Wording It Well

Balkinization puts the right words to the WMD problem:
If the Administration did not deceive the American people about the existence of WMD in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, then the possibility that these weapons have already proliferated and spread to terrorist groups becomes much greater. And that should be troubling for any Administration that insists it is acting to make the American people safer. (Which raises an interesting question: should we be happier if it turns out that the Administration was merely dishonest because it misled the public about WMD's in Iraq or incompetent because it let the WMD's fall into the hands of terrorists?)
Did he lie, or was he just incompetent?

Republican Crony Club

Here's a story about more blatant Republican Crony Club corruption that will not result in any indictments or headlines. And especially no leading Democrats calling for investigations. Update - Here's another one.

By the way - still no no leading Democrats calling for investigation of Bush's corruption with Harken Oil, or Cheney's corruption with Halliburton.

Listen to Rush

A comment I left over at Billmon's blog, after a posting about how Americans are uninformed - or misinformed - about the WMD situation:
I'm surprised by how many of "us" - progressives and moderates - don't ever listen to Rush or Sean Hannity, which happen to be where a very large fraction of America gets its news. I think it's important to understand what they are saying. You won't BELIEVE it if you turn on Rush or Sean, but it's what the public is hearing, and you'll see why Bush is so popular. Try it.
I'm serious. It is a very good thing to know what your opponents are saying. It's also a good way to know what you're going to be hearing about everywhere else. Also, you'll understand just how serious the right is, and how hard they are ready to fight.


Go Read

Every, every, everybody should read Arianna Huffington's piece The Enronization of Public Policy!

More On Bush vs Veterans

Democratic Veteran has caught Bush out on another one - involving the government pulling back the number of contracts to veteran-owned small businesses.


The Democratic Wing

I think pundits who think the phrase "The Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" refers to the lefties "just don't get it." In my opinion the phrase refers to Democrats willing to be an opposition party and stand up and challenge the Republicans when it is in the interest of the country. Senator Bob Graham, candidate for President certainly is no leftie, but he certainly is willing to stand up and challenge the Republicans, calling on President Bush to release information about what led up to 9/11. I respect that, even if his politics are not in line with my own. The politics of Sen. John Kerry DO line up with mine, but I feel that he does not stand up to the Republicans as necessary, and THAT is why he does not earn the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" label.
Graham is a quiet man who is considered a long shot among Democratic contenders. But he is the only one so far to stake out an aggressive position on the basis of classified information obtained during his tenure as co-chair of a special House-Senate panel. That panel has been investigating failure by the intelligence community to anticipate the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.

Not only has he complained that the administration has dragged its feet for five months on declassifying the panel's 800-page report, but he has warned that he will take his case later this month to Vice President Dick Cheney, who oversaw the inquiry.

"I was raising my voice about my concern on this long before I became a candidate," said Graham, the only senator running for president who voted against congressional authorization of the war in Iraq, arguing that the terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden should be the top priority for the administration.

"The American people deserve to know what their intelligence agencies have done or not done, and Congress needs to know so that reforms can be made," Graham said in an interview.
Being in the Democratic wing is about being an opposition party and standing up for the people of the country and the interests of the nation instead of cowering before the Bush intimidation machine, allowing the right to persue their radical agenda to take the country back to the 19th century. That's what it's about, not about being a leftie. And it's about getting it. Checking in with weblogs is getting it. Reading BuzzFlash is getting it. Understanding what the grassroots are talking about is getting it. THAT is why Governor Howard Dean is doing so well with the grassroots, and THAT is why Dean can use the phrase "from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party."


U.S. Begins to Excavate Bomb Crater in Search for Hussein's Remains.
A team of American military engineers began an intensive effort today to excavate the site of a bombing on April 7 that military officials still think may have killed Saddam Hussein.

