Saturday, November 19, 2005

A Dramatic Day In The House

Lawmakers Reject Immediate Iraq Withdrawal

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer
Sat Nov 19, 3:41 AM ET

WASHINGTON - The Republican-controlled House spurned calls for an immediate pullout of troops from Iraq in a vote hastily arranged by the GOP that Democrats vociferously denounced as politically motivated.

"To cut and run would invite terrorism into our backyards, and no one wants to see troops fighting terrorism on American soil," Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said Friday night after the House, as planned, rejected a GOP-written resolution for immediate withdrawal.

The vote, held as lawmakers rushed toward a two-week Thanksgiving break, was 403-3.

Democrats accused Republicans of orchestrating a political stunt that prohibited thoughtful debate on the issue, and nearly all voted against the measure.

That included Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, the Democratic hawk whose call Thursday for pulling out troops set off a nasty, personal debate over the war.
Many in the blogosphere are outraged and angered by this manuever, and I certainly can understand that. It gets under my skin, especially as the Republicans clearly targeted John Murtha for his speech on Iraq the day before. Let me quote some of it here, and then post what started the ruckus:
The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We can not continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region.

General Casey said in a September 2005 Hearing, “the perception of occupation in Iraq is a major driving force behind the insurgency.” General Abizaid said on the same date, “Reducing the size and visibility of the coalition forces in Iraq is a part of our counterinsurgency strategy.”


I believe before the Iraqi elections, scheduled for mid December, the Iraqi people and the emerging government must be put on notice that the United States will immediately redeploy. All of Iraq must know that Iraq is free. Free from United States occupation. I believe this will send a signal to the Sunnis to join the political process for the good of a “free” Iraq.

My plan calls:

To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
To create a quick reaction force in the region.
To create an over- the- horizon presence of Marines.
To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq
In the resolution passed yesterday, this ended up being changed from a graduated and thought-out withdrawal to pulling out all troops immediately. Note that Murtha said keep all troops in until the December elections, then redeploy, re-arm and refresh existing troops while slowing backing away from the situation and then maintaining a nearby presence for immediate strikes if necessary.

A sound plan of action from a man with 37 years of Marine service behind his belt. Now look how he was slammed in Congress:
At one point in the emotional debate, Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, told of a phone call she received from a Marine colonel.

"He asked me to send Congress a message — stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message — that cowards cut and run, Marines never do," Schmidt said. Murtha is a 37-year Marine veteran and ranking Democrat on the defense appropriations subcommittee.
Schmidt was clearly ordered to say that, and I'd even wager that the letter is a phony. Note what Dennis Hastert said, which mirrors the "cut and run" talking point. This wasn't some wildeyed nutcase taking a pot shot at a fellow Congresscritter. No, it was an orchestrated attack on a military man who put forth a sound and reasonable position, albeit he was angry when he said it (video of the speech here. Video of Schmidt's remarks here, both courtesy of Crooks and Liars.)

It put the House Democrats in a difficult position, one I don't think Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was properly prepared for: to vote for the bill as it stood would only end up in a defeat anyway, and would allow the Republicans a chance to paint the Democrats not as anti-war, but anti-troops (and by extension, anti-American), to vote against the bill would be painted as an endorsement of the President's plan of action. Naturally, the lesser of two evils prevailed.

But here's the potential backlash: moderate Republicans in the House (the few that are there) must have seen the display of rank hatred against a man who voted for the war in the first place and only this week even proposed a modest settlement of our uncertainties there. As Murtha himself said yesterday, "[The American people are] "thirsty for some direction; they're thirsty for a solution to this problem," referring of course to the blatant misdirection and willful disinformation the nation was fed by Bush in order to carry out this war that's been literally decades in the making.

Seeing someone they could actually work with get hammered and slapped (despite the fact that Senator John Warner scolded the House while the debate was going on, and even the right-wing wackos Curt Weldon, also of Pennsylvania, and Henry Hyde, both stepped up to praise Murtha....two hours into the feeding frenzy, it should be noted), did one of two things for them: scared the hell out of them, or just made them angrier at their party. If you're still not convinced, you might have missed this item; this message was sent to the mods as well.

