Thursday, July 19, 2007

Patrick Leahy is at it again.

It looks like our favorite Green Mountain Boy Senator Patrick Leahy is on the warpath again. He's just sent another letter to America's dullest dullard AG Alberto Gonzales informing him that before he testifies again in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 24, he's required to answer in writing some questions Leahy has "at least 48 hours before the hearing."

It appears the last time Gonales testified in front of Leahy and his Republican colleague Arlen Specter his answers weren't up to snuff, not by a long shot. Leahy writes: "By some counts, you failed to answer more than 100 questions, by other counts more than 70, and the most conservative count had you failing to provide answers well over 60 times. As a result, the Committee’s efforts to conduct oversight were hampered."

After that appearance Leahy and Specter asked Gonzales to suppliment his tesimony by answering some follow-up questions. "[In] your cursory response," Leahy writes, "you did not supplement any of your answers."

Now Leahy wants to know, among other things, "Pursuant to what legal authority " is Steven G. Bradbury, "Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General," issuing legal findings like the one that says Harriet Miers is “immune from compelled congressional testimony."

Leahy writes: "How is Mr. Bradbury’s issuance of this memorandum consistent with the Vacancies Act? At the end of the last Congress, Mr. Bradbury’s nomination to serve as the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel was returned to the President."

Whoopse! He must have been out of town when that happened; no one told him; he can't answer questions he doesn't recall the details of. . .

Also, Leahy wants to know:

"Has the Justice Department conducted audits or studies demonstrating that its data mining programs, such as the Star Program are effective tools for identifying potential terrorists?"


"In 2003, Congress unanimously passed the Hometown Heroes law to extend federal survivor benefits to the families of firefighters, police officers, and emergency workers who die of heart attack or stroke in the line of duty . . . More than three and a half years after Hometown Heroes became law, the Justice Department has approved only six claims and denied 48 claims out of nearly 260 applications. . . Why has the Justice Department taken so long to decide Hometown Heroes claims? Why is there only a three percent acceptance rate for Hometown Heroes claims?"

And finally:

"Given the Administration’s resistance to congressional oversight, its misleading and self-serving statements, its having denied security clearances to Office of Professional Responsibility investigators reviewing actions taken in connection with the President’s warrantless electronic surveillance program, and the ineffectiveness of other internal review mechanism, such as the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and the Intelligence Oversight Board, why should Congress or the American people have any confidence in your recent announcement implementing 'a significant new national security oversight and compliance effort'?"

That's a good question. More specifically, I'd ask why the American people should have any cconfidence in this Attorney General in anything he says or does. Here's a guy who was out of sight for most of the month of April supossedly cramming for his big appearance in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and when he actually got there, he couldn't remember anything.

What makes anyonwe think this next appearance on the 24th will be any different?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Michelle Malkin is really reaching this time.

Boy, the right wing bloggers are really getting desperate. I generally don't follow what the rest of the blogosphere is up to because I don't really have the time, but an article in the Inquirer about the right wing-bloggers reaction to a shooting of an Airman caught my attention this morning.

Apparently, many of these blogging misfits are convinced the media is covering up a story about some nut who shot Air Force Senior Airman Jonathan Schrieken on July 4th. Michelle Mankin, the self-hating "Asian Ann Coulter," started the ball rolling by writing that the shooter who killed himself, Matthew Marren, was an anti-war "zealot." Based on a post from a lady who knows someone who knows the Airman, Malkin got the notion that the shooter's suicide notes said he wanted to kill a soldier.

Malkin wrote: "Now, imagine the scenario flipped: What if a soldier had attempted to murder a peace activist over the holidays in order to 'make a statement.'"

Yes, indeed, you know the NYT and the liberal media would have been all over it!

Of course, after this the flood gates were opened and all the other nut-jobs jumped onboard.

But, let's imagine another type of scenario where the war you've supported all along has turned into a disaster of Biblical proportions and everything you've been spouting off about for the past six years has turned out to be comlpete and utter bullcrap.

You'd want to change the subject, too.

What Malkin and her homies must have missed is that Marren's notes said nothing about killing a soldier. The Inquirer reports Jack Smith, a spokesman for the Burlington County (PA.) Prosecutor's Office, described Marren's final words as 'rambling.' There was no mention of the military, the war in Iraq or the victim being a soldier."

Oh well, I'm sure somewhere out there is another issue you can really get your teeth into Michelle, like, how about the one about the Nisei all being traitors during WWII? You could resurrect that one again. Maybe, freshen it up a bit and perhaps it turns out all Mexicans are all traitors. Who knows, we might have to reopen Manzanar or Gila River.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Give 'em hell Harry!

Well, it appears Harry Reed is finally showing some backbone, he;s forcing the Republicans to back to war and W. Common' now, no more mealy-mouthed accomodation, no more backing down!

Bob Geiger writes:

"Forcing his Republican colleagues to put up or shut up on the notion of an up-or-down vote, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) just moments ago announced that he will immediately file a cloture motion on the Reed-Levin troop redeployment bill and, if Republicans follow through with a filibuster, will place the Senate in a prolonged all-night session Tuesday to force a true continuation of debate."

Tonight the Dems will be hosting a filibuster party in the Senate, forcing the obstructionist Republicans to show their true colors. Most folks, not paying too close attention to the seemlingly impenetrable mysteries of Senatorial parilamentary proceedure, might be at a lost to understand why we're still talking about withdrawing from Iraq almost a year after the Dems rolled into the majority in Congress on a decidely anti-war tide.

