David Iglesias [the most recently fired U.S. attorney] said two members of Congress separately called in mid October to inquire about the timing of an ongoing probe of a kickback scheme and appeared eager for an indictment to be issued on the eve of the elections in order to benefit the Republicans. He refused to name the members of Congress because he said he feared retaliation.And the purge continues .....
....Iglesias, who received a positive performance review before he was fired, said he suspected he was forced out because of his refusal to be pressured to hand down an indictment in the ongoing probe.
"I believe that because I didn't play ball, so to speak, I was asked to resign," said Iglesias, who officially stepped down Wednesday.
Bill Clinton is an incredibly popular person and only our Beltway press could imagine that he would somehow be a "liability" to his wife.Indeed, an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. We may have to go to a code red if Clenis get's loose. What a bunch of idiots. Further proof that cable news and much of the media's coverage of politics is suitable for fishwrap.
Though, to be fair, the subtext of the "concerns" of the Beltway chatterers is that they're really talking not about Bill Clinton, but about the Clenis, and the implication is that Bill will be a liability because the Clenis, an unstoppable mystical force, might get up to no good.
Why Bill Clinton's past infidelity is more relevant to his wife's candidacy than Rudy Giuliani's own infidelity is to his own candidacy is an exercise left to the reader.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: “Let me just make one editorial comment here. I’ve seen some press reporting says, ‘Cheney went in to beat up on them, threaten them.’ That’s not the way I work. I don’t know who writes that, or maybe somebody gets it from some source who doesn’t know what I’m doing, or isn’t involved in it. But the idea that I’d go in and threaten someone is an invalid misreading of the way I do business.Ah. Golly gee. Do you think anyone can figure out who that "Senior Administration Official" is? The guy runs this interview like he runs the country.
“I would describe my sessions both in Pakistan and Afghanistan as very productive. We’ve had notable successes in both places. I’ve often said before and I believe it’s still true that we’ve captured and killed more al Qaeda in Pakistan than anyplace else. And I think we’re making progress in Afghanistan.”
It is a reasonable bet that Oliver James thinks you are mentally ill. The clinical psychologist and media pundit starts his new book with a questionnaire for readers to determine whether they have contracted the ‘affluenza virus’. Among the 16 questions he poses, each of which demands a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, are:Ben-Ami then goes on to lambast the book, ripping apart the methodology of the research and the author's sweeping conclusions. And I generally agree with Ben-Ami in his criticisms of the process of proving the case. But my personal anecdotal experiences are in total agreement with Oliver James and his theory of affluenza.
* I would like to successfully hide the signs of ageing.
* I would like to be admired by many people.
* I like to keep up with fashions in hair and clothing.
* Shopping or thinking about what to buy greatly preoccupies me.
If you answer ‘yes’ to any one of the questions he declares that, like most people in the English-speaking world, you have contracted the virus. His definition of affluenza is so broad it is hard to see how anyone, apart from perhaps Trappist monks or the Amish, can be immune.
This declaration is not simply a journalistic device to entice readers into the book. James means it literally. Selfish capitalism, he believes, is driving us mad: ‘my new theory is that the nasty form of political economy that I call Selfish Capitalism caused an epidemic of the affluenza virus, accounting for much of the increase in distress since the 1970s.’
President George W Bush has signalled a dramatic shift in his Middle East policy by agreeing to discuss the future of Iraq with Iran and Syria despite his belief that the two countries are fuelling the insurgency that has plunged the country into civil war.It appears that Bush is doing this to support al Maliki, who is calling the meeting. But please count me as totally skeptical of the U.S. role in these meetings. Bush has never believed in negotiation as a tool in international diplomacy and I don't think he's changed his thinking now. So, there's more to this story and I'm suspicious that we'll find out the real story later.
The Shiite Vice President [of Iraq], Adil Abdul Mahdi of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, has accused a high ministry official of attempting to kill him in a bombing on Monday. The deputy Minister of Labor, Ghazi al-Anbari, died in the blast, along with 10 others.Maybe if the Dickster thinks Iraq is so hunky hunky, he should apply for the VP job there?
Well now it's really truly official: The first benchmark that the White House put forth to the public as evidence that the Iraqis were serious about their own security this time -- and that Bush's latest plan would, unlike the previous ones, actually work -- has been missed.So the Iraqi's delivered 70% of the units promised, and within the units they delivered substantially fewer numbers than required, and they delivered soldiers who are not indigenious to the population to be policed. Isn't that called a crappy occupation?
As I've written repeatedly, the White House on Jan. 10 made it clear: "You're going to have some opportunities to judge very quickly. The Iraqis are going to have three brigades within Baghdad within a little more than a month. They have committed to trying to get one brigade in, I think, by the first of February, and two more by the 15th."
