Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Olbermann Spanks Bush For His Pathetic Hissy Fit

Bush just can't stand Congress not KowTowing to him, and he really can't stand Congressional oversight, so he went on TV Tues morning and had a tantrum about it and spewed lie after lie. Olbermann sets the record straight:

Despite all of the constant bashing of this Congress not just from Bush here, but from many on the right and the left as well, the fact is that this has been the hardest working Congress in US history despite the Republicans blocking 3 times more bills than ever before including the 8 times the GOP has blocked the Democrats efforts to end the war so far.

Presidential Candidate's Halloween Costumes - 2007

A Halloween treat from tweety from his show on Sunday

Sunday, October 28, 2007

''When the President Does it That Means That it is Not Illegal''

BILL MOYERS: Remember "The Lives of Others" - the movie that won this year's Academy Award for best foreign language film....a story of life under East Germany's secret police. The critic Roger Ebert said: "The movie is relevant today, as our government ignores habeas corpus, practices secret torture, and asks for the right to wiretap and eavesdrop on its citizens. Such tactics, he said, did not save East Germany; they destroyed it, by making it a country its most loyal citizens could no longer believe in." You want to say it couldn't happen here but we've been close before. During the cold war with the Soviet Union and then the hot war in Vietnam, a secret government mushroomed in this country. ...(transcript)
In 1975 the Select Senate Committee headed by Sen Frank Church (D-ID) began looking into allegations first reported by Seymour Hersh in the NYT and found that the CIA, NSA, FBI and other Federal Agencies had been involved in plots to assassinate foreign leaders, the illegal storage of poisons and biological warfare agents including anthrax, the warrantless opening of mail, wiretapping, other illegal intel-gathering on US citizens, the misuse of the IRS and other illegal activities on orders from the Executive Branch. One of the ways Congress responded to try and restore checks and balances was by passing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, which established a secret court to oversee all domestic wiretapping activity.

This week Bill Moyers takes a look at the undoing of Congress' checks and balances put in place following the Church Committee hearings and the unprecedented expansion of Executive authority in the wake of 9-11. You can watch the entire episode online here.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Why Am I Not Surprised?

Wannabe Catholic priest/anti-abortion activist/world's most wanted (alleged) pedophile

Christopher Neil: Wannabe Catholic priest/anti-abortion activist/world's most wanted (alleged) pedophile
"A long, long way from the seminary"

Pursuing the priesthood

It's not clear why Mr. Neil chose to study for the Catholic priesthood, but he entered the Christ the King Seminary in Mission, B.C., in 1995 at the age of 20. [...]

His old friends are still dumbfounded by the turn of events.

“We heard from police that he was with a transvestite,” said Mr. Collins, his seminary classmate. “That shocked me so much. Oh my. That's a long way from seminary.”

With Friends Like These ...

This week John McLaughlin takes a look at the cover story in this week's Newsweek, "The Most Dangerous Nation in the World," and much to the dismay of the Bush admin and their PR fronts like Freedom Watch, it isn't about Iran.

Today no other country on earth is arguably more dangerous than Pakistan. It has everything Osama bin Laden could ask for: political instability, a trusted network of radical Islamists, an abundance of angry young anti-Western recruits, secluded training areas, access to state-of-the-art electronic technology, regular air service to the West and security services that don't always do what they're supposed to do. (Unlike in Iraq or Afghanistan, there also aren't thousands of American troops hunting down would-be terrorists.) Then there's the country's large and growing nuclear program. "If you were to look around the world for where Al Qaeda is going to find its bomb, it's right in their backyard," says Bruce Riedel, the former senior director for South Asia on the National Security Council. ...(read on)
Unlike Iran, Pakistan never agreed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which guarantees nations "the inalienable right ... to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes." Neither did India or Israel and yet after their developing nuclear weapons they remain strong US allies (North Korea is the only other nation in the world that is not currently a signatory, but they were until Bush abandoned Clinton era agreements and safeguards and decided to name them to his "Axis of Evil"). I'm not saying they shouldn't be either, but I am saying that when Bush singles out Iran's nuclear program as a cause for WWIII, it is absolutely hypocritical. Pakistan has even been caught exporting their nuclear designs and equipment to other nations, and yet the Bush administration continues to keep a blind eye turned toward them. Sadly, maybe that's a good thing, because this administration has proven time and time again that it lacks even the most basic of diplomatic skills and has pissed away its credibility to be able to deal effectively with these sorts of problems. Hopefully the time-bomb that today is Pakistan will wait until we can elect an administration that can.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bush's Push For a "Showdown With Iran"- PBS Frontline Documentary

(cross-posted at C&L)

Tuesday night PBS Frontline aired "Showdown with Iran," which completely laid bare the failures of the Bush administration's foreign policy. While I can't urge you enough to go watch the complete episode at the PBS website, I have made a two-part highlight mashup of many of the more startling revelations.

