Sunday, June 29, 2008

Going Down

When I joined the army and when I reenlisted five times, I did something that every member of Congress does. I took an oath to defend the Constitution as the core commitment of my service. Then the army sent me to eight different conflict areas to attack, or assist others in attacking, people who were not even remotely the enemies of the Constitution. Oddly enough, that oath said I was obliged to “defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.

I’m retired now; and since I got out of the army I’ve had more opportunities to oppose the domestic enemies of the Constitution, because they are mostly those who were or worked for my former Commanders-in-Chief.


[U]ntil now there has been no attack on Iran because it makes no sense to do so. Such an attack will cost the US a broad tactical defeat in Iraq and the consolidation of nascent counter-US blocs around the globe… but if the numbers come in by September-October that show McCain to be the dangerous dolt that he is — the “hero” whose heroic act was being shot down while he rained bombs on Vietnamese — that McCain doesn’t have a snowball’s chance, then the absurd fantasy that the Bush administration will attack Iran — with all its profound consequences for the US’s malignant but profitable position and influence on the world stage — then… the administration could commit the last spiteful act. They could broaden their little, lost war to include Iran, and leave the new Democratic administration and freshly minted, bloody-handed, instrumental, oath-breaking, Democrat-controlled Congress with a swarming hornets nest of unpredictable and inextricable relations.

And some of us will say, you had opportunity after opportunity to stop this; but you enabled George W. Bush. You protected him and his coterie, because your elections were more important to you than either your oaths or the lives of countless human beings.

Shame on you all.

  Stan Goff

Indeed. Unfortunately, 1) they have no shame, and 2) it will provide us – and the rest of the world - little comfort to be able to lay blame on them.

Those Who Don't Learn from the Past

Are doomed to repeat it.

U.S. congressional leaders agreed late last year to President George W. Bush's funding request for a major escalation of covert operations against Iran aimed at destabilizing its leadership, according to a report in The New Yorker magazine published online on Sunday.

The article by reporter Seymour Hersh, from the magazine's July 7 and 14 issue, centers around a highly classified Presidential Finding signed by Bush which by U.S. law must be made known to Democratic and Republican House and Senate leaders and ranking members of the intelligence committees.

"The Finding was focused on undermining Iran's nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change," the article cited a person familiar with its contents as saying, and involved "working with opposition groups and passing money."


Funding for the covert escalation, for which Bush requested up to $400 million, was approved by congressional leaders, according to the article, citing current and former military, intelligence and congressional sources.


Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. U.S. Special Operations Forces have been conducting crossborder operations from southern Iraq since last year, the article said.


But the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which include the Central Intelligence Agency, have now been significantly expanded, the article said, citing current and former officials.


Among groups inside Iran benefiting from U.S. support is the Jundallah, also known as the Iranian People's Resistance Movement, according to former CIA officer Robert Baer. Council on Foreign Relations analyst Vali Nasr described it to Hersh as a vicious organization suspected of links to al Qaeda.


None of the Democratic leaders in Congress would comment on the finding, the article said. The White House, which has repeatedly denied preparing for military action against Iran, and the CIA also declined comment.

  Raw Story

Recipe for disaster. Let’s use it again.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Audio Treat

From Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me - Bill Gates leaves Microsoft. Plus: Clippy Must Die!


This week's full show is here.

West Point Summer Leadership Seminar

Send your teenager to summer camp.

Climbing ropes and crawling in the mud under barbed wire, dozens of American high school kids at an unusual summer camp vied to see who could get most dirty as they tackled an Army obstacle course.

And as they ran between obstacles in the woods, the kids shouted Army chants. Asked by a cadet if they were motivated, they shouted back in unison: "Motivated, motivated, downright motivated. Ooh, aah, ooh, aah, I want to kill somebody."

  Raw Story

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Meanwhile in Iraq

Outraged Iraqi officials demanded an investigation into an early morning U.S. military raid Friday near the birthplace of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, saying the operation violated the terms of the handover of Karbala province to Iraqi security forces.


So naïve, so naïve.

Karbala Gov. Oqeil al Khazaali said U.S. forces killed an unarmed civilian and arrested at least one person in the raid in the southern town of Janaja. The governor's brother, Hassanein al Khazaali, said late Friday that the Iraqi killed in the operation was a relative of the U.S.-backed prime minister.


Raed Shakir Jowdet, the Iraqi military commander of Karbala operations, said that four Apache helicopters and a jet fighter soared over the area. About 60 U.S. soldiers then stormed the town, "terrifying the families," he said.

