Saturday, May 12

CBS Hypocrisy in Firing Gen John Batiste

As Thinkprogress has noted, the firing of Gen John Batiste for speaking out on the Iraq War has been a complete disgrace. Their given rationale is that his advocacy against Bush's Iraq Strategy has undermined the viewers ability to see his analysis as "unbiased and objective" according to Linda Mason, CBS News Vice President, Standards and Special Projects:

"When we hire someone as a consultant, we want them to share their expertise with our viewers," she said. "By putting himself front and center in an anti-Bush ad, the viewer might have the feeling everything he says is anti-Bush. And that doesn’t seem like an analytical approach to the issues we want to discuss."

I'm sorry but such an opinion on the viewers part would be highly prejudicial would it not? Rather than take steps to prove such bigotry wrong, by pointing out that Batiste is a lifelong Republican, CBS has instead chosen to give in and confirm that view with their decision.


It's also interesting to note that CBS News continues to maintain several pro-Bush War advocates on it's staff, but has yet to question their objectivity.

Watch the Video Ad

The sheer level of hypocritical B.S. coming from CBS on this issue has been staggering. While they've fired Batiste, CBS continues to keep former White House communications director and consultant to the McCain campaign, Nicholle Wallace on the payroll. Here are a few examples of Wallace's "Objectiveness":

"The Democrats have to walk a fine line and be careful. People don’t want to turn on the TV and see every story being about the obstruction of people trying to do things." [Washington Post, 3/7/07]

"Well, you know, people ask me all the time, ‘Do they [in the White House] get it? Do they get how bad things are?’ And the answer is yes." [CBS Evening News, 12/12/06]

At the end of the day, no matter how discontent some voters are, they really don’t want to see Democrats in control of the Congress. [CBS Evening News, 10/23/06]

And here are some of Wallace's statements on McCain:

I think, one, there is John McCain and there is everybody else. Nobody else running for president or thinking about running for president is even in a category of suggesting or proposing policy that any commander in chief is considering adapting. And I think John McCain himself addressed the political perils this week when he came out in all his interviews and said, `You know, everyone knows I have presidential aspirations, but let’s put all that aside and do right by the men and women of our military.’ And I think that is the essence of who he his and what his campaign will be about. [CBS Saturday, 1/6/07]

Yeah well, You outta know Nicolle.

But Wallace isn't alone in her blatant partisanship, there's also CBS Military analysis Michael O'Hanlon who has openly advocated his support for Bush's Surge Strategy in Iraq. From the Washington Post via TPM.

President Bush's plan for a surge of American troops in Iraq has run into a brick wall of congressional opposition. Critics rightly argue that it may well be too little, way too late. But for a skeptical Congress and nation, it is still the right thing to try -- as long as we do not count on it succeeding and we start working on backup plans even as we grant Bush his request...

Rather than deny funding for Bush's initiatives, Congress should provide it now -- but only for fiscal 2007 (meaning through September). By that point, or even the August congressional recess, we should know if the surge is showing promise. If it does, Congress could consider continuing its support....

If the surge fails, we will need a whole new paradigm for Iraq policy, and it is hardly too soon for Congress to start fleshing out our choices. But for now, Congress should also give the president the money and support that he requests.

It should be noted that O'Hanlon has been a consultant with the Brooking's Institute, one of the oldest "Liberal" think tanks in existence, which has long sought to counterbalance the conservative Heritage Foundation and Liberterian Cato Institute - at least in theory. In fact, what he's saying here is "Lets Give War A Chance".

Um, how about let's Not - M,kay?

I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that Batiste has just been Goodling-ed:

Two years ago, Robin C. Ashton, a seasoned criminal prosecutor at the Department of Justice, learned from her boss that a promised promotion was no longer hers.

"You have a Monica problem," Ms. Ashton was told, according to several Justice Department officials. Referring to Monica M. Goodling, a 31-year-old, relatively inexperienced lawyer who had only recently arrived in the office, the boss added, "She believes you’re a Democrat and doesn’t feel you can be trusted." [...]

Ms. Goodling would soon be quizzing applicants for civil service jobs at Justice Department headquarters with questions that several United States attorneys said were inappropriate, like who was their favorite president and Supreme Court justice. One department official said an applicant was even asked, "Have you ever cheated on your wife?"

Ms. Goodling also moved to block the hiring of prosecutors with résumés that suggested they might be Democrats, even though they were seeking posts that were supposed to be nonpartisan, two department officials said.

Is CBS applying an anti-Democrat Litmus test? It's a good question after Dan Rather and superscript-gate led to Katie Couric on the CBS News, and on 60 Minutes with her despicable grilling of John Edwards on what "some people say..." about his wife's cancer, even though she herself had continued working while her own husband battled colon cancer, isn't it?

One clue might be the fact that CBS took two weeks to fire Don Imus for his racial and gender slurs, but just two days to fire Batiste for speaking up on Iraq.


Or how about this further comment from Ms. Mason:

"It isn’t just that he took an advocacy position," she said. "General Batiste took part in a commercial that’s being shown on television to raise money for veterans against the war."

