(Special Lying Sarah Watch Earmark Edition)[...]
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Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress today we are not winning in Afghanistan.
Mullen and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates appeared before the House Armed Services Committee a day after President Bush announced that the U.S. would increase its presence in Afghanistan by 1,500 troops. Gates, who focused on Iraq, told the committee he thought that the U.S. strategy in Iraq has "entered that end game."
Their testimony was a public airing of a discussion that's going on within the Pentagon about how quickly the military can shift its focus from Iraq to Afghanistan. While violence has dropped precipitously in Iraq, it's climbed in Afghanistan. U.S. troop deaths there are higher than Iraq now, despite a far smaller presence. In addition, insurgent groups increasingly are taking control of villages.
Mullen thinks we can win in Afghanistan with more troops and a different strategy. We are not going to save Afghanistan no matter how many troops we put there. [More...]
One of TalkLeft's readers has spent a lot of time there, including recently. In his/her opinion, as stated in comments on another thread:
First of all, Kabul is surrounded on three sides. The Taliban controls the entire south of the country. Herat is overrun with mafia types. The eastern part of the country is now falling. We can't control one border point. The map in Afghanistan will probably look like it did on Sept 10, 2001 in the near future - the Taliban will control the country except for the North, around Mazar-i-Shariff. This will happen WHILE WE ARE THERE.
The government is about to fall. Karzai is universally hated in Afghanistan. He isn't going to win even a rigged election. The corruption in his government makes the Iraqi Govt look like an upstanding civil service.
We can't win. You are talking about people who primarily still think it is the 13th century. There is almost non-existent health services. Women in reality have no rights (they are property to be sold, killed or prostituted). There is no economy outside of illegal drugs for the most part. Karzai's govt is filled with Taliban. Women in Kabul are back in Burkhas.
I hate to tell you this but we have already lost...just like Genghis Khan, the British and the Soviets.
Staying there for national honor is a recipe for disaster. I haven't even gotten into what is coming over the border from Pakistan.
The entire country is rearming ready to start the civil war again. What may I ask is your prescription to prevent this because not even 100,000 troops will do it.
We blew it.
It's time to bring the troops home and stop the wars. Moving troops from one country to another is no solution.
It's beginning to look like a pattern of behavior for abusing a position of power in order to settle personal grudges, isn't it? Via Newsweek: Allegations that Palin, her husband Todd, and at least one top gubernatorial aide continued to[...]
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“Politicians lying about their records? You don’t call that maverick, you call it more of the same.”
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Remembering those who were murdered at in New York, Alexandria, Pennsylvania, and Iraq.
video details and more
by ani difranco
us people are just poems
we're 90% metaphor
with a leanness of meaning
and once upon a time
we were moonshine
rushing down the throat of a giraffe
yes, rushing down the long hallway
despite what the p.a. announcement says
yes, rushing down the long stairs
with the whiskey of eternity
fermented and distilled
to eighteen minutes
burning down our throats
down the hall
down the stairs
in a building so tall
that it will always be there
yes, it's part of a pair
there on the bow of noah's ark
the most prestigious couple
just kickin back parked
against a perfectly blue sky
on a morning beatific
in its indian summer breeze
on the day that america
fell to its knees
after strutting around for a century
without saying thank you
and the shock was subsonic
and the smoke was deafening
between the setup and the punch line
cuz we were all on time for work that day
we all boarded that plane for to fly
and then while the fires were raging
we all climbed up on the windowsill
and then we all held hands
and jumped into the sky
and every borough looked up when it heard the first blast
and then every dumb action movie was summarily surpassed
and the exodus uptown by foot and motorcar
looked more like war than anything i've seen so far
so fierce and ingenious
a poetic specter so far gone
that every jackass newscaster was struck dumb and stumbling
over 'oh my god' and 'this is unbelievable' and on and on
and i'll tell you what, while we're at it
you can keep the pentagon
keep the propaganda
keep each and every tv
that's been trying to convince me
in some prep school punk's plan to perpetuate retribution
even as the blue toxic smoke of our lesson in retribution
is still hanging in the air
and there's ash on our shoes
and there's ash in our hair
and there's a fine silt on every mantle
from hell's kitchen to brooklyn
and the streets are full of stories
sudden twists and near misses
and soon every open bar is crammed to the rafters
with tales of narrowly averted disasters
and the whiskey is flowin
like never before
as all over the country
folks just shake their heads
so here's a toast to all the folks who live in palestine
here's a toast to the folks living on the pine ridge reservation
under the stone cold gaze of mt. rushmore
here's a toast to all those nurses and doctors
who daily provide women with a choice
who stand down a threat the size of oklahoma city
just to listen to a young woman's voice
here's a toast to all the folks on death row right now
awaiting the executioner's guillotine
who are shackled there with dread and can only escape into their heads
to find peace in the form of a dream
cuz take away our playstations
and we are a third world nation
under the thumb of some blue blood royal son
who stole the oval office and that phony election
it don't take a weatherman
to look around and see the weather
jeb said he'd deliver florida, folks
and boy did he ever
and we hold these truths to be self evident:
#1 george w. bush is not president
#2 america is not a true democracy
#3 the media is not fooling me
cuz i am a poem heeding hyper-distillation
i've got no room for a lie so verbose
i'm looking out over my whole human family
and i'm raising my glass in a toast
here's to our last drink of fossil fuels
let us vow to get off of this sauce
shoo away the swarms of commuter planes
and find that train ticket we lost
cuz once upon a time the line followed the river
and peeked into all the backyards
and the laundry was waving
the graffiti was teasing us
from brick walls and bridges
we were rolling over ridges
i dream of touring like duke ellington
in my own railroad car
i dream of waiting on the tall blonde wooden benches
in a grand station aglow with grace
and then standing out on the platform
and feeling the air on my face
give back the night its distant whistle
give the darkness back its soul
give the big oil companies the finger finally
and relearn how to rock-n-roll
yes, the lessons are all around us and a change is waiting there
so it's time to pick through the rubble, clean the streets
and clear the air
get our government to pull its big dick out of the sand
of someone else's desert
put it back in its pants
and quit the hypocritical chants of
cuz when one lone phone rang
in two thousand and one
at ten after nine
on nine one one
which is the number we all called
when that lone phone rang right off the wall
right off our desk and down the long hall
down the long stairs
in a building so tall
that the whole world turned
just to watch it fall
and while we're at it
remember the first time around?
