C.I. filling in for Kat who is exhausted from this past week (we were speaking about Iraq to students and various groups). We dropped her off at her place and she really is tired so I said I'd do a quick post for her tonight so she didn't have to do one tonight or tomorrow.
I promised not to "work too hard" on this and just talk about Dan Gerstein making a fool of himself on Democracy Now! today. In bold throughout (unless noted otherwise) is Idiot Gerstein.
And I think a lot of the evidence that Ray and people in the impeachment movement have assumed shows impeachable offenses was presented to the American people before the 2004 election, and they still reelected George Bush.
No, the people did not know about the warrantless, illegal spying on the American people. They didn't know about it because it was among the stories that the New York Times could have broken but sat on. They broke that story in 2005. The Downing Street Memos had not been published (and derided wrongly by many in MSM as old news). Those who forced themselves to believe Bully Boy hadn't lied are less in number. As the fatalities rose, so did their skepticism.
Those who wanted to believe Bully Boy had not allowed anyone in his administration to break the law by outing a CIA agent (it is against the law for those in the government -- and he can thank his own father for that and Vicky ToeJam's distortions never changed reality on what happened), no longer can. He publicly promised that no one in his administration would remain if they had any part in it. Scooter Libby took part in it. (As did Karl Rove and others.) Scooter Libby was convicted for lying about his role in it when Patrick Fitzgerald was conducting the investigation. Scooter Libby was sentenced and fined. Bully Boy wiped out the sentence. There are far fewer people willing to take him at his word from the first term on this. Before the election, they could fool themselves. They didn't know Karl Rove was talking to Matt Cooper (that would have made a huge difference in the election but it was more important to Cooper to protect Karl Rove than to be a journalist or tell the truth -- though the two don't have to be mutually exclusive).
There is the gaming of the prosecutors in the Justice Department. There is now evidence (e-mails) that at least Karl Rove (possibly higher, but at least Karl Rove) took part in denying the voting rights of minorities in 2004. Those are high crimes and misdeanors. In addition, there is now the fact that US citizens were denied their right to take part by White House staffers. The right to vote, the right to participate are core issues in a democracy and this pattern of denial of those rights qualifies as a high crime.
As for the time issue, March 5, 1868 Andrew Jackson was impeached by the House. This despite the fact that his term would end in January of 1869 if he wasn't re-elected (he wasn't, he did run for the House and lost). The grounds for his impeachment? One case. He had fired a member of his cabinet after Congress had passed a law giving them the power to approve of his firings in the same way they did his appointments. (This was overturned in the 20th century by the Supreme Court.) They impeached him. The Senate, by one vote, didn't follow through.
Today, in 1974, by the way, the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach Nixon.
DAN GERSTEIN: Richard Nixon was not impeached for Cambodia. He was impeached for obstruction of justice and crimes to cover up actions he's done that were about self-aggrandizement, about his personal power. I’ve reviewed a lot of the, you know, supposed evidence or charges against George Bush. Regardless of whether they were bad for the country, they were not about consolidating his personal power. They were not for -- to protect his -- you know, not about his self-interest. And I think that's a major distinction.
You've reviewed nothing you simpering wimpering idiot. The same abuses of and for personal power can be found in the Bully Boy. Gerstein's not well connected. He's an idiot. Ask Karen Hughes, under oath, why Bully Boy discussed the Dixie Chicks in his interview with Tom Brokaw. Hughes, under oath, might tell the truth. (That's just trivia, by the way, not saying he's impeachable on that. I am saying anyone who doesn't know the answer to that question doesn't know the realities of the White House and needs to stop pretending to be an expert. I heard about that in real time when they were first raising the issue that Bully Boy would address the Dixie Chicks issue. I know why, I know who brought it up and I know when they rehearsed. I also know Bully Boy blew it with his petulance -- the point was to make him appear above the fray but he's as petty as his mother and couldn't pull it off, even with the rehearsals. And FYI, I knew about it before Hughes got involved. I know all about the excitement on that first day as it worked through the pipeline and they thought they'd found the perfect opportunity to portray him as a 'statesman.' I also know he was flattered after the interview even though everyone knew he blew it.) (Idiots like Gerstein probably thought that was a 'genuine' moment. It wasn't. It was carefully planned and if Bully Boy wasn't such an idiot it probably would've worked. Karl Rove is not Bully Boy's brain. Karen Hughes is the one who always knew the best way to sell the Bully Boy and only his inept behaviors prevented that from happening. I'm sure they'll be more successful with their next Monkey Boy.)