Well, no - he didn't. The VoteVets ad that General Batiste - who commanded the Army's First Infantry Division in Iraq during 2004 and 2005 - participated in was not a fundraising ad and made no request for funds. Batiste simply spoke out and shared the benefit of his experience after two years on the front lines fighting Bush's pointless War, and simply targeted those in Congress who continued to enable it.

Like Kyle Sampson, how many different stories on why Batiste was really fired is Mason going to make up?

I'm not suggesting that either Wallace or O'Hanlon also be fired for their advocacy, only that full disclosure of ones opinion not be considered anathema to objective and open debate. Nor do I think Gen Batiste should go back to CBS, there are of course other Networks and outlets (Countdown - hint hint!) where he can speak openly and honestly. It was their mistake, their loss and they shouldn't get a Mulligan. If anything, their action has actually had the reverse of the desired effect of silencing war critics by helping to highlight this issue and keep it running through several more news cycles. They may have just made Batiste into a Martyr.

From Atrios.

[L]ots of former generals and similar are on the cable networks cheering on the war, so anyone who criticizes former generals speaking up is essentially saying they can only express their opinions in one direction. In addition, while this point wasn’t (IIRC) made explicitly, it essentially makes the whole "former general as cable news commentator" position a farcical one at odds with any claimed journalistic pretension, as they’re only on if they support current policy.

It's exactly the kind of one-sided objectivity we've long come to know and expect from the "Liberal Media" isn't it?

I simply want to say that after the service performed by Gen. Batiste to his country, he (and us) clearly deserve far better than treatment he received from CBS News.

Whether you agree or not, you can tell CBS how you feel by going here.


Quick Truths

Quick Truth's from Thinkprogress

CBS Fires General Batiste
As ThinkProgress has reported, CBS has terminated Gen. John Batiste’s consulting contract with the network over his appearance in a VoteVets ad. CBS News’ blog sought comment from Linda Mason, CBS News Vice President, Standards and Special Projects. Here’s what Mason said about Batiste:

“When we hire someone as a consultant, we want them to share their expertise with our viewers,” she said. “By putting himself front and center in an anti-Bush ad, the viewer might have the feeling everything he says is anti-Bush. And that doesn’t seem like an analytical approach to the issues we want to discuss.”

Mason’s concern is hypocritical. CBS hasn’t shown a similar level of apprehension for being painted “pro-Bush” when former White House communications director Nicolle Wallace appears on its programming. Nor has it been concerned when its military analyst Michael O’Hanlon advocated in favor of Bush’s Iraq policy.

Nicolle Wallace has propagated talking points advanced by her old colleagues in the White House communications office. Some examples:

The Democrats have to walk a fine line and be careful. People don’t want to turn on the TV and see every story being about the obstruction of people trying to do things.” [Washington Post, 3/7/07]

“Well, you know, people ask me all the time, ‘Do they [in the White House] get it? Do they get how bad things are?’ And the answer is yes.” [CBS Evening News, 12/12/06]

At the end of the day, no matter how discontent some voters are, they really don’t want to see Democrats in control of the Congress. [CBS Evening News, 10/23/06]

It’s apparently only advocacy when you’re opposing Bush. Americans United notes that it took two weeks for CBS to fire Don Imus for racial slurs, but two days to fire Batiste for speaking up on Iraq.

Petraeus condemns torture.

In an open letter yesterday, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, “admonished his troops regarding the results of an Army survey that found that many U.S military personnel there are willing to tolerate some torture of suspects and unwilling to report abuse by comrades.” From the letter:

I was concerned by the results of a recently released survey conducted last fall in Irasq that revealed an apparent unwillingness on the part of some US personnel to report illegal actions taken by fellow members of their units. The study also indicated that a small percentage of those surveyed may have mistreated noncombatants. This survey should spur reflection on our conduct in combat. …

Some may argue that we would be more effective if we sanctioned torture or other expedient methods to obtain information from the enemy. They would be wrong. Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan calls it a “stunning letter“:

[I]t’s one of the most important letters to come from a senior military official in a very long time. The very fact that it is necessary reveals the extent of the damage that Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney have done. But the fact that it is addressed to every servicemember in the field from their commander in the field shows that honor is not dead in the US military, and that repair is possible.

Justice officials detail Goodling’s partisan witchhunt.

The New York Times reports:

Two years ago, Robin C. Ashton, a seasoned criminal prosecutor at the Department of Justice, learned from her boss that a promised promotion was no longer hers.

“You have a Monica problem,” Ms. Ashton was told, according to several Justice Department officials. Referring to Monica M. Goodling, a 31-year-old, relatively inexperienced lawyer who had only recently arrived in the office, the boss added, “She believes you’re a Democrat and doesn’t feel you can be trusted.” […]

Ms. Goodling would soon be quizzing applicants for civil service jobs at Justice Department headquarters with questions that several United States attorneys said were inappropriate, like who was their favorite president and Supreme Court justice. One department official said an applicant was even asked, “Have you ever cheated on your wife?”

