Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Oh, No, Not Molly!

First Ann and now Molly. We can't afford to lose any more of these female journalist icons. Certainly Katie or Paula or whatever new fluff is the flavor of the day cannot rise to the standard these women set. Molly, I shall really, really miss you.
Molly Ivins, whose biting columns mixed liberal populism with an irreverent Texas wit, died at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at her home in Austin after an up-and-down battle with breast cancer she had waged for seven years. She was 62.
Ms. Ivins, the Star-Telegram’s political columnist for nine years ending in 2001, had written for the New York Times, the Dallas Times-Herald and Time magazine and had long been a sought-after pundit on the television talk-show circuit to provide a Texas slant on issues ranging from President Bush’s pedigree to the culture wars rooted in the 1960s.

"She was magical in her writing," said Mike Blackman, a former Star-Telegram executive editor who hired Ms. Ivins at the newspaper’s Austin bureau in 1992, a few months after the Times-Herald ceased publication. "She could turn a phrase in such a way that a pretty hard-hitting point didn’t hurt so bad."


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Uh Oh, teh DeCida did it again...

Raw Story posted about this last night and The New York Times was true to its word:

President Bush has signed a directive that gives the White House much greater control over the rules and policy statements that the government develops to protect public health, safety, the environment, civil rights and privacy.

This strengthens the hand of the White House in shaping rules that have, in the past, often been generated by civil servants and scientific experts. It suggests that the administration still has ways to exert its power after the takeover of Congress by the Democrats.

Consumer, labor and environmental groups denounced the executive order, saying it gave too much control to the White House and would hinder agencies’ efforts to protect the public.

Peter L. Strauss, a professor at Columbia Law School, said the executive order “achieves a major increase in White House control over domestic government.”

“Having lost control of Congress,” Mr. Strauss said, “the president is doing what he can to increase his control of the executive branch.”

Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said: “The executive order allows the political staff at the White House to dictate decisions on health and safety issues, even if the government’s own impartial experts disagree. This is a terrible way to govern, but great news for special interests.”

Business groups hailed the initiative.

CTReformedRep says:
I read it this morning, and it truly pains me to know that government agencies such as OSHA and OCR will have their standards driven by political ideology and not what is in the best interest of their constituencies (workers and the disabled).

Oh my, John at AMERICAblog is rather upset about all this as well.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Decider

I've been kicking that moniker around in my head. That "I'm the decider" phrase spoken with a fake Texas accent and stubborn look on his face. Like this: A'm the DeCida. I initially thought Bush was just too stupid to put a more eloquent statement into words. Or, wasn't capable of understanding what he said. I certainly can't imagine Clinton, Carter, Kennedy or any other President uttering such a statement. It's bare bones. It's saying everything and not really saying anything. It's like the kid on the basketball court yelling at you - telling you that if you don't play by his rules, he'll take his ball and go home. Only, Bush doesn't have the ball. Or, the balls, for that matter. He has the Office of the President. One arm of the government. And, he's acting like a spoiled kid.

So, as I listen to that statement again, I begin to think. Does he mean that it doesn't matter what Congress mandates? Or, what our Courts decide? Is he really the Decider? Above all and everyone one else? Does he really believe that? Does Congress? Do the Judges? Are they really going to let him get away with this? Are we? Then, is he our King? King George, the Decider? Or, maybe he is God. I'm sure he thinks so.

When does the point come when one man is so delusional that he is brought down from the ledge and taken away. Let's hope that it's soon. Very, very soon. Before anyone else dies.

Listen Here

From Sea to Shining Sea

Antiwar activist and Vietnam war veteran Ron Kovic, Singer Jackson Browne and actor Mike Farrell marched for Peace in Los Angeles.

Cindy Sheehan with Ron Kovic

San Francisco protestors of the war head to Embarcadero



Saturday, January 27, 2007

Find My Way Home

I just wanted to share this beautiful song by Jon and Vangelis with all of you on this day that so many walked for Peace.

March On

Jeff in VA has a whole album of pictures from today's protest in DC.

Rep. Maxine Waters D-CA, Jesse Jackson,
Rep. Lynne Woolsey D-CA and Mayor Rocky Anderson (Utah)

AMERICAblog has some pictures and video, well worth look at.

Tracy Joan has a post up on Daily Kos. Her flicker is here.

RenaRF's post is also worth looking at as we thank them for sharing their pictures with all of us.



Calling for Peace

Certainly most people won't be reading this post because they are emerging on our Nation's Capital. But just in case you were unable to attend this historic event, it can be viewed on C-Span.

C-Span will cover it from 11:00 am to 2:15 pm

Some of the confirmed speakers are Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Jane Fonda, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Reps. Kucinich, Rep. Waters, and Rep. Woolsey.

Wapo has some earlier pictures.

Truer words were never written than by Medea Benjamin - read the whole thing, but the beginning says it all:

The January 27 anti-war rally in Washington DC could have become yet another symbolic peace march in the freezing cold through a city where no one was listening. But then two things happened: On November 7, the voters gave Congress an unmistakable mandate to end the war. And George Bush, ignoring the will of the voters, the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, and the advice of his own generals, announced an escalation of the war.

People who had planned to watch this protest on C-Span from the comfort of their homes are now cramming onto buses, planes and trains to converge on the nation’s capitol. Thanks to George Bush’s latest blunder, we’re now expecting the biggest march in Washington DC since the war began.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Hearings Set For Next Week

January 30, 2007: Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) will chair Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on "Congress' Power to End a War."

January 31, 2007: Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) announced hearings would be held next Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee on "Presidential Signing Statements under the Bush Administration: A Threat to Checks and Balances and the Rule of Law?"

Visit Brad Blog for press releases, scheduled witnesses and more information.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Democratic SOTU Response


A YouTube version of the response by Sen. Webb.

The joint statement released by Pelosi and Reid.

Some facts debunking parts of the 2007 State Of The Union.
_ _ _ _ _

Here is the text of the Democratic response (as prepared for delivery) to the State of the Union address given by Senator Jim Webb.
Good evening.

I'm Senator Jim Webb, from Virginia, where this year we will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown – an event that marked the first step in the long journey that has made us the greatest and most prosperous nation on earth.

