Monday, April 30, 2007

No Necessarily the News

News org partners with parody mag.

WASHINGTON (XF) - In the wake of reports that Fox News ran a story that turned out to be from a satirical website, owner Rupert Murdoch has announced that Fox will officially be partnering with long running parody magazine The Onion. In a statement released to the press, Murdoch explained the reason for the merger.

"Viewers already expect a certain amount of fiction in our news reporting, so it only made sense to give them more of what they are looking for," the statement reads.

It has also been confirmed that Fox's parent company, News Corp., will launch an as yet unnamed channel showcasing the up-to-the-minute reporting their flagship channel is known best for.

(Filed at State of the Day)


Opening The Files: 04/30/07

April Foolers

Former CIA Director George Tenet sat down with 60 Minutes last night to give a preview of his new tell-all book in which he blasts the Bush administration for everything from failing to heeds warnings about Al-Qaeda in the summer of 2001 to rushing to war with Iraq without really thinking about whether or not it was a good idea to do so.

Trying to preemptively refute some of those claims, Condi Rice took to the Sunday morning show circuit. Let's just say her performance wasn't very convincing. She decided not to go with the Alberto Gonzales defense of not recalling the warnings and instead seemed to be suggesting that we didn't have ample cause to go after Bin Laden prior to 9/11. So much for those embassy bombings in Africa or the attack on the USS Cole. Then again, maybe they were the reason we had to take out the not so imminent threat of Saddam. Lord knows none of the other rationales stuck around for long, unlike our troops.

Arianna Huffington says that while it may be too late for Tenet, there is still time for others to do the right thing.

Shorter Maha: What happens in Condi's mind, stays in Condi's mind.

Digby says it's unfair to claim that there wasn't any substantial debate about whether to go to war since President Bush spoke with his most trusted war advisers.

The Heretik teaches us about four faced facts and imminences. Or something.

Tenet laments that his "slam dunk" comment was taken out of context but Paul Abrams says this explanation is even more damning.

Michael Linn Jones says watching Tenet speak out is like watching the retrieval of a sea anchor of truth. It's long past time we hang it around the necks of those in the Bush administration.

And for those interested, a slightly nauseated Oliver Willis notes that Condi also has a book due out. Rejected titles included "Bush Trough" and "Steamy Rice".

(Filed at State of the Day)


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Less Than Great Expectations

My esteemed colleague Creature flagged this briefly yesterday but the news deserves a fuller airing. It would seem that just like the Strategy for Victory and a New Way Forward plans before it, The Surge is now just as defunct. They've lowered the bar yet again, not only putting off an assessment of how well the surge is working until September but also scaling back their expectations of what the Iraqi government is able to accomplish. But what is this, you might be saying, weren't we told ad infinitum by proponents that we should give this plan a chance to work because it would give the Iraqi government the "breathing room" it needed to come to a political reconciliation? For anyone who believed that, I have a bridge to sell you.

Face it. Just like with most of what we are told about the war, the surge was a lie from the start. It was never meant to bring about progress, it was merely a delaying tactic. Another in an endless series of kick the bullet riddled can down the road a ways.

And those few successes that did happen have crumbled like so many other failed business ventures George Bush has been at the helm of.

I would say that we should expect more from our leaders. But with this bunch, that's one expectation too far.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

When bad news is in the news...

... can a conveniently timed terror announcement be far behind?

So it was we learned of the fate of one Abdul al-Hadi al-Iraqi, an Iraqi national and supposed mastermind of the bombings in London. My man Cernig has the details but suffice it to say, this would appear to be another employment of the Nexus of Terror the administration is so fond of. See, al-Iraqi has apparently been in custody since late last year (exactly when is still sketchy). So why are we just now learning that a top Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader was captured? You don't suppose it had anything to do with bumping the Tillman/Lynch hearings off the front page? Or preempting former CIA director George Tenet's tell-all-athon this weekend? Or maybe it was suppose to add an exclamation point to the bedwetter protestations during the debate on the Iraq supplemental?*

In any event, look for more of this sort of thing as more bad news hits the presses.

*Is it just me or would a Bush veto on a bill to the war on the anniversary of 'Mission Accomplished' go down as one of the most apropos events yet witnessed during this presidency?

Update: Maybe it's time to tell us the mission.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Debates vs. Sound bites

This morning, everyone is critiquing the performances of the slew of Democrats who attended last night's debate in my home state of South Carolina. And while these events are good for helping to determine a particular candidates stance on any given issue, I can't help but feel that such deep analysis only really matters to those of us in the polito-junkie sect. In the age of instant gratification and mind numbingly short attention spans, most of today's voters just aren't as well knowledged about politics as they use to be. Most will be surprised to hear a debate even took place. The debate itself will be condensed down to thirty second sound bites to be played at the top of the new hour cycles.

Which is all really sad because this will be how most voters get to know their candidates. Just consider some of the following things we've gleamed:

Rudy Giuliani will be wrapping himself in the shredded flag from the World Trade Center.

Mitt Romney thinks that heaven and earth should remain stationary since getting one man isn't important.

John McCain is an asshole with a sick sense of humor.