This week, the mods had been feeling their oats, even voting WITH Democrats on some bills, like restoring healthcare spending cuts. The President had been the lone wolf for a couple of days, talking down the Democratic calls for troop withdrawal and criticizing the run-up to the war. Suddenly, congressional leadership found its footing and joined in the attack, which culminated yesterday, viciously.

Marty Meehan of Massachussetts said it best, "You guys are pathetic! Pathetic!"

Pathetic, yes. Which is why I temper my anger, swallow it a little, because I see something beyond this attempt to play on my emotions.

Maybe it's because I'm pretty good at instigating and fomentiing trouble that I see the Republican gambit here. They WANTED the Democrats to lose emotional control, to become furious, because in fury and anger, you make mistakes. Big ones.

Harry Reid surprised them two and a half weeks ago (by the way, Harry, where's the "hell" we were promised?) by being both angry and in control of his faculties enough to do something about it, and consequently Bill Frist was the one who looked foolish and weak. Reid found a weak spot, a chink in the armor, and exploited it.

So, let's say I'm Nancy Pelosi. What's my response?

The House is on vacation for two weeks for Thanksgiving (which is ridiculous, and I agree with Mirth in the thread below that congressmen ought to be IN Congress). If I'm Pelosi, I'm paying lip service to visiting my home district. Instead, I'm flying around California, New York, Massachussetts, Connecticut. I'm in Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and Minnesota, and Virginia. I'm talking, not to my Democratic comrades (altho they'd be there with me), but to Republicans. Like John Sweeney in New York, Nancy Johnson in Connecticut, Jim Gerlach in Pennsylvania. And I'm going to look them straight in the eye and ask them to help defeat these madmen (and women, as Schmidt illustrates) before this country is torn apart. We need a coalition of the middle, one that can legislate for the good of the nation and not the fringe radical elements and special interests.

And somewhere in there, I'd work in a veiled threat that, as minority leader, I will throw every possible resource at my disposal into kicking them out of Congress in 2006 and replacing them with a Democrat. It may not be successful, since most incumbents are re-elected, but you can damn well bet these folks would be scratching deep to find money to stop me.

See, it's no longer time to be polite and respect our foes and sympathise with those who empathise with our plight. It's time to start winning: winning elections, yes, but winning the agenda back from the Regressives.

tags technorati :

Friday, November 18, 2005

A Democratic Agenda

According to Rahm Emanuel, this is what Democrats will run on in 2006:
Expand support for higher education. "Make college as universal in the 21st century as high school was in the 20th"; three out of four jobs in the new, high-tech economy require two years or more of higher education.

Create a National Institute of Science and Engineering, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Funding for the nih has quadrupled since the 1980s, from $7 billion to $28 billion. "That's why we lead in pharmaceuticals and medical technology." Funding for science has been stagnant—about $5 billion—during that period. "I'd quadruple it and concentrate on nanotechnology, broadband and energy."

Promote energy independence. Reduce foreign oil by 50% in 10 years. Create a hybrid economy. Use government contracts and tax incentives to boost solar and wind power.

"You got a job, you got health care." Give the uninsured vouchers—"I'm not afraid of vouchers"—for use in the insurance system that covers federal employees. Basic coverage, nothing fancy.

Organize a bipartisan summit on the budget. Balance it.

Everything on the table—loopholes, pork, Bush tax cuts. "And then you gotta have a reform piece," Emanuel hydrofoiled. "Actually, that should come first. Clean up the relationship between lobbyists and legislators, same way we did donors and candidates. This place is a cesspool—gotta address the gifts, free trips, the revolving-door lobbying jobs for staff members."
UPDATE: In conjunction with this (probably coincidental, but who knows how the Internets work?), Matt Stoller at myDD posted the following(hat tip to Katrina for the heads up):
A Platform for 2006: Dream Big, Democrats
by Matt Stoller

Impeach the Secretary of Defense and all other responsible parties for incompetence and criminal negligence in the prosecution of the war in Iraq

A Constitutional Right to Privacy

A Higher Minimum Wage

Universal Health Care

Universal Free University Education

National Mass Transit

Full Corporate Governance Reform to End Corporate Corruption

National Free Internet Access and Copyright Reform
We're getting a platform together, gang.

Can This Man Travel NOWHERE Without Inciting a Riot???

