Saturday, June 25, 2005


I've been slowly meandering my way through old episodes of Stargate, a show I'd never really watched before. Suddenly I'm curious about something. If the basic premise of the show, or something roughly similar, were true - we have access to ancient technology that allows us to travel to other planets, aliens exist and potentially threaten Earth - what would you do if you were president? Would you tell the world or keep it secret?

Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.

Inside the Mind of a Washington Journalist

CJR with John Harris:

Most news organizations -- the Washington Post included -- were devoting lots of resources, lots of coverage, to the campaign fund-raising scandal which grew out of the '96 campaign, and there were a lot of very tantalizing leads in those initial controversies. In the end they didn't seem to lead anyplace all that great. But there were tons of questions raised that certainly, to my mind, merited aggressive coverage.

There you have it. The "tons of questions raised... merited aggressive coverage" even though the answers to those questions "didn't lead anyplace all that great."

And, then, he follows with:

The White House was unbelievably resentful -- they thought it was much ado about nothing, they thought that this was a scandal-obsessed press corps.

Gee, I wonder why.

Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.

Open Thread

Play nice.

Pretty Stunning

I saw this poll result before and it shocked me, though I wasn't sure I was so shocked. But, Wolcott provided the reason:

What amazes me is that more Americans now blame Bush for provoking the war with Iraq than blame Saddam Hussein. That's not an argument I've heard anyone make on cable talk or on the op-ed pages. Somehow Americans drew that conclusion all on their own! The tide of popular opinion turning against the war is washing away walls we didn't even know were there.

Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.

Chickenhawks on Parade

Everyone else has linked this story, but it sure is good fun:

In more than a dozen interviews, Republicans in their teens and 20s offered a range of answers. Some have friends in the military in Iraq and are considering enlisting; others said they can better support the war by working politically in the United States; and still others said they think the military doesn't need them because the U.S. presence in Iraq is sufficient.

"Frankly, I want to be a politician. I'd like to survive to see that," said Vivian Lee, 17, a war supporter visiting the convention from Los Angeles,

Lee said she supports the war but would volunteer only if the United States faced a dire troop shortage or "if there's another Sept. 11."

"As long as there's a steady stream of volunteers, I don't see why I necessarily should volunteer," said Lee, who has a cousin deployed in the Middle East.

In an election season overwhelmed by memories of the Vietnam War, the U.S. military's newest war ranks supreme among the worries confronting much of Generation Y'ers. Iraq is their war.

"If there was a need presented, I would go," said Chris Cusmano, a 21-year-old member of the College Republicans organization from Rocky Point, N.Y. But he said he hasn't really considered volunteering.

Open Thread

Have fun.

Open Thread

Have fun.

Open Thread

Have fun.

Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.

Shitfaced Tom

Little birdies have told me that Tom DeLay has fallen off the wagon so much that he keeps, well, falling down. This video seems to confirm that idea.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Being a Teen in the Naughties

Stories like this just fill you with warm fuzzies:

Thirteen Kutztown Area High School students are facing felony charges for tampering with district-issued laptop computers.

According to parent testimony and confirmed by an otherwise vaguely-worded letter from the Kutztown Police Department, students got hold of the system's secret administrative password and reconfigured their computers to achieve greater Internet and network access.

Some students used the newfound freedom to download music and inappropriate images from the Internet.

According to the school's usage policy, students who violate it will be "disciplined." Who knew being "disciplined" by a school meant "charged with felonies." Well, their lives could be fucked before they've even begun.

(via slashdot)

Pictures With Goats

The answer to Russ Baker's mystery.

Open Thread


Friday Cat Blogging

and, special guest monster Chili:

Klein the Klown Smackdown

Audio here.

It's unbelievable.

Open Thread


Dick Daley Santorum

Santorum says Rove doesn't speak for him.

Open Thread

Play nice.

Open Thread

Play nice.

Radio Fun

Coming up now on Air America, Franken and Conason will interview Ed Klein...

War Game

Kenneth Baer discusses the impact of a possible and realistic oil supply disruption.

He writes:

But, as all the panelists -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- said yesterday what is really missing is the leadership to make energy independence and security a top priority.

"Energy independence" is the kind of phrase which sounds nice, but it isn't really a possibility as long as we consume any nontrivial quantity of oil - both for energy and for its other numerous uses. I don't imagine we'll be "independent" as long as there's a drop of oil left in the ground somewhere.

Still, there are two reasons to wean ourselves off oil fairly quickly. The first is that by reducing oil consumption we reduce the likelihood of supply disruptions. The more slack there is global production, the less likely such disruptions could happen.

The second reason is to lessen the impact of such disruptions. And, in this case, it isn't just about reducing the need for oil, it's about increasing the available substitutes for oil. Let's take hybrid cars. While they reduce oil consumption, they still require it. That's a problem. Hybrid cars that can also be charged from an outlet, if necessary, and run without gas for some period would be preferable. Yes, some of that electricity is produced using oil, but not all of it. In addition, in the case of supply disruption presumably electricity generating plants will have more access than the local gas station.

