"Combative" filtered news

Dubya's America  What Bush has  In America they torture people, including their own, in secret prisons.

Keith pulled no punches and launched another smack down on Bush and FOX News… - WMV   - QT And finally tonight, a Special Comment about President Clinton’s interview. The headlines about them are, of course, entirely wrong. It is not essential that a past President, bullied and sandbagged by a monkey posing as a newscaster, finally lashed back. It is not important that the current President’s "portable public chorus" has described his predecessor’s tone as "crazed." Our tone should be crazed. The nation’s freedoms are under assault by an administration whose policies can do us as much damage as Al-Qaeda; the nation’s "marketplace of ideas" is being poisoned, by a propaganda company so blatant that Tokyo Rose would’ve quit. Nonetheless. The headline is this: Bill Clinton did what almost none of us have done, in five years. He has spoken the truth about 9/11, and the current presidential administration.


"George Bush entered office "knowing" that Clinton supposedly didn't do enough 
  after the WTC attacks in 1993, eight years berfore, so why didn't Bush do something? 
  Bush "knew" in January of 2001 that supposedly Bill Clinton didn't do enough following 
  the embassy attacks in 1998, 3 years before, so why didn't Bush do something? Clinton 
  had 3 months in office following the attack on the Cole and he didn't invade Afghanistan. 
  Yet Bush had nearly nine months in office before 9-11 and he didn't invade. Why is that?"  
       -- John Aravosis,  


Bush says he listens to the generals (bwahahahaha!)  : Uber-decorated Major General John R.S. Batiste, who retired last year "on principle," delivers a bruising point by point indictment of Sect. of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld– [Donald Rumsfeld] violated fundamental principles of war… set the conditions for Abu Ghraib and other atrocities that further ignited the insurgency…  -WMP -QT Batiste: The work to remove Saddam Hussein and his regime was a challenge, but it pales in comparison to the hard work required to build the peace.  The detailed deliberate planning to finish the job in Iraq was not considered as Secretary Rumsfeld forbade military planners from developing plans for securing a post-war Iraq.  At one point, he threatened to fire the next person who talked about the need for a post-war plan.  Our country and incredible military were not set up for success.

Chavez in trouble with Lord of Darkness?  Do you think Satan is pissed at Chavez for comparing him to Bush?
I would be.

Shove that comma up your semi-colon Dubya  Jack Cafferty just had some real choice words about Bush summing up Iraq as a "comma" during his - WMV  - QT Jack hits the nail on the head when he puts the tally of lives, security and money on the cost of this "comma". I wonder how the families of the 2,700 soldiers lost in Iraq feel about their sacrifices being reduced to a portion of a "comma" according to the commander in chief? Considering the fact that Iraq has been a major part of Bush’s presidency, does that mean his legacy will be a "comma"?

Note: Over the weekend someone stole my Sunday newspaper.  Following the lead of my president, I used "alternative interrogation techniques" on six neighbors and ended up getting six free papers.  This week I'm going to find out who "stole" my jumbo bag of Skittles.

Hurricane Bubba.  It took an ex-president 15 minutes to do what the Democratic leadership has failed to do for the last six years: tell conservatives to in such a way that they almost thanked him for the directions.  For that I'll kick in another billion to my five-dollar donation.  (Damn... the dog ate the checkbook.)  Former anti-terrorism chief Richard Clarke must be thrilled that Clinton mentioned every other sentence.  Against All Enemies shot up to on Amazon.  If any book ever deserved a second life, this is it.

The shrinking Bible base.  Aww...poor conservative values voters.  Their president isn't giving them enough red hatemeat so they're threatening to tuck their vote in a drawer and November seventh.  Might be a good time to read, I dunno, a Good Book?

The paranoid delusions of a lunatic mind.  Despite the fact that no one can be found to confirm it, Bill O'Reilly says he's on .  Actually, we believe he's on al Qaeda's "preserve at all costs" list---he's their favorite infidel comedian.

