McCain top lieutenant Overcharging Pentagon

Speaking of Senator Corruption (R- AZ, running for president, maybe you’ve heard mention of him), a top McCain fundraiser has been gouging tax-payers, and screwing the Pentagon. In some circles, that is considered war profiteering, and is a hanging offense.

The Democratic chairman of a House investigative committee presented documents to the Pentagon on Thursday charging that a top Republican fund-raiser, Harry Sargeant III, made tens of millions of dollars in profits over the last four years because his contracting company vastly overcharged for deliveries of fuel to American air bases in Iraq.

In a written statement on Thursday, a lawyer for Mr. Sargeant, who is the finance chairman of the Florida Republican Party and a major fund-raiser for Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign, called the allegations “deeply disappointing” and asserted that they were not supported by the facts.

The contracting company, called the International Oil Trading Company, or I.O.T.C., was briefly in the news over the summer when a former partner filed a lawsuit against Mr. Sargeant in a Florida circuit court.

The former partner, a Jordanian named Mohammad al-Saleh, is a brother-in-law of King Abdullah II of Jordan. The court papers laid out his assertion that he obtained special governmental authorizations for the company to transport the fuel through Jordan and was then unlawfully forced out by Mr. Sargeant, who strongly disputed those allegations.

But the latest claims of impropriety by the company, presented by Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, in a letter to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, go much further. Mr. Waxman uses e-mail messages, company documents, Pentagon reports and other information to make the case that Mr. Sargeant repeatedly received contracts to deliver the fuel even though his company was not the lowest bidder.

In one case, the letter from Mr. Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, asserts that Mr. Sargeant’s company submitted the highest of six bids, but received the contract anyway. In fact, Pentagon contracting officers complained that the company’s prices were unreasonably high and initially said they could not justify giving the work to Mr. Sargeant.

But for reasons the company was never able to explain, Mr. Waxman’s letter indicates, no other American company was given an authorization to transport the fuel through Jordan. And when the United States Central Command declared that the need for the fuel was urgent, the Pentagon was forced to award the contract to Mr. Sargeant’s company.

Mr. Sargeant is one of several dozen people who are listed on Senator McCain’s Web site as having raised $500,000 or more for him. He was the host of a fund-raiser for Mr. McCain at his mansion in Delray Beach, Fla., this year.

[From G.O.P. Donor Is Accused of Overcharging Pentagon –]

I hope President Obama gives Henry Waxman free reign to continue his investigations into Bush-crony corruption, including John McCain’s friends like Sargeant, and corporations like Verizon.

And remember this story?

Mr. Sargeant came under scrutiny in August when media reports highlighted a cluster of more than $50,000 in unusual campaign contributions bundled together by Mr. Sargeant from a single extended family in California and a few of their friends. The donations set off questions of whether they might have been made by donors in name only who were reimbursed by someone trying to skirt contribution limits.

It turned out that the donations were not actually solicited by Mr. Sargeant but by another Jordanian business partner, Mustafa Abu Naba’a. The McCain campaign later said it would return all contributions solicited by Mr. Abu Naba’a and review all donations collected by Mr. Sargeant.

Why this lifelong Republican may vote for Obama

Well, even if the operative word is may, Michael Smerconish’s column is food for thought, perhaps a brief sentence will suffice for that Republican blowhard you know is on the proverbial fence about this particular election.

I can’t help myself. So strong is my belief that we’ve failed in our responsibility to 3,000 dead Americans that I am contemplating voting for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time in my life. It’s the chronology I find so compelling.

We’re at the seven-year anniversary of 9/11, lacking not only closure with regard to the two top al-Qaida leaders but also public discourse about any plan to bring them to justice. To me, that suggests a continuation of what I perceive to be the Bush administration’s outsourcing of this responsibility at great cost to a government with limited motivation to get the job done. Of course, I may be wrong; I have no inside information. And I’d love to be proven in error by breaking news of their capture or execution. But published accounts paint an intriguing and frustrating picture.

To begin, bin Laden is presumed to have been in Afghanistan on 9/11 and to have fled that nation during the battle at Tora Bora in December of 2001. Gary Berntsen, who was the CIA officer in charge on the ground, told me that his request for Army Rangers to prevent bin Laden’s escape into Pakistan was denied, and sure enough, that’s where bin Laden went. Then came a period when the Bush administration was supposed to be pressing the search through means it couldn’t share publicly. But as time went by with no capture, the signs became more troubling.

