Saturday, June 23

One thing we shouldn't do - is Impeach Too Soon

Crossposted from Dailykos.

People, I know you're pissed.

I know that this pack of rabid criminals running the White House and the Government have got you hopping mad with ignoring Richard Clark, ignoring the Cole, ignoring the PDB, ignoring the attempted invervention on Rice and the Crawford One-on-One with Tenet on Osama, Yellowcake, no al-Qaeda in Iraq, trumped up links between Saddam and 9-11, ignoring the insurgency, ignoring the Iraqi People, ignoring Afghanistan, Body Armor, Abu Ghraib, Tora Bora, Gitmo, revoking Habeaus Corpus, the Katrina aftermath, ignoring both Fact and Science on climate change and stem cells, the Voter Caging, Freedom Fries, the midnight ride to Terry Schiavo's hospice, the Domestic Spying, The NSL's, outing Valerie Plame-Wilson, Diebold, Abramov, Safavian, Guckert, the "fucking faith-based thing", the midnight ride to Ashcroft's bedside, the Partisan Purging of DOJ and Civic Rights Division, Walter Reed, the Cheney Branch of Government and most of all -- the endless lies and bullcrap about all the above.

But take deep breath say these words with me.

"It's not time to Impeach, not yet."

This diary is directly squarely at the Impeach First, Ask questions later crowd.

And I'm sure "Ok, smart-guy - why not?" is what many of you are saying right now.

Unfortunately the answer isn't simple, so bear with me - but the main problem is the fact that Bush hasn't been caught red-handed yet.

Just yesterday I posted a rec'd Dkos diary on the Contempt of Congress motion being brought forward by John Conyers judiciary committee. That news was met here, at the Impeachment Captial of the Web, with a great deal of skeptism and frustration. It was too weak, too timid. Yet I think that objectively Conyers is doing exactly what he needs to do and shouldn't jump the gun all the way to drawing up articles of Impeachment against Bush because of one simple fact.

He'd lose.

I don't come to this view easily, I spent the better part of a week last year writing not one (Intelligence Fraud), not two (Domestic Espionage), not three (War Crimes), but four (Criminal Negligence) full length diaries giving a detailed litany of why Bush (and others) should be impeached.

There was even a Defense Argument by Major Danby posted against my many and various charges to which I submitted a Rebuttal and then rested my case.

Back then we didn't have majority control of congress. Impeachment was an abstraction. A wishful dream. Now Dems do have control and many of us are getting quite upset at the "lack of progress" so far - many of us are ready to throw up our hands in frustration at the inaction of the Congress Critters.

Congress's approval rating is even lower than the President's and that's saying something - but what it says isn't good.

I understand this frustration, really I do, but the fact is that things are going exactly as they should.

Back then I was speaking generally, and including the idea of Impeaching Rumsfeld (who was still in office) as well as Gonzales and Cheney, but now I'm just focusing on Bush himself and in my view it simply isn't his time yet.

Oh, we thought we had him with the Downing Street Minutes, but not quite because you see - "fixing the facts around the policy" were the words of various British ministers who were quoting (apparently) the words of Tenet and Rice, but not Bush.

We thought we had him with Downing Street II, when it was revealed that Bush had admitted to Blair that it didn't matter whether Saddam had WMD's or not, he was invading anyway.

Unfortunately, being an F-inking Liar to the press and the American people isn't a criminal offense and so far isn't Impeachable.

And I don't care what Arlen Specter says about there being a law against "False Official Statements" (something he's mentioned several times in relation to Alberto Gonzales) - there isn't one. That term refers to a set of Military Regs, and could lead to a court-martial for members of the military who lie on official documentation, but it doesn't exist in criminal law.

So yes, he lied about not planning to fire Rumsfeld - annoying - but not Impeachable.

Going Count by Count...

  • Intelligence Fraud : Much of the real mischief took place far downstream from Bush. It happened with Douglas Feith who stovepiped and cooked intelligence while the DIA kept vital info such as the real facts about al-Libby and Curveball hidden and Cheney kept pressing the Niger-Yellowcake story alive despite 14 different skeptical rebuttals. That's a hit on the "Rumsfeld and Cheney Cabal" as Lawrence Wilkerson has described it - but not Bush.
  • Domestic Espionage: This issue remains on appeal after Judge Anne Diggs-Taylor's viciously pointed ruling on the NSA wire-tapping programs. She did declare that It was a crime one which we know has been specifically authorized and implemented by Bush personally - but we don't yet know what the appeals courts will say and whether they Supremes will back Diggs-Taylor or not.

There is also the fact that a FISA Judge has since signed off on the program, which again makes the issue largely moot - for now.

Except for the Midnight Ride to Ashcroft's bed which is a new revelation and may open up direct links both to breaking the law, since that version of the NSA program was found to be illegal by the DOJ - and was temporarily implemented by the White House anyway over the objections and threats to resign by Ashcroft and Comey. Gonzo is looking at perjury for his false Congressional testimony - but, we still don't yet have any direct links to Bush other than his making the phone call to Ashcroft's wife indicating that Card and Gonzo were "heading over". Who exactly made the decision to override the DOJ has not yet been revealed.

  • War Crimes: This mostly leads back to Gonzales' advice and attempts to circumvent Geneva by trumping up this "Enemy Combatants" pseudo status nonesense - and to Rumsfeld for authorizing interrogation techniques outside the Army Field Manual guidelines. Bush has been an accessory after the fact, but it's largely their crime.
  • Criminal Negligence: Last year I argued for Impeachment in the wake of Katrina, the failure to respond to 9-11 warnings, the deteriorating situation in Iraq and Bush's abuse of Signing Statements. Unfortunately Bush was far from the only one who totally fucked-up in these situations. Ample blame can and will be thrown at Ray Nagin, Kathleen Blanco, Rumseld, Tommy Franks, Colin Powell, George Tenet and others. The legal basis for Bush's use of signing statements has not been challenged or verified either way. Again annoying, probably extra-constitutional - but not illegal, yet.

All the above is very different from what actually occured in either Nixon's case or Clinton's impeachment - they were both busted cold.

The Paula Jones Story and suit broke while Clinton was running for President in 1992, it didn't metastisize into a full-blown disaster until six years later in 1998 when Clinton was caught in carefully crafted perjury trap during his deposition and further pummelled during in his Grand Jury testimony. It was his own words under oath that got him into trouble, not the actions of anyone else.

