Bush, Rumsfeld Blaming the Troops

We have seen that the Republican Congress refuses to hold the Bush administration accountable for anything. The Congress is controlled by the Republicans, and the Bush administration are Republicans, so they will not investigate or ask questions no matter how serious the abuse of power. And we have seen that the Republican Justice Department also refuses to look into matters that involve the Bush administration, and other Republicans.

Look what's happening with this scandal over abuse of prisoners in Iraq. The Republicans are showing that they do not "support our troops" at all. The Republicans are blaming the troops. The Bush administration and its surrogates and their talk radio and their pundits and their politicians and their whole echo chamber are blaming "a few bad soldiers," leaving all of those serving in the prisons over there hanging out to dry.

Think about that. Do we blame the troops, and stop there? Or do we blame the chain of command? Do we blame the leadership examples? Or do we just push all of this off on the troops on the front lines? And about how this affects our troops in Iraq. They are being SHOWN that THEY will be blamed for failures of policy. They are being shown that their leadership will run and hide when the going gets tough. And worse, they are being shown that when there is a choice between taking a political hit, or stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility and diffusing the ANGER that could lead to an increase in attacks and a decrease in their safety while doing their jobs, their leaders - OUR leaders - run and hide and blame others, and blame them, and blame anyone except those who sent them there and told them what to do.

So it's time to REALLY support the troops. It's time to hold the Bush administration accountable for its failures. It's time to DEMAND accountability. Since the people who are supposed to be holding our leaders accountable are refusing to do their jobs it's time for the people to step up to the plate and demand accountability!

This is a choice between supporting the Republicans who want to blame the troops in a blatantly political attempt to evade responsibilitybecause they are afraid it will cost them votes, and those of us who want to hold leadership accountable.

Blame the troops? Or blame the leadership? Which is it going to be?

Sign the petition. And send e-mail to people you know, asking them to sign the petition. It is time for Rumsfield to go. Blame the people who put the troops there and told them what to do, not the troops.

Joe Conason on Abu Ghaib is a must-read

Joe Conason has solid evidence that the Abu Ghraib problems trace back to political appointees, specifically Doug Feith, rather than to the military. Don't miss it.


Thought you'd be in the mood for a Mother's Day message. Apparently people are saying mean things about Barbara's little boy. Help her feel good about herself by sending out some love, OK? Times have been hard lately.

Her other boys (Jeb, Neil, and the elusive Marvin) all are feeling the pinch too. With your help, they'll all be able to take care of needed tasks such as reroofing their houses, getting electric washing machines, and sending their kids to rehab. Bar really hates those cruel, elitist things that people are always saying. Her kids are just as good as anyone else's.

STF Management


With Mother's Day coming up this weekend, I've been thinking about how proud I am of our children.

And it's with a mother's pride that I'm writing you today to ask you to support our eldest, George W., and his re-election campaign with a donation of $1000, $500, $250, $100 or $50..........

Earlier this week, our son's re-election team announced their "March to a Million" campaign. Never before has a presidential campaign received contributions from over one million supporters. With your help, we'll make history.


This election is going to be a tough one. That is why I'm asking for your support. For months the President has been facing negative advertising from John Kerry and all sorts of pro-Kerry groups. I've been particularly disappointed in the personal attacks.

Your donation, no matter what the size, will help advertise the President's positive agenda for America and deliver his compassionate conservative message directly to the voters.


America needs a strong leader like George W. Bush. He is the right man to lead America during these challenging times.

Thank you very much for your support today. I hope you and your family enjoy a wonderful Mother's Day.


Barbara Bush


Our values

Not "The Onion"


"The second unfolded just after midnight Thursday in this city, when more than 450 soldiers in armored vehicles rumbled into a neighborhood amusement park where Mr. Sadr's militiamen, known as the Mahdi Army, were storing heavy weapons near a ferris wheel and bumper car ride.

At 12:30 a.m., soldiers were drawn into an intense firefight, killing an Iraqi who had been lobbing grenades from the area of the pirate ship ride. The man was carrying identification showing he worked for an American-trained security force, the Facilities Protection Service."


"Although Narwhal is not specifically aimed at any one country in particular, there is no doubt about for whom the message is intended: that major superpower, which has always represented a threat to world peace -- Denmark."

No Polls

Here's an update to my far-too-subtle post from last night.

(Thanks Cursor.)

