War on Terror

NSA Spying Revelations To Continue Well Into 2014

Edward Snowden became a household name to consumers of news media in June 2013. It also helped make The Guardian a well recognized name in elite news journalism, and they now have a Pulizer for their effors.

The reports of how the NSA has spied on virtually all electronic communications over the last 15 years (and probably longer) will continue to be released. According to SNowden, some of the biggest revelations are yet to come. We can expect more details about how the NSA partnered with corporations to collect mass data on citzens. They collect data on what you buy, where you go, and what you are into. And almost none of it related to keeping the "homeland" safe.

While we wait for more deatils on NSA programs, both past and existing, we have a blockbuster piece by two of the best investigative "Global War on Terror" journalists around, Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill. In it, they explain how drone strkes target mobile phones, using an NSA owned database of mobile phone numbers. It had long been suspected that the drones go after phones, not people identified visually. That helps explains all the "collateral damage" when these phones are detected in the open in crowded areas. Furthermore, we know US often follows an initial hellfire missle strike with a second strike in the same location to kill friends, family, and even medics (if that isn't state terrorism...). What drives the drone strikes? Data

UPDATE, June 26, 2014: Here is a fantastic summary of what we know as of May 2014, by Nadia Kayyali and Katitza Rodriguez of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Operation Rescue Reboots Their Terror Campaign In New Website

Here's a big reason I don't like nor trust the Department of Homeland Security to keep us safe. It is either reluctant or afraid to acknowledge or pursue domestic terrorists. The largest civilian agency in the Federal government (over 200,000 employees, over 200,000 contractors) should have no excuse keeping tabs on domestic terror groups. Yet, it seems to constantly fail, time and again. And the latest press release (!) from Operation Rescue is an example how domestic terror groups can operate in plain sight without any hint of action from the Feds to stop them.

This past week, Operation Rescue launced two new websites as part of a campaign to ban pergancy termination on a state by state basis. Call it a reboot of their origianal objective, since up until this point, thier websites have been relatively low budget. But this new campaign, called Pro Life Nation, features all new branding, a Facebook page (which only has 100 likes so far), and a downloadable, 17 page booklet, explaining their new strategy. But the centerpiece of their new campaign is a separate, database driven website, called AbortionDocs. I try not to link to terrorist websites, since the National Security Administration supposedly keeps an eye on who visits them, right? What's that? The website has not been declared a terrorist website? My point exactly.

AbortionDocs is farily simple enough. It uses a SQL database and a Google Maps API to list the names and locations of stand alone clinics, hospitals, and individual providers who they suspect or know perform terminations. The database also contains the names of hospital executives and board members, in an attempt to intimidate hospital brass over the legitimate and legal medicine being practiced in their institutions. The site invites visitors to submit photographs and home addresses of doctors (presumably so they can be harassed or worse). There's even a link to volunteer one's services as a researcher, editor, or spotter. In addition to photographs and addresses, there is the capacity to upload documents for each entry so that lawsuits, patient complaints, and state prosecutions can be accessed by visitors. As of today, most providers who have photographs attached to their records are not real doctors at all. They are practitioners without board certification, and many have been prosecuted as such, which is good. I want fake doctors out of business. Operation Rescue, of course, wants to see all doctors out of business. And a few of Operation Rescue's followers want them dead.

And that's where terrorism comes into play. This website is not designed to lobby state governments to ban abortion. It is intended to intimidate providers and staff out of the practice of medicine. It is also intended to be used by people outside of Operation Rescue who are willing to break laws in order to stop women from obtaining abortions. Operation Rescue does not explicity say what should be done to clinics and doctors, but history tells us what has been done since the 1980s. There has been vandalism. There have been threats. There has has been harassment (via phone, email, and post). And there have been nine homicides since 1993. Five doctors have been murdered, along with two security contractors, and two clinic staffers. And there will surely be more. This new website is designed to ensure that vandalism, harassment, and violence continue under the guise of protected free speech.

You see, the website does not explicitly call its database a list of "targets" (althought it does label those who support abortion access as an illegal "cartel"). A list of names, addresses, and photographs is merely free information that Operation Rescule hopes others use as they see fit. Operation Rescue has one or more lawyers, so it has covered itself with a "disclaimer" on the site which reads:

This site is meant for informational purposes to aid in the end of abortion through peaceful, legal means. It is in no way meant to encourage or incite violence of any kind against abortion clinics, abortionists, or their staff. We denounce acts of violence against abortion clinics and providers in the strongest terms.

Supposedly that's all a domestic terrorist organization needs to protcect itself from prosecution and civil suits? I wonder why international terrorist groups haven't taken the same route. Oh, right. They can't, because they are internationally recognized as unlawful terror groups.

Operation Rescue has not been classifed as a terror organization by the US Department of Justice. Over 100,000 employees there and they still can't quite link 9 murders and millions in properly damage in 19 years. Not enough evidence I guess. Wanted posters hung in the victims neighborhoods apparently weren't enough to prove that there has been an effort to intimidate and discourage doctors from being abortion providers through acts of violence and threats, both direct and implicit. 

Back in the 1990s, there were two ways for anti abortion groups to target providers and staff. Once was to produce flyers and posters locally. The other was to compile information online. This latter method led to the creation of the now infamous (and illegal) "Nuremberg Files" website circa 1997, which listed the names of providers, judges, law enforment officers, and politicians who all practiced or help protect the medical practice of abortion in some way. On that list, eight names are crossed out (the first 8 homicides between 1993 and 1998, beore Tiller's murder in 2009).

The new Pro Life Nation downloadable booklet was written by Troy Newman and Cheryl Sullenger. Ms. Sullenger, you might recall, is the Operation Rescue executive who helped the organization move from California to Kansas, in an effort to to stop Dr. George Tiller from performing third trimester abortions -  either through legal or illegal means. She is also a convicted felon. In 1988, she and her husband pleaded guilty to Federal terrorism charges, for conspiring to detonate a gasoline bomb in the Family Planning department of the Alvarado Hospital Medical Center in Sn Diego. She served two years in Federal prison, and then relocated Operation Rescule to Kansas to concentrate on Dr. George Tiller, who was shot and wounded three years later.

Most people heard of her name in the wake of Dr. Diller's murder. She alledgedly assisted Scott Roeder in locataing and stalking Dr. George Tiller, before Roeder assisinated him in the foyer of a Wichita church. Scott Roeder is celebrated by anti abortion extremists as a "Christian Terrorist." That is a correct term for him and men like him. many of whom have been involved in locial militia groups, and in some cases, white supremicist groups. In my opinion, the Southern Poverty Law Center has done a better job in connecting these dots than the DOJ. It is simply outragous.

