Saturday, August 04, 2007

From the diaries at Kos

Republican Party Values

There has been rumblings about this on and off, so much that the government isn't putting out it's periodical report on electricity in Baghdad anymore.

It's the opposite of their "If you keep repeating it you will make it so", version 2.0, "If you just never mention it, it isn't happening.

Iraq Power Grid Said to Be Near Collapse

Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraq's power grid is on the brink of collapse because of insurgent sabotage of infrastructure, rising demand, fuel shortages and provinces that are unplugging local power stations from the national grid, officials said Saturday.

Electricity Ministry spokesman Aziz al-Shimari said power generation nationally is only meeting half the demand, and there had been four nationwide blackouts over the past two days. The shortages across the country are the worst since the summer of 2003, shortly after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, he said.

Free Press On The Rapacious Rupert Murdoch

A salute to the Netroots from Senator Durbin.

Democratic Seats Secure, Republicans at Risk

The latest strategy memo from James Carville and Stan Greenberg touts a recent poll in the 70 most competitive Congressional districts which shows the Democrats "in a strong position to hold their gains from 2006 and move far into Republican territory in 2008."

"Indeed, Democrats hold an 18-point electoral advantage in their own districts while Republicans are losing their districts by 5 points overall -- 7 points in their most vulnerable districts, 51 to 44 percent."

Key finding: "Republican incumbents are paying a big price for the deep discontent in the country and for aligning with the President who is no more popular in the Republican districts than in the Democratic ones.

Senator Clinton at 1p EST

Good stories about YKos.

Here, here, lots here.

Watch this Politics TV vid carefully for a "special guest appearance" better than anything ever on "Golden Girls".

Dennis Miller replying to the Dodd broohahah the other night. Senator Dodd a "hack".

Note From Yearly Kos: Roger Simon (of Politico) sighted wandering back and forth from the entry way to the vendor section at least 6 times in 10 minutes, looking very confused. Actually looked younger than he does on the teevee.

It is time to dispatch the last lying member of the Iraq-War loving, corporate kissing GOP in New England:

Friday, August 03, 2007

Maybe Hillary Should Have Stuck Around

To piggyback off of Cliff's post, the Clinton people seem to trying to play to the general election crowd. That's a smart strategy if you have more money than your primary foes and you have a large primary lead. Problem for Clinton and company is that she has neither. We already know about Obama's money haul, but here's the latest Iowa poll, done for the Washington Post.

Less than six months before Iowa voters open the 2008 presidential nomination battles, the Democratic contest in the Hawkeye State is a deadlock, with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards in a virtual tie for first place, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

While Clinton has a clear and consistent lead over Obama in national polls, with Edwards generally running a distant third, the contours of the campaign in Iowa appear far different. Edwards's strong base of support, built on the foundations of his second-place finish in the state's precinct caucuses in 2004, has turned Iowa into the most competitive early state for the Democratic field.


In the poll, 27 percent said they would vote for Obama, 26 percent for Clinton and 26 percent for Edwards. The only other Democrat to register in double digits was Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, at 11 percent. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) and Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio) trailed at 2 percent, and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.) at 1 percent.

People Are Pissed Here At Hillary

I am still at Yearly Kos, and I can tell you, Senator Clinton's decicision to skip the question and answer session, which every other candidate is participating in, is ticking people off.

What is it with her campaign? Everytime they do something that excites the base, like taking on O'Reilly, they snub a core constituency, in what only seems like an constant effort to extend a middle finger.

People can stay home next year if you are the nominee Mrs. Clinton. People like me and my wife who life in the unimportant state of Ohio. And frankly, I am getting really sick of all the positioning, posturing and pretend-support for a reasonable agenda of getting out of the war, providing universal healthcare and cleaning up elections. You've been forewarned.

Here is Obama's take:

"Why turn down the opportunity to hear from people excited about bringing change to Washington and new leadership to the White House?" spokeswoman for the Illinois Senator's campaign, Jen Psaki, said in an e-mail to RAW STORY. "It is Barack Obama's birthday and he can't think of a better place to be."

Teddy Kennedy Tears GOP A New One On Health Care

Yeah, well, I missed the 635a train. There's more trains.

In my backyard. Pretty disturbing.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Gots to love me some Chris Dodd.
(and his cutie pie staff... the women too!!!)

Well, it is going to be light posting here probably until midday tomorrow. I'm working tonight until 11p, and then I need to get ready to catch the train at 635a so I can try and make Cliff's panel in the morning.
(The South Shore is notoriously late)

In the meantime, please click on our advertisers since they (and YOU) are the only reasons I was able to go to Yearly Kos this year. Without getting mushy, I think it is just phenomenal how this blog has progressed in just 6 short months. Remember, our official debut date was 2/3/07. Just amazing.

One last thing- I've set up a Cafe Press shop, but we need catchy phrases and funny pics to put on them. I'm thinking there are enough super duper smart people that stop by here that if ya'll put your minds to it, you can come up with some stuff.

Give it a whirl, and drop them in the comments.

My contribution?
"Cliff Schecter- Democratic, not a wuss".

Okay, so slogans ain't my thing. Let's see your stuff!!!

Just some things our friend Paul Rieckoff and IAVA have been up to.


Each year, approximately 115,300 veterans attempt suicide. That's nearly one in five suicide attempts nationwide.