It would not be possible in this short amount of time to actually rebut the President's message, nor would it be useful. Let me simply say that we in the Democratic Party hope that this administration is serious about improving education and healthcare for all Americans, and addressing such domestic priorities as restoring the vitality of New Orleans.

Further, this is the seventh time the President has mentioned energy independence in his state of the union message, but for the first time this exchange is taking place in a Congress led by the Democratic Party. We are looking for affirmative solutions that will strengthen our nation by freeing us from our dependence on foreign oil, and spurring a wave of entrepreneurial growth in the form of alternate energy programs. We look forward to working with the President and his party to bring about these changes.

There are two areas where our respective parties have largely stood in contradiction, and I want to take a few minutes to address them tonight. The first relates to how we see the health of our economy – how we measure it, and how we ensure that its benefits are properly shared among all Americans. The second regards our foreign policy – how we might bring the war in Iraq to a proper conclusion that will also allow us to continue to fight the war against international terrorism, and to address other strategic concerns that our country faces around the world.

When one looks at the health of our economy, it's almost as if we are living in two different countries. Some say that things have never been better. The stock market is at an all-time high, and so are corporate profits. But these benefits are not being fairly shared. When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did; today, it's nearly 400 times. In other words, it takes the average worker more than a year to make the money that his or her boss makes in one day.

Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth, even though the productivity of American workers is the highest in the world. Medical costs have skyrocketed. College tuition rates are off the charts. Our manufacturing base is being dismantled and sent overseas. Good American jobs are being sent along with them.

In short, the middle class of this country, our historic backbone and our best hope for a strong society in the future, is losing its place at the table. Our workers know this, through painful experience. Our white-collar professionals are beginning to understand it, as their jobs start disappearing also. And they expect, rightly, that in this age of globalization, their government has a duty to insist that their concerns be dealt with fairly in the international marketplace.

In the early days of our republic, President Andrew Jackson established an important principle of American-style democracy – that we should measure the health of our society not at its apex, but at its base. Not with the numbers that come out of Wall Street, but with the living conditions that exist on Main Street. We must recapture that spirit today.

And under the leadership of the new Democratic Congress, we are on our way to doing so. The House just passed a minimum wage increase, the first in ten years, and the Senate will soon follow. We've introduced a broad legislative package designed to regain the trust of the American people. We've established a tone of cooperation and consensus that extends beyond party lines. We're working to get the right things done, for the right people and for the right reasons.

With respect to foreign policy, this country has patiently endured a mismanaged war for nearly four years. Many, including myself, warned even before the war began that it was unnecessary, that it would take our energy and attention away from the larger war against terrorism, and that invading and occupying Iraq would leave us strategically vulnerable in the most violent and turbulent corner of the world.

I want to share with all of you a picture that I have carried with me for more than 50 years. This is my father, when he was a young Air Force captain, flying cargo planes during the Berlin Airlift. He sent us the picture from Germany, as we waited for him, back here at home. When I was a small boy, I used to take the picture to bed with me every night, because for more than three years my father was deployed, unable to live with us full-time, serving overseas or in bases where there was no family housing. I still keep it, to remind me of the sacrifices that my mother and others had to make, over and over again, as my father gladly served our country. I was proud to follow in his footsteps, serving as a Marine in Vietnam. My brother did as well, serving as a Marine helicopter pilot. My son has joined the tradition, now serving as an infantry Marine in Iraq.

Like so many other Americans, today and throughout our history, we serve and have served, not for political reasons, but because we love our country. On the political issues – those matters of war and peace, and in some cases of life and death – we trusted the judgment of our national leaders. We hoped that they would be right, that they would measure with accuracy the value of our lives against the enormity of the national interest that might call upon us to go into harm's way.

We owed them our loyalty, as Americans, and we gave it. But they owed us – sound judgment, clear thinking, concern for our welfare, a guarantee that the threat to our country was equal to the price we might be called upon to pay in defending it.

The President took us into this war recklessly. He disregarded warnings from the national security adviser during the first Gulf War, the chief of staff of the army, two former commanding generals of the Central Command, whose jurisdiction includes Iraq, the director of operations on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many, many others with great integrity and long experience in national security affairs. We are now, as a nation, held hostage to the predictable – and predicted – disarray that has followed.

The war's costs to our nation have been staggering.


The damage to our reputation around the world.

The lost opportunities to defeat the forces of international terrorism.

And especially the precious blood of our citizens who have stepped forward to serve.

The majority of the nation no longer supports the way this war is being fought; nor does the majority of our military. We need a new direction. Not one step back from the war against international terrorism. Not a precipitous withdrawal that ignores the possibility of further chaos. But an immediate shift toward strong regionally-based diplomacy, a policy that takes our soldiers off the streets of Iraq's cities, and a formula that will in short order allow our combat forces to leave Iraq.

On both of these vital issues, our economy and our national security, it falls upon those of us in elected office to take action.

Regarding the economic imbalance in our country, I am reminded of the situation President Theodore Roosevelt faced in the early days of the 20th century. America was then, as now, drifting apart along class lines. The so-called robber barons were unapologetically raking in a huge percentage of the national wealth. The dispossessed workers at the bottom were threatening revolt.

Roosevelt spoke strongly against these divisions. He told his fellow Republicans that they must set themselves "as resolutely against improper corporate influence on the one hand as against demagogy and mob rule on the other." And he did something about it.

As I look at Iraq, I recall the words of former general and soon-to-be President Dwight Eisenhower during the dark days of the Korean War, which had fallen into a bloody stalemate. "When comes the end?" asked the General who had commanded our forces in Europe during World War Two. And as soon as he became President, he brought the Korean War to an end.

These Presidents took the right kind of action, for the benefit of the American people and for the health of our relations around the world. Tonight we are calling on this President to take similar action, in both areas. If he does, we will join him. If he does not, we will be showing him the way.

Thank you for listening. And God bless America.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007


An increasingly-isolated President George W. Bush heads into tonight's State of the Union Speech facing mounting opposition to his failed Iraq war policies and escalating defections from his own party. Bush's decision to send more troops to Iraq brought increasing Republican opposition Monday as a Democratic-led Senate panel prepared tough questioning for the man who would carry out the plan as the new war commander.


Media and Fairness

"Media reform is the most important issue confronting our democratic republic and the people of our country," Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) said at the Free Press National Media Reform Conference held in Memphis, Tennessee last weekend. "This is a critical moment in history that may determine the future of our country… maybe forever."

