Saturday, September 27, 2003

Knives Out

It's the weekend. We'll see if they'll stay out during the week, or if it's all been "noted in the building."

A Vengeful White House?

Joseph Wilson claims White House officials leaked information that his wife worked for the CIA. (Photo: CBS)

"This kind of a low blow, even in a bare knuckles town like Washington, was neither honorable or dignified."
Joseph Wilson

(CBS) It was an embarrassing mistake when White House officials admitted that there was an inaccuracy in President Bush’s State of the Union address, but now, the fallout from that mistake could lead to criminal charges, CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston reports.

In his speech, Mr. Bush claimed that Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium, used to make weapons of mass destruction, from an African nation.

Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was dispatched to investigate the charge before the State of the Union, revealed that he had warned the Bush administration that there was no evidence to support the claim.

That’s when Robert Novak, a syndicated newspaper columnist, reported that Wilson’s wife was a CIA operative...

UPDATE (!!): HOLY CRAP. Check this out.

A senior administration official said two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and revealed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife. That was shortly after Wilson revealed in July that the CIA had sent him to Niger last year to look into the uranium claim and that he had found no evidence to back up the charge. Wilson's account eventually touched off a controversy over Bush's use of intelligence as he made the case for attacking Iraq.

"Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge," the senior official said of the alleged leak.

Pass the effing popcorn.

UPDATE II: Just so people understand, a "senior administration official" is like the president, the vice president, the cabinet, or a few people of similar rank. Someone is copping to what happened. The question now is who are they ratting out? How senior are the perps? And, when will the lovely frog-march take place?

JD Opens Inquiry in Plame Affair

We'll see if it's a real one or a fake one.


I frequently read the letters section over at Media News and something which I find fascinating is how the journalists rarely stick up for each other. I'm talking about when one of them is somehow marginalized unfairly, or getting screwed by the system, and its met with largely polite silence.

David Appell has a fascinating post about how one journalist got a little angry that the WHO was violating its own embargo arrangements (press releases given in advance with the promise of not writing about them for a few days). It's a somewhat questionable practice anyway, but it's completely wrong if they don't stand by their own agreements.

But, anyway, the punchline from my perspective is how this journalist doesn't seem to have gotten much support from other journalists.

A Great Success!

Apparently, Putin and Bush have agreed that North Korea and Iran shouldn't have nuclear weapons, but Russia may continue selling stuff for nuke plants, and Putin won't do a thing for Iraq.

And this differs from the state of affairs yesterday how?

Should Rumsfeld Resign?

Newsweek wants to know.

Caption Time

For this picture of a Freeper Luncheon.

a.herbst provides "And just think girls, it comes with batteries and attachments!"

Uh, Flight Suit George, you're supposed to salute with your RIGHT hand...

Bump the Story

Go read this MSNBC story, scroll down to the bottom, and give it a top vote.

More Edison

Josh Marshall puts it all nicely in context.

Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt

From Umberto Eco.

More Bill O'Reilly

Political Strikes gives its contribution, in comic form.

Quote of the Day

From mondo dentro in comments:

Rational Wonkism is not an effective counternarrative to Apocalyptic Rightist Populism.


Time for Some Jawboning

here kitty brings us this blast from the past:

In January 2000, with oil prices at nearly $28 a barrel, Bush called on President Clinton to ``jawbone OPEC'' to get prices to retreat.

``What I think the president ought to do,'' he said while campaigning in New Hampshire where heating oil prices were soaring, ``is he ought to get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say, `We expect you to open your spigots!'''

Two months later Bush was in Florida and suggested as president he would use his ``political capital'' with Mideast producers. ``These are countries where it wasn't all that long ago that a President Bush helped Kuwait,'' he reminded voters, alluding to his father and the Gulf War.

``I think Americans ought to be asking where's all the capital we earned overseas after defending some of our OPEC nation friends?'' Bush said in October during a campaign speech in Knoxville, Tenn.

A Modest Proposal

Michael Froomkin has an Iraq reconstruction plan:

I’ve now cooked up a modest proposal for a US exit strategy from Iraq. Bring all the troops home. Give each Iraqi $3000 a year for the next year or two, and count on the free market to conduct the reconstruction for us at much greater efficiency than we would otherwise achieve.

Ok, I’m kidding. I think I’m kidding. Yes, I’m kidding. Definitely kidding. We can’t do that until shortly before the election…


Kleiman wonders if the Bushies were behind the fact that the first OPEC meeting with an Iraqi respresentative voted to cut production. It's hard to imagine they weren't -- keeping the oil price high is one of the goals of domestic oil producers. Otherwise, many domestic drilling projects just aren't profitable. Now, there are arguments that can be made for the joys of oil price stability (oddly never applied to other industries) and arguments for the joys of reducing our foreign oil dependence (but, there are ways to do it without making customers poor and oil companies rich), but basically this is a bad and costly thing.

Just what the economy needs right now.

Holy Crap

The Florida pension fund has bought out Edison Schools.


I don't even know where to begin on this one.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Krugman at Berkeley

You can watch here.

Nexus of Evil

Ah, here we go. Haley Barbour is apparently eyebrow deep in Iraq cronyism.

Josh also comments on the Wilson/Plame issue.

41 vs. 43?

CIA seeks probe of White House regarding the Wilson/Plame affair.

The White House has denied being Novak’s source, whom he has refused to identify. But Wilson has said other reporters have told him White House officials leaked Plame’s identity.

If true, this implies (though not definitively) that the WH had been shopping this story around before Novak bit. Now, I'm not generally against journalists revealing government secrets - quite often the possibility of a ''leak" is what keeps this country going. But, this wasn't a Pentagon Papers-type "the country needs to know" leak, it was a pure piece of vindictive politics. Novak was within his legal rights in running with it, but he shouldn't have. Or, frankly, the story (from him and anyone who passed on it) should have been "White House Attempts Illegal Smear."

