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Yesterday, 1:38 amKoch Brothers, the puppet maasters
May 20, 2015, 2:45 amKoch Brothers new cash cow
May 18, 2015, 11:48 pmIf he walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then he is a LIAR
The Problem With Asking Republicans, 'Would You Have Invaded Iraq?'
The “would you have invaded Iraq” saga continues. Sunday on Fox News, Chris Wallace tried again and again to get Marco Rubio to say whether, in hindsight, the Bush administration was right to invade a WMD-less Iraq. And again and again, Rubio answered a different, and politically safer, question: Was George W. Bush right given the information he had at the time? Rubio’s answer to that question was a resounding yes. Invading Iraq, he argued, was “not a mistake because the president was presented with intelligence that said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.”
Rubio’s answer shows how pathological the Republican foreign-policy debate has become. The Iraq War, which I wrongly supported, has cost the United States over $2 trillion. It has contributed to the deaths of an estimated half-million Iraqis and almost 4,500 Americans, one-third more than died on 9/11. Iraq has become a failed state, large parts of which are controlled by an organization whose savagery embarrasses al-Qaeda. (Yes, part of the blame for ISIS’s rise rests with President Obama’s policies in Iraq and Syria, but it was President Bush who bulldozed the Iraqi state.) And Saddam Hussein’s overthrow has allowed Iran—a regime Republicans depict as the world’s most dangerous—to extend its power in the region.
This is what the Iraq War has wrought. Yet for most Republican presidential candidates—starting with Jeb Bush, whose maladroit Iraq answers launched the current media saga—the hard question is whether George W. Bush should have invaded Iraq given what we know now: that Saddam had no chemical or biological weapons and no nuclear program. The easy question is whether Bush should have invaded given what he thought he knew then: that Iraq did have WMD. It’s easy because, with the exception of Rand Paul, virtually all the major Republican candidates claim Bush was right.
To understand how ludicrous that position is, it’s worth remembering a few things. First, the evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was extremely weak. Yes, the U.S. government in October 2002 produced a National Intelligence Estimate that appeared to suggest Iraq had chemical and biological weapons and a nuclear-weapons program. But a 2004 Senate review concluded that “most of the major key judgments in the Intelligence Community’s October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) … either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting.” The NIE, which was produced under intense pressure from White House and Pentagon officials seeking a justification for war, painted a far more menacing picture of Iraq’s WMD programs than had previous U.S. assessments. As the head of British intelligence famously remarked, “intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” The unclassified summary of the NIE was also far more categorical than the full, classified version, which, according to Florida Senator Bob Graham, was “pocked with dissent, conditions, [and] minority opinions on a variety of critical issues.” After reading the full NIE, Graham voted against authorizing war. Unfortunately, by one estimate, only a half-dozen other senators bothered to do so.
The point is that Rubio’s depiction of Bush as a guy forced to invade because he “was presented with intelligence that said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction” is absurd. “Since the beginning of the administration, indeed well before,” wrote Bush counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz—with the encouragement of Dick Cheney and Bush himself—“had been pressing for a war with Iraq.” The day after the 9/11 attacks, according to Clarke, Bush instructed him to “See if Saddam did this. See if he’s linked in any way.” When Clarke protested that “al-Qaeda did this,” Bush replied, “I know, I know, but … see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred.”
George W. Bush was not forced to invade Iraq because of the weight of objective evidence about WMD. He and his top advisors shamelessly hyped that evidence to justify a war they were seeking an excuse to launch. And in the hysterical aftermath of September 11, Congress was too cowed to effectively challenge them.
But even this, in some ways, misses the point. Because even if the intelligence on Iraqi WMD had been stronger, the Iraq War would still have been a colossal mistake. Let’s imagine that Bush had possessed irrefutable proof that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons. Those weapons would still have presented no grave threat to the United States. As Gregg Easterbrook has pointed out, chemical and biological weapons aren’t really weapons of mass destruction. “In actual use, chemical arms have proven less deadly than regular bombs, bullets, and artillery shells” while “biological weapons … have rarely done great harm.” Yes, Saddam had used chemical weapons against the defenseless Kurds and, with American assistance, to counter Tehran’s manpower advantage during the Iran-Iraq War. He had also used them to put down a Shiite rebellion in the aftermath of the Gulf War. But he had never used them against the United States, even during the Gulf War—probably because America’s response would have been ferocious. And the 9/11 Commission repudiated Bush administration claims that Saddam might have given unconventional weapons to al-Qaeda, an organization he feared and disdained.
The evidence of Saddam’s nuclear program was weakest of all. But even if that evidence had been stronger, there were still far less costly ways than invasion of responding to a country whose economic and military power had been ravaged by more than a decade of sanctions.Rubio and his fellow GOP candidates are enshrining the idea that the correct response to potential nuclear proliferation is preventive war.
By implying that the only problem with the Iraq War was faulty intelligence, Marco Rubio implies that when the United States has compelling evidence that a hostile dictator is building “weapons of mass destruction,” the correct response is war. This represents a dramatic departure from historical American practice. In the 1940s, Harry Truman—a president Rubio admires—watched Joseph Stalin, one of the greatest mass murderers in modern history, build not just chemical and biological weapons, but a nuclear bomb. And yet Truman did not attack the U.S.S.R. In the early 1960s, John F. Kennedy, another Rubio favorite, watched Mao Zedong build a nuclear weapon, and made the same decision.