If this current crop of Republican hopefuls is any indication, we are in for another seriously divisive campaign and the Democrats will have to work hard get their message heard above all the sound bite rhetoric.

Update: Must read post from Scarecrow.

Rivers Run Dry

Almost as soon as the bombs began to rain down on Baghdad, families began their exodus from Iraq in anticipation of the civil war that many expected would come to pass. As the occupation entered it's fifth year, that number has reached into the millions.

Riverbend, an anonymous female Iraqi blogger who has been opining about the war and occupation since the beginning, has now decided to follow in the footstep of so many others. I can only imagine what it must be like to have to pick and choose what to leave behind. Not only are there the material things which hold so many cherished memories but also the loved ones who remain there, unable to make the journey to safer locales.

I am truly ashamed of what my country has done. And all because of the hubris and arrogance of one man.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Shorter Twofer:

About Michelle Malkin: Isn't it sad when a blogger loses her mind and has to be put down?

About David Broder: Ditto.

(Filed at State of the Day)


Olbermann on Rudy's Terror-mongering

After a long drought, Keith was back last night with very scathing Special Comment on Rudy Guiliani's claim that America will be safer under a Republican presidency, namely his.


From an Angry Soldier

This rant has been making the rounds on some of the blogs I read frequently. And in light of Laura Bush's assertion about who suffers for this war, I thought it poignant to reprint it here. (h/t Fixer for the text).
I'm having the worst damn week of my whole damn life so I'm going to write this while I'm pissed off enough to do it right.

I am SICK of all this bullshit people are writing about the Iraq war. I am abso-fucking-lutely sick to death of it. What the fuck do most of you know about it? You watch it on TV and read the commentaries in the newspaper or Newsweek or whatever god damn yuppie news rag you subscribe to and think you're all such fucking experts that you can scream at each other like five year old about whether you're right or not. Let me tell you something: unless you've been there, you don't know a god damn thing about it. It you haven't been shot at in that fucking hell hole, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

How do I dare say this to you moronic war supporters who are "Supporting our Troops" and waving the flag and all that happy horse shit? I'll tell you why. I'm a Marine and I served my tour in Iraq. My husband, also a Marine, served several. I left the service six months ago because I got pregnant while he was home on leave and three days ago I get a visit from two men in uniform who hand me a letter and tell me my husband died in that fucking festering sand-pit. He should have been home a month ago but they extended his tour and now he's coming home in a box.

You fuckers and that god-damn lying sack of shit they call a president are the reason my husband will never see his baby and my kid will never meet his dad.

And you know what the most fucked up thing about this Iraq shit is? They don't want us there. They're not happy we came and they want us out NOW. We fucked up their lives even worse than they already were and they're pissed off. We didn't help them and we're not helping them now. That's what our soldiers are dying for.

Oh while I'm good and worked up, the government doesn't even have the decency to help out the soldiers whos lives they ruined. If you really believe the military and the government had no idea the veterans' hospitals were so fucked up, you are a god-damn retard. They don't care about us. We're disposable. We're numbers on a page and they'd rather forget we exist so they don't have to be reminded about the families and lives they ruined while they're sipping their cocktails at another fund raiser dinner. If they were really concerned about supporting the troops, they'd bring them home so their families wouldn't have to cry at a graveside and explain to their children why mommy or daddy isn't coming home. Because you can't explain it. We're not fighting for our country, we're not fighting for the good of Iraq's people, we're fighting for Bush's personal agenda. Patriotism my ass. You know what? My dad served in Vietnam and NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

So I'm pissed. I'm beyond pissed. And I'm going to go to my husband funeral and receive that flag and hang it up on the wall for my baby to see when he's older. But I'm not going to tell him that his father died for the stupidity of the American government. I'm going to tell him that his father was a hero and the best man I ever met and that he loved his country enough to die for it, because that's all true and nothing will be solved by telling my son that his father was sent to die by people who didn't care about him at all.

Fuck you, war supporters, George W. Bush, and all the god damn mother fuckers who made the war possible. I hope you burn in hell.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Suffer the Little Bushies

First Lady Laura Bush is apparently trying to justify her husband's purple heart he was presented with the other day. She says no one suffers more for this war. I suppose that would include the 28,000+ soldiers who have been killed or wounded and their families, the 600,000+ Iraqis who've died and the millions more who've fled their homeland.

No, President Bush has to suffer a fate far worse than all of that.

He has to face people who disagree with him.

Maybe he can award himself a medal of freedom for his pain and suffering.

Update: Meme has the roundup. Also check out Atrios, Shelley Lewis, Michael Linn Jones, and The Heretik.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Opening The Files: 04/25/07

Let Slip the Dogs of Bore...

With Democrats refusing the back down from their push for a change of course in Iraq, GOP desperation is beginning to set in. They're obviously scared to death of Bush actually having to carry out his veto threat. How else do you explain the surge of rhetoric this week.

