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Posted at 6:37 PM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Happy Hour Roundup

By Greg Sargent

* Andy Kroll has a very comprehensive and detailed behind-the-scenes look at how unions rapidly mobilized to turn Wisconsin into a national showdown that could revitalize the labor movement.

* Eric Kleefeld has the latest on Governor Scott Walker's layoff-threat shenanigans, and on why Dems aren't phased by them.

* Senate Dems try to co-opt the GOP's "uncertainty" language, releasing a plan for $6.5 billion in budget cuts while arguing that deeper cuts would risk damaging the economy at a "time of great uncertainty."

* But those cuts are still not good enough for Mitch McConnell, who labels them "indefensible."

* Dems think they have an opportunity to drive a wedge between hard-line budget cutters and moderate Republican Senators uneasy about the GOP's proposed deep cuts.

* But as Steve Benen notes, the Dem message is all over the place on spending and cuts, even though the public might well be on their side if they didn't perpetually let the GOP frame the debate.

* House Republicans stand athwart history yelling "stop" on gay rights, announcing a bipartisan panel to determine the best way to continue defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

* John Aravosis says Dems should boycott the panel.

* Nancy Pelosi's response: "This action places Republicans squarely on the wrong side of history and progress."

* Sam Stein suggests that Republicans seeking to defend Congressionally-passed DOMA as sacrosanct may be hard-pressed to explain why they're moving to overturn Congressionally-passed health care reform.

* Now that Florida Governor Rick Scott has officially turned down $2.4 billion in federal high speed rail funding, Obama officials will simply give it to states who think it's a good idea to develop high speed rail corridors for their constituents.

* Interesting post by Digby arguing that the GOP needs "entitlement reform" more than Dems do, because only the GOP base (and centrist bipartisanship-fetishizing commentators) want it.

* Mike Huckabee is rapidly tarnishing his brand as an affable conservative.

* Jon Chait catches an anti-union activist admitting that Walker's proposal is all about gutting unions in order to damage the Democratic Party.

* Rasmussen finds that Walker's disapproval rating has soared up to 57 percent, which is likely to stir serious recall talk.

* And the headline of the day, from TPM, on the Rasmussen poll: "WALKERLOO!"

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | March 4, 2011; 6:37 PM ET
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, House GOPers, Labor, Senate Dems, budget  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Are Wisconsin Republicans preparing to break with Walker?
Next: Open Thread

Comments

@Greg: "House Republicans stand athwart history yelling "stop" on gay rights."

I'll not defend DOMA, bu that doesn't seem like a very fair way to characterize this.

I think it's rather important that Congress figures out what they do to defend one of their own laws they've presumed constitutional when the DoJ won't. (Not to mention that the panel includes the minority leader and minority whip.)

Posted by: sbj3 | March 4, 2011 6:43 PM | Report abuse

What's wrong with Mississippi?
Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 4, 2011 3:54 PM |

+++++++++++++++


Just like most of the deep South, Mississippi takes in about three times more fed tax dollars than it puts back into the system and their education system is ranked somewhere in the high 40's out of the 50 states.

Here's an idea, how about we make it so the freeloader states in the South only recive the same amount of tax dollars that they put back into the system?


It works for me, the Goober GooPers hate paying taxs so let them deal with fixing their roads bridges and other things on their own damn dime.

Posted by: DrainYou | March 4, 2011 4:00 PM
=========================================

Mississippi does get back a good deal more than it pays in, but it's nowhere near three times. It's a poor state. 38% of the Mississippi population is black; DrainYou would like to deprive poor blacks, whom he evidently regards as freeloaders and uneducated Goober GooPers, of government assistance so he can wrap his own white-trash lips a little tighter round the teat. Racist scumbag.

Mississippi can be helped immensely by industry moving there.

Posted by: Brigade | March 4, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse

It's "fazed", not "phased"!

Posted by: otkws | March 4, 2011 6:55 PM | Report abuse

"What else is happening?"

We'll see if the feds flipping Lloyd Blankfein into testifying against one of his own will rip the lid off of rats' nest: your American financial industry. Not holding my breath, but it is a start. I do not believe in capital punishment for this class of white collar criminal, life in Attica would be perfect, but the feds don't really have anything bad enough for these people.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 4, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Some people have spent so long in the liberal echo chambers that they simply cannot let go of a theory that has been thoroughly discredited, as witness:
-------

So the Democratic members of congress that wrongly and naively believed the WMD story that was entirely propagated and by the American "intelligence"community that was under the absolute and total control of the Cheney/Bush regime are responsible for the disaster of Iraq?

Is that the GOP position? That it's the Democrats' fault because they believed Cheney/Bush?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | March 4, 2011

-------

Can we just once and for all drop the "well, Democrat so-and-so ALSO thought Saddam had WMDs!" faux "argument"?

Listen, wingers: people who weren't in control of the government being wrong about something doesn't excuse the people who WERE in control of government from not only believing the same wrong thing, but acting on it as well. In fact, it's far LESS excusable, because the people in control are the ones with the best access to the facts. When they lean on intelligence agencies to cook the facts, etc., then they are not only ignoring the facts but also seeking to convince other people who DO NOT have access to the facts to believe things that are wrong. And your "defense" is to blame the people who believed the people who had access to the facts who were lying to them?

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 4, 2011
=========================================

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
-Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
-- Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999
-------

Bush and Cheney weren't in charge in 1998 and 1999. Who was lying to us then, Clinton? Facts sort of poke a hole in your idiotic leftist fantasy.

-------

"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
Letter to President Bush, Signed by:
-- Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), and others, Dec 5, 2001
-------

Graham served on the Senate Intelligence Committee for ten years.

-------

There are many other convincing quotes that PROVE many Democrats, like Republicans, were convinced Saddam had WMD even before Bush was elected. Key Democrats were privy to all of the same intelligence. The fact that they later chose to lie to gullible idiots like prag and Jenn is disgraceful. Let it go.


Posted by: Brigade | March 4, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

He doesn't stand a chance, unless they switch to a square dance or clog dance competition.

When the Huckster opens his mouth I'm reminded of the inbred kid in the beginning of Deliverance.

Posted by: filmnoia | March 4, 2011
======================================

And when I read filmnoia's comments, I'm reminded of the character portrayed by Bill McKinney ("squeal, boy, squeal like a pig!") in another scene from DELIVERANCE. They seem to have much in common.

Hey filmnoia, does Obama remind you more of Stepin Fetchit or Willie Best? Be honest now.

Posted by: Brigade | March 4, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

"There are many other convincing quotes that PROVE many Democrats, like Republicans, were convinced Saddam had WMD even before Bush was elected. Key Democrats were privy to all of the same intelligence. The fact that they later chose to lie to gullible idiots like prag and Jenn is disgraceful."

Oh, so now the people who DIDN'T believe the lies that some Democrats were foolish enough to believe along with all you yahoos are the ones who were the "gullible idiots"?

