Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Arlen Specter (R-PA) says the right thing – now what will he do about it?
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee began laying the constitutional groundwork today for an effort to block President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq and place new limits on the conduct of the war there, perhaps forcing a withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.

They were joined by Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who led the panel for the last two years, in asserting that Mr. Bush cannot simply ignore Congressional opposition to his plan to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq.

“I would respectfully suggest to the president that he is not the sole decider,” Mr. Specter said. “The decider is a joint and shared responsibility.”

Mr. Specter said he considered a clash over constitutional powers to be “imminent.” . . .


Behind the scenes
The Bush administration’s allies in the Senate began a major effort on Tuesday to prevent a potentially embarrassing rejection of the president’s plan to push 20,000 more troops into Iraq.

With the Senate expected to reach votes on possible resolutions sometime next week, the signs of the new campaign seeped out after a weekly closed-door lunch in which Republican senators engaged in what participants described as a heated debate over how to approach the issue. . . .

One of the bright ideas the Republicanists have put forward in order to avoid taking a stance on Bush’s escalation of the war, is to support more troops but to require “benchmarks” of progress. Three problems – they can’t put time limits on those benchmarks (I think that’s the DEFINITION of a benchmark); they can’t say what the consequences will be of failing to meet them (some benchmarks); and to Bush loyalists even this reeks of “micromanaging” the war. The trifecta!

Two predictions
[US News] Even Republicans supporting President Bush's new Iraq strategy have been saying this is the last chance for the Iraqi government, and there may be an underlying message for the President there as well. US News Political Bulletin hears from GOP strategists with close ties to Capitol Hill that the President and his senior aides are too optimistic about keeping GOP congressional support for the Iraq war over the long term. One senior Republican adviser says Bush has "until April or May" to improve things in Iraq. If he cannot, he could face a GOP rebellion that could result in reductions in spending for the conflict and legislation to start bringing the troops home.

[Atrios] Things will still be awful by the end of May, and most Republicans won't change their position at all.

McCain, still drinking the kool-aid. You have an ill-conceived war, mismanaged from the start, which has devolved into an unrecoverable mess. As a “last resort,” you try a troop increase – and what if that doesn’t work?
[Before] “If this strategy doesn’t succeed, we will have to devise another strategy” . . . One of those options, McCain said “is to withdraw to the borders (of Iraq). . .”

[After] COOPER: Is there any scenario in which withdrawing troops would be acceptable to you, or redeploying them?

MCCAIN: Not until we have the situation under control . . . .

The ISG chairs try to maintain their “relevance” by selling out their own committee’s report
[Atrios] From what I gathered from CNN coverage just now, they support sending more troops to Iraq (James "Give it a chance!" Baker more than Hamilton), but they warn that nothing will improve unless there's also diplomacy with Iran and Syria.

Personally, I don't really understand their obsession with diplomacy with Iran and Syria. It's probably a good idea on its own merits, though what it has to do with Iraq I'm not sure.

Still, they say they support sending more troops to Iraq. Then they say it needs to be accompanied by things which won't happen.

I just don't understand this game anymore. . .

Answer the question!
[Paul Kiel] A couple weeks ago, Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) asked Secretary Condoleeza Rice if the administration thought President Bush had the power to take military action against Iran without permission from Congress.

She deferred an answer, saying, "I'm really loathe to get into questions of the president's authorities without a rather more clear understanding of what we are actually talking about. So let me answer you, in fact, in writing. I think that would be the best thing to do."

Well, it's been two weeks, and Sen. Webb is still waiting. So he's asked again, in a letter sent to Rice yesterday. To help speed a response, he even suggested the range of answers she might provide: "This is, basically, a 'yes' or 'no' question regarding an urgent matter affecting our nation’s foreign policy." . . .

Set your DVRs
[Josh Marshall] When the bogus 'Iran incident' happens that becomes the predicate for a military attack on Iran, what will it look like? Let's try to sketch it out in advance. . . [read it all!]

NIE finally to be released

The shifting stories on Najaf (no, the Iraqis are nowhere near ready to start taking responsibility for their own security)

More (thanks to Laura Rozen for the link):

I asked about this a while back – looks like we still don’t have answers
[Steve Benen] One key facet to the escalation policy that’s gone largely unmentioned: “Boosting U.S. troop levels in Iraq by 21,500 would create major logistical hurdles for the Army and Marine Corps, which are short thousands of vehicles, armor kits and other equipment needed to supply the extra forces, U.S. officials said.” As David Corn noted, “It seems that Bush will be sending GIs into war without sufficient levels of equipment. So who’s supporting the troops?”


Very, very careful, or unqualified?
[Spencer Ackerman] I just got back from Admiral Bill Fallon's hearing to head Central Command, and I've never heard a military officer testify for nearly four hours and fail to exhibit an understanding of even one issue he's about to grapple with. . .

"As you know, I've got a full-time job in Pacific Command, and I've tried to stay away from the detail of Central Command until such time as I might be confirmed," he said. "Then I intend to dive into it."

"I'm surprised that you don't have that understanding going in, frankly," said Senator Levin. . .

I don’t like this
Democratic leaders agreed yesterday to President Bush's idea for a new bipartisan panel to advise him on the fight against terrorism and the Iraq war, days after rejecting such a commission. . .

Putting Bush on the couch
[Tom Schaller] All must be sacrificed to George W. Bush's whim, his need to be right, his desire to find now the affirmation and self-regard that so painfully eluded him before his 40th birthday.

All of which is preview to this prediction: Dick Cheney will be sacrificed. . .

[NB: No, I don’t believe it, but read it and judge for yourself]

The shame of the nation
[Joseph Lelyveld] The Bush administration seems never to have put it quite so baldly but in its rush to consolidate its authority after the terrorist attacks of September 11, it came close to asserting the power of the commander in chief to declare anyone in the world, of whatever citizenship or location, "an unlawful enemy combatant" and—solely on the basis of that designation—to detain the person indefinitely without charge, beyond reach of any court. As we now know, it then acted on its own theory; according to a list being compiled by Human Rights Watch, alleged terrorists were detained at American behest in Mauritania, Bosnia, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen— as well as Afghanistan and the border areas of Pakistan where most al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters were captured. Many of them were then turned over to the United States for transfer to the prison hastily constructed out of cargo containers in the American military enclave at Guantánamo, or other overseas detention centers used by the United States.

