Thursday, January 25, 2007
The Wind Will Carry Us
Big story at Raw Story today.
Larisa Alexandrovna (who - if you somehow don't know - broke the story that former CIA agent Valerie Plame had been working on Iran WMD when she was outed by Bush Administration officials) and Muriel Kane (one of the best damn researchers on the planet) have a story called A hidden history: Administration's move towards Iran strike dates back six years which accompanies a Buildup to Iran timeline.
Here's a short excerpt from the first Raw Story Investigates project:
The escalation of US military planning on Iran is only the latest chess move in a six-year push within the Bush Administration to attack Iran, a RAW STORY investigation has found.
While Iran was named a part of President George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” in 2002, efforts to ignite a confrontation with Iran date back long before the post-9/11 war on terror. Presently, the Administration is trumpeting claims that Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon than the CIA’s own analysis shows and positing Iranian influence in Iraq’s insurgency, but efforts to destabilize Iran have been conducted covertly for years, often using members of Congress or non-government actors in a way reminiscent of the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal.
When we got the first transcript of Bush's State of the Union address at Raw Story the other day, the first thing I did was search for the number of times Iran was used.
Markos Kaminis wrote at the Wall Street blog SeekingAlpha:
What we believe will garner investors' attention is Iran, unless President Bush has learned from his now infamous mention of the "Axis of Evil" in that speech we will never forget, post 9/11. I think the president may avoid alerting Iran of its potentially impending fate, considering our second air craft carrier fleet has yet to reach the Persian Gulf. However, if he does mention Iran, I believe you can expect a volatile market on Wednesday and sharply rising oil prices. I strongly believe this president considers confronting Iran during his tenure, just keeping his word. And if he's going to start that fire, he would probably prefer to finish it before he leaves office. That's why I strongly believe the bombing of Iran's nuclear facilities and whatever havoc that may follow will happen in 2007. I believe that any indication of that in his speech, or any "Axis" level speak will be enough to concern oil traders, and drive the return of normal negative correlation between equities and energy.
The answer was five; which worried me, as does this:
In a speech at a conference in Herzliya, Israel, former Senator John Edwards (D-NC) took aim at Iran, warning that the "world won't back down." The 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee, who recently launched a new presidential campaign, also said that Israel should be allowed to join NATO.
Although Edwards has criticized the war in Iraq, and has urged bringing the troops home, the former senator firmly declared that "all options must remain on the table," in regards to dealing with Iran, whose nuclear ambition "threatens the security of Israel and the entire world."
"Let me be clear: Under no circumstances can Iran be allowed to have nuclear weapons," Edwards said. "For years, the US hasn’t done enough to deal with what I have seen as a threat from Iran. As my country stayed on the sidelines, these problems got worse."
Edwards continued, "To a large extent, the US abdicated its responsibility to the Europeans. This was a mistake. The Iranian president’s statements such as his description of the Holocaust as a myth and his goals to wipe Israel off the map indicate that Iran is serious about its threats."
The last line by Edwards is interesting.
What do you call it when in the same sentence you blast someone for myth-making you help spread a myth of your own?
Hint: think Alanis song...
While Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad certainly has said a lot of messed up stuff he never used the word map when he referred to wiping away the Zionist regime...and that's regime as opposed to country.
Here's a link if you happen to be a curious Edwards staffer: And it was easily Googlable, dude.
Friday, January 19, 2007
White House Correspondents' Dinner Redux
Rich Little won't be mentioning Iraq or ratings when he addresses the White House Correspondents' Dinner April 21. Little said organizers of the event made it clear they don't want a repeat of last year's controversial appearance by Stephen Colbert, whose searing satire of President Bush and the White House press corps fell flat and apparently touched too many nerves. "They got a lot of letters," Little said Tuesday. "I won't even mention the word 'Iraq.'"John Aravosis wonders how the media can accurately cover the President if they are scared of displeasing him. What struck me about the news is it reminded me of Ron Suskind's excellent "reality-based" article.
