Monday, April 09, 2007

Columnists Mock Rep. Pence's 'Just Like Indiana' Comment on Baghdad Market

As mentioned the other day when I discussed the McCain story, Mike Pence's comment about Indiana is completely bizarre. Is this guy on drugs?

NEW YORK While the sunny comments of Sen. John McCain after visiting the Shorja market in Baghdad last Sunday -- now partly disavowed -- have drawn the most press attention, several wags have also had a good deal of fun with the now famous sound bite offered by Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana. He said the Baghdad bazaar was "like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime."

Read the quoted columns here

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More Details On McCain's Ridiculous Visit To Baghdad Marketplace

From CBS News, Allen Pizzey:

Brian Montopoli: It seems that some reporters, including yourself and CNN's Michael Ware, have really taken umbrage at John McCain's recent comments, essentially saying that there are a lot of neighborhoods where you can walk around relatively safely. Is it fair to say that that really sort of bothered reporters?

Allen Pizzey: Yes. It's disgraceful for a man seeking highest office, I think, to talk utter rubbish. And that is utter rubbish. It's electoral propaganda. It is simply not true. No one in his right mind who has been to Baghdad believes that story.

Now, McCain and some other senators were there on Sunday, and they claimed, "Oh, we walked around for a whole hour…and we drove in from the airport. Gosh, aren't we great, we drove in from the airport." Excuse me, Mr. McCain, you drove in in a large convoy of heavily armed vehicles. The last one had a sign on it saying "Keep back 100 yards. Deadly force authorized." Every single car that they approached or passed pulled over and stopped, because that's the way it is. When one of those security details goes by, every ordinary person gets the hell out of the way, in case they get shot.

If he did walk around that market, and I didn't see him do it,
and he didn't announce he was going to do it, you can bet your life there were an awful lot of soldiers deployed to make sure that nobody came near that place. He's talking rubbish. And he should not get away with it.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Photo Op Du Jour: The President Almost Makes A Mess of A Hybrid Car With The VP Next To Him

An interesting story from The Detroit News, you have to go to the link to see the accompanying photo:

Plug it in, fire it up, Mr. President
The Detroit News

Credit Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally with saving the leader of the free world from self-immolation.

Mulally told journalists at the New York auto show that he intervened to prevent President Bush from plugging an electrical cord into the hydrogen tank of Ford's hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid at the White House last week. Ford wanted to give the Commander-in-Chief an actual demonstration of the innovative vehicle, so the automaker arranged for an electrical outlet to be installed on the South Lawn and ran a charging cord to the hybrid. However, as Mulally followed Bush out to the car, he noticed someone had left the cord lying at the rear of the vehicle, near the fuel tank.

"I just thought, 'Oh my goodness!' So, I started walking faster, and the President walked faster and he got to the cord before I did. I violated all the protocols. I touched the President. I grabbed his arm and I moved him up to the front," Mulally said. "I wanted the president to make sure he plugged into the electricity, not into the hydrogen This is all off the record, right?"

At least the VP didn't have a shotgun in hand. There's not much light in these two noggins.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Southwestern U.S. Is Becoming A Permanent Dust Bowl

Scientists are now reporting, after comprehensive research on the trends, that "the severe seven-year drought in the Southwestern United States is just the beginning of a new and even drier climate for the region due to climate change," according to IPS.

Read the full story on the coming permanent "dust bowl" in the U.S. Southwest here

The "dust bowl" conditions of the 1930's have returned, with a vengeance, and it looks, according to Ming Fang Ting, a senior research scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, like the current drought in the U.S. Southwest is not due to natural variability in climactic conditions. Her research was publish Thursday in Science, just the day before another key report by the Inter-Governmental Panel of climate Change is due to be released.

Using 19 computer climate models, researchers have determined that the drought in the U.S. Southwest and parts of Northern Mexico have been caused by changes in sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. Apparently, the models have indicated that global climate change will dramatically increase the size of the sub-tropical dry zone around the planet. These dry zones will be far worse than anything seen in modern years and any time since medieval times. Because many people live in these regions, the impact looks to be very dramatic.

