Cheney is the Model of a Good Vice President

Really.

Other presidents, however, have looked more to substance and seasoning. Jimmy Carter chose Walter Mondale, Ronald Reagan went with Bush, Bill Clinton opted for Al Gore and George W. Bush selected Cheney. Each had his critics, but they had in common the most important attribute: being plausible presidents. When the prospective Democratic and Republican nominees of 2008 weigh their decisions, that quality should be first among all.

The lesson the Trib editorial page takes from the last 7 years is that Cheney would make a plausible President…

Really?

A secretive control freak who has shown nothing but contempt for the rule of law was a great choice.  A man who manipulated the country to war by fearmongering and little evidence?  A man that targeted Joe Wilson for retribution because Joe Wilson told the truth.

Really?

But it gets better.  Who would make a good Republican VP?  Condoleeza Rice, Tom Ridge, Lyndsey Graham, or Joe Lieberman.  Rice has been an incredibly ineffective Secretary of State and was bullied around by Cheney.  She has no major accomplishments as Secretary of State and has shown no ability to even deal with her supposed specialty–Russia.  Lyndsey Graham is excited that he could buy rugs in a Baghdad marketplace and now he cannot, but he swears it’s going great.  Tom Ridge apparently noticed the strange pattern of security alerts being tied to political events, but didn’t do anything about it as head of Homeland Security.

Don’t worry, it’s not about ideology, it’s about seriousness:

Pay less attention to these individuals and their ideologies than to their attributes: Every name here exemplifies the qualities of experience, substance and seriousness that are indispensable in a vice president.

They are all serious people you see. Very serious people who got us into a war based on faulty and misleading intelligence and insist that if things get better we have to stay, if things get worse we have to stay, or more simply, we have to stay.

But take the Democrats–every one of the ‘serious’ Democrats voted for the war.  Apparently, only those who didn’t see one of the biggest mistakes in American foreign policy are serious.

Idiots.

Kjellander Tried to Oust Fitzgerald

What’s amazing is that both Kjellander and Hastert were attempting to get Fitzgerald and they couldn’t do it because of the Plame investigation. Under any other situation, the Bush administration would have rid Illinois of Fitzgerald.

More bombshells were lobbed in the Antoin “Tony” Rezko trial even before the jury was seated this morning and they involved a purported attempt to pull strings with the White House to fire U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald. In a hearing before court began, prosecutors said they hoped to call Ali Ata, the former Blagojevich administration official who pleaded guilty to corruption yesterday, to the stand.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Carrie Hamilton said she believed Ata would testify to conversations Ata had with his political patron, Rezko, about working to pull strings to kill the criminal investigation into Rezko and others when it was in its early stages in 2004.

“[Ata] had conversations with Mr. Rezko about the fact that Mr. Kjellander was working with Karl Rove to have Mr. Fitzgerald removed,” Hamilton told U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve.

That sentence is loaded with a who’s who of political heavyweights. Bob Kjellander was the veteran Republican National Committeeman from Illinois who was a sometimes business associate of Stuart Levine, who has pleaded guilty to conspiring with Rezko to rig state boards for contracts.

Karl Rove for years was President Bush’s chief political strategist as well as an old friend of Kjellander. Patrick Fitzgerald was and is the U.S. attorney in Chicago who pressed the investigation of Rezko. Hamilton said the conversation she hoped Ata would testify to was about having Fitzgerald replaced by someone else, she said, “so individuals who have been cooperating in this investigation will be dealt with differently.”

Dan, You are Better Than This

Dan Curry, a nice guy who I genuinely appreciate a good back and forth with, tries to argue that the decline in violence over the last 8 months is evidence of victory.  Choosing the peak and then showing a decline is a misrepresentation of the data. 

The violence is back to 2006 levels which is better than 2007 levels of violence, but hardly victory and certainly still a civil war. More importantly, the point of the surge was to reduce violence as a path to political reconciliation–that is not happening. Despite claims of progress on benchmarks, the Iraqis again failed to pass key legislation:

The legislation was vetoed because of the opposition of Adel Abdul-Mahdi, a Shiite vice president who sits on the three-member presidency council, which must approve all laws unanimously, according to his aides and other lawmakers. Abdul-Mahdi’s aides said he believed the law was unconstitutional and would put too much control in the hands of the central government instead of the provinces.

The passage of the law, which delineated the scope of provincial powers, was considered a crucial step not just because it fleshed out the constitution’s definition of Iraq as a federal state, but also because it would have required provincial elections to be held by Oct. 1. The last nationwide elections took place in 2005.

The entire language of the right on this issue guarantees failure. The point isn’t to militarily defeat anyone. The point is to create a stable democratic government in a country that is divided sharply on ethnic and religious grounds. The problem with this goal is that the different factions don’t appear to share that goal.

Oh, and Dan

Is this law and order breaking out?

