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February 10, 2007 03:40 PM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

Because you’ve earned that Air Force VIP widebody jetliner.


60 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

  1. Just like Denny Hastert earned his VIP jet. She didn’t ask for anything more than the respect of the office.

    The plane truth

    There are far more important issues to debate in DC than dribble made up by that hawkish rag. Republicans built a tremedous debt in 6 years, put us into an endless war, forgot about the american people, and are bankrupt on ideas for solving our problems. If this “pelosi one” scandal is the best they can do, they are going to be in the minority for many decades to come.

    And “Pelosi One” has a nice ring to it.

      1. I can’t spoeak to Gingrich but it was after the 9-11 attacks in 2001 that we started giving the speaker, then Hastert, a military plane.  Considring that they had intended to take out Congress and/or the White House with the jet that crashed in Pennsylvania, it was considered just too risky to let the speaker, second in line of sucession to the president, after, of course, the vice president, ride commercial.  It would also be too dangerous for the other passengers in a commercial jet to have the speaker on board — they could be blown up along with her as some nutcase tries to kill her and himself and claim his 70 virgins.  The only reason they are now looking for a plane with greater range is that, duh, it’s a lot farther from Washington to San Francisco than from the Capitol to Chicago.  But the precedent, and its a wise one, was set with Hastert by President Bush, who has also defended Pelosi from this crap.  I can be critical of Pelosi for policy mistakes, like pushing for Whackjob Murtha over STeny Hoyer for majority leader.  But the plane flap is pure crap.

        1. Excellent points.  This is what is frightening.  Bush is the “Commander-in-Chief, says he can disregard the Constitution and can attack Iraq w/o Congressional approval, BUT he can not order the Department of Defense to put an appropriate plane at the service of the Speaker of the House, even though he supports her request?

          The assumption always is that the right wing noise machine is made up of radical crazies…but they are OUR radical crazies.  What if that assumption is wrong.  ….what is the talk show nuts and the far out strategists are just puppets for hire …..and there is a geniune conspiracy to divide this country from within in order to conquer it……I think of the Moonies…who were so brilliantly successful “converting” smart college students back in the 70s and 80s.and who now own the Washington Times…I think of the rote rhetoric……I think of boyles saying something at 5am  in denver that laura ingalls says at 7am in wash dc and is echoed locally and then nationally all day long….to intensify the ‘cultural political divide among us.”……..

          And, I ponder between the specultion about Prince’s performance and Reilly’s preoccupation with sexual predators..we suddenly get this flap about the Speaker of the House…the efffect is to ..undermine Constitutional succession by creating a windstorm to put her in a plane which would not have reserve fuel capacity and could force a landing or a crash in the even of an enemy attack……ponder that,  parrots…

  2. Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-frontal attack on the United States, saying it had broken from international law and made the world a more dangerous place.

    Putin’s denunciation of US policy, made at a high-level security conference in Munich, prompted dismay among senior officials and politicians from the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

    The United States had disastrously “overstepped” its borders, said the Russian leader, who spearheaded international opposition to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, which was also opposed by Germany and France.

    “The United States has overstepped its borders in all spheres — economic, political and humanitarian and has imposed itself on other states,” Putin said at the annual Munich Conference on Security Policy.

    What he called a “uni-polar” world dominated by the United States, “means in practice one thing: one centre of power, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making, a world of one master, one sovereign,” Putin said.

    Such a situation was “extremely dangerous. No one feels secure because no one can hide behind international law.”

    1. news report here – He makes a very good point that the logical step for any country the US threatens is to get nuclear weapons. Our invasion of Iraq means no country is safe from our invasion unless they have nuclear weapons (ie North Korea).

      McCain and Bush get indignant but their logic is we won’t invade unless a country “deserves it.” What they don’t understand is that no government feels they deserve it so all that are threatened will logically take steps to protect themselves.

      Another bad unintended consequence of the invasion of Iraq.

      1. Putin’s a thug

        Kim Jong-Il is a wackjob

        Adminajhad will do anything to divert attention from the fact the Islamic revolution was a dud and is over. Oh and in his old job he told  orphans they could rejoin their parents by dying in order to get them to walk through Iraqi minefields.

        The world is loaded with countries that don’t like us much, don’t have the bomb, haven’t been invaded by us, and don’t seem concerned about the prospect in the future.

