Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Olbermann on SOTU Terror Claims

As he has in the past, Keith took on the President's claims of thwarted terror plots, this time in the State of the Union address. Among them were the "Liberty Tower" plot which no one but the administration was apparently aware of and the supposed plot to blow up airliners over the Atlantic, whose timing of the announcement was so important that it may have jeopardized British investigations.


Congress and the War

Yesterday, Sen. Russ Feingold chaired a Judiciary Committee hearing to address what actions Congress may take to bring about an end to the war in Iraq. He was joined by Republican Arlen Specter who said that while Bush may be the decision-maker, "he is not the sole decider".

From news accounts, the hearing focused primarily on how Congress can use their authority with regards to funding to block the escalation and redeploy our forces. Feingold is set to put forth legislation that would terminate funding six months from ratification, with caveats for various situations such as continued anti-terror efforts and training of Iraqi forces. No doubt he will be vilified as "not supporting the troops". But considering that the troops being sent into Iraq as part of this "surge" aren't being adequately equipped in the first place, it would appear that that overly abused charge can be applied to the administration as well.

As I pointed out previously, there are many hurdles (one of which will be addressed today by the House Judiciary) to overcome in passing any legislation. But if there is anyone up for the challenge of restoring our system of checks and balances, it's the good Senator from Wisconsin.

Meme has a roundup, but be sure to check out Maha and Walter Shapiro.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bright Idea, Dim Response

WASHINGTON (XF) - In what is said to be a move toward his State of the Union pledge to address global climate change, President Bush has authorized NASA to construct the world's largest mirror, The Xsociate Files has learned. The so-called 'space mirror' orbital platform was one of the many options considered for how best to lessen the effects of global warming.

Critics of the initiative say that this is just another example of the Bush administration using smoke and mirrors to keep from having to address the real cause of global warming, namely, greenhouse gas emissions. Others wonder if lucrative contracts for providing "sunglasses" for the Earth were behind the decision.

Among the most vocal opponents to the President's plan to blot out the sun have been sunbathing enthusiasts. A small group of them joined the protests this past weekend in DC, carrying signs reading such things as "Blot Out Bush" and "Put Cheney In Orbit, Two Problems Solved".

(Filed at State of the Day)


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Opening The Files: 01/28/07

A 'Surge' of Protest.

Yesterday, protesters descended on Capitol Hill. While press reports varied about how many were actually in attendance, one thing was certain. They all had one thing in common: dissatisfaction. Many carried signs like the one at left, protesting the planned surge of troops into Iraq. Others held signs calling for impeachment of the President and Vice President. Actors, activists and members of Congress all attended the gathering.

With polls showing more and more Americans would like nothing more than for the Bush II presidency to be over, the administration undoubtedly views such assemblies with much trepidation. One wonders if they had considered deploying their new toy.

John Nichols notes the real message the rally sent.

Russell Shaw opines that even though marches won't do it, he thinks he knows of another way to end the war.

Larisa takes a trip through Right Blogtopia to see what they're saying about the rally. Stephen Anderson and The Heretik, meanwhile, respond to one of the nutjobs.

And Blue Girl notes how even a small event can have big implications.

Update: Alex Koppelman noticed the amalgam of folks at Saturday's march included some new and not-so-new faces. Stuartnoble thinks the future of civil disobedience lines in the blogosphere.


Austin Cline says that the right wants to stifle democratic debate. Right on cue, Bill Kristol lends credence to his theory.

(Filed at State of the Day)


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Commander-in-Chief Revisited

Nearly a year ago, I wrote this post regarding what I saw as the unnerving frequency with which the Bush administration was citing the President's status as commander-in-chief of the military. Today, Glenn takes it a step further and explains why such emphasis is indeed antipathy to how our system of government is suppose to work.

The Decider vs. the AUMF

Yesterday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer hinted that one way in which Congress might attempt to rein in the President on the Iraq war is with a new Authorization for Use of Military Force.
Democrats may push a new bill authorizing the use of force in Iraq -- replacing the 2002 bill that allowed the Bush administration to proceed with the war, a top Democrat said Friday.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer -- number two in the House behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- said that is one step Democrats might pursue to change conditions in Iraq.

After a series of congressional hearings on the war, "we will then explore appropriate ways to affect the policy and strategy being pursued in Iraq," Hoyer said in a speech at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

"Possible vehicles" include spending bills for military and diplomatic activities in Iraq "and possibly a revised authorization for the use of military force in Iraq that more accurately reflects the mission of our troops on the ground," he said.

Now at first blush, this might seem like a viable option. But even in my layman's understanding of the legislative process I see several things that make this a tough route to take.

1. The Veto. As with any legislation passed by Congress, this new AUMF will require the President's signature to be ratified. If the bill is not to his liking, which it most certainly will not be, expect a veto. And there may not be enough votes to override.

2. Signing Statements. In the unlikely event that the President does sign off on a new authorization, he will undoubtedly attach a signing statement. This will, in effect, nullify the legislation with an uncheckable veto, as some claim has happened with past issuances of such statements.

3. Prior legislation. I speak of course of the 2001 AUMF passed shortly after the September 11th attacks. Now while this AUMF does not specifically authorize the war in Iraq, it has been cited as partial authorization. Should Congress attempt to alter the Iraq AUMF, expect the 2001 AUMF to be brought to the forefront as to why Bush is still authorized to conduct the war as he see fit.

There is also a far more disturbing thing to consider about any pushback from Congress. It is the possibility that as the President becomes increasingly boxed in, he will look for new ways to show he is not the impotent leader many believe him to be. And that is one decision we do not want left up to our Decision-maker-in-Chief.

Update: Taking a ride in the way back machine, we find then Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John Warner discussing the possibility of a new resolution.
I think we have to examine very carefully what Congress authorized the president to do in the context of a situation if we’re faced with an all-out civil war, and whether we have to come back to the Congress to get further indication of support.

Arguably things have only gotten worse since. So perhaps it is time to reevaluate just what Congress authorized the President to do.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Bush Pledge

The Pledge of Allegiance, as envisioned by Hugh Hewitt.