I knew the Bushies were lying about "the case for war" way back in October of 2002. You cling to it still, with the excuse that because some Democrats were foolish or spineless enough to go along, that it means all of us who knew it was a sham all along are the REAL idiots.

Sure, whatever you say, PeeWee.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 4, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Do they raise sheep in Arkansas?

Posted by: eezmamata | March 4, 2011
================================

Slick Willie kept one tied to a stump behind the Governor's mansion.

Posted by: Brigade | March 4, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have to realize that just because they have majorities in the Wisconsin Congress doesn't mean they can pass the laws they want.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 4, 2011 5:29 PM
=======================================

Hahahahahaha. I suppose not as long as the Democrats are all in Illinois. How long will that last after the layoff notices hit the mailboxes? DDAWD wins the prize for the dumbest post of the day. He might as well just keep it; no one else ever has much of a chance.

Posted by: Brigade | March 4, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans are seizing on rising costs as evidence that the new health care law includes expensive features, but insurers say premiums are rising because of demand and cost of care."

Now that they wrote it and passed it, the industry is defending the ACA, I guess we can agree, the ACA is not health reform. It is a lot more of the same industry.

Obviously Republicans are maroons, but it is pretty funny to me; insurers are defending rising costs even as, during the debates, Republicans were desperately defending the industry against government takeover*, as if the health insurance industry were somehow some part of the fabric of patriotism.

Rising health care costs, both sides agree! One loves ACA, one hates it, but that is a win for the industry.

*the health industry took over its branch of government, the bleeding edge of the trend

Posted by: shrink2 | March 4, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

life in Attica would be perfect, but the feds don't really have anything bad enough for these people.
---------------------------------------------------
That's where Dante comes in. What would he have devised?

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | March 4, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

""That's where Dante comes in. What would he have devised?""

There's only one suitable punishment: Complete confiscation of all assets, and force the offender to get a job washing dishes at Applebee's for a minimum of five years.
.

Posted by: jprestonian | March 4, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Oh, so now the people who DIDN'T believe the lies that some Democrats were foolish enough to believe along with all you yahoos are the ones who were the "gullible idiots"?

I knew the Bushies were lying about "the case for war" way back in October of 2002. You cling to it still, with the excuse that because some Democrats were foolish or spineless enough to go along, that it means all of us who knew it was a sham all along are the REAL idiots.

Sure, whatever you say, PeeWee.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 4, 2011 7:22 PM
======================================

Haven't you ever been advised to keep quiet and be thought a fool rather than to keep posting and remove all doubt? If all of the specialists and their medical tests tell you that you have cancer and need an operation to survive, but your crazy uncle Buford tells you he doesn't trust doctors, to whom are you going to listen? If the tumor turns out to be benign, that still doesn't mean you should have listened to your uncle Buford; it just means that once in a great while the doctors get it wrong.

Based on the intelligence information available at the time, to have voted against authorization for the invasion of Iraq would have been wholly irresponsible. This issue was raised in the 2008 Democratic primary. Hillary was right; Obama was wrong---even though the only people he represented in 2001 were Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright. Responsible people make their decisions based on the best evidence available at the time. Sometimes it's wrong. But only morons listen to their uncle Buford.

Posted by: Brigade | March 4, 2011 7:41 PM | Report abuse

"We'll see if the feds flipping Lloyd Blankfein into testifying against one of his own will rip the lid off of rats' nest: your American financial industry. Not holding my breath, but it is a start. I do not believe in capital punishment for this class of white collar criminal, life in Attica would be perfect, but the feds don't really have anything bad enough for these people."

Hi all! Hope everyone's having a great night!

Hope they keep him away from asprin!
http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2009/09/blagos_go-to_guy_dead_of_appar.html

Thanks for reading (if you choose to ;-))!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 4, 2011 7:45 PM | Report abuse

So, let me get this straight - Democratic people who couldn't believe any true American, especially the President & his team, would purposefully lie to get America into war thus hurting the USA in many, many ways are the "bad guys"????? Don't worry, that will never happen again. We've seen that Republics truly hate America & will happily destroy it for their own gain so, don't worry, we'll never fall for the lies of the Republics again. PS I'm really tired of seeing the immature, across the board use by Repubs of the term "Democrat (fill in the blank)" instead of the proper "Democratic...". It's infantile, pathetic & transparent.

Posted by: soundpam | March 4, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

"Obviously Republicans are maroons"

Hi shrink! Obviously, is right! Why, those "maroons" didn't even vote for "*the health industry [take] over [of] its branch of government, the bleeding edge of the trend". Wow! It's almost as if these idiots saw this coming? Hunh. Go figure. ;-)

Keep up the eyepopping work all! :-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 4, 2011 7:55 PM | Report abuse

So, let me get this straight - Democratic people who couldn't believe any true American, especially the President & his team, would purposefully lie to get America into war thus hurting the USA in many, many ways are the "bad guys"?????
-----------------------------------------------------
Don't worry about it.

Every husband caught in flagrante has used this excuse: "You mean you believed me! You deserve to be cheated on, you're so dumb."

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | March 4, 2011 7:59 PM | Report abuse

"PS I'm really tired of seeing the immature, across the board use by Repubs of the term "Democrat (fill in the blank)" instead of the proper "Democratic...". It's infantile, pathetic & transparent."

Hi soapm! I'm with you! Like a buncha spoiled, silver-spooned, knuckle-dragging, drooling embiciles! Tighten it up WingNuts!"

The nerve!

Great read today everybody! ;-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 4, 2011 7:59 PM | Report abuse

"Obviously Republicans are maroons.
Hi shrink! Obviously, is right!"

I don't know, chopping up posts so they make people look stupid just isn't as fun for me as it seems to be for Republicans.
I'll never do it again. That was it, one and done.

"Like a buncha spoiled, silver-spooned, knuckle-dragging, drooling embiciles! Tighten it up WingNuts!"

Sheesh, speaking of tightening it up. Democrats are spoiled silver spooned: that is the straight story. Soros, you know, get with the pogrom Troll.

Republicans are the mouth breathing booger eaters, etc.

Troll, if you are going to do class war, you have to style your position as the beleaguered, the hard working underclass.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 4, 2011 8:12 PM | Report abuse

@brigand: Based on the intelligence information available at the time, to have voted against authorization for the invasion of Iraq would have been wholly irresponsible.

Correction: The doctored intelligence that the bushies forced fed the congress. BTW, I still haven't seen the apology from Rummy and Georgie to Al Baradei for dissing him when it turns out he was right about Saddam's weapons capabilities and they were totally wrong.

Would that be the ginned up intelligence information put out by rummy and the office of special plans? Would that be the intelligence from serial liar "curveball" who has admitted lying through his teeth to try and topple Saddam? (Both the Germans and the British strongly cautioned the Bush intelligence (oxymoron) apparatus that curveball was not credible to say the least, but what do those surrender monkeys know about anything?) Maybe the information was based on Cheney's reports of conversations Atta had in Prague? But please continue to defend the single worst foreign policy disaster since the Gulf of Tonkin resolution and the Viet Nam invasion, and the episode that will cement Bush the younger as the worst president of the 20th century (including Hoover) and perhaps of all US history (although Johnson and Buchanan do come close).

