Former P-G'er Michael McGough reports on yesterday's meeting between George and new British PM Gordon Brown:
Read it and cringe:BUSH: All right. He's a Scotsman, you know, kind of -- he's not the dour Scotsman that you described or the awkward Scotsman. He's actually a humorous Scotsman, the guy that we actually were able to relax and to share some thoughts. ... You know, I was very interested in his family life. He's a man who suffered unspeakable tragedy, and instead of that weakening his soul, it strengthened his soul. I was impressed. And I'm confident that we'll be able to keep our relationship strong, healthy, vibrant and that there will be constant communications as we deal with these problems."
Bush wasn't specific about the "unspeakable tragedy" in Brown's life; maybe he was referring to the fact that the future prime minister's first child died in infancy or that Brown himself was blinded in one eye as a teen-ager (is Bush obsessed with visual impairments?). Either way, it came across as gauche, though arguably not as embarrassing as his tribute to former Prime Minister Tony Blair: "I've heard he's been called Bush's poodle. He's bigger than that."
Brown responded graciously to both Bush's ethnic reference and this tribute to the PM's triumph over tragedy:What President Bush has said is both very compassionate and it reflects the conversation we had about a whole series of issues that we can deal with together. I think your understanding, if I may say so, of Scotland was enhanced by the fact that you went to Scotland, you told me, at the age of 14 and had to sit through a very long Presbyterian church service in which you didn't understand a word of what the minister was actually saying. So I think you came to a better understanding of the Scottish contribution to the United Kingdom from that.
Translation: Tony wasn't kidding about this guy.
Our long national embarrassment goes on.
DeFib Dick is still pushing the idea that he's his own branch of the government.
We are ruled by very bad people.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday that a strongly positive report on progress on Iraq by Army Gen. David Petraeus likely would split Democrats in the House and impede his party's efforts to press for a timetable to end the war.
Clyburn noted that Petraeus carries significant weight among the 47 members of the Blue Dog caucus in the House, a group of moderate to conservative Democrats. Without their support, he said, Democratic leaders would find it virtually impossible to pass legislation setting a timetable for withdrawal.
"I think there would be enough support in that group to want to stay the course and if the Republicans were to stay united as they have been, then it would be a problem for us," Clyburn said. "We, by and large, would be wise to wait on the report."
We might as well get used to the fact that unless Dennis Kucinich is elected (not an endorsement) we're going to be in Iraq forever. None of the leading Democratic candidates will remove the troops in any significant way and I need not even mention the All War All the Time party.
Yes, we might as well just get used to it. There are no more Profiles in Courage.
BooMan has another look.
Livin' the good life:
Iraq's parliament on Monday shrugged off U.S. criticism and adjourned for a month, as key lawmakers declared there was no point waiting any longer for the prime minister to deliver Washington-demanded benchmark legislation for their vote.
Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani closed the final three-hour session without a quorum present and declared lawmakers would not reconvene until Sept. 4. That date is just 11 days before the top U.S. military and political officials in Iraq must report to Congress on American progress in taming violence and organizing conditions for sectarian reconciliation.
This is a sterling idea. I'm glad that our troops are also getting August off.
What's that? They're not?
Well, that changes things.
When your house is raided by agents of the FBI and IRS that's generally not a good thing.
(Note to other great movie directors: If you want to die now seems to be the time to do it.)
Shorter David Ignatius:
"If everybody would just SHUT UP! then maybe we could figure out what to do about Iraq."
The "wisdom" of our punditocracy never fails to amaze.
How long are people going to put up with shit like this?
A surgeon general's report in 2006 that called on Americans to help tackle global health problems has been kept from the public by a Bush political appointee without any background or expertise in medicine or public health, chiefly because the report did not promote the administration's policy accomplishments, according to current and former public health officials.
The report described the link between poverty and poor health, urged the U.S. government to help combat widespread diseases as a key aim of its foreign policy, and called on corporations to help improve health conditions in the countries where they operate. A copy of the report was obtained by The Washington Post.