Anthrax  Booman takes a   He leaves out my favorite, the attempt to claim Iraq did it by which meant it only could've come from Iraq because Iraq's real monopoly natural resource is kitty litter. Or something.

Grandma's bank account.  It's gonna take a hit now that the Medicare "Doughnut hole" :


Millions of older Americans are confronting a temporary break in their Medicare drug coverage this month that will require them to pay the full cost of their prescriptions or face the painful prospect of going without. ...

"Virtually everyone who calls to say they've been denied coverage, they're shocked," said Robert M. Hayes, president of the Medicare Rights Center, a nonprofit that helps seniors navigate Medicare. "Trying to explain that this is the way the program was created by Congress angers folks who think it makes no sense. Many people feel blindsided."

There's a remedy for that, y'know: DemocraticolTM.  Available without a prescription at your local voting booth in 42 days.


Best line of the week.  TRex at Firedoglake on the Lieberman campaign's Secretary of Foot-in-Mouth Disease, -4607" target="_blank">Dan Gerstein:  "DANGERSTEIN out to do spin control for your campaign is a lot like trying to change a diaper with a Molotov cocktail.  It doesn't do anything about the sh*t, and now everything's on fire."  If that were music it'd be Mozart.


Walking wounded.  The Veterans Health Administration says more than 1-in-3 Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans seeking treatment show signs of .  That's ten times the number reported just 18 months ago.  The VHA is seeking $300 million more for 2007 in order to treat them.  We hear Don Rumsfeld was so upset that yesterday he nearly gave up a point in a squash game.


The shrill, vituperative, and vitriolic lefty bloggers Republican Ohio representative---whom Buckeyes had the incisive wisdom to vote in over Paul Hackett---has been caught claiming authorship op-ed pieces .  They knew something was up---the releases weren't scrawled in the usual red crayon.


Out today on DVD: Robert Greenwald's , a devastating indictment of the sleazy slugs known as war profiteers (people Harry Truman once called "traitors").  And then, to cleanse your soul, pop in Season One of  We hear the ABC show's tagline served as inspiration for the writing of the network's docudrama Path to 9/11: "Everything's made up and the 9/11 Commission's points don't matter."


Are you an unlawful combatant?  You are if Dubya says you are  Spineless hypocrite McCain says Bush gets to decide, and with habeus corpus now out the window, you don't get to go to court to challenge it. those principled, independent Republican Senators reached with Bush on who is an unlawful combatant:


The definition applies to foreigners living inside or outside the United States and does not rule out the possibility of designating a U.S. citizen as an unlawful combatant. It is broader than that in last week's version of the bill, which resulted from lengthy, closed-door negotiations between senior administration officials and dissident Republican senators. That version incorporated a definition backed by the Senate dissidents: those "engaged in hostilities against the United States." ... Spokesmen for John W. Warner (R-Va.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) -- the senators leading negotiations with the Bush administration -- did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the new language, but others on Capitol Hill said the three had accepted it. Under a separate provision, those held by the CIA or the U.S. military as an unlawful enemy combatant would be barred from challenging their detention or the conditions of their treatment in U.S. courts unless they were first tried, convicted and appealed their conviction.

John McCain's compromise with President Bush on detainee legislation may not have accomplished much, but it did contain at least a few worthwhile measures. Now, though, The plan is to redefine "unlawful enemy combatant" from someone who is

engaged in hostilities against the United States

to someone who is

engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States

"Supported" is a pretty far-reaching term that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with actual combat. And while this vagueness would be disturbing enough by itself, it's even worse than it seems because other provisions of the legislation prohibit someone accused of "supporting" hostilities from challenging their detention in U.S. courts — even if the detainee is a U.S. citizen.  And the fate of this proposal? According to the Washington Post, Republican crypto-moderate Arlen Specter "assailed the provision as an unconstitutional suspension of habeas corpus," but is "unlikely to derail the compromise legislation over those objections."  Well, sure. Why would a senior committee chairman actually do something substantive to back up a belief that pending legislation is an unconstitutional suspension of habeas corpus? That's hardly worth fighting over, is it? And how about the Democrats? Will they fight this? We'll have to wait and see, but their performance has been pretty uninspiring so far.