But Warren P. Strobel, Jonathan S. Landay and Renee Schoof write for McClatchy Newspapers that "retired Vice Adm. John McConnell, the director of national intelligence, and Army Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee [yesterday] that the Iraqi army sent to Baghdad only two of the three additional brigades that were to have been in place by Feb. 15.
"An Iraqi brigade is supposed to have 3,200 men.
"'One of the problems was having fully manned units when they arrived in Baghdad,' McConnell said. 'A work in progress is how best to describe it. It's not there yet.' . . .
"Maples, the military's top intelligence official, said that the strength of the Iraqi battalions that comprise the two brigades range from 43 percent to 82 percent.
"The numbers were the most concise manpower figures that the U.S. military has given for the additional Iraqi units sent to Baghdad.
"McConnell said one reason for the Iraqi shortfalls is that typically 25 percent of an Iraqi army unit is away on leave or on some other assignment. But U.S. and Iraqi officials also have cited high desertion rates as a serious problem.
"On the positive side, McConnell said that Iraqi forces have begun taking leading roles in some parts of Baghdad, although he didn't specify which areas. . . .
"Maples said that two of the extra Iraqi brigades comprise members of the ethnic Kurdish minority, who don't know the city and are divided from Arabs by language, culture and decades of enmity. . . .
So who owns this economy? What brain trust thought that Guns & Butter II would somehow work better than the original which sunk the US into an economic quagmire for years? Let's remember that there have been voices out there who have criticized this administration for waging war while handing out tax cuts to the wealthiest and just running a tab on China's expense account so now that China is stumbling and the war debt is increasing, this most recent fiasco falls squarely in the hands of the Bush administration. When the other shoe drops and the real estate bubble bottoms out, it will be another fine mess these clowns got us into. Republican economics in action, also known as the perfect storm.
Me? I prefer to believe what is right before my eyes: Decaying economic fundamentals, a complacent market that is overbought and way overdue for a correction. Add to that the single biggest positive contributor to the economy over the past 4 years – Housing – showing no signs of being anywhere near a bottom. A few more jiggles on the screen, and we there will be significant technical deterioration.Update II: The term for trying to buy the market when it's doing what it's doing is "catching a falling knife". Looks like a lot of people are getting cut.
And many parts of Iraq are stable now. But, of course, what we see on television is the one bombing a day this discourages everybody.Well Laura, sweetheart, here's the real news:
The Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox with word that a U.S. raid in southern Iraq uncovered a factory that officials say was used to construct deadly roadside bombs that the military previously thought were made only in Iran.Sorry Bushie, busted yet again. Never forget. Anytime their mouths move, it's a lie.
Before Saturday's raid in southern Iraq, officials previously thought the roadside bombs that can penetrate armor were brought fully assembled into Iraq. The WSJ is the only paper to focus on that angle of the story, and the rest mention how American officials put on display the bomb-making components, which they said were made in Iran. The NYT is alone in reporting that a few of the cardboard boxes containing some of the parts had labels and addresses that seemed to indicate they didn't originate in Iran.
Several soldiers and officers I spoke with told me they were unprepared for their mission in the north of Afghanistan. No one, it seems, told them they would have to fight a Vietnam-style war at high altitudes. One officer told me the 10th Mountain's limited resources and poor planning frustrated him. (He also asked that his name be withheld for fear of retribution.) "Leadership has failed us," he told me. "They don't give a shit about us. We've been shorted everything we needed. Our training didn't prepare us for this terrain or this mission. We're doing the best we can but we're not getting support." He said the summer of 2006 had been filled with air-assault missions in which Chinooks delivered 20 to 30 troops to a ridgeline with little food or water, and no plan to pick them up.The short version of the article is that Afghanistan is Iraq except with mountains and less population.
Joe Lieberman, today: "previously there weren't enough soldiers to hold key neighborhoods after they had been cleared of extremists and militias."Let's face it. No matter what Bush does in Iraq is just fine with ole' Joe. I seriously wonder why the people of Connecticut don't seek a recall of this jerk. He has been nothing but wrong, factually, throughout the entire war. His sympathies with Israel have completely colored his ability to analyze the situation, throwing him completely into the neocon camp. He now (whether he knows it or not) carries around the guilt and responsibility of having created a lot of havoc in the world and being partially responsible for a whole lot of deaths. It's people like Joe that continue to give Bush even a slight legitimacy in his misjudgements.
Joe Lieberman, 2005: "The administration's recent use of the banner 'clear, hold, and build' accurately describes the strategy as I saw it being implemented last week."
