War with Iran

Ritter says it's on:
The reality is that the US war with Iran has already begun. As we speak, American over flights of Iranian soil are taking place, using pilotless drones and other, more sophisticated, capabilities.

The violation of a sovereign nation's airspace is an act of war in and of itself. But the war with Iran has gone far beyond the intelligence-gathering phase.

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Clark 2008 -- pros and cons

Looking at the results on Chris' 2008 poll, it looks like Clark wins (out of the candidates presented).

Now, I like Clark. His was the first of the 2004 Dem candidates whose e-mail lists I signed up for. But I think it would be helpful if we hashed out the potential pros and cons of a Clark candidacy. Any contributions would be appreciated. I'd like us to go over both why he's a good candidate, and what's out there that the Reeps (or Greens) would hold against him. A few thoughts after the break.

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Whatever happened to Dem Rapid Response?

Watching the Daily Show last night, I saw some of the Dem responses to Dean's comments and it hit me: These people were cornered. Ambushed. Caught off guard.

They were fumbling for words, because they were being asked to respond to (a mischaracterization of) comments they probably weren't aware of in the first place.

Imagine that.

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the Good, the Bad, and the Funny (3 stories)

An homage to dhonig's Daily Pulse, if you will.

Three random stories after the break: The elusive liberal media is out of the closet, Syria is the new Iraq, and Kissinger . . . well, he's still Kissinger.

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Zogby/Cato SS poll data

The new Cato/Zogby poll finds that 52.4% of 1,006 people polled support "proposals to give younger workers the choice of privately investing a portion of their Social Security taxes through personal accounts" versus 40.1% who are opposed.

Though I saw no indication of the methodology used, the results seem to indicate that people are responding well to the "ownership society" narrative of the privatizers.

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What possible good can we do in Iraq?

Don't forget to check out TPM Cafe, which is supposed to open today, though it's still just a placeholder at the time of this posting.

It really defies comprehension:

BAGHDAD -- U.S. forces aggravated sectarian tensions in Iraq on Monday by mistakenly arresting a prominent Sunni Muslim leader as suicide bombers killed at least 25 people in a Shiite town and soldiers continued their offensive against insurgent networks in Baghdad.

Mohsen Abdel Hamid, head of the Iraqi Islamic Party, was detained when U.S. troops raided his home shortly before dawn. He was released after Iraqi government officials, including Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari, criticized the action. Hamid has been a voice of reconciliation, urging Sunnis to work with the Shiite-dominated government and condemning a surge in sectarian killings.

A statement released by U.S.-led forces said the raid, which left Hamid's house with battered doors and smashed windows, was a case of mistaken identity. "Mr. Hamid is being returned to his home," the statement said.

America can not care what the rest of the world thinks until we all turn purple, but I'm hard-pressed to think of an action we could possibly have taken which would have been more damaging to our stated goals in Iraq than this.

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Politics the Laguna Seca Way

I'm sure 'most everyone's heard about the Governator's latest publicity stunt -- specifically, having a street ripped up in San Jose, for no reason other than to take credit for repairing it:
Greco, who used his video camera to record the crews ripping up his street, said Laguna Seca Way had "a few cracks," which he termed "unsightly," but they weren't as bad as the "major potholes" a few blocks away.

"The street was very drivable," Vujevich said.

The purpose of the stunt was to generate fodder for the Governator's coming re-election campaign:
Schwarzenegger strode toward television cameras on Laguna Seca Way to the sounds of the Doobie Brothers' "Taking it to the Streets," while flanked by 10 San Jose city road workers wearing Day-Glo vests and work gear. After speeches by the governor and city officials, a dump truck backed up and unloaded a mound of black asphalt and, as television cameras recorded the moment, Schwarzenegger joined the work crew, taking up a broom and filling the 10-by-15-foot hole, later smoothed over by a massive roller truck.

Even better, the act of political vandalism was paid for, at least in part, by the city:
David Vossbrink, director of communications for San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, who was in Washington, D.C., Thursday lobbying for more federal funding for BART, said the city paid the road crew and the extra security costs associated with the governor's visit -- as it would for any visiting dignitary.

And there you have it. The fundamental tactic of modern Reep politics: Destroy something, make somebody else foot the bill, then take credit for fixing it.

The Laguna Seca Way, as I shall refer to this tactic, is visible not only in the Governator's most recent attempt to recast himself as a "hands-on" leader, but in his election campaign and Reep politics generally.

Ahnold's preposterous little stunt is an object lesson on How They Get Away With It (even if, Jeebus willing, he doesn't).

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John Edwards to guest-blog at TPMCafe.

Yeah, you heard me:
For now, we're quite pleased to announce that joining us for our debut week will be former Senator John Edwards (D) of North Carolina who was, needless to add, John Kerry's vice-presidential running mate in last year's election.

Edwards will have the guest blogging seat from Tuesday 31st through Friday 3rd.

And, just so I can pretend this diary is about something, another thought on the filibuster compromise below the fold, from Jeffrey Dubner at the American Prospect's TAPped blog.

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Scapegoating Newsweek -- Censorship by Phony Outrage

In all the stories flying around about desecration of the Qu'ran and identity politics, there seems to be a general acceptance of the White House line that there's reason to believe the Newsweek story caused riots in Afghanistan.

This is demonstrably not proven, and failure to keep pointing that out will enable the regime to continue to blame everything on Newsweek, the media, and liberals generally. Josh@TPM spotted this in the NYTimes days ago, and Media Matters posted a link to what I'm about to quote, but the other, flashier, faker story -- Newsweek Kills 15 -- makes a better headline, I guess.

Here's what General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had to say at a press briefing on Thursday, May 12 (last question, near the bottom of the page):

Q: Do either one of you have anything about the demonstrations in Afghanistan, which were apparently sparked by reports that there was a lack of respect by some interrogators at Guantanamo for the Koran.  Do either one of you have anything to say about that?

GENERAL MYERS: It's the -- it's a judgment of our commander in Afghanistan, General Eikenberry, that in fact the violence that we saw in Jalalabad was not necessarily the result of the allegations about disrespect for the Koran -- and I'll get to that in just a minute -- but more tied up in the political process and the reconciliation process that President Karzai and his Cabinet is conducting in Afghanistan.  So that's -- that was his judgment today in an after-action of that violence.  He didn't -- he thought it was not at all tied to the article in the magazine.




Good thing the regime's press secretaries and the bunch of stenographers we call the national media know the situation in Afghanistan better than the military commander in Afghanistan, huh?

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Army docs make Newsweek claim look like Sunday school

According to the ACLU:

One investigation into abuses at Rifles Base in Ramadi, Iraq details an incident in July 2003 in which an Army captain took an Iraqi welder into the desert, told him to dig his own grave, verbally threatened to kill him and had other soldiers stage a shooting of the man.

In a separate incident uncovered in the Rifles Base investigation, the driver and passenger of an Iraqi fire truck were detained for failing to turn off the truck's headlights. Multiple soldiers reported that a captain kicked the detainees, threatened to kill them, and held a pistol to the head of one of the detainees, even though the detainees did not offer resistance of any kind. The detainees were released later that evening.

There are also detainee complaints, for example, claims that interrogators threw the Qu'ran on the ground and stepped on it, and that a military dog was ordered to pick up a copy of the Qu'ran in its mouth.

Now, this is just my opinion, but it sounds like some of our interrogators are under the delusion that they're living out a season of 24.

The ACLU posts torture-related FoIA documents to their website batch-by-batch as they obtain them.

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