Jowdet said that an unarmed civilian named Ali Abdulhussein was killed in his home


"Not one Iraqi soldier took part in the airdrop, and the operation was not coordinated with any Iraqi authority," he said. "We are still looking for an answer as to why this has taken place, and we still have no logical explanation from the American forces."


The U.S. military command in Baghdad had no comment.

They rarely do.

Has anyone asked George why he isn’t “taking out” Mugabe?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Keith Olbermann Defends Himself

Against Glenn Greenwald's column.

And suggests that Obama may have supported the FISA mess because of a loophole which may allow for future prosecution of the telecom culprits.

You think Obama's that clever? I'm skeptical.

McCain Predicts Win

“I’m the underdog. I’m behind,” the presumptive GOP nominee told reporters in Ohio.

“I’ve got to catch up and get ahead. And I expect to do that about 48 hours before the general election,” he said with a laugh.


Laugh indeed. McCain knows the GOP hasn’t left the presidency up to an honest election in a long time.

The joke’s on us.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

What a Crock of Shit


Just Another Day Under the New Amerikan Sun

Steven Hatfill has settled for close to $6 mil against the "US Government" for having been publicly targeted in the anthrax poisoning cases shortly after 9/11. Cases which, by the way, have never been solved.

The crock of shit is that the "US Government" that has to pay the multi-million-dollar settlement is the American taxpayers. Why are we punished when it was Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Bush Administration who "leaked" information with the intent and consequence of destroying Hatfill's reputation? How is the award going to prevent future such incidents? Is it designed to make us choose our future presidents more carefully, knowing they could be careless about responsibility, costing us millions in taxes to settle lawsuits? If that's the idea, he didn't get nearly a big enough settlement. The trillions we're forking over to occupy Iraq doesn't seem to be clearly making us think about our ballots.

Specific people need to be held responsible, and those specific people need to be individuals in the Bush Administration that made the decision to target Hatfill in the way they did, not a collection of US taxpayers who had no part in the affair.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Better Than McCain" Isn't Good Enough: The FISA Sham

So that you don't accuse me of being racist, I’m going to change my opening sentence from: “Let’s call a spade a spade,” to “Let’s call a wanker a wanker.”
Disappointed over [Barack Obama’s] position on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the online activists feel jilted and betrayed and have taken to questioning his progressive credentials. One prominent blogger, Atrios, has even given him the moniker “Wanker of the Day.”

“He broke faith,” said Matt Stoller, a political consultant and blogger at “Obama pledged to filibuster, and he is part of that old politics, in this case, that he said he wasn’t. It will spur us to challenge him.”


“I don’t want to hear him talk about leadership. I don’t want to hear him talk about defending the Constitution. I want to see him do it,” [Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of Daily Kos] said. “If he does, it will increase the intensity and level of support he gets from base Democrats. If he doesn’t, we may worry he is just another one of these spineless Democrats who are more afraid of controversy in doing the right thing than they are in actually doing the right thing.”


Obama’s statement was viewed as a reversal from a pledge last year to oppose any bill with retroactive immunity for telecom companies.


Seen that way because that’s pretty much what it is.

Over the weekend, Barack Obama announced that -- although not in favor of the idea of retroactive immunity for the shady corporatations that helped our own government spy on us -- he supports the FISA legislation that the Senate is about to pass that will magically make all the illegal wire-tapping that the White House did legal after all.

But it's all alright, because he super double-dog swears that, as president, he won't take advantage of the power to watch over all of America like Big Brother...

  Indecision 2008

Glenn Greenwald goes after Keith Olbermann (and others) for giving Obama a pass on the issue:

Those who spent the last five years mauling Bush for "shredding the Constitution" and approving of lawbreaking -- only to then praise Obama for supporting a bill that endorses and protects all of that -- are displaying exactly the type of blind reverence that is more dangerous than any one political leader could ever be.


Julian [Sanchez] goes through the changes to the bill one by one, and demonstrates what an absurd, and even insulting, farce it's been for the Democrats to call this some kind of victory. They opposed the original FISA bill because it allowed for warrantless surveillance of Americans and legal immunity for telecom companies who turn over information to the government. The revised FISA bill, as Julian explains, allows for warrantless surveillance of Americans and legal immunity for telecom companies who turn over information to the government. So there are two options here: Either the Democrats were lying about why they opposed the bill in the first place, or they're lying about having extracted meaningful concessions on the bill now. Whichever you choose, it's been a shameful, saddening performance.

  Ezra Klein

At least we still have Russ Feingold.

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., said he opposed language in the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that likely would give retroactive immunity from lawsuits to telephone companies that complied with warrantless surveillance requests from the government, The Hill reported Thursday.

