Another Bogus Conservative List

What is it about conservatives and lists? We are repeatedly confronted with lists of talking points and other conservative arguments which wind up getting posted all over the internet. Typically the lists are a bunch of misquotations and erroneous “facts” but they don’t seem to care as long as they have lists of things to post. The latest nonsense of this nature is in Investors Business Daily on 97 Reasons Democrats Are Weak On Defense And Can’t Be Trusted To Govern In Wartime. They ignore the victories of Democrats in two World Wars and in containing the Soviet Union at the start of the Cold War and proceed to list specious arguments primarily against Carter and Clinton. Even if there was any validity to their arguments, they are irrelevant to the question of who we need to lead the nation at this point in time.

The whole list of arguments is just an attempt to distract attention from the manner in which George Bush and the Republicans have undermined our national security by mishandling both al Qaeda and Iraq. They quickly dismiss the many errors made by saying, “We’re in a war. Something always goes wrong in a war, and our military leaders have made mistakes in Iraq.”

These were not just the normal mistakes made in any war. We have two separate issues here. With regards to al Qaeda, Republicans have blocked Democratic proposals to fight them and improve homeland security both during the Clinton and Bush Administrations. They ignored warnings prior to 9/11 which might have led to preventing the attack. The Iraq War was a mistake from the start. Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Besides being the wrong war to wage following the 9/11 attacks, the war was started without a meaningful plan for victory and run totally incompetently, as  recent books including Cobra II and Fiasco demonstrate.

The war has strengthened al Qaeda and Iran while weakening the United States in the middle east. The distraction in Iraq also contributed to the Bush’s Administration’s mishandling of North Korea, also increasing the threat from them. No list of complaints about previous Democrats, even if the list was true, would be relevant to defending the Bush Administration at the present considering how much harm they have done to this country.

Dionne: Why Bill Clinton Pushed Back

No time to comment, but E. J. Dionne says all that must be said about Clinton’s response to the right wing smears on his record in this column.

Bob Woodward: Bush in State of Denial

There’s not much time to blog today (and likely all weekend), but I can’t go without at least mentioning these stories. Bob Woodward’s latest book, State of Denial, is the latest blow to the Republicans going into the midterm elections. From The New York Times:

The White House ignored an urgent warning in September 2003 from a top Iraq adviser who said that thousands of additional American troops were desperately needed to quell the insurgency there, according to a new book by Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reporter and author. The book describes a White House riven by dysfunction and division over the war.

The warning is described in “State of Denial,” scheduled for publication on Monday by Simon & Schuster. The book says President Bush’s top advisers were often at odds among themselves, and sometimes were barely on speaking terms, but shared a tendency to dismiss as too pessimistic assessments from American commanders and others about the situation in Iraq.

As late as November 2003, Mr. Bush is quoted as saying of the situation in Iraq: “I don’t want anyone in the cabinet to say it is an insurgency. I don’t think we are there yet.”

The Washington Post runs a story reporting Card Urged Bush to Replace Rumsfeld, Woodward Says:

Former White House chief of staff Andrew Card on two occasions tried and failed to persuade President Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, according to a new book by Bob Woodward that depicts senior officials of the Bush administration as unable to face the consequences of their policy in Iraq.

Card made his first attempt after Bush was reelected in November, 2004, arguing that the administration needed a fresh start and recommending that Bush replace Rumsfeld with former secretary of state James A. Baker III. Woodward writes that Bush considered the move, but was persuaded by Vice President Cheney and Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, that it would be seen as an expression of doubt about the course of the war and would expose Bush himself to criticism.

Card tried again around Thanksgiving, 2005, this time with the support of First Lady Laura Bush, who according to Woodward, felt that Rumsfeld’s overbearing manner was damaging to her husband. Bush refused for a second time, and Card left the administration last March, convinced that Iraq would be compared to Vietnam and that history would record that no senior administration officials had raised their voices in opposition to the conduct of the war.

The book is the third that Woodward, an assistant managing editor at The Washington Post, has written on the Bush administration since the terrorist attacks of September, 11, 2001. The first two were attacked by critics of the Bush administration as depicting the president in a heroic light. But the new book’s title, “State of Denial,” conveys the different picture that Woodward paints of the Bush administration since the invasion of Iraq in March, 2003.

Sci Fi Friday

Doctor Who returns tonight with two episodes. The Christmas Invasion is the first episode after The Doctor regenerated at the end of the first season, and therefore it was decided to show this episode in order as opposed to holding it back until Christmas. I’ve previously downloaded these episodes and think Doctor Who fans will be pleased with David Tennant as the next Doctor. The second episode, New Earch has The Doctor facing a plague and the return of Cassandra. Sci Fi Wire has an interview with David Tennant.

Dr Djoymi Baker watched more than seven hundred episodes of Star Trek to get her PhD from the University of Melbourne according to Discovery News. She believes that Star Trek can both foreshadow and influence scientific advancements:

“Because it’s gone on for so many decades [‘Star Trek’ has] had a big impact on what people think about space and what might be possible in the future,” she said. “A lot of NASA astronauts cite it as their inspiration; scientists have cited it as their inspiration for new technology.”