Hinchey told RAW STORY he plans to reintroduce the Media Ownership Reform Act (MORA) that would break up media monopolies and restore the Fairness Doctrine, which was eliminated by the Federal Communications Commission under the Reagan administration.

"If Rush shoots his mouth off, he must give equal access to our side," Hinchey said. "The American public will begin to get both sides or all sides of an issue. That is basic – fundamental to a democracy."

h/t Gregg

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday Wanderings

ABC Falsely Claims
Pelosi Opposes Cutting Funds For Iraq Escalation

Brain dead media.

* * * * *

I swear, I'm not making this up.

In a formal White House proclamation issued Friday, George W. Bush declared January 21 National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2007.
"National Sanctity of Human Life Day serves as a reminder that we must value human life in all forms, not just those considered healthy, wanted, or convenient. Together, we can work toward a day when the dignity and humanity of every person is respected."
And, of course, the saddest and most profound hypocrisy is that Bush's little proclamation comes too late for the 3,030 U.S. military dead in Iraq, the thousands of troops who have come home maimed and bearing the scars of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome or the untold number of Iraqis killed in the name of Bush's life-affirming effort in Iraq.

Adding insult to injury.

* * * * *

Remember how we felt after 9/11 when we still didn't get it that journalists had become extinct? [...]

Suddenly our screens were filled with babbling air heads ... the Judas media.

Dear God, remember how wonderful it felt to discover we weren't alone and that out there in the seeming outer darkness were pockets of sanity and integrity.

Thank God for the internet.

* * * * *

Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), is calling President Bush's invasion of Iraq a "stark blunder" and says that his new scheme to send 21,500 more troops into the mess he created is just digging the hole deeper.

I wonder though.

Makes me wonder, too.

* * * * *

Thanks to the aggressive spirit of many newly elected Democrats, this Congress offers an encouraging opening for opponents of corporate-led globalization to go on offense. For decades, the critics of the global system have been pinned down by multinational business and finance and reduced to playing defense. Labor, environment and other reform advocates have mostly tried to block new trade agreements negotiated by Republican and Democratic Presidents. Their efforts usually have fallen short.

This year could be different.

One would hope.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Alaskan Warm Up

Alaska to get British-style temperatures - study


Parts of the world could heat up by over 10 degrees Celsius (18 Fahrenheit) this century with big areas becoming uninhabitable, according to a climate prediction experiment.

"We are very rapidly heading back toward the greenhouse world of the dinosaurs," Bob Spicer, one of the scientists who mounted the joint BBC/Oxford University study, said on Friday.

"Back then northern Alaska had mean annual temperatures of about the same level as we have in London -- about 10 degrees (C)."

Most scientists agree average world temperatures will rise 2 to 6 degrees C this century, mainly because of carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels for power and transport, putting millions of lives at risk from flood and famine.

A draft report by 2,500 scientists of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sees world temperatures rising 2.0-4.5 C (3.6-8.1 F) by 2100 unless greenhouse gas emissions from factories, cars and power plants are cut radically, informed sources told Reuters on Friday.

This stuff brought this to mind:

It seems strange to me that the Righties, in general, have taken the position that concerns about global warming, discharge of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the general quality of the environment that our children will live in are dismissed as junk science, hysteria and some sort of plot against happiness. Rush, Inhofe, Coulter and the rest of the "theoreticians and spiritual guides of the Right" hammer this message day in and day out. Why do they want us to believe this so strongly? It is because if we face the obvious fact that the earth and its atmosphere increasingly are being degraded, and that they are resources of finite quantity, then they would have to act for the sake of their own progeny - if nothing else. But to act to somehow turn the tide and slow down and eventually reverse the trend towards ecosystem destruction would require regulation, accountability beyond the bottom line and, in fact, collective work among people and institutions. And therein lays the rub. Collective versus the individual. They are still fighting godless communism.

It is good to see the Democrats getting the nation moving on this stuff. I am impatient, but they are moving. And I am thankful.

Posted for: Gregg


Friday, January 19, 2007

Killing Satellites

China hails satellite killer - and stuns its rivals in space

In the first such test since the cold war era, the White House confirmed that China had used a medium-range ballistic missile, launched from the ground, to destroy an ageing weather satellite more than 500 miles into space. "We are aware of it and we are concerned, and we made it known," the White House spokesman, Tony Snow, told reporters.

Snow added that this doesn't change the GOP's ideological agenda to bankrupt the U. S. Government by eliminating capital gains taxes at home and letting estates worth over $2 million pass from generation to generation without paying taxes. He stated that the administration is grateful for the opportunity to place the country in hock and borrow even more money from the Chinese to advance the GOP's ideological agenda, if the San Francisco liberal who controls the House lets them.

Snow stated that: "The Bush tax cuts are American and any old Democratic liberal war horse who thinks otherwise is just doing Democratic liberal war horse stuff."

Posted for: Dorsano

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Legislation For Dummies

Anti-McCain-Doctrine Legislation For Dummies

by Bob Geiger

It gets hard to keep track of all this stuff, doesn't it?

When we have a President of the United States doing so many things wrong, for so long and we finally get a Democratic Congress that will actually take their oversight responsibilities seriously, well, the bills start flying faster than Dick Cheney can say "go f*** yourself" to Senator Patrick Leahy.

So let me clear up what's happening in the Senate where, at press time, we have three pieces of legislation that seek to neuter George W. Bush's ability to escalate the Iraq war.

Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) has introduced one bill, currently cosponsored by seven Senators, to remove any funding for sending additional troops to Iraq. The legislation proposed by Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) doesn't mention money, but cuts right to the chase by simply mandating that any new troop deployment for Iraq must be approved by Congress.

Then there's the Biden-Hagel-Levin resolution, introduced on Wednesday, that more or less tells Bush that Congress is against escalating the war but, as a non-binding resolution, does not compel the president to cancel sending 22,000 more troops to Iraq.

The best way to make sense of this is to cut to (quite literally) the bottom line of these bills to see what Congress is really trying to say.

In all three pieces of legislation, good preambles are given spelling out exactly what the problem is -- in other words, they all detail just what a mess Iraq has become and why the American people have said "enough."