Daily Show Flashback

Bush v. Bush.

Mission Accomplished

Hey, Bush said it after all.

"America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished."

Freepers Terrorize Mother, Children

With an assist by Fox.

Steve G. has more.


Tbogg brings us this paragraph at the end of a Times op-ed:

This is clearly an uncomfortable question for the Bush administration. Yesterday, Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Times editors. Asked whether Americans would have supported this war if weapons of mass destruction had not been at issue, Mr. Powell said the question was too hypothetical to answer. Asked if he, personally, would have supported it, he smiled, thrust his hand out and said, "It was good to meet you."

More Cronyism

God, this stuff alone should be enought to bring this adminstration down. They're not even hiding it and our media doesn't give a damn.

Okay, I'm Done

The strain of being O'Reilly was melting my brain. But, here's an article by a reporter who obviously hates America:

"They planned to pull the troops out quickly," said Anthony Cordesman, a defense expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. That plan was based on what Cordesman called an illogical assumption that U.S. forces would be greeted almost universally as liberators, that political control could be handed over to Iraqis quickly and that there would be no insurgency.

"We never really had a nation-building plan," Cordesman said.

Pentagon planners did foresee some postwar difficulties. They were prepared, for example, to deal with a refugee problem, with acute hunger, with a torching of oil fields or with an explosion of ethnic violence — none of which happened.

What they did not fully foresee was the violence aimed at U.S. occupation troops and the other security problems that have hampered the reconstruction efforts and angered many Iraqis.

An early indication that the administration did not foresee a long and violent postwar period was a statement made by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Feb. 27, shortly before the war began.

They really did think they'd just install King Chalabi I, and he'd be showered with rose petals as he sold off the oil fields.

Dissent Harms Our Troops

Now, I'm not going tell you what to think, but you can't possibly disagree that the man who wrote this letter really, really, wants more of our troops to die. This anti-American diatribe was probably lifted verbatim from Mao's little Red Book. Go to communist China if you hate it so much here Mr. Schwartz. Now is not the time to be questioning our leaders, unless I disagree with them. Just shut your pie hole. Shut it right now.

My Lawyers are Gonna Be Busy

Yet another 4th rate writer has trained his guns on me. This is war, America. Are we going to let people just say whatever they want about anyone? That's not what our country's all about. You're on notice Mr. Hart, along with Mr. Franken. You can run, but you can't hide. We're going to fight that duel, just like in the old days.

Now This is Sick

Some third-rate hollywood hack has gone and put me in a play. You don't have the right to steal my identity, pal. This is nothing short of terrorism. Aren't we taking this whole first amendment business just a little bit too far? First it was that damn internet where, would you believe it, anyone can just say anything they want to? And now these playwrights are following right along. I remember when plays were good family entertainment , and not this political sex-filled hogwash. What's wrong with nice, simple, entertaining stories that the whole family can love? If they were good enough for Shakespeare, they should be good enough for this, whats-his-name, Flemming degenerate.

These people are menace, and if I had my way they'd all be locked up.

Some people don't understand that we can only have the freedoms we cherish so much if no one bothers to use them.

Fair and Balanced

Excuse me, Mr. Nugent, now I'm as much against taxes as the next guy, but if you're going to pass on stupid emails from your moronic readers, I suggest you do a bit of fact-checking. I'm not sure which country you're talking about that had "absolutely no national debt" 100 years ago, but it sure wasn't the country I call home.

Here at the factor we're all about the facts and you, sir, just don't have yours straight.

Call the Lawyers

Some jerk is copying my act. I'm going to sue.

It Isn't Nation Building

When the Secretary of Defense says he's not building a nation, who are we to question him? It's un-American I say, so take your goddamned treasonous thoughts elsewere. The proof? We're spending MORE on helping the Iraqis to rebuild their schools, homes, oil wells, places of worships, etc. than we did in Europe after World War II. You tell me how that's the same Arthur Silber, and if you can't just shut the hell up. It's this kind of talk that's getting our troops killed. I may have to make an exception to my unwavering opposition to the death penalty just for you.

An Honest Mistake

I like Andrew Sullivan. What he does in private is nobody's business but his, as long as he doesn't talk about it or do it in front of my kids. If he wants to go to a gay bath house, I say let him go to a gay bath house. In fact, hey, Andrew, I, Bill O'Atrios, want to go to a gay bath house too! I just don't want him talking about it. Especially in front of the kids, or on prime time television.

Some un-American homophobic bigot has caught Andrew Sullivan making an honest mistake. Rather than forgiving and forgetting, he's making a big deal about. That's just wrong. Shut up!

Get Back To Work You Lazy Bums

Those government bureaucrats, paid for by Joe and Jane American, have determined what we knew -- a lot of Americans are lazy. The percentage of irresponsible Americans who just won't work hard has gone up from 11.7 to 12.1%. It turns out, the laziest Americans are black. Now, back off you PC police, it's just the facts here at the factor and that's just another fact.

The poverty rates for children, those age 65 and over, non-Hispanic whites, Asians, Hispanics, female-householder families, those in central cities or outside metropolitan areas and people in the Northeast, South and West did not change between 2001 and 2002.

They're spending too much time listening to the filth of Ludacris and stealing hubcaps in the parking lot, and not enough time working. Get a job people!

UPDATE: Here at the Factor, we welcome all opinions, unless I find them un-American, in which case I'll shut off your microphone. A "Joe" from New York City sends us an email:

..."Hey, Bill, isn'it true that the poverty report shows that it's only the Midwest that has had an increase in poverty."