The problem with an oil supply disruption isn't simply that it'll increase the price of energy. The problem is that for large chunks of our economy (commuting/freight transportation/etc...) there simply is no substitute for oil. No oil, car no go, truck no go, plane no go.

Open Thread

Play nice.

Wanting to Hurt the Troops

If I were motivated by a desire to hurt the troops, I'd underfund the Department of Veterans Affairs.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Department of Veterans Affairs told Congress that its health care costs grew faster than expected and left a $1 billion hole in its budget this year, lawmakers said Thursday.

House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer, the Republican from Indiana, said the department can meet this year's health care costs by drawing on spare funds and money from other operations, including building construction.

But next year's health care budget falls well over $1 billion short, said Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.

"I was on the phone this morning with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson letting him know that I am not pleased that this has happened," said Craig, chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.

"This shortfall results from either deliberate misdirection or gross incompetence by this administration and the Department of Veteran Affairs," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington.

Senate Republicans voted against budget increases for Vets three times this year.

Action Alert

Call Forrester, Pataki, Bloomberg. John has the details.

Baghdad Dick

At least Baghdad Bob was entertaining.

Banning Bill O'Reilly

This sounds like an excellent idea. Proposed version:

Congress shall have power to prohibit the speech of William "Falafel" O'Reilly.


Those of you who haven't blocked it out remember the Clear Channel organized "pro-war" or "pro-America" rallies that happened in the days before the war started. What was notable at the time (and Digby did note) was that the truth was that these were not pro-war rallies or pro-America rallies. In truth, they were anti-American rallies. The enemy to rally participants was not Saddam Hussein or al Qaeda, it was the Dixie Chicks. It was liberals. It was "the freaks in the limousine, the ones with the hairy armpits and the lesbian, whatever that is." In other words, it was other Americans - not Americans with actual political power, just normal Americans who they disagreed with.

This is what we're getting more of now. Under the guise of patriotism, the "enemy within" is being attacked. Now, apparently, according to senior Republicans, the enemy within is all who question Dear Leader. These people hate Americans.

Action Alert

This week Karl Rove headlined a couple of fundraisers for the Republican candidate for governor of New Jesrsey, Doug Forrester. Call his campaign office and demand to know if Forrester stands by Karl Rove's assertion that Democrats like Dick Durbin are motivated by a desire to see troops die (especially if you live in New Jersey or imagine that you do). Demand that he return the money he raised. Find out if he's proud to stand with Karl Rove, and if also thinks that New Jersey Democrats are motivated by a desire to see our troops die.


They Get Emails

Markos gets an email.

Dark Humor

Someone at doesn't like Dick Cheney:

Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.

Open Thread


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Rove vs. America

Pretty clear.

Corporal Bill Calls Karl


Ken Mehlman Says Liberals Want Our Troops to Die

So this is the nice quiet RNC chief who is so unlike that nasty Howard Dean:

Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman, speaking in Puerto Rico, said there was no need to apologize because "what Karl Rove said is true."

Fresh Thread

wop ba-ba lu-bop and wop bam boom

Peter Daou Speaks

From the Daou Report:

I'm devoting much of today's report to Karl Rove's vile comments denigrating half of the American public. My office overlooks Ground Zero, and I'm looking at the gaping footprint as I write this. My wife and I were in New York that day, on our way to the WTC for a morning meeting. A chance phone call dragged on a few minutes too long and most likely saved our lives. I lost friends in the towers, and when I walk past the site, as I do almost every evening, the pain is as real as it was on September 11th, 2001.

I spent my youth in Beirut during the height of Lebanon's civil war, and I fought the Syrian presence in Lebanon long before the "Cedar Revolution." I watched young boys give their lives and mothers cradle their dying children in blood-soaked arms. I've seen more bloodshed, war, and violence, and shot more guns than most of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists combined. I wouldn't presume to question the strength or dignity of a stranger, and I pity those who blithely push the right=strong, left=weak rhetoric. It says far more about their inadequacies than it does about the target of their scorn. Today, Karl Rove took that rhetoric to a new, filthy low.

Kelo v. New London - A (Slight) Contrarian take

Yes, this is a bad decision, but we must think of what the alternative might have been. I don't know what was in the hearts of the justices who ruled the way did, they may be fully on board this apparent belief in the unlimited power of eminent domain. This is not something I support. However, the alternative could've been a conservative written opinion severely limiting the power of eminent domain and the concept of public use, which would've eviscerated a truly necessary government power.

Clinton Demands Pataki Repudiation

As she should.

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton demanded Thursday that Gov. George Pataki repudiate a top White House advisor's comments about liberals' reaction to Sept. 11 remarks delivered while Pataki sat nearby onstage.

Clinton, D-N.Y., joined Senate Democrats who called on Karl Rove to apologize or resign for his comments Wednesday night in Manhattan to the New York state Conservative Party.

The senator said Pataki was at the event, and should speak out against Rove's characterization.

Rove Resign Yet?

I hate these people. Go read Americablog.

