Now that's ego!   "If I don't win, I'll be shocked." -- Tommy Thompson, in an interview with Pajamas Media, on his chances in the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa next month. (Confirming what I've long believed:  The man is unglued.  He has entirely lost touch with reality.  --Russ) My Senator Feingold on Gonzo: “Based on what we know and the evidence about what happened in terms of the gang of eight and what he said in that sworn testimony in the committee, I believe it’s perjury.” My senator, part II  Russ Feingold went on The Young Turks today to talk to Ben and Cenk about his censure resolutions and chided Senate Democrats for their inaction: 

CENK: Senator Hillary Clinton has called President Bush one of the worst Presidents in history. Senator Harry Reid, the Majority Leader, has as well. If you don’t take action against the worst President in history, how will history judge Senate Democrats?

FEINGOLD: I would think harshly, and I think the senators need to re-evaluate what they’re saying. How can you make that statement and do nothing? You’re just supposed to say, “Okay, good, he’s going to be gone in a few months”? That’s not the job of governance. And we are trying to reverse his policies, but when they completely ignore the results of the election. We have got to reflect as a Congress this outrage and the outrage of the American people…

You can watch the longer interview here (.wmv)

Jelly Roll Gonzales  Seattle Times: "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales portrays himself as the piano player in the bordello, unaware of what is going on around him." [Via the KC Star, which has a cute cartoon.] FBI Head Contradicts Gonzales  Mueller's testimony could bolster a perjury charge against the Attorney General over the infamous Ashcroft hospital meeting.
  • Analysis: Gonzales Testimony Part of Broader Coverup
  • UPDATE: Conyers Wants Mueller's Notes
  • VIDEO: Mueller Had Concerns About the NSA Program
  • Calling Karl The Senate Judiciary has issued a subpoena to Karl Rove for him to testify regarding his role in the U.S. Attorneys purge. Obviously, the White House will cite executive privilege and refuse to make Rove available, so we're not going to see Rove under the kleig lights anytime soon. But it's another step toward a long overdue confrontation in the courts on the true scope of executive privilege.

    Entertainment Jon Stewart braves the elements and attempts to ascend the mountain of lies Alberto Gonzales spewed during Tuesday’s Senate testimony. video_wmv Download (3605) | Play (4967) video_mov Download (1381) | Play (2826) For more, visit Comedy Central’s Indecision2008

    Can we put Tony Snow under oath?  Maybe that way we can finally get a straight answer out of the guy. Today on “The Situation Room” FOX News pundit Press Secretary Tony Snow tried to explain away the Senate Democrats’ call for a Special Prosecutor to investigate Alberto Gonzalez’s deliberately misleading lies accidental misstatements under oath. video_wmv Download (160) | Play (208) video_mov Download (64) | Play (125) According to Snow, the administration has been more than cooperative when it comes to the Senate inquiry into the politically-motivated firing perfectly benign dismissal of the US Attorneys. Can someone remind Tony Snow that the White House refuses to let Harriet Miers and Karl Rove testify under oath? Or that they refuse to produce the 5 MILLION+ emails directly relating to the scandal that mysteriously “vanished”? Or… oh, nevermind.

    Who supports our troops? Via WCBStv:

    Servicemen and women who made huge sacrifices fighting in the war and now paying yet another price, even after coming home.

    One soldier in particular is currently battling against a new “debt of service.”

    Brian Rodriguez is a fighter, an honorably discharged soldier who’d been deployed in Iraq.

    “I was a combat engineer,” Rodriguez said. “We deal with land mines, explosives.”

    He fought for his nation, only to return to his homeland and wage a fresh battle.

    Former Army Specialist Rodriguez started getting bills for $700 for lost or damaged government property this summer. Although he was discharged some four years ago, bills recently arrived demanding payment, but giving no details on what or why — nor do they offer a way to dispute the charges.

    “For doing my job you’re going to bill me?” Rodriguez said. Read more…

    Do you have concerns over corn-based ethanol? If so, read this

    Dig a little deeper into Gonzales' statements about the Terrorist Surveillance Program which have plunged him into even deeper hot water with the Senate Judiciary Committee"  Paul Kiel and Spencer Ackerman have put together a detailed post on the history of the NSA surveillance program and what precisely the Administration has said about it and what Gonzales' obfuscations may really be about. Call it a grand unified theory of the Gonzales perjury crisis and the warrantless surveillance program.  Go take a look.

    Entertainment Stephen Colbert backs up his “Papa Bear” and defends his “non-ideological” crusade against JetBlue and DailyKos. video_wmv Download (3519) | Play (4472) video_mov Download (1413) | Play (2613)

    OReilly: “It’s like the Ku Klux Klan. It’s like the Nazi party.”

