Blondie, Hangin’ On The Telephone from 1978…Time to hit the phones again, gang. And hit them hard.Hans Von Spakovsky — yes, the same one that Jane flagged back in 2005 – is up for a vote on Wednesday in the Senate Rules[...]
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This is the second installment of my discussion with Wes Clark. For part one, go to Wes Clark[...]
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A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW
Democracies take nurturing. They're easy to pull down. The Founders understood that. It's a very dangerous time.
-- Naomi Wolf, Author, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young PatriotBookmark/Search this post with: buzzflash | delicious | digg | technorati Technorati Tags: Interviews Fascism Bush Authoritarianism Ten Steps Guantanamo US Attorneys Domestic Surveillance Checks and Balances
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Is there a single Democratic leader willing to say he or she would rather believe the IAEA and responsible reporting rather than the Cheney faction's fixing of the intelligence around the policy by use of their media noise machine?
Wes Clark has left the building.
Matt Stoller: Can we handle a nuclear Iran? Can we live with that?Mind you, Stoller's as bad, buying into the framing that a nuclear Iran is already on the horizon.
Wes Clark: I don't think so. The reason is, there are three reasons. Number one is that I think a nuclear armed Iran would use its clear deterrent to promote conventional or unconventional aggression against other states in the region and believe it could sit back with its nuclear power and not be threatened in return. I think the second reason is you never know how these nuclear capabilities might be smuggled abroad or used in some way. Maybe the way we saw the Israelis strike at this nuclear depot in Syria is an indication of that and apparently that came from North Korea. And the third reason is that once Iran gets a nuclear weapon lots of other countries will want them and the more countries that have them the greater chance a nuke will be used and kill hundreds of thousands of people and so no I don't think you can tolerate a nuclear armed Iran. But I think the right course of dealing with it is to directly engage Iran in dialogue.
Starting to look that way. The man is an egotistical idiot. He has done more than any man in America to destroy the environment and further corporate interests at the expense of the individual. Every single crime that Bush-Cheney have committed is on Ralph Nader's head. And now he may be planning to do it to us all again.
One of the sites we've come to rely on for objective data on the ups and downs of campaigns and public opinion is the website pollster.com — great graphics if you haven't visited, and unique analysis by Mark Blumenthal (aka the Mystery Pollster) and Prof. Charles Franklin (he of the regression analysis curves), and guest pollsters from all over the political map. But an analysis site like this one is only as good as the data that is available to analyze, and that data is sometimes frustratingly incomplete. Anyone looking for a poll's crosstabs that don't seem to exist will appreciate the following post from Mark Blumenthal:
Why do so many pollsters disclose so little? A few continue to cite proprietary interests. Some release their data solely through their media sponsors, which in the past limited the space or airtime available for methodological details (limits now largely moot given the Internet sites now maintained by virtually all media outlets and pollsters). And while none say so publicly, my sense is that many withhold these details to avoid the nit-picking and second guessing that inevitably comes from unhappy partisans hoping to discredit the results.
Do pollsters have an ethical obligation to report methodological details about who they sampled? Absolutely (and more on that below), and as we have learned, most will disclose these details on request as per the ethical codes of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the National Council on Public Polls (NCPP). Regular readers will know that we have received prompt replies from many pollsters in response to such requests (some pertinent examples here, here, here and here).
The problem with my occasional ad hoc requests is that they arbitrarily single out particular pollsters, holding their work up to scrutiny (and potential criticism) while letting others off the hook. My post a few weeks back, for example, focused on results from Iowa polls conducted by the American Research Group (ARG) that seemed contrary to other polls. Yet as one alert reader commented, I made no mention of a recent Zogby poll with results consistent with ARG. And while tempting, speculating about details withheld from public view (as I did, incorrectly, in the first ARG post), is even less fair to the pollsters and our readers.
