$400 Million and the Coming War With Iran

The Telegraph:

President George W Bush requested and received funding of $400 million (£200 million) for the plan after he made a secret appeal to Congressional leaders last year.

The money is likely to be used for operations carried out by the CIA and other intelligence agencies, according to the New Yorker magazine.

The appeal for funds “was focused on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change” said the magazine.


In the scenario concocted by Cheney’s strategists, Washington’s first step would be to convince Israel to fire missiles at Iran’s uranium enrichment plant in Natanz. Tehran would retaliate with its own strike, providing the US with an excuse to attack military targets and nuclear facilities in Iran.

This information was leaked by an official close to the vice president. Cheney himself hasn’t denied engaging in such war games. For years, in fact, he’s been open about his opinion that an attack on Iran, a member of US President George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil,” is inevitable.

Huffington Post:

On Fox News Sunday this morning, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said that President Bush is more likely to attack Iran if he believes Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is going to be elected.

…so how do we stop it?

Tim Russert Dies at 58


Tim Russert, NBC News€™ Washington bureau chief and the moderator of €œMeet the Press,€ died Friday after a sudden heart attack at the bureau, NBC News said Friday. He was 58.

Russert was recording voiceovers for Sunday€™s €œMeet the Press€ program when he collapsed, the network said. No details were immediately available.

Russert, the recipient of 48 honorary doctorates, took over the helm of €œMeet the Press€ in December 1991. Now in its 60th year, €œMeet the Press€ is the longest-running program in the history of television.

In 2008, Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

This is truly upsetting. Tim, our thoughts are with your family.

Who Will Be The New Congressional Democratic Lions?

I hate to bring up such a sad subject at such a tough time but, considering times don’t appear headed for wild wonderfulness any year soon and the subject’s too important to ignore, here goes:

With the hospitalizations of two of the Senate longest reigning Democrats, Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who will be our new lions? Do we have any in the making?

Vermont’s newest Senator, long-time Socialist House Rep, Bernie Sanders is already proving to be a fire brand. But he arrived in the upper house a bit late. Wellstone is dead. Corzine, who showed promise, went to be governor of New Jersey. We’ll have to see if Hillary and Barack remain in the Senate after this year (some speculation has Hillary being handed the governorship of New York on a platter, but I’d love to see what resigned-gov Eliot Spitzer’s replacement, David Patterson as the state’s first leader of color, will do).

Have any contenders we should watch for?

Are We At The Eve Of “Over”?

According to Keith Olbermann on MSNBC’s Countdown Monday night, Hillary Clinton is giving every signal of suspending her campaign today, as the final two Democratic primaries play out.

However, it should also be noted that a suspended campaign can be resurrected, right up to and including at Convention time in late August.

Watching The DNC Rules Committee At Work

I’m not certain quite the purpose for showing the inner workings of the Democrats’ Rules Committee as they wrestle with the issue of delegates and super delegates in contested states Florida and Michigan.

On the one hand, I think it’s valuable to some to understand how all this gets worked out re: who will be the Democratic Party nominee. On the other, however, bringing out (so called, cough, cough) big guns like CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to discuss things like the Austin petition and half votes and whether Howard Dean will say, “yeeehaaaaaw” again (he won’t, but CNN likes to make Dems seem dumb) makes the whole thing seem a little ditzy.

Me? I suspect it’s a ratings black hole.

Beat The Press: Play The Political Junkie 2008 Presidential Trivia Contest

I have such confidence in you that I’ll bet my best cup of coffee that you’ll score higher than a Dana Milbank or a David Sirota on this trivia challenge at The Week Behind.

I won’t say you’ll score better than a George Bush, because he’d have to be able to read to take the test and… well…. he’s cognitively challenged (to say the least).

McCain VP Possibility Charlie Crist, Gov of Florida, Has Sex Tape Surface

The more moral the Republican, the deeper the kink and the more likely (ick) there is video evidence. Jeb Bush, the president’s brother whom Crist replaced as the GOP governor of the state, was fortunately too fat to allow video taping. Cough.

No word on whether Paris Hilton is in Crist’s sex tape. Rumors that Michael Jackson’s chimp, Bubbles, participated is also uncomfirmed. Snort.

