We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we’re for them and trying to get them out of there.
U.S. soldiers, who have cordoned the district for the last few days, knocked on our door at 6 a.m. My family was asleep and they didn't hear it. The U.S. soldiers then went to my grandmother's house next door and stayed for four hours, drinking tea and chatting with my uncle. My uncle, a former army officer and a fierce Arab nationalist, seems to have told the American soldiers all about the history of Iraq's colonisers, all the way back to the Mongols and Hulago. My family said the American soldiers, who listened attentively to my uncle's story, apologised and told him that they did not want to be in Iraq either but they did not have much of a choice.Wow.
Mr Libby called [Cheney buddy and media strategist Mary] Matalin for advice. On July 8 he wrote down notes in which Rove said, "people are taking Wilson as a credible expert." 2 days go by, he calls Matalin for advice. She tells him, she gives him strategy. "We need someone who can sum it up. This is fitting into Democratic story. It has legs. The story's not going away. We need to address Wilson motivation. The President should wave his wand."My my my. What will the other students say! Timmy (Russert) hates Chris (Matthews)! Oh NO! I didn't think anyone knew that but me! Chris is going to be, like, soooo hurt that Timmy doesn't like him. I wonder what Timmy will say when he goes on the stand! Poor Chris.
"Call Tim," [says]Mary Matalin, "he hates Chris, he needs to know it all." Underneath, Mr Libby's notes, "Wilson's a snake."
According to a recently-issued Special Forces manual, while certain pack animals are acceptable to use for spec-ops purposes (donkeys, mules), elephants "should not be used by U.S. military personnel." In the assessment of the manual's authors, "Elephants are not the easygoing, kind, loving creatures that people believe them to be. They are, of course, not evil either."Afterall, any special ops forces working undercover in the middle of BFE will need to consult the manual when deciding whether to confiscate a mule or an elephant to execute their mission.
John F. Kennedy was filmed accepting the gift of a cowboy hat while appearing at the Chamber of Commerce. He was urged to put it on so the press could take pictures. He looked at it, clearly decided it would be undignified for the president of the United States to do so. So he smiled broadly and said he'd be glad to pose in it, back in Washingon, the following Monday.
"the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."Jesse Jackson and Shirley Chishlom might disagree.
"Sources tell The Sleuth that the Obama camp has 'frozen out' Fox News reporters and producers in the wake of the network's major screw-up in running with the erroneous Obama-the-jihadist story reported by Insight magazine," Mary Ann Akers writes for the Washington Post blog,If everyone with any kind of integrity, nevermind journalistic integrity, did the same thing, FOX would be totally exposed for the completely nutbars conservative mouthpiece that they are. But alas, there are any number of liberals who will sell their souls just to be on teevee.
The WP's Al Kamen points out that former associate attorney general and convicted felon Webb Hubbell is now promoting life insurance for people who smoke marijuana and are "responsible" about it. Typically those who smoke have had to lie on forms or pay high premiums to get life insurance. To target this "underserved market" Hubbell has teamed up with two insurance companies that agreed to write policies for those who enjoy a good toke.
The device is called an explosively formed projectile (EFP). It is usually made from a pipe filled with explosives and capped by a copper disk. When the explosives detonate, they transform the disk into a molten jet of metal capable of penetrating armor. They perform in the same way that U.S. anti-tank missiles do.If this is not just another ratchet job, how about providing some information. For example, how many of these attacks are occuring? What intelligence suggests these are actually from Iran or are government sponsored? How has alleged Iranian involvement changed over time (we never used to hear about the Iranian threat until recently)?
"Properly handled, it goes through armor like a hot knife through butter," said John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org, a military think tank in Alexandria, Va.
Officials such as Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, and National Intelligence Director John Negroponte have said the new bombs are being provided by Iran and are killing U.S. troops. U.S. officials have declined to say exactly how many have been killed or how the weapons have been traced to Iran, which has denied supplying them.