Because Feingold wants more time to delay consideration until after the Independence Day recess, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said, "(it) doesn't look like" the Senate will consider the FISA bill this week.


[W]iretapping is so classified, and the language of the bill so opaque, that no one without a "top secret" clearance can say with any authority just how much surveillance the proposal will authorize the government to do. (The best assessment yet comes from former Justice Department official David Kris, who deems the legislation "so intricate" that it risks confusing even "the government officials who must apply it.")


Feel better?

Read that Slate article. It explains “five myths” about the bill.

Myth No. 1: This bill is a compromise.

Myth No. 2: We need the bill to intercept our enemies abroad.

Myth No. 3: The courts will still review the telecom cases.

Myth No. 4: The Democrats must fold because of the November election.

Myth No. 5: The law will be the "exclusive means" for surveillance.

I'm sorry, but not particularly surprised, that Keith Olbermann is lock-stepping the Democratic candidate. Josh Marshall seems to be taking the tack to just not talk about it. The subject is conspicuously missing from today's posts.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oh, So It's Blackmail, Is It?

"Obama has been calling Hillary's top money people and asking for their support, but the fundraisers are in some cases being critical of Obama's operation," said a senior Hillary person who works directly with her top donors on a regular basis.

According to sources, the Hillary fundraisers' criticism of Obama on these calls has focused partly -- but not exclusively -- on a demand that Obama do more to retire Hillary's campaign debt. This perhaps explains why Obama went out of his way yesterday on a call with his own donors to ask them to help her out.

But these criticisms from the donors suggests that bitterness may remain until Obama's efforts show actual results on her behalf.


....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Price of Gas

There's a lot of chatter on CNN this morning here in my hotel room about the price of gasoline and where it's going. The ticker heading says: Cheaaper gas in 30 days? A couple of weeks ago, I caught the wild chatter on NPR about a $10 or so jump in the cost of a barrel of oil. They were squealing about how totally unprecedented such a high jump in one day was and warning that within 10 days gasoline prices would jump 50 cents a gallon.

All you need to know about the price of gas can be boiled down to this simple economic point: Producers use current events to let per gallon cost run up to the price where people begin to seriously cut back on use. Bingo. The magic number is reached.

All the talk about regulations and increased or decreased production is just talk.

Check me to see if I'm wrong.

Trading Dollars

The Obama campaign is offering a major olive branch to Hillary Clinton and her supporters. On a conference call with his top fundraisers, Obama asked them to help raise money to retire Clinton's $10 million in debts to vendors -- bills that were racked up in the long primary campaign that in many cases involved attacks against himself.


I’m sorry, Barack, but she continued campaigning after it was obvious she would not be getting the nomination. She loaned her campaign money, apparently believing it was a good investment. She’s responsible for the debts her campaign incurred, not Obama supporters.

But, if you’re in the helping-people-out-of-debt mode, I have a truck that has a few more payments due.

One point of clarification: The Obama camp's help extends only to the vendor debts, but not the more than $10 million in personal debt from Hillary's own self-financing loans. Clinton herself has told her own donors that while she needs help paying off vendors, she is not asking for help paying off the money the campaign owes her personally.

Barely better.

On a private conference call moments ago, Hillary urged her top fundraisers in no uncertain terms to throw their weight behind Barack Obama, and directly asked them in surprisingly candid terms to give or raise money to help her pay off her campaign's debt.


After you get my debts paid off, get behind Obama.

Only fair. Only fair.

On the topic of her debts, Hillary said: "Many of you also know that my campaign is facing debt. That happens when you're outspent.”

No, Hill, that happens when you’ve overspent.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Keep an Eye Out for Madame Defarge

Sunday morning, June 23, brought an increasingly common sight to the streets of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Scores of poor and indigent people lined up for free food vouchers outside the Marcia P. Coggs Human Services Center. But on this particular morning, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, the crowd grew to such a number so quickly that authorities were called in to 'restore order' and cordon off an entire city street to make way.

The line, which wrapped around the building and out onto Milwaukee's Vilet St., became 'unruly' after a number of people rushed the door, crushing several in front of them. At one point during the morning rush, which saw lines forming as early as 5 a.m., 34 police cars were said to have been spotted on site.

  Raw Story

Let them eat cake.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Your Tax Dollars At Work: Spreading Anti-Americanism

Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the U.S. government has spent nearly $500 million on an Arabic language television and radio station.

Now an investigation finds that the project has not only been poorly run and hemorrhaged taxpayer money but is also airing bizarrely anti-American and anti-semitic coverage despite repeated complaints from the State Department and Congress.