There was plenty of contemporaneous information and reporting from the small minority of responsible journalists actually doing investigative reporting and not stenography debunking 90% of the Bush admin's serial lying about Saddam and his capabilities, the right's role in propping up Saddam during St Ronnie's dimentia tinged presidency, etc. But please keep reminding everyone about the last time repubs were in charge of foreign policy and how they killed 4000++ americans, maimed 10s of thousands more, killed 200K+++ innocent Iraqi civilians, and called creating a Shiite dominated state, heavily influenced by Iran, hostile to Israel "what victory looks like". All while squandering well over 1 trillion dollars (not counting the long term care and rehabilitation of the 30K wounded service people--probably another trillion over the next 20-30 years), much of it funneled back to the criminal Blackwater group and Cheney's Halliburton or going to swiss bank accounts of Iraqi "public servants."

The wholly irresponsible actions were those of the bushies.

Posted by: srw3 | March 4, 2011 8:15 PM | Report abuse

So, let me get this straight - Democratic people who couldn't believe any true American, especially the President & his team, would purposefully lie to get America into war thus hurting the USA in many, many ways are the "bad guys"?????

Posted by: soundpam | March 4, 2011 7:48 PM
==========================================

You poor sap. Being mistaken is not the same thing as lying. Nobody is saying the Democrats who voted to authorize the war were lying, at the time, to get us into war. However, when it turned out that there were no WMD in Iraq, no politician wanted to admit making a mistake. So the Republicans looked for secondary justification, and the Democrats turned to the despicable tactic of saying they had been bamboozled, evidently by Clinton's man Tenet. And liberals lapped up the lies rather than holding their heroes accountable for making a mistake.

And what have we now? Osama Bin Laden left Afghanistan long ago; there are few if any members of Al Qaeda left there; but because Obama sold it as "the war we SHOULD be fighting" during the campaign, he has now tripled down on what Bush was doing there. Do you expect to find WMD in Afghanistan? If not, why aren't you screaming about that waste of money and manpower? Are you a neo-con?

Posted by: Brigade | March 4, 2011 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Ironically, Briggie reminds me of the other side of that conversation in Deliverance.

@sbj3 - Congress plays no role in enforcing laws. The irony would be in complaining about Obama's stance given Bush's proclivity towards signing statements. I sign this law (but my fingers are crossed behind my back).

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 4, 2011 8:30 PM | Report abuse

If the historian Barbara Tuchman wrote a sequel to her famous history "The March of Folly", she would add the Iraq War, no doubt about it.

It was not impossible to suspect before the invasion, that the Iraq War was folly and a lot of people doubted the wisdom and truth of the myriad justifications, although few realized the whole web of untruths. That is the condition it takes to be one of her major historical follies-- that it was known contemporaneously that the venture was a big mistake.

It would be appended right after the folly of the Vietnam War, which looks positively brilliant in comparison. "If you think history books are dull drudgery with no real point, this is a book to read. By examining cases where the system was unable to work in its own self-interest, Tuchman gets at the heart of human folly on small as well as large scales."

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | March 4, 2011 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Jenn, how did you *know* GWB was lying?

I thought, after talking to a War College prof, that GWB was overstating the need for an invasion [because my late friend told me the "no fly" zone was working and could be tightened to meet any foreseeable threat]. But I had no reason to believe GWB was lying, or that the intelligence was doctored.

I also listened to Tony Blair's incredibly powerful speech to commons. That convinced me to support the invasion. I freely admit to having been wrong in hindsight, and the original suspicion I had, not that GWB was lying, but that we would find ourselves with our own massive West Bank problem to face if we attacked, proved true.

Wes Clark said the same thing my War College prof friend said, but publicly: Iraq was a threat, but not one we could not handle through the "no fly" zone.

Again, how did you *know* he was lying? Were you privy to information not available to the general public or the Congress?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2011 8:36 PM | Report abuse

"Troll, if you are going to do class war, you have to style your position as the beleaguered, the hard working underclass. "

LOL, shrink! But let's face facts here, this is the Plum Line. Trying to paint "Repubs" (see what I did there soappam? Goose, gander, that'll show 'em!) as anything other than the epitome of pure evil (and that's on a good day, when we've only committed half of our usual atrocities, and our Dark Lord, Cheney, is left unsatisfied and petulant) isn't gonna fly! Remember, everything we do is to bring the good, decent, Gaia fearing posters on the Plum Line to their knees. We're the "Repubs" (a twofer soappam, I bet they freak out over that!), and we're the highest class, caste and race (not, according to Greg, whom would agree that he nor none of the other liberal { lefty. You're welcome.} here would accuse of being majority motivated by race.) who RULE by divine providence! I leave the underdog whininess to [the hated and feared, from a "Repub" [;-)] "other[s]".

Thanks for the help though! It's nice to know you got my back!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 4, 2011 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Pearls from srw3:

"Correction: The doctored intelligence that the bushies forced fed the congress."

Not a good way to start if you expect anyone to take your points seriously. Did "the bushies" force feed Pelosi and Albright in 1998 and 1999 when Clinton was President? You conveniently overlook any facts that don't support your idiotic conspiracy theory. See the quotes above.
-------

"Would that be the ginned up intelligence information put out by rummy and the office of special plans? Would that be the intelligence from serial liar "curveball" who has admitted lying through his teeth to try and topple Saddam?"

Why don't you get hold of Pelosi and Albright and ask them how much influence "rummy" had on the opinions they formed while Clinton was President?
-------

"But please continue to defend the single worst foreign policy disaster since the Gulf of Tonkin resolution and the Viet Nam invasion"

I wasn't defending it. I was simply pointing out the obvious: it was a BIPARTISAN screw-up. Your inability to understand and accept this tells me logic and rationality are not your strong suits.
-------

"There was plenty of contemporaneous information and reporting from the small minority of responsible journalists actually doing investigative reporting and not stenography debunking 90% of the Bush admin's serial lying about Saddam and his capabilities"

You've debunked your own theory. A "small minority of responsible journalists?" There are always conflicting views; most of your Democratic heroes floated their sticks with the Bush administration. They looked at the evidence, and they made their choices. I know that's hard for a blind partisan to accept, but it's a fact---they didn't listen or believe the "small minority" you mention. If things were so obvious to an idiot like you, how do you suppose people like Kennedy, Kerry and Clinton were so easily snookered? Maybe you should run for office.
-------

"But please keep reminding everyone about the last time repubs were in charge of foreign policy and how they killed . . . blah, blah, blah . . ."

Well, they aren't in charge of foreign policy now, so I'll ask you the same question I asked soundpam---what exactly are we doing in Afghanistan and are there any WMD there? Aren't people still dying? Don't wars still cost money now that Obama's in the White House?
-----

And special thanks to ScottC3 for cataloging those wonderful Democratic quotes that forever put the lie to one of the left's favorite talking points.