I pledge allegiance to the Bush
Of the United States of Christ
And to the Republic, what little remains
One nation, under God, thoroughly divisible
With liberty and justice for some.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Debunking Another Talking Point

For the last five years, one of the more irksome peculiarities of the Bush administration's war on terror rhetoric has been their penchant for mischaracterizing who it is we are supposedly fighting in this "war". This is most evident by the interchangeability of terms like "terrorist" and "insurgent" during Presidential speeches. Lately they have taken to lumping together seemingly disparate groups such as Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda under a common banner and this deficiency was again on display last night during the State of the Union address. Now I know that such vagueness is not entirely due to a lack of understanding and has more to do with the need to keep the public misinformed. Indeed this ambiguity about who it is we are at "war" with is how Osama was able to morph into Saddam. And the media, for the most part, has failed to broach this subject. So it was nice to see this piece from WaPo today in which Glenn Kessler does a fine job of noting the incongruity of the President's statements and the realities of the groups to whom he applies the all too simplistic label of "the enemy".

Meme has more. Robert Parry weighs in as well.

Speaker Pelosi Responds to President Bush

(Filed at State of the Day)


Opening The Files: SOTU Edition

State of the Union: Unimpressed

While we will have to wait for the polls to know whether President Bush gets a much needed boost from last night's speech, initial reactions seems to indicate that's unlikely. Bush started off the address well enough, congratulating the Democrats for their new majority. But even in this conciliatory gesture, he couldn't help poking a jab at the opposition. I doubt such a move will help mend fences and make Congress more open to his plea of giving his plan for Iraq a "chance to work".

As expected, Bush rolled out a "tepid menu" of a domestic agenda which will do little to actually solve any of the problems this country faces. His healthcare plan is sure to be DOA with this Congress and his pledge to cut gas consumption was laughable (and if you don't believe me, just look at the smirk on Cheney's face).

On the foreign policy front, he's still just as clueless as ever. Strangely there was very little said about Iran. Perhaps what we learned the morning of the address had something to do with that. This lack of any harsh language also makes me wonder if my theory might not have been that far off the mark.

Probably the most interesting thing about the whole evening was who was chosen to give the Democratic response.

Joshua Holland says Bush might as well have stood at the rostrum and said "I got nothing" because that's basically what he offered last night.

The Anonymous Liberal thinks that Jim Webb just became a blip on the radar for potential Dem veep.

Will Bunch on what was left out of the address. Silence is indeed cruel.

Bob Cesca thinks Bush dropped a steaming load of what is euphemistically called 'agricultural waste'. Maybe that's what he meant by "alternative energy sources".

Michael J.W. Stickings, trooper that he is, live blogged the address for us. Buy that man a drink!

Steve M. has the short version.

Walter Shapiro thinks that we're looking a two years of a presidency on life-support. Good thing Dick has that defibrillator handy.

And John Nichols thinks that Bush's plea didn't exactly resonate like they wish it had. Webb's response on the other hand...

(Filed at State of the Day)


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Opening The Files: Pre-SOTU Edition

State of the Union: Fed Up

Following up on my previous post, and as Creature noted this morning, it looks as though President Bush is going to have a rough night. Confidence in his leadership continues to tank and he'll be heading into the address with some of the lowest poll numbers since Nixon. CBS pegs him at an all new low of 28%. It's no wonder he's desperate to talk about anything but Iraq since he'll be facing both a pessimistic electorate and a skeptical Congress.

So given this increasingly hostile atmosphere, it really wasn't a surprise to hear reports of another terror threat. And in what I am sure is just a case of serendipity, this one involves a possible 9/11 style attack from (drumroll please) Al-Qaeda in Iraq! Man, what a coincidence! And talk about timing!

Joe in DC notes how hard it is to write speeches for the President. It's becoming equally hard to listen to them.

Christy noticed that the more Bush is seen in public, the more the public seems to dislike him. Is that a cue that perhaps they should switch to radio?

Jill is being a little cynical.

lambert knows of a very simple way that Bush can show he's open to bipartisanship. But that of course would entail some grammatical correctness from a guy who once referred to himself as "The Decider" (and for which he has now won an award).

Sidney Blumenthal says that the State of the Union address will be more like a statement of indifference.

And now that Tony Snow has apparently taken the job of official White House jeweler, anyone else think we should get a second appraisal?


On Sunday, neocon and surge proponent Bill Kristol said that critics of Bush's plan for Iraq should just keep quite. Cynthia Tucker reminds us that silence was what got us into this mess of a war in the first place.

Speaking of neocons who need some quite time, Jim Lobe notes that while the Project for a New American Century is defunct, their agenda still very much alive.

(Filed at State of the Day)


Monday, January 22, 2007


A lot of debate is going on about just what President Bush plans to talk about in his State of the Union address tomorrow night. Leaks so far seem to be that he will be pressing more domestic issues such as health care, immigration and energy concerns. Since the SOTU will be his second chance to defend his Iraq plan (which has already begun, much to the chagrin of the supposedly sovereign Iraqi government), chances are nothing new will really be said.

So lets take a look at some of the other issues Bush is likely to address. Let's start with health care.

According to the NY Times, Bush plans to push a taxation plan whereby those who don't have health insurance would get tax breaks so they could buy some but those who already have insurance through their employer would get taxed if the coverage was more generous than the government thinks you deserve. Makes you wonder what ever happened to all those warnings about the Democrats being the ones to raise taxes, doesn't it? Reviews so far are mixed, with most not too keen on the idea.

On the energy front, the AP reports that Bush will once again stress energy independence for the nation. Given how quickly the administration backed down from the pledge made at last year's SOTU, look for more of the same stale platitudes about the need to break our "addiction".

And speaking of addiction, many are worried that like a junkie looking for another fix, Bush intends to seek it this time with Iran. Whether Bush continues to rattle the saber remains to be seen. Regardless, I think Will Durst has the right idea about what to do Tuesday night. After it's over, I'm sure we could all use a stiff one.

Update: Paul Krugman (free via) weighs in on Bush's health care proposal.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Shorter Bill Kristol:

War critics should just STFU until the next time I tell them to STFU.


Opening The Files: 01/21/07

100 Hours, 20 soldiers, 3 Prez Bids, and Two More Years.

The Democrats sure had a busy week. Not only did Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, and Hillary Clinton throw their hats in the 2008 ring but they also completed their '100 hours' agenda with time to spare.

But since the big story has been who will be the next to occupy the White House, it's a good time to remind everyone that yesterday marked two more years of the current resident (barring a premature eviction notice of course). As if to drive the point home of how important the next one to take the helm is since it seems that Bush wants to put this war on autopilot, yesterday also saw the deaths of 20 more Americans there.