The five years since the first shackled prisoners were unloaded at Guantánamo have not been uneventful for constitutional scholars, lawyers concerned with human rights, and journalists of an investigative bent. Their questions and discovery motions have shaken loose information, including the names of many detainees, out of a government committed to secrecy. That information has been used as kindling for a slow-burning debate on coercive interrogation that eventually led Congress—nearly two years after publication of the notorious pictures of naked Iraqis stacked and taunted at Abu Ghraib prison—to affirm legislatively in the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 that existing laws and treaty commitments barring torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment (sometimes called "torture lite") were still binding on American interrogators in what was grandiosely called "the Global War on Terror."

At least the question of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment had been addressed; how effectively is another matter. The Supreme Court has also cautiously asserted its jurisdiction on detention issues, picking apart arguments made on behalf of an executive branch that hubristically called on the Court to stand aside and, essentially, let the President reign. But—as the remaining 395 captives at Guantánamo enter the sixth year of their imprisonment without a single one of them having been put on trial—the question of whether we're prepared to hold terrorist suspects without charge for the rest of their natural lives has yet to be squarely addressed by either Congress or the courts. . .

First Italy, now Germany
[Daniel Politi] The Los Angeles Times leads with word that German investigators have recommended arrest warrants be issued for 13 American intelligence operatives who were involved with the "extraordinary rendition" of a German citizen. Investigators say Khaled Masri was kidnapped and sent to Afghanistan, where he was allegedly beaten and secretly detained for five months before he was released without charges. . . .

New allegations about Abu Ghraib (thanks to Holden for the link)

A “vacuum cleaner”
[CNet] The FBI appears to have adopted an invasive Internet surveillance technique that collects far more data on innocent Americans than previously has been disclosed . . .

The Republicanists blink first on the minimum wage

The Goofus Files
Now, in order to export something, somebody has to make it. In other words, when I talk about numbers, behind the numbers is people who are providing the service and/or making the product.

One, the business sector, small business sector of the heartland is strong. And it's really strong because of the low taxes. But it's also strong because of the entrepreneurial spirit is strong.

How’s the trial going, Scooter?

[NB: Don’t miss it!]

What we’ve learned so far
[Dan Froomkin] From the first time the White House was asked about allegations that senior officials had exposed a CIA agent's identity as part of a plot to discredit an administration critic, the answer was consistent.

As spokesman Scott McClellan put it as early as July 22, 2003: "That is not the way this President or this White House operates."

But in the course of the Scooter Libby trial, one thing has become quite clear: That is precisely the way this White House operates.

Faced with accusations that they had marched the country to war on evidence they knew was suspect, White House aides evidently responded with little if any restraint in attempting to discredit their critics. . .


Judy, Judy, Judy: read Marcy Wheeler’s inspired account of her drama-ridden performance in front of the Libby trial. What a piece of work that woman is
[Digby] I just had a chance to catch up on today's Libby blogging and it's priceless. Judy's doing her full-on diva routine, slouching, gesticulating, sniffling and eye-rolling.

M says she doesn't remember affadvit

J is it true that you were planning to write an article

M Sir I wasn't planning to write an article [ohh, angry Judy]

J Didn't you talk to the bureau chief

M I was not going to write the story. It was not my assignment.

J puts up affadvit from Miller

M Yes I signed it.

J You did contemplate writing one or more articles in July 2003, about issues related to Wilson.

M Yes, but not about Wilson and Plame, there were other things I wanted to pursue

J You said you met with several potential sources.

J Who were the others. Can you remember just one of them?

Judy wipes nose.

She's got her chin in her hand.

Now reading through something looks like Kristof's article.

Judy back to looking straight ahead, now looking down, back to not breathing, bends forward to get something. Arms folded. Eyes roll up into head. Looking down. Back to reading whatever is in front of her. Wipes nose.


Summing up:
[Tim Grieve] Scooter Libby's defense team is finally drawing blood, and it belongs to former New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

It's hard to believe that Miller could look any worse than she did before walking into Judge Reggie Walton's courtroom this afternoon . . .
[Jeralyn Merritt] What an afternoon at the Scooter Libby trial. This is what I came to Washington for -- that sense of being right in the middle of the action, totally engrossed in the moment, never once looking at my watch, and when 5:00 came, wishing we didn't have to go home. . . .

Getting what she deserves:

Questions she still won’t answer:

Break out the popcorn: Paul Bremer will testify before Henry Waxman’s committee

The U.S. government wasted tens of millions of dollars in Iraq reconstruction aid, including scores of unaccounted-for weapons and a never-used Baghdad training camp with an Olympic-size swimming pool . . .

Mitt who?
GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney — who's under fire from conservatives who think he's exhibited an overly liberal streak in the past — threw a fundraiser for a Democratic Senate candidate in 1992 . . .

The kind of people they are

A linguistic analysis of the slur “Democrat Party”

Grit your teeth before reading this one. The Dems finally address the spending authorizations the Republicanists were legally required to pass in the last Congress, but couldn’t quite find the time to get done. Now that it’s ready to move forward, the AP headline reads “Democrats unveil massive spending bill.” Hmmm. . . do you think the headline would have read “Republicans unveil massive spending bill” if they had done it?
[John Aravosis] In fact, the story is about how the Democrats are finally going to pass the budget that the Republicans refused to pass LAST YEAR - the budget that already went into effect last October.

So, the reason the spending bill is "massive" is because it takes all the budget bills that the Republicans failed to pass last year and lumps them into one big bill. . .

Here’s the proper headline and the real story: NO EARMARKS
Democrats Move Leftover Spending Measure
Special Projects Stripped Under Earmarks Ban

Bonus item: Oh my. Head of the WORLD BANK?

***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, January 30, 2007


Who led the fighting in Najaf?
Iraqi officials said today that U.S.-backed Iraqi troops . . .
U.S. forces took the lead . . .
"This fight is an indication of what is taking place, and that is the Iraqis are beginning to take the lead," Bush said. "So my first reaction on this report from the battlefield is that the Iraqis are beginning to show me something."
Iraqi forces were surprised and nearly overwhelmed by the ferocity of an obscure renegade militia in a weekend battle near the holy city of Najaf and needed far more help from American forces than previously disclosed . . . [read on!]

