George W. Bush Is Going To Bomb Iran

George W. Bush is going to bomb Iran. This is the purpose of the "surge". No amount of troops is going to fix Iraq; they couldn't if they tried. If Bush wanted to fix Iraq, he'd give them jobs. People who are employed in decent jobs can figure out how to live with their neighbors. More American troops in the Persian Gulf are not going to quell violence in Iraq any more than the ones already there are.

George W. Bush is going to bomb Iran. And there may be almost nothing we can do to stop it.

Iran has a single trump card - their nuclear program. I share the doubts that Bush can destroy the whole thing. There will be no repeat of Israel's surgical removal of the nuclear ambitions of Saddam Hussein. But Bush can take out enough of Iran's nuclear facilities to knock them back a few more years in the development of a feasible weapon. That is all he needs to bomb - that is, until Iran makes its move.

And that's what the surge is for. Ostensibly, it's about Iraq. Nobody thinks that Iraq needs more American soldiers. And it doesn't today. But Bush is sending them anyway, because he knows what he's about to do, and Iraq is going to need more soldiers when the Shiite forces sympathetic to Iran erupt in violence.

The first attack in this final war against Iran has already occured. You read about it, I'm sure. The White House excised a number of passages from an op-ed in the New York Times that talked about the history of this administration's secret negotiations with Iran. Any mention of Iran's critical help in forming the Afghan government now in place? Gone. Any word of Bush's constant double-dealing with the Iranians over people you may not have heard of, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the Mujaheddin-e Khalq? Blacked out. And any mention of Iran's 2003 offer to put everything on the table, including recognition of Israel? The Times and the two authors of the piece, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann, were threatened with criminal prosecution if they were to put words like that into print.

I know about all of this "secret" material, because none of it was secret. Leverett and Mann published their sources, all mainstream media with the exception of a report or two from Leverett's think tank, the Century Foundation. All of the things marked out of this op-ed by the White House are in the public domain. And yet the Bush Administration felt so threatened by this op-ed that they pulled out their little black markers and crossed out any hint of a peace-seeking Iran being played by a cynical America for all it could get.

Why? Because Bush is about to bomb Iran. Any talk of how Iran was making some genuine offers for peace (back before they were spinning any centrifuges) and how Iran was working with the United States to bring stability to the region, all of that is counterproductive. The Bush Administration isn't a slave to reality - it makes reality.

A reality to be ignored: Before 9/11, Iran had built up a large number of contacts among the various Afghan warlords. After 9/11, the Iranians worked those connections above and beyond in cooperation with the United States to stabilize Afghanistan under the interim government. James Dobbins, a participant in that accomplishment, explains:

Two weeks after the fall of Kabul, all the major elements of the Afghan opposition came together at a U.N.-sponsored conference in Bonn. The objective was to create a broadly based successor government to the Taliban. As the U.S. representative at that gathering, I worked both with the Afghan delegations and with the other national representatives who had the greatest influence among them, which is to say the Iranian, Russian and Indian envoys. All these delegations proved helpful. None was more so than the Iranians. On two occasions Iranian representatives made particularly memorable contributions. The original version of the Bonn agreement, drafted by the United Nations and amended by the Afghans who were present, neglected to mention either democracy or the war on terrorism. It was the Iranian representative who spotted these omissions and successfully urged that the newly emerging Afghan government be required to commit to both.

The second was even more decisive. The conference was in its final hours. The German chancellor was due to arrive momentarily for the closing ceremony. Yet we still lacked agreement on the central issue: composition of an interim Afghan government. The Northern Alliance was insisting on 18 of 25 ministerial portfolios, which would have marginalized other opposition groups. From 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. the four key envoys -- those from Washington, Tehran, Moscow and New Delhi -- worked along with the U.N. representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, and our German host to persuade the recalcitrant Northern Alliance delegate to make the necessary compromises.

Two weeks later President Hamid Karzai and his new cabinet were inaugurated in Kabul. The most senior foreign delegation was headed by Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, who had stopped in Herat on his way in to pick up the one warlord, Ismail Khan, whose attendance and support for the new government was most in doubt. At the Tokyo donors' conference the following month, Iran pledged $500 million in aid to Afghan reconstruction, by far the largest sum from any neighboring state or developing nation.

(That's from Dobbin's May 2004 op-ed in the Washington Post, by the way. I had to buy a monthly pass to get it, but it's all open source, it's public domain. No classified information was released in the publishing of that article.)

Later on, Iran was asked by Karzai and Washington to keep a particularly nasty anti-American cleric Gulbiddin Hekmatyar in their country. Washington wanted Iran to keep him close, keep him safe. Tehran agreed, but they asked that Washington not accuse them of harboring terrorists. That would be a pretty nasty trick, don't you think? Ask a country to keep a terrorist under the equivalent of house arrest, and then accuse them openly of supporting terrorists?

Bush did so. Not six weeks after the Bonn negotiations, not a month after the Hekmatyar request, Bush declared Iran a member in good standing of the "axis of evil".

Hekmatyar left Iran soon after. As the redacted op-ed says, "the Islamic Republic could not be seen to be harboring terrorists." A year later, Bush got to designate him a terrorist. He's still in Afghanistan, and while he thinks the recent defeat of Republicans is proof that America will be pushed out of Afghanistan like the Soviets, he's endorsing George W. Bush for a third term. Bush is our Brezhnev, he says. He's great for business.

After all, look how Bush handled the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK). MEK is "an Iranian opposition group based in Iraq... that is on a U.S. State Department list of terrorist groups." Saddam used these guys to pull off attacks in Iran. The United States had been meeting regularly with Iran after 9/11, working out day-to-day matters in the region. The Washington Post reports:

At one of the meetings, in early January, the United States signaled that it would target the Iraq-based camps of the Mujaheddin- e Khalq ...After the camps were bombed, the U.S. military arranged a cease-fire with the group, infuriating the Iranians. Some Pentagon officials, impressed by the military discipline and equipment of the thousands of MEK troops, began to envision them as a potential military force for use against Tehran, much like the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan.

We told Tehran we would target a terrorist organization, and then we decided that the terrorists might be able to help us take out Tehran. Let that sink in a minute.

