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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2004 1:11pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2004 12:55pm PT  

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Disaster in Iraq.
By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2004 12:34pm PT  

A few other pieces excerpted via today's "Today in Iraq", apparently one of the few places that bothers to deliver daily war news anymore.

In sum, listen to the experts. Those commanders on the ground, in the theater, or in the know, and who aren't running for anything...

Officer who rallied UK troops condemns 'cynical' Iraq war

British officer sounds off. “Colonel Tim Collins, the British commander whose stirring speech to his troops on the eve of the Iraq invasion was reportedly hung on a wall in the Oval Office by George Bush, has criticised the British and US governments over the war. The officer, who has now left the Army, condemned the lack of planning for the aftermath of the conflict and questioned the motives for attacking Iraq. He said abuses against Iraqi civilians were partly the result of ‘leaders of a country, leaders of an alliance' constantly referring to them as the ‘enemy ... rather than treating them as people.' This attitude was inevitably adopted by some soldiers on the ground, he said.”

Most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale

No good options.

[A]ccording to the US military's leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush's war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."

Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told me: "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."

Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College, said: "I see no ray of light on the horizon at all. The worst case has become true. There's no analogy whatsoever between the situation in Iraq and the advantages we had after the second world war in Germany and Japan."

W Andrew Terrill, professor at the Army War College's strategic studies institute - and the top expert on Iraq there - said: "I don't think that you can kill the insurgency". According to Terrill, the anti-US insurgency, centred in the Sunni triangle, and holding several cities and towns - including Fallujah - is expanding and becoming more capable as a consequence of US policy.

"We have a growing, maturing insurgency group," he told me. "We see larger and more coordinated military attacks. They are getting better and they can self-regenerate. The idea there are x number of insurgents, and that when they're all dead we can get out is wrong. The insurgency has shown an ability to regenerate itself because there are people willing to fill the ranks of those who are killed. The political culture is more hostile to the US presence. The longer we stay, the more they are confirmed in that view."

As Josh Marshall said yesterday, "Bush on Iraq: Who you gonna believe? Me, or your lyin' eyes?"

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By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2004 12:21pm PT  

While it may have been another quiet week in Lake Wobegon, it was anything but quiet in Iraq. According to "Iraq Coalition Casualty Count" --- a website that posts publically released Pentagon data on Iraq casualties, but is blocked by the Pentagon in Iraq so that troops there cannot have access to it --- there have been 1,032 US Troops killed so far.

And here's what you probably haven't heard all that much about over the last two days there. Once again from "Today in Iraq" (another site blocked from troops in Iraq by the Pentagon):

War News for September 17 and 18, 2004
Bring ‘em on: One US Marine killed in fighting in al-Anbar province.
Bring ‘em on: Thirteen Iraqis killed, 50 wounded by car bomb in Baghdad.
Bring ‘em on: Twenty-three Iraqis killed by car bomb at Iraqi army headquarters in Kirkuk.
Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqis killed, three wounded in US air strike in Fallujah.
Bring ‘em on: Iraqi working for British troops in Basra assassinated.
Bring ‘em on: Kidnapped governor of al-Anbar province executed by insurgents.
Bring ‘em on: Nine Iraqis killed by mortar fire in Baquba.
Bring ‘em on: Iraqi oil official survives assassination attempt near Mosul; four bodyguards killed.
Bring ‘em on: Two American, one British contractor kidnapped by insurgents in Baghdad.
Bring ‘em on: Insurgents execute three Iraqi truck drivers transporting US supplies.
Bring ‘em on: British troops raid al-Sadr's offices in Basra.
Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi killed, two wounded by roadside bomb in Baghdad.
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By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2004 1:23pm PT  

Unless I'm mistaken, I recall two distinct visits by Bush to Florida (swing state) in the aftermath of Hurricanes Charley and Frances. The "President" cared so much, he was photographed handing out bags of ice and cases of water with his brother Governor Jeb to Florida's bereaved voters victims.

Then came Hurricane Ivan, as powerful as Charley, as big as Frances, which hit Alabama (solid red state) and killed some 42 people.

George W. Bush will be spending some down time this weekend at his family's compound in Kennebunkport, ME. No scheduled compassionate fake conservatism visits to Alabama to survey the damage and help the victims there currently on the "Presidents" calendar.

Bush/Cheney '04: Cynicism in Motion

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West Virginia voters put on notice!
Apparently, just another page from the RNC's 'Anything to Win' file...
By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2004 12:52pm PT  

Would Republicans actually do this?

Campaign mail with a return address of the Republican National Committee warns West Virginia voters that the Bible will be prohibited and men will marry men if liberals win in November.

The literature shows a Bible with the word "BANNED" across it and a photo of a man, on his knees, placing a ring on the hand of another man with the word "ALLOWED." The mailing tells West Virginians to "vote Republican to protect our families" and defeat the "liberal agenda."

Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said Friday that he wasn't aware of the mailing, but said it could be the work of the RNC. "It wouldn't surprise me if we were mailing voters on the issue of same-sex marriage," Gillespie said.

So does that sound like the Republicans? The same group who called South Carolina voters during the 2000 primary to ask what they thought of John McCain fathering a black out-of-wedlock baby? Oh, yes. It sounds a lot like them. Gillespie's inability to deny it, of course, seals the deal. Your Republican Party: Anything to Win.

(If anyone finds a scanned graphic of that mail, please let me know!)

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Bush Sr. Corresponded with Air National Guard General!
By Brad Friedman on 9/17/2004 9:40pm PT  

Guess what? More documents on Bush's Guard Service released by the Pentagon just now! This despite previously claims by the White House (several times) that they've released everything on the matter.

Also note this release comes late Friday (when they release info they wish to bury from the mainstream media) and a few days after White House Spokesman, Scott McClellan had hinted that more could be coming. I guess he already knew.


The Pentagon Friday released more documents on President Bush's Vietnam-era Air National Guard Service, including a letter from his then-congressman father George Bush thanking a general for “taking interest in a brand new Air Force trainee.”

...

“That a major general in the Air Force would take interest in a brand new Air Force trainee made a big impression on me,” then Texas Rep. George Bush wrote to Maj. Gen. G.B. Greene Jr., commander of the Lackland Air Force Base Military Training Center, on Sept. 11, 1968.

...

I was surprised and very, very pleased to receive your letter of August 27th,” Bush's father said in the letter, which was written on congressional stationery. The file does not contain Greene's letter to Bush's father, but shows the letter his father wrote back.

...

“General Greene, this is a personal letter but I did want to write to you from the heart and thank you for what you, Sgt. (Henry) Onacki and the others are doing, and obviously doing well,” Bush concluded.

Developing...

UPDATE: .PDF of letter from George HW Bush here. .PDF of Press Release about young Bush and the fact that he is son of U.S. Congressman here. (Most ironic line from the release: “George Bush is one member of the younger generation who doesn't get his kicks from pot or hashish or speed. Oh, he gets high, all right, but not from narcotics.”)

(Thanks to BRAD BLOG tipster Jaime!)

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By Brad Friedman on 9/17/2004 4:22pm PT  

In a victory for Republicans hoping to win by getting Ralph Nader on as many ballots as possible, in lieu of confidence that their man is good enough to win on his own, the Florida Supreme Court has just ruled that Nader can be added to the ballot because the Florida Legislature's law was not clear enough to determine the matter one way or another. So they decided to rule in favor of inclusion on the ballot.

That's nice. But wouldn't that seem to go against the Republican's argument from 2000 that the Florida Supremes were all Democratic activist judges, and that a lack of clarity in the law concerning ballot counting meant that the law should be ignored in favor of not counting every ballot?

Apparently judiciaries are only biased "activists" when they rule against what Republicans want.

Hypocrisy in the Republican party?! Say it ain't so!

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By Brad Friedman on 9/17/2004 4:08pm PT  

Just now Brit Hume's Special Report showed a few Jeno Leno jokes from "our friends at the Tonight Show". Included in the jokes they showed:

"Do you know what CBS stands for? Cock and Bull Story!"

But here's one they didn't show from Wednesday's monologue for some reason:

"What do you call CBS News after it loses all its credibility? Fox News!"

More on the surprisingly "liberal" Jay Leno here.

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By Brad Friedman on 9/17/2004 3:36pm PT  
Alaska Supreme Court OK's marijuana use

Juneau, AK, Sep. 15 (UPI) --- The state Supreme Court has affirmed the rights of Alaskan adults to possess four ounces of marijuana for personal use in the home.

The ruling lets stand a Court of Appeals' August 2003 decision that determined a ballot initiative passed by voters in 1990 outlawing any amount of the drug to be unconstitutional.
...
Alaska is the 12th state to decriminalize the personal use of the drug.

At this time, the Bush/Ashcroft Justice Dept. believes Federal Big Government trumps States Rights and the Choice of the Voters in these matters.

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More from the 'Mission Uncomplished' file...
By Brad Friedman on 9/17/2004 3:07pm PT  

Bush has been speaking lately to the American people of "making progress" in Iraq since handing over "sovereignty". Hopefully he's not referring to this kind of progress since handing over "sovereignty":

JUL '04: 1.87 US Troops killed per day (54 total)
AUG '04: 2.42 US Troops killed per day (66 total)
SEP '04: 3.24 US Troops killed per day (51 total) ~

~ = So far, just 17 days into month. Making September '04 deadliest month of the last six. Source: Iraq Coalition Casualties

Bush, in the meantime, while criticizing Kerry for offering no Exit Strategy in Iraq, has offered no Exit Strategy from Iraq. As of this post, 1,029 (update) 1,030 US Troops have been killed in Bush's "miscalculation" so far.