Why is going after Right Wing terrorist groups a poilticially sensitive issue? The US governemnt has stated for over 30 years that it has zero toloerance for terrorism, but this is clearly not the case. If this nation is serious about stopping all terrorists, then the harassment, assault, attempted murder, or murder of a medical care worker over idology, personal, or religious beleifs should be a Federal crime.

But it also needs to be made clear: Operation Rescue does not supply weapons or explosives to Christian terrorits. Operation Resucue does not coordinate bombings and assiassinations. But it does implicitly encourage them. Sometimes, in the case of Cheryl Sullenger, Operation Rescue is contacted by the terrorists and assassins and provides both moral and tactical support. 

We at this blog join other blogs and reproductive rights organizations in condemning Operation Rescue's public database of providers, their photos, and home addresses. And we encourage the Department of Justice to investigate the Pro Life Nation website as a possible violation of the 1994 FACE Act (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances), as well as any other Federal law on the books regarding online harassment and intimidation of healthcare workers. As a step further, we ask the DOJ to investigate the site itself and find out if it is collecting queries from healthcare workers who might be trying to see if their names or clinics are in the database. And we ask that the webside be taken down, as it is effectively a reboot of the late 1990s Nuremberg Files website, which was taken down following a Federal appeals court decision in 2002.  (The site continues to be cached and mirrored in violation of that court order that ruled that the site is not procted free speech).

Here's where I should stop and let Rachel Maddow explain the rest of this history, since she explains it better than anyone in American TV news today:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

 

What We've Learned About al-Qaeda And The TSA

Today's terrorist organizations have been unable to recruit middle aged or old people thus far. All of their operatives, aside from leadership, have been under the age of 35. This is not only true for al-Qaeda, but it is true for many similar organizations in the past such as the ETA, IRA, the FALN, the Weather Underground, the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Muslim Brotherhood, and the Tamil Tigers.

So while racial profiling is unconstitutional, don't we have the ability to develop a few algorithms to detect people who fall outside the pattern of 'domestic frequent flyer?'  Aren't we looking for people who are young and do not fly frequently? Aren't we supposed to be scanning and/or interrogating people who are on the elusive "watchlist?" Why is it that the TSA, with 60,000 employees, is essentially a reactionary agency which bans substances and objects as aspiring terrorists try them out? Today, toner cartridges. Tomorrow, iPods?

We've also learned that nine years after their most successful and audacious attack, al Qaeda is still obsessed with air travel. And they have reached the point where they don't necessarily need to destroy aircraft. They seem content to cause delays and costly disruptions. This suggests that al Qaeda is still in a corner, unable to mount different international attacks such as car bombs, nuclear bombs, or chemical attacks. When your enemy stops sending operatives to North America and is reduced to sending mail bombs from Yemen, it is fair to conclude that the enemy is less mobile and has fewer resources than 10 or 15 years ago.

But we Americans have our reactionary TSA, which is a portrait of inefficiency and ineffectiveness.  The TSA seems to believe that more frequent seizures and searches of domestic passengers is the solution to preventing aspiring terrorists from boarding planes in European airports. In a country that values ingenuity and entrepreneurship, the TSA has none of it.

Another Astonishing George W. Bush Interview

I think a wise man named Ice Cube once said, "It ain't over motherfuckers." Bush ain't done yet. True, we've had astonishing interview moments from this president. He told Bob Woodward that 'we'll all be dead' by the time history judges him. He told xxx xxx that he had given-up golf in response to the prolonged occupation in Iraq and the higher-than-expected number of US military casualties. But now we have this. It is so revealing, sad, infuriating, and shocking all at once:

Chris Matthews: Joan I'm not sure what the message there is. Is the President saying in retrospect that he would not have invaded and occupied Iraq as a matter of geopolitical policy had there been no weapons of mass destruction? Is he saying that that was the single definitive reason why we went into that country and occupied it? Is that what he's saying?

Salon's Joan Walsh: Yes. It seems like it. Charlie Gibson did follow up with that question Chris and he wouldn't quite answer it. But I just have to say that is the most astonishing, buck passing, self pitying answer I could have imagined. He acts as though the Intelligence agencies where some wholly owned subsidiary of some other administration, rather than his, his responsibility. He acts like people outside the administration agreed when he was responsible for pushing that faulty intelligence, for stove piping it and ignoring everything. That any kind of doubt, any kind of dissent and really cooking the books in terms of the case for WMDs. I mean it's really scandalous how he's distancing himself.

Today's Required Viewing

You may have heard back in June 2004 that an Irish journalist, Carol Coleman, was inturruptive and unfair to President Bush in an RTE interview held in the White House library. It was so unfair, in fact, it was never broadcast in the US. The transcript and video have been available on the Internet since June 2004. But it made its way to You Tube in November, 2006. And it is even better than it was originally described.

It is an incredible look at a man who is either brainwashed by his handlers or certifiably insane. This is George W. Bush at the peak of his arrogance, just months before his narrow reelection.

Watch it. Oh, and let the man finish, please. Finish away.


John Nichols: Pampered Bush meets a real reporter
By John Nichols
June 29, 2004

On the eve of his recent sojourn in Europe, President Bush had an unpleasant run-in with a species of creature he had not previously encountered often: a journalist.

He did not react well to the experience.

Bush's minders usually leave him in the gentle care of the White House press corps, which can be counted on to ask him tough questions about when his summer vacation starts.

Apparently under the mistaken assumption that reporters in the rest of the world are as ill-informed and pliable as the stenographers who "cover" the White House, Bush's aides scheduled a sit-down interview with Carole Coleman, Washington correspondent for RTE, the Irish public television network.

Coleman is a mainstream European journalist who has conducted interviews with top officials from a number of countries - her January interview with Secretary of State Colin Powell was apparently solid enough to merit posting on the State Department's Web site.

Unfortunately, it appears that Coleman failed to receive the memo informing reporters that they are supposed to treat this president with kid gloves. Instead, she confronted him as any serious journalist would a world leader.

She asked tough questions about the mounting death toll in Iraq, the failure of U.S. planning, and European opposition to the invasion and occupation. And when the president offered the sort of empty and listless "answers" that satisfy the White House press corps - at one point, he mumbled, "My job is to do my job" - she tried to get him focused by asking precise follow-up questions.