    Colbert: “Exactly! The Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis were both notorious for allowing people to express unpopular views in an open and free forum.”

    As an added bonus, Colbert defends Sean Hannity’s bizarre conspiracy theories about the Clintons! For this and other videos, visit ComedyCentral’s Motherlode.

    Going back in time -- how many years?  Beck: John Birch Society makes ‘more and more sense.’  On his CNN Headline News show last night, host Glenn Beck hosted Sam Antonio, a national spokesperson for the John Birch Society, to discuss various “conspiracy theories” about immigration and border security, including the idea that “the Mexican government” has “a hold on our enforcement of laws here in America.” Beck told Antonio that he used to think the Society members were “a bunch of nuts,” but that they are now “starting to make more and more sense” to him.  As Salon’s Alex Koppelman notes, the group’s founder, Robert Welch, once accused Dwight Eisenhower of being “a dedicated conscious agent of the communist conspiracy.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed the John Birch Society as a group that “advocates or adheres to extreme antigovernment doctrines.” 

    Slave labor used to contruct U.S. Embassy In Baghdad.   During testimony before the House Oversight Committee today, Rory Mayberry, a former subcontract employee of the firm responsible for the construction of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, said he believes that at least 52 Filipino nationals had been kidnapped to work on the embassy project. He testified:

    Mr. Chairman, when the airplane took off and the captain announced that we were heading to Baghdad, all you-know-what broke out on the airplane. The men started shouting, it wasn’t until the security guy working for First Kuwaiti waved an MP5 in the air that the men settled down. They realized that they had no other choice but to go to Baghdad. Let me spell it out clearly: I believe these men were kidnapped by First Kuwaiti to work at the US Embassy… I’ve read the State Department Inspector General’s report on the construction of the embassy. Mr. Chairman, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on. This is a cover-up and I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to set the record straight.

    Fox Attacks: Bloggers.  As part of his Fox Attacks series, Robert Greenwald has a new video compiling Fox News’ assault on the progressive blogosphere. The network’s hosts and guests have attacked bloggers as “radical Internet assassins,” “McCarthyism,” and “conspiracy-driven.” Watch it:  Contact Fox News’s advertisers and inform them about the network’s inaccurate reporting.  

    al-Qaeda's best PR man:

    bush1.jpg Once again, Dan Froomkin nails it:

    Like any terrorist organization, al-Qaeda wants attention. It wants to be perceived as powerful. And it particularly wants Americans to live in fear.Could al-Qaeda possibly have found a better publicist than President Bush? At a South Carolina Air Force base yesterday, Bush mentioned al-Qaeda and bin Laden 118 times in 29 minutes, arguing that the violence unleashed by the U.S. invasion in Iraq would somehow come to America’s shores if U.S. troops were to withdraw.But the majority of that violence in Iraq is caused either by Iraqis murdering each other for religious reasons or by Iraqis trying to throw off the American occupation. The group that calls itself al-Qaeda in Iraq is only one of a multitude of factions creating chaos in that country, and the long-term goals of its Iraqi members are almost certainly not in line with those of al-Qaeda HQ (which is safely ensconced in Pakistan).

    Furthermore, the administration’s own intelligence community has concluded that the war in Iraq has helped rather than hurt al-Qaeda.

    Mystery soldier reveald!  Have you been following the Scott Thomas story? He's a pseudonymous soldier in Iraq who wrote a couple of columns for TNR describing the ways in which war robs us of our humanity. One soldier dug up a skull and wore it on his head. Another one amused himself by running over dogs in his Bradley. Thomas himself mocked a woman who had been disfigured by an IED.  Conservative sites went crazy. Thomas didn't really exist. His stories were made up. The left hates the troops. Etc. etc.

    The whole thing has been kind of weird. Needless to say, Thomas does exist (he went public this morning on TNR's blog) and so far nobody has any evidence that he's made anything up. What's more, his point is, if anything, so common as to be almost banal. So why the hysteria? I guess Andrew Sullivan has the best take on it:

    Mainly, it seems to me, the conservative blogosphere has taken such an almighty empirical beating this last year that they have an overwhelming psychic need to lash out at those still clinging to sanity on the war. This Scott Thomas story is a godsend for these people, a beautiful distraction from the reality they refuse to face.