For the record, my motives aren't to get more troops killed. If those were my motives I'd ship them off to a war on false pretenses without sufficient equipment to keep them safe.

Open Thread

Have fun.

Open Thread


Open Thread

Play nice.

Call and Email Your Republican Member of Congress

Ask them if Karl Rove speaks for them.

Learn Damnit Learn

I'm for some reason reminded of the climactic scene in War Games when the computer is playing tic tac toe against itself over and over and Matthew Broderick is yelling at it telling it to LEARN! LEARN!

Learn, Democrats, Learn.

Corporate Humper

Ralph Reed. Funny.

Rove: Liberals Want Troops To Die

The Kool Kids will probably wet themselves with glee at this bon mot from Karl.

But, this is the new strategy on Iraq: blame the critics. We're all Dixie Chicks now.

...Paul Waldman tells Chuck Schumer what he should have said in response:

Karl Rove's comments are even more despicable than what we've come to expect from Republicans. There is no depth to which they will not sink, no tragedy they will not exploit for political gain. The next time Mr. Rove wants to come to New York to lecture us about what September 11 means, he'd better hope this New Yorker isn't in the room.

Dear Andy

From Signorile.'s the column he's responding to.

Open Thread

Play nice.

Open Thread


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Open Thread


Meanwhile in Spain


MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's previous center-right government "manipulated and twisted" the Madrid train bombings of March 2004 in a bid to salvage general elections three days later, a parliamentary commission found on Wednesday.

In a 200-page report after a year of bitter wrangling, the commission accused Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party (PP) government of ignoring police warnings that its support for the Iraq war increased the threat from Islamic terrorism in Spain.

The PP, which lost power to the Socialist party amid a backlash at its handling of the Islamic militant bombings, was the only party not to support the commission's findings.

Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, including a tape by an Islamic group saying the attack was a reprisal for Spain's role in Iraq, the PP insisted Basque separatist guerrillas ETA were the prime suspects in the attacks which killed 191 people.

"The objective was to influence public opinion about the authors of the attack and avoid political consequences which might harm the electoral interests of the Popular Party," read the final report. The report alleged the PP was afraid of public outcry if the bombings were linked to its unpopular support for the Iraq war.

"It was clearly an informative attitude inappropriate for a democratic government," said the report.

Aznar, who stood down at the elections, told a hearing of the commission last year he still believed ETA was linked to the attacks. The commission said in Wednesday's report it found no evidence of any ETA involvement in the bombings.

Aznar's gang are a bunch of sick twisted bastards. Here's the short version of what happened. After the horrible terrorist act, Aznar went around telling everyone it was ETA. Spain's intelligence service figured out pretty quickly that it probably wasn't. Aznar managed to convince most of the Spanish media that ETA was involved. Some involved in the investigation started leaking to a Spanish radio station that it probably was Islamic terrorists. The rest of the Spanish media, intimidated by Aznar and the national tragedy, was incredibly hostile to these reports. Aznar's government went as far as replacing scheduled programming on state run TV (on the Friday evening before the Sunday election) with a documentary about ETA terrorism. By this time, enough information had come out that the media began to turn and the Spanish population began to rebel, including massive grass roots demonstrations on the day before the election. All this was enough to probably help push the opposition PSOE party over the edge.

Aznar's involved with an American style think tank which was recently pushing the notion that the opposition - PSOE - must have known about the attack, the one Aznar lied about, before the fact. Proof? They must have known because otherwise they couldn't have used it to their advantage in the elections.

Sick twisted bastards, trained well by our right wing sick twisted bastards.

Long Term Contracts

I've repeatedly made the point that it's ridiculous to imagine that any sort of long term (near lifetime) contracts can be guaranteed to be enforced and honored. I consider this to be a bug. Apparently The Economist is puzzled that anyone would expect companies to honor their contractual obligations to workers, and think it's a feature.

I hope the publishers of the Economist have taken a long hard look at "Buttonwood's" contractual pension benefits, if there are any, and decided to cancel them.

(via DeLong)

Stop Clapping

Operation Tinkerbell was a success. We've won!

Fuck yeah!

On a tangential note, Christopher Durang is great. One of the best performances I've ever seen was a theater school production of The Marriage of Bette and Boo...

Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.

Good Gaggle


Q Scott, how concerned is the administration about the potential for Iraq to become a sort of training ground for Islamic extremists who may go back to their home countries and use these techniques to destabilize their governments? There's a new report on that recently.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, let me mention a couple things. As the President has said for some time now, Iraq is a central front in the war on terrorism. Wherever you stood before the decision to go into Iraq, I think we can all recognize that the terrorists have made it a central front in the war on terrorism.


Q Just following up on that question, you said at the outset of that, the terrorists have made it a central front in the war on terrorism. I thought it was a central front in the war on terrorism before we invaded.

MR. McCLELLAN: It is. It's part of the war on terrorism, yes.

Q It was.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, it is.

Q It is now --

Q Was it prior to --

MR. McCLELLAN: Both. It's part of the war on terrorism, David.