DNC: Will Democratic Race End Soon?

Well, this is the weekend the Rules Committee of the Democratic National Convention meets to hammer out what’s happening with delegates and super delegates, Florida and Michigan primary votes and what to do with them, et al.

Both DNC chair Howard Dean and many other ranking Dems have said they expect the race to be over soon after June 3rd, the date of the last scheduled donkey primary; that a commitment from superDs on who they’ll cast ballots for is wanted soon thereafter.

Yet others are beginning to suggest this is a race that may continue all summer through to the Dem National Convention in Colorado, the first time the convention’s been a real political potboiler since at least 1972. And I’m not sure Dems would be hurt badly by a later decision either: as long as the DNC continues its smart ads that target John McCain rather than a Hillary Clinton or a Barack Obama, I doubt there’s a danger. We’ve seen an exodus AWAY from the Republican and even the uncommitted voters coming into this presidential election cycle; I strongly resist the notion that something will magically drive these candidates back to Mad Dog McCain. You?

The Right “Puzzled” By McClellan’s Criticism

You know, I wasn’t inclined to pay much attention to fomer White House spokesman Scott McClellan’s new book about his tenure beginning soon after our dance of death began in Iraq. As McClellan took the job, we heard a lot about how decent a guy Scotty was and that the only explanation for him taking a job like that was loyalty to Bush. Strange how loyalty with a Bush lasts only so long, eh?

But I tell you, the more the right jumps up – from current and former WH bigwigs to semi-dead former righties (like Bob Dole) to Republcans-dressed-as-objective-news-consultants (like William Bennett, Karl Rove, et al) – to denounce the book and McClellan, the more they’re convincing me to buy it.

I mean, why else would the right mount such a campaign over a relatively small disagreement in perspective? It’s not like the American people like Bush anymore. They’re trying to protect their own, which includes a lot of people who want to ride back into another term under the third Bush term known as the first McCain term.

Maybe you should read McClellan’s book, too. Then you can learn more for yourself how Bush was intimately involved in the “outing” of Valerie Plame, then one of the CIA’s major agents on WMD, at a time when Plame was invaluable to our “ending terrorism”. But Bush had to have her “put down” because it was more important to smarm anything attached to Plame’s critical hubby, former Iraq ambassador Joe Wilson, than to stop real WMD in the world.

No, don’t get me wrong: McClellan is no hero for telling us now. If he’d outed Bush at the time, however…. But the book might be worth a read if only to see what other scum surfaces in it.

What The (Bleep) Is Wrong With Lieberman, Installment #9284

Now, to be fair, it’s never taken all that damned much to get Connecticut Senator (formerly Dem, now independently installed up the butt of the Bush/McCainies) Joe Lieberman to wander off the reservation. And whenever he wanders, it reminds you that the mind is one hell of a thing to waste but that his is more like loooonnnnng overpoached goose.

Yesterday was no exception for Joltin’ Joe-mentum. He rushed to the defense of nutcase tighty righty McCain religious nut, Rev. Hagee, who had JUST announced that Jews were at least partly responsible for their own genecide in the Holocaust. Lieberman defended this man (and I use the term man oh so loosely), but declined to answer questions re: whether he would allow Hagee to annihilate him because Lieberman is clinically depressing.

I’d call Joe an ass, but the anal sphincter is useful at least once a day whereas I can’t recall the last time my former senator (Lieberman) was ever useful (unless trying to inflict a sick migraine headache upon yourself).

The War That Opposes Al Jazeera More Than Osama Bin Laden

I don’t know whether you caught it here or elsewhere last week, but we’ve lowered the jackpot someone gets who snitches and leads to the death (wanna bet?) or capture (right, uh huh) of Osama bin Laden. But here in so called “liberal loony” Vermont, we’re fighting a single opposing voice: whether to permit the broadcast of al Jazeera on a cable network here (and al Jazeera does NOT always take the side of Islam, if you have any regular reading experience there) like it’s more heinous than September 11th and what we did to Iraq rolled together.

Now, the Burlington area is considered to be the most liberal part of the state; it’s got a tiny Seattle kind of feel to it, and that it’s a multiple college town doesn’t necessarily make it more conservative.

