told," Harris said in the interview, published Thursday, saying separating religion and politics is "wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers."

"If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin," Harris said. . .

The comments reflected "her deep grounding in Judeo-Christian values," the statement said, adding that Harris had previously supported pro-Israel legislation and legislation recognizing the Holocaust.

Mark Kleiman shows why this excuse just won’t do

Poor, poor Katherine – here’s how bad it has gotten

I can’t tell you how happy this makes me: Ken Blackwell (R-OH), whose shenanigans in Ohio were the 2004 version of Harris’s in Florida 2000, also seems headed for a humiliating defeat

[NB: Gee, why should we be upset when the HEADS of Bush re-election committees are also the people supervising the elections and counting votes?]

Wow. More on Republican election nullification: in a close, contested election in California, Republican Brian Bilbray apparently defeated Francine Busby, Democrat. The results were, as expected, challenged. But before a recount could take place. . .
[Avedon Carol] The story so far is that Brian Bilbray flew to DC and got sworn in well before the results of his special election race against Francine Busby were certified. You'll recall that his alleged victory was not only razor-thin, but also highly questionable. There are still those who don't buy it, and not without good reason. But Dennis Hastert swore Bilbray in on 13 June, though the election was still being audited more than two weeks later, after which an election contest was filed.

So, why are we bringing this up now, when everyone has already forgotten about it. Well, how about this:

On July 31, 2006, the Contestants filed an election contest, seeking a hand recount and to invalidate the election on several grounds, not only including the affirmative evidence of irregular results, but also including the stonewalling of citizen information requests and the pricing of recounts at an estimated $150,000 that made it difficult or impossible for any citizen to tell who won the election.

On August 22, 2006 the defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that the swearing in of Bilbray deprives everyone else of jurisdiction including specifically the San Diego Superior Court because Art. I, sec. 5 of the US Constitution has been held to mean that the House and Senate are the judges of the Qualifications of their Members, one of those qualifications is supposed to be "election."

So what we're hearing is that, because Bilbray rushed to Washington and was sworn in illegally, that invalidates any challenge to what may have been a completely false result, and thus no one can question that result, review the ballots, or anything else to verify the election. (So, how far are we from Republicans who lose elections simply flying to DC, getting illegally sworn in, and...?)

I'd really like to know why just about no one is paying attention to this. Have we already given up on that whole "election" thing?

Bonus item: “Let’s bomb Iran”

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Happy anniversary. One year after Katrina, the start of hurricane season, and they STILL haven’t fixed the levees properly

More on the Bush gang’s attempt to make Iran (not Iraq) THE issue of the fall elections

Watch the Republicans run
In todays issue of the Los Angeles Times Johanna Neuman takes a look at defections within the Republican Party over the issue of the Iraq War. . .

They love us, they REALLY love us
91.7 percent of Iraqis oppose the presence of US troops in their country--a nearly 20 percent increase since 2004. A big majority thinks the US is in their country for the oil.

Lindsay Beyerstein coins a useful new word
War widows take note, when the president deigns to give you a private audience, know your place. Your job is to be hugged, and that's it.

Be warned that you must not, under any circumstances, take advantage of your face time with the prez to ask serious intellectual questions.

"He said, `Terrorists killed three thousand people, we had to go to war.'" Halley continued to me. "I said, `Well, who put the Taliban into power? The United States did.' He said, `I'm not going to have a philosophical debate over politics.'

Obviously, if the Big Man wanted an abstract moral discourse, he would have gone to your husband's funeral and listened to the pastor.

Remember, grieving widows, even if the president gets you alone in a room, it's not about you, or your "arguments" about the duties Christians who commit nearly unforgivable sins but who retain the power to mitigate harms to innocents, if only they can transcend their bitter egos and walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

You're hugmeat. Got it?

Maureen Dowd has always been fascinated with the patricidal aspects of George Bush’s uneasy relationship with his father – but has it lately gotten worse?

It’s now more or less confirmed: it was Richard Armitage, Colin Powell’s #2 at the State Dept, who started the whole Plame business. Will this buttress the Rove/Libby defense that there wasn’t a coordinated effort to out her?
[Swopa] [I]f the real story of the Plame outing was as simple as Armitage telling Novak everything, and Novakula then getting a terse confirmation from Rove and going to press, it makes very little sense for Fitzgerald's investigation to unfold as it has. So it's probably safe to assume that things didn't happen that way . . . I've harped repeatedly on the fact that Novak has avoided saying clearly whether his conversation with his so-called primary source was actually the first time he'd learned about Joe Wilson's wife working for the CIA. Why did the now-indicted Lewis "Scooter" Libby tell so many lies to the FBI and the grand jury about what he knew regarding Plame's identity if he played no role in that information being passed along to Bob Novak? And why did Libby tell Ari Fleischer the exact information that Novak would attribute to his primary source just one day before Novakula met with Armitage? It seems to me that this mystery hasn't been fully resolved yet.
[Jeralyn Merritt] Fitzgerald has long thought Armitage did nothing criminal. Yet, he indicted Libby anyway and almost indicted Rove. Novak's original column wasn't just gossip about Joe Wilson. It outed Valerie Plame as a CIA operative. But Newsweek reports Armitage didn't know Plame's employment was classified.