Pelosi on Surprise Iraq Funding Request

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on the Bush Administration's $25 billion Supplemental Appropriations request for the war in Iraq:

"By requesting just $25 billion in additional money for our troops in Iraq - when we know that at least twice that amount will be needed - the Bush Administration is once again keeping the true cost of the war from the American people.

"For weeks, despite the increased fighting in Iraq and the continued loss of our brave soldiers, the President and the Secretary of Defense have maintained that an additional funding request could not be submitted before the November election because it was impossible to know the right amount.

"We need to know how the Administration all of a sudden decided that it needed $25 billion since many experts - including the House Budget Committee - have concluded that at least $50 billion in additional funding will be necessary to provide our troops with the equipment and support they need to accomplish their mission.

"We must give the troops what they need to be successful under increasingly risky conditions. And the President must tell the hard truth to the American people about how much longer our troops will remain in Iraq and how much more it will cost."


War Crimes?

I linked to this video before, but can't find the post. (If you know where it is, let me know. Thanks.) It seems a good time to remember it. Warning: graphic, nasty.


Over at Counterspin Central," it depends on the meaning of what the word "threat" is. If you're reading this, you're probably a threat, too. In other words, if Bush wins this elecion, watch your backs.

Con Man

A line in this story struck me somehow... Oklahoman May Have Infected Nearly 170 Women With HIV:
"'There was just something about him ... that he had the ability to make you feel that you were really special and beautiful, and you were the only woman in the world to him,' she said."
OK, this guy seduces 170 women since 2003 (approx. one every two days?) because he made women think they were "the only woman in the world to him." Somehow I just have to post this because you know what it reminds me of, right? (here, here, here, here)


Digby has an important post talking about why David Brock's new organization Media Matters is important. I've been saying here for some time that we should be listening to Rush Limbaugh so we can understand just what Republicans are saying and thinking. Now, Media Matters is transcribing Rush! Digby writes about this:
"But, his ugly talk still operates just a little bit under the radar in terms of specificity. I imagine the majority of people think they know what he is saying, but they don't. Until you see it written down, you really don't get just how vicious and crude it really is. His radio voice serves to make him sound somewhat friendly and funny. People think he is exaggerating for effect. Still, the message gets out, day after day. 'Democrats are not real Americans like you.' This treasonous, unamerican picture of liberalism has seeped into the body politic so thoroughly that even liberals themselves have internalized this distorted version of themselves."
I still say it is important to listen rather than wait for the transcripts, because then you can see the stuff filtering out to the mainstream as it happens. (Read the transcripts, too.)

Bob Somerby on Air America, Thursday, 12:30 Eastern Time

Bob Somerby of the incomparable Daily Howler will be on Al Franken's Air America show Thursday (tomorrow) at 12:30 Eastern Time.

Let's hope that this is a prelude to hiring him. I've never heard Somerby, but he makes his living as a speaker and comedian and he should be good on radio.


More Media Control Of What We See and Hear

Last week one media company called the TV show NightLine traitors and took NightLine of the air rather than show a tribute to the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for The Party's oil needs. Now we learn a little bit more about the raw politics behind the control of what what we see and hear.

Disney Forbidding Distribution of Film That Criticizes Bush:
Mr. Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, said Michael D. Eisner, Disney's chief executive, asked him last spring to pull out of the deal with Miramax. Mr. Emanuel said Mr. Eisner expressed particular concern that it would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Mr. Bush's brother, Jeb, is governor.

"Michael Eisner asked me not to sell this movie to Harvey Weinstein; that doesn't mean I listened to him," Mr. Emanuel said. "He definitely indicated there were tax incentives he was getting for the Disney corporation and that's why he didn't want me to sell it to Miramax. He didn't want a Disney company involved."
As the election nears, expect more and more maneuvering by The Party to stay in control. Watch your back.

Another Nasty Kerry Smear

John Kerry's Vietnam Medical Report on National Review Online. The thing is, a doctor talking about a patient like this is unethical, right? Which brings his credibility into question. So how much money has to have changed hands for the doctor to say this?

About The New Ad ===>>>>

I received the following (edited) regarding the new blog ad over in the right column:
I am a long time fan of your blog. I am writing to bring your attention to the blogad which now graces your site. At first glance, I know it might not make much sense for an Arkansas state representative candidate to advertise on a blog that doesn't have a whole lot to do with Arkansas. The Republican in this race, however, has national name recognition and will be able to raise money nationally. He is Tim C. Hutchinson, the son of the former senator of the same name. The elder Hutchinson, you will recall, lost to Mark Pryor here in Arkansas in 2002 and was the only Republican in a contested race to lose. He was also voted as the most conservative Senator in the country.

Now his son is venturing into politics. He is advertising himself as a "law and order" candidate, which is interesting because he has had a bit of a law and order history. When he was in law school, he paid only a $50 fine and $100 in court costs after killing two people in a car crash. He was working on his father's campaign at the time. He walked away with a clean driving record. Check out the full story at:

[. . .] This race has national importance because the district is in Benton country, Arkansas, birthplace and headquarters of Wal-Mart. It is the GOP base in Arkansas, and probably the heart of its national base as well. A Rasmussen poll this morning showed Kerry and Bush at 45%-45% in Arkansas. The state is in play, and defeating Hutchinson will help Kerry win here. The Democrat in this race, Robbyn Tumey, is a self-made businesswoman running for office for the first time.

I hope y'all will take a blogging interest in this race, particularly Tim Hutchinson's history. Keep up the good fight.
Click on the ad and send some turkee.

Worst Column Ever: Safire's "The Cruellest Month"

William Safire: "A certain grim logic suggests a turn for the better may be coming this summer."

You have to read it all. It goes on, getting steadily worse and worse, without a scrap of fact or logic anywhere. Innuendos, wishful thinking, wild speculation, weird rhetorical questions, simple misrepresentations of fact, raving free association -- Safire is truly a columnist worthy of George W. Bush.

There's no reason to believe that anyone in this administration is thinking any more rationally than Safire is -- the spin doctors are the policy makers now. Hold on to your hats.

Fighting The Right

The Blogging of the President: 2004 posted this:
David Brock's organization, Media Matters (http://mediamatters.org), is now tracking the right-wing influence on media by writing down what Rush Limbaugh says. Digby has more on why this resource is useful.

[. . .] Is this effective liberal institution building? I wonder what Dave Johnson thinks. What do you think? Will all of this actually matter? Does it substitute for an ideology?
So here's what I think:

I think the announcement of Media Matters is great news. It is one small, essential piece of the answer to the Right's juggernaut. I think this new organization is also important because it (and Center for American Progress) is a sign that "our side" finally is starting to "get it" about building long term institutions designed to affect overall national attitudes, rather than mainly funding short-term, election-oriented efforts to build support around a candidate.

I spent some time with Brock several months ago and we talked about Media Matters, and about the effect of the Right's infrastructure on our politics. The Right has built up this marketing/communications machine with the intention of moving America's opinions to the right. Think about how this affects elections -- the Right has this machine in place pounding out "ideas," telling people lies like "Social Security is going broke," "lawsuits are out of control," "children are trapped in failing public schools," and "tax cuts increase revenue." After hearing this over and over, and hearing the Right's proposed solutions, THEN along comes an election, and the Right can just plug in a generic candidate who spouts the slogans Americans are pre-conditioned to expect.

Meanwhile Progressive candidates have to start FROM SCRATCH, each election cycle, explaining to Americans about things like single-payer insurance and what the term means... and have to do it ALONE, and have to raise the money themselves to communicate to the public... It's a nearly-impossible task when you think about it.

And between elections the Right's huge infrastructure is doing research on marketing techniques, framing language, etc... And the whole time they are pounding out their propaganda all across America, writing books, opinion pieces, letters to the editor, articles, sending out speakers, pundits, talk show guests, etc. all repeating whatever talking points they've decided to use on the public, all with the overall goal of furthering their "movement."

So I think the Right's network of "advocacy organizations" with a marketing/communications focus is the reason we find ourselves in the situation we're in. It's not so much that it's impossible to compete with their machine as that so far we haven’t barely even STARTED competing with it.

Media Matters and Center for American Progress are good beginnings. But they are only beginnings. The Right has over 500 organizations and they are massively funded, and COORDINATED, working together as part of "the conservative movement." It is essential that we understand how the Right operates, and how they are funded, and, especially, how they are affecting American thought. It's not illegal, it's not a conspiracy, it's smart.

So why does the Right have this and "our side" does not? I'll quickly lay down a few reasons I think this is. First, the Right's infrastructure evolved as a response to the 60's "establishment" of scholarly academic-oriented think tanks. That they evolved as a response is a key - the institutions on "our side" were the frogs in the water as it warmed up, not noticing the changing environment until it's too late. They have not evolved. Momentum was in place. Jobs and careers were on the line. Etc. -- we all know how bureaucratic institutions are slow to respond.

The Right's organizations grew up designed, from the start, to CHANGE MINDS AND PERSUADE because moderate and progressive thinking was the dominant paradigm. Historically, moderate and progressive organizations, largely already in place, did not face a need to change minds and persuade ideologically and so they were not designed to do that. The Right's organizations were designed from the start to change minds and persuade, while moderate and progressive organizations were designed from the start to accomplish issue objectives. Now the Right has changed lots of minds, while moderate/progressive orgs are not designed to respond to today's facts on the ground.

Most important I think is the Right's understanding of funding as an investment in ideas and in the results that come from changing minds. The Right provides general operating support to advocacy organizations for the purpose of changing the way Americans think. Moderates and progressives generally DO NOT. They instead tend to fund PROGRAMS and ISSUES. This is a huge difference! This is the KEY problem with building organizations equipped to respond to the Right. It requires an evolutionary change in the way moderate and progressive money sees the world.

Moderate/progressive money works to accomplish specific objectives rather than affect overall public attitudes and politics. The Right's organizations change minds and affect politics, and the result is votes for Republican politicians, who then accomplish the goals of the ideological movement. So all the money that is poured into environmental organizations, for example, is becoming more and more ineffective as the Right's politicians and judges wipe out all the environmental gains. I always use the example of a philanthropist spending $500,000 a year on programs for an old-growth redwood grove. Maybe hiring a biologist, or funding lawsuits to protect from logging... Ten years later a politician might order the area logged "to protect against fires" or one Federalist Society judge might decide that resources should be used for corporate profit -- and the $5 million is WASTED (and the trees are gone.) So the Right's understanding that funding advocacy organizations is an investment pays off.

So I think our work now should be to persuade funders - philanthropists, foundations, etc. - of the need to change the way moderate and progressive organizations are designed, to recognize that there is an ideological war going on, and we need to start persuading the public that progressive values -- community, democracy, sharing, nurturing, investment, responsibility and honesty -- are superior to the right-wing ideology of greed and hate.

We need to start SERIOUSLY funding advocacy organizations for the LONG TERM. The Right is literally spending BILLIONS on this effort and it is time for our side to step up to the plate. Media Matters is a great start but it is one small organization. Center for American Progress is a great start, but it is one small organization. Neither is designed to reach the general public with a marketing/communications focus. We need to grow up 498 MORE organizations now, to fight back and take back our country.

Lottery Winnings

American Joblog:
"I had a daydream yesterday afternoon. It was the best...
I had won the Powerball lottery, and no longer needed to work. So, I set up my own non-profit, which, if necessary, would be funded by generous grants from me. I hired at least one activist and hundreds of interns (paid or not paid, the dream didn't specify) in each state, and our goal was to walk the streets, and inform the citizens in each state about our struggle against offshoring and excessive H1-B/L-1 immigration workers. I would pay these activists a nifty little salary and have a little benefit package so that they loved their mission, and their organization. I could create some jobs for Americans, and fight those that would make Americans jobless."
Where would YOU spend YOUR lottery winnings?


Atrios and Roger Ailes Break a News Story

Atrios and Roger Ailes have broken a news story about an NPR reporter planting right-wing propaganda in her reports. In this instance the reporter pretended to be interviewing Catholics about whether they think Kerry is a good Catholic because he supports a woman's right to choose instead of outlawing abortion.

The following is based on a comment I left at Ailes' site. Let me speculate a bit... Focus-group and polling research showed that stories about Kerry being a bad Catholic would move some Catholic voters over to the Bush column. (Atrios and others have pointed out how Republicans go against the Church - death penalty, war, etc. but that doesn't go out as NEWS stories!)

Actually I think that story is part of a larger campaign designed to pull religious people into the conservative camp. There are many signs of an organized, planned marketing campaign here... Have you noticed a number of stories about how church-goers vote Republican while people who do not believe or do not regularly attend church are Democrats? I think this is part of the same campaign targeting religious voters and messaging them with reasons they shouldn't trust Democrats. Why are these stories in the news? The data used to support the "news" angle of the story could be presented differently, perhaps to say something like Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans and others are NOT voting predominantly Republican while Southern Baptists are, in large numbers. But that wouldn't have the same pro-Republican effect, would it?

And why wouldn't it? Basic marketing - the assumptions of the story serve as a self-identification for the target demographic. Like the sound of a current alternative rock tune at the beginning of a Scion commercial, the target demo self-identifies and tunes in to hear the message. You and I don't tune into Archer Daniels Midland commercials, but I bet fund managers and day-traders do. And once you're tuned in, the message is if you are religious you are supposed to be voting Republican.


There is no law. There is only "The Party" and the interests of The Party.

Under Republican rule the Congress won't investigate ANY allegations of wrongdoing against ANY Republicans, the Justice Department will not, and the press will not. (But if a Democrat, like Martha Stewart...) There is no accountability, and we are witnessing (only the beginning of) the consequences of absolute power. There is no law. The Treasury has been looted. All constraints on corporations have been removed. The military is sent of on adventures to seize oil fields.

What else happens where there is no accountability? When "The Party" and its cronies are allowed free reign? Only right-wing ideological operatives are sent to administer U.S. operations in Iraq, and ideologically approved (big bucks to The Party) corporations get huge-money contracts. Here are the results: The Pictures That Lost The War:
"Some accused claim they acted on the orders of military intelligence and the CIA, and that some of the torture sessions were under the control of mercenaries hired by the US to conduct interrogations. Two "civilian contract" organizations taking part in interrogations at Abu Ghraib are linked to the Bush administration.

California-based Titan Corporation says it is "a leading provider of solutions and services for national security". Between 2003-04, it gave nearly $40,000 to George W Bush's Republican Party. Titan supplied translators to the military.

CACI International Inc. describes its aim as helping "America's intelligence community in the war on terrorism". Richard Armitage, the current deputy US secretary of state, sat on CACI's board.

No civilians, however, are facing charges as military law does not apply to them. Colonel Jill Morgenthaler, from CentCom, said that one civilian contractor was accused along with six soldiers of mistreating prisoners. However, it was left to the contractor to "deal with him". One civilian interrogator told army investigators that he had "unintentionally" broken several tables during interrogations as he was trying to "fear-up" detainees.

Lawyers for some accused say their clients are scapegoats for a rogue prison system, which allowed mercenaries to give orders to serving soldiers. A military report said private contractors were at times supervising the interrogations.
Absolute corruption does not just involve stealing money. And while this story is about torture of prisoners, we're hearing stories about insulting regular civilians by writing words like "pig" and "beer" onto the bodies of people returning to Fallujah, and about killing of Iraqi civilians at checkpoints, or when returning fire.

No, absolute corruption inevitably leads to things like this:
"In November, Frederick wrote, an Iraqi prisoner under the control of what the Abu Ghraib guards called “O.G.A.,” or other government agencies—that is, the C.I.A. and its paramilitary employees—was brought to his unit for questioning. “They stressed him out so bad that the man passed away. They put his body in a body bag and packed him in ice for approximately twenty-four hours in the shower. . . . The next day the medics came and put his body on a stretcher, placed a fake IV in his arm and took him away.” The dead Iraqi was never entered into the prison’s inmate-control system, Frederick recounted, “and therefore never had a number.”
And, back to the other article (While the following from the article details some British activities, the American activities are just as bad.)
"The British pictures show a hooded Iraqi aged between 18-20 on the floor of a military truck being brutalized. According to two squaddies who took part in the torture, but later blew the whistle, the Iraqi's ordeal lasted eight hours and he was left with a broken jaw and missing teeth. He was bleeding and vomited when his captors threw him out of a speeding truck. No-one knows if he lived or died.

One of the British soldiers said: 'Basically this guy was dying as he couldn't take any more. An officer came down. It was 'Get rid of him - I haven't seen him'.' The other whistle-blower said he had witnessed a prisoner being beaten senseless by troops. 'You could hear your mate's boots hitting this lad's spine ... One of the lads broke his wrist off a prisoner's head. Another nearly broke his foot kicking him.'

According to the British soldiers, the military police have found a video of prisoners being thrown from a bridge, and a prisoner was allegedly beaten to death in custody by men from the Queen's Lancashire Regiment."
What worries me is, at what point does "The Party" feel justified bringing this to American streets? I'm serious. After all, to these ideologues environmental groups, even teacher unions are terrorist organizations. Last night I spent time surfing the right-wing blogs and press, and what I read there was most alarming. More on that later. Watch your back.


A year on from 'Mission Accomplished', an Army in Disgrace, a Policy in Tatters and the Real Prospect of Defeat:
"The tide is going out for the US in Iraq. They were not able to use their military strength against Fallujah and Najaf. They have very little political support outside Kurdistan. They can no longer win. It may be one of the most extraordinary defeats in history."