Ms. Goodling also moved to block the hiring of prosecutors with résumés that suggested they might be Democrats, even though they were seeking posts that were supposed to be nonpartisan, two department officials said.

On Friday a Federal Judge approved Goodling's Immunity Deal to testify before Congress.

Fox Beltway Boy proposes "Final Solution" for Iraq

Following the recent discussion from House Minority Leader asking what would be "Plan B" if the surge fails (Whattayamean "If"? It already has!) Mort Kondracke of Roll Cal l and Fux News Beltway Boys has propose that Plan B should be something he calls "Winning Dirty" aka "The 80 Percent Solution". The rest of us might be more familiar with the old school term for it from back in the 90's - Ethnic Cleansing.

Winning will be dirty because it will allow the Shiite-dominated Iraqi military and some Shiite militias to decimate the Sunni insurgency. There likely will be ethnic cleansing, atrocities against civilians and massive refugee flows.

Whaddayamean "Will Be" - there already is!

October 2006.

In Baghdad’s violent Washash neighborhood, which is predominantly Shiite with pockets of Sunni residents, U.S. troops suspect "that Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army are conducting what amounts to an ethnic cleansing campaign."

March 2007.

The U.N. refugee agency says "there has been an ‘abject denial‘ around the world of the humanitarian impact of invading Iraq." The agency estimates that the "number of Iraqis living beyond the country’s borders as refugees stands at two million and a further 1.7 million live within the borders as displaced people."

Oh, and just since I think it needs to be mentioned, Sunni's aren't the only ones are grave risk here - Iraq Christians are in danger as well.

"Christians are fleeing in droves from the southern Baghdad district of Dora after Sunni insurgents told them they would be killed unless they converted to Islam or left," marking "the first apparent attempt to empty an entire Baghdad neighborhood of Christians, the Christians say."

More from Thinkprogress:

Kondracke says it’s understandable that Sunnis suffer because "so far they’ve refused to accept that they’re a minority. They will have to do so eventually, one way or another." After all, he says, "Civil wars do end. The losers lose and have to knuckle under."

Oh, so his view is that minorities should "knuckle under" to the will of the majority in all things? What about "All Men Were Created Equal" and stuff? What about what our own founding fathers described the dangers inherent in the Tyranny of the Majority

In any institution in which a majority of citizens or members can pass laws or rules that apply, not just to themselves, but to all members of the group, judgment is required to distinguish potential laws which are reasonable and fair from those which are tyrannical because they are unnecessary, unfair, and justifiably intolerable to the minority that opposed them. And formal mechanisms need to be in place, wherever feasible, to prevent tyrannical laws from being passed by those whose judgment in such matters might fail.

James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper 51:

"It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure."

What Madison and others describe here isn't simply a potential problem with our own government, it's a problem for all governments. In our case we established a Senate which has an equal level of representation from each State region, giving them all an equal voice and influence regardless of how many populace that state might be. In this way California isn't able to completely override the issues and concerns of Rhode Island. Somewhere between the idea of split Iraq into three distinct states ala Biden, or even into 18 states other legislators have suggested, what is needed may be a secondary Senate-like body to equally represent all of the various regions and factions and protect the rights of the minority from potential tyranny.

Whether this is a viable solution or not, the real way to end this way is to get some negotiations going between these various factions - just as the Iraq Study Group Suggested - and begin building the confidence of all the Iraqi people, Shiite, Sunni, Kurd and Christian, in thier own country and their own government.

As far as Kondracke's "Plan B" all we have to do for that to occur - IS LEAVE because frankly, it's already occuring and we're just getting in the way.

But then if (and when) we do leave, it's clear that before the bloodshed ends - the Saudi's are bound to get involved to help protect their fellow Sunni's from being completely wiped out , which is what they told Dick Cheney at his "command performance" before the Saudi Crown Prince.

As reported by CNN.

ROBERTS (voice-over): The debate over pulling American troops out of Iraq hit a solid nerve in Saudi Arabia. U.S. officials say King Abdullah read Vice President Cheney the riot act during his recent visit. The warning, if Iraq Sunni minorities are left to suffer at the hands of ruling Shiites, Saudi Arabia may have to step in.

MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: If the American troop presence were not there to mitigate the war, the Sunni Arabs with the smaller forces and smaller numbers would almost certainly lose decisively, there could be substantial genocide in the process.

ROBERTS: While Saudi officials acknowledge there have been discussions about supporting Sunnis in the event of a withdrawal and civil war in Iraq, they insist it's only talk at this point, not official policy by a long shot. It's no surprise to Middle East experts that the Saudis would fund the insurgency. They say it's already happening, though perhaps not on an official level.

All we have to do to "win dirty" - is leave.

As always, it's seems that the true last resort in all cases with the Bush Administration seems to be that one thing they simply refuse to do - Diplomacy.


Friday, May 11

Eric Gales - Paralyzed

Eric Gales - "Paralyzed" and "Look Inside" from The Arsenio Hall show 1993

Thursday, May 10

Gang of 11 Repubs Tell Bush he has "No Credibility on the War"

As reported on Olbermann last night. a group of 11 House Republicans met with the President and basically told him that he has "No More Credibility" on the Iraq War.