Protests turn violent near APEC venue

By Jack Kim
2 hours, 59 minutes ago

PUSAN, South Korea (Reuters) - Thousands of farm activists and union workers hurled bottles in a clash with police near a meeting of Pacific Rim leaders on Friday and had to be quelled by water cannon.

The clash broke out about two km (1.2 miles) from the convention center where leaders from 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies were meeting.

About 2,000 farmers and farm activists and 3,000 union workers took to the streets of Pusan to denounce APEC, the World Trade Organization and U.S. President George W. Bush, who was attending the leaders' meeting.

Organizers had hoped as many as 100,000 would attend. They said police had turned back busloads of people on highways before they even got to Pusan.

Nearly 30,000 police were deployed in and around the summit. When several hundred protesters who made it to the city tried to get to the venue by pushing past a police line they were stopped.

"We want to hurt them and we want them to hurt us," a farmer from just north of the port city said, as he brandished a weighty three-meter (10-foot) bamboo stick, his face masked with a red handkerchief and his breath smelling of South Korean rice wine.

The protesters threw rocks and bottles and propelled them with bamboo sticks and metal rods. Police repelled the assaults with shields and fired high-pressure sea water.
My god, this guy's almost as ugly an American tourist as Clark Griswold!

Black Fridays

I want to thank Blondesense Liz for bringing this to my attention:
An email is going around encourging us red blooded 'Murkans who support the troops, the war, the country at war, their kids going off to war for the god of war, to wear red on Friday's. This will make the pussies who hate their country literally see red in a sea of red.

One email says, "Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops...Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar, will wear something red. "

Groovy meme. Red symbolizes all the blood being shed overseas so it's a good reminder to wear red to symbolize the blood, the gore, the loss of life, in the name of god only knows what but I don't care, because a good American loves a good old fashioned war.

The email ends with, "The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can we do to make things better for you?" is..."We need your support and your prayers." Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear some thing red every Friday."
Now, Liz's solution is to wear red as well, but a blood red to signify the deaths and injuries to our troops in Iraq.

Mine is a little different. I will wear black every Friday until this war is over, to remind myself and others that this is an evil, illegal war and that our boys and girls are dying overseas for a cause no one believes in: hegemony. They are the Imperial Stormtroopers and we must encourage them to stop.

I will wear black to pre-mourn the hundreds and thousands of Americans who will die at the hands of terrorist actions in the coming years, both on our soil and on foreign soil.

I will wear black to mourn the families that these brave young men and women might have started here in America, the unborn children of our future, who might have cured cancer, or AIDS, or found a permanent solution to terrorism or war.

Mostly, I will wear black to mourn the loss this country has suffered, far greater than any material loss, or loss of life in combat. I will mourn the loss of our moral authority and our ethical base, that allowed us to always be "the good guys" when war was called for, because, as Gort42 points out, the buck no longer stops anywhere.

Why will you wear black?

tags technorati :

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Wave The Flag!

God Bless America!
House Democrats Defeat Spending Bill
By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 43 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Legislation to fund many of the nation's health, education and social programs went down to a startling defeat in the House Thursday, led by Democrats who said cuts in the bill hurt some of America's neediest people.

The 224-209 vote against the $142.5 billion spending bill disrupted plans by Republican leaders to finish up work on this year's spending bills and cast doubt on whether they would have the votes to pass a major budget-cutting bill also on the day's agenda.

Democrats, unanimous in opposing the legislation, said it included the first cut in education funding in a decade and slashed spending for several health care programs. "It betrays our nation's values and its future," said House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland. "It is neither compassionate, conservative nor wise."

Republicans said they may have lost votes because this year's bill, down $1.5 billion from last year, included no special projects or earmarks for lawmakers. "You take those out and you lose the incentive," said Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., who voted for the bill.

Twenty-two Republicans voted against the measure, many of them moderates who also are swing votes on the budget-cutting legislation.

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said one factor in the bill's defeat was the drop in the president's popularity and his inability to maintain unity among the GOP ranks. He also noted that the Republican Party misses the vote-gathering powers of Texas Rep. Tom DeLay — nicknamed "The Hammer" — who has stepped aside as majority leader because of legal problems, replaced by Rep. Roy BluntR-Mo. "Not every blunt instrument is a hammer," Frank said.

