Sunday, December 28, 2008

How things have changed. Oops, they haven't.

It Will All Be Over Soon
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Everyone can relax. This thing is clearly getting ready to wind down. Ask the brilliant minds up at the Pentagon. Back in April 2003, a formal Pentagon planning session stated emphatically that the U.S. occupation of Iraq would be coming to an end in December 2004. It is December by my calendar, so clearly we should start planning the tickertape parade down the Canyon of Heroes.

We can have Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld seated in the lead car, and let the love and adoration of this nation wash over him like a bath of warm milk. Perhaps he will choose that glorious moment to reveal the 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 1,000,000 pounds of sarin, mustard and VX gas, and the 30,000 munitions to deliver the stuff we all went to war for in the first place. We can festoon the Canyon with plastic sheeting and duct tape. It'll be a party of historic proportions.

Surely Don can make it to the parade. His Pentagon couldn't have been wrong about the whole deal being done in December, because he is far too smart. Never mind that Senator McCain is calling for another 100,000 troops to be sent to Iraq. One wonders where the Senator thinks we will get those soldiers. Perhaps we could abandon Afghanistan, Europe and the Korean DMZ to throw every warm body into the fray. Perhaps there is some deep black program we don't know about that allows the military to hatch fully grown, fully trained soldiers like chickens on a production line. Perhaps any young people reading this should make sure their Selective Service cards are close at hand. Never fear, though. It'll all be over sometime this month.

via Hoffmania

Donald Rumsfeld is sad. Poor sad Donald. Why is Donald sad?

Because a lot of troops died in Mosul?

Because they really need armor?

Because he had to hand-sign so many death letters yesterday?

No, no and no. This snotbucket dickhead Rumsfeld is sad because - he's being criticized.
Subdued Rumsfeld 'Truly Saddened' by Criticism

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, responding to mounting criticism even from fellow Republicans, said on Wednesday he was "truly saddened" anyone could think he was not laboring to protect U.S. combat troops.

An uncharacteristically subdued Rumsfeld addressed his critics with an unprompted statement at the start of a Pentagon briefing, and said he stayed awake a night worrying about America's fighting men and women.

Asked whether the recent criticism had affected his ability to do his job, Rumsfeld said: "You get up in the morning and you think about what our troops are doing. And I must say, if they can do what they're doing, I can do what I'm doing."

Screw you anyway, Donnie. When the hell did these tough guys suddenly develop such a thin skin?


Steve Rendall was saying this:
A bizarre debate has emerged regarding whether journalists have a duty to investigate and assess the credibility of sources and their claims. Some highly placed journalists seem to say such judgments are not their job. Citing what they say are journalistic principles, they claim that investigating and reporting about the veracity of claims and the credibility of sources is just not what they do.

In fact, it's not only their job, it's an essential task of journalism. The Society of Professional Journalists is very clear on the subject: At the top of the group's Code of Ethics, under the heading "Seek Truth and Report It," the very first tenet implores journalists to "test the accuracy of information from all sources." Another tenet stresses the importance of gauging the credibility of sources: "The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability."

But from the Iraq War to the 2004 presidential race, reporters shirked their journalistic duty to take a critical approach to official and partisan claims—to document them when they are true, and debunk them when they are false. Indeed, many journalists have become little more than stenographers, repeating whatever they are told without question.
--FAIR (the whole article is worth a visit)

And so it was throughout the imperial Bush presidency.

(Speaking of imperial presidencies, remember the White House guards with their cute little uniforms and caps under Nixon, those trappings quickly abandoned? How quaint it all seems to next to the accretions of power accomplished by Cheney and Bush.)

It appears things may be shifting slightly but it is still the few, such as Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart on TV and the "left blogosphere" who cry foul when lies and distortions are promoted without question or verification.