As noted in the New York Times.

WASHINGTON, May 9 — Moderate Republicans gave President Bush a blunt warning on his Iraq policy at a private White House meeting this week, telling the president that conditions needed to improve markedly by fall or more Republicans would desert him on the war.

The White House session demonstrated the grave unease many Republicans are feeling about the war, even as they continue to stand with the president against Democratic efforts to force a withdrawal of forces through a spending measure that has been a flash point for weeks.

Participants in the Tuesday meeting between Mr. Bush, senior administration officials and 11 members of a moderate bloc of House Republicans said the lawmakers were unusually candid with the president, telling him that public support for the war was crumbling in their swing districts.

One told Mr. Bush that voters back home favored a withdrawal even if it meant the war was judged a loss. Representative Tom Davis told Mr. Bush that the president’s approval rating was at 5 percent in one section of his northern Virginia district.

“It was a tough meeting in terms of people being as frank as they possibly could about their districts and their feelings about where the American people are on the war,” said Representative Ray LaHood of Illinois, who took part in the session, which lasted more than an hour in the residential section of the White House. “It was a no-holds-barred meeting.”

A year and half after John Murtha originally called for Redeployment of Our Troops from Iraq, prompting his being called a "Cut and Run Coward", being "Senile", "Too emotional", behaving like a "Hitler Sympathiser", accused of trying to "Slow Bleed" our troops and that he should be "Fragged".... Republicans are finally begining to realize that light they see isn't the end of the tunnel, it's an oncoming train.

Although the President did fulfill his promise to Veto the Murtha inspired legislation he was presented by Congress, precisely on the fourth anniversary of "Quagmire:Accomplished" -- it seems that the Republican ranks are completely falling apart, with not only Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) putting forth her own set of Iraqi Redeployment and Timetables, but many other Senate and House Republicans are scurrying for higher ground on this issue.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

A likely sticking point is whether to include penalties if the Iraqi government fails to meet the benchmarks. Democrats, and some Republicans such as Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, insist that there be consequences for falling short, such as a loss of U.S. financial support or the withdrawal of some coalition forces.

“We can’t be there in an open-ended fashion,” Snowe said. “We have to say: how long does it really take to pass the benchmarks?” [Bloomberg, 5/2/07]

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME):

“Obviously, the president would prefer a straight funding bill with no benchmarks, no conditions, no reports,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). “Many of us, on both sides of the aisle, don’t see that as viable.” [LA Times, 5/3/07]

Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE):

Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), a leading moderate, said many Republicans are looking for a way out of Iraq, and he hopes that the Democrats will work with them after Bush likely vetoes the $124 billion war supplemental this week. “I think a lot of us feel that the time has come for us to look for solutions to bring this war to a close,” Castle said. “And I don’t think that’s just a feeling among moderate Republicans but among Republicans in general.” Castle said Republicans of all stripes “are very reluctant to put in dates on our Army” but said that other ideas, including Blunt’s talk of a “consequences package” for the Iraqi government, could bring the parties together. [Roll Call, 4/30/07]

Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN):

“I think we’re still in a fairly toxic political environment,” said Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), who opposed the president’s troop buildup but voted against the Democratic withdrawal plan. “And I think it will continue like this for a while. That’s the reality.” [LA Times, 5/3/07]

Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC):

But a new dynamic also is at work, with some Republicans now saying that funding further military operations in Iraq with no strings attached does not make practical or political sense. Rep. Bob Inglis (S.C.), a conservative who opposed the first funding bill, said, “The hallway talk is very different from the podium talk.” [Washington Post, 5/3/07]

Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA)

“We have to be engaged developing our own proposals and not just going along with what the executive branch is doing,” said Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., a Louisiana Republican who voted against the Democratic plan to force Bush to start withdrawing troops. [LA Times, 5/3/07]

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA):

Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican who has supported Bush’s war strategy even as the public has turned against it, said, “The marketplace has become ripe for a new idea.” [LA Times, 5/3/07]

Although I'm certain the President expected that it would be the Democrats who would blink after his Veto since they didn't have the votes to override - it's looking more and more to me that the people that will ultimately decide this argument aren't the Democrats or the President, it's the Congressional Republicans who have now run out of their Visine &trade I-V feeds.

Oh, and it appears that the House is Voting Today on yet another Iraq Withdrawal Bill, this one submitted by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass) a member of the "Out of Iraq" caucus.

“In a change of plans, House Democratic leaders today plan to bring up legislation that would begin redeployment of U.S. forces and contractors from Iraq not later than 90 days after enactment and to be completed within 180 days before turning to a second Iraq war supplemental,” National Journal reports.

The more Bush stands his ground and stamps his feet like a child, the more the sands shift beneath him and the closer our boys (and girls) finally get to coming home.