States affected in the U.S. would be Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah, among the fastest growing states in the U.S. This could have major impacts on demographics and population movements. Energy and water costs alone could ultimately slow population growth in these regions, but for now, population trends are likely not to change.

Blair Gives No Thanks To and No Mention Of President Bush in Release of British Personnel

British Prime Minister Tony Blair gives NO THANKS TO AND NO MENTION OF PRESIDENT BUSH, for the release of British personnel by Iran.

Text of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's statement Wednesday on the 15 Britons held in Iran:

I'm glad that our 15 service personnel have been released.

I know their release will come as a profound relief, not just to them, but to their families that have endured such distress and anxiety over these past 12 days.

Throughout we have taken a measured approach, firm but calm, not negotiating but not confronting either.

I would like to thank our allies in Europe, our allies in the United Nations Security Council for their support, and also our friends and allies in the region who played their part.

We're grateful to all of them as we are to the officials in the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defense and here in Downing Street for the work that they have done.

And to the Iranian people I would simply say this: We bear you no ill will, on the contrary, we respect Iran as an ancient civilization as a nation with a proud and dignified history.

And the disagreements that we have with your government we wish to resolve peacefully through dialogue.

I hope, as I have always hoped, that in the future we are able to do so.

That's all I've got to say for this evening. Thank you.

Reid and Pelosi Outflank Bush on War & Middle East Peace

Apparently G.W. is furious, not because Pelosi is talking to Syria, as detailed yesterday, he sent Republicans to do that too. G.W. is furious because Democrats have the President boxed in and outflanked, and Republican members of Congress are being read the riot act by their constituents while the President's rhetoric, intended to denounce Democrats, actually is insulting the voters who agree with Democrats.

Isn't that a pickle!

Read about it here.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Media Tells GOP Lies, Without Abandon: GOP Rep. Joe Pitts In Syria Before Pelosi, at Bush's Request

George Bush said he wants to isolate Syria, so no one should be talking to them. He denounced Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and this denunciation got a great deal of press. Virtually simultaneously, GOP Rep. Joe Pitts, along with 3 other Republican Congresspersons, was dispatched to Syria, by the White House. And it is not like the media didn't know. Pelosi told the media about it, but mostly - they didn't report it very prominently or appropriately as they conveyed the Bushista propaganda. This is a big part of the problem with the nation's media. If you didn't look for the news carefully, your head would be filled with garbage that generally is only propaganda meant to steer your emotions in a particular direction. That is why it is called, propaganda. And our Nation's "private" media does it better than anyone else's.

The Intelligencer Journal reports the details the mainstream media ("MSM") seems to have intentionally missed reporting on:

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. - While U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's upcoming visit to Syria has caused the White House to bristle, a little-publicized rendezvous took place Sunday between Syria's president and Lancaster County's congressman.

And though Bush administration officials have been criticizing Pelosi, it's not clear what role the White House and the U.S. Department of State played when U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts and two other Republican congressmen met with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

. . .

Gabe Neville, Pitts' chief of staff, said Monday . . . "It was done in cooperation with the administration," he said.

However, White House spokesman Alex Conant said Monday the Bush administration — as a blanket policy — "discourages all of (Congress') visits" to Syria, a country believed by the White House to sponsor terrorism.

The House Speaker's office criticized the Bush administration for focusing their criticisms — until Monday — on Pelosi, the top House Democrat, for leading a congressional delegation to meet with Assad later this week.

"There's a Republican trip going before her, and no one is criticizing that," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said. "So clearly the White House's motives here are in question."

Details about Pitts' trip to Syria, including when the White House learned of it and whether and how the Department of State was involved, were not available from Neville, who said, "I'll let (Pitts) answer that when he gets back."

. . .

The Republicans' conference with Assad was first reported by The Associated Press in a story about Pelosi. Pitts' office made no public announcements preceding the Damascus visit.

