Wednesday, January 31, 2007




In their defense, CNN has a really nifty computer graphic of the whole event.


MSNBC is still on the case:



NBC Headline:


MSNBC is hyping the story that Iranian agents were behind, in some nebulous, vauge, uncertain way, the kidnapping of 5 U.S. soldiers.

The Report was breathless but riddled with caveats: "Serious indicators... that Iranian agents...may have....helped... in the attack."

Jim Miklaszewski cited the "intricacy" "detail" of the operation as evidence on which the Pentagon is basing their belief that Iranian agents were behind the attack.



The New York Times reports that German prosecutors have issued warrants for 13 CIA agents they allege were involved in the ilegal kidnapping of a German citizen named Khaled el Masri.

According to the article, Germany’s Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, formerly Chief of Staff for the former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who opposed the Iraq war, stance against the American invasion of Iraq, recently admitted that he had been informed about Khaled el Masri's situation, after denying any knowledge of the el- Masri case.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007


The Biden-Hagel Resolution has passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The vote was a 12-9 party line vote, except that Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, voted in favor of the resolution.

The Resolution states that “the U.S. strategy and presence on the ground in Iraq can only be sustained with the support of the American people and bipartisan support from Congress…. It is not in the national interest of the United States to deepen its military involvement in Iraq, particularly by escalating U.S. troop presence in Iraq.”

The resolution also calls for strategy that can produce a political settlement in Iraq: “The primary objective of the U.S. strategy in Iraq should be to have the Iraqi political leaders make the political compromises necessary to end the violence.”

Vote AYE were:

Joseph R. Biden
Christopher J. Dodd
John F. Kerry
Russell D. Feingold
Barbara Boxer
Bill Nelson
Barack Obama
Robert Menendez
Benjamin L. Cardin
Robert P. Casey Jr.
Jim Webb
Chuck Hagel

Norm Coleman

Bob Corker

John E. Sununu
New Hampshire

George V. Voinovich

Lisa Murkowski

Jim DeMint
South Carolina

Johnny Isakson



Sen. Casey (D-Pa) notes that Pennsylvania has lost 140 people in the war, which he thinks makes them third among states.

Mentions the 22,500 wounded. “Some of whom will never, ever recover.”

Calls the surge “an escalation.”

This is not some heroic venture he says, going into the neighborhoods will mean “darkness and horror for these troops.”

Takes on “Smart guy pundits” and even Senators, he says that have said that the resolution won’t have any impact. “It will be very important and significant.


Bill Nelson (D-FL) says, referencing a previous statement by John Kerry, that the split in Iraq goes back 1500 years, to death of Mohammed.

Supports the Biden resolution, but hopes the Warner and Biden resolutions can be reconciled.

Nelson says Marine generals in Anbar convinced him that an increase in troops there might help, but that is not the central issue of the resolution.

Sen. Ben Cardin notes that he voted against the AUMF resolution four years ago, and that it was not popular in his district.

He says the President plan is wrong, and that is the consensus of the American people. References Voinovich’s ‘ship sailing into trouble’ metaphor. Says we need a political solution and that will not be obtained by sending more troops to Iraq.

Cardin is very forceful. Supports resolution.

“We should go on record opposing the President’s plan.”

Also supports “additional action”.

“We should take action on a resolution that…talks about our expectations…and the redeployment of troops.”


Jim Webb points out that 8 years after the Gulf of Tonkin resolution 74% of the American people still supported the war in Vietnam. And it's much lower now.

Points out the polls suggest not all the troops support continuing the war. Calls it “inverted logic” to say we’re continuing the war for the troops. Says they are fighting on our behalf.

Disagrees that the resolution in any way undercuts the troops.


Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Resolution:

“I disagree with the President on the surge. Do I feel disloyal for saying that? No.”

"I’m concerned that the 20,000 will not be sufficient to quell the violence, in what I consider to be a civil war.”

She says she heard from returning troops “it’s a whack-a-mole situation.”

She disagrees that because it’s a non-binding resolution, it doesn’t make a difference.

“This cannot be the President’s war”

Murkowski says she agrees with Barack Obama that there should be more options other that “you’re either for the surge” or for withdrawal. She wants to explore other options. For example, pulling out of Baghdad.


Barack Obama speaking on markup:

Notes that neither Rice nor the President can cite any consequences for a lack of success. Withdrawal is the only leverage they have.