Moments after the ceremony, Bush saw Wallis. He bounded over and grabbed the cheeks of his face, one in each hand, and squeezed. ''Jim, how ya doin', how ya doin'!'' he exclaimed. Wallis was taken aback. Bush excitedly said that his massage therapist had given him Wallis's book, ''Faith Works.'' His joy at seeing Wallis, as Wallis and others remember it, was palpable -- a president, wrestling with faith and its role at a time of peril, seeing that rare bird: an independent counselor. Wallis recalls telling Bush he was doing fine, '''but in the State of the Union address a few days before, you said that unless we devote all our energies, our focus, our resources on this war on terrorism, we're going to lose.' I said, 'Mr. President, if we don't devote our energy, our focus and our time on also overcoming global poverty and desperation, we will lose not only the war on poverty, but we'll lose the war on terrorism.''' Bush replied that that was why America needed the leadership of Wallis and other members of the clergy. ''No, Mr. President,'' Wallis says he told Bush, ''We need your leadership on this question, and all of us will then commit to support you. Unless we drain the swamp of injustice in which the mosquitoes of terrorism breed, we'll never defeat the threat of terrorism.'' Bush looked quizzically at the minister, Wallis recalls. They never spoke again after that.This President has a pathological need to avoid people who differ from his ideology.This would explain Bush bragging about not reading newspapers and his distain for academics. This incident at Harvard explains much about Bush's current behavior.
"George Bush came up to me and said, 'Why are you going to show us that commie movie?'" Tsurumi recalled. "I laughed because I thought he was kidding, but he wasn't. After we viewed the film, I called on him to discuss the Depression and how he thought it affected people. [Bush] said, 'Look, people are poor because they are lazy.' A number of students pounced on him and demanded that he support his statement with facts and statistics. He quickly backed down because he could not sustain his broadside."The 2004 debates were another classic example. Bush has all kind of gut feelings on issues. When push comes to shove it quickly becomes apparently that the man doesn't know what he is talking about. That explains why he doesn't want another Colbert incident.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Jadakiss Asked Why
Finally, here's why, from now on - except for lazy link round-ups - I'll most probably be blogging even less than I have been, since I started working at Raw Story over a year-and-a-half-ago: Why hasn't Brynaert's blog been updated?.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
It all sounds just so familiar...
Mr Bush said there would be violence in Iraq "for many years" and that US troops would only be able to withdraw as local forces gained competence.So when did Bush talk about these details in his Iraq strategy, last night or... November 30, 2005? If you guessed the latter, grab a cookie and pat yourself on the back. If you guessed the former, well, nobody's going to hold it against you for being wrong since Bush's new initiative for Iraq is nothing but the same old crap with a little saber rattling towards Iran and Syria thrown in for good measure.
"These decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the good judgement of our commanders, not by artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington," he said.
Mr Bush said victory would come "when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens, and when Iraq is not a safe-haven for terrorists to plot new attacks on our nation".
This was a partial redefinition of what victory might be, and potentially highly significant, our correspondent says.
Mr Bush also openly acknowledged that there had been "some setbacks in standing up a capable Iraqi security force, and their performance is still uneven in some areas".
But Iraqi forces were regaining control of the country and training programmes had been improved, he said.
Withdrawing US troops before they had accomplished their mission would send the wrong message to the insurgents, Mr Bush added.
"America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your commander-in-chief," he said.
The BBC article I quoted from also notes that in November, 2005, we had more than 155,000 troops in Iraq. Today, before Bush's surge, we have 132,000 troops. So Bush is pushing the troop levels upto a number that wasn't enough less than two years ago, so I can't fathom why it would be enough now. And besides his speech from 2005, Bush has been harping about improving Iraq's military since the 2004 election. More than two years on Bush is still talking about improving Iraq's military as being a key for victory. When is somebody in the White House Press Corps going to develop the testicular fortitude the ask Tony Snow, "Uh, how come we keep hearing this again and again? Why hasn't the Iraqi military made progress? What is Bush's plan to build the Iraq military?"
I'd surely love to hear an answer to that last question.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Florida over Ohio; Raw over Drudge
Contrary to an Internet report, Republicans in the House of Representatives appear to have asked for a day off less than one week into the 110th Congress, RAW STORY has learned. The Democratic leadership consented, and no action is scheduled on the House floor today.
Congress will not meet today to begin the official "100 hours" agenda of the Democratic Members due to a request put in to the Democratic Leadership by Rep. John Boehner, the Republican Minority Leader in the House of Representatives.
"Mr. Boehner made this request, and in the interest of comity, Democrats granted it," a senior Democratic aide told RAW STORY.
Late Sunday afternoon, news portal operator Matt Drudge displayed a large banner headline on his Website set in capital letters which claimed, "DEM VOW ALREADY BROKEN: HOUSE SETS 4-DAY WORK WEEK." Drudge accused the Democrats of shutting down the House because of the College Football National Championship being played tonight between top teams Ohio State University and the University of Florida in Arizona.....
