Thursday, August 31, 2006

Channeling Murrow

I know that Keith Olbermann has been called "the Edward R. Murrow of our time" so often that it has become cliche. But this clip, in which Keith refutes Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's implication that those opposed to the administration's policies in Iraq are akin to Nazi appeasers, shows why the comparison is apt and by no stretch of the imagination, disingenuous.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Gonzales to Iraq: Do as we say, not as we do

Bush's lawyer made a surprise visit to Iraq yesterday in which he urged the Iraqis to do something the Bush administration has been hesitant to do for quite from time: enforce the rule of law.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday that Iraq's future would depend on its enforcing the rule of law, but only its people and political leaders could decide what type of law that would be.

Wow, giving the people a choice in how their government operates. What a novel concept.

The article goes on to say that Gonzales met with the Deputy PM of Iraq and discussed "extraordinary measures". In case anyone was wondering just what is meant by "extraordinary measures", the AP article spells it out.
Gonzales is an architect of U.S. policy on the treatment of prisoners abroad and the author of a 2002 memo saying President Bush had the right to waive anti-torture laws and treaties that protect prisoners of war.

And let's not forget that Gonzales is also the guy who says Bush can break the law when it comes to wiretapping US citizens without a warrant.
The dreams of the Iraqi people, "can only be realized if there is a rule of law in their country and greater security," Gonzales said.

That was once the dream of the American people. Sadly, with the Bushies in power, it's turned into a nightmare.

And we still have two more years before we wake (if ever).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

MAD about ICBM

I heard about this story on NPR this morning as I was driving home from work. Sometimes you have to question whether the current administration really wants to start a nuclear war.

From Reuters:
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Sunday warned North Korea may pose a threat as a weapons seller to terrorists and that America would consider taking the nuclear warheads off intercontinental ballistic missiles so they could be used against terrorists....

The defense secretary also met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov on Sunday to discuss missile defense and cooperation on defense technologies, among other things.

Rumsfeld, after that closed-door meeting, said the Pentagon was considering a plan to replace the nuclear warheads on some intercontinental ballistic missiles with conventional weapons, a move that would make the missiles less lethal and therefore more conceivable for politicians to use in preemptive strikes against terrorist groups.

The re-tipped missiles would offer the ability to accurately and quickly target such groups as the threat they pose grows due to their acquisition of weapons of mass destruction and other lethal weapons from proliferators, Rumsfeld said.

"We think that it's conceivable that five, 10 years from now there could be a target because of proliferation ... that would be able to be hit or deterred as the case may be by a conventional ICBM," Rumsfeld said.

Obviously the Russians aren't too keen on the idea. I think this might have something to do with the fact that unless they get advance notice, it's kinda hard to tell whether the missile that was just launched was of the conventional or nuclear variety. And if the trajectory happens to have it coming awfully close to Russian soil, well the potential for MAD to become a reality is greatly increased.

(h/t Kvatch)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

What did you expect from chickenhawks?

Gen. Batiste: Rumsfeld ‘Served Up Our Great Military A Huge Bowl of Chicken Feces’

In the Shadow of Nuremberg

Bush and Saddam Should Both Stand Trial, Says Nuremberg Prosecutor
A chief prosecutor of Nazi war crimes at Nuremberg has said George W. Bush should be tried for war crimes along with Saddam Hussein. Benjamin Ferencz, who secured convictions for 22 Nazi officers for their work in orchestrating the death squads that killed more than 1 million people, told OneWorld both Bush and Saddam should be tried for starting 'aggressive' wars--Saddam for his 1990 attack on Kuwait and Bush for his 2003 invasion of Iraq.

'Nuremberg declared that aggressive war is the supreme international crime,' the 87-year-old Ferencz told OneWorld from his home in New York. He said the United Nations charter, which was written after the carnage of World War II, contains a provision that no nation can use armed force without the permission of the UN Security Council.

Friday, August 25, 2006

TDS: Yo Adrianne!

C&L has your moment of Zen.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

That's nothing to whinny at

Q: What's the perfect animal to be named after Ann Coulter?

A: Why a horse, of course!