        1. Which “thug” invaded a sovereign country that had nothing to do with 9/11? Which “wackjob” cooked the intelligence to break international peace treaties and invade a country that had nothing to do with 9/11? And who told American soldies they were invading a country with WMD, when he/they KNEW it was a lie, costing over 3000 American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars?

          Why is the globe “loaded with countries that don’t like us much”? Answer the question, now! How many countries has the U.S. bombed, that haven’t bombed us, in recent history? Answer the question.

          1. traveled Finland in 2005 – Putin was in charge of Spetnaz work in Finland in the late 80s. The stories about him from the Finns are both uncomplimentary and speak to a man who believes the government is merely an extension of his own eprsonal empire. Putin hasn’t had the ability to extend outside Russia but his actions inside make GW’s adventures in destruction of rights childs play.

            1. “Uncomplimentary”…. that’s funny. GW acts like the government is an extension of his own personal sense of empire. We have little to say over the Russian government, so lets start at home.

              I appreciate your response, EPRR…but respectfully disagree.

          2. your response indicates a fundamental misunderstanding/ignorance of the U.S. intellegence community and of our enemies. 

            Every president of this country in the modern era has shopped for political/military intelligence.  There are a staggering number of vendors within the U.S. defense establishment.  I spent a number years working for one in the military, and later as a civilian contractor. 

            The CIA by the way, made a number of mistakes on the Iraq intell. They may/may not have been correct on the Saddam/Al Qaeda link (and I would not trust their opinion on their accuracy), but you miss that they were completely wrong on the existence of WMD.  No one seems to have articulated an opinion, except me, that Saddam didn’t have them. 

            I posed the question to my wife, the night before the air assault started “what if Saddam really did destroy his weapons.  What if this has all been a show for the Iranians.”  As perceptive and as unlikely as that may seem, I was actually wrong.  Turns out Saddam did think he was developing WMD; his scientists were lying to him.  You expect Bush to have sorted all that out?

            I saw mistakes like that repeatedly during my time; I suggest you go back and find the Time magazines that came out in late (Oct-Dec) 1975 regarding the 1973 mid-east war, and the circumstances to led Israel to finally assemble its components for its first bomb.  All caused by bad intell from the CIA, issued over the objection of the DIA side of  family Spook.

            You Lib types are embarassing yourselves over this WMD intel.  You should focus on the post-invasion screw-ups. 

            Oh, and in terms of foreign policy behavior, George W Bush comes down in the same camp as Jimmy Carter.  He has what’s known as a ‘values oriented’ approach, probably a product of the religion.  His dad was a more conventional thinker, although his dissatisfaction with Kissinger led him and guys like Wolfowitz to start the process that got us to the current intelligence community mess.  A DIA guy heads the CIA, a CIA spook heads the DOD.  It results more in confusion than in cross-fertization.

            1. was revealed by Powell in his presentation to the UN.  I also was in a military intel operation.  We took and interpreted pictures of the bad guys.  Nothing in Powell’s presentation proved WMD’s existed.  And, when you put that together with every administration as far back as I can remember cooking intelligence information to justify what they were about to do, my conclusion at the time was no WMD’s.

              I argued that point on talk radio shows as we ran up to the invasion.  They thought I was nuts. And, of course, my arguing made no difference but it made me feel better. 

              All that said, I agree the thing to do now is concentrate on how screwed up the post invasion decision making has been. 

              1. You both speak from experience and I respect that.  Two questions:
                1) My understanding, granted limited, of military tactics/strategy is that the invasion of Iraq….long run through the desert, no safe places…minimal protection for supply trucks,….haz mat suits but no place to set up field hospitals…again…our army strung out for 300 miles….was a strategy which presupposed NO WMD would t be used against the invading army,  a strategy anticipating little or no resistence. Your thoughts?

                2) Robert Hasson (sp) was an FBI agent, working on computers, who was a mole, spying the USSR for years and who continued as spy after the fall of the USSR….strange man…finally apprendend in spring of 2001 and cut a deal and is now in prison.  Almost no media attention; no congressional hearings on the damage he might have done..could someone so placed, goof up intelligence reports or access to some reports….He would have started working for the Soviets when they were bogged down in Afganistan…Thoughts?

                1. Why, with the gazillions spent on intelligence, we can’t find out who is supplying the Stingers to shoot down our helicopters? I’m afraid we’re buying intelligence to provoke and prolong war, and feed the sales of arms appetite, rather than build and keep the peace.