But Hoyer's office didn't agree with Drudge's characterization of his pledge to clean up Congress's act in the 110th. "Mr. Hoyer made it clear from the beginning that not every week would be a five-day work week and Congress was never scheduled to be voting today," Stacey Bernards, Press Secretary in Hoyer's office, told RAW STORY.
"This week the House will vote to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations, raise the minimum wage, lower drug prices for seniors and expand stem cell research," Bernards added. "I believe most Americans would agree that is a full week of work."
Despite RAW STORY's Michael Roston's best efforts, "Multiple phone calls and e-mails to Rep. Boehner's office by RAW STORY to confirm whether or not the House Minority Leader had asked for the day off were not returned."
Hours after our report, CNN later reported that Boehner went to Glendale, Arizona to see his team get crushed by #2 Florida Monday night 41-7.
Kevin Smith, spokesman for Minority Leader Boehner confirmed Rep. Boehner would be attending the NCAA championship game, 'He will be in Arizona rooting on his home-state Buckeyes, and back to work on Tuesday," CNN reported. "Smith confirms Boehner is paying his own way for travel and tickets."
I love the way CNN frames this:
But it is not just Republican lawmakers who will be in Glendale Monday night. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, D-Ohio, will also attend the game. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Florida, whose Gainesville district includes the University of Florida, will be in Arizona cheering on the Gators. Rep. Dave Hobson, R-Ohio, Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio, and Rep Paul Gillmor, R- Ohio, are also traveling to Glendale to cheer on the Buckeyes.
How many Democrats did CNN mention? Try "mostly Republicans" or "CNN could only confirm one Democrat but the GOP would have a whole cheerleading squad."
Is Glenn Beck editing for CNN now, also?
Brave and intrepid Beck watcher Chris Achorn directed me to some words from the CNN gabber who recently suggested that were a hurricane to hit the city he works in and lives near, it "might not be bad":
Last month, the new House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, caused a lot of controversy on Capitol Hill when he announced that the new Congress would be working for five whole days every week. I know. I know. Insane. That`s what I thought.
He said to reporters, quote, "I have bad news for you. Those trips you had planned in January, forget about them. We`ll be working almost every day in January, starting with the 4th."
Well, wow. I guess "almost" was the key word there, because the real story is the House already has taken a day off. That`s right. After thousands of grueling seconds spent shaking hands last week, taking photos, and hardly voting on anything, the House reportedly is taking the day off - - I am not kidding you -- for the college football national championship game. Yes. Yes.
But I'll agree with this Beck passage (and said something similiar to Roston when I first read Drudge's "flash"):
Now, please don`t burden yourself, you know, bringing up meaningless points like, "Gee, Glenn, no company in the world lets employees take the day off for a football game," or, you know, "Well, the game doesn`t even start until 8:15 tonight. What do they need the whole day off for?"
But it wasn't just CNN and Drudge slanting this as a Democratic flip-flip. Minutes after CNN's article hit the Web I heard an MSNBC commentator frame it in exactly the same manner.
And check out the Grey Lady's blog:
But the House work won’t begin until Tuesday. The House is not in session Monday; with the official explanation being that freshmen lawmakers need time to return from a retreat in Williamsburg. The unofficial explanation is that some lawmakers also wanted to take in the Ohio State – Florida championship game in Arizona.
The fact that Democrats are taking off the first Monday they are in charge drew a protest from Representative Tom Price, Republican of Georgia, who accused Democrats of delay of game, considering they made a big show of pledging to work five-day weeks. “Telling the American people one thing in front of the television cameras and then backpedaling less than one week into the 110th Congress is a symptom of a greater problem,” said Mr. Price, who apparently has designated himself Republican in charge of keeping track of broken Democratic pledges about how they operate the House.
Maybe Congressman Price is just upset because he couldn't score a ticket to see Georgia beat Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on the last Saturday of 2006.
One final question: Has anyone at CNN, MSNBC or The New York Times ever listened to George Carlin?
If they had, then they'd probably know full well the difference between football and baseball, and would be able to tell which political party would be more interested in a pigskin championship:
Baseball is a 19th century pastoral game.
Football is a 20th century new world order paramilitary power struggle....
In football, the object is for the quarterback, sometimes called the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use the shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack which may consist of power plays designed to punch holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.
In baseball, the object is to get home . . . safe.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Merry Christmas, Come Back To Iraq
The Pentagon declared a war on the holiday season.
At CNN's Website, four "highlights" are singled out and boxed above the Associated Press story, "Army asks dead to sign up for another hitch," but, for some reason, the almost-impossible-to-believe second sentence didn't make the cut:
The Army said Friday it would apologize to the families of about 275 officers killed or wounded in action who were mistakenly sent letters urging them to return to active duty.