Who were they fighting?

Bush screwed his party in the 2006 elections, and is lining them up for another defeat in 2008 by forcing them to back his “surge.” Thanks, George!

Bush prepares to send even more than 21,000 additional troops

Fred Kagan, original advocate of the “surge”
This is not our plan. . . .

When will Baker and Hamilton speak up?
[John Aravosis] Bush's National Security Adviser has penned an op ed in Monday's Washington Post that repeatedly cites the Baker-Hamilton report - the report that Bush completely disregarded in coming up with the Bush-McCain escalation plan in Iraq - and he's citing the report as "proof" that the escalation plan is a good idea, when the report actually said, among other things, that we should be engaging Iran in diplomacy, not trying to goad them into our third war this very short century.

And in any case, Bush dismissed the report, out of hand. . . .

Extra credit if you can find the other lies in the op ed. You can start with the claim that the Iraqis are the ones who came up with the escalation plan - they denied that lie two weeks ago.

[Steve Benen] For one thing, the ISG argued against troop escalation, not for it. . .

Messing with Iran – and losing

Deceived by their own slogans: the people at the very highest levels of this government have NO IDEA what the Shia-Sunni and regional dynamics of the Middle East are all about. None
[Dan Froomkin] While Dick Cheney undoubtedly remains the most powerful vice president this nation has ever seen, it's becoming increasingly unclear whether anyone outside the White House believes a word he says. . . . He seems to think that by asserting things that are simply untrue, he can make others believe they are so.

Maybe that works within the White House. But for the rest of us, it's becoming a better bet to assume that everything -- or almost everything -- Cheney says is flat wrong. . . [read on]


Here’s a number you haven’t heard: in addition to US troops, how many “private military contractors” have also been killed in Iraq?
Nearly 800 . . .

More Executive expansionism from the Bush gang
President Bush has signed a directive that gives the White House much greater control over the rules and policy statements that the government develops to protect public health, safety, the environment, civil rights and privacy.
[DarkSyde] Heads up to the legislative and legal branch, that includes Democrats, but most especially Republicans: For the good of the nation and your political skin, you need to think about how you're going to shut these neoclowns down, or look for a new line of work. They've proven themselves utterly inept at everything they touch. They have a well established track record of leaving ruined lives, dead or maimed bodies, and terminal political careers, in their wake.
[Daniel Politi] The administration insists the new executive order wasn't directed at any specific agency, but some believe it was issued out of concern for rules and guidance issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Saftey and Health Administration. Naturally, business groups who have to deal with often costly rules praised the executive order while others aren't so pleased. Besides having the political appointees in place, the White House also wants to review any new guidance documents it deems significant. "Having lost control of Congress the president is doing what he can to increase his control of the executive branch," a professor tells the paper.


Bush even lies about the little things: called on his “Democrat” slur, he has the audacity to pretend it’s just a little oversight
Today, during an interview with NPR, Bush pleaded innocent. “That was an oversight,” Bush said. “I mean, I’m not trying to needle…. I meant to be saying, why don’t we show the American people we can actually work together?”

Bush concluded, “I’m not that good at pronouncing words anyway.”

[NB: So, this means he’ll stop doing it, right?]

No accident:

Astounding: it takes dogged investigative work just to find out WHO WORKS FOR THE VICE PRESIDENT


Henry Waxman (C-CA) gets his ducks in a row – and then, WATCH OUT
[WSJ] With a Democrat now in the driver’s seat, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is set to hold Congress’s first in-depth hearings into charges of waste and fraud involving money spent on reconstruction in Iraq. . .

Jack Cafferty takes on the US prosecutor purge

The Republicanists on the minimum wage
"Tuesday, we'll have a vote and, you know, they may defeat cloture just like they did on the ethics thing," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), at a joint press conference with Ted Kennedy (D-MA) on Friday. "They know that they're on the wrong side on this issue. And we're going to not let them forget it."

"If they defeat cloture on minimum wage, they think we're going to bring this right back? Oh, no we're not. We're going to move to another subject they don't like to talk about: escalation of the war in Iraq… they know when minimum wage is finished, we're going to Iraq."

Rough times for John McCain


McCain vs. McCain:
a damning video of McCain's flip-flops . . .
the results reveal McCain to be more of a bootlicking toady than an independent maverick. . .
simply devastating . . .

Sam Brownback (R-KS) is running for President
"A President who will not rest until Roe v. Wade is overturned."

Ari does Libby in
[Christy Hardin Smith – not a direct transcript]

P where and who was present?

Fl just Libby and me

P was anything discussed

Fl my plans what I was going to do in the private sector. Talked about sports, football, both fans of the Dolphins. I don't remember if I brought up or Libby brought up the briefing. I said I got asked about Wilson. I said what I was asked by the OVP to say. What I recall Libby saying to me, reiterated that VP did not send Wilson. Ambassador Wilson got sent by his wife, she works at CIA, Works in CPD, I recall that he told me her name. This is hush hush this is on the QT….

P What word did Libby use when he described Wilson's wife.

Fl I remember him saying she works at CIA at CPD.

P Did you know what it meant.

Fl not in specific, I don't know enough about CIA inner structure to know what it means.

P her name, how did he describe her name

Fl I believe he said Valerie Plame

Fl the news that VP had not sent him, it was the first time I ever heard it.

P what did you understand Libby to mean by hush hush

Fl I thought it was kind of odd. My sense was Libby was saying it was kind of newsie, no one knows.

P did you understand that it was classified

Fl absolutely not. There's a very strict protocol when classified info is spread, my experience, when someone conveyed info that I was authorized to hear, it was always, "this is classified you're authorized to hear." When it's oral, people always say, "this is classified you cannot use it."


Discrepancies in Fleischer’s testimony?

