Archive for May 1st, 2008

Dubya Vs. The Law, Continued…

Well, this is reassuring:

Elana Schor writes for the Guardian: “A legal brief that exempted the US military from criminal laws following the 9/11 attacks was improperly kept classified for years, the former head of the US government agency in charge of document secrecy said today.

“The March 2003 brief, which allowed Pentagon interrogators to claim self-defence in sidestepping laws against torture, was made public earlier this month.

“J William Leonard, who directed George Bush’s information security oversight office until last year, today told Congress that the document never should have been classified in the first place.

“‘To learn that such a document was classified had the same effect on me as waking up one morning and learning that after all these years, there is a “secret” article to the constitution that the American people do not even know about,’ Leonard said.”

And then there’s the matter of Bush’s attitude toward executive orders.

Scott Shane and David Johnston write in the New York Times that at the same hearing, senior Justice Department official John P. Elwood “disclosed a previously unpublicized method to cloak government activities. Mr. Elwood acknowledged that the administration believed that the president could ignore or modify existing executive orders that he or other presidents have issued without disclosing the new interpretation.

“Mr. Elwood, citing a 1980s precedent, said there was nothing new or unusual about such a view.”

I have to ask: Does this 1980s precedent involve the words, “We’re on a mission from God”?

May 1st, 2008 at 10:16pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans,Wankers

The Accomplisher

Is it possible to be so wrong that you end up in a different dimension altogether?  I give you… Richard Perle, 5/2/03:

From start to finish, President Bush has led the United States and its coalition partners to the most important military victory since World War II. And like the allied victory over the axis powers, the liberation of Iraq is more than the end of a brutal dictatorship: It is the foundation for a decent, humane government that will represent all the people of Iraq.

This was a war worth fighting. It ended quickly with few civilian casualties and with little damage to Iraq’s cities, towns or infrastructure. It ended without the Arab world rising up against us, as the war’s critics feared, without the quagmire they predicted, without the heavy losses in house-to-house fighting they warned us to expect. It was conducted with immense skill and selfless courage by men and women who will remain until Iraqis are safe, and who will return home as heroes.

In full retreat, the war’s opponents have now taken up new defensive positions: “Yes, it was a military victory, but you haven’t found Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.” Or, “Yes, we destroyed Saddam’s regime, but now other dictators will try even harder to develop weapons of mass destruction to make sure they will not fall to some future American preemptive strike.”

We will find Saddam’s well-hidden chemical and biological weapons programs, but only when people who know come forward and tell us where to look. While Saddam was in power, even a hint about his concealment and deception was a death sentence, often by unimaginable torture against whole families. Saddam had four years to hide things. We have had a few weeks to find them. Patience — and some help from free Iraqis — will be rewarded.

(…)

Iraqis are freer today and we are safer. Relax and enjoy it.

(Not that Perle was at all unique in his delusions…)

Let’s take stock, shall we?

Costs of the war in Iraq

As of
May 1, 2003

Today

U.S. troops killed (Department of Defense, 4/30/08)

139

4,058

U.S. troops wounded (Department of Defense, 4/30/08)

545

29,911

U.S. troops in Iraq (Brookings Institution, Iraq Index, 4/24/08)

150,000

155,000

Cost of the war to U.S. taxpayers (Associated Press, 4/13/03; CRS, 4/11/08)

$79 billion

$526 billion

Americans who believe the Iraq war was “worth fighting” (Washington Post-ABC Poll)

70 percent

34 percent

Estimated number of Iraqi civilians killed (Christian Science Monitor, 5/22/03; Iraq Body Count, 4/30/08)

5,000 – 10,000

83,221 – 90,782

Number of Iraqis who have fled their homes (UNHCR)

N/A

4.7 million

Number of Iraqi security forces (Brookings Institution, Iraq Index, 4/24/08)

7,000-9,000

444,502

Iraqi prison population (Brookings Institution, Iraq Index, 4/24/08)

10,000

43,000

Number of daily attacks by insurgents and militias in Iraq(Brookings Institution, Iraq Index, 10/1/07; 4/24/08)

N/A

54.7

Number of multiple fatality bombings in Iraq (Brookings Institution, Iraq Index, 4/24/08)

0

1,714

Number of suicide attacks in Iraq (Washington Post, 4/18/08)

0

920

Number of suicide attacks in Afghanistan (The Century Foundation, 6/10/05; U.N. 9/1/07; 3/6/08)

1

> 300

Number of terrorist safe havens for al Qaeda’s central leadership on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan (National Intelligence Estimate, July 2007)

0

1

Price of oil (U.S. Department of Energy)

$26.03/barrel

$115.63/barrel

Jeez, I’d hate to see what an unaccomplished mission looks like.

(h/t Bradrocket for the Perle of antiwisdom)

May 1st, 2008 at 09:30pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Republicans,Wankers,War

What Pastor Problem?

Dr. Slammy has largely beaten me to it, but I also wanted to ask why it is that when Rev. Wright says “God damn America” and says that AIDS was a government plot, he’s destroying Obama’s campaign, and Obama can never denounce him enough…

…But when Rev. Hagee says that God dooms America, and that public schools are peddling abortions and witchcraft, it’s not even a story?