TDS: Desperate Soundbites

Onegoodmove has your moment of Zen.

Opening The Files: 8/24/06

I haven't done an OTF in a while, mainly because I was fighting a cold all last week and all I really felt like doing was laying in bed in a NyQuil-induced coma. Anyway, here we go.

Petulant Presser

President Bush held a press conference on Monday in which he seemed awfully flustered at having to answer questions, mostly about the war in Iraq. Perhaps one reason for Bush's mood: more and more Americans seem to be waking to the realization that Iraq and the War on Terror are not as interconnected as Bush would have you believe they are. If the results from recent polls are any indication, expect to hear a lot more of the new "if we leave, the terrorists will follow" meme which Bush put forth.

Still many were obsessed with his irate admission that Iraq had nothing to with 9/11 or his proclamation that we will never withdraw from Iraq so long as he is president. But as I noted, his comment about the will of the people best illustrates his contempt for what it means to be a true democracy.

Ironic isn't, that in trying to give Iraq the sort of government that responds to the will of the people, Bush would ignore it here. I guess that's Bush Democracy for ya.

The President put heavy emphasis on not leaving Iraq before the "job" was done. This had the editorial board at the LA Times wondering "What job?"

Last week, Joe Scarborough wondered if Bush was an idiot. Andy Ostroy wonders if Bush is just plain losing his mind.

According to Will Durst, "wrong" seems to be the new Bush buzzword. Too bad at no point during his press conference (or ever for that matter) will it be preceded by "I was" or "I am".

Carpetbagger highlights a couple of sections from a Fred Kaplan piece in which Bush displays his apparent misunderstanding of the Middle East and the definition of "strategy".

And finally, Peter Baker reports for WaPo that Bush's new argument for Iraq seems to be "It could be worse". Yea it could. We could still have two more years left of Bush.....(expletive).


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Will of the People

At a press conference yesterday, President Bush had this to say about how he feels about democracy:
You know, it's an interesting debate we're having in America about how we ought to handle Iraq. There's a lot of people -- good, decent people -- saying withdrawal now. They're absolutely wrong. It would be a huge mistake for this country. If you think problems are tough now, imagine what it would be like if the United States leaves before this government has a chance to defend herself, govern herself and listen to the -- and answer to the will of the people.

Yes, because only democracies are answerable to the will of the people.

Monday, August 21, 2006

On Leaks and Politicizing Terror

Well it would seem our allies on the other side of the pond are rather upset that the Bushies have been leaking information about the terror plot revealed this month. They are concerned that they might harm successful prosecution of the suspects but I would also wager they don't want to over sensationalize the issue as the administration and MSM over here are wont to do.

Of course the Bushies have good reason to "dramatize the issues". They goaded the Brits into arresting the suspects sooner then they wanted in order to juxtapose the raid against the Lieberman-Lamont campaign. They also hope the plot will also give them leverage on the warrantless wiretapping program.

The only problem is that by hyping up the issue to the degree that they are, they are in fact seriously compromising national security. The Brits are doing their best to try to prosecute these suspects, while the Bushies only care about how much political capital they can squeeze out of this.

Padilla Update

The case against Jose Padilla is looking worse and worse for BushCo.

The U.S. government's high-profile terror case against Jose Padilla and two other Muslims has suffered another serious setback as their Miami trial looms in January.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke threw out the first count in the indictment -- that the threesome conspired to murder, kidnap and maim persons in a foreign country -- saying it repeated the main alleged ''conspiracy to advance violent jihad'' in two other charges.

''There can be no question that the government has charged a single conspiracy offense multiple times, in separate counts, when in law and in fact, only one [alleged] crime has been committed,'' Cooke wrote in an eight-page ruling released to prosecutors and defense lawyers on Monday.

''The danger raised by a multiplicitous indictment is present in the instant indictment,'' she wrote, stressing that it violates the ''double jeopardy'' clause of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution -- the prosecution or punishment of a defendant twice for the same offense.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


"We believe, strongly believe, it’s constitutional" - President Bush responding to the ruling that his warrantless wiretapping program was unconstitutional.