In May, IAVA worked with Representative Jim Moran of Virginia and endorsed the 'Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline Act of 2007'. Hearing the demand, Congress pushed The Department of Veterans Affairs to provide a resource for veterans in crisis.

On Monday, the VA responded by announcing a new national suicide prevention hotline for veterans. The toll-free number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), is always open, and is staffed by mental health professionals.1


Since 2002, one-third of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have sought VA health care. And according to the VA, 37 percent of the possible diagnoses were for mental health disorders. Accordingly, IAVA decided to make Mental Health one of the four Key Areas of our 2007 Legislative Agenda. Now, that focus is paying off.

Over the past several months, IAVA Legislative Director Patrick Campbell has led our DC office in working with Congressman Michaud on issues relating to mental health care and homelessness among veterans.

On Monday, the House passed the 'Veterans' Health Care Improvement Act of 2007,' a bill authored by Representative Michaud.2 The bill mandates the VA provide improved mental healthcare outreach and services to returning servicemembers. It also expands counseling services to veterans at risk of homelessness, and provides housing assistance to veterans in dire financial need.


Two weeks ago, we told you the story of Specialist Jon Town, who was injured in Iraq when a rocket exploded a few feet from his head. Like 22,000 other servicemen and women since 2001, Jon Town was separated from the military for what was deemed a pre-existing 'personality disorder.' That means the Army has decided that Spc. Town's medical problems existed before his military service. Consequently, they avoid having to pay for his medical care.

IAVA helped to bring Jon Town's story into the public spotlight, and to keep it in the media. This month, it was featured on ABC.

Last Wednesday, Jon Town told his story to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, as part of a hearing called "PTSD and Personality Disorders: Challenges for the VA." Now, bills have been introduced in the House3 and the Senate4 that will put a temporary moratorium on these discharges until the process undergoes a thorough review.

See? Things CAN get done in DC.

Bonus Quote of the Day
"Jesus himself could come back as a Republican candidate these days, and there would still be some people saying, 'I don't know about that guy.'"

-- South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R), quoted by the Christian Science Monitor.

Wow. Up is down and black is white.

I agree with Byron York.

And now voters have changed the leadership of the legislative branch, and Democrats stand a good chance of capturing the White House next year. If they do, it will be because they were ready; the whole point of building the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy was to create a structure that would be in place to exploit the errors of the other side when they occurred.

And Republicans have supplied the errors: Does anyone think that the Kossacks would have anywhere near the influence they wield today if the war in Iraq had gone well? With the war in its fifth year and Republicans uncertain of what their party stands for, the foundation-building that Moulitsas and his colleagues have done in the last several years is paying off.

And ze winner of the "DUH" Award goes toooooo......


U.S. underestimated Iraq political problems: Gates

By Andrew Gray | August 2, 2007
ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Thursday the United States had probably underestimated how hard it would be for Iraqi political leaders to agree reconciliation measures.

Gates, speaking at the end of a Middle East tour, also said he had urged countries in the region to redouble efforts to pressure Iran over its nuclear program, declaring "there's not really room for bystanders."


"We probably all underestimated the depth of the mistrust and how difficult it would be for these guys to come together on legislation which, let's face it, is not just some sort of secondary kind of thing," Gates said.

Yearly Kos

Yes, it's fun fun fun for the whole family. Ok kids, if you're interested, here is what I am up to. Today at 2PM, I am hosting a panel with Jim Gilliam of Brave New Films on producing compelling video. Tomorrow, I do my own panel, called Going On TV, where I get to explain what fun it is to insult right-wing misanthropic numbskulls on TV. It is at 9:15, not 10:30 as they had in the original program. In fact, I am doing my last of the three panels, with Working America about taking on the Christian Right, at 10:30 right after I am done.

Check your local listings for room number changes, as there have already been some. Or just bother local random people.

Finally, in what I must say is one of the bigger honors of my time as a political consultant/commentator/activist, I have been invited to introduce Howard Dean at the Democracy Bondholder meeting this evening, or the people who give $ every year to the DNC. Why did they pick me? I guess 1,237 people's phones were busy they should have called first. But in any case, I am psyched and honored (and a bit nervous, unusual for me in public speaking gigs). It will be at 6:15, but you need an invite to get in (or just sneak in, as I did to these things for years).

So there you have it. I hope to see many of you. It is shaping up to be a fun weekend.

It's Getting Worse

Hard as it is to believe, the situation in Iraq is getting worse. Good thing everyone's on vacation.

Iraq’s largest Sunni political faction resigned from Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s cabinet on Wednesday, severely weakening the government’s credentials as a national unity coalition and setting back hopes of reconciliation.

The move was accompanied by a wave of bombings in Baghdad that killed at least 76 people, including a suicide attack with a fuel tanker that killed about 50 people at a crowded gas station in the middle-class district of Mansour.

Bush Is Killing The GOP

According to the most recent Wall Street Journal Poll, the public trusts the Democrats to handle most political issues, including many that used to be GOP territory, like balancing the budget. Thank you Karl Rove and George Bush!

Efforts by Republicans and the business community to raise fears about Democratic tax increases, spending excesses or economic mismanagement have proved unsuccessful. In what Mr. Newhouse called a "world turned upside down," Democrats enjoy an edge in public approval that extends beyond such party strengths as health care and education, where Republicans trail by more than 20 percentage points.

