Look at this map

Does this map (from Kos) remind you of anything? Maybe the Red / Blue electoral map?
The Americans dying in the Iraq War overwhelmingly come from the blue states. A lot of them may come from the red areas of the blue states, but they don’t seem to come from the red states.
The Southern / Southwestern / Great Plains/ Rocky Mountain demographic is able to win elections for the warmongerers, but the only red states that seem to be pulling their share of the military load are Ohio and Indiana. Effete, latte-sipping California is making the biggest sacrifice
Like electoral votes, troops come from the heavily-populated areas (mostly in the Northeast, the Midwest, and California). Not from David Brooks’ “Heartland”.

Boy, am I looking forward to seeing Waxman at work!

As the new chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, Waxman will have free rein to investigate, as he puts it, “everything that the government is involved with.” And the funny thing is, Waxman can thank the Republicans for the unique set of levers he will hold. Under a rules change they put through in the days when they used the panel to make Bill Clinton’s life miserable, the leader of Government Reform is the only chairman who can issue subpoenas without a committee vote. (Kos)

Start the popcorn!

I guess it’s our fault after all

From Salon:

At the Iraq Study Group’s just-completed press conference, a reporter noted that the group’s members had “considerable experience” in “helping presidents change course” and asked Baker what the group could or would do to “help Bush embrace the wisdom” of its report. Baker’s response? A punt. “I think it would be appropriate for President Clinton’s former chief of staff to answer that question.”
Leon Panetta took to the microphone to say that he thinks Bush “understands that he won’t be able to achieve the policy goals he wants if the country remains divided.”
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor chimed in to say that the problem of what comes next is “really out of our hands” now that the group’s report is done — and that it’s the media’s job now to bring the country together behind Bush’s goal of standing up an Iraqi government that can sustain and defend itself. “It’s up to you, frankly,” O’Connor told the reporters in the room. “You are the people who speak to the American people.”
Former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson followed along with a rambling lament about the lack of bipartisanship in Washington….

In other words, the real problem here is that the Democrats are too partisan, and the American people are not supporting Bush. (Even the Democrat Panetta as much as said that, but then he’s a Clintonista.)
All the evidence is that Bush will ignore the report, bland as it is, and continue to hang tough, improvise, throw tantrums, and behave erratically. And the Baker commission’s members will then take that as their cue to lecture us some more about disunity and partisanship.

Edwards for President?

Kos has a list of Democratic presidential pretenders up.

Widely-hated triangulating corporate liberal (tons of $$): Hillary Clinton.
Obscure triangulating corporate liberals: Joe Biden, Evan Bayh.
Can’t campaign worth a dime: John Kerry, Wesley Clark (maybe Clark has learned something?).
Who is he?: Mike Gravel, Tom Vilsack.
I sorta know who he is: Christopher Dodd, Bill Richardson.

This leaves Barack Obama and John Edwards (and Clark if he’s improved his skills). Obama seems to be playing the triangulation game and is having success talking to church people, which makes him a tremendously powerful candidate, but one who cannot be trusted — since he’ll probably stab us in the back. So for what it’s worth, Edwards is it for me.
Here on the left wing of the Democrat Party, we’re still pariahs. Everyone on the list (except Kerry, I suppose) is a centrist, and a lot of them are/were liberal hawks. I hope that someone pops up to rabblerouse a little bit. Even if he doesn’t win, if his message starts getting across with the voters, the others will have to respond.

Cleaning up the mess

That should be the Democratic Congress’s slogan: “Cleaning up the mess.”
There’s a lot of work to be done, and it won’t be pretty: Iraq, international relations, fiscal policy, New Orleans, environmental policy, habeus corpus, everything.
If the Republicans whine, they should be asked to sit down and shut up. They had their chance, and they blew it.

Do we want a bipartisan solution?

Over and over I keep hearing about how wonderful it is that the ISG report is some sort of bipartisan consensus. There certainly is a time and place for compromise and bipartisanship, but it’s a means not an end. Good advice and good policy is what matters, not political asscovering. Splitting the baby is not always a very smart thing to do. (Atrios)

Let’s push this a little further. Who is it that wants a bipartisan solution? Above all, it’s the perps — the media people and politicians who led us into this mess. They want to be able to drop the whole thing, mumble “Mistakes were made”, and carry on as before — still in the drivers’ seat.
But that would not be good for the country or good for the world. Accountability is what we need. Heads should roll — the guys who screwed things up should be demoted, removed from office, or otherwise punished. Above all, they should never get the chance to screw up again.
A partisan solution is what would be good for the country. The only reason we’re talking about a bi-partisan solution at all is that most of the media and many of the Democrats have been implicated in the disaster, and they’re afraid that if the Republicans are called to account, they might be too.
This is really blackmail. We’re being told that if we don’t get too mad at the perps, maybe they’ll quit making things worse. (Maybe.) This isn’t even an Idi Amin solution. Amin was never punished for anything, but at least he was removed from power. The Iraq War bad guys aren’t willing to give up anything at all.