Ingram's mortgage, like most of its ilk, is variable, with the interest rate tied to the widely quoted London Interbank Offered Rate. Her rate is currently 8.42% and can readjust every six months, up to a maximum of 14.92%. The 8.42% rate is about two points higher than the interest on a regular adjustable-rate mortgage. What significance is the interest rate if you're not making monthly payments? It's the basis for calculating how much Ingram or her heirs will eventually have to repay the lender.In today's interest rate environment, these rates are usury. But the banks get away with it because the borrower never makes any payments. And if you're not on the hook to pay it off until you're dead, who cares? Right? It's a license for banks to steal.
“I would suggest moving back,” Bush said as he climbed into the cab of a massive D-10 tractor during his visit to a Caterpillar factory today. “I’m about to crank this sucker up.” Newsweek notes, “As the engine roared to life, White House staffers tried to steer the press corps to safety, but when the tractor lurched forward, they too were forced to scramble for safety. ‘Get out of the way!’ a news photographer yelled. ‘I think he might run us over!’ said another. … Even the Secret Service got involved, as one agent began yelling at reporters to get clear of the tractor. Watching the chaos below, Bush looked out the tractor’s window and laughed, steering the massive machine into the spot where most of the press corps had been positioned.”
January 29, 2007David Broder is probably wetting his pants at the impoliteness of Jim Webb.
The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Rice:
During your appearance before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on January 11, 2007, I asked you a question pertaining to the administration’s policy regarding possible military action against Iran. I asked, “Is it the position of this administration that it possesses the authority to take unilateral action against Iran, in the absence of a direct threat, without congressional approval?”
At that time you were loath to discuss questions of presidential authority, but you committed to provide a written answer. Since I have not yet received a reply, the purpose of this letter is to reiterate my interest in your response.
This is, basically, a “yes” or “no” question regarding an urgent matter affecting our nation’s foreign policy. Remarks made by members of this administration strongly suggest that the administration wrongly believes that the 2002 joint resolution authorizing use of force in Iraq can be applied in other instances, such as in the case of Iran. I, as well as the American people, would benefit by fully understanding the administration’s unequivocal response.
I would appreciate your expeditious reply and look forward to discussing this issue with you in the near future.
United States Senator
KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday offered peace talks with a resurgent Taliban after the bloodiest year since the hardline Islamists were ousted in 2001 and amid warnings of a violent spring offensive.I wonder if this says anything about Karzai's faith in Preznit Bush?
More than 4,000 people, including about 170 foreign soldiers, died in fighting last year, a year that saw a dramatic jump in suicide bombings as the Taliban and other militants copy tactics from insurgents in Iraq.
Karzai made the offer while speaking at a religious gathering in Kabul, but he did not specifically name the Taliban. “While we are fighting for our honour, we still open the door for talks and negotiations with our enemy who is after our annihilation and is shedding our blood,” he told the crowd at the main Shia religious compound in the capital.
Marc Santora of NYT reveals that the Iraqi army was very nearly overwhelmed and defeated by the Army of Heaven militia of the Mahdawiya millenarian movement near Najaf on the weekend. They had to call in not only US airstrikes but also US troops to save themselves from being surrounded and killed.Remember. Whatever Bush asserts, believe the opposite.
Bush was asked in a National Public Radio interview about an Iraqi raid Sunday, backed by U.S. helicopters, on a heavily armed Shiite cult that Iraqi officials said was poised to assassinate the country's Shiite religious leadership. "This fight is an indication of what is taking place, and that is the Iraqis are beginning to take the lead," Bush said. "So my first reaction on this report from the battlefield is that the Iraqis are beginning to show me something."
Both the LAT and NYT go inside with separate pieces on how Fleischer's testimony gave an insider's view of the way the White House press secretary is often kept in the dark and then has to deal with changing explanations. "The worst place to stand as press secretary is where the ground is shifting," Fleischer said.It certainly isn't news that this White House, and all White Houses, lie. It has become institutionalized that Press Secretaries are left in the dark so they don't have to directly lie to the press, and that they can "deal with changing explanations".
WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 — President Bush has signed a directive that gives the White House much greater control over the rules and policy statements that the government develops to protect public health, safety, the environment, civil rights and privacy.
In an executive order published last week in the Federal Register, Mr. Bush said that each agency must have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee, to supervise the development of rules and documents providing guidance to regulated industries. The White House will thus have a gatekeeper in each agency to analyze the costs and the benefits of new rules and to make sure the agencies carry out the president’s priorities.