Watch Part 1:

Despite the U.S.'s long history with Iran beginning with its overthrow of their secular democracy in 1953 and the installation of a US puppet dictator that resulted in the blowback in the form of the '79 Iranian Revolution that brought the current Islamic Republic to power largely based on its hatred of America, Iran had reached out to the U.S. after 9/11, denouncing terrorism and became an important ally of the coalition against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Iran's leaders had even tendered "a secret proposal for a grand bargain resolving all outstanding issues between the U.S. and Iran, including Iran's support for terrorism and its nuclear program" which Bushco simply ignored (or forgot?), opting instead to include them in his "Axis of Evil" on his 2002 State of the Union Address, which once again angered the nation, completely discrediting their moderate reformist leadership and ultimately helped bring the hard-line party of Ahmadinejad to power.

Much of the evidence presented in the documentary was first revealed in a heavily redacted NYT Op-Ed by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann, both of whom are prominently featured in this PBS special. Despite the White House's attempt to muzzle them from even mentioning information, all of which had already been reported in a variety of media sources that exposed the Bush Administration's incredulous undiplomatic push to keep Iran from ever getting off its enemy list, PBS was able to gain "unprecedented access" to video footage and interviews with Iranian officials that leaves little no doubt that this administration simply refuses to accept any path that would deviate from its decade-old neo-con Middle East war plans.

Watch Part 2:
Perhaps the most damning evidence of Bushco's hell-bent-for-war-with-Iran-insanity from the film is the revelation that the Bush administration bypassed Congress and has actually been harboring a terrorist organization (that's acc'd to our State Dept) known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), that has killed U.S. soldiers and civilians in the past and has been utilizing them for cross border operations inside Iran. WaPo even reported that our soldiers have been playing chauffeur for some of them! What the hell ever happened to Bush's "If you harbor terrorists, you are terrorists"? Once again the proof is irrefutable that Republican hypocrisy truly knows no bounds.

Watch the entire episode on the PBS website here.

Raw Story Roundup

The Raw Story rawstory.comGeneral Claims Bush Ordered Torture
Wiretaps 'victory' for terrorists: Dodd
Gonzales could face prosecution
Cheney 'interfered directly' to get terror plea bargain
Top Democrats condemn controversial judge's confirmation
Tucker: 'I don't want to know' what US believes about 9/11
Rice unfazed as protester waves 'bloody' hands in her face
Fox touts old memo to float 'Qaeda lit wildfires' theory
Fox, MSNBC amplify Cheney's drumbeat on Iran
Your tax bill for Bush's wars: $8000
Justice Dept's mission was to slur Dems: ex-Reagan official
CNN's Cafferty: Bush puts poor out in the cold to fund wars
Poll: 41% of Americans unable to name any GOP candidates
White House denies 'editing' testimony

Documents in question cite expert's take on health effects of global warming.
US 'mishandled' torture: Rice
Rice concedes in case of innocent Canadian sent to Syria, said to be tortured.
Because a perfectly good raw story (or even a bad one) shouldn't just disappear down the memory hole.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bush Wants $190 Billion More For War - Bin Laden Tape Shows Up Just In Time

Just last week Bush vetoed $35 billion for sick children, but now he says he needs $46 billion more for the occupation in Iraq.

“The Iraq war is now costing $330 million a day. That could pay for 1700 more border patrol agents, or provide health-care for an extra 45,000 military veterans, or the funds from just one day in Iraq would give 270,000 more kids coverage under SCHIP.”
On Wed the House will have another hearing on the long-term cost of the war. The last time the figure was $1 trillion and it’s a no-brainer the new figure is going to be much higher.
Jack Cafferty: “I’ve got a quick question Wolf. Who approves the funding for the war?