Democrats lead by 35 percentage points on handling gas prices, by 24 percentage points on energy policy and 10 points on dealing with immigration. Even more notably, Republicans lag by 16 percentage points on controlling government spending, 15 percentage points on dealing with the economy and nine percentage points on dealing with taxes.

This sucks big time.

White House: Inspection 2 years ago found structural problems with Minneapolis bridge

August 2, 2007
BY DEB RIECHMANN Associated Press
WASHINGTON---- The White House said Thursday that an inspection two years ago found structural deficiencies in the highway bridge that buckled during evening rush hour in Minneapolis.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said the Interstate 35W span rated 50 on a scale of 120 for structural stability.

''This doesn't mean there was a risk of failure, but if an inspection report identifies deficiencies, the state is responsible for taking corrective actions,'' he said. The bridge was 40 years old.

Ooops, looks like Rupe pissed off some people...

170 Cancel 'WSJ' Subscriptions -- But How Many Will Follow?

By E&P Staff
Published: August 02, 2007 7:45 PM ET
NEW YORK At least 170 subscribers to the Wall Street Journal have canceled their orders since word emerged that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. will soon take over the newspaper.

The paper does have 1.7 million print subscribers left.

An article in the Journal today by Martin Peers added that other readers had "voiced their displeasure with the deal in emails."

I wanna be there NOW!!! Dammit.

If you'd like to be stunned by the amount of stuff going on at Yearly Kos, check out this schedule of events.

That doesn't even include off the grid parties, meet-ups etc.

Of course, CLIFF is already there. **sniff**

Mike Moore asks Rudy about 9/11 workers needing help.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Thompson's Wife Driving Candidacy

The spectacle of Fred Thompson's Republican rivals "demeaning his wife, Jeri, in conversations with newsmen, suggests how seriously they regard his prospective candidacy," observes the latest Evans-Novak Political Report.

Close associates "maintain that there was no chance Fred Thompson would be a candidate for President were he not married to Jeri. He tells friends the reason he abandoned what seemed a promising campaign for the 1996 nomination was that he did not feel he could manage that endeavor as a single man."

Either they're setting up Thompson for a fall 'cause something screws up with his wife, or old "Hollywood Fred" is a big wussy.

It's "Dirty F'ng Hippies" there Brit.

Jesus General defends Fox

via Diane

Rove is one of the "privileged" ones, but then we knew that

President Bush is expected to claim executive privilege to prevent two more White House aides from testifying before Congress about the firings of federal prosecutors.

Thursday is the deadline for Karl Rove, Bush's top political adviser, to provide testimony and documents related to the firings, under a subpoena from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Also subpoenaed was White House political aide J. Scott Jennings. The Justice Department included both men on e-mails about the firings and the administration's response to the congressional investigation.

They're, you know, immune. Like we're becoming, to all the lies and tricks that continue to ooze out of this administration on an hourly basis. I'm still wondering why nobody can find General Philip "duck the subpoena" Kensinger.

Okay, guys, check this out and see if you can keep a "straight" face:

An attorney who formerly led a Michigan young Republican organization has pleaded guilty in Cleveland to sexual battery.

The case against 32-year-old Michael Flory of Jackson, Michigan, involved forced sex acts on a woman while both were at a Cleveland convention last July.

Flory faces one to five years in prison or probation at his sentencing Sept. 13.

Flory is the former chairman of the Michigan Federation of Young Republicans.

Prosecutors said the woman -- also from Michigan -- is satisfied that Flory has accepted responsibility for the crime.
Vote Republican: The Party of "Accepting responsibility"

According to its July 31 report, the military “cannot fully account for about 110,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 80,000 pistols, 135,000 items of body armour and 115,000 helmets reported as issued to Iraqi forces”.
Things are going so well, aren't they? Let's see, who can they blame? Starts with an I....
US commanders often accuse foreign powers such as Iran of supplying arms to illegal militias fighting in Iraq, but the report shows they cannot fully account for the hundreds thousands of weapons they brought in themselves.
I know! Let's start a war with Iran for supplying arms to illegal militias and then, 4 years later, "discover" that it was our fault all along! What an epiphany that would be. And with that, it's time to take another peek into our

*Vote Republican!* snappy Campaign-omercial
Why'd we get attacked on 9/11? Not because we occupy their land and exert power over their people! Not because of the way we treat the Islamic world! Heck no! Their hatred for America is because we're rich and free and, gosh, they're just jealous of our awesome stuff! So we invaded Iraq. And we can attack other countries, too! Pfft, everyone knows we have to fight them there so we don't have to fight them here! Vote Republican: The party of make-believe!

Love of good ripping up the Senate these days.....

Here is Senator Kennedy...