[Richard] Armitage said it was a mistake for the U.S. military to have arranged a cease-fire agreement with the MEK during the war, a decision that alarmed Iran. "We shouldn't have been signing a cease-fire with a foreign terrorist organization," he said.

Wow, Richard. You think?

The United States then told Iran on May 3 that they were going to disarm MEK. We also discussed exchanging prisoners, al-Qaeda members in custody in Iran for MEK prisoners in Iraq. But Armitage "ruled out such a deal":

..."because we can't be sure of the way they'd be treated," referring to the MEK members. He said officials were questioning MEK members to determine who had terrorist connections. "In my understanding, a certain number of those do," he said, adding that they will face charges.

Hold that thought. Hold the thought that Iran had been given our word that we would target the MEK. Hold onto the thought that we'd instead started touting them as a force to help topple Iran. Hold onto the thought that we'd then given our word about disarming these terrorists, although we wouldn't do any prisoner exchanges, not even for al-Qaeda prisoners.

You still don't have the full context, yet:

Just after the lightning takeover of Baghdad by U.S. forces..., an unusual two-page document spewed out of a fax machine at the Near East bureau of the State Department. It was a proposal from Iran for a broad dialogue with the United States, and the fax suggested everything was on the table -- including full cooperation on nuclear programs, acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian militant groups.

Everything was on the table. Everything. Peace in the Middle East. George W. Bush had it in his hand.

What did we do? We scolded the Swiss diplomats who had passed it on to us, and then we started making nice with terrorists who hated Iran.

Nine days after the May 3rd meeting in which we promised to disarm MEK, terrorist bombings erupted in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The US blamed Iran, and cut off talks. Some other countries tried to get the United States and Iran back to the table but failed.

Did you go to the link? Because today, it's clear who did those attacks: al-Qaeda. Hekmatyar's compatriots. Osama's army. The terrorists who attacked us on 9/11.

Not Iran.

Bush has never wanted peace with Iran. There will be no win-win situation with this president and Iran, because Bush is playing to win on his terms alone, the way that he was able to play Libya's recent capitulation to the West.

But Iran's not doing the Gaddafi shuffle. It's always had more support in the region than Gaddafi ever did. Iran's been a fly in the American ointment since 1979. And now, after being rebuffed repeated in a quest for peace, Iran is back on the nuclear path.

So people, get ready. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can talk all day long about the first hundred hours. We can start considering our options for the 2008 presidential primary. Hey, what are your plans for the New Year?

George W. Bush is going to bomb Iran.

Any references not linked in this piece are to Washington Post articles available only for a price on the web. They are from Leverett and Mann's citations, and are:

“Iran’s Leader Condemns Saudi Attacks,” The Washington Post, May 15, 2003

“Time to Deal With Iran,” The Washington Post, May 6, 2004

“In 2003, U.S. Spurned Iran’s Offer of Dialogue: Some Officials Lament Lost Opportunity,” The Washington Post, June 18, 2006

“U.S. Ready to Resume Talks With Iran, Armitage Says,” The Washington Post, Oct. 29, 2003

“U.S. Eyes Pressing Uprising in Iran: Officials Cite Al Qaeda’s Link, Nuclear Program,” The Washington Post, May 25, 2003

Bureaucracy impedes bomb-detection work

Bureaucracy impedes bomb-detection work

The Bush Administration was getting ready to enable another 9/11, plain and simple. They were getting ready to cripple the kind of preventative work that would have caught a similar plot to that uncovered in Britain recently. How the hell did these guys get the reputation that they are tough on national security??

The Love Song of J. Edgar Goldstein

Creek Running North

Let us go then, you and I,
Where my leer is sprawled out upon the thigh
Of the lefty chick that waits upon my table;
Let me binge, in certain half-deserted streets,
With friends with pointed sheets
Through restless nights in Internet tirades
And sawed-off guys in chicken-hawk brigades:
Guys that swallow all my tedious arguments
Pusillanimous stray vents
That prompt in sane folk moral indigestion …
Oh, do not ask my meaning!
Let me get on with my preening.
More, much more, at the link.

Republican Congress Passed Over 750 Unconstitutional Laws

From the wandering hillbilly, I found this article from the Boston Globe. It's a recent report on Specter considering ways to sue the Bush Administration over his signing statements.

Buddy Don quotes this portion:

``Respect for the legislative branch is not shown through [making a] veto," Boardman argued. ``Respect for the legislative branch, when we have a well-crafted bill, the majority of which is constitutional, is shown when the president chooses to construe a particular statement in keeping with the Constitution, as opposed to defeating an entire bill that would serve the nation."

Boardman said the president has the power and responsibility to bypass any statute that conflicts with the Constitution, even in cases ``where the Supreme Court has yet to rule on an issue, but the president has determined that a statutory law violates the Constitution."
I guess I've never heard it put that way before, but it struck me: Bush believes that the Republican-controlled Congress has passed over 750 unconstitutional laws. That is quite a feat for any legislative body, and especially one controlled by the President's own party.

Oh, No! Rush Arrested For Illegals Again


Rush was caught smuggling illegal Viagra into the country! I'm so...sad.

With the bad back, why does he need Viagra?

To whom it may concern: I am who I say I am.

If you find yourself puzzled by this remark, pay it no mind.

No, He Didn't

War Room -

Ron Suskind, George W. Bush and the Aug. 6, 2001, PDB

Ron Suskind's "The One Percent Doctrine" is out this week, and the Washington Post's Barton Gellman says it's full of "jaw-dropping stories" about the Bush administration's war on terror.

Or lack thereof.

We've known for years now that George W. Bush received a presidential daily briefing on Aug. 6, 2001, in which he was warned: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." We've known for almost as long that Bush went fishing afterward.

What we didn't know is what happened in between the briefing and the fishing, and now Suskind is here to tell us. Bush listened to the briefing, Suskind says, then told the CIA briefer: "All right. You've covered your ass, now."

-- Tim Grieve
I thought I couldn't be shocked by the mendacity of these people anymore. Bush's place in history is now clanging shut around him.

Dear God, $1.4 Billion That Halliburton Could Have Had!