Valerie Plame/Valerie Wilson: why it matters

As everyone knows, the Libby trial is for perjury, not for the leak of classified information: and everything about the trial so far suggests that Fitzgerald is going right after the perjury issue (it took minutes to get the key facts from Ari Fleischer), and avoiding the larger question. This is probably good from the standpoint of a focused, no-frills prosecution, but it’s frustrating those of us who want to know about the larger conspiracy too

Putting Bush on the couch
One of the most unnerving things about George Bush is his smile... It’s been pointed out that until he became president, Bush didn’t smirk. It’s grown into a disturbing tic, expressing a mixture of contradictory traits: smugness, disdain, self-consciousness, doubt... Have we seen a more inappropriate smile from any politician since Nixon? I doubt it. . . [more! read on]

Bush’s changing tone

The Goofus Files
In other words, there's a lot of things politically that can happen, Juan, and – you know, I made a decision that – and, listen, I listen to a lot of folks here in Washington. I listen to the military people, I listen to people who are critical of the policy, I listen to Republicans, I listen to Democrats, and I listen carefully for which strategy would yield – would most likely yield success, and the one I picked is the one I believe will. . . [read on]


Tony “Baghdad Bob” Snow says that the anti-war protests on DC were a sign of healthy democracy – but rushes to point out that the attendance was less than predicted

Theocracy watch: global warming is just a sign of the coming End of Days

[NB: Well, at least now they’re acknowledging that it’s real]

Bonus item: No sense of humor

***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 (

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Monday, January 29, 2007


The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee predicted today that no more than 20 senators would vote to support the president’s troop increase for Iraq, and he and other Democrats angrily contested the Bush administration’s suggestion that their criticism of the war was emboldening the nation’s enemies. . .

Voting against Bush’s policies “emboldens the enemy,” huh?
[Who said it?] “I don’t see this enemy as needing any more emboldening or getting it from any resolution. They’re emboldened now.”
[Who said it?] "It's not the American people or the U.S. Congress who are emboldening the enemy. It's the failed policy of this president going to war without a strategy, going to war prematurely."

Richard Lugar (R-IN) misses the point
"I don't believe that it's helpful right now to show there's disarray around the world as well as in our body at home. We really need, at this point, to get on the same page."

To which TPM Reader DC replies: "I guess he hasn't figured out yet that most of us are on the same page: we are done in Iraq, and the disaster there was brought to us by the failed policies of the administration."

Dick Cheney, reality-challenged
CHENEY: My sense of it is that what’s happened here now over the last few weeks is that the president has shored up his position with the speech he made a couple of weeks ago, specifically on Iraq. And I think the speech, frankly Tuesday night, the State of the Union address was one of his best. I think there’s been a very positive reaction of people who saw the speech. And I think to some extent that’s helped shore us up inside the party on the Hill. . . [all false: read on]

Bob Schieffer sums it all up
During the court martial scene in the movie "A Few Good Men," young Navy prosecutor Tom Cruise put Marine Colonel Jack Nicholson on the stand and demanded the truth.

Nicholson replied, "The truth? You can't handle the truth!"

A memorable line, but we are left to as: Has the government concluded Nicholson's character was right, that Americans can't handle the truth?

As the war has grown worse, we have heard government spokesmen from the top on down tell us "Stuff happens," "Mission accomplished," "Enormous progress," "The good news is not reported."

We can't even get a straight story on how our troops die.

Last week, the Pentagon first reported that four Americans were killed in Iraq while repelling an enemy attack. Then on Friday we were told they had actually been kidnapped during a shootout and executed, two of them handcuffed and shot in the head.

In the hours after the killings, reporters who had pieced together the real story were told their version was inaccurate. The new Secretary of Defense claimed he was unaware of the new information an hour before it was announced.

The government argues that public criticism hurts the war effort, but it is being damaged much more by its own loss of credibility brought on by such incidents.

Truth is the foundation of democracy and Americans can handle the truth — they demand it. History shows that when they fail to get it, they no longer follow their leaders, no matter the cause. They are more likely to just change leaders.

Why did the military not reveal the facts they knew about the Karbala kidnapping and murder of US troops?


Press coverage of the fight in Najaf repeatedly claims that “250 insurgents” were killed. This is a totally fabricated number – the fact is they have no idea. But expect to see more trumped-up victories to highlight how well the new partnership is going
[Chris in Paris] It's amazing how the US supported troops were non-existent only moments ago but suddenly in the middle of a PR push by the administration and after news of insurgents speaking English, wearing US uniforms, holding US equipment and driving US trucks, and abducting and killing US troops, suddenly - almost from nowhere, really - Iraqi troops are hell on wheels and killing insurgents by the hundreds. Are those guys fast learners or what?
[David Kurtz] I'll be interested in learning the extent to which Iraqi forces truly took the lead in this battle.
[Juan Cole] Well, a big battle took place at the Shiite holy city of Najaf on Saturday night into Sunday, but there are several contradictory narratives about its significance. Iraqi authorities, claimed that the Iraqi army killed a lot of the militants (250) but only took 25 casualties itself. The Shiite governor of Najaf implied that the guerrillas were Sunni Arabs and had several foreign Sunni fundamentalist fighters ("Afghans") among them. . .

I'd take the claim of numbers killed with a large grain of salt, though the Iraqi forces did have US close air support. I infer that the guerrillas shot down one US helicopter. . .

An outrageous proposal from Hillary
[AP] President Bush should withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq before he leaves office, asserting it would be "the height of irresponsibility" to pass the war along to the next commander in chief.

"This was his decision to go to war with an ill-conceived plan and an incompetently executed strategy," the Democratic senator from New York said . . .

Sean Penn
"In a democracy," the actor told the cheering crowd, which organizers said numbered in the hundreds of thousands, "we are the deciders."


You’re fired!
[Thomas Friedman] “[T]he American people basically fired George Bush in the last election,” Friedman said. “We’re now just watching him clean out his desk.”

The true test of patriotism
[Mark Kleiman] Anyone can support an anti-terrorist policy that works. The true test of manliness and patriotism is supporting an anti-terrorist policy that won't work. That's why our Beloved Leader dreamed up the Surge: to separate the real Americans from the terrorist sympathizers.

Mission accomplished!
Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad outlined an ambitious plan on Sunday to greatly expand its economic and military ties with Iraq — including an Iranian national bank branch in the heart of the capital — just as the Bush administration has been warning the Iranians to stop meddling in Iraqi affairs. . .

Vice President Cheney said the deployment this month of a second aircraft-carrier task force to the Persian Gulf delivered a "strong signal" of the United States' commitment to confront Iran's growing influence in the region. . .