This strengthens the hand of the White House in shaping rules that have, in the past, often been generated by civil servants and scientific experts. It suggests that the administration still has ways to exert its power after the takeover of Congress by the Democrats.
How is this different from the Soviet Union's political officers? Is the U.S.A. morphing into the U.S.S.R.?
Several critics of the administration show an appreciation of the requirement to regain our allies and others' support, but they do not recognize that withdrawal of US forces from Iraq is the sine qua non for achieving their cooperation. It will be forthcoming once that withdrawal begins and looks irreversible. They will then realize that they can no longer sit on the sidelines. The aftermath will be worse for them than for the United States, and they know that without US participation and leadership, they alone cannot restore regional stability. Until we understand this critical point, we cannot design a strategy that can achieve what we can legitimately call a victory.Wiser words may not have been said in quite awhile.
Any new strategy that does realistically promise to achieve regional stability at a cost we can prudently bear, and does not regain the confidence and support of our allies, is doomed to failure. To date, I have seen no awareness that any political leader in this country has gone beyond tactical proposals to offer a different strategic approach to limiting the damage in a war that is turning out to be the greatest strategic disaster in our history
The collapse in the South, the one force which the American leaders could not control, continued unabated. The Americans had always had the illusion that something might turn it around; a new leader in South Vietnam who would understand how to get with the program; a realization on the part of the South Vietnamese that their necks were on the line, that the feared enemy (the Americans' feared enemy, though perhaps not the feared enemy of the Vietnamese), the Communists, were about to walk into Saigon. Or magically, the right battalion commander would turn up to lead ARVN battalions into battle against the Vietcong, or the right program would emerge, blending arms and pig-fatteners together to make the peasants want to choose our side. But nothing changed, the other side continued to get stronger, the ARVN side weaker. One reason the principals were always surprised by this, and irritated by the failure of their programs, was that the truth of the war never entered the upper-level American calculations; that this was a revolutionary war, and that the other side held title to the revolution because of the colonial war which had just ended. This most simple fact, which was so important to the understanding of the political calculations...entered into the estimates of the American intelligence community and made them quite accurate. But it never entered into the calculations of the principals, for a variety of reasons; among other things to see the other side in terms of nationalism or as revolutionaries might mean a re-evaluation of whether the United States was even fighting on the right side. In contrast, the question of Communism and anti-Communism as opposed to revolution and antirevolution was far more convenient for American policy makers.
David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest, pp. 462-463.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - In its first full statement on what Iraqi officials called a major battle with a messianic cult south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Monday that 100 militants were captured in the operation.Well, it's been like Vietnam in other ways so why not this too?
People in Latin America were most worried while U.S. citizens were least concerned with just 42 percent rating global warming "very serious."
The United States emits about a quarter of all greenhouse gases, the biggest emitter ahead of China, Russia and India.
Thirteen percent of U.S. citizens said they had never heard or read anything about global warming, the survey said.
I will repeat myself here, but it's important. I suspect that what's at work here is reflexive, lazy MSM [mainstream media] he said/she said reporting where it was important to show "the other side" of the story of a peaceful protest. As usual, this lazy and inaccurate form of reporting worked to the benefit of the right, who in this case used a young man who is a celebrity rightwing victim of numerous alleged lefty slurs to tell a mythic story. I expect this from Fox News. It's a big problem when it's the paper of record.
But there's an even bigger problem. Dave Niewert and others have done a lot of writing over the past few years about rightwing eliminationist rhetoric and subterranean groups like militias and how their poison seeps into the mainstream. The mainstream media have failed to pick up on this pernicious social and political trend. Instead they are still mired in the stereotypes of 35 years ago, which we saw this week-end are pretty stooped and grey these days. They need to turn their attention to their right.
In this instance you had a budding rightwing operative who sat with the Vice President's wife at the State of the Union address appearing with a group that hanged Jane Fonda in effigy in the middle of a peaceful protest march. The signs they held were violent, crude and purposefully provocative. Yet the mainstream media, in looking for some frisson of 60's street violence, reports it as if the protesters are the provacateurs. They had the story and they completely missed it.