All the best.

Posted by: Brigade | March 4, 2011 8:50 PM | Report abuse

"Again, how did you *know* he was lying? Were you privy to information not available to the general public or the Congress?"

Ah mark, poor, sweet, naive mark. (shakes head in sadness) everybody "knows"! Common knowledge man. Everybody says so. You're welcome,

Great comments tonight everybody! Supremely educational!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 4, 2011 8:55 PM | Report abuse

"Responsible people make their decisions based on the best evidence available at the time."

Yes. "Best evidence at the time" came from people like Hans Blix, who said they could find no WMDs, people at Oak Ridge labs who said those rusty aluminum tubes could not be used to refine uranium, the experts who shot down the laughable idea of "mobile bio-weapons labs", the British grad student whose thesis was cribbed for the UN presentation, and yes, the laughable for any SANE and REASONABLE person claim that Saddam was going to pilot a flotilla of remote-controlled model airplanes over our nation to spray us with anthrax - which was evidence that they didn't have SQUAT in terms of evidence, because otherwise they would have had no need of advancing such patently absurd notions - all said that there was nothing there. It doesn't matter what some politico chose to believe; this information was available to EVERYONE who followed all sides of what was a clearly lopsided debate characterized by media cheerleading and a decision that was made by the Bushies before they ever took office.

Responsible people use their own brains; they don't count on others to do all the thinking. While a responsible person will usually weight their opinion based on what other people they respect and believe to be reasonable believe, they do not forfeit to those people their RESPONSIBILITY to think things through for themselves. Therefore, when I see that Bob Graham, or Hillary Clinton, or whoever believed whatever, and weigh it against "the best evidence at the time" outlined above, I don't just decide to believe what someone else, who has a personal political agenda, believes. I do the RESPONSIBLE thing and conclude that in this case, Bob Graham and Hillary Clinton are WRONG, and just because I happen to agree with them most of the time, this time THEY'RE WRONG.

THAT is how RESPONSIBLE people make decisions.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 4, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Do the ones here who favor an immediate withdrawal from AFG agree or disagree with the positions stated by these two senators:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/03/AR2011030304229.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions

If you agree with their analysis, do you favor continuing aid to AFG?

Do you weigh cost-benefit and think the cost going forward outweighs the benefit [to us and to our allies]?

Some of you at each end of the spectrum want out of AFG, so I am curious if the reasoning is the same for all.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

"Thanks for the help though! It's nice to know you got my back!"

You don't have to worry about me. I'm right behind you.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 4, 2011 9:03 PM | Report abuse

@mark_in_austin "I also listened to Tony Blair's incredibly powerful speech to commons. That convinced me to support the invasion. I freely admit to having been wrong in hindsight, and the original suspicion I had, not that GWB was lying, but that we would find ourselves with our own massive West Bank problem to face if we attacked, proved true."

Worth rereading:

"But first, Iraq and its WMD.

In April 1991, after the Gulf war, Iraq was given 15 days to provide a full and final declaration of all its WMD.

Saddam had used the weapons against Iran, against his own people, causing thousands of deaths. He had had plans to use them against allied forces. It became clear after the Gulf war that the WMD ambitions of Iraq were far more extensive than hitherto thought. This issue was identified by the UN as one for urgent remedy. Unscom, the weapons inspection team, was set up. They were expected to complete their task following the declaration at the end of April 1991.

The declaration when it came was false - a blanket denial of the programme, other than in a very tentative form. So the 12-year game began.

The inspectors probed. Finally in March 1992, Iraq admitted it had previously undeclared WMD but said it had destroyed them. It gave another full and final declaration. Again the inspectors probed but found little.

In October 1994, Iraq stopped cooperating with Unscom altogether. Military action was threatened. Inspections resumed. In March 1995, in an effort to rid Iraq of the inspectors, a further full and final declaration of WMD was made. By July 1995, Iraq was forced to admit that too was false. In August they provided yet another full and final declaration.

Then, a week later, Saddam's son-in-law, Hussein Kamal, defected to Jordan. He disclosed a far more extensive BW (biological weapons) programme and for the first time said Iraq had weaponised the programme; something Saddam had always strenuously denied. All this had been happening whilst the inspectors were in Iraq. Kamal also revealed Iraq's crash programme to produce a nuclear weapon in 1990.

Iraq was forced then to release documents which showed just how extensive those programmes were. In November 1995, Jordan intercepted prohibited components for missiles that could be used for WMD.

In June 1996, a further full and final declaration was made. That too turned out to be false. In June 1997, inspectors were barred from specific sites.

In September 1997, another full and final declaration was made. Also false. Meanwhile the inspectors discovered VX nerve agent production equipment, something always denied by the Iraqis.

In October 1997, the US and the UK threatened military action if Iraq refused to comply with the inspectors. But obstruction continued."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2003/mar/18/foreignpolicy.iraq1

Posted by: jnc4p | March 4, 2011 9:08 PM | Report abuse

"Finally, under threat of action, in February 1998, Kofi Annan went to Baghdad and negotiated a memorandum with Saddam to allow inspections to continue. They did. For a few months.

In August, cooperation was suspended.

In December the inspectors left. Their final report is a withering indictment of Saddam's lies, deception and obstruction, with large quantities of WMD remained unaccounted for.

The US and the UK then, in December 1998, undertook Desert Fox, a targeted bombing campaign to degrade as much of the Iraqi WMD facilities as we could.

In 1999, a new inspections team, Unmovic, was set up. But Saddam refused to allow them to enter Iraq.

So there they stayed, in limbo, until after resolution 1441 when last November they were allowed to return.

What is the claim of Saddam today? Why exactly the same claim as before: that he has no WMD.

Indeed we are asked to believe that after seven years of obstruction and non-compliance finally resulting in the inspectors leaving in 1998, seven years in which he hid his programme, built it up even whilst inspection teams were in Iraq, that after they left he then voluntarily decided to do what he had consistently refused to do under coercion.

When the inspectors left in 1998, they left unaccounted for: 10,000 litres of anthrax; a far reaching VX nerve agent programme; up to 6,500 chemical munitions; at least 80 tonnes of mustard gas, possibly more than ten times that amount; unquantifiable amounts of sarin, botulinum toxin and a host of other biological poisons; an entire Scud missile programme.

We are now seriously asked to accept that in the last few years, contrary to all history, contrary to all intelligence, he decided unilaterally to destroy the weapons. Such a claim is palpably absurd.

1441 is a very clear resolution. It lays down a final opportunity for Saddam to disarm. It rehearses the fact that he has been, for years in material breach of 17 separate UN resolutions. It says that this time compliance must be full, unconditional and immediate. The first step is a full and final declaration of all WMD to be given on 8 December.