The president complained five times during the course of the interview about the pointed nature of Coleman's questions and follow-ups - "Please, please, please, for a minute, OK?" the hapless Bush pleaded at one point, as he demanded his questioner go easy on him.

After the interview was done, a Bush aide told the Irish Independent newspaper that the White House was concerned that Coleman had "overstepped the bounds of politeness."

As punishment, the White House canceled an exclusive interview that had been arranged for RTE with first lady Laura Bush.

Did Coleman step out of line? Of course not. Watch the interview (it's available on the www.rte.ie Web site) and you will see that Coleman was neither impolite nor inappropriate. She was merely treating Bush as European and Canadian journalists do prominent political players. In Western democracies such as Ireland, reporters and politicians understand that it is the job of journalists to hold leaders accountable.

The trouble is that accountability is not a concept that resonates with our president. The chief executive who gleefully declares that he does not read newspapers cannot begin to grasp the notion that journalists might have an important role to play in a democracy. And, if anything, the hands-off approach of the White House press corps has reinforced Bush's conceits.

Bush would be well served by tougher questioning from American journalists, especially those who work for the television networks. And it goes without saying that more and better journalism would be a healthy corrective for our ailing democracy.

Come to think of it, maybe one of the American networks should hire Carole Coleman and make her its White House correspondent. It would be Ireland's loss and America's gain.

Complete Keith Olbermann Special Comment, May 14 2008

Twelve unforgettable minutes (and 2,000 words) of American television news. It is my hope that this is remembered by historians and media scholars as one of the most important and visceral TV news moments of this decade. Time will tell.


President Bush has resorted anew to the sleaziest fear-mongering and mass manipulation of an administration and public life dedicated to realizing the lowest of our expectations. And he has now applied these poisons to the 2008 presidential election, on behalf of the party at whose center he and John McCain lurk.

Mr. Bush has predicted that the election of a Democratic president could "eventually lead to another attack on the United States." This ludicrous, infuriating, holier-than-thou and most importantly bone-headedly wrong statement came during a May 13 interview with Politico.com and online users of Yahoo.

The question was phrased as follows: "If we were to pull out of Iraq next year, what's the worst that could happen, what's the doomsday scenario?"

The president replied: "Doomsday scenario of course is that extremists throughout the Middle East would be emboldened, which would eventually lead to another attack on the United States. The biggest issue we face is, it's bigger than Iraq, it's this ideological struggle against cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives."

Mr. Bush, at long last, has it not dawned on you that the America you have now created, includes "cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives?" They are those in — or formerly in — your employ, who may yet be charged some day with war crimes.

Through your haze of self-congratulation and self-pity, do you still have no earthly clue that this nation has laid waste to Iraq to achieve your political objectives? "This ideological struggle," Mr. Bush, is taking place within this country.

It is a struggle between Americans who cherish freedom, ours and everybody else's, and Americans like you, sir, to whom freedom is just a brand name, just like "Patriot Act" is a brand name or "Protect America" is a brand name.

But wait, there's more: You also said "Iraq is the place where al-Qaida and other extremists have made their stand and they will be defeated." They made no "stand" in Iraq, sir, you allowed them to assemble there!

As certainly as if that were the plan, the borders were left wide open by your government's farcical post-invasion strategy of "they'll greet us as liberators." And as certainly as if that were the plan, the inspiration for another generation of terrorists in another country was provided by your government's farcical post-invasion strategy of letting the societal infra-structure of Iraq dissolve, to be replaced by an American viceroy, enforced by merciless mercenaries who shoot unarmed Iraqis and then evade prosecution in any country by hiding behind your skirts, sir.

Terrorism inside Iraq is your creation, Mr. Bush!

***

It was a Yahoo user who brought up the second topic upon whose introduction Mr. Bush should have passed, or punted, or gotten up and left the room claiming he heard Dick Cheney calling him.

"Do you feel," asked an ordinary American, "that you were misled on Iraq?"

"I feel like — I felt like, there were weapons of mass destruction," the president said. "You know, 'mislead' is a strong word, it almost connotes some kind of intentional — I don't think so, I think there was a — not only our intelligence community, but intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment. And so I was disappointed to see how flawed our intelligence was."

Flawed.

You, Mr. Bush, and your tragically know-it-all minions, threw out every piece of intelligence that suggested there were no such weapons.

You, Mr. Bush, threw out every person who suggested that the sober, contradictory, reality-based intelligence needed to be listened to, and fast.

You, Mr. Bush, are responsible for how "intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment."

You and the sycophants you dredged up and put behind the most important steering wheel in the world propagated palpable nonsense and shoved it down the throat of every intelligence community across the world and punished anybody who didn't agree it was really chicken salad.

And you, Mr. Bush, threw under the bus, all of the subsequent critics who bravely stepped forward later to point out just how much of a self-fulfilling prophecy you had embraced, and adopted as this country's policy in lieu of, say, common sense.

The fiasco of pre-war intelligence, sir, is your fiasco.

You should build a great statue of yourself turning a deaf ear to the warnings of realists, while you are shown embracing the three-card monte dealers like Richard Perle and Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.

That would be a far more fitting tribute to your legacy, Mr. Bush, than this presidential library you are constructing as a giant fable about your presidency, an edifice you might as well claim was built from "Iraqi weapons of mass destruction" because there will be just as many of those inside your presidential library as there were inside Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

***

Of course if there is one overriding theme to this president's administration it is the utter, always-failing, inability to know when to quit when it is behind. And so Mr. Bush answered yet another question about this layered, nuanced, wheels-within-wheels garbage heap that constituted his excuse for war.

"And so you feel that you didn't have all the information you should have or the right spin on that information?"

"No, no," replied the President. "I was told by people, that they had weapons of mass destruction …"

People? What people? The insane informant "Curveball?" The Iraqi snake-oil salesman Ahmed Chalabi? The American snake-oil salesman Dick Cheney?

"I was told by people that they had weapons of mass destruction, as were members of Congress, who voted for the resolution to get rid of Saddam Hussein.

"And of course, the political heat gets on and they start to run and try to hide from their votes."

Mr. Bush, you destroyed the evidence that contradicted the resolution you jammed down the Congress's throat, the way you jammed it down the nation's throat. When required by law to verify that your evidence was accurate, you simply resubmitted it, with phrases amounting to "See, I done proved it" virtually written in the margins in crayon.

You defied patriotic Americans to say "The Emperor Has No Clothes," only with the stakes — as you and the mental dwarves in your employ put it — being a "mushroom cloud over an American city."