So, You Think YOUR City Is Tough?

In New York, we battle for the right to pay a toll first!!

The Shark Has Been Jumped

Lawmakers reject emergency bird flu funds

Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:44 AM ET
By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Emergency money that President George W. Bush requested to combat a looming influenza pandemic has been deleted from a U.S. health-funding bill after conservative Republicans insisted it would have to be paid for by cutting other government programs.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday was set to debate the massive health-funding bill. After days of intensive talks between the House and Senate, negotiators dropped a plan for $8 billion in funds that Democrats pushed through the Senate last month.

Following that Senate vote, Bush on November 1 asked Congress for $7.1 billion in emergency money.

The funding fight erupted after conservative Republicans in the House insisted that an emergency U.S. effort to stockpile vaccines and anti-viral drugs that could be effective against the deadly flu would have to be paid for by cutting other government programs.

Republican leaders in the House said that instead of attaching the bird flu money to a massive $602 billion health and labor spending bill that is rapidly moving through Congress, they would try separate legislation later this year or early next year.
WHO warns of further China bird flu outbreaks

Thu 17 Nov 2005 7:26 AM ET
By Chris Buckley

BEIJING, Nov 17 (Reuters) - China is likely to suffer more outbreaks of bird flu among poultry and possibly people in coming winter months, a WHO official said on Thursday after China confirmed its first cases of human infection.

China announced on Wednesday a woman in eastern Anhui province had died from the H5N1 avian flu strain which was suspected in the death of a 12-year-old girl last month in southern Hunan.

The strain was also confirmed in the girl's 9-year-old brother who recovered. The World Health Organisation was "seeking further information" about a possible human infection in Liaoning province in China's far north, said Henk Bekedam, WHO's chief official in Beijing.

China is now the fifth country to report human deaths from H5N1, as fears grow the virus will trigger a pandemic.
Indonesia confirms 2 more deaths

Thu Nov 17, 2005 9:17 AM ET
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia has had two more deaths from the H5N1 strain of bird flu confirmed by a laboratory in Hong Kong, bringing the total to seven in the country, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

Hariadi Wibisono, a senior official from the ministry, said the tests were from a 20-year-old woman who died last weekend and a 16-year-old girl who died last week. Both victims, who died in Jakarta, had contact with dead chickens, he said.

"We received the test results this morning and both victims were positive for bird flu," Wibisono told Reuters.

He said that took total confirmed deaths to seven, with four positive cases where patients survived.

The highly pathogenic H5N1 strain is endemic in poultry in parts of Asia, where it is known to have killed more than 60 people.(ed. note: that's now 70 people, counting the deaths confirmed this morning between China and Indonesia)
FDA probes deaths of Tamiflu patients

Thu Nov 17, 2005 1:15 PM ET
By Lisa Richwine
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators are studying the deaths of 12 children in Japan who took Roche AG's flu-fighting drug Tamiflu, officials said on Thursday, but they said it was difficult to tell whether the drug played a role in any of the cases.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it was "concerning" that 32 psychiatric events, such as hallucinations and abnormal behavior, also had been reported in children who took Tamiflu, which is in high demand because it is considered to be one of the best defenses against avian flu in people.

All but one of the psychiatric problems also were reported in Japan, the FDA said.

The agency will ask for input on the cases from an advisory panel of outside experts at a public meeting on Friday. Officials said the review was part of the routine monitoring of the safety of medicines used by children.

In a separate summary posted on the FDA Web site, Roche said: "There is no increase in deaths and neuropsychiatric events in patients on Tamiflu versus influenza patients in general."

Katherine Harris Loses Campaign Manager

From Aikane Leo:
Jim Dornan, a GOP consultant with a long background in national politics, stepped down from his position as Harris' campaign manager, citing a "difference of opinions." He will remain on the Longboat Key Republican's team as a "senior adviser."
Hm, maybe he disagreed with the Twins?

How YOU Can Help Make America Great!

And yes kids, this includes YOU:
Burn Your House, Boost the Economy
by Lawrence Parks

As recently as 50 years ago, economists regarded the vitality of the economy as consonant with its ability to produce things people want (and would pay for). Today, the economy has been redefined into something called the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. It measures all goods and services brought to market in a given year. But is it really an accurate measure of how well an economy is serving people's needs? Here are some outlandish ways the GDP can be boosted.
Go read the rest. Astounding snarcasm here...