I won't to go through all the events since then - the house is familiar with them - but this much is accepted by all members of the UNSC: the 8 December declaration is false. That in itself is a material breach. Iraq has made some concessions to cooperation but no-one disputes it is not fully cooperating. Iraq continues to deny it has any WMD, though no serious intelligence service anywhere in the world believes them"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2003/mar/18/foreignpolicy.iraq1

Posted by: jnc4p | March 4, 2011 9:12 PM | Report abuse

"Again, how did you *know* he was lying? Were you privy to information not available to the general public or the Congress?"

mark_in_austin - see my above answer.

People use the best points they have to make their case. If one of the things you consider to be your "best points" involves trying to scare everyone with the idea that some Dr. Evil-type character is going to attack them with remote-controlled model planes, keeping in mind that we're talking of a Dr. Evil some 5 or 6,000 miles away, with no naval fleet to speak of, is going to attack the nation with the most powerful military defense in the history of the world with fricken' model airplanes - and succeed - and that this constitutes a reason for war...well then, you don't have a case. Otherwise you'd advance a more reasonable, plausible scenario.

Put another way, if anyone had asked Lincoln what started the hostilities in the Civil War, you could easily say "Fort Sumter" or "secession". Pretty easy to answer. Ditto for FDR - Pearl Harbor. But when the Bushies were asked about the case for war, they'd say "so and so believes that Saddam has WMDs". Hans Blix would say, where are they? And that would lead to a wild goose chase. When they said "these aluminum tubes are for use in refining uranimum" and people at Oak Ridge, who knew what types of tubes were needed for refining uranium said no, those couldn't be used for that, they moved on to the next BS rationale, which, IN EVERY CASE, would be convincingly disputed and deconstructed by actual EXPERTS within a week or so. This pattern went on from September of 2002 right up through the invasion in March 2003. Colin Powell's presentation showed pictures of "suspected bio-weapons labs" which turned out to be concrete factories. Much of his presentation proved to be cribbed from a grad student thesis on stuff that was in Iraq after the first Gulf War - stuff that was dismantled, etc YEARS before the cribbed thesis was presented as fresh intelligence. And we all know how those claims of "yellowcake" turned out.

None of this was a secret to anyone who was really paying attention through the whole thing. When every thing you throw against the wall fails to stick, as it did with the "case for war" for anyone really keeping informed on all sides, there's no way you could have failed to know they were lying.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 4, 2011 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Therefore, when I see that Bob Graham, or Hillary Clinton, or whoever believed whatever, and weigh it against "the best evidence at the time" outlined above, I don't just decide to believe what someone else, who has a personal political agenda, believes. I do the RESPONSIBLE thing and conclude that in this case, Bob Graham and Hillary Clinton are WRONG, and just because I happen to agree with them most of the time, this time THEY'RE WRONG.

THAT is how RESPONSIBLE people make decisions.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 4, 2011 8:56 PM
=========================================

Fortunately, you have the luxury of using hindsight to make the "RESPONSIBLE" decision. I'm like mark_in_austin in that respect. I was in favor of the Iraq war before I was against it. And I don't mind admitting that seeing Kerry, Kennedy, Clinton, Byrd, Pelosi, et al., on the side of the Bush administration helped convince me to support the effort.

Consider again:

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
-- Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

Note that he says this is "the common belief"---nothing there indicates he may be getting bamboozled.
-------

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
-- Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

"We have known for many years" even though Bush had not yet served two years as President.
-------

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
-- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

Wow! "Unmistakable evidence!" Doesn't sound like he's pulling his punches.
-------

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
-- Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

"Compelling evidence"---I guess Graham totally ignored that "minority" or responsible journalists.
-------

"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real..."
-- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

That pretty much says it all. "WITHOUT QUESTION" we need to disarm Saddam.

There's just no way out of this, Jenn, unless your point is that these Democratic leaders are fools, and someone like you should hold their seats.

Thanks again Scott.

Posted by: Brigade | March 4, 2011 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Mark, getting out is imperative.

How, the timing and the victorious rationalization, that has to be left up to the people who did it. Obama, too all the AfPak warriors, don't think you can't drop the question of the solution to the steaming pile into the laps of some people and say here, now, you deal with it.

A few years ago I said we should buy the entire opium crop, $7 a kilo at the farmers gate. The only question now is how to get out of that place as fast as possible.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 4, 2011 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Frankly it's amazing to me that some on this blog are defending the people who were wrong and attacking the people who were right as irresponsible not to have been equally duped.

Perhaps the right questions at this point in time, is not who was stupid enough to be duped, but what could we have done differently to address the risk we felt as a nation, but not make the incredible blunder that we did.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | March 4, 2011 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Jenn, I appreciate your defense of your position. I never thought he had nukes, but I also must point out that aluminum tubes do not rust. I believed he had plenty of poison gas, because he had used it against three enemies, foreign and domestic, and that is why we imposed the UN sanctioned "no fly" zone.

Did he have bio-weapons? Turns out, not so much, but *he* thought he did and we had picked up that chatter, as contractors reported to him that they had capabilities they did not have. That was how they got funding from him.

I thought this was so much more complicated to parse than you did, but I am always impressed by clarity, when i do not have it.

Sadd

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2011 9:26 PM | Report abuse

No, Brigade, it's not "luxury of hindsight" - I was right at the time, and you, and all the people who you blindly followed, were WRONG.

Mostly because you just paid no attention to the evidence that all this stuff that all these people were saying was pretty conclusively debunked in short order by people who were actually in better positions to know what the facts were. At the time, most of those folks who were saying, hey, wait, that's not right were roundly criticized as America-hating traitors at the time because, hey, when the experts say your ginned-up lies are lies, and you can't prove otherwise with evidence or facts, it's easier to just question their patriotism.

I suspect in your case that's largely how you ended up getting suckered by such a blatant con - your preference was for believing that the nuclear scientists at Oak Ridge were a bunch of Islamofascist America haters rather than that your sainted president and his cronies were playing you for a rube.

Hindsight's got nothing to do with why I was right and you were wrong.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 4, 2011 9:27 PM | Report abuse

"Bush lied" has become Democratic dogma at this point. There's no point using logic to argue against it.

A big part of this is due to the debate over how far along Iraq's nuclear program was being conflated with a debate over whether or not Iraq still had chemical and biological weapons, which everyone believed he did. Bush should have never raised the uranium issue and just stuck to chemical and biological.

Note that Saddam was not entitled to the benefit of the doubt or "innocent until proven guilty". Under the terms of the 1991 cease fire, he had a positive obligation to prove he no longer had WMD's which he refused to do. The best analysis I heard on this was a 60 Minutes piece that argued that he intentionally misled the world into thinking he still had the weapons.

"That June 2000 speech was about weapons of mass destruction. In talking casually about that speech, Saddam began to tell the story of his weapons. It was a breakthrough that had taken five months.

"Oh, you couldn't imagine the excitement that I was feeling at that point," Piro remembers.

"And what did he tell you about how his weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed?" Pelley asks.

"He told me that most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the '90s. And those that hadn't been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq," Piro says.

"So why keep the secret? Why put your nation at risk, why put your own life at risk to maintain this charade?" Pelley asks.

"It was very important for him to project that because that was what kept him, in his mind, in power. That capability kept the Iranians away. It kept them from reinvading Iraq," Piro says.

