Sunday, October 22, 2006

After Pat's Birthday


Pat Tillman's brother, Kevin, has written a powerful, must-read piece over at

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we got out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that. Read more...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Iraq Study Group To Rule Out Iraq Victory


A leaked draft of the Iraq Study Groups likely recommendations -- that won't be released until after the election to avoid coming off as a "political document" -- rules out the possibility of American victory in Iraq.

From the NYSun:

WASHINGTON — A commission formed to assess the Iraq war and recommend a new course has ruled out the prospect of victory for America, according to draft policy options shared with The New York Sun by commission officials. read more..

I can just see it now: the ISG releases it's report after the election that says Iraq is a complete disaster, American troop presence is fueling the problem and that the best policy adjustment is a "manged withdrawal" to put pressure on the Iraqi government to step up while at the same time getting American troops out of the way. In other words, what the Democrats have been saying for over a year now. Then Bush will be seen as the serious and open-to-suggestions leader who abides by the advice of the glorious bi-partisan committee. As Digby and John noted a few weeks ago with the Military Commissions Act, this is just another kabuki dance.

Sweet Subpoena: Nine Tough Questions for Congress

Mother Jones:

Capitol Hill is way overdue for a blockbuster investigation. Here are nine questions to get Congress rolling—if it has the guts.

1. Who lost Iraq?
2. Did Rumsfeld order torture (and if not, who did)?
3. Who blew 9/11?
4. What did the airlines know, and when did they know it?
5. How wide is the domestic surveillance net?
6. Is Big Oil pulling an Enron?
7. Who's making money off your retirement?
8. Why is the morning-after pill not at your 7-Eleven?
9. Grounds for impeachment?

...In the past six years, congressional investigations of such bold, searching nature have disappeared. In a post-9/11 environment of silence and fear, the mood inside Congress has mirrored the bunkers and barriers outside: No one dares question the military or the intelligence services too closely, or to push the president too far. The Caucus Room continues to be used for party meetings and social events, and every so often there is a potted inquiry, as in the case of the 2003 hearings on the space shuttle. But on issues of war and peace, of corruption and graft, of civil rights, civil liberties, and constitutional breaches, meek questions are the rule, answered by dull assurances from the White more

In a Democratic House, John Conyers would chair the Judiciary Committee and he's already told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now that he would seek the creation of a select committee to investigate the Administration's misdoings and, if necessary, recommend impeachment hearings.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Bill Maher on Foleygate

Bill Maher joined Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room today to talk about Foleygate and hits the nail on the head when he points out that Republican/conservative repression and self-righteousness always seems to manifest itself in supreme hypocrisy. He gives the examples of Foley with internet predator legislation, Rush Limbaugh with drug abuse demonization and compulsive gambler Bill Bennett who wrote a book on virtues and morality.

GlennGreenwald has a great post today about the real face of the Republican party that this scandal is exposing to all of America.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What Bush Didn't Do Before 9/11

Special investigation by the Keith Olbermann and the Countdown team on what Bush did and didn't do before 9/11 about the al Qaeda threat.

Cafferty Sounds Off On Bush's Foreign Policy

Jack Cafferty went off script and off the meter against President Bush today. Wolf leads into the Cafferty File with an interview of Afghan President Hamid Karzai responding to Pervez Musharrafs accusations that he is turning a blind eye to terrorism and that Pakistan is much more secure than Afghanistan. Jack sounds off like only Jack can saying that the reason Pakistan is safe and secure is because they don't have foreign armies running around. He goes on to say that Afghanistan wouldn't have a narco-state or a resurging Taliban if we didn't sent our forces to Iraq and leave that country to collapse. In sum, Bush "cut and run" from a real terrorist threat to get us into a war based on false pretenses that is creating more enemies. Brilliant foreign policy.

Iraq Study Group Playing Politics By Not Playing Politics

On March 15, 2006, Congress announced the formation of the Iraq Study Group charged with delivering an independent assessment of the situation in Iraq. The ISG is led by longtime Bush confidant James A. Baker and 9/11 Co-Chariman Lee Hamilton.

The two held a press conference last Tuedsay to announce that they have nothing to annouce. In order to keep the grim outlook in Iraq -- the most crucial issue in the November election -- out of the election, the group will not release it's report til after the 110th Congress is seated. Could this be the second NIE Rep Harman talked about? This ordeal has NYT Wiretapping scandal written all over it. By withholding this report from the public til after the election (when it won't make a difference) the Baker-led group is keeping valuable information from the voters that could very well alter the election. Well, I guess that's the idea.

Although Mr. Baker insists "we have said from Day One that we were going to report after the midterm election", he, in fact, said on Day One -- the commission's launch on March 15, 2006 -- that "we have not set a time frame" and that "we may come forward with some interim reports."

As Dana Milbank notes:

As a general rule, it's a bad idea to call a news conference if you have nothing to say. It's worse if you announce that answers are urgently needed but then decline to provide any.

FOX News Disingenuously Blames Jamie Gorelick for 9/11

This has to be one of the grossest examples of FOX News bias and contempt for journalism you'll ever see. 9/11 Commissioner and former #2 at the Justice Department in the Clinton Administration, Jamie Gorelick, appeared on FOX's Studio B to discuss the 9/11 Commission report and how it matched up to the Clinton Wallace interview.