[Click to continue reading Why this lifelong Republican may vote for Obama | Salon ]

Strange also how this Republican talking head is a long-time member of the so-called Liberal Media, but has no need to hide his long-term Republican bona fides. Almost as if Republican media is a given.

Iraq and al-Qaida

“The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism” (Ron Suskind)

Despite what Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi might think1 misleading Congress is an impeachable offense.

Ron Suskind is really good at burying a lede.

Diligent, linear-minded readers will have to ford through 370 pages of his alternately incisive and gauzy book, “The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism,” to reach the accusation that has set the nation’s blogs abuzz. In September 2003, according to Suskind, CIA officials — at the direct command of then-CIA director George Tenet and at the behest of the White House — deliberately forged a backdated letter from Iraqi security chief Tahir Jalil Habbush to Saddam Hussein. The phony letter claimed that 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta had trained for his mission in Iraq and that al-Qaida had facilitated mysterious shipments from Niger to Iraq. The letter was the “slam dunk” the Bush administration had been seeking so desperately: evidence of a direct operational link between al-Qaida and Saddam’s regime.

Leaked to conservative British journalist Con Coughlin, the letter was made public just as Saddam was captured in his spider hole near Tikrit. In the course of a single news cycle, the war against Saddam had been “vindicated,” Saddam himself had been flushed from hiding, and the Bush administration’s war had seemingly reached its triumphal and foregone conclusion. Or had it?

To further refine the question: Did nobody think it remarkable that an intelligence chief would commit such damning information to paper and then sign it in his own hand?


Since then, that narrative has unraveled thread by thread — as has the Habbush letter. That it was a forgery can no longer be doubted; that it originated with the White House may be harder to prove. Two former CIA officials — Rob Richer and John Maguire — have gone on record as saying they were personally charged with carrying out the forgery, but their marching orders, if they existed, came directly from Tenet (who has fiercely denied the story). The closest thing Suskind has to a smoking gun is Richer’s memory, five years later, of “looking down at the creamy White House stationery on which the assignment was written.” But here, too, a skeptic’s antennae begin to quiver: Why would an operation so patently illegal be printed on official stationery? It’s worth placing Richer’s and Maguire’s charges, too, in the context of the often-rancorous relations between White House officials and CIA veterans, who have seen their sphere of influence severely curtailed in post-9/11

[From Louis Bayard reviews “The Way of the World” by Ron Suskind | Salon Books]

Impeach the bastards, haul them in criminal court for the murder of thousands of Americans, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis!

  1. she famously stated “Impeachment is off the table”, and allows no real discussion of the topic []

Vital unresolved anthrax questions and ABC News

Glenn Greenwald recaps the anthrax scare, and lays the blame quite convincingly right at the breathless reporting of ABC News. Would we be mired in a never-ending war in Iraq without a government employee sending anthrax to public figures? Maybe, maybe not.

The 2001 anthrax attacks remain one of the great mysteries of the post-9/11 era. After 9/11 itself, the anthrax attacks were probably the most consequential event of the Bush presidency. One could make a persuasive case that they were actually more consequential. The 9/11 attacks were obviously traumatic for the country, but in the absence of the anthrax attacks, 9/11 could easily have been perceived as a single, isolated event. It was really the anthrax letters — with the first one sent on September 18, just one week after 9/11 — that severely ratcheted up the fear levels and created the climate that would dominate in this country for the next several years after. It was anthrax — sent directly into the heart of the country’s elite political and media institutions, to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt), NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, and other leading media outlets — that created the impression that social order itself was genuinely threatened by Islamic radicalism.

If the now-deceased Ivins really was the culprit behind the attacks, then that means that the anthrax came from a U.S. Government lab, sent by a top U.S. Army scientist at Ft. Detrick. Without resort to any speculation or inferences at all, it is hard to overstate the significance of that fact. From the beginning, there was a clear intent on the part of the anthrax attacker to create a link between the anthrax attacks and both Islamic radicals and the 9/11 attacks

[From Vital unresolved anthrax questions and ABC News – Glenn Greenwald –]


During the last week of October, 2001, ABC News, led by Brian Ross, continuously trumpeted the claim as their top news story that government tests conducted on the anthrax — tests conducted at Ft. Detrick — revealed that the anthrax sent to Daschele contained the chemical additive known as bentonite. ABC News, including Peter Jennings, repeatedly claimed that the presence of bentonite in the anthrax was compelling evidence that Iraq was responsible for the attacks, since — as ABC variously claimed — bentonite “is a trademark of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program” and “only one country, Iraq, has used bentonite to produce biological weapons.”

