Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 6, 2011

FRIDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* I guess the conspiracy theorists will think the terrorists are in on the hoax: "Al-Qaida confirmed the killing of Osama bin Laden and vowed revenge, saying Friday that Americans' "happiness will turn to sadness." The statement was the first by the terror network since its leader was slain in a U.S. commando raid against his Pakistani hideout."

* Syria: "Security forces fired on demonstrators in six Syrian towns and cities in a day of protests that activists declared a "Friday of Defiance," in which 26 people died, but a withering crackdown subdued the most restive town and prevented many protesters from gathering in larger demonstrations, activists and human rights groups said."

* Japan: "Japan urged a power company Friday to suspend all three reactors at a coastal nuclear plant while a seawall and other structures are built to ensure a major earthquake or tsunami does not cause a second radiation crisis."

* I wonder if congressional Republicans have heard about this: "Americans are paying the smallest share of their income for taxes since 1958, a reflection of tax cuts and a weak economy, a USA TODAY analysis finds."

* Republicans sure do love to take orders from Wall Street: "Republican senators vowed Thursday to block any nominee to lead the fledgling Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unless stronger limits are put on its power, in the latest blow in a long-running battle to rein in the watchdog agency before it officially launches this summer."

* Let's just say Condoleezza Rice isn't having a very good week.

* I don't know Nancy Pelosi personally, but I get the feeling she enjoys annoying the hell out of her Republican colleagues.

* Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) has a new idea: abolish the Environmental Protection Agency, and fold its responsibilities into another agency.

* Remember her? "Monica Goodling, a key figure in the politicization of the Justice Department during the Bush administration, has received a public reprimand from the Virginia State Bar, Virginia Lawyers Weekly reports. The state bar found that Goodling committed 'a criminal or deliberately wrongful act' that reflected poorly on her 'honesty, trustworthiness or fitness to practice law,' the publication reports."

* Why the Department of Justice's interest in a for-profit college operation, accused of bilking taxpayers, may be bad news for Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) of Maine.

* This is an actual story from the NBC affiliate in Miami: "Floridians are going to have to start pulling up their pants and stop having sex with animals soon."

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (15)

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I love Nancy Pelosi, and can't wait to see her back in the Speaker's chair.

Posted by: hell's littlest angel on May 6, 2011 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

speaking of sex with animals in places other than florida, meet the only guy having a worse week than condi rice...

Charleston Gazette:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Police say Mark Thompson, 19, of Greenview Road in Charleston, killed his neighbor's pygmy goat while high on bath salts and that neighbors found him in his bedroom, dressed in a bra and panties, next to the dead animal.

Posted by: dj spellchecka on May 6, 2011 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding the USA Today analysis that taxes are the lowest since 1958: Maybe we can start talking about trickle-up economics. You know, the theory that says when to government spends money, it boosts the economy, and in-turn that increases tax revenue.

Posted by: DK on May 6, 2011 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

First posting is the funniest thing I've heard on the "Deathers" yet. And, just saying, I think a lot of Nancy Pelosi too. Her Congress was the best one I can remember.

Posted by: ericfree on May 6, 2011 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised to not see this story anywhere but The Brad Blog, even today:

Chain of custody violations continue to emerge, particularly in Waukesha, during state Supreme Court election 'recount'
ALSO: $25,000 reward offered for evidence of WI election tampering...


Posted by: poll watcher on May 6, 2011 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Someone needs to tell Al Qaeda that the American majority does not 'enjoy' or 'celebrate' killing. We do celebrate our victories over terrorists and terrorism as we strive to make our nation and the world a safer place to exist. They are always free to join us in peace.

Posted by: the zen diaper on May 6, 2011 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

There's many interesting tidbits in the Condi interview...

She explicitly and unambigously stated that any grand domino theory of democracy in the middle east was a post Iraqi Freedom afterthought, and rationalisation. That's now on the record from Condi. If the Arab Spring turns out benevolent in the end and the Bushies and their surrogates tries to claim success for "Bush's masterplan" (as we expect they would, knowing their lack of character and shame) they'll run head first into Condi.

She reverted back to the prewar position that they only went because of the perceived threat posed by Saddam Hussein. That's not suprising. But O'Donnel pressed her on the issue of nuclear weapons specifically, and she conceded that the "threat" they perceived was nuclear weapons, not WMDs in general. Chemical and biological is now conceded to not have been a case for war, on the record, by Condi.

She was pressed on her "mushroom cloud" statement, and she claimed that pre war "intelligence" told them that there was a credible nuclear threat from Saddam, and that they had reason to believe he could have a nuclear bomb "within a year".

Here's a few factoids about information available to the Bush administration - but not to the public - that could come in handy when we are once again asked to evaluate the case for Iraqi Freedom. The case why we couldn't wait to allow more UN weapons inspections but were forced to invade in march 2003 to remove a credible and imminent threat:

- From the late 1990s until october 2002 the consensus view in the US intelligence community was that Saddam Hussein had not reconstituted his nuclear weapons program, although the CIA thought in april 2002 that a reconstitution might be underway, largely based on Saddam's buy of aluminum tubes.

