Archive for January 11th, 2007

by Jay Stevens 

According to Steven Clemmons of The Washington Note, Bush’s escalation has already spilled over into Syria and Iran:

Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.

The President may have started a new secret, informal war against Syria and Iran without the consent of Congress or any broad discussion with the country.

Clemmons also has excerpts from Condi Rice’s appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which she dodges direct questioning on the matter:

SEN. BIDEN: Secretary Rice, do you believe the president has the constitutional authority to pursue across the border into Iraq (sic/Iran) or Syria, the networks in those countries?

SEC. RICE: Well, Mr. Chairman, I think I would not like to speculate on the president’s constitutional authority or to try and say anything that certainly would abridge his constitutional authority, which is broad as commander in chief.

I do think that everyone will understand that — the American people and I assume the Congress expect the president to do what is necessary to protect our forces.

Chuck Hegel later makes it clear that he’s going to be very, very angry if Bush has escalated right over into Iran and Syria.

Is this the Bush administration’s idea of engaging in “diplomatic talks” with regional powers?

It’s been said – often, and with complete accuracy – that Iraq is George W Bush’s Vietnam. Apparently not satisfied with only a partial similarity to the country’s greatest foreign policy, political, and military debacle, he’s gone ahead and created his own Cambodia, too.

Look out, folks: we have a rogue president on our hands.

by Jay Stevens

Great post over at the the TPM Muckraker. It’s on the (known) instances where the Bush administration has shut down, classified, or derailed government reports (link fixed!!) that contradict its policies.

There are a lot of items on the list.

There are some more in the comments.

It’s a telling policy from this administration, which would rather obscure the facts rather than change its policies, many of which are ideological in nature.

How about some hearings on the administration’s classification projects? How about some more legislative protection for our right to know what our government is doing?

by Jay Stevens 

Here’s an amusing clip from CNN correspondent Dana Bash who was commenting on Max Baucus’ speech against escalation in Iraq:

BASH: Another thing that happened just a short while ago. A Democrat from a red state, from the state of Montana, Senator Max Baucus, comes from a state where the president is still very, very popular….

Yes, yes, Montana is hardly Massachusetts or California. But seriously folks! We have a Democratic Governor, two Democratic Senators, and a Democratic state senate. We’re more a purplish color.

And our thoughts on Geo. W?

Media Matters links to this SUSA poll, which shows a 45 percent approval rating for the Prez…in November. (Although 85 percent of self-identified Republicans are pulling for him! No wonder why the GOP is screwed.)

And then there was a Lee papers Christmas poll that showed support for Bush actually dropped among Montanans:

Just 41 percent of Montanans gave Bush positive job-performance marks in a poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. of Washington, D.C., for the Lee Newspapers of Montana.

Oh, but that figure is much lower when considering Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq:

Approval of the president’s handling of the war in Iraq has decreased from 41 percent in the last poll on the topic in November, to 33 percent in the latest tally.

However, the percentage of people who say they disapprove of the war itself has changed little since November, with 55 percent saying they disapproved of it last month and 54 percent saying they disapprove now.

Okay…so…almost two-thirds of Montanans disapprove of the way Bush is handling the war, almost 60 percent disapprove of Bush’s job performance, and 54 percent are out-and-out against the war in Iraq…

You know, I’ve made a ton of mistakes writing this blog. But then…I work full-time and have two kids. Bash is a paid, professional pundit who the public relies on for accurate information. I know Montana is tucked away in the mountains, but c’mon! We just had one of the biggest Senatorial races of 2006 take place here! Couldn’t Bash have…oh, I dunno…cracked open a local paper or two before opening her trap?

The whole incident makes me want to bring up Radar’s critique of the DC punditocracy:

few years ago, David Brooks, New York Times columnist and media pundit extraordinaire, penned a love letter to the idea of meritocracy. It is “a way of life that emphasizes … perpetual improvement, and permanent exertion,” he effused, and is essential to America’s dynamism and character. Fellow glorifiers of meritocracy have noted that our society is superior to nepotistic backwaters like Krygystan or France because we assign the most important jobs based on excellence. This makes us less prone to stagnancy or, worse yet, hideous national clusterf*cks like fighting unwinnable wars for reasons nobody understands.

The article goes on to examine four well-placed DC pundits and the results of their colossal failures to pundit well on Iraq. The shorter version: nothing. In fact, if anything, they have gained fame and riches for being so incredibly, so very wrong on everything. While those who were right…still toiling in obscurity.


The Nation suggests Montana’s local newspapers provided the final edge for Tester’s victory, and mulls what this means for the future of print journalism.

The Indy profiles Tester’s new Missoula Bozeman office boss, Tracy Stone-Manning.

You’ll never guess what Conrad Burns’ new profession

House votes to boost minimum wage. Rehberg votes “nay.”

Baucus, Rehberg work on country of origin labeling.

Rick Jore stages an anti-government, pro-Christianity public comment period on education.

Pogie on some the less well-considered bills before the legislature.

The Billings Gazette details Dan McGee’s stab at overturning the popular ballot initiative on ethics.

The Montana legislature mulls stream access.

The Idaho legislature mulls elk farms.

At least one Yellowstone outfitter initially opposed to new regulations on ski mobiles in the park has come to love the change

C&L has some of the clips of Spocko’s audio files.

Since when does the United States follow the lead of China and India in science?

Maybe since idiots abound, who say things like this: “Condoms don’t belong in school, and neither does Al Gore.”

Things to mull over when righties fall over themselves in praising MLK on Monday.

Kevin Drum mulls the half-hearted attempts – like Schwarzenegger’s – to reform health care.

Matt prefers Ted Kennedy’s plan: Medicare for all.

Kossak Kagro X believes Congressional oversight into the Bush administration should start with NSA wiretapping.

Howard Dean and the DNC chooses Denver as the home of the 2008 convention.

John McCain is squandering his goodwill by sucking up to primary voters.

Condi Rice *hearts* Fox News!

Because the major pundits were horribly wrong on Iraq, do they share some of the blame? Hell, yeah.

We’ve already begun escalation.

Does escalation also include war with Iran? Oh, yeah, that’s a good idea… (Glenn Greenwald’s take.)

Shorter Bush on plans for escalation: more of the same. (Steve Benen’s take.)

Price tag for Bush’s “plan”? $6.8 billion. Congress, you know what to do.

Bush’s escalation would mean more service from our National Guard units.

Meanwhile, while we escalate, the Brits withdraw.

Meanwhile, while Bush pushes for escalation, politically savvy GOPers jump ship.

Why Bush rhetoric on escalation shows that the Iraqi government is neither sovereign nor independent.

The latest genius idea from the right on how to win in Iraq: put the Iraqis in concentration camps!

Of course, another rightie thinks we’re losing in Iraq because American troops are lazy.

You think Connecticut voters wish they could have back their votes?

Ted Kennedy: “Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam.”

A former Reagan aide takes the comparison further and says that Bush is actually more like Hitler.

Bush should have followed Colbert’s advice on how to sell an Iraqi escalation.

Olbermann recaps Bush’s credibility.

David Letterman comments on Pat Robertson’s communications with God.

Beckham to join the MLS?

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