                  1. our intelligence and our military have been failing miserably for many years.  9/11 should never have happened, either at the intel point or at the response point.

                    In any other country, such failures would have meant banishment or death. 

                    Before you shoot something back at me, please re-note that I said “objective.”  I.e., not subjective or emotional.

                    1. The Iraq War is the single most successful campaign in the history of warfare.

                      You’re the one who said “objective standard,” to which I point the ridiculously small death rate, the speed and efficiency of the conventional campaign, and the relative calm (relative to New Orleans, let alone the rest of the “developing” world) in a country at war outside of a 30nm ring of Baghdad, amidst an insurgency supported by outside countries, yet remaining, in the big, objective picture, irrelevant, due to the success by the military.

                    2. Just like the ones against those other military powerhouses, Granada and Panama.  Iraq was in the same league.  Hooray for us.

                      It’s the insurgency which we have failed so miserably at. If this is “success”, I hate to see what “failure” is.  From the bombing of Pearl Harbor to us sitting in the catbird seat of Tokyo took 3 years and 8 months.  Here we are at 3 years and 11 months and we can’t call the road from the airport secure?  Great.

                      And I”m not sure what any of this has to do with Media Matters. 

                  2. it’s the US under Reagan. The largest consumer of old Stingers was the Majahadeen against Hind helicopters. Problem is that we didn’t get them all back.

                2. my group took pictures.  That said…after using a sustained air attack it wouldn’t surprise me if command thought they could easily roll across the desert with little resistance, including WMD’s.

                  As to the spy,Robert Hanssen, the key part of your question is that he cut a deal.  I’m assuming that’s why no media, no hearings, etc.  He would have had limited access depending on his clearance and need to know to do his job.  He was there a long time so he must have been low key or he would have raised eyebrows eariler.

                3. is more bizarre and basic than you think.  A disjointed collection of thoughts:

                  “My understanding, granted limited, of military tactics/strategy is that the invasion of Iraq….long run through the desert, no safe places…minimal protection for supply trucks,….haz mat suits but no place to set up field hospitals…again…our army strung out for 300 miles….was a strategy which presupposed NO WMD would t be used against the invading army,  a strategy anticipating little or no resistence. Your thoughts?”

                  Other than being struck by the same things… a blitzkrieg would seem to be a very risky strategy for that scenario.  Also, U.S. doctrine would call for meeting nuclear force with nuclear force. 

                  On the one end you have the DOD/CIA/DIA spending staggering amounts of money on ‘systems’ while lacking the ability to understand the intel collected.  In a nation of immigrants, we lack people that can speak Arabic or Farsi, mostly because we don’t trust them (they’re not like `us’). 

                  The Soviet government was much more incompetent than is understood in the U.S.  Their failure in Afghanistan came not from Stingers from Reagan, or the valor of their enemy, but the failure to exercise even basic sanitization measures.  They didn’t even dig pit toilets or latrines.  Their cooks did their business in the bushes around camp, and came back to cook dinner without washing their hands.  At times whole army corps (10,000 – 20,000 troops) were incapacitated with dysentery, including the commanding generals.  When the U.S. deployed to Saudi for Gulf I, the Russian observers were not looking at our weapons systems, they were looking at our logistical support systems.  They were amazed that we could manage to deliver that much clean water to our field units every day. 

                  Yeah, Hanssen sold information.  Mostly it got our guys inside the Soviet/Russian DOD killed.  Mostly they couldn’t do much more with the info than that.  Keep in mind that information is  tightly controlled in the intel community (“need to know” is a very real and alive concept).  I doubt seriously that Hanssen had all the keys to the kingdom.  I doubt that Condi or Bush have all the keys to the kingdom. 

                  Political intel is a interesting business.  I worked nights, and spent hours reading reports and distributing information.  I would go out in the morning and see a newspaper talking about the same information that an hour before had been marked top secret, and realize that we were picking up the story from the newspapers; happened all the time.  We can’t have CIA agents everywhere.  We can’t have defense attaches everywhere.  But now our enemy can be anywhere.  Tapping all the cell phones in the world won’t solve that problem. 