Lions & Tigers & Scooters, Oh My!

Tip of the pith helmet to Ed Bremson for posting this yesterday.
Abuse Included Use of Lions, Iraqis Allege

By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 15, 2005; Page A06

Two Iraqi men who were arrested in Iraq in 2003 but never charged with crimes say that U.S. troops put them in a cage with lions, pretended to execute them in a firing line and humiliated them during interrogations at multiple detention facilities.

Sherzad Khalid, 35, and Thahe Sabber, 37, say they were brutally beaten over several months at U.S. facilities such as Camp Bucca, Abu Ghraib prison and another detention facility at the Baghdad airport. They said the abuse occurred when they were unable to tell U.S. troops where Saddam Hussein was hiding and did not know about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Both are businessmen who were arrested in a July 17, 2003, raid in Baghdad while Khalid, of Kurdistan, was visiting friends. Both said they were supporters of the U.S. invasion.

The two men are plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First against Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and top military commanders in Iraq. The suit contends that U.S. policies during the war allowed abuse and torture. Both men say that they were tortured and degraded for months before they were released.
Indeed, as Ed points out, what is this fascination Americans have with big cats? Does that make us big pussies?

New Music For The Revolution

Folks, let me introduce Jesse Dyen

Bush Gives Up Scooter!

Bush surprises Koizumi with Segway gift

KYOTO, Japan (Reuters) - In the latest sign of their chummy
ties, U.S. President George W. Bush gave Japanese Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi a surprise gift of a Segway electric
scooter Wednesday and urged him to take a spin.

Bush, who often refers to his warm friendship with Koizumi,
gave the Japanese leader the upright two-wheeler ahead of a
summit at which they reaffirmed their close diplomatic ties.
Bush was riding the vehicle when he met Koizumi outside the
Kyoto State Guest House in the ancient Japanese capital, a
Japanese pool report said.

Urged by Bush to give it a whirl, Koizumi took a brief 1
meter (3 ft) ride, and cried out, "Oh, very good."

Bush told the prime minister he'd given his father, former
President George Bush, and mother, Barbara, Segways for their
birthdays, adding he felt Koizumi was almost one of the family.

The close ties between the two allies were on public
display later in the day when Bush told a news conference:
"Prime Minister Koizumi is one of my best friends in the
international community. I know the prime minister well.
"I trust his judgment. I admire his leadership."

The scooters can be tricky to ride. Bush fell off one two
years ago but managed to land on his feet. It is also illegal
to ride them on public byways in Japan.

Heh heh heh....GOTCHA!

Just an aside, what's Koiziumi's nickname? You know, like Prince Bandar was "Bandar Bush"...

Please try to keep it non-ethnic, unless you can really make Bush sound bigoted.

Let's Get Rid of These Assholes!

Agitprop has the details on MediaMatters petition drive to remove Bill O'Lielly and the Teabagger of Liberty, Robert Novak from their "pundit" positions.

I'm signing this morning.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

To Periphrase The Comedian Ron White....

...."other countries are abandoning the death penalty....we're installing an express checkout"....

Congress moves to speed up executions

Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:57 PM ET
By Alan Elsner
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. Congress said on Wednesday they were moving ahead with legislation that would speed up executions in the United States by limiting the ability of those sentenced to death to appeal to federal courts.

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter said he intended to bring the so-called "Streamlined Procedures Act of 2005" to a vote on Thursday in the Judiciary Committee which he chairs.

A similar bill is also moving forward in the House of Representatives and could clear the committee stage soon.

Republicans have also attached a key provision of the bill to legislation renewing the USA Patriot Act, which Congress is expected to act on later this month.

Lawmakers clashed fiercely at a hearing on Wednesday of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Vermont Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy called it a "crude partisan solution to an unproven and largely nonexistent problem."

Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, the bill's author, said he resented that characterization and insisted he had consulted widely with members of both parties. Leahy later withdrew the words "crude" and "partisan" and apologized.

The bill would restrict the ability of defendants facing the death sentence to have their cases reviewed by federal courts in what are known as habeas corpus appeals.