- The Department of Energy, however, assessed that the tubes were more likely intended for a different use, such as conventional rocketry. The DOE concluded in July 2002 that Iraq might be reconstituting it's weapons program, but that the evidence was "inconclusive".

- A memo from State/INR said that "IAEA an [redacted] nuclear-techical experts have concluded that the aluminum tubes are not intended for Iraq's nuclear program" but for rocket casings.

- The DIA reported that it would take Iraq 5-7 to produce enough fissile material if they had constituted their weapons program.

Compare this information, the level of certainty of what was common knowledge within the administration, with what the public was told:

"We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons", Dick Cheney August 26, 2002

"Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon"

"Iraq has made several attempts to buy high strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon" Bush sept 2002

"[Iraq] is seeking Nuclear weapons." Bush October 2002

"Facing clear evidence of peril we cannot wait for the final proof - the smoking gun - that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud" Bush october 2002

"We could wait and hope that Saddam [doesnt] develop a nuclear weapon, but I'm convinced that is a hope against all evidence" Bush October 2002

"We have more than a decade of proof that he remains determined to acquire nuclear weapons", Powell UNSC february 2003

(All of these from the Senate report on prewar intelligence : http://intelligence.senate.gov/080605/phase2a.pdf)

The case is clear enough.

They said to the public that the aluminum tubes were for nuclear weapons, concealing that there were multiple assessments within, and outside the administration that said they were not. They said that they knew Saddam had reconstituted his nuclear program, when they knew there were ample debate whether that was true. They said that Saddam would acquire nuclear weapons "soon", when they knew that it would take 5-7 years, using the centrifuges the aluminum tubes were for. They said the evidence showed Saddam trying to restart his nuclear program all through the last decade, but in fact they knew that intelligence said he did not through 1998-2001.

Ideally they should have to answer to this every time they try to peddle their revisionist history, and make the case that the "intelligence" lied, not they.

But in the absence of that I would really, really like to see one interviewer ask one of Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeldt or there surrogates to make the case for invading, to just recapitulate why they viewed it necessary to invade then, in march 2003, without UNSC approval. What was the imminent and credible threat and exactly what was the "faulty" intelligence that showed that the threat was imminent?

Posted by: Danny on May 6, 2011 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry about the post above, it's tl;dr because it contains debunking of Iraqi Freedom era B-S

Posted by: Danny on May 6, 2011 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Floridians: With apologies to whoever sane is left there, any population that would elect a creature like Rick Scott as their Governor, can be expected to have sex with animals and whatever else. Dig this FB page: facebook dot com/pages/Criminal-Governor-Rick-Scott/171000689617937. BTW "deserving" (;-) visitors here can try to add me if they can figure out way to my page, I am FBF with Steve B, Alan Colmes, and Mark Levine (not Levin!)

Obama and Osama: I have complete respect for pacifists or pragmatists who say we could have captured OBL instead. I wouldn't know what was best ... However, consider the US' deliberate assassination of Admiral Yamamoto, soon after he planned and executed the Pearl Harbor attack. It gave Americans a boost, creepy or not as may be. At Wikipedia on Operation_Vengeance, we find this very interesting passage:
In The West Wing episode "We Killed Yamamoto," President Bartlet mulls over whether to authorize the assassination of a terrorist leader.
I can't imagine why it would be worse to target a specific person to kill, who really was presumed responsible for directing some awful act, than to try and kill a bunch of anonymous dweebs who might have done nothing wrong and may have been conscripted, etc.

Finally, Obama rampant: just for those who would want to see it, and for nyah nyah to Hannity et al.

Posted by: neil b on May 6, 2011 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

Floridians, remember to stop having sex with animals before you pull up your pants. Although I have no personal expertise, I suspect that pulling up ones pants while having sex with animals may be painful.

Why yes I have pulled up my pants quite frequently actually. Why do you ask ?

I can't wait for the founding of the activist group trying to convince Scott not to sign the bill. I think they should name it mooooooooove on.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on May 6, 2011 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Baaaaa means No!

Posted by: ComradeAnon on May 6, 2011 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

"I guess the conspiracy theorists will think the terrorists are in on the hoax"

Buying every single piece of military propaganda without skepticism is as dumb as believing none of it.

How about less sneer-worthy questions: was OBL there, who knew, and has al Qaeda been exaggerated X1000?

Posted by: flubber on May 6, 2011 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

I can't stand Lawrence O'Donnell's axe-grinding, and ambush-interviewing style. Even when I agree with him on a particular point.

Posted by: somedamnbody on May 6, 2011 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that FL has to legislate this stuff speaks volumes.

And I agree with hla and ericfree; Pelosi ran a damn fine show and I just love the woman. Keep at it NP!

Posted by: Ken on May 6, 2011 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see how Nancy Pelosi can drive House Republicans crazy, most of them already are. Isn't the real function of that note to further undermine the House leadership?

Posted by: Novice on May 7, 2011 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK
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