And as a final crash of self-indulgent nonsense, when the incontrovertible truth of your panoramic and murderous deceit has even begun to cost your political party seemingly perpetual congressional seats in places like North Carolina and Mississippi, you can actually say with a straight face, sir, that for members of Congress "the political heat gets on and they start to run and try to hide from their votes" — while you greet the political heat and try to run and hide from your presidency, and your legacy — 4,000 of the Americans you were supposed to protect — dead in Iraq, with your only feeble, pathetic answer being, "I was told by people that they had weapons of mass destruction."

***

Then came Mr. Bush's final blow to our nation's solar plexus, his last reopening of our common wounds, his last remark that makes the rest of us question not merely his leadership or his judgment but his very suitably to remain in office.

"Mr. President," he was asked, "you haven't been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq?"

"Yes," began perhaps the most startling reply of this nightmarish blight on our lives as Americans on our history. "It really is. I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander in Chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as — to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal."

Golf, sir? Golf sends the wrong signal to the grieving families of our men and women butchered in Iraq? Do you think these families, Mr. Bush, their lives blighted forever, care about you playing golf? Do you think, sir, they care about you?

You, Mr. Bush, let their sons and daughters be killed. Sir, to show your solidarity with them you gave up golf? Sir, to show your solidarity with them you didn't give up your pursuit of this insurance-scam, profiteering, morally and financially bankrupting war.

Sir, to show your solidarity with them you didn't even give up talking about Iraq, a subject about which you have incessantly proved without pause or backwards glance, that you may literally be the least informed person in the world?

Sir, to show your solidarity with them, you didn't give up your presidency? In your own words "solidarity as best as I can" is to stop a game? That is the "best" you can do?

Four thousand Americans give up their lives and your sacrifice was to give up golf! Golf. Not "Gulf" — golf.

And still it gets worse. Because it proves that the president's unendurable sacrifice, his unbearable pain, the suspension of getting to hit a ball with a stick, was not even his own damned idea.

"Mr. President, was there a particular moment or incident that brought you to that decision, or how did you come to that?"

"I remember when [diplomat Sergio Vieira] de Mello, who was at the U.N., got killed in Baghdad as a result of these murderers taking this good man's life. And I was playing golf, I think I was in central Texas, and they pulled me off the golf course and I said, it's just not worth it any more to do."

Your one, tone-deaf, arrogant, pathetic, embarrassing gesture, and you didn't even think of it yourself? The great Bushian sacrifice — an Army private loses a leg, a Marine loses half his skull, 4,000 of their brothers and sisters lose their lives — and you lose golf, and they have to pull you off the golf course to get you to just do that?

If it's even true.

Apart from your medical files, which dutifully record your torn calf muscle and the knee pain which forced you to give up running at the same time — coincidence, no doubt — the bombing in Baghdad which killed Sergio Vieira de Mello of the U.N. and interrupted your round of golf was on Aug. 19, 2003.

Yet CBS News has records of you playing golf as late as Oct. 13 of that year, nearly two months later.

Mr. Bush, I hate to break it to you 6 1/2 years after you yoked this nation and your place in history to the wrong war, in the wrong place, against the wrong people, but the war in Iraq is not about you.

It is not, Mr. Bush, about your grief when American after American comes home in a box.

It is not, Mr. Bush, about what your addled brain has produced in the way of paranoid delusions of risks that do not exist, ready to be activated if some Democrat, and not your twin Mr. McCain, succeeds you.

The war in Iraq, your war, Mr. Bush, is about how you accomplished the derangement of two nations, and how you helped funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to lascivious and perennially thirsty corporations like Halliburton and Blackwater, and how you sent 4,000 Americans to their deaths for nothing.

It is not, Mr. Bush, about your golf game! And, sir, if you have any hopes that next Jan. 20 will not be celebrated as a day of soul-wrenching, heart-felt thanksgiving, because your faithless stewardship of this presidency will have finally come to a merciful end, this last piece of advice:

When somebody asks you, sir, about Democrats who must now pull this country back from the abyss you have placed us at ...

When somebody asks you, sir, about the cooked books and faked threats you foisted on a sincere and frightened nation …

When somebody asks you, sir, about your gallant, noble, self-abnegating sacrifice of your golf game so as to soothe the families of the war dead.

This advice, Mr. Bush: Shut the hell up!

Follow-Up On The Former Guantanamo Detainee Turned Suicide Bomber

By Dhalgren

Last Week, Archetype posted a link to a story about a man who was freed from Guantanamo, and years later, blew himself up in Iraq, killing many civilians with him. Looking at the Wingnut response to the story, I finally realize that Archetype was pointing out that the US had produced a terrorist - not catch a terrorist and then let him go. Clif at Sadly, No! explains how Paul (”Deacon”) Mirengoff over at Powerline overlooks the use of the word "detainee" and argues that the detainee was a terrorist from day one.....or in case he wasn't, he still wins his argument!

Billions Per Month.....For What, Again?

Ex-Guantanamo inmate in Iraq suicide bombing: TV

So Iraq is the breeding ground for terrorists, huh?

Looks to me like our boys in 'Uba are doing a fine job at it as well. I wonder if we can fire off another 500 Million per month to combat the "enemy combatant combatants"........

....hmmm sounds like Jimmy Two Times from Goodfellas..."I'm gonnah get the papers, get the papers."

Can we go back a second, 500 Million per month......500 Million. Wow. I guess you really don't get what you pay for these days. I cannot even imagine what it would take to actually buy every single homeless person a home, but I bet that 500 Million bucks per month might cover that and get them all a nice wardrobe, a decent transit system that could cross a new infrastructure of tracks and bridges, as well as things like food and proper health care.....

.....you know, to make them viable candidates for all those jobs we keep shipping all over the world.

The US Has No Plan To Defeat al Qaeda


Yes, that's the title.

So there you have it. This report was released today by the General Accountability Office. It couldn't be more plain. The report is drawn from several government agencies. Although the primary role of the GAO is to track government expenses, this extraordinary report details hhow billions have gone to Pakistan to help us exterminate al Qaeda, and virtually nothing has been done to accomplish that goal.

The executive summary couldn't be more plain:


The United States has not met its national security goals to destroy the terrorist threat and close the safe haven in Pakistan's FATA region.

FATA is the region along the 373-mile-long Pakistani-Afghan border. It stands for Federally Administered Tribal Region. It is over 10,000 square miles.

The report concludes:


We conclude that the National Security Advisor and the Director of the NCTC, in consultation with the Secretaries of Defense and State, and the Administrator of USAID, the intelligence community, and other executive departments as deemed appropriate, implement the congressional mandate to develop a comprehensive plan using all elements of national power to combat the terrorist threat and close their safe haven in Pakistan's FATA region.