When these people say they aren’t provoking Iran and aren’t looking for a fight, all you can say is . . . .
The secret Downing Street Memo also shows that the Bush Administration had decided to attack Iraq and to "fix intelligence" to support the WMD pretext to justify it. A transcript of a secret conversation between President Bush and PM Blair leaked by a government whistleblower reveals that the US and UK were prepared to invade Iraq even if no WMD were found (NY Times, March 27, 2006 . . . Further, President Bush proposed provoking Iraq, including using fake UN planes, to manufacture a pretext for the invasion he had already decided on. (NY Times, March 27, 2006). . .

Money well spent?
Corrupt police and tribal leaders are stealing vast quantities of reconstruction aid that is intended to improve the lives of ordinary Afghans and turn them away from the Taliban, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

In some cases, all the aid earmarked for an area has ended up in the wrong hands. Defence officials in the United States and Britain estimate that up to half of all aid in Afghanistan is failing to reach the right people. . .

No, they CAN’T walk and chew gum at the same time
A peace agreement that two years ago ended Africa's longest-running conflict -- and that the White House considers one of President Bush's signature achievements -- is in danger of unraveling because of inattention by top U.S. officials and growing tensions between Sudan's government and the former rebels who signed the deal . . .

Look, the problem with the early days of mismanagement in Iraq (the Paul Bremer days), wasn’t just that good decisions went bad. It was that they actively shunned, ignored, and/or punished anyone who told them differently


He’s b-a-a-a-c-k (again)

INVOLUNTARY call-ups? (thanks to Buzzflash for the link)
Hundreds of thou sands of National Guard and Reserve members previously mobilized for tours in Iraq and Afghanistan are exposed anew to involuntary call-up under a policy change unveiled with President Bush's plan to "surge" forces into Baghdad.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he has rescinded a rule, set in 2002, that barred involuntary mobilization of reserve personnel beyond a "cumulative" 24-month ceiling for a wartime emergency. . .

The Bush gang’s newfound interest in global warming: but of course, the only “solutions” they are willing to consider ignore limiting energy usage or anything that involves controlling emissions. Instead. . . .
The US response says the idea of interfering with sunlight should be included in the summary for policymakers . . .

Bush’s predictable approach to immigration: get tough with the workers, go easy on the businesses that hire them

Andrew Sullivan had a good line on the Chris Matthews show Sunday. He said, Bush and his war are pulling down McCain the same way they did Tony Blair: people who tried to do the right thing in sticking by Bush, and then were destroyed by it. I’m not sure McCain and Blair’s motives are quite so honorable, but there’s no doubt that everything “Arbusto” touches turns to crap
[Rasmussen] McCain is now viewed favorably by just 52% of American voters. That's down from 56% earlier this month and from 59% in December. His vocal advocacy of increased troop strength in Iraq may be having a negative impact on his popularity. Just one-third of voters (34%) share McCain's view . . .
George W. Bush . . . started his own oil and gas company by 1978, taking $17,000 from his education trust fund to set up Arbusto Energy (arbusto means Bush in Spanish). The company fell on hard times when oil prices fell. He made several attempts to revive the business, first by changing the company's name and later by merging with other companies. In 1983, Bush’s company was rescued from failure when Spectrum 7 Energy Corporation bought it. . . Bush became chief executive officer. Harken Energy Corporation acquired Spectrum 7 in 1986, after Spectrum had lost $400,000. . . Bush became a director and was hired as a "consultant" to Harken. . . . By the spring of 1987, Harken was in need of cash. . .

Dick Cheney: the arrogance of power
[Tim Grieve] Dick Cheney on criticism from Brent Scowcroft and others with whom he's worked before: "Well, I'm vice president and they're not."
[Laura Rozen] When I inquired about a staffer’s rumored move to the Veep’s office, a Cheney press officer answered sweetly, “If we have a personnel announcement we’d like you to know about, we’ll tell you.” . . [read on]

Joe Lieberman, once honored with the Vice Presidency of his party, continues his long, slow journey of betrayal (it’s just a matter of time)

[Atrios] [I]f Joe doesn't have a prime time spot at the RNC in '08 I'll be shocked.

Remember “Cully” Stimson, the Bush Defense Dept official who suggested that law firms who offered legal advice to Guantanamo prisoners should be boycotted? Looks like he may be needing a good lawyer himself

Did John Ashcroft recuse himself from the Plame investigation back in 2003 because he didn’t want to be the one granting Ari Fleischer immunity? And what does Fleischer have to disclose that justifies his cushy deal?

More like this please: a study of the right-wing smear machine
Jeffrey T. Kuhner, whose Web site published the first anonymous smear of the 2008 presidential race, is hardly the only editor who will not reveal his reporters’ sources. What sets him apart is that he will not even disclose the names of his reporters.

But their anonymity has not stopped them from making an impact. In the last two weeks, Mr. Kuhner’s Web site, Insight, the last remnant of a defunct conservative print magazine owned by the Unification Church led by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, was able to set off a wave of television commentary, talk-radio chatter, official denials, investigations by journalists around the globe and news media self-analysis that has lasted 11 days and counting. . . .

[Josh Marshall] Wonderful little line at the end of Dave Kirkpatrick's piece on the man behind the Obama-Madrassa smear ...

After Insight posted the article on Jan. 17, Mr. Kuhner said, he was disappointed to see that the Drudge Report did not link to it on its Web site as it has done with other Insight articles. So, as usual, he e-mailed the article to producers at Fox News and MSNBC.

Negged by Drudge, so forced to peddle it to Fox and MSNBC.
[Kevin Drum] And that was that. Your media machine at work. . .

Bonus item: Jon Stewart on Glenn Beck
“Finally, a guy who says what people who aren't thinking are thinking"

***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, January 28, 2007


Bush support continues to plummet
[T]he state of the Bush administration is at its worst yet, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. The president’s approval ratings are at their lowest point in the poll’s history—30 percent—and more than half the country (58 percent) say they wish the Bush presidency were simply over. . .

With Bush widely viewed as an ineffectual “lame duck” (by 71 percent of all Americans), over half (53 percent) of the poll's respondents now say they believe history will see him as a below-average president, up three points from last May. The first time this question was asked, in October 2003, as many people thought Bush would go down in history as an above average president as thought we would be regarded as below average (29 to 26 percent). Only 22 percent of those polled think Bush's decisions about Iraq and other major policy are influenced mainly by the facts; 67 percent say the president's decisions are influenced more by his personal beliefs. This perhaps explains why only about half (49 percent) of adult Americans even bothered to watch or listen to any of the State of the Union speech as it happened. . . Overall, 61 percent are unsatisfied with the way things are going in America; just 30 percent are satisfied.