Shut up Joe. Just shut your trap right now. This country is at war, and here you are trying to divide us into regions. The heartland of America is filled with good, hardworking white folks, much like my father the janitor back in Levittown. It's wrong to insult your fellow Americans with this divisive rhetoric. Just shut the hell up.


Long time viewers of the factor know that I, Bill O'Atrios, am a tireless crusader against the death penalty. I'm a Catholic, and the it's against my religion, and it's just wrong, you see. Absolutely and totally utterly wrong. In fact, anyone who supports the death penalty is human filth, lower than anything except maybe Al Franken.

But, aren't we taking this no "cruel and unusual punishment" thing too far? I gotta tell you, and my pals back in Levittown would agree, that people who falsely claim to be American citizens when they aren't deserve a hideous painful death. Sure, sure, it turns out the guy is actually a citizen, but it isn't John Ashcroft's fault he didn't make that clear enough. A lotta strange looking people walking around, and some of them aren't citizens. How are we to tell? I mean, if the military is giving people highly sensitive jobs and can't even tell, how can you expect Bill O'Reilly to tell?

Traitors in Our Midst

Now, I'm not quite sure who let Arizona in, but obviously it was a big mistake. Only one third of the residents of that pinko state think our president should be re-elected. I'd like to think that's fine, but we're at war. You can't change pitchers in the middle of the game. Well, okay, wait, you can, but you only do it when the pitcher sucks. It isn't the way the Levittown Little League did business, back in my humble days during my humble upbringing. Mom, apple pie, and the flag. That's all we knew. Where'd all this talk about Negroes come from? It's wrong I say, wrong. Why can't they just be white like us? Come on, people, they're just milking this race thing. We didn't have these problems in Levittown. If only they'd just shut the hell up, everything would be fine.

But as for Arizona, they haven't had the balls to come on my show. Scared of Mr.O'Reillly they are. But it isn't about me - they're scared of real Americans, the people who watch my show.

Words of Wisdom

From my cousin, Bill O'Thersites:

If you want to be gay, then fine. That is your choice. And America is the land of the free. In America, you are also free to be Australian. That is what our American ancestors fought for--for the right to be gay Australians. But not in front of my daughter. 9/11 taught us a lesson. Let us never be complacent. Let us fight to have the right to let my daughter have the right to not see you being a gay Australian. Then I slipped her panties down her legs and, within seconds, my tongue was inside her, moving rapidly. Not my daughter, of course. Shut up! You sicko pervert gay Australian!

Al Franken is a deranged drunk. But I respect his father.

I don't think anyone can deny the truth of this stuff. Surely not my old pals from Levittown, or my new pals from Long Island. Respect the father and the gay, as long as they keep the paternity and gayity to themselves. And, oh yes, put the tongue inside her and move it rapidly. Anything else would be un-American. Shut up!

Yours Now, Mr. Lieberman

Senator Lieberman thinks everything is hunky-dory in Iraq. I say, fine Mr. Lieberman. I say, how about you take control of the place? If you think running it is so easy, why don't YOU do it?

Step up to the plate, Senator.


Apparently the homosexual agenda is winning down in Oz. Listen up America, there's nothing wrong with being gay. I say, this is the land of freedom, and whatever you want to do is okay by me. But where I do draw the line is when you do it in front of my children. I can't walk down the street without seeing Adam and Steve holding hands, or without my daughter watching them kiss. Now, this kind of public dispay of gay affection is un-American and you should be arrested for subjecting my daughter to it. This is the land of freedom alright, but aren't we taking this freedom thing just a bit too far?

Talking Points

What an outrage! The president's own party admits he's probably lying about how much it's going to cost! Now, I may not be as sophisticated as some of those other media elites, but I know when we're being lied to. Let me tell you, that time is now.

Wake up America.

Thursday, September 25, 2003


Since the selection and unauguration of Bush, there's been a steady stream of "can you imagine the reaction if Clinton had been president??" moments. This one may top them all.

Dear American Media,

Remember how you reacted when you were shocked, no SHOCKED, that Tyson foods got some special tax breaks in Arkansas which were neither unique to Tyson, nor unique to the state of Arkansas?

Well, this kind of thing is the crony capitalism you tried to pretend Clinton was involved in.

Not too late for redemption.




Tomorrow (Friday) is Talk Like Bill O'Reilly Day! We'll do our best here to honor it.

Call Tucker Carlson

Fox News is handing out his home phone number.

Actually, don't call him. Bow-Tie plays a lying fascist on TV, but he's probably a relatively decent, if ignorant, chap. In print he has moments of suprising candor. But, it's interesting to see how Fox is willing to start a food fight with The Other News Network.

(tip thanks to the Hamster)


You are the 5 millionth visitor since 4-18-02!

Celebrate by giving some money to the DNC.

The Kay Report

The Strib is continuing its strong coverage. Good for them.

The American people did not agree to sacrifice American lives and many tens of billions of taxpayer dollars for regime change. They believed Bush that Iraq posed a serious threat to the security of the United States and the world. That is proving not true. Don’t let the Bush administration weasel out of this one.

Heh. Indeed.

On Sale at the College Republicans Convention

They're a bunch of sweeties.

But, you shouldn't trust anything *I* say. We must wait until the guardians of our national discourse over at put this in its proper context.

Moonies Play Games with the CBC

The proud neo-confederates over the Washington Times promised to run a rebuttal by the Congressional Black Caucus to a hateful smear piece done by Deborah Simmons. According to the CBC, the Moonie Editors twice promised to run it verbatim, and then hacked it to bits without telling them. Here's how the rebuttal actually ran, and here's how it was originally written (modified bits underlined):

As Chairman of the 39-member Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), I understand that criticism from the press is part of serving in the Congress.