George would do well to remember there was once another who believed his actions were legal. We all know how that eventually turned out.

Friday, August 18, 2006

TDS: CNN: Fear not Facts

Onegoodmove has your moment of Zen.

Checking the Decider Redux

Man, I'm out of commission fighting a cold for a couple of days and all kinds of stuff happens. First it would appear they finally found JonBenet Ramsey's killer. And now a district judge has ruled Bush's warrantless surveillance program unconstitutional and ordered it halted. Of course it will be appealed but it's nice to think that the rule of law just might be making a bit of a comeback in this country.

Anyway, check in with Glenn for the lowdown on the ruling.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Target: USA

I saw a commercial for this the other day. Apparently CNN is devoting a whole day to showing "where America is most vulnerable to terrorist attack". Now aside from the shear gall of fear-mongering for ratings, something I would like to know is: should we really be tipping off the terrorists like this?

Think about it. One of the reasons that the NY Times was assailed as treasonous for revealing the warrantless wiretapping program was because they were tipping off to terrorists that we were spying on them. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in a laughable moment of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, said "But if they're not reminded about it all the time in the newspapers and in stories, they sometimes forget."

Now CNN is basically giving them a smorgasbord of where our weaknesses are?

Don't expect calls of treason to ring out this time around though. Nothing like a good terr-athon to scare up some ratings (pun intended) and help boost a few poll numbers before the elections.

Blog This!

Secret Presidential blog revealed.

WASHINGTON (XF) - The Xsociate Files has learned that, in an effort to counter the news that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has started a Web log, a source inside the White House revealed that President Bush has maintained a secret blog of his own for over a year now. However, the blog itself remains classified due to the fact that many of the entries contain discussions of national security matters. The only individuals with access to the blog are key members of the administration and select allies in the GOP.

The source was able to reveal two recent posts which were not related to national security. One entitled "Some Pig" details President Bush's enjoyment of the roast pig that was served at a dinner in Germany last month. The other post, this one under the heading "American Idles" describes how bored the President was when he met with the contestants from this season's American Idol. The only one of the group who the President got along with, according to the post, was the winner and fellow southerner Taylor Hicks.

Not confirmed by XF were rumors that Bush has also joined the now 100 million member strong online community MySpace under the pseudonym "GDub".


Jumping the Gun?

Did the Bush administration, in their zeal to milk the UK terror plot for political gain, screw the British out of evidence they may have needed to prosecute the suspects in the case?

From NBC News:
NBC News has learned that U.S. and British authorities had a significant disagreement over when to move in on the suspects in the alleged plot to bring down trans-Atlantic airliners bound for the United States.

A senior British official knowledgeable about the case said British police were planning to continue to run surveillance for at least another week to try to obtain more evidence, while American officials pressured them to arrest the suspects sooner. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case. (emphasis added)

In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports.

Now it's understandable that the US government would be of the mindset "sooner rather then later" when it comes to thwarting potential acts of terrorism. But this just begs the question: how soon is too soon? We still live in a society where evidence must be obtained (or at least we use to). One of the problems I saw with the Miami Seven and the NY Tunnel plot was that neither had seemed to move into the operational phase in which hard evidence could be obtained. Really these men were arrested and charged with thinking about committing acts of terrorism, with very little evidence to show they were well on their way to pulling them off.

So did the Bush administration compromise an anti-terrorism investigate for political gain? It wouldn't be the first time.

More from BuzzFlash, Tattered Coat, Steve Soto, Jill, and Emptywheel.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Squirrelly Wrath!

Squirrel attacks people in Fla. park

Friday, August 11, 2006

'Words mean different things to different people'

Anyone care to guess that perhaps this:
President Bush [...] said a plot foiled by Britain to blow up U.S.-bound flights was a 'stark reminder' the United States is 'at war with Islamic fascists.'

Might explain this:
Gallup: Many Americans Harbor Strong Bias Against U.S. Muslims

NSA Lawsuits

It would seem that the Bushies didn't need Specter's help in getting those lawsuits challenging the NSA program under one judicial umbrella.