Obama notes that it seems like "the only choices are more troops or the status quo." But "the essential question is, how can we genuinely change the course in Iraq?"

The answer he gives is a phased redeployment of troops.

He responds to the criticism from the administration that a precipitous withdrawal would lead to chaos.

"It already is chaos."

"Second, nobody has called immediate withdrawal of all the troops."


Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn) is speaking:

"I'm not persuaded that adding 21,000 troops is necessarily the right thing to do."

“I think there’s been many mistakes by the administration. More that you can imagine.”

“But I’m not going to support the resolution, because the one group of people who have been absolutely outstanding have been the men and women in uniform. I don’t believe it will affect the administration one iota. If I vote for this resolution I will be saying to them, next time I see them, ‘I oppose you being here, but thank you.’

"So I oppose the resolution because it’s non-binding. In essence we’re not taking action at all.”

Voinovich to Bush: "You Are Not Listening"

CSPAN 3 Blogging - Markup Committee on Iraq Resolution:

Sen. Feingold says officials have been intimidated by the President in the past -- for example, it has been taboo to discuss timelines or withdrawal. He says the Senate is still being intimidated by the administration, as they have in the past, by not discussing their power of the purse.

Sen. Joe Biden responds, respectfully, that the has never been intimidated by anybody, much less the administration.

George (“I’ve bought into his dream”) Voinovich says that we are sending a message to the troops, that we should “speak with one voice” so as not to “confuse people”, but also to send a message to the administration -- “You are not listening!”

Likens Bush administration to a ship heading into a disaster, and that it’s time to change course.

Says the “most important audience” is not the troops, it is the administration.

The Toxicity of Joe Lieberman

Yesterday I blogged extensively on the Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearings on General Petraeus. I only blogged on the latter half of the hearings, where much of the discussion invovled the striking remarks of Sen. Joe Lieberman. I was going to post later on what he said, but of course, yesterday was a busy day, what with the Libby trial, and the State of the Union address. Glenn Greenwald, a writer I enjoy very much (and have addedd to my blogroll) covers Lieberman's remarks today on his blog.
This is the link: Glenn Greenwald

Here is an excerpt:

"Yesterday, Lieberman reached what might be a new low. During the confirmation hearings of Gen. David Petraeus, Lieberman provoked this truly reprehensible exchange with Gen. Petraeus, as summarized by The Washington Post's Thomas Ricks:

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) asked Army Lt. Gen. David H . Petraeus during his confirmation hearing yesterday if Senate resolutions condemning White House Iraq policy "would give the enemy some comfort."

Petraeus agreed they would, saying, "That's correct, sir."

Using the terms to" give comfort" and the "enemy" in the same phrase has no conceivable objective other than to invoke accusations of treason. The Constitution's definition of "treason" is exactly that -- giving "Aid and Comfort" to the enemy. For Lieberman to purposely track the Constitution's treason language when describing opponents of the "surge" plan -- and to invite the new Iraq War Commander to agree with his accusation -- reveals so inescapably what Lieberman is. That's just the basest and most despicable smear one can imagine.

– Glenn Greenwald

Well put.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Sen. Joe Lieberman is back now.

He’s backtracking from his earlier slanderous remarks.

“I’m sure all the members of the committee support our troops.”

But with regard to the resolution of disapproval, he still wants Petraeus to say it will give comfort to the enemy, though Lieberman will admit that is not the “intent” of the sponsors.

Big of him.

Lieberman says he fears the resolution will somehow limit Petraeus psychologically, if not in any material way. He doesn’t explain how.

Joe: “I wish this was not on CSPAN 3 but on evening television”

Lieberman: “Is it worth it to send 21,000 troops? Is it possible to succeed?”

Petraeus says that actually, Iraq has a history of Sunnis and Shiites getting along.

Until, I guess, we invaded.


Sen. McCaskill opens her time by also saying the resolutions opposing the surge are patriotic, yet another dismissal of Sen. Lieberman.

She asks General Petraeus about stories she has read that Iraqis troops are just not up to the job. she goes through his own list about successful counter-insurgency tactics.

She emphasizes the last one: "Ultimate success depends on local leaders."

Petraeus says if he senses that "they don't want it as much as we do" at some point, he will tell his boss and the Congress.