Christ on a cracker.

In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer. --Mark Twain

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Twin Brothers of Different Mothers

More of McCain being George Bush.

I just saw John McCain very gravely lamenting Barack Obama's decision not to accept public financing for the general election campaign and opining about what it says about Obama's ethics and trustworthiness. And I must confess that I'm a little confused why more Democrats are not hitting this preening peacock with the fact that he is as we speak breaking the campaign finance laws and specifically breaking the law on accepting public financing.


But the truth is that this will only become an issue, if Democrats and Obama-surrogates make it an issue. The guy is not only 'breaking his word' he's breaking the law. But he's so awash in his own self-righteousness that I'm not even sure this counts as hypocrisy -- at least conscious hypocrisy -- since just as is the case with the lobbyists he surrounds himself with I think his self-righteousness makes it all invisible to him.


State Department Covered Up Shoddy Arms Deal

Remember the kid who was selling shoddy ancient Chinese munitions to Afghan and US forces in Afghanistan?

“The Oversight Committee has received information that the U.S. Ambassador to Albania held a late-night meeting with the Albanian Defense Minister at which the Ambassador approved removing evidence of the illegal Chinese origins of ammunition being shipped from Albania to Afghanistan by a U.S. contractor,” Waxman wrote. “The Committee has also received information that State Department officials. tried to conceal this information from the Committee.”

  Raw Story

Why are the real traitors to the U.S. going free? When the Traitor in Chief and the big Dick leave office will that change? Paint me skeptical.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tunnel Vision

A thousand points of darkness.

As part of a series on “The candidates and your money,” Fortune Magazine asked Senator John McCain what he perceived as the single greatest economic threat to the United States. McCain’s reply, after several seconds of staring “into the void,” was “radical Islamic extremism.”

  Raw Story

Our greatest economic threat. Still channeling W. Do their earpieces pick up the same frequency?

The Fortune interviewer goes on to say that [top McCain strategist Charlie] “Black concedes with startling candor after we raise the issue” that McCain would also be helped by “another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. ‘Certainly it would be a big advantage to him,’ says Black.”

And for eight long years they have been calling us lunatic conspiracy theorists who suggest that the current administration just might have had some responsibility in the 9/11 attacks, because they didn’t come right out and say these kinds of things. Of course, Black isn’t the first GOP whack job to say it out loud and without shame.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

If Only

A conference to plan the prosecution of President Bush and other high administration officials for war crimes will be held September 13-14 at the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover .

"This is not intended to be a mere discussion of violations of law that have occurred," stated [Lawrence Velvel, dean and cofounder of the school] in a press release. "It is, rather, intended to be a planning conference at which plans will be laid and necessary organizational structures set up, to pursue the guilty as long as necessary and, if need be, to the ends of the Earth.


The conference will take up such issues as the nature of domestic and international crimes committed; which high-level Bush officials, including Federal judges and Members of Congress, are chargeable with war crimes; which foreign and domestic tribunals can be used to prosecute them; and the setting up of an umbrella coordinating committee with representatives of legal groups concerned about the war crimes such as the Center for Constitutional Rights, ACLU, National Lawyers Guild, among others.


"For Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Yoo to spend years in jail or go to the gallows for their crimes would be a powerful lesson to future American leaders," Velvel said.

  Information Clearinghouse

MoveOn Hasn't Forgotten

On Friday, House Democrats caved to the Bush administration and passed a bill giving a get-out-of-jail-free card to phone companies that helped Bush illegally spy on innocent Americans.

This Monday, the fight moves to the Senate. Senator Russ Feingold says the "deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation." Barack Obama announced his partial support for the bill, but said, "It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses.”

Last year, after phone calls from MoveOn members and others, Obama went so far as to vow to "support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies." We need him to honor that promise.

Can you call Senator Obama today and tell him you're counting on him to keep his word?

Well, you probably can. And if you want to, MoveOn has a number right here.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Politics As Usual?

What Obama has said about his support of the FISA "compromise", and what some people think of what he said.

"Karl Rove in Pearls and Stylish Pumps"

Thanks to LaBelle for this link to Brilliant at Breakfast taking to task those "feminists" who wanted Hillary for president and will now vote for John McCain - an issue I addressed much less thoroughly not too long ago.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Congress, Paring Down Your Right to Privacy

The House passed that FISA bill giving Telecommunications companies immunity.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

For the Love of Pete

U.S. military authorities are unable to find hundreds of nuclear missile components, The Financial Times reported in its online edition Thursday, but the Pentagon shrugged it off as simple record-keeping woes.