So I have come to this conclusion: Starting today we will begin to formally request answers to a limited but fundamental set of methodological questions for every public poll asking about the primary election released in, for now, a limited set of states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or for the nation as a whole. We are starting today with requests emailed to the Iowa pollsters and will work our way through the other early states and national polls over the next few weeks, expanding to other states as our time and resources allow.[bolded mine]
More on the goal, and a request from Blumenthal:
Our goal is to both collect this information and post it alongside the survey results on our poll summary pages, as a regular ongoing feature of Pollster.com. Obviously, some pollsters may choose to ignore some or all of our requests, but if they do our summary table will show it. We are starting with Iowa, followed by New Hampshire, South Carolina and the national surveys, in order to keep this task manageable and to determine the feasibility of making such requests for every survey we track...
What can you do? Frankly, we would appreciate your support. If you have a blog, please post something about the Pollster Disclosure Project and link back to this entry (and if you do, please send us an email so we can keep a list of supportive blogs). If not, we would appreciate supportive comments below. And of course, criticism or suggestions on what we might do differently are also always welcome.
The specific questions about demographics and methodology are below the fold.
The bottom line is that if you want better data to analyze, then we, the consumers of all things political, ought to support pollster.com in asking for it. And if we expect and appreciate the analysis done by pollster.com, Swing State Project, Open Left, Slate, Real Clear Politics or any of the other sites that digest and analyze polling data, let's help make the data a bit more "open source" and transparent.
The last Republican moderate (the white guy in the middle)
A couple days ago Congressional Quarterly, took a look at the impasse over ending the occupation of Iraq and, echoing a consensus among Inside the Beltway media outlets, blamed... the Democrats for not dealing with Republican "moderates."
After the defeat on Thursday of an amendment to the defense authorization bill that also would have drawn down most troops from Iraq by next year, the leaders declared they would not give ground on their demands for a fixed withdrawal date merely to pass what they said would be toothless war legislation with the support of some Republican moderates.
?Compromise,? Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said, does not mean Democrats will ?give up our principles. Our principle is that we need to change the course of the war in Iraq, not have an amendment that we say could pass [with] bipartisan [support].?
Likewise, the Senate?s Republican leaders, who have kept their caucus solidly behind Bush during this week?s Iraq War debate, dug in their heels in support of the president?s war strategy.
Although a number of centrists from both parties sought middle ground, they appeared to be toiling against the wishes of their leaders. The moderates remained hopeful that Democratic leaders, in particular, would agree to consider several compromise measures on the war next week, by which time the toughest proposals would likely be dead.
...Moderate Republicans such as Collins, Smith, John W. Warner of Virginia, George V. Voinovich of Ohio, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Norm Coleman of Minnesota have been meeting almost daily with Democratic centrists, including Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Ken Salazar of Colorado, to come up with a legislative formula both sides can embrace.
The Washington Post brought it to our attention yesterday, and this morning?s New York Times says, ?Under a program developed by a Defense Department warfare unit, Army snipers have begun using a new method to kill Iraqis suspected of being insurgents, using fake weapons and bomb-making material as bait and then killing anyone who picks them up, according to testimony presented in a military court.?
And you know who is picking up these ?fake weapons and bomb-making materials?? Curious children.
The idea that the baits would tempt only insurgents is insane. Innocent children, women, mothers are all picking up these baits and since the Pentagon and DOD has concluded that only insurgents would pick up the baits, therefore anyone picking up the baits is an insurgent and it?s legal to shoot them. Mind you, not everyone in the Army is shooting people who pick up bomb-making material from the ground. Deadeye snipers are sitting in wait for the sign that an insurgent has wandered into their sights. And that sign is when a person picks up a bait.
?In sworn statements, soldiers testifying for the defense have said the sniper team was employing a ?baiting program? developed at the Pentagon by the Asymmetrical Warfare Group, which met with Ranger sniper teams in Iraq in January and gave equipment to them... Army officers involved in evidentiary hearings in Baghdad in July did not dispute the existence or use of a baiting program.?
A court-martial is now under way involving one soldier accused of murdering three Iraqis. But the court-martial is not centered on the immorality of using baits to lure insurgents. Because killing under those circumstances is legal and has been authorized. The court martial focuses on the prosecutor?s allegations that the soldier planted bomb-making wire on the dead victims.