For example, NASA’s first shuttle of 1977 was named Enterprise after a campaign by “Star Trek” fans.

The “Star Trek” influence can also be seen in new “spray on” drug delivery technologies, the computer chip and even the flip-top mobile phones and automatic doors, she says.

And after the catchphrase “beam me up, Scotty,” scientists have started to experiment with dematerializing and rematerializing helium, and “cloning” laser beams.

“They can’t beam you up yet but they’re starting to do experiments along those lines,” Baker said.

Next week, Battlestar Gallactica returns. Until then, eight of ten webisodes of Battle Star Gallactica, The Resistance are available on line.

Keith Olbermann’s Special Investigation of the Months Leading to 9/11

Keith Olbermann takes a look back at the Bush Administration in the months leading up to the 9/11 attacks. He shows that, despite several warnings, they did nothing. The sure have no business now trying to blame Clinton or anyone other than themselves for the lack of preparation. Crooks and Liars has the video. Transcript below the fold.


Republican Senators Pretending To Be Tough on Terrorism While Ignoring Civil Liberties

In an attempt to counter recent evidence that Republican policies have increased our risk from terrorism, Congress is preparing legislation before the election to use to claim they are tough on terrorism and Democrats are aiding the terrorists by voting against their actions.
Latest word on the Senate’s consideration of legislation on detaining and trial of terror suspects is that a Democratic-sponsored amendment to guarantee suspects access to the courts was defeated. The New York Times also has an excellent editorial summarizing the flaws in the bill.

Yesterday the ACLU issued a press release on the National Security Surveillance Act, debunking Senator John Sununu’s claims that the compromised reached “protects the rights afforded to citizens in the Constitution.” I’ll post their debunking of these claims under the fold.


UN Report Finds That Iraq War Causing Increase in Islamic Extremism

Following the recent National Intelligence Estimate, there is yet another report showing that the Iraq war is making the threat from terrorism worse:

A U.N. report released on Wednesday said the Iraq war provided al Qaeda with a training centre and recruits, reinforcing a U.S. intelligence study blaming the conflict for a surge in Islamic extremism.

The report by terrorism experts working for the U.N. Security Council said al Qaeda was playing a central role in the fighting in Iraq as well as inspiring a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan, several hundred miles (km) away.

“New explosive devices are now used in Afghanistan within a month of their first appearing in Iraq,” said the report. “And while the Taliban have not been found fighting outside Afghanistan/Pakistan, there have been reports of them training in both Iraq and Somalia.”

Al Qaeda, it said, “has gained by continuing to play a central role in the fighting (in Iraq) and in encouraging the growth of sectarian violence, and Iraq has provided many recruits and an excellent training ground,” it said.

The report said that al Qaeda’s influence may soon wane in Iraq, citing some fighters’ complaints that they were unhappy to learn upon arriving in the country that they would have to kill fellow Muslims rather than foreign fighters or could serve their cause only as suicide bombers.

The report was prepared by a team of experts set up to monitor the effectiveness of Security Council sanctions imposed on the Taliban and al Qaeda shortly after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Roger Ailes Pretends That Fox News Employs Journalists

Roger Ailes calls Bill Clinton’s response to Chris Wallace’s questions “an assault on all journalists.”

If Bill Maher will allow me, New Rule: Only networks which practice real journalism can complain about an assault on journalists.

Studio 60 and the Culture Wars

I finally found time to catch up with Monday’s television shows, including the second episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Now that the premise was set up in the pilot, this episode is more likely characteristic of what the series will be like. In some ways, The West Wing was also a good preview of this episode and perhaps the series. The show starts with Jordan handling a press conference while Matt and Danny watch on a monitor until it is their turn to come out. It felt like a scene in which Josh Lyman is watching C. J. Cregg at a press conference while talking with another member of the West Wing staff.

The press conference provided the opportunity to quickly recap the what the series is about and then show where it is going. A reporter for Rapture magazine asks if the “Crazy Christians” sketch Danny wrote will be aired. When it comes out that they plain on showing the sketch, a red state boycott of the show is launched. Jordan, as president of the network, stands up for principle similar to how President Jeb Bartlett would, except looking a lot cuter and perhaps a little less convincing in the role. This all leads to the grand finale of the episode, complete with a Gilbert and Sullivan opera. They even managed to bash television bloggers along the way.

Democratic Prospects Improving For Control of Senate

Conventional wisdom has been that the Democrats will win control of the House but are not likely to win enough seats to control the Senate. The New York Times finds more possibilities for the Democrats to win in Senate races. They report on Democratic prospects for victory in Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. It is far too early to predict what will happen in these states, but if the Republicans fail in their strategy of going negative to distract voters from their dismal record, there is the possibility for national trends to lead to Democratic control of both houses of Congress.