Daily Archives: June 12, 2007

Doan should be fired, Bush told, for violation of Hatch Act

Of course, Bush will do nothing.  Does that make him an accessory after the fact?

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The U.S. special counsel has called on President Bush to discipline General Services Administration chief Lurita Alexis Doan “to the fullest extent” for violating the federal Hatch Act when she allegedly asked political appointees how they could “help our candidates” during a January meeting.

In a June 8 letter to Bush, Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch accused Doan of “engaging in the most pernicious of political activity” during a Jan. 26 lunch briefing involving 36 GSA political appointees and featuring a PowerPoint presentation about the November elections by the White House‘s deputy director of political affairs.

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F**k you, Tony Blair

Tony Blair says goodbye cruel world….cursing the press in a burst of self-pity….and comparing himself to great British statesmen of the past. Mr. Blair might consider what adjectives the Iraqi people might apply to him.

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In seemingly full-throated roar, Mr. Blair used one of his last speeches in office before he is to step down in 15 days to settle scores with a press corps that he said has hounded, badgered, blustered and bludgeoned the nation’s leaders since he came to power 10 years ago.

“The fear of missing out means today’s media, more than ever before, hunts in a pack,” Mr. Blair declared in a speech organized at the offices of Reuters, the news organization, in London. “In these modes it is like a feral beast, just tearing people and reputations to bits. But no one dares miss out.”

He quoted from a past prime minister, Stanley Baldwin, who borrowed an expression from Rudyard Kipling to equate the press’s “power without responsibility” to “the prerogative of the harlot through the ages.”

Mr. Blair evoked the memory of two other former prime ministers, Gladstone and Disraeli, to vouchsafe that he was not the first leader to face “extraordinarily brutal treatment” in the press.

We know, Tony, we’ve heard this speech before, about how history will judge you and George W. Bush to be on a par with the great and heroic figures in American and British history. But you know what? saying it doesn’t make it true. In fact, saying it just makes you sound ridiculous.

You will be very fortunate not to be put on trial for war crimes.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iraq, Politics

Michael Gordon, Bush propagandist on the NY Times, strikes again.

This NY Times reporter has made a career out of carrying water for Bush’s lies in Iraq. He was formerly Judith Miller’s errand boy in the run-up to the war, and in the aftermath, and has survived her, but continues as the favored go-to reporter on the Times, for stories (or slants on stories) that really aren’t quite true.

Today’s article illustrates this very well. Bush wants the American public to think he’s doing something in Iraq besides “stay the course, harder”; so he sends off a general (Bush has been told now that he has no cred; only generals will speak about Iraq) with the craven Michael Gord0n in his pocket.

Admiral Fallon, who is in charge of the United States Central Command, used a whirlwind trip to Iraq to reinforce Washington’s public and private message that political progress was lagging. It is a message that has been delivered by several other American officials, but the deadlines have often been allowed to slip. This reporter, who is accompanying Admiral Fallon on his trip to Iraq, was allowed into the meeting. It was only at the end of the meeting that American officials agreed that it could be on the record.

If that doesn’t disturb you, you haven’t been paying attention. Remember that McClatchy News Service, the only reporting group that got it right on the invasion of Iraq, has been excluded from DoD flights for three years.

Here is the money quote, notable by what it doesn’t say:

When President Bush decided in January to increase American troop levels in Iraq, the purpose was not to win a military victory but to improve security so the Iraqi leaders could carry out a program of political reconciliation. But now that the troops are in place, the Iraqis have little to show by way of political progress.

Except that the security hasn’t improved. Killings, kidnappings, bombings, shellings, inside the Green Zone and out…. The Bush administration thanks you, Michael Gordon, for ignoring the fact that their “surge” idea did not provide the needed security, nor did it provide the jobs and reconstruction that it also promised, which were also supposed to make things tamer. So what Gordon has done has essentially what Bush wanted him to do, make the “surge” sound like a success instead of a complete and total failure, and shift the blame to the Iraqis.

Does the NY Times have any plan to assign Michael Gordon to some sort of special editor, or put him in time out, or in some way stop him from being used by Bush to deceive the public? Or is the Times happy that his “truthiness” has earned him a favored spot in the pocket of the Bush administration, where he will be fed morsels of bullshit, which he can then regurgitate onto the front page of the Times?