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Monday, January 15, 2007

John Edwards on "Realizing the Dream"

UPDATE: 1/23/07

My apologies to those who have been deceived and misled here by Toby Harnden, of, and were expecting to see a post wherein John Edwards does any direct "slapping" of Hillary Clinton.

This post is about responsibility, accountability and standing up for doing the correct things when leaders of this country deceive and mislead us into a wrong war against a country that did not attack us, about those who have gone wrong by remaining silent about it, about those that still continue to support this wrong war and about taking a stand for working towards Peace on our planet.

If Mr. Toby Harnden is man enough to stand up and also do the correct thing and take responsibility and accountability for himself in regard to my calling him out for abusing my post in such a manner, he is certainly invited to place his most humble apology in the comment section.
* * * * *

On another note, Night Bird's Fountain most certainly and sincerely does appreciate the recognition this post was given in Chris Richardson’s post at the John Edwards blog. Thank you.
* * * * *

"I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed..."

~Martin Luther King, Jr., on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.
John Edwards "Realizing The Dream" Ceremony

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was above all things a Man of Peace. Forty years ago as others have said a year to the day before Dr. King was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee he stood in the Riverside Church and with the full force of his conscience and his conviction and his love for Peace he denounced the war. He called it a national tragedy. That threatened to drag American down. To drag us to dust.

As Dr. King said then: "There comes a time, not just for Dr. King but for all of us, when silence is betrayal. Not just betrayal of your own personal convictions, not just betrayal of your country, but a betrayal of our, all of our joint responsibility to each other, to our brothers and sisters, not just in America, but all across the globe."

Actually, the thing John Edwards remembered most about that sermon, is that Dr. King did not direct his demands to the Goverment of USA which was about to escalate the war in Vietnam, instead he spoke to the American People. Calling on us to break our silence. Calling on us to except our own responsibility. And to help lead what he spoke of as a revolution of values. A revolution whose starting place is with each of us, but the force of that revolution is the belief that we cannot, cannot stand by and hope that someone else will right the wrongs of the world. This is my view. It is the heart and soul of realizing the dream.

There does come a time, for all of us, when silence is betrayal. There does come when we have to each one of us, refuse to wait for others to act.

A moment when we realize as Ghandi said to Dr. King, "We have to be the change they will see in the world." That time is here again. It is with us today and Dr. King taught us well. It is a betrayal to stand silent, and watch 37 Million of our own brother and sisters, who literally worry about surviving every single day. It is a betrayal to stand silent while the disperity between the rich and the poor gets worse and worse and worse. In America in the richest nation on the face of the planet.

It is betrayal, not to speak out against an escalation of the War in Iraq. The issue is not only how we got into Iraq but how do we get out of Iraq.

The best way to make clear that we are leaving Iraq, and the best way to make clear is to actually start leaving Iraq.

It is why Congress must step up now and stop this President from putting more troops in harms way.

If you are in Congress, and you know that this war is going in the wrong direction, and you know that we should not escalate this war in Iraq. It is not longer OK to study your options and keep your own private counsel. Silence is betrayal. Speak out and stop this escalation now. You have the power, Members of Congress to prohibit this President from spending any money to escalate this war.

USE THAT POWER, use it now. Do not allow this president to make another mistake and escalate this war in Iraq.

Listen to the speech here.

View the speech at YouTube, recorded at Riverside Church in New York on Sunday, January 14, 2007.

Read about the speech at the New York Times.

* * * * *

John Edwards released the following statement today in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:

Today, we honor the life and work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - a man of faith and fiery principle; a man of profound conscience; and above all, a man of peace.

As I said yesterday at the Realizing the Dream celebration at the historic Riverside Church in Harlem, now is the time to heed Dr. King's charge that no patriot stands silent when he or she sees injustice, inequality, or -- as he saw then and as we see now -- a wrong-headed escalation of war.

Today, as President Bush prepares to escalate the war in Iraq, I reiterate Dr. King's message from forty years ago: Silence is betrayal. I hope every American who hears these words takes them as a personal challenge to speak out and do what he or she knows is right.

You can speak up with Senator Edwards and honor the memory of Martin Luther King -- sign the petition to block funding for escalation and call your senators directly.

Click here to find your senators' phone number.

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He Keeps Going, And Going, And Going

Bush said lawmakers "have a right to express their views, and express them forcefully. But those who refuse to give this plan a chance to work have an obligation to offer an alternative that has a better chance for success."

Cheney used the same line today on Fox News.

And Digby says:
Oh George, shove it. Really.

There's the Murtha plan, the Biden plan, the Baker-Hamilton plan, the Levin-Reed plan --- and that's just off the top of my head.

There are plenty of plans, all of which Bush thinks are "flaming turds" because they don't allow him to pretend he is Winston Churchill now that he's completely screwed everything up --- as he always does.

Bush is only listening to Dick Cheney, nutball radio talk show hosts and neocon fantasists at this point because they continue to tell him that he is a glorious leader who is saving the world from the evil ones. He thinks he's Truman, which is really funny since Truman is known for his saying "the buck stops here" and Junior Codpiece has never taken responsibility for anything in his life.

There are plenty of plans, any of which are better than this completely absurd escalation that nobody in America or Iraq (except John McCain and the Last Honest Man) wants.
But no matter how many plans are put forth...the prez just keeps sending troops and sending troops.

From 60 Minutes clip, via Think Progress:
Q: If you have the authority to put the troops in there no matter what the Congress wants to do.

BUSH: I think I’ve got, in this situation I do, yeah. I fully understand they could try to stop me from doing it. But I’ve made my decision. And we’re going forward.
60 Minutes transcript of Bush interview:

Bush Going For Broke With Troop Surge...
President Has Made Up His Mind And Takes Full Responsibility


He reminds me of the Energizer bunny.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Next Warriors

Perhaps one of the most horrifying results of Bush's war in Iraq is what it is doing to the victims who wait for us in the future. this aspect of the legacy of Bush and Cheney and rummy and their apologists could be called "no child left with a healthy mind":
Iraq's Young Blood

By Christian Caryl
Newsweek, Jan. 22, 2007 issue

[snip:] Ammar is 17 years old. A tall, thin boy with a beard just starting up, he has already seen far more of the dark side of life than anyone really should. As the grisly toll of Baghdad's death squads spiked last fall, he helped out in the room at his local mosque where bodies are ritually washed before they are buried. Some corpses had been burned with chemicals. Limbs had been cut off, eyes torn out. One day at the beginning of November, a neighbor of Ammar's, a college student and fellow Sunni, disappeared at an impromptu checkpoint set up by the Mahdi Army. When the neighbor's body finally turned up at the mosque for burial, Ammar saw that he had been beheaded. (He recognized his friend from the clothing.) "I ran into the garden and threw up," Ammar says. Then he vowed revenge.

