Thanks to blogger Chimp Coulter, perhaps we have a handle on "the problem..."
Does anybody have a good plan for Iraq?
Not President Bush. He arrived in Jordan yesterday for a crucial meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, only for the White House to discover that the Iraqi was a no-show. "It was going to be more of a social meeting anyways," Bush aide Dan Bartlett told reporters at the Raghadan Palace in Amman.
Neither does the Pentagon appear to have a solution. Gen. Pete Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called a news conference yesterday to advise the American public not to expect big conclusions from a major Iraq study he ordered. "There's not an end product," he announced.
So Peter, what you are telling Prissy is that you are unaware the military has had at least four disengagement plans from Iraq on the books for nearly a year? Not a very good General, no wonder Dubya likes you. He surrounds himself with those as incompent as himself or at least those willing to feign incompetence.
Which catagory do you suppose the general falls under, Dearest Readers?
USA Today Ahmadinejad letter calls on Americans to reject Bush policy title changed overnight to: Iran's president appeals to U.S. public via letter
Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group, which aims to resolve conflicts, said Ahmadinejad was "trying to take a page out of George Bush's playbook" by appealing to Americans and bypassing the U.S. government.
Are they sure he wasn't just trying to bypass the media?
For example several scandals at the New York Times newspaper in the last few years became national talking points for months. The main scandal surrounded veteran Judith Miller. On July 6th 2003 Joseph Wilson--the US ambassador who was sent by the CIA to Niger to establish whether nuclear material was sold to Iraq - wrote a NYT column accusing the Bush government of manipulating the evidence to suggest an Iraqi threat. Following this Valerie Plame (Wilson's wife) was exposed in a newspaper article as being a CIA agent. This led to the official investigation to find out who had leaked Plame's identity to journalists. Miller refused to name a confidential source which led to her spending 85 days in jail.
Miller's source turned out to be I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff and also an assistant to the president. In other words, her source was a high-ranking pro-Bush supporter allegedly connected to a story undermining a Bush critic (although this hasn't been proved and Libby's case is due to be heard next year). Nevertheless this added fuel to the fire already being stoked by other NYT journalists against Miller. Her 2002 and 2003 reporting on Iraq had already been shown to be flawed. These pre-war articles suggested that Saddam Hussein already had or was acquiring an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction contrary to subsequent findings that none were found. Last year, the NYT published an article by their columnist Maureen Dowd about Miller headlined the "woman of mass destruction."
The maelstrom of accusations and criticisms focused on Miller's thinking and not just her writing, ended up confusing the debate about media standards. For instance, according to Bryon Calame, the NYT's Public Editor, 'Ms. Miller didn't let an editor know what she knew [and] Times readers were deprived of a potentially exclusive look into an apparent administration effort to undercut Mr. Wilson and other critics of the Iraq war.” But this confuses the need for journalists to protect their source with the need for readers to know about stories. Yes, Miller could have decided to betray her source for an alleged story about the Bush administration but would other confidential sources trust Miller in the future if she had leaked the name? Rather than an issue of journalistic ethics about confidentiality, critics interpreted her quest for source protection as a refusal to write an anti-Bush story motivated by pro-government political ends. As it happens there is more evidence to show that the CIA agent's name was leaked by somebody who was not even pro-Bush.
Canadian Broadcasting Tories shutting Status of Women offices
The Conservative government is closing down most of its Status of Women Canada offices, saying they are not doing enough to serve women directly.
Twelve of the agency's 16 offices will close by April 1, Heritage Minister Bev Oda said Wednesday.
"What these offices don't necessarily provide is the help directly to women. There was a lot of lobbying groups, there was a lot of advocacy," Oda said.
Well Randy, Prissy's canadian friend- looks like Prissy won't be needing to bunk up with you and the Mrs. after all.
For now it seems women can now be just as oppressed in Canada as here in the U.S. Why leave the states with Harper around...
Who's next? France? And no, don't give Prissy that "it's better here than in Africa for women" stuff.
The idea of detaching Maliki from his own political base already seemed more than a little implausible. And as he left Baghdad for the meeting, Maliki's key coalition partner, the parliamentary bloc headed by the radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada Sadr, announced that it would suspend participation in the government, potentially leaving the Prime Minister's parliamentary majority in doubt. Last weekend, Sadr had warned that he would withdraw support for Maliki if the Prime Minister took the meeting with Bush in Jordan. But while Sadr appears to have told Maliki to choose him or choose the U.S., the Hadley document appeared to make the same case in reverse — Maliki would have to ditch Moqtada and, potentially, much of the Shi'ite political leadership, or lose the support of the U.S.
How Maliki plans to navigate the mutually-exclusive demands of the Sadrist political bloc that keeps him in power and the U.S. whose military keeps him alive remains to be seen. But the odds are stacked against the Iraqi Prime Minister following the script outlined in the Hadley memo, and there are already indications that he isn't about to cave into Washington's demands. Indeed, it was reported Wednesday that Maliki would make his own demands of President Bush at the meeting, most notably pressing for the U.S. to transfer command of the Iraqi security forces into the hands of the Iraqi government, and also for discussions with Iran and Syria over the situation in Iraq to be handled by the Iraqi government. And President Bush said after the talks that Maliki had expressed frustration over the lack of authority his government has over its security forces.