Pat Tillman: Mix-Up or Cover-Up?
"All of you had some indication
before the [Tillman] ceremony that he was killed in the line of duty... and the system failed... The president avoided calling [the appropriate parties] in to ask about the 'P For' memo... Nobody knows who dropped the ball...'The system didn't work; errors were made'. That's not good enough. We're adjourned."
--Henry Waxman at the Tillman hearing

Yes, I took quick notes. Yes I'm posting the highlights. And yes, as usual, the notes are fairly accurate representations of what was said, with some paraphrasing. Here we go:
  • A "P For" is a personal memo , very highly classified, from commander to commander. The P For in this case, warned against public embarrassment if Bush's speech omitted that Tillman's death was a result of fratricide.
  • Re: The whole fiasco: It was the army's responsibility. They do the notifying, not us.
  • Abizaid: There was a delay of information to me. Information flowed poorly through the chain of command. The Tillman family paid the price for it.
  • I don't recall. I don't remember. I cannot recall. I don't recollect.
  • Rummy: Ditto above, plus: Oh goodness. Oh, and this: I would not engage in a cover-up. (Note: Not did not, would not.)
  • Rep. John Mica (R-Fl): Rumsfeld was a hero on 9/11. The Dems are trying to blame high officials all the way up to the White House. All Rummy wanted to do was strengthen the military that Clinton destroyed. Our hearts go out to the Tillman family, but, just as Corzine's car accident got misreported at first, so did the Tillman death. The press reports were wrong, as first reports usually are, so what's the problem again?
  • Who would have told Bush that this was friendly fire? Nobody knows.
  • Philip R. Kensinger, USA Retired, who was censured in this matter, ducked his subpoena.
  • Christopher Shays to Rummy: We're wasting our time, as usual. You called their [the Dems'] bluff. We're not saving any lives here.
  • My favorite moment: Tussle between Dennis Kucinich and Rummy. Kucinich challenged the panel on press strategies re: the events of the war. There was no White House press strategy? Rummy: Non-answer. No Department of Defense strategy? Rummy: If there was, it wasn't very good. Kucinich: It must have been good. It covered up the Abu Ghraib and Tillman scandals. And thank you for acquitting yourself and not the Department of Defense.
  • What do we do about the lack of accountability of top leadership? Rummy: Gee, I don't know. Land-o'-Goshen, golly gee, gosh, should I use the old "ask myself questions" technique?
  • Battle of Fallujah was happening. Abu Ghraib was happening. There were so many things going on! So many issues, so little time!
  • Nobody, not one panel member, knew that the policy of press access to soldiers' remains had been changed since the Viet Nam War. "Ask the Department of Public Affairs people." "I thought it was up to the families." "I don't know the policies about press coverage." "The remains go to Dover." The Viet Nam was a war of minorities, due to the draft (college deferments, etc.). Our present military is all-volunteer. But we do not so much as allow the press to cover their return when they come home. And this panel didn't know that? I'm sorry, what?!
  • Someone rewrote the eyewitness statement of Specialist Bryan O'Neal. How did this happen? Rummy: I don't know how or who. Myers: It's extremely difficult to divine that. Abizaid: [I don't know how] we screwed this up, but we screwed this thing up.
  • Myers: I know this sounds harsh, but with Fallujah and Abu Ghraib taking up our attention, this didn't take up that much of our attention. This wasn't my position, to get involved. It would have been unusual for me to ask questions. It didn't occur to me.
I wanted to throw my TV set out the window. But I'd miss Keith, so I didn't.

To finish off our BNF theme......

Wow, how hot is Mr Schecter if for the few days he's taking off to vacation with the family, Brave New Films has to haul in Speaker Pelosi, Cenk Uygar & Sam Seder to cover?

Pretty impressive there bossman.

Ho ho ho!!! Billo tries to be "fair and balanced" by giving a half-hearted condemnation of Free Republic. Oy. Harold Ford needs to do his homework before he goes on the teevee.

Keep it up guys.
MSNBC "The Big Story In July"

Variety's John Dempsey takes a closer look at the cable ratings for July. "MSNBC was the big July story in 24-hour news, with total viewers in primetime shooting up 54%, a bigger jump than that of any other net in the top 50 thanks to shows hosted by Keith Olbermann and Dan Abrams plus documentaries in the 10 o'clock hour."


Another Sales Prime Win For MSNBC

MSNBC has now beaten CNN four weeks straight in the 25-54 sales prime demo. An MSNBC spokesperson tells TVNewser "this is the first time MSNBC has beaten CNN for the month in six years (August 2001)." For the month, MSNBC had 195,000 viewers in sales prime, CNN had 189,000.

Now if they only would get rid of fTucker......

My Bad Boss Contest

Have You ever had a boss who treats you like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell does non-corporate-approved legislation? Dick Cheney does the Constitution? Geoge W. Bush does multi-syllabic terms?

You know the type. It could be a CEO who spends hooks himself up with the $6,000 shower curtain while suppressing your wages or a self-loathing middle management sort who likes to read your emails and listen to your phone calls. Well, we cannot provide you with extraordinary rendition, but there's at least something we at Working America can do to ease the pain.

Send you on an all-expenses paid vacation.

Yes, don't adjust your trusty bifocals. You read that correctly. Due to popular demand, Working America, the 1.6 million member community affiliate of the AFL-CIO--who represent ordinary Americans without a union on the job or George W. Bush's daddy's "resources"--has launced its second annual "My Bad Boss Contest." Enter the contest and win, and Working America will try and ease you pain by sending you to one of 500 locales throughout the world. And all we ask, for you to enter this contest, is something most of you have been telling your friends over dinner or a drink for years now.

A good story. About a bad boss.