More difficult to understand, however, is how a major newspaper like the Washington Times could be reduced to printing the inaccurate and misleading assertions that dominated its September 19th op-ed, "Partying With No Purpose," under Deborah Simmons' byline.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 33rd Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) being held in Washington this week will serve some very important purposes, and I am confident that the non-profit Foundation's very able Chairman, Congressman William J. Jefferson of Louisiana, would agree.

Fair is fair, however.  Let's allow the Times' readers to make up their own minds.

Yes, as noted in the Times editorial, there will be receptions, a fashion show and an awards dinner during the ALC.  Although the Times chose to label these events a "shakedown," I believe that the thousands of deserving young people who have benefited from the $6 million in scholarship assistance raised by these events over the years would disagree.  They might well call the ALC's fund-raising efforts a "hand up".

The Times also failed to inform its readers that more than 50 citizen-legislator forums will be held during the ALC this week.  Thousands of Americans will come together in Washington to examine and debate what the federal government is (and should be) doing to create more jobs, support small businesses, improve our schools, expand access to high quality healthcare, protect our lives and preserve our freedom.

Are these issue forums, the policy "brain trusts," and the national "town hall" that will cap off the conference political?  No, unless one uses the word, "political," in the sense that the late Senator Paul Wellstone used it when he called upon those of us who serve in Washington to return to what he termed the "politics of the center."

During the ALC, thousands of Americans will learn from - and TEACH - their elected Representatives about solutions to the public policy issues that are central to our lives.  This, in my view, is a very important purpose.

So, to the Times and those reading these words, I ask: isn't this how our representative democracy is supposed to work?  How could a government that is truly "of, by and for the people" possibly work otherwise?

I submit that politicians communicating with the people who elected them is at the heart of the American government system.


The fact that the Members of the CBC are currently all Democrats seems to be at the crux of the Times op-ed's complaint.

The example of former CBC member, Congressman Gary Franks, illustrates that the CBC is not immune to Republican influence.  I am not angered, however, by the inference that the Times prefers Republicans over Democrats.

I must respectfully suggest, however, that editorial criticisms are far more convincing if they are grounded in fact.

For example, contrary to the Times assertion, almost all of the Members of the CBC were in the Capitol voting against the Republican "voucher" bill, H.R. 2765, on Tuesday evening, September 9th - NOT attending the Congressional Black Caucus Institute's Democratic Presidential Debate in Baltimore.  The Times and its readers can check the recorded roll call vote (number 491) on the House web site - but allow me to tell you "the rest of the story."

The CBC Institute and Fox News Channel announced in early August that we were going to hold a presidential debate on the evening of September 9th.  We knew that the public interest would be high, as the television ratings ultimately confirmed.

Several days before the debate, however, and knowing that the vote on the D.C. voucher experiment would be a very close one, the House Republicans scheduled the voucher vote for the same night.   As the Majority Party, Republicans set the agenda and schedule the votes.

I spent several hours urging members of the CBC to stay in Washington (they all did, with the exception of myself), and I called House Majority Leader Tom Delay seeking the courtesy of a vote postponement.  He declined.

We, Democrats, have come to expect this lack of cooperation from the Republican leadership in Washington. 

The Members of the Congressional Black Caucus believe that there is a better way for this nation to be governed - an approach that stresses an informed and engaged citizenry as well as a more civil, more cooperative discourse on Capitol Hill.

And on Election Day next year, the American people will decide if we are right.

You may call the Washington Times editorial department at 202-636-3305 and ask them if their policy of not accurately airing the views of African-Americans is a direct result of their being under the stewardship of neo-confederate Wesley Pruden and staffed by such people as their Assistant National Editor Robert Stacy McCain. (see here, and here too)

It's Lou Time

Make sure your voice is heard!

Here's what Lou said yesterday:

DOBBS: The results of tonight's poll. Do you think Secretary Rumsfeld should resign? 88 percent of you voting yes, 12 percent no.

David Limbaugh Full of Shite?

What is the world coming to... What WILL we tell the children? How WILL we explain to them that the very Christian Limbaugh is bearing false witness?

The Party of Personal Responsibility

Ah, a lovely tale from Arizona...

Jim Irvin, the embattled Arizona Corporation Commissioner who faces an impeachment probe, resigned Tuesday afternoon. He is also suing the state to cover for his legal fees in a civil trial in which he was slapped with a $60 million judgment for trying to influence a takeover bid of Southwest Gas.

Irvin’s lawyer, Jeff Walsh, said Tuesday afternoon the resignation takes effect immediately. Walsh said Irvin "has found it increasingly difficult to pursue his legal remedies in the courts and, at the same time, defend himself in an impeachment process.”

The announcement came as Irvin’s attorneys prepared to file a claim against the state to recover legal fees and to shield him from being financially liable for actions while in office.


The House's impeachment investigation has centered on Irvin's role in the 1999 takeover bid of Southwest Gas by Southern Union. Officials say Irvin and Rose worked behind the scenes to scuttle Southern Union's bid in favor of a smaller bid by a company called Oneok. Rose stood to make millions as a consultant if Oneok's bid succeeded.

Southern Union sued, and late last year a federal jury hit Irvin with a $60 million punitive-damages award, one of the largest civil penalties in history.

Even Fox has him at 50


Holy Crapetan

So, I'd previously read Digby's post having a bit of fun at William Saletan's expense I thought it was a joke though -- you know, a kind of "shorter William Saletan" post. Then I discovered Saletan actually wrote this paragraph:

If you want to see the tricks of the right exposed, read Somerby. If you want to hear the tricks of the left exposed, listen to Limbaugh. But if you don't want to get trapped inside either wing's echo chamber, read Slate.