The fact is that the people who are challenging social norms and mainstream behavior are not coming from the left today --- they are coming from the right. They are clever and well financed and they are being helped not just by their own rightwing media infrastructure --- the allegedly liberal NY Times and Washington Post are also helping them with their knee-jerk assumptions and phony narratives.
Like other GOP lawmakers, McConnell said time is running out for the president.As Atrios says, "then what"?
"I think everybody knows what the consequences are. The president doesn't have a stronger supporter in the Senate than the person you're looking at, but I repeat, this is the last chance for the Iraqis to step up and demonstrate this government can function," he said. "The message to the Iraqi government could not be more clear."
Iraqi Parliament has failed to reach quorum since October 2006. Understandably, it's hard to attend parliamentary sessions when you live in the Green Zone, or the Rashid Hotel, or Amman, or Dubai, or London. MP Adnan Al-Pachachi, who spoke from Dubai, complained that their salaries can only afford 20 security guards, while they need at least 40 to make it from the Baghdad Airport to the Green Zone. I wonder how many security guards Pachachi would need if he were to venture on the streets of Baghdad, which he probably hasn't seen in decades.
Funny, too, that he would complain about the salary. Iraqi members of parliament receive up to $120,000 in salaries and benefits, or about $10,000 a month, plus the additional salaries of 20 security guards - which most MPs choose to pocket instead. Actually, the first bill Iraqi MPs (of all sects and ethnicities) passed unanimously was the one in which they defined their salaries, privileges and benefits. That session was conveniently closed to the media. Perhaps you should also know that the average salary for a civil servant in Iraq is $150. A day labourer would make less than half of that. And you would be considered quite well-to-do if your salary is $400 or $500.
Shame. And this is what they call a "democratically-elected government."
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration said Friday it intends to present evidence that Iranian operatives in Iraq are targeting U.S. troops. The announcement came shortly after word that President Bush had authorized U.S. forces in Iraq to fire on or capture any Iranian agents deemed a threat to American troops or the Iraqi public at large.What I find interesting about this story is something I read the other day (sorry, no link). In that story, an intelligence source reported that the policy inside Iraq has always been to fire on anyone who is threatening the troops, including Iranians, although I think anyone would be hard pressed to like actually know if they're Iranian or not. If this has been standard policy, then why would the White House release a statement specifically targeting Iranians in Iraq? Why make an announcement now?
“It makes sense that if somebody’s trying to harm our troops, or stop us from achieving our goal, or killing innocent citizens in Iraq, that we will stop them,” Bush said when asked about the aggressive new policy, first reported by the Washington Post. “It’s an obligation we all have ... to protect our folks and achieve our goal.”
The U.S. deaths raised to at least 12 the number of service members killed in the past three days. The most recent seven deaths were the result of roadside bombs, two in Diyala province, two in Baghdad and three others at an unspecified location north of the capital.Let's see. Sunni's did this? Shiites? Al Qaeda or Iranians?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush warned on Friday if Iranians attempt to launch attacks against Americans or Iraqis inside Iraq, "we will stop them," but said U.S. troops would not go into Iran.Pretty soon we'll be ordering air strikes just inside the border of Iran to "protect the troops", and then ........
He spoke after The Washington Post reported that U.S. forces have the authority to capture or kill Iranian agents active in attacking American soldiers inside Iraq, a story Bush and other U.S. officials did not deny.
"It makes sense that if somebody is trying to harm our troops or stop us from achieving our goals or killing innocent citizens in Iraq, that we will stop them," Bush said. "It's an obligation we all have to protect our folks and achieve our goals."
A top conservative Capitol Hill staffer tells Politico that more than 70 senators would oppose Bush’s escalation if their vote matched their comments in private meetings. “The White House is trying to but they really don' know how to handle this,” the staffer said.Digby attempts to answer that question here.
BAGHDAD — Muqtada Sadr, the radical anti-American cleric, has backed away from confrontation with U.S. and Iraqi forces in recent weeks, a move that has surprised U.S. officials who long have characterized his followers as among the greatest threats to Iraq's security.Al Sadr has all the time in the world while the U.S. does not. I guarantee you that al Maliki has told Sadr to just cool it for awhile while the American's wipe out the Sunni resistance at which time the U.S. will withdraw. Then Shiites can have their way, or at least preserve their best fighters for the civil war after the American's leave. There's also still the Badr corp (Iranian Shiites) to contend with, who may not be so patient, particularly if there is a U.S. action against Iran.