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, Fred Kagan:an idiot running a war, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Politics

The Sopranos: Jeralyn Merritt sounds off on the finale

Jeralyn Merritt is a smart lawyer, television commentator, and blogger, at TalkLeft. Her post on the Sopranos is hilarious, though she didn’t mean it to be: she was obviously like a lot of us, a real fan, but her story illustrates how really overboard we can go, and how our expectations prevented us from appreciating the ending, for a few seconds, a few hours, and in some cases, a few days or more. By the very fact that she wrote this whole thing, I expect that she will “get it,” eventually.

Usually I watch the Sopranos alone. Last night that was not the case. I spent the weekend at Hunter Thompson’s Owl Farm in Woody Creek, Colorado, outside of Aspen, as a guest of his wife [sic] Anita.

The occasion was a NORML legal seminar, where mostly veteran criminal defense lawyers lecture to mostly younger criminal defense lawyers on various topics related to defending drug cases.

For the second year since Hunter’s death, Anita opened up Owl Farm to us for a Sunday afternoon party, with live music by Jimmy Ibbotson (formerly of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and a Woody Creek neighbor) and other musicians and a massive spread of fresh food, barbecue and libations. As you might imagine, no one mentioned the Sopranos. Except me.

Anita had invited me to spend the weekend at Owl Farm as opposed to the Gant where the seminar was being held and the other attendees were staying. As soon as could possibly be considered polite after my arrival on Friday evening, I asked her if she had HBO and told her I was conflicted because I couldn’t miss the Sopranos and there was no way I could both spend the afternoon at the party and make it back to Denver in time for the finale at 7:00 pm.

Ever the gracious hostess and even though she doesn’t watch the show, Anita called her cable provider and ordered HBO so I could see the show.

By 6:45, I was planted on the couch in front of the humongous television in the famous Hunter kitchen, shoo-ing everyone out and shush-ing up those who remained. At 7:00 the show started. I was like a jail warden. No one was allowed to speak. The finale of all finales was about to begin.

I started worrying about having made such a big deal about the show after A.J. didn’t get blown up in either the SUV or the BMW. I realized then nothing was going to happen. Every scene seemed like a filler to me — Tony and Janice, Janice and Junior, Tony and Junior, Tony and Carmela with the prospective in-laws, even Tony and Paulie. The only satisfying scenes were Phil getting whacked and the FBI agent having an affair with a fellow agent and giving Tony secret information obtained by wiretap.

When the screen went blank at the end, like everyone else watching, I thought the cable system had failed. But, by then, I honestly didn’t care. I didn’t try changing the channels to test the system, I just didn’t care any more.

When the credits rolled up after the 11 second black-out, everyone was silent. I broke the silence with “Oh, my G-d. They just totally f-ked us over. I am so embarrassed and so sorry I made such a big deal out of this. I made you get HBO, I shooed everyone out of the room, I shushed up those who stayed to watch and it was the biggest nothing ever. I’m so sorry.”

She still hasn’t figured it out. But she will.

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“Anbar Awakening” starts to crack

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Plan B, the Anbar Awakening, is little more than a blip on the screen, and it’s starting to come apart at the seams.

A tribal coalition formed to oppose the extremist group al-Qaeda in Iraq, a development that U.S. officials say has reduced violence in Iraq‘s troubled Anbar province, is beginning to splinter, according to an Anbar tribal leader and a U.S. military official familiar with tribal politics.

In an interview in his Baghdad office, Ali Hatem Ali Suleiman, 35, a leader of the Dulaim confederation, the largest tribal organization in Anbar, said that the Anbar Salvation Council would be dissolved because of growing internal dissatisfaction over its cooperation with U.S. soldiers and the behavior of the council’s most prominent member, Abdul Sattar Abu Risha. Suleiman called Abu Risha a “traitor” who “sells his beliefs, his religion and his people for money.”

Two things are going to happen: those who collaborate with the occupiers will eventually come to an unhappy end, and, weapons given to Sunnis will kill Shiites and US soldiers.

As the US goes about happily passing out weapons, the Sunnis must be making whatever gesture/sign they have that corresponds to our “he’s crazy” signal.

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Filed under Fred Kagan:an idiot running a war, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iraq, Middle East, Politics