Friday, December 28, 2007

Keister Landing

As Atrios says, Lucy .... football.


Good To Know

Particularly if you are a foreign policy expert (click to enlarge):

We might want to rethink our foreign policy with regard to Hugo Chavez, and start being a little nicer to Canadians. The other interesting thing is that Mexico's oil reserves are falling precipitously, and someone will have to fill a very big void in the near term.


Retail Votes

I'm sure they'd rather have the dough:

If the turnout is as predicted [in Iowa], Democrats could end up spending $140 to $150 on advertisements per caucusgoer, while the figure for the Republicans would be somewhere around $95 to $105.


The Evidence Mounts

See my previous theories on Musharraf being behind Bhutto's death:

The Los Angeles Times makes clear that "the attack occurred with devastating speed," and no one is sure exactly what happened. Some believe the shooter and the bomber were the same person, while others said "there were two assailants."The New York Times says some witnesses reported seeing a sniper firing from a nearby building.
Whoever is the guilty party, one thing is clear. Bhutto's fatal mistake was allying herself with the U.S. and Rice's initiatives in Pakistan.

Added: Now they're saying it was an accident? And no autopsy? Yeah, right. Ask yourself, who would benefit from such a story?

Added II: That famous whipping boy al Qaeda is being blamed by our intrepid media, who has swallowed the administration and Musharraf's story right down the line. And of course, Pakistan is providing all the evidence that is needed.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Go Ahead

Join the party.


Why Pro-Forma Isn't Petty

Contrary to the Politico's BS:

Democrats wanted to block one such recess appointment in particular: Steven Bradbury, acting chief of the Justice Department’s Office of Legislative Counsel. Bush nominated Bradbury for the job and asked the Senate to remove the “acting” in his title.

Democrats would have none of it, complaining Bradbury had signed two secret memos in 2005 saying it was OK for the CIA to use harsh interrogation techniques — some call it torture — on terrorism detainees.



Benazir Bhutto was assassinated last night. Musharraf is blaming fundamentalists.

I don't believe it.

Ask yourself. Who has the most to gain by Bhutto's death? That's where you'll find the perp.

This is a huge story with immense implications for America in the Middle East.

Added: Oh yeah, and how about this too!


Sign O' The Times

Bush is turning out to be quite a good president for the calendar industry, reports USAT. The Bush Out of Office Countdown desk calendar ranks No. 2 on the humor calendar best-seller list, behind the Far Side.




The New York Times leads with news that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has approved a new rule allowing employers to either cut back or eliminate retiree health benefits when retirees reach 65 and become eligible for Medicare. The new rule comes in response to employers threatening to get rid of retiree health benefits as a whole if they couldn't get an exemption from age-discrimination laws.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Politico .... Junk

I accidentally ran across this piece of junk at the Politico. You know, the serious blog of professionals! The blog author is discussing the pro-forma sessions that the Democrats are having in the Senate to keep Bush from making recess appointments:

To put this relatively petty Washington spat in perspective, on this day in 1941 Congress held a dramatic joint session in the Senate chamber to hear an address by Winston Churchill, just three weeks after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

The Senate's unproductive holiday sessions will continue on Friday at 10 a.m.
So this petty move is so historically irrelevant eh? What about a nutbar President who continually usurps the intent of the Constitution by appointing whacko people without Senate consideration? What an idiot. That serious media, they're all over it alright.


Pakistan, Here We Come

Don't look now, but it appears that there will be an increase of American military presence in Pakistan. We know how well that worked out in Iraq and Saudi Arabia .......


Top Ten Iraqi Myths

Very nicely outlined by Juan Cole:

10. Myth: The US public no longer sees Iraq as a central issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.

In a recent ABC News/ Washington Post poll, Iraq and the economy were virtually tied among voters nationally, with nearly a quarter of voters in each case saying it was their number one issue. The economy had become more important to them than in previous months (in November only 14% said it was their most pressing concern), but Iraq still rivals it as an issue!

9. Myth: There have been steps toward religious and political reconciliation in Iraq in 2007. Fact: The government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has for the moment lost the support of the Sunni Arabs in parliament. The Sunnis in his cabinet have resigned. Even some Shiite parties have abandoned the government. Sunni Arabs, who are aware that under his government Sunnis have largely been ethnically cleansed from Baghdad, see al-Maliki as a sectarian politician uninterested in the welfare of Sunnis.