Nixon's near impeachment was a different story, but it was still his own words that did the trick. It also took quite a long while find out what those words actually were.

The Watergate Break-In took place in June of 1972, all five burglars were tried and convicted by January of 1973 for breaking and entering. It was a minor little case, until one of the burglars wrote a letter to the presiding judge.

In March 1973, James McCord, one of the convicted burglars, wrote a letter to Sirica charging a massive coverup of the burglary. His letter transformed the affair into a political scandal of unprecedented magnitude.

With the help of Mark Felt (Deep Throat) Woodward and Bernstein at the WaPo as well as Senate investigators began to slowly unravel exactly what McCord's letter was really talking about.

All the witnesses rallied around the president, until in June of 1973 John Dean testified - and gasp - told the truth!

But that didn't break open the floodgates, it just made Nixon circle that wagons even tighter. Dean was written off as a kook.

The story was over.

A month later in July the existence of the White House taping system was revealed during congressional testimony by Alexander Butterfield. Congress subpoened the tapes which led to Nixon trying to fight those subpoenas with the Saturday Night Massacre on October 20, 1973 having Robert Bork fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox when Attorney General Elliot Richardson refused to drop the axe himself.

This move is what turned the Republicans against Nixon - before they or anyone else even knew what was really on the tapes. Eventually Nixon complied with the subpoena and after people heard the tapes and their transcripts in April of 1974 it was all over but the shouting.

But here's the kicker...

Impeachment proceedings against Nixon didn't begin until May 9th of 1974 almost one year after Dean's initial testimony and almost two years after the initial break-in.

As I said in a comment yesterday.

We haven't yet had anyone stand up and truly spill the beans the way John Dean did in 1973 or Fawn Hall and Ollie North did in 1986. We haven't yet found the smoking gun tape, a piece of evidence which specifically points to crimes by Bush himself. We haven't had a Saturday Night Massacre - all because many people in the current administration were there during Watergate [as well as] Iran-Contra and they are specifically trying to avoid getting caught in the same way.

When it does happen, it probably going to be from something we haven't anticipated yet.

So with all this in mind, what I have to say to the IMPEACH NOW people is ... calm down and have a bit more patience.

We're going the right direction, and we're right on schedule - at this point we're looking at a constitutional showdown on the contempt of congress charges by late summer/early winter. Either Harriet Miers and Josh Bolton are going to court (and prison) or we're going to get the the truth in detail early next year - possibly both - just in time for fabulous mid 2008 Summer Impeachment and Removal Trial Extravoganza! .

Don't forget to bring the hot-dogs and the charcoal.

In the meantime, rather than obsessing over Bush - let's focus on Gonzo, 1) he's already in major criminal jeopardy and 2) he's the gatekeeper on access to yummy Special Counsel goodness.

Once we get a real dogged SC on the case, all bets are off the table.

One step at a time people, one step at a time.

Vyan

Friday, June 22

Conyers Seeks Contempt of Congress against WH over DOJ-Gate

Showdown at the DC Corral via The Hill

House Judiciary Committee Democrats warned yesterday they would pursue a contempt of Congress motion if the White House fails respond to subpoenas for testimony and documents related to the firings of U.S. attorneys last year.

The deadline for a response is Thursday, June 28. If the White House does not comply, it opens the possibility of a constitutional showdown between the two branches. In an ironic twist, the Department of Justice (DoJ) would be called on to enforce the contempt motion.

Folks, this ratchets things up to an entire new level because contempt of Congress is a criminal violation which can, and in some cases has, led to both fines of as high as $10,000 and prison terms as long as 6 months, plus 5 years probation (in the case of former EPA Offical Rita Lavelle who was convicted of Perjury in 2004)

More from Conyers.

"The House and Senate judiciary committees have issued subpoenas to the White House for documents and testimony," said Conyers. "We’re still hopeful they may cooperate. But it’s still possible that enforcement action may be taken."

"We want to know where the lines go from the DoJ to the White House," he said. "That’s where these bread crumbs keep leading us and then they get lost in the snow or something."

Right now the specific targets of the Contempt Charges would include White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolton, whom the subpoenas have been directed to, as well as former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and former White House political director - and Karl Rove Deputy - Sara "Cummins was Lazy" Taylor.

Although Taylor has accepted her subpoena and agreed to testify just why would Conyers want additional White House documents? Well, maybe because of what Kyle Sampson told them behind closed doors according to Karen Tumulty at Time.

In private testimony that is being released this afternoon by the commitee, Alberto Gonzales’s former Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson told investigators that Gonzales himself initially resisted the idea of bypassing the Senators from Arkansas to install Karl Rove protege Tim Griffin as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Pressure to do it, he suggested, was coming from officials at the White House–specifically, White House political director Sara Taylor, her deputy Scott Jennings and Chris Oprison, the associate White House counsel. Sampson described himself and Goodling as "open to the idea," which is not the same as instigating it.

If Conyers' Judiciary Committee passes the contempt vote, the procedures is then for the measure to be referred to the full House - if it passes there as well it becomes a criminal matter, only this is also where things also get a bit sticky.

The standard procedure from this point is for the Contempt charges to be taken up by the sitting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia who would then convene a Grand Jury prior to issueing indictments. That U.S. Attorney currently happens to be Jeffrey A. Taylor who was appointed by Alberto Gonzales as an interim replacement USA by-passing Senate Confirmation under a loophole in the Patriot Act (although it should be noted - no one was fired to make room for Taylor as his appointment took place in September of 2006, several months before the "purging of the Big 8".)

Unlike most of the replacement Attorneys, Taylor actually does have some prosecutorial experience from 5 years he spent as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California. He's served as Majority Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee (under Senator Orrin Hatch and helped draft many provisions of the Patriot Act) and has been an Conselor at the DOJ assisting both John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales on matters of "national security, terrorism, and criminal litigation and policy".

So would Mr. Taylor deign to actually call a Grand Jury to investigate various White House personnel for contempt of congress, when - to some extent - it might essentially involve an investigation of his own appointment!?

Wikipedia isn't so sure.

