The Bush Secrets

The Washington Post reports that the Bush Administration has classified information about US nuclear weapons during the cold war. The reason for this is unclear:

“It would be difficult to find more dramatic examples of unjustifiable secrecy than these decisions to classify the numbers of U.S. strategic weapons,” wrote William Burr, a senior analyst at the archive who compiled the report. ” . . . The Pentagon is now trying to keep secret numbers of strategic weapons that have never been classified before.”

This is just the latest in the Bush’s Administration’s penchant for secrecy:

The administration’s affinity for secrecy also was exemplified in its legal battle to withhold the names of oil company executives and others who attended meetings of a White House task force in 2001 that helped draft a national energy policy. More recently, President Bush has made clear his administration’s willingness to prosecute individuals it believes unlawfully possess classified material.

After 9/11 Bush classified many of poppy’s papers. What is the Bush family trying so hard to hide? In 2004 Bush even fired  the Archivist to keep his father’s paper’s secret. Perhaps we’ll find out should Democrats take control of a house of Congress with the power to investigate.

Democrats: The Real Anti-Terrorists

Jonathan Chait, writing in the Los Angeles Times, finds that Republicans believe their claims that Democrats are soft on terrorism, despite all the evidence to the contrary:

It’s not just die-hard GOP partisans who think the Democratic alternative is to do nothing. Disillusioned conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan recently lacerated Bush’s foreign policy but concluded: “If the Democrats could present a multifaceted, hard-nosed approach to winning the war, a lot of us in the middle would give them a second look.” It fell to his liberal fellow blogger Kevin Drum to point out that nearly every element of the alternative Sullivan called for — nonviolent democracy promotion, energy conservation, beefed-up homeland security and so on — was contained in a plan recently drafted by congressional Democrats.

And, indeed, the 2004 Democratic platform was filled with specific plans for a stronger reply to Islamic radicalism: Add 40,000 soldiers, double the Special Forces, inspect more cargo, track down loose nuclear material, and on and on.

Chait finds that failing to realize that the Democrats have offered a response on terrorism has been disasterous for the Republicans:

Yet this belief has had catastrophic consequences. Because conservatives genuinely bought into Bush’s view that the only choice was to follow him or coddle the terrorists, they chose to follow him. Thus they have been unwilling to openly question the numerous Bush foreign policy fiascos — from refusing to use U.S. troops to capture Osama bin Laden and his henchmen to failing to plan for the Iraq occupation. If they had raised some questions a couple of years ago, maybe our Middle East policy wouldn’t be a shambles. And maybe, come to think of it, their party wouldn’t be utterly discredited in the eyes of the public.

While this belief has been disasterous for the Republicans, it has been even more a disaster for the nation. While Chait may be correct that in many instances Republicans really believe their claims about the views of Democrats on national security, this has long been a lie spread by the right wing noise machine. Joe Conason refuted this Big Lie in his book (chapter available here).

Broder Warns That Economy May Help GOP in Michigan

David Broder writes that the poor economy in Michigan gives the GOP a ray of hope. Dick DeVos and Governor Jennifer Granholm are in a very close race, largely due to the Amway fortune DeVos has spent on advertising. Granholm is now striking back:

Granholm, for her part, accuses DeVos of running a stealth campaign. “He’s spent millions on television,” she told me recently, “and people still don’t know what party he belongs to or what business he ran.” Now that the final legislative session of her term has ended, Granholm, who has hoarded her more limited campaign funds, will begin to tell people in TV ads what she wants them to know about DeVos.

She will tell them that he is a Republican, linked to President Bush, who is no more popular here than elsewhere in the Midwest. And he ran Alticor, the firm formerly known as Amway, and she will say that it outsourced jobs to China — the very thing that has hurt Michigan’s economy.

Stopping DeVos is important even for those who do not live in Michigan. DeVos. While DeVos is concentrating his ads on the economy, he also supports a far right social agenda, including increasing the role of religion in government. He purchased the domain name in December, 2004 suggesting a goal of using the Michigan Governor’s office as a stepping stone to the Presidency. Supporting Granholm is important to stop Dick DeVos now.

Kerry Interviewed on This Week

John Kerry appeared on ABC’s This Week, criticizing both George Bush and Joe Lieberman. Kerry made several important points, including the connection between George Bush’s poor use of diplomacy and the recent war in Lebanon, criticism of Joe Lieberman for “adopting the rhetoric of Dick Cheney” on Iraq, and differentiating beteen Iraq and fighting terrorism. When asked about 2008, Kerry was unconcerned about Hillary Clinton’s lead, noting that at one point he was thirty points down in the polls. Not only was Kerry down by 30 points at one point, he even trailed Al Sharpton and the conventional wisdom at the time was that he had absolutely no chance against front runner Howard Dean.

Spitzer’s Vision

History Wire reviews Spoiling for a Fight — The Rise of Eliot Spitzer. Noting he is only 47 year old, and has many election cycles to possibly run for President, they consider the possibility of Spitzer as President:

So the question becomes, would such a development be good for America? Spitzer’s remarkable career has been marked by outsized ambition. But while biographer Brooke A. Masters hasn’t given her heart completely to her subject, she contends that Spitzer doesn’t forge his public campaigns against business and labor to become famous. “Rather,” she says, “he wants to implement his vision for improving the world — from the stock market to New York State government and beyond. It makes him extremely attractive to his staff and to potential voters because he burns with a palpable desire to reform the world. It also scares the heck out of people who don’t share his views because he won’t be easy to divert or defeat.”