The operation, involving a backhoe, two bulldozers, two cranes and 17 dump trucks, appeared to be by far the largest American effort to discover whether Mr. Hussein was killed in the raid.
Weapons hunters haven't examined Iraqi missile site.
But no U.S. weapons hunters or intelligence officials have visited the heart of Iraq's missile programs -- the state-owned Al-Fatah company in Baghdad, which designed all the rockets Saddam Hussein's troops fired in 1991 and again this year. Not only that, it's not even on their agenda.

``We have the most sensitive documents here,'' said Marouf al-Chalabi, director-general of Al-Fatah. ``We were sure the Americans would target us, but they haven't even dropped by.''

Plans for rocket engines, guidance systems and even missile warheads are strewn across the dusty office floors and swirl in the parking lot outside. Some have been blown into nearby bushes. ``They're scattered everywhere,'' Chalabi said, marveling at the mess.

American missile experts who have accompanied U.S. weapons teams in Iraq expressed astonishment this week when told that the design plans and engineers behind the Iraqi Scuds and other missile projects were available. The experts, who couldn't be identified for security reasons, said Al-Fatah wasn't on any target list they had seen.
They sure as hell immediately secured the oil fields, and sent the troops necessary to accomplish that. But they never did put much effort into locating and securing the supposed weapons. Yes, the same weapons that were a terrible, unimaginable threat to our security. Weapons that not only Saddam could use against us, but terrorists could get their hands on. But after the war they didn't even bother to send more than a few teams out to look for them -- surely not a major effort to secure all these weapons before they could be used on us or dispersed to terrorists. It's almost like they didn't want to waste resource on something that was nothing more than a story - a pretense - an excuse.


Sense of Decency

Reading Krugman, and reading other news questioning whether Bush lied claiming Iraq was a threat to us, I think we might be having a "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" moment. If so, I want Al Franken to get the historical credit, for going after O'Reilly the other day. I heard about it from several blogs, and saw it on C-Span. You gotta see it, it's historic. You can watch by clicking here (scroll to where it says Franken, and click "Watch") or, if you have DSL or cable, here. (Use RealPlayer's slide bar if you want to skip to where Franken starts - about 27 or 28 minutes into it.)

Franken went after Bush and Limbaugh and O'Reilly (in person - he was sitting right next to him) for lying. I mean he really went after them. At the end of his talk he said that we're tired of the lies from the right and tired of just taking it and "we're not going to sit for it anymore, we just aren't." Franken's upcoming book is titled, "LIES, And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them:A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right" and O'Reilly is on the cover.

Then today Paul Krugman's column just got real and said it.
It's long past time for this administration to be held accountable. Over the last two years we've become accustomed to the pattern. Each time the administration comes up with another whopper, partisan supporters — a group that includes a large segment of the news media — obediently insist that black is white and up is down. Meanwhile the "liberal" media report only that some people say that black is black and up is up. And some Democratic politicians offer the administration invaluable cover by making excuses and playing down the extent of the lies.
This stuff MATTERS. We went to WAR based on their lies! Bush lied, people died. As I am hearing more and more people saying, this is a lot worse than Watergate or Iran/Contra. This might even be worse than getting a blowjob!!!!!!!

So this might be a turning point, a "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" moment that crystallizes people's thinking and helps guide them back to doing the right thing. It's hard to ignore this one. Getting us into a war is serious businesses. Many people died. We were asked to trust the President, that he knew things we didn't, that there were stockpiles of dangerous chemical, biological, even nuclear weapons -- and it's hard to reconcile that with what we have found on the ground. Now we're bogged down with at least 150,000 troops stuck there, getting shot at, for years. And if we leave there is little doubt that Iraq will become a Shiite fundamentalist country and that WILL be a threat to us. So this one is going to be very hard to slip past the public, even with the extent of control of the media they have now. They just lie and lie, and look where it gets us.

We're not going to sit for it anymore. We just aren't.

Update - Here, from a former war supporter.
I trusted Bush, and unless something big develops on the weapons front in Iraq soon, it appears as though I was fooled by him. Perhaps he himself was taken in by his intelligence and military advisers. If so, he ought to be angry as hell, because ultimately he bears the responsibility.

It suggests a strain of zealotry in this White House that regards the question of war as just another political debate. It isn't. More than 100 fine Americans were killed in this conflict, dozens of British soldiers, and many thousands of Iraqis. Nobody gets killed or maimed in Capitol Hill maneuvers over spending plans, or battles over federal court appointments. War is a special case. It is the most serious step a nation can take, and it deserves the highest measure of seriousness and integrity.

When a president lies or exaggerates in making an argument for war, when he spins the facts to sell his case, he betrays his public trust, and he diminishes the credibility of his office and our country. We are at war. What we lost in this may yet end up being far more important than what we gained.
Afternoon Update - Let's look at Senator Byrd's May 21 speech.
Truth has a way of asserting itself despite all attempts to obscure it. Distortion only serves to derail it for a time. No matter to what lengths we humans may go to obfuscate facts or delude our fellows, truth has a way of squeezing out through the cracks, eventually.

But the danger is that at some point it may no longer matter. The danger is that damage is done before the truth is widely realized. The reality is that, sometimes, it is easier to ignore uncomfortable facts and go along with whatever distortion is currently in vogue. We see a lot of this today in politics. I see a lot of it -- more than I would ever have believed -- right on this Senate Floor.

Regarding the situation in Iraq, it appears to this Senator that the American people may have been lured into accepting the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation, in violation of long-standing International law, under false premises. There is ample evidence that the horrific events of September 11 have been carefully manipulated to switch public focus from Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda who masterminded the September 11th attacks, to Saddam Hussein who did not. The run up to our invasion of Iraq featured the President and members of his cabinet invoking every frightening image they could conjure, from mushroom clouds, to buried caches of germ warfare, to drones poised to deliver germ laden death in our major cities. We were treated to a heavy dose of overstatement concerning Saddam Hussein's direct threat to our freedoms. The tactic was guaranteed to provoke a sure reaction from a nation still suffering from a combination of post traumatic stress and justifiable anger after the attacks of 911. It was the exploitation of fear. It was a placebo for the anger.

The Administration assured the U.S. public and the world, over and over again, that an attack was necessary to protect our people and the world from terrorism. It assiduously worked to alarm the public and blur the faces of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden until they virtually became one.

What has become painfully clear in the aftermath of war is that Iraq was no immediate threat to the U.S.

But, the Bush team's extensive hype of WMD in Iraq as justification for a preemptive invasion has become more than embarrassing. It has raised serious questions about prevarication and the reckless use of power. Were our troops needlessly put at risk? Were countless Iraqi civilians killed and maimed when war was not really necessary? Was the American public deliberately misled? Was the world?

And mark my words, the calculated intimidation which we see so often of late by the "powers that be" will only keep the loyal opposition quiet for just so long. Because eventually, like it always does, the truth will emerge. And when it does, this house of cards, built of deceit, will fall.
Please go read the whole thing. As it begins to dawn on America that they were hoodwinked into war, I have a sense that we are experiencing history and this will go down as one of its great speeches.

It's Just Gone

Also, read this letter from Charles Rangel. The Bush tax cuts were your Social Security and Medicare. The money is going to these tax cuts instead. No question about it. The money is just gone now, and you won't be getting Social Security or Medicare.
The Social Security and Medicare trust funds — financed through the payroll tax on workers — are being rapidly funneled out to "give the money back" to wealthy taxpayers. This lays the groundwork for the end of those two programs — not reform, end — because the money will simply not be there.
So when you hear someone defending these tax cuts, ask them if they understand that it means no Social Security or Medicare for them.


I know you've seen this and I'm sure everyone else is putting this on their weblogs, but it is so important that I'm referring to it as well. Read Paul Krugman's column today!

I'm in a "light blogging" period, but I want to write about this and will soon. You know I've been writing about the lying that is going on.