"He's afraid he'll get into a losing war," said Suha Azzawi, a professor of political science at the University of Baghdad. "He's ordered the militias to temporarily leave their positions. They will continue their activities after the crackdown."
From: lara loganThe story is here. Given it a look. Remember, this is all taking place a couple of miles from the "secure" green zone. Alamo anyone? This is the type of reporting that should be occurring nightly, yet CBS hasn't aired this segment.
The story below only appeared on our CBS website and was not aired on CBS. It is a story that is largely being ignored, even though this istakingplace verysingle day in central Baghdad, two blocks from where our office is located.
Our crew had to be pulled out because we got a call saying they were about to be killed, and on their way out, a civilian man was shot dead in front of them as they ran.
I would be very grateful if any of you have a chance to watch this story and pass the link on to as many people you know as possible. It should be seen. And people should know about this.
If anyone has time to send a comment to CBS – about the story – not about my request, then that would help highlight that people are interested and this is not too gruesome to air, but rather too important to ignore.
Many, many thanks.
"He's tried this two times — it's failed twice. "I asked him at the White House, 'Mr. President, why do you think this time it's going to work?' And he said, 'Because I told them it had to.' "Nancy Pelosi on why Preznit Bush thinks the escalation will work ... this time.
"He's going to run, and he's going to be formidable. If he didn't run, I'd be shocked."-- James Carville on Al Gore.
BAGHDAD -- Fatima Ali was a 24-year-old divorcee with no high school diploma and no job. Shawket al-Rubae was a 34-year-old Shiite sheik with a pregnant wife who, he said, could not have sex with him.In the good ole' U.S. of A., we call it prostitution. In Iraq, the Shiite fundamentalists call it religious freedom:
Ali wanted someone to take care of her. Rubae wanted a companion.
They met one afternoon in May at the house he shares with his wife, in the room where he accepts visitors seeking his religious counsel. He had a proposal. Would Ali be his temporary wife? He would pay her 5,000 Iraqi dinars upfront -- about $4 -- in addition to her monthly expenses. About twice a week over the next eight months, he would summon her to a house he would rent.
The negotiations took an hour and ended with an unwritten agreement, the couple recalled. Thus began their "mutaa," or enjoyment marriage, a temporary union believed by Shiite Muslims to be sanctioned by Islamic law.
Shiite clerics and others who practice mutaa say such marriages are keeping young women from having unwed sex and widowed or divorced women from resorting to prostitution to make money.Huh? Sounds like they go to the Bush school of up is downism.
Opponents of mutaa, most of them Sunni Arabs, say it is less about religious freedom and more about economic exploitation. Thousands of men are dying in the sectarian violence that has followed the invasion, leaving behind widows who must fend for themselves. Many young men are out of work and prefer temporary over permanent wives who require long-term financial commitments. In a mutaa arrangement, the woman is entitled to payment only for the duration of the marriage.Too many women, too many unemployed men, economic instability, violence and chaos.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, dramatically raised the stakes in the international showdown with Iran last night, with a clear warning that his country was prepared to use military force to prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
"The Jewish people, with the scars of the Holocaust fresh on its body, cannot afford to allow itself to face threats of annihilation once again," Mr Olmert said in a speech to a high-level security conference in Herzliya. "No nation has the right even to consider its position. It is the obligation of every country to act against this will all its might." "We can stand up against nuclear threats and even prevent them," he said.
Israeli military officials warned this week that Israel – acting alone or in coordination with the US – could launch preemptive military strikes against Iran before the end of this year.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. and Iraqi troops battled Sunni insurgents in high-rise buildings on central Baghdad's Haifa Street yesterday, as Apache attack helicopters chattered overhead. Iraq said 30 militants were killed and 27 captured.I doubt there were any Sunni's in the Iraq army that participated in the attack. In fact, the Iraqi army barely made it to the whole event:
In a miniature version of the troop increase that the United States hopes will secure the city, American soldiers and armored vehicles raced onto Haifa Street before dawn to dislodge Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias [yeah, right] who have been battling for a stretch of ragged slums and mostly abandoned high rises. But as the sun rose, many of the Iraqi Army units who were supposed to do the actual searches of the buildings did not arrive on time, forcing the Americans to start the job on their own.Yep, we're just there to support to eyeraqi people in their pursuit of freedom. Indeed.