Carl Levin takes over and points out that two years ago Cheney said we were in the last throes, that Bush now admits we're not winnning, but that he did't realize that until the elections in November.

Says at least Bush admits now that it isn't an open-ended committment, but asks, how do we get the Iraqis to take over? Do you increase American presence, or do we increase pressure on them?

Dismisses Lieberman again by saying the U.S. soldiers he knows "welcome an honest debate."

Petraeus states that he does not support or oppose any Senate resolutions, and agrees that the political control by Iraqis is the ultimate goal.

Asks about providing Al Maliki complaining about the U.S. not providing Iraqis with weapons. Petraeus says he will look into it, but says they've given quite a bit.

Gen. Petraeus discussing formation of insurgency and de-Baathification. Says "it was a real challenge" that "obviously caused signigicant challenge for us."


Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) just said that his understanding his is that U.S. troops won't be going to Iraq "as troops out front" but that Iraqi troops will be "out front". I guess American troops will standing just behind them, or something.

I didn't quite get Petraeus' response.

Also says Baghdad is "just like an American city", if it also lacked basic services and was wracked by daily violence.

Martinez agrees that dissent is ok, but says that it's wrong to suggest that civilian miltary leaders might lie to Congress. This might be a reference to the many question Petraeus got asking for assurances that he always be candid with the committee.

Martinez also demands that anyone who opposes the war cut off funding.



Evan Bayh brings up Lieberman's accusations to Petraeus. Does political disagreement hurt the troops' morale?

Petraeus: "I seriously doubt our troops are watching CSPAN-3".

The point is made that the troops will do their duty, not to mention that there is a difference of political opinion within the troops.

Bayh then emphasizes that this is up to the Iraqis.

I must say I'm not that familiar with Evan Bayh and he is pretty good.


Senator John Warner (R-VA), questioning General Petraeus, notes that he was once Secretary of the Navy, and in a similar situation as Petraeus.

"This whole nation is in support of the men and women of the armed forces."

He says: "We're not a division of patriots who support the troops" and those who would aid and abet the enemy.

This is yet another slam at Senator Joe Lieberman (CFL-CT).

Warner says he put forward his resolution in response to the President, who asked for those who differ from the President to make their views public.

Warner asks: "Why don't the Iraqis fight sectarian violence, and not the American GI?"

Petraeus answers that this time they really will.

Warner asks, what if they fail to meet their committments?

Petraeus says he is willing to go to his superiors and tell them the Iraqis forces are failing.


Senator Webb, speaking on his own experiences in Vietman and as a journalist in Lebannon, asks Petraeus, are Iraqis forces weak because they lack skills, or because they lack faith in the Iraqi government?

Petraeus answers it is the latter. The General says that therefore there is a political solution, not a military solution.


Senator Webb:

"Attitudes of those serving is not wholly appropriate to the debate"

There you go.

"So many of these predictions being bandied about... increase in terrorist activity, empowerment of Iraq" we warned about before going into Iran, and they happened.


Liz Cheney has an editorial in today'sThe Washington Post in which criticizes President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq and says that Sen. Chuck Hagel lacks "courage."

Cheney, is of course, the daughter of the man who famously said "I had other priorities in the '60s than military service." Needless to say, Liz, born in 1966, has carried on this grand family tradition of non-service.

Hagel, on the other hand, was twice wounded in combat -- but as the psychotic boy-Emperor said in Gladiator, "there are many forms of courage." Liz Cheney probably means the courage to send other people to fight a losing war so you can feel like a hero -- or maybe she means the courage to write essays saying people who don't agree with you are cowards.

Naming Senator Chuck Hagel, Hillary Clinton, and apparently every public official except CFL Joe Lieberman, as cowards, she writes: "American troops will win if we show even one-tenth the courage here at home that they show every day on the battlefield. And by the way, you cannot wish failure on our soldiers' mission and claim, at the same time, to be supporting the troops. It just doesn't compute."

She also slams President Bush, acknowledging that we are losing the war, and saying "Our soldiers will win if we let them."

George W. Bush, apparently, according to Liz Cheney, has been forcing our troops to fight with one hand behind their back, or worse.

Perhaps this is something she can take up with "Five Deferments Dick" next time she sees him.