BBC NEWS: US storm fraudsters paid $1.4bn

Waste and Abuse in Pentagon Budget

Remember the good old days, when Rumsfeld admitted that he couldn't account for 25% of the Pentagon budget? Getting excited over the chump change spent in New Orleans is really the height of hypocrisy for these wastrels.

Bob Riley Defeats Roy Moore Elections

However, the real story is: Roy Moore got 35% of the vote. I don't know how much that has to do with Democrats crossing over (Alabama lets you vote in either primary), but there couldn't be that many crossover votes.

Meanwhile, Riley will face off against Lucy Baxley. Lots more Democratic voters than Republican voters. Makes you wonder...

Kristol: Bush Will Invade Iran Before His Term Expires

Think Progress

This is why we must impeach him. Until this man is removed from office, he will continue to implement his will like a dictator. He will use this invasion to neuter his lame-duckness. He is a menace to all things American.

Is Barbara Bush The Illegitimate Daughter of Alestair Crowley???

Hell, no.

Okay, now that I've completely declared my bias on the subject, I'll point you to an article recently posted at the Smirking Chimp that goes all conspiratorial about Barbara's mother supposedly hanging out with Crowley nine months before Barbara was born. It is a convoluted route to get her there, and all based on an anonymous source, a sixth-level initiate in something called the Ordo Templi Orientis.

Anyway here are pictures of Barbara, her father, and Alestair:

To my eye, Barbara looks too much like Marvin in a white wig to be anyone but his daughter. I would do anything for Bush hatred, but I won't do that.

Update: Fixed the title, since this post has been linked to by Jeff Rense. Welcome, welcome, one and all. Boy, of all the people who would link to me, I never thought it would be It's a wild wild world.

Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

Rolling Stone

Go read this article. And then find me a reporter who will ask George Bush this question: "Wouldn't it feel nice to win an election on your own merits just once?"

That Explains Why Sinclair's Not There, Either

Power Line

Ma Joad: How am I gonna know about ya, Tommy? Why they could kill ya and I'd never know. They could hurt ya. How am I gonna know?
Tom Joad: Well, maybe it's like Casy says. A fellow ain't got a soul of his own, just little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody, then...
Ma Joad: Then what, Tom?
Tom Joad: Then it don't matter. I'll be all around in the dark - I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build - I'll be there, too.
Ma Joad: I don't understand it, Tom.
Tom Joad: Me, neither, Ma, but - just somethin' I been thinkin' about.
Tom Joad may be there, but he won't be in Powerline's list of the greatest American novels. They said, "Politics and sociology were ignored" when making out the list. Someone wrote in and advocated for Grapes of Wrath. Hindrocket said: "No socialist realism for us, thank you!"

Powerline: we can't help but lie, even about a silly literature poll.

Rove 2.0

US News

The man behind Dick Cheney's unusual influence in the Bush Administration got a big US News & World Reports article about him: David Addington. He's the driving force behind the "unitary executive" policy that runs like cancer through this organization, and it's his hand that has been guiding the signing statements Bush uses to remold or set aside over 750 laws passed by Congress. And US News hints at more:

The effort to discredit a former ambassador who publicly dismissed the Niger claim as baseless, by disclosing the name of his wife, a covert CIA officer? Addington was right in the middle of that, too, though he has not been accused of wrongdoing.
Not yet, anyway. Fitzmas may yet hinge on driving a wedge between this man and Dick Cheney, and that looks very unlikely...
In January 2001, he became Cheney's legal counsel and, according to former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, the vice president's "eyes, ears, and voice." Cheney implicitly trusts Addington on judgment calls because they are, in the words of adviser Matalin, "the same kind of person--Addington was always the first among equals when the vice president sought advice. And he has always been the final voice and analysis on what we were discussing." Cheney and his aide are so close, says Nancy Dorn, an Addington colleague from the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush years, that they "hardly even have to communicate with words."

Addington, his colleagues say, is modest, courtly, and family oriented. He commutes to the White House by Metro when he could easily command a government car, usually eats at the staff table at the White House mess, and spends weekends cheering at his daughters' soccer games. "There are a lot of transactional people in Washington," says Matalin. "He's not one of them. He's a good soul."

According to critics, the reason Addington is such an effective bureaucratic infighter is that he's an intellectual bully. "David can be less than civilized," one official says. "He can be extremely unpleasant." Others say it's because Addington is a superb lawyer and a skilled debater who arms himself with a mind-numbing command of the facts and the law. Still others attribute Addington's power to the outsize influence of Cheney. "Addington does a very good job," says a former justice official who has observed him, "of harnessing the power of the vice president."

But it's a subtle kind of harnessing. Addington, according to current and former colleagues, rarely if ever invokes Cheney's name. An administration official says that it's sometimes unclear whether Addington is even consulting the vice president. But Cheney is always the elephant in the room. "People perceive that this is the real power center," says attorney Scott Horton, who has written two major studies on interrogation of terrorism suspects for the New York City Bar Association, "and if you cross them, they will destroy you."
Addington is up to his eyeballs in the Valerie Plame affair.

Frist Puff Piece: "Reeking of Silverback Testosterone"

Washington Post

That Laura Blumenfeld gives good copy.

[Frist] pressed his stethoscope to the gorilla's chest and narrowed his eyes. Kuja, a silverback patriarch, was breathing isofluorine. He was the Senate majority leader of the gorillas, who negotiated disputes, back-slapped the ape boys and owned exclusive mating rights with the females. When Kuja started to stir, a veterinarian injected more anesthesia. One backhanded swipe could break Frist's neck.

Frist listened to the heart; the gorilla's lub-dub sounded human. "When you're this close, you feel this kind of oneness with them," Frist said. The stink of ape sweat and gorilla testosterone soaked his hair and clothes. "Gorillas, people, men. You look at the people here, a symphonic flow of people pitching in. It's the oneness of humanity."

This kind of oneness does not come easily to Frist. Though devoted to matters of the heart, Frist acknowledges that he is aloof, something he traces back to the day he refused to attend kindergarten. He calls it "the Great Wall," an emotional barrier that has kept him from having close friends. It is a wall that could block his connection with voters, some say, and his way to the White House.