President Bush tried to claim that Democrats were wrong about what Americans voted for in the last election. I guess we must have misread the ballots. Delusional Dick, meanwhile, claims that Harry Reid is the one who is "uninformed and misleading" about Iraq. Tom "The Bugman" DeLay crawled out from whatever rock he was hiding under to suggest that the actions and words of top Democrats is "very close to treason". Rep. Dana Rochrabacher, as Ted noted, has well wishes for those who don't care much for the Bush administration's detainee vacation practices.

And in a portend of campaign ads to come, Rudy Giuliani thinks that voting for anyone but himself in '08 means another 9/11 is almost certain.

They wanted to unleash the big dogs but all they seem to have left is a bunch of yelping puppies. Yipe!

President Busy said that he will not accept a bill that "directly contradicts the judgment of our military commanders." Steven D says he should know a thing or two about that.

Robert Scheer says the military has become a convenient scapegoat for Bush's failures, at least when they aren't being used as backdrops.

Carpetbagger has more treasonous talk.

Justin Gardner thinks Rudy's remarks got stretched just a tad. Not that is mattered to some on the right when there's a "Dems will be the death of us" headline to promote. Or maybe he is going for the Carbon Copy Campaign, as Georgia10 calls it.

The Gun Toting Liberal loves the smell of dissent in the morning.

And here's Ron Chusid on Rudy's claim that Democrats don't understand the threat of terrorism.

(Filed at State of the Day)


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fool's Errand

WASHINGTON (XF) - Democratic attempts to set timelines for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq appear to have been derailed, The Xsociate Files can reveal, because the Bush administration is mulling the possibility of viewing the measures as an April Fool's day joke on the part of Congress. House and Senate negotiators have announced that a reconciled version of the Iraq supplemental appropriations bill will contain deadlines for withdrawing troops starting either in July or October of 2007 with a completion date of April 1, 2008.

But a source within the White House who asked not to be named because they were discussing insider deliberations says that President Bush thought the provision to be some kind of joke when he saw the April 1st deadline. According to the source, this interpretation was also backed by embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Up until now, President Bush has threatened to veto any funding bill which contains plans for withdrawal. But other sources familiar with the theory put forth suspect that he will sign the bill into law and merely ignore the April end date. Critics are outraged at the prospect.

"If he [Bush] thinks something like that might be funny, I can tell you the joke will be on him," one prominent political pundit is quoted as saying.

(Filed at State of the Day)


Monday, April 23, 2007

The Walls That Divide Us

This weekend, the right (plus Joe) were working themselves into a viscus lather over statements made last week by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the effect that the war in Iraq is 'lost'. Many scolded Reid for his poor choice of words, but DKos regular McJoan wonders if Reid was in fact careful to phrase his remarks so as to frame the debate as one of the President yet again defying the will of a majority of Americans.

With the showdown over funding looming, McJoan points us to a new piece by Paul Krugman which is a must read. The Krug Man aptly describes the confrontation as a hostage situation, with US troops in the role of captive. How else to describe the President's threat (now since carried out) of forcing them to stay longer in Iraq unless Congress gives him the funds to do with as he pleases?

As the President worked to build the metaphorical wall around his failed policies and players, actual physical barriers were being constructed in the streets of Baghdad. The Iraqis will not let it stand and neither should we allow this President to continue to draw the demarcation lines of what is acceptable to the American people.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Stop the Press(es)

Few remember it and it hasn't gotten much play in light of all the other scandals that have emerged since then but it would appear that Attorney General Gonzales is going to proceed with his selective enforcement of the law. In this case, by clamping down on what the press can report.

From Harper's Magazine:
In June, a case is slated to go to trial in Northern Virginia that will mark a first step in a plan to silence press coverage of essential national security issues. The plan was hatched by Alberto Gonzales and his deputy, Paul J. McNulty—the two figures at the center of a growing scandal over the politicization of the prosecutorial process. This may in fact be the most audacious act of political prosecution yet. But so far, it has gained little attention and is poorly understood.

In the summer of 2005, Alberto Gonzales paid a visit to British Attorney General Peter Goldsmith. A British civil servant who attended told me “it was quite amazing really. Gonzales was obsessed with the Official Secrets Act. In particular, he wanted to know exactly how it was used to block newspapers and broadcasters from running news stories derived from official secrets and how it could be used to criminalise persons who had no formal duty to maintain secrets. He saw it as a panacea for his problems: silence the press. Then you can torture and abuse prisoners and what you will—without fear of political repercussions. It was the easy route to dealing with the Guantánamo dilemma. Don't close down Guantánamo. Close down the press. We were appalled by it.” Appalled, he added, “but not surprised.”

The article goes on to say that instead of following the usual legislative process of sending Congress a bill that would ratify an Americanized version of the OSA, Gonzo is going to do more of that "unique interpretation" he's so good at.
Rather than approach Congress with a proposal to enact the British Official Secrets Act—a proposal which would certainly be defeated even in the prior Republican-led Congress—Gonzales decided to spin it from whole cloth. He would reconstrue the Espionage Act of 1917 to include the essence of the Official Secrets Act, and he would try to get this interpretation ratified in the Bush Administration’s “vest pocket” judicial districts—the Eastern District of Virginia and the Fourth Circuit. The key man for this project was to be Paul J. McNulty, the man he soon picked as his deputy.