Dubya’s Daddy has a problem with those who have “personal animosity” toward his son. (Well then he has a lot of people to deal with)

Dick Cheney? Oh yeah, we love him too
[Maureen Dowd] Has anyone in the history of the United States ever been so singularly wrong and misguided about such phenomenally important events and continued to insist he’s right in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary?

How Bush has tried to make “Commander in Chief” synonymous with “President”
[Garry Wills] When Abraham Lincoln took actions based on military considerations, he gave himself the proper title, “commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.” That title is rarely — more like never — heard today. It is just “commander in chief,” or even “commander in chief of the United States.” This reflects the increasing militarization of our politics. The citizenry at large is now thought of as under military discipline. . . . [read on]


It certainly looks as if the Bush gang is laying the groundwork for an attack on Iran (though of course they would talk this way anyhow, even if they had no intention)

Will the next phase of excuses and “last chances” in Iraq – after the surge fails – involve dumping Maliki and finding a new “partner”?


US corporations scrambling to build facilities in Iraq (well, scrambling for first in line, anyway – can you imagine anyone building a hot dog stand in the present climate, where anything US-related is sure to be bombed?)

Images and accounts from the DC anti-war rally

Myths about Viet Nam

We can’t afford someone with such a distorted sense of judgment anywhere near national office, can we?
[Steve Benen] [T]o hear [Rudy] Giuliani tell it, Bush is Lincoln, and the war in Iraq is the U.S. civil war. Giuliani did not appear to be kidding.

For good measure, Giuliani also said we could balance the budget by embracing the “budget discipline” of “the Reagan years,” which tells us a bit about Giuliani’s understanding of recent history.

Remember when Giuliani considered himself a serious person?

Arianna goes womano a mano with McCain

Pushing back: the Republicanists try to rally their demoralized troops

Jeb to the rescue?

I’m sticking with “Republicanist,” but “Anti-Democratic” works too

Ari Fleischer, next on deck for the Libby trial
[Seth Stevenson] It turns out Ari Fleischer will be the next witness, once court resumes Monday. (Damn, just missed him!) The defense team wants to note—for the jury's benefit—that Fleischer demanded immunity before he would agree to testify, because this might cast Fleischer's testimony in a different light.

And here Fitzgerald makes a nice little chess move: Fine, he says, we can acknowledge that Fleischer sought immunity. As long as we explain why. Turns out Fleischer saw a story in the Washington Post suggesting that anyone who revealed Valerie Plame's identity might be subject to the death penalty. And he freaked.
[Swopa] Very amusing stuff. Except for one thing — I don't think it's true. . . [read on]

More sneak previews:

What we don’t know (yet)
[Josh Marshall] The truth, though, is that we are not really examining the cover-up in this case so much as we are still living within it. Most of the key facts of this episode either remain entirely concealed or buried under a mass of government produced misinformation. The Senate intelligence committee report, authored by Republicans, but shamelessly and with great cowardice okayed by senate Democrats? I've been asked many times why the Democrats signed off on this fraudulent document. I think there are two basic reasons -- or two categories of reasons.

First, as hard as it is to say, shallow and poor staff work on the Democratic side, abetted, caused and hopelessly bound up with senators unwilling to get their noses dirty or their ribs bruised. Second, there was a more specific and complex error. In so many words, the Democrats agreed to let the Republican authors of the report lie and deceive as much as they wanted on the Niger/Uranium and Wilson/Plame fronts in exchange for allowing a semi-revealing look at other instances of flawed Iraq intelligence. For the minority party to bargain for lies in some areas and portions of the truth in others is a tactic with rather inherent drawbacks. But in this case it displayed a telling obliviousness to the political context of that moment.

In this case, the senate Republicans (and the White House officials who were directing their actions) knew what they were doing; the Democrats didn't . . .

And what about the law enforcement investigation of the Niger forgeries themselves. Here too the White House has taken effective steps to prevent any real investigation. I've written at length before about the joke which has been the FBI's investigation of the Niger matter. But roughly a year ago, a colleague and I sat down with two federal law enforcement officials with detailed knowledge of the bureau's investigation of the Niger matter. The trail, of course, led to Italy. So any progress is getting to the bottom of the matter would require the Italians to cooperate with US law enforcement to get to the bottom of what hapened. Only the Italians didn't want to cooperate. That's not altogether surprising given that Italy's lead intelligence agency was implicated in the fraud. But to get action, the FBI needed the US government to make clear to the Italian government that we desired their cooperation. But the Bush administration simply refused to do this. They had a tacit understanding with the Italian government to stonewall the investigation.

The catalog of official lies in this matter goes on and on.

[Andrew Cohen] [T]he government now is asking the federal courts to throw out a challenge to the NSA spy program because, the feds say, the program now is being supervised by the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court and thus is no longer the program that the American Civil Liberties Union had challenged. Moreover, the White House now argues, it didn't voluntarily change the nature of the spy program by asking the FISA court to get involved and evaluate surveillance requests, the court unilaterally did so. This is legally significant because of a legal doctrine called "voluntary cessation" which allows plaintiffs to continue their court cases against the government if the government simply (and perhaps temporarily) halts the challenged action as a result of the lawsuit.

Of course, we don't really know how the whole change in the program came about because, as Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told legislators last week, he wasn't sure he could share those details with Congress (never mind the ACLU). Same as it ever was. Knowing that the program was constitutionally suspect, and knowing that a Democratic Congress was closing in, the feds ducked and now are covering. The courts should keep the NSA challenge alive and determine the constitionality of the program, then and now. We deserve more answers than we have so far received.

More Peretz-bashing

Theocrat pushes porn
“Because it is so explicit, I could not even include a description of it here,” hyperventilated Wildmon. “I hope you will simply trust me. However, if you want to read our review of the scene, or to see the video of the scene, click here. . .”

Sunday talk show line-ups
ABC's "This Week" - Sens. Joe Biden, D-Del., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind.; Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.; actor Kevin Bacon.

CBS' "Face the Nation" - Sens. Jim Webb, D-Va., Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

NBC's "Meet the Press" - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and David Vitter, R-La.; former presidential speechwriter Michael Gerson; Kenneth Pollack, a Brookings Institution analyst.