...At 9:30 a.m., Frist opened the Senate, gripping the corners of the lectern, as he had the operating table. Across the city, rolling in a bed of hay, Kuja opened his eyes and grunted. The gorilla kept touching his tongue to his tooth. Something had changed inside of the beast while he slept. Frist smiled and spoke unremarkably from the lectern, reeking of silverback testosterone.

This is supposed to be a puff piece - something that makes Frist look better, you know? All these "drenched in gorilla testosterone" lines are just grossing me out. He still stank of the surgery as he went to the Senate? Isn't that unsanitary?

Maybe Blumenfeld is reaching here, so please you God. The man took home cats to play with a couple of days and then dissect, he worked so much that he felt like an intruder in his own house, and now we get stories of him "reeking of silverback testosterone" on the Senate floor. This is taking anti-socialism to an unhealthy extreme!

And by the way, let's get this straight: when you have drugged an animal past its ability to tear you inside out, it's impossible to establish a feeling of oneness with them. If "oneness" means anything, it is a mutual act. What Frist was doing is getting in touch with the tempting sensation of possession. He covets, Clarice, and we covet the things we see every day. Frist covets advancement and power. He seeks an exalted place in this world. And that's something that shines through this creepy little article.

Bolo Does Really Lame Comics


Very cool little site here. It lets you make and save your own comic strips. Mine are rather lame to start out with, but who knows? With practice, I might attain the dizzying heights of mildly crappy.

The Benefit of the Doubt Chuck Colson

In his latest pious article published at Townhall, Colson decries all things Michael Schiavo. In Michael's world:

...the "survival of the fittest" is taken to a whole new level - [it is] a place where a badly brain-damaged woman should have her food and water taken away simply because she is badly brain-damaged and her husband says she would not want to live that way.

...he, and so many of his partisans in the media and the public, do not want to give the benefit of the doubt to a comatose person. Now, I admit that many people today think well of Michael and less of those of us who defended Terri Schiavo since the autopsy showed that she had been brain-dead when she was in a comatose state. But thatÂ’s beside the point. Our concern was with safeguarding the process and giving her the benefit of the doubt. After all, you canÂ’t do an autopsy until the person is dead, and then it is too late to correct mistakes.
Mr. Colson, Terri Schiavo was not a brain-damaged person. Doctor after doctor diagnosed her as suffering from a permanent vegetative state. The autopsy confirmed this diagnosis - her brain was not damaged, it was atrophied. Terri Schiavo was gone. She had checked out of her mortal body years before.

There was no benefit of the doubt to give Mrs. Schiavo, because there was no doubt.

Michael has now written a book, and this is what has gotten Colson's dander up. Michael is making the book rounds, and any reservation he had for calling his critics out is now over. Colson sniffs at Michael's "lucrative business", even though Colson himself used his own book tour to lob a few choice comments Mark Felt's way. Judge not, Mr. Colson?

This is just more flag-waving to keep the faithful aroused and voting. Terri became a great fetus substitute for their cause, one that didn't involve shoving bloody pictures and jars into the faces of frightened women. Why, Terri could moan and move her head from side to side. And the wicked Michael just wanted the insurance money and to make an honest woman out of the skank ho he was living with, while he was still married to Terri. This, for Chuck, is social Darwinism writ large (yes, Colson's big on intelligent design). In Michael's world, you best not slow down to catch your breath, because some enterprising member of your family might knock you in the head, leave you to die, and spend all your money.

Wouldn't it be better in Chuck Colson's world?

Colson is a backbone in the Religious Right's grip on secular power in America, and the Schiavo case was one of many examples of how effective this religio-political movement is. Colson's present power has been the result of a long way back for him. He started in prison, and organized a prison ministry after he got out. This ministry grew, and it helped bind together church and state so naturally. After all, they had to hit the churches for funds on one hand, while working with and helping out the state officials running the prisons on the other.

Whenever you see a group of the big Christian political theocrats, Colson's name is on the list. He was a founding board member of the extremely conservative American Alliance of Jews and Christians. He was a co-signer of the Land Letter, the multimedia evangelical's dispensation for Bush to invade Iraq. His prison ministry is the model for Bush's "faith-based" initiatives. And when the Arlington Group was hogtied on how best to get gay marriage banned in the Constitution, "Colson played a key role in hammering out a compromise."
It's no wonder that he was the one of the few felons whom Jeb Bush made sure was able to vote in the Florida 2000 presidential elections.

You really should spend some time over at his organizations' websites. The Wilberforce Forum is the place to start. It calls itself a division of Prison Fellowship (Colson's original group), but links through the pages to "Prison Fellowship" go straight to, so which is the umbrella organization now is easy to see. Under Wilberforce are two other interesting organizations. Breakpoint helps get the word out about Jesus, sorta - it's the media arm. Justice Fellowship is the lobbying arm - their mission is "to reform the criminal justice system to reflect biblically based principles of restorative justice for America's criminal justice system." That means, turn the prisons into Christian factories. Republican Christian factories, that is.

Chuck sure has done well for himself since he got out of prison for his illegal actions to put and keep Republicans in power. Jesus is the Way - he's the one that said to visit people in prison. Is he a wolf in sheep's clothing?

Is there any doubt?

Bush Will Just Have The Supreme Court Overrule Global Warming

Los Angeles Times

President Bush nixed the idea of his seeing Al Gore's new movie.

In my judgment we need to set aside whether or not greenhouse gases have been caused by mankind or because of natural effects and focus on the technologies that will enable us to live better lives and at the same time protect the enviroment.
Because talking about causation opens up questions of liability, and there's never been an American administration more willing to dodge liability than George W. Bush's.

In The End, It Wasn't Their Responsibility

AlterNet: The 9/11 Story That Got Away

Judy Miller was told about an al-Qaeda intercept in July 2001 that talked about an operation so big that America couldn't avoid response. She went to her editor. Between them, they decided that there wasn't enough information for a story. Judy tried to shake loose more information, but it wasn't forthcoming, and it turned into August, and August turned into September.