Monday, January 22, 2007


From the New York Times:

"Executives at ABC and its parent, Disney, are mulling the future of the actor Isaiah Washington, a star of the hit series “Grey’s Anatomy,” after Mr. Washington last week publicly used an anti-gay slur for the second time in roughly three months, a Disney executive said Friday.

The situation has potentially great implications for ABC, which is reaping millions of dollars in advertising revenues from a show that, in its third season, is among the highest rated on television.

The executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because company officials were instructed not to go beyond a prepared statement, said that Mr. Washington’s behavior could be considered grounds for dismissal under Disney’s corporate antidiscrimination policy.

ABC and Touchstone, Disney’s television studio, called Mr. Washington’s behavior “unacceptable” in a statement issued on Thursday, three days after Mr. Washington’s most recent remark, which occurred in the backstage press room at the Golden Globes ceremony last week.

Mr. Washington later apologized for the remark and said that he was seeking help for “issues I obviously need to examine within my own soul.” But the damage might be done for Mr. Washington, 43, who portrays Dr. Preston Burke on “Grey’s Anatomy,” which this season has attracted an audience of more than 18 million viewers each week, according to Nielsen Media Research. On Thursday, the first broadcast since the show won for best dramatic television series at the Golden Globes, the audience numbered nearly 22 million, according to ABC."

Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Cat and Deer Blogging


Wednesday, January 17, 2007


"This is not a monarchy, Wolf. We tried that once, and it didn't work."

- Sen. Hagel, on CNN.


Vin Weber on Iraq

"It's not a civil war, it's a violent insurrection."

– Vin Weber, currently with the Mitt Romney campaign

Sunday, January 14, 2007

More Winter Photos


Friday, January 12, 2007


An homage to Disney, Robert A. Iger, David L. Westin, Stephen McPherson, ABC, KSFO, Melanie Morgan, and the rest of the gang!

[To the tune of "Under the Sea!"]

Funding Disney
Funding Disney
Darling hate speech
Really is great speech
Take it from me!

We advocate murder during the day
While they take your rights away
We accuse you of treason
We don't need a reason
Funding Disney!


Senator Ensign's Obsession With Tear Gas

It seems as though a number of Republicans have already begun to devote a majority of their time to ensuring that liberals can be blamed for the disaster in Iraq.

Fro example, twice in the past few days Sen. Ensign of Nevada has made it clear that he believes U.S. troops are fighting with one hand behind their back because their are not permitted to use tear gas. It's entirely clear how its use would greatly benefit our situation in Iraq, but this morning Ensign revisited the topic with General Pace. In Ensign's opinion, use of tear gas is "common sense," stated that "lawyers" in the State Department, were refusing to give their permission for the use of tear gas.

The undercurrent was unmistakable. The implication was that liberal pin-striped State Dept. lawyers were handicapping our brave soldiers, in violation of all common sense, because they were more concerned about international law than the lives of our brave men and women in uniform.

Of course, the last time I checked, George W. Bush still ran the State Department, and has never seemed concerned with the law, much less international law, but I'm sure we'll hear more about this in the future.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mountain Blogging



Condi Rice appeared today before the U.S. Senate

Some quotes:

"The stakes are enormous."

"The situation in Iraq is unacceptable."

The strategy has "very strong political and economic elements."

Important to "have an effective government in Baghdad, but equally important to have strong provincial governments."

Al Anbar is "the epicenter of Al Qaeda activity"

Iraq is "central to our credibility"

"This is a different Middle East." "One the side are reformers"... "on the other side are extremists."


On the side of the extremists are Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas.

Because they are not interested in stabilizing, vs. not stabilizing. Links "destabilizing" in Iraq and Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

She says they have a regional policy. She understands skepticism and pessimissm regarding Iraq.

She's emphasizing that they talked to a lot of advisors, read the ISG Report. Bush then concluded that the best approach is to prop up the current Iraqi government.

She is expressing a lot of confidence in the Iraqi government. Keeps saying "they came to us," and gave to President Bush assurances that "this time they are going to get the job done."

Rice: "We want to work with all Americans as we move forward."


Condi Rice appeared today before the U.S. Senate

Some quotes:

"The stakes are enormous."

"The situation in Iraq is unacceptable."

The strategy has "very strong political and economic elements."

Important to "have an effective government in Baghdad, but equally important to have strong provincial governments."

Al Anbar is "the epicenter of Al Qaeda activity"

Iraq is "central to our credibility"

"This is a different Middle East." "One the side are reformers"... "on the other side are extremists."