Bush and Rice had six years to exterminate al Qaeda. Six years. We have seen the largest, most inexcusable failure to defeat an enemy of the United States in this country's history.

And the wingnuts think we're 'winning.' And they boast the we liberals want to offer al Qaeda counseling and therapy, rather than destruction. The truth is now clear. The Bush administration never had a plan to win. What say you now, wingnuts?

UPDATE: Emptywheel has an excellent timeline outlining the failures of Bush's War on Global Terrorism.

Great Question, Great Answer

The question, from today's editorial in the LA Times:

The interesting question is why the U.S. economy, beneficiary since 9/11 of the largest military spending binge in history, now requires $150 billion more in the form of a short-term stimulus package. Why hasn't the $1 trillion in defense spending, in addition to the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, been sufficient to keep the economic boom going?

The answer, from Economist's View commenter, James Kroeger:
The answer should be apparent to any Democrat[ic] Economist. The incredible borrowing spree of the past several years has really been the only thing that kept the economy from collapsing into a Greatest Depression Ever as a direct result of the massive tax cuts Bush et al. gave to the rich. Reducing the income tax rates of rich people is always CONTRACTIONARY.

I strongly recommend reading Kroeger's entire comment here. One of this country's biggest exports has been money.

Jose Padilla Sentenced To 17 Years


He was originally accused of plotting to detonate a dirty bomb. The president declared him an 'enemy combatant' in June 2002 with a stroke of a pen. He was held without access to a lawyer for over 2 years. And in the end, he was never charged with anything related to a dirty bomb.

But he is off to a federal prison, for agreeing to be part of some jihadist terrorist conspiracy.

Yes, Jose Padilla was sentenced today for what could be called a 'thought crime'.

He allegedly agreed to help alleged terrorists to kidnap and/or murder civilians of an unnamed foreign nation.

The US Attorney wanted him sentenced to life in prison. Federal Court Judge Marcia Cooke, a Jeb Bush and George W. Bush appointee, felt she did the right thing by sentencing Mr. Padilla to 17 years and 4 months in her Miami courtroom.

17 years. For a thought crime. No physical evidence other than an application form that Mr. Padilla filled-out to attend an alleged Al Qaeda training camp (strange but true). No opportunity to see any of the 78 interrogation videotapes at trial. No justice.

Lewis Koch reviews how Citizen Padilla was stripped of all constitutional rights, confined, tortured, and ultimately sentenced to solitary confinement.

I don't recognize the USA anymore. It has always been rife with injustice, but never as scary as this. Supporters of this new, evil empire claim that the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001 'changed everything.' They are correct. This new kind of injustice is the change they brought. Those who attacked us have virtually won.


Padilla Receives 17-Year Sentence

MIAMI (AP) -- Jose Padilla, once accused of plotting with al-Qaida to blow up a radioactive ''dirty bomb,'' was sentenced Tuesday to 17 years and four months on terrorism conspiracy charges that don't mention those initial allegations.

The sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke marks another step in the extraordinary personal and legal odyssey for the 37-year-old Muslim convert, a U.S. citizen who was held for 3 1/2 years as an enemy combatant after his 2002 arrest amid the ''dirty bomb'' allegations.

Prosecutors had sought a life sentence, but Cook said she arrived at the 17-year sentence after considering the ''harsh conditions'' during Padilla's lengthy military detention at a Navy brig in South Carolina.

''I do find that the conditions were so harsh for Mr. Padilla ... they warrant consideration in the sentencing in this case,'' the judge said. However, he did not get credit for time served.

Padilla's lawyers claimed his treatment amounted to torture, which U.S. officials have repeatedly denied. His attorneys say he was forced to stand in painful stress positions, given LSD or other drugs as ''truth serum,'' deprived of sleep and even a mattress for extended periods and subjected to loud noises, extreme heat and cold and noxious odors.

Cooke also imposed prison terms on two other men of Middle Eastern origin who were convicted of conspiracy and material support charges along with Padilla in August. The three were part of a North American support cell for al-Qaida and other Islamic extremists around the world, prosecutors said.

The jury was told that Padilla was recruited by Islamic extremists in the U.S. and filled out an application to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan.

Cooke said that as serious as the conspiracy was, there was no evidence linking the men to specific acts of terrorism anywhere.

''There is no evidence that these defendants personally maimed, kidnapped or killed anyone in the United States or elsewhere,'' she said.

Padilla was added in 2005 to an existing Miami terrorism support case just as the U.S. Supreme Court was considering his challenge to President Bush's decision to hold him in custody indefinitely without charge. The ''dirty bomb'' charges were quietly discarded and were never part of the criminal case.

Cooke sentenced Padilla's recruiter, 45-year-old Adham Amin Hassoun, to 15 years and eight months in prison and the third defendant, 46-year-old Kifah Wael Jayyousi, to 12 years and eight months. Jayyousi was a financier and propagandist for the cell that assisted Islamic extremists in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Somalia and elsewhere, according to trial testimony. Both also faced life in prison.

Padilla's mother, Estela Lebron, smiled at reporters in the courtroom when the sentence was announced and questioned outside the courthouse whether the Bush administration had misplaced its priorities in prosecuting her son.

''This is the way they are spending our money? Hello?'' she said.

But she was also pleased he didn't get the maximum sentence. ''I feel good about everything. This is amazing.''

Attorneys for Hassoun and Jayyousi were also gratified but repeated that they will appeal their convictions and sentences, as will Padilla.

''It is definitely a defeat for the government,'' said Hassoun lawyer Jeanne Baker.

''The government has not made America any safer. It has just made America less free,'' said William Swor, who represents Jayyousi.

The Justice Department praised prosecutors and investigators in the long-running case.

''Thanks to their efforts, the defendants' North American support cell has been dismantled and can no longer send money and jihadist recruits to conflicts overseas,'' Kenneth L. Wainstein, assistant attorney general for national security, said in a statement.

The men were convicted after a three-month trial based on tens of thousands of FBI telephone intercepts collected over an eight-year investigation and a form Padilla filled out in 2000 to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan. Padilla, a former Chicago gang member with a long criminal record, converted to Islam in prison and was recruited by Hassoun while attending a mosque in suburban Sunrise.

Padilla sought a sentence of no more than 10 years. Hassoun asked for 15 years or less and Jayyousi for no more than five years.

Padilla's arrest was initially portrayed by the Bush administration as an important victory in the months immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, and later was seen as a symbol of the administration's zeal to prevent homegrown terrorism.

