Colbert does Baghdad:
(Moises Saman for The New York Times)
On orders from the president, Gen. Ray Odierno gives Mr. Colbert a military hairdo.
Colbert does Baghdad:
(Moises Saman for The New York Times)
On orders from the president, Gen. Ray Odierno gives Mr. Colbert a military hairdo.
Tweety reveals that he opposed the Iraq War from the beginning but kept quiet for the good of the country.
Mostly, though, Tweety just hates the Dirty Fucking Hippies who blog because, he says, he's a "grownup" with a "job" which "fester['s] them with anger."
It turns out that Lehman Bros. had it all this time:
The rump of the bankrupt bank Lehman Brothers is sitting on a stockpile of 450,000 lb of uranium "yellowcake" which could be used to power a nuclear reactor or, theoretically, to make a bomb.
Liquidators have been trying to offload the stuff for months. But the price of uranium has been dropping steadily, leaving Lehman's yellowcake languishing in a variety of secure storage facilities, some of which are in Canada.
Looks like we hanged the wrong guy.
Historian Robert Dallek offers a history lesson to President Obama:
As Johnson soon learned, despite his protests to the contrary, he could not have guns and butter. And though, as Lady Bird Johnson said, Vietnam “wasn’t the war he wanted. The one he wanted was on poverty and ignorance and disease … ”, once he committed himself to winning the war with a broad bombing campaign and 545,000 combat troops, he lost the freedom to build a Great Society. Protests against the loss of American and Vietnamese lives and the commitment of billions of dollars to fight the war drained away the country’s energy for large-scale domestic improvements.
Now that President Obama has inherited not one war but two, does he face a similar hurdle? With the country’s economy in such poor shape and his eagerness to enact bold health insurance, education and environmental reforms, he will need to recall that wars are the enemy of far reaching change. World War I stopped Progressivism; in the 1940’s “Dr. Win the War replaced Dr. New Deal,” as Franklin D. Roosevelt said; the Korean War sidetracked Harry Truman’s Fair Deal; and Vietnam frustrated Johnson’s hopes of additional Great Society measures.
Unlike the Vietnam War, which was largely LBJ's doing (though he knew that the war would be a tragic mistake he pursued it anyway out of fear of domestic political repercussions), Obama inherited two disastrous wars and must now try to find a way to get out of them or at least prevent them from undoing his domestic agenda.
It's a tough spot to be in and I sure as hell wouldn't want his job. BushCheney and the neocon cabal just might have the last laugh yet.
The State Department will not renew the contract of security contractor Blackwater Worldwide when it expires in May, a senior State Department official said Friday.
The decision was made after the Iraqi government refused last week to renew the firm's operating license because of a 2007 incident in which the Iraqi government says security guards -- then employed by Blackwater -- fired on and killed 17 Iraqis.
Officials said the State Department is talking with security firms DynCorp International and Triple Canopy, which share the Iraq contract with Blackwater, about picking up Blackwater's duties.
Neither of which are much better than Blackwater. DynCorp, in particular, has in the past protected employees engaged in a child sex-slave ring in Bosnia.
Sure, Blackwater as a corporate entity probably won't be roaming the streets of Baghdad or Mosul for much longer. But the individual mercenaries who've been working for years in Iraq, serving as a Praetorian Guard for the State Department's diplomats — those guys likely will be able to stay.
The State Department has a contract for "worldwide personal protective services" with three firms: Blackwater, DynCorp, and Triple Canopy. If Blackwater is no longer allowed to operate in Iraq, a lawyer steeped in the field tells Danger Room, there's no legal reason why the other two firms can't scoop up Blackwater's employees. "State simply issues a new task order to DynCorp or Triple Canopy, who turn around and hire some or all of Blackwater's employees," he says.
On the other hand, the thought of all those murderous psychopathic mercenaries walking around unemployed gives me the heebie-jeebies.
Specifically, a statue in Saddam's hometown, Tikrit.