On the side of the extremists are Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas.

Because they are not interested in stabilizing, vs. not stabilizing. Links "destabilizing" in Iraq and Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

She says they have a regional policy. She understands skepticism and pessimissm regarding Iraq.

She's emphasizing that they talked to a lot of advisors, read the ISG Report. Bush then concluded that the best approach is to prop up the current Iraqi government.

She is expressing a lot of confidence in the Iraqi government. Keeps saying "they came to us," and gave to President Bush assurances that "this time they are going to get the job done."

Rice: "We want to work with all Americans as we move forward."

Gates Quotes Apollo 13

Pehaps appropriately, given where find ourselves in Iraq, Sec. Def. Gates this morning quoted the movie "Apollo 13", summing up the administration stance there as well as anyone.

"Failure is Not an Option"


He also announced that from this moment forward rerservists will be involuntarily mobilized for only one year at a time, which is less than now.

He's also going to look at hardship waivers and other mobilization policies.

Also, he claims they exceeded their recruiting goals for the month of December.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Mike Barnicle - Liar

Since Atrios comments are down, I feel compelled to point here on my own blog that Mike Barnicle just bashed Hillary Clinton on Hardball saying that "does she know where Iraq is?" and she hasn't said anything about Iraq in months, which I am willing to bet is a fucking lie.

I'm not Hillary Clinton's biggest supporter, but lying is lying and slander is slander and strutting on tv like a jackass, preening for well-known Hillary-hater Chris Matthews, is utterly contemptible.



Senator Dodd will announce that he's running for President tomorrow.

He's a nice guy, though I don't rate his chances very high. At a minimum, he's going to have distance himself from Joe Lieberman. Dodd endorsed Ned Lamont, so I think it's safe to say their no longer friends; nevertheless, they used to be close, of course.

His bigger problem is that while people like John McCain, Hillary Clinton and even Barack Obama are nationally famous, not as many people know who Dodd is, and even fewer, I'd guess, could say what Dodd stands for.

Dodd is a respected Senator from New England - no offense to John Kerry, who I think ran a decent campaign and is a good guy, but we tried that already. Like Joe Biden, Dodd is prominent in Washington, but unlikely to make much headway with this.


Duncan Hunter: "It's a Handoff"

According to Duncan Hunter, we're in phase two of a well-planned operation, and this is just a "handoff", like in football.

Democrats in Congress will be to blame if we lose.


Bush is going to give his speech from the White House Library.

No word yet if he will read to the nation from "My Pet Goat."


Sunday, January 07, 2007


The Biden Campaign:

"Horton Hears a Hortatory"

Joe Klein is Full of It, As Usual

Chris Mathews:
Would Al Gore be President today if he had gone after the issue [of global warming] back in 2000?

“Yes, because he would have sounded like a human being, and not a robot.”

- Joe Klein

Not only is typically gratuitously insulting, from Joe ("Democrats Hate America") Klein, it is also obtuse, poor election analysis, and almost certainly false.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Christmas Cat Blogging



"Bush congratulated the Prime Minister on the decision" [to execute Saddam].

– Tony Snow, White House Spokesman, January 4, 2006.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tucker Carlson's Smear Festival

Tucker Carlson has been engaging an evening long smear of Nancy Pelosi, accusing her of creating a cult of personality and culminating in comparing to vicious dictator Nikolai Ceausescu.


Giuliani Early Plans Laid Out

From the New York Times:

"As former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani was campaigning for Republican candidates last fall, his aides were secretly planning a Giuliani presidential campaign despite his statements to the contrary, targeting potential donors and assessing possible liabilities, including his controversial former aide, Bernard B. Kerik, and his ex-wife Donna Hanover, according to a 140-page strategy document apparently prepared by Giuliani advisers.

The public disclosure of the document, which was leaked by a Giuliani adversary to The Daily News, is potentially damaging for Mr. Giuliani, given that he has portrayed himself as a leader on security issues and strategic planning.

Indeed, for better or worse, he gained a reputation as mayor for tightly controlling and shaping public information; such a security breach in any presidential operation, but especially his, stands as an unusual embarrassment, as well as a boon to his potential opponents who want to know his thinking."

The worst news is that somebody close to his team is willing to hand over this document to a newspaper.