As the piece which should be read in full warns, a win "would be a dream world for Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales".

The sign post up ahead reads "Welcome To Bushworld. Leave your civil liberties at the border."

More from GTL and Don Q.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Opening The Files: Gonzo Hearing Edition

Slow Grillin'

Yesterday's big buzz was the much anticipated appearance of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Gonzo got a major grilling, even from the Republican members of the panel. He was flipping and flopping around so much he threatened to fall right off the hot plate seat. It was indeed like "clubbing a baby seal" as one observer called it. Only difference being you can sympathize with the baby seal. Gonzo? Not so much.

But despite being burnt to a crisp, the White House is sticking with their embroiled and flame-broiled AG.

The Gonzo-meter shows Al is almost well, done.

Kevin Hayden on Gonzo's lame Sergeant Schultz defense. It certainly would explain his way of thinking, so sez Magpie.

Shaun Mullen examines the memory hole, which at this point rivals the grand canyon. Thankfully, the Donkeys are taking us for ride to find what's at the bottom.

Larisa has a few take aways from yesterday's testimony.

TRex, in his own inimitable style, has some late night FDL love for ya.

McJoan thinks the NY Times is starting to sound a lot like your average blogger.

And David Bromwich says it's not hard to understand Gonzo's concept of honor when you consider who he chooses to pal around with.

(Filed at State of the Day)

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Osama Bin Czar

WASHINGTON (XF) - The Xsociate Files has learned a startling revelation that sheds new light on how the Bush administration has conducted the war in Iraq and the wider war on terror. According to recent reports, a search was being conducted for a so-called "war czar" to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While it is thought to have been a recent initiative, sources inside the Pentagon confirm the position has in fact existed since mid-2002. More startling still is who filled the position until sometime in late 2003: Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

One source told XF that they had been willing to come forward with the news after White House political guru Karl Rove leaked word at a recent press conference that it was Bin Laden's idea for the US to invade and occupy Iraq. When asked if it made sense to have someone considered public enemy #1 in charge of US policy in the region, the source said that the Bush administration saw no problems with the arrangement.

"They considered it an effective example of outsourcing," the source said.

On a related note, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the Bush administration is considering approaching presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain for the position of war czar.

"We feel he has some good idea's on how to handle the situation," Perino said.

(Filed at State of the Day)


Opening The Files: Va Tech Edition

Reflections on a Virginia morn

The events this week were needlessly tragic, especially when you consider that all of it may have been preventable. But we will never know and are left to ponder what might have been. And no matter how much insight into the mind of the killer we receive from beyond the grave, some questions will forever remain unanswered. Not the least of which is why.

So today, a simple round up. No snark. No puns. Just some reflections, some condemnations and some thoughts on life and how we cope.

Michael Linn Jones: Reflections on a Massacre

Lindsay Beyerstein: "Politicizing" events and "exploiting" tragedies

Eugene Robinson: Beyond Reason

Jeffrey Feldman: Violence and Silence

Michael J.W. Stickings: Don't forget about Iraq

(Filed at State of the Day)


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Winger Logic

We now know the identity of the shooter in Monday's Virginia Tech killing spree. He is Cho Seung-Hui, a South Korean who immigrated here with his family. Some of the right wing blogs will not be appeased, however, and continue to tie themselves in knots trying to link this incident to Islamic terrorism. Their current hangup is over a cryptic scrawl on the now deceased gunman's arm which some claim as a sign that he suffered from Sudden Jihad Syndrome. They just can't seem to fathom that some non-white individual would go schizo and off a bunch of his peers without it having anything to do with the dreaded Islamofascist threat.

And while some are questioning the motives of the shooter, others are questioning the courage of the victims. National Reviews' John Derbyshire wonders why the students didn't emulate the heroism of the passengers of Flight 93 and disarm their assailant. Nathaniel Blake went further and questioned the testicular fortitude of the male students that didn't fight off their would be executioner.

I'd say someones been watching too many movies.

More on the Doublemint Derb's from Libby Spencer, Carpetbagger, Eli, Ezra Klein and Dr. Steven Taylor.

Update: KO doles out the awards.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Terror at a university and a university of terror

Yesterday, Larry Johnson juxtaposed the Virginia Tech massacre with the war in Iraq. His point was to emphasis that while the events at the university were indeed tragic, your average Iraqi endures far worse on almost a daily basis. And yet the later hardly warrants the wall-to-wall coverage the former is now receiving. Some may object to such a comparison but it is nonetheless a valid one. Events like yesterday's pale in comparison to those which happen with far too much frequency in Iraq. And everyday that goes by, more and more die as the graduates of the "university of terror" we helped create there advance through the academic levels of their deadly vocation.

(Filed at State of the Day)

On the VA Tech Tragedy

The big story all yesterday was of course the tragic events that unfolded at Virginia Tech. The lives of 32 people (at last count) were cut short. Gone are the doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists and world leaders they may have become and we should be saddened by the loss of what their contributions could have meant for society. My sympathies with the families of those who lost loved ones this day, even for the family of the shooter himself. This young man had some serious problems but we should not forget that his family lost someone too.