8. Myth: The US troop surge stopped the civil war that had been raging between Sunni Arabs and Shiites in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

Fact: The civil war in Baghdad escalated during the US troop escalation. Between January, 2007, and July, 2007, Baghdad went from 65% Shiite to 75% Shiite. UN polling among Iraqi refugees in Syria suggests that 78% are from Baghdad and that nearly a million refugees relocated to Syria from Iraq in 2007 alone. This data suggests that over 700,000 residents of Baghdad have fled this city of 6 million during the US 'surge,' or more than 10 percent of the capital's population. Among the primary effects of the 'surge' has been to turn Baghdad into an overwhelmingly Shiite city and to displace hundreds of thousands of Iraqis from the capital.

7. Myth: Iran was supplying explosively formed projectiles (a deadly form of roadside bomb) to Salafi Jihadi (radical Sunni) guerrilla groups in Iraq. Fact: Iran has not been proved to have sent weapons to any Iraqi guerrillas at all. It certainly would not send weapons to those who have a raging hostility toward Shiites. (Iran may have supplied war materiel to its client, the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq (ISCI), which was then sold off from warehouses because of graft, going on the arms market and being bought by guerrillas and militiamen.

6. Myth: The US overthrow of the Baath regime and military occupation of Iraq has helped liberate Iraqi women. Fact: Iraqi women have suffered significant reversals of status, ability to circulate freely, and economic situation under the Bush administration.

5. Myth: Some progress has been made by the Iraqi government in meeting the "benchmarks" worked out with the Bush administration. Fact: in the words of Democratic Senator Carl Levin, "Those legislative benchmarks include approving a hydrocarbon law, approving a debaathification law, completing the work of a constitutional review committee, and holding provincial elections. Those commitments, made 1 1/2 years ago, which were to have been completed by January of 2007, have not yet been kept by the Iraqi political leaders despite the breathing space the surge has provided."

4. Myth: The Sunni Arab "Awakening Councils," who are on the US payroll, are reconciling with the Shiite government of PM Nuri al-Maliki even as they take on al-Qaeda remnants. Fact: In interviews with the Western press, Awakening Council tribesmen often speak of attacking the Shiites after they have polished off al-Qaeda. A major pollster working in Iraq observed,
' Most of the recent survey results he has seen about political reconciliation, Warshaw said, are "more about [Iraqis] reconciling with the United States within their own particular territory, like in Anbar. . . . But it doesn't say anything about how Sunni groups feel about Shiite groups in Baghdad." Warshaw added: "In Iraq, I just don't hear statements that come from any of the Sunni, Shiite or Kurdish groups that say 'We recognize that we need to share power with the others, that we can't truly dominate.' " ' '
The polling shows that "the Iraqi government has still made no significant progress toward its fundamental goal of national reconciliation."

3. Myth: The Iraqi north is relatively quiet and a site of economic growth. Fact: The subterranean battle among Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs for control of the oil-rich Kirkuk province makes the Iraqi north a political mine field. Kurdistan now also hosts the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas that sneak over the border and kill Turkish troops. The north is so unstable that the Iraqi north is now undergoing regular bombing raids from Turkey.

2. Myth: Iraq has been "calm" in fall of 2007 and the Iraqi public, despite some grumbling, is not eager for the US to depart. Fact: in the past 6 weeks, there have been an average of 600 attacks a month, or 20 a day, which has held steady since the beginning of November. About 600 civilians are being killed in direct political violence per month, but that number excludes deaths of soldiers and police. Across the board, Iraqis believe that their conflicts are mainly caused by the US military presence and they are eager for it to end.

1. Myth: The reduction in violence in Iraq is mostly because of the escalation in the number of US troops, or "surge."

Fact: Although violence has been reduced in Iraq, much of the reduction did not take place because of US troop activity. Guerrilla attacks in al-Anbar Province were reduced from 400 a week to 100 a week between July, 2006 and July, 2007. But there was no significant US troop escalation in al-Anbar. Likewise, attacks on British troops in Basra have declined precipitously since they were moved out to the airport away from population centers. But this change had nothing to do with US troops.