Three people directly involved in its preparation said its publication was blocked by William R. Steiger, a specialist in education and a scholar of Latin American history whose family has long ties to President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Since 2001, Steiger has run the Office of Global Health Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Carmona told lawmakers that, as he fought to release the document, he was "called in and again admonished . . . via a senior official who said, 'You don't get it.' " He said a senior official told him that "this will be a political document, or it will not be released."
Steiger, 37, is a godson of former president George H.W. Bush and the son of a moderate Republican who represented Wisconsin in the House and hired a young Dick Cheney as an intern. The elder Bush appointed Steiger's mother to the Federal Trade Commission in 1989. A biographical sketch of her on the American Bar Association's Web site states that Steiger's parents, now deceased, were "lifelong friends" of many members of the same congressional class, including the Rumsfelds and the Bushes.
I've never been an isolationist but I'm starting think that our country is so broken that it may be time for us to withdraw from the world as much as possible and concentrate on fixing ourselves.
I shudder to think how long it's going to take to repair the damage wrought by the current administration. Indeed, I'm not entirely sure it can be fixed. Not a cheery thought but there you are.
Picking up on the post below, a NYT editorial concludes:
As far as we can tell, there are three possible explanations for Mr. Gonzales’s talk about a dispute over other — unspecified — intelligence activities. One, he lied to Congress. Two, he used a bureaucratic dodge to mislead lawmakers and the public: the spying program was modified after Mr. Ashcroft refused to endorse it, which made it “different” from the one Mr. Bush has acknowledged. The third is that there was more wiretapping than has been disclosed, perhaps even purely domestic wiretapping, and Mr. Gonzales is helping Mr. Bush cover it up.
Democratic lawmakers are asking for a special prosecutor to look into Mr. Gonzales’s words and deeds. Solicitor General Paul Clement has a last chance to show that the Justice Department is still minimally functional by fulfilling that request.
If that does not happen, Congress should impeach Mr. Gonzales.
The only thing Clement will do is further the cover up. That leaves only one option.
If the Congressional Democrats are up to it. And that remains in doubt.
Something's going on:
A 2004 dispute over the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance program that led top Justice Department officials to threaten resignation involved computer searches through massive electronic databases, according to current and former officials briefed on the program.
The first known assertion by administration officials that there had been no serious disagreement within the government about the legality of the N.S.A. program came in talks with New York Times editors in 2004. In an effort to persuade the editors not to disclose the eavesdropping program, senior officials repeatedly cited the lack of dissent as evidence of the program’s lawfulness.
Putting aside the NYT's shameful capitulation, it would appear that the administration lied (big surprise, I know). But since George acknowledged the existence of the program - implicitly acknowledging criminal acts - why the cover up? My first guess would be because they can. The utter paranoia that anybody might be watching them is without parallel in our history.
Josh has a different reaction:
To put this into perspective, remember that the White House has been willing to go to the public and make a positive argument for certain surveillance procedures (notably evasion of the FISA Court strictures) which appear to be illegal on their face. This must be much more serious and apparently something all but the most ravenous Bush authoritarians would never accept. It is supposedly no longer even happening and hasn't been for a few years. So disclosing it could not jeopardize a program. The only reason that suggests itself is that the political and legal consequences of disclosure are too grave to allow.
This makes sense. And if Josh is right then we need some serious investigations. If such investigations prove impossible now then the next president - assuming he or she is a Democrat - must launch investigations and be prepared to pursue convictions.
However, we all know how this works: "We must look to the future not dwell in the past." And in a decade or two we'll go through all of this again.
From kumquats to Mr. Muckle:
It's Saturday so Bob Geiger has 'em.
Why are our troops fighting and dying for Iraq?
Iraq’s national government is refusing to take possession of thousands of American-financed reconstruction projects, forcing the United States either to hand them over to local Iraqis, who often lack the proper training and resources to keep the projects running, or commit new money to an effort that has already consumed billions of taxpayer dollars.
The process of transferring projects to Iraq “worked for a while,” Mr. Bowen said. But then the new government took over and installed its finance minister, Bayan Jabr, who has been a continuing center of controversy in his various government posts and is formally in charge of the transfers.
“After Mr. Jabr took over, that process ceased to function,” Mr. Bowen said.