McCain and Graham and Lieberman
Of whom you know I'm not a fan
Take to some pages
To declare that they're sages
And crow, "What clever boys we am!"
George's Great Mesopotamian Adventure was, shockingly, poorly planned:
An unpublished 513-page federal history of the American-led reconstruction of Iraq depicts an effort crippled before the invasion by Pentagon planners who were hostile to the idea of rebuilding a foreign country, and then molded into a $100 billion failure by bureaucratic turf wars, spiraling violence and ignorance of the basic elements of Iraqi society and infrastructure.
And look, our old friend Field Marshal von Rumsfeld was in the thick of it:
On the eve of the invasion, as it began to dawn on a few officials that the price for rebuilding Iraq would be vastly greater than they had been told, the degree of miscalculation was illustrated in an encounter between Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, and Jay Garner, a retired lieutenant general who had hastily been named the chief of what would be a short-lived civilian authority called the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance.
The history records how Mr. Garner presented Mr. Rumsfeld with several rebuilding plans, including one that would include projects across Iraq.
“What do you think that’ll cost?” Mr. Rumsfeld asked of the more expansive plan.
“I think it’s going to cost billions of dollars,” Mr. Garner said.
“My friend,” Mr. Rumsfeld replied, “if you think we’re going to spend a billion dollars of our money over there, you are sadly mistaken.”
And some people say that Rummy was a bad SecDef.
Kudos to reporters James Glanz and T. Christian Miller for this bit of dry writing:
In a way he never anticipated, Mr. Rumsfeld turned out to be correct: before that year was out, the United States had appropriated more than $20 billion for the reconstruction, which would indeed involve projects across the entire country.
We'll be rid of this administration in about five weeks but their legacy, such as it is, will be with us for years.
No word yet if he carried a plastic turkey with him.
You might remember that...
General Shinseki, testifying before Congress in February 2003, a month before the United States invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime, said “several hundred thousand soldiers” would be needed to stabilize Iraq after an invasion. In words that came to be vindicated by events, the general anticipated “ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems,” adding, “and so it takes a significant ground force presence to maintain a safe and secure environment.”
Shinseki was subsequently publicly ridiculed by Field Marshal von Rumsfeld and the comb-licking Paul Wolfowitz and forced to retire.
Thus far Obama has been magnanimous in victory but this appointment almost comes off as a middle-finger to BushCo™.
Calling your constituents "racists" right before an election isn't the best way to win.
Murtha, a former Marine, took a brave stand on the Iraq War and should be applauded for that (though the voters in his district don't) but in no way is he otherwise friendly to liberal ideals. And let's not bring up his corruption.
While I'd like to see as many Democrats in Congress as possible, we have enough of a cushion that we can stand to lose Murtha's district.
If Murtha wins, he wins. If he loses, I won't shed a tear.
A lot of damage can be done in 83 days:
The helicopter-borne attack into Syria was by far the boldest by American commandos in the five years since the United States invaded Iraq and began to condemn Syria’s role in stoking the Iraqi insurgency.
But in justifying the attack, American officials said the Bush administration was determined to operate under an expansive definition of self-defense that provided a rationale for strikes on militant targets in sovereign nations without those countries’ consent.
Together with a similar American commando raid into Pakistan more than seven weeks ago, the operation on Sunday appeared to reflect an intensifying effort by the Bush administration to find a way during its waning months to attack militants even beyond the borders of Iraq and Afghanistan, where the United States is at war.
Even more worrying:
Administration officials declined to say whether the emerging application of self-defense could lead to strikes against camps inside Iran that have been used to train Shiite “special groups” that have fought with the American military and Iraqi security forces.
It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the final spasm of BushCo™ was to start a third war in the event of an Obama win next week.
They've proven that they're petulant enough to do it.
A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.
The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.
But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.
And no more purple thumbs:
The US is adamantly against the new security agreement being put to a referendum in Iraq, suspecting that it would be voted down.