And, if you want to find out the tricks of William Saletan, read the Slate corrections page...

Time to Profile Whitey

Evidence that not only does racial profiling of minorities happen, but that it isn't, as our friendly neighborhood bigot Dinesh D'Souza would call it "rational," but an ineffective law enforcement tool. Minorities are stopped and searched more often, even though stopping and searching whites has a much higher payoff.

Get Up Get Up Get Get Down

9 1 1 is a joke in yo town!

Q Sir, in February of 2001, your Secretary of State said that the sanctions against Iraq had prevented Saddam from developing any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. A year-and-a-half later, before the U.N., you called Saddam a grave and gathering danger. And I'm wondering, what changed in that time? Was it the nature of the threat? Did you get new intelligence? Or did 9/11 put a new -- set a new playing field for those --

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, the Secretary of State said the same thing, as well, that Saddam was a threat. Nine-eleven changed my calculation. It made it really clear we have to deal with threats before they come on our shore. You know, for a long period of time we thought oceans could protect us from danger, and we learned a tough lesson on September the 11th. It's really important for this nation to continue to chase down and deal with threats before they materialize, and we learned that on September the 11th.

You better wake up and smell the real flavor
Cause 911 is a fake life saver

A Letter from a Dixie Chick

Here. She's good.

More Moon

The author of the recent Salon article about Moon has some more things to say.

Maybe it's time to bring back Moonie Mondays.

Arnold Yesterday


We should model ourselves after Texas.

If I were a candidate, I might use that in an ad...

(thanks to reader sl)

Marshall Plan

For a little perspective, in current dollars the Marshall Plan cost about $80 billion over four years. (other sources put it anywhere between 75-100 billion)

Compare that to what we're spending in Iraq.

Compare them both to what we're spending in Afghanistan.

Moon Bush in England

This sounds fun.

New Jobless Claims Sort of Down

Wampum has the details.

UN (mostly) Pulling Out

Sandbox is all yours, George.

Busy Day...

You can get much bloggy goodness from the links to the left.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Bush 3/17/03


In the case of Iraq, the Security Council did act in the early 1990s. Under Resolutions 678 and 687, both still in effect, the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. This is not a question of authority, it is a question of will.

Last September, I went to the U.N. General Assembly and urged the nations of the world to unite and bring an end to this danger. On November 8th, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, finding Iraq in material breach of its obligations and vowing serious consequences if Iraq did not fully and immediately disarm.

Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed. And it will not disarm so long as Saddam Hussein holds power.

No Guns, No Cash


Oops 2.

California Debate

Arnold, Arianna, and Camejo really are just a goddamn freak show. As much as McClintock is repellent, he's at least behaving himself. Bustamante's playing the honest statesman game, which probably won't win him any points, but won't lose him any.

The moderator is, uh "fair and balanced," and I don't mean that in a good way.


Panic setting in:

We are slowly becoming frantic. I hear people saying they are going to begin hurting themselves or others if they can't go home. The helplessness our soldiers are feeling is indescribable, it is past the point of "suck it up and drive on." We just want somewhere to drive on to.

The UN Speech Through the Fabulizer

David E. of Fablog translates Bush's speech for us.

The Arnis Unveils a Cunning Plan

Here we go:

Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled a plan yesterday that aims to clean up government by banning fund raising during budget deliberations and taking redistricting away from the Legislature.

Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
But, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof,
When we would bring him on to some confession
Of his true state.

Lowest Rating Ever

Bush at 49% in NBC poll.

(lowest in that particular poll, of course. He's been lower in Zogby, but the methodology is quite different)

Torture Lou!

Damn Blogger was down and I couldn't link it, but Lou read these happy results on the air.

Howie's a Whoring

On CNN defending the Arnis, saying all he has to do is exceed low expectations.

The Republicans sure have mastered a fascinating campaign strategy.



Total Recall 2

Joe Conason says if the Arnis gets in, Total Recall 2 will commence immediately.

That's a cause I can get behind.

And, the Horse recommends that all lifelong Republicans (that means you) contact Tom McClintock and encourage him to stay in the race.

There's No Patriot Act in the NBA

A little humor for the day.

Bad Reviews

Fred Kaplan of Slate lays into the speech, as does the Strib.

It wasn't a speech for the UN, it was a speech for the domestic audience. It didn't spell out a plan. It didn't offer any suggestion of what Bush might want from the UN. It seemed oddly concerned with the illegal sex trade (scroll down), but given the Bush administration's consistent blocking of funding for women's health I don't know what the hell that's about.

Hillary is Not Running

There's nothing which demonstrates how useless and obsessed are media are more than the fixation on the prospect the Hillary Clinton will run for president. Now, I'm sure one could construct some scenario under which that wouldn't be true - you know, all 10 candidates killed in a plane crash, or something. But, hey, morons, get over it!

It would be fine if it were just the "right wing media," but it's the so-called mainstream media as well.

All together now.... HACKS


Zip. Nada.


Brad DeLong says:

Yet another journalist living in a total fantasy world of his own construction.

Click the link to find out who and why.

The Accused Have Rights

So, I'm listening to NPR this morning and and they were talking about the two guys who have been accused of various things at GITMO, though it isn't entirely clear what they were supposed done. But, in any case, the story had completely dropped the news convention of using "alleged" when talking about their potential crimes.

Here's a story...

UPDATE: Some people have said that the word 'alleged' was used multiple times and I just must have missed it. Quite possible.

GOP to Push Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Which, of course, means pushing tax cuts tax cuts tax cuts. Apparently *these* tax cuts could create 4,000,000 jobs. Wow!

Kool Kids in Charge

Tim Francis-Wright discusses the Beltway Heathers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Moon Stick

Over at Salon.