As with any time these types of tragedies occur, there arises a debate. Some call for more restrictive gun control laws while others say it is such laws that makes events like these worse. Wherever your opinion lies, we would all do well to remain silent for the time being. Let the victims grieve for their loss and then we can put ourselves to the task of attempting to see such loss never happens again.

Update: Never one to miss an opportunity to milk a tragedy for political capitol, word has it that President Bush is considering heading to VA to stand atop the rumble with a bull horn express his condolences to the victims. Anyone care to wager what Dubya will have to say?

Update II: Browsing thru the links compiled by Meme thus far, I see a few of the blogs on the right are hung up on the ethnicity of the shooter, no doubt hoping to prove correct their theory that all mass fatality incidents inside the US are the work of the ever present Islamofascists in our midst. But their hysterics seems misplaced since most news accounts report that the gunman was an Asian male. There is, however, another angle I expect the righties to pick up and run with: immigration. Seems he may also have been here on a student visa. I have a feeling that the discussion surrounding this incident will soon devolve from talk of our far too restrictive (to some) gun laws to our lax immigration policies.

Update III: As if to prove my point above, Debbie Schlussel has a post in which she not only laments the practice of allowing foreigners into the US to attend our schools but also makes the leap that because the MSM has only listed the gunman's ethnicity as "Asian" does not rule out the possibility that he was a Muslim extremist. She expands on this fear-mongering theme in a later post claiming that "this alien" did "the job that Americans just won't do" which I can only assume is to kill as many of "them" as humanly possible before they have a chance to come over here and kill us while they are studying for their doctorate in poli-sci. Since I refuse to link directly to something so odious as Cernig rightly calls it, here is the Meme link to the first post I mentioned.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Returning Series

I love it when a Plan B comes together...or not.

(h/t Heretik for inspiration)

(Filed at State of the Day)


Preempted Talking Point

The Bush administration is desperate to find a scapegoat for their disaster of a war in Iraq. And since their fruitless search hasn’t yet yielded a war czar to pin it on, the Democrats in Congress are the most logical choice. So they’ve been pressing the meme that the Democrat’s plan (i.e. funding tied to a withdrawal proviso) will result in troops having to stay there longer. Yea, I know, sounds silly that a call for withdrawal would make them stay longer. But then, logic was never this administrations strong suit and neither was getting everyone on the same talking points page since the “consequences” that Bush was warning of has now become official White House policy.

Which begs the question: was Bush aware of this before he started slinging around this false narrative? White House spokesman Dana Perino sure intimated that he might not have, which I highly doubt is the case. As some have suggested it's quite possible, indeed probable, that Bush was fully aware of the shift in policy and was simply waiting until after his veto threat was carried out in order to paint the troop extensions as the direct result of the Democrats actions.

Remind me again who's playing politics with the troops?

(Filed at State of the Day)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Opening The Files: 04/14/07

Ctrl + Alt + Dubya

A very busy week. Imus got the axe and Purgegate has now been overshadowed by Emailgate with the mysterious disappearance of more emails than your average day's worth of male enhancement related spam. It all started when Congress, during the course of their attorney purge investigation, noticed some of the headers on the emails were from Republican National Committee accounts. They sent out word to retain those files, at which point the White House admitted that those files may have been 'mishandled'.

With Congress' ire beginning to heat up, it was pointed out that some of the missing files could probably be retrieved. So it went from "the dog ate my homework" to "well he has select tastes" since only Karl Rove's emails were the ones gobbled up. Apparently Ole Turd Blossom is such a fastidious emailer that not only does he regularly purge the attorneys his trash bin but also wipes clean of fingerprints his surgically implanted Blackberry. Not that he meant to do any of it mind you. Force of habit really.

But the issue of these emails may be a moot one, since the Bushies are also trying to claim that all communications, even those by the Shaquille O'Neal sized 'handful' of staffers who used RNC accounts, is covered by executive privilege. And so it was we had a another Friday docudump to help muddy the coverage some more. No wonder they call it muckraking.

SpinDentist says the White House is outsourcing everything these days.

Mark Kleiman thinks the Bushies are overplaying their hand. I'd say they aren't playing with a full deck.

The Anonymous Liberal examines the two hat excuse. Or is it dunce caps?

Robert Freedland on the parallel universe the Bushies inhabit.

Cernig wonders if Karl Rove would be a perfect candidate for FOX's newest quiz show.

And Maha noticed a common thread throughout the knot of scandals entwining the executive branch. Bill Maher has some new rules that may help to unravel the whole mess.

(Filed at State of the Day)


Friday, April 13, 2007

Imus gonna miss you in the morning

Well, it's about 6:00 AM here on the East Coast and normally we'd be witness to the familiar sounds of Imus in the Morning, either as they discuss the news and politics of the day or be treated to one of Robert Bartlett's impersonations. But such is not to be, as Imus' show has now been canceled by CBS Radio. Frankly, I am not surprised at the outcome. You had to know that once advertisers started their exodus, the end was all but assured. Reviews are mixed, with some saying good riddance while others are claiming this as an example of slow news cycle sensationalizing (as if there weren't more news worthy developments to report on).