But it wasn't their responsibility to say something. The counter terrorism people were regarded as extremists the way Judy saw it. And after nothing happened on July 4, everybody wrote al-Qaeda off. Even the Cole bombing the October before had been a very loosely organized affair. Al-Qaeda was regarded as a bunch of chumps.

It was the responsibility of the higher-ups to listen. And this intercept, just aired today, was by no means the worst of it. There was the Phoenix memo. There was the August 6 PDB. There was plenty of information and warnings out there. And they were ignored by this incompetent bunch of numbskulls, who were more concerned with their own political agenda than our national security.

You've Quit Working For Fox - Right, Tony?

Crooks and Liars

MR. SNOW: Well, as I pointed out -- I mentioned this yesterday, and for -- let me see if I can find my quote, because I pulled it out. Chuck Hagel, as you may recall, made a fair amount of news over the weekend when he first said that -- let's see -- "Well, I want to listen to the details and I want to listen to the President," said Senator Hagel -- he said this on "This Week" on a competing network.

O'Reilly and The Race Card

Bill O'Reilly has taken the phrase "xenophobic demagogue" to new heights:

Now in 1986, President Reagan thought he could solve the [immigration] problem by granting about 3 million illegal aliens amnesty. The New York Times was in heaven, editorializing back then, quote, "The new law won't work miracles but it will induce most employers to pay attention, to turn off the magnets, to slow the tide." Of course, just the opposite happened. But the Times hasn't learned a thing. That's because the newspaper and many far-left thinkers believe the white power structure that controls America is bad, so a drastic change is needed.

According to the lefty zealots, the white Christians who hold power must be swept out by a new multicultural tide, a rainbow coalition, if you will. This can only happen if demographics change in America.

An open-border policy and the legalization of millions of Hispanic illegal aliens would deeply affect the political landscape in America. That's what The New York Times and many others on the left want. They might get it. And that's the "Memo."
I guess this is what to expect from here on out. November sweeps is all about the war on Christmas, and May is all about the war on brown people. Jeez Louise...

Give Them An Inch...

New York Times

James Dobson is hop, hop, hopping mad. Bush hasn't put that ban against gays marrying in the Constitution yet. The Republicans haven't outlawed minors crossing state lines to get abortions. And obsenity fines haven't been raised on broadcasters yet.

Plus, gays got covered in a hate-crimes bill, and embryonic stem cell research was extended as well. He is fit to be tied.

"There's just very, very little to show for what has happened," Dr. Dobson said, "and I think there's going to be some trouble down the road if they don't get on the ball."
He's threatening to keep his people at home if the Republicans don't start kowtowing to his political ends. The flecks of spittle are just flying from his sputtering lips.

Well, good. The Bush Administration has lived by the Christianist vote and it shall die by it as well. Dobsonstilskin can just stomp on the floor all the way to Hell as far as I'm concerned. Good riddance to them both.

Cheney's Notes on Wilson Editorial


So nice to see this. The original belongs in a museum somewhere, just as soon as Patrick Fitzgerald gets done with it.

It's quite clear that Cheney was itching to discredit Wilson while he read this article, especially from the handwritten notes atop the page:

Have they done this sort of thing before?
Sent an Amb. to answer a question?
Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us?
Or did his wife send him on a junket?
The "they" is the CIA, so it's abundantly clear that on July 6, 2003, Cheney knew that:
  • Wilson's wife worked for the CIA
  • She worked in a high enough position in which her ability to "send him on a junket" would be accepted
  • Cheney saw the potential of using this information as a way to discredit Wilson's story
The pro bono question is another interesting point - how could this have discredited Wilson? If the CIA normally paid their fact-finders, Wilson's pro bono status could be seen as a ploy to sanitize his motives. Some people find it a matter of character to avoid even the appearance of evil; Cheney finds it suspicious. That says more about the character of the Vice President than Wilson.

Here's what Cheney underlined in Wilson's editorial:
...I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.

...I was told that it referred to a memorandum of agreement that documented the sale of uranium Niger to Iraq in the late 1990's.

While the CIA paid my expenses (my time was offered pro bono)...

...ambassador told me that she knew about the allegations of uranium sales to Iraq - and that she felt she had already debunked them in her reports to Washington.

It did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place. would be exceedingly difficult for Niger to transfer uranium to Iraq.

...there's simply too much oversight over too small an industry for a sale to have transpired.
(As for the actual memorandum, I never saw it. But news accounts have pointed out...

Though I did not file a written report...

...and a specific answer from the agency to the office of the vice president (this may have been delivered orally). While I have not seen any of these reports,...

The vice president's office asked a serious question. I was asked to help formulate the answer. I did so, and I have every confidence that the answer I provided was circulated to the appropriate officials within our government.
A junket is a "a trip or errand made by an public official at public expense with dubious public benefit". To support the idea that Wilson's trip was a junket, Cheney had to find reasons that the trip was of "dubious public benefit" (Wilson's profit was negligable, since he wasn't paid). And two of the underlined quotes seem to be building that case - the local ambassador had already debunked the Niger papers, it did not take long to ascertain the doubtfulness of the transaction.

Other things are underlined to be verified apparently, for they are all documentation - the memorandum of agreement, the ambassador's debunking report, the "specific answer from the agency to the office of the vice president", and most pointedly, Wilson's expenses. The notation of Wilson's non-paper report is highlighted as well, which could be used in a "dubious nature" argument.

An interesting passage is Wilson's confession as to never seeing the memorandum of agreement. I can imagine Cheney's glee as he began to underline, only to stop half-heartedly in the middle of the second sentence. The news accounts point out that the memo had glaring errors, and how Cheney must have choked, knowing that Wilson had another source for that information, his wife. Who told Wilson about the memorandum first? Could it have been his wife, the CIA agent Cheney so obviously knows about? And then to read that Wilson has "every confidence" that his mission was told to the "appropriate officials"? Wilson was walking the line, saying just exactly what he could and finding ways to say what might otherwise have exposed his wife, his wife...Wilson's wife.

As Richard Cheney read this opinion piece, he could not help but be struck by Wilson's tender steps around his wife's identity as a CIA agent, and his crafty statements about his certain knowledge of things unknowable. As he put this paper aside, he'd developed the plan that could be used to discredit Joseph Wilson's exposure of their incompetence - find a way, any way, to make this about Wilson's wife sending him on an useless mission at taxpayer expense.