We want to hear the worst one you've got, as we're assuming you probably have more than one. That's right, you tell us about the person who's made your life a living hell, and if you're the top vote-getter, we will send you away somewhere to enjoy a cool breeze on the beach or gaze at a historical treasure. Even George W. Bush can participate, as that Cheney guy seems like a pretty crappy boss to report to.

So what are you waiting for? Send in your stories so our panel of celebrity judges can review them, and let's expose bad bosses for the truly bad guys they are.

Disclosure: I am lucky enough to be sponsored by Working America, who toils every day to improve the lives of hard-working Americans.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Everything from detergent to computer discs is packaged with the Sunday newspaper.

So why not Bibles?

A Christian ministry wants to deliver custom-designed New Testaments to newspaper subscribers around the country as part of an effort to find innovative ways to spread a Christian message. But even in the Bible Belt, not everyone thinks that's a good idea.

International Bible Society-Send the Light is planning on spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to distribute Bibles with 11 newspapers during 2007 and 2008. New Testaments would be packaged in pouches on the outside of newspapers, much like soap or other sample products.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram announced in May it would deliver more than 200,000 New Testaments the last Sunday of the year. David House, the newspaper's reader advocate, said he received about 70 e-mails split between backers and those opposed to packaging the scriptures with newspapers.

"Do you have any idea how blatantly offensive this boneheaded move is to the thinking public?" a Fort Worth reader wrote in one of several letters to the editor on the topic.

I can't even imagine how a non-Christian would react to a blatant pander like that.

That it is even considered is just ridiculous.

This is admirable.

On Wednesday night Senator Dodd will appear on "The O'Reilly Factor" to stand up to its host, Bill O'Reilly, for his unfair attacks on progressive bloggers. O'Reilly has spent the last two weeks smearing a Democratic blog,, as well as Democrats who are attending the Yearly Kos conference. Senator Dodd is going on to defend free speech and make clear that he will be proudly attending Yearly Kos.

Unlike O'Reilly, Chris Dodd knows the difference between representative comments and ones cherry picked with a hostile agenda. He has the conviction to stand with his friends online and stand up to O'Reilly.

Bill O'Reilly isn't used to someone stepping in to do the right thing. He isn't used to someone putting their foot down and saying, "Enough is enough."

Will you stand with Chris Dodd in his defense of the netroots?

If you have a minute, click on this link and sign the petition.

ALSO, I should mention that Joe Biden is NOT going to YKos, but not for the reasons that O'Reilly is trying to say....

The simple truth is Joe Biden would be at YearlyKos if he could, but adding a book tour to all the demands of a campaign meant some things had to change. But we won't stand by and let Bill O'Reilly try to drive a wedge between the progressive online community and us to make a false point on behalf of his half-baked theories.

While not always agreeing with all members of the DailyKos community, Joe Biden respects what the YearlyKos convention - a diverse assembly of activists and organizations - represents as a vehicle for progressives to organize and advocate on behalf of democratic ideals and the Democratic Party.

No, no, not his I.Q. If that were the case, he's certainly wealthy enough to purchase more than the half-witted burps of semi-communication that he so proudly emits.

Unfortunately, this is serious stuff. Deadly serious. Please go read the entire piece at AlterNet. Here's a sample:
Private corporations are now a major staple of national intelligence and are heavily involved in producing the most important and most sensitive national security document -- the President's Daily Brief. [...]

But what is not generally known is that the secret side of the Iraq War and the larger "war on terror" is also conducted by private corporations, fielding private spies. The reach of these corporations has extended into the Oval Office. Corporations are heavily involved in creating the analytical products that underlie the nation's most important and most sensitive national security document, the President's Daily Brief (PDB).

Over the past six years, a quiet revolution has occurred in the intelligence community toward wide-scale outsourcing to corporations and away from the long-established practice of keeping operations in US government hands, with only select outsourcing of certain jobs to independently contracted experts. Key functions of intelligence agencies are now run by private corporations. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) revealed in May that 70 percent of the intelligence budget goes to contractors.

Please take a look at the rest here.

Senior American military officers (and Earth) to Bush: Shiite Muslim militias are a bigger problem, and one that will persist even if al Qaida is defeated.

Tap tap tap! Hello Decider? Can you hear them now?
Despite President Bush's recent insistence that al Qaida in Iraq is the principal cause of this country's violence, senior American military officers here say Shiite Muslim militias are a bigger problem, and one that will persist even if al Qaida is defeated.

"The longer-term threat to Iraq is potentially the Shiite militias," one senior military officer said, echoing concerns that other American officials raised in recent interviews with McClatchy Newspapers.

But didn't they say violence is down? Well, hear this, GW Cheney:

Military officers hail the fact that violence is down as evidence that their campaign against al Qaida in Iraq is succeeding. But there's no sign of reconciliation between Sunni Muslims and Shiites, the rationale the Bush administration cites for increasing the number of U.S. troops in the country.
The military, THE MILITARY, says, no matter what, al Qaida or no al Qaida, the Sunnis will come back to fight the Shiites...and American occupiers. The president may be simple, but the mess in Iraq is not.
Few officials on the front lines, moreover, think that defeating the terrorist organization would end Iraq's troubles. They paint a far more complex vision of the violence than is evident in Washington-based pronouncements about al Qaida's involvement.
"We are worried about a power vacuum," said Salim Abdullah, spokesman for the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front. "We have cases now . . . where people started to believe that al Qaida was what provided their security. We struck al Qaida in one place, and the militias became active. . . . We asked the army not to let militia activity increase al Qaida's popularity among people."
Maybe he should switch to Verizon.