Really? We can’t listen to the other side occasionally? Sometimes, only by looking at both sides of the supposed truth can you discern the spin, the message, the actual agendae at work.

Your Take On HBO’s “Recount”?

Though I was nursing a miserable stomach flu that had me using my DVR to catch spots I missed in rushing to worship the porcelain goddess, I saw rapt through HBO’s “Recount”.

As honest as it was (and I thought it avoided some of the most fiery yet since proven true material), I realized there was probably no production that could completely tap my sick outrage at what happened in the Gore/Bush 2000 election.

Ironically, I was very ill on Election Day 2000 but I’d dragged myself out of bed, completely dazed, because I never felt like my vote was more important. And yet, at the same time, it never, ever permeated my consciousness that Bush could be named president. My partner voted Nader – and I let him have it for his decision – at least in part for how nasty the so-called left got toward Ralph for running, but though I never thought Bush could steal it, I felt the election was just too important to “waste” a vote.

Late in the day, I was very surprised at how well I heard Bush was doing. But it still did not dawn on me that what was about to happen ever could (and yet his stolen re-election in 2004 also surprised me because I could not fathom that we’d let him get away with it twice). After that, we made a concerted decision to turn off the media until 10 or 11 PM ET when at least some real count was in.

It was around 2 AM when Florida was turned from a Gore win, to a too-close-to-call one, and then around to a Bush victory. We were already hearing some stories about the Palm Beach and poorer Floridians having big problems either with nonsense design or broken voting equipment or being challenged as being on a felon list (and some 500-1,000 or more people were kept from voting for every “felon’s name” listed on the stuff that came from ChoicePoint, who has since been awarded much of the control for our terrorist watch lists, etc).

This is how feverish sick I was, both physically and from the news: around 2:30 am, I started telling God that he’d be welcome to “take me” if only he wouldn’t let Bush win (and I’ve been a little pissed at Him/Her ever since).

As outrageous as that night was, what followed was worse. The media kept telling us we were all tired of the fight to get the recount (I only recall the Bushies being tired) because we were eager to focus on the holidays (sheesh!). But the people I spoke with, while they wanted it over, certainly didn’t feel Gore or anyone else should just capitulate to suit the MSM. And some of these folks were Bush voters. Thus, long before 9/11, we’ve been letting the media, probably at the direction of the politicos it supports, tell us what should happen because of what appears to be an INACCURATE read of where the American public is.

So “Recount” could not quite recapture the terrible dawning horror of that first Tuesday in November of 2000. But could anything, especially knowing the great ruination of our country ever since?

And what was your reaction to “Recount”?

Reflections On This Memorial Day Weekend

Hopefully, most of us realize that the Memorial Day many will celebrate this long weekend indeed stands in memory of something: soldiers dying for a noble cause as designated by our government.

Sadly, what does this Memorial Day tell us when:

* we see how the veterans’ folks in the Bush Administration would rather spin the number of soldier suicides each month than try to address the real problem
* when cemeteries are booked solid for services for soldiers who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan or by their own hand
* that to fulfill quotas, the Pentagon is accepting those convicted of everything from wife- and parent-beating to felony murder
* that many of our soldiers who DO manage to get the military to declare them as disabled must often wait 6, 8, 12 or MORE months to see their first check, with nothing to live on in the interim
* more and more, soldiers on the battlefields are having to call back home to their banks to try to keep their families from being foreclosed upon – there are supposed to be checkmarks in place to be sure this can’t happen, but few soldiers seem protected

For those of you who have served us, thank you. And my sincere apologies that the Republicans who want so to use you for photo ops for e-election are the same ones who keep trying to block you from getting any of the thanks you are due.

OpEd Pages Dominated By Fat, Old White Men – But Here’s What Is Not Rich

Since it’s the Sunday of a long holiday weekend (though fewer and fewer Americans have jobs that a) pay anything as “fluffy” as holiday pay, b) where just one paycheck gets them by, so even if their other three jobs recognize Monday as a holiday, their fourth likely does not, and c) sadly, fewer know what Memorial Day is to remember), I figure I can get a few literary refs by.

First, Deborah Howell in The Washington Post reminds us of a truth that is sadly too self evident: almost all the voices on OpEd pages are white and male in a society one would expect would be less patriarchal by now.