What really remains to be known is if Cheney was aware of Valerie Plame's actual status, and whether the people who did divulge her identity to reporters, Scooter Libby and Karl Rove, knew this as well. Because now we know who put this plan into play. It was Dick Cheney in the office of the Vice President with a felt pen.

And At 5, He Gets the Fax from Tony

E & P

[Tim Russert] also disclosed that he goes to church every week at 4 p.m. on Saturday and prays "that I will ask the right questions" on NBC the following morning.

Interview: Jeff Dowd and "The Big Lebowski"

A very nice interview with the dude who inspired the Dude, about the movie The Big Lebowski. The interview is really great, and I love the part where Dowd is watching Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn do a one-hour version of the first Austin Powers movie, which they had just seen. Can you imagine Sean Penn doing, "Yeah, Baby! Behave..." That cracks me up.

McCarthy Believed CIA Lied to Congress

The Washington Post tells us that Mary McCarthy had been investigating "allegations of criminal mistreatment by the CIA and its contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan". Last June a "senior CIA official" told Congress in a secure room that no actions of the CIA had violated international treaties for the treatment of prisoners.

When Mary heard this, she was startled, because she considered it a lie.

And it wasn't the only time Mary came across evidence that senior CIA official were lying to Congress about these matters. She had led the investigation into detainee treatment in both Iraq and Afghanistan:

McCarthy's findings are secret. According to a brief CIA statement about the probe in a federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, investigators set out to examine "the conduct of CIA components and personnel, including DO personnel" during interrogations. Tens of thousands of pages of material were collected, including White House and Justice Department documents, and multiple reports were issued. Some described cases of abuse, involving fewer than a dozen individuals, and were forwarded to the Justice Department, according to government officials.

Another report, completed in 2004, examined the CIA's interrogation policies and techniques, concluded that they might violate international law and made 10 recommendations, which the agency has at least partially adopted. That report jarred some officials, because the Justice Department has contended that the international convention against torture -- barring "cruel, inhumane, and degrading" treatment -- does not apply to U.S. interrogations of foreigners outside the United States.

Little else is known publicly. The CIA inspector general's reports have narrow circulation. When IG inquiries involve covert actions such as foreign interrogations, for example, the agency briefs only the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, instead of the full panels. So only a handful of people in Washington knew what McCarthy knew.
This misconduct may have been her motivation, if so she did, to leak information about the CIA's secret prisons. She was fired last April as if she had done it, and she may yet face proscecution over it.

Let's see: leaking sensitive information as a whistleblower or lying to Congress to hide criminal acts, which would you rather be convicted of?

Was Moussaoui being transported in a white Ford Bronco?

A Weak Defense of the NSA Program

The Right Call on Phone Records

Richard Falkenrath does the politically expedient thing and hangs the NSA program squarely around the neck of General Michael Hayden. With any luck, the two will sink together.

Falkenrath lies right out of the gate. He says that "anonymized domestic telephone records" are "records stripped of individually identifible data." To a point, that's true, but the telephone number remains, and can be linked right back to that individually identifible data by consulting another database. Yet Falkenrath calls attention to his phrase "anonymized data" like it was an amulet against the truth, which it is.

The three companies reported to have supplied telephone records to the NSA also appear to be acting lawfully. The Telecommunications Act of 1934, as amended, generally prohibits the release of "individually identifiable customer proprietary network information" except under force of law or with the approval of the customer. But, according to USA Today, the telephone records voluntarily provided to the NSA had been anonymized.
Liar. Telephone numbers, all by themselves, are not anonymized records. It's the "Joe Wilson's wife" argument all over again.

Falkenrath has a nice little example of how Mohammed Atta calls person A (the pizza guy), who calls person B (the pizza guy's girlfriend), who calls person C (her daddy), who calls Khalid Sheik Mohammed (wrong number). Surely it behooves the government to run all three of these people through Fort Gitmo. It'd be the most effective waste of money imaginable.

As Taking on Goliath points out:
His little ring of contacts scenario could also be achieved by nSA officials going to the FISA court, and limiting their warrant to all people who have contact with a known terrorist, and let's says any person within six degress of those contacts. The FISA court has proved it is willing to assist them in anyway possible, so if it turns out that kind of net would be insufficient, they could go back and ask for 10 degrees out or 15 or 20.

My point here is this: There is no way that mining through millions (if not billions) of anonymous phone records can in any way, shape, or form be more effective and valuable than targeting a select few of non-anonymous contacts that you have a probable cause to believe might be assisting a terrorist.

And watch this argument:
Clearly, there is a compelling national interest in understanding and penetrating such terrorist networks. If the people associated with domestic telephone numbers A, B and C are inside the United States and had facilitated the Sept. 11 attacks, perhaps they are facilitating a terrorist plot now. The American people rightly expect their government to detect and prevent such plots.
Falkenrath makes it sound like only this program is standing between us and another 9/11. That damn well better not be the case, because this program is illegal on grounds stretching back to the founding of this country.

Luckily, Americans are waking up. They are voting with their business and their disapproval (come on, Washington Post, give us a fair and honest chance to understand what's happening before you push-poll us). There will be a day of reckoning, and thank goodness it's coming soon.

Rove Informs White House He Will Be Indicted


UPDATE: The only place I can find this story is Truthout, or people linking to Truthout. I really want this story to be true. That's two major reasons for me to doubt this story right now.

OMG: Possible Testimony About Satellites Spying On Citizens

Think Progress

This one is a stemwinder. If this is true, it's a big piece of the puzzle.

The phone call database might have been involved in a program that illegally used satellites to spy on US citizens.

How you ask? Well, you know that cellphones can be tracked by their signal. And now Bush has a great big database of every phone call being made. You take your database, you analyze to find suspicious cellphone numbers, you plug the suspicious numbers into a tracking program. When the cellphone is activated again, a satellite hones in on the call and observes the person making the call.