Imagine this scenario: A young congressional aide who moonlights for an escort service receives a call from her madam. The woman who owns the service asks her to meet a customer at a certain spot and time. When the aide/escort arrives, she sees that the client is a member of Congress and sits on the very same committee where she works. Embarrassing? Uncomfortable? A potential scandal? They now each know a big secret about the other. She knows he is using an escort service. He knows she is working for that same service. What do they do? Is his--or her--political career in peril?

The records of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, a.k.a. the DC Madam, suggest that Republican Senator David Vitter came close to experiencing such an awkward moment when he served in the House of Representatives. These phone records indicate that Palfrey may have set Vitter up with an escort who was a staffer for a congressional committee that included Vitter as a member. But if the two did meet for an escort experience, Vitter escaped being found out by his (indirect) subordinate.

Go read.



10:00 AM EDT
4:00 (est.) LIVE
House Committee
Accuracy of Battlefield Information
Oversight and Government Reform
Henry Waxman , D-CA
Richard B. Myers , Joint Chiefs of Staff
The beginning and end of this live program may be earlier or later than the scheduled times.


Rumsfeld will not testify due to a schedule conflict. The White House had no role in that. He will not be subpoenaed, and has answered questions from the committee via his attorney.

The witnesses scheduled to testify are:

* Gen. John P. Abizaid (Retired), Former Commander, U.S. Central Command
* Gen. Richard B. Myers (Retired), Former Chair, Joint Chiefs of Staff
* Gen. Bryan Douglas Brown (Retired), Former Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command
* Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger, Jr. (Retired), Former Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command

Today, the Army censured the last for these four witnesses, Lt. Gen. Kensinger, for what it described as a "perfect storm of mistakes, misjudgments and a failure of leadership," according to the Associated Press. Kensinger was also accused of 'deception.'

UPDATE #2: Rumsfeld WILL testify. H/t to OhDave.

John Nichols: "The Founding Fathers wanted us to use impeachment."

He was just on the Randi Rhodes show, and suggested we do the following (one of my usual transcripts via quick note-taking, so it's paraphrased but includes some actual quotes). Emphases are his. If any of this sounds "off", it just means I wasn't writing fast enough:
Find the United States Constitution on line. Got it? Now hit "control" and "F" on your computer and type in "impeachment". It's in there, right there in the Constitution. Six times.

You know what isn't in there? God, corporations, political parties, state religion,

The founding fathers were concerned that the founding impulse of this republic should be to get rid of kings and queens and place power in the people, that they run the country, not royalty. A term of office wasn't sacrosanct. Everyone is expendable.

Impeachment was "a medicine to be put in the federal medicine cabinet to be used as a remedy."

Politics must be put aside if we are to end Bush's presidency. Without impeachment, Bush's rules will continue to define the presidency from this point forward. Impeachment is vital to maintain the republic. The next president(s) will use those powers, despite their initial well-intentioned protests to the contrary.

If a Democratic president exercised one tenth of the power that Cheney has, Republicans would impeach.

And what grounds are there to impeach?
  1. Checks and balances are in the Constitution "to chain the dogs of war". This meant sharing of information between the president and Congress. Without it, we have an impeachable offense and one that the founders intended.
  2. Included in the Bill of Rights is protection against spying. This is less about the FISA Act being ignored than the Bill of Rights being violated.
  3. No one in the custody of the United States is subject to torture or cruel and unusual punishment. Violating the Geneva Convention is secondary to violating the 8th amendment.
  4. The Valerie Plame matter and politicizing the U.S. Attorneys: Bush and Cheney used their power to advance their own power and politicize.
When Alberto Gonzales is impeached, it will continue right up to Bush and Cheney. Bush was at one of those meetings on the U.S. Attorney firings. This implicates him, and therefore will lead to his own impeachment.
There you go. I must have looked like an idiot sitting in my car in 90 degree heat parked in front of Long's Drugstore madly taking notes on a tiny purple Post-It pad. But then again, why should today be different?

White House releases "significant letter" regarding the Gonzo matter
Short version: This is going nowhere until Gonzo's letter is released

Live blogging:
Per CNN, the letter is from the Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Mike McConnell.

Sounds like he's parsing to the Nth degree. So much so that nobody understands it, apparently. Surprise!

Per Suzanne Malveaux: A number of the activities were authorized. Gonzo was being very specific. One aspect and nothing more was publicly acknowledged by Bush. So what other program are they talking about? It's Top Secret. Everything is secret except the warrantless wiretap program (read: violation of the Constitution). Huh???

Here's what they're doing: Trying to confuse everybody. Hey, I'm confused. Wolf is confused. Arlen's confused. Even Randi Rhodes is confused. Except about one thing: The night of the visit to Ashcroft in intensive care. A man on morphine was being coerced into signing off on an illegal program. That's pretty clear.

Specter is on now saying Gonzo "didn't tell us the whole story" and was contradicted. Did Gonzo level with the committee re: disagreement with the administration at that meeting about the terrorist surveillance program? It all depends on the interpretation of the letter by McConnell, says Specter.