From the AP:
A federal panel of judges has consolidated 17 lawsuits throughout the United States filed against telephone companies accused of assisting the Bush administration to monitor Americans' communications without warrants.

While this may sound like a setback, there is some good news to be had.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred the cases to U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who last month declined to dismiss one of the lawsuits brought against the federal government and AT&T Inc., according to an order released Thursday.

Politicizing Terror...Again

By now you have probably heard about the UK foiling a plot to blow up airplanes destined for the US. While it is still too early to tell whether this was another plot that was more "aspirational than operational", many are already calling it more election year shenanigans. And it does have some of the tell tale signs of another attempt by the White House and the GOP to politicize terror.

For starters, the long dormant Terror Threat Level was for the first time ever raised to RED (Severe risk of terrorists attack) for the airline industry. Never before has the level been placed that high, even during the numerous terror alerts of election years past. Some speculate about what really prompted the CODE RED, which brings us to the next aspect: timing.

According to reports, the Bush administration learned details about the plot on Friday, a full four days before the raid took place. And they were apparently ecstatic, gleeful even, to now have a cudgel with which to beat down the Democratic victory in Conneticut. Even Joe "I'm still a Dem, really I am" Lieberman got in on the act. Makes you wonder if Karl gave him a heads-up in that call on Tuesday?

But in their aggressive push to paint Dems as weak on national security, the Bush administration dropped the ball. This is evident by the fact that even though they were aware of the threat, the alert level was not raised nor any security measures put in place until after the plot was revealed.

What's that old saying about a barn door and a horse?

More reactions from BuzzFlash, Isaiah J. Poole, Ivo Baalder, Glenn, Hunter, Steve Soto, Christy, Steve M., and Billmon.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

TDS: No-mentum

C&L has your moment of Zen.

Opening The Files: 8/10/06

Sore Loserman

I know this moniker has been batted about quite a bit to describe Joe Lieberman's response to the "partisan win" on Tuesday. Funny, but I thought allowing the voters to choose who represents them was an integral part of a democracy. Silly me must have had that wrong because rather than admit the voters made their choice (they suck), Joe's gonna run anyway as an independent.

Blogenfreude tries to explain the meaning of the term "partisanship" to Mr. Lieberman.

Josh wonders, since Kenny Boy wouldn't endorse the Republican candidate for CT and Karl Rove has apparently offered help from "the boss", what does that make Joe?

John and Christy have the scoop on why the GOP is so worried about what Lieberman's loss means.

Billmon notes the bit of unintentional honesty by Joe in his not-so-concession speech.


Watch out you 'evildoers' in Iraq. Lindsey Lohan is coming and she's packin'.

And finally, now that we have learned the elephants have the capacity for compassion, anyone think it's time the GOP drops these passion filled pachyderms as their mascot?


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The United States of Amnesia

I know Americans have a short attention span but WTF?

From AFP:
Some 30 percent of Americans cannot say in what year the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington took place, according to a poll published in the Washington Post newspaper.

While the country is preparing to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives and shocked the world, 95 percent of Americans questioned in the poll were able to remember the month and the day of the attacks, according to Wednesday's edition of the newspaper.

But when asked what year, 30 percent could not give a correct answer.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

An American Insurgency

In recent weeks, there have been a slew of neo-conservative and GOP talking heads coming out in support of Connecticut Democrat Joe Lieberman. The one statement I would like to discuss here is that of Newt Gingrich, who referred to supporters of Lieberman challenger, Ned Lamont, as an 'insurgency'.

As A. Alexander points out, Gingrich unknowingly let slip the neo-con mentality toward the opposition:
From a personal perspective, Gingrich was correct in obliquely referring to America's blogosphere and directly Lamont supporters, as being an "insurgency". Gingrich, of course, meant the term to be derogatory and a means of linking those that oppose Bush's war follies with terrorists. Still, Crazy Newt the serial divorcer was correct in more ways than he fully understands and, too, revealed the Neo-Conservative agenda in a clear and yet, unintended way.