Vorlons or Shadows?

Bush Today:
Events during the past two years have set before us the clearest of divides: between those who seek order, and those who spread chaos.... Between these alternatives there is no neutral ground.

Where's Captain Sheridan when you need him.

Cheeseburger Fries

The pinnacle of American Cuisine has arrived. Not a moment too soon.

Calm Down Drudge

I mean, we've all seen Arnold's weenie. Though, the word Mapplethorpe should send a few more voters over to McClintock.

The Incredible Vanishing WMD Report


Leaked EPA Memo

Quark Soup has a copy of the leaked EPA memo regarding changes to the climate change section of an environmental survey.

Eschaton Assignment Desk

Some of our domestic journalists might want to obtain a copy of John Pilger's documentary "Breaking the Silence."

In comments to another post, Sally from the UK says this about it:


I am from England and I saw Pilger's show last night. He really got up the nose of the neo cons.

He interviewed a guy called Crystol (is that his name?) Anyway, Pilger claimed that much of the world was getting very worried about Bush's threat to start war against anyone he likes. This Crystol guy got very upset. His face went bright pink and he started saying Is France, Germany scared of the USA I don't think so.

Anyway, Pilger kept to his guns, and said that since the end of the second world war The USA had invaded militarily or through covert operations in 72 countries. Boy, you should have seen Crysol's face it was a picture. He said, "that is riddiculous," But Pilger said it's true!

Best bit was that the names of the countries started appearing on the screen apphabetically. Very good stuff!

(Crystol is presumably Bill Kristol)

More of this, Please

More of this, Salon:

The difference between William Safire and the average crazy old coot to be found in any New York City diner explaining to anyone who listens that the aliens have taken over is that Safire gets paid for his ramblings and has a better tailor. Not much difference at all.


CNN Ratings down in spite of because of overhaul. Oh yes, Torie Clarke and Joe Klein -- Just what television needs!



Can you read? If so, you will note that Clark didn’t say that the phone call came from the White House. And when people began to think that he had, he clarified what he had meant. That’s the way that decent people conduct a public discussion. But as we learned in the last election, your “press corps” is full of lying liars and fools. For example, note what Ben Fritz pointed out in Spinsanity: Note the way Will rearranged the order of Clark’s Meet the Press remarks to make it seem that he’d tied that call to the White House. In a real professional sector, people get fired for frauds of that type. But at the Washington Post, it’s OK. By the way, Fred Hiatt “edits” Will at the Post, Gail Collins “edits” the worn-out old Safire. Read much, Fred and Gail? And do you really think that American citizens are prepared to put up with this clowning again? Your papers made a joke of the last White House race. Do you really think that you’ll be allowed to produce this lying lying once again?

They're going to try.

That Lou Dobbs

He's become the master at asking poll questions which are utterly meaningless.

3 Days in Jail

Ah, life in America.

Condi Speaks the Truth

From Condi:

As all of us have said, the French plan, which would somehow try to transfer sovereignty to an unelected group of people, just isn't workable.


(thanks to pd)

Our Lazy Press

Sheesh, you would have thought somebody would've unearthed this one by now. Well, at least Oz journalist John Pilger did.

Pilger uncovered video footage of Powell in Cairo on February 24, 2001 saying, "He (Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours."
Two months later, Rice reportedly said, "We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt."
Powell boasted this was because America's policy of containment and its sanctions had effectively disarmed Saddam.

And, hey, via Lean Left we see that it's just sitting there on the State Department website.

We will always try to consult with our friends in the region so that they are not surprised and do everything we can to explain the purpose of our responses. We had a good discussion, the Foreign Minister and I and the President and I, had a good discussion about the nature of the sanctions -- the fact that the sanctions exist -- not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein's ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction. We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they are directed toward that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was ten years ago when we began it. And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.

There you go.

(thanks to dwight meredith who should return to blogging ASAP)
The Guardian has more.

Electronic Voting

Bad bad stuff.

...and yes, voting machine companies are linked Ahmanson and Faircloth, both Christian Reconstructionists...

Caption Contest Winner

Okay, I may not have seen them all, but the favorite one I did see for the fuzzy gun-totin bear was, "Plushtoy for a New American Century" from billy budd.

Curiosity Killed the Cat

But, sadly, our press doesn't seem too afflicted with that disease. Ha'aretz brings up the fact that a couple of WTC workers received warnings from unknown senders a couple of hours before it happened.

My favorite unexplored 9/11 question is who called Mayor Wille Brown and told him not to fly that day, as he claims, and why?

Safire Redux

Tom Tomorrow notes that the Times never made Safire run any kind of retraction about his ridiculous "mole in the White House" story. Don't worry, Tom, they didn't make him retract any of his made up crap about the Clintons either.

I Know Nothing

Except that I know that what I believe must be right.

Faith-based reasoning.

Who Lied to Clinton?

Michael Froomkin picks out an interesting line in a Kit Seelye article. The signal to noise ratio is always appallingly low, as she's generally just a reliable stenographer of GOP oppo research, but maybe there's something there.

ISP Routing Problems

My ISP appears to be having major routing problems. So, I can't always read the links you send me...

...hmm... or maybe it's the wireless router. After booting and rebooting and plugging and unplugging etc...etc... things seem better.

Let's hope.


Howard Ahmanson might just be your typical harmless theocracy-loving loon if he wasn't a billionaire. The Right Christians tell us what he's up to these days.

Interview Coverage

Neal Pollack has the best.

Darrell Issa says "No on Recall"

And the farce continues...