Two thoughts: If George attempts to accomplish this by treaty it would have to get through the Senate, which strikes me as doubtful (though given the cravenness of the Congressional Dems...). But if he intends to simply have some agreement based solely on his being President & Commander-in-Chief I don't see any reason why a President Obama couldn't modify/repudiate it.
But either way it would be another example of "catapulting the propaganda." It seems to me that the political downside of codifying permanent war in Iraq would be offset by the hosannas spewed by our beloved "news" media.
Something to keep an eye on.
[Via Think Progress.]
The lies never end:
Gov. Sarah Palin linked the war in Iraq with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, telling an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would "defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans."
Do you want to hear this crap for four more years?
Who's Neville Chamberlain now?
Just you wait, appeasers: Iraq will be blitzing Poland any day now.
I've long lost the ability to be shocked by this sort of news:
In the immediate aftermath of the 2001 anthrax attacks, White House officials repeatedly pressed FBI Director Robert Mueller to prove it was a second-wave assault by Al Qaeda, but investigators ruled that out, the Daily News has learned.
"They really wanted to blame somebody in the Middle East," the retired senior FBI official told The News.
On October 15, 2001, President Bush said, "There may be some possible link" to Bin Laden, adding, "I wouldn't put it past him." Vice President Cheney also said Bin Laden's henchmen were trained "how to deploy and use these kinds of substances, so you start to piece it all together."
But by then the FBI already knew anthrax spilling out of letters addressed to media outlets and to a U.S. senator was a military strain of the bioweapon. "Very quickly [Fort Detrick, Md., experts] told us this was not something some guy in a cave could come up with," the ex-FBI official said. "They couldn't go from box cutters one week to weapons-grade anthrax the next."
Additionally, Ron Suskind has a new book out today new book out today:
A new book by the author Ron Suskind claims that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein.
Suskind writes in “The Way of the World,” to be published Tuesday, that the alleged forgery – adamantly denied by the White House – was designed to portray a false link between Hussein’s regime and al Qaeda as a justification for the Iraq war.
The author also claims that the Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official “that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion.”
I'm not convinced that we'll ever recover from the BushCheney administration. At the very least it's going to take years if not decades.
I'm tired and frustrated by it all.
This is a clear choice that the American people have. I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.
When you've lost Joke Line you might as well pack it in:
This is the ninth presidential campaign I've covered. I can't remember a more scurrilous statement by a major party candidate. It smacks of desperation. It renews questions about whether McCain has the right temperament for the presidency. How sad.
Now that the Iraqi government has indisputedly endorsed Barack Obama's 19-month time table the wingnuts have now started calling PM Nuri al-Maliki an Iranian stooge.
Never let it be said that the rightists can't turn on a dime.
ADDED: Grok this from the NRO's John Derbyshire:
We should tell Maliki, loudly and in public, that he owes his job to us, and that further prosecution of our military operations in his country will be conducted with regard only to U.S. interests, as determined in consensus by our established domestic political processes. And if he doesn't like that, he can go to hell.
Pop some corn 'cuz this is going to get even more fun!
Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki endorses Barack Obama's plan for removing troops from that country and wingnut Rep. Roy Blunt says:
"Maliki's comments indicate that suddenly we've got a stronger government there," Blunt, of Missouri, said on CNN's "Late Edition." "I wonder how that happened."
You have to hand it to the Repubs: No matter what happens they spin it into a victory for themselves. And a credulous media laps it up.
Oh, and about that "walkback" from the endorsement? NYT:
Scott M. Stanzel, a White House spokesman with President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., said that embassy officials explained to the Iraqis how the interview in Der Spiegel was being interpreted, given that it came just a day after the two governments announced an agreement over American troops.
“The Iraqis were not aware and wanted to correct it,” he said.
Gosh, Scott, are you saying that al-Maliki and the Iraqis are stupid? Sure sounds like it. No doubt the Iraqis won't be insulted at all.