Under 2 U.S.C. § 194, once either the House or the Senate issues a citation for contempt of Congress, it is referred to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, "whose duty it shall be to bring the matter before the grand jury for its action."[4] It is unclear (as of President Bush's March 20, 2007 declaration that he would not comply with Congressional subpoenas on this matter) whether Mr. Taylor would fulfill this duty to convene a grand jury, or resist Congress at the direction of Bush or Gonzales.

I'm less cynical about this since as I noted above, Taylor actually wasn't a part of the White House Purge and Politicize Plan for the DOJ apparently instigated Taylor, Jennings and Oprison (according to Sampson) - but we won't really know the truth of that until the rubber meats the road on this issue and the full Congress approves the contempt citation, assuming things even get that far.

But as of last week, questions about Taylor's loyalty - or lack thereof - to the rule of law might be a moot point. You see the Patriot Act provision which allowed for Mr. Taylor to be appointed and to remain U.S. Attorney indefinately - was repealed. The passage of this law started a 120 day countdown on the continued service of all intermin U.S. Attorneys including Taylor - who is now has only 113 days left. Once that time expires, and if another U.S. Attorney is not confirmed by the Senate and appointed - the new replacement won't be chosen by Gonzales, it'll be chosen by the District Court.

(c) A person appointed as United States attorney under this section may serve until the earlier of--

`(1) the qualification of a United States attorney for such district appointed by the President under section 541 of this title; or

`(2) the expiration of 120 days after appointment by the Attorney General under this section.

`(d) If an appointment expires under subsection (c)(2), the district court for such district may appoint a United States attorney to serve until the vacancy is filled. The order of appointment by the court shall be filed with the clerk of the court.'.

The DC District Court has a total of 13 Active Judges (plus a number of magistrates and senior judges), one of whom we all know happens to be Judge Reggie Walton, and exactly which of the 13 might have on his docket the task of replacing Mr. Taylor in October is somewhat unclear. But even if Taylor does decide to punt on any Contempt of Congress charges against the White House - where it should be pointed out he's never served - his court appointed successor probably won't.

Certainly the White House will counter sue arguing that this is a matter of "Executive Priveledge" which is a issue that will be argued by the Disrict Court in DC, previous attempts to avoid producing documents to Congress by the executive branch in this manner have not exactly gone well.

  • A House Subcommitee voted to find Secretary of Commerce Roger Morton in Contempt in 1975 - Rogers eventually produced the requested documents.
  • The Senate Select Committe on Intelligence voted to find Henry Kissenger in Contempt in 1975 also - the matter was dropped when the Chairman was satisfied by "sufficient compliance" with the subpoena.
  • The House Subcommitte on Interstate and Foreign Commerce voted to find Secretary of Heath, Education and Welfare Joseph Califano in contempt in 1978 - Califano complied with the subpoena one month later.
  • The Full House voted to find EPA Administrator Ann Gorsuch in Contempt in 1983 - The Executive Branches counter suit was dismissed by the courts, and the documents were eventually provided.
  • The Full House voted to find EPA Official Rita Lavelle in contempt in 1983 also - Lavelle was eventually imprisoned for lying to Congress involving mis-handling of the Superfund program.
  • The House Government Reform and Oversight Committe voted to hold White House Counsel Jack Quinn, White House Director of Administration David Quinn and aide Matthew Moore in contempt in 1996 - the subpoened documents were provided just hours before the full house was to consider the contempt measure.

In most cases (that I've been able to review so far this morning), the Executive Branch has usually caved to Congressional pressure once we start talking about Contempt of Congress. Clearly that doesn't mean we can expect this White House to do that (when have they ever done what reasonable people expected?), but neither can they hope to have a Taylor as a nice Loyal Bushie in place to protect their backsides as the DC USA for all that much longer.

This game of Face-Off should get very interesting, very soon if this Judiciary Vote passes and begins to move to the House Floor.

Just how many White House Rat-fuckers do you think will by jumping Ship for the Immunity Rope once that happens?

Vyan

Thursday, June 21

Cheney's Office Scoffs at National Security Rules - Literally

I really shouldn't be surprised by now - I'm mean honestly. - but this latest revelation coming out of Henry Waxman's commitee that Vice President Dick Cheney has quite literally refused to abide by a Presidential Executive Order regarding the handling of sensitive National Security Information is truly stunning.

And what's really amazing is the reasoning they've provided. Ya see, it's simply the fact that the Vice President's Office - Isn't Part of the Executive Branch - and hence isn't subject to such Executive Orders from the guy down the hall - y'know what's his name - the non-Vice dude.

Say What!?!

This particular claim - that the OVP isn't part of the executive - actually isn't a surpise, because I've heard of Cheney making it before. The theory goes that since the Vice President is also a voting member of The Senate - literally it's President - he exists in the unique position of being in two branches of government at the same time.

So it would naturally follow that he isn't beholden to the rules of either branch then right?

Yeah, ok - sure. That makes perfect sense On The Bizarro Planet!

Regardless of the excuses, what does this mean in practical terms? Well, here's what Paris Hilton's Congressman, Mr. Waxman has to say about it.

Executive Order 12958, "Classified National Security Information," was first issued by President Clinton in 1995. President Bush amended the executive order in March 2003. As amended by President Bush, the executive order prescribes a uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information.

The executive order gives important responsibilities to the Information Security Oversight Office within the National Archives. This office was created in 1978 by Executive Order 12065, "National Security Information," issued by President Carter. Under the Bush executive order, the National Archives, acting through the Information Security Oversight Office, is directed to ensure agency compliance with classified information safeguards by issuing directives to agencies; developing and monitoring security education programs; receiving and responding to reports of security violations; and acting on complaints about the program’s implementation. In addition, the executive order and its implementing directive require executive branch agencies to provide data to the Archives about their classification and declassification activities, which the Archives then compiles to produce annual reports for the President.

The point here is that there are proceedures for classifying and declassifying data. From my own experience working a dozen years for a defense contractor in a classified environment with a Top Secret Clearance with Special Access - I know first hand that violating these procedures can send you on a one-way trip to Leavenworth for Life, because that's exactly what happened to a former co-worker of mine at Northrop named Cavanaugh. He got two - count 'em - TWO Life Sentences. Period. End of story. Bye bye.

Shorter version of Waxman from Thinkprogress.

– Since 2003, Cheney’s office has failed to provide data on its classification and declassification activities as required by Executive Order 12958, which President Bush has amended and endorsed.