Wesley Clark Cleans O'Reilly's Clock

BillO V Westley Clark

Wednesday, May 9

Coulter: Obama lead good for Al-Qeada

Guess what folks, that wonderful fountain of Republican wisdom, Ann (hoof-in-mouth) Coulter, seems to now think that Newsweek magazine has become an "agent of al-Qaeda" by stating that Barack Obama has a lead on the top Republican presidential candidates.

Like of course, it's only with the aid of al-Qaeda that Democrats can actually win, it's not like they have to gerrymander districts, jam the phone lines of their opponents "get out the vote" operations or turn the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department into the voter suppression enforcement arm of the GOP or anything...

WASHINGTON (AP) - A recent Newsweek poll showing Democrat Barack Obama leading top Republican presidential hopefuls could have been made up and might help al-Qaida, conservative commentator Ann Coulter said in her latest verbal broadside.

Coulter, a best-selling author known for outrageous and often controversial statements, was asked Sunday on Fox News'"At Large" what she thought about the survey results.

"I think this is Newsweek doing more push polling for al-Qaida," she said, referring to campaign-season telephone calls to voters masquerading as neutral surveys but designed to build opposition to targeted candidates.

Asked by host Geraldo Rivera whether she thought Newsweek would make up the results, Coulter said, "Yes, I do," adding, "In polls where people are actually allowed to vote, Republicans do a lot better."

Coulter did not explain how the poll might help the terrorist group. Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, some Republicans have argued that their party would do a better job of protecting the U.S. against terrorism than Democrats.

Yeah, that's right - those slow-bleedy defeato-crats are just ready to turn tail in Iraq and run -- and that's good for al-Qaeda, except for the fact that it seems it would completely ruin Zawahiri's diabololical master plan to "kill 200,000 Americans" in the giant venus fly-trap that Iraq has become. Of course that plan is just fine with DC Madam Gold Card client Dick Morris, who figures it's better to let them kill us over there, so they don't have to kill us here.

President Bush has repeatedly argued that the United States needs to “eliminate terrorist threats abroad, so we do not have to face them here at home.”

Last night on Hannity and Colmes, right-wing pundit Dick Morris also claimed that we need to keep U.S. troops in Iraq so that terrorists don’t come to the United States. But he argued that we need to put “Americans right within their [terrorists’] arms’ reach” so that they have the opportunity to “kill Americans” there. He added that therefore, “they don’t have to come to Wall Street to kill Americans. They don’t have to knock down the Trade Center. They can do it around the corner, and convenience is a big factor when you’re a terrorist.”
There you go, seems to me that ole Dick-head is probably right. Bush's plan is exactly the same as Zawahiri's plan - so how is Obama the one helping Al-Qaeda again?

By the way Ann, if you think Barack is doing well against the Republicans, just look what John "the faggot" Edwards is doing to them according to the 5/8 Newsweek Poll.

Edwards (50%) v Giuliani (44%)
Edwards (52%) v McCain (42%)
It is true that previous polls have shown Republicans such as Giuliani and McCain with a lead over Hillary Clinton (defeating her 49-40 and 46-41 respectively as of a 5/1 Quinnipiac University Poll) what I think Coulter can't wrap around her tiny little mind around is the fact that the public has now had a chance to see all the candidates following both the Democratic and Republican debates -- and their reaction hasn't been good for the Republicans.

Meanwhile Republicans in the Senate who are expecting to face voters in 2008 are clearly feeling the heat for this President's failed Iraq policy. It looks like they've come up with slow-bleedish timetable/benchmark plan of their own. "Wait 'til September Comes".
This Sunday, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) said, “By the time we get to September or October, members are going to want to know how well this is working, and if it isn’t, what’s Plan B?

The Washington Post reported in March, “During a White House meeting last week, a group of governors asked President Bush and Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about their backup plan for Iraq. What would the administration do if its new strategy didn’t work? The conclusion they took away, the governors later said, was that there is no Plan B. … Pace had a simple way of summarizing the administration’s position, Gov. Phil Bredesen (D-Tenn.) recalled. ‘Plan B was to make Plan A work.’

Somehow I don't think that's the answer Boehner was looking for, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Zawahiri's going to like it just fine. Let's just not mention the fact that the place Democrats want to "retreat" to happens to be Afghanistan where they can make bin Laden and Zawahiri eat their own B.S. with tartar source.

Fact is, Republicans are gonna get so hammered in 2008, in Congress, in the Senate and the White House, it's almost not funny. Almost. It's right about time we start talking about the emerging Permanent Republican Minority.


Quick Truths

From Thinkprogress:

The Pentagon’s announcement yesterday that 35,000 soldiers in 10 Army combat brigades will begin deploying to Iraq in August as replacements makes it “possible to sustain the increase of U.S. troops there until at least the end of this year.”

“Partial data on attacks gathered from five U.S. brigades operating in Baghdad” show that total attacks since the escalation began in February “were either steady or increasing. In some cases, certain kinds of attacks dipped as the U.S. troop increase began, only to begin rising again in recent weeks. Overall, ‘the number of attacks has stayed relatively constant’ in Baghdad, said one U.S. officer.”