The Bush administration has accused Syria of supporting terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah in their efforts against Israel, meddling in the affairs of nearby Lebanon and allowing foreign fighters to cross the Iraqi border to engage U.S. forces.

Administration critics from both political parties and the recent bipartisan Iraq Study Group have recommended open talks with Syria to resolve these issues.

Pelosi, in published reports, characterized her planned meeting with Assad as a "fact finding" mission through which her delegation can "hopefully build the confidence" between the United States and Syria.

Pelosi is leading a seven-member congressional delegation that includes six Democrats and one Republican through the Middle East with planned visits to Israel and Lebanon, as well as Syria.

Sunday, White House counselor Dan Bartlett said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that "most Americans would not think that the leader of the Democratic Party should be meeting with the heads of a state sponsor of terror."

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino, who last week called Pelosi's planned meeting with Assad a "bad idea," told White House reporters Monday she did not talk about the trio of Republicans in Syria because she was asked specifically about Pelosi.

The Secret Prisoner Exchange: U.S. Releases Previously Abducted Iranian Diplomat and Iran Releases British Sailors

You might call it the Bush Hostage Crisis, but for the fact that key U.S. media won't report the behind the scenes truth that led to the release. And when they do, it won't be without pro-Bush spin, because they just can't help themselves. What an F-ing waste of time! Nothing to show for all of this Bush-Cheney-GOP drama but more problems, more extremism around the world and more disharmony and destruction. And what is worse, people think that just because he was appointed President and despite numerous violations of law as President, he deserves absolute, unquestioning fealty. The GOP acts like the old Soviet version of the Communist Party. Oh, I forgot, they are "pro bizness" - so it couldn't be, right? ;) Even the reds had bizness and corruption to make them relatively wealthy and privileged. The GOP is just a fancier version of fascism clothed in our own rich notions of heritage. But you can't hide a pig with lipstick for long.

Britain vs Iran: A high-stakes game of chess

The Pawn: Iranian diplomat is released by Iraq as hostage crisis enters crucial stage
The Gambit: Margaret Beckett says Britain is 'ready to engage' with Tehran
The Endgame? Hopes rise that British sailors may be freed through prisoner exchange

By Patrick Cockburn
Published: 04 April 2007

The stand-off over the 15 British sailors and marines captured by Iran looks to be moving towards a de facto prisoner exchange, despite denials by Britain and Iran that a swap was intended.

The first sign of a breakthrough yesterday was the release of Jalal Sharafi, an Iranian diplomat abducted from the streets of Baghdad two months ago, whom Iran claimed had been seized by Iraqi commandos controlled by the US. At the same time, an Iraqi Foreign Ministry official said the Iraqi government was "intensively" seeking the release of five Iranian officials captured in a US helicopter raid on a long-established Iranian liaison office in the Kurdish capital of Arbil in January.

The rhetoric in Tehran and London became more diplomatic as Tony Blair said the next two days would be "fairly critical" in resolving the crisis, though the Prime Minister gave no details. Iran continues to deny it seized the British naval detachment in the northern Persian Gulf on 23 March to force an exchange of hostages, while Britain said it would not bargain for their release. (read the rest here)

McCain Market Visit Kills 21 Innocent Iraqi Victims

The London Times is reporting this one, in the middle of another story. But the implication in the words is obvious:

...21 Shia market workers were ambushed, bound and shot dead north of the capital. The victims came from the Baghdad market visited the previous day by John McCain, the US presidential candidate, who said that an American security plan in the capital was starting to show signs of progress.

Tanks to Daily Kos' Oznick.

John McCain: In Iraq and Keeping Ideologically Pure, Despite The Facts

See this gem:

McCain Wrong on Iraq Security, Merchants Say

BAGHDAD, April 2 — A day after members of an American Congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain pointed to their brief visit to Baghdad’s central market as evidence that the new security plan for the city was working, the merchants there were incredulous about the Americans’ conclusions.

Representative Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican, said the Shorja market was “like a normal outdoor market in Indiana.”