– In 2004, Cheney’s office specifically intervened to block an on-site inspection by the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), which is a requirement of the executive order.

The amendment that Bush issued to the executive order - which was done right as the Iraq War began - was to grant the Vice President the authority to classify and declassify national security information in the exact same manner used by the President himself. Hm, ironic no?

The ISOO is essentially the watchdog, their job is to ensure that the system for classifying and declassifying isn't abused.

I mean, it's not like the President would ever use over classification to hide vital information from the public and the congress such as the fact that the Aluminum Tubes story most likely bogus (According to both the State and Energy Depts in the 2002 Iraq NIE), or that he would use classification to shutdown the OPR investigation into the NSA Warrantless Wiretaping, or that the Vice President's Office would Out a Covert CIA Operative to cover up their lies and bullshit or anything.

Nah, that would never happen.

Unless you listen to Waxman.

Your office may have the worst record in the executive branch for safeguarding classified information. As Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald established, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, your former Chief of Staff, leaked the identity of a covert CIA operative to several reporters in June 2003. Mr. Libby was convicted in March of perjury, obstruction of justice, and false statements for lying to a grand jury and to FBI agents in order to conceal his role in the leaking of this information.

The prosecution of Mr. Libby also revealed that you apparently misused the declassification process for political reasons. In July 2003, you reportedly instructed Mr. Libby to leak to the media portions of an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Saddam Hussein’s purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Your selective declassification of this information was apparently made outside the formal declassification process and done as part of a damage-control effort you undertook to defend the Administration’s rationale for going to war in Iraq.

In a separate incident, Leandro Aragoncillo, a former aide in your office, pleaded guilty in May 2006 to passing classified information to plotters allegedly trying to overthrow Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Mr. Aragoncillo reportedly disclosed numerous secret and top secret documents to Philippine officials over several years while working in your office.

Given this record, serious questions can be raised about both the legality and the advisability of exempting your office from the rules that apply to all other executive branch officials.

Anyway, since the ISOO has been completely stymied by the OVP from simply doing their job, they've tried writing two seperate letters to VP Counsel David Addington - only to be ignored.

They've gone to the Attorney General, as is authorized by the relevant EO's, asking him to get the Vice President to comply with the President.

(Is it just me or is it totally surreal to actually type those words?)

And you can just be rest assured that Gonzo got right on that.

Yeah, uh huh... any minute now after he's done "Saving the Kids" and covering his own well exposed Behind.

Anyway, apparently because of the letter to Fredo - ole Shooter is kinda pissed. He now says that the Presidential Executive Order should be amended again so that the ISOO and the National Archives no longer have the option of appealing disputes to the AG.

Isn't it great that whenever you get caught in the midst of Treason, uh Completely Fucking Up on matters of National Security er...a minor clerical error where you forgot that Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden really aren't the same guy, that you can just send a paper airplane over to the stuttering goober in weird round office down the hall and have him change the rules of the game for you?

(But wait - I thought Cheney wasn't in the "Executive Branch" and if he's not - does that also mean that executive priveledge doesn't apply to him?)

Man, it's must be Good to be The Veep!

"I love my people... I love my people...PULL!"

(Peasant goes flying through the air screaming!)

BLAM!

"Oh, Piss boy -- don't forget to wait for the shake"

Vyan

Craving Theo - Stomp

Craving Theo - Stomp.

Dionne Farris - Passion

Dionne Farris - Passion featuring my old pal Tori Ruffin of Civil Rite, Freak Juice and The Time.

Jessie Johnson and Sly Stone - Crazay

Jessie Johnson and Sly Stone - Crazay!

Queensryche - Revolution Calling

Queensryche - Revolution Calling

Olbermann on Taguba and Abu Ghraib

Olbermann on The Taguba Report, and Interview with PJ Crawley

Michael Moore On The View

Michael Moore On The View

Wednesday, June 20

Fox News on Bloggers: The Pox Americana

This just in from Thinkprogress
Last night on Special Edition, the “Fox News All-Stars,” used this week’s Take Back America conference as an oppurtunity to bash progressive bloggers.

Describing bloggers as “a pox,” Roll Call editor Mort Kondracke compared them to right-wing talk radio, charging that they are preventing “American problems” from being solved:

Well, I tend to agree since I happen to think one of America's biggest problems is the proliferation of Fake Democrats like Kondracke who are supposed to be the "left wing" side of fairly unbalanced shows like this.

And obviously Fux News is still on the air so we haven't solved that problem - yet.

But wait, there weren't nearly done "putting us bloggers in our proper place" - not hardly.

KONDRAKE: They are the leftward pressure on the Democratic Party that the right-wing talk show hosts are on the Republican party. And between the two of them they manage to polarize even further an already polarized politics, making it increasingly difficult to get any American problems solved, like health care, or the war in Iraq, or sensible terrorism policy.

And all the candidates are pandering to them.


Oh, so you admit that the Republican Party are the lapdogs of right-wing radio?

Let's get real here, it was indeed the wingnut radio crowd that torpedoed the immigration bill even though almost 70% of the public supported it, but what bill have liberal bloggers shutdown lately?

(Begin Jeopardy Theme Music)
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Still thinking?

So am I.

I would agree that Dailykos helped put Jim Webb on the ballot and that with George Allen's Maccaca Moment on Youtube and Mike Stark at Calling All Wingnuts helped get him elected and gave the Democrats the majority in the Senate. But so far that hasn't really paid off that much, has it?

And then the shows other fake lefty chimed in.

NPR’s Mara Liasson also compared bloggers to the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth because "that was on the internet too."

Excuse me?

The Smearboat Vets got hours and hours of free air time thanks to programs - like yours. They weren't just on the Net.

Even Brit Hume pointed that one out...

the [Swiftboaters] actually purchased ads

Yeah, your damn skippy they did.

That's when their nominal right-winger chimed it with the coup de grace.

Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer added that conservative blogs are "more analytical and restrained" while "the more liberal blogs are a lot more pungent and profane."

What? Who the Fuck are you calling "profane" punkass? Have you ever been to Little Green Footballs or Freeperland?

Blimey Jesus Christmas!

Just like O'Leilly, yet again we have Fux News trying to pretend that they are somehow above the fray, when in fact they are a Network being run by Roger Ailes, a former protege of Karl Rove and ex-producer of Rush Limbaugh.