It's hard to say where I stand on this. On the one hand I am a staunch defender of freedom of speech. But at the same time I can understand when such commentary can be deemed inappropriate. As someone who has the ear of millions, Imus has a responsibility to his audience, despite his status as a so-called "shock jock". And in this instance, as many have pointed out, Imus' right to free speech isn't being curtailed but merely his position before the megaphone.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Stay A Little Longer

Remember the other day when President Bush warned that some US troops in Iraq might be forced to stay longer because Congress wasn't being diligent in providing funds for the war? Well, he was right. Only it wasn't Congress making them stay longer. And that "some" turned out to be all of them.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced yesterday that all active-duty soldiers currently deployed or going to Iraq and Afghanistan will see their one-year tours extended to 15 months, acknowledging that such a strain on the war-weary Army is necessary should the ongoing troop increase be prolonged well into next year.

The decision -- coming three months after President Bush put forth his new security plan for Iraq, including the deployment of at least 28,000 additional troops there -- reflects the reality that the new strategy is unfeasible without introducing longer Army tours.

The across-the-board extension will affect more than 100,000 active-duty soldiers and will result in the longest combat tours for the Army since World War II. It will also mandate for the first time that active-duty soldiers spend more time at war than at home.

Can we please drop the pretense that this so-called "surge" is anything but an escalation? I mean seriously, how many indicators do we need before this administration will finally admit they lied about the size and duration of this "surge"? These extensions come on the heels of reports that more troops are being sent than originally claimed. In order to maintain this increase, they are sending back sometimes severely injured soldiers or shortening the length of time they have back home. Some brigades are looking at their fifth deployment there. We keep getting happy talk about how well the "surge" is working, despite the fact that April is on track to be one of the deadliest months since the fall of Baghdad.

Yet "surge" is the word. They sure have a funny definition for it.

More from Meme.

Blog Thanks: The SotD version of this post got mention on the Columbia Journalism Review Daily.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Czar Wars

So, today we learn, not surprisingly, that while the Bush administration has been scolding Congress for supposedly trying to "micromanage" the war in Iraq by passing appropriations bills that set a timetable for withdrawal, they have been secretly trying to find someone to do just that (minus the bit about withdrawal, of course). But, so far, there haven't been any takers.
The White House wants to appoint a high-powered czar to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies, but it has had trouble finding anyone able and willing to take the job, according to people close to the situation.

At least three retired four-star generals approached by the White House in recent weeks have declined to be considered for the position, the sources said, underscoring the administration's difficulty in enlisting its top recruits to join the team after five years of warfare that have taxed the United States and its military.

You can't really blame them. They would essentially be taking a job whereby they would be responsible for the piss poor progress of the wars under their purview without any real ability to make changes since the Cheney cabal would still be the real movers and shakers. As one of the generals who passed on the offer said "So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks,' ".

Here's some Pepto, General. We've all had this queasy for a while now.

More from Meme.

Update: Robert Parry weighs in.

(Filed at State of the Day)

An Audience with the King

Dear Democrat Party,

His Excellency, King George II of Crawford, seeks your presence to discuss the matter of how best you may go about fulfilling his decrees for our glorious endeavors in Greater Mesopotamia. You are hereby summoned to report on this progress forthwith. As you are no doubt aware, his eminence is bestowed with the wisdom and courage to continue to battle the evil hordes amassing against us. It is hoped this meeting will once again remind you of this and that you will show the due respect worthy of being granted such an audience with his grace, who remains very busy with his royal duties.


Karl Rove, Chancellor

More from the commoners John Aravosis, Hilzoy, and Greg Sargent.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Opening The Files: 04/10/07

Impertinent in the Morning

By now you've heard about the dustup over Don Imus' comments on a certain women's basketball team. Well his flagrant foul has now gotten him two weeks on the bench. And while that may or may not be an appropriate punishment depending on who you talk to, what I can't figure is why his overt racism is being singled out while similar umbrages by other well known radio personalities hardly seems to warrant a blip on the politically incorrect radar?

Digby speculates why the corporates keep coming back when, if incivility is to be the judgment standard, talk radio has the blogs beat hands down. She also examines the love to be hated relationship with the journos.

Booman talks about the crumbling edifice of Bushism that so afflicted the news media for so long.

Chicago Dyke tells us of another inconvenient truth.

Mustang Bobby schools us on what's funny.

Cenk Uygur on why, regardless of how much we might not like what Imus has to say, silencing it would be far worse.

Toppled Statues and Statures

Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, forever immortalized by the now famous toppling of a statue of Saddam Hussein. But four years on, many Iraqis are wishing they could put it back up. Far more of them took to the streets to protest the occupation than were witness to that scene of supposed liberation.

But as with everything that happens in Iraq, the Bushies have their rose-colored glasses firmly affixed to their faces. They claim that these anti-American protests are a sign of progress, for now Iraqi's can "freely gather and express their opinions." Happy Anniversary everyone!

I'll leave it to
Larry Johnson to debunk the "they couldn't do this four years" ago canard.

Robert Scheer says at least the Iraqis are finally showing unity on something.