                  I had deep knowledge of a very, very small part of what was going on.  Because of very unique circumstances I know a great deal about the ’73 war.  Even the relevance of that  is fading quickly; a different dynamic has developed, and almost all the principal players are dead.  Of Asia, of Africa, of S. America, of counter-intel, of strategic weapons, and much else, of other conflicts,  I know nothing.  Grasp the scale of the world, and the number of governments, people, conflicts, problems, and you can grasp the impossibility of spying on all our possible enemies.  You have to be selective, you have to start well in advance, and you have to have enormous resources.  We have tried to bridge all of that with technology.  The result is we can hear the conversations, but we can’t understand what they’re saying. 

                  Bush was faced with a glaring failure of intelligence following 9/11.  He came in not trusting the CIA much to begin with.  His father and guys like Wolfowitz (who is an old Bush clan agent)  had actually started the process of challenging the objectivity and independence of CIA analysts over twenty years before, mostly because they thought the CIA was supporting Kissinger too much.  So he has a tendency to dislike Saddam, doesn’t trust the CIA, takes a staggering hit by surprise and decides to change the world.  Congress, too, was very pissed post 9/11, and eager to do whatever was necessary.  It all flowed easily, if no one questioned too deeply. 

                  I suspect that there were a lot of people that were skeptical of lots of things.  I cannot possibly be the only person that remembered Patton’s inflatable tanks and mock army constructed before Normandy; of the Japanese navy radio operators before Pearl Harbor; of a very long world history of deception.  Saddam’s scientists could not possibly have been that effective at maintaining the cover.  There must have been gaps.  I have a lot of respect for Bill Clinton’s intellect (if not his morals).  I suspect he knew, and if he knew Hillary knew.  She’s been dancing around the questions of her support for a while.  You can get into an infinite number of mind games as to why.  You will never know the answer.

                  The thing about political intelligence as opposed to military intelligence, is that political always has a history, and is never as it first appears.  And some times you wait 50 – 100 years before you can piece things together.  Assume everyone involved with this lives in a grey world and never speaks more than half truths. 




                  Find “On the afternoon of 6 October 1973”.  Ask yourself how the very effective Mossad could have missed major troop movements in Syria and Egypt.  It got very close to going well beyond the middle-east.  Nixon put the U.S. on nuclear alert.  “Israel launched a surprise crossing of the Suez Canal into Africa.”  Commanded by a tough maverick general named Ariel Sharon who thereafter became a major hero in Israel. 

                  We are such children in this world.  We probably shouldn’t be playing in the street.


                  1. After posting about Mike Huckabee’s hair I read your post. 

                    I need to quit playing in the street.

                    Fascinating post.  Where else can you get this kind of thought provoking commentary?

                  2. To puddin, thanks for the honest reply and opinion.  To Xenophon, thank you for the brilliant analysis. The truth is much more frightening than spin. Perhaps that is why we love the latter so much.

                    1. I am very glad I found that paper by Farr.  I was googling on some stuff and came across it.  The military is releasing  an amazing amount of analysis.  That good, because it means it is now de-classified and I can talk about it first hand.

                      Some stuff:
                      The Israelis were caught flatfooted because of the CIA.  The Mossad and the DIA said the attack was coming, and we got overruled.  Understand the level of detail on the knowledge of the Syrian army was extremely high.  There was an Israeli spy that was caught and executed later that worked directly for Assad on a daily basis.  I’ve always assumed most of the good stuff came from him.  There was no chance we were wrong, and everything we said proved out true later.

                      Does the CIA practice selective incompetence? Does such a conspicuous failure reflect the anti-Israeli stance the CIA had in the ’70s?  Did they set them up…  I don’t know; I’ll never know, but it interesting to ponder in light of the Chinese radio station that got hit in Belgrade much later. 

                      Farr indicates that the Soviet freighter carrying the nukes  seems to have vanished.  We searched the eastern Med from top to bottom (literally) for weeks looking for that damn boat.  I thought (supported by nothing but a lack of sleep and a lot of fear and frustration) that the Israelis sank it.  We still don’t seem to know the answer.  At this point I wouldn’t trust anything on that issue even if I saw it with my own eyes.

                      So, now you know.  Who do you trust… what is real.  Did Bush/Cheney screw up or not. 

        2. …that doesn’t mean what Putin says is wrong. Even G.W. Bush is right occasionally.

          Putin’s point is that it is very logical for a country threatened by the U.S. to go after nuclear weapons. And in fact, it is the most rational response. And he makes a very good argument for that.