But I'm sure that it's good for the Republicans!
Yesterday CNN reported that the White House had accidentally sent out a release featuring the Reuters story about Iraqi PM Nuri-al Maliki's endorsement of Obama's 16-month troop pullout plan. The CNN story began:
al-Maliki praised Obama’s 16-month withdrawal plan in a newspaper report Saturday. CRAWFORD, TX (CNN) – An embarrassing slip up for the White House press office Saturday, when an aide hit the wrong button and mistakenly sent to the news media a Reuters article saying Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki backs presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama'
I had to pull that quote from my feedreader's cache because today:
UPDATE: CNN has reposted the story elsewhere.
The NYT's Frank Rich looks at St. John's economic proposals and finds them somewhat lacking:
Mr. McCain’s fiscal ineptitude has received so little scrutiny in some press quarters that his chief economic adviser, the former Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, got a free pass until the moment he self-immolated on video by whining about “a nation of whiners.” The McCain-Gramm bond, dating back 15 years, is more scandalous than Mr. Obama’s connection with his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Mr. McCain has been so dependent on Mr. Gramm for economic policy that he sent him to newspaper editorial board meetings, no doubt to correct the candidate’s numbers much as Joe Lieberman cleans up after his confusions of Sunni and Shia.
The term flip-flopping doesn’t do justice to Mr. McCain’s self-contradictory economic pronouncements because that implies there’s some rational, if hypocritical, logic at work. What he serves up instead is plain old incoherence, as if he were compulsively consulting one of those old Magic 8 Balls. In a single 24-hour period in April, Mr. McCain went from saying there’s been “great economic progress” during the Bush presidency to saying “Americans are not better off than they were eight years ago.” He reversed his initial condemnation of mortgage bailouts in just two weeks.
Rich goes on to discuss the crew of incompetents - think Carly Fiorina - and crazies - think Phil Gramm - who advise McCain on economic issues.
Given that the economy seems to be circling the drain one would think that McCain's proposals - such as they are - would be getting more scrutiny. But that would presume that we had a "news" media that wasn't too busy enjoying a barbecue at Casa Maverick.
Speaking of St. John and scrutiny, you would also think that yesterday's endorsement of Obama's plan for Iraq by Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki would be big news. But as Steve Benen notes the major dailies have "buried the lede". Given that this pronouncement destroys McCain's whole reason for being - and prompts one Republican strategist to declare, "We're fucked" - this by all rights should be the end of St. John's White House ambitions. But his "base" is doing a good job of protecting him. As usual.
(As a side note, the expected walk-back of al-Maliki's statement - it was a mistranslation! - was issued by the US military's Central Command (2nd. update). Why on Earth would CentCom be releasing Iraqi government statements?)
St. John quite possibly endangers Obama's life.
I'm sure the "news" media will be all over that.
Meanwhile, McCain surrogate Bud Day - last seen bashing Wes Clark - claims that we're fighting "The Muslims." All of them.
So if you've pining for a good ol' fashioned religious war then St. John is the candidate for you.
One hopes that this sticks:
U.S. and Iraqi negotiators have abandoned efforts to conclude a comprehensive agreement governing the long-term status of U.S troops in Iraq before the end of the Bush presidency, according to senior U.S. officials, effectively leaving talks over an extended U.S. military presence there to the next administration.
If this removes the decision from the BushCheney Cabal that is a good thing. Then it all depends on who the next president is and whatever flipping and/or flopping may occur over the next months.
Hall is an Iraq vet, former Baptist, and current Atheist:
His sudden lack of faith, he said, cost him his military career and put his life at risk. Hall said his life was threatened by other troops and the military assigned a full-time bodyguard to protect him out of fear for his safety.
In March, Hall filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, among others. In the suit, Hall claims his rights to religious freedom under the First Amendment were violated and suggests that the United States military has become a Christian organization.