The report was released too late in the day to contact Mr. Jabr, who is part of a Shiite alliance in charge of the government. In his previous position as interior minister, he was accused of running Shiite death squads out of the ministry. In his current position he has developed a reputation as being slow to release budget money to Iraqi government entities, which would have to run the new projects at substantial expense.
He is sometimes suspected of seeking to use his position to undermine the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who is also a Shiite but answers to a different faction within the alliance. In interviews, Mr. Jabr has rejected those accusations and says he strongly supports the government.
Really, after a while it all becomes mind-numbing.
The Bush administration is preparing to ask Congress to approve an arms sale package for Saudi Arabia and its neighbors that is expected to eventually total $20 billion at a time when some United States officials contend that the Saudis are playing a counterproductive role in Iraq.
In defending the proposed sale to Saudi Arabia and other gulf states, the officials noted that the Saudis and several of the other countries were in talks with suppliers other than the United States. If the packages offered to them by the United States are blocked or come with too many conditions, the officials said, the Persian Gulf countries could turn elsewhere for similar equipment, reducing American influence in the region.
Perhaps all of those jokes about BushCo™ simply being an arm of the House of Saud weren't just jokes. Certainly the US arms industry prefers profits over actual national security. At any rate, Congress will squawk about this then pass the deal in a nice bipartisan fashion.
We are ruled by fools.
There's absolutely no reason to have "news" helicopters following police chases except prurience.
I remember watching MSNBC one evening 7 or 8 years ago - John Gibson had a show then - and they had on live coverage of some nutter in LA blocking traffic on a freeway. The guy had set his truck on fire on an overpass and he was walking around with a shotgun. Before anyone in MSNBC's control room could do anything the guy stuck the gun in his mouth and his head disappeared in a pink mist. Cut back to Gibson: "we're very sorry you had to see that. Let's take a break." [cue commercial.]
Sorry? No, John, you weren't sorry and neither were the suits who run the network. Remember, fellas, "if it bleeds, it leads." If you were actually sorry you and all the other networks and teevee stations would simply stop broadcasting this particular sort of porn.
Now I won't say anything about the four who were killed; they were just in it for a paycheck for all I know. But the "news" directors and the station owners, they're a different story. They had their helicopters following this chase because they wanted their own "pink mist." No doubt they would deny or rationalize that but it remains a fact. That their own employees became the Pink Mist wasn't part of the plan, especially since it didn't result in smashing video footage.
Right now, the stations are offering this:
Tragedy! Live continuing coverage! Sign our condolence book! (Oh boy, this is ratings GOLD!)
No doubt before the evening is done - in fact, probably just in time for the late "news" cast - the "news" managers and station owners will release statements of sorrow. Tomorrow or the next day - soon, certainly - there will be a debate: Is this sort of coverage news or not? Whichever way that goes those concerned will justify the coverage as being what the viewers want.
And they will be right.
This doesn't count:
Vice President Dick Cheney will have a new internal heart defibrillator implanted on Saturday morning because the battery needs replacing, his office said on Friday.
Cheney, 66, has had four heart attacks, the most recent shortly after the November 2000 election, although it was considered mild. He had the defibrillator implanted in his chest in 2001 to help regulate his heartbeat.
It would be a shame if he had a fifth heart attack.
Who would have guessed?
The Bush administration sent a warning to Saudi Arabia, until this year one of its closest allies, to stop undermining the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki.
The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and the defence secretary, Robert Gates, are scheduled to visit Jeddah next week. A diplomat in Washington said of the two governments: "There is a lot of bad blood between the two."
In a sign of the extent to which the relationship has deteriorated, the US made public claims that the Saudis have been distributing fake documents lying about Mr Maliki.
Another BushCheney foreign policy success!
We'll always have Riyadh...
Over the years, we've come to know and love this guy:
Now comes the news that he has friends:
This all reminds me of watching a David Duke rally on teevee back in the eighties. He was running for, I think, governor of Louisiana. Right in front of the podium where Duke was speaking a supporter was holding up a sign that read, "WITE POWER!"
Sometimes our wingers are so gosh-darned adorable.
[From The Brad Blog.]
Dude, wanna go to a kegger?