    It combines all the usual Weimar themes out there: treasonous MSM journalists, treasonous soldiers, stories of atrocities that undermine morale (regardless of whether they're true or not), and blanket ideological denial. We have to understand that some people still do not believe that the U.S. is torturing or has tortured detainees, still do not believe that torture or murder or rape occurred at Abu Ghraib, still believe that everyone at Gitmo is a dangerous terrorist captured by US forces, and still believe we're winning in Iraq.

    Like a Kabuki story, though, you can already see how this is going to play out. Not only will Thomas's character be dragged savagely through the mud (Michelle Malkin is leading the charge over at her site), but eventually some small part of Thomas's account will turn out to be slightly exaggerated and the right will erupt in righteous fervor. They were right all along! Thomas did make up his stories! The left does hate the troops! The war is going swimmingly! At least, it would be if the MSM weren't undermining it at every turn.  Etc. etc. It's almost like we don't even have to bother with real life anymore.

    War made easy Norm Solomon has teamed up with Sean Penn for a new, fast-paced documentary called War Made Easy about how the American media, time after time, makes it so -- especially with Iraq. Click here to see if there's an upcoming screening near you. You won't be disappointed. Question: How do we get War Made Easy into as many classrooms as possible?

    More from the O’Reilly-approved messageboard.  Bill O’Reilly said recently, “When we see objectionable things [on my website], we take it off immediately.” AmericaBlog notes a commenter on who suggests a terrorist attack against the U.S. Capitol building. For pointing that out, John Aravosis says he has now been banned from the site.

    Newspaper Political Ads Make Comeback  "At a time when many categories of newspaper advertising are declining, the political message is making a comeback," the Wall Street Journal reports. "As overall spending on campaigns doubled to $3.1 billion between 2002 and 2006, the amount spent on newspapers, including their online editions, tripled to $104 million, according to PQ Media. The rate of growth appears to be highest in races for local posts, such as mayor and state legislator, because newspapers boast greater penetration and influence in small- to medium-size markets."

    "Newspapers are still far from their status in pretelevision times as the premier vehicle for political advertising... Yet a growing number of political consultants say newspapers can offer distinct advantages over television and other media."

    Key factors: newspaper readers vote at above-average rates, and newspapers allow for more sophisticated arguments than are delivered in the typical 30-second television campaign.

    This is just absurd. Terrorism in "block cheese,"  The AP is running a story in which security experts praise the Transportation Security Administration for sending out a bulletin about suspicious items found in passenger luggage even though some of the alleged "incidents" were incorrectly reported by TSA:

    Security experts and politicians--even longtime critics--praised the Transportation Security Administration’s warning that terrorists might be testing whether innocent-looking bomb components can be smuggled onto an airplane. . . . The experts agreed that this judgment holds true even if the four incidents that triggered the warning turn out to have innocent explanations, as two of them – in San Diego and Baltimore – appeared to on Wednesday.

    Say what?

    First off, the San Diego incident didn't just turn out to have an innocent explanation. In fact, a reasonable person might conclude that there wasn't really any incident at all. The inspectors mistook an ice pack that was leaking for a ice pack stuffed with a clay-like substance similar to the consistency of plastic explosives--a mistake that was recognized on the spot after further inspection.

    But even if you live in a perpetual state of paranoia and think that a 60-year-old lady with a leaking ice pack in her luggage constitutes an "incident," how can you possibly praise the TSA for issuing a bulletin about the incident that gets all the facts wrong?

    As the San Diego Union-Tribune discovered yesterday when it looked further into the so-called incident, the TSA bulletin said the ice packs were covered in duct tape and had clay inside of them, but local law enforcement said they weren't covered in duct tape and didn't have clay inside of them. “It is a little bit off,” a local official told the paper.

    I'm all for TSA being proactive about security (up to a point), but this is just incompetence masquerading as hyper-vigilance. Getting facts wrong, mistaking utterly innocent behavior for threatening behavior, and over-reacting to perceived threats may be worse than doing nothing. It diverts and wastes limited resources and contributes to a panicky atmosphere that skews judgments.

    We have to start being smart about security and counterterrorism and stop being so fearful.