This is Dick Cheney. The hardest of hardcore Republican terror scaremongers. Of all those who have tarred Democrats as weak on terror, nobody's done it like Dick. Cheney wasn't playing the good cop or bad cop role before. He simply wasn't walking the beat. This is a tacit acknowledgement that the Democratic Congress is more serious about fighting Al Qaeda than the White House. He's essentially saying, "look, we've let you slide on this, because, well, you know us..." Other things were more important.Ah. Good point!
Dick Cheney has acknowledged that the Democratic Congress is more intent than the White House on hunting down Al Qaeda operatives.
Would you support or oppose Congress trying to block Bush’s plan by creating new rules on troop training and rest time that would limit the number of troops available for duty in Iraq?Those are significant numbers that Democrats could take to the bank, if they chose to .....
Support: 58 percent
Oppose: 39 percent
Unknown: 4 percent
That means Republicans would have to threaten filibusters and other obstacles to force passage of a new resolution allowing for such a switchover [of majority control in the Senate].Excuse me. But a Lieberman switch isn't needed for the Republicans to use filibusters and Senate rules to block legislation. They're doing that right now without the majority. Unlike the Democrats, the Republicans have been very comfortable using the filibuster already this session despite their condemnation of the tactic when they had the majority.
So while Lieberman cannot directly play kingmaker, that is quite a monkey wrench he is holding.
Three Arab states in the Persian Gulf would be willing to allow the Israel Air force to enter their airspace in order to reach Iran in case of an attack on its nuclear facilities, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Siyasa reported on Sunday.Like the quote in Hersh's article from the Saudi diplomat, if the U.S. attacks the Arab world gets blamed. If Israel attacks, the Sunni Arabs can coyly "condemn" the Israeli's, with a wink and nod of course. News about this stuff is busting out all over the place. There must be some serious behind-the-scenes work going on with the news media being used as a club.
According to the report, a diplomat from one of the gulf states visiting Washington on Saturday said the three states, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, have told the United States that they would not object to Israel using their airspace, despite their fear of an Iranian response.
Al-Siyasa further reported that NATO leaders are urging Turkey to open its airspace for an Attack on Iran as well and to also open its airports and borders in case of a ground attack.
It is amateur hour and these zombies must be stopped. Until the Democrats, and the country, recognize this undemocratic and criminal element in our politics it is going to continue every time the Republicans take power. When they have a congressional majority with a Republican president they steal the country blind and when it's a Democrat they harrass him so badly that its a miracle he is able to function. When they have the presidency they become despotic criminals. This has been true for the last 30 years.
(AP) Vice President Dick Cheney landed in the U.S.-allied Arab monarchy of Oman on Sunday and went directly to talks with its foreign minister, Omani government officials said.Aside from the obvious strategic importance of the visit, it really really makes me nervous that the visitor to the middle east is Cheney and not a State Department person or even Robert Gates. This would suggest that Cheney is a primary information source between the governments of the middle east and Bush. And we all know how Cheney feels about escalating the war.
A U.S. embassy spokesman in Oman declined to detail Cheney's plans or the focus of his visit to the sparsely populated oil-producing state, which allows the United States use of four air bases. But an Omani government official said Cheney was to discuss regional security issues, including the U.S. standoff with Iran over its nuclear program. The official, in the capital Muscat, spoke on condition of anonymity because he was unauthorized to speak to the press.
Oman sits across the strategically important Strait of Hormuz from Iran, through which two-fifths of the world's oil passes.
The sultanate allows the United States to use the air bases _ including one just 50 miles from Iran _ for refueling, logistics and storage of pre-positioned military supplies. Little has been revealed publicly about U.S. military ties with the reclusive country, a deeply sensitive topic inside Oman, an isolated country on the southeastern corner of the Arabian peninsula that has been a quiet U.S. military ally for decades
“We have two nightmares,” the former diplomat told me. “For Iran to acquire the bomb and for the United States to attack Iran. I’d rather the Israelis bomb the Iranians, so we can blame them. If America does it, we will be blamed.”I could quote from Hersh's article all day. Rather, I'm going to suggest you take a few moments and give it a read. Hersh does a great job summarizing the complexities of the whole situation including the extreme involvement of the Saudi's in American decision-making. Once again, the U.S. is hostage to our SUV proclivities. What may be most disturbing is the tendency for the Saudi/U.S. plan in the middle east to actually be embracing elements of the Sunni al Qaeda! The ironies are enough to kill ya.
