Wednesday, September 5, 2007

a NON-partisan summary of our iraq "progress"


. . .prepared by the NON-partisan
GAO, and circulated by rep. nancy pelosi's
speaker.gov blog, this graphic [click
to enlarge] gives a nice thumbnail
of all that we haven't acheived.

of 18 benchmarks, 15 remain either
entirely, or at least partially, unmet:



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
U P D A T E D
09.06.07 @ 10 PM:
AN EXCELLENT COMMENT
BY PRISCIANUS JR!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


i've re-posted this from his comment:
". . .For months I've been following your. . . posts. . .

But I wonder if we could step back for a minute and try to look at the big picture.

I know the wheels of justice grind slow. Law and politics are closely intersecting, but different worlds. No question that important matters are being addressed and pursued by the congressional commitees. But there is much anxiety amongst the patriotic public on account of two things -- one, the perception, for which there is much evidence, that the rule of law is breaking down in this country, and two, the percepton that Congress lacks the will to do anything about it.

There is a widespread perception that the Democrats are basically kicking the can until November of 2008. There is also a widespread, and I think correct, percepton, that this country simply cannot survive that kind of indifference at this juncture. The political justifications pale before the practical consequences of not addressing the disastrous forces, internal and external, unleasehd by Bush, Cheney & Co.

Not only is this deeply unnerving, but also deeply frustrating, because there is also the perception that the Dems do have leverage to act if they want to.

For a long time I have accepted that "we just don't have the votes." But that is not something set in stone. Public pressure is very strong against Bush/Cheney, but is not being mobilized. We don't sense any outreach or leadership coming from that segment of the Congress that supposedly wants to put the kibosh on Bush and Cheney.

The big question, then, is this: Are the committees just pushing paper, or is this going anywhere?"

September 6, 2007 12:09 PM
[emphasis supplied]


i do feel the frustration, here, p jr.,
just like you, but let me offer some
sunshine, along with it, too. . .

i guess i'd say it is clearly slow-
going, but it is also clearly going
forward
. if nothing else be significant,
it is now enormously important that the courts,
federal courts across the land, have begun
to rediscover -- and re-assert -- several bedrock
constitutional notions, even over the howls of
bush and cheney. bush and cheney had effectively
swept aside -- with varying feats of ledger-domain, and
mis-direction -- many of these bedrock protections
[previously afforded to all our citizens, for the
last 230 years], over most of these last six years.

in particular, i note with great cheer that
the a.c.l.u. has prevailed [pdf], yet again, in having
the "no notice & gag order" portion of the "as
revised
" patriot act stricken, as offensive
to the first amendment. this blockbuster decision
will, of course, be appealed by the DoJ, but the
logic of it is quite sound. and i do not think it
entirely coincidental that these decisions are
being handed down just after intense summer sessions,
and hearings in the committees, of the senate, and the
house -- all the while, with democratic leadership,
speaking-out fearlessly -- in re-asserting
our unamended constitutional rights. . .

now, did i mention that alberto gonzales is, um. . .

g o n e? yes -- he is. and none other than
the wall street journal credits patrick leahy
with the knock-out punch
-- the actual precipitation
of alberto gonzales' departure announcement last week.

so i do definitely hear your frustration, but i
also do see that -- step by steady step -- we
are restoring the rule of law to this republic.

we will no longer be a nation reacting to
appeals based on irrational fear -- in knee-
jerk fashion -- to some rove-birthed sound-bite.

ooh -- wait! did i mention that rove is gone, too?

yep -- he is.

and still, rove faces contempt [and jail], if
he does not comply with the congressional
subpoenas. ditto -- alberto and harriet miers
and bradley schlozman and wan kim.

so, even as bush and cheney get geared-up to
torture the actual facts revealed in the forth-
coming iraq report -- the house leadership has
effectively outed the truth, and in advance.

[see above scorecard image!]

it is up to all of us to help
avoid the loss of this truth, in
a fox-news type fog of false, or mis-
leading, distorted, sound bites.

thus, as much as i cringe when i
read that bin laden has signaled his
intent to release yet another
video-tape -- on the sixth anniversary
of september 11. . . there is a reality
embedded in this sad piece of news:

just as bush-cheney spin the "we're kickin'
ass in iraq
" meme to teh death -- bin laden
his'self is likely to appear, defiant, and
free
, on teh internets and da' 'tubez, next
week. and so, it seems they are askin' us -- "who
are ya' gonna believe? yer'
lyin' eyes, or us -- cheney and
bush, next week? WHO?
"

as much as i hate the messenger,
that message will, yes, ring through.

we have been wholly-unable to get him.

and we have only increased his following
in the world of radical terrorism
masquerading as a fanatical, false,
branch of islam. . .

so, no amount of spin-control will
change that sad fact. we do need
these doses of reality, so that we all begin
to take benjamin franklin's advice
deeply to heart -- if we are willing
to trade our liberties for these false
senses of security -- we deserve neither.

p e a c e

more in the morning, perhaps. . .
but quite a great comment, and
very, very thought-provoking!

thanks, priscianus jr!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
U P D A T E D
09.09.07 @ 9 PM:
ANOTHER EXCELLENT
COMMENT -- PRISCIANUS JR!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


And thank you, Nolo. You really answered the question, by calling attention to reality. Personally, I'm very patient... as long as something is actually happening.