Before his wars with America, Saddam had fought a ruinous eight year war with Iran and it was Iran he still feared the most.

"He believed that he couldn't survive without the perception that he had weapons of mass destruction?" Pelley asks.

"Absolutely," Piro says.

"As the U.S. marched toward war and we began massing troops on his border, why didn't he stop it then? And say, 'Look, I have no weapons of mass destruction.' I mean, how could he have wanted his country to be invaded?" Pelley asks.

"He didn't. But he told me he initially miscalculated President Bush. And President Bush's intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998 under Operation Desert Fox. Which was a four-day aerial attack. So you expected that initially," Piro says.

Piro says Saddam expected some kind of an air campaign and that he could he survive that. "He survived that once. And then he was willing to accept that type of attack. That type of damage," he says."

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/01/24/60minutes/main3749494.shtml

Posted by: jnc4p | March 4, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

jnc4p, thanks. I watched it on PBS as he gave it.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Do the ones here who favor an immediate withdrawal from AFG agree or disagree with the positions stated by these two senators:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/03/AR2011030304229.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions

If you agree with their analysis, do you favor continuing aid to AFG?

Do you weigh cost-benefit and think the cost going forward outweighs the benefit [to us and to our allies]?

Some of you at each end of the spectrum want out of AFG, so I am curious if the reasoning is the same for all.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2011 9:02 PM
======================================

I'm a knee-jerk isolationist. I had no problem with the initial attack on Afghanistan, but I would have preferred we not let Bin Laden escape. The Taliban are not going anywhere. They live in Afghanistan. We can't stay there forever. Worry about killing terrorists, not counter-insurgency and nation building. The smaller our presence in the region, the better I'll like it. Levin and Reed's piece sounds like more of the same old same. I'm not optimistic, because this is now a bipartisan debacle.

Now we have McCain, Lieberman and Kerry all wanting to knock out Libya's air defenses and set up a no-fly zone. Madness. I wonder if Pat Buchanan could get elected President.

Posted by: Brigade | March 4, 2011 9:38 PM | Report abuse

OK, OK, you were right!

Now get back to running NSA. You shouldn't waste taxpayer money fiddling about on a stupid blog.

Posted by: tao9 | March 4, 2011 9:39 PM | Report abuse

mark - excuse use of "rusted" - the tubes were corroded, degraded. As if they had been laying around for quite some time, which in fact, they had been. Poison gas does not have an infinite shelf life and plenty of folks were on hand to testify that stuff Saddam HAD had in the aftermath of Gulf War would have long ago degraded; there had been enough disruption of the regime through those 8 or 9 years that people who had actually been there thought it unlikely that those stores could have been rebuilt in the interim, and of course weapons inspectors found nothing, all the "leads" led to nothing...it was just completely implausible that there was this burgeoning WMD program underway. Certainly nothing to suggest that there was such an URGENCY for an invasion that weapons inspectors weren't allowed to continue their work. You order those guys out when their continued presence continues to weaken your case. And you can't have that undercut, when you've been building up your military presence for a full 6 months already, can you? What, you're gonna let those jackholes spoil the party by continuing to disprove your claims, and force you to bring all that stuff back home without using it?

Like I said, no one questioned why FDR declared war when he did. What was that final straw, the one thing that decided we just had to go into Iraq on the date we did? No one has ever been able to answer that question. No one ever even asked it of Bush, though as noted, when war is the only solution, it's not a question that even needs to be asked.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 4, 2011 9:40 PM | Report abuse

"Hindsight's got nothing to do with why I was right and you were wrong."

Congratulations! You win the blog! Treasure it, I beg you!

Again, Congratulations!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 4, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Troll! I just hope others can learn from my wisdom. I'm all about sharing!

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 4, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Hindsight's got nothing to do with why I was right and you were wrong.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 4, 2011 9:27 PM
========================================

Maybe you were right. We'll have to take your word for it, since none of us were hanging around this blog ten years ago. But I still contend that you were not right because your decision was rational. You can't convince me that you are more astute or were in a better position to evaluate the evidence than people like Colin Powell, John Kerry, Bob Graham, et al.---I won't even mention the "bushies" with the exception of Powell. These guys may be low down partisan politicians, but I don't really think they're stupid---some of my previous posts notwithstanding---and don't have such a low opinion of them that I believe they'd take matters of war and peace lightly or deliberately lie the country into war.

Posted by: Brigade | March 4, 2011 9:53 PM | Report abuse

These guys may be low down partisan politicians, but I don't really think they're stupid---some of my previous posts notwithstanding---and don't have such a low opinion of them that I believe they'd take matters of war and peace lightly or deliberately lie the country into war.
--------------------------------------------
But, they were wrong. They assembled the puzzle and got the wrong answers. They were lied to, or lied, or innocently made a colossal mistake, or a combination. Whether you want to call it stupid or not, it was a huge, expensive mistake. Fifty years from now, people will have no trouble calling it stupid.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | March 4, 2011 10:00 PM | Report abuse

In point of fact, Powell didn't take it lightly. I hardly think he was pleased when, within a scant 10 days of his presentation, it was proven that large parts of it were cribbed from a grad thesis, that a tape that had been presented had been edited, that pictures he showed of WMD/bioweapons labs were proven to be concrete factories. Statements from Powell himself and close associates from that time illustrate his anger at having been lied to. Certainly he based his attitude on the same evidence I did, which just goes to show why you shouldn't unquestioningly accept what one side says as unassailable until the other side has had a chance to weigh in. Powell didn't have that luxury, but the rest of us did.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 4, 2011 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Oooops! No wonder Barry thinks that "cutting" from a never-approved nor enacted budget equals "but, we're meeting them halfway!"

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/03/04/sebelius-yes-were-double-counting-medicare-savings/

Obviously, we're in the best of hands! Heckuva job, Kathy!

Great comments so far everybody! My personal thanks! :-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 4, 2011 10:06 PM | Report abuse

shrink and brigade, thanks for your input on AFG. I am trying to analyze it from here, forward, as an optimization problem. So much has happened that it is difficult to limit the information of nine years of war to lessons, and not weigh the lives and costs already spent.

I tend toward thinking we should be reducing our military presence and increasing our civilian and financial support; even buying off the poppy farmers, as shrink suggested. Then I tend toward thinking the problem is Pakistan, why waste lives and money in a rockpile with a crooked regime?

Either way, I am becoming impatient, but that is no basis for a decision; in my business patience is the ultimate virtue.
So I do not trust my emotional response to this matter, and I do not trust that I can outguess Levin or Reed or Petraeus or the late Special Envoy or the Prez.

Thanks again.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2011 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Filmnoia and Brigade: I believe you're thinking of Sessions and Barbour.

Posted by: joeff | March 4, 2011 11:06 PM | Report abuse

"Then I tend toward thinking the problem is Pakistan"

It is and more. That is what no one wants to talk about. Taliban? Who cares? Nukes, well, that matters...