Common Dreams Message To West Point by Bill Moyers
Fourth, be more prepared to accept the credibility and integrity of those who disagree about the war even if you do not agree with their positions. I say this as a journalist, knowing it is tempting in the field to denounce or despise reporters who ask nosy questions or file critical reports. But their first duty as reporters is to get as close as possible to the verifiable truth and report it to the American people—for your sake. If there is mismanagement and incompetence, exposing it is more helpful to you than paeans to candy given to the locals. I trust you are familiar with the study done for the Army in 1989 by the historian, William Hammond. He examined press coverage in Korea and Vietnam and found that it was not the cause of disaffection at home; what disturbed people at home was the death toll; when casualties jumped, public support dropped. Over time, he said, the reporting was vindicated. In fact, “the press reports were often more accurate than the public statements of the administration in portraying the situation in Vietnam.” Take note: The American people want the truth about how their sons and daughters are doing in Iraq and what they’re up against, and that is a good thing.
Finally, and this above all—a lesson I wish I had learned earlier. If you rise in the ranks to important positions—or even if you don’t—speak the truth as you see it, even if the questioner is a higher authority with a clear preference for one and only one answer. It may not be the way to promote your career; it can in fact harm it. Among my military heroes of this war are the generals who frankly told the President and his advisers that their information and their plans were both incomplete and misleading—and who paid the price of being ignored and bypassed and possibly frozen forever in their existing ranks: men like General Eric K. Shinseki, another son of West Point. It is not easy to be honest—and fair—in a bureaucratic system. But it is what free men and women have to do. Be true to your principles, General Kosciuszko reminded Thomas Jefferson. If doing so exposes the ignorance and arrogance of power, you may be doing more to save the nation than exploits in combat can achieve.
I know the final rule of the military Code of Conduct is already written in your hearts: “I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free...” The meaning of freedom begins with the still, small voice of conscience, when each of us decides what we will live, or die, for.
Mirror flashback WAR, WHATEVER Bush aide: Inspections or not, we'll attack Iraq
Dr Richard Perle stunned MPs by insisting a "clean bill of health" from UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix would not halt America's war machine.
Evidence from ONE witness on Saddam Hussein's weapons programme will be enough to trigger a fresh military onslaught, he told an all- party meeting on global security.
Former defence minister and Labour backbencher Peter Kilfoyle said: "America is duping the world into believing it supports these inspections. President Bush intends to go to war even if inspectors find nothing.
Dr Perle told MPs: "I cannot see how Hans Blix can state more than he can know. All he can know is the results of his own investigations. And that does not prove Saddam does not have weapons of mass destruction."
Star-Telegram FEMA ordered to resume Katrina housing payments
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon said the Federal Emergency Management Agency failed to adequately explain why it ended the 18-month housing assistance program for people who lost their homes in the 2005 storm.
Leon's ruling was issued as a temporary injunction requested by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which filed suit in August saying FEMA had violated the rights of Katrina victims by abruptly stopping housing payments.
The judge ordered the federal agency to explain its reasoning and allow the displaced hurricane victims to appeal its decision. While that process goes forward, the judge said, FEMA must keep making payments and must pay storm victims for two months of housing since the decision to stop the program.
"It is unfortunate, if not incredible, that FEMA and its counsel could not devise a sufficient notice system to spare these beleaguered evacuees the added burden of federal litigation to vindicate their constitutional rights," Leon wrote.
A simple majority of Congress is all that is required to restore the appropriate and just balance of powers, to at least require the executive to have the express consent of Congress before any ill-advised new military misadventure. Only withdrawing the AUMF can send a message that foreign policy run amok will no longer be the order of the day.
The one click form below will send your personal message to all your government representatives selected below, with the subject "Terminate the Authorization for Use of Military Force." At the same time you can send your personal comments only as a letter to the editor of your nearest local daily newspaper if you like, and be added to the Voters For Peace Pledge.
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs Pressures Mount on Bush to Bomb Iran
Hard-liners in Israel and the United States believe that only military action, or the credible threat of it, will now prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, with all that this would mean in terms of Israel’s security and the balance of power in the strategically vital Middle East.
Fears that Bush might succumb to this Israeli and neoconservative pressure is beginning to cause serious alarm in Moscow, Beijing, Berlin, Paris, Rome and other world capitals where, as if to urge caution on Washington, political leaders are increasingly speaking out in favor of dialogue with Tehran and against the use of military force.
The quickening international debate over Iran’s nuclear activities comes at a difficult time for Israel, where Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is fighting for his political life and for that of his ruling Kadima-Labor coalition.
The Iran problem is causing particular concern because it raises fundamental questions about the continued validity of the security doctrine Israel has forged over the past half-century. A central plank of this doctrine is that, to be safe, Israel must dominate the region militarily and be stronger than any possible Arab or Muslim coalition.
