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    05 August 2006


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    Chip remains mum on his case of selective outrage but resumes his attack on Juan Cole. He claim I am a defender of Juan Cole, without pointing out one instance where I defend him. I read Juan daily with the same filter I use when reading DailyKos or watching Fox News. I doubt I've ever spent time defending him here, although I'll point out meandering rants for the fun of it. If Juan writes something important or insightful, I'll link to it.

    Still the question remains, will Chip and his fellow right-wing operatives continue to support their cowardly smear tactics?

    Now for a side note, I'm glad his readers like my blog design.

    Posted by Geoff

    Friedman: Time to disengage

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    Yet another opportunity to end the selective outrage embraced by the SC conservative blogosphere. This time Tom "give 'em six more months" Friedman concludes that "[t]he longer we maintain a unilateral failing strategy in Iraq, the harder it will be to build such a coalition, and the stronger the enemies of freedom will become." Here is an excerpt:
    [T]hree years of efforts to democratize Iraq are not working. That means "staying the course" is pointless, and it's time to start thinking about Plan B - how we might disengage with the least damage possible.

    ...But the administration now has to admit what anyone - including myself - who believed in the importance of getting Iraq right has to admit: Whether for Bush reasons or Arab reasons, it is not happening, and we can't throw more good lives after good lives.

    Finally, the war in Iraq has so divided us at home and abroad that leaving, while bringing other problems, might also make it easier to build coalitions to deal with post-U.S. Iraq, Iran, Hezbollah and Syria. All these problems are connected. We need to deal with Iran and Syria, but from a position of strength - and that requires a broad coalition.

    The longer we maintain a unilateral failing strategy in Iraq, the harder it will be to build such a coalition, and the stronger the enemies of freedom will become. [link, sub. req.]

    Opportunities around every corner for the right-wing blogosphere to call out Republicans that respond to failed policy in the same, so-called anti-American, way as some in the Democratic Party; whom they label as traitors, weak, et cetera...

    conveniently they continue to pass on opportunity after opportunity.

    Posted by Geoff

    04 August 2006

    Something we all can agree on

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    Why wait?
    WSJ: With election season kicking into high gear, federal prosecutors investigating a handful of lawmakers may face a tough call on whether to secure indictments that could throw their congressional races into disarray.

    While several lawmakers face continued scrutiny, two have publicly confirmed they are targets of criminal investigations: Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney, who has been mentioned in guilty pleas by former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates; and Louisiana Democratic Rep. William Jefferson, who is being investigated for taking bribes.
    "This is a really difficult issue for prosecutors," says Randall Eliason, who oversaw public-corruption cases in the U.S. attorney's office here during the Clinton administration. "You are damned if you do and damned if you don't, and either course is going to potentially affect the election." [link]


    Posted by Geoff

    Hagel: Bush policies will lead to an "even a worse defeat"

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    In the past week I've repeatedly called on conservative smear-artists in the SC blogosphere, as well as nationwide, to be fair when they smear people for the comments that they make. So far they have not reacted to comments by Republicans like Senator Chuck Hagel or Representative John Kline with proportionate reactions. Fortunately, Sen. Hagel has offered yet another chance. Thursday, Hagel observed that Iraq was "moving closer and closer to a straight-out civil war" and increasing troops in Baghdad - by moving them from other parts of the country - is "only going to make it worse for us" resulting in an "even worse defeat." Hagel concluded that the US should begin the cut-n-run within the next six months.

    Again the opportunity to condemn such anti-Americanism arises for bloggers like Chip of The Chip Mathis Experience, JT of OldController, and Mike of new wars to respond to these comments. I'd put my money on them conveniently ignoring these statements yet again.

    More at ThinkProgress.org

    Posted by Geoff

    03 August 2006

    The double standards of Republican operatives

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    A few days ago I wrote a blog that noted some statements by Republican Senator Chuck Hagel regarding the War on Iraq, particularly the Administrations failures and blunders in Iraq as well as the wars similarity to Vietnam. Basically he was critical of the war and was pushing for a beginning to an end of our occupation of that broken state (which I don't agree with completely). This statement was quite similar to that of many Republicans and Democrats (e.g. Dem. John Murtha). However there wasn't a peep out of the local right-wing blogosphere or the broader right-wing blogosphere despite their endless bitching about Dem. John Murtha's comments. In my post linked to above, I guessed that these local bloggers would ignore this statement like good Republican operatives do. So far I've been right.