Go ahead.

E&P has more.

Bush reached out...

...and ran the palm of his hand over Kerik's butch cut...


Apparently Frist has a lot of work to do.

All the Press's Men

This is just wrong.

(thanks to reader g)

US Flag Code

What's particularly frustrating by the flag burning amendment is that according to the US Flag Code, the appropriate way to dispose of a flag, as all patriotic Americans know, is to burn it.

Any anti-flag burning legislation would have to be based entirely around intent - was your intent to protest the actions of your government? If so, go to jail. Was your intent to follow the US Flag code? Good for you.

Shox News

Heh heh.

Flag Burning

Well, it's back yet again, because it's what the people who died on September 11 would've wanted. Or something. Some days I wish they'd just pass the damn thing.

But, serious question for the constitutional lawyer types - anyone ever give any thought to how a flag burning amendment might impact 1st amendment issues more broadly? It seems to be that a direct abridgement of 1st amendment rights by amending the consitution, no matter how narrow the language of the amendment, would still open the door to further reinterpreatation of this stuff. Once the legality of outlawing a certain kind of, uh, political undermining is enshrined in the constitution it could presumably result in further limitations on political

O'Reilly Calls for the Arrest and Detention of the Entire Air America Staff


Everybody got it? Dissent, fine; undermining, you're a traitor. Got it? So, all those clowns over at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done, please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains, because they, you know, they're undermining everything and they don't care, couldn't care less.


The person responsible for ruminating about economic issues in one of the nation's premier newspapers really shouldn't display Luskin-like ignorance of the subject.

Klein the Klown

This guy totally melts down on Hannity. Not ready for prime time.

No One to Demonize

Harold Meyerson begins his column:

In the absence of an antiwar movement, the American people have turned against the war in Iraq. Those two facts, I suspect, are connected.

I suspect he's right. They're desperate to keep Dixie Chicking people, to put the blame on the opposition rather than themselves.

This is also related to the instapundit game - criticize the Democrats for not speaking out on something, and then when they do criticizing them for "politicizing it." The only way to oppose torture is to support it, the only way to oppose the war is to support it. Apparently the only way to have an anti-war movement is not to have one.

Fuck yeah!!

Facts, Schmacts

Knute Berger writes in the Seattle Weekly:
Unfortunately, Americans have little appetite for truly "fair and balanced" coverage. If we did, the News Hour With Jim Lehrer would be a smash hit and Fox News would be banished to the media dustbin. In fact, viewers have flocked to the faux "fair and balanced" coverage of Fox that acts as a transparent mask over a right-leaning agenda. Its popularity is partly due to the perception that the rest of the media have a left-wing bias, allowing Fox to offer itself as the feisty counterbalance.

I'm not a big fan of the News Hour - I think it's "yell TV" without the yelling much of the time, just a quieter more lethargic version of the feistier cable shows. Two sides come on to tell their story, and we are left none the wiser about which competing version of reality is true.

But, for all of Fox's "popularity," according to PBS the News Hour gets 2.7 million daily viewers, which is about what Fox's most popular show, The Falafel Hour, gets.

Klein - Big Liar

Maura Moynihan skins Ed Klein alive and demonstrates that he is indeed a complete and total fraud, which will only ensure that gets the royal media treatment.

I really wish we could get a panel together on blogger ethics so we could figure this stuff out.

Bringing Them All Down

Reading between the lines of the latest coingate scandal, I think Tom Noe has just informed the Republican party of Ohio:

You're going down with me, bitches!

[link added]

Roger Ailes Gassed His Own People


Diazinon is nasty stuff.

Clap Louder

DeLay says Houston just like Iraq:

WASHINGTON - When House Majority Leader Tom DeLay sat down with reporters on Tuesday on Capitol Hill, he was asked to assess President Bush's campaign in Iraq and to respond to criticism that the military mission is not going well and the White House needs to develop an exit strategy.

DeLay offered this response: "These things take time and they take a long time, and some people get weary of the constant barrage that we see in the media.

"You know, if Houston, Texas, was held to the same standard as Iraq is held to, nobody'd go to Houston, because all this reporting coming out of the local press in Houston is violence, murders, robberies, deaths on the highways," DeLay said.

"And if you took that as the image of what is a great city that has an incredible quality of life and an incredible economy, it's amazing to me. Go to Iraq. And see what's actually happening there.

"Everybody that comes from Iraq is amazed at the difference of what they see on the ground and what they see on the television set."

Open Thread

Have fun.

Open Thread

Have fun.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


I've tried to lay off the Pickler recently, as I believe she had a wee bit of cancer unpleasantness, but what the fuckity fuck...

I look forward to a match between the Pickler:

and the Bowler:

Long Hard Slog

Bill Frist's America.

Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.

Open Thread




The comments that were criticized came late in a long, thoughtful speech on the Senate floor in which Durbin reflected on the United States' obligation to be better than reprehensible regimes of the past. He talked at some length about mistakes American presidents made in previous wars (repealing habeas corpus during the Civil War, interning Americans of Japanese descent during World War II, taking over the steel industry during the Korean War), and he urged President Bush to recognize and rectify his mistake in prisoner treatment during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Durbin's entire speech is too long to reprint, but lengthy excerpts can be found on the page opposite.