Because we miss her:
Merry Christmas to all
Molly Ivins - Creators Syndicate

12.23.04 - AUSTIN, Texas -- And a Merry Christmas to all, including people who have white Christmas trees decorated entirely with purple balls. Merry Christmas to the Red states and the Blue states, to the R's and D's, and to all the troops stationed in Afghanistan, including the French troops there -- Mais oui, Christmas, y'all.
Merry Christmas to all the people who had to eat bugs on reality shows this year and to all the professional athletes who have not gotten into duke-outs. (Lumps of coal to the rest of you jocks.) Merry Christmas to the homeless and the people in the shelters, and especially to those who are feeding the people in the shelters. Season's Best to all the cops who collected for Blue Santa this year, and a Tiny Tim Salute to all the prisoners, including Martha Stewart. Her cell-wing lost the prison's Christmas decorating contest this year -- when it rains ...

Here's to all the Americans on both sides of this year's unusually peppy fights over the allowability of religious symbols on public property. This annual battle, in which the American Civil Liberties Union strives once more to make itself as popular as the Grinch, is over the part of the First Amendment that says the government cannot sponsor religion. I always liked what former Gov. Ann Richards said when informed there were demands that the large star on top of the state capitol come down. "Oh, I'd hate to see that happen," she drawled. "This could be the only chance we'll ever have to get three wise men in that building."

Feliz Navidad to all our immigrants, legal and otherwise -- may La Migra be far away and tamales close at hand. By the way, there are some new legal rights groups that will go after the scum who hire you and then refuse to pay you. Joyeux Noel to all our friends in Canada, and please overlook the pifflebrains who keep insulting you.
Merry Christmas to Tonya Harding and to Nancy Kerrigan, to the Red Sox and to the Cards, and possibly even to George Steinbrenner. Here's to the Texas Legislature, about to convene once more, depriving many a village of its idiot. Here's to John Ashcroft, how we'll miss him -- he was so sexy. A Cool Yule to all the jazzmen and their fans. And wishing a warm holiday to all the citizens with rings in their noses who find going out in subzero weather such a trial. And to those with tattoos, whatthehell.

Happy holidays to the sailors and ballroom dancers, the birders and the bingo players, the squaredancers, the folklorists, the scrapbook makers, the railroad buffs and everyone else with a harmless passion -- we appreciate you all. Here's to the carolers and the altar guild, the vestrymen (vestrypersons?) and the Santas, and to all who volunteer. Here's to everyone who suffered in the Florida hurricanes, including the claims adjusters -- may your days be merry and bright.

Festive greetings to the circus folk and the airline attendants trying to get all the Christmas presents into the overhead bin. Here's to all the proud new grandmas and grandpas, and of course, the aunts. Here's to everyone in the emergency room on Christmas Eve: It could be worse -- you could be Martha Stewart.

A joyous time to all the cooks, making everything from roast goose to turnip fluff, and especially to all the kitchen staffs of all the restaurants that are open on Christmas Day. Here's to everyone who got divorced this year and deserves a break -- may you even part with a kind thought for your ex.

A special holiday wish for all the Americans in Iraq and all the Iraqis, too -- peace on earth. Here's to those who are grieving -- isn't "loved one" a horrid expression? -- whether it is Joe or Tammy, or even Athena the perfect poodle we mourn.

May Baby Jesus' birthday be mellow for the tense, including the lady who said she shrieked both over having dinner with me and how the toilet flushed on the recent Nation cruise. Me and the toilet -- I'm so honored.

Here's to all the racetrack players and cabbies and guys who stop to help fix flat tires. Here's to all the non-Christians, may this day be special for you, as well. To all my brethren and sistren in the newspaper biz, even the editors, and to all the weathermen who report the unidentified flying object on Christmas Eve. Here's to everyone who sent a fruitcake and got one back. Here's to all the salespeople in all the stores who actually made it through without losing it this year, especially in the lingerie departments, where I used to work during the holidays.

And here's to all the rest of us, imperfect though we are. One thing I have learned over the years is that you should go ahead and eat the fudge, because the diet starts next year. And to all, a good night.