Astronauts flew drunk on at least two occasions despite warnings from doctors and colleagues that they posed a flight safety risk, according to a report commissioned by NASA.
"Interviews with both flight surgeons and astronauts identified some episodes of heavy use of alcohol by astronauts in the immediate preflight period," the panel said.
"Until we have more information, NASA cannot determine the veracity of these claims," the report said.
"Alcohol is freely used in crew quarters," the report said. "Two specific instances were described where astronauts had been so intoxicated prior to flight that flight surgeons and/or fellow astronauts raised concerns to local on-scene leadership regarding flight safety. However, the individuals were still permitted to fly."
The beauty of this is that there's no chance of the driver being pulled over.
for someone as batshit-insane as Squeaky Wheels Krauthammer to call someone else "naive" is both pathetic and hiliarious:
For Barack Obama, it was strike two. And this one was a right-down-the-middle question from a YouTuber in Monday night's South Carolina debate: "Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?"
"I would," responded Obama.
Now, I'll agree that Obama was being naive - but politically; should he be the Democratic candidate losing all of the Miami Cuban votes could prove fatal. (Gads, I've grown to hate Florida. But I digress.)
What Chuckles is really arguing, however, is that we should never talk to our adversaries but simply bomb them back to the Paleolithic Era. It's a good thing that presidents from Truman on (even Reagan!) didn't hew to the ideas espoused by the likes of Kraphammer and his fellow neocon nutters.
Chuckles' colleague William Arkin quotes Obama:
"When we talk to world leaders, it gives us an opportunity to speak about our ideals, our values and our interests, and I am not afraid to have that conversation with anybody," he said. "If I sit down with the leader of Iran, I will send him a strong message that Israel is our friend, that we will assist in their security and that we don't find nuclear weapons acceptable.... That's not going to be a propaganda coup for the president of Iran."
This is right. (Note: I'm not an Obama supporter.) It should be noted that Arkin takes a similar, but more rationally reasoned, line as Chuckles. And it should also be noted that Ahmadinejad isn't the real power in Iran - a council of Mullahs is. And they have shown a willingness to sit down and have a reasonable discussion.
On the other hand, maybe Chuckles is right. It's safe to assume that if President Obama - or any other president - dared to speak to the like of Chavez or Castro or Kim then the Krauthammers of this country - and they're legion - would unleash a firestorm that would destroy any chance of ratcheting down tensions. Indeed, the neocons are going to continue to work to make sure that enemies stay enemies and to make sure that new enemies are always in the offing.
So, maybe Chuckles is right, but his would be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
On the subject of data sharing on airline passengers between the US and Europe we find this:
According to the deal, the information that can be used in such exceptional circumstances includes "racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership" and data about an individual's health, traveling partners and sexual orientation.
Trade union membership? Sexual orientation?
This agreement has little or nothing to do with preventing terrorism and everything to do with an enforcing an extreme right-wing agenda.
I'm losing the ability to even recognize this country anymore.
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III yesterday contradicted the sworn testimony of his boss, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, by telling Congress that a prominent warrantless surveillance program was the subject of a dramatic legal debate within the Bush administration.
Mueller's testimony appears to mark the first public confirmation from a Bush administration official that the National Security Agency's Terrorist Surveillance Program was at issue in an unusual nighttime visit by Gonzales to the hospital bedside of then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, who was under sedation and recovering from surgery.
"[Gonzales] tells the half-truth, the partial truth and anything but the truth," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) [...]
I'm no fan of Schumer's but that's a pretty good line.
So, Leahy and Conyers, now do you have enough to start impeachment proceedings? Or will it be another round of Sternly Worded Letters™?
I've had some major computer problems and am going to need to perform some repairs.
Be back as soon as I can.
UPDATE: Everything seems to be working now. Note to Mac people: If you don't have Disk Warrior get it post haste.
And on it goes:
The Senate Judiciary Committee issued two more subpoenas as part of the U.S. attorney firings investigation today: one for Karl Rove and the other for his deputy, Scott Jennings. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced the subpoenas on the Senate floor.
Karl and Scott will simply refuse to show up and Leahy will respond with another Sternly Worded Letter™.