Durbin was spot on in his assessment of Guantanamo. That's why he was so roundly attacked. He told the truth. And his message is of vital importance; the United States is better than this.

The issue of whether Durbin's rhetoric crossed a line is small potatoes compared with the undeniable truth that American treatment of its prisoners has crossed many, many lines -- of morality, of international law, of practical benefit.

But instead of discussing what goes on at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and other prison camps, the right would prefer to get into a senseless argument about whether "we" are better than the Nazis or Saddam Hussein or the Soviets or Pol Pot or whomever a critic of Guantanamo might raise as a comparison. It's a tactic the group running Washington now has used again and again: They're quite deliberately changing the subject -- from Guantanamo to words spoken on the Senate floor.

It's not too late, as Durbin said of Bush in his speech: The senator should stop apologizing and keep up the criticism of the hellhole America's military has created at Guantanamo. He has no reason to be defensive; he's telling the truth. It's a truth Americans need to hear, and its tellers must resist intimidation.

What kind of America do you want to live in? I don't want to live in Hugh Hewitt's America or Trent Lott's America or Bill Frist's America or Assrocket's America. I don't want to live in an America in which I read that FBI report and think -- Fuck Yeah! That's America.

Apparently they do.

Well fuck their anti-American shit.



Durbin asked an obvious question: If you’d read that report, would you ever have thought that it was describing American conduct? Or would you have thought what Durbin said—that it must describe an evil regime, the type we have long denounced? The answer to that is perfectly obvious—and so is the state of our fallen culture, the culture being trampled under by the Russerts, the McCains and the Wallaces.

But we’ve now reached a miraculous point in the crumbling of our discourse. We’ve reached the point where citizens are mocked by major scribes for wondering if we were lied into war—and where United States senators are told to apologize for denouncing the conduct described in that report. But then, lunacy has spread throughout our discourse over the course of the past dozen years. And your fiery “career liberals” have known to be silent. They looked away again and again. Now we see what that has bought us.

Remember: If you’re troubled to think that we may have been lied into war, that makes you a “wing nut” to today’s “mainstream” press corps. And if you think that FBI report sounds un-American, you need to apologize to the Senate! McCain, Russert, Kristol, Hume, Wallace? They’ve turned their backs on sanity itself. Everyone has to fight this spreading press culture—and you have to ask more from those who kept quiet while this culture of insanity was born.


Frist is indeed the worst majority leader ever. Nonetheless I'm confused -- I thought on the previous cloture vote he had voted against cloture so that he would be allowed to bring up the cloture vote again. This time around the only Republican to vote against cloture was Voinovich -- wouldn't he have to be the one to bring up the vote?

Open Thread

Have fun.

There Are No Moderate Republicans

Regarding Graham, Yglesias says:

Look, it's nice that Graham is saying smart, dissenting things about the direction of national policy. But he keeps voting for the policy. Just like Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, and the rest of the gang, he has done nothing -- absolutely nothing -- to correct the situation. Instead, he's actively collaborated in generating the problems he cites. The things he claims to regret would have been somewhat mitigated had Graham lost his race to become a U.S. senator. He could help improve the situation tomorrow by resigning his seat and letting Mike Easley appoint a replacement.

A smaller step might be to use his votes on various committees to help restart the process of congressional oversight. But he hasn't done anything like that and he won't. I don't know exactly what's wrong with these people, but they deserve to be attacked more, not less, harshly than your ordinary party-line Republicans. Voting for bad policies you agree with is bad. Voting for bad policies that, when asked, you say are bad is ridiculous. Liberals should direct nothing but scorn at this crew unless and until they start doing something instead of offering nice remarks to film screening audiences.

Precisely. (well, except, as storwino points out, Easley is North Carolina's governor... but, otherwise.)

What We Know

Henry writes:

In many countries (including my home country, Ireland), police have a reputation for stitching people up; they seem prepared in some instances to commit perjury in order to get people convicted for crimes. Now in some cases, this is a completely cynical exercise – the police have no idea of whether the accused is guilty or not, but need to get a conviction for political or other reasons. But in others, it’s because the police think that they know who committed a crime, but don’t have the necessary evidence to get the person convicted in court. Therefore, they perjure themselves and lie about the evidence in order to get the conviction.

This, it seems to me, is what happened in the lead-up to Iraq. The Bush administration, like others, probably did genuinely believe that Iraq had an active nuclear program. But it didn’t have the necessary evidence to prove this, either to its allies or to its own people. It therefore cooked the evidence that it did have in order to make its claims more convincing. It didn’t deceive the public about its basic belief that there were WMDs in Iraq. But it did deceive the public about the evidence that was there to support this belief, in order to convince them that there was a real problem. In other words, it did “consciously mislead” the American people (and its allies). When the police are caught perjuring themselves to get convictions, they should (and frequently do) suffer serious consequences, even if they believe that they’re perjuring themselves in order to get the guilty convicted. That’s not what the police should be doing; they haven’t been appointed as judges, and for good reason. If the police persistently lie in order to get convictions, the system of criminal law is liable to break down. Similarly, when the administration lies about a major matter in order to get public support, it shouldn’t be excused on the basis that it thought that it was lying in a good cause. It’s still betraying its basic democratic responsibilities.