Kyl said such appeals were often tied up in the courts for 10 years or more, sometimes for 15 years or more. Opponents, including the American Bar Association and other legal groups, say the law would strip the ability of federal courts to review most claims in capital cases and would result in innocent people being put to death.

Specter said he was trying to strike a middle ground, eliminating enormous delays in executions while preserving the legal rights of people sentenced to death.

I Wish He Could Have Run For A Third Term

Bill Clinton Calls Iraq 'Big Mistake'

Wednesday November 16, 2005 4:46 PM


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Former President Clinton told Arab students Wednesday the United States made a ``big mistake'' when it invaded Iraq, stoking the partisan debate back home over the war.

Clinton cited the lack of planning for what would happen after Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

``Saddam is gone. It's a good thing, but I don't agree with what was done,'' Clinton told students at a forum at the American University of Dubai.

``It was a big mistake. The American government made several errors ... one of which is how easy it would be to get rid of Saddam and how hard it would be to unite the country.''

Bush Joke

Ariel Sharon is in Washington for meetings with G. W. There is
to be a state dinner; Laura decides to bring in a special
kosher chef and have a truly Jewish meal.

At dinner that night, the first course is served and it is
matzo ball soup. George W. looks at the bowl, and after
learning what it is called he tells an aide that he can't eat
such a grossly named, strange-looking brew. The aide says that
Mr. Sharon will be insulted if he doesn't at least taste it.

Not wanting to ruffle any feathers, George W. gingerly lowers
his spoon into the bowl and ladles a piece of matzo ball and
some broth. He hesitates, then swallows -- and a grin appears
on his face. He digs right in and finishes the whole bowl.

"That was delicious," he says to Sharon. "Do the Jews eat any
other parts of the Matzo or just the balls?"

Almost Forgot To Post This

Congratulations to John Cleese of Monty Python fame (among many notable accomplishments) for having a new species of lemur named after him!

Receiving A Kiss From Ms. Lemur, 2005

You'll need to watch "Fierce Creatures" to get the joke.

Does Bush Hate Chuck Hagel, Too?

From Alaska on Monday
Reasonable people can disagree about the conduct of the war, but it is irresponsible for Democrats to now claim that we misled them and the American people. Leaders in my administration and members of the United States Congress from both political parties looked at the same intelligence on Iraq, and reached the same conclusion: Saddam Hussein was a threat.
Meanwhile, two years ago, Chuck Hagel had this to say about the faulty intelligence:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Republican senator said Sunday it is "irresponsible" for the Bush administration to assign responsibility to CIA Director George Tenet for the State of the Union claim that Iraq tried to obtain uranium in Africa.

Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told CNN's "Late Edition" the intelligence flap "is bigger, wider, deeper than just about one person."

"To just throw George Tenet's body from the train and say, 'That takes care of the problem,' I don't think is the way to do this," Hagel said.

Hagel pointed to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Vice President Dick Cheney as part of the process that led to Bush including the report in the annual presidential address.
Why does Liberal Chuck Hagel hate America so? *snark*

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

More Republican Values At Work

"Let's call a spade a 'nigger'."

Just Posted This On Harry Reid's Blog

It’s been two weeks, Senator Reid.

Was that just a grandstanding play on your part or are you going to grow a set now and go to executive session a second time?

Did you need me to show you how to run a party, sir?
— actor212 Nov 15, 03:38 PM #
I'm getting tired of half measures and stultified dissent. Who's with me?

Never Underestimate The Power Of Makeup

Click here

Will Fitz Cough 'Em Up?

Secrecy order in CIA leak case challenged by media

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A major U.S. media organization on Monday challenged efforts by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to keep documents secret in the CIA leak case that involved the Bush administration.

Dow Jones & Co, which publishes The Wall Street Journal and other publications, filed court papers asking Judge Reggie Walton to deny a sweeping motion by Fitzgerald that would bar public disclosure of documents in the case.

The proposed protective order, which was agreed to by Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, would cover grand jury transcripts, witness statements and a wide range of other documents involved in the case. Any leaks could result in civil and criminal fines, the order warns.