That Gingrich would openly refer to those who oppose Bush-Republican Neo-Conservative madness as being an "insurgency" is, in a very real sense, the first public admission that the Bush regime and Republicans are at war with the American people. It is a blatant confession of the ultimate Neo-Conservative agenda, i.e. a deliberate and swift movement toward a very real Executive dictatorship wherein those who dissent or disagree are "the enemy" or members of an "insurgency". Gingrich's use of the term "insurgency" when referring to fellow Americans reveals in no uncertain terms the reality that the Neo-Cons recognize a movement forming that consists of the American people and that is designed to directly challenge their drive toward a nationalist imperialistic dictatorship.

This fear of such an opposition would go a long way to explain why the government has chosen to monitor the activities of anti-war protesters under the guise of combating terrorism.

Alexander concludes with:
What choice do the American people have, but to form an "insurgency" when the current government has consolidated its power in such a way that the people have no legal or Constitutional means through which to protect themselves and their civil liberties? If Gingrich chooses to label fellow Americans as "enemies" or being part of an "insurgency", I personally welcome his unintended honesty. If fighting for the American way of life, freedom, liberty, and the Constitution makes the blogosphere an "insurgency" the label should be worn with pride.

We must never forget that this nation was born on the backs of a similar citizenry (sans DSL) who stood up to the ruling class that chose to ignore the will of the people. No doubt they were once considered an "insurgency" as well.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Civil War? See Ya!

From Newsweek:
The Bush administration insists Iraq is a long way from civil war, but the contingency planning has already begun inside the White House and the Pentagon. President Bush will move U.S. troops out of Iraq if the country descends into civil war, according to one senior Bush aide who declined to be named while talking about internal strategy. 'If there's a full-blown civil war, the president isn't going to allow our forces to be caught in the crossfire,' the aide said.

Expect the current 'sectarian violence' to become a 'full-blown civil war' some time in October.

More from Heretik, Desi, Hilzoy, Matt, and Fubar.

The No-So-Fine Print

Provision in intelligence bill would cancel US elections.

WASHINGTON (XF) - The Xsociate Files has learned that a provision buried in an intelligence bill passed by the House back in April seeks to postpone indefinitely the upcoming mid-term elections. According to a source with the Justice Department who spoke to XF on the condition of anonymity, the provision was inserted into the bill as the final step in the Bush administration's gradual shift away from promoting democracy overseas.

"Well, since Hezbollah and Hamas gained power as a result of the elections in Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories, we felt it was time to really rethink this whole 'democracy' thing here too," the source said.

When word of the existence of the provision surfaced, House Democrats immediately condemned it as an attempt by the White House to thwart any change in the Congressional leadership come November. And while the reaction to the provision is not a surprise since recent polls show a majority of Americans favor a Democrat controlled Congress, the timing is unusual.

Indeed, no similar opposition to the provision was aired at the time the bill passed in the House by a vote of 327 to 96 nearly five months ago. However, it is believed that this lack of a response is due to the fact that many Representatives abstained from reading the bill prior to voting for it.

"It's not unusual for a member of Congress to vote on a bill without reading the entire thing," an aide for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, "Some bills are hundreds of pages long, with sometimes thousands of provisions. If they had to read each and every one completely, they wouldn't get anything done."

"But this is one of those instances when they really should have read the bill," the aide concluded.


'I'm given it awl shesh gaawt captin'

This would almost be funny if the consequences weren't so serious.

From The Baltimore Sun:
The National Security Agency is running out of juice.

The demand for electricity to operate its expanding intelligence systems has left the high-tech eavesdropping agency on the verge of exceeding its power supply, the lifeblood of its sprawling 350-acre Fort Meade headquarters, according to current and former intelligence officials.

It would seem that in his quest to procure those record profits for his buddies in Big Oil, Dubya put our nation's security infrastructure at risk of collapse.

So what else is new?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

On the Road to an Exit Strategy

If I Only Had a Brain

WASHINGTON (XF) - In a startling revelation, The Xsociate Files has learned that President George W. Bush does not possess a brain. According to a Top Secret addendum attached to the results from the President's annual physical, doctors discovered the missing organ after conducting a routine CAT scan of the commander-in-chief. In place of a brain, the addendum reads, was a "transparent gelatinous substance" which one physician described as "clear jello".