There's a lot of truth here, although I think there are additional points that need to be made. We need to distinguish between the "WMD" and "the threat." Without a real investigation we'll never know to what degree they hyped WMD claims they thought were false instead of simply hyping claims they did not know were true. Some of us with our faulty memories remember Donald Rumsfeld saying things like:

We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.

And George Bush saying:

He's a man who has told the world he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, yet he does.

And Ari Fleischer:

We know for a fact there are weapons there.

And Poodle:

We know that he has stockpiles of major amounts of chemical and biological weapons[.]

All of these things can fall in Henry's basic frame - they believed he had certain weapons and while they were dishonest about their evidence and certainty of this, they still believed it.

But what they did do, without a doubt, was hype the degree to which such weapons, even if they existed, posed any kind of threat to the United States or even to Iraq's neighbors. We have a bit of a language problem, calling anything nasty a "weapon of mass destruction" when frequently we're talking about things which are very unlikely to produce a mass casualty event. A true "weapon of mass destruction" is capable of killing massive amounts of people. So, we're talking nuclear or a nasty plague or poisoning of an urban water supply or something which can actually succeed in killing massive amounts of people. Something like the much hyped Ricin doesn't even come close to deserving the label of WMD.

So, maybe they believed all the stuff about WMD (I'm still rather dubious about that too), but they certainly didn't believe the degree to which they hyped those WMD as posing any kind of genuine threat to us, and they certainly had no legitimate evidence of a nuclear program that had proceeded any further than my own nuclear program.[[UPDATE: Let me add here that the one thing I really don't believe is that they thought Saddam really had an active nuke program. Bad guy with lust in his heart, sure, but that describes every shitty dictator in the world.]]

They said he had WMD and, under the shitty definition of that word we've embraced, it's possible they believed it even if they didn't have the evidence they claimed to have (which was obvious at the time and one of many reasons I opposed this thing). But the kinds of weapons they believed they had were, for the most part, only useful as a deterrent to invasion, which appears to be the reason Saddam let the rumors about his evil laboratories persist. They just wouldn't be useful either for direct military uses or even for terrorist blackmail.

Believed in WMDs they hyped? Perhaps. Believed in the threat they hyped? Nope.

Some Thoughts from Lindsey Graham

Steve Clemons passes on some things he heard Lindsey Graham say at a recent screening of Seven Days in May:

Graham said that there were similarities between the political gamesmanship at play today and in what the film depicted some 40 years ago. He said that one of the reasons he worked to undermine those who wanted to trigger the so-called "nuclear option" over judicial nominations in the Senate is that he believed that one branch of government was trying to subordinate other branches.

He said that this was a time in politics -- particularly in the Congress -- in which policy decisions were tilting towards the loudest, often uninformed voices -- and that reasonable politics were being undermined.

He said that he worried that America today was vulnerable to a new generation of demagogues who would come in and "push all the buttons" on "9/11, terrorism, Guantanamo, and the like" and try and wreck the system of checks and balances that characterize America's style of democracy.

Drinking Liberally

Don't forget, locals, Drinking Liberally every Tuesday 6-9ish at Ten Stone at the corner of 21st and South.

For those of you around the country, find your own local chapter or start your own.

New people, don't be shy. I'd say the ratio of regulars to non regulars is about 60/40 these days, and we always welcome the addition of more regulars.

Jim says Chuck Pennacchio, candidate for U.S. Senate, is planning to drop by.


Well, I can't vouch for this but it certainly sounds creepy.

(via Toughenough)

...never mind. One more hoax to not worry about.

Young Republicans Reject Ad

Don't want to waste their beautiful minds.


Recall, bitches!

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger suddenly ranks among the most unpopular governors in modern California history, as residents grow increasingly unhappy about the action hero-turned-politician's budget plans and his call for a special election, according to a new Field Poll.

Less than a third -- 31 percent -- of the state's adults approve of the job the governor is doing in Sacramento, down from 54 percent in February. The numbers are only slightly better among registered voters, 37 percent of whom are happy with Schwarzenegger's performance and 53 percent dissatisfied.

(tip from dave)



Denigrating the Jurors

I'd missed this but Tim Rutten had a good column a week back talking about the cable TV reaction to the Jackson trial. He points out that there's something more than a little unhealthy about the pundits and pundettes belief that its appropriate for them to declare open season on the jurors who are just private citizens doing their civic duty.

Open Thread

Play nice.

Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.

Monday, June 20, 2005


I actually never thought war poll numbers would go this low:

(CNN) -- Nearly six in 10 Americans oppose the war in Iraq and a growing number of them are dissatisfied with the war on terrorism, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday.