"in my business patience is the ultimate virtue."

What a wonderful business. People who have to make decisions in response to time lines that are not theirs to control, for them timing is not the only everything. And patience is only a virtue.

There are some excellent academic articles about now about Pakistan v India and such, but nothing I've seen changes my opinion: USA needs to declare victory and get out of Afghanistan.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 4, 2011 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it does much good to re-hash all the evidence or lack of evidence for going to war in Iraq. Mistakes were made and history will judge the results. A lot of us had doubts, some stronger than others, and some were gung ho, let's do it. Hindsight shows us we probably shouldn't have engaged and I doubt in the long run it will be viewed as a victory overall. I think the best thing we can do now is keep pressure on our elected officials to get out of Afghanistan sooner rather than later, we did learn some lessons afterall. I'm seeing a coalition of right and left coming together to end this thing but progress is slow in this country and we'll want to save face along the way.

This is an interesting piece re the budget and the American public. I'm not a huge poll watcher until the preponderance of results categorically spells out what the people believe and want from their government. Lately though it seems the people are getting things more right than our elected leaders from either side. Many of you know I'm an equal opportunity critic.

""Tell the public what the federal budget is, and then ask them how they would change it. We can't do this on a massive scale without breaking up the corporate media cartel, but pollsters can do it with sample groups, as was just done here (and also six years ago here) with predictable results that of course almost nobody, statistically speaking, could have predicted. It turns out that the budgets produced by the White House and Congress in no way resemble the budget Americans would write. The biggest difference is that the public would significantly cut the military, while the White House and Congress would increase it.

There are lots of other differences too. The public, unlike the White House or the Congress, would cut space spending . The public would more than double investment in renewable energy and conservation, while the President would increase it only 44% and the House Republicans would cut it by 36%. The public would increase spending on controlling pollution by 17%, while Obama would cut it by 13% and the House would cut it by 39%. The public would more than double spending on job training while Obama would cut it slightly and the Republicans cut it substantially. The public would boost higher education spending by 92% while Obama would only raise it 9% and the Republicans cut it 26%. The public would cut foreign aid to dictatorships but increase humanitarian assistance abroad. The White House and Congress? Not even on the same page with us. The public and the President both want to cut subsidies to big agriculture, but the public is alone in wanting that funding to assist small farmers.""

http://warisacrime.org/content/people-v-us-govt

Posted by: lmsinca | March 4, 2011 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Forgot this part from the above link.

""And here's the big gap between the people and the politicians. The public wants to raise more money by cutting the military and by taxing the wealthy, taxing wealthy estates, taxing corporations, taxing alcohol, taxing soft drinks, taxing hedge fund managers' income, and by charging a crisis fee to large banks. A plurality of 49% of the public also wants to tax carbon dioxide emissions. A strong majority does not want a sales tax. The White House and Congress, in contrast, prefer a combination of going into debt and slashing basic services. The public reduces the deficit dramatically. The President increases it, and Congress leaves it about where it was before.""

Posted by: lmsinca | March 4, 2011 11:49 PM | Report abuse

I doubt many of you have been following this if you're not from CA, but we have a new insurance commissioner, Dave Jones, and he's taking on the insurance industry. I'm a member of CA One Care, a group that's pushing single payer here, and he's become a bit of a champion to us. If you're interested there's some video at he link. BS/BC is pushing us to the limit and I think they just might lose this time, I know, I know, it's a pipe dream.

""Does everyone know that in Canada, single payer began at the provincial level in Saskatchew­an and then eventually­, as more provinces embraced universal health care, the federal government got on board. This is how it will happen in the United States, but it will take all of us.""

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/03/04/952743/-California-message-to-insurers:-Game-over,-bloodsuckers

Posted by: lmsinca | March 5, 2011 12:08 AM | Report abuse

One more, then I'll leave y'all alone. You know that new bill Gov. Perry's about to sign, not sure if you know the details or not but just in case you were interested.

""Women seeking an abortion would have to first get an ultrasound under a measure approved on Thursday by the Texas House of Representatives.

The proposal, the first significant bill considered by the House this year, was designated by Republican Governor Rick Perry as an emergency priority. A similar measure has already been approved by the state Senate.

Women would have to get an ultrasound between 24 and 72 hours before an abortion, the bill says. They would view the sonogram, hear an explanation of the image and listen to the heartbeat, if it is audible.

"We want to make sure that they're fully informed, that they understand the medical consequences, the psychological consequences and everything involved in the procedure," said the bill's author, Republican state Rep. Sid Miller.

Opponents said that the requirement would traumatize women already in a difficult situation. During debate on the House floor, bill opponent Rep. Carol Alvarado held up a trans-vaginal probe used for sonograms early in pregnancy to illustrate what she called a "very intrusive process."

"This is not the jelly on the belly that most of you think," said Alvarado, a Houston Democrat. "This is government intrusion at its best."""

Posted by: lmsinca | March 5, 2011 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Sorry the above was h/t Digby

Posted by: lmsinca | March 5, 2011 12:15 AM | Report abuse


You know what You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price by searching online for "Wise Health Insurance" If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy it and trust me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: racheltucke | March 5, 2011 12:46 AM | Report abuse

Fazed, dude.

Fazed.

Posted by: pj_camp | March 5, 2011 1:10 AM | Report abuse

@brigade:

"There are always conflicting views; most of your Democratic heroes floated their sticks with the Bush administration. "

Sorry, I don't have any dem heroes, but Feingold and Sanders the commie come the closest and voted against the Iraq invasion and the unconstitutional "patriot act."


"They looked at the evidence, and they made their choices. I know that's hard for a blind partisan to accept, but it's a fact---they didn't listen or believe to the small minority of responsible journalists..."

First, I have no love for either corporatist political party. Voting for dems over republicans is choosing greedy, hypocritical, complacent, and devious over greedy, hypocritical, violent, authoritarian, amoral, and destructive.

Hey the corporate dems pander to jingoistic xenophobic mania so deftly stirred up by the bushies. And I don't discount the desire to avoid being labeled "soft" as opposed the the "tough" repubs, much to their own shame. At least even the corporate dems look back at that decision as one of the worst mistakes they have made in their careers. The bushies can't even admit the total blunder THEY INSTIGATED AND SOLD to the recently traumatized, and vengeful American public just like repubs take no responsibility for driving the economy over the cliff.

If things were so obvious to an idiot like you, how do you suppose people like Kennedy, Kerry and Clinton were so easily snookered?

Idiot? Me? I am not the one defending the bushies and the biggest foreign policy blunder of the 20th century...

Well, they aren't in charge of foreign policy now, so I'll ask you the same question I asked soundpam---what exactly are we doing in Afghanistan and are there any WMD there? Aren't people still dying? Don't wars still cost money now that Obama's in the White House?