You don't get what you pay for in health care The just released report from the Commonwealth Fund describes the deplorable state of the U.S. healthcare system--the most expensive but by no means the best healthcare system in the world.


Once upon a time, it was taken as an article of faith among most Americans that the U.S. health care system was simply the best in the world. Yet growing evidence indicates the system falls short given the high level of resources committed to health care. Although national health spending is significantly higher than the average rate of other industrialized countries, the U.S. is the only industrialized country that fails to guarantee universal health insurance and coverage is deteriorating, leaving millions without aff ordable access to preventive and essential health care.


We told you so  There are too many problems with the mainstream media to say the sentence "The problem with the MSM is..." If you ask me what its biggest problem is, however, I would say it is its ahistoricism. Here we have three stories in which the CIA concludes that the invasion of Iraq has increased the danger to America from terrorism, , , and .  Not one of these articles highlights the key point that the CIA reported to Bush that this would be the case before we went to war. For instance, in the Times story -- which led the pack on this -- you need to wade in pretty deeply to learn that "The estimate's judgments confirm some predictions of a National Intelligence Council report completed in January 2003, two months before the Iraq invasion. That report stated that the approaching war had the potential to increase support for political Islam worldwide and could increase support for some terrorist objectives. In other words, the CIA -- not The Nation, not Media Matters, not George Soros -- warned the president that he would be increasing, not decreasing the threat of terrorism to the United States by invading Iraq. That story appeared above the fold in the right corner of The New York Times as well. Bush ignored the warnings and purposely misled the United States into the most ruinous war in its history. Liberal hawks cheered. And there's no good way out. All of that belongs in the story, too. The degree of both incompetence and dishonesty involved in the selling and conduct of this war is literally criminal. And it's all happening right before our eyes.


In April, President Bush received the National Intelligence Estimate, which “ inside government.” NIEs are “the most authoritative documents that the intelligence community produces…and are approved by John D. Negroponte, director of national intelligence.” Here’s what the NIE said, according to the :

[T]he American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks…The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.

On August 21, President Bush held a press conference and told the American people the exact opposite.


Mutiny on the Bush Bounty?  In an “unprecedented” move, Army chief of staff Peter Schoomaker signaled his dismay over the Army’s lack of funding by withholding a “required 2008 budget plan from Pentagon leaders last month.” Without significant troop withdrawals from Iraq, the Army does not believe it can maintain its current level of activity “.”


Faithful Democrats  I do enjoy a little prayer and meditation now and again so I think torture is a terrific topic for our to have a loud conversation about, don’t you? Maybe get the ear of an outspoken religious senator or two, maybe


Torture is a bad idea, . Vladimir Bukovsky explains why the Bush/Cheney plan to torture people is like most of what they do, not merely immoral but also counterproductive, .  And asking our soldiers to torture and (and be tortured) is just the beginning. .


What would you expect? 


The limits of Republican World  Kevin nails this one on a couple of levels. Whenever Republicans are interested in voting–just think– and ignorance in the way in which many Americans live. :

PICTURE IDs….Stephen Bainbridge is unhappy over

You can’t do anything in this country anymore without a photo ID. You can’t drive. You can’t fly. You can’t cash a check, except maybe at the sleaziest places. You can’t get a job. But you can vote, as long as the Democrats get their way. I guess voter fraud is a core part of the Democratic plan for victory.

But guess what? Outside of Westwood lots of people don’t do these things! And they overwhelmingly tend to be poor, non-white, elderly, and disabled. It’s funny that a Republican-backed bill in the closing days of an election would just happen to target these groups, isn’t it?

Now, as near as I can tell, the evidence is pretty overwhelming that requiring photo ID to vote would stop a very, very tiny amount of actual fraud, but would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of poor, non-white, elderly, and disabled citizens. So: no actual serious problem solved, but lots of Democratic-leaning voters kept at home. Hard to believe that Democrats oppose this, isn’t it?