They take daily marching orders from Ailes deputy John Moody on exactly how to spin the news to the advantage of Republicans, up to and including attempting to find the Happy Insurgents, now that the Democrats have control of Congress. As I said above, Fux is part of the problem they are complaining about here - the increasing polarization of the country.

At least bloggers can admit that they're partisan. Beside that, profane or not, they have a habit of Fact Checking which Fux still seems to a major problem with, but then again that might be because "Reality has a liberal bias".

Kondracke also continued the phony meme that "there are more Conseravatives in the Country" and that the overall swing has been more to the right rather than the left, despite a recent report which I blogged about the other day that clearly shows that the Country is Turning Bluer All the Time.

And by the way - Fux's ratings, while still high, are beginning to circle the edge of the bowl, meanwhile Keith Olbermann is up 67%

Not exactly everything they had to say was negative, as they correctly point out that the blogs "created" the Ned Lamont candidacy - but when exactly did these guys have any credibility on this issue or any issue for that matter?

Bloggers both Liberal and Conservative are simply taking advantage of advancing technology to create the next generation of what Tom Paine used to help spark this country to life so many years ago with his own aptly titled publication - one which highlights an element that is in extreme short supply on Fux - Common Sense.

Vyan

Tuesday, June 19

WWJBD: What Would Jack Bauer Do?

.com/24It's good to know that Justice Scalia is on the case whenever a "strict constructionist" issue like terrorism or torture is on the plate. Just take a look at some of his recent comments endorsing Jack Bauer Justice.

Senior judges from North America and Europe were in the midst of a panel discussion about torture and terrorism law, when a Canadian judge's passing remark - "Thankfully, security agencies in all our countries do not subscribe to the mantra 'What would Jack Bauer do?' " - got the legal bulldog in Judge Scalia barking.

The conservative jurist stuck up for Agent Bauer, arguing that fictional or not, federal agents require latitude in times of great crisis. "Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. ... He saved hundreds of thousands of lives," Judge Scalia said. Then, recalling Season 2, where the agent's rough interrogation tactics saved California from a terrorist nuke, the Supreme Court judge etched a line in the sand.

"Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?" Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. "Say that criminal law is against him? 'You have the right to a jury trial?' Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so.

"So the question is really whether we believe in these absolutes. And ought we believe in these absolutes."

Essentially Scalia is advocating jury nullification here, because there are any number of crimes that Jack Bauer has commited including murder, hijacking, torture, armed robbery, kidnapping, and instigating a jailbreak for a federal prisoner all in the name of exediency not "Justice".

There's never enough time for a pesky Warrant (or even probable cause for the type of 3 day after the fact warrants that are available under the patriot act). There's never enough to time to find out if you actually have the correct house, the correct suspect or are even pursuing the correct crime on that show.

For those who think Jack is a "hero" consider this - he single handedly hijacked Marine One, then kidnapped and tortured the President - who by the way didn't talk. Who could ever do that and not wind up somewhere under Leavenworth? He's tortured his own brother nearly to death, and then was so incompetent as to leave him unprotected when their father came in to finish the job to keep him quiet. In this latest season, people could say that he helped avert a shooting war between America and the Soviets, except for the fact that the piece of Russian technology that they were arguing over was stolen by Jack in the first place in order for him to try and pull off an exchange with the Chinese to save his ex-girlfriend. An exchange that went completely awry of course.

This "ends justifies the means" crap is how we get people like Tim Griffin Caging the Votes of African American Soldiers and then having a crying jag about how persecuted he's been. It's how we get people like David Safavian, and Claude Allen working the White House or Monica Goodling and Brad Schlozman at the DOJ. It's how we wound up in the middle of a Civil War Genocide in Iraq.

Jack Bauer is a Criminal. He should be tried and convicted for his crimes. Afterward, when he's done some jail time, he (like Scooter Libby if one were to actually follow the Justice Dept. Guidelines) might be reasonably eligible for a Presidential Pardon for his service to his country, but not before. Failing to address his lawlessness with legal sanctions has simply allowed it to grow more and more egregious. Now he's become a total loose cannon, who is on the run from the government for his variuos actions of insubordination as of the end of the latest season.

Oh by the way, I hear the department of Homeland Security is upping the threat level because they've heard that Snidley Whiplash is on the loose and plans to stur up trouble as soon as he hooks up with Natasha and Boris Badinov.

That's right after the terrorists attacks against President Harrison Ford on Air Force One and the Nakitomi Plaza Incident - we have to be all the more vigilant against these animals, and be ready to use any and all means neccesary to combat them.

Hello! It's a fricking TV SHOW!

It's bad enough that our troops and west point cadets already seem to be taking hints from Jack Bauer on morality and the law rather than from thier own instructors now we have this.

But just remember kids, even though "Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles", Buffy Summers saved the Whole World - A Lot.

Vyan

Sens Kennedy, Whitehouse Demand Investigation into "Caging"

As I've previous written about here , here and here the issue of Voter Caging by former U.S. Attorney and Rovian Stooge Tim Griffin appears to be finally heating up on capital hill.

Via Thinkprogress

This afternoon, Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) wrote a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, calling on him to promptly investigate allegations that the Republican National Committee and its former research director Tim Griffin may have been involved in voter suppression tactics.

The story so far in a nutshell.

In 2004, BBC News published a report showing that Griffin, the former Rove protege who was placed as a U.S. attorney in Arkansas, led a "caging" scheme to suppress the votes of African-American servicemembers in Florida. In response, Griffin said recently, "I didn’t cage animals, I’m not a zookeeper." Former RNC researcher Monica Goodling, who dismissively characterized "caging" as a "direct-mail term," acknowledged discussing concerns about Griffin’s involvement in caging with Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty in preparation for his testimony before Congress.

Now I have serious doubts that Gonzales will actually conduct such an investigation, just as he failed to either intervene or conduct an investigation of the hundreds of thousands of violations of Presidential Records Act via use of political email accounts which occured both while he was White House Counsel and Attorney General, but his imminent failure to do so, or to appoint a Special Counsel, not to mention the IG Obstuction Investigation of his little improptu chat with Monica Goodling and the Midnight Ride to AG Ashcroft's bedside, will add another yet pressure point on ole' Gonzo that could be used as leverage to either force his resignation or impeach him outright for dereliction of duty.