Civil liberties groups and Padilla's lawyers called his detention unconstitutional for someone born in this country.

Jurors in the criminal case never heard Padilla's full history, which according to U.S. officials included a graduation from the al-Qaida terror camp, a plot to detonate the ''dirty bomb'' and a plot to fill apartments with natural gas and blow them up. Much of what Padilla supposedly told interrogators during his long detention as an enemy combatant could not be used in court because he had no access to a lawyer and was not read his constitutional rights.

Attorneys for Hassoun and Jayyousi argued that any assistance they provided overseas was for peaceful purposes and to help persecuted Muslims in violent countries. But FBI agents testified that their charitable work was a cover for violent jihad, which they frequently discussed in code using words such as ''tourism'' and ''football.''

Friday News & Blog Roundup

Lindsay Lohan is Going to See Dead People: She'll be working two half days in a morgue, as part of her punishment for drunk driving.

Bobby Fischer Dead at 64: Goodbye, Grand Master. You were incredible. You were also quite mad. Your story is begging for a grand biopic.

Beware of Americans: A training manual published by the Canadian government advises diplomats to be aware of, and be on the lookout for, signs of torture in a 'watch list' of nation states. Those nations include Iran, Syria, Israel, China, Afghanistan, and the USA / Guantanamo Bay. Keith Olbermann discusses the significance of this Canadian watch list.

New York City Needs Tourists: And we're not ashamed to say so. We need tourists so the city stays financially solvent, since we don't manufacture anything, and we have a shrinking middle class. Remember The Gates? Get ready for four giant waterfalls this summer. Meanwhile, the NYC unemployment rate edges up for the fifth straight month.

Sadly, No! Ups Its Critique of Jonah: Clif over at Sadly No! has produced a magnificently researched post on how Jonah Goldberg is not only guilty of projection when he calls progressives racists, but he's totally full of shit in a very serious way. His book is currently ranked #2 in sales over at Amazon.com. It is an insult to historical research and intellectual debate worldwide, and copies of it need to find their way to bargain bins soon. I'm never for censorship. But I am against wingnut welfare and rediculous political and historical arguments. Really, if it wasn't for his mom and Linda Tripp, he wouldn't be a contributing editor at America's Shittiest Website or have this 400 page book published.

Bless the Pets: In Mexico, it is the the annual feast day of St. Anthony The Abbot.

!Tenga un buen fin de semana, amigos!

Shorter Josh Greenberger

Is The UN The Root Cause Of Global Terrorism?

The UN virtually sponsors and encourages Palestinian terrorism, and I use a hypothetical Colombine scenario to drive home my point. Each UN resolution criticising Israel is a victory for the Sand People. Oh, and I still don't believe in evolution, carbon dating is a lie, and Kofi Anan is a war criminal.

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‘Shorter’ concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard.
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Pat Tillman Was Murdered

This explains a lot, doesn't it? It's horrific. Pat Tillman was shot by more than one soldier, with standard M16 rifles, in the head, from a distance of less than 35 feet. He was delibrately targeted and fired upon by his own men. Then superiors covered it up and even congratulated each other via e-mail for preventing a criminal investigation. And while the Tillman family was lied to, the heroic story of Pat Tillman was sold to the American public to drum-up support for the occupation of Iraq, Army enlistment, and the War on Terror.

I am not shocked much in Bushworld, but even this story has me shocked. And knowing that Tillman was a left-leaning atheist, and seeing how he affirmed it in his very last words, has me furious. He was in Afghanistan for the same reason I would have gone - to kill the guys who trained and financed those who killed our people (and nearly killed me) in 2001. He wasn't there to promote Bush's 2004 reelection, but that's how he was used in the end. It it outrageous. And since the Bush administration took steps to prevent the truth from coming out, claiming broad executive privilege, then they must be held accountable for the cover-up.

The NFL needs to shut the fuck up about how one of their stars kicked Taliban ass. The Bushies and warhawks need to shut the fuck up about how we need to enlist and fight their war. And the wingnuts just need to shut the fuck up. I want justice. The Tillmans deserve justice.


AP: New details on Tillman's death

By MARTHA MENDOZA
AP National Writer
July 26, 2007

Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player's death amounted to a crime, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

"The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators.

The doctors — whose names were blacked out — said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.

Ultimately, the Pentagon did conduct a criminal investigation, and asked Tillman's comrades whether he was disliked by his men and whether they had any reason to believe he was deliberately killed. The Pentagon eventually ruled that Tillman's death at the hands of his comrades was a friendly-fire accident.

The medical examiners' suspicions were outlined in 2,300 pages of testimony released to the AP this week by the Defense Department in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Among other information contained in the documents:

• In his last words moments before he was killed, Tillman snapped at a panicky comrade under fire to shut up and stop "sniveling."

• Army attorneys sent each other congratulatory e-mails for keeping criminal investigators at bay as the Army conducted an internal friendly-fire investigation that resulted in administrative, or non-criminal, punishments.

• The three-star general who kept the truth about Tillman's death from his family and the public told investigators some 70 times that he had a bad memory and couldn't recall details of his actions.

• No evidence at all of enemy fire was found at the scene — no one was hit by enemy fire, nor was any government equipment struck.

The Pentagon and the Bush administration have been criticized in recent months for lying about the circumstances of Tillman's death. The military initially told the public and the Tillman family that he had been killed by enemy fire. Only weeks later did the Pentagon acknowledge he was gunned down by fellow Rangers.

With questions lingering about how high in the Bush administration the deception reached, Congress is preparing for yet another hearing next week.

The Pentagon is separately preparing a new round of punishments, including a stinging demotion of retired Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger Jr., 60, according to military officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the punishments under consideration have not been made public.

In more than four hours of questioning by the Pentagon inspector general's office in December 2006, Kensinger repeatedly contradicted other officers' testimony, and sometimes his own. He said on some 70 occasions that he did not recall something.

At one point, he said: "You've got me really scared about my brain right now. I'm really having a problem."

Tillman's mother, Mary Tillman, who has long suggested that her son was deliberately killed by his comrades, said she is still looking for answers and looks forward to the congressional hearings next week.

"Nothing is going to bring Pat back. It's about justice for Pat and justice for other soldiers. The nation has been deceived," she said.

The documents show that a doctor who autopsied Tillman's body was suspicious of the three gunshot wounds to the forehead. The doctor said he took the unusual step of calling the Army's Human Resources Command and was rebuffed. He then asked an official at the Army's Criminal Investigation Division if the CID would consider opening a criminal case.