So does this clarify that Gonzo did or didn't lie? Specter won't say until he gets Gonzo's letter as well. He won't comment. He keeps saying that the Gonzo letter will interpret this letter. So he won't say if he lied or didn't lie, and is RELYING ON GONZO's letter now.

If Gonzo has no plausible explanation, then what? Specter wouldn't say.

Specter thinks Gonzo should leave and disagrees with Cheney about that.

Can we please interview someone else? Specter doesn't want this matter to go to court for 2 years so he wants to cave to Bush's demands on interviewing, not under oath.

This is the Big News of the hour. Did I say "news"? This was the Big Nothing.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the nominee for the nation’s top military job, said to the Senate today, "“I do think we will be there [in Iraq] for years, not months.”

The Army Times is reporting that this statement alludes to more than just Iraq and Afghanistan.
The war on terror, Mullen said, “will likely take our troops to places we do not now foresee and will demand of them skills they may not yet possess.”
His candor was welcome, despite the tone of his assessment.
Mullen was nothing if not candid. He agreed with Levin that political progress in Iraq is lagging.
Apparently, he was also critical of the administration.

He was asked what he thought were the most significant mistakes the U.S. has made to date in Iraq. Mullen spelled out just about every criticism ever leveled against the administration’s war. The U.S.:

• Did not fully integrate all elements of U.S. national power in Iraq.

• Focused most attention on the Iraqi national power structures, with limited engagement of the tribal and local power structures.

• Did not establish an early and significant dialogue with neighboring countries, adding to the complex security environment a problematic border situation.

• Disbanded the entire Iraqi army, a potentially valuable asset for security, reconstruction and provision of services to the Iraqi people, providing a recruiting pool for extremist groups.

• Pursued a de-Ba’athification process that proved more divisive than helpful, created a lingering vacuum in governmental capability that still lingers and exacerbated sectarian tensions.

• Attempted to transition to stability operations with an insufficient backup force.

• Failed to communicate with and convince Iraqis and the regional audience of intended U.S. goals.

When asked how the troops "can continue fighting hard when they see or hear of repeated political failings on the Iraqi government side", Mullen replied,

“They believe in their mission,” Cartwright said. ... At the same time, he said, “There comes a point at which they’re going to look at that and say, ‘How much longer and for what prize?’ if progress isn't seen.”

I think most of us came to that point years ago.

John Dean: "Back when Alberto Gonzales was on the Texas Supreme Court, a mutual friend of ours told me he was an empty suit as a Justice."

He just said that on the Randi Rhodes show. Some things never change. Just thought I'd share.

The American Family Association (AFA), a group standing for "traditional family values", has announced it will fight a boycott of FNC advertisers. Groups including Brave New Films and MoveOn are leading an effort to boycott Fox News Channel advertisers. Now, the AFA is organizing a counter-attack. "Every advertiser the liberals want to target for a boycott, we will target to promote," says AFA chairman Donald E. Wildmon.

Liberal groups are also trying to convince Home Depot to cease advertising on the network. A Home Depot spokesperson says the company will not pull its ads because it is "not in the business of censoring media" and needs "to reach (its) customer base through all mediums available."


My eye-rolling muscle is still strained from last night's "TAKE DOWN OF DAILYKOS" by Mr. O'Reilly.... nooooooo..... argh that hurts!!

Okay, I've got an icepack on the muscle and have semi-recovered from my laughing fit.

What a bunch of wanking losers. Don't they remember the broohaha they tried to start with Ford last year over the company advertising in gay publications? How'd that go for ya there AFA? Oh, not so good huh? Seems to me Mr Aravosis helped knock you down a few pegs there. Good luck on your "counter-boycott".

You're gonna need it.

Max Blumenthal featured on CNN

CNN just ran a great piece on Max Blumenthal's short documentary that many of you all may have first viewed here. If not, be sure to check out his feature at the College Republican's Convention and asking these chickenhawks why they are not serving in Iraq:


Brave New Films is on a roll!!!!!

Posts over there from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi & "The Young Turks" Cenk Uygar. Pretty impressive, saunter on over there and check it out!!!

Would-Be Shoe-Bomber Has No Regrets
Neither does that other guy

The man imprisoned for trying to blow up an American passenger jet with explosives hidden in his shoes says he has no regrets and trusts that God will set him free, according to a British newspaper. "I had a couple of good dreams about my situation changing for the better ..." Richard Reid reportedly wrote from prison, the Daily Mirror said Monday.

He "has no regrets and trusts that God will set him free." Thinking back...someone else, some prominent politician, had similar thoughts....who was it?

"I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.' And I did, and then God would tell me, 'George go and end the tyranny in Iraq,' and I did."

And "now again", Mr Bush is quoted as telling the two, "I feel God's words coming to me: 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East.' And by God, I'm gonna do it."

It's coming to me...don't tell me....

First Lady Laura Bush, just back from her third trip to Africa and suggesting that her husband is likely to make another trip there next year, maintained in an interview with the Tribune aboard her flight home Friday night that neither she nor her husband has any regrets about "the hand we were dealt" on 9/11.

"It's a philosophy of no regrets
," Mrs. Bush said.

Wait. I'm almost there.....

Brain freeze. I'll get back to you.