“What are they talking about?” Ali Jassim Faiyad, the owner of an electrical appliances shop in the market, said Monday. “The security procedures were abnormal!”

The delegation arrived at the market, which is called Shorja, on Sunday with more than 100 soldiers in armored Humvees — the equivalent of an entire company — and attack helicopters circled overhead, a senior American military official in Baghdad said. The soldiers redirected traffic from the area and restricted access to the Americans, witnesses said, and sharpshooters were posted on the roofs. The congressmen wore bulletproof vests throughout their hourlong visit.

“They paralyzed the market when they came,” Mr. Faiyad said during an interview in his shop on Monday. “This was only for the media.” (read the rest here)

Please note in the accompanying NYTimes photo, McCain is wearing a very visible bullet proof vest, and is accompanies by well armed soldiers carrying their weapons prominently. If this is how Mike Pence and John McCain walk about in a "normal outdoor market in Indiana" - then something is wrong in Indiana.

GOP Fascism, Bushista Style

Read more about the outrageousness that is the GOP these days:

The Secret FBI Unit Which Interrogated Protestors and then lied about it. Did they lie to a federal court, or was it an "understandable oversight" - of which no official had a reasonable "recollection"? I learned about it from Daily Kos and the poster there learned about the story from John Cole.

The Bushista' Republicans have given out scientific Gag Orders to Scientists who might say things they ideologically disagree with. See, ""CLIMATE AND OCEAN SCIENTISTS PUT UNDER NEW SPEECH RESTRAINTS — Any Scientific Statements 'of Official Interest' Must be Pre-Approved"" and this Knight-Ridder report, regarding the gag order. Hey, the Soviets used to do this. It just shows, sometimes, the more you think about a subject, the more it infects your own thinking. The GOP has become the American version of fascist or communist. It's not surprising, but it is surprising that people who claim to have any affiliation for libertarianism claim allegiance to such a party. The GOP has seen better days.


Washington, DC — Federal climate, weather and marine scientists will be subject to new restrictions as to what they can say to the media or in public, according to agency documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Under rules posted last week, these federal scientists must obtain agency pre-approval to speak or write, whether on or off-duty, concerning any scientific topic deemed “of official interest.”

On March 29, 2007, the Commerce Department posted a new administrative order governing “Public Communications.” This new order covers the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which includes the National Weather Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Commerce’s new order will become effective in 45 days and would repeal a more liberal “open science” policy adopted by NOAA on February 14, 2006.

Although couched in rhetoric about the need for “broad and open dissemination of research results [and] open exchange of scientific ideas,” the new order forbids agency scientists from communicating any relevant information, even if prepared and delivered on their own time as private citizens, which has not been approved by the official chain-of-command. . . read the rest here

ABC News Reports On Bush Sponsorship of Terrorist Group in Iran

If you wonder why Iran suddenly has a bug up its ass, you might consider a story that has been out on the blogosphere for a few years now, but is getting some small amount of attention now after the ABC News story "The Secret War Against Iran".

A Pakistani tribal militant group responsible for a series of deadly guerrilla raids inside Iran has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials since 2005, U.S. and Pakistani intelligence sources tell ABC News.

The group, called Jundullah, is made up of members of the Baluchi tribe and operates out of the Baluchistan province in Pakistan, just across the border from Iran.

It has taken responsibility for the deaths and kidnappings of more than a dozen Iranian soldiers and officials.

The article talks a bit about funding and also the leader of the group, who is just the kind of guy we have been known to sponsor in the past, only to find out later that we've created a new enemy.

Tribal sources tell ABC News that money for Jundullah is funneled to its youthful leader, Abd el Malik Regi, through Iranian exiles who have connections with European and Gulf states.

Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage.

Jundullah has produced its own videos showing Iranian soldiers and border guards it says it has captured and brought back to Pakistan.

The leader, Regi, claims to have personally executed some of the Iranians.

"He used to fight with the Taliban. He's part drug smuggler, part Taliban, part Sunni activist," said Alexis Debat, a senior fellow on counterterrorism at the Nixon Center and an ABC News consultant who recently met with Pakistani officials and tribal members.