“The government’s methods for deciding compensation for emotionally disturbed veterans have little basis in science, are applied unevenly and may even create disincentives for veterans to get better, an influential scientific advisory group said yesterday.”

“Led by California, 31 states representing more than 70% of the U.S. population announced Tuesday that they would measure and jointly track greenhouse gas emissions by major industries.” The new Climate Registry is seen as a “crucial precursor” to regulating global warming pollution.

Christians are fleeing in droves from the southern Baghdad district of Dora after Sunni insurgents told them they would be killed unless they converted to Islam or left,” marking “the first apparent attempt to empty an entire Baghdad neighborhood of Christians, the Christians say.”

House war opponents craft new bill.

“A week after President Bush vetoed a Democratic war spending measure that set a timeline for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq, House Democrats said Tuesday they hope to vote later this week on a second proposal that would impose new conditions on the administration’s prosecution of the war.”

[T]he plan developed by Reps. David Obey, D-Wis, and John P. Murtha, D-Pa. — and referred to by some Democrats as the “short-leash” plan — would guarantee about $30 billion in funding only through July for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At that point, the Bush administration would be required to report on the Iraqi government’s progress on a series of benchmarks, including disarming sectarian militias and passing laws to equitably share oil wealth across the country. Congress would then take a second vote to approve further funding through the end of September.

Gonzales angered when WH ties to firings were exposed.

On Feb. 7, 2007, Alberto Gonzales’ spokesman Brian Roehrkasse told two top Gonzales aides that the Attorney General was “extremely upset” that his deputy, Paul McNulty, had told the Senate Judiciary committee the day before that U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins had been fired to make room for an aide to Karl Rove. But why was he upset?

When the Roehrkasse e-mail came to light, he told the press that Gonzales had been upset because he believed that “Bud Cummins’ removal involved performance considerations.” But on April 15, Congressional sources tell TIME, Gonzales’ former chief of staff Kyle Sampson told a different story. During a private interview with Judiciary Committee staffers Sampson said three times in as many minutes that Gonzales was angry with McNulty because he had exposed the White House’s involvement in the firings — had put its role “in the public sphere,” as Sampson phrased it, according to Congressional sources familiar with the interview.

Chevron to acknowledge aiding Saddam.

“Chevron, the second-largest American oil company, is preparing to acknowledge that it should have known kickbacks were being paid to Saddam Hussein on oil it bought from Iraq as part of a defunct United Nations program, according to investigators. … At the time, Condoleezza Rice, now secretary of state, was a member of Chevron’s board and led its public policy committee, which oversaw areas of potential political concerns for the company. Ms. Rice resigned from Chevron’s board on Jan. 16, 2001, after being named national security advisor by President Bush.” (Via Atrios)

Bush backing Wolfowitz despite ethics violations.

“The White House said on Tuesday the World Bank could continue to be effective with embattled World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz in charge.”

Monday, May 7

Living Colour - Type

Living Colour - Type

Sunday, May 6

Tenet : I was No Hero....

Today on Meet the Press, exactly one week after Condoleeza Rice's whirlwind talkshow appearances and in a far less animated performance than what was shown on 60 Minutes, former CIA Director George Tenet sat down with Tim Russert and proceeded to explain just how many times he completely screwed the pooch prior to the Iraq War and how he failed to tell the President of his concerns about our invasion of that country.

I didn't do it, Tim. I, I did not, I did not oppose this, and to, to, to dress me up as a hero at this--I wasn't a hero here, and, and that's the record.

Well, ain't that the truth.

Wait, let me rephrase that.


But apparently now that Tenet has had a chance to calm down and refresh his meds - he actually managed to put forth a pretty good case that he honestly did the best job he could.


The main issue clearly that Tenet wants to put forward is the fact the CIA didn't know - just how much they didn't know.

I've heard debate about this book subsequently, and it, and it looks like, "You knew this was wrong, and you let the president of the United States or you let the secretary of state go to the United Nations and say it."

Absolutely not.

"You knew in the moment, at the time you lived in, all of the problems that would manifest themselves in postwar Iraq and didn't tell anybody."

That's absolutely not true.

On these two points, Tenet has a strong case surprisingly. First of all you have to look not just to him, but to other sources such as Col. Lawrence Wilkerson and Colin Powell who actually gave the UN speech. As Tenet described today, Powell did spend several days at CIA headquarters vetting the accuracy of the speech and largely tossing out many of the White House claims which he had been provided via Scooter Libby.

"We've really got to make the case" against Hussein, Bush told Powell in an Oval Office meeting in late January, "and I want you to make it." Only Powell had the "credibility to do this," Bush said. "Maybe they'll believe you." It was a direct order from his commander in chief, and it never occurred to Powell to question it.

He was told that the case had already been put together by the White House, and he assumed that with a little tweaking he could turn it into a speech that would fit his voice and style. He was taken aback on Tuesday, January 28, when he received the bulk of the document, a 48-page, single-spaced compilation of Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction program, replete with drama, rhetorical devices and a kitchen sink full of allegations. The most extreme version of every charge the administration had made about Hussein, the document had been written, Powell concluded, under the tutelage of Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who shared all of his boss's hard-line views and then some.