TIKRIT, Iraq - A U.S. general warned Saturday that increased Sunni attacks in a province extremists call the center of their Islamic state in Iraq may delay plans to hand it over to Iraqi troops by the end of the year.Perhaps I'm a bit naive. But doesn't it make sense that if the insurgents (all of em') in Iraq wanted to get the U.S. out of Iraq they would lay low and stop attacking? Certainly after a U.S. withdrawal they could then resume their fight for control?
Plans call for all provinces to be transferred to Iraqi security control by Dec. 31, with the hope that U.S. troops could begin to leave. But increased attacks by Sunni insurgents could delay the transfer of Diyala, just northeast of Baghdad, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon told The Associated Press.
America is secretly funding militant ethnic separatist groups in Iran in an attempt to pile pressure on the Islamic regime to give up its nuclear programme.I think the newspaper has this wrong. These are not terrorists, they're "freedom fighters" pursuing the development of freedom, democracy, and the American way! Why, they're just like those freedom fighters we supported who wanted to rid themselves of Russian domination in Afghanistan!
In a move that reflects Washington's growing concern with the failure of diplomatic initiatives, CIA officials are understood to be helping opposition militias among the numerous ethnic minority groups clustered in Iran's border regions.
The operations are controversial because they involve dealing with movements that resort to terrorist methods in pursuit of their grievances against the Iranian regime.
Feb 24, 2007 — NEW YORK (Reuters) - Despite the Bush administration's insistence it has no plans to go to war with Iran, a Pentagon panel has been created to plan a bombing attack that could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from President George W. Bush, The New Yorker magazine reported in its latest issue.More smoke. Still wondering about the fire. Certainly I lean in the direction that they're going to do it. That third carrier group is not yet in place, so they're unlikely to attack imminently. But, still, this looks like more evidence of an plan to attack. I think Bush's mindset is such that he has nothing to lose as a lame-duck President who now see's his legacy in being a President who stood up to public opinion and "did the right thing". I really think the only way an attack on Iran can be stopped is through Congressional impeachment, which is unlikely.
The special planning group was established within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in recent months, according to an unidentified former U.S. intelligence official cited in the article by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in the March 4 issue.
Lieutenant Commander Matt Pothier returned yesterday from Afghanistan having delivered air support to British soldiers. He said: "Right now I have more opportunities than I've ever had to use weapons where we know there aren't any friendly people. In combat that's very rewarding."Nothing like those pesky friendlies to prevent you from playing that video game a full throttle. Maybe Lt. Commander Pothier needs to spend some time in Baghdad to get a feel for what it's like on the ground during such operations? I understand that warriors are trained to be, well, warriors. But this kind of attitude grates on me. War should be a reluctant experience, not one that you relish for the fun of using your new toys.
SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.I think history will show that there is a war going on within the administration about policy in the middle east. The Cheney wing of the government wants to attack Iran, the majority of the Pentagon (including Robert Gates) does not want an attack thinking it would be suicide.
Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.
“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.”
A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. “All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.
This article also discusses the way that the security plan in Baghdad and al-Anbar has displaced many guerrillas into Diyala Province northeast of Baghdad, where direct attacks on US troops are up 70 percent!
US troops arrested Ammar al-Hakim, the son of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, on his return from Iran. There are conflicting reports on whether he has been released.I'm gonna bet on the inexcusable stupidity. If it was on purpose there will be quite a dust-up between the Iraq "government" and Bush.
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim is the leader of the United Iraqi Alliance, the major bloc in parliament, and is enormously powerful and influential in Iraq. He also heads the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and its Badr Corps paramilitary. He visited Bush in the White House on Dec. 4. If the arrest of his son was deliberate, it could be a significant break between the US and its Shiite allies in Iraq. If it was an accident, it was inexcusable stupidity.
The Post and the NYT both stuff good dispatches from Iraq that illustrate the seemingly never-ending divide between Iraqi and American soldiers. The NYT takes a look at the street patrols in Baghdad that are part of the new security plan and says nothing much has changed. U.S. troops are still taking the lead and highly outnumber their Iraqi counterparts, who often make their sectarian affiliations clear and sometimes even warn residents of the approaching Americans. The Post spends some time in a police station in Baqubah that has both Iraqis and Americans. Again, it's the Americans that have to take the lead, and there is not much communication with the Iraqis, who are relegated to a different part of the station and have fewer rations and inferior equipment.I have read nothing with any credibility that suggests that the escalation is just that .... an American escalation. The situation on the ground is the same as it's been for years except now American forces are far more extended from support and vulnerable. By soldiers being stationed in "alamo's", outposts in "cleared" (they can't even decide who the good guys are and who the bad guys are) territory, they become subject to much more aggressive attacks. And probably worst of all, the so-called Iraqi army is as bad as expected, showing up in fewer numbers than promised and underperforming dramatically.