I'm betting hoping on the latter.

Add this to the report today by the GSA that as a result of Bush's 1,100 signing statements 30 percent of the laws passed by Congress last year were not enforced.

Federal agencies ignored 30 percent of the laws Bush objected to in signing statements last year, according to a report released today by the Government Accountability Office. In 2006, President Bush issued signing statements for 11 out of the 12 appropriations bills passed by Congress, claiming a right to bypass a total of 160 provisions in them.

In a sample set of 19 provisions, the GAO found that "10 provisions were executed as written, 6 were not, and 3 were not triggered and so there was no agency action to examine."

The real question here of course, is how will this essential stalemate between the White House and Congress over the implementation fo the laws via signing statements, and the Attorney Generals role and responsibilities for ensuring that the rule of law be followed, will play itself out in the courts? Because frankly, the courts are exactly where all of this is eventually headed.

I don't think things will be looking very sunny for Gonzo judging by how courts have treated many of the other more radical views of this president, particularly those exposed by uber-wingnut John Yoo, such as warrantless domestic wiretaping (which a Federal Judge found to be completely illegal and unconstitutional)...

"It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights," Taylor wrote in her 43-page opinion. ". . . There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all 'inherent powers' must derive from that Constitution."

Or how they ruled on Bush's original Military Commissions (which the Supreme Court found to be completely unauthorized by statute and in violation of international law) or their subsequent attempts to try them as "enemy combatants' (which two military judges found the court had no jurisdiction for) or the recent Fourth Circuit opinion which ruled the Bush Administration could not indefinately detain U.S. Citizens or foreign nationals living in the U.S. without charges.

"The President cannot eliminate constitutional protections with the stroke of a pen by proclaiming a civilian, even a criminal civilian, an enemy combatant subject to indefinite military detention," the Court said

With these decisions and case law already in effect, the arguement I would expect the Bush Administrtion to make in defense of Gonzales and Caging (ie. that the President has the inherent authority to waive the Presidential Records Act, to ignore violations of the Voting Rights Act - particualrly when they benefit the Republican Party - and to ignore the demands of Congress to fully investigate this lawlessness) are going to fall flat on their face like a Jackie Chan prat fall.

And it's gonna hurt too.

Vyan

Monday, June 18

Shinedown - Heroes

Shinedown - Heroes

Rue on Flashrock Live

Rue on Flashrock Live

Rammstein - Amerika

Rammstien - Amerika

The Abu Ghraib Cover-Up

Seymour Hersh appeared on CNN's Late Edition to discuss his article in The New Yorker which reveals that Former SecDef Rumsfeld lied to Congress when he claimed that the first time he heard about the abuse at Abu Ghraib was when the photos hit the press.



The article reveals how Maj General Taguba, who had been put in charge of the Abu Ghraib investigation was threatened by top Pentagon brass.

A few weeks after his report became public, Taguba, who was still in Kuwait, was in the back seat of a Mercedes sedan with Abizaid. … Abizaid turned to Taguba and issued a quiet warning: “You and your report will be investigated.”

“I wasn’t angry about what he said but disappointed that he would say that to me,” Taguba said. “I’d been in the Army thirty-two years by then, and it was the first time that I thought I was in the Mafia.


Pressure also applied to Senator Warner, then head of armed services to "back off".

A former high-level Defense Department official said that, when the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, Senator John Warner, then the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, was warned “to back off” on the investigation, because “it would spill over to more important things.” A spokesman for Warner acknowledged that there had been pressure on the Senator, but said that Warner had stood up to it — insisting on putting Rumsfeld under oath for his May 7th testimony, for example, to the Secretary’s great displeasure.


That Lt. General Sanchez clearly knew what was already going on.

Taguba came to believe that Lieutenant General Sanchez, the Army commander in Iraq, and some of the generals assigned to the military headquarters in Baghdad had extensive knowledge of the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib even before Joseph Darby came forward with the CD. Taguba was aware that in the fall of 2003 — when much of the abuse took place — Sanchez routinely visited the prison, and witnessed at least one interrogation. According to Taguba, “Sanchez knew exactly what was going on.


Yes, of course he did. Sanchez is the one who oversaw and installed Gen Geoffrey Miller as commander of Tier 1A/1B immediately after he arrived from instituting "Alternative Interrogation Techniques" authorized by SecDef Rumsfeld at Gitmo.

Contrary to claims that these were merely "frat-boy pranks", Taguba reported to Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz that this was far more than just simple "abuse".

In the meeting, the officials professed ignorance about Abu Ghraib. “Could you tell us what happened?” Wolfowitz asked. Someone else asked, “Is it abuse or torture?” At that point, Taguba recalled, “I described a naked detainee lying on the wet floor, handcuffed, with an interrogator shoving things up his rectum, and said, ‘That’s not abuse. That’s torture.’ There was quiet.”


And there was more which Taguba revealed to Hersh.

I learned from Taguba that the first wave of materials included descriptions of the sexual humiliation of a father with his son, who were both detainees. Several of these images, including one of an Iraqi woman detainee baring her breasts, have since surfaced; others have not. (Taguba’s report noted that photographs and videos were being held by the C.I.D. because of ongoing criminal investigations and their “extremely sensitive nature.”) Taguba said that he saw “a video of a male American soldier in uniform sodomizing a female detainee.” The video was not made public in any of the subsequent court proceedings, nor has there been any public government mention of it. Such images would have added an even more inflammatory element to the outcry over Abu Ghraib. “It’s bad enough that there were photographs of Arab men wearing women’s panties,” Taguba said.


Rather than wanting to discover the truth, the brass at the Pentagon did everything they could to stay at arms length from the facts and the pictures.

When Taguba urged one lieutenant general to look at the photographs, he rebuffed him, saying, “I don’t want to get involved by looking, because what do you do with that information, once you know what they show?”


After watching Rumsfled's performance before the Senate, Taguba was appalled.

“The whole idea that Rumsfeld projects—‘We’re here to protect the nation from terrorism’—is an oxymoron,” Taguba said. “He and his aides have abused their offices and have no idea of the values and high standards that are expected of them. And they’ve dragged a lot of officers with them.”


It was also clear to Taguba that there were others in the chain of command above Lindy England and Sgt Graner, as well as Military Intelligence were involved in all this.