Will your vote count?   The criticizes the media for failing to report the myriad problems in our election system and criticizes CJR for being two years late in noticing.


Voices on the NIE report  Why is this debatable? It ain’t even ! The new NIE proves that our has been for months. attempts to count the ways. hates to say, "I told you so," but goddamit, he and did…and now that we know that people, isn’t time to revisit the word,


  has launched “a week of protest and civil disobedience against the war in Iraq by signing a declaration of peace .” 


Hero McCain now a hypocrite Yesterday on CBS Face the Nation, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) criticized Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez for calling President Bush “” in a speech at the United Nations. But he dismissed Jerry Falwell’s statement that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) would , stating, “I think he was joking.”


What liberal media? One of these things doesn't go with the others 


Talk radio, left vs right Research 2000 recently conducted a survey testing whether progressive or conservative talk radio shows are more open to callers with dissenting points of view. The organization made 15 calls (with a point of view that was not compatible with the host) to six radio shows — three progressive (Stephanie Miller, Randi Rhodes, Ed Schultz) and three conservative (Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh).  Their findings concluded that all the progressive hosts were more willing to take calls from dissenters than were the conservative hosts. Research 2000’s ranking, in order of accessibility: 1): Shultz, 2) Rhodes, 3) Miller, 4) Ingraham, 5) Limbaugh, and 6) Hannity. :

Progressive host Ed Schultz was the most accessible to callers with opposing points of view. “In fact, the only question the screener asked our fifteen callers was simply where are you calling from, radio call letters and your name.”

Conservative host Sean Hannity was the least accessible. Not a single of the 15 calls Research 2000 made were accepted. “Eleven of our callers with dissenting view points were told by the screener either ‘I will pass it on’ or ‘call our liberal hotline’ and then disconnected.”

– “Only two callers of fifteen dissenting view points was successful in getting on the Rush Limbaugh show. Both callers went through three screeners on the show before getting on the air with the host.”

– Ingraham, Miller, and Rhodes showed “no significant differences” in getting on the air “if one had a dissenting view point.” But the wait time for the Laura Ingraham show was the longest of the three — 40 minutes to one hour and 15 minutes.

Dem's DaVinci Code   An oldie but goodie from David Sirota.

As the Democratic Party goes through its quadrennial self-flagellation process, the same tired old consultants and insiders are once again complaining that Democratic elected officials have no national agenda and no message. Yet encrypted within the 2004 election map is a clear national economic platform to build a lasting majority. You don’t need Fibonacci’s sequence, a decoder ring, or 3-D glasses to see it. You just need to start asking the right questions. [..]The answers to these and other questions are the Democrats’ very own Da Vinci Code — a road map to political divinity. It is the path Karl Rove fears. He knows his GOP is vulnerable to Democrats who finally follow leaders who have translated a populist economic agenda into powerful cultural and values messages. It also threatens groups like the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), which has pushed the Democratic Party to give up on its working-class roots and embrace big business’ agenda. 

  In July 2003, a White House official acknowledged that Bush and Condoleezza Rice on Iraq before going to war. whether White House reporters will ask Tony Snow if Bush read the most recent NIE. 


Tales of truth telling  There's a good column today on the impact of the revelation (to many Americans) that what you know about Iraq and this election is true even if the Bush WH says otherwise.

What could prove to be the most important factor in the 2006 elections is overlooked because it is unseen: The Republicans cannot try to curry favor with a "silent majority" that favors the Iraq war because a majority of Americans, both vocal and quiet, have come to see the war as a mistake.


President Bush's defenders have cast opponents of the war as weak on terrorism. Yesterday, Vice President Cheney accused Democrats of "resignation and defeatism." But the charges have not taken hold, because most Americans don't agree with the premise linking the war on terror with the war in Iraq.

Not only that, but the loyal opposition has learned the counter-play:

And blame for the failures in Iraq has fallen not on some liberal coterie supposedly holding our generals back but on the choices of civilians in a conservative administration. Those civilians, and their allies outside the administration, find themselves under increasing fire from leaders of the military and the intelligence services for bad planning, flawed analysis and unrealistic expectations.