It's a story worth following.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Botched US Raid That Led To The UK's Hostage Crisis With Iran

The Independent is reporting that a botched U.S. raid led to the UK's Hostage Crisis with Iran.

The article takes a long time to access, but it is worth reading, if you can get it to download. The article suggests that a January 11th raid inside Iraq and embarked upon without informing local Kurdish authorities has devolved into the current crisis. Led by US forces to capture five "relatively junior Iranian officials whom the US accuse of being intelligence agents and still holds" - the article indicates that this event, which was much more serious than world media has portrayed, was the "starting pistol" for the new crisis.

In effect, the capture of vulnerable British forces were in retaliation for this US action. The US had attempted to capture two high-ranking Iranian security officers who were to openly meet with Iraqi leaders. The paper suggests that this would have been the same circumstance as Iran trying to capture the heads of the CIA and MI6 while they were on an official visit to a country neighboring Iran, such as Pakistan or Afghanistan.

In addition, it was indicated that US justifications for the attempted capture of these officials made no sense. The US alleged that the officials were "suspected of being closely tied to activities targeting Iraq and coalition forces," yet no member of the US-led coalition had been killed in the region (Arbil) and there were no Sunni-Arab insurgents or Shia militiamen there. The raid had been attempted just hours before President Bush made a speech attacking Iran for "providing material support for attacks on American troops." According to one of the targeted Iranian officials, Mohammed Jafari, the powerful deputy head of the Iranian National Security Council, "Almost all who [are] involved in the suicide attacks are from Arab countries." His point was, that there had only been one Iranian amongst all suicide bombers in Iraq, meaning that he thought that Iran could not be providing material support for the attacks.

The Independent's article suggests that this botched attempted abduction of Iranian officials in Iraq on official business and meeting, on the record, with Iraqi officials, was a far more "seirous and aggressive act . . . not carried out by proxies but by US forces directly." This raid "provoked a dangerous escalation in the confrontation between the US and Iran which ultimately led to the capture of the 15 British sailors and Marines - apparently considered a more vulnerable coalition target than their American comrades."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Understanding the Scandal: U.S. Attorney Firings at the Department of Justice (DOJ) - Who Is Carol Lam?

The CIA corruption probe, involving (male*) prostitutes, the CIA, defense Contractors and regular Congressional poker games at the Watergate Hotel, has been - the most colorful and ongoing scandal you probably haven't heard about... Why would the public be interested . . . it's not nearly as entertaining as White Water, right?

Also, before I forget: It wasn't just a bad idea, it may have been against the law. . .

If you read some of the mainstream news coverage, you've got to ask, will the public ever actually understand what this story is about? The media coverage has been awful misdirection, barely intelligible - particularly the coverage in the most important national papers. Here are some bits and pieces to get you going in the right direction. . .

Was Carol Lam Targeting The White House Prior To Her Firing?

Referring to the Bush administration’s purge of former San Diego-based U.S. attorney Carol Lam, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) questioned recently on the Senate floor whether she was let go because she was “about to investigate other people who were politically powerful.”

The media reports this morning that among Lam’s politically powerful targets were former CIA official Kyle “Dusty” Foggo and then-House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA). But there is evidence to believe that the White House may also have been on Lam’s target list. Here are the connections:

– Washington D.C. defense contractor Mitchell Wade pled guilty last February to paying then-California Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham more than $1 million in bribes.

– Wade’s company MZM Inc. received its first federal contract from the White House. The contract, which ran from July 15 to August 15, 2002, stipulated that Wade be paid $140,000 to “provide office furniture and computers for Vice President Dick Cheney.”

– Two weeks later, on August 30, 2002, Wade purchased a yacht for $140,000 for Duke Cunningham. The boat’s name was later changed to the “Duke-Stir.” Said one party to the sale: “I knew then that somebody was going to go to jail for that…Duke looked at the boat, and Wade bought it — all in one day. Then they got on the boat and floated away.”