Only 39 percent of those polled said they favored the war in Iraq -- down from 47 percent in March -- and 59 percent were opposed.

The survey of 1,006 adults, conducted by telephone Thursday through Sunday, had an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The Stalinist Right

Who knew that much of our conservative elite was deep in bed with a horrific Stalinist government? Well, I knew, but for some reason no one ever cares. Look over there! ANSWER got a parade permit!

Matt provides the teaser, Gorenfeld provides the meat.

Open Thread



It's always nice to win battles, especially ones which were assumed to be hopeless. Kudos to the Dems for holding firm. Kudos to Voinovich for understanding the importance of maintaining the sytem of checks and balances. And, kudos to Steve Clemons for fighting this battle both on stage and behind the scenes that few thought could be won.

...take the poll.

They Write Letters

David Brock writes a letter to the Penguin Group.

Tomlinson - Big Liar

I'm shocked. Just shocked.

"Democrats Can't Help Denigrating and Demonizing Christians"

Another fine Republican bigot, who believes his religious freedom involves using the apparatus of the state and the military to force his religion onto others.

Rep. Hostettler says Just Say No to Jews in the Air Force!

Osama Bin Forgotten

President Bush in Saturday's radio address, talking about Iraq:

We went to war because we were attacked[.]

Porter Goss on why we can't catch Osama:

When you go to the question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you’re dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play.

Bush on September 11:

We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts, and those who harbor them.

Now go see how Kristen Breitweiser feels about this.

No matter what the merits (or lack of) or realities of Goss's statement, it's 180 degree turn from the big swinging dick myth that the media has perpetuated about Bush's tough war on terror. It's at odds with Bush's promise to get Osama "dead or alive." It's at odds with the entire Bush Doctrine, at least iterations 1-8 of the Bush Doctrine.

This should ignite a shitstorm. It won't.


I suppose it's only fair we pat them on the head when they behave well, so kudos to Andrew Sullivan.

Fred Phelps is a Liberal

I had no idea. But in any case, let me say that Fred Phelps does not speak for me and I condemn his every action and certainly will not support him as the Democratic nominee for president in '08, even if he runs on a ticket with Barbra Streisand.

(via odub)

Congress - Irrelevant

The Bush executive branch just does whatever it wants no matter what the law is.

WASHINGTON -- A federal agency collected extensive personal information about airline passengers although Congress told it not to and it said it wouldn't, according to documents obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

A Transportation Security Administration contractor used three data brokers to collect detailed information about U.S. citizens who flew on commercial airlines in June 2004 in order to test a terrorist screening program called Secure Flight, according to documents that will be published in the Federal Register this week.

The TSA had ordered the airlines to turn over data on those passengers, called passenger name records, in November.

Meanwhile in Spain

PP driven out of power in Galicia.

June 20 (Bloomberg) -- Spain's Socialist Party claimed a narrow victory in elections in the northern region of Galicia, ousting conservative leader Manuel Fraga from power after almost two decades as head of the government.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialists gained 11 percentage points in the vote to win 25 of the 75 seats in parliament, eight more than in the 2001 election. That left Fraga's People's Party with 37 seats, one short of a majority. The Socialists plan to form a coalition with the Galician Nationalists, who won 13 seats, to control the legislature.

``The result can be seen as a referendum on Zapatero,'' said Jesus Maestro, an analyst at the Institute of Social and Political Sciences in Barcelona. ``Picking up 11 points in Galicia isn't easy. But the PP has also shored up its vote much more than people expected.''

Yesterday's regional vote was the second in which the Socialists have gained support since their surprise victory in a national election on March 14 last year. Zapatero's popularity has been buoyed by his decision to pull Spanish troops from Iraq and economic growth of more than 3 percent.

There's some possibility that absentee ballots will swing one seat back, tipping the power back to PP, but it isn't that likely. Either way it's a huge surge for PSOE.

SK Bubba Gets an Apology

Conley's still a wanker in my book, but maybe it's possible for wankers to become better wankers.

America: Still Better Than Murdering Head Chopping Terrorists!

What else can you say except:

Fuck yeah!!!

...just to add, we see versions of this everywhere. For some reasons conservatives believe it isn't actually self-evident that the terrrorist act of capturing/killing/beheading someone is a bad thing, that one must confirm this by pointing it out over and over again. I shouldn't surprised as most of them also don't think that it's self-evident that it's a bad thing for the policy of the United States of America to be to torture people.


Apparently this ad is running in AM and PM editions of Congress Daily and in today's Hotline (insidery Washington pubs):

I haven't been following the story of the Duke much, but scroll around Josh Marshall's site for more info...

Times Change

We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts, and those who harbor them.

--George W. Bush, 9/11/2001

When you go to the question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you’re dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play.

--Porter Goss, on why we can't catch Bin Laden, in an interview for 6/27/05 edition of Time.

The New Moralism




WASHINGTON, June 19 - Five months after President Bush was sworn in for another four years, his political authority appears to be ebbing, both within his own party, where members of Congress are increasingly if sporadically going their own way, and among Democrats, who have discovered that they pay little or no price for defying him.