Sectarian warfare is reshaping Iraq in all sorts of malevolent ways day in and day out. But it is also forging the future by poisoning the next generation of Iraqis. Like many of its neighbors, Iraq is a young country: nearly half the population is under the age of 18. And those children have had a particularly turbulent upbringing. Kids like Ammar were born in the aftermath of one debilitating war, against neighboring Iran, then suffered two others and years of impoverishing sanctions in between. They are especially vulnerable to the demons that now grip Iraq. Hassan Ali, a sociologist at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, estimates that at least 1 million Iraqi kids have seen their lives damaged by the war—they've lost parents and homes, watched as their communities have been torn apart by sectarian furies. "These children will come to believe in the principles of force and violence," says Ali. "There's no question that society as a whole is going to feel the effects in the future"—and not only Iraqi society. From the Middle East to Europe to America, violence may well beget violence around the world for years to come.

Posted for Gregg

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Got Vertigo?

Carpetbagger Report has a couple of interesting posts up regarding an exchange between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Senator Barbara Boxer during the hearings on Iraq last Thursday.

The spin has set the conservatives off in a tizzy. Carpetbagger cites from the apparent source of this (fake) controversy, the New York Post...

NYP: Boxer was wholly in character for her party – New York's own two Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, were predictably opportunistic — but the Golden State lawmaker earned special attention for the tasteless jibes she aimed at Rice.

Rice appeared before the Senate in defense of President Bush's tactical change in Iraq, and quickly encountered Boxer.

"Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price," Boxer said. "My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young." Then, to Rice: "You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family."

Breathtaking. Simply breathtaking. […] The junior senator from California apparently believes that an accomplished, seasoned diplomat, a renowned scholar and an adviser to two presidents like Condoleezza Rice is not fully qualified to make policy at the highest levels of the American government because she is a single, childless woman.

Following the NY Post's lead, conservative bloggers have been in a frenzy, accusing Boxer of everything from callousness, to anti-feminism, to homophobia.

I'm afraid these critics have lost their collective minds.

In the context of the hearing, Boxer was talking about the costs of the war being shouldered by a small portion of American society, and that those sacrifices generally aren't felt by senators or cabinet secretaries. It was a point about personal sacrifice — and how thousands of families are paying the ultimate personal price for this misguided war.

The NY Post accused Boxer of arguing that Rice isn't "qualified" to be Secretary of State because she has no children. That's insane; Boxer said nothing of the sort. The senator merely noted that neither she nor Rice stand to lose any close relatives in this conflict. That doesn't have anything to do with either of their qualifications or their personal lives.

Carpetbagger has a second installment up today about Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) allegedly insulting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

And now, the spin cycles...


In an interview with The New York Times on Friday, Ms. Rice suggested that Ms. Boxer had set back feminism by suggesting during the hearing that the childless Ms. Rice had paid no price in the Iraq war.
NYT: "I thought it was O.K. to be single," Ms. Rice said. "I thought it was O.K. to not have children, and I thought you could still make good decisions on behalf of the country if you were single and didn’t have children." …

[T]he White House spokesman, Tony Snow, suggested earlier on Friday that Senator Boxer's comments were antifeminist. "I don't know if she was intentionally tacky," Mr. Snow said in an interview on Fox News. "It's a great leap backward for feminism.”

At the time of the hearing on Thursday, when the exchange actually happened, no one even raised an eyebrow. Rice wasn't offended, Senate Republicans raised no objections, and there were no gasps of outrage from the audience. It was a largely meaningless half-minute confrontation.

And then Rupert Murdoch's New York Post had an idea, which was embraced by conservative blogs and talk radio (Rush Limbaugh, a champion of single African-American women, was all over the story). The White House looked at all of this and apparently concluded, "Wait, we can turn this nonsense into a controversy? And attack Boxer instead of defend our indefensible policy? Great idea!"

Once again, consider exactly what Boxer said:
"Now, the issue is who pays the price. Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families. And I just want to bring us back to that fact."
Carpetbagger continues:

Rice began to respond about her personal losses, saying, "I can never do anything to replace any of those lost men and women in uniform, or the diplomats, some of whom…"

Boxer cut her off. "Madam Secretary, please, I know you feel terrible about it. That's not the point. I was making the case as to who pays the price for your decisions."

This wasn't about Rice's personal life. Rice knows it, Tony Snow knows it, anyone who actually bothers to read and/or listen to what was said knows it.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Republican Scam - National Leadership Award

A few years ago, my sister suddenly announced she was switching from the Democratic party and henceforth would be voting Republican. A few days later, she showed me a page from the Wall Street Journal which had a list of names honoring small business leaders. Her name was on the list.

She proudly told me that she had been invited to Washington, to attend a dinner in honor of successful small business people, at which George W. Bush would be in attendance. She was to be part of a Small Business Alliance, where she would have the ear of the Republican party and would be awarded a plaque with her name on it, to display in her place of business. She was understandably proud. And, grateful that W was aware of her hard work, her success and recognized her for it.

By way of background, my sister and her husband have a family business and she works very, very hard, 7 days a week, to make it a success. Without her, I am not so confident it would be what it is today. However, around the same time she received her "award", they incorporated the business. Then, she got a phone call.

My daughter and her partner recently incorporated a business in New Jersey. For the last week, she has been receiving calls from the NRCC. In fact, as she is a registered Democrat (as was my sister), she was a little skeptical that they had the right person. They finally made contact with her and, lo and behold, she won the very same National Leadership Award that my sister won 4 or 5 years ago. However, my daughter has a "day" job, the new business is barely off the ground and she smelled something rotten.

She was told by a very enthuiastic caller that she would be listed in the Wall Street Journal, have dinner in DC with the Prez, would be receiving an engraved gavel at the dinner and would have influence concerning the needs of small businesses in her capacity as Honorary Chairman of the Business Advisory Council. All for $500.00. She declined. Well, then $250.00. She replied that as her business had yet to turn a profit, she wasn't interested. OK, then, just send us $100.00 bucks. Yeah, right.