It's because up until now the Dems have tried to find concensus, which to the Republicans translates as "surrender." It's long post due for the Dems to show some guts and make the Republicans come out of hiding to show the whole country who's keeping us in Iraq. If the GOP wants to stand with their president, then fine. The war will go on, but the GOP will wind up in the political wilderness for another generation to come.

AQ is a big threat!!!

It looks like the Pentagon has been war-gaming a withdrawal from Iraq, which isn't really a huge deal, they war-game everything, but guess what they figured out? One official who talked to the WaPo said:

"The water-cooler chat I hear most often . . . is that there is going to be an outbreak of violence when we leave that makes the [current] instability look like a church picnic."

Wow, it took the CIA, the State Department and "the private sector" three days last December to come to that conclusion? I wonder how much they billed thew American tax-payer for that little junket?

W. and his rapidly shrinking peanut gallery of deadenders in the bloggosphere think if we were to leave Iraq before the job is done, in his words:

"It would mean we'd allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan."

Of course, from what's been clear for a long time -- and was just confirmed a few days ago by the "intelligence community" -- is that the sanctuary al-Qaeda lost in Afghanistan they've now re-built in Pakistan, not Iraq. Al-Qeada in Iraq is a horse of an entirely different color, but don't confuse W. & Co. with the facts. They have a nasty habit of getting in the way when they're trying to throw sand in the American people's eyes.

A case in the point is the new WH PR strategy of implying there's is a new AQ threat to the U.S. Reuters reports today the intelligence community has released unclassified judgments from another NIE, which says: "The United States currently is in a heightened threat environment."

You've really gotta to take those "unclassified judgments" with a grain of salt these days, because you never know what the "classified" parts say. [You just know Cheney had Mrs. Nesmith in there giving the NIE a heavy going over with her white out before he let W. release it.]

It's all very fishy, isn't it?

Congress is on the verge of taking control of W.'s dirty little war and -- what do you know? -- the administration starts crying Al-Qaeda! 9/11!!!! again. Where have we seen all this before? When Tony Snowjob says, "This is not an attempt to divert," you know the fix is in.

'See, we can't leave Iraq now, we have to fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here, but . . . they are here, so we can't leave because, uh-mmm. . .'

In any case, Anthony H. Cordesman writes that al-Qaeda in Iraq is not exactly the biggest miltia in the Sunni insurgent cosmos. They're maybe responsible for about 15% of the attacks carried out in Iraq. Cordesman writes that AQ in Iraq: "Must be kept in careful perspective . . . it does not dominate the Sunni insurgency."

If we were to bug out tomorrow, what is most likely to happen to AQ in Iraq, in my opinion, is that they suddenly find themselves between a rock and a very hard place. On one end they'd have the Sunni tribal militias and on the other they'd have their good friends the Shiites.

Without the U.S. to kick around, AQ in Iraq would surely lose it's whole raison d'etre in a hurry. More than likely they'd relocate to Lebanon or even Saudi Arabia.

And that would be too bad, wouldn't it? I mean, you really have to feel for the Saudis: They take our oil money, turn out the most pshycotic religious fanatics in their Madrassas -- their Wahabbi brand of Islam makes the most radical Iranian look like a Unitarian -- and they're perfectly content to allow all these hyped up jihadi frankensteins they've created to turn their suicidal rage against their good American allies in Iraq. Better them than the Royal family, right?

Monday, July 16, 2007

More Baghdad Embassy follies:

Due to all the indirect fire the Greeen Zone is being bombarded with on a daily basis, all embassy employees are now required to wear their personal protective equipment (PPE) pretty much where ever they go, including the Blue Star restaurant.

A secret State Department memo uncovered by McClatchy papers, states:

"As a result of the recent increase of indirect fire attacks on the International Zone, outdoor movement is restricted to a minimum. Remain within a hardened structure to the maximum extent possible and strictly avoid congregating outdoors. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is mandatory until further notice. . . Public places that are not in a hardened structure - such as the Blue Star Restaurant - should be frequented only in conjunction with the use of your PPE."

According to the article "An embassy spokesman on Saturday initially denied that State now requires workers to wear body armor in the Green Zone. He got upset when shown the memo."


But, it's good to know the thousand or so Americans living in the "heavily fortified" Green Zone are mainly protected by hardened structures like all the rest of our coalition partners .

Wait, they're not?

"About 55 United Nations personnel living in the Green Zone sleep in hardened housing, State Department personnel sleep unprotected."

Hmmm . . . . I wonder if that has anything to do with Ambassador Crocker's problems finding enough people to staff the embassy?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Iraqis sick of being badgered and we're all sick of Iraq!

The NYT reports:

"Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Mailiki declared Saturday that Iraqi forces could secure the country on their own 'any time' American troops decided to withdraw."

Although the NYT reports the Iraqis have only 6 "battalions able to operate without American support, compared with 10 in March," they're apparently ready to rumble. I say, that sounds fine to me, let's bring our people home.

When our allies the British have to declare that "
We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area [Basra]," I'd say the worm has turned. [BBC]

It's difficult to see this war getting any more absurd, so let's pack up and get the hell out before they start launching man eating badgers against us!
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