And in a portend of coverage to come, FOX News was all too happy to promote the innuendo that Obama may have attended a Muslim school in his youth. Others took a double dip in the smear pool by blaming the Hillary camp.

Countdown to Hillary having an illegitimate love child with Osama Bin Laden in 3...2...

Joseph Cannon thinks there is something familiar about that Obama "schooling" thing.

Mustang Bobby takes a look back.

William Rivers Pitt says the first 100 hours was good but what about the next 100?

Paul the Spud notes the making of a new wingnut monster and Rush Limbaugh's unhealthy obsession with one of the presidential contenders.

Gary Rudoren thinks if FOX's hit show '24' can have two black president's, surely we can have one. Hey, why not? We already embraced another theme from the show.

The Republicans aren't taking their status as minority party very well. Get use to it, so sez The Heretik.

And finally, the latest from the inimitable Ava Lowery on how this must end.

Update: A.L. has some good advice on stopping false narratives from becoming conventional wisdom. And speaking of false narratives, Glenn has some things to say to all those who decried Nancy Pelosi as "damaged goods".

Elsewhere in the 'Tubes...

While the Dems are gathering support for a 'non-binding' resolution condemning the troop surge in Iraq, Stirling Newberry examines some other options available to Congress.

Bob Cesca is still wondering what is so damn amusing about Iraq.

Bruce Kluger thinks the Army has some "nakedly" peculiar priorities.

Ray McGovern wonders where the intel is.

(Filed at State of the Day)


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Poisonous Words

During her appearance on ABC's Good Morning America, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi claimed that the reason President Bush has been so quick to deploy troops to Iraq as part of his plan to escalate the war is because he knows that Democrats have vowed not to cut funding for troops already in the field.

"That’s why he’s moving so quickly to put them in harm’s way." Pelosi said.

The White House fired back, calling Pelosi's comments "poisonous" and that to question the President's motives for moving quickly to deploy troops is "not appropriate, it is not correct, and it is unfortunate because we do have troops in harm's way."

Perhaps what has BuchCo so worried is how dangerously close such criticisms came to their line of thinking.

From the NY Times (via Welshman):
Mr. Bush's National Security Adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, said in an interview on "Meet the Press" on NBC that the White House has sufficient money under its control to deploy the troops as planned, and he suggested that once the troops are in place, Congress would be reluctant to cut off funding.

"I think once they get in harm's way, Congress's tradition is to support those troops," Mr. Hadley said.

Poisonous indeed.

More from Meme.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Friday, January 19, 2007

About as 'surgical' as a chainsaw

To be honest, I'm not sure why everyone is surprised at the news that Bush's plan for Iran would be all-out war and not those so-called "surgical strikes" that were rumored to be on the table. Don't get me wrong, any attack on Iran is definitely one of those ideas that makes one question the sanity of those making policy decisions but from a logistics stand point its not really that much of a surprise. Anyone who knows anything about military logistics knows that that "surgical" terminology is a bit of a misnomer, because in order to conduct such strikes, there are layers of defenses that have to dealt with in order to ensure that the objective can be reached and targeted successfully.

Then again, we are talking about the Bush administration here. If the plans they drew up for Iraq are any indication, a war with Iran would be just as much, if not more, of a catastrafuck than our previous attempt to bring democracy to a Muslim nation.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Gonzales: Well it doesn't say you have rights

Something far more disturbing than Gonzales' "blame the blogs" dodge happened yesterday. When asked about habeas corpus, this is what the Attorney General had to say:
[..] the Constitution doesn’t say, “Every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right to habeas.” It doesn’t say that. It simply says the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended [..]

As Robert Parry points out, what makes this statement so unsettling is the fact that such twisted logic can be applied to just about every right enshrined in the Constitution. That the Attorney General, the man who would be the one to determine whether or not you as a citizen possess those rights, would take such a stance is definitely cause for concern.

Update: More reactions via Meme.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Blame the Bloggers

Ever since it was revealed that President Bush had ordered the National Security Agency to conduct warrantless surveillance inside the US, one charge that was constantly leveled at those who questioned the practice was that they opposed spying on terrorists altogether. Leaving aside for the moment what a ridicules accusation that is to make, there is also the fact that no one was actually advocating that position. But as we have come to expect from the Bushies, little things like facts don't get in the way when there's an election to be won.

During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Gonzales was asked some pointed questions about those who supposedly were opposed to spying on terrorists.
Feingold: Do you know of any one in the country who opposed eavesdropping on terrorists?”

Gonzales: Sure, if you look at blogs today, there is a lot of concern about all types of eavesdropping, who don’t want us eavesdropping at all.

Feingold: Do you know anyone in government who ever took that position?

Gonzales: No, but that is not what I said.

Feingold: It is a disgrace and disservice to your office and the President to have accused people on this Committee of opposing eavesdropping on terrorists.

Gonzales: I didn’t have you in mind or anyone on the Committee when I referred to people who oppose eavesdropping on terrorists. Perish the thought.

Feingold: Oh, well it’s nice that you didn’t have us “in your mind” when making those accusations, but given that you and the President were running around the country accusing people of opposing eavesdropping on terrorists in the middle of an election, the fact that you didn’t have Congressional Democrats in “mind” isn’t significant. Your intent was to make people think that anyone who opposed the “TSP” did not want to eavesdrop on terrorists, even though that was false. No Democrats oppose eavesdropping on terrorists.

Gonzales: I wasn’t referring to Democrats.

Of course as some note, while Gonzales may have been hesitant to refer to the Democrats in such terms, the President apparently had no such qualms.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Follow the law? Sure why not

Interesting development in the NSA domestic spying scandal. Seems that after a year of insisting they had all the authority they needed to conduct wiretaps without warrants as mandated by FISA and after all but accusing those who criticized their actions of being in league with "the enemy", now the administration has decided it will comply with the law and get warrants like they were suppose to do in the first place.

Makes you wonder if the Democrats being in control of Congress had anything to do with this.

More from Creature, Carpetbagger, Marty Lederman, and Glenn.

Update: After reading through some of what others are saying about this, several questions come to mind.

1) Will the Democrats continue to press for full disclosure of how this program came about and who was subject to such surveillance? (Update: It would appear so)

2) How will this development affect litigation currently winding its way through the courts? Was this done specifically to head off further judgments, on top of the ruling last August, that the president's actions were unconstitutional?