"He said he talked to his higher headquarters and they had said no," the doctor testified.

Also according to the documents, investigators pressed officers and soldiers on a question Mrs. Tillman has been asking all along.

"Have you, at any time since this incident occurred back on April 22, 2004, have you ever received any information even rumor that Cpl. Tillman was killed by anybody within his own unit intentionally?" an investigator asked then-Capt. Richard Scott.

Scott, and others who were asked, said they were certain the shooting was accidental.

Investigators also asked soldiers and commanders whether Tillman was disliked, whether anyone was jealous of his celebrity, or if he was considered arrogant. They said Tillman was respected, admired and well-liked.

The documents also shed new light on Tillman's last moments.

It has been widely reported by the AP and others that Spc. Bryan O'Neal, who was at Tillman's side as he was killed, told investigators that Tillman was waving his arms shouting "Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat (expletive) Tillman, damn it!" again and again.

But the latest documents give a different account from a chaplain who debriefed the entire unit days after Tillman was killed.

The chaplain said that O'Neal told him he was hugging the ground at Tillman's side, "crying out to God, help us. And Tillman says to him, `Would you shut your (expletive) mouth? God's not going to help you; you need to do something for yourself, you sniveling ..."

___

Associated Press reporters Scott Lindlaw in Las Vegas and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press.

More Bush-Related Depression

Let's go back three years, to October 2004 - the second debate between Bush & Kerry. I need a drink after Bush's press conference this week. This has been a bad, bad week.

In the video below, the president's comments are edited together in one long rant. I wish I could post the entire second debate here. It was the debate in which Bush fumbled over and over again. It was the debate in which he quipped, "Don't forget Poland!" His delusional thinking is all here on the table. Bush's way forward in Iraq was to keep believing that it is possible to effectively referee a civil war. And despite pensive and even painful looks from the audience, we re-elected him anyway. How could we have been so fucking stupid? How could we not see a complete lack of leadership and intelligence. How could anyone follow this guy?

"I'm worried about our country," Bush says in the amateur video above.

I'm beyond worried. I think America is finished. Done. Over. It was fun while it fucking lasted.

Yes this country has dusted itself off before. We survived the Civil War, which would have destroyed any other nation. We got past an ugly and unjust Reconstruction. We survived the Cold War. We survived Nixon. But I am not sure we can survive Bush's legacy. His shadow over us will be long and long-lasting. He has tarnished this nation, and has buried the next several presidents and future generations in mountains of debt. He has virtually destroyed this country.

The world didn't change in 2001. But America did. Permanently. For the worse. Our votes were thrown into the trash. Our nation was attacked. We were put into a state of perpetual fear, and pinned-down by a war we didn't ask for, but were convinced we needed. And who am I to thank? A man whose Saudi-financed, $1 Billion library will be built on the SMU campus, but will display nothing because his was the most secretive presidency in our nation's history?

Remember this from December 2000? Wasn't this the truth:


A little dose of Reagan optimism won't help me. A speech from Barack Obama or Bill Clinton about "hope" won't make this feeling go away. It is twilight in America. The sun has set on our once great nation.

It's time to drink on this Friday the 13th.

Stuck In Iraq While The War Against al Qaeda Fails


Thursday July 12th will go down as one of the more depressing days of the Bush administration.

In his press conference, the president told the nation, in broad terms, that he will keep our army and marines in Iraq through the end of his second term. He also said that he will leave Iraq to the next president, and his legacy to historians to judge. He tried to end his press conference with this sound byte:


When it's all said and done ... if you ever come down and visit the old, tired me down there in Crawford, I will be able to say I looked in the mirror and made decisions based upon principle, not based upon politics.

As if there was not enough evidence that Bush has become delusional. He even took a shot at his dad while politely telling a reporter to shut up:

Do we ever use 'kinder and gentler'? No.

Just hours before the president spoke, the latest National Intelligence Estimate was either rushed to leaked to the press, on the heels of Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff's pitiful 'gut feeling' that we will be attacked very soon. I take the NIE with a grain of salt. It could be somewhat embellished to serve a political agenda. But even so, it should be considered mostly factual. And the facts do not bode well for this administration. It means that after nearly six years of invasions, bombings, kidnappings, torture, secret prisons, spying, bullying, and suppressing domestic dissent, there are al Qaeda survivors relatively safe and sound in the mountainous region of the Afghan-Pakistan border. Among them, presumably, is Osama bin Laden.

They don't have passports. They have guns and some rockets. We assume they cannot attack American targets very easily. But this means that while Bush moved half of our global military into the sands of Iraq, our real enemy was given time to recover, regroup, and possibly replace members who were killed. This is nothing less than a defeat for Bush - and us. The US has failed to finish-off al Qaeda.

Try spinning that, wingnuts, war hawks and fighting keyboardists. What are you going to say? It's Clinton's fault? It's the fault of liberals like me? John Kerry? Al Gore? I'm sure. Isn't it time you all got depressed and started doing hard drugs and just drifted away? Please do. Michelle Malkin, why haven't you and Ann Coulter hung yourselves in a Vegas hotel room yet? It's time you did that. You can do it naked as one last thrill for your fanboys. You can leave a note behind saying that you had sex with each other before doing it. That sounds hawt.

The pretty, bible-thumping Marie Jon'? Enough. Your articles defy reason. Stick to your MySpace page.

The very un-sexy Pam Atlas? Ew.

And let's not forget the male wingnuts out there. Especially the ones who keep making quasi-homoerotic comments but deny that they are gay. Militant homosexual brownshirts appear more than once in the current list of wingnuts.

Mark Steyn?

Jeff 'Manshake' Goldstein? Good lord. He is the personification of this theory.

How about "Vaginas are Icky" Ace of Spades, who this spring, famously described the female sex as resembling Play-Doh and bacon. That one is still getting laughs today. And Ace doesn't stop. He goes on to describe a woman's breasts as feeling like bags of sand. If he had ever touched a woman, maybe he would really know.

But seriously -

There have been many essays on yesterday's proceedings. I give you two of the best.


A Black Mark Not a Benchmark
by Rep. Jim McDermott
Huffington Post
Thu Jul 12, 5:51 PM ET

The President called another news conference today to pretend he is making progress in Iraq. It is the beginning of another White House White Wash.

This President is bound and determined to have U.S. soldiers fighting and dying in Iraq throughout every last day of his Administration.

The Administration's interim report released today represents a black mark, not a benchmark in the President's deadly and disastrous military escalation to prop up his failed Iraq strategy.

