Filtered news 5/23

The ripe and the rotten harvested from the "Internets." Enjoy.

From what I read in the papers (the only proper place to get one's news according to a recent survey of newspaper editors), the Democratic leadership in Congress is stripping out timelines---both binding and symbolic---from their bill to fund the continuation of the Iraq-upation. But fear not, for they say they'll to challenge the Worst President in History. In the spirit of helpfulness (I'm nothing if not an Eagle Scout), I offer some ways our team can really stick it to Commander Guy:

Harry Reid can walk up to Bush and "accidentally" spill a Big Gulp™ down his pants and say "Oh, so sorry," but the thing is he won't really be sorry. That'll teach him.

They can shine a red laser pointer into the president's bedroom at night, compelling him to get out of bed and start chasing it around the room. Brilliant and cruel.

They can cut his salary to minus twenty billion dollars and wipe out his fortune. Let's see how much you like that bankruptcy bill now, pal.

They can teach Barney to slip through the White House fence and run up to Capitol Hill. Each time he escapes, they call the president on his blinking red emergency briefcase phone and yell, "Would you come up here and get your damn dog??! He's peeing on the statues again!" That'll really stick it to him.

They can write the funding bill with fading ink so that, when he goes to sign it, he'll be like, "Hey! Wha' happened??" And the Democrats would issue a one-word statement: "Psych!"

I like the last one best. It'd be nice if they tried it this time around.

My Senator Russ Feingold for dropping Iraq timetables, says he won't support "toothless" bill.

Nancy Pelosi is not happy either:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was so disappointed with the outcome that she said she might vote against the Iraq portion of the package, which will be split into two parts when it comes before the House. "I'm not likely to vote for something that doesn't have a timetable," she said.

I think the GOP has made it clear that they don't intend to compromise or relent on this issue. They'll either pay a price in 2008 and pave the way for an end to the war, or else they won't; what they're not going to do, however, is end the war themselves.

Gutless Dems Here's how it plays in the media:

Democrats Concede. Democrats Retreat. Bush Wins. And that's not even covering the many stories on how the Democrats "caved in" or "blinked." Yes, that's exactly the kind of news everyone was looking for after 2006. I think we were all hoping for headlines just like these. There are a few stories out there about how Democrats need to this position to "liberals," that being the 70% of the public who wants out of Iraq. I can answer that one quickly: don't bother.

For the Vanity and Power of Old Men died yesterday. Thanks for all your Time to STFU now.

The plan, it seems, is for , except the term "lily pads" is going to be involved. Jim Henley . Fascinatingly, permanently stationing tends of thousands of American soldiers on Iraqi soil in order to "act as a deterrent to other countries in the region" (i.e., control Iraqi foreign policy) seems to be being bruited about as the alternative to George W. Bush perpetual war strategy.

One wonders, at any rate, why all these Arabs are running around believing crazy conspiracy theories about American plots to control the Middle East when it's obvious that we're just trying to promote democracy.

Gonzo didn't get the memo? The story about Alberto Gonzales's late night hospital run in 2004 to pressure a woozy John Ashcroft into reauthorizing the NSA's domestic spying program keeps getting weirder.

After the incident, there were recriminations over what [James] Comey portrayed as an attempt by Bush's top lawyer and chief of staff to "take advantage" of a very ill man. Comey didn't tell the Senate panel that the bad feelings were stoked even more the next morning when White House officials explained the hospital visit by saying Gonzales and Card were unaware that Comey was acting A.G.

....Just days earlier, Justice's chief spokesman had publicly said Comey would serve as "head of the Justice Department" while Ashcroft was ill. Justice officials had also faxed over a document to the White House informing officials of this. When a Gonzales aide claimed the counsel's office could find no record of it, DOJ officials dug out a receipt showing the fax had been received. "People were disgusted as much as livid," said the DOJ official. "It was just the dishonesty of it."

This sounds just like our Alberto, doesn't it? He's consistently demonstrated an inability to construct explanations for bad behavior above the level of a junior high school student. "We didn't get the fax" is par for the course.

WTFWJD? A group of students from Falwell's Liberty University staged a counterprotest. And Campbell County authorities arrested a Liberty University student for having several homemade bombs in his car. The student, 19-year-old Mark D. Uhl of Amissville, Va., reportedly told authorities that he was making the bombs to stop protesters from disrupting the funeral service. The devices were made of a combination of gasoline and detergent, a law enforcement official told ABC News' Pierre Thomas. They were "slow burn," according to the official, and would not have been very destructive.

Remember the Alamo U.S. Soldiers in a Sunni neighborhood in west Baghdad “now openly declare pessimism for the mission’s chances, unofficially referring to their splinter of heavily fortified land as ‘the Alamo.’” One U.S. Army captain says Bush’s escalation plan has mobilized the terrorist movement. “I sometimes worry that this period will end up going down here as .”