CNN's "Late Edition" - Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.; former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele; Democratic strategist Donna Brazile.

"Fox News Sunday" - Sens. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.; Ellen Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation.

***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.***

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Plus ca change. So, we’re charting a new course in Iraq, a fresh start, and a plan that will succeed where all the others have failed. (Uh-huh.) But if it’s all so new, why do we still hear from the President that “he’s the decision maker,” still hear from the VP that things are basically going well in Iraq and the press is only focusing on the bad news, and still hear from the Sect’y of Defense that questioning war policies gives aid and comfort to the enemy? It all seems so . . . familiar
[Josh Marshall] What the White House is saying is that the United States senate can't do anything does not express full support for President Bush -- even something that only expresses sentiment -- without aiding the enemy. The very exercise of the senate's constitutional authority aides the terrorists.

Having this resolution passed really does worry the White House -- even if it is merely a non-binding, sense-of-the-senate resolution -- because their whole model of political control is based cowing the political opposition. That is the key. Once that spell's broken, for them it's the abyss.
[AC] President Bush has never been very strong on the stuff most of us learned in 7th grade civics--namely, that there are three branches of government that share power. Of course, part of that is because he's always had a rubber-stamp congress. His comment that "I'm the decider" on Iraq shows that view remains. No surprise there. But now there's a congress with a mandate to oppose him. If I were Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi, I'd take that as a sign that I have to show SOME sign -- any sign -- that I have the power to say no. Bush is showing he really doesn't think Dems will take any action -- in fact, he's basically daring them to rein him in, even though that's exactly what Americans charged them with doing last November. And you know what the saddest part is? He's probably right. The congressional dems probably won't do anything other than pass non-binding resolutions, which he'll shrug off as meaningless suggestions from folks who don't have any real power, anyway. And sadly, he's kind of right. If you never exercise your power, isn't that the same as being powerless?

The whole show is quite pathetic, don't you think?

What should the Democrats do?

Just think about it: U.S. uniforms and equipment
Contrary to U.S. military statements, four U.S. soldiers did not die repelling a sneak attack at the governor's office in the Shiite holy city of Karbala last week. New information obtained by The Associated Press shows they were abducted and found dead or dying as far as 25 miles away. . . .

The new information has emerged after nearly a week of inquiries. The U.S. military in Baghdad repeatedly declined comment on reports that began emerging from Iraqi government and military officials which suggested a major breakdown in security at Karbala site. . .
In perhaps the boldest and most sophisticated attack in four years of warfare, gunmen speaking English, wearing U.S. military uniforms and carrying American weapons abducted four U.S. soldiers last week at the provincial headquarters in the Shiite holy city of Karbala and then shot them to death. . . . The attackers traveled in black GMC Suburban vehicles (the type used by U.S. government convoys), had American weapons, wore new U.S. military combat fatigues, and spoke English, according to two senior U.S. military officials as well as Iraqi officials.
[Larry Johnson] At the very moment we are surging troops into Baghdad, who will be scattered in small outposts throughout the city and will have to rely on Iraqi soldiers to protect them, we learn belatedly that someone in Iraq is dressing up in US military uniforms, carrying US weapons, and speaking English like a gringo. You know what this means? U.S. soldiers who were already skeptical about the trustworthiness of their Iraqi counterparts will now also have to question whether the U.S. soldier coming towards them is really a U.S. soldier.

The planning evident in this operation is sophisticated and points clearly to the uncomfortable fact that someone within the Iraqi military, who was knowledgeable about the meeting, tipped off the bad guys. It could have been Iranians retaliating for the earlier U.S. attacks on Iranian diplomats inside Iraq or maybe it was someone with a militia group with a grudge to settle. Regardless, it is bad news all around.

Equally disturbing is the fact that someone in the U.S. military chain of command lied about what happened and put out false information to the press and the American people. It is one thing to lie in order to preserve operational security. It is another thing to lie simply to cover your ass so you do not look like a complete fool. Unfortunately, when the lie is uncovered the charge of being a "fool" is the least of the blowback. An incident like this also raises an important question, "Can the military be trusted to tell the truth?" If the American people begin to doubt they are getting the straight information about the situation on the ground in Iraq, the ebbing public support could turn into a complete rout.

General Petraeus makes his first really, really bad decision
Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the new top U.S. commander in Iraq, told Congress that he might supplement efforts to secure Baghdad using the Iraqi Facilities Protection Service, a 150,000-man force that guards Iraqi government agencies. . .

But that service is widely considered unreliable, and elements were described in July by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as "more dangerous than the militias," according to Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.). . . . "The prime minister said he wanted to get rid of the FPS as fast as possible," Reed said this week, recalling his meeting with Maliki in Baghdad last summer. There are "bad elements" in FPS units that "are carrying out murders and kidnappings . . . [and] attacking the infrastructure that they are supposedly protecting," Reed said . . .

The FPS was formed in 2003 by order of L. Paul Bremer, then administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, to protect the 27 Iraqi ministries and their facilities throughout Iraq. Each minister, who generally represents one of Iraq's political parties, has his or her own FPS unit, whose armed members wear military uniforms.

The Iraq Study Group described FPS members as having "questionable loyalties and capabilities." It quoted an unnamed senior U.S. official as saying that they are "incompetent, dysfunctional and subversive," with some serving the manpower needs of sectarian party militias and death squads. . .

Changing tactics vs changing strategies: today’s must-read
[David Kurtz] In following the political debate over the Iraq debacle, it helps to take a step back from time to time and to re-focus on Iraq from a strategic vantage point. Our President isn't able to do that, and for the most part neither is the media nor the Congress. As Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) has repeatedly pointed out, the President's surge is not a new strategy but a new tactic. . . .

When the political debate over Iraq is viewed at the strategic level, it becomes much clearer. Silly diversions are revealed for what they are, like the demands from the President and Vice President that opponents of the surge present their own tactical plans for "success" or the defense secretary's claim that the debate itself emboldens the "enemy." (Gates has candidly said that four wars are currently underway in Iraq, so which enemy is emboldened? All of them?)

The Democrats in Congress want to "send a message" with a resolution opposing the surge. That's fine, as far as it goes. But . . . the President has committed strategic errors of monumental proportions. Getting bogged down in a debate with the President over tactics, lets him off the hook for the most egregious of his sins, which are strategic, and makes it more difficult to chart a way out of this strategic disaster.