What that does, in essence, is make the 2008 election potentially a jump ball and put at risk our chances of taking the White House back.
A jump ball? Just another geek who wishes he could fill out a jock cup if you ask me.
What is a jump ball? In my limited knowledge of sports, I believe two people compete to get control of the ball. It's an equal competition. But Gerstein doesn't want an equal race.
The reality is that this is the same crap that guaranteed the election would be close (I think Kerry won in Ohio and should have fought -- Gerstein disagrees with that and centrists can never be persuaded they're wrong).
It should have been a win but the Kerry campaign played it safe because of dumb advisers. Like Gerstein today. They played it dumb and they played it safe. The way Gerstein does today on impeachment.
And every other issue.
AMY GOODMAN: So, Dan, let me ask you something. You're the former aide to Senator Lieberman. Senator Lieberman is one of the chief voices for this war. He's not calling for it to end.
DAN GERSTEIN: He is not calling for it to end.
AMY GOODMAN: Your thoughts? Do you disagree with him?
DAN GERSTEIN: You're asking me my personal view? I think the war was a mistake.
Dan Gerstein is not against the illegal war. Amy Goodman should have followed up and put him on the spot. He thinks it was conducted wrong. He is not a dove. He was on board for the illegal war and only began changing his mind (a) due to polls and (b) due to the fact that it is so obviously lost. He feels the American image and power has been tarnished. That is why he now says the illegal war is a mistake. But he doesn't use the word "illegal."
That's actually something in his favor here. If it weren't for that, we'd have someone who believes it is an illegal war and that it was wrong to ever start it. In which case, he would be revealed as someone with no morals at all.
He's not immoral or ammoral -- he has his own schema and it's far different from mine -- but on this issue no one can call him a fraud who worked to push through a war he thought was illegal. That is not the case.
He's a Democrat "all things being equal." When they're not equal, the implication is he votes for Republicans.
He's a sterile little boy in a bubble needing the easiest choices in the world. That's why he has to note the 1998 elections when they have nothing to do with a presidential election.
The most basic issue is that an off-year election (a non-presidential one) always has a lower turnout so you can't compare 1998 to 2008. Cindy Sheehan compared the 2008 election to the 2000 one and the 1976 one. That is the correct comparison.
The other thing is that you're talking odds in any race and 2002's illegal war vote by the Dems was all about (for many but not all) the election. They were advised it would help them in the elections. It didn't. And we saw a historical first take place in 2002.
That will always happen. Predicting the election is like predicting whether or not it will rain on a Sunday two months from now. You can guess, you can't say for sure.
But these types crunch their numbers and make their predicitions and never get held accountable for them. No political operative should ever be included a real debate and he shouldn't have been. They could have provided a Republican who is against impeachment. They could have provided one in the House (there are a number of House Republicans who would like to go on the show -- the 2004 RNC convention interviews Goodman did resulted in some good e-mails for some agreeing to them).
There are people with real convictions. They should be included in a debate.
I think he was included in the Democracy Now! debate because he represents (Goodman and Gonzalez would be correct) the real roadblock to impeachment. It's not Republicans, it's the political consultants for the Democrats.
It's a huge mistake. The consultants fear that their 2008 chances would be screwed up for a Dem White House win. (There's no proof to back up that fear.) They also fear that Bully Boy will manage to garner sympathy.