3) Now that the administration has backpedaled their stance, will all those who adamantly supported the contention that they could conduct this surveillance in spite of the law now admit that their support may have been somewhat misplaced? Will they also admit that other legally dubious claims made by this administration no longer have the same weight they once did and therefore should be subject to far more scrutiny than they have previously?

A Sacrifice Too Far

President Bush continued his trek through the acronymically named channels with an appearance on PBS's NewsHour on Tuesday night. While many have noted how out of touch Dubya seems or his silly euphemism about cracked eggs, much more than just the callousness with which he speaks of sacrifice was revealed during the interview.

Think Progress has the video of the relevant exchange (emphasis mine):
LEHRER: Let me ask you a bottom-line question, Mr. President. If it is as important as you’ve just said - and you’ve said it many times - as all of this is, particularly the struggle in Iraq, if it’s that important to all of us and to the future of our country, if not the world, why have you not, as president of the United States, asked more Americans and more American interests to sacrifice something? The people who are now sacrificing are, you know, the volunteer military - the Army and the U.S. Marines and their families. They’re the only people who are actually sacrificing anything at this point.

Bush: Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night. I mean, we’ve got a fantastic economy here in the United States, but yet, when you think about the psychology of the country, it is somewhat down because of this war.

Now, here in Washington when I say, “What do you mean by that?,” they say, “Well, why don’t you raise their taxes; that’ll cause there to be a sacrifice.” I strongly oppose that. If that’s the kind of sacrifice people are talking about, I’m not for it because raising taxes will hurt this growing economy. And one thing we want during this war on terror is for people to feel like their life’s moving on, that they’re able to make a living and send their kids to college and put more money on the table. And you know, I am interested and open-minded to the suggestion, but this is going to be -

LEHRER: Well -

BUSH: — this is like saying why don’t you make sacrifices in the Cold War? I mean, Iraq is only a part of a larger ideological struggle. But it’s a totally different kind of war, than ones we’re used to.

Bush's continued opposition to doing what most would consider common sense, raising taxes to pay for a war, has nothing to do with keeping the economy healthy. On the contrary, it has everything to do with his legacy. There are so few positive things one can note about the Bush II years that he's desperate to maintain the one thing he will be known for besides Iraq. For him to roll back those tax cuts would mean being remembered as a president who was too quick in bringing war but not quick enough in bringing the peace.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Shootin' Thru the 'Tubes

Presenting a new feature to The Files. Quite often in my travels through the Intertubes, I come across a literal deluge of great commentary on all sorts of subjects. I try to link to them as much as possible during my regular blogging routine but sometimes, due to time constraints or context issues, I am unable to. So I've decided that in addition to my "Opening The Files" roundups, I'll try to roundup some of the other things that are, as the title suggests, Shootin' Thru the 'Tubes.

Dahlia Lithwick: Bush's imperial presidency.

Marc McDonald: Democrats, stop acting like Bush's Bitch.

Barbara O'Brien: What does it mean to "believe in" war?

The Heretik: All the living use the dead (A must read!)

Steven D.: Is Iran really next?

Eugene Robinson: Time to change the subject.

Kevin Drum: How come those who were right about Iraq from the start don't get more respect? (With subsequent debate here)


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Carded and Catalogued

So first it was Shakes. Then it was Mustang. And now Kvatch has jumped on the bandwagon. Well, when in Rome...

Make your own here.


"I think the Iraqi people owe the, the American people a huge debt of gratitude. That's the problem, here in America. They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that's significant enough in Iraq." -George W. Bush, 60 Minutes

Here's something else they have yet to thank us for. But not to worry, thanks to our President, there will be many lined up to show their gratitude.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Opening The Files: 01/15/06

60 Minute Men

The Bushies were on a media blitz this weekend to try to sell their new plan for victory. Cheney ventured forth from his undisclosed location over to the always administration friendly FOX News. Bush took a chance with CBS and sat down for 23 of the 60 Minutes on Sunday. Both Cheney and Bush said that regardless of what Congress may try to do to stop it, the preordained surge of troops into Iraq was going ahead (so nyah!). Cheney had a stern warning for Iran to butt out of Iraq's affairs, while Bush was wondering why the Iraqi's were more grateful for the bang up job (no pun intended) we did there.

Somethings ripe over at Blogenfreude's place. Maybe whatever they're serving at the White House is past it's expiration date.

According to Retired Air Force General Sam Gardiner, the pieces are moving into place that could result in a firestorm in the Mideast. Anyone care to guess where the spark will come from?

Jill says it's no wonder they hate us.

Rachel Sklar notes the other surge going on in Iraq.

Carpetbagger says that while the Educator-in-chief tried his best, the real lesson came from the VP.

Helene Cooper says the best we can hope for in Iraq is something along the lines of the Spanish Civil War. Great. Now we have to teach them Spanish on top of everything else?

Update: Bob Cesca wonders what's so funny? Ian McGibboney, meanwhile, thinks Bush's interview was like a rerun of some brainless reality show (or was it Futurama?).

(Filed at State of the Day)


Sunday, January 14, 2007

First Thing We Do, Threaten All the Lawyers

One aspect of the Bush administration that we have become intimately familiar with, particularly in the last year or so, has been their disdain for following the rules. As Maureen Dowd pointed out in her column yesterday, Dubya's adolescent penchant for playing by his own rules has become a staple of how he has chosen to govern as president. If he can not strong arm others into accepting his rules, such as with the Military Commissions Act, he will just award himself a get out of jail free card in the form of a signing statement saying the rules don't apply to him.

But such methods can only work so far. Others methods of procuring the desired outcome must be utilized. Which is why I wasn't surprised when I heard about a Defense Department official attempting to shame the law firms and lawyers representing terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In his radio interview, Mr. Stimson said: "I think the news story that you’re really going to start seeing in the next couple of weeks is this: As a result of a FOIA request through a major news organization, somebody asked, ‘Who are the lawyers around this country representing detainees down there?’ and you know what, it’s shocking." The F.O.I.A. reference was to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Monica Crowley, a conservative syndicated talk show host, asking for the names of all the lawyers and law firms representing Guantanamo detainees in federal court cases.