Poor little dears shouldn't worry their pretty little heads points us to about the new strategy to justify using state coercion to force women to carry pregnancies to term by claiming that women are too irrational to know what's good for them, and offers a modest proposal. I would also urge you to read (see also .) Quite simply, these justifications are premised on 19th-century conceptions of women as not being rational agents. And such justifications evidently underpin a great deal of anti-choice discourse and policy ( that the official Republican position is that abortion is murder but women who obtain them should be entirely exempt from legal sanctions.) At least was decent enough to give away the show, admitting that these assertions are backed by "no reliable data," leaving us with meaningless claims that some women may regret their decision to obtain abortions in retrospect. (If some women regret getting married, can we ban that too? How about anecdotal evidence about women who become depressed after becoming mothers, does this justify state-mandated abortions?) These arguments aren't about women's health; they're about assumptions that , period. That this view is not only part of our national discoruse but has been endorsed by five Supreme Court justices at this late date is dismaying. .... See also , and . .

Bush's secret war in Iran Last night, ABC’s World News Tonight reported that the “United States has opened a new front in its showdown with Iran.” According to the report, President Bush has directed the CIA to carry out covert operations both inside and outside Iran “aimed directly at weakening the Iranian regime.” ABC’s investigative correspondent Brian Ross said the CIA’s “non-lethal” program had received “secret presidential approval.” Officials told ABC the CIA plan “takes the place of proposed U.S. military action against Iran, reportedly advocated by Vice President Cheney.” The Blotter has :

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a “nonlethal presidential finding” that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran’s currency and international financial transactions... “Vice President Cheney helped to lead the side favoring a military strike,” said former CIA official Riedel, “but I think they have come to the conclusion that a military strike has more downsides than upsides.” The covert action plan comes as U.S. officials have confirmed Iran had dramatically increased its ability to produce nuclear weapons material, at a pace that experts said would give them the ability to build a nuclear bomb in two years.

Vali Nasr, an Iran expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, said “I think everybody in the region knows that there is a proxy war already afoot with the United States supporting anti-Iranian elements in the region as well as opposition groups within Iran. And this covert action is now being escalated by the new U.S. directive, and that can very quickly lead to Iranian retaliation and .”

Wednesday fireworks. Monica Goodling, the former Most Powerful Woman in the World besides Oprah, gets grilled by the House Judiciary Committee today. Our advice to the panel: be gentle. At least until she sits down.

A matter of character Fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias writes, “What has become clear [through the attorney purge] is that the has infected a wide swath of the Bush administration. Simple notions like right and wrong are, in their eyes, matters of allegiance, not conscience. … [The DoJ] is in desperate need of leaders who place loyalty to the Constitution on a higher level than politics.”

Book lernin' for by dummies. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings on evolution and creationism in public schools: "I can tell you that in Texas we did go through this issue, when Bush was governor and I was working for him. We ended up...the curriculum says basically that both points of view are taught from a factual basis." Oh really?

More anti-lernin' dummies Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has “ to honor environmental author Rachel Carson on the 100th anniversary of her birth,” saying that her warnings about environmental damage have “put a stigma on potentially lifesaving pesticides” .

James Earl Carter. He spoke truth to power by echoing the world's opinion that George Bush is the worst president in history...then . Okay, a Nobel Prize-winning wimp who is one of only 43 human beings to ever be president of the United States, helps eradicate diseases in Africa, builds homes for the poor and at 83 could kick my ass. But still...

The new new action plan. Let me see if I've got this straight. First our mission was to militarily remove Saddam and let democracy self-pollinate itself in Iraq. Then it was to train the Iraqi troops to defend their own country. Then it was giving the Iraqi government military cover so they could sprout wings and fly on their own. And now, apparently, we're back to training the Iraqi troops to defend their own country. The only thing standing in the way, according to the Washington Post's David Ignatius, is our leaders' . If only they'd quit spending all their time grooming their unicorns.

New Attorneygate testimony is released on the eve of Monica Goodling's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow morning. And what made Goodling in her conversation with career DOJ official David Margolis back on March 8th?

Oh the drama! Maybe the Ashcroft bedside showdown about the warrantless wiretap program?

We are all already in Hell I just read that the fundamentalist wackos have been keeping a secret weapon frozen in a Lynchburg, Virginia meat locker for the last several decades: . Noooooooo!!!!!

Madmen who stop breathing. On this date in 1945, Gestapo thug Heinrich Himmler committed suicide in prison. Something about his girlfriend shacking up with Göerring, I think.

SiCKO. The reviews are in and Michael Moore's done it again. The Hollywood Reporter . Variety . TIME . Even the Fox News reviewer . It's expected to rake in tens of millions of dollars. As opposed to the right's documentaries, which make tens of dollars. Watch some clips from SiCKO . But don’t sprain your mouse-clicking finger---that's not covered by your HMO.

Damn experts. When it comes to global warming and other assorted environmental disasters, get ready to hear one theme over and over again. Namely, that the damage is exceeding even the experts' predictions. Today that phrase applies to carbon emissions, which---all together now---. Which is really scary because their prediction was: "We're screwed."