He won't. He's sympathy proof. The Dixie Chick moment demonstrated that. After all the talk about how he would address it, all the rehearsals (this wasn't NBC rehearsals, just to be clear, NBC's crew and Brokaw are probably unaware of all that went into that moment before they ever showed up with cameras), all the cautionary tips from Karen Hughes, Bully Boy still couldn't stick to the script. He still couldn't play it the way it was rehearsed.
He's too petty and too much of a bully. (Just like his mother.) A sympathetic moment is not something he can carry off. He can strut. He loves to strut. He just can't appeal to sympathy.
And he wouldn't be sympathetic. He'd get too cocky. He always does and he always has.
Jeb Bush can pull off sympathetic. Bully Boy can't. It's ingrained in him. Just to do those sincere moments during a national tragedy, he has to widen his eyes and pitch his voice higher (while speaking slower so he comes off like the only thing he forgot was his dunce cap).
That's the reality of the Bully Boy. And he's called the Bully Boy for two reasons. One after a great song by Pretenders. Two, he had nasty words with a close friend (years and years ago) when the friend noted that Big Babs was something of a Bully. He's more sensitive to that word than he is to "fat" and he's very obsessed with his weight. (Big Babs didn't want any fat kids.)
(As the Rolling Stones once sang, "You Can't Always Get What You Want . . .") (Third reason, he is a bully.)
Here's today's "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, July 27, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, Cindy Sheehan debates a moron, Operation Happy Talk continues.
Starting with war resisters. From September 2nd through September 26th, Agustin Aguayo was absent without leave. Aguayo self-checked out when facing a second deployment to Iraq and while his case was moving through the civilian courts. Aguayo was denied CO status by a military that doesn't know their own regulations. John A. Rogowsky Jr. is another, among many others, who have been wrongly denied CO status. From "Selective Service System: Fast Facts:" "Beliefs which qualify a registrant for CO status may be religious in nature, but don't have to be." Despite that basic reality, Aguayo, Rogowsky and others have been told that they're not religious enough, that their religion is not recognized, when religion really is NOT required for CO status. In Aguayo's case, the military refused to recognize that time in Iraq deepened Aguayo's faith (already present when he enlisted).
Speaking with Don Bustany on KPFK's Middle East in Focus Wednesday, Aguayo shared his story.and noted that when he arrived in Iraq in February of 2004, the medics were gathered for a speech that was in conflict in with the printed training material. They were told that they were medics and they were combat troops and that, "'You medics,' speaking to us, 'has to make it clear, has to make it clear in the minds of your infantry man that they must finish their job because if they don't then there will be more work for you'." As Aguayo looked around he saw acceptance and an eagerness to get back to the routine but "I could not accept that I was being told those things."
He also spoke of the eagerness to blame Iraqis for any problems as opposed to questioning the illegal war or the Bully Boy who sent them there. Aguayo began to realize, "I was a particiant, a supporter, of all the missions that took place." Today Aguayo is sharing his story publicly. Mialka Bonadonna (LAist) reports he will be speaking tonight (Friday) in Los Angeles, 7:00 pm at 3303 Wilshire Blvd., 2nd floor.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Jared Hood and James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.
From reality to Operation Happy Talk. The push-back is on and Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno has enlisted. Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) writes of the press briefing Odierno gave yesterday where he issued the talking points that US military deaths were falling. Parker rightly notes that seven deaths were announced after the press briefing and the one of the deaths announced on Thursday dated back to Sunday. The US military was delaying announcing deaths. Reality is that in terms of what has been annouced, the deaths were 67 on Thursday and that July is not yet over but July 2007 is already the deadliest July for US service members since the start of the illegal war. July 2006: 43 US service members were killed in Iraq. In July 2005 and July 2004, 54 US service members were killed in Iraq. In July 2003, 48 US service members were killed in Iraq.