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AFP) – A suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus near Mosul on Tuesday, killing nine passengers near Iraq’s main northern city which is regarded as an Al-Qaeda stronghold, a security official said.

In another brazen daylight attack, a group of armed men kidnapped 21 male passengers travelling in two minibuses in the restive province of Diyala, northeast of Baghdad, police said.

The suicide attack on the bus near Mosul came after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki promised a “decisive battle” against Al-Qaeda fighters in the area last month.

A major crackdown in the Baghdad region in which US troop reinforcements have joined Iraqi forces has led to a sharply reduced militant presence around the capital and Mosul now has a reputation as Al-Qaeda’s last urban bastion in Iraq.

Whereas in other cities the militants have been forced underground and are only able to carry out hit and run attacks, in Mosul both Iraqi and foreign fighters are able to operate openly in many districts applying their strict version of Sunni Islam with a rod of iron.

Tuesday’s bus bomber struck near a checkpoint in an area called Smeirath, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Mosul, Iraqi army Lieutenant Colonel Jalal Dosky told AFP.

The US military was able to confirm only eight dead and eight wounded in the bombing and said it suspected Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).

“During a stop at a routine checkpoint, the Iraqi army searched passengers for their identification cards. The suspected AQI suicide bomber exited the bus and then detonated the bomb,” it said.

In the Diyala attack, gunmen set up a fake checkpoint in an area called Al-Adaim north of the provincial capital Baquba.

“At about 10:00 am (0700 GMT) several armed men stopped a minibus carrying 11 men and three women at the checkpoint,” police Lieutenant Colonel Najim al-Sumaidaie told AFP. “They released the women but abducted the men.”

Sumaidaie said minutes later the kidnappers stopped another minibus and abducted the 10 men on board. “All 21 men were taken away in the same minibuses.”

Was it law and order in Winter/Spring 2006?–because the current violence is about the same.  I know contradicting Dear Leader’s fantasy about Iraq is against the rules for Republicans, but the rest of us are a part of the reality based community.

Stealing Yard Signs

Perhaps the most annoying complaint in any election are the dark conspiracies and obsessions over the disappearance of yards signs, notable for never actually casting a vote.

We have now reached the Presidential equivalent of the yard sign argument:

A day after the Hillary campaign hit the Obama camp for bullying voters in nasty phone calls, the Hillary crew has just acknowledged that an Iowa county chair volunteering for the campaign passed along the now-notorious email that smears Obama as a Muslim by repeating the false claim that he attended a madrassa as a child.

The Hillary campaign confirms that they are asking the county chair to step down from the campaign.

The charge was made by a Daily Kos diarist who identified himself as planning to “caucus” for Chris Dodd, suggesting that this happened in Iowa. In his diary he reported receiving the email:

Over the past week or so, I have received two of the most hateful hit pieces on Obama parroting right wing talking points. One was forwarded to me from a Clinton county chair. The other was from a person who claimed to be a former Obama supporter, but a little work with Google revealed she had been posting pro-Clinton comments for several months on websites covering the campaign.They both repeat the Obama/Osama crap, andand the “madrassa” charges. And there is the conclusion that Obama is a mole whose intention is to make a Muslim revolution in the US.

There’s an important thing for the campaigns to remember when engaging in this–the voters don’t care and find it annoying.

Not Mutually Exclusive

Biden on Bush 

Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called that explanation “unbelievable.”

“Are you telling me a president that’s briefed every single morning, who’s fixated on Iran, is not told back in August that the tentative conclusion of 16 intelligence agencies in the U.S. government said they had abandoned their effort for a nuclear weapon in ’03?” Biden asked in a conference call with reporters.

“I refuse to believe that,” he added. “If that’s true, he has the most incompetent staff in modern American history, and he’s one of the most incompetent presidents in modern American history.”

We already know that this is the most incompetent Presidents and staffs in modern American history, but they could be lying also.  Lying badly, but still lying.

OR as John Cole pointed out:

I guess my only question at this point is why President Cheney is allowing Vice President Bush in front of a microphone.

Exactly What is the Argument in the Trib Editorial

From Friday

The confirmation of Michael Mukasey as the next U.S. attorney general is in trouble. Some Democratic leaders are threatening to kill the nomination in the Senate Judiciary Committee next week unless Mukasey explicitly declares that a harsh interrogation technique known as waterboarding is illegal.

He won’t do that. And he shouldn’t.

Mukasey’s stand has nothing to do with whether he favors the technique, which gives prisoners the sensation of drowning. He doesn’t. He has said he’s personally against it, that it is “repugnant” and “over the line.”
But he won’t say it is illegal. And there’s at least one important reason: Such a declaration could open the potential for criminal prosecution or lawsuits against CIA officers who used the harsh interrogation practice. It could also endanger their bosses and anyone else who authorized the practice.

Why, yes, it could open up for prosecution people who waterboarded others.  Here’s a hint why it matters, the Attorney General is supposed to enforce the law.