One thing I've been meaning to post about -- I thought this Dahlia Lithwick article on the 9th circuit's original decision was pretty good until I reached the end:

The fun has to stop now, of course. The logic of the panel (and of the original Bush decision) would hold that any election with differing voting apparatus is inherently unconstitutional. And that renders every election, past and future, illegal. That cannot be the law. Since there is no principled way to apply the law of Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court should get its initial unprincipled request and see the holding limited to a one-stop ticket. But with the high court reluctant to step in and say that, it may be up to the en banc panel to clean up their mess. (Click here for an explanation of how their en banc process works.) Whether these 11 judges will join their comrades in lording it over the Supremes, or behave more judiciously than did the court itself in 2001, is really the question they must now face. "They started it," isn't an answer on the playground. It can't be the answer on the bench.

Now, I'm not a judicial scholar of, say, Ann Coulter's stature, but it seems me that throwing up the bad rulings of higher courts back in their faces is about the only thing a lower court CAN do to make a higher court rethink a bad decision and do what it's supposed to do - establish precedents and guidelines for other courts to follow. Lithwick seems to be advocating everyone just ignore the reasoning behind one of the most important judicial decisions in recent history. The press says ignore it. The politicians say ignore it. And now, even the COURTS are supposed to ignore it.

Screw that.

Send a Chickenhawk to Iraq

A noble cause if ever there was one.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Fox News Bush Bukkake

Anyone watch?

So Many Captions...

For this:

But, I'll go with "Andrew Sullivan's ideal man."

So Many Candidates

A few of you have commented that the right wing noise machine has just about lost its marbles, confused as it is about who to attack. This is turning out to be one of the benefits of having a strong set of candidates - so many targets. Rove had better hold them back a bit, or they'll blow their oppo research wad before we even hit the primaries. Some of the good people of this country might actually notice that the squeals of DEMOCRATS EVIL are quite funny, particularly as their unemployment checks stop coming and their kids are getting their limbs blown off. Well, not ha ha funny.

Sneaky Wolf

His poll is back. Go get him!

Lou has another meaningless poll up. Ignore it.


New CNN poll. Clark and Kerry are both slightly ahead of Bush.

...and, perhaps more importantly, Clark shoots up to 22% in the primary vote.

...and, Lieberman, Dean, and Gephardt are all within the margin of error.

They're all 'electable.'

So Let me Get This Straight...

A couple of Republicans claim that Clark said that he'd be a Republican if only Karl Rove would return his phone calls (dutifully reported by Howad "not so" Fineman.") Clark claims he was just tweaking them. The Weekly Standard reports that Clark never called Karl Rove, and in wingnut land this is proof that CLARK is lying?

oy vey. Wingnuttery knows no bounds...

(via the horse)

Facts vs. David Limbaugh

The Good Reverend starts taking on David Limbaugh, particularly this howler:


Which, to anyone with a brain, is obviously false.

Oh, Chuck?

According to Charles Krauthammer, we now officially have a credibility problem.

More Identity Politics

When will those oppressed minorities stop whining.

Manufacturing Madison

Over at Corrente, farmer debunks an often repeated made up quote by Madison.

Isn't this where that whole 'bear false witness' nonsense was supposed to come in...

Rock the Vote

MTV's Rock the Vote site seems to be a good one-stop shopping place for online voter registration/information. Some states have pretty early deadlines for new registrations and/or party affiliation changes so don't miss out...

...and here's a list of deadlines.

A Slideshow For Drudge

Click here for it.

How Republicans Think

This is just unbelievable:

Speaking of contracting out, an administration move to privatize air traffic control at 69 airports has sparked opposition from labor groups, which contend it would compromise safety.

The administration had proposed 71 airports, but House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska), who supports the effort, got someone to strike the two Alaska airports on the list.

Young, on an Alaska cable TV show a week ago, acknowledged the move generated some heat.

"Of course the criticism of myself," he said, "is that I exempted the state of Alaska." But there were ample reasons for that, he said, ticking off a number of them.

"Lastly," Young said, "my hotel room is on the top floor of the Sheraton, and the airplanes take right off towards my hotel room. Every morning I look out and there's one coming right at me. It's an interesting experience and I want to make sure everything is done right in that field."

Update: Thanks to Merkin, here's a transcript.

Dear Salon

Why do you publish articles like this? I can read caricatures, with little sourcing for justification, of the anti-war left over at many fine conservative news outlets.



Or, shorter stupid article in Salon:

The anti-war movement was likely right all along, but they should shut the hell up and trust the people who screwed up the situation to make it right.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Property Rights Must Be Clearly Defined

I'm sure good libertarians Jim Henley and Jane Galt would agree with that. In a country without a real system of government, a constitution, a set of laws, institutions, a court system, etc... such a thing is not possible.

So, what the hell are we doing selling off most of Iraq?
Oh, wait, I know the answer...


Don't let the door...

That Liberal Media


Nine months after being forced to step down as Senate majority leader, Trent Lott is back. And he's taking swings at George W. Bush, the President whose strong condemnation of Lott's racially insensitive remarks at the late Strom Thurmond's birthday party helped precipitate Lott's demotion.


WASHINGTON — President Bush said Sen. Trent Lott's implied endorsement of half-century-old segregationist politics "is offensive and it is wrong," orchestrating a party-wide bid to defuse the controversy threatening Lott's leadership post and Bush's own political prospects.

"He has apologized, and rightly so," the president said Thursday, drawing a lengthy standing ovation from a multiracial crowd in Philadelphia.

That strong condemnation only took 8 days.

Texas Blogburst

Advice from all corners on the future of the Texas Dems. It's far from hopeless if they get their crap together.

Krush Groove

The greatest movie ever made is on UPN right now.

Free Market at Work

Frank Murkowski is on 60 Minutes arguing that the federal government should assume all of the risk of a natural gas pipeline project (18 billion!) through Alaska.