Robert Naiman thinks the Iraqis were trying to send us a message in a bottle. I have a feeling the Bushies would rather they just stick a cork in it.

And here's Tom Tomorrow on "Crazy Train" McCain's claim that things aren't so bad in Iraq. So long as you ignore...

(Filed at State of the Day)


Monday, April 09, 2007

Shorter John McCain:

Sure I'll lie to you with a straight face but at least I'm honest about it. Tee hee.


What of justice?

Whenever the Bush administration or one of their supporters brings up 9/11 during their arguments in favor of the war in Iraq or wider war in the Middle East, there is one question I would like to see asked of them:

"Why do you insist on denying justice to the victims?"

A pretty straight forward question, isn't it? For ever since the events of that day were picked up and held aloft as the go-to argument ender for everything this administration does, very few have ever voiced true concern for justice for the victims. Oh sure there were some hollow platitudes of "dead or alive" just after and stale rhetoric of "bringing to justice" since but here we are nearly six years later and many of the perpetrators remain at large. And why is that? Because President Bush made a choice. He chose to go to war in Iraq even though it had nothing to do with the attacks. Was justice served by that invasion and continuing occupation? No. Would we find justice by attacking Iran and/or Syria, as Rudy Giuliani and Joe Lieberman appear to see as somehow culpable in whatever convoluted dreamscape their thoughts reside? Doubtful.

So again I ask: Why do you insist on denying justice to the victims?

I await an answer but somehow I doubt it will be forthcoming.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Coming off the rails

Check out Richard Blair's take down of John "Crazy Train" McCain who has thoroughly hitched his caboose to Conductor Bush's Quagmire Express. All aboard!

And speaking of bullet trains to nowhere, it's looking as though 2007 will be to Iraq what 1965 was to Vietnam. Center Face has a rather poignant graphic showing what may be in store, especially given that we are seeing back to back news reports of more and more troops being sent as part of this supposed "surge".

It's about time someone derailed this runaway presidency.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Perfidiousness on Pelosi

The faux outrage over Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria has reached mind-numbing inanity. It's bad enough to have the editorial boards of the Washington Post and USA Today mischaracterizing the particulars of the trip but the WSJ op-ed by Robert Turner shows the depths to which critics will plunge in order to suggest the Speaker did something untoward in her meet and greet with President Assad. What has the White House and their sycophants scared shitless is not that their criticisms will be proven correct but rather the antithesis. They fear any measure or action which threatens to pierce the veil of Bush as all-powerful executive and his dictates as infallible. They fear the undoing of an imagine that Karl Rove and Dick Cheney sought to cultivate even before George II ascended the throne.

More from Matthew Yglesias, The Mahablog, Libby Spencer, Devilstower, Jeff Huber, and Joe Conason.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Shedding light on the long shadow behind the Bush

The above photograph and corresponding video of Cheney lurking in the bushes during President Bush's press conference earlier this week has been the butt of many a joke. But mind control and ventriloquism jokes aside, never to my knowledge has there been a better illustration of the Bush administration. For all the protestations of Bush as The Decider, the influence of his VP has always lurked nearby, hidden from the spotlight, pulling the strings.

But ever so slowly, light has begun to be shined on the lies and obfuscations of this administration.

From WaPo:
Captured Iraqi documents and intelligence interrogations of Saddam Hussein and two former aides "all confirmed" that Hussein's regime was not directly cooperating with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, according to a declassified Defense Department report released yesterday.

The declassified version of the report, by acting Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble, also contains new details about the intelligence community's prewar consensus that the Iraqi government and al-Qaeda figures had only limited contacts, and about its judgments that reports of deeper links were based on dubious or unconfirmed information. The report had been released in summary form in February.

Chalk this up as yet another nail in the coffin that is to be the tomb of the Bush legacy. One can only hope that the damage it has caused can be reversed and that the members who contributed to the devastation never darken the doorsteps of our government with their long shadows ever again.

Meme roundup.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

'Like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime'

My internet was down all last night so I am just now getting up to speed on what went on yesterday, but that was how Rep. Mike Pence described the market which he and Sen. John McCain visited over the weekend. Makes you wonder what kinds of markets they have in Indiana for Pence to make such a remark after this happened after their little visit.
The latest massacre of Iraqi children came as 21 Shia market workers were ambushed, bound and shot dead north of the capital.

The victims came from the Baghdad market visited the previous day by John McCain, the US presidential candidate, who said that an American security plan in the capital was starting to show signs of progress.

How many of those killed do you think died because they didn't have the benefit of a security detail rivaling Britney Spears? All so McCain could have his little Dukakis moment.

Update: More from The Anonymous Liberal.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

What diplomacy looks like

Word is breaking all over the news orgs this morning that Iran will release the 15 British sailors detained nearly two weeks ago. The news is welcomed, though I am sure there will be some screeching to the heavens calling the Brits appeasers for not taking the Dubya route and plunging in headlong, guns a blazin'. But as this incident shows, not everything need be solved through military confrontation nor stubborn disengagement. And I suspect that is what has the die-hard Bushbots really freaking out. Couple this with Speaker Pelosi's trip to Syria as the ever mounting evidence that Bush and his brand of governance is sinking further into irrelevancy.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Defund the rhetoric

Bush gave a presser this morning in which he once again grabbed the mike and shouted "I'm The Decider". Too bad the mute button was on. And he's now resorted to the bleeding heart routine.