In typical FAUX fashion, the interview quickly changes to accusations of negligence on the Clinton administration's part. The host even sets the interview up by saying, after a short and misleading clip from the interview, that the 9/11 Comission found Clinton "didn't do enough to get Osama bin Laden." Watch attentively and you'll notice him looking over to his producers who are prompting him to provoke Gorelick with patently false & partisan-injected propaganda. "Washington Times is reporting that you're going to appear before a new 9/11 commission"? Are you kidding me? This is even worse than what Wallace tried with Clinton although the result was the same; complete smackdown.

Gorelick sets the record straight and smashes a favorite right-wing talking point -- this notion of the "Gorelick memo" in 1995 that erected a "wall" that restricted interagency intelligence sharing. This is a complete crock. The "wall" had existed since the 1980's therefore predating both her tenure and her memo. Furthermore, it came out during the 9/11 Commission hearings that Ashcrofts Deputy Attorney General, Larry Thompson, RENEWED the terms of the Gorelick memo in August 2001. If the Wall was such a monumental problem, why was the Ashcroft Justice Department adopting Gorelick's own interpretation and guidelines into their operation?

FOX has no shame. They're still on top but at least some people are waking up.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Daily Show Rips Cable News for Clinton Coverage

Jon Stewart and Samantha Bee weigh in on the FOX-Clinton interview. Jon makes an astute point which the responsible, serious mainstream media seems to miss; Clinton's record on bin Laden is strong. Much stronger than Bush who is STILL not doing anything about him. The CIA shut down their bin Laden Unit in July and a recent article says the trail has gone "stone cold." Then, we have this report that says Pakistan signed a deal with the forces who control the area where bin Laden is believed to be hiding (or dying depending on how gullible you are) Yea...REAL serious about terrorism. This guy did kill 3000 Americans, no?

Generals Blast Bush for Iraq Failures

Today the Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing on the conduct and planning failures of the Iraq War. This minority panel, which has no subpoena power, has conducted more oversight of the Iraq War in three short meetings than the GOP-Controlled Congress has in 3 1/2 years. Whether it be manipulation of pre-war intelligence, Halliburton defrauding the American taxpayers or the egregious leadership failures they examined today, the DPC is the only government body that seems to give a damn about the myriad failures that have gotten us where we are today.

Testifying before the panel were: Major General John R.S. Batiste who was the senior military assistant to then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz; Major General Paul D. Eaton, who was responsible for training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004, and for rebuilding the Iraqi police force in 2004; and Colonel Thomas X. Hammes, who was responsible for establishing bases for the newly reconstituted Iraqi armed forces in 2004. These men -- some of whom retired early out of principle -- exemplify the moral clarity and integrity that is so desperately

With the exception of Congressman Walter Jones from North Carolina, no Republican has joined the Committee in any of it's hearings. Yet, they've somehow convinced the American people -- by margin of 10% -- that they'll be safer under Republican leadership. Does allowing the Bush administration to operate without scrutiny really make us safer? Shouldn't we be holding them accountable for the monumental policy blunders that have played right into the enemies hands? It's a sad day in America.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

President Clinton Speaks the Forbidden Truth

On September 10, Vice President Cheney told Tim Russert on Meet The Press that the Bush Administration would do "exactly the same thing" in Iraq, even if they knew there were no WMD's.

When Larry King asked President Clinton about this statement and what he would do knowing that there were no WMD, Bill said "of course" Cheney would say that because "the evidence has been made clear now" that he and the other neocons "did not care" whether Saddam had WMD or any involvement in 9/11.

None of this is secret to anyone who's been paying attention for the past few years, but Clinton then got even more candid and channeled left-wing intellectuals like Noam Chomsky when he utterred the following forbidden truth:

"...I think they thought [the Iraqi invasion] might clean their own skirts a little since most of what Saddam did that was really terrible, he did when he had the full support of the Republican administrations in the 80's -- of which Dick Cheney was a part. [...] but much of what [Saddam] did in using chemical weapons and killing innocent civilians and all the terrible things he did in the 1980's, he did without a peep of criticism from some of the same people who have prosecuted this war."

We've all seen the video of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein, but the mainstream press -- except for Frank Rich who wrote about the meeting earlier this month -- seems to have selective amnesia when they condemn Saddam Hussein for his atrocities and fail to acknowledge that he did so with the tacit (and sometimes outright) support of the Reagan administration.

While it should come as no suprise that our lapdog press consistently fails to mention this inconvenient fact, it's important to remember the true history of the relationship instead of the revisionism the Bush administration -- and, seemingly, the press -- would like us to believe.

Friday, September 22, 2006

President Clinton sat down with Keith tonight to discuss the Clinton Global Initiative and a host of other topics. Keith asks the former President an "unrealistic political hypothetical": If George Bush called you up to ask for your advice, what would you tell him?

Bill gives a great, two-pronged diplomatic answer: (a) push hard for a Palestinian state and to change the American image in the Middle East and (b) drop the unilateralism and re-engage with our allies.

Diplomacy and multilateralism, Bill? We're talking about George Bush here.