....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I Wish I'd Thought of That

Okay, I'm trying to mellow out here...Have a look at the picture offered at Dependable Renegade here, and note the brilliant post lead-in (first sentence - not the title - although that's not bad, either).

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

News In the Category "What You Already Knew"

Medical examinations of former terrorism suspects held by the U.S. military at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, found evidence of torture and other abuse that resulted in serious injuries and mental disorders, according to a human rights group.

For the most extensive medical study of former U.S. detainees published so far, Physicians for Human Rights had doctors and mental health professionals examine 11 former prisoners. The group alleges finding evidence of U.S. torture and war crimes and accuses U.S. military health professionals of allowing the abuse of detainees, denying them medical care and providing confidential medical information to interrogators that they then exploited.

  Raw Story

The U.S. military hid the locations of suspected terrorist detainees and concealed harsh treatment to avoid the scrutiny of the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to documents that a Senate committee released Tuesday.


Contractors Subject to Iraqi Law?

The US has accepted that foreign contractors in Iraq will no longer have immunity from Iraqi law under a new security agreement now under negotiation, says the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari.

  UK Independent

Call me skeptical, but….we’ll see.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Fair Weather Friends

[Condi Rice] made 22 trips to Israel during the Bush Administration’s eight years, and she has little to show for it. Israeli TV announcers coined her name as a verb, meaning to go endlessly around in circles, accomplishing nothing.

On Sunday, Rice just passed through Jerusalem again. Ghosted through might be a better description since this time there was no fanfare, no motorcades snarling up the city’s traffic, and the lady couldn’t even book a room in her usual hotel, the David Citadel. She had to settle for a less grand hotel, though admittedly it wasn’t one of those pilgrim fleapits in the Old City. But for me, that’s a sign of how far how far her superpower status has fallen in the dwindling days of Bushdom.


Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Let History Be the Judge

[British Prime Minister Gordon Brown] decided he could anticipate some of the judgments of history, listing positives he sees as part and parcel of the Bush legacy: "being a true friend of Britain" and "the importance [the President] attaches to enhancing our transatlantic partnership, from the work we do in Afghanistan and Iraq to every part of the world." Brown also complimented Bush on "the resolution that he has shown in rooting out terrorism in all parts of the world; in working for a Middle East peace settlement; in bringing hope to Africa; in working for a free-trade world." This would be an impressive roster of achievements by most lights, but Bush felt the need to claim a further garland. "One of the things that I will leave behind is a multilateralism to deal with tyrants, so problems can be solved diplomatically," he said.

That iconoclastic take didn't convince everyone present. "The man's going to be remembered as a blithering idiot," said a distinguished British journalist.


Well, that’s certainly how I’m going to remember him.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Window Dressing

Two Muslim women at Barack Obama's rally in Detroit on Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women's headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.

The campaign has apologized to the women, both Obama supporters who said they felt betrayed by their treatment at the rally.

"This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama's commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.


Yeah, right: "The jury is instructed to disregard that statement."

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

KBR Profiteering Stateside

KBR overcharged the U.S. Navy for providing meals to workers and service personnel in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to a Pentagon audit.


"The Navy paid approximately $4.1 million for meals and services we calculate should have cost $1.7 million, more than a $2.3 million difference," said the audit, signed by Assistant Inspector General for Acquisition Management Richard Jolliffe.

  Houston Chronicle

I know. You’re shocked. Me too.

Protecting Halliburton/KBR - Supporting Our Troops

Charles M. Smith was the senior civilian overseeing the multibillion-dollar contract with KBR during the first two years of the war. Speaking out for the first time, Mr. Smith said that he was forced from his job in 2004 after informing KBR officials that the Army would impose escalating financial penalties if they failed to improve their chaotic Iraqi operations.

Army auditors had determined that KBR lacked credible data or records for more than $1 billion in spending, so Mr. Smith refused to sign off on the payments to the company. “They had a gigantic amount of costs they couldn’t justify,” he said in an interview. “Ultimately, the money that was going to KBR was money being taken away from the troops, and I wasn’t going to do that.”

But he was suddenly replaced, he said, and his successors — after taking the unusual step of hiring an outside contractor to consider KBR’s claims — approved most of the payments he had tried to block.


I know. You’re shocked. Me too.

New Torture Planning Evidence

A senior Pentagon official in July 2002 sought the advice of military psychologists to help design aggressive detainee interrogation techniques that would later be linked with prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and Abu Ghraib in Iraq, a Senate investigation has found.