At no time was she told that the money they were asking her for would be a donation to the Republican National Campaign Committee.

For the savvy readers and the lawyers among us, is this legal? Are campaign contribution laws so full of loopholes that people could be hoodwinked into donating to a campaign and have no idea that that is where their money is going? Have any of you heard of this program?

My sister's name appears on as a donor to the RNC. I don't think she is even aware, although we don't discuss politics much these days.

In case you haven't received your phone call, here's the link: Enroll on line

And, if you should decide to incorporate a business - beware.

Positive Thinking

I put in an application to the Optimists Club,
but I don't think they're going to accept it.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

The President Who Cried Wolf

Bush's legacy: The president who cried wolf

Bush's strategy fails because it depends on his credibility

Special Comment By Keith Olbermann


Only this president, only in this time, only with this dangerous, even messianic certitude, could answer a country demanding an exit strategy from Iraq, by offering an entrance strategy for Iran.

Only this president could look out over a vista of 3,008 dead and 22,834 wounded in Iraq, and finally say, "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me" — only to follow that by proposing to repeat the identical mistake ... in Iran.

Only this president could extol the "thoughtful recommendations of the Iraq Study Group," and then take its most far-sighted recommendation — "engage Syria and Iran" — and transform it into "threaten Syria and Iran" — when al-Qaida would like nothing better than for us to threaten Syria, and when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would like nothing better than to be threatened by us.

Mr. Bush, the question is no longer "what are you thinking?," but rather "are you thinking at all?"

"I have made it clear to the prime minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended," you said last night.

And yet — without any authorization from the public, which spoke so loudly and clearly to you in November's elections — without any consultation with a Congress (in which key members of your own party, including Sens. Sam Brownback, Norm Coleman and Chuck Hagel, are fleeing for higher ground) — without any awareness that you are doing exactly the opposite of what Baker-Hamilton urged you to do — you seem to be ready to make an open-ended commitment (on America's behalf) to do whatever you want, in Iran.

We are going to put 17,500 more troops into Baghdad and 4,000 more into Anbar Province to give the Iraqi government "breathing space."

Mr. Bush did not mention that while our people are trying to do that, the factions in the civil war will no longer have to focus on killing each other, but rather they can focus anew on killing our people.

Because last night the president foolishly all but announced that we will be sending these 21,500 poor souls, but no more after that, and if the whole thing fizzles out, we’re going home.

The plan fails militarily.

The plan fails symbolically.

The plan fails politically.

Most importantly, perhaps, Mr. Bush, the plan fails because it still depends on your credibility.

You speak of mistakes and of the responsibility "resting" with you.

But you do not admit to making those mistakes.

And you offer us nothing to justify this clenched fist toward Iran and Syria.

In fact, when you briefed news correspondents off-the-record before the speech, they were told, once again, "if you knew what we knew … if you saw what we saw … "

"If you knew what we knew" was how we got into this morass in Iraq in the first place.

The problem arose when it turned out that the question wasn't whether we knew what you knew, but whether you knew what you knew.

You, sir, have become the president who cried wolf.

Your assurances, sir, and your demands that we trust you, have lost all shape and texture.

They are now merely fertilizer for conspiracy theories.

They are now fertilizer, indeed.

The pile has been built slowly and with seeming care.

Mr. Bush, this is madness.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Plan, Like Old Plan = No Plan

I find this Washington Post piece kind of mind numbing. Bush, it turns out (if you believe in the Easter Bunny) listened to his generals too much and now is going to show us all how you REALLY SCREW THINGS UP! And of course Lindy-hop Graham-cracker has his pompoms out and is leading the cheering section with Saint McCain and Joe Loserman. What lengths these clowns will go to, to make Iraq an Islamic Shi'ite state:

With Iraq Speech, Bush to Pull Away From His Generals

By Michael Abramowitz, Robin Wright and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writers, January 10, 2007

When President Bush goes before the American people tonight to outline his new strategy for Iraq, he will be doing something he has avoided since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003: ordering his top military brass to take action they initially resisted and advised against.

Bush talks frequently of his disdain for micromanaging the war effort and for second-guessing his commanders. "It's important to trust the judgment of the military when they're making military plans," he told The Washington Post in an interview last month. "I'm a strict adherer to the command structure."

But over the past two months, as the security situation in Iraq has deteriorated and U.S. public support for the war has dropped, Bush has pushed back against his top military advisers and the commanders in Iraq: He has fashioned a plan to add up to 20,000 troops to the 132,000 U.S. service members already on the ground. As Bush plans it, the military will soon be "surging" in Iraq two months after an election that many Democrats interpreted as a mandate to begin withdrawing troops.

Pentagon insiders say members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have long opposed the increase in troops and are only grudgingly going along with the plan because they have been promised that the military escalation will be matched by renewed political and economic efforts in Iraq. Gen. John P. Abizaid, the outgoing head of Central Command, said less than two months ago that adding U.S. troops was not the answer for Iraq.

Bush's decision appears to mark the first major disagreement between the White House and key elements of the Pentagon over the Iraq war since Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, then the Army chief of staff, split with the administration in the spring of 2003 over the planned size of the occupation force, which he regarded as too small.

It may also be a sign of increasing assertiveness from a commander in chief described by former aides as relatively passive about questioning the advice of his military advisers. In going for more troops, Bush is picking an option that seems to have little favor beyond the White House and a handful of hawks on Capitol Hill and in think tanks who have been promoting the idea almost since the time of the invasion.

"It seems clear to me that the president has taken more positive control of this strategy," said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), one of those pushing for more troops. "He understands that the safety of the nation and his legacy is all on the line here."

Others familiar with Bush's thinking said he had not been happy with the military's advice. "The president wasn't satisfied with the recommendations he was getting, and he thought we need a strategy that was more purposeful and likely to succeed if the Iraqis could make that possible," said Philip D. Zelikow, who recently stepped down as State Department counselor after being involved with Iraqi policy the past two years...

Will Santa Claus will be doing the analysis of the speech tonight?

Posted for: Gregg


We need a diplomat, not a warrior in the White House.

What if on the eve of George Bush's announcement of a new war plan for Iraq, peace broke out someplace instead?