"Most of the troops . . . said they had no idea how their work might contribute to a larger effort, or even who the enemy is. And they said they do not trust the Iraqi police officers living one floor below them. At least one U.S. soldier stood guard with his rifle at all times, ensuring that none of the Iraqi police ventured into the American living area."and:
At least two of the national police officers who turned out for the operation were moving ahead of the American troops not to lead the security drive but to warn the residents to hide their weapons and other incriminating evidence. . . .
"The much anticipated effort to wrest Baghdad streets from the control of militias and insurgents has been presented in news conferences and public statements as an Iraqi-led operation. Iraqi officials have been out front, announcing arrests, weapons finds and other details, as well as new decrees intended to halt two years of so-called sectarian cleansing. But on the streets, the joint patrols seemed little different from those of the past few years: A handful of Iraqis, acting at the direction of a larger group of Americans, opening drawers and closets and looking behind furniture as they searched for banned weapons or other contraband.
"For the first few days of the operation, about 2,500 American troops took part, compared with about 300 Iraqi forces, a mix of police and Army personnel, military officials said."
To learn more about what happens when burials are delayed, NEWSWEEK’s Catharine Skipp spoke with Dr. Sherwin Nuland, who teaches bioethics and medical history at Yale University School of Medicine and is the author of the 1994 National Book Award winner, “How We Die,” and the soon-to-be-published “The Art of Aging: A Doctor’s Prescription for Well Being.”I thought this quote was particularly savory in answer to the totally stupid question, "What is the danger if the body remains untended?":
Did you ever open a refrigerator that someone turned off two weeks ago and look at the meats?...We are made of the same thing that roadkill is made of--it is a dreadful stench. That is the major reason for not being able to view the body. No matter how much air freshener they put in there, it ain’t gonna help.Just when you thought the media and the national discourse couldn't get any worse, it does.
I call our strategy “horizontal escalation.” I know horizontal escalation is not an Iranian term, but it captures the essence of what we will be doing. The term comes from the Cold War. U.S. strategists used it when they were referring to attacks on the Soviet Union outside the Central Front in Europe. The essence of the strategy is: “If you can’t win in one place, take the fight to another.”
So I did what AP apparently didn't have time to do -- get a translation of the names. It didn't take long to find out what they really meant:Go read Fubar's post, it has more wonderful tidbits. Once again (see: Chalabi, Ahmad) we have crack intelligence sources inside a hostile country feeding us horseshit. And AP was right there to lap it up without any skepticism or checking.
* Tamin Tajhizat Sanayeh Hasteieh: Corporation for Obtaining Nuclear Industries.
* Shakhes Behbood Sanaat: Division for Industrial Improvement.
* Sookht Atomi Reactorhaye Iran: Iranian Nuclear Reactor Fuel Company.
Here's a data point to make you stop and think: As of today, more people have borrowed money from their their brokers to buy stocks than ever before.This is typically a big big warning sign. When people are willing to take such risk in a stock market gamble, it often is the mark of a market that is ready to drop significantly. Barry then goes on to highlight several other measures that typically have been warning lights for the market, all ignored thus far.
That number was reached this past month, with Margin debt hitting an all-time high, passing even the days of the tech/telecom/internet boom.
Following one White House meeting at which he'd asked for more time and more troops, Stormin' Norman reports; Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell called to warn the Desert Storm commander that he was being loudly compared, by a top administration official, to George McClellan. "My God," the official supposedly complained. "He's got all the force he needs. Why won't he just attack?" Schwarzkopf notes that the unnamed official who'd made the comment "was a civilian who knew next to nothing about military affairs, but he'd been watching the Civil War documentary on public television and was now an expert."And this guy is now the de facto leader of the free world. We are screwed.
And then, twenty pages later, Schwarzkopf casually drops the information that he got an inspirational gift from Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney right before the air war finally got under way. Cheney was presenting a gift to a military man, and he chose something with an appropriate theme: "(A) complete set of videotapes of Ken Burns's PBS series, The Civil War."
But that wasn't the only gift that Dick Cheney had for Norman Schwarzkopf. Having figured out that the general was being too cautious with his fourth combat command in three decades of soldiering, Cheney got his staff busy and began presenting Schwarzkopf with his own ideas about how to fight the Iraqis: What if we parachute the 82nd Airborne into the far western part of Iraq, hundreds of miles from Kuwait and totally cut off from any kind of support, and seize a couple of missile sites, then line up along the highway and drive for Baghdad? Schwarzkopf charitably describes the plan as being "as bad as it could possibly be... But despite our criticism, the western excursion wouldn't die: three times in that week alone Powell called with new variations from Cheney's staff. The most bizarre involved capturing a town in western Iraq and offering it to Saddam in exchange for Kuwait." (Throw in a Pete Rose rookie card?) None of this Walter Mitty posturing especially surprised Schwarzkopf, who points out that he'd already known Cheney as "one of the fiercest cold warriors in Congress.
Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr.: "In our news gathering, we seek to be strictly nonpartisan and nonideological. We're human beings, we make mistakes, but we do not set out to be, nor do I think we are, liberal. And judging from my e-mail traffic in recent years, the left is much more critical, and much more angrily critical, of our coverage than the right has been." - February 22, 2007Damned straight.
But Jordan and Partlow write that "military and political analysts disputed Blair's upbeat description of the situation in the Basra area. They also said they believed the timing of the British drawdown may have more to do with plunging polls for Blair's Labor Party, pressure from British military officials and Blair's desire to begin an endgame for Iraq before he leaves office. . . .Southern Iraq is dominated by Shiite militia's. The big difference between the conflicts in the north and the south is the conflict between the Shiites who are more allied with Iran and those who are not. Sadr has a growing presence in southern Iraq and is a torn in SCIRI's fanny. The British withdrawal will mean either a shift of American forces to southern Iraq, or a civil war heating up between the two Shiite factions with Iran right in the middle of it (and we know what that would mean). The most likely outcome is that both will occur.
"'While the British zone is much quieter,' [said Michael Williams, head of the transatlantic program at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies,] the Basra area 'still has a number of security issues' and it 'is foolhardy' to believe that Iraqi forces are ready to assume total control of the area. He also noted that if Blair had the political will, he could deploy some troops to help out the Americans in Baghdad instead of sending them home."
Smartness, according to the article, is something we can't help having or not having. Effort, on the other hand, is something we can choose to make or not to make. Without positive reinforcement for effort, there is little incentive for the making of it.Go to her site to read her thoughts on this and get the link for the article.
All the papers go inside with the latest developments in the alleged rape of a Sunni woman by Iraqi police officers. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki fired a top Sunni official who had criticized the government and had called for an investigation. Meanwhile, the prime minister's office said it will sue the woman for making up the story and released what it claimed was a portion of the woman's medical record, which supposedly proves she wasn't raped. McClatchy showed the file to some rape experts who said the medical file doesn't prove that at all, and, in fact, some of the injuries reported are consistent with reports of sexual assault. USAT says the U.S. military will launch its own investigationIs Maliki nuts or what? I read somewhere yesterday that Maliki gave the alleged rapists medals too.
Gaining this understanding is one of the most difficult challenges facing U.S. soldiers operating here. Over two days, more than 350 U.S. troops involved in the operation searched 95 homes, discovered about a dozen roadside bombs -- including two that exploded under their tanks, causing no injuries -- and took scattered small-arms fire. But they failed to capture a single insurgent.(Said in a nasal voice) "I'm sorry, the number you have reached is not in service at this time".
Although the security plan has been cast as an Iraqi-led mission, no Iraqi police operate around Ibrahim bin Ali. And Lt. Col. Kurt Pinkerton, the battalion commander, said he could not persuade Iraqi army commandos to assist.
"They didn't return my calls," he said.
"I don't know who they are. They look exactly the same. The bad guys and the good guys look exactly the same."Followed later by:
Without such heightened presence, he said, even armed residents are afraid to confront the insurgents. "I know they have AK-47 weapons in their house. What they'll always tell you is, 'until you're out here full time we can't' " respond, Pinkerton [the American commander] said.So when the Americans search a house and find guns, the residents tell them they're just keeping weapons to protect themselves, although they're afraid to actually confront an insurgent "until you're out here full time ..." . Yet the military acknowledges that the insurgents look like everyone else.
"John said some nasty things about me the other day, and then next time he saw me, ran over to me and apologized. Maybe he'll apologize to Rumsfeld."Really. The guy has become a comic book character in his pandering.
-- Vice President Dick Cheney, quoted by The Politico, about Sen. John McCain's recent comments about former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
According to Media Bistro, the Nevada Democratic Party is working with Fox News Channel to host a debate with all the Democratic Party Presidential candidates in August. This is, to put it mildly, insane. Fox News is a partisan GOP propaganda outlet, not a news station, and it is irresponsible for any candidate or party official to lend it the immense credibility of a Presidential forum. It would be better to do this on MSNBC, CNN, C-Span, or just stream it on the internet where all the blogs can carry it.Go here to sign up. And putting it in your own words will mean more than using the form. But using the form is better than doing nothing.