From the AP:
President Bush on Tuesday called Democrats in Congress irresponsible for approving war bills that order U.S. troops to leave Iraq by certain dates. He said such efforts will backfire, keeping some troops in battle even longer.

"In a time of war, it's irresponsible for the Democratic leadership in Congress to delay for months on end while our troops in combat are waiting for the funds," Bush said in a Rose Garden news conference.

"The bottom line is this: Congress' failure to fund our troops on the front lines will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines," Bush said. "Others could see their loved ones heading back to the war sooner than they need to."

That's his angle? That troops may be forced to say longer? Dude, wasn't he planning to do that anyway? And just who exactly is the one "delaying for months on end"? Newsflash, the Congress already passed funding bills. We're waiting on your John Hancock. I particularly loved the bit about "their loved ones heading back to the war sooner than they need to". He should know a thing or two about that.

Is it just me or should Bush just go spend the next two years playing rancher in Crawford?

More from John Aravosis, Will Bunch, Big Tent Democrat, Steve Soto and a great post from Georgia10.

Update: Meme roundup.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Rightie (Be)Ware

On the heels of Sen. John McCain's stroll through the streets of Baghdad comes another instance of the "media as the enemy" meme being propagated by the right wing blogs. The focus of their ire this time in CNN's Michael Ware, who you will remember refuted McCain's claim that commanders on the ground travel around in unarmored Humvees. Various right blogs, among them the prominent The Drudge Report, picked up and ran with an accusation that Ware "heckled" McCain during a press conference after the senator's trip to market. The only problem? It never happened. Raw Story has various video of the briefing and at no time does Ware or anyone else "heckle" during the proceedings. Though in the eyes of many a rightie, asking tough questions is probably now considered a form of heckling.

What I found most astounding is that these sites would promote this claim despite the fact that it is so easily debunked with a simple viewing of a video. It's not as if this briefing were held behind closed doors where the only means of knowing what occurred is based on participant's accounts.

Not that it matters to those on the right who will do anything they can to attack the credibility of anyone attempting to inject some reality based hues into the rose colored pictures that the Bush administration and their supporters try to pass off as authentic.

More from Meme.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Opening The Files: 04/02/07

Boys in da Baghdad

Sen. McCain was tooling around Baghdad yesterday just to show how well the surge is working. Don't mind the contingent of 100 Soldiers, 3 Blackhawks, and 2 Apache gunships (and a pony), that's just his posse. He takes them everywhere. You should see them try to get a table at Denny's.

McCain's partner in war crime Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, scored a sweet ass deal on some rugs. Let's hope they aren't Persian since that would make him eligible for a stay at the Ritz Gitmo since he just contributed a whole $5 to Iran's burgeoning textile industry.

Back in Never Gonna Leave Land, 6 more US soldiers were killed and mortars rained down on the outskirts of the Green Zone. In other words, just another day in the neighborhood.

Babak Dehghanpisheh on McCain's little jaunt through the capitol. Meanwhile, Atrios has what "Maverick" was really trying to say.

Shelley Lewis gives us the "full picture" that McCain says is lacking in media coverage.

Libby Spencer says it might have been good idea for Graham to practice that trickle down economics the Repubs use to be so fond of.

Mustang Bobby reminds us of other photo ops involving presidential wannabes. Jersey Guy wonders how many soldiers died because others were too busy playing nurse maid to McCain's ego.

And Bob Cesca reports that the "Surge is working" meme isn't well, working.

(Filed at State of the Day)

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

If George Were King

Catherine Crier's monologue discussing the many abuses during the rule of King George II.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Oh Sweet Lord

Convulsions over Christ confection continues

NEW YORK (XF) - The outrage over a life-size nude sculpture of Jesus Christ continued today, this time over what is to be done with the nearly 200 pounds of chocolate used to make the milk-chocolate messiah, The Xsociate Files has learned. According to sources, the material is to be donated to a local pastry shop that makes such items as "Jesus' Chocolate Balls".

William Donohue, whose Catholic League was able to boycott the original display of the statue, was particularly incensed at the news.

"It's bad enough the gallery was willing to put on such a vulgar display of our lord and savior but to then continue the insult by allowing his name to be attached to such an obscenely named product is beyond reprehensible," Mr. Donohue said. But critics say such claims are unfounded, since the Jesus in question is in fact the owner of the shop.

Jesus Guerra, proprietor of Sweets Jesus, is surprised by the attention surrounding the statue. A Catholic himself, Guerra saw nothing wrong with depicting Christ as he is said to have been during the Crucifixion. He is also surprised that some are concerned over what is now to be done with the statue.

"If they are upset now, I can only imagine how they would react if I planned to use the chocolate to make my specialty, "Jesus' Big Brown Nuts"".

(An April Fools snark for the masses at State of the Day)