But something like that doesn't start off being foolproof. Something like that has to be tested. And it could go wrong in so many different ways, so you have different groups of people working on different parts of the project. Say, one group who's working on the analytical algorithms, who coughs up numbers to try out every once in a while.

But the group that's perfecting the "wait for the cellphone and tune the satellite technology" needs more data and work time than that. So they use random numbers. Or they keep the "bad" numbers and work out the kinks that way, while spying on the innocent person.

Or they use numbers of people who are on the opposite political spectrum as the current Administration. And they track them. And they note where they are, and what they're doing and who they are talking to.

But they never ever listen, oh, no. They just practice their lipreading.

Can You Blame Him?

The Republic of T.

Terrance at the Republic of T is no longer a Democrat. He sees a pattern of "degaying "in the recent actions of Howard Dean's Democratic Party, and he's convinced me it's going on.

But I have to be honest and say that this isn't much of a surprise. It's been telegraphed in one way or another for a long time. It started even months before the 2004 election. Voters hadn't yet gone to the poll when EMILY's List supported an anti-gay Democrat for congressional office. Barack Obama, the party's "Great Black Hope" of the moment, also came down against marriage equality.

It got worse after the 2004 election, when Democrats apparently started buying into the "values voter" hype and Hillary Clinton (among others) started leaning further right, with her eyes on a 2008 presidential run. Now she's cozying up to Rupert Murdoch, owner of the Fox network.

Since then we've had the closely-watched candidacy of Tim Kaine in Virginia, who continues to deliver on his earlier promise.

We've seen the DNC's gay & lesbian liaison office sit empty for more than a year, only to then be eliminated, while the party's LGBT fundraising arm remains intact.

We've seen the DCCC forget its own nondiscrimination policy regarding sexual orientation.

We've seen Dean suddenly fire the DNC's gay outreach chair, after the guy's partner had the temerity to suggest that Dems live up to their long declared values when it comes to equality for gay & lesbian Americans.

In my own state, which is relatively progressive on gay issues, the Democrat's front runner for the governor's race can't manage a straight answer on whether he supports a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in the state, even though he has a record as mayor of Baltimore of supporting equal protections and benefits for same-sex couples.

Now Dean goes crawling to Pat Robertson, to pander to a demographic that will never give him or the party the time of day, let alone their dollars or their votes.

Let me put it this way. If the Democratic party was a guy that I'd been dating all this time, after everything that I've cataloged above, Dean's quickie with Pat would basically add up to that boyfriend cozying up with my worst enemy and whispering sweet nothings such as "I never really liked him anyway."

At that point, I'd break up with him, lose his phone number, ask for my keys back, and return his gifts too. And if he wanted my trust or support any time in the future, he'd have to earn it.
Personally, I feel more married to the Democratic party than just heavy dating, but Terence is making me reevaluate the marriage. For God's sake, Bush's numbers are in the toilet, scandal after scandal is crashing down around the Republicans in Charge's heads, and Dean still feels the need to kneecap gays and lesbians in order to counteract the gay marriage initiatives coming up on several state ballots this November?

I think that all Americans are diminished when we allow stereotyping to dismiss the worth of fellow Americans. I think that all Americans are stronger, and the nation is stronger, when we judge people by who they are, not what they are.

Howard Dean used to think that too.

Tony Snow's First Gaggle


Have to say, the Snowster was on top of his game. It seems the gaggles aren't the same thing as a full press briefing, so not a lot of holding his feet to the fire. But what I read seemed crisp and cogent. He's not about the full truth, but the truth as the Administration wants it to be seen. So far, so good. We'll see what happens in the weeks ahead.

Just saw I'm on the blogroll at ProPolitics - sweet!

You know what I hate about newspaper websites? They never have links in their stories. Not even to stories in their own archives that might be relevant. Yeah, sometimes there's a little sidebar. But I mean in the story, the way God intended HTML to be used. Just saying...

Hammer Down


Tom Delay has given his resignation from the House, effective June 9, 2006. That's a 30 day notice.

So how should we celebrate the last thirty days of Delay? How about a retrospective, covering the life of this scoundrel, catching us up to date on everything?

Sounds like fun.

Bush: I am not a troll

Had to get this headline from ZD Net - it's a winner.

Cafferty: NSA Database Amounts To Dictatorship

Crooks and Liars

Not just the recent revelation about the NSA's database containing every phone call being made, but Cafferty was also hacked off about the Justice Department's inability to investigate the NSA.

This some bullshit, my friends. And Bush sailing out to sputter "9/11, 9/11, ollie ollie oxen free" is really getting my goat. I've listened to radio reports all day that has Bush talking about wanting to know what Al-Qaeda is saying. Well, fine, Mr. Bush. Go listen to Al-Qaeda. What do fully domestic phone records have to do with somebody in Afghanistan or Pakistan? Get the hell out of our personal records without a warrant.

If You Didn't Fix It, It Ain't Fixed

Cool Tool: Debugging

I'm getting this link into the blogroll as soon as possible. It highlights cool tools. Simple. Beautiful.

Today's post is about a book you need to buy. It's called Debugging. It's about fixing software or hardware, but the blogger points out that the rules apply to a lot of different situations.

The rules are:

Understand the system
Make it fail
Quit thinking and look
Divide and conquer
Change one thing at a time
Keep an audit trail
Check the plug
Get a fresh view
If you didn't fix it, it ain't fixed
I pass them along to you.

Missing File on Chief Justice Still Missing

Washington Post

Well. Apparently a file of John Robert's work papers went missing recently:

The file, compiled during Roberts's tenure as an associate counsel in the Reagan White House, vanished in July when lawyers from the Bush administration were reviewing the materials at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., as part of a vetting process before Roberts's formal nomination to the Supreme Court.

"This investigation is unresolved and the file is still missing," says the 64-page IG report, released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from a Washington area researcher and posted Tuesday on the Web site Memory Hole. ". . . The OIG was unable to determine whether the missing file was taken intentionally, unintentionally, or lost."
Turns out that Archives policies were not followed as the Bush Administration researchers (names, anyone? The White House refuses to release them) looked at all the paperwork. They were given a private room. They were left unsupervised. They were allowed to bring in personal belongings (read: briefcases). So nice of the Ronald Reagan librarians to accommodate the Bushistas so lovingly, don't you think?