The revelation, part of a probe by the Senate Armed Services Committee that is to be unveiled during hearings Tuesday, provides dramatic new evidence that the use of the aggressive techniques was planned at the top levels of the Bush administration and were not the work of out-of-control, lower-ranking troops.


I know. You’re shocked. Me too.

Attorney Purge Investigation Moving Forward

Justice Department lawyers have filed a grand-jury referral stemming from the 2006 U.S. attorneys scandal, according to people familiar with the probe, a move indicating that the yearlong investigation may be entering a new phase.

The grand-jury referral, the first time the probe has moved beyond the investigative phase, relates to allegations of political meddling in the Justice Department's civil-rights division, these people say. Specifically, it focuses on possible perjury by Bradley Schlozman, who served a year as interim U.S. attorney in Kansas City, Mo.


McCain Ad

Warning: Put your earphones on if there's anyone else around with sensitive ears. Or go here for the bleeped version.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Flip Flop

First he was going to get bin Laden “dead or alive”, then George wasn’t “all that concerned” about him. Now, he wants to get him again.

President George W Bush has enlisted British special forces in a final attempt to capture Osama Bin Laden before he leaves the White House.


The Special Boat Service (SBS) and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment have been taking part in the US-led operations to capture Bin Laden in the wild frontier region of northern Pakistan.


Defence and intelligence sources in Washington and London confirmed that a renewed hunt was on for the leader of the September 11 attacks. “If he [Bush] can say he has killed Saddam Hussein and captured Bin Laden, he can claim to have left the world a safer place,” said a US intelligence source.

  Times Online

And I’m sure George wouldn’t hesitate to take it, but British Special forces and the rest of the world would simply give the credit to George for their capture?

A Pentagon source said US forces were rolling up Al-Qaeda’s network in Pakistan in the hope of pushing Bin Laden towards the Afghan border, where the US military and bombers with guided missiles were lying in wait. “They are prepping for a major battle,” he said.

Better hope the Brits don’t get him first.

Oh, and a comment to the article:

All you librals, should keep your mouth shut. I serve here in Iraq and what the libral media shows is shameful! librals that want welfare, free health care and tax the solders more. Hate you all!

John Duaghtry,
Fallujah, Iraq

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Obama's Economic Plan

As set forth in campaign speeches in Pennsylvania: lower taxes on middle class, higher taxes on rich and oil companies, and more. Read it at Raw Story here.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What Happened

You can hear an entertaining interview with Scott McClellan on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! - and an entertaining entire show, if you choose to play all of today's segments.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tasteless Blog Post Alert

By now you know that Tim Russert died suddenly. TPM is running a picture that, as I kept seeing it when I checked in, was reminding me of something, but it took me a while to realize what it was. At last, it came to me.....

Okay, but don't you see it?

How Much Longer Will Musharraf Last?

[Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz] Sharif said [president Musharraf] must be held accountable for abrogating the constitution and the 1999 coup, when then army chief Musharraf ousted Sharif.

Sharif was allowed back from exile late last year as staunch U.S. ally Musharraf's power was ebbing following a clash with the judiciary. The two-time prime minister's party came second in a February election.

"We asked you to quit with honor after the election but you didn't," Sharif said in a speech to up to 15,000 protesters outside parliament, referring to Musharraf.

"Now people have given a new judgment for you ... they want you to be held accountable," he said, as the crowd shouted "hang Musharraf."

  Raw Story


About Those "Face-Saving" Permanently "Rented" Bases...

Iraq's prime minister said Friday that talks with the U.S. on a long-term security agreement between the two nations have reached a dead end, saying the U.S. proposals "violate Iraqi sovereignty."


Two questions:

1. What sovereignty?

2. Who asked you?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Oh, I Am Soooo Confused

AUSTIN, Texas - Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul will end his campaign Thursday night and announce a new effort to help elect libertarian-leaning Republicans to public office around the country.


Did I not just quote a source saying Paul was going to have his own little convention in Minnesota?

Staaaaaaay tuned.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Barack Obama's New Website

(Click pic)

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Odd and Interesting

The chief judge of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday suspended an obscenity trial over which he was presiding after a newspaper reported he had posted sexually explicit photos and videos on his own Web site.


He is presiding in the case against a porn movie distributor.


The defendant, Ira Isaacs, is accused of violating obscenity laws by selling movies depicting bestiality and extreme fetishes involving feces and urination.


Opening statements were under way Wednesday morning when the Los Angeles Times' Web site reported that Kozinski's personal site contained explicit material and that public access to it was blocked after he was interviewed about it Tuesday evening.