Consumer prices rose more than expected last month, with big price gains coming in food and medical care. Fortunately, these two items, along with energy prices, are totally irrelevant to our economy and personal consumption, and so don't matter all that much to the Federal Reserve.
Inflation ex-inflation was, as always, flat.
"There is a cloud over the vice president . . . And that cloud remains because this defendant obstructed justice," Fitzgerald said.Fitzgerald put his entire summation in the plural "they", not "him", leaving no doubt that he's concluded that Cheney's behind the whole thing, but that Libby's lying to shield the Vice President.
"There is a cloud over the White House. Don't you think the FBI and the grand jury and the American people are entitled to straight answers?" Fitzgerald asked the jury.
Kids today. They have no sense of shame. They have no sense of privacy. They are show-offs, fame whores, pornographic little loons who post their diaries, their phone numbers, their stupid poetry—for God’s sake, their dirty photos!—online. They have virtual friends instead of real ones. They talk in illiterate instant messages. They are interested only in attention—and yet they have zero attention span, flitting like hummingbirds from one virtual stage to another.Why would the younger generation be this way, so narcissitic, so self-centered, so cravenly fame seeking?
"Justice demands that those who want to hold talks with us shut down their nuclear fuel cycle program too," he said. "Then, we can hold dialogue under a fair atmosphere."
Cheney called it good news.The guy was likely in a tank with air cover.
"I look at it and see it is actually an affirmation that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well," Cheney told ABC News while in Tokyo.
"In fact, I talked to a friend just the other day who had driven to Baghdad down to Basra, seven hours, found the situation dramatically improved from a year or so ago, sort of validated the British view they had made progress in southern Iraq and that they can therefore reduce their force levels," he added.
Josh, one of the arguments made by Cheney in the interview (and others such as John Howard) is that the British withdrawal is good news because it reflects improvement in the situation in the South. Well, if this is the case, then why aren't the British troops being moved to where they are needed instead of being withdrawn? Why is nobody asking this question?Ahhhhh .....
BAGHDAD — U.S. and Iraqi forces have moved aggressively in the last week to combat Sunni Arab insurgents in neighborhoods across the capital and to establish a stronger presence in religiously mixed districts long plagued by sectarian violence.Since the announced crackdown in Baghdad, Sadr City has been relatively quiet. The strategy of playing nice while the American's fight their war for them has been working well for the Shiites. But the strategy is playing out exactly the way the Sunni's predicted and they are really putting the heat on the U.S. to be even-handed.
But as the new security crackdown enters a second week, they face their most sensitive challenge: whether, when and how to move into the Shiite-dominated slum of Sadr City, stronghold of the Al Mahdi militia.
Political pressure has mounted to crack down on the Baghdad neighborhood that harbors the militia loyal to radical anti-American cleric Muqtada Sadr. Sunni Arabs, who make up the backbone of the insurgency, have long accused Shiite Prime Minister Nouri Maliki of allowing Sadr City to remain a haven for the militia to keep the support of Sadr's followers.
The Mahdi Army (sic) are the street gangs of the Sadr Movement, to which millions of Iraqis have given their allegiance. You can't uproot a social movement with a few patrols and firefights. Sadrism will be there long after the US is forced to withdraw from Iraq.So will Sunnism. So will SCIRI.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday fired a top Sunni official who had called for an international investigation into the rape allegations leveled by a Sunni Arab woman against three members of the Shiite-dominated security forces.Maliki must have attended the George Bush Jr. school of government.
A statement by al-Maliki's office gave no reason in announcing the dismissal of Ahmed Abdul-Ghafour al-Samaraie, head of the Sunni Endowments. Al-Samaraie, whose organization cares for Sunni mosques and shrines in
Iraq, had joined other prominent Sunnis in criticizing the government's handling of the case.
Rape is considered especially heinous in conservative Muslim countries, and victims rarely come forward since they risk not only public scorn but possible "honor killing" at the hands of male relations seeking to restore the family's honor.The alleged victim was treated by Americans who are not releasing the details of her examination. The woman is Sunni, so of course the entire episode is just adding fuel to the sectarian divides. And guess who's in the middle of the whole thing?
A nurse who said she treated the woman after the attack said that she saw signs of sexual and physical assault. The woman, according to the nurse, could identify one of her attackers because he was not wearing a mask, as were the others, and could identify a second attacker by a mark on his genitals.
Theodore V. Wells, one of Libby’s attorneys, took a detour from his prepared remarks in the CIA leak case after prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg reminded jurors of Wells’ opening statement three weeks ago in which Wells painted Libby as the scapegoat in a White House plot to protect President Bush’s aide, Karl Rove. After making a big splash with that assertion, the Libby team pivoted, canceling plans to call Libby and Vice President Dick Cheney as witnesses.Wells doesn't remember making the assertion that the White House was throwing him under the bus to protect Rove?