          Invading Iraq does make it harder to talk Iran out of going for nukes.

  3.   I just saw Mike Huckabee on ABC with George Stephanopolous. I was impressed.
      First, there is virtually no chance I would vote for this guy because of his positions on those pesky social issues. 
      That said, I was very impressed with his intelligence, his integrity, and his personality.  This guy clearly has a brain and he sounds sincere in his beliefs.
      What I do not understand is why the social issue conservatives are gravitating to a shameless opportunist like Mitt Romney when they have “the real thing” with Huckabee (and if I’m not mistaken, he’s an ordained Baptist minister).
      Finally, I said there’s virtually no chance I would vote for Huckabee.  If someone like Dennis Kucinich ended up as the Democratic nominee, I would at least seriously have to consider voting for Huckabee.

      1. I could go for that again!

        I heard Huckabee on Thom Hartmann, but I came in late to the interview, so I didn’t know who was talking.  He was very firm on bringing back art and music into the public schools.  “After all, if we are going to be the economic creative center of the earth, we need to foster creativity.”  (I’m paraphrasing, of course.)

        I’ve heard he is also a fundie (see comment on Baptist preacher above), I’m not sure if that is true. 

      2. You can use the same argument against Romney – same state as Kerrey.

        It’s the person that matters, not what state they are from, not what bike they ride, not what party they are in. Especially now when we so desperately need someone to strat cleaning up the horrible mess Bush has left us both internationally and domestically.

        And I agree – doubt I would ever vote for Huckabee but he is impressive. And if he governs as he speaks, I would disagree with a lot of his decisions but I think he would be a positive force for the country.

        1. but I did live there for awhile.
          Nice state but the ex-president, I think his name was Clintonsaurous or something like that, he had a little problem with lying under oath, lying to his wife, lying to the American people, getting BJ’s while in a position of trust, doing shady land deals, he grew up there ya know.
          Yah, but most everybody that lives there really wants nothing to do with him. Hell, I don’t know why. Maybe they don’t like lying cheating worthless scumsuckers.
          Some people are funny about that.
          But if we are lucky, maybe he can become our First Lady.
          Oh boy, wouldn’t that be special. Maybe the Hildabeast will reserve a private room for him to entertain his many friends.
          They might even tape the sessions for broadcast on PBS. America’s youth need people like him to show them the way……..

            1. Less hair, former fatty, good music. 

              Seems like a genuine guy too, not all flash and pearly whites. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that:)

  4. The MSM trots out a lot of negative press against the targets of the GOP. We’ve seen this “swiftboating” before. Now, the targets of this libel are fighting back.

    Majority leader Harry Reid’s spokesman, Jon Summers, said Reid has hired Los Angeles celebrity attorney Martin Singer for legal work. Singer is among Hollywood’s most sought-after litigators and has represented Governor Schwarzenegger, Britney Spears and Bruce Willis, among others. His specialties include libel, copyright and privacy law.

    Singer was hired to help Reid respond to a story by The Associated Press that was critical of a Las Vegas land deal involving the senator. He said Reid got approval from the Senate Ethics Committee for the expenditure.

    Many were critical of Kerry’s inability to forcefully respond to the swiftboat crowd who spread lies about his military service. That unwillingness may well have cost hinm the election. The press is too powerful to be used to spread lies. In these instances, I’m all for a scorched earth policy. Liars and ruiners of reputations through their lies deserve to be punished. Their poison hurts our country more than can be imagined, by increasing the cynicism that hobbles participation necessary for a healthy democracy.

      1. (In my best sotto voce) Just typing away…shakin the bushes. No pun intended.

        Of course, poison in the left arm is as bad as poison in the right. But because the heart is located a little to the left of your chest (I’m blushing), closer to the left arm, one could argue the poison in the left arm is slightly more dangerous systemically speaking.

        We could have an anatomy discussion when we get together at some, as yet to be identified party.

        All kidding aside, I have a great deal of respect for your forceful and balanced commentary, and would sorely miss you were you to stop. So please, don’t stop:-)

        1. I’m far too entertained by Colorado Politics.  I also think the exchanges help to diffuse some of the bitterness and rancor that is so present in political discourse today. Much harder to lob bombs at the opponent you know, eh Robin?

          And thanks for the nice comments, I get a kick out of you too:)

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