I say: fine - all of the risk, all of the profit too.

Non-Denial Denial

Bush responds to Kennedy criticisms. Reminds me of the time Poppy tried (and succeeded) to smack down Dan Rather when Rather asked him about the affair everyone knew he was having

"I don't mind people trying to pick apart my policies, and that's fine and that's fair game," Bush said in the interview that will air Monday night. "But, you know, I don't think we're serving our nation well by allowing the discourse to become so uncivil that people say — use words that they shouldn't be using."

... as Jesse says:

He's "using words that he shouldn't be using". He's "disrespecting the discourse". He does not, however, appear to be wrong, which is sort of the key to the whole matter.

Talk about disrespecting the discourse. more thing. The real issue here isn't whether we are or aren't slipping cash to other nations as carrots. Of course we do that all the time. The issue is the fact that billions of dollars are flowing into Iraq and the administration doesn't feel the need to explain where much of it is going.

$50,000 per Day

They just claimed that's what Halliburton is charging for a five man team (on 60 minutes).
(oops.misheard...50, not 60)


This just makes me sad.

ABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 20 — Outrage over a plan to build high-end residences in central Kabul for government officials is threatening to discredit the 20-month-old administration of President Hamid Karzai.

The accusations come as Mr. Karzai enters the last year of his current term and he prepares for another foreign tour to raise money to rebuild. His government has already been losing support because of perceived injustices and the government's slowness in its reconstruction efforts.

To build the new housing, which would be for Afghan cabinet ministers, government officials and mujahedeen commanders, a crew of 100 armed police officers with bulldozers started demolishing the modest mud-walled houses of about 30 families two weeks ago.

The crew broke down walls of 12 houses, injuring at least two children who were inside, residents said. In scuffles with the residents, the police beat several with rifle butts, residents said, leaving at least two men with cuts on their heads.

"We received no warning," said Rahmat Shah, a former army colonel who lived in one of the houses with his wife and 10 children. "We faced armed people who said our houses were rubbish." Some families have repaired their damaged homes and refuse to leave.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission's special representative for housing, Miloon Kothari, was in Kabul at the time. He criticized the evictions and also questioned a system that allowed government officials to receive land and housing ahead of half a million people who have applied for land allocations in the city.

He accused the defense minister, Marshal Muhammad Qasim Fahim, and the capital's police chief, Abdul Basir Salangi, of being behind the action and said they should be removed from office. He also implicated the education minister, Yunus Qanooni.

There's more. Go read the rest.

Reading the Tea Leaves

I've been on record as saying I wasn't sure Clark's candidacy would really cause the kind of excitement his supporters assumed it would. I think it's early to tell if that's true or not, but obviously that prediction has taken a serious knock.

My other prediction, however, seems to be doing okay still - that Clark's candidacy would take much more support from the other candidates than from Howard Dean. Judging from the one poll out since his announcement, that appears to be the case. The biggest victim - Dick Gephardt.

Clark 14 (*)
Dean 12 (12)
Lieberman 12 (13)
Kerry 10 (10)
Gephardt 8 (14)
Sharpton 7 (6)
Edwards 6 (6)
Graham 4 (7)
Braun 2 (3)
Kucinich 2 (2)
Don't Know 19 (23)

Bush at 51

In new Newsweek poll.

More on Rail

One of the more disturbing things raised in this post below about highway/transit shenanigans in Houston is the fact that they're trying to build over a railroad right-of-way. That's quite the shame. One of the main difficulties of building any project - highway or transit - is assembling the land from A to B. There are lots of abandoned or freight-only railroad right of ways still scattered around the country. And, when they exist it's pretty inexpensive to get a new system up and running, even if the track/wires/etc... are no longer there or functional.

Where I lived as a lad they closed down a rail line that had been there forever and slashed up the right-of-way. 30 or so years later they're considering a new route (unlikely to happen anytime soon) which would mostly parallel the old route. But, assembling the land required will be a hideous and perhaps, in the end, prohibitively expensive endeavor.

I agree with some who said in comments that the question isn't if cities will construct more rail projects, but when. But, once areas are too built up the costs escalate rapidly, particularly if the existing right-of-ways are demolished.

5 Million

Raising 5 million over the internet (ed: is this only internet contribution? Not sure...) would be quite an accomplishment. More important than the final number, in some ways, is the final number of contributors. Over 60,000 people would have to give an average of about $80 to get to 5 million. I think I'd be more impressed with the 60,000 than the 5 million.

I'm not paying too much to the Dean-Clark fan food fights. I think the argument over which candidate is the purist anti-war candidate is a pointless one. I think the general press gotcha game of looking for flip-flops and painting them as dishonesty is cheap journalism. If there are contradictions, call the candidate or his/her people and ask them if there's a clarification or a way to resolve them. Gotcha journalism of this sort is mostly recycling the opposition's (primary or general) press releases.

That isn't to say that people's past positions on issues don't matter. But, especially for something like the Iraq war where new information and scenarios were arriving at light speed, a statement based "information available at time X" could quite well be very different than a statement based on "information available at time Y."

But, more generally, I think it's time to dissolve the circular firing squad that just seems to have formed.

Help is On The Way


Under the Bush plan, the Department of Veterans Affairs would disqualify about 1.5 million veterans, two-thirds of those now in the VA disability program.

Ah, the good old days...

"To all of our men and women in uniform, and to their parents and families: Help is on the way!”

Bookman on Mylroie

Jay Bookman explains the massive influence that right wing kooks have on our foreign policy. Hint: they're running it.

On the other hand, left wing kooks have nearly dominated the political discourse in this country through their creative use of puppetry.

New Neal Stephenson

Is now shipping... (Well, one copy at least has shipped according to my amazon account).