"What kind of security plan is this?" asked one terrified resident, who spent the morning in his home nearby. "They are destroying us, pounding an area less than one square kilometer with mortars, shells from helicopters and their tanks."That's exactly what they are doing. I guess the good news, if you can call it that, is that the U.S. is no longer "in the middle".
Residents accused the United States of unwittingly aiding Shiite Muslim militiamen accused of trying to force the mostly Sunni Muslim inhabitants from their homes, as part of a pattern of sectarian "cleansing" that is redrawing the map of the once largely integrated capital.
As the sun rose, many of the Iraqi Army units who were supposed to do the actual searches of the buildings did not arrive on time, forcing the Americans to start the job on their own. When the Iraqi units finally did show up, it was with the air of a class outing, cheering and laughing as the Americans blew locks off doors with shotguns.Oy.
.... Many of the Iraqi units that showed up late never seemed to take the task seriously, searching haphazardly, breaking dishes and rifling through personal CD collections in the apartments. Eventually the Americans realized that the Iraqis were searching no more than half of the apartments; at one point the Iraqis completely disappeared, leaving the American unit working with them flabbergasted.
"Where did they go?" yelled Sgt. Jeri A. Gillett. Another soldier suggested, "I say we just let them go and we do this ourselves."
The energy return on grain ethanol is very low. Published studies put this number at around 1.3, but the return for fossil fuels in and ethanol out averages less than 1.1. Animal feed byproduct that is given a BTU value pushes the EROEI up to 1.3. Therefore, for 1 BTU of energy expended, less than 1.1 BTUs of ethanol can be produced, along with an additional 0.2 BTUs of animal feed. The net is then 0.3 BTUs with the byproduct credit, or about 1/17th of the fossil fuel net.It takes virtually as much energy to create corn ethanol as it returns. Other than making Senator Grassley happy and subsidizing corn growers, making ethanol from corn is just not worth it. The Brazilians have the better idea of making ethanol from sugar, which yields much more energy and is sustainable. But unfortunately, folks like ADM have the government by the short hairs preventing such common sense.
Product placement (as we saw with the "Baby Einstein" colloquey in last night's SOTU) as a way to close the deficit is brilliant. Why shouldn't Disney pay for that effusive mention from the president of the United States on national television?First off, I didn't even think about the Baby Einstein thing. But yeah, that's a little strange basically doing a commercial for a product during the SOTU. And a product with questionable validity to boot.
I don't think Yglesias goes far enough, though. Every speech, every photo-op could also be sponsored by a different corporation. And just as the sports arenas named Viagra Park and Jonny Cat Field no longer have a civic identity, we could change the name of the White House to the "Halliburton House" (for now --- the next president could have a different sponsor.) Companies would pay billions for that kind of daily mention in the free media.
“If you wanted a safe job, go sell shoes,”Senator Chuck Hagel to his collegues on their squishy-ness over opposing the Iraq war.
US forces have captured some 600 Mahdi Army militiamen since the current push against guerrilla violence began.That's nice. Al Sadr can use the American's to clean up his recalcitrant members who refuse to lay low as per plan.
Al-Zaman reports in Arabic that leaders of the Mahdi Army are saying they will not retaliate for the arrests. Baha' al-A'raji, a Sadrist MP, said that the followers of young Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr would not stand against the Baghdad security plan.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said the U.S. buildup in the Gulf was intended to impress on Iran that the four-year war in Iraq has not made America vulnerable.
The American aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and several accompanying ships are heading toward the Gulf to join an aircraft carrier group already in the region, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Stennis is expected to arrive in late February.