[General William E. Odom] Several critics of the administration show an appreciation of the requirement to regain our allies and others' support, but they do not recognize that withdrawal of US forces from Iraq is the sine qua non for achieving their cooperation. It will be forthcoming once that withdrawal begins and looks irreversible. They will then realize that they can no longer sit on the sidelines. The aftermath will be worse for them than for the United States, and they know that without US participation and leadership, they alone cannot restore regional stability. Until we understand this critical point, we cannot design a strategy that can achieve what we can legitimately call a victory.

Any new strategy that does realistically promise to achieve regional stability at a cost we can prudently bear, and does not regain the confidence and support of our allies, is doomed to failure. To date, I have seen no awareness that any political leader in this country has gone beyond tactical proposals to offer a different strategic approach to limiting the damage in a war that is turning out to be the greatest strategic disaster in our history.

On Bush’s threat to start killing Iranians

Who stands where on the “surge”?
A top conservative Capitol Hill staffer tells Politico that more than 70 senators would oppose Bush’s escalation if their vote matched their comments in private meetings. “The White House is trying to but they really don’t know how to handle this,” the staffer said.
[Joshua Kucera] Bush's strategy for pushing through his "surge" plan is to keep Republicans on board and to encourage a large number of resolutions to "muddy the waters" and blunt the impact from the rebuke by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which this week passed a resolution opposing a troop increase. "By keeping down the number of Republican defections, the administration hopes to make any vote appear highly partisan and to buy Bush's new plan more time," the Post says. . . .


Yesterday, today

Q Do you expect Iraq will dominate the meeting tomorrow with the House Republicans?

MR. SNOW: I don't think so. In fact, I don't expect it at all. . . I think what House Republicans are looking for is they're going to want to talk about issues that came up in the State of the Union address . . .

Lawmakers said most of the questioning focused on Bush's proposed troop build up in Iraq . . .

The leading Republican in the Senate says. . . .
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he is "skeptical" about the Iraqi government but warned the recent U.S troop increase ordered by President Bush is the Iraqis' "last chance to step up and show they can be effective and can join with us to get this mission accomplished."

"This is it," he said. . . .

Blair “supports” Bush’s “surge,” but won’t commit more British troops to the meat grinder

Not only does the U.S. stand alone in Iraq – they can’t even get allies to help them in Afghanistan (you know, the “successful” war?)

The Canadian govt shames the U.S.
[Paul Kiel] Publicly rebuking the United States, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will take the extraordinary step of publicly apologizing to Maher Arar today.

The U.S. government continues to insist it did nothing wrong.


George Bush as the Bad Dad
[JB] [Y]ou must have noticed that Bush's very expansive claims of executive authority are being made by the first President in our history to delegate to his Vice President anything close to the authority over policy and personnel that he has ceded to Cheney. Back in 1980 the GOP Convention audience was kept amused by an effort to establish a "co-Presidency" with Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, who'd have been given extensive authority if elected. Reagan decided then that it was a stupid idea; he wasn't running to be half a President. And now we have a President weak enough to make the "co-Presidency" a reality.

A weak President claiming vast powers is, if not unique in our history surely unusual.


Dick Cheney as Captain Queeg

The Goofus Files
My instructions to the General is, get over to the zone as quickly as possible and implement a plan that we believe will yield our goals. . . .


Fitzgerald’s immunity deal for Ari Fleischer: I hope he gets some good stuff out of it. (We’ll soon know)

Here it comes: subpoenas for Rove and Bartlett
White House anxiety is mounting over the prospect that top officials—including deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and counselor Dan Bartlett-may be forced to provide potentially awkward testimony in the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis (Scooter) Libby. . .


NINE U.S. attorneys replaced with Bush hacks

And now, from the so-called “liberal” New Republic
[Martin Peretz, New Republic] I actually believe that Arabs are feigning outrage when they protest what they call American (or Israeli) "atrocities." They are not shocked at all by what in truth must seem to them not atrocious at all. It is routine in their cultures. That comparison shouldn't comfort us as Americans. We have higher standards of civilization than they do. But the mutilation of bodies and beheadings of people picked up at random in Iraq does not scandalize the people of Iraq unless victims are believers in their own sect or members of their own clan. And the truth is that we are less and less shocked by the mass death-happenings in the world of Islam. Yes, that's the bitter truth. Frankly, even I--cynic that I am--was shocked in the beginning by the sectarian bloodshed in Iraq. But I am no longer surprised. And neither are you.
I've written once before, several months ago, about the unbelievably overt anti-Arab/anti-Muslim bigotry that spews forth regularly from The New Republic Editor Marty Peretz . . . [read on]

Does ABC really want to be associated with the likes of the Washington Times and Fox News? (Yes, apparently so)

John McCain, more and more, just another GOP weasel
[Steve Benen] I can appreciate that presidential campaigns have to come up with new and different ways to beg donors for money, but John McCain’s “Presidential Agenda Survey” is a pretty dumb stunt.

Under the name of McCain’s campaign manager, Terry Nelson, possible donors received an email with the following message:

“I am writing you, a core McCain supporter, to ask for your personal assistance. Senator McCain has tasked me to complete a major project, and I need your help to do so today.

I am asking you to take a moment to visit our exploratory committee web site and complete the Presidential Agenda Survey…. I know that you have very valuable opinions about all of the important issues facing our country, and I urge you to share them with us. . . .”

Recipients are encouraged to go to this website, where they can take a poll that, according to McCain’s campaign manager, will help the senator “build an agenda” of his own. Indeed, on the site itself, Team McCain says the unscientific poll results will have a “profound impact” on McCain’s agenda.

Now, it’s fairly obvious this is just a cheap stunt. The poll is irrelevant; the point is to get people to the “Presidential Agenda Survey” website, where the McCain team can hit them up for a “generous contribution.” In fact, you can’t even share your “very valuable opinions” with McCain and his campaign team until after you’ve given them cash. That’s right — no donation, means no survey. . .

I like this: as long as Repubs call it the “Democrat Party,” we call them the “Republicanist Party”

Bonus item: “Impeach at the Beach”

Extra bonus: Clearly, Barack Hussein Osama – oops, Obama – needs some repackaging. Here are some tips (thanks to A.G. 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.***