Last week, Odierno enlisted in the push-back in a vareity of ways at a press briefing with reporters at the US Pentagon via video-link. In terms of downgrading expectations for the September report to the US Congress by the military, he declared that the report that was needed would come in November and clarified, "What I was saying is -- again, my remarks were, in 45 days I will have a better idea if the trends are continuing, and that's September. Obviously, we have an assessment we will conduct in September that will provide -- that General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will provide. I was not looking at extending that time frame when they have to report back. What I imagine we'll have to do is do assessments that follow that initial assessment in September, and that's -- I'm assuming we'll continue to do assessments while we're here." Yesterday, Odierno stressed "trends" as well but forgot to include 7 deaths he should have known about in his remarks.
In addition, at the same press briefing, he attempted to yet again sell the non-proven link between resistance fighters in Iraq and the Iranian government. When pressed by reporters for evidence, Odierno's confident remarks of such a link were replaced with his statements that, "We don't see any evidence -- significant evidence". And a third way he enlisted was in calling into question the right of an open debate in a free society when he took to suggesting that discussions in the media and in the US Congress about US forces withdrawing from Iraq, was 'emboldening' al Qaeda. Again, when pressed, Odierno had to back off from his original remarks and admit he had "no specific intelligence" on any such emboldening.
Operation Happy Talk is not confined to the US military brass and the US administration. Andrew Grice (Independent of London) reports that the UK Air Chief Marshal Jock Stirrup (I did not make that name up) has declared, "We are very close to being able to hand over Basra in my judgement. Just when we will reach that point is at the moment uncertain but I am fairly confident it'll be in the second half of the year." Basra is one base, the Basra Palace (and it's also the last of four provinces the British military currently controls -- the other three were already turned over) Grice interprets Jock Stirrup's remarks to mean control of Basra could be handed off before the year's end; however, it could come much sooner. After all, British troops, the Soldiers of the Queen's Royal Hussars, proved they could hustle when they pulled out of the Maysan province with less than 24 hours notice after their base their repeatedly was attacked back in August. As Haidar Hani (AP) reported then that following the British hitting the road in 'stripped down mode': "Looters ravaged a former British base Friday . . . taking everything from doors and window frames to corrugated roofing and metal pipes". Iraqi authorites noted then that the British had only given them 24 hours notice that the departure was coming. As with that base, the Basra Palace has been under rocket and mortar attacks repeatedly. In addition, IRIN reports that approximately "150 doctors in Basra, Iraq's second largest city about 600km south of Baghdad, began a three-day strike on 23 July, demanding the government protect them and their families." This was to call attention to the lack of security and this comes as over "618 medical employees" have been killed since the start of the illegal war.
Turning to realities that US administration prefers we don't know. Noam N. Levey and Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) report that the White House "has stopped reporting to Congress a key quality-of-life indicator in Baghdad: how long the power stays on." This is an agreed upon 'benchmark' by the US administration and Congress -- and one even Iraqis could agree to even though they were consulted when it was time to draw on benchmarks. When you can't meet the benchmark, this administration stops reporting it.
This approach is an affront to democracy and one of many the current administration has repeatedly shown not only to people in the US but to people around the world. Today, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) hosted a debate on the issue of impeachment. All sides were represented, with Cindy Sheehan representing the pro-impeachment and Dan Gerstein representing the lunatic fringe. Gerstein is a Democratic Party Hack and not even a good one. His full credentials were not listed on the program and that's probably due to the fact that if he'd had to sit through even a partial litany of his many losses, he would have walked off on air.
Gerstein doesn't want impeachment. He doesn't think anything that's been done rises to the level of impeachment. He thinks the way to 'fix' is to vote Democrats into power in 2008 (he might want to check out his consulting p.r. faxes because I'm seeing something about him being in favor of Democrats "all things being equal"). To impeach the Bully Boy and/or Cheney would be a distraction that would harm the Democrats chances to regain the White House in 2008.
Gerstein's been more wrong than right when gazing into his crystal ball and that may say it all but for those who've forgotten his nasty snit-fits when his boy Joe Lieberman lost the primary to Ned Lamont, try google-ing.