On Monday, Mr. Bush will face another test of his clout, when the Republican-controlled Senate tries again to overcome Democratic opposition and confirm John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations. And with his poll numbers sinking as voters grow more restive about Iraq and the economy, he faces additional big challenges in coming weeks and months, from legislative battles over energy, trade and immigration to the possibility of a divisive Supreme Court confirmation fight.


"The political capital he thought he had has dwindled to very little, and he overstated how much he had to begin with," said Allan J. Lichtman, a presidential historian at American University in Washington.

"Congress is like Wall Street - it operates on fear and greed," Mr. Lichtman said. "The Democrats don't fear him anymore, and they're getting greedy, because they think they can beat him. The attitude you see among Republicans in Congress is, my lifeboat first."

In the last week, Mr. Bush has responded by lashing out at Democrats, casting them as obstructionists, a strategy that carries some risk given that it seems to acknowledge an inability by Republicans to carry out a governing platform. Searching as well for a more positive message, the administration, which has always been reluctant to acknowledge that events are not unfolding precisely as planned, has embarked on a public relations campaign intended to reassure Americans that Mr. Bush is attuned to their concerns.


But he has already had to postpone his next big initiative, an overhaul of the tax code. And barring some crisis that creates another rally-round-the-president effect, analysts said, Mr. Bush's best opportunity to drive the agenda may be past.

The last paragraph is a polite way of acknowledging what has always been the case - the only thing that ever pushed this guy's job approval rating above about 54% was war and terra.

Open Thread

Play nice.

Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.

Modest Mouse

Good show. Catch them in your neighborhood...

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Open Thread

Play nice.

Open Thread

Have fun.

Russert Watch

Arianna's take on today's Press the Meat.

Open Thread


Open Thread

Have fun.


No doubt this will be the top story on next week's Reliable Sources.


Jim Henley reminds us that maybe, just maybe, when the president of the United States tells the people of Iraq that the purpose of the Iraq invasion was to turn their country into a terrorist swamp it becomes a little more difficult to win the hearts and minds.

[Conservative blogger]
It's all the fault of anti-war bloggers who are REPORTING what the president is saying because otherwise the Iraqis wouldn't know about it! And besides, leftwingblogger posted up a picture of a dead Iraqi child, and that's going to cause much more of a problem for our troops than the actual dead child or the statement by the president that we're in Iraq so they get blown up instead of us, and besides that's the most brilliant strategic policy I've ever heard of because there are a finite number of terrorists and we just need to kill them all! Take that treasonous moonbats![conservative blogger]

"Generational Commitment"

Rice is probably the most shameless liar I have ever seen. For some reason the press is enamoured with her lies. They covet the shiny little dishonest baubles of untruth, embrace them, pet them, and ask for more.

But, no, this country was not told that we'd be in Iraq for 30 years. I guess now we know.

...Rep. Conyers adds:

As Republican Senators publicly proclaim that the situation if Iraq is eroding, we learn that there is no "exit strategy" because no exit is planned.

Seismic Shift

The fact that Harold Ford Jr. kicked off his Senate campaign by running a commercial with a "let's bring the troops home" theme tells us the dialogue has shifted massively in the past couple of weeks.

He isn't pushing any sort of "bring them home now" message, but nonetheless invoking the basic theme.

Last Throe

So, who should we believe? Five deferment "other plans" Dick Cheney or the US commander in Baghdad:

General William Webster, the U.S. commander for Baghdad, said on Saturday a month-long sweep known as Operation Lightning had halved the number of car bombings in the capital.

But he added: "Certainly saying anything about 'breaking the back' or 'about to reach the end of the line' or those kinds of things do not apply to the insurgency at this point."

Joementum II: Electric Boogaloo

Biden's basically in for '08...

Open Thread

Play nice.


This seems like a good topic for Monday's gaggle:

A former Pentagon official, journalist, and president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Leslie Gelb, a man with considerable political and military knowledge, came back from a fact-finding trip in Iraq talking about the ''gap between those who work there, who were really careful of every word they uttered of prediction or analysis, and the expansive, sometimes, I think, totally unrealistic optimism you hear from people back in Washington."

In a report to the council, Gelb was scathing about America efforts to train an Iraqi army. ''If you ask any Iraqi leader, they will tell you these people can't fight. They just aren't trained. And yet we're cranking them out like rabbits." As for plans to train a 10 division Iraqi army by next year, Gelb was scathing. ''It became very apparent to me that these 10 divisions were to fight some future war against Iran. It had nothing to do, nothing to do," with taking Iraq over from the Americans and fighting the insurgents.

Americans have statistics for everything in Iraq, yet little of it reflects reality. ''The information seeps in, and you wonder" about its reliability," Gelb said. " You wonder if you really know what's going on, because essentially what you have are the statistics. It reminds me so of the Vietnam days."

(caught by kiga in comments)

Open Thread


Open Thread

Play nice.