“From what I knew, troops just don’t take it upon themselves to initiate what they did without any form of knowledge of the higher-ups,” Taguba told me. His orders were clear, however: he was to investigate only the military police at Abu Ghraib, and not those above them in the chain of command. “These M.P. troops were not that creative,” he said. “Somebody was giving them guidance, but I was legally prevented from further investigation into higher authority. I was limited to a box.”

...

Taguba’s assignment was limited to investigating the 800th M.P.s, but he quickly found signs of the involvement of military intelligence—both the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, commanded by Colonel Thomas Pappas, which worked closely with the M.P.s, and what were called “other government agencies,” or O.G.A.s, a euphemism for the C.I.A. and special-operations units operating undercover in Iraq. Some of the earliest evidence involved Lieutenant Colonel Steven L. Jordan, whose name was mentioned in interviews with several M.P.s. For the first three weeks of the investigation, Jordan was nowhere to be found, despite repeated requests. When the investigators finally located him, he asked whether he needed to shave his beard before being interviewed—Taguba suspected that he had been dressing as a civilian. “When I asked him about his assignment, he says, ‘I’m a liaison officer for intelligence from Army headquarters in Iraq.’ ” But in the course of three or four interviews with Jordan, Taguba said, he began to suspect that the lieutenant colonel had been more intimately involved in the interrogation process—some of it brutal—for “high value” detainees.


Jordan was eventually charged but his attorneys have vigorously defended him claiming that he wasn't properly advised of his rights prior to his interrogation by Taguba. Now isn't that ironic?

During his investigation Taguba discovered that there were likely only one or two possible al-Qeada members in all of abu Ghriab. Most prisons were either guilty of petty crimes or completely innocent. But that didn't seem to sway the Pentgon brass to be as cautious with their rights as they were with Jordan's.

The former senior intelligence official said that when the images of Abu Ghraib were published, there were some in the Pentagon and the White House who “didn’t think the photographs were that bad”—in that they put the focus on enlisted soldiers, rather than on secret task-force operations. Referring to the task-force members, he said, “Guys on the inside ask me, ‘What’s the difference between shooting a guy on the street, or in his bed, or in a prison?’ ” A Pentagon consultant on the war on terror also said that the “basic strategy was ‘prosecute the kids in the photographs but protect the big picture.’ ”


After the investigation Taguba was demoted and eventually fired.

Taguba had been scheduled to rotate to the Third Army’s headquarters, at Fort McPherson, Georgia, in June of 2004. He was instead ordered back to the Pentagon, to work in the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. “It was a lateral assignment,” Taguba said, with a smile and a shrug. … A retired four-star Army general later told Taguba that he had been sent to the job in the Pentagon so that he could “be watched.” Taguba realized that his career was at a dead end. …

In January of 2006, Taguba received a telephone call from General Richard Cody, the Army’s Vice-Chief of Staff. “This is your Vice,” he told Taguba. “I need you to retire by January of 2007.” No pleasantries were exchanged, although the two generals had known each other for years, and, Taguba said, “He offered no reason.”


So with a wimper rather than a bang, ended the 35 year career of a fine officer who withstood open bigotry to rise to the rank of General and still managed kept his integrity and values intact.

Vyan

Sevendust - Driven

Sevendust - Driven

Galactic Cowboys - Nothing to Say

Galactic Cowboys - Nothing Left To Say.

Linkin Park - What I've Done

Linkin Park - What I've Done

Green Day - Working Class Hero

Green Day - Working Class Hero

Sunday, June 17

Iraq is NOT Korea, It's Northern Ireland and we're the Brits

Today on Fox News Sunday General Patraeus yet again claimed that we should be able access the success (or lack thereof) of The Surge™ by this September.

[By then we should have a] reasonable and a realistic sense [of whether the escalation is] working or not working. I’ve said that all along. I started saying that back in January. I think we’ll have had by then our forces in the mix for a good several months.

Although he also stated that the escalation won't be "done" by then...

Wallace: [Do you believe] the job will be done by September?

Patraeus: I do not, no

Instead Patraeus went on to endorse the so-called Korea Model for Iraq, where we are likely to have forces in place for the next 50 years!

Are you fracking kidding me?

I knew that neo-con lapdogs like Patreaus had a problem with The Book Learnin' and The Science and stuff, but I really didn't really that they were completely ignorant of history too.

The nutshell of the Korean Model goes like this, as described by Dan Froomkin in the WaPo.

It’s troubling because American troops have been in South Korea for more than 50 years — while polls show the American public wants them out of Iraq within a year.

It’s flawed because in South Korea, unlike Iraq, there’s something concrete to defend (the border with North Korea); and because Iraq, unlike South Korea, happens to be in a state of violent civil war.

It’s dangerous because the specter of a permanent military presence in Iraq is widely considered to be one of the most inflammatory incitements to Iraq’s ever-growing anti-American insurgency, and may even be destabilizing to the entire region.

And it’s telling because it gives credence to persistent suspicions that establishing a long-term strategic presence in the Middle East was a primary motivation for this misbegotten war in the first place.

To his credit Patraeus did throw a pinch of salt on this Iraq is Korea nonesense.

[The Iraq conflict] is not one that’s going to be resolved in a year or even two years. In fact, typically, I think historically, counterinsurgency operations have gone at least nine or ten years.

The question is, of course, at what level, how much will we have to continue to contribute during that time, how much more can the Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government pick up as it goes along, and I think that’s the real question. And I’m not sure what the right analogy is, whether it’s Korea or what have you. I think all that the folks in Washington were trying to indicate by that was that there’s some possibility of some form of long-term security arrangement over time, and I think in general that that’s probably a fairly realistic assessment, assuming that the Iraqi government, in fact, does want that to continue and, of course, it is very much up to them and their sovereignty is paramount in all of this.

The Korea War began as a conflict between two distinct states, the communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the North which was supplied and supported by China vs the capitalist People's Republic of Korea in the South which were supported by UN Forces which were largely American. Technically that War never really ended, there was a cease fire called in 1953, three years after hostilities began but either side actually surrendered and both North and South Korea have certainly not re-unified and completely reconcilled. That's why our troops are still there.

There was no insurgency in Korea.

There was no internecine warfare or religious sectarian violence.

There was no Abu Ghraib.

There was no al Qeada, or al-Sistani or al-Sadr.