Two years ago on Thanksgiving Day, after refusing to pray at his table, Hall said he was told to go sit somewhere else. In another incident, when he was nearly killed during an attack on his Humvee, he said another soldier asked him, "Do you believe in Jesus now?"
Hall (who is not seeking compensation in his suit, just an affirmation of religious freedom in the military) also claims he was denied promotion because "I can't put my personal beliefs aside and pray with troops I wouldn't make a good leader."
Of course, there might be more to this story but it fits a pattern of proselytizing within the military. And perhaps we remember the "Christian Embassy" videos which feature high-ranking military officers in the Pentagon openly proclaiming that they put their faith above their duties to the country. And the Air Force has been cited as a particularly unpleasant place for non-conservative Evangelicals.
The last thing this country - hell, the world - needs is a military that sees itself as an avatar of any deity. That way leads to very bad things.
The CNN report of Spc. Hall can be viewed here.
Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.
Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.
The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry[.]
But we were told timae and time again that the invasion and occupation of Iraq had nothing - nothing - to do with oil!
Could they have lied to us?
SecDef Robert Gates:
No matter who winds up being the next president, he is likely to "take a sensible approach" to the Iraq war, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told CNN in an exclusive interview Tuesday.
"Based on what I read in the newspapers, I think either person who is elected president is going to come in and take a close look at it," Gates said of the situation in Iraq.
Hey Bob, remember St. John's "100 years in Iraq" remark? You might want to rethink this.
George assesses his own rhetoric:
"I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric," Bush told the Times as he flew across the Atlantic on Air Force One.
The phrases he used to win support for the war such as "bring 'em on" and "dead or alive" he said, "indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace."
Or how about, "Fuck Saddam. We’re taking him out.” Gosh, and now he regrets using such bellicose language. I'm sure the 4,000+ dead Americans, 600,000+ dead and 3,000,000+ displaced Iraqis are shrugging and saying, "Hey, it happens. don't beat yourself up."
But then there's always lying:
"One of the untold stories of Iraq is that we explored the diplomacy a lot," he said. "We all wanted to solve this 'disclose, disarm, or face serious consequences' in a diplomatic fashion. After all, I went to the United Nations security council."
Sorry, George, that legacy your so worried about is already set and statements like this won't change reality.
Finally, George denies that he's lame duck:
"There's plenty of energy on the democracy agenda, the freedom agenda, right now," he said.
This can't be considered as anything but a sick joke.
Uhhh...this is kind of a major story:
Defense Department counterintelligence investigators suspected that Iranian exiles who provided dubious intelligence on Iraq and Iran to a small group of Pentagon officials might have "been used as agents of a foreign intelligence service ... to reach into and influence the highest levels of the U.S. government," a Senate Intelligence Committee report said Thursday.
So what was the response?
A top aide to then-secretary of defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, however, shut down the 2003 investigation into the Pentagon officials' activities after only a month, and the Defense Department's top brass never followed up on the investigators' recommendation for a more thorough investigation, the Senate report said.
Shut down the investigation?
It gets better:
The revelation raises questions about whether Iran may have used a small cabal of officials in the Pentagon and in Vice President Dick Cheney's office to feed bogus intelligence on Iraq and Iran to senior policymakers in the Bush administration who were eager to oust the Iraqi dictator.
The aborted counterintelligence investigation probed some Pentagon officials' contacts with Iranian exile Manucher Ghorbanifar, whom the CIA had labeled a "fabricator" in 1984. Those contacts were brokered by an American civilian, Michael Ledeen, a former Pentagon and National Security Council consultant and a leading advocate of invading Iraq and overthrowing Iran's Islamic regime.
Michael Ledeen would be one of the craziest neocons, Iran-Contra criminal (when we sold weapons to our mortal enemy Iran) and "Freedom Scholar" (whatever the hell that means) at the American Enterprise Institute.