Well, maybe it is. Several days ago Bill Richardson was asked by the Save Darfur Coalition to go to Darfur and try to arrange a cease fire so that the U.N. could start working there. The reason they asked Richardson is that he has a long track record of success in everything from hostage negotiations to representing U.S. interests as a former U.N. ambassador.

According to a press release from Bill Richardon's office just in the past half hour,

KHARTOUM, SUDAN – New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today announced that he has secured a commitment from Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al Bashir to agree to a 60-day cessation of hostilities in the Darfur region to allow for a new political process under the Darfur Peace Agreement and the auspices of the African Union and the United Nations. Governor Richardson also spoke this week with rebel leaders who said they would agree to a cease-fire. If all parties follow through with the cease-fire, the A.U. and the U.N. will convene a Peace Summit on March 15 under the framework of the peace agreement.

Governor Richardson also secured the following commitments from President Al Bashir:

· Agreed not to have the National military aircraft painted in white markings normally reserved for international organizations.

· Agreed that government forces would attempt to improve security conditions in all areas of Darfur with special emphasis on El Geneina, and would provide protection to food and other humanitarian convoys.

· Agreed to expedite procedures for entry visas for all humanitarian aid workers as well as goods. He also agreed to terminate the requirement of exit visas for humanitarian aid workers.

· Agreed to allow and facilitate travel by journalists from all over the world to Darfur.

· Governor Richardson and President Al Bashir reiterated that gender-based violence and such crimes must be condemned and prosecuted regardless of which party or organization was responsible. President Bashir said he would welcome a significant contribution of female members to the AU/UN hybrid operations. In addition the Justice Minister offered analyze and extend existing efforts to support Sudanese women against all gender-based violence.

I hope that this 60 day cease-fire does indeed lead to an extended peace negotiation. But considering it was patched together by an American peace coalition and a guy whose actual authority ends a few miles east of Clovis, it makes one wonder what the White House and George W. Bush could accomplish if they focused their efforts on diplomacy instead of making war.

One big reason why I support Bill Richardson if he does run for President is because after the big mess that the next President will inherit both in Iraq and internationally, we will need the best diplomat in the White House that we can get, and I believe that Bill Richardson is about the only candidate running or likely to run who has proven that he could be that diplomat.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Our Decision

If you care about changing direction in Iraq, now is the moment to act.

George Bush will speak to the nation tomorrow, and every indication is that he will announce an escalation of the war in Iraq. Such a military escalation would not strengthen our national security -- instead it would further weaken it by enabling the Iraqis to avoid taking responsibility for their own future.

Thankfully, escalation is not President Bush's decision to make. He must have the people's consent.

For too long Congress refused to hold the White House accountable for its failed policies in Iraq. It endangered the lives of our brave young men and women in uniform for a civil war that has no military solution.

No more. [...]

One misguided politician cannot simply decide to drop tens of thousands more troops into the middle of a civil war. As Speaker Pelosi said on Sunday, "If the president wants to add to this mission, he is going to have to justify it."

Tell the president that we will not allow an escalation in Iraq without the people's consent -- support this legislation now...

Please add your name to the list of Americans who demand a voice in the debate over escalation...

Please sign our petition supporting this important legislation:

Thank you,
Edward M. Kennedy


Today Senator Ted Kennedy introduced "legislation to reclaim the rightful role of Congress and the people's right to a full voice in the President's plan to send more troops to Iraq."

Here is an excerpt (from the draft) of Sen. Kennedy’s speech:

My bill will say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation, unless and until Congress approves the President's plan.

My proposal will not diminish our support for the forces we already have in Iraq. We will continue to do everything we can to make sure they have all the support they truly need. Even more important, we will continue to do all we can to bring them safely home. The best immediate way to support our troops is by refusing to inject more and more of them into the cauldron of a civil war that can be resolved only by the people and government of Iraq.

This bill will give all Americans -- from Maine to Florida to California to Alaska and Hawaii -- an opportunity to hold the President accountable for his actions. The President's speech must be the beginning -- not the end -- of a new national discussion of our policy in Iraq. Congress must have a genuine debate over the wisdom of the President's plan. Let us hear the arguments for it and against it. Then let us vote on it in the light of day. Let the American people hear -- yes or no -- where their elected representatives stand on one of the greatest challenges of our time.

Until now, a rubber stamp Republican Congress has refused to hold the White House accountable on Iraq. But the November election has dramatically changed all that. Over the past two years, Democrats reached for their roots as true members of our Party. We listened to the hopes and dreams of everyday Americans. We rejected the politics of fear and division. We embraced a vision of hope and shared purpose. And the American people voted for change.

Many of us felt the authorization to go to war was a grave mistake at the time. I've said that my vote against the war in Iraq is the best vote I've cast in my 44 years in the United States Senate.

But no matter what any of us thought then, the Iraq War resolution is obviously obsolete today. It authorized a war to destroy weapons of mass destruction. But there were no WMDs to destroy. It authorized a war with Saddam Hussein. But today, Saddam is no more. It authorized a war because Saddam was allied with al Qaeda. But there was no alliance.

The mission of our armed forces today in Iraq bears no resemblance whatever to the mission authorized by Congress. President Bush should not be permitted to escalate the war further, and send an even larger number of our troops into harm's way, without a clear and specific new authorization from Congress.

Our history makes clear that a new escalation in our forces will not advance our national security. It will not move Iraq toward self-government, and it will needlessly endanger our troops by injecting more of them into the middle of a civil war.

... Comparisons from history resonate painfully in today's debate on Iraq. In Vietnam, the White House grew increasingly obsessed with victory, and increasingly divorced from the will of the people and any rational policy. The Department of Defense kept assuring us that each new escalation in Vietnam would be the last. Instead, each one led only to the next.

There was no military solution to that war. But we kept trying to find one anyway. In the end, 58,000 Americans died in the search for it.

Echoes of that disaster are all around us today. Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam.


Think Progress has obtained a PDF copy of Ted Kennedy's bill which you can see here.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

NY's 24th

Arcuri sworn in to Congress as Democrats take control

UTICA — Several times during the swearing-in ceremony of the 110th Congress on Wednesday, Michael Arcuri leaned over and whispered in his 12-year-old daughter Dominique's ear: “This is history.”