"Dow Jones has a substantial interest in ensuring timely access to information of importance to its readers and the general public," Dow Jones said in its motion. "That interest is particularly strong in a case like this one, which concerns a matter of great national importance."
Suddenly the Wall Street Journal wakes up and realizes there's a story behind this story?

Or could it be there's something more sinister at work?

Monday, November 14, 2005

A "Duh!" Moment

As Katrina pointed out to me, this story explains this story:
Doing Unto Others as They Did Unto Us

Published: November 14, 2005

Washington — How did American interrogation tactics after 9/11 come to include abuse rising to the level of torture? Much has been said about the illegality of these tactics, but the strategic error that led to their adoption has been overlooked.

The Pentagon effectively signed off on a strategy that mimics Red Army methods. But those tactics were not only inhumane, they were ineffective. For Communist interrogators, truth was beside the point: their aim was to force compliance to the point of false confession.

Fearful of future terrorist attacks and frustrated by the slow progress of intelligence-gathering from prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Pentagon officials turned to the closest thing on their organizational charts to a school for torture. That was a classified program at Fort Bragg, N.C., known as SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape. Based on studies of North Korean and Vietnamese efforts to break American prisoners, SERE was intended to train American soldiers to resist the abuse they might face in enemy custody.

The Pentagon appears to have flipped SERE's teachings on their head, mining the program not for resistance techniques but for interrogation methods. At a June 2004 briefing, the chief of the United States Southern Command, Gen. James T. Hill, said a team from Guantánamo went "up to our SERE school and developed a list of techniques" for "high-profile, high-value" detainees. General Hill had sent this list - which included prolonged isolation and sleep deprivation, stress positions, physical assault and the exploitation of detainees' phobias - to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who approved most of the tactics in December 2002.

Some within the Pentagon warned that these tactics constituted torture, but a top adviser to Secretary Rumsfeld justified them by pointing to their use in SERE training, a senior Pentagon official told us last month.
Ordinarily, I'd step in here and put the story on a silver platter, but this is one I want you to think about.

Hint: How do death-penalty proponents always justify state-sanctioned murder?


Bird flu claims rising toll among people
Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:46 AM ET

By Ade Rina
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia said on Monday a 20-year-old woman had died of bird flu while several countries reported new suspected human cases of the deadly virus.

The H5N1 bird flu virus has killed more than 60 people in Asia and is endemic in most poultry flocks in the region.

It remains hard for humans to catch but scientists fear it will mutate into a form that passes easily among people. If it does so, millions could die as happened during three flu pandemics in the 20th century.

Japan set out plans on Monday to cope with any outbreak among humans, including declaring a state of emergency, shutting down schools and banning large gatherings.

The Health Ministry estimated that as many as a quarter of Japan's 127 million people could be infected and up to 640,000 could die if the country was gripped by a pandemic.

The disease has so far killed half the people it has infected. Governments are stockpiling anti-viral drugs that are believed to limit the effects of H5N1 if taken early enough.
Y'know, I realize it's popular to bash Bush on this, as a distraction from his internal problems, and yes, it looks like the Evian Flu (sic) is about a year away from our shores, but damn, this thing is scary.

How's Your Prognosticatorial Skill?

Our good friends at AgitProp (and really, anyone who doesn't bookmark that site for a daily visit is missing out on quite the show) are in the fourth week of the prediction pool season.

I'm running about a one out of three average, but hell, I throw a slam dunk in so that I don't look like a total jackass. See if you can beat me.

You know you want to.

It's Been Two Weeks Now.... Jamie at Intoxination points out.
Two weeks ago tomorrow was when Democrats shut down senate in order to get answers about the intelligence committees phase two report. That is the second part of the report that looks into the intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq. During that closed session, it was agreed upon that a committee be formed including three Senators from each side of the aisle. They were to act as a over site into Sen. Pat Robert's committee and find out why the report has not been completed. Today is the deadline for that committee to report back.

Crucifixion Confirmed

CIA allegedly hid evidence of detainee torture: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) - CIA interrogators apparently tried to cover up the death of an Iraqi "ghost detainee" who died while being interrogated at Abu Ghraib prison, a US magazine reported, after obtaining hundreds of pages of documents, including an autopsy report, about the case.