That was the Speech the President wanted Powell to give, but he didn't do it and frankly - neither Tenet or Wilkerson wouldn't let him. Still things didn't go smoothly.

MR. RUSSERT: He now says that that presentation was inaccurate and that it's a blot on his career.

MR. TENET: And we let the secretary down, and we undermined the credibility of the United States because we, we worked very hard for three nights. We believed we put together a presentation that we thought was good and solid. And we know that once we got on the ground, and we know that once we started learning things, that that presentation didn't stand up. So, you know, I sat behind, I sat behind the secretary of state. We sat there for three and a half days trying to make sure that he said what we believed. We worked very, very hard. We started with a draft that wasn't our own. We spent two and a half days trying to figure out where, where half the stuff came from.

But it's fair to note - that their failure wasn't for lack of trying to do a good job.

"HERE YOU GO," POWELL SAID, as he dropped the White House document on the desk of his chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson. Wilkerson quickly agreed it read more like a badly written novel than something designed to persuade the world. That afternoon, he assembled a State Department team-- including speechwriter Lynne Davidson and Barry Lowenkron, a senior CIA officer before he joined Powell's policy planning staff -- to set up shop at CIA headquarters, across the Potomac River in Virginia. They would examine the evidence themselves and turn the document into what Wilkerson called "a Colin Powell speech." Cheney aide John Hannah and William Tobey, the counterproliferation director at the White House National Security Council, would meet them there to answer any questions.

The problem as has been admitted by Wilkerson, is that they never considered the possibility that they were wrong about Saddam.

As they probed for proof of Hussein's lies, no one thought of looking for evidence that might have raised questions about their assumptions that the weapons existed.

And as it turned out Hussein finally did tell the truth when he put forth his "Final Declaration" on the status of his WMD programs in the wake of Powell's speech and the passage Un Resolution 1441.

He didn't have any more WMD's, Hussein had given the order to destroy them in 1991 - not that anyone in 2002 was listening to him.

What Tenet and Powell didn't know was that their source for the many of the claims in the UN speech, Ibn Sheik al-Libi was known as a fabricator by the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) - a fact which was not shared with CIA.

Another of the primary sources was Curveball, who had also been identified by DIA as a fabricator.

But some people in CIA were aware of problems with Curveball, including European chief Tyler Drumheller, who personally crossed out information from Powell's UN speech which he recognized as coming from that source. Unfortunately, it didn't take.

In late January 2003, as Secretary of State Colin Powell prepared to argue the Bush administration's case against Iraq at the United Nations, veteran CIA officer Tyler Drumheller sat down with a classified draft of Powell's speech to look for errors. He found a whopper: a claim about mobile biological labs built by Iraq for germ warfare.

Drumheller instantly recognized the source, an Iraqi defector suspected of being mentally unstable and a liar. The CIA officer took his pen, he recounted in an interview, and crossed out the whole paragraph.

A few days later, the lines were back in the speech. Powell stood before the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 5 and said: "We have first-hand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails."

Tenet has long argued that he wasn't told about Curveball's credibility problems, in 2005 he said:

It is deeply troubling to me that there was information apparently available within CIA as of late September or October of 2002 indicating that Curveball may have been a fabricator"

And Wilkerson - whose been no fan of Bush Iraq policy or the Vice President's tactics in pushing his agenda - says he never heard anything about Curveball or Drumheller.

"No one mentioned Drumheller, or Curveball," Lawrence B. Wilkerson, Powell's chief of staff at the time, said in an interview. "I didn't know the name Curveball until months afterward."

Drumheller, according the Washington Post has stated that he informed deputy-DCI John McLaughlin about the problems with Curveball, but McLaughlin has claimed before the Robb-Silberman Commission that he didn't remember it.

The same situation was repeated when it comes to the infamous 16 Words - although Tenet personally intervened to have the reference to Niger and Uranium removed from the President's Cincinnati speech, it still found it's way back into the State of the Union. From MTP.

MR. RUSSERT: You said six months after that, that those words should not have been included in the president's speech.

MR. TENET: Correct.

MR. RUSSERT: Why did it take six months?

MR. TENET: Well, well, Tim, first of all, it's interesting. Let's, let's do the history here. Identical words were intended to be put in the Cincinnati speech, and we took them out. I took them out directly in a conversation with Mr. Hadley and follow-up memos that we sent to the White House as to why you can't use this data. We document that in the book. That speech was provided to me just before it was given. Unfortunately, I didn't read it. We passed it out for comment. Nobody came back to me to say "Let's take it out."

To his credit though, Tenet doesn't completely pass the buck to his underlings.

TENET: But we took it out--we took it out in the Cincinnati speech. We left it in in this speech. I believe we had a responsibility in clearing the (SOTU) speech to, to accept the responsibility of the fact that we didn't get our job done and allowed the president of the United States to say that. I believed there was going to be shared responsibility. We took it out of Cincinnati. We were very forceful about that.