Wolf Blitzer: The United States Congress

Jack Cafferty: Oh yeah. right. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and those Democrats who were elected to do something about the war. I forgot.
Also, surprise! (not) There’s a new bin Laden tape out, this time urging al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent groups to merge forces. His timing couldn’t possibly have been any better coordinated to conveniently help boogieman Congress into getting Bush all the money he wants, could it?
h/t to B. Mundt for that last vid. lol!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What would you do?

What if this was your family?

Is it any wonder why:
Not only do most Iraqis oppose the coalition forces in Iraq- they also approve of killing them.

92% of Sunnis, 62% of Shiites and 15% of Kurds approve of attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces.

It all comes down to this.

"Suppose Iraq invaded America. And an Iraqi soldier was on a tank passing through an American street waving his gun at people, threatening them and trashing houses. Would you accept that?

That is why no Iraqi can accept occupation, and don't be surprised by their reactions. Their attitudes are normal."
Above quoted from today's NYT Video Op-Ed: Know Thine Enemy

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rohrabacher: Blackwater CEO Is 'An American Hero Just Like Ollie North Was'

This from ThinkProgress:

“Erik Prince is doing everything he can to help his country,” Rohrabacher said. “He could be making ten times the money without anybody calling him names.” […]

Rohrabacher did not attend the Blackwater hearing last week before Rep. Henry Waxman’s oversight committee. Rohrabacher is not a member of that panel.

He did watch it on television, and he likened it to the Iran Contra sessions at which former Col. Oliver North testified during the Reagan administration. Rohrabacher was a Reagan speechwriter.

“Prince,” Rohrabacher said, “is on his way to being an American hero just like Ollie North was.”
Hero, or criminal?
Dana Rohrabacher sure can pick'em.
  • Taliban leaders are "not terrorists or revolutionaries."
  • Media reports documenting the Taliban's harsh, radical beliefs were "nonsense."
  • The Taliban would develop a "disciplined, moral society" that did not harbor terrorists.
  • The Taliban posed no threat to the U.S.
More about Dana's mysterious pre-9-11 Taliban meeting here.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Stephen Colbert with John Mearsheimer

Stephen has the co-author of "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy" on to discuss the book.

This is such a tough subject to breach, and it has taken two of the most preeminent contemporary international relations scholars in the US today to even do so and be taken seriously. Ever since professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt unveiled their 83p working paper back in 2006, and its edited down version as an article in the London Review of Books, they have been assailed by critics, some with merit and others not-so-much to not-at-all. Kudos to Colbert for capturing and even poking fun at those critics blinded by willful ignorance for whatever their reasons/cause may be and for giving Mearsheimer the opportunity to knock down their work's most basic criticism and to help bring this needed discussion another step forward to an even wider audience.

Do I think Mearsheimer and Walt have nailed it on all counts and have all of the answers? Not hardly, but I definitely do agree with the gist of their argument, that as one of the more prominent lobbies in the US, the Israel lobby enjoys no counterbalancing/competing lobby like, for instance, the NRA or the AARP do, and thus are able to uniquely influence lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in ways other lobbies can only wish they could, even to the detriment of both US and Israel's long term interests in some ways.

I only hope M&W's work continues to help us get past the out of hand criticism and brings forward this badly needed debate, and that's really all I have to say thus far. I highly recommend everyone read this book, or at the very least get familiar with their article and the criticism surrounding them both. For anything else I might want to say about it, I leave you with what I consider to be a reasonable short review of their working paper in the form of an Op-Ed from the NYT: "A Lobby, Not a Conspiracy," and then the review of their book which inspired me to even do this post, by Daniel Levy over at TPMCafe:

Raw Story Roundup

Because a perfectly good raw story (or even a bad one) shouldn't just disappear down the memory hole.

Monday, October 1, 2007

How Much is an Innocent Iraqi's Life Worth?

State Dept: $15,000

How else is Blackwater supposed to make any money?

In other Blackwater related news:

Blackwater Fired First In 84 Percent Of ‘Escalation Of Force’ Incidents Since 2005

Pentagon Issues Blackwater New $92 Million Contract

AP: FBI Launches Investigation of Blackwater Shooting

Wartime Contracting Commission (Finally) Created

Bill Moyers’ Journal Looks At Fraud in Iraq

Erik Prince, CEO, Blackwater

Did You Know?

Raw Story Roundup