"The doctors were really bewildered by this," the source who provided a copy of the addendum to XF said, "They couldn't figure out how someone could survive, much less govern, without a brain."

Critics of the administration claim this revelation is not surprising given Bush's performance as president.

"You'd have to be empty headed to make some of the decisions he [Bush] has," one analyst said.

(h/t Christopher for inspiration)


Jagged Little Pill

"Anti-stupid" pill tested on mice:
BERLIN (Reuters) - A German scientist has been testing an 'anti-stupidity' pill with encouraging results on mice and fruit flies, Bild newspaper reported on Saturday.

It said Hans-Hilger Ropers, director at Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, has tested a pill thwarting hyperactivity in certain brain nerve cells, helping stabilise short-term memory and improve attentiveness.

'With mice and fruit flies we were able to eliminate the loss of short-term memory,' Ropers, 62, is quoted saying in the German newspaper, which has dubbed it the 'world's first anti-stupidity pill.'

Might I suggest someone who could use a prescription:

Cuba: The New Iraq?

By now you have probably heard that Cuban President Fidel Castro temporarily ceded power to his younger brother Raul this week while he underwent intestinal surgery. And while he is said to be in stable condition, his absence has some Cubans worried that the US may try something while their leader is incapacitado.
Former revolutionaries promised to keep fighting for Cuba on Saturday as the island beefed up security, saying it fears a U.S. attack during Fidel Castro's health crisis. The government, under the control of Castro's brother, Defense Minister Raul Castro, has mobilized citizen defense militias and asked military reservists to check in daily.

The White House has insisted no such threat exists, with press secretary Tony Snow dismissing the suggestion that the United States would attack the island as "absurd."

Then again, installing a US friendly regime in Cuba probably doesn't sound like a bad idea to BushCo. Especially since that Caribbean isle now has something else in common with Iraq besides an abundance of non-English speaking foreigners.

Anyone care to guess when we will start hearing claims that Cuba has stockpiled WMD's? Maybe the Soviets forgot a nuke or two during their disengagement lo those many years ago?

Or perhaps the Bushies will use the 'degrees of seperation' method to connect Fidel to the mullahs in Iran. And to Kevin Bacon.

As President Bush once said:
America will not rest until the world is safe from the threat of Communism, Islamofascism and Kevin Bacon.

Okay, so I made that part up. But I still say we should invade Kevin Bacon just to be on the safe side.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

'I thought they were all Republicans?'

WASHINGTON (XF) - Recent media reports have surfaced claiming that President Bush was unaware that there were two major sects of Islam in Iraq until shortly before the 2003 invasion. In a related story, The Xsociate Files has uncovered a similar incident that occurred just prior to the 2004 presidential election.

According to an anonymous source, during a White House campaign strategy meeting some two months before the election, political guru Karl Rove had to explain to the President that there were in fact two major political parties in America.

"He apparently thought that all Americans were Republicans," the source said. Some political analysts suggest the reason for this misunderstanding of the political landscape is due to the President's sheltered lifestyle.

"This is the 'Bush Bubble' in action," one prominent pundit is quoted as saying, "Given that all of his audiences are pre-screened, it's no wonder he would think everyone's a Republican."

"And even when he meets someone from the opposition party, it's still hard to tell the difference." the pundit continued, apparently making a reference to Conneticut Democrat Joe Lieberman.


Padilla, Hamdan and Police State Legislation

Jose Padilla is once again in the news. You may recall that after nearly three years of indefinite detention, Padilla was finally charged with a crime (though not the much vaunted 'dirty bomb' plot). As I postulated then, Padilla was moved into the civilian courts in order to keep the Supreme Court from ruling in the case. But in doing so, the administration has exposed their case as being rather "light on facts".
With much fanfare, the U.S. government charged Jose Padilla last fall in a South Florida terror-conspiracy indictment. He was brought to Miami in January under heavy guard, shackled hand and foot, helicopters flying overhead.

But now a federal judge says the case against him appears "very light on facts.''