Kozinski, 57, told the Times he thought the material, which included a video of a man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal and a picture of nude women on all fours painted to look like cows, couldn't be seen by the public. The judge said he didn't believe any of the images were obscene, the Times reported.


"I think it's odd and interesting."


"I'm not going to say anything. The trial is ongoing," Judge Alex Kozinski said to a reporter as he left.

  Raw Story

That's the mantra of the Bush Administration.

I bet Ira Isaacs was feeling pretty good about his chances until the Times rained on the parade.

And once upon a time in this great country of ours, judges could count on cover.

The suspension of the trial came after jurors spent hours at the Pasadena offices of the 9th Circuit watching the video evidence in the obscenity case.

Well, thank goodness the Times didn’t report earlier, eh?

The Times reported that Kozinski said he must have accidentally uploaded the images to his server while trying to upload something else.

Uh-huh. Even though it "wasn't obscene," you understand. And his point was that it was supposed to be only on his personal computer, and not for public consumption. He had no intention of sharing it on the internet. It was meant just for his family. In fact, his son is trying to take the blame by saying he downloaded the images to the computer in the first place. All in the family smut.

It all reminds me of a legal pleading by defense attorneys I saw at one of the law firms I used to work for in San Francisco. The case was a dog attack.

1. Defendant doesn't own a dog.
2. If defendant does own a dog, it isn't dangerous.

3. If defendant owns a dog and it is dangerous, defendant didn't know nor should have known.

Interesting Ad

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Michelle Obama Targeted

Still more from Fox.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Looking Back

Bush is using his last days in the Oval Office (I'm almost afraid to say that in fear of jinxing it) by taking a vacation to Europe.

Q Mr. President, on the way to Europe, you gave a very interesting interview for The Times newspaper in which you basically said that you regret your war rhetoric. Now I'm wondering, do you actually just regret your war rhetoric, or do you regret having gone to war with Iraq?

PRESIDENT BUSH: I don't regret it at all. Removing Saddam Hussein made the world a safer place. And yes, I told the guy -- the guy said, now what could you do over? First of all, you don't get to do things over in my line of work. But I could have used better rhetoric to indicate that one, we tried to exhaust the diplomacy in Iraq; two, that I don't like war. But, no, the decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision.

  press conference transcript

What world is safer without Saddam, he didn't say. And all worlds can get down on their knees and thank whatever gods they choose that he doesn't get a chance to do things over.

I'd say he seems to have succeeded brilliantly in exhausting the diplomacy. It hasn't been seen or heard from near Iraq in any meaningful manner since he took office. Perhaps we should look for it in a Swiss sanitarium.

And yes, I think if he wanted to convey the idea that he doesn't like war, he made some major "rhetorical" missteps. "I hit the trifecta!", "Fuck Saddam, we're taking him out!", "Bring 'em on!", "Kick ass!", and "Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!" - to name a few.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.


Link fixed.

Raw Story has the video of Constitutional Attorney Jonathan Turley explaining to Keith Olbermann the importance of Dennis Kucinich's articles of impeachment.

Click the pic.

And after that, you can play this:

You Got Away With It

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Mr. Values

You've heard about the "terrorist fist jab", and the supposed "whitey" slur no doubt. Rumors and attacks on Michelle Obama are well underway, and I expect we'll get to see lots more. Where are the attacks on Cindy McCain? How about the story of the first Mrs. McCain? Will Fox News reporters discuss that?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.


Pakistan said on Wednesday an "unprovoked and cowardly" air strike by U.S. forces had killed 11 Pakistani soldiers on its border with Afghanistan and undermined the basis of security cooperation.


he attack "hit at the very basis of cooperation and sacrifice with which Pakistani soldiers are supporting the coalition in the war against terror," the military said.

  Raw Story

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Dennis Kucinich read out 35 articles of impeachment against George Bush yesterday in the House. Didn't see it on Fox?

REP Convention

Ron Paul is staging a Ron Paul convention on the second day of the GOP National Convention in neighboring Minneapolis. You go, Ron.

Jack Who?

First he claimed he hardly knew "Kenny Boy" Lay; now George the Liar says he only met Jack Abramoff a couple of times. New photos say otherwise.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Monday, June 09, 2008

All in the Phrasing

We're not building permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. We're building Iraqi bases (for which we might even pay them a rental fee) from which to conduct our permanent operations. So, that's different then.

Fat Chance

Congressional Democrats are asking the DOJ to appoint special council to investigate the role of top Bush Administration officials in the torture of captives.

Good luck with that.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Incompetent, Corrupt or Both?