Obama is making a huge mistake for not beginning an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan on his first day in office. Of course, 8 years of ignoring/f*ucking up Afghanistan by the Bushies have pretty much eliminated any positive outcomes just like 8 years of tax cuts for the rich and soaring deficits set the table for Obama's struggles reviving the economy. And of course, in the grand tradition of repubs blaming dems for repub mistakes, any rational withdrawal would be shamelessly portrayed as "losing Afghanistan" by faux news and the denizens of rightwingnutistan.

Obama's presidency will forever be tainted by not at least creating a truth and reconciliation commission to at least shame the torturers and war criminals from our society. Of course, repubs would rather destroy the government than admit responsibility for their crimes. And bringing down the corporatist dems for their complicity would have cost Obama effective control of congress, so the economy would be in even worse shape than it is now. Still it was an act of political expediency to not expose the evil deeds of bush and co, and history will judge him harshly for that decision.

Posted by: srw3 | March 5, 2011 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Simply amazing that after all these years people are still defending the ginning up of phony evidence for invasion. I suppose there are even some willing to claim that Iraq had those weapons but elected not to use them, to make Bush "look bad."

And this is the eighth year in a row I've seen drool cases like Brigade trotting out quotes from Democrats guilty of gullibility but with nothing to day about the liars who knew full well there were no weapons. Nothing to say about Cheney speaking on 8/26/02 go the VFW, a long string of claims each beginning with "there is no doubt."

Well, yes there was, and he knew it, otherwise he wouldn't have needed to convene his own cabal of Israel-first yes-men to sieve out the interstices of uncertainty from all the smooth plains of evidence.

By the time of the ginning, Democrats should have known that Bush and Cheney and the Israel-first crowd were faithless and untrustworthy. And yes they deserve to be excoriated for their spinelessness, even in the bloodthirsty climate post 9/11.

Anyway, next time someone thinks mark is a bright guy, he should review that post above.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 5, 2011 2:25 AM | Report abuse

It's the President who makes the decision to go to war, and there is no decision that he, or anyone, should make more reluctantly. He should only decide to commit his nation to war in cases of unimpeachable need, cases where failure to do so would place the security if not the survival I imminent peril, and where all other courses of action are inadequate.

Mark, do you *seriously* believe these criteria were met? Does anyone?

My memory is of a mad rush to, a preordained policy that facts were fixed around, a triumphal inevitability, a solidified national purpose, the excoriation of doubters, the character assassination of UN inspectors, and a president intolerant of detail and equivocation. That America was going to invade Iraq was as fixed in future time as matter that had crossed the event horizon of a black hole.

The criteria for going to war should have been as stringent as any ever are. I guess, mark, your criteria for what constitutes honesty are quite a bit lower.

Prosecutor, huh?

Posted by: caothien9 | March 5, 2011 3:20 AM | Report abuse

Idiot? Me? I am not the one defending the bushies and the biggest foreign policy blunder of the 20th century

==

hate to issue a correction to a post I agree with in so many particulars, but the ginning up of and the invasion of Iraq were in the 21st century, which is off to an inauspicious start.

I suspect though that in the long run, assuming there are any future historians to look back, if there are they will regard our refusal to deal with the cooking of the earth with the absorption spectrum of carbon dioxide will be the far greater folly.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 5, 2011 3:30 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who believes a hyperpartisan screamer like jenn made some objective, rational judgment about Iraq is truly gullible. What a joke. A Republican was President; that's all someone like her needs to know.

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 5, 2011 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to rain on your liberal, union, propaganda parade but Walker is becoming a national hero for standing down the fat, public sector unions and standing up for oppressed taxpayers and government solvency.

Walker is a heel in the liberal salons of the cosmopolitan leftist elite, only. The heartland is cheering him on and the heartland decides which party rules the day, nationally.

States are going broke. Somebody must stop the fiscal madness. Walker is the first person with the guts to yell fire before the house burns to the ground.

The unionistas are screeching like a chorus of scorched cats. It's annoying but harmless.

But it is true that the unions are a subsidiary of the Democrat party.

That's why the Obama bobbleheads defend them so vociferously.

Posted by: battleground51 | March 5, 2011 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to rain on your liberal, union, propaganda parade but Walker is becoming a national hero

==

Not in his own state, and not even in Rasmussen polls.

You're a lying conservative. Pardon the redundancy.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 5, 2011 6:45 AM | Report abuse

It is not terribly affable to demonize our President in a way that could incite attacks on him by the Republican unhinged.

Posted by: rhallnj | March 5, 2011 6:56 AM | Report abuse

You guys might appreciate these...

http://photos.nola.com/tpphotos/2011/03/krewe_detat_7.html

A lot of political/current event Mardi Gras floats last night. (bipartisan in poking fun). I'll post more pictures as I can find them.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 5, 2011 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who believes a hyperpartisan screamer like jenn made some objective, rational judgment about Iraq is truly gullible. What a joke. A Republican was President; that's all someone like her needs to know.

==

Can't help but note that your only stab at rebuttal is a blunt character attack, entirely neutralized by the laughable irony of a rage case like yourself referring to another poster as "hyper partisan."

Little hint: who stands to your right?

Posted by: caothien9 | March 5, 2011 7:21 AM | Report abuse

http://www.wwltv.com/entertainment/mardi-gras/slideshows/Photos-Thursday-tripleheader-features-Babylon-Chaos--Muses-117383253.html?gallery=y&c=y&img=0#gallery-image

Lots more good politically themed floats.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 5, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Sooner or later, we'll decide there peoples' oil costs too much.
What do you think, when gas hits $8, then will things will change in this country? Will we wait 'till $10? Go to war some more, like that'll help?

"Saudi Arabia has banned all protests and marches, state television Saturday cited the Interior Ministry as saying after Saudi minority Shi'ites staged small protests in the oil-producing eastern province.

Security forces would use all measures to prevent any attempt to disrupt public order, state news channel al-Ekhbariya said in an alert without giving details." Reuters

Posted by: shrink2 | March 5, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Wow, not exactly Dunkirk, but that is a lot of workers to move around the world in an emergency. I guess the 15,000 still on the way took the scenic route.

"China says it has successfully evacuated all of its citizens who wanted to leave Libya. The foreign ministry said more than 35,000 Chinese workers had left, and more than 20,000 had already returned home."

Posted by: shrink2 | March 5, 2011 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Well maybe then the magical marketplace god will decide that alternative and renewable energy sources aren't so crazy after all.

Maybe the solar panels will go back on the White House.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 5, 2011 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Poor bastards, haven't they already had enough sand up their noses in Basra?

"In the UK, the soldiers of The Black Watch are on stand-by to go to Libya."

Posted by: shrink2 | March 5, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

All, a fresh OPEN THREAD for you:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/03/open_thread_23.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | March 5, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Whistling past the grave yard...

"An official Communist Party-run Chinese newspaper is attacking protest movements in the Middle East and dismissing the possibility of something similar happening within China.

The Beijing Daily published by the city's party committee says such movements have brought nothing but chaos and misery to their countries' citizens and are being engineered by a small number of people using the Internet to organize illegal meetings."

The only complication, we owe this government $1.2T

Posted by: shrink2 | March 5, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

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