In the last week, U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke ordered prosecutors -- for the second time -- to provide more details to make their case against Padilla and codefendants Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi, accused of being part of a North American terrorist cell that supported Islamic jihad abroad.

As I said in my post about Padilla's indictment:
The essential question has yet to be answered: Does the President have the authority to detain American citizens indefinitely without charge or trial?

By avoiding having that answer clearly defined by the Supreme Court, the Bush administration has retained the power to repeat what it has done to Padilla to any American citizen.

Which appeared to be what the administration was hoping to get enacted into law:
U.S. citizens suspected of terror ties might be detained indefinitely and barred from access to civilian courts under legislation proposed by the Bush administration, say legal experts reviewing an early version of the bill.

A 32-page draft measure is intended to authorize the Pentagon's tribunal system, established shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks to detain and prosecute detainees captured in the war on terror. The tribunal system was thrown out last month by the Supreme Court.

The administration did their damnedest to avoid having the Supreme Court rule on this issue, hence the game of hot potato with Padilla. They were worried about a repeat of the decision in the case of Yaser Hamdi, wherein their indefinite detention policy might be declared illegal.

Such a decision would not bode well for the administration with regard to the detainees currently held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. SCOTUS has already ruled that the military commissions to try these suspects did not comply with the law. To possibly have the practice of indefinite detention ruled illegal would a be a double blow.

And even though it seems they've shied away from the issue of indefinite detention of US citizens for now (the article cited below makes no mention of it), the bill still has some pretty ominous provisions.
A draft Bush administration plan for special military courts seeks to expand the reach and authority of such "commissions" to include trials, for the first time, of people who are not members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban and are not directly involved in acts of international terrorism, according to officials familiar with the proposal.

The plan, which would replace a military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in June, would also allow the secretary of defense to add crimes at will to those under the military court's jurisdiction. The two provisions would be likely to put more individuals than previously expected before military juries, officials and independent experts said. (emphasis added)

So not only is Bush seeking approval of his kangaroo courts but he wants to expand them to include pretty much whomever Rummy says.

And now that Padilla's case is starting to show signs of being "light on facts", no doubt the Bushists are hoping to get the Republican Rubber Stamp on this bill so they can move Jose right back into the limbo of indefinite detention. With room to spare for who knows how many others.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Greetings to the EPA

Well, I always knew that my blog would eventually attract the attention of someone in the government. What I didn't expect was that it would be the Evironmental Protection Agency. What, have I been emitting too many noxious gases?

Opening The Files: 8/04/06

Would you like Freedom Fries with that?

Sadly, this is something you will no longer hear in the basement cafeteria of the Capitol Building. Three years after the GOP lobbied to change the name of "French Fries" to "Freedom Fries", the potato dish will again bare the name of the one country unwilling to go along with Bush's misadventure in Iraq. While this probably wasn't the biggest story of the week to cover (Mel's anti-Semitic bender was all the rage in both left and right blogistan), it does give us a peek at how the GOP likes to stir up their nationalistic jingoistic patriotic base.

Carpetbagger highlighted a quote from a spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi who says that now that they've reversed course on freedom fries, perhaps it's time the GOP admit they've made other foreign policy mistakes as well. Don't bet on it.

Moxiegrrrl noticed the guys who once ballyhooed this patriotic menu alteration are probably wishing this subject would just go away. Kinda like the war in Iraq. Unfortunately, it's only getting worse.

On a Liberal 'Outing' with Ann Coulter.

For some reason, Annie's Gaydar has been working in overdrive lately. Last week she 'outed' two former administration officials. First she claimed that Bill Clinton was a 'latent homosexual'. Then she called Al Gore a 'total fag' (in jest of course, but she was serious about Clinton).

This week, Ms. Ann continued the "Could Be Gay Parade" and bet good money that Hillary Clinton will be '[c]oming out of the closet' in 2008.

So it It would seem that Discoult (as Moxiegrrrl likes to call her) has been forced to resort to the hardcore conservative practice of 'gay bashing' in order to help boost her book sales. Not very Christian, but then again, even Ann admits she is a 'mean-spirited, bigoted conservative' only second to being a Christian. Though I'd say it's probably the other way around.