the ryder truck?
the parking garage?
the princess that didn't even feel the pea?
remember joking around in our apartment on avenue D?
can you imagine how many paper coffee cups would have to change their design
following a fantastical reversal of the new york skyline?!
it was a joke, of course
it was a joke
at the time
and that was just a few years ago
so let the record show
that the FBI was all over that case
that the plot was obvious and in everybody's face
and scoping that scene
or is it KGB?
committing countless crimes against humanity
with this kind of eventuality
as its excuse
for abuse after expensive abuse
and it didn't have a clue
look, another window to see through
way up here
on the 104th floor
3000 some poems disguised as people
on an almost too perfect day
should be more than pawns
in some asshole's passion play
so now it's your job
and it's my job
to make it that way
to make sure they didn't die in vain
hear the train?
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You’d rarely know it from the headlines, but rip-offs of taxpayers and Indian tribes have for decades been business-as-usual at the Department of the Interior’s various divisions, from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to the Bureau of Land Management to the Minerals Management Service. Today, the Department’s Inspector General released three reports – two years in the making – that added something to this story of plunder certain to break through into popular consciousness: sex and drugs.
Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, gets a good deal of the credit for pressing this investigation forward in the first place.
The IG, Earl E. Devaney, told Congress that the Interior Department’s Royalty in Kind program was bathed in "a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity," with 13 bureaucrats, including the former director of the program, Gregory W. Smith, violating ethics rules by accepting gifts from oil executives, having sex with them, rigging contracts, or engaging in other financial dealings that benefited them and the companies at the expense of the taxpayers.
Devaney recommended that several RiK officials who took gifts from the oil companies be fired or banned for life from certain positions. Several have already been transferred but still have government jobs, his report said.
We haven’t yet seen every lurid detail, but Charlie Savage at The New York Times reports:
Modeled on a private-sector energy company, the decade-old royalty-in-kind program transports, processes and resells the oil and gas on the open market. But while its officials interact with energy company executives, they are subject to government ethics rules, such as restrictions on taking gifts from sources with whom they conduct official business.
One of the reports says that the officials viewed themselves as exempt from those limits, indulging themselves in the expense-account-fueled world of oil and gas executives.
In addition, the report alleges that eight royalty-program officials accepted gifts from energy companies whose value exceeded limits set by ethics rules — including golf, ski and paintball outings; meals and drinks; and tickets to a Toby Keith concert, a Houston Texans football game and a Colorado Rockies baseball game. ...
The investigation also concluded that several of the officials "frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives."
The IG found that Smith allegedly took money from a company in exchange for urging other companies to hire its services and engaged in sex with two subordinates, and that subordinates engaged in sex with oil execs.
We always knew government officials were in bed with oil companies, but did they have to take it so literally?
And to top it all off with yet another round of the same old, same old: While some of the agency’s bureaucrats lower down the bribery chain have already been prosecuted or still face prosecution over these matters, two of the highest-ranking officials will go unpunished. They retired during Devaney’s probe, which means, of course, they can’t be sanctioned administratively. And the Cheney-Bush Justice Department with its coterie of hand-picked Rovian ideologues, has chosen not to take them to court.
Ahhhhh. Nice to know what good hands we're in at the Interior Department, the officials who will be unleashed to grant new leases to oil-and-gas companies as soon as the ban on most new off-shore drilling expires on September 30 if the Republicans have their way.
(hat-tip to Over the Edge)
Earlier today Matt proposed that when it comes to message control the Obama campaign has some[...]
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A reader writes:
"John McCain thinks that teaching young children how to avoid being victims of sexual predators is the same as teaching them how to have sex. John McCain is from a generation that didnt realize that sexual predators are out there. And he clearly doesn't watch 20-20's To Catch a Predator. He's out of touch with the frightening reality that today's parents face. Our children live in a dangerous world. If John McCain doesn't understand that fact then he's going to have a tough time protecting our kids."She's referring to McCain attacking Obama last night for being in favor of teaching children how to avoid sexual abuse. McCain said that it's the same thing as teaching kids sex.
The latest GOP dirty tricks in Michigan - they're utterly unrepentant scum for this (hat tip to Michael Morrill at Keystone Progress).
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As we've mentioned elsewhere on TPM, Sarah Palin was not quite as conservative as she claims in her requests for earmarks. And here's a great example from just this year.
According to Alaska's 2009 catalog of earmark requests the state's sea life are in great need of federal money. As Politico points out, Palin's office requested $2 million in federal monies to study crab mating habits; $494,900 for the recreational halibut harvest and $3.2 million for seal genetics research.
Those requests for the study of wildlife genetics and mating habits seems pretty antithetical to the long-standig views of Palin's running mate, John McCain.
"We're not going to spend $3 million of your tax dollars to study the DNA of bears in Montana," McCain said earlier this year, referring to a request from Montana for federal money to study the endangered grizzly bear. "I don't know if it was a paternity issue or criminal, but it was a waste of money."