ABC News’ claim — which they said came at first from “three well-placed but separate sources,” followed by “four well-placed and separate sources” — was completely false from the beginning. There never was any bentonite detected in the anthrax (a fact ABC News acknowledged for the first time in 2007 only as a result of my badgering them about this issue). It’s critical to note that it isn’t the case that preliminary tests really did detect bentonite and then subsequent tests found there was none. No tests ever found or even suggested the presence of bentonite. The claim was just concocted from the start. It just never happened.

That means that ABC News’ “four well-placed and separate sources” fed them information that was completely false — false information that created a very significant link in the public mind between the anthrax attacks and Saddam Hussein. And look where — according to Brian Ross’ report on October 28, 2001 — these tests were conducted:

And despite continued White House denials, four well-placed and separate sources have told ABC News that initial tests on the anthrax by the US Army at Fort Detrick, Maryland, have detected trace amounts of the chemical additives bentonite and silica.

Lots more here. Corrupt bastards. For all we know, Bruce Ivins might just be a convenient fall guy, a sacrificial goat so that inconvenient questions can never be answered.

War Criminals

Frank Rich has been reading Jane Mayer’s new page-turner, The Dark Side, and connects it to both Nixon’s final days, and the futile War in Iraq.

The Final Days” was published in 1976, two years after Nixon abdicated in disgrace. With the Bush presidency, no journalist (or turncoat White House memoirist) is waiting for the corpse to be carted away. The latest and perhaps most chilling example arrives this week from Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, long a relentless journalist on the war-on-terror torture beat. Her book “The Dark Side” connects the dots of her own past reporting and that of her top-tier colleagues (including James Risen and Scott Shane of The New York Times) to portray a White House that, like its prototype, savaged its enemies within almost as ferociously as it did the Constitution.

[From Frank Rich – The Real-Life ‘24’ of Summer 2008 – Op-Ed –]


But are we safe? As Al Qaeda and the Taliban surge this summer, that single question is even more urgent than the moral and legal issues attending torture.

On those larger issues, the evidence is in, merely awaiting adjudication. Mr. Bush’s 2005 proclamation that “we do not torture” was long ago revealed as a lie. Antonio Taguba, the retired major general who investigated detainee abuse for the Army, concluded that “there is no longer any doubt” that “war crimes were committed.” Ms. Mayer uncovered another damning verdict: Red Cross investigators flatly told the C.I.A. last year that America was practicing torture and vulnerable to war-crimes charges.

Top Bush hands are starting to get sweaty about where they left their fingerprints. Scapegoating the rotten apples at the bottom of the military’s barrel may not be a slam-dunk escape route from accountability anymore.

No wonder the former Rumsfeld capo, Douglas Feith, is trying to discredit a damaging interview he gave to the British lawyer Philippe Sands for another recent and essential book on what happened, “Torture Team.” After Mr. Sands previewed his findings in the May issue of Vanity Fair, Mr. Feith protested he had been misquoted — apparently forgetting that Mr. Sands had taped the interview. Mr. Feith and Mr. Sands are scheduled to square off in a House hearing this Tuesday.

So hot is the speculation that war-crimes trials will eventually follow in foreign or international courts that Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, haspublicly advised Mr. Feith, Mr. Addington and Alberto Gonzales, among others, to “never travel outside the U.S., except perhaps to Saudi Arabia and Israel.” But while we wait for the wheels of justice to grind slowly, there are immediate fears to tend. Ms. Mayer’s book helps cement the case that America’s use of torture has betrayed not just American values but our national security, right to the present day.

In her telling, a major incentive for Mr. Cheney’s descent into the dark side was to cover up for the Bush White House’s failure to heed the Qaeda threat in 2001. Jack Cloonan, a special agent for the F.B.I.’s Osama bin Laden unit until 2002, told Ms. Mayer that Sept. 11 was “all preventable.” By March 2000, according to the C.I.A.’s inspector general, “50 or 60 individuals” in the agency knew that two Al Qaeda suspects — soon to be hijackers — were in America. But there was no urgency at the top. Thomas Pickard, the acting F.B.I. director that summer, told Ms. Mayer that when he expressed his fears about the Qaeda threat to Mr. Ashcroft, the attorney general snapped, “I don’t want to hear about that anymore!”