Read the whole article - it actually gets worse.
It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the whole damned war was an Iranian operation. After all, they're the real winners of this clusterfuck.
Still, I suppose it's nice to hear it admitted:
On Wednesday night, CNN's Jessica Yellin talked to Anderson Cooper about Scott McClellan's tell-all memoir and agreed with the former press secretary that White House reporters "dropped the ball" during the run-up to war.
"The press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war presented in way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the president's high approval ratings," Yellin said.
"And my own experience at the White House was that the higher the president's approval ratings, the more pressure I had from news executives--and I was not at this network at the time--but the more pressure I had from news executives to put on positive stories about the president, I think over time...."
But then a shocked Cooper jumped in, asking, "You had pressure from news executives to put on positive stories about the president?"
"Not in that exact.... They wouldn't say it in that way, but they would edit my pieces," Yellin said. "They would push me in different directions. They would turn down stories that were more critical, and try to put on pieces that were more positive. Yes, that was my experience."
(Yellin was then at ABCNews)
The last six years were all a bad dream I suppose.
That's the only explanation for the massive freakout by the RNC and Barbecue McMaverick over this perfectly accurate ad by the DNC:
Oh, and how can we miss the delicious richness of the Republican National Committee complaining about 'distortions." When they saw that ad they probably said "rats!".
Yes, it's 11 pages long but this will be - at least should be - the major news story for the next week.
It's a bit more important the flag lapel pins.
This past Sunday, Lauren Handel, an eagle-eyed attorney from New York, was searching for a specific recipe from Giada DeLaurentis, a chef on the Food Network. Yet whenever she Googled the different ingredients in the recipe, the oddest thing happened: not only did the Food Network's site come up, as expected, but so did John McCain's campaign site.
On a section of McCain's site called "Cindy's Recipes," you can find seven recipes attributed to Cindy McCain, each with the heading "McCain Family Recipe." Ms. Handel quickly realized that some of the "McCain Family Recipes," were in fact, word-for-word copies of recipes on the Food Network site.
At least three of the "McCain Family Recipes" appear to be lifted directly from the Food Network, while at least one is a Rachael Ray recipe with minor changes.
Perhaps Cindy's excuse will be that she's popping pills again.
Meanwhile, by way of Think Progress, it would appear that Mr. Experience has no clue about what St. Petreus's job is:
Speaking Monday at the annual meeting of the Associated Press, McCain was asked whether he, if elected, would shift combat troops from Iraq to Afghanistan to intensify the search for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
“I would not do that unless Gen. [David] Petraeus said that he felt that the situation called for that,” McCain said, referring to the top U.S. commander in Iraq.
Petraeus, however, made clear last week that he has nothing to do with the decision...Decisions about Afghanistan would be made by others, he said.
So now we can add the military to the long list of things about which McCain knows nothing.
3AM? More like 3 minutes to midnight.
The Chickenhawks are becoming a parody of themselves.
The House GOPers:
Yesterday, Jackie Speier was sworn in as Congress’s newest Democratic member from California, succeeding the deceased Tom Lantos. During her opening speech, Speier was loudly booed by House conservatives when she began speaking about Iraq. “The process to bring the troops home must begin immediately,” she said. “The President wants to stay the course, and a man who wants to replace him suggests we could be in Iraq for 100 years.”
What a welcome!
The sooner these Republicans are consigned to the dustbin of history the better.
Video at link.
He should resign in shame:
Yesterday, Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT), who voted for the Iraq invasion, admitted in a town hall meeting that he never read the pre-war National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, the faulty intelligence that the Bush administration used to justify the invasion of Iraq. Shays added that he still hasn’t read the document:No, I didn’t, thank you. I did not read it. .. I did not read it. But I could still read it, and I probably should. So, who’s on my staff?
No wonder Congress is about as popular as scurvy.
Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry:
We spent the night in the Green Zone, in the poolhouse of one of Saddam’s palaces. A little weird, I got to be honest with you. But I felt safe. And so in the morning, I got up early — not that I make this a great habit — but I went to the gym because I just couldn’t sleep and everything else. Well, sure enough, the guard wouldn’t let me in. Said I didn’t have the correct credentials.
It’s 5:00 in the morning. I haven’t had sleep. I was not very happy with this two-bit security guard. So you know, I said, “I want to see your supervisor.” Thirty minutes later, the supervisor wasn’t happy with me, they escort me back to my room. It happens. I guess I didn’t need to work out anyway.
More than 4,000 "two-bit security guards" have died for McHenry's favorite war.
Video at link. If you can stand it.
Washington, D.C. Office
224 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Republican Rep. Darrell Issa yesterday:
San Diego GOP Rep. Darrell Issa was under siege for suggesting the federal government had already done enough to help New York cope with "a fire" that "simply was an aircraft" hitting the World Trade Center.
More than 3,000 died when those aircraft hit the WTC, Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field.
WHAT. THE. FUCK. IS. WRONG. WITH. REPUBLICANS?
But I'm sure they were wearing flag pins on their lapels so it's OK.
As Steve Benen says, "Let’s play, ‘Imagine If A Democrat Had Said This’"
The state of the Union...not so good:
In the poll, 81 percent of respondents said they believed “things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track,” up from 69 percent a year ago and 35 percent in early 2002.
A majority of nearly every demographic and political group — Democrats and Republicans, men and women, residents of cities and rural areas, college graduates and those who finished only high school — say the United States is headed in the wrong direction. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said the country was worse off than five years ago; just 4 percent said it was better off.
On the good side (if there is one) it looks like people know who's at fault:
The poll found that Americans blame government officials for the crisis more than banks or home buyers and other borrowers. Forty percent of respondents said regulators were mostly to blame, while 28 percent named lenders and 14 percent named borrowers.
That's because Americans are smart enough to understand that regulatory agencies are supposed to, y'know, regulate rather than function as protectors of wealth and corporate power.
Yet many say they are merely managing to stay in place, rather than get ahead. This view is consistent with the income statistics of the past five years, which suggest that median household income has still not returned to the inflation-adjusted peak it hit in 1999. Since the Census Bureau began keeping records in the 1960s, there has never been an extended economic expansion that ended without setting a new record for household income.
Heckuva job, Bushie.
David Gregory praises George:
If [Obama] talks about what you do in response to a crisis, either you have the right intelligence and you have the right response. Well, there’s not a lot of argument that Bush had the right response to 9/11. He didn’t jump to invade Iraq even though there was some argument that he should do that in the room.
Oh, good for George.
It would seem that MSNBC traded in the inane kneebiter Tucker Carlson with the inane kneebiter Stretch Gregory.
A fine state of affairs, indeed.
President Bush, saying that "normalcy is returning back to Iraq," argued Thursday that last year's U.S. troop "surge" has improved Iraq's security to the point where political and economic progress are blossoming as well.
"Some ... seem unwilling to acknowledge that progress is taking place," Bush said in a speech at the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. He accused war opponents of constantly shifting their critique, adding: "No matter what shortcomings these critics diagnose, their prescription is always the same — retreat."
In Basra, there seemed to be no breakthrough in the fighting by either side. As much as half of the city remained under militia control, hospitals in some parts of the city were reported full, and the violence continued to spread. Clashes were reported all over the city and in locations 12 miles south of Basra.
As a possible sign of the rising instability in the region, saboteurs blew up one of Iraq’s two main oil export pipelines from Basra, Reuters reported. The oil pipelines were regular targets for insurgents earlier in the Iraqi conflict, but Thursday’s sabotage was the first time in several years that the southern oil supply route had been disrupted, and oil prices rose briefly after the attack.
Government by delusion.
The State Department has instructed all personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad not to leave reinforced structures due to incoming insurgent rocket fire that has killed two American government workers this week.