Al-Jazeera UN: Israel breaks border agreement
A UN report has accused Israel of breaking all provisions in a year-old US-brokered agreement on Gaza's border crossings, as Condoleezza Rice visits the region.
The Agreement on Movement and Access, signed last November after the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, was meant to facilitate the movement of Palestinians and goods in and out of Gaza.
It also promised Palestinian control over the Rafah crossing into Egypt by November 2006, after a transitional year of EU monitoring and Israeli video surveillance.
At the time, the border agreement was hailed by Rice, the US secretary of state, as a breakthrough.
Gerald Plessner THE NEWT GINGRICH SEX STORY
Go Away Newt, it was good riddance the first time
1993 - Newt takes up with a young Congressional aide half his age In 1994, several newspapers had reported that Newt Gingrich was dating and living with Callista Bisek, a "willowy blond Congressional aide 23 years his junior. Biske, then 33, had been spending nights at Gingrich's apartment near the Capitol and had her own key.
Reporters and other Washington insiders had known about "Newtie and his Cutie" since 1994, even before Gingrich became Speaker of the House, but they did not have solid proof. In 1995, Vanity Fair magazine described Bisek as Gingrich's "frequent breakfast companion." Gingrich was married to Marianne during all of that time.
According to MSNBC, Bisek sang in the National Shrine Choir and Newt would often wait for her at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, listening to her sing while he read the Bible.
Herald Tribune, hat tip to Fitz Congress to look at voting problems
Sarasota's voting controversy has given new life to election reform advocates in Congress, prompting the incoming leader of the House to make the issue a top priority for the new year and triggering hearings in the U.S. Senate.
More than being just a battle over who won the 13th Congressional District, officials on Capitol Hill say what happened in Sarasota has wider implications for the nation, giving a more substantive edge to what previously was mostly a theoretical debate over the reliability of touchscreen voting machines.
"What happened in Sarasota really does highlight the issue," said Howard Gantman, communications director for U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein, a Democrat from California who is already vowing to hold hearings on the voting issues early in 2007.
Paper Ballots are the only way to go, less expensive, less poll worker training and they will not erase themselves...
“The prime minister made clear that splitting his country into parts, as some have suggested, is not what the Iraqi people want, and that any partition in Iraq would only lead to an increase of sectarian violence,” Mr. Bush said, adding, “I agree.”
The two leaders set no timetable for speeding up the training of Iraqi forces, which Mr. Bush described as evolving “from ground zero,” and a senior administration official, who attended the breakfast and was granted anonymity to discuss it, said hurdles remain.
“This is not a simple process of passing the baton,” the official said, adding, “This is not the United States and Iraq struggling for control of the steering wheel. This is the United States wanting Iraq to be firmly with the steering wheel in its hand, and the issue is, how do we get there as quickly as possible.”
The Economist Currencies and economies
THE dollar's tumble this week was attended by predictable shrieks from the markets; but as it fell to a 20-month low of $1.32 against the euro, the only real surprise was that it had not slipped sooner. Indeed, there are good reasons to expect its slide to continue, dragging it below the record low of $1.36 against the euro that it hit in December 2004.
Media Filter.org The Family That Preys Together
In fact, Junior's track record as an oilman is pretty dismal. He began his career in Midland, Texas, in the mid-1970s when he founded Arbusto Energy, Inc. When oil prices dropped in the early 1980s, Arbusto fell upon hard times. Junior was only rescued from business failure when his company was purchased by Spectrum 7 Energy Corporation, a small oil firm owned by William DeWitt and Mercer Reynolds. As part of the September 1984 deal, Bush became Spectrum 7's president and was given a 13.6 percent share in the company's stock. Oil prices stayed low and within two years, Spectrum 7 was in trouble.
In the six months before Spectrum 7 was acquired by Harken in 1986, it had lost $400,000. In the buyout deal, George "Jr." and his partners were given more than $2 million worth of Harken stock for the 180-well operation. Made a director and hired as a "consultant" to Harken, Junior received another $600,000 of Harken stock, and has been paid between $42,000 and $120,000 a year since 1986.
Junior's value to Harken soon became apparent when the company needed an infusion of cash in the spring of 1987. Junior and other Harken officials met with Jackson Stephens, head of Stephens, Inc., a large investment bank in Little Rock, Arkansas (Stephens made a $100,000 contribution to the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980 and gave another $100,000 to the Bush dinner committee in 1990.)
On a global scale, three out of five consumers believed the 40's are the new 30's.
"Our 40's are being celebrated as the decade where we can be comfortable and confident in both personal and financial terms. The majority of global consumers really believe life starts at 40," AC Nielsen Europe President and CEO Frank Martell said.
Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot.--D. H. Lawrence (1885 - 1930)
Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.--Denis Diderot (1713 - 1784)
When the habitually even-tempered suddenly fly into a passion, that explosion is apt to be more impressive than the outburst of the most violent amongst us.--Margery Allingham, Death of a Ghost, 1934
Passion makes the world go round. Love just makes it a safer place.--Ice T, The Ice Opinion