To tell you the truth, I wrote that comment after an evening, one of many over the last so many months, of reading posts, and particularly comments, on other blogs, to the effect that "it's all over," "there's freedom in Costa Rica," or "this is basically what Hitler did."

In The Geography of Thought : How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and Why, Richard Nisbett discusses an experiment that indicates that Americans tend to focus on objects, and indeed the most prominent objects in a field, rather than on contexts. Most people are focused on Bush -- maybe Cheney -- and these guys just don't change, in fact, they just keep upping the ante. What's being missed in all this, and what you have so eloquently pointed out, is that the wheels are really coming off now. They continue to act like "unitary executives" -- Cheney as we now know is in his own branch of government entirely -- but what power do they really have, other than to scare us, when 2/3 of the country know they are liars?

Rove is gone, Gonzales is gone, but so many smaller aparatchiks have also jumped ship. At least half the Republicans in Congress seem to be involved in scandals, with some facing indictment...
Nevertheless, these remain scary times, with Bush and Cheney doing everything they can to keep it that way. While guys like Leahy, Waxman, Conyers are doing great things, Congress overall appears supine. As per the traditional modus operandi, the more "likely" presidential candidates are the ones least likely to challenge the status quo. While the press has improved slightly over the last couple of years, its overall peformance remains appalling.
I hope at least our courts are still functioning. You point to some hopeful signs and, interestingly enough, just before coming here I was reading a post at FDL suggesting the same:

friends on the federal bench...

Once again, thank you, and keep on keepin' on.

September 8, 2007 10:53 PM

3 comments:

priscianus jr said...

Nolo,
For months I've been following your excellent posts, which are often, first off the mark, the most informative available on just what's going on in the congressional investigations.

But I wonder if we could step back for a minute and try to look at the big picture.

I know the wheels of justice grind slow. Law and politics are closely intersecting, but different worlds. No question that important matters are being addressed and pursued by the congressional commitees. But there is much anxiety amongst the patriotic public on account of two things -- one, the perception, for which there is much evidence, that the rule of law is breaking down in this country, and two, the percepton that Congress lacks the will to do anything about it.

There is a widespread perception that the Democrats are basically kicking the can until November of 2008. There is also a widespread, and I think correct, percepton, that this country simply cannot survive that kind of indifference at this juncture. The political justifications pale before the practical consequences of not addressing the disastrous forces, internal and external, unleasehd by Bush, Cheney & Co.

Not only is this deeply unnerving, but also deeply frustrating, because there is also the perception that the Dems do have leverage to act if they want to.

For a long time I have accepted that "we just don't have the votes." But that sis not something set in stone. Public pressure is very strong against Bush/Cheney, but is not being mobilized. We don't sense any outreach or leadership coming from that segment of the Congress that supposedly wants to put the kibosh on Bush and Cheney.

The big question, then, is this. Are the committees just pushing paper, or is this going anywhere?

nolo said...

this is such a fantastic -- and
well-put -- comment, i think
i'll give it the exposure it
deserves -- up in the main
body of the post -- see above
for my substantive answer.

thanks a ton for the insights,
and the keen intelligence -- that
radiate throughout this post,
priscianus jr!

do come back, again!

p e a c e

priscianus jr said...

And thank you, Nolo. You really answered the question, by calling attention to reality. Personally, I'm very patient... as long as something is actually happening.

To tell you the truth, I wrote that comment after an evening, one of many over the last so many months, of reading posts, and particularly comments, on other blogs, to the effect that "it's all over," "there's freedom in Costa Rica," or "this is basically what Hitler did."

In The Geography of Thought : How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and Why, Richard Nisbett discusses an experiment that indicates that Americans tend to focus on objects, and indeed the most prominent objects in a field, rather than on contexts. Most people are focused on Bush -- maybe Cheney -- and these guys just don't change, in fact, they just keep upping the ante. What's being missed in all this, and what you have so eloquently pointed out, is that the wheels are really coming off now. They continue to act like "unitary executives" -- Cheney as we now know is in his own branch of government entirely -- but what power do they really have, other than to scare us, when 2/3 of the country know they are liars?

Rove is gone, Gonzales is gone, but so many smaller aparatchiks have also jumped ship. At least half the Republicans in Congress seem to be involved in scandals, with some facing indictment...
Nevertheless, these remain scary times, with Bush and Cheney doing everything they can to keep it that way. While guys like Leahy, Waxman, Conyers are doing great things, Congress overall appears supine. As per the traditional modus operandi, the more "likely" presidential candidates are the ones least likely to challenge the status quo. While the press has improved slightly over the last couple of years, its overall peformance remains appalling.
I hope at least our courts are still functioning. You point to some hopeful signs and, interestingly enough, just before coming here I was reading a post at FDL suggesting the same:

http://www.firedoglake.com/2007/09/08/some-good-news-from-your-friends-on-the-federal-bench

Once again, thank you, and keep on keepin' on.