The Stennis's arrival in the Middle East will mark the first time since the U.S.-led Iraq invasion in 2003 that the United States has had two carrier battle groups in the region.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 — The chief defense lawyer for I. Lewis Libby Jr. told a jury today that his client was innocent of perjury and obstruction of justice charges and that White House officials had sought to make him a scapegoat in the investigation of the leak of a C.I.A. operative’s name to protect Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff.Let's review the bidding. The prosecution claims the second most powerful member of the administration led the effort to smear Wilson/Plame and obstructed justice via his hitman, Libby. The defense claims the administration's leader, the Preznit, was using Libby as a scapegoat to cover for their number one snake, Rove.
Journalists make a lot of mistakes when they start writing for a blog type thing which allows for comments (thus making them aware of their mistakes). First, don't talk down to your readers. Many of them are probably smarter than you, and literally all of them certainly know some things you don't. Second, blogging isn't just about throwing random thoughts out there without bothering to check them first. Sure, it's a bit more shoot from the hip than careful writing is, but the internets have this thing called "the google" that makes basic factchecking fairly simple. Third, don't have contempt for the readers who care enough to read what you write and respond. In case you didn't realize, these are the people who actually give a shit enough about current events to maybe occasionally buy a newspaper or magazine, or at the very least click through your website and watch news on the teevee. In other words, they pay the bills. Being actively hostile to them is certainly odd behavior. And, yes, discourse on the internet can be rude and caustic, some people may make you cry by telling you to go Cheney yourself, and you certainly don't have to engage people who are rude, but really who cares? People are mean, wah.You can go back and read the details of the fray if you like, but I can tell you that Jay Carney basically made a fool of himself.
There is one final deep injustice. Even though it's "just a blog," people may hold "Time's Washington bureau chief" to a slightly higher standard than they do "some random person with a blog." The reasons for this should be obvious.
– “Vice President Cheney himself directed Scooter Libby to essentially go around protocol and deal with the press and handle press himself…to try to beat back the criticism of administration critic Joe Wilson.”Cheney behind the whole thing? Libby destroying evidence? It appears from this that Fitzgerald might be a bit timid in his charges. Can you imagine what would have happened if Clinton/Gore had done any of this?
– Cheney personally “wrote out for Scooter Libby what Libby should say in a conversation with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper.”
– “Scooter Libby destroyed a note from Vice President Cheney about their conversations and about how Vice President Cheney wanted the Wilson matter handled.”
The prosecutors say the evidence will make it clear that VP Cheney asked the Director of the CIA George Tenet to take complete responsiblity for the mistake and to make it clear that the VP and the president were not involved...
Although national polls show that more than 90 percent of Americans say they'd be comfortable voting for a qualified woman to serve as president, NIU political scientist Matt Streb says that a "a significant percentage of people are hiding their true feelings" because they know that opposition to a candidate based on gender alone is socially unacceptable.In this day-n-age this is astounding, if true. I know that Harold Ford found the same kind of polling distortion in his recent Senate race with the polls showing him much closer than it actually turned out. Unfortunately, I suspect it's true and Hillary may have to be a sacrificial lamb to break this dynamic down.
How does he know? If people tell pollsters that they're comfortable with the idea of a female candidate, you probably won't get very far by asking them if they're really just hiding their true feelings. Instead, Streb and his NIU colleagues went at the question another way. They asked a test group of respondents to say how many of four different statements made them "angry or upset": the rising price of gas, the high salaries paid to professional athletes, pollution by large corporations and laws that require seat-belt usage. The researchers obtained a base number using those four statements, then added a fifth: "a woman serving as president." With that statement in the mix, the mean number of "angry or upset" responses increased by so much that the researchers believe that about 26 percent of their respondents were troubled by the "woman serving as president" addition.
According to a summary of the findings in an NIU press release, the researchers saw "virtually equal" levels of resistance among male and female respondents and "nearly equal" levels among respondents with different education levels. The researchers didn't test for the separate-but-similar question of race, but Streb surmises in the press release that the same sort of "social desirability" distortion is "almost certainly going to be a factor" in polls measuring support for Barack Obama.
In past sessions, Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave were conservative champions of a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in the last Congress, both sponsoring legislation to do just that.Since when has the prospect of a bill failing stopped them from introducing it anyway? Sheesh, the whine factor alone makes it worthwhile to reinforce their image as martyr's. Plus, what about those donations from the Dobson's of the world? The religious right is going to have a major hissy fit.