    The tragicomic presidency of George W. Bush, in his own words: Top 50 dumb things he's said

    50. "I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn't here." —at the President's Economic Forum in Waco, Texas, Aug. 13, 2002

    49. "We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease." —Gothenburg, Sweden, June 14, 2001

    48. "You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.'' —Townsend, Tenn., Feb. 21, 2001

    47. "I am here to make an announcement that this Thursday, ticket counters and airplanes will fly out of Ronald Reagan Airport." —Washington, D.C., Oct. 3, 2001

    46. "Tribal sovereignty means that; it's sovereign. I mean, you're a — you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And therefore the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities." —Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2004 (Watch video clip)

    45. "I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah." —at a White House menorah lighting ceremony, Washington, D.C., Dec. 10, 2001 (Listen to audio clip)

    44. "You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --interview with CBS News' Katie Couric, Sept. 6, 2006

    43. "The same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., July 12, 2007

    42. "I'm the commander — see, I don't need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being president." —as quoted in Bob Woodward's Bush at War

    41. “F*ck Saddam. We’re taking him out.” –to three U.S. senators in March 2002, one year before the Iraq invasion, as quoted by Time magazine

    40. "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties." —discussing the Iraq war with Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson, as quoted by Robertson

    39. "I will not withdraw, even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me." --talking to key Republicans about Iraq, as quoted by Bob Woodward

    38. "I hear there's rumors on the Internets that we're going to have a draft." —presidential debate, St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 8, 2004 (Watch video clip)

    37. "I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family." --George W. Bush, Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000 (Listen to audio clip)

    36. "Do you have blacks, too?" —to Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 2001

    35. "This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating." —as quoted by the New York Daily News, April 23, 2002

    34. "We need an energy bill that encourages consumption." —Trenton, N.J., Sept. 23, 2002

    33. "My plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast, in fact, that economists worry that we're going to run out of debt to retire." —radio address, Feb. 24, 2001

    32. "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." —on "Good Morning America," Sept. 1, 2005, six days after repeated warnings from experts about the scope of damage expected from Hurricane Katrina

    31. "I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound largemouth bass in my lake." —on his best moment in office, interview with the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, May 7, 2006 30. "They misunderestimated me." --George W. Bush, Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000

    29. "Because the — all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those — changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be — or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled." --explaining his plan to save Social Security, Tampa, Fla., Feb. 4, 2005

    28. "For every fatal shooting, there were roughly three non-fatal shootings. And, folks, this is unacceptable in America. It's just unacceptable. And we're going to do something about it." —Philadelphia, Penn., May 14, 2001

    27. "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." --George W. Bush, Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

    26. "This is an impressive crowd -- the haves and the have mores. Some people call you the elite -- I call you my base." –at the 2000 Al Smith dinner

    25. "Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." --George W. Bush, LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000

    24. "I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe — I believe what I believe is right." —Rome, Italy, July 22, 2001

    23. "See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." --Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005 (Listen to audio clip)

    22. "People say, how can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil? You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in's house and say I love you." —Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2002

    21. "I wish you'd have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it…I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn't yet….I don't want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't — you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one." —President George W. Bush, after being asked to name the biggest mistake he had made, Washington, D.C., April 3, 2004

    20. "You forgot Poland." —to Sen. John Kerry during the first presidential debate, after Kerry failed to mention Poland's contributions to the Iraq war coalition, Miami, Fla., Sept. 30, 2004

    19. "We've got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch." (Laughter) --touring hurricane damage, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005

    18. "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." —State of the Union Address, Jan. 28, 2003, making a claim that administration officials knew at the time to be false

    17. "The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him." —Washington, D.C., Sept. 13, 2001

    16. "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." —Washington, D.C., March 13, 2002

    15. "Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?" --George W. Bush, Florence, South Carolina, Jan. 11, 2000

    14. "Can we win? I don't think you can win it." —after being asked whether the war on terror was winnable, "Today" show interview, Aug. 30, 2004

    13. "I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace." —Washington, D.C. June 18, 2002

    12. "I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job." —to a group of Amish he met with privately, July 9, 2004

    11. "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." —speaking underneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, May 1, 2003

    10. “We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories … And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them." —Washington, D.C., May 30, 2003

    9. "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere!" —President George W. Bush, joking about his administration's failure to find WMDs in Iraq as he narrated a comic slideshow during the Radio & TV Correspondents' Association dinner, Washington, D.C., March 24, 2004 (Read more)

    8. "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Dec. 19, 2000 (Listen to audio clip)

    7. "I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the Secretary of Defense." --Washington, D.C. April 18, 2006 (Read more; listen to audio clip; watch video clip)

    6. "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." —Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002 (Watch video clip)

    5. "Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." —Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004 (Watch video clip)

    4. "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." —Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004 (Watch video clip)

    3. "You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that." --to a divorced mother of three, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005 (Listen to audio clip)

    2. "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." --to FEMA director Michael Brown, who resigned 10 days later amid criticism over his handling of the Hurricane Katrina debacle, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005 (Listen to audio clip; watch video clip)

    1. "My answer is bring them on." —on Iraqi insurgents attacking U.S. forces, Washington, D.C., July 3, 2003
    Submitted by RKing on