After 9/11, our government emphasized “interrogation over due process,” Ms. Mayer writes, “to pre-empt future attacks before they materialized.” But in reality torture may well be enabling future attacks. This is not just because Abu Ghraib snapshots have been used as recruitment tools by jihadists. No less destructive are the false confessions inevitably elicited from tortured detainees. The avalanche of misinformation since 9/11 has compromised prosecutions, allowed other culprits to escape and sent the American military on wild-goose chases. The coerced “confession” to the murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, to take one horrific example, may have been invented to protect the real murderer.

The biggest torture-fueled wild-goose chase, of course, is the war in Iraq. Exhibit A, revisited in “The Dark Side,” is Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an accused Qaeda commander whose torture was outsourced by the C.I.A. to Egypt. His fabricated tales of Saddam’s biological and chemical W.M.D. — and of nonexistent links between Iraq and Al Qaeda — were cited by President Bush in his fateful Oct. 7, 2002, Cincinnati speech ginning up the war and by Mr. Powell in his subsequent United Nations presentation on Iraqi weaponry. Two F.B.I. officials told Ms. Mayer that Mr. al-Libi later explained his lies by saying: “They were killing me. I had to tell them something.”

That “something” was crucial in sending us into the quagmire that, five years later, has empowered Iran and compromised our ability to counter the very terrorists that torture was supposed to thwart. As The Times reported two weeks ago, Iraq has monopolized our military and intelligence resources to the point where we don’t have enough predator drones or expert C.I.A. field agents to survey the tribal areas where terrorists are amassing in Pakistan. Meanwhile, the threat to America from Al Qaeda is “comparable to what it faced on Sept. 11, 2001,” said Seth Jones, a RAND Corporation terrorism expert and Pentagon consultant. The difference between now and then is simply that the base of operations has moved, “roughly the difference from New York to Philadelphia.”

Way to restore dignity to the White House, Generalissimo Bush. And misleading Congress is an impeachable offense, lest we forget in our haste to string up the Bush Administration officials.

Hitchens on Display

George Packer weighs in on Hitchens and his waterboarding moment.

The uncharitable view is that Hitchens will do anything to be noticed, that celebrity elicits a kind of masochism in him, and that being unpublished or unheard or unseen for even a day must be more agonizing for him than having his pubic hair removed by strips of hot wax or trying to breathe while water is poured over a towel spread across his face. And this view might well be true, but there’s more to it—there always is with Hitchens.

His greatest weakness as a writer is his need to put himself at the center of attention, to win every argument, to walk away from every encounter in prose, as in life, having gotten the better of someone else.

[From Interesting Times: George Packer: Online Only: The New Yorker]

I can’t fault Hitchens for his solipsism1 but since Hitchens has so vehemently supported the Bush version of the war on terror, one does wish Hitchens would have managed to work in more discussion of that topic, perhaps wrapped around his proclamation that torture is waterboarding and waterboarding is torture.

See also tristero for a longer look at George Packer’s little throw-away post.

  1. not a precise use of the word, by the way []

Iraqis Do NOT support McCain

When the token Libertarian columnist for the Chicago Tribune mocks you, that probably means your column is pretty stupid.

The headline on today’s Wall Street Journal opinion page is “Why Iraqis Back McCain.” After interviewing four Iraqi leaders, columnist Bret Stephens says that they, “without actually endorsing McCain–made their views abundantly clear.” He admits, facetiously, that he didn’t have time to interview 1,000 Iraqis to gauge overall public sentiment. What he doesn’t mention is that other people have done polls in Iraq (see page 49), and in the latest one, 73 percent of Iraqis oppose the presence of American and other coalition forces in their country. How does that translate into support for someone who wants to keep U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely?

[From Steve Chapman |Iraqis support McCain]

I wonder how many times this false construct will be presented as fact, without questioning its premise? I’d guess, “too fracking much”, if you asked me.

Obama and 9-11

Steel, Ice and death

More like this please! From prepared remarks Obama delivered June 18th, 2008 on the topic of Detainees and Afghanistan.

I have made the same arguments as Republicans like Arlen Specter, countless Generals and national security experts, and the largely Republican-appointed Supreme Court of the United States of America – which is that we need not throw away 200 years of American jurisprudence while we fight terrorism. We do not need to choose between our most deeply held values, and keeping this nation safe. That’s a false choice, and I completely reject it.