The reality, as Cindy Sheehan pointed out, is that impeachment hasn't been a problem in terms of the White House. Gerstein is wrong, Sheehan is right. Gerstein tried to use the 1998 Congressional election (not a White House election) as an example. After the 2002 Congressional election demonstrated that no patterns were holding, no tea leafs could be read, Gerstein might try sticking to reality and leaving his fantasy land where he knows the outcome. (If he truly did, he might be a player and not a Lieberman lackey.)
From the broadcast:
CINDY SHEEHAN: Well, also in Article II, yeah, Clause 4, it says for treason and bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors. I believe that -- and there's, you know, legal proof out there that when he commuted Scooter Libby's sentence, he committed treason, because Scooter Libby was convicted of obstructing justice in the cover-up of the Bush administration outing Valerie Plame. And I believe that the American people will be behind this. The Democrats aren't trying to end the war. They just gave George Bush $120 billion more to wage it. And he has said the troops aren't coming home while he's president. So I think we need to look at it as human-based and not political. John Conyers told me in a meeting previously to the one we had on Monday that winning the presidency in '08 was more important to him than ending the war in Iraq. When are our leaders going to -- I guarantee there's 150,000 mothers in this country, who it's more important to them to end the war in Iraq and get their children home safely than who's president in '08. And I think, historically, when this impeachment has been tried, like I said before, the party who tried it, even though it hasn't been successful, has -- it has galvanized the base of that party to say, "Wow, our leaders are courageous. Our leaders have integrity. Our leaders are leading us from a moral base, not from political expediency."
It was hilarious to see the Sterile Gerstein LIE and we'll use the word even though he will take offense but that is reality. A liar, for instance, is someone who attacks Cindy Sheehan as an attention hog (or whatever the term he used) only a short time ago but pretends to have the upmost respect for her during the debate today. The Peace Mom cleaned his clock.
In today's violence, CNN reports that 17 Iraqis -- count includes 2 women -- were killed by the US military and the Iraqi military today in Karbala with hospital officials reporting at least twenty-five wounded ("including women and children") had been brought to the hospital. To no one's surprise the US military is claiming "Not true!" The US military asserts, in the same press release -- keep that in mind, that "No Iraqi civilians were present in the area while the strike was performed" -- the strike involved "aeiral fires" -- and that this was "a raid in a neighborhood in Karbala." One of those, no doubt, ghost town neighborhoods in Karbala? By their own admission, the raid took place in a neighborhood. The raid took place during the sleeping hours. The raid involved air strikes as well as shooting on the ground. And there is the matter of the bodies of the dead and the wounded.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a man was killed in a Baghdad bombing when the car he was driving was stopped by assailants who put "explosives into his car" and then attempted to use the man and his car in an attack on a police check point (two police officers were wounded), a Baghdad mortar attack that left four wounded, two people wounded when "U.S. troops bombed Al Husseiniya district" in Baghdad, an Al Muqdadiyah roadside bombing claimed 1 life with five others wounded, a Kirkuk rocket attack that claimed 2 lives, and a Karbala roadside bombing targeting Brig. Gen. Raed Shakir Hamed that left 3 of his bodyguards killed while he survived. Reuters notes a Mahmudiya mortar attack that claimed the life of 1 woman and left a child and an adult wounded, that a Samarra roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 7 police officers so . . .
Reuters notes the Samarra police decided to open fire and 3 innocent civilians were killed (open fire after the bombing). Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Saidiyah and Adeeb Abdul Salam were shot dead in a Baghdad home invasion, a person shot dead in Buhruz and attorney Hussam Al Nahi was shot dead in Basra. Reuters notes an Iraqi soldier shot dead in Kirkuk.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 7 corpses discovered in Baghdad, two corpses delivered to Al Muqdadiyah hospital, 1 corpse discovered in Baquba. KUNA reports the corpses of five women were discovered in Mosul today and that the women had been kidnapped yesterday while returning from work.
Today, the US military announced: "One Task Force Lightning Soldier died as a result of injuries sustained from an explosion near his vehicle while conducting operations in Diyala province, Thursday." The death brings ICCC's current total to 3646 US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war with 67 killed for the month thus far.
the los angeles times