Oh, that’s right: The media are corporate tools.  Forgot where I was for a second.

Still, that’s some pretty intense crazy that McCain has lashed himself too, innit?  What a great “get” that endorsement was, eh?

May 1st, 2008 at 08:33pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,McCain,Media,Politics,Religion,Republicans

Driving McCrazy

Probably just a perfectly innocent misunderstanding…

[McCain] then exposed how out of touch he is with the realities of America by saying:

I think it’s obvious that the lowest-income Americans drive the furthest and probably they spend more on gasoline because of the age of their automobiles.

In fact, lowest-income Americans drive the least, and most of the benefits of the gas-tax holiday would go to high-income Americans.

I’m sure that Senator McCain simply meant to point out that the poor don’t have chauffeurs.

May 1st, 2008 at 07:44pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Energy,McCain,Politics

Endorsement Update

Washington Post:

With endorsements coming in from California, Iowa and Indiana, Sen. Barack Obama yesterday pulled even with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the race for support on Capitol Hill, as Democratic lawmakers shrugged off his recent struggles.

Obama (Ill.) received the backing of Rep. Baron P. Hill, a conservative from a critical district in southern Indiana; Rep. Bruce Braley, an Iowa freshman who grabbed a Republican seat in 2006; and Rep. Lois Capps, who has held her liberal Santa Barbara, Calif., seat for five full terms and whose son-in-law works for the Obama campaign.

Hill also spills in The Hill about why he’s thrilled to shill for Obama (Ill.) over Hill on the Hill.  Which fills Bill with ill will.

I think I may have sprained something.

(h/t TeddySanFran for the WaPo story)

May 1st, 2008 at 07:25pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Elections,Obama,Politics,Puns

Uh-Oh, Part II

Democratic geniuses, at it again:

Crikey, this is getting old. You may have seen by now that rumors of a new push on passage of FISA, and, of course, full retroactive immunity, are bubbling to the surface in the last 24 hours. Here is Jane. Here is Digby. Here is McJoan. From Jane at FDL:

According to the ACLU, there is rumor of a backroom deal being brokered by Jay Rockefeller on FISA that will include retroactive immunity. I’ve heard from several sources that Steny Hoyer is doing the dirty work on the House side, and some say it will be attached to the new supplemental.

A few more facts and circumstances are available now than were in the earlier stories. For one, we apparently see the “urgency lever” being pressed this time around (there always seems to be one in these plays, it’s a feature).

Bmaz then points out that:

1) Any surveillance that has been ordered under the Protect America Act has a 12-month lifespan, so no surveillance orders issued prior to the PAA expiration date would remain in place until after the end of Dubya’s term.  So if anything is expiring, the administration is letting it expire deliberately so they can manufacture urgency to use as a club against Democrats.  That’s a very responsible approach to Keeping America Safe, don’t you think?

2) The telcos aren’t pushing hard for immunity; it’s all coming from BushCo. and the GOP.  So it’s not so much that the telecoms are afraid of getting sued, it’s the Bush administration that’s afraid of the telecoms getting sued… resulting in exposure of all the bullshitting they did to get their illegal wiretaps on.

3) The word “compromise” almost always means “giving the administration everything they want in exchange for a few meaningless concessions… maybe.”  Actual compromises, like judicial determinations of whether telecom immunity is warranted, are completely unacceptable.

This is not encouraging.  Hopefully if all else fails, Dodd can dig in his heels again, but really, it should have to come down to that every single time.

Better Democrats, please.

May 1st, 2008 at 11:38am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Uh-Oh, Part I

This does not sound good…

A second American aircraft carrier steamed into the Persian Gulf on Tuesday as the Pentagon ordered military commanders to develop new options for attacking Iran. CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports that the planning is being driven by what one officer called the “increasingly hostile role” Iran is playing in Iraq – smuggling weapons into Iraq for use against American troops.

“What the Iranians are doing is killing American servicemen and -women inside Iraq,” said Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

U.S. officials are also concerned by Iranian harassment of U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf as well as Iran’s still growing nuclear program. New pictures of Iran’s uranium enrichment plant show the country’s defense minister in the background, as if deliberately mocking a recent finding by U.S. intelligence that Iran had ceased work on a nuclear weapon.

No attacks are imminent and the last thing the Pentagon wants is another war, but Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen has warned Iran not to assume the U.S. military can’t strike.

“I have reserve capability, in particular our Navy and our Air Force so it would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability,” Mullen said.

Targets would include everything from the plants where weapons are made to the headquarters of the organization known as the Quds Force which directs operations in Iraq. Later this week Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is expected to confront the Iranians with evidence of their meddling and demand a halt.

If that doesn’t produce results, the State Department has begun drafting an ultimatum that would tell the Iranians to knock it off – or else.

Bush & Cheney just can’t bear the idea of leaving office without starting a disastrous war with Iran.

Oh, and way to go, CBS, for uncritically repeating the administration’s talking points on Iran smuggling weapons into Iraq, harassing American ships, and developing nuclear weapons.  Bravo.

(h/t Siun)

May 1st, 2008 at 07:17am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Iran,Republicans,War


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