Mr. Stimson, who is himself a lawyer, then went on to name more than a dozen of the firms listed on the 14-page report provided to Ms. Crowley, describing them as "the major law firms in this country." He said, "I think, quite honestly, when corporate C.E.O.’s see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those C.E.O.’s are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms, and I think that is going to have major play in the next few weeks. And we want to watch that play out."...

When asked in the radio interview who was paying for the legal representation, Mr. Stimson replied: "It’s not clear, is it? Some will maintain that they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart, that they’re doing it pro bono, and I suspect they are; others are receiving moneys from who knows where, and I’d be curious to have them explain that."

What I find "shocking" is that here we have a lawyer who insists on referring to those held at Gitmo as "terrorists" even though the vast majority of them haven't even been formally charged, much less tried and convicted, of any crime related to terrorism. But then I remind myself this is just another White House toady towing the administrational line. It is truly a sad reflection on how far our society has fallen that merely having representation can be viewed as suspect.

More on this from Carpetbagger, Libby Spencer, Matthew Rothschild, Jeff Huber, John Cole, Jeralyn, and MissLaura.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Funny, I pegged him as a D&D fan

Since most of his plans are rooted in fantasy.

Maureen Dowd from behind the Times firewall:
W. always acts like he’s upping the ante in a board game where you roll the dice and bet your plastic army divisions on the outcome. This doesn’t surprise some of his old classmates at Yale, who remember Junior as the riskiest Risk player of them all, known for dropping by the rooms of friends, especially when they were trying to study for exams, for extended bouts of “The Game of Global Domination.”

Junior was known as an extremely aggressive player in the venerable Parker Brothers board game, a brutal contest that requires bluster and bluffing as you invade countries, all the while betraying alliances. Notably, it’s almost impossible to win Risk and conquer the world if you start the game in the Middle East, because you’re surrounded by enemies.

His gamesmanship extended to sports — he loved going into overtime and demanding that points be played over because he wasn’t quite ready.

As Graydon Carter recollects in the new Vanity Fair, Gail Sheehy wrote an article for the magazine about W. that made this point: “Even if he loses, his friends say, he doesn’t lose. He’ll just change the score, or change the rules, or make his opponent play until he can beat him.”

To this dedicated player, we are all just pieces on the game board, to be moved and sacrificed, all for the glory of him being able to say in the end "I win!"

(Filed at State of the Day)

An Unfortunate Spring Forward

Scientists prepare to move Doomsday Clock forward

(Filed at State of the Day)

In the Ring with Boxer and Condi

By now you may have already heard about the faux scandal being ginned up by the right about comments made by Senator Barbara Boxer to State Secretary Condi Rice during the Foreign Relations hearing on Thursday. At the same time they were poking fun at Senator Boxer's last name ("low blow", "sucker punch") The NY Post and FOX News both ran stories about how the Senator had the temerity to point out that both herself and Secretary Rice have no personal stake in President Bush's escalation of the war in Iraq but that many others do. What was intended to be a statement to highlight this disparity was twisted by the rightwingers into a slur against Rice for being childless.

I first caught wind of this "scandal" when I happen to catch Hannity & Colmes discussing it last night. Luckily there were no heavy objects within easy reach otherwise I might have been tempted to throw it at my television. Hannity was bloviating in his usual sanctimonious style, chiding Boxer's supposed slur but then going on to slur Democrats in general, saying such comments will be par for the course under their leadership. My first thoughts were "oh the hypocrisy of it all, given this is the same group of people who had an unhealthy obsession with Bill Clinton yank for so many years."

But then I remembered that pointing such things out has increasingly become an exercise in futility. For no matter how many times one does it, hypocrisy is just one word that will never register with the Sean Hannitys, Ann Coulters, and Glenn Becks of the world.

Update: The always indispensable News Hounds has a clip of the Hannity & Colmes segment I discuss above.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Iranian Distraction

If you'll indulge me for a moment, I'd like to pose a question to readers: was the strong language against Iran and Syria in the President's address and the subsequent raid on the Iranian consulate designed to distract us from the topic of escalation?

I know this may just be another case of my tinfoil hat showing, but I have a feeling that this may be what this whole brouhaha over the President's intentions toward Iran may ultimately be about. Consider that prior to any talk of a surge, the debate about Iraq focused mainly on whether or not we should withdrawal. The Democrats, for the most part, advocated it in some form or another. And as more and more Americans came around, the Bushies found themselves in the ever shrinking minority opposing a pull out. But all that changed when talk of a "surge" came up. Now the debate has evolved into whether or not we should escalate the conflict. Bush was able to gain control of the debate by changing the dynamic of it. I suspect that's partly what we are seeing here with regard to Iran.

I have no doubts there are those who would welcome a war with Iran but I would like to think Bush is not completely insane (I know, that's asking a lot from this particular President). But now that everyone is discussing this, the issue of an escalation of the conflict in Iraq seems to have taken a backseat. Sure the Republicans are threatening to filibuster legislation that attempts to block the surge but the bigger issue has now become whether the President intends to expand the war into Iran (and whether he has the authority to do so). In one sense, he's offered a surge in Iraq as the lesser of two evils.

Your thoughts?

(Filed at State of the Day)

Opening The Files: 01/12/07

The more ways then one.

So President Bush gave his escalation speech on Wednesday. Nothing really new was said, aside from the supposedly "new" troops who will be heading to Iraq that aren't so "new". Bush still insists on characterizing the conflict as one of the US fighting the evil "terr'sts". Though he may now be thinking of pulling a Richard Nixon circa 1969 and finding a convenient scapegoat, in this case Iran, to explain why his war in Iraq is circling the bowl.

There is a discussion taking place right now about whether or not such a move has in fact already begun. At the same time President Bush was promising that the US would "seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq", the military was making good on that promise by raiding the Iranian consulate there. Anyone else feel a cruel sense of irony that we have essentially done to the Iranians what we derided them for doing to us nearly thirty years ago?

So has the Decider decided the quickest route to victory runs through Tehran?

Regardless we are in for a bumpy ride, with two more years of Bush in the drivers seat.

Robert Scheer has his take on our brooding Prince's soliloquy.

Juan Cole says Bush is still living in a Fantasyland and is now asking our troops to join him.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, using some rather appropriate language, tells us the fatal flaws of Bush's escalation plan.

Scott Rosenberg thinks Bush is considering the Cambodia option for Iraq. The General has the visual aids that were to accompany the President's address.