    Mimicking the Swift Boaters that smeared the valor of John Kerry in 2004, right-wing operatives are taking every opportunity to smear the voice of the military, John Murtha, for his various comments that didn't quite fit the game plan of the Republican Party. I've written about this here a few days back as well. The most recent smear is a sham of a lawsuit leveled against Congressman Murtha - and only Congressman Murtha - for defamation, referencing a comment he made regarding what looks like the vicious murder of Iraqi civilians at the hands of a few Marines and a cover-up by their superiors. Now the lawsuit is not likely to get very far, however, I understand the soldier's reasons behind the claim. The problem with the case is that it has obvious partisan motives behind it. The lawsuit claims that Murtha "defamed" the Marine with his comments about the troops killing "...innocent civilians in cold blood." But the suit is limited to only Murtha despite numerous other similar statements made by other civilians, members of Congress and the officials in the DoD; including Republicans.

    "It appears that the soldiers just lost it, their leaders weren't there to stop them, and they went on a rampage," commented CBS News Military Analyst Retired Army Col. Mitch Mitchell. "when one went, the others went and there's no way to stop something like that once it gets started." [5/30/06]
    "I was saddened, surprised and outraged that this could happen," [Rep. John] Kline [(R-Minn.)] said. He said he thought the incident would be regarded as "a horrific aberration" for the Marines. [5/25/06]
    Representative John Kline, a Minnesota Republican who is a retired Marine colonel, said that the allegations indicated that "this was not an accident. This was direct fire by marines at civilians." He added, "This was not an immediate response to an attack. This would be an atrocity." [5/26/06]
    Representative John Kline is a Republican from Minnesota. He said, "When you have Marines who have behaved so abominably as to allegedly shoot Iraqi civilians I'm not surprised that they would lie about it and cover it up." [5/27/06]
    On March 10, the findings were given to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace, the first Marine ever to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Rumsfeld told aides that the case promised to be a major problem. He called it "really, really bad -- as bad or worse than Abu Ghraib," recalled one Pentagon official.

    This is just My Lai all over again," Vaughan Taylor, a former military prosecutor and instructor in criminal law at the Army's school for military lawyers, said last week. "It's going to do us enormous damage."
    A senior defense official told the Associated Press last month that evidence points to unprovoked killings by the Marines involved. [6/5/06]

    Now conventional wisdom would assume that the right-wing would be outraged by these comments as well. So far, local bloggers who have taken up the cause of smearing Congressman Murtha such as Chip of The Chip Mathis Experience, JT of OldController, and Mike of new wars have kept their mouths shut and pretended that Murtha was a solo commenter on this disgraceful occurrence. But, as we all know Republicans and their operatives don't operate confidentially and rarely use wisdom.

    Smearing a soldier's valor and ignoring the obvious are trademarks of a coward.

    More from Glenn Greenwald.

    Posted by Geoff

    The day hell froze over

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    3 August 2006
    Pat Robertson, one of the most prominent among evangelical preachers in the country, said in a show Thursday that the blazing heat this summer is "making a convert out of me" to the theory of global warming.

    Robertson said on the "700 Club" broadcast that "it is getting hotter, and the icecaps are melting and there is a buildup of carbon dioxide in the air."

    "We really need to address the burning of fossil fuels," he said, adding: "If we are contributing to the destruction of this planet, we need to do something about it." [link]

    Posted by Geoff

    Barack Obama is giving us a tour of the White House today

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    If that isn't foreshadowing then I don't know what is...

    Pics to come if it is permitted.

