Saturday, November 19, 2005

"The Nation" takes a stand

To which I say, Right on, dog.

A word of caution

I gotta admit, with the marvelous skein of bad news for Bush lately, and his plummeting poll numbers, it's hard not to gloat. For example, check out this graphic, charting the poll numbers of Nixon, Clinton and Bush II, and entitled "Bush--Hot on Nixon's Trail."

But these NeoCon people and their puppet, Bush, still control the media, still control all facets of government, still have three years (let's hope not!) years to rule. Now--more than ever--it's time to exploit this momentary advantage, with care and diligence, and with effective insight into the process.

For example, does the Left challenge the Alito nomination? I mean, do they threaten a filibuster? Would that be a waste of energy? Would it win? Would it alienate the moderates?

Does the Left relent a bit, and lean toward the middle? Does it howl until the middle moves Left? Does it do nothing--that is, allow the Bush administration to implode in the eyes of the middle-of-the-road congressmen (and, more to the point, women) and in the middle-of-the-road voters?

I say no. Give no quarter. Attack, attack, attack!--Just like they do. You see, their issues--drilling in Anwar, continuing the Patriot Act, "staying the course" in Iraq--are so awful, and so unpopular, that the Left has wide-open area for attack.Soo--attack!

I don't get it

Add up these numbers: Environmentalists, peaceniks, liberal/progressives, the poor, blacks, browns, unionists, womens'-rightists, academics, and add in libertarians and true conservatives. How many millions is that? Surely the vast majority of them, opposed to this outrageous war, make up a huge majority of Americans. Indeed, who favors the war? All I can think of is thick-necked white males, ages 27-40 who drive pickups with gunracks, and affluent white retirees who drive golfcarts.

So why are we still at war?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Well, now

Maybe all the marching and chanting we've been doing for the last three years is having an effect. The House of Representatives is beginning to sound like the British House of Commons. As we sometimes shout while marching, when accosted by opponents, "This is what democracy sounds like!"

The other sock

just dropped. As I predicted, Fitz is pissed. He's filed a document telling the court that he's proceeding with the leakgate investigation in front of a new grand jury.

Bush the pariah

He leaves the White House to campaign for the Republican candidate for governor in Virginia, sending the candidate to defeat, then he travels to the far east, stopping in South Korea to this effect:

"South Korea has announced plans to pull a third of its troops out of Iraq
next year.The announcement from the Korean Defense Ministry comes a day after
President Bush met with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun (noh moo-hyuhn) and praised him as a staunch ally in the Iraq conflict.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Is the bottom falling out?

I've referred to this poll, Pollkatz, in previous posts. It summarizes and charts, with fine graphics, the numerous polls on numerous issues.

The "Bush index" is a definitive polling indicator, because it measures the spread between Bush's approval and disapproval numbers, as determined weekly by averaging the polls concluded during that week.

Well, as you can see, the news ain't good for Bush, not at all. Pollkatz's figures reveal the highest spread ever between those figures--24.2--whereas no previous index had risen above 20. This means, according to the broad sample of polls, 36% of Americans approve of Bush's handling of his presidency, and 60% do not.

A "silent majority" has arisen, to be sure. And it's a big majority, growing bigger by the week.

Damn, I wish I'd come up with that

but I didn't. I found it in the middle of this essay on the state of the nation. A fine piece, to be sure, but this observation is the capper:

Bush's version of battling the war on terror is this: "Since 'they hate us for our freedoms,' we'll just eliminate the freedoms."

Hillary/Biden watch

Ya wanna see something fun? Watch over the next few months how Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, in their bid to stay in the hunt for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination, try to slither from their ongoing "send more troops to Iraq" mantra, to adoption of a pitch for withdrawal. Neither of them has an ounce of principle, and so I'm quite certain the it's just a matter of time, since even the most hawkish of Democrats in Congress are suddenly climbing on the get-out-now bandwagon. Being alone among their peers on this issue ain't going to get them any primaries, that's for sure.

My guess is that at some point in Bush's meaningless "quarterly progress reports" on Iraq, one or both of them will ease into a reversal, citing some figures or some developments in the reports. There'll be no abrupt change of heart, a la John Edwards, that's for sure. The last thing Biden or Clinton wants is a flip-flop moniker. So, keep your eyes and ears open, tune in to nuance when they speak. Let's see how cleverly they do it--and how cleverly we can spot it.

PS--Scroll down the above link, past the news release of Murtha's statement, and read the statement i

An early analysis

The revelation that Bob Woodward of WaPo says he learned from a White House source the identity and CIA position of Ambassador Wilson's wife two weeks before Scooter Libby is said to have leaked this information to Judith Miller of the NYT, does put an odd twist on prosecutor Fitzgerald's indictment of Libby. Recall, Fitzgerald claimed in his news conference that Libby was the first leaker, and hence had reason to lie about having leaked, since to do so would likely jeopardize national security. Now, with Woodward's earlier knowledge, the strength of Fitzgerald's case against Libby is a bit, but just a bit, questionable.