It's curious to me that Fitz is giving Armitage and Rove a pass, but not Libby. Why? I think it has to do with the July 12 flight to Norfolk. Fitz has not yet closed his investigation. I suspect Cheney is still in his cross-hairs. And Ari Fleischer is a key witness against Libby. Somehow, I suspect Ari Fleishcher has given more to Fitzgerald than we know.

[NB: What this says to me is that conspiracy, perjury, and cover-up are still the significant legal issues, not the original outing.]

How the system works. A bipartisan bill “that would create a searchable database of government contracts, grants, insurance, loans and financial assistance” is blocked by a single Senator. Who was it? You’ll never know

This man is simply too stupid to be believed. George Allen (R-VA), after all this, explains the macaca mess to a friendly whites-only audience, WINKS, then says how “sorry” he is

The state of race relations in this country – is racism okay again?
Fellowship Baptist Church in Saltillo, Mississippi, voted out a 12-year-old boy who "asked Jesus to live in his heart" at the church two weeks ago. Why the ban? Joe is biracial, and church members didn't want the black side of his family attending with him. . . They were "afraid Joe might come with his people and have blacks in the church," church pastor John Stevens told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. . .
Nine black children attending Red River Elementary School were directed last week to the back of the school bus by a white driver who designated the front seats for white children. . .


Barack Obama (D-IL) goes to Kenya with his wife, has an AIDS test to make a point of showing people there is nothing to fear from being tested. How does the Free Republic cover the story?
[CNN] U.S. Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, publicly visited a clinic and took AIDS tests Saturday in Kenya, where fear and social stigmas have slowed progress in fighting the disease. . . .
TOPICS: News/Current Events

Further reflections on Katherine Harris’s (R-Disneyworld) loony statement that electing non-Christians to public office means “in essence you are going to legislate sin.” So does this mean that Jews and Muslims shouldn’t be elected? Where does she stand on Joe Lieberman?

The religious right goes ballistic over FDA approval of Plan B, the morning after pill,8599,1333925,00.html

The sorry state of American journalism
West Coast: Dick Cheney said he was stuck with the grave decision of whether to shoot down the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania or not. The recently released NORAD tapes confirm that the government first knew of the flight one minute before it went down. Is Cheney lying, again. . . ?

Jonathan Weisman [Washington Post]: If I can get him on the phone, I will query him. Cheney's statements present a quandary for us reporters. Sometimes we write them up and are accused of being White House stenographers and stooges for repeating them. Then if we don't write them up, we are accused of being complicit for covering them up. So, all you folks on the left, what'll it be? Complicity or stenography?

[Jamison Foser] We can't speak for all the "folks on the left," but we suspect most of them would choose "Option C: Journalism."

Indeed, several participants in the online discussion made exactly that point. As one put it: "[R]esearch and intelligent questions based on said research that makes up 'Reporting'. Retyping statements without research is 'Stenography'. Avoiding asking tough questions because it makes your original stenography look really, really bad is 'Complicity'." Weisman, showing nothing but contempt for his readers -- and, though it seems he didn't realize it, for his profession -- responded with a series of churlish comments like "Please apply for my job" and "Sometimes, you folks really drive us nuts."

We can assure Mr. Weisman that the feeling is mutual.

Read the entire transcript of Weisman's chat here for a perfect illustration of many of the problems with journalism today. . .

Sunday talk show line-up
FOX NEWS SUNDAY: Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.); federal Coordinator of Gulf Coast Rebuilding Donald E. Powell; New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas; AOL co-founder and Revolution Health Group Chairman Steve Case.

THIS WEEK (ABC): Powell; Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.); former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown; science educator Bill Nye.

MEET THE PRESS (NBC): FEMA Director R. David Paulison; New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin.

FACE THE NATION (CBS): Paulison; Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R).

LATE EDITION (CNN): Powell; Sens. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) and Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.); Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D); Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki; Lebanese philanthropist Fouad Makhzoumi.

Bonus item: Whoa-ho! Don’t compare Rush Limbaugh to the bloggers – that makes him angry
[T]hese people are just flat out loonies; they are insane kooks, these left wing blog types. . .

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