The latest fad for young Republican guns. Abramoff/Rove aide Ralston to .

Voter fraud fraud Join us as we and follow yet another player in the scam, this one bouncing from the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division to the voter fraud hype group American Center for Voting Rights.

Can't count that high Financial expert Robert Hormats, sitting this week at TPMCafe's , breaks down .

Neocon media Fox Noose contradicts its own reporter to the Iraq War funding showdown with Congress.

: Duke Cunningham gives new meaning to the phrase 'dirty politician.' You won't want to miss this.

Which is more annoying? (a) Lefter-than-thou liberals who are under the impression that it's somehow either immoral or impolite to make money or (b) hacker-than-thou conservatives who worship 24/7 at the altar of making of money except when the moneymaker in question happens to be a Democratic presidential candidate and thus presents a chance to score some political points? It's a tough choice.

Bandits eating bullets. On May 23, 1934, bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde were shot to death in a police ambush as they tried to escape in a stolen near Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Of all the day after the warranty expired.

Protect the recording industry! huh. Where have we heard that before? Stanley Green warns in the April 1962 Atlantic that copyright law on jukebox proprietors, lest the music industry face certain destruction. Does anyone know whether his policies, or anything like them, were ever implemented?

From the "minor curiosity" file: A report from Switzerland, the acknowledged masters of banknote printing, concludes that it's unlikely that North Korea is the source of the counterfeit "supernotes" that have been circulating around the world for the past few years.

For years, analysts have wondered why the supernotes — which are detectable only with sophisticated, expensive technology — appear to have been produced in quantities less than it would cost to acquire the sophisticated machinery needed to make them....."What defies logic is the limited, or even controlled, amount of 'exclusive' fakes that have appeared over the years. The organization could easily circulate tenfold that amount without raising suspicions," says the Swiss police report, which also says Switzerland has seized 5 percent of all known supernotes.

Moreover, it noted that the manufacturer of the supernotes had issued 19 different versions, an "enormous effort" that only a criminal organization or state could undertake. The updates closely tracked the changes in U.S. currency issued by the Federal Reserve Bank.

That is odd, isn't it? The production of fake notes is far too low to cause any economic damage to the U.S., and whoever's doing it is apparently operating at a loss. You'd have to be deranged to set up a massive counterfeiting operation that (a) had no effect on your target and (b) lost money in the process.

Which, come to think of it, points the finger back toward North Korea, doesn't it? Maybe Kim Jong-il doesn't care if the operation makes money as long as he still has some American cash to buy his goodies with.

Marine punished for expressing an opinion On April 23, Capt. Josh Gibbs wrote an in the Marine Corps Times arguing, “It’s time to allow gays to serve openly in the military.” A week later, he was notified that he was relieved of duty due to “loss of confidence.” He is now being .

In his new book , Al Gore wrote that Bush’s efforts to connect Iraq to 9/11 were an example of the administration’s willful “deception” of the public:

When the administration is told specifically and repeatedly by the most authoritative sources that there is no linkage, but then in spite of the best evidence continues to make bold and confident assertions to the American people that leave the impression with 70 percent of the country that Saddam Hussein was linked to al-Qaeda and was primarily responsible for the 9/11 attack, this can only be labeled deception. [p.108]

This afternoon, White House press secretary Tony Snow took issue with this passage. “[Bush] has never tried to make” the connection between Iraq and 9/11, Snow said. “And what [Gore] is doing, it’s been tried by a lot of other people, which is to take something the president hasn’t said, expose it as a, quote, lie, and then beat him up for it. … The president’s been straight about the intel.”

Snow attacked Gore’s book, saying, “I don’t know if they’re going to do a reprinting of the book to try to get the facts straight. The fact-checkers may have to take a look at it.” He added, “These are highly complex publishing issues and I can’t be an expert on them.”

To justify the war, Bush informed Congress on March 19, 2003 that acting against Iraq was consistent with “continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that .”

As ThinkProgress has , Vice President Cheney cited “evidence” cooked up by Douglas Feith and others to claim it was “” that Iraq had contacts with 9/11 hijackers.

More generally, in the lead-up to the war in Iraq, the administration that Saddam had a role in 9/11. Bush never stated then, as he does now, that Iraq had “nothing” to do with 9/11. Only after the Iraq war began did Bush that Iraq was not operationally linked to 9/11.

Who supports our troops? The Marine Corps “ before acting on an ‘priority 1 urgent’ request to send blast-resistant vehicles to Iraq.” As Danger Room notes, “the request for over 1,000 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles came in February, 2005. A formal call to fulfill that order did not emerge until November, 2006.” Approximately have been killed by roadside bombs in Iraq.

Cheers to Nola Ochs (pronounced "OH-sh"). It took her 77 years to snag the lambskin, but by god she did it...and at 95 she also become the to graduate from college (in the same class as her 21 year-old granddaughter, no less). Now the feisty Kansan is going after her masters. Showoff.


May 23, 2007 - 12:52pm