Mike wonders whether Coulter herself might be gay. And he brings up a good analogy about a rash too. It will be hard, but I think we all need to learn to resist the urge to scratch.

But until then, David Letterman had Bill Clinton's rebuttal.


Bill Katovsky took note of the report that President Bush lost a quarter of an inch in height this past year and calculates when he will hit zero-feet tall. Let's just say his approval rating will probably be somewhere in the negative 300's by then.

Shakes, in a rather obscenity laced rant (hey, it was cross posted at The Rude Pundit, what do you expect?) juxtaposes India's solution to their primate problem with Washington's political primate problem. Lindsay Beyerstein, meanwhile, comes up with a tagline for Samuel L. Jackson's next flick.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I want my WHTV

WASHINGTON (XF) - In the wake of the news that the White House Pressroom would be receiving a makeover, complete with video wall for displaying patriotic images and other uses, The Xsociate Files has learned of additional renovations to be made in the coming months. These include a gradual reduction in the number of seats available to the press, a move which sparked condemnation and claims of bias from the White House press corp.

"It's bad enough they got a FOX News guy delivering the briefing. Now they just want FOX News to be the only ones present for those briefing," one irate correspondent is quoted as say.

Indeed, the exact number of slots and the method for choosing which network and newspaper correspondents will be allowed to attend the daily briefings have yet to be determined. Also unconfirmed by XF are rumors that Press Secretary Tony Snow will eventually be replaced with '80's icon Max Headroom.

(h/t Creature for inspiration).


The Road to Tehran Part II

I wanted to excerpt some passages from a Robert Parry column from yesterday that seem to fit with my previous post about a possible plot between Israel and the Bush administration to draw the US into a confrontation with Iran.

Parry writes:
Much of what happened appeared in the U.S. news media as simply Israel retaliating against provocations from Islamic militants. But, on another level, the events of July were not that spontaneous.

At a White House meeting on May 23, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Bush agreed on a strategy for escalating tensions in the Middle East with the goal of neutralizing Syria and forcing Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

The two leaders reportedly signed off on a timetable that made 2006 the year to deal with Iran’s nuclear program and 2007 the year to set new Israeli borders, either with the acquiescence of a more compliant Palestinian leadership or by Israel acting unilaterally.

Under the Bush-Olmert timetable, the Israeli government was less interested in winning immediate concessions from the Palestinians than it was in delivering powerful blows against Hamas and Hezbollah, which are supported by Syria and Iran.

As Israel attacked, the Bush administration provided diplomatic cover by resisting calls for a Lebanese cease-fire. Over the next few months, the United States intends to step up diplomatic, economic and, if necessary, military pressure on Iran.

Of course, in order for the neo-con goal of tranforming the Middle East to be implemented, Israel needed a leader who views were more akin to those of BushCo. Ariel Sharon wasn't turning out to be a likely candidate. Luckily he's out of the picture, replaced with someone more to Bush and friend's liking. Coincidence?

Now in Olmert, Bush has a new Israeli ally who shares a taste for “shock and awe” military tactics. Olmert took over the government’s reins after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon collapsed with a stroke in January 2006.

Ironically, Sharon, who had been an architect of earlier hard-line Israeli strategies including the 1982 Lebanon invasion and putting Jewish settlements on Palestinian lands in the West Bank, had decided to move in a different direction, away from confrontation with the Palestinians.

Many Israelis voted for Olmert because they thought he would carry out Sharon’s vision. Instead, Olmert came to share Bush’s strategy of using military force to shatter the old political structures in the Middle East and replace them with institutions more amenable to U.S. and Israeli interests.

Parry finishes with a warning about the limits (and consquences) of the reliance on force.

While this violence might be satisfying to Americans and Israelis eager to fight “World War III” or simply those who wish to inflict pain on Arabs, there is at least a reasonable argument that reliance on force won’t solve the region’s complex problems.

Indeed, there’s a very good chance that the bloodshed will just make everything a whole lot worse.