The White House, true to form, is pointing to this review and saying that it points to no evidence of wrongdoing. I just wish this administration didn't relish the appearance of evil so much.

I'm Blogging Here Again

eXTReMe Tracking - Science - Politics

If you click on the link you'll see stats for this page. I find it incredible that this page - to which I have not blogged for quite sometime - is still getting over 20 hits a day.

Most of them these days are from one single thing - the freaky little Jesus with a Gun clock jpg down below. People are googling like mad for a image of Jesus with a gun, and my little jpeg is coming up second on that search. Crazy, no?

So people who want that graphic sound like my target audience. So Bolo lives again. I don't think I'll play nice this time. If you want nice me, check out Inner Cog over on Otherwise, stick around. I'll blog until I can't. That's all I can promise.

The Thing About Richard Cohen

Maybe you don't think Stephen Colbert wasn't funny. Fine. But there's something else he wasn't.


Iranian Letter: Using Religion to Lecture Bush

New York Times

This wrapup is right on target concerning the Amhadinejad letter. I just finished typing it up from the hard-to-read PDF file.

I've got a few more things to say about it, but I tired. Maybe tomorrow...

Possible Out for Hayden 4th Flap?

White House Briefing

I wrote in yesterday's column that Hayden had misinterpreted the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution during a January speech , when he asserted that the standard for searches was "reasonableness," not "probable cause."

Several readers wrote in to say that Hayden was technically correct -- and that reasonableness is the standard for searches, while probable cause is the standard for warrants for such searches.

But my understanding is that the traditional reading of the amendment is that it is the obtaining of a warrant (which requires probable cause) that determines whether a search is reasonable or not.

There are some specified exceptions to the warrant requirement -- but historically they've been identified by the courts.

Having unilaterally decided they didn't need warrants, I'm assuming Hayden and his lawyers felt they could then take it upon themselves to decide what was reasonable or not. But that's not how it's supposed to work.

So I guess it's conceivable that Hayden's view is not an out-and-out misinterpretation of the Fourth Amendment. But at the very least, it's certainly an activist way of looking at things.

"Having unilaterally decided they didn't need warrants" is the operative phrase.

Here's Findlaw's discussion on electronic surveillance and the Fourth Amendment. You can't skim it, but you should read it. It's a tight description of the relevent opinions from the Olmstead case onward.

Katz v. United States seems to wrap it up.
Unanimously, the Court held that at least in cases of domestic subversive investigations, compliance with the warrant provisions of the Fourth Amendment was required. Whether or not a search was reasonable, wrote Justice Powell for the Court, was a question which derived much of its answer from the warrant clause; except in a few narrowly circumscribed classes of situations, only those searches conducted pursuant to warrants were reasonable. The Government's duty to preserve the national security did not override the gurarantee that before government could invade the privacy of its citizens it must present to a neutral magistrate evidence sufficient to support issuance of a warrant authorizing that invasion of privacy. This protection was even more needed in ''national security cases'' than in cases of ''ordinary'' crime, the Justice continued, inasmuch as the tendency of government so often is to regard opponents of its policies as a threat and hence to tread in areas protected by the First Amendment as well as by the Fourth. Rejected also was the argument that courts could not appreciate the intricacies of investigations in the area of national security nor preserve the secrecy which is required.
So as the courts have determined, only a small subset of searches made unpursuant to warrants are reasonable. Hayden's sidestep of warrants was unwarranted, particularly since the immediate need of wiretapping in the terrorism age is taken care of by the retroactive review allowed under the FISA court.

Short story? He's still a fascist.


The weaselly way this guy said what he said must be noted:
I didn't craft the authorization. I am responding to a lawful order. All right? The attorney general has averred to the lawfulness of the order. Just to be very clear -- and believe me, if there's any amendment to the Constitution that employees of the National Security Agency are familiar with, it's the Fourth. And it is a reasonableness standard in the Fourth Amendment. And so what you've raised to me -- and I'm not a lawyer, and don't want to become one -- what you've raised to me is, in terms of quoting the Fourth Amendment, is an issue of the Constitution. The constitutional standard is "reasonable." And we believe -- I am convinced that we are lawful because what it is we're doing is reasonable.
What we are doing is reasonable. Weasel words. The General is counting on a common understanding of the word reasonable to fudge the issue (much the way a certain President used the term "sexual relations" to fudge another point). He takes the term "reasonable" outside its very legal definition, as already determined by Katz, by his words "and I'm not a lawyer, and don't want to become one". However, since the General is dealing with very murky legal issues, he might want to consult a lawyer pretty damn quickly.

Signs of Humanity


I love things like this. The Bush Administration sent out a talking points memo to a lot of people that shouldn't have gotten it. Tbogg's singing West Side Story over it.

Career appointees at the Department of Agriculture were stunned last week to receive e-mailed instructions that include Bush administration "talking points" -- saying things such as "President Bush has a clear strategy for victory in Iraq" -- in every speech they give for the department.

"The President has requested that all members of his cabinet and sub-cabinet incorporate message points on the Global War on Terror into speeches, including specific examples of what each agency is doing to aid the reconstruction of Iraq," the May 2 e-mail from USDA speechwriter Heather Vaughn began.

The e-mail, sent to about 60 undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and other political appointees, was also sent to "a few people to whom it should not have gone," said the department's communications director, Terri Teuber . The career people, we are assured, are not being asked to spread the great news on Iraq in their talks to food stamp recipients, disadvantaged farmers, enviros or other folks.

The e-mail provided language "being used by Secretary [Michael O.] Johanns and deputy secretary [Charles F.] Conner in all of their remarks and is being sent to you for inclusion in your speeches."

Another attachment "contains specific examples of GWOT messages within agriculture speeches. Please use these message points as often as possible and send Harry Phillips , USDA's director of speechwriting, a weekly email summarizing the event, date and location of each speech incorporating the attached language. Your responses will be included in a weekly account sent to the White House."
A weekly account sent to the White House? Chortle!

We're the Bush Administration, and we're marching in lockstep. Viva George, wait, that's Spanish. Long live our glorious Emporer!