Not this year.
The two Republicans said last week they have no plans to re-introduce their legislation in the new Congress - another sign that Democrats are now in the majority.
"At this time, I haven't discussed it with anyone," Allard said on Thursday. "If we thought there was a decent chance to bring it to the floor for debate, I would, but with the new Congress, I'm not sure we will ever have that opportunity."
WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2007 — Mimicking the hijackers who executed the Sept. 11 attacks, insurgents reportedly tied to al Qaeda in Iraq considered using student visas to slip terrorists into the United States to orchestrate a new attack on American soil.Guess I'd better head over to the Home Deeepooohhhh and get me some duct tape ....
Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, recently testified that documents captured by coalition forces during a raid of a safe house believed to house Iraqi members of al Qaeda six months ago "revealed [AQI] was planning terrorist operations in the U.S."
Friday, Jan. 19, 2007: Previewing Tuesday night's State of the Union address, George W. Bush tells USA Today: "My point is going to be, what happens in Iraq matters to your security here at home."Afterall, you've gotta get all your props in place for the big speech.
Monday, Jan. 22, 2007: Sources tell ABC News that, in an "incident that has been dealt with at the highest levels of government," coalition forces discovered documents six months ago that suggest "insurgents reportedly tied to al-Qaida in Iraq considered using student visas to slip terrorists into the United States to orchestrate a new attack on American soil."
Sen. John Warner (R-VA) will introduce a resolution today “making clear that he does not support the President on increasing the troop levels in Iraq” and calling escalation “a mistake,” CNN’s Dana Bash reports. Warner’s resolution will be cosponsored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Nelson (D-NE).For most other Presidents, this action by an influencial member of their own party would matter. For this President it will make no difference in his actual policies.
[T]here are reasons for optimism. Today approximately 164,000 Iraqi police and soldiers (of which about 100,000 are trained and equipped) and an additional 74,000 facility protection forces are performing a wide variety of security missions. Equipment is being delivered. Training is on track and increasing in capacity. Infrastructure is being repaired. Command and control structures and institutions are being reestablished.Is that kool-aid drips I see on his uniform?
Most important, Iraqi security forces are in the fight — so much so that they are suffering substantial casualties as they take on more and more of the burdens to achieve security in their country.
[T]here is no shortage of qualified recruits volunteering to join Iraqi security forces. In the past couple of months, more than 7,500 Iraqi men have signed up for the army and are preparing to report for basic training to fill out the final nine battalions of the Iraqi regular army. Some 3,500 new police recruits just reported for training in various locations.
Since that time, McCain has been slowly back-pedaling from the escalation plan, offering numerous reasons for why the strategy will not succeed. He has argued the Pentagon was “dragging its feet” in implementing the strategy. Now, he is arguing that the escalation is too small.He advocated escalation thinking that no one in their right mind would do it. But then he didn't factor in Preznit's Bush's. Anyway, after the loss in Iraq, he could claim the hawk mantle with the "if only they'd done what I said" strategy. This miscalculation just may have done him in.
SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq - As the Iraqi government attempts to secure a capital city ravaged by conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslim Arabs, its decision to bring a third party into the mix may cause more problems than peace.
Kurdish soldiers from northern Iraq, who are mostly Sunnis but not Arabs, are deserting the army to avoid the civil war in Baghdad, a conflict they consider someone else's problem.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - At least 20 American service members were killed in military operations Saturday in the deadliest day for U.S. forces in two years, including 13 who died in a helicopter crash and five slain in an attack by militia fighters in the holy city of Karbala, military officials said.Update: I guess I should know better than to post the number of deaths before the day is over. Now the number is up to 24.
The killing of US troops in Shiite Najaf and Karbala has been a rare event since hostilities ending in late August 2004 between the American military and the Mahdi Army of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The resurgence of lethal hostility in this Shiite area almost certainly has to do with the ongoing US crackdown on the Sadr Movement.Update ... more: When can I actually update the number and have it stand? It's now at 25.
I'm a very lucky person with every allergy known to man but still happy to be enjoying a wonderful life living in the best place in the world!