It gets better

A vote for Mukasey is not a vote to defend waterboarding. The technique is illegal under the 2005 anti-torture amendment promoted by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). That law prohibited “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment of prisoners — including waterboarding, as McCain and others reiterated in a letter sent to Mukasey this week.

So now, the Trib has completely undercut its argument because if it is clearly illegal, then why won’t Mukasey say it is?

It isn’t a dangerous liability if people broke the law to say that they broke the law. It is the rule of law.

Carefully Monitored Torture

Isn’t so bad according to Fran over at Illinois Review

Seems like good enough reasons to push these cold-blooded murderers ’til just short of the breaking point, doesn’t it?  Waterboarding is carefully monitored torture — something they can avoid if they tell what they know.

And because these radical extremists decapitate innocent journalists and strap bombs to children, we know they will not fight according to traditional war decorum, they choose to operate outside the protection of the Geneva Convention Rules.

Careful monitoring of torture is apparently fine.  But torturing someone without careful monitoring—ooooohhhhh noooooo.  We don’t do that.

In other fun, George Dienhart suggests that since George Bush isn’t doing the same things as Musharraf, it’s silly to criticize the President. It is left unclear as to when one might start complaining, but let me suggest a few criteria:

  • Politicizing the Justice Department
  • Ignoring Habeas Corpus enshrined in 1215
  • Ignoring the 4th Amendment (no one is against wiretapping calls, they just want warrants–even if the warrants can be granted retroactively)
  • Torture–something we specifically forbade because of a previous tyrant’s abuses
  • Issuing signing statements that directly contradict US Law
  • and more if you want

He’s not protecting the free world by damaging the rule of law.

But everything can be blamed on Bill Clinton

We knew that Nuclear Weapons in Pakistan were bad. At least I knew. Apparently, the Clinton administration had no strong feelings either way. On May 28, 1998 Pakistan announced that it had successfully conducted five nuclear tests You remember 1998. It was toward the end of the Clinton administration. Pakistan could have built nuclear weapons during the Reagan and Bush administrations. They did not. Again, we see that Bill Clinton is responsible for a major foreign policy blunder. This one could potentially result in thousands of American deaths.

Nice story, but it’s not true:

India’s 1974 testing of a nuclear “device” gave Pakistan’s nuclear program new momentum. Through the late 1970s, Pakistan’s program acquired sensitive uranium enrichment technology and expertise. The 1975 arrival of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan considerably advanced these efforts. Dr. Khan is a German-trained metallurgist who brought with him knowledge of gas centrifuge technologies that he had acquired through his position at the classified URENCO uranium enrichment plant in the Netherlands. Dr. Khan also reportedly brought with him stolen uranium enrichment technologies from Europe. He was put in charge of building, equipping and operating Pakistan’s Kahuta facility, which was established in 1976. Under Khan’s direction, Pakistan employed an extensive clandestine network in order to obtain the necessary materials and technology for its developing uranium enrichment capabilities.

In 1985, Pakistan crossed the threshold of weapons-grade uranium production, and by 1986 it is thought to have produced enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. Pakistan continued advancing its uranium enrichment program, and according to Pakistani sources, the nation acquired the ability to carry out a nuclear explosion in 1987.

Why Does Illinois Review Hate America?

I was hoping this was a joke, a very, very bad joke

Karzai offers Taliban a government office.

KABUL, Afghanistan – President Hamid Karzai offered Saturday to meet personally with Taliban leader Mullah Omar for peace talks and give the militants a high position in a government ministry as a way to end the rising insurgency in Afghanistan.

Reiterating a call for negotiations he has made with increasing frequency over the last several weeks, Karzai also said he was willing to meet with factional warlord leader and former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Specifically.

Mullah Omar.

A Tale of Two Headlines

Sun-Times

Pelosi to Bush: ‘It’s an insult’

IRAQ | President will pull out 30,000 troops, but Democrat scoffs

Trib 

Swamp TV — Bush embraces Petraeus’ troop cuts

Now, both stories are not so good. Both cover Pelosi’s quotes, but not the fact that there aren’t enough brigades to keep up the level of troops.   This has been known for months so reporting this as some sort of drawdown by Bush is silly. He’s exhausted the military

Time for a New Boland Amendment

The Boland Amendment was actually a series of amendments passed in the 1980s that eventually banned any money from the US Government being spent as military aid to the Contras in Nicaragua.

We need a new one, only this one should be to ban the spending of any money by the US Government to fight within the territorial limits of Iran.  We might stick a two year time limit on it since any other administration wouldn’t be crazy enough to do it barring a real provocation.  Right now, it is very plausible that this administration and it’s willing enablers like Lieberman will create a provocation to attack Iran-something that can only result in a complete disaster for the entire region, if not planet:
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The only way to stop this from happening it to make it so military leaders can refuse to follow Bush’s order for an attack, and making it illegal would give them that leverage.