While Bush is President Things Can Only Get Worse

The Iraq War seems to be spinning out of control — a regional war involving Iran, Saudi Arabia, and maybe Turkey and Syria is now a very real possibility. Our positive options are very limited, but it makes a difference what we do, because we still have the power to make things worse.
Whatever the least-bad option is, Bush cannot choose it, because if he did he would have to admit that almost everything he’s done so far has been wrong. As it stands, he’s going to be President for another two years, and he’s far more likely to make things worse than he is to make them better. He’s already forced the Baker Commission to dumb down their already-weak report — and even so, he’ll probably ignore it when he finally gets it.
At this point, Bush is incapable of doing the right thing. We need someone in office who is not tied to the mistakes of the past. Bush and Cheney must be impeached.

It’s come to this

When is this going to stop? Iran is in the Axis of Evil. Syria isn’t quite, but they’re plenty bad. This is what Bush’s war has gained us: we’re now begging Iran and Syria for help.
And that’s the good plan, from the Baker Commission. The bad plan, from Bush, is an endless war against no enemy in particular.
People are always asking, “What better alternative do you offer?” But the first step is to admit that the war was wrong from the start, and Bush will never do that. Bush’s war is his whole life. There can be no improvement until he’s out of there.
For the sake of the country, his friends should ask him and Cheney to resign the way they asked Nixon to resign. Otherwise, they should both be impeached. (And shouldn’t it be the hawks who are pushing for Bush’s impeachment? From their point of view, if partnering with Syria and Iran isn’t utter failure, what would be?)
The people in politics and the media who got us into this mess should all put paper bags over their heads and sit in the back of the room forever. They should never be allowed to live this down. (Really, they should be horsewhipped in the public square. Maybe the Patriot Act has a provision allowing that.)
Help, Iran! Help, Syria! We need you!

9/11 Coverup

There’s evidence that toxic air at ground zero will lead to many deaths among those who worked on the cleanup. There were plans underway to use the autopsy process to monitor these deaths, but these plans have been squelched at the federal level (quite possibly because of pressure from NYC). In the aftermath of 9/11, both the DEQ and Mayor Giuliani assured us that there was no danger.

An effort to create standard autopsy guidelines that could document a link between toxic air at ground zero and deaths of 9/11 rescue workers has been abandoned by the federal government amid concerns the information collected could be misinterpreted…..Because autopsy results are often used in civil lawsuits, the results collected by the institute — while intended as a scientific study — could be used as a trial tool for lawyers and others with an “undeniable self-interest” in the cause of death, Prezant said.

H/T “Cosmic Fluke” in the comments.

How bad can it get?

I think that even we anti-war folk sometimes forget how bad the worst could be. But here’s mild-mannered, centrist Kevin Drum:

A year from now, we could end up in the middle of a full-blown civil war costing a thousand American lives a month. We could end up taking sides in a shooting war against Turkey, a NATO ally. We could end up fighting off an armed invasion from Iran. We could end up on the receiving of an oil embargo led by Saudi Arabia. Who knows?

There’s a real down side to putting an ignorant, mean-minded, superstitious bully in charge of the most powerful military the world has ever seen. After the fall of the USSR, the US was in a position of extraordinary power and influence. Bush treated this pre-eminence the way a naughty boy treats a plate marked “unbreakable” — he took it as a challenge. And sure enough, he succeeded in overplaying a very strong hand.
I still believe that there should be recriminations. When the shit hits the fan, all of the Republicans, media people, Christians, neocons, warbloggers, and operatives who gave us this disaster should be put on the spot, called to account, and sent off in disgrace.
But it’s very unlikely that that will happen.

Did Bush really say “last big push”?

President George Bush has told senior advisers that the US and its allies must make “a last big push” to win the war in Iraq and that instead of beginning a troop withdrawal next year, he may increase US forces by up to 20,000 soldiers, according to sources familiar with the administration’s internal deliberations. (Guardian).

This is a joke. 20,000 troops won’t do anything. And if Bush really used the words “last big push”, it means that he already knows this will fail — because there’s no way that even he can think that it’s sure to succeed.
So he’s decided to quit already, but to save face (and to buy time for political reasons) he’ll do this dog-and-pony-show and get a few hundred more Americans killed. (And thousands of Iraqis too, but their civil war will continue whether we leave or not.)
The Guardian interviewee seems to have been Powell. He’s talking about very serious stuff, but he doesn’t dare let them use his name, even though he’s been out of the administration and the military for quite awhile now.
Will the media go along with this “last big push” fraud? Yes. They’re geniuses at pretending.