Moreover, the tone of the opposition to this war is quite different from the tenor of some sections of the movement against the Vietnam War. Reaction to "hippie protesters," as the phrase went, allowed President Richard Nixon to pit a hardworking, patriotic "silent majority" -- it was one of the most politically potent phrases of his presidency -- against the privileged, the young and the media, whom his vice president Spiro Agnew memorably characterized as "effete snobs" and "nattering nabobs of negativism."...


By contrast, critics of the Iraq war, deeply influenced by the post-Sept. 11 climate of national solidarity, have been resolutely patriotic and pro-military. They have often chastised the administration for offering American troops too little in the way of body armor and armored vehicles, and for shortchanging veterans.

Trying to cast critics as "" (Broder) or "" (Brooks) doesn't really work, particularly because so few people read TimesSelect. But when bloggers point out that some of our opinion columnists are routinely writing with more opinion than fact on war and peace, and are on the wrong side of the argument, and the NIE supports that contention, apologies from the professional apologists aren't necessary.

Nor is there any way to dismiss the assessment as partisan, left-wing or unpatriotic. That high-level government officials have offered their own criticisms of the war's impact makes it difficult for Republicans to force the argument into a classic "he said-she said" framework in which facts can be set aside and the claims of critics dismissed as political.

Here's the bottom line:

That is why news over the weekend of a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq is especially troublesome for Republican electoral chances. By finding that the war in Iraq has encouraged global terrorism and spawned a new generation of Islamic radicals, the report by 16 government intelligence services undercuts the administration's central argument that the Iraq war has made the United States safer.

This is still a reality-based world, despite what the WH would have you believe. trump Bush speeches and trump Bush press conferences:

The Rise of Jihadistan  Five years after the Afghan invasion, the Taliban are fighting back hard, carving out a sanctuary where they--and Al Qaeda's leaders--can operate freely

This is an accountability election, and by supporting George W Bush, Republicans are accountable for the mess. That's a concept even an opinion columnist can understand. But as usual, the public (including bloggers) are way ahead of them.


GAO on Bush's health savings accounts  In a word, Health savings Accounts are only reasonable if you're rich, young and don't get sick. Can we now put HSAs into the garbage can once and for all?


HSA-eligible plan enrollees generally had higher incomes than
comparison groups, but data on age differences were inconclusive. In
2004, 51 percent of tax filers reporting an HSA contribution had an
adjusted gross income of $75,000 or more
, compared with 18 percent of
all tax filers under 65 years old.

 . . .HSA-eligible plan enrollees who participated in GAO's focus groups
generally reported positive experiences, but most would not recommend
the plans to all consumers
. Participants enrolled in the plans
generally understood the key attributes of their plan. Few participants
reported researching cost before obtaining health care services,
although many researched the cost of prescription drugs. Most
participants were satisfied with their HSA-eligible plan and would
recommend these plans to healthy consumers, but not to those who use
maintenance medication, have a chronic condition, have children, or may
not have the funds to meet the high deductible



The Guardians of Our Elite Discourse     You know there's something deeply dishonest about a book review when it ignores the entire premise of the book in question. For a perfect example, see Sunday's New York Times Book Review critique of Sidney Blumenthal's "How Bush Rules." The book, a collection of Blumenthal's Salon and Guardian essays, is built around two simple ideas; that Bush's presidency has been a radical one and a failed one. Yet the Times review refuses to address either point, choosing instead to dance around the edges, belittling Blumenthal for being too angry and too serious. I kid you not. Blumenthal lays out in excruciating detail the sins of the Bush administration--lives lost, billions squandered, international reputations diminished--and the Times deducts points because the book isn't funny enough.

Yes, Virginia, there is a devil -- and his name is George 

I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma...
-- George W. Bush

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How dare you call the 2,687 American soldiers lives lost in an unjustified war a comma.


September 26, 2006 - 11:10am