Second verse, same as the last.
Three Senate Democrats called on the Justice Department's Solicitor General to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether or not Attorney General Alberto Gonzales committed perjury in Congressional testimony on the Bush administration's domestic spying program.
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) harshly criticized the Attorney General in the Thursday Capitol Hill press conference.
"His inability to answer simple and straight forward questions was stunning," Schumer said. "His instinct is not to tell the truth, but to dissemble and deceive."
Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is giving Gonzales until next week to change his testimony or face a perjury investigation. However Schumer told CNN, "I would like to see an investigation occur right away."
We've already seen one special prosecutor during this administration:
...who won of conviction of this guy:
...who, in turn, was immediately had his sentenced commuted by this guy:
...and that process took 3 1/2 years.
A special prosecutor is merely a time-waster for those who value the law and the Constitution. And a special prosecutor will take enough time so that George can simply pardon Abu as he prepares to leave the White House.
Just like his daddy.
Senate Democrats: Drop this idea and try something that might actually work. Impeachment comes to mind. Otherwise just go back to doing what you do best: Being spineless bloviators.
ADDED: Marcy Wheeler add details and (unlike me) intelligently explains why a special prosecutor is a bad idea.
I'm not at home so probably no posting until later this afternoon. Just sayin'
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!!!
It's a good thing that our health care free market prevents long wait times unlike those socialist nations that have national health care:
Adults with no health insurance face waits up to a year or longer for gallbladder or hernia surgery in Los Angeles County, a backlog that community clinic doctors say has worsened since the county downsized Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital last year.
Granted, that's just one city but I can tell you from personal experience that even the insured have trouble getting a doctors' appointment that isn't 3-6 months away.
Even that notorious Communist rag, Business Week, recognizes the problem yet bring up "national health care" and you'll be clobbered with "Long wait times! Long wait times!"
Yet another media narrative that can't be killed.
How's this for a lede:
Democratic leaders are taking an all-or-nothing approach on Iraq, a tack that leaves its members empty-handed for now but keeps the party in lockstep with demands by anti-war groups.
Those Dirty Hippies in anti-war groups! So demanding!
Apparently 58% of the American public are Dirty Hippies. (Other polls come up with similar numbers.)
Good job, Associated Press.
Rove stopped at the Twin Lakes Nordic Lodge, which sits across the road from a peaceful, clear lake surrounded by lush, green yet still snow-capped mountains, for a bathroom and coffee break on his way to Aspen about two weeks ago. The owner of the lodge, Charlie Gandy, says Rove told him he has "still got legal bills to pay" and that he plans to "write books" after he leaves the White House 18 months from now, when the administration comes to an end.
Having Rove waltz into his lodge was quite a surprise for Gandy, a former Democratic Texas state representative who in the 1980s was a casualty of a GOP strategy to recruit Christian conservative candidates -- a strategy masterminded by none other than Karl Rove. Gandy is more accustomed to serving leather-clad bikers who stop to rest.
"I never know who's going to walk through that door," Gandy, laughing and gritting his teeth a bit, told a reporter who stopped by the lodge. "Sometimes it's like the Twilight Zone."
He said that Rove walked into the lodge and went directly to the restroom, at which point Gandy told a few visitors standing around the front desk, "That was Karl Rove."
One visitor responded, "Karl Rove?! I'd like to kick his [expletive]." Just then, Rove walked out of the restroom and Gandy said, "Well, there he is." The big-talking instigator slumped out the door.
Gandy gave the impression that he was a little disappointed he didn't get to see the threat carried out -- although he good-naturedly said that he is "in awe" of Rove's political abilities.
I'm not "in awe of Rove's political abilities"; however successful he's been Rove's still a cheap thug who simply recognizes no moral or ethical limits. "It's just politics" doesn't wash with me.
Hey, Congressional Democrats! Check this out:
The latest Washington Post-ABC News survey shows that 65 percent of Americans disapprove of Bush's job performance, matching his all-time low. In polls conducted by The Post or Gallup going back to 1938, only once has a president exceeded that level of public animosity -- and that was Richard M. Nixon, who hit 66 percent four days before he resigned.