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A couple of decent new DNC ads.
By Brad Friedman on 9/17/2004 2:09pm PT  


"Mission Not Accomplished"

(Several different videos available there.)

"Halliburton and Cheney"

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By Brad Friedman on 9/17/2004 1:52pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 9/16/2004 3:34pm PT  

George W. Bush today in Minnesota:

"I believe when a President speaks, he better mean what he says."

The press gaggle on Air Force One on Monday:

Q Isn't it kind of disingenuous for the President to say that I'm for the assault weapons ban, but then not spend a nickle of his political capital to fight for it?

MR. McCLELLAN: I disagree. His position has always been well-known, and it's been clear going back to his first campaign for President.

Q That he was for the ban?

MR. McCLELLAN: For a reauthorization of the current ban.

Q Let me follow up on this point. For a guy who goes around the country and says, I say what I mean, and you should take me at my word --- so if he's for the ban, and he doesn't do a thing ---

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, keep in mind that the Congress is the one that sets the legislative timetable, and Congress has made clear that it's not going to be coming up. I think you've had leaders in Congress state that.

Q But the President didn't work for it to come up. I mean, nobody --- everybody understands how this process works. The President wants tax cuts, he lobbies all over the country ---

MR. McCLELLAN: That's why the President has taken strong steps to make sure we are combating violence committed with guns. And that's why we have a strong record ---

Q He was happy to let the authorization lapse, wasn't he?

MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, you know that's a ridiculous assertion.

Q Name one thing, one step that the President took to have the assault weapons ban reauthorized?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's why I said, Ron, his position has been very well-known. We've restated that position. It remains unchanged. But he does not set the legislative timetable. Members of Congress set the legislative timetable. And Congress has stated --- congressional leaders have stated that it's not going to come up for a vote.

Q Is there one congressman, one congressional leader who he has called in Congress, and said, please put it on the timetable?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let's debate the real issue here --- and we're proud to debate the record on combating violence committed with guns, because we have a strong record of strictly enforcing our laws and reducing crimes committed with guns, if you look at the record.

Q And the President has a strong record of lobbying very hard for legislation he truly supports. Name one person who he called to lobby on behalf of legislation.

MR. McCLELLAN: --- his position has been made well-known.

Q So there's nothing more he could have done to get the ban extended?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think members of Congress have stated --- congressional leaders have stated that it's not going to be coming up for a vote.

Q Has he ever mentioned it in a speech that you can remember, I mean, as he goes around the country, ever mentioned the assault weapons ban?

MR. McCLELLAN: Certainly we're going to continue to talk about the strong action that he's taken to combat violence committed with guns, Ben. I think that's the --- it goes to the real issue here. You brought up the issue of whether or not this was effective, in terms of the assault weapons ban. That's something that people have continued to debate. But this President has led when it comes to combating violence committed with guns. And so we welcome a discussion of the record.

Q I've heard him bring up lots of legislation he wants passed as he goes around the country. I've never heard him bring up, I want to see the assault weapons ban ---

MR. McCLELLAN: No, he's made his position very well-known. So I disagree with that assertion.

Q Can you name one person who he's called on the Hill on behalf of this legislation?

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, members of Congress know his position very well, Ron.

Q So has he made a call to any of them?

MR. McCLELLAN: His position is very well-known, Ron, and members have known his position. And it's been discussed with members, too.

UPDATE: Though the White House doesn't credit who the speakers of the "Q's" are, it may be safe to assume that the questioner here is Ron Fournier of the AP. As much as I bash the press, it's only fair to try and give credit to those who don't roll over for the White House!

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Kerry and Bush DEADLOCKED as of now.
By Brad Friedman on 9/16/2004 2:56pm PT  

Wake up folks! The latest Harris Poll released today shows what I've been trying to tell you! The race is on with Bush ahead of Kerry nationally by just 1% (well within the margin of error).

The Harris poll, conducted by telephone Sept. 9-13, shows Sen. Kerry leading Mr. Bush 48% to 47% among likely voters nationwide. The poll also found that a slender 51% to 45% majority doesn't believe that Mr. Bush deserves to be re-elected.

As I've said, those national polls mean almost nothing. It's the Battleground states that matter most. Other than in the perception of how things are going. So if I hear one more Liberal or Democrat whining about how "uh, oh, we may lose!" I'm gonna hurl.

Just because they are better liars, doesn't mean Americans will buy it! They didn't buy it during Clinton, and the packs of vicious lies constantly thrown at him, and they don't need to buy it now! But if some of you folks roll over and give up they just might!

That's not the only poll out there saying the same thing. But the Republicans, and the lazy Mainstream Media that reports whatever they say, are hoping to give a different impression. If you make enough noise, perhaps they (at least the Media) will knock it off!

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