When Dominique and her 15-year-old brother C.J. read in their history books about Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., being installed as the first female speaker of the House, they hopefully will remember the excitement of the day, said Arcuri, D-Utica, by phone from Washington, D.C.

And then there's that other piece of history — their dad. Arcuri described the moment he took his oath as electric.

“To be there for a period to see the first woman become Speaker of the House,” he said, “it had real significance.”

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Message to NetRoots

As we watched the historic political changes that took place this week, we are reminded once again of what a whole lot of everyday ordinary people can accomplish when they band together. Beyond the 50 State Strategy, beyond Democracy Bonds, there is a huge group of unsung heroes who spoke their truths to power and who helped send a clear message to Washington.

Through their commitment and grass roots action, the unsung heroes of the NetRoots played a large role in the Democratic wins of November 2006.

The blogger team at Night Bird’s Fountain thanks you all.

Keep on rockin'.

Watch: Howard Dean’s Message to NetRoots.

Some links:


Thursday, January 04, 2007


Larry Beinhart: 2007 - Year of Madness

Buzzflash - Excerpt:

George Bush can't leave Iraq.

Look at it from where he sits.

Getting Saddam was going to be Bush's jackpot.

He was going to go in, win it, bring democracy to the Middle East, make it clear that no should ever dare challenge America, and establish America's vision as the world's vision. If Bush had won that hand he would have been declared one of history's great men.

He went all in.

He used all the political capital he'd acquired from 9/11. Plus he gave up on Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and Afghanistan. He told lies about why we went to war. He violated the basics of international law. He alienated our allies. If he won, all that would be forgotten and forgiven. Worth the price. Proof of his daring manliness. Success erases more sins than being born again ever will. Just ask Jimmy Carter.

But he lost.

Can he get up and walk away from the table?


The moment he folds his Iraq hand, all that's left is to ride out of history on a Greyhound bus. There he goes, President Loser, bet his poke on the wrong war. Played the hand all wrong. Was he the worst president ever, or just second or third worst?

His only choice is to stubbornly stay at the table, ignore the voices telling him that he's broke, and chase his losses. Maybe a miracle will happen. People do win the lottery. But you do have to be in it to win it.

Maybe he won't hit the jackpot, but he has to hope he can at least break even. Cut his loses. Something. At this point, he, personally, has nothing more to lose. He's playing with other people's lives and money.

Even if the war remains a quagmire, death and destruction with no end in sight, Bush -- personally -- is better off. American service men and women, Americans who are paying the bills, Iraqis, and the rest of the world, may not be. But he's better off. Because that will force someone else to pull the plug. Bush will then maintain that had we just stuck to it, it would have succeeded eventually. He will then hire an army of payable pundits and whorish historians to churn out books and papers to say so. That's what the half billion dollar presidential library is for.

Bush is "commander-in-chief." Congress can't undeclare the war they so foolishly gave him permission for. The generals won't mutiny or organize a coup (and we should be very thankful for that).

The war will continue.

The opposition to the war will grow. The more it grows, the more Bush will hunker down and the more he will insist that it continue. Either as a small force, to be whittled away, death by death, cripple after cripple, or, as much as he can, he will escalate. Doubling down. There is no formula for getting out of the war that eliminates the moment of recognition that he is a failure, an abject and utter failure.

h/t Bergs


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Olbermann On "Sacrifice"


The additional men and women you have sentenced to go there, sir, will serve only as targets.

They will not be there "short-term," Mr. Bush; for many it will mean a year or more in death's shadow.

This is not temporary, Mr. Bush.

For the Americans who will die because of you, it will be as permanent as it gets.

The various rationales for what Mr. Bush will reportedly re-christen "sacrifice" constitute a very thin gruel, indeed.

The former labor secretary, Robert Reich, says Sen. John McCain told him that the "surge" would help the "morale" of the troops already in Iraq.

If Mr. McCain truly said that, and truly believes it, he has either forgotten completely his own experience in Vietnam ... or he is unaware of the recent Military Times poll indicating only 38 percent of our active military want to see more troops sent ... or Mr. McCain has departed from reality.

Then there is the argument that to take any steps toward reducing troop numbers would show weakness to the enemy in Iraq, or to the terrorists around the world.

This simplistic logic ignores the inescapable fact that we have indeed already showed weakness to the enemy, and to the terrorists.

We have shown them that we will let our own people be killed for no good reason.

We have now shown them that we will continue to do so.

We have shown them our stupidity.

Mr. Bush, your judgment about Iraq — and now about "sacrifice" — is at variance with your people’s, to the point of delusion.

Your most respected generals see no value in a "surge" — they could not possibly see it in this madness of "sacrifice."

The Iraq Study Group told you it would be a mistake.

Perhaps dozens more have told you it would be a mistake.

And you threw their wisdom back, until you finally heard what you wanted to hear, like some child drawing straws and then saying "best two out of three … best three out of five … hundredth one counts."

Your citizens, the people for whom you work, have told you they do not want this, and moreover, they do not want you to do this.

Yet once again, sir, you have ignored all of us.

Mr. Bush, you do not own this country!

You have dressed it up in the clothing, first of a hunt for weapons of mass destruction, then of liberation ... then of regional imperative ... then of oil prices ... and now in these new terms of "sacrifice" — it's like a damned game of Colorforms, isn't it, sir?

This senseless, endless war.

The only object still admissible in this debate is the quickest and safest exit for our people there.

But you — and soon, Mr. Bush, it will be you and you alone — still insist otherwise.

And our sons and daughters and fathers and mothers will be sacrificed there tonight, sir, so that you can say you did not "lose in Iraq."

Our policy in Iraq has been criticized for being indescribable, for being inscrutable, for being ineffable.

But it is all too easily understood now.

First we sent Americans to their deaths for your lie, Mr. Bush.

Now we are sending them to their deaths for your ego.

If what is reported is true — if your decision is made and the "sacrifice" is ordered — take a page instead from the man at whose funeral you so eloquently spoke this morning — Gerald Ford:

Put pragmatism and the healing of a nation ahead of some kind of misguided vision.


Sacrifice, Mr. Bush?

No, sir, this is not "sacrifice." This has now become "human sacrifice."

And it must stop.

And you can stop it.

Keith Olbermann commentary: "Sacrifice"


Monday, January 01, 2007

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