Tim F. is thinking out loud. Bush on the other hand...

Joe Galloway says Bush is praying for a miracle. The rest of us are just praying.

And finally, Secretary of State Condi Rice went before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, insisting this "escalation" is actually an "augmentation". The Heretik teaches us about boobs and augmentation surgery. Or something.

(Filed at State of the Day)


Olbermann on The Speech

Keith was at it again last night, this time addressing the President's address to the nation yesterday. He denounced the President for seemingly wanting to start a second war with Eastasia Iran while driving us further into the quagmire of Iraq. Bush's credibility and his pleas of "trust me" have, in the words of Keith become "merely fertilizer for conspiracy theories."

Indeed, many have come recognize what it is this President has been shoveling as he insists on continuing to dig deeper.

(Slightly different version of this post appears at State of the Day)


Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Speech

Same shit, different day.

For those who couldn't bare to sit through it or had more productive things to do, below I've provided a shortened version of President Bush's address tonight (full transcript here):

Good evening. Iraq, terror, terror, 9/11, terror, terror, Iran and Syria, terror, more troops, terror, terror, Al-Qaeda, terror, terror, victory, terror, terror, more sacrifice, terror, terror. Good night.

Yes, once again Bush is betting his hand on the terror trump card. Big surprise there. He said the words terrorists and Al-Qaeda so much I thought I was watching a bad rerun. Except of course it isn't, at least not for all the fresh corpses that will be piling up in Iraq. He mentions that Al-Qaeda is still active in Iraq and their home base is Anbar Province. Leaving aside for the moment that Bush was the one who removed the former landlord and put up a "For Lease To Own" sign, who does the President think he's fooling? Iraq is in the midst of a civil war that the President still refuses to except. No amount of troops will be able to stop the violence until the Decider decides to accept reality.

That doesn't look like it will come anytime soon. Too bad it's the troops and the Iraqi's who will continue suffer in the interim.

Meme has the roundup. Some notables who haven't yet made the cut or have since been dropped but are still worth a read: Larisa, JB, Mustang Bobby, Kos, Larry Johnson, Walter Shapiro, Fred Kaplan, David Corn, Matt Ortega, AJ, and John Nichols.

Update: I've noticed that quite a few people are concerned about Bush's threats against Iran and Syria last night. And while I'd like to dismiss them as nothing more than saber-rattling for the neocons in the audience, given what we learned this morning and other recent developments, trepidation would seem to be warranted.

More from Glenn.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Series Premiere

(h/t to Creature, who got top billing in C&L's roundup this morning, for the inspiration. Great job!)

(Filed at State of the Day)


Congressional Surge Protector?

(Bumped and updated)

With President Bush set to announce his not so secret plan to escalate the war in Iraq (which may have already begun), there has been much speculation about what Congress can do to stop him. Ted Kennedy has introduced legislation calling for Congress' approval of funds for any increase in troops. So can Congress deny those funds? Joe Biden says no, Jack Murtha says yes. But Press Secretary Tony Snow hinted that even if Congress were to deny funding, Bush would ignore them and implement his plan anyway.

On more then one occasion, I have pondered the question of how Congress would react should the President choose to disregard their role as as keepers of the purse. We may soon know the answer.

But regardless, it'll be a tough sell for the chief executive given a populace wary of purchasing any more damaged goods from this snake oil salesman.

More analysis from Marty Lederman, Maha, Matt Stoller, Josh Marshall, Paul Kiel, paradox, Matthew O'Keefe, and Big Tent Democrat.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Worst That Could Happen

Joe Lieberman:
In words that should trouble any Democrats counting Lieberman in their camp, Lieberman was praising Bush as a “great leader” for bucking American opinion, as expressed in the 2006 election, in his determination to double down in Iraq. Lieberman then said something incredible:

Even those opposed to the surge, he said, “ought to at least let us try it.”

The worst that could happen,” he continued, is that this policy could become another partisan flashpoint in Washington.

The worst that could happen...

More at Meme.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Opening The Files: 01/08/06

This graphic is from a post at Lindsay's place which I highly recommend you read. The consensus seems to be that President Bush will at some point this week (update: Wednesday) confirm all the rumors of an impending surge of troops into Iraq. As Lindsay notes, we have no idea where these troops will be coming from nor what they will be doing once they get there. But just like with all the previous "surges", the Bush administration will promote this latest one as the best hope for victory in Iraq.

And regardless of the Democrats continued opposition and no matter who is in charge of the effort, this is one Gordian Knot that shows no sign of being unraveled anytime soon.

Dave Johnson suggests that all this talk of "escalation" now that the Democrats are in a position of power, is a Rovian ploy to change the parameters of the debate on Iraq.

President Bush is expected to ask for a billion dollars for a jobs program for Halliburton Iraq. Marty Kaplan has a few ideas where to scrounge up the cash from.

Paul Krugman (free via) was back this morning asking the pertinent question: are the Bushies cynical or just delusional? A little of both I'd say. Krugman also noted how Bush will be pushing the "sacrifice" meme. Mustang Bobby has the final word on that.

Speaking of sacrifice, with the Rice-a-Rumor-Roni coming to a slow boil, The General writes Condi a letter urging her to make the ultimate sacrifice.

watertiger has the funny feeling we've seen this comedy of errors before, though this time it has a crude twist.

And finally, Judd takes us for a ride in the way back machine when a "surge" would "undermine our strategy". My how far we haven't come.

(Filed at State of the Day)


Pelosi and the Purse

So newly minted Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has hinted that Congress may deny President Bush the funds he needs to get his "surge" on. As I've noted previously, words are cheap and talk is even cheaper (no paper costs involved). But it is encouraging to see someone finally willing to take Congress' role as purveyors of the purse seriously.

And I could make a crack about how it figures that the first female Speaker would be the one to be concerned about purse strings but I'll bite my tongue. Though I'm sure there will be some on the right who have no such qualms.

Meme has the roundup.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Spoils

When the US invaded Iraq nearly four years ago, there was one justification for the war that no one, especially those in the Bush administration, wished to discuss: oil. This rationale lay just beneath the surface (no pun intended) and anyone who broached the subject would be chastised and called a conspiracy nut for thinking we went to war for something as petty as a mere commodity. But as the other rationales for the war melted away, even President Bush and others have had to fall back on this much maligned rationale of protecting access to Iraq's vast oil fields as reason to stay.