The historic depth of Bush's public standing has whipsawed his White House, sapped his clout, drained his advisers, encouraged his enemies and jeopardized his legacy. Around the White House, aides make gallows-humor jokes about how they can alienate their remaining supporters -- at least those aides not heading for the door. Outside the White House, many former aides privately express anger and bitterness at their erstwhile colleagues, Bush and the fate of his presidency.
The current president, though, has endured bad numbers longer than Nixon or his father did and longer than anyone other than Truman. His disapproval rating has topped 50 percent for more than two years. And though Truman hit 65 percent once, Bush has hit that high three times in the past 14 months.
But you wouldn't want to do anything that upsets the White House, would you?
And this backs up what I've been saying:
Bush has been so down for so long that some advisers maintain it no longer bothers them much. It can even, they say, be liberating. Seeking the best interpretation for the president's predicament, they argue that Bush can do what he thinks is right without regard to political cost, pointing to decisions to send more U.S. troops to Iraq and to commute the sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff.
Translation: BushCheney have nothing to lose. Just imagine all of the things they can do with that attitude.
Think on that, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.
Who weeps for Bat Boy?
American Media has decided to suspend publication of Weekly World News, both the print publication and the web site. No reason was given at press time, although reliable sources do tell us that management turned down at least one offer to buy the publication.
The weekly supermarket tabloid—known as the home of "Bat Boy" and other less-than-probable stories—has long had staffing connections with the science fiction, fantasy, and horror fields.
Bob Greenberger, an editor with Weekly World News, reports on his blog that he and the rest of the staff were called into a meeting about noon on Friday where they were "told the Board of Directors has chosen to close Weekly World News. The reasons given make no sense. We're stunned and shell-shocked. We're to stay on through August 3, finishing the reprint issues and then we're done. A glorious, funny, odd publication, born in 1979, will go out with a whimper and all I can think is that something's going on that they're not telling us because it just doesn't make sense."
What will become of Ed Anger?
So the Weekly World News will no longer be published but journals of absurdist fiction such as Rupert Murdoch and Bill Kristol's Weekly Standard go on.
There is no justice.
Free speech? Free jail:
McConnell was at the market in Kensington as usual yesterday, selling buttons that say "Impeach Him" He has sold the $1 buttons for months; he told The Washington Post he uses the money earned to pay for "Impeach Them Both" yard signs.
Town officials had previously warned McConnell about peddling his political wares at the market (he is accused of being "aggressive" in his pitch), and had cited him for selling merchandise without a proper permit.
McConnell was also warned that he would be arrested if he returned to the market, even though it is public property.
McConnell showed up this weekend, when police arrested him and forcibly carried him to a squad car. A crowd of about 40 McConnell supporters booed the arrest, chanting "Free speech!"
McConnell was charged with trespassing; he faces 90 days in jail and a $500 fine
Officials said kicking him out has nothing to do with politics but with fears that the atmosphere fostered by McConnell and his supporters would create a safety hazard. (Mayor Peter Fosselman even cancelled last Saturday's market.)
Sooooo...why not arrest any rightists who cause a disturbance? (Given the circumstances who else but a righty would start trouble over this?)
Oddly, Mayor Fosselman is a Clinton supporter.
FOX "News" makes so many "mistakes."
I can't imagine how such things happen.
My understanding is that Alberto Gonzales spent the day perjuring his smarmy little head off.
You know what?
I. DON'T. CARE.
When the Democrats grow a pair and open impeachment hearings rather than sending more Sternly Worded Letters™ then I'll start to care.
Until then screw the Democrats.
TypePad was down for a good long while there. Still, things like this were a weekly event at Google/Blogger so I'm not gonna complain.
Better luck tomorrow.
And on it goes:
Iranian support for militias who are destabilizing Iraq has risen since the United States and Iran held a breakthrough round of talks in Baghdad in May, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq said on Tuesday.
Advancing the latest talking point, of course:
It's worth at least pointing out a key difference between the potential genocide in Iraq and the heart-wrenching slaughters in Congo and Sudan: The latter aren't our fault. But if genocide unfolds in Iraq after American troops depart, it would be hard to argue that we weren't at least partly to blame. Yes, the mass murder would have more immediate authors than the United States of America, but we would undeniably be responsible, at least in part, for giving a green light to genocide. Obama offers precisely that green light in his proposed Iraq War De-escalation Act.