– According to Cunningham’s sentencing memorandum, the purchase price of the boat had been negotiated through a third-party earlier that summer, around the same time the White House contract was signed.

To recap, the White House awarded a one-month, $140,000 contract to an individual who never held a federal contract. Two weeks after he got paid, that same contractor used a cashier’s check for exactly that amount to buy a boat for a now-imprisoned congressman at a price that the congressman had pre-negotiated.

That should raise questions about the White House’s involvement.

UPDATE: Perhaps this was the “real problem” Sampson was referring to:

See a graphic of a critical email here.

---------------------------------- ----------------------------------

See also, that old Knight-Ridder news:

U.S. attorney's firing may be connected to CIA corruption probe

WASHINGTON - Fired San Diego U.S. attorney Carol Lam notified the Justice Department that she intended to execute search warrants on a high-ranking CIA official as part of a corruption probe the day before a Justice Department official sent an e-mail that said Lam needed to be fired, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday.

Feinstein, D-Calif., said the timing of the e-mail suggested that Lam's dismissal may have been connected to the corruption probe.

Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse denied in an e-mail that there was any link. . . .

---------------------------------- ----------------------------------

But this story raises the truly frightening dimensions of the scandal:

. . .

Within this larger redirection, though, there exists what we have all come to recognize as the painfully familiar media snow job, this time surrounding the attorney firings. Rather than examining the issues that no doubt were of considerable concern to both the Republican party and the White House and which likely led to the dismissals -- especially of Carol Lam -- the American public are, once again, treated to disingenuous discussions about what Clinton did or did not do. The usual suspects have lined up to poo-poo Bush's unprecedented mid-term firings as common; The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, The Washington Times and even NBC's David Gregory have called the bulk discharge of USAs no big deal or at least have questioned its import. With the exception of Gregory -- who appears more hapless than determined -- these same GOP tools had been previously engaged in the disinformation campaign about the Libby trial, disgorging the worn and tired White House talking points about Plame and Wilson and calling, if not demanding, a pardon for Libby.

The issue, of course, is not whether Bush can dismiss US Attorneys; he can. The issue is why and why now (or roughly now). Which means that this redirection from other swirling scandals carries with it a certain risk. We've heard enough about Iglesias and his refusal to speed up investigations of State House Democrats in New Mexico prior to the November elections. But the vastly more important dismissal is that of Carol Lam. Her investigation and eventual conviction of Randy Cunnigham had led to a far wider sweep that also brought down long time Republican bag man, Mitchell Wade and was also pointing at Republican congressman Jerry Lewis, chairman of the House Appropriations committee, the same one through which Cunningham had been directing defense contracts to the Wade and Wilkes enterprise, MZM.

Lam's investigation also pointed towards the CIA, where, just two days before her forced resignation, her Grand Jury brought indictments against the CIA's former Executive Director, Kyle Foggo, and another GOP "donor," graft and corruption specialist Brett Wilkes, a partner of the already convicted Wade. "Hookergate" swirled around these four shady GOP horsemen and is likely what led to the abrupt departure of Porter Goss after less than two years as CIA Director. Though no one really notice at the time, unaware of its potential significance, Goss had inexplicably bumped Foggo to the number three spot at the agency, Executive Director, but Bush's own Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board had grown concerned about

a widening FBI sex and cronyism investigation that's targeted Kyle (Dusty) Foggo, the No. 3 official at the CIA, and also touched on Goss himself.

Clearly, things were getting entirely out of hand and the only real way to bring this to an end was to can the prosecutors. Both Lam and Debra Wong Yang, a US Attorney in LA who began the investigation of GOP Rep. Jerry Lewis, are now gone; Lam having been fired and Yang suddenly retiring just after the election. It is now expected that none of these investigations will proceed any further.