Many crusading prosecutors and attorneys general have a king-of-the-mountain desire to topple the powerful from their thrones. Characteristically, Spitzer’s goes farther. Not only does he crusade against the excesses of big business and big labor, but the settlements he forges with such entities are often drawn to entirely recast the structure and operation of those industries, such as he did in 2003 when his $1.4 billion settlement with 10 investment banks revamped the way the banks provided stock research. In so doing, Spitzer realized that structure is key to operation — that to get an industry to pay a big fine for a transgression is only a temporary solution, that a deficient structure is likely to lead to repeat offenses.

No one can accurately predict the next two or three decades of Spitzer’s career. But it’s almost certain that during it, Spitzer will shake up the world or die trying.

Related Story: Spitzer’s Message

Scarborough and Other Conservative Pundits Renounce Bush

Joe Scarborough’s knocks on George Bush continue, now in The Washington Post. Previously he did a segment on his show askiing, Is Bush an Idiot? Scarborough also had a follow up post at Huffington Report which I also quoted in my previous post.

The Washington Post has a story on Scarborough and other conservative commentators who have become critical of Bush. They provide Scarborough’s answer to his question: While other presidents have been called stupid, Scarborough said: “I think George Bush is in a league by himself. I don’t think he has the intellectual depth as these other people.”

While the country does not want a leader wallowing in the weeds, Scarborough concluded on the segment, “we do need a president who, I think, is intellectually curious.”

“And that is a big question,” Scarborough said, “whether George W. Bush has the intellectual curiousness — if that’s a word — to continue leading this country over the next couple of years.”

In a later telephone interview, Scarborough said he aired the segment because he kept hearing even fellow Republicans questioning Bush’s capacity and leadership, particularly in Iraq. Like others, he said, he supported the war but now thinks it is time to find a way to get out. “A lot of conservatives are saying, ‘Enough’s enough,’ ” he said. Asked about the reaction to his program, he said, “The White House is not happy about it.”

The Spillover Effects of the Iraqi Civil War

Not only does the news get worse and worse for the Republicans, but it continues to get worse from Iraq. I noted one result of the violence in Iraq yesterday. Daniel L. Byman and Kenneth M. Pollack have an article n The Washington Post questioning What’s Next? now that “By any definition, Iraq is in a state of civil war.”

The consequences of an all-out civil war in Iraq could be dire. Considering the experiences of recent such conflicts, hundreds of thousands of people may die. Refugees and displaced people could number in the millions. And with Iraqi insurgents, militias and organized crime rings wreaking havoc on Iraq’s oil infrastructure, a full-scale civil war could send global oil prices soaring even higher.

However, the greatest threat that the United States would face from civil war in Iraq is from the spillover — the burdens, the instability, the copycat secession attempts and even the follow-on wars that could emerge in neighboring countries. Welcome to the new “new Middle East” — a region where civil wars could follow one after another, like so many Cold War dominoes.

They discuss multiple problems and see them as virtually inevitable.”Considering how many mistakes the United States has made in Iraq, how much time has been squandered, and how difficult the task is, even a serious course correction in Washington and Baghdad may only postpone the inevitable.” Bush’s claims that the war is helping to contain terrorism are disputed:

The war in Iraq has proved to be a disaster for the struggle against Osama bin Laden. Fighters there are receiving training, building networks and becoming further radicalized — and the U.S. occupation is proving a dream recruiting tool for young Muslims worldwide. As bad as this is, a wide-scale civil war in Iraq could make the terrorism problem even worse.

Such terrorist organizations as Hezbollah, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) were all born of civil wars. They eventually shifted from assaulting their enemies in Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Algeria, Northern Ireland and Israel, respectively, to mounting attacks elsewhere. Hezbollah has attacked Israeli, American and European targets on four continents. The LTTE assassinated former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi because of his intervention in Sri Lanka. The IRA began a campaign of attacks in Britain in the 1980s. The GIA did the same to France the mid-1990s, hijacking an Air France flight then moving on to bombings in the country. In the 1970s, various Palestinian groups began launching terrorist attacks against Israelis wherever they could find them — including at the Munich Olympics and airports in Athens and Rome — and then attacked Western civilians whose governments supported Israel.

Granholm Truth Squad Replies to DeVos Ad

Jennifer Granholm continues to strike back at the dishonest, Bush-like campaign run by challenger Dick DeVos. DeVos initially took a lead due to spending part of his Amway fortune on ads, but Granholm has recently moved ahead. The campaign has started The Truth Squad to respond to the false claims from the DeVos campaign. The Truth Squad has responded to an ad put out by the DeVos campaign attacking Granholm over a plant Honda decided to build in Indiana. No comments here from DeVos on the jobs Granholm recently brought to Michigan from her deal with Google.

“In Michigan, we’re tearing down auto plants. In other states, they’re building new ones. Indiana just landed a new Honda plant.”

We all know that the American automotive industry, which is based in Michigan, is facing enormous challenges and that Michigan is harder hit by George Bush’s unfair trade and outsourcing policies than any other state. Honda is just about the only auto company that does not have and has not historically had facilities in Michigan, so it was a long shot that they would locate a new plant here. Thanks to Governor Granholm’s efforts, almost every other major automaker has invested and expanded in Michigan in the past four years:

· Nissan has opened a new design studio in Farmington Hills.
· Ford is touting a plan to invest $1 billion in manufacturing and powertrain technology in Michigan.
· Hyundai Motor Co. is building a technical center in Superior Charter Township.
· Mitsubishi and DaimlerChrysler are partnering to build a $380 million engine plant in Dundee.
· Toyota is investing $150 million to build a research and development facility.
· GM is upgrading and investing in plants in Warren and Ypsilanti.

In the last four years, the Big Three alone have committed to investments totaling $9.5 billion. Honda is investing $550 million in its plant in Indiana.