And when we learn of delevopments like this, it does nothing to allay concerns over how much that precious crude played in determining the need for war.
Iraq's massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days.

The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.

The huge potential prizes for Western firms will give ammunition to critics who say the Iraq war was fought for oil. They point to statements such as one from Vice-President Dick Cheney, who said in 1999, while he was still chief executive of the oil services company Halliburton, that the world would need an additional 50 million barrels of oil a day by 2010. "So where is the oil going to come from?... The Middle East, with two-thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies," he said.

More from Creature, Blue Gal, profmarcus, John, Big Tent Democrat, Dave Johnson, and Chris Floyd.

Battle for Baghdad Part Deux

US plans reenactment to mark anniversary.

WASHINGTON (XF) - The Xsociate Files has learned new details of a plan by the Bush administration which includes an influx of US troops into Iraq. According to a source who spoke to XF on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, these additional forces are needed as part of dramatic reenactment of the taking of Baghdad by US forces to mark the fourth anniversary of the event.

Though the White House has not officially announced any plans for an increase in the number of troops in Iraq, news reports have indicated that a "surge" of some sort is seriously being considered as an option. Sources say that it will begin in earnest after it is announced by President Bush in a speech next week and will take approximately four months to reach its peak. Hopes are that it will be completed by April so that the reenactment may proceed.

A spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is quoted as saying that his government would "fully cooperate with the Americans in all aspects of the reenactment."

"Operations to secure the city for the event and roundup volunteers to portray the Iraqi army have already commenced," the spokesman said.

Critics of the administration say that the move is merely a smoke screen for what is really an escalation of the conflict. Others consider it a PR offensive on the part of the Bush administration.

"He [Bush] just wants an excuse to break out the flight suit and codpiece one more time," one prominent political analyst said.

Indeed, not all details of the reenactment have been fully fleshed out. There is still talk of whether President Bush will reenact his now famous landing aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln to mark the end of major combat operations. But XF was able to confirm that a stand-in for former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who was executed late last month, has already been found.

(Filed at State of the Day)


Israel to Confirm They Do Possess Nukes

By dropping them on Iran?

From the Times UK:
ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.

Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources. The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb.

Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.

“As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,” said one of the sources.

Hard to tell at this point how credible the story is given the source. But still a frightening prospect. One which I doubt would help to improve the situation in the region.

More from Jill, Larisa, Joe Gandelman and Melanie.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

So They Sent a Letter

The main topic of conversation all yesterday was of course the letter sent by the Democratic leadership to President Bush opposing any troop increases in Iraq. My initial thoughts? Big friggin' whoop. I'm trying to feel optimistic about it, trust me, I really am. Nor do I wish to decry the Dems for making their stance on the issue known, but does anyone really think the Decider gives a damn what the Democrats think? He was contemptuous of Congress even when his own party held the reins. One need only look to his prodigious use of signing statements to get an idea of how much he values the will of Congress. You think he'll be anymore amenable now that the Dems are in charge?

All Bush cares about is salvaging his legacy. And if that means sending more of our troops off to fight and die for what many see as a lost cause at this point, so be it.

Personally, I prefer Jack Murtha's approach, whereby Congress simply denies Bush the funds to escalate the war. Now some will say "how dare you suggest we tie the President's hands, you must want the terrorists to win!" Only problem is we aren't fighting the same war anymore. The war our soldiers went into Iraq for ended the moment Saddam's regime was toppled. Since then is has been an occupation, plain an simple. And any increase in our forces in this occupation shouldn't be left up to just one man. For ultimately it will be our blood and our treasure that will be spent just so Bush can pawn off the collapse of his failed experiment in Middle East to his successor.

If an electoral thumpin' and Poppy's posse weren't enough to pierce the Bush Bubble, I doubt a strongly-worded letter, no matter how sharp the edges, will either.

More from Marty Lederman, clammyc, Tim Grieve, Michael Stickings and The Heretik.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Tossing the Deck Chairs

Anyone else find it interesting that right before Bush is set to announce his "new way forward" plan for Iraq that most everyone agrees will involve some kind of troop surge, two of his top commanders who both happen to oppose such a move are on the outs?

I guess they are preparing for full speed ahead. Too bad the same ones who drove us into this berg won't be the same ones to go down with the ship.

More from Capt. Fogg, BarbinMD, Kvatch, Gun Toting Liberal and a far more hopeful refrain from my esteemed co-blogger Creature.

Hussein Lives!

No not Saddam who, like Generalísimo Francisco Franco, is still dead. I'm talking about Jamil Hussein, the Iraqi police captain who the right wing blogs have been claiming doesn't exist and therefore could not have been a source for the Associated Press' story about six Sunni's being burned alive last November and which in turn refutes all the reporting about how bad things are in Iraq.

Turns out Mr. Hussein is very much alive. So alive in fact that they want him arrested.
The Interior Ministry acknowledged Thursday that an Iraqi police officer whose existence had been denied by the Iraqis and the U.S. military is in fact an active member of the force, and said he now faces arrest for speaking to the media.

Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, who had previously denied there was any such police employee as Capt. Jamil Hussein, said in an interview that Hussein is an officer assigned to the Khadra police station, as had been reported by The Associated Press.

The captain, whose full name is Jamil Gholaiem Hussein, was one of the sources for an AP story in late November about the burning and shooting of six people during a sectarian attack at a Sunni mosque.

The U.S. military and the Iraqi Interior Ministry raised the doubts about Hussein in questioning the veracity of the AP's initial reporting on the incident, and the Iraqi ministry suggested that many news organization were giving a distorted, exaggerated picture of the conflict in Iraq. Some Internet bloggers spread and amplified these doubts, accusing the AP of having made up Hussein's identity in order to disseminate false news about the war.

As always, see Meme (scroll down) for more.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Heavenly Bodies

TITANIA (XF) - Uranus, long the butt of many a joke here on Earth, could soon be in for a name change, The Xsociate Files has learned. After reports surfaced that individuals have been purchasing parcels of land on the moon at a surprising rate, scientists have proposed changing the name of the gas giant in order to attract more interest in plot procurement there. So far few have expressed any.

A spokesman for NASA, a chief proponent of the change, says that it is hoped that by changing the name, more people would be willing to buy real estate on the unfortunately named seventh planet from the sun.

"No one wants to tell their friends they own a spot on Uranus," the spokesman said.