I am so glad to find out the niceties of what is legal and not legal with regard to Army snipers and their authorizations.
Army trained snipers can legally strew baits around for any curious Iraqi to pick up and then be shot. But after the snipers shoot the curious Iraqis, it is illegal for snipers to plant evidence on their bodies.
Bad enough that Blackwater, USA thugs shot an innocent Iraqi woman and baby because they didn?t move fast enough when a convoy of diplomats came down the road. But now we have the US army luring Iraqis to pick up baits so that they can be called insurgents and then legally shot.
The Bush Administration?s Progress in Iraq
1) The US decided to attack Iraq for no reason because the neocons wanted Iraq?s oil.
2) The American people weren?t crazy about another war.
3) The Bush administration changed its mission from aggression and seizing oil wells to claiming that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction. That claim resonated with the American people.
4) The Iraqis didn?t have WMD but the Bush administration attacked Iraq anyway because it wanted Iraq?s oil.
5) The Department of Defense had no understanding of the Iraqi people or its culture and used a tiny force of US soldiers. The DOD said the Iraqis wanted the US to attack them and would welcome us as liberators.
6) The attack failed. The Bush administration was shocked the Iraqis didn?t want the US to attack them.
7) The DOD was shocked the Iraqi people fought back and had empowered militias.
8) The Bush administration changed its mission from seizing Iraq?s oil, to ousting Saddam Hussein to claiming the US had wanted to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq.
9) No one believed the freedom and democracy boloney because US soldiers were killing all Iraqis who disagreed with the Bush administration.
10) Since the US has no military, the State Department hired mercenaries to fight its war in Iraq. The mercenaries, most notably Blackwater, USA, have disgraced themselves and the US by unsupervised marauding and killing in Iraq.
11) Having brought terrorism and a civil war to Iraq (all because the Bush administration wanted Iraq?s oil), the Bush administration trotted out Generals and Republican warmongers to swear that the US must remain in Iraq forever because insurgents have taken over Iraq.
12) No one believes the Generals or warmongers because the real reason the US is in Iraq is to seize Iraq?s oil, which it has not done as yet. But given time, the US will be victorious. That is the US will get Iraq?s oil.
13) Now Iraq wants the mercenaries out of Iraq because they are committing murders. But the US can?t fight its war (that is, seize Iraq?s oil) without mercenaries.
14) And the latest dishonorable plan to come out of the Department of Defense, Pentagon and Army is that snipers have been trained to kill Iraqis when they pick up baits because the DOD claims that anyone picking up baits is an insurgent.
Can the Bush administration, its DOD, Pentagon and jack-shit Generals get any lower, any more base, any more unethical, any more ugly, inhuman, and corrupt?
Of course it can. It?s the Bush administration.
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You've heard it from The Decider. You've heard it from Gen. Petraeus in his recent Congressional testimony. The administration boasts of the downward trend in sectarian deaths in Iraq.... therefore, their Iraq strategy is working. Send more money!
But that depends upon "What Defines a Killing as Sectarian?" (WaPo)
On September 1, the bullet-riddled bodies of four Iraqi men were found on a Baghdad street. Counted in the sectarian body count.... right? Not by standards used by the U.S. military number crunchers. These violent deaths didn't meet the criteria of the military manual defining sectarian violence.... signs of torture, a single shot to the head, or car bombs for example.
The Iraq assessment released this month by the bipartisan Government Accounting Office wasn't buying this "manual" count. It said they "could not determine if sectarian violence had declined" since the U.S. troop buildup began in the spring. The GAO recommended that the administration expand its statistical sources.
That probably won't happen because the actual body count wouldn't support the White Houses' rosy rhetoric.
Meanwhile, two Iraqis killed by a car bomb on September 3 were not included in the sectarian database. The attack occurred on a road near Ramadi, not far from where The Decider was meeting with government officials that day. The victims were Iraqi policemen. They were counted elsewhere.
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