Now in their attempt to distort my position, Senator McCain’s campaign has said I want to pursue a law enforcement approach to terrorism. This is demonstrably false, since I have laid out a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy that includes military force, intelligence operations, financial sanctions and diplomatic action. But the fact that I want to abide by the United States Constitution, they say, shows that I have a “pre-9/11 mindset.”

Well I refuse to be lectured on national security by people who are responsible for the most disastrous set of foreign policy decisions in the recent history of the United States. The other side likes to use 9/11 as a political bludgeon. Well, let’s talk about 9/11.

The people who were responsible for murdering 3,000 Americans on 9/11 have not been brought to justice. They are Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and their sponsors – the Taliban. They were in Afghanistan. And yet George Bush and John McCain decided in 2002 that we should take our eye off of Afghanistan so that we could invade and occupy a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. The case for war in Iraq was so thin that George Bush and John McCain had to hype the threat of Saddam Hussein, and make false promises that we’d be greeted as liberators. They misled the American people, and took us into a misguided war.

Here are the results of their policy. Osama bin Laden and his top leadership – the people who murdered 3000 Americans – have a safe-haven in northwest Pakistan, where they operate with such freedom of action that they can still put out hate-filled audiotapes to the outside world. That’s the result of the Bush-McCain approach to the war on terrorism.

[From Obama Remarks on Detainees and Afghanistan – June 18, 2008]

McCain is most vulnerable to this attack: an attack on the 8 years of failed policies of the Bushites, especially as regards to terrorism. McCain will continue the same failed policies in the unlikely event he’s elected.

Click here to read the rest of the speech in its entirety.

Blood, Oil, and Iraq

Blood, Big Oil, and Iraq met in a back room in Houston somewhere, and agreed that no-bid contracts to drain Iraq of its oil would be a good thing for American taxpayers to fund. I’m sure the Iraqis are thrilled.

BAGHDAD — Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.

The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations.

The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts, which would run for one to two years and are relatively small by industry standards, would nonetheless give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts in a country that many experts consider to be the best hope for a large-scale increase in oil production.

There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract. The Bush administration has said that the war was necessary to combat terrorism. It is not clear what role the United States played in awarding the contracts; there are still American advisers to Iraq’s Oil Ministry.

[From Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back –]

The Big Oil companies didn’t even make an attempt to seem equitable. There is also suspicion in the non-Arab world that George Bush and Dick Cheney went to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract.

The first oil contracts for the majors in Iraq are exceptional for the oil industry.

They include a provision that could allow the companies to reap large profits at today’s prices: the ministry and companies are negotiating payment in oil rather than cash.

“These are not actually service contracts,” Ms. Benali said. “They were designed to circumvent the legislative stalemate” and bring Western companies with experience managing large projects into Iraq before the passage of the oil law.

A clause in the draft contracts would allow the companies to match bids from competing companies to retain the work once it is opened to bidding, according to the Iraq country manager for a major oil company who did not consent to be cited publicly discussing the terms.

Blood for Oil, in other words.

BBC uncovers lost Iraq billions

Speaking of impeachment

A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq.
For the first time, the extent to which some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding has been researched by the BBC’s Panorama using US and Iraqi government sources.

A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations.
The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top US companies.

While George Bush remains in the White House, it is unlikely the gagging orders will be lifted. To date, no major US contractor faces trial for fraud or mismanagement in Iraq. The president’s Democratic opponents are keeping up the pressure over war profiteering in Iraq.

Henry Waxman who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said: “The money that’s gone into waste, fraud and abuse under these contracts is just so outrageous, its egregious.

“It may well turn out to be the largest war profiteering in history.”

In the run-up to the invasion one of the most senior officials in charge of procurement in the Pentagon objected to a contract potentially worth seven billion that was given to Halliburton, a Texan company, which used to be run by Dick Cheney before he became vice-president.
Unusually only Halliburton got to bid – and won.

[From BBC NEWS | Middle East | BBC uncovers lost Iraq billions]

Strange about that gag order, almost like the Bush-ites don’t want to find widespread corruption, waste, and mismanagement of tax payer dollars, at least before Obama takes office.

Republicans Gird for Big Losses

For the sake of the country, the country’s economy, and the entire world, let us hope the Republican’s worry is true. Surprisingly, Sarah Lueck’s entire article doesn’t mention the Iraq War once – you’d think the Republican’s support for the war might have something to do with their anticipated losses.