The letters were sent a few days after Christmas to more than 5,100 Army officers who had recently left the service. Included were letters to about 75 officers killed in action and about 200 wounded in action.
"Army personnel officials are contacting those officers' families now to personally apologize for erroneously sending the letters," the Army said in a brief news release issued Friday night.
"The letters were sent a few days after Christmas to more than 5,100 Army officers who had recently left the service."
Why couldn't the Pentagon wait at least seven days before contacting 5,100 brave men and women who already honorably served their country in order to ask them to do it again again?
There are two agains in that last sentence, because pretty much from the day you sign up with the U.S. Military, you're asked over and over again to commit to even more years before your contract terminates (and thanks to the Army bunglers I couldn't end this sentence with "or you do").
It seems to me that 5,100 retired military officers are owed, at the very least, written apologies, since our government constantly assures us that - despite the Global War on Terror and talks of surge and rumours of Iran - there is no chance for a civilian draft, meaning that there should be no reason for heroes to have their holiday seasons spoiled (even if the only "holidays" observed by those veterans are the first and last days of the year).
McCain's Potential Price
Earlier today, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), a likely 2008 presidential candidate, declared that he is willing to pay any political price for his fervant support of an escalation of US troops in Iraq, even if it's a "misjudgement."....
"Well, as you know, I harbor ambitions for the presidency, but there's nothing more important than our nation's security," McCain responded. "I have to do what I believe is right and what I know is right."
"And if I pay a price for that and it's a misjudgment, that's a price I'd willingly pay," McCain added.
Former Democratic North Carolina Senator John Edwards, who announced his second presidential run last week, gave McCain's stance on Iraq a new nickname.
"It would be an enormous mistake to adopt the McCain doctrine and escalate the war," Edwards said, adding that the senator was "dead wrong."
I completely disagree with McCain's stance, and I honestly can't for a second understand why any thinking person would believe that sending less than 50,000 troops to Iraq could do anything but make things worse over there. Over 50,000 and I could at least recognize a strategy - one I wouldn't agree with - but a speculated 10 to 30,000 means absolutely nothing. Other than going door to door and treating every Iraqi like an insurgent, what the fuck do some politicians think more troops could possibly do in Iraq. Besides, there's more than enough troops already there to participate in counter-insurgency operations or train Iraqi soldiers or whatever the fuck people think will help "win" this war...but they're too busy guarding the real reason we're there and won't be leaving anytime soon (and you're a fool if you believe anyone you saw on television today who talked about "new directions" but pretend that Americans "get up and go" with nothing but air in their tanks).
Like most pre-2004, liberal McCain-likers-if-not-lovers, I kind of feel personally offended at many of the Arizona Senator's actions, moves, and statements the last few years. Offended because it's the same old shit that happens with every single politician no matter where they seem to be running: the closer they get to the prize, the further they go to the right. Offended because it's hard to respect a person that you feel deserves tremendous respect when they get so they don't seem to even respect what they have done to earn such respect in the first place.
But you know what?
Regardless of whether or not you think McCain is a scumbag for wooing a crowd that would prefer to burn him at the stake. Regardless of whether or not you think McCain is a scumbag for caving in on his principled stand against torture. Regardless of whether or not you think McCain is an idiot for kissing the ass of an unpopular lame duck when he'd get far more support if he hopped back on the straight talk express.
You have to at least recognize the fact that one price this Senator may potentially pay would cost far more than lost votes.
I agree that the McCain doctrine is "dead wrong" but at least this man doesn't think that wars should be fought only by other people's sons and daughters.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Everybody Loves Something
From my Raw Story article, 'Not everybody [in Hollywood] loves [conservative] Patricia':
The conservative politics – contrarian to Hollywood – of former Everybody Loves Raymond star Patricia Heaton are discussed in a New York Times article published on New Year's Eve.
Jesse Green reports that Heaton and her late co-star Peter Boyle, who portrayed her father-in-law on the popular sitcom, often "passed much of their downtime jousting about politics."
"More conservative than he, she would call him a 'pinko flag-burning Commie," Green writes. "He would counter, 'So tell me about this Christian God of yours.' Feeling unarmed for such battles, Ray Romano, the show’s star, said he usually hustled off 'to see what the new doughnut was at the craft table.'"
Note to readers: Sorry, if I teased you with the more regular blogging the last week, but I'm real busy again at RS, so unless guest bloggers check in, there might not be much new here this week.