    [UPDATE] I guess you have to be on guard when you're the house that holds the least popular President ever...
    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Posted by Geoff

    02 August 2006

    Someone didn't get their memo

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    or they're just honest
    Haass, the former Bush aide who leads the Council on Foreign Relations, laughed at the president's public optimism. "An opportunity?" Haass said with an incredulous tone. "Lord, spare me. I don't laugh a lot. That's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time. If this is an opportunity, what's Iraq? A once-in-a-lifetime chance?" [link, page 2]

    Here's a good idea...

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    British Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking in Los Angeles on the final leg of a U.S. visit, called Tuesday for a broad reappraisal of the West's strategy for fighting extremism in the Middle East, saying that the battle would not be won by force alone.
    "My argument today is this: We will not win the battle against this global extremism unless we win it at the level of values as much as force, unless we show we are evenhanded, fair and just in our application of those values to the world," Blair told an audience of about 2,000 at a lunch sponsored by the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, a nonprofit organization.

    Blair said he was urging a dramatic change in the approach taken by Western nations to the volatile region, saying that greater efforts are needed to engage moderates in the Muslim and Arab world who might work alongside the West against those he described as radical, reactionary Muslims.

    "Unless we reappraise our strategy, unless we revitalize the broader global agenda on poverty, climate change, trade, and in respect to the Middle East, bend every sinew of our will to making peace between Israel and Palestine, we will not win. And this is a battle we must win," he said to applause from many in his audience.[link]

    Now, what to do about those reactionary conservatives? You know, the ones that love a good war but can't seem to see past the next few months or years...

    Posted by Geoff

    The not-so-nifty Swifters [UPDATED]

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    It's almost election time again, and with that comes the lowest form of politics, the character assassination. On the right, this role is led by the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. In the '04 Presidential campaign, their endless ranting about the credibility of the honorable military service of candidate John Kerry set the tone of the debate for several weeks of the election. Like all good Republicans, if someone should question Mr. Bush and his policies then immediately attack that persons record, not the issue at hand. True to form, the same group (now referred to as the Veterans for the Truth) is after another war hero, Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania. Also operating against Murtha is a website called murthalied.com and many others. So much for Mr. Bush’s “responsible discourse.”
    Armed as a new group – Veterans for the Truth – they’re bringing their campaign to “Redeploy John Murtha From Congress” to his backyard.

    They plan to hold a national rally in Johnstown in October “to show their outrage at John Murtha over what he is saying about our troops,” state chairman and former Johnstowner Mark Parker said in a release. [link]

    Aided by local blogs like OldController, new wars, and Chip's [sorry, fixed. Chip isn't really part of this either] (Chip thinks Murtha is "dishonest" and thinks he is working through the media not congress to make the military look bad. Only Chip.), as well as many other right-wing operatives in SC and across the US, these people hope to shame Murtha out of Congress by smearing his record as a soldier rather than by issues, ideas, and reasonable logic. The problem is this won’t work well at a local level. It worked against Kerry because it got national media attention during a national election. Murtha’s constituents know who he is and the browbeating from wackos in SC probably won’t matter much in PA. I won’t even mention the public support for a change of direction in Iraq, especially in regions controlled by Democrats.

    So, when you come across one of these cowards, it is very easy to shut them up. All you have to do is ask him or her if they like tainting each and every service member’s medals. When they look at you like a dimwit, complete the thought for them and point out that by suggesting that the medals in question might be fraudulently awarded then their childish actions denigrate every award ever issued. The USMC doesn’t just give these things out like candy. It isn’t a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    Now if the target is in the service or a veteran, ask them if they are suggesting that the military is incompetent by awarding ribbons to people that don't deserve them.

    This will really make them mad. But in the end, you are right and they will know it. You can say, “hey guys, you go on believing whatever it is you like, I’ll stick with the Marine Corps.”

    Hopefully they will realize that their actions are cowardly, shameful, and, most importantly unpatriotic.

    Now on to Murtha, this is a man who left college to volunteer to serve in the Korean War and served there as a Marine captain. He was discharged after the war only to reenlist (at the age of 34) for Vietnam. There he was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star with Combat "V" and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

    Murtha is obviously a credible critic to Bush and his allies. His proximity to - and his function as a mouthpiece for - the military have led to some baseless claims of ethics violations and childish snipes from the White House and others. Now we have shameless attacks on a man’s bravery, and all for political gain.