Republicans are bracing for double-digit losses in the House and the prospect of four or five losses in the Senate, as they fight to hold a wide range of districts and states normally seen as safe for them, from Alaska and Colorado to Mississippi and North Carolina.

The feared setback for Republicans, coming two years after their 2006 drubbing, is unusual for several reasons. It is rare for a party to lose two election cycles in a row. And many expect losses even if their presidential candidate, John McCain, captures the White House.

[From Republicans Gird for Big Losses in Congress –]

A larger Democratic margin means that schmucks like Senator Lieberman would lose their clout.

But a wider margin of control in both chambers would give the party a more workable majority, a change that would let it push more ambitious agendas on health care, energy policy and tax issues. While Democrats are already able to pass much of their agenda through the House, many of those bills currently get stuck in the Senate. A handful more seats in that chamber would give Democrats a better chance of overcoming filibusters, which require 60 votes to break.

“A lot of Republicans thought that 2006 was the low point, and that simply isn’t the case,” said Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, which predicts Democratic gains of eight to 12 seats in the House and three to five seats in the Senate.

“It’s like 2006 never ended for Republicans,” said Jennifer Duffy, of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which predicts Democratic gains of 10 to 20 seats in the House and four to seven in the Senate.

Already this year, Republicans have lost three House seats in special elections in Republican-leaning districts, an alarm bell for many in the party as they strategize for campaign season.

The dynamics at work: voters’ sharply negative views of President Bush and dismal feelings about the direction of the country, including rising oil and gas prices, a weak economy and fallout from the housing crisis. Even though Congress continues to register low approval ratings, voters overall appear to prefer putting Democrats in charge.

And that little policy decision to continue a massive war in Iraq, let us not forget. The electorate may be dense on lots of topics, but most people realize that pissing away billions of dollars a month in the desert ($720,000,000 a day, according to the Washington Post, which probably doesn’t include all related, long-term costs) isn’t good for the rest of the economy.

Bill Moyers vs. Fox “News”

Fox News aka Faux News is journalism for those who despise journalism. I assume Bill O’Leilly will edit this footage to make it appear that Moyers won’t appear on Fox “News”.

I still wish Bill Moyers would run for President.

At the National Conference for Media Reform 2008. Fox personality Bill O’Reilly producer, Porter Barry ambushes PBS Bill Moyers to pepper him with questions regarding his political affiliations and his “refusal” to appear on O’Reily’s show. Moyers disputes Fox’s “facts.”

Uptake Political Correspondent Noah Kunin was nearby and obtained this raw video.

The refusal was actually that Bill Moyers said the condition would be that Bill O’Leilly would have to appear on Bill Moyers show first, for an one hour interview, and that somebody would have to ask Rupert Murdoch about the assertion that invading Iraq would lead to oil prices falling to $20/BBL.

BILL MOYERS: I want Bill O’Reilly to ask his boss [Rupert Murdoch] where is the $20 per barrel oil? … Rupert, you said one reason for going to war with Iraq was so we could get $20 per barrel oil. Oil is now $137 per barrel. It’s wrecking our economy… Is Rupert Murdoch responsible to the American People?

Sometimes Numbers Aren’t Numbers

Simply outrageous. Outrageous is an overused word, here, and elsewhere, but the callousness of our government, and the majority of our media, is despicable. If an invader killed 7.5 million Americans in three years of occupation, would we be throwing rose petals or bombs at their feet?

Eric Alterman: 655,000 Dead: Reporting the Reporting | The Huffington Post

According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, George Bush’s lies have killed not 30,000 innocent Iraqis, as the president not long ago estimated, but nearly 22 times that amount, or 655,000. Neither the Pentagon, nor much of the mainstream media have made much attempt to make their own counts — it’s just not that important to anyone.

So how has the U.S. media reported on these shocking-albeit-necessarily-imprecise findings, based on door-to-door surveys in 18 provinces, by the experts trained in this kind of thing? The actual methods included obtaining data by eight Iraqi physicians during a survey of 1,849 Iraqi families — 12,801 people — in 47 neighborhoods of 18 regions across the country. The researchers based the selection of geographical areas on population size, not on the level of violence. How strict were their standards? They asked for death certificates to prove claims — and got them in 92 percent of the cases. Even so, the authors say that the number could be anywhere from 426,000 to 800,000.

Dr. Alterman continues