What does it take to get a defense contract in the Bush Administration? After awarding a $300 million contract to a 22-year-old man, Efriam E. Diveroli, who sold defective arms to our Afghan allies, it has now been reported that the Defense Department has awarded an $80 million contract to indicted Saudi financier Gaith Pharaon. The level of sheer incompetence in such contracts is staggering.

The Defense Department gave Pharaon the contract as another federal agency, the Justice Department, is taking to prosecute him in connection with his alleged role at the failed Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) (costing US tax payers $1.7 billion).

  Jonathan Turley

What's the Deal?

Of course we don't know what will actually happen, but if Barack Obama actually does help Hillary pay her personal campaign debts, unless he's paying it out of his own pocket, his supporters - people who contributed to his campaign - should be up in arms that their money might be finding its way into Clinton's pockets.

The whole idea is fish-stinky. And gives further weight to the idea that they're all the same choice.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Insane McCain Challenge

John McCain challenged Barack Obama to join him in 10 town hall meetings with voters before the Democratic National Convention in August. An Obama adviser was receptive to the idea and said the campaign would discuss it.


Come on, that is a no-brainer.

The real entertainment is about to begin.

Finally Some Meaningful Legislation

Bush just signed into law a bill to encourage flying the flag on Father's Day. Never mind why it should be Father's Day - I think we can all get the picture on that. But, WTF? Laws are meant to insist, not "encourage", aren't they?

They've been at this one for a while. It appears it was put up for bid at least a year ago. Could Congress have possibly wasted any time more valuable than we have been living through these past years when serious issues have been bombarding us right and left?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Yahoo headlines:

Hillary trying to save face? Will Obama bite?

Stay tuned.

Campaign Negotiations?

I don’t know where the Telegraph (UK) got its information, but it’s saying that Obama is negotiating a deal for Hillary to get over it and agree to be in his cabinet in charge of health issues.

Another Democrat who has discussed strategy with friends in the Obama inner circle said that Mr Obama was openly considering asking Mrs Clinton to join his cabinet, alongside two other former presidential rivals: John Edwards, who is seen as a likely attorney general; and Joe Biden, who is a leading contender to become Secretary of State. Mr Obama hinted at the plan last week. “One of my heroes is Abraham Lincoln,” he said. “Lincoln basically pulled in all the people who had been running against him into his cabinet because whatever personal feelings there were, the issue was 'how can we get this country through this time of crisis?’ And I think that has to be the approach that one takes.”

  UK Telegraph

Okay, maybe that’s a good idea to get everybody together, but wouldn’t it be a better idea to give posts to those honest and honorable people the Bush Administration pushed out because they dared to tell the truth? People who were capable and got punished for it. How about James Comey for AG? And how about reinstating Richard Clarke and Paul O’Neill?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Yuk Yuk

Chuckles "Big Dick" Cheney tries to explain his relationship to Barack Obama:

We'd always known about the Cheney family line on my father's side of the family, back to Massachusetts in the 1630s. My grandmother was named Tyler but it turned out she was descended from a Richard Cheney, same last name, who landed in Maryland in the 1650s.

So I had Cheneys on both sides of the family -- and we don't even live in West Virginia.

You can say those things when you're not running for re-election.

  USA Today

Naturally West Virginians are taking offense to the “joke” inferring that West Virginia might be the inbreeding capital of the world. But what he didn’t admit is that he is the result of species interbreeding. And I’m not sure either species was human.

Monday, June 02, 2008

No Exit

Hell Is Other People.

The presumptive Republican nominee for president and the leading contender for the Democratic nomination are exaggerating what's known about Iran's nuclear program as they duel over how best to deal with Tehran.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., say that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

The U.S. intelligence community, however, thinks that Iran halted an effort to build a nuclear warhead in mid-2003, and the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, which is investigating the program, has found no evidence to date of an active Iranian nuclear-weapons project.


So sad.

You know, Ron Paul is still running.

I wonder what Richard Clarke might have offered. Can we draft Bill Moyers?

Happy Troops Going Home

There goes Australia.

Australian PM Kevin Rudd promised to pull the frontline troops out of Iraq, which is presumably a big reason he was elected. Hey, a politician who keeps a campaign promise. We haven't seen one of those here for decades.

Bring 'Em On!

And kill em!

P.S. Ricardo Sanchez, the author of the latest complaint, has no room to whine. He was as good an enabler as any and better than many.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Triple Treat

Bill Maher interview of Merle Haggard:

Merle Haggard live (off site link):

Merle Haggard doing a perfect imitation of Marty Robbins: