Friday, November 30, 2007

In Case You Care

I'm still not in primary mode. And I'm particularly uninterested in the Republicans. But if you are, and particularly if you want to follow the exploits of that lying sack of crap Rudy Guiliani, Josh Marshall and crew have the goods on him. And boy, are there a lot of goods to be had.


Why Worry?

After all, we're just being fair!

The hidden story in all of this are the Saudi Arabians. The U.S. is so in debt to the will of the Saudi's, on many levels, that Bush may have no other choice but to foster an ultimate coup by Sunnis.


Run Out The Clock

Via Dan Froomkin:

In an excerpt from his upcoming book, McClellan wrote that Bush and Cheney, among others "were involved" in his passing along of false information about Rove and Cheney aide Scooter Libby's involvement in the leak of Plame's identity.

Writes Mulshine: "McClellan's remarks give the Democrats the perfect opportunity to haul him before a committee to finally get answers to some of the questions left hanging ever since special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald closed up shop.

"So why aren't the Democrats doing so?

"'To stand up for that, one would need a spine,' says Larry Johnson. Johnson is a former CIA agent who has been taking the lead in defending Plame, his classmate in CIA training back in 1985, against the attacks by the White House."

I know it's a popular theme to consider the Dems don't have a spine. And the net effect looks just like that.

I think Congressional Dems think they have a larger majority sewed up in 2008. They, therefore, see little need to rock the boat and doing anything to risk that advantage at this point. And I can understand their thinking.

But I think this strategy misses an important point. The American public is anxious and angry. Passivity in politics in not what they want to see. Yes, aggression (i.e. contempt of Congress charges or the above reopening of Plame) appear more risky. But I think aggressively pursuing Bush is of less risk than is perceived and have the upside of actually, like, upholding principle. We're in a time where the public wants politicians to be able to uphold principle. Be electable, yes. But be principled too.

The primaries will be interesting to see if this thesis bears out. Wins by the likes of Edwards or Hukabee will be validation in my opinion. Wins by Hillary and/or any of the other Republicans will tend to prove the Congressional conservative strategy correct. We'll see!


Typical Bush

On the new "agreement" with Iraq for the U.S. to remain permanently:

The pact is finally getting some of the attention it deserves. Particularly galling to some was the assertion by White House "war czar" Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute that only the Iraqi parliament, not the U.S. Congress, would needs to formally approve the final agreement.
Of course any reasonably intelligent person who understand the Constitution knows that Lute's assertion is bullshit. But that's how our government runs these days, powered by bullshit.

The next President is going to have a whole lot of unwinding to do, if they choose too.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Who Coulda Predicted It?

Via Atrios:

BAGHDAD — The American campaign to turn Sunni Muslims against Islamic extremists is growing so quickly that Iraq's Shiite Muslim leaders fear that it's out of control and threatens to create a potent armed force that will turn against the government one day.

The United States, which credits much of the drop in violence to the campaign, is enrolling hundreds of people daily in "concerned local citizens" groups. More than 5,000 have been sworn in in the last eight days, for a total of 77,542 as of Tuesday. As many as 10 groups were created in the past week, bringing the total number to 192, according to the American military.


"There is a danger here that we are going to have armed all three sides: the Kurds in the north, the Shiite and now the Sunni militias," said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst who's now at The Brookings Institution, a center-left policy organization in Washington, D.C.
That's right. We've now effectively armed all three sides in Iraq. Violence is down while everyone takes a breath and while the Sunni's reload thanks to Gen. Petraeus. Should be a fun time in the ole' town tonight a little down the road.


Interesting Poll

This poll is somewhat interesting:

A new Rasmussen Reports poll in Iowa finds the Democratic presidential race in a three way statistical tie.

Sen. Hillary Clinton leads with 27%, followed by Sen. Barack Obama at 25%, and John Edwards at 24%. Bill Richardson is the only other Democrat in double-digits at 10%.

Key finding: "In terms of second-choices in Iowa, John Edwards tops the list of candidates. He is the second choice for 28% of likely caucus participants. Obama is the second choice for 18%, Clinton for 16%, and Richardson for 15%. Second choice preferences are especially important given the nature of the Iowa caucuses. In a particular caucus setting, if a candidate receives less than 15% of the vote, their supporters will be re-allocated to other candidates."
The dead heat thing is interesting enough, but the second choice aspect is particularly interesting. The rules in the Iowa caucuses are such that the second choice candidate has a distinct advantage in the ultimate outcome.

Could a "win" for Edwards or Obama in Iowa change the dynamics in the Dem race? Stranger things have happened and it wouldn't break my heart any.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ultimate Spin

Via Dan Froomkin:

As I noted in yesterday's column, Rove told PBS's Charlie Rose that it was Congress's fault that America invaded Iraq before the administration was really ready, by passing a use-of-force resolution prematurely.

Said Rove: "There was an election coming up in a matter of weeks. We thought it made it too political. We wanted it outside the confines of it. It seemed to make things move too fast. There were things that needed to be done to bring along allies and potential allies abroad."

Rove called it an "untold story."

I really think Rover has gone over the edge. His up is down spinism is beyond the pale on this one. Thanks to Olbermann, who apparently likes shooting fish in barrels, here's the facts:
"It's an untold story because it isn't true. Here is what really happened according to a rogue Web site called Despite Rove's claim that the White House opposed voting on Iraq in the Fall of 2002, on the first full day of Fall that year the president urged Congress to pass an Iraq resolution, quote, ' Promptly.' A week later, the president and the House Republicans agreed on Iraq resolution. A week after that, President Bush was pleased with the House vote on Iraq. And a week after that, Mr. Bush signed the authorization for the use of military force in Iraq."

Olbermann also recalled a November 2005 Los Angeles Times article quoting Tom Daschle, the former Democratic senator from South Dakota. Here's an excerpt: "The time was September 2002. The place was the White House, at a meeting in which President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney pressed congressional leaders for a quick vote on a resolution authorizing military action against Iraq.

"But Daschle, who as Senate majority leader controlled the chamber's schedule, recalled recently that he asked Bush to delay the vote until after the impending midterm election.

"'I asked directly if we could delay this so we could depoliticize it. I said: "Mr. President, I know this is urgent, but why the rush? Why do we have to do this now?" He looked at Cheney and he looked at me, and there was a half-smile on his face. And he said: "We just have to do this now." '"

Said Olbermann's guest, Arianna Huffington: "I think it's the work of a shameless, remorseless and, perhaps, soulless political animal who cannot help himself even when he's out of the White House trying to rewrite history in his own way."

We have a whole new category. There's liars, statisticians and Rover.


Hillary Poll

You may have heard about a poll released yesterday that showed Hillary Clinton losing to all the Republican candidates. I heard it on the radio and thought it an unusual headline. But it got a lot of shout out.

Now I find out it's bunk. The poll was done by Zogby and is an interactive poll (read: internet poll). These polls are notoriously useless. Besides, everyone knows that Hillary is not at all popular among activists who tend to make up the interneters.


Speaking of Colin ....

This is absolutely wrong on so many levels:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has been talking for some time now about how, if she is elected president, she will ask both Democratic and Republican statesmen to hit the road on her behalf to declare that “bipartisan foreign policy is back” in post-George W. Bush America.

While Mrs. Clinton has pointed to her husband as an emissary, it has been unclear for some time which Republicans she had in mind. But in South Carolina today, speaking to a group of black ministers, Mrs. Clinton dropped a name publicly that she has hinted at privately before.

“I won’t even wait until I’m inaugurated, but as soon as I’m elected I’m going to be asking distinguished Americans of both parties — people like Colin Powell, for example, and others — who can represent our country well, including someone I know very well,” Mrs. Clinton said, according to a Fox News Web report. “Because I want to send a message heard across the world. The era of cowboy diplomacy is over.”
Typical Hillary. The man should never be allowed to hold public office again. Period.


Journalists Poll

Via Juan Cole:

Journalists polled by Pew say that at least half of Baghdad, including the Shiite slum of Sadr City, is too dangerous to visit still. The journalists say that Iraq is much more violent now than when they first arrived. A lot of them also think that the US media coverage of Iraq is overly sunny.



In typical "political school of Colin Powell" fashion, Scott McClellan is waffling on his block buster assertion that Bush lied about the Plame outing:

But as Holly Rosenkrantz and Ken Fireman wrote for Bloomberg last week: "McClellan doesn't suggest that Bush deliberately lied to him about Libby's and Rove's involvement in the leak, said Peter Osnos, founder and editor-in-chief of Public Affairs Books, which is publishing McClellan's memoir next year.

"'[Bush] told him something that wasn't true, but the president didn't know it wasn't true,' Osnos said in a telephone interview. 'The president told him what he thought to be the case.'"

Unfortunately this statement is believable. I can just see Rover and/or Cheney (think Charley McCarthy)prompting Bush to pass on misinformation to McClellan.

Meanwhile, in other news, Cheney went in to have his sociopathetic-Frankenstein heart shocked yesterday. That should make him good for another 20,000 lies.


Good Idea

Brent has a wonderful idea from Stephen King on how we can determine if waterboarding is, indeed, torture.

I completely agree.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We Got the Wrong Bush!

It is all explained here:

The Lord then explained how unfettered evil could be unleashed on the world in 2001 after eight consecutive years of relative peace and prosperity.

“Sometimes, when I’m in a rush and I have one or two billion things going at once, things get forgotten or mixed up. Look at Marissa Tomei winning the Oscar for My Friend Vinnie, for instance, or The Bridges of Madison County.

“Well, back in 1946, when I was busy cleaning up the mess you people made after WWII, I apparently... I can’t believe I’m saying this. I apparently sent this dimension, the one where the rules of science and logic actually apply, the wrong George W. Bush.
The blogger, jurassicpork (love that handle) has a terrific sense of humor.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Political Landscape

Digby has a great post up that gives a nice tactical outline for the Democratic party in 2008. It's a very good read and worth the time.

The short version is that Democratic candidates need to hang George Bush around the neck of any and all candidates in the GOP.


It's Fun! It's Easy!

Ever wonder how everyone seems to afford that new 60 grand S.U.V? Here's an example via Atrios:

The property was purchased in January 2005 for $1,157,000. The combined first and second mortgages totalled $1,156,730 leaving a downpayment of $270. Let’s just call it 100% financing.

By April, they owners were able to find refinancing through Countrywide with a $999,999 first mortgage. This mortgage was an Option ARM with a 1% teaser rate. The minimum payment would be $3,216 per month.

Also in April of 2005, they took out a simultaneous second mortgage for $215,000 pulling out their first $58,000.

So look at their situation: They are living in a million dollar plus home in Turtle Ridge making payments less than those renting, and they “made” $58,000 in their first 4 months of ownership.

Apparently, these owners liked how hard their house was working for them, so they opened a revolving line of credit (HELOC) in August 2005 for $293,000. Did they spend it all? I can’t be sure, but the following certainly suggests they did.

In December of 2005, they extended their HELOC to $397,990.

In June of 2006, they extended their HELOC to $485,000.

In April of 2007, the well ran dry as they did their final HELOC of $491,000. I bet they were pissed when they couldn’t get more money.

So by April 2007, they have a first mortgage (Option ARM with a 1% teaser rate) for $999,999, and a HELOC for $491,000. These owners pulled $333,000 in HELOC money to fuel consumer spending.

Assuming they spent the entire HELOC (does anyone think they didn’t?), and assuming the negative amortization on the first mortgage has increased the loan balance, the total debt on the property exceeds $1,500,000. The asking price of $1,249,000 does not look like a rollback, but if the property actually sells at this price, the lender on the HELOC (Washington Mutual) will lose over $300,000.
It's a pretty big house o' cards out there.



So, the Iraq people Iraq government is seeking a permanent presence of U.S. troops in their country. I think Josh Marshall's sums it up quite nicely:

In other words, we're staying in Iraq to defend Nouri al-Maliki against all enemies, foreign and domestic.


Future Featured Foto-Op

Al Gore will visit the White House to be honored by Bush for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. The situation will be a feature in acting.