Yes, they were - with two faxes and a phone call directly from Tenet to Stephen Hadley. Yet the incorrect words returned

I may be weird, but it seems to me this is exact repeat of what didn't happen with Curveball because in that case as well, the issue apparently got lost somewhere on the desk of Tenet's deputy John McLaughlin. Hmmmm...

In the midst of all this were the action being taken by Douglas Feith over at Defense to help promote and hype the Curveball and al-libi claims, to hype the Niger forgeries and the aluminum tubes. As Wilkerson has noted:

What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made. And then, when the bureaucracy was presented with the decision to carry them out, it was presented in a such a disjointed, incredible way that the bureaucracy often didn't know what it was doing as it moved to carry them out.

With Libby pushing his points from the OVP along with Feith at DOD and his attempts to hide and overide the issues with Curveball, al-libi, the Niger forgeries, the non-existent Atta/Prague meeting, the fact that Iraq Foreign Minister Sabri had essentially defected and told us outright - that Iraq Had No More WMD's - the ones who got "slammed dunked" were Tenet and the American people.

But one point where Tenet does appear to be a little bit of Hero - almost - is on the pre-9-11 warnings.

MR. RUSSERT: Then in June, a briefer of the CIA named Rich B gave a conclusion saying, based on all the reporting we've seen, that "bin Laden is going to launch a significant terrorist attack against U.S." Israeli "interest in the coming weeks." July 10 you got another briefing so alarming that you picked up the phone, said to Condoleezza Rice, "I want to come see you now," jumped in the car with some of your key advisers, went to see her. Rich B, he gave her a briefing package. Opening line, "There will be a significant terrorist attack in the coming weeks or months!" And then you--and later July, Rich B
sitting at the CIA, said, "They're coming here." When he told you that, what did you think?

MR. TENET: It was a moment I'll never forget. We, we were sitting there trying to rack our brains, trying to figure out what we were up against at that moment. And you know, Rich, Rich said that, it hung over the room. We had no texture. We took it seriously, you know, but we had no texture at that moment. Of course, this is a, this is a human being who's been following this for many years, and he's giving us an instinctual call.

Tenet briefed Rice, she had them repeat the briefings with Rumsfeld. The August PDB reitereated the warnings.

Yet Bush and Co did nothing.

They only had ONE MEETING on the issue eight months after Richard Clark had begged for one.

Condoleezza Rice has consitently maintained that there were no warnings of an attack "inside the U.S." - either in the PDB ("This was historical information") or during this briefing, which she intially claimed didn't even happen.

But he's the thing, considering how the filtering of subordinates (and a healthy dose of hype from Douglas Feith) later hurt us going into Iraq, did the President ever get the message about al-Qaeda before 9-11? Apparently he did.

MR. RUSSERT: This is late July. The evidence coming in the intelligence: big event, spectacular, King, King Abdullah of Jordan calling, saying, "We have to go to Afghanistan. We have to do something." A presidential daily brief was prepared for the president on August 6 entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in the U.S."

Late August, you went to Crawford, Texas, first time ever, met with the president, rode with him in his pickup truck. Did you say to him at that time, "Mr. President, Rich B told me at the CIA they are coming. You got to do something now"?

MR. TENET: Tim, by, by August, remember, this threat reporting starts way back in the spring--May, June, July, August. I held nothing back from the president. He understood our concerns about threats. He understood what we were doing around the world at the time. The interesting thing is is by the end of July, everything goes silent on us.

So, yes - Bush was specifically told and knew that Bin Laden was going to attack the U.S. He was In The Loop.

TENET: You know, I, I have every confidence that everybody in our government understood what I believed to be a very, very serious time period. At the end of the day, the authorities we were seeking were to get on the ground and work covertly with, with Ahmed Shah Massoud and the northern alliance. We wanted to get more proactive on the ground. The hijackers were already here.

Again, this puts the lie to Rice's claims from just last week that the desire to go to Afghanistan and deal with al-Qaeda directly Prior to 9-11 was a "New Fact".

Unfortunately for Tenet, Massoud was murdered just a week before 9-11. While the Bush Administration was "deliberating" the issue of an imminent al-Qeada attack - Bin Ladin was finalizing his plan. While we sat on our hands and CIA waited for authority to proceed - al Qaeda was taking action.

Tenet is indeed "No Hero" in all of this, but neither is he entirely a villain. It's fair to say that he did try hard to do what he thought was right, he made mistakes - serious ones (although he had a ton of help in that regard) - and it may be true that all he may be trying to do now is simply brush some of the tarnish off of his tattered legacy, he has at least been man enough to admit his own many, many mistakes.

He may have an ongoing tiff with Richard Perle over who said what and when about Iraq's links to Al-Qaeda - (and he's already admitted his mistake here as well) - but utimately it's going to take the 20/20 hindsight of history to fully appreciate the total scope of the failures and successes of the CIA under his leadership.

It seems to me there's more than enough blame to go around.

When exactly we're going to hear Feith, Libby, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Bush admit their complete and total fuck-ups will probably be sometime after the next Ice-Age in Hell.