None of this will you hear being discussed by our media mavens, who insist on portraying the USA dismissals as just another thing Bush can do whenever he wants. Even less likely to capture mainstream attention was the recently released study by Donald C. Shields, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Communication at University of Missouri and John F. Cragan, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Communication, Illinois State University. In The Political Profiling of Elected Democratic Officials, Shields and Cragan document the practices of the Bush Department of Justice as regards targeting Democratic politicians at the local level across the country. The data to date indicate a disturbing if unsurprising bias:

Data indicate that the offices of the U.S. Attorneys across the nation investigate seven (7) times as many Democratic officials as they investigate Republican officials, a number that exceeds even the racial profiling of African Americans in traffic stops.

And that the Bush administration is engaged in setting yet another precedent:

The current Bush Republican Administration appears to be the first to have engaged in political profiling.

The effects of such biased behaviour can be expected to be long term and further indicates the Rovian drive to establish the long-dreamt permanent Republican majority by marginalizing Democrats at the lowest levels, levels the media rarely notices. Shields and Cragan state the likely effects of this DoJ effort.

Political profiling makes Democratic officials look like they are more corrupt than Republicans, just as racial minorities are made to look more corrupt than whites by the practice of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies. However, the data on state-wide, U.S. Congress, and U.S. Senate elected officials do not support this claim.

Political profiling of local Democratic elected officials attacks the party at the very grassroots essence of its personality. Each local case of reported or insinuated corruption by the federal authorities eats at and saps the local Democrat's energy to be the grassroots leader of the party and drains his or her resources in defense against the comparative unlimited resources of the federal government.
Political profiling discredits each candidate's persona as a viable leader of and spokesperson for the local Democratic party.

Political profiling weakens the candidate's ability to raise monies for themselves when seeking re-election and negates their ability to raise money for other democratic candidates.

By keeping political profiling at the local level -- in this way the story is most likely not to be viewed nationally -- it makes it harder for reporters to connect the dots between corruption investigations in say Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, or Philadelphia let alone towns like Carson, Colton, East Point, or Escambia, or counties like Cherokee, Harrison, Hudson, or Lake. Each local report of a corruption investigation appears as only an isolated incident rather than as a central example of a broader pattern created by the Bush Justice Department's unethical practice of political profiling.

Years of political profiling of Democrats by the Bush administration is behaviour that is not being discussed nor will it be discussed within the mainstream media frame. And what is clear from the Shields-Cragan study is that the dismissal of Iglesias, someone who refused political pressure to which many US Attorneys appear to have succumbed, is a rarity. Which means, of course, that this legalistic pogrom against low level Democrats has in fact been carried out with great abandon and has been utterly overlooked by the media. Unfortunately, even with the publication of the Shields-Cragan study, that will likely continue (Shields has appeared on The Colbert Report).

As indicated earlier, the redirection of attentions onto the US Attorney purge carried some risk, although it seems the White House can always bank on their loyal minions to put in the requisite face time and focus the energies of the media on issues entirely unrelated to what has been really going on in the Department of Justice during the Bush years.

The one wild card in this will be Democrats with congressional majorities. Now that the Senate has indicated that subpoenas will be forthcoming in the attorney purge issue, it will be interesting to see whether the Democrats ask questions, not only about the firings themselves, but about the long term DoJ efforts in political profiling. Apart from the obvious efforts in obstructing ongoing investigations of elected Republicans, Bush administration political profiling is something the Democrats better recognize as an existential threat to their party, a party that lately is constantly under attack by both Republicans and the media (all you need to do to confirm this is watch any talking head show on any network). But they also know that the media, in concert with its dreadful willingness to cover up such behaviour rather than expose it, will perform the usual function of blaming whiny Democrats for complaining about being investigated seven times more often than Republicans. One's of those is called a rock, the other, a hard place.

But Democrats don't need to rely on assays of bias to figure out what is going on. They have the power of subpoena and they better start using it. And after hearing Leahy speak on this issue over the last few days, he sounds like a man worn out by this White House and who probably doesn't give a shit what the flaccid jowls of Bret Hume are quivering about. Here's hoping he is mad as hell and won't take it anymore.

. . .