(c) 2004 Creators Syndicate
--via Working for Change

William Pfaff was writing this in December 2004, so we really cannot pretend we didn't know:
PARIS - A historian in the future, or a moralist, is likely to deem the Bush administration's enthusiasm for torture the most striking aspect of its war against terrorism.

This started early. Proposals to authorize torture were circulating even before there was anyone to torture. Days after the Sept. 11 attacks, the administration made it known that the United States was no longer bound by international treaties, or by American law and established U.S. military standards, concerning torture and the treatment of prisoners. By the end of 2001, the Justice Department had drafted memos on how to protect military and intelligence officers from eventual prosecution under existing U.S. law for their treatment of Afghan and other prisoners.

In January 2002, the White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales (who is soon to become attorney general), advised George W. Bush that it could be done by fiat. If the president simply declared "detainees" in Afghanistan outside the protection of the Geneva conventions, the 1996 U.S. War Crimes Act - which carries a possible death penalty for Geneva violations - would not apply.

Those who protested were ignored, though the administration declared it would abide by the "spirit" of the conventions. Shortly afterward, the CIA asked for formal assurance that this pledge did not apply to its agents.

In March 2003, a Defense Department legal task force concluded that the president was not bound by any international or federal law on torture. It said that as commander in chief, he had the authority "to approve any technique needed to protect the nation's security." Subsequent legal memos to civilian officials in the White House and Pentagon dwelt in morbid detail on permitted torture techniques, for practical purposes concluding that anything was permitted that did not (deliberately) kill the victim.
--my links are not working but it is from the International Herald Tribune, 12/22/2004

If we knew this much in December of 2004, why has that m**********r not been impeached?

Speaker Pelosi, just so you know, you have failed in your primary duty of upholding the Constitution of the United States.

Bush Makes Small Cut Back On Troops To Give Illusion Of Progress

by georgia10
Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 09:36:53 AM PDT

Today, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld makes a "surprise" announcement of what we knew all along: the US is cutting back on troops after the Iraq election. There were 160,000 troops in Iraq prior to the election. Rumsfeld announced that two brigades would not be deployed, around 7,000 troops. And yet the media reports that the cut of two brigades will take that number below 138,000. Am I the only one confused here?

Ah, but read further down to clarify:
The Pentagon sent an extra 20,000 troops to Iraq to bolster security during the recent elections, and Rumsfeld has previously said those 20,000 would be withdrawn in January to return U.S. force levels to a 138,000 baseline.
So, contrary to the belief that this is some sort of turning point for troop withdrawal...excuse me, "readjustment"....the military is merely engaging in the same strategy it's used for the last three years: pump up the numbers prior to a major political event, draw then back, then wait for the violence to surge again so you can send more troops in. Notice, significantly, that the troop number will return to a "baseline" of 138,000. We're back to square one. And that's being touted as progress?

We were discussing FISA:
Does War Make Presidents Kings?
by Armando
Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 09:34:26 AM PDT

Despite much noisemaking, even from non-conservative sources, it is now clear that legal justification for President Bush's authorization of warrantless domestic electronic surveillance rests entirely on the argument that Article II of the Constitution vests the Executive with plenary Commander in Chief powers which can not be restricted by the other branches of our federal government. The Justice Department's feeble apologia for the President's actions makes clear that the claim that FISA permits what the President has authorized is based on the view that if FISA does NOT permit it, then FISA is unconstitutional:
Armando really delves into the legal complexities, considering precedents in constitutional law. I really love how he wrote articles like this.

Josh Marshall:
When was the last time there was a major terror alert? They were something like a regular occurence for the eighteen months or so before the 2004 election. And through 2004 the administration pushed the line that al Qaida was aiming to disrupt the elections themselves. But as near I can tell there hasn't been a single one since election day.

Jerome à Paris concluded an article on the economy with this:
So in a nutshell:
• Bush is giving the money to the rich
• Americans cannot find jobs but can borrow easily
• the underlying economy stagnates
• the reported economy grows thanks to debt spending, both public and private
The only question is: when will it end?
I guess we're learning the answer to his question of three years ago.

--the BB

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