    When you reflect on this, notice how odd it is that many Democrats have military records they must now defend from Republican smear. They have to do this because they actually went to war, they didn’t spend it in Texas protecting Houston from the Viet Cong or the North Koreans. And all that still isn’t exactly clear is it?

    Posted by Geoff

    01 August 2006


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    As the Israel Air Force continues to investigate the air strike, questions have been raised over military accounts of the incident.

    It now appears that the military had no information on rockets launched from the site of the building, or the presence of Hezbollah men at the time.

    The Israel Defense Forces had said after the deadly air-strike that many rockets had been launched from Qana. However, it changed its version on Monday.

    The site was included in an IAF plan to strike at several buildings in proximity to a previous launching site. Similar strikes were carried out in the past. However, there were no rocket launches from Qana on the day of the strike. [link]

    While I would argue that we in the west must maintain the high ground in any war, and not stoop to terrorism or to the level of a terrorist, as we fight them. We're better equipped, among other things, to stoop this low. I would bet none of the Northern Israeli towns were firing rockets at Southern Lebanon, so this exchange is mutual in some respects. Still it seems that this mistake at Qana will set back Israel (and by proxy America) for the rest of this conflict and well after.

    Posted by Geoff

    31 July 2006

    Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE): Iraq is "replay of Vietnam"

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    Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican from Nebraska, took to a Omaha World Herald interview and dropped this little liberal talking point, make that points:
    Calling conditions in Iraq "an absolute replay of Vietnam," Sen. Chuck Hagel said Friday that the Pentagon is making a mistake by beefing up American forces in Iraq.

    U.S. soldiers have become "easy targets" in a country that has descended into "absolute anarchy,"...

    He said that in the previous 48 hours, he had received three telephone calls from four-star generals who were "beside themselves" over the Pentagon's reversal of plans to bring tens of thousands of soldiers home this fall.

    Instead, top Pentagon officials are suspending military rotations and adding troops in Iraq. The Pentagon has estimated that the buildup will increase the number of U.S. troops from about 130,000 to 135,000.

    "That isn't going to do any good. It's going to have a worse effect," Hagel said. "They're destroying the United States Army."
    The Nebraska senator said the Bush administration sees the world in "absolutes." That limits U.S. ability to work with allies, alienates partners and "results in our own isolation," Hagel said.
    He cited a former senior U.S. intelligence officer who recently wrote that, "Even superpowers have to talk to bad guys. We ought to be able to communicate in a way that signals our strength and self-confidence."

    But Hagel observed that the Bush administration pulled the U.S. ambassador out of Syria more than a year ago, a move he called "mindless."

    Hey, I didn't say it... I don't even really agree with him.

    But I will keep an eye on these local, fair and balanced far right-wingers who have all kinds of things to say about American hero, Congressman John Murtha.

    My guess is they won't say a word.

    h/t ThinkProgress

    Posted by Geoff

    30 July 2006

    Turkish troops enter Northern Iraq

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    Or we could call it what it is, Kurdistan.
    ...[A]pproximately 200-strong Turkish unit entered northern Iraq on Wednesday afternoon and moved towards Dohuk. Village guards accompanied the military unit as it penetrated two kilometers into Iraq, he said, and added that they left the region after a few hours. [TDN]

    More background on the Turkish-PKK developments...

    A Turkey - Kurdistan front?

    The US comes around WRT the PKK

    At this point this all means little, but in the coming months and if the situation in Iraq stays the same the talk of partition will spread from Baghdad (where it is currently) into the mainstream world media. This latest incursion illustrates how willing the Turkish government is to take care of business within Iraqi territory and also how limited the Iraqi and American forces are to stop it. This operation may have been approved by the US but at this point that is still unknown. The fact that Massoud Barzani ('Prez.' of Kurdistan) has labeled this and similar instances of Turkish incursions into N. Iraq an act of war makes me think that this was unilateral. This also shows us how willing Turkey will be to intervene in the region should developments threaten their state.

    Posted by Geoff


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