The death of secret detainee Manadel al-Jamadi was ruled a homicide in a Defense Department autopsy, Time magazine reported, adding that documents it recently obtained included photographs of his battered body, which had been kept on ice to keep it from decomposing, apparently to conceal the circumstances of his death.

The details about his death emerge as US officials continue to debate congressional legislation to ban torture of foreign detainees by US troops overseas, and efforts by the George W. Bush administration to obtain an exemption for the CIA from any future torture ban.

Jamadi was abducted by US Navy Seals on November 4, 2003, on suspicion of harboring explosives and involvement in the bombing of a Red Cross center in Baghdad that killed 12 people, and was placed in Abu Ghraib as an unregistered detainee.

After some 90 minutes of interrogation by CIA officials, he died of "blunt force injuries" and "asphyxiation," according to the autopsy documents obtained by Time.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sounds Like Ian's Kind of Guy....

Jesus' General has another edition of Republican Family Values.

Yuck. Bring a barf bag...

Has HIV evolved?

A man's body apparently cured itself
Doctors say they want to investigate the case of a British man with HIV who apparently became clear of the virus.
Scotsman Andrew Stimpson, 25 was diagnosed HIV-positive in 2002 but was found to be negative in October 2003.

Mr Stimpson, from London, said he was "one of the luckiest people alive".

Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust confirmed the tests were accurate but were unable to confirm Mr Stimpson's cure because he had declined to undergo further tests.

A statement from the trust said: "This is a rare and complex case. When we became aware of Mr Stimpson's HIV negative test results we offered him further tests to help us investigate and find an explanation for the different results.

"So far Mr Stimpson has declined this offer."

A trust spokeswoman added: "We urge him, for the sake of himself and the HIV community, to come in and get tested.

"If he doesn't feel that he can come to Chelsea and Westminster then he should please go to another HIV specialist."

There have been anecdotal accounts before from Africa of people shaking off the HIV virus.
Now, you know the right wing will use this to show the hand of God has stepped in, and you also know there are plenty of crackpots who are going to think it's alright to have wanton unsafe sex again.

I pray that we can all take a middle road here and find out what has happened.

Related story: Bacteria modified to combat HIV

A Celebration of Liberal Women in Radio

They Look Nothing Like Rush Limbaugh

Published: November 13, 2005
RACHEL MADDOW is the sunny, 32-year-old early bird of liberal talk radio, who spices her pre-dawn newscast on the Air America network with news of the weird. "I have to tell you about this story, or it will possess me for the rest of my natural-born life," Ms. Maddow mentioned one very early morning last month.

A Chinese man had been harvesting bile for medicine from the gall bladders of live bears until the day before, when his bears ate him. "You keep six bears and poke them with a sharp stick through their abdomen every day for their bile," Ms. Maddow said in a buoyant rapid fire, "eventually they're going to make their own decision, don't you think?"

Ms. Maddow's Air America colleague, Randi Rhodes, is a more political, more acidly caustic voice who calls the Bush administration "the dark side." On Ms. Rhodes's four-hour afternoon show, she's the middle-aged woman (she's 46) who doesn't have the time or patience to be nice. "You're a pig!" she cries at whatever male conservative broadcaster has angered her that day.

They are two sides of the liberal talk-radio coin. In their own small way, over at the far end of the AM dial where Air America is broadcast in most of its 72 cities, Ms. Maddow and Ms. Rhodes are changing the world of talk radio. Michael Harrison, editor of the trade magazine Talkers, said that, "For the most part, political talk radio is male," dominated by conservative broadcasters like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage. "But in the next 5 to 10 years we're going to see an invasion of talk radio by women of all political and subject stripes."
Read the rest here, but hurry. The Times waits for no man...unless you pay for the archives.

Is Bush Drinking Again?

In addition to the video my good buddies at Crooks and Liars have posted, you might recall this article from a few weeks ago:
Dr. Justin Frank, a Washington D.C. psychiatrist and author of Bush On The Couch: Inside The Mind Of The President, told The National Enquirer: "I do think that Bush is drinking again. Alcoholics who are not in any program, like the President, have a hard time when stress gets to be great.

"I think it's a concern that Bush disappears during times of stress. He spends so much time on his ranch. It's very frightening."
Maybe I shouldn't have been so quick to criticize the Enquirer...