We did not invade a sovereign nation without legitimate justification or provocation - we were invited to support the South under UN Security Council Resolution 62 in response to the attack by North Korea against the South.

IMO and as James Carrol of the Boston Globe has noted (h/t teacherken) A far better model than Korea for the current conflict in Iraq would be The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

There you have 30 years of intense sectarian violence between Protestant Unionist and Roman Catholic Nationalist who sought to create an independent Republic of Ireland, and an end to their occupation by the British Army.

They did have their own version of al-Qaeda and the Sunni insurgents, namely the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as well as loyalist paramilitary forces similar to the Shia Militias such as the Ulster Voluanteer Force (UVF) and Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

Like our own forces in Iraq, British forces who claimed to simply be trying to "keep the peace" were seen as working in collusion with unionist forces and were attacked frequently with bombings (IED's?) which did manage to occur even on British soil. (I guess fighting them "over there" really didn't help them all that much did it?)

Much like the split between Sunni and Shia in Iraq, the divide between Irish Catholics and Protestants goes back some centuries - all the way to 1609 and two bloody ethno-religious conflicts over plantation rights in 1641 and 1689.

Because of the weight of all this history, the conflict in Northern Ireland was thought to be insurmountable and intractable. Yet eventually solutions began to be found over the course of 3 tumultuous years in involving two cease-fires (in 1994 and 1996) and a shift from the use of arms to the use of persuasion through the political process via the IRA's political wing Sinn Fein and it's leader Gerry Adams.

But it wasn't easy.

On June 16, 1994, just before the ceasefires, the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) killed two UVF members in a gun attack on the Shankill road. In revenge, three days later, the UVF killed six civilians in a shooting at a pub in Loughinisland, County Down. The IRA, in the remaining month before its ceasefire, killed four senior loyalists, three from the UDA and one from the UVF. There are various interpretations of the spike in violence before the ceasefires. One theory is that the loyalists feared the peace process represented an imminent "sellout" of the Union and ratcheted up their violence accordingly. Another explanation is that the republicans were "settling old scores" before the end of their campaigns and wanted to enter the political process from a position of military strength rather than weakness.

Eventually, in August 1994, the Provisional IRA declared a ceasefire. The loyalist paramilitaries, temporarily united in the Combined Loyalist Military Command, reciprocated six weeks later. Although these ceasefires failed in the short run, they mark an effective end to large-scale political violence in the Troubles as it paved the way for the final ceasefire.

The second cease-fire was implemented in 1996 and helped paved the way for the Belfast Agreement in 1998 between all four major parties, including Sinn Fein, establishing a "power-sharing" model for an independant and self-governing Northern Ireland.

This Model, one that focuses not on overwhelming military might but instead on persuasion and diplomacy is one that has a far better hope of ending the violence in Iraq than The Surge. As both the ISG and Harry Reid have noted we can not win Iraq militarily anymore than the British Empire was likely to crush the IRA and other nationalists in Northern Ireland.

But here's the thing, one major factor in helping lend legitimacy to Sinn Fein was the involvment of Senator George Mitchell who crafted The Mitchell Principles in 1997 which were signed both by Sinn Fein and the British Government and began to create a pathway to peace. It took the diplomatic intervention of a neutral third party to bring the various factions to the table. It should also be noted that Mitchell's efforts were helped greatly by President Bill Clinton who in placed Gerry Adam's on the world stage by inviting him to Washington in 1996 (although not to the White House - that step would take several more years).

Another model which fits far better than Korea is that of the Bosnia War, where an enormous three part US, Russian and European forces ended a brutal complex three-way conflict between Muslim, Croat and Serbs in the former Yugoslavia. (This is the model originally suggested by General Shinseki)

And look, it didn't take 50 years did it?

Again President Bill Clinton took the initiative and used diplomacy to forge a consensus among the world's nations and leaders that the ethnic cleansing taking place in that region had to be stopped. His efforts led the the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995, just 3 years after he took office.

Unfortunately, we are not a neutral third party in Iraq as we had been in Northern Ireland and in Bosnia. We have far too much skin-in-the-game to be able to negotiate cleanly and evenly with all parties, just as the Brits couldn't. They failed at it for 30 years.

We can't win this militarily and we can't just walk away without risking everything turning to complete crap. Even though there is the thin-hope that our departure might help the Iraqis refocus (as has been advanced by John Murtha), just as the the Brit leaving Northern Ireland did. But the rub is that in their case there was an agreement in place and we don't yet have even that.

Basically, we're screwed.

We've flushed our credibility completely away with the lack of WMD's, lack of Yellowcake, the Torture, the Abu Ghraib, the failure of the rebuilding process, the failure to train and equip the Iraqi Forces and now this bull-crap about Korea and keeping our forces in the region for the next half century.

What's needed are new and innovative diplomatic solutions, and they just might have to come from some very unexpected quarters such as France (who happened to have control of the mines the Yellowcake was supposedly taken from) or possibly Germany (who had custody of "Curveball" and knew he was full of it) or other countries who still have some diplomatic clout and credibility left, someone who hasn't made the wrong decision time after time after time.

Frankly, we don't need the Iraqi Parliament to decide everything - because that process is going to take years. (Look at how well our own government is doing with Immigration, eh? Does anyone think a forced deadline would help our Congress Git 'er Done? I don't.) The Iraqis are not going to simply jump up and crank out legislation and complex agreements on our timetable. Not gonna happen, even if they weren't as dysfuctional as family of crack-addicts.

Instead, based on the Northern Ireland and Bosnia Models what I think is needed is to get together the major faction leaders - some Sunni, some Shi'a, some Kurd - including people like Sustani and al-Sadr and have them hammer out the details of some type of basic roadmap to peace and conditions for a cease-fire by the insurgents and militias in a Summit. It doesn't have to happen in Iraq, the Dayton Accords didn't take place in Bosnia - they were in Ohio. But it does have to happen, and once it does the Iraqi Parliament can simply vote on it and begin to flesh out the details.

It won't happen overnight. It won't be pretty. Northern Ireland is still going through the birth-pains of becoming a brand new democracy.

Iraq hasn't even begun conception yet but sadly, it's going to take someone else - someone neutral who hasn't shredded their own credibilty like paper-mache - to get this party started.

Exactly who that might be (Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Germany, France, Italy?) is the 640,000 live question.

Vyan