Second, this piece in Slate discusses why Frank Rich is being “penned in” on what his Times column can cover now that he’s inked a deal as a creative consultant to HBO. I have to say my sentiment runs much toward Jack Schafer’s on this score.

Rich has been a national treasure, as much because he’s willing to tell us truths we don’t care to hear as for anything else. It reminds me of the old saying, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is crucified.” As much as I think Rich could make a hell of an addition to HBO, I don’t particularly desire to see him limited.

Catch HBO’s “Recount” Sunday Night

Just in time to make us (appropriately) very worried about November’s presidential vote comes the star-studded HBO docu-comedy-drama “Recount” about the Bush v. Gore 2000 Florida contest. HBO airs it tomorrow (Sunday) at 9 PM EDT.

Just the Laura Dern-as-Katherine-Harris bit looks deliciously worth the watch, IMHO. Might bring a few laughs along with a reminder of the great injustice and tragedy done when Bush was allowed to steal the White House.

Hillary Clinton And The RFK Assassination Reference

Is it just me or is this issue being blown out of all possible proportion?

As Time and some other media outlets note, Hillary has referenced the June candidate selection before using her husband’s ’92 selection as candidate and the Bobby Kennedy candidacy that went on until he was shot in June 1968 as markers. This seems to be the same thing she was doing in answering this question.

But, my God, last night people were calling her race effectively over, with no hopes of the VP slot, for making the same reference… one even Bobby Kennedy’s son insisted should not be construed as offensive.

Republicans Decree Iraq Surge “Worked Beautifully”, No One Challenges

Have you noticed?

Despite how obvious it was that the Pentagon and the Bush Administration, in their most recent assessment of Bush’s big escalation of war in early 2007, were lying about how “peachy” the situation in Iraq is, all the Republican talking heads on TV now note that the surge worked, that this is indisputable fact, and that the only people who would claim Iraq isn’t going well are hateful, God-ridiculing Democrats.

They’ll claim this even when we see GI deaths going up again, larger and larger suicide bombings, on days when “insurgents” nearly blew up the First Lady of Iraq and days when they just sit back and watch “the American saviors” unintentionally kill a slew of civilians due to “bad intelligence.”

The worst part of all this, however, is that some of the relatively non-partisan news anchors and reporters don’t challenge the GOPers when they make this outrageous claim. A Republican strategist will let loose with the pronouncement of how wonderful Iraq is and, even if the headlines just reported another big bombing, the anchor sits without uttering a single question or asking the basis for such a preposterous claim.

Speaking of John McCain’s Free & Easy Ride In The Media

First, the mainstream media joined the tighty-righties in villifying Barack Obama for about three minutes worth of comments given by his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, over the decades in which the men knew one another while simultaneously, they paid little attention to John McCain’s increasing zeal for the support of Christian fascists like the late Jerry Falwell and the current bizarro crops like Rev. Hagee.

When the press did finally notice McCain’s brown nosing of Hagee, they still gave it little press UNTIL McCain finally this week pulled the plug on Hagee, long after others told him he should. In other words, the MSM decided not to report much about Hagee until they could report that McCain “did the right thing” and kicked him to the curb in rejecting the loon’s endorsement without noting how damned hard McCain sucked up to get that endorsement.

This Is How Bad It Gets, When Media Casually Admits They Give McCain An Easy Time

The so-called left wing doesn’t have to make charges that the mainstream media is taking it very easy on Republican presumptive presidential nominee John McCain, compared with his Democratic Party challengers, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Lefties don’t have to because so many of the show anchors/news hosts flat out SAY that’s what they’re doing, along with the suggestion that they MIGHT – and only MIGHT, mind you – ask McCain slightly tougher questions come September or October.

I’ve heard MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann talk of it, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and several others there, and I won’t even bother to mention Fox, whose policy is to gut every Dem they find.

Gee, I wonder what the press will talk about then post-Dem candidate selection and pre-perhaps asking McCain tough questions in the fall. Maybe we can discuss Cindy McCain’s “family recipes” all stolen verbatim from The Food Network. That’s been about the level of “investigative journalism” being shown this year.