The president is a simple man, indeed.

by lestro

Today at his news conference, the president discussed his greatest mistake, without actually realizing it:

Mr. Bush went on, leaning over the lectern as he declared, in effect, that while many Americans have moved on after the attacks, he has not. “You remember what it was like right after September the 11th around here?” he demanded, adding: “People were saying, ‘How come they didn’t see it? How come they didn’t connect the dots?’ Do you remember what the environment was like in Washington? I do.”

So? Answer your own question, Georgie: How come you didn’t see it? How come you didn’t connect the dots?

And if the dots were there and you just failed to connect them, why did you need all those new powers and imperial leeway?  Seems to me that if you had spent less time in the summer of 2001 paying attention to the Chandra Levy thing (who?) or the shark attacks (seriously?) maybe you would have connected the dots that said “Bin Laden determined to strike in the US,” you idiot.

And still defiantly dumb to the end:

To critics who say his policies have diminished America’s moral standing in the world, Mr. Bush said flatly, “I disagree with this assessment.”

He said was not certain why he had become so divisive — “I don’t know why they get angry. I don’t know why they get hostile,” he replied to a question about those who disagree with his policies so vehemently that it became personal — and added that he had learned, during the course of his time in office, not to pay attention.

He disagrees? Because, uh, according to Pew, he is, um, WRONG.

Seems pretty straight-forward to me, Mr. President-for-thankfully-only-another-week.

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Pay no attention to the war behind the curtain

by twit

October surprise edition, via the Jerusalem Post by way of Drudge:

The Dutch intelligence service, the AIVD, has called off an operation aimed at infiltrating and sabotaging Iran’s weapons industry due to an assessment that a US attack on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is imminent, according to a report in the country’s De Telegraaf newspaper on Friday.

The report claimed that the Dutch operation had been “extremely successful,” and had been stopped because the US military was planning to hit targets that were “connected with the Dutch espionage action.”

The impending air-strike on Iran was to be carried out by unmanned aircraft “within weeks,” the report claimed, quoting “well placed” sources.

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The Big “I”

by lestro

Impeachment is once again back in the news and once again not on the table for the Democratic leadership, although it sounds like Nancy Pelosi might be willing to talk, even if it is now almost too late:

Pressed on ABC’s “The View” about whether she had unilaterally disarmed, the author of “Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters” said she believed the proceedings would be too divisive and be a distraction from advancing the policy agenda of the new Democratic majority.

Then she added this qualifier: “If somebody had a crime that the president had committed, that would be a different story.”

That assertion only threw fuel on the impeachment fire as advocates of removing Mr. Bush cited the 35 articles of impeachment compiled by Representative Dennis Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio, as well as accusations in a new book by author Ron Suskind of White House orders to falsify intelligence, an accusation that has been denied.

Kucinich, you crazy little bastard, God love ya!

But as the story points out, the Democratic leadership absolutely does not want any part of an impeachment battle:

Despite whatever resonance pursuing the president might have in progressive Democratic circles, it is not the message Democrats want to carry into an election where they need to appeal to swing voters to increase their Congressional majorities and win the White House.

They would rather devote their final weeks to pushing economic relief and health care, even if they thought Mr. Bush and the conduct of the war merited impeachment hearings.

And leading Democrats argue anyway that Mr. Bush has already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.

“He has been impeached by current history,” said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “He is going down as the worst president ever. The facts are in.”

To me, that is not enough. I think there needs to be a bitchslap in the historical record to let future generations know that what this president and this administration did were wrong and unamerican and violate almost everything we are supposed to believe in.

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Tenet admits to ‘efforts’ by the Bush Administration to fake Iraq evidence

by twit

So there’s a book out that claims that somebody in the Bush Administration faked a letter to show a link between Iraq and al-Qaida. In the mad scramble of denials that have followed, former CIA Director George Tenet makes an interesting dodge:

Tenet, in a statement distributed by the White House, also issued a denial about the supposedly fake letter. “There was no such order from the White House to me nor, to the best of my knowledge, was anyone from CIA ever involved in any such effort,” he said.

“It is well established that, at my direction, CIA resisted efforts on the part of some in the administration to paint a picture of Iraqi-al-Qaida connections that went beyond the evidence,” Tenet said. “The notion that I would suddenly reverse our stance and have created and planted false evidence that was contrary to our own beliefs is ridiculous.”

The White House is distributing a denial that says it is “well established” that ‘some people in the Bush Administration made efforts to pressure the CIA to distort the evidence.’

Wait, what? People in the Bush Administration were leading efforts to get the CIA to create and plant false evidence?

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The Bush Administration works hard to set the terrorists free

by twit

It has always been an indisputable point of logic that torture does not produce reliable confessions. A person subject to torture will say what they need to say in order to stop the pain.

For example, the Atlantic notes in October 2003:

Few support the use of physical pressure to extract confessions, especially because victims will often say anything (to the point of falsely incriminating themselves) to put an end to pain.

Enter the Bush Administration, and its voracious appetite for torturing suspected terrorists. I have little doubt that they got some great sounding stuff from the waterboarding and other tactics that have been reported on over these past few years.

The issue of whether torture is an effective interrogation method needs no high and mighty ideals of human rights and liberties to make it an unacceptable practice. It is a matter of simple logic, one that should have been obvious to anyone responsible with producing evidence for a criminal or war crimes trial.

As of today, logic and the rule of law prevails:

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – The judge in the first American war crimes trial since World War II barred evidence on Monday that interrogators obtained from Osama bin Laden’s driver following his capture in Afghanistan.

… The judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, said the prosecution cannot use a series of interrogations at the Bagram air base and Panshir, Afghanistan, because of the “highly coercive environments and conditions under which they were made.”

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Biofuels are a crime against humanity

by twit

We should have known something was wrong the instant biofuels became so enthusiastically supported by the Bush Administration, but it still is something of a surprise that the World Bank has for months sat on a report that details the crimes against humanity caused by the biofuels industry.

Fortunately, there is someone with a conscience working at the World Bank who helpfully leaked the “damning” report to the media. Via the Guardian on July 4, 2008:

Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% – far more than previously estimated – according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian.

The damning unpublished assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally-respected economist at global financial body.

The figure emphatically contradicts the US government’s claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises.

The World Bank report also includes an analysis of what this means for the world:

Rising food prices have pushed 100m people worldwide below the poverty line, estimates the World Bank, and have sparked riots from Bangladesh to Egypt. Government ministers here have described higher food and fuel prices as “the first real economic crisis of globalisation”.

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The Coming War with Iran

by twit

It looks like President Bush has had a hard-on for an invasion of Iran for awhile now. Way back on April 17, 2006, Seymour Hersh writes for the New Yorker:

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped.

He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”

One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.”

He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”

Indeed. But it may have something to do with the practice of “stovepiping,” described by Seymour Hersh on February 11, 2008:

It is possible that Israel conveyed intelligence directly to senior members of the Bush Administration, without it being vetted by intelligence agencies. (This process, known as “stovepiping,” overwhelmed U.S. intelligence before the war in Iraq.)

That’s right. The Bush Administration is so competent in the arts of war and intelligence gathering, they apparently often bypass the regular sources and methods to collect the information they then use to implement their policy goals.

This all sounds so damn familiar

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