Yes, it would be immoral to leave Iraq. I guess that "we're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here" just isn't working anymore.
Of course, some advocates of withdrawal try to maintain the moral high ground by arguing that there won't be genocidal slaughter -- though that usually sounds like self-delusion to me.
If anyone can claim to be an expert on self-delusion it would be Jonah.
"The only thing standing between Iraq and a descent into a Lebanon- or Bosnia-like maelstrom," a new report from the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution concludes, "is 135,000 American troops." Rapid withdrawal, the report says, could bring "a humanitarian nightmare" in which we should expect "hundreds of thousands (conceivably even millions) of people to die."
Notice that Jonah doesn't bother to identify the (co-) author of this report: noted "liberal hawk" Ken Pollack (warning: .pdf) who continues to insist that the occupation of Iraq is right and correct:
...but my guess is that many readers would still have come to the conclusion that war was the least-bad choice among a menu of imperfect options.
But enough. Actually considering Jonah's dribblings drains the intelligence from one's brain.
How long are people going to put up with this?
White House aides have conducted at least half a dozen political briefings for the Bush administration's top diplomats, including a PowerPoint presentation for ambassadors with senior adviser Karl Rove that named Democratic incumbents targeted for defeat in 2008 and a "general political briefing" at the Peace Corps headquarters after the 2002 midterm elections.
The briefings, mostly run by Rove's deputies at the White House political affairs office, began in early 2001 and included detailed analyses for senior officials of the political landscape surrounding critical congressional and gubernatorial races, according to documents obtained by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"We believe that these briefings were entirely appropriate," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. "They conformed with all the applicable regulations."
Meanwhile, Abu Gonzo says he's going to fix everything.
Most Americans see President Bush as intransigent on Iraq and prefer that the Democratic-controlled Congress make decisions about a possible withdrawal of U.S. forces, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
As the president and Congress spar over war policy, both receive negative marks from the public for their handling of the situation in Iraq. But by a large margin, Americans trust Democrats rather than the president to find a solution to a conflict that remains enormously unpopular. And more than six in 10 in the new poll said Congress should have the final say on when to bring the troops home.
The president has steadfastly asserted his power as commander in chief to make decisions about the war, but his posture is now viewed by majorities of Democrats, independents and even Republicans as too inflexible. Asked whether Bush is willing enough to change policies on Iraq, nearly eight in 10 Americans said no.
And yet Congressional Repubs and some Dems haven't yet figured this out. More inexcusable is the blindness (willful?) of the WaPo's own such as Jackson Diehl (via Sadly, No!) and Fred Hiatt still insist that the war is unpopular among only the leftiest of the lefties (the "Dirty Fucking Hippies" in Atrios' parlance).
Onward to Tehran!
The Puppini Sisters cover Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights":
However, where in hell do we go with that last passage there, about how the haircuts matter because "a healthy chunk of the political press corps" doesn't like Edwards, and how they're staying away from a sauce-for-the-goose position on Mitt Romney's makeovers because of their own private calculations of the relative electability of the two candidates. OK, here's the deal. Every member of that "healthy chunk" of the press corps should be fired. Today. This minute. Without pay or recompense. Let them all walk back inside the Beltway from Cedar Rapids if they have to. I value what I do. I value the work of the people in my business who do it correctly. But, holy mother of god, these people do not do what I do. It's OK to sneer at a candidate if you don't like him? It's OK to create a destructive narrative out of unmitigated piffle because he doesn't kiss your ass with the regularity you think you deserve, or because his press buses don't run on time, or because one of his staffers was late with the Danish in Keene? I watched a roomful of them boo Al Gore seven years ago, behavior that would have gotten them run out of any press box in the major leagues. Do you think one of these jamokes -- or jamokettes -- is thinking, "Maybe we should lay off the haircut thing because of what we all did to Gore in 2000, and look how well that worked out." Please.
Sooo many jokes...
But here's the kicker:
Actual picture accompanying actual article.