Zeidenberg, borrowing a page from Libby’s own “faulty memory” defense, told jurors their memories weren’t failing them if they couldn’t recall hearing evidence proving Wells’s Libby-as-victim argument. “If you think back and draw a blank, I suggest to you ladies and gentlemen, it’s not a problem with your memory. It’s because there was no such evidence.'’
Wells called Zeidenberg’s remarks “personal” and said he “made no such promise” to return to his argument that Libby was being scapegoated. Indeed, he asserted that the prosecution fell short of its own burden to prove Libby guilty.
The NYT examines the American Idol phenomenon and says the show has gone against all television conventional wisdom by actually seeing an increase in ratings, even though it's currently in its sixth season. To put the ratings in perspective, the program "could lose half its audience and still rank among the top 10 shows on television." Meanwhile, other networks are forced to switch their programs around to not compete with what the chief scheduler for CBS called "the ultimate schoolyard bully." Jeff Zucker, the new chief executive of NBC Universal, gives the most depressing assessment: "I think Idol is the most impactful show in the history of television."
The New York Times and Los Angeles Times lead with yesterday's coordinated attack by Sunni insurgents on a recently opened American combat outpost north of Baghdad that killed two American soldiers and wounded 17.I think I'd call them death traps myself.
The attack involved at least one car bomb, which was followed by insurgents firing on the outpost from various directions. Although U.S. outposts are frequently attacked from a distance, yesterday's coordinated frontal attack could be seen as a shift toward more-aggressive tactics.
“‘Are you telling me that I can’t go to the ceremony ’cause I’m an amputee?‘” asked David Thomas, an Iraq war veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart. Thomas was told he could not wear shorts to attend a ceremony with President Bush because the media would be there, and shorts were not advisable because the amputees would be seated in the front row. David responded, “I’m not ashamed of what I did, and y’all shouldn’t be neither.” When the guest list came out for the ceremony, his name was not on it.If Bush didn't have his head up his ass, he would not only have his picture taken with this guy, but he'd have him to dinner in the family quarters of the White House.
These principled conservatives really get you coming and going don't they?Yep. They do.
WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 — Back when Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was first lady, no one better embodied what she once called the “vast right-wing conspiracy” than Richard Mellon Scaife.Nuthin' like a dose of a really bad President to offer some perspective, hey?
Mr. Scaife, reclusive heir to the Mellon banking fortune, spent more than $2 million investigating and publicizing accusations about the supposed involvement of Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton in corrupt land deals, sexual affairs, drug running and murder.
But now, as Mrs. Clinton is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Mr. Scaife’s checkbook is staying in his pocket.
Christopher Ruddy, who once worked full-time for Mr. Scaife investigating the Clintons and now runs a conservative online publication he co-owns with Mr. Scaife, said, “Both of us have had a rethinking.”
“Clinton wasn’t such a bad president,” Mr. Ruddy said. “In fact, he was a pretty good president in a lot of ways, and Dick feels that way today.”
“I will screw him in the ass!”President George Bush to Ariel Sharon when asked what he would do with Osama Bin Laden when he caught him. Lieberman, Broder, Roberts and the other pearl cluthers must be shocked! Why, why ..... he almost sounds like a (gasp!) blogger!
Just before he died, Uri Dan, who had been Ariel Sharon’s loyal mouthpiece for almost 50 years, published a book in France. It includes a report of a conversation Sharon told him about, with President (George W.) Bush. Sharon asked for permission to kill Arafat and Bush gave it to him, with the proviso that it must be done undetectably. When Dan asked Sharon whether it had been carried out, Sharon answered: “It’s better not to talk about that.” Dan took this as confirmation…Update: We're on a roll here:
As Fleischer recounted [an exchange with Helen Thomas about Saddam Hussein] for the president, Bush's mood changed, according to Levine. He grew grim and determined—steely. Out of nowhere, he unleashed a stream of expletives.Oh my! What will we do about the children. Well. At least the President is keeping the dignity of the Presidency in place by not getting a blow job!
"Did you tell her I don't like motherfuckers who gas their own people?" the president snapped.
"Did you tell her I don't like assholes who lie to the world?"
"Did you tell her I'm going to kick his sorry motherfucking ass all over the Mideast?"
[Busshhhh] loves flatulence jokes. A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he’s still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can’t get enough of fart jokes. He’s also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides, but forget about getting people to gas about that.
Experiments have found that an average person tells about two lies every 10 minutes. Also, those who lie frequently have the best intentions and think they are benefiting others.
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!