This article assails Woodward, and rightly so. I've always been somewhat guarded in my assessment of his reporting. He seems to me to be so enamored of his role as contemporary chronicler of political history that he sacrifices insight in favor of churning out a middling mush, becoming first to press but only that. In the process, his recounting is more like regurgitating.

But unlike the author of the above-linked piece, I don't see Woodward's claim to be ruinous to the prosecution of Libby. On the contrary, I believe that "junkyard dog" Fitzgerald--who's taken Woodward's depostion now--will not take kindly to Woodward's last-minute disclosure, and will demand of Woodward that he reveal this source, and that he'll seek a contempt citation, a la Judith Miller, if Woodward doesn't fess up. Woodward may go to jail to protect his source, but he might not. After all, such a sacrifice isn't newsworthy anymore (BTDT--"Been there done that") and besides, Woodward's got a book to finish.

So Woodward will doubtless squeal, and since it's likely his source was Cheney himself, Fitzgerald will likely want to depose Cheney too--not simply chat with him, in Bush's presence and not under oath, as before--and if Cheney lies: perjury. If he tells the truth: violation of a substantive statute, possibly. Either way, Fitzgerald's gonna have himself a field day--and we're in for a hell of a ride.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Compromises, or sellouts?

Two Congressional deals in two days: A half-measure that essentially overturns the recent Supreme Court decision on the rights of "enemy combatants" to have access to federal court; and a bullshit 90-day "reporting" duty imposed on Bush, with no timetable for exit, as to the war in Iraq.

The Republicans have won two battles, defusing the Democrats' issues on two important issues, and looking magnanimous in the process.

The Democrats, the gutless party, caved in twice, handing Bush a way out of his own barbarism. He can now comply with these weak-kneed laws and slide through his murderous policies unscathed.

Lies list

Monday, November 14, 2005

Liar, liar

I guess maybe it'll finally come to light--the evidence of Bush/Cheney's prevarications that led us to war in Iraq. On this score, in addition to the piles of circumstantial evidence, from the Downing Street Memo to the testimonies of cabinet members and advisors of Bush to the outright clarity that Bush/Cheney plotted this war long before they launched it, add this fact: There was massive bombing of various parts of Iraq in the months before the invasion, while Bush was all the while pretending to be abiding by UN resolutions. This last bit of evidence has been rarely alluded to in this debate, but it must not be forgotten, because it, as an affirmative act, proves more than anything else, that the war was underway long before we were told it was and that fact, as much as any other fact, proves the intent to deceive.

Winston Churchill

is said to said this: "Americans will always do the right thing, as soon as they've run out of alternatives."

Have we?

Iraq hic diem.

Let's see. Mass arrests of civilians by the military of an occupying nation. Regular killings of military forces and mercenaries who are hired by the occupier to provide security. A diffuse, undifferentiated insurgency. Killings of Iraqi civilians by the insurgents. Systematic propaganda by the occupier, seeking support from the populace.

A day in the life of an emerging democracy.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Am I missing something?

Jimmy Carter abjures the administration's insistence on the power to torture prisoners, on its pre-emptive war doctrine, on its actions to invade our privacy in pursuit of its "war on terror," and many other outrages, all as recounted in his newly-published book.

My question: since Carter's a born-again Christian, are there two versions, the ones, like Carter, who follow the teachings of Jesus, and the others--those who vote for Bush repeatedly--who follow Bush?


Torture vel non. This will be the question of the upcoming week, no doubt, as the Congress debates various proposals to exempt the CIA or other entities from the Geneva Convention, US military regulations and standard police investigative practices that have been the law of the land for centuries. It is said that we must have information from our captives to protect our troops and our homeland and that departure from our norms may be needed to secure it.

Why are we having this debate? Didn't we need information during the world wars, during Korea and VietNam? Wasn't it likely (wasn't it even more likely?) that captured troops or guerillas could supply it, and wouldn't the same argument apply to them, that harsher methods of interrogation might obtain more information, might save lives? And yet we stuck by the rules in world war--and we stuck by them during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union posed a documented nuclear threat to the U.S.

We're told that "9/11 changed everything." Well, maybe so. Maybe we've allowed the Bush administration to convince us that, but to me all that's changed is the American psyche. "We Have Met the Enemy...and He is Us."

Incompetence or conspiracy?

I seldom watch the Sunday "news" shows, because they've become (were they always?) uninformative shouting matches, without deliberation, without elucidation, just noise. But today I glimpsed Wolf Blitzer's (his real name?) program, interviewing Senators Pat Roberts, R. Kansas, alongside Carl Levin, D. Michigan, on various topics. Among the questions was why various Bush administration officials kept repeating as fact that Iraq had trained al Qaeda operatives before 9/11, when that assertion had been debunked in a Defense Intelligence Agency report long before. It seems that the source, a captured al Qaeda fighter, was said to be unreliable, saying whatever it took to maintain his captors' interest.

Pat Roberts' answer was succinct. "The DIA report didn't reach the policymakers."

And Wolf's next question: "Isn't that a terrible commentary on our intelligence system?" or words to that effect, turning to Levin, an avoidance that Levin bit on.

You don't have to be a trial lawyer to know that the next question that Wolf should have asked Roberts was this: "How do you know that?"

You take it from there.