More On Prostitutapalooza, GOP Style:

More Questions Surface in the Wake of a Congressman's Bribery Case

BREAKING: CIA Director Porter Goss Resigns

Harpers Magazine - "Dusty Abroad: Foggo’s travels in Honduras"

WatergateGate: "Dusty" Foggo Admits to Poker, Not to Porking

At the Watergate Hotel:
FBI probes Watergate prostitution allegations: Infamous hotel used by defense contractor to entertain lawmakers?

Former CIA No. 3 indicted for steering contracts to friend

CIA Official Quits; FBI Probes Role in Defense Contracts

(*We know that prostitutes were involved, but we don't know the sex. One thing we do know is that there were prostitutes, and one of the persons who attended some of the events has said, there were no "women" at these events, and another said they were "stag". By inference, that suggests that the prostitutes were male. They may very well have been female though. Perhaps they were women prostitutes dressed as men? Corrupt individuals and the GOP don't have an affinity for the truth. Nobody knows Nothin'!)

One last parting shot, I love this one:

Bush is, what Ronald Reagan wanted to be . . . so

Don't Cry for Reagan

Friday, January 26, 2007

Bush Prepares Public For Coming Attacks On Iran -Apparently Iran Is Attacking It's Own Client Iraqi State That We Brought To Power On Their Behalf (oops)

These AP stories often disappear:

Yahoo: Bush OKs countering Iranians in Iraq
Miami Herald: Bush OKs countering Iranians in Iraq

The odd thing is that the government we are supporting in Iraq is practically the client state of Iran. So why would Iran be trying to undermine the government that they helped bring into power? It was said, by one of the Iraqi advocates of invasion, that when he met with Bush, just before the war, he had to explain that there were Sunnis and Shiites. Is it any wonder that Mr. Bush is not very good at this kind of a chess game when he entered the very real and hideous war game without knowing the rules?

Bush OKs countering Iranians in Iraq
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - President Bush has authorized U.S. forces in Iraq to take whatever actions are necessary to counter Iranian agents deemed a threat to American troops or the public at large, the White House said Friday.

"It makes sense that if somebody's trying to harm our troops, or stop us from achieving our goal, or killing innocent citizens in Iraq, that we will stop them," Bush said. "It's an obligation we all have ... to protect our folks and achieve our goal."

The aggressive new policy came in response to intelligence that Iran is supporting terrorists inside Iraq and is providing bombs - known as improvised explosive devices - and other equipment to anti-U.S. insurgents.

"The president and his national security team over the last several months have continued to receive information that Iranians were supplying IED equipment and or training that was being used to harm American soldiers," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

"As a result American forces, when they receive actionable information, may take the steps necessary to protect themselves as well as the population," Johndroe said.

Bush referred to the new policy in his Jan. 10 address to the nation in which he announced a buildup of 21,500 troops in Iraq. He said the United States would confront Iran and Syria more vigorously. (Read the rest at the above links)

War On Terror (WOT): Pakistan Is Supporting The Taliban And Bush Is Protecting The Taliban From Congressional Action

Mr. Bush continues to be out of touch - as he has been, his entire life - including the years he failed to report for his military service and including the years he did drugs and alcohol. The man never changed, just the words he used to justify his outrageous behavior have changed, and the number of people he damages with his self-destructive behavior.

Bush Presses Congress to DROP a provision in a new bill linking military assistance for Pakistan with its efforts to fight terrorism

It's amazing that Republicans can justify such abuse of their own party, this Nation's military, it's resources, it's liberties and its constitution, in order to commit this attrocity in Iraq while Osama bin Laden continues to do his thing, with the help of Pakistan - the very country which also gave Iran the technology to make nuclear weapons.

Pakistan Supporting Taliban Surge

More resources:

More on Pakistan/A. Q. Khan/Iran:

New Yorker
Center for Nonproliferation Studies
Time Magazine

Baghdad Chaos And Outrageous Iraqi Army Attrocities (Video)

This video speaks for itself.

Lara Logan on CNN, discusses the challenges of trying to report the truth in Iraq.