A vote for the new name is slated to run through the end of the summer. The two names currently tied for first place are Urectum and Bob.

(h/t to Becky for inspiration)

(Cross-referenced at State of the Day)


Pushing the Envelope...Literally

Over a year ago, when it was first revealed that the Bush administration was conducting wiretaps on phone calls made inside the US to overseas without getting the proper court ordered warrant, one excuse for why it wasn't so bad was because there were no physical searches involved. They are just listening in on phone calls, defenders would say. It's not like they are opening our mail!

Well, we can scratch that one off the list of abuses this administration has compiled. In yet another instant of President Bush using his famous "signing statements" to usurp authority, he has now reserved the right to open our snail mail as well.
President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail without a judge's warrant, the Daily News has learned.

The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a "signing statement" that declared his right to open people's mail under emergency conditions.

That claim is contrary to existing law and contradicted the bill he had just signed, say experts who have reviewed it.

Bush's move came during the winter congressional recess and a year after his secret domestic electronic eavesdropping program was first revealed. It caught Capitol Hill by surprise.

"Despite the President's statement that he may be able to circumvent a basic privacy protection, the new postal law continues to prohibit the government from snooping into people's mail without a warrant," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the incoming House Government Reform Committee chairman, who co-sponsored the bill.

Experts said the new powers could be easily abused and used to vacuum up large amounts of mail.

"The [Bush] signing statement claims authority to open domestic mail without a warrant, and that would be new and quite alarming," said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington.

"The danger is they're reading Americans' mail," she said.

"You have to be concerned," agreed a career senior U.S. official who reviewed the legal underpinnings of Bush's claim. "It takes Executive Branch authority beyond anything we've ever known."

Just another day for this administration.

More Meme.

Update: Dan Froomkin on questions still unanswered.
And sadly, most of the questions about signing statements that I raised in a Nieman Watchdog essay last June still remain unaddressed. Foremost among them: Are these signing statements just a bunch of ideological bluster from overenthusiastic White House lawyers -- or are they actually emboldening administration officials to flout the laws passed by Congress? If the latter, Bush's unprecedented use of these statements constitutes a genuine Constitutional crisis.

Are you listening Democrats? Because now is the time to demand answers.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Opening The Files: 01/03/07

Musings of an Intangible Scribe.

The first OTF of the new year and here we have the Decider becoming the Ghost Writer. A day before the Democrats are to take control of Congress, President Bush "pens" an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal calling for the need for "bipartisanship" now that he actually has to work with the opposition. Many wonder whether a man who once boasted about never reading newspapers would write something he would never have read otherwise (and perhaps still hasn't). Would crayon have made Bush more believable as auteur?

Over at Daily Kos, Jerome a Paris has his thoughts on this shot across the bow of the USS Democratic Congress. SusanG, meanwhile, notes Bush's warning to Democrats not to attempt making "political statements". Does the same go for him?

Bush said that it won't be "politics as usual" anymore after six years of "politics as usual" Bush style. He also said Democrats must "share responsibility for what we achieve". Cernig is kind enough to provide us with a translation.

Chris prefers Bush's earlier writings.

Tim Grieve says that the last line of this op-ed tells you all you need to know.

Ezra Klein notes Bush's sudden empathy for the minority party and the setting in which he chose to voice those concerns.

And finally, The Heretik teaches us about bright messages and loops. Or something.

Update: Janie obtained the first draft of Bush's op-ed.

(Filed at State of the Day)


A Failed Plan and a Sacrifice Surge

The NY Times had a lengthy and heavily linked to article yesterday documenting the failure of the Bush administration to come up with a plan for Iraq that was wedded to the realities on the ground. A few things we learn from the piece is that the Bushies are setting Gen. George Casey up as the fall guy since he was still under the false impression that "as Iraqi's stand up, we'll stand down" was actually the policy. Must not have gotten the memo. We also learn that even after Bush knew their plan wasn't working, he refused to change for fear of committing political suicide in the midterms.

Now with reports that Bush intends to demand more sacrifice, a good question to ask is: how many more is our President willing to sacrifice for the next failed plan, all in an attempt to salvage his legacy?

More from Tim Grieve and Scott Rosenberg.

Olbermann on Sacrifice

Keith's first Special Comment of the new year in which he rails against the new theme for President Bush's war. Notable highlights were his mentions of what presidential contender John Edwards coined the "McCain Doctrine" and the Military Times poll showing few in the active military support an escalation, which this is, all talk of a "temporary surge" notwithstanding. He also had scorn for the war profiteers, of which there have been far too many in this senseless, or rather senseless inducing, conflict.

(Slightly different version of this post appears at State of the Day)


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

More Not So Goode Hate

Rep. Virgil Goode is at it again, intent it seems to keep on digging until he hits rock bottom. He penned an op-ed for USA Today in which he continues to use the faux brouhaha over Muslim Congressman-elect Keith Ellison's ascension to the House as a rallying cry for tougher immigration laws. Here's a choice excerpt, delivered without the slightest hint of irony (emphasis mine).
Let us remember that we were not attacked by a nation on 9/11; we were attacked by extremists who acted in the name of the Islamic religion. I believe that if we do not stop illegal immigration totally, reduce legal immigration and end diversity visas, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to infiltration by those who want to mold the United States into the image of their religion, rather than working within the Judeo-Christian principles that have made us a beacon for freedom-loving persons around the world.

Meme has reactions which are all worth a read.

Update: Interesting development in this trumped up saga. Seems that Ellison will be swearing in on a very special Koran: One that was owned by none other than Thomas Jefferson himself. What does Goode, who incidentally represents Jefferson's home district, have to say about it?

No comment.

Sam Fleischacker schools us in how the Founding Fathers might view this loathsome episode of religious intolerance.

The Theme: Sacrifice

From the BBC:
US President George W Bush intends to reveal a new Iraq strategy within days, the BBC has learnt.

The speech will reveal a plan to send more US troops to Iraq to focus on ways of bringing greater security, rather than training Iraqi forces.

The move comes with figures from Iraqi ministries suggesting that deaths among civilians are at record highs.

The US president arrived back in Washington on Monday after a week-long holiday at his ranch in Texas.

The BBC has been told by a senior administration source that the speech setting out changes in Mr Bush's Iraq policy is likely to come in the middle of next week.

Its central theme will be sacrifice.

(Filed at State of the Day)