Rupert Murdoch's offer to buy the Wall Street Journal has apparently been accepted

The Bancroft family, which controls Dow Jones & Co., "has accepted" News Corp.'s $5 billion offer to buy the publisher of the Wall Street Journal, an executive of a Dow Jones unit said on Tuesday.

"The Bancroft family has accepted," John Prestbo, editor and executive director of Dow Jones Indexes, told reporters on Tuesday in Chicago. Dow Jones "will be part of News Corp," he said.

Prestbo told Reuters the information came from an internal company memo.

Fixed Noise Network and now this. They report, they decide.

Random Thoughts From A Man On The Road

Ok, still on vacation on my way to YearlyKos. So you all get the smarter bloggers for a bunch of days. Ain't it cool?

So, in any case, I was watching CNN this morning, and on comes Heidi Collins to talk about Senator Stevens' house warming party with the Federal Bureau of Investigations. She then asked how will this effect voters, in light of one Congressman's going to jail (Duke) and one with $90K in the freezer.

Yup, CNN, not reporting things accurately but at least being "fair and balanced." One might get the impression that the corruption was equal on both sides, instead of the fact that they picked the one Democrat accused of just about anything and, well, on the Republican side they could have gone with Duke...or DeLay, Ney, Taft, Fletcher, Blunt, Safavian, Noe, Stevens, Renzi, Pombo, Hayworth, Lewis, Domenici, Wilson, Allen, Giuliani, Gingrich, Vitter, Foley, Kerik, Gonzalez, Bush, Cheney, Libby, Foggo, Hastert or pretty much any Republican in any position of power who has broken a law (which is synonymous with any Republican really) and has been convicted, indicted or had the door busted down by the feds.

So, like, well done CNN.

But hey, they were too busy covering the Maryland woman who killed her four pre-term children. Yes, it's a story. No, it doesn't need an update every half hour so I can hear Heidi Collins ask a police officer, "what do you think her mental state is..."

Ooh, ooh, can I answer? Ok, how about fuckin' nuts? Thanks, now let's move onto the next story.

Is there a connection between Stevens' house getting raided and Roberts hitting his head? Seems fishy to me.

Finally, speaking of Supreme Court Justices, I vacation in Upstate New York with family sometimes in the summer, and we are at a place where they have figures of some importance come and speak. So I was just walking with my wife and we passed one of next week's speakers: Sandra Day O'Connor. Now I know many want to applaud her moderation, but I promised myself I would never forgive her for Bush v. Gore, and I never will in light of what it has done to this country. I wanted to ask about that...but I am on vacation, and no Mike Stark, so I let it go.....

Just in case you missed it yesterday...

Iraq's parliament adjourns without passing key laws

Legislators fail to act on measures the U.S. Congress considers benchmarks of progress, including the sharing of oil revenue.

BAGHDAD — Legislators joked and chatted, showing no sense of urgency about breaking a deadlock between Sunni and Shiite Muslims over national reconciliation as Iraq's parliament held its final session Monday before a monthlong recess.

Adjourning until Sept. 4, despite complaints from some American critics, the parliament failed to pass laws concerning oil investment and revenue-sharing among regions, the re-integration of former members of Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime into government, and provincial elections.

Fred's funds raise fear of flop

Fred Thompson plans to announce Tuesday that his committee to test the waters for a Republican presidential campaign raised slightly more than $3 million in June, substantially less than some backers had hoped, according to Republican sources.

Thompson plans to make the disclosure in a filing with the Internal Revenue Service, as he continues to operate his prospective campaign as a political organization that does not require disclosure to the Federal Election Commission.

HA!!! Oh my jeebus. THIS is what O'Reilly is getting all freaked about?

AWWWW..... shit, I pulled my eye rolling muscles. Damn.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Duke's Future Cell Mate?

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to jail you go. The FBI just raided Sen. Ted Stevens house. TPM has all the details.

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Minimum wage raise: 70 cents an hour (to $5.85 per hour).

Congressional pay raise: $4,400 per year (to $170,000 per year)

Congress approved the law making its pay raises automatic in 1989, giving legislators an easy way to avoid tough votes that could hurt them during re-election campaigns. Since then, congressional salaries have nearly doubled, from $89,500 to $165,200 a year.

President Bush is paid $400,000 a year. His salary isn't affected by changes in congressional pay.

Who needs a salary? Bush can pocket $400,000 in a blink via Halliburton et al.

And according to this article, Congress still can't avoid re-election campaign concerns.

The House of Representatives already has cleared the way for such a raise in 2008, but a bipartisan coalition is out to block it, with critics saying the money could be better spent during a time of war and high deficits.

If they're smart, this bipartisan coalition won't give up until they do block it...unless they want their approval ratings to remain at or below Cheney levels.

U.S. wants to create implantable biochip

How long will it take to reveal the Defense Department's "other" uses for it?
The U.S. Department of Defense awarded Clemson University a $1.6 million contract for implantable biochip research.

The award given the university's Center for Bioelectronics, Biosensors and Biochips is for an implantable biochip that can relay vital health information if a soldier is wounded in battle or a civilian is hurt in an accident.
...and exactly pinpoint his whereabouts. And what his social security number is. And his political affiliation, religion, and sexual orientation. Oh, just think of the possibilities!