When the Vice President said in mid 2005: "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency," 1,000 U.S. soldiers had already died in Iraq.

When the Secretary of State said in late 2005 that the U.S. would probably not need to maintain its current troop levels "very much longer," 2,000 U.S. soldiers had already died in Iraq.

When the President held a news conference in mid 2006 and predicted that "progress will be steady" toward achieving the U.S. mission there, 2,500 U.S soldiers had already died in Iraq.

When the Vice President said in early 2007: "We have, in fact, made enormous progress," 3,000 U.S. soldiers had already died in Iraq.

And as the President touted his latest vision of progress today, over 3,600 U.S. soldiers had already died in Iraq.

And we cannot forget the 26,000 U.S. soldiers who have been wounded, the 40,000 U.S. soldiers who will suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the uncounted tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians who have been killed and the millions of innocent Iraqi civilians who have fled the country.

But this President sees progress. I see a President willing to keep misleading the American people, no matter the consequences.

We are 17 months away from a new President being sworn into office and thousands of additional U.S. casualties if we follow this President.

It will be a travesty of justice if it takes getting to the 2008 general election and the American people throwing out every Republican in order to stop this war.

It is time for the Republican Members of Congress to stand up and stand down this President's war.


And this beautiful essay on our setback in the war against al Qaeda:

President Bush Loses His War On Terrorism
By Bob Cesca
Huffington Post
Thu Jul 12, 1:55 PM ET

President Bush is a loser of monumental proportions. We know this. But late Wednesday afternoon, the AP reported that al-Qaeda has returned to its pre-9/11 strength -- perhaps stronger, according to the latest National Intelligence Estimate.

Counterterrorism analysts produced the document, titled "Al-Qaeda better positioned to strike the West." The document focuses on the terror group's safe haven in Pakistan and makes a range of observations about the threat posed to the United States and its allies, officials said. Al-Qaeda is "considerably operationally stronger than a year ago" and has "regrouped to an extent not seen since 2001," the official said, paraphrasing the report's conclusions. "They are showing greater and greater ability to plan attacks in Europe and the United States."

All of the tens of thousands of dead and wounded American soldiers; all of the torture; all of the illegal wiretaps; all of the damage to our national reputation; all of the trespasses against the Constitution; all of the billions of dollars spent on this effort have succeeded in absolutely nothing positive. Nothing.

Al-Qaeda is not on the run.

President Bush, May 5, 2003:

Al-Qaeda is on the run. That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly, but surely being decimated. Right now, about half of all the top al-Qaeda operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case, they're not a problem anymore. (Applause.) And we'll stay on the hunt. To make sure America is a secure country, the al-Qaeda terrorists have got to understand it doesn't matter how long it's going to take, they will be brought to justice. (Applause.)

Their leadership is certainly not depleted by 75 percent, and Pakistan has agreed to a treaty allowing al-Qaeda to occupy the border.

President Bush, September 2, 2004:

Today, the government of a free Afghanistan is fighting terror, Pakistan is capturing terrorist leaders [...] the army of a free Iraq is fighting for freedom, and more than three-quarters of al-Qaeda's key members and associates have been detained or killed. (Applause.)

Not a single one of the myopic bumper-sticker horseshit platitudes which the president, Republicans and right-wing pundits have bleated into our hemorrhaging eardrums have proved true. If I'm wrong, name one. Terrorists are stronger now than they have been since September 11, 2001, according to your government.

There's no other way to spin this news. The president has unequivocally failed at the one thing he's supposed to be good at: fighting those folks -- the terrorists. Vice President Cheney has repeatedly instructed us that he and his henchmen are the only ones who can keep us safe. Without Bush & Cheney and their successor Rudy, we're all doomed and al-Qaeda will get us.

But as it turns out, the Republicans can't hack it.

Every terrorist they've claimed to have captured or killed has been replaced, as predicted, by another terrorist. According to the September, 2006 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, your government said that the replacement terrorists have been recruited because of our ongoing occupation of Iraq.

And now, according to this latest NIE, some of the jihadists are dispersing elsewhere. In other words, they're not staying over there. In fact, they're evidently following us home even though we're still there.

At this stage of the effort, and with everything we know, you can't dream up a delusion large enough that says, "But hey -- that means we have to stay the course! That means we have to fight them in Iraq. Duh-yuk." Anyone who buys into this, after all the facts and events which have come to pass, is lying to themselves and to you.

That includes Mr. Giuliani, who rapidly evolved from a tarnished yet mildly popular mayor into the most delusional, narcissistic, opportunistic, fear-mongering, shameless, cock-a-hoop in the history of modern politics. Strong words, especially "cock-a-hoop," but all too true.

The Giuliani campaign theme of "staying on the offense against terrorism" is as laughable as it is meaningless. The evidence shows that staying on the offense has succeeded only in strengthening al-Qaeda, no? But this guy is proud to announce that he supports continuing the incompetent Bush/Cheney effort against (or, as it turns out, for) terrorism.

What other countries would Rudy invade in order to remain on the offense? How much longer would Rudy keep our boys in Iraq? Both scenarios have proved, to date, ineffectual at best and counterproductive at worst -- dangerous above all. If his only issue is horseshit, he has no choice but to drop out of the race now. Don't embarrass yourself any further, Rudy. Follow Senator McCain out the back door.

The Bush/Cheney/Giuliani policy has played out like that scene in Fight Club in which Edward Norton pummeled Jared Leto into a regurgitated bag of goo. Likewise, after 9/11, most of us felt like we needed to pummel something. But the pummeling surpassed the threshold of vengeful exhilaration and rapidly transformed into excessive and meaningless aggression. When we invaded Iraq, we surpassed a "stay on the offense" zero barrier, a point at which even the other pummelers cringed, took a step back and said, "Where'd you go, Psycho Boy?"

So where does that leave you and I? Our only course as Americans is to...continue onward as Americans. That means not acquiescing our constitutional rights for the sake of a little extra security. That means channeling our fear and uncertainty into supporting productive and forward-thinking measures, rather than meaningless sloganeering and futile military campaigns.

The Democrats, meantime, should be mandated to watch Michael Moore's appearance on CNN. Over and over again until the force of Moore's charisma bleeds into their collectively soupy Jell-O mold, hardening it to a razor sharp edge. Hopefully, then, they'll snap to the program. Hopefully, then, they'll cut the shit with this apologetic glad-handing and cease their reactive stammering in the face of a 29 percenter who has failed at everything at the peril of the entire world.