Truman and Kennedy judged that, while nuclear proliferation was bad, attacking countries that posed no immediate threat to the United States was worse. They made that judgment, in part, because earlier generations of Americans, remembering Pearl Harbor, considered preventive war—an unprovoked attack against an adversary simply because it could become a threat one day—to be immoral and un-American. And they made it because they feared that the consequences of such wars would be devastating.
In the run-up to the Iraq War, experts in and outside the Bush administration expressed the same fears. A November 2002 National Defense University report argued that occupying Iraq “will be the most daunting and complex task the U.S. and the international community will have undertaken since the end of World War II.” A collection of experts at the Army War College warned that the “possibility of the United States winning the war and losing the peace is real and serious.” White House economic advisor Lawrence Lindsey publicly mused that rebuilding postwar Iraq might cost $200 billion. He was reprimanded, then fired. And yet the White House plunged ahead.
By claiming that the United States was right to invade Iraq given what its leaders thought they knew at the time, Rubio and his fellow GOP candidates are making George W. Bush’s radical departure from past American practice the new normal. They are enshrining the idea that the correct response to potential nuclear (and perhaps even chemical and biological) proliferation is preventive war. And, not coincidentally, they are doing so while trying to scuttle President Obama’s efforts to strike a diplomatic agreement with Iran over its nuclear program.
The chances of another Bush winning the presidency may be going down. But in foreign-policy terms, it hardly matters. The toxic spirit of the last Bush presidency still thoroughly infects today’s GOP.
May 18, 2015, 1:53 amRather spew lies than the truth
May 17, 2015, 1:34 amPolitics 101
May 14, 2015, 5:35 pmRNC Unleashes Insane Presidential Straw Poll On Unsuspecting World
RNC will never learn...Ignorance is Bliss!
But today, they've unleashed an online presidential straw poll on the world, and boy howdy, it's like they haven't learned a thing.
As the Weekly Standard reported this morning, there are 36 names on their straw poll. Thirty-six! It's like they swung a stick backstage at CPAC and included everyone who got whacked. It would actually be easier for me to tell you who is not on the list than it would for me to list all the people they've included. Basically, not making the cut are 1) Michele Bachmann, 2) John McCain and 3) Democrats.
The people who have acknowledged that they are running for president, or who are running and just haven't made it official because of various campaign finance reasons, have all made the list. That would be eight names (Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker), which is a pretty good size for a straw poll. You'd think that it might be useful for the RNC to know where their voters' early sympathies realistically lie, right?
But wait! There are a bunch of people currently huddled near the sidelines of the GOP nominating contest who could join this mix in the next few months or so. That would take us to 14 names with six plausible additions (Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum). And there was a time when New York Rep. Peter King insisted he was going to jump in, so we'll include him. And because I'm feeling really plucky today, we'll throw George Pataki on the pile as well. That's 16 people. Surely this is enough?
No, not by a long shot. Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, the living embodiments of the flashes-in-the-pan that the RNC wanted to avoid gaining attention this time out, are on the straw poll. Sarah Palin, who would lose badly, is on the straw poll. Ron Paul is on the straw poll. I mean, what if you think Rand Paul is just "aiiight"? What if you want someone older, who's published more controversial newsletters? The RNC has got you covered, for some reason.
Also on the straw poll:
- Mitt Romney: a guy who's already declined to run.
- John Thune: a guy who didn't run in 2012 because his wife, smartly, didn't want to be ridiculed in sexist fashion by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.
- Tim Pawlenty: a guy whose most memorable moment as a presidential candidate was that time he quit being a presidential candidate.
- Donald Trump: a sack of wet shoes left outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
There is also a guy named "Mark Everson" on this list, of whom the Weekly Standard's Michael Warren says, "Who's Mark Everson, you ask? Beats me." (He is a "former IRS commissioner." Come on, Michael, it's right there beneath his name.)
As Warren goes on to point out, the makers of this online poll didn't want to alienate any participant, and so they've given everyone the option to write in a candidate. So, here's hoping that the winner of this year's prestigious RNC Straw Poll is "Weedlord Bonerhitler."
May 11, 2015, 8:25 amHow does one laugh when the joke is about your people Rubio?
GOP Crowd Applauds Calling Immigrants Rats and Roaches
During a focus group led by GOP pollster Frank Luntz at the South Carolina Freedom Summit, the mother-in-law of Citizens United president David Bossie compared immigrants to rats and roaches, to the delight of the audience. Bossie is the organizer of the summit, one in a series of cattle calls for GOP presidential hopefuls.
Asked by Luntz to give advice to the these candidates, she said:
One man, one vote. People are comin' in this country across the borders like rats and roaches in the wood pile. We've got a state like Minnesota that says it's not our business to check 'em out, we just register 'em. We've got to get control. That's what they need to know.
Her comments drew laughter, whistling, and applause. Afterwards, Luntz asked the audience if they would vote for Bossie's mother-in-law for president, which drew louder cheers and applause.
These sentiments were not outliers. No stranger to making controversial anti-immigration remarks himself, Congressman Steve King told the crowd that he would make a concession on the issue: "every time we let an immigrant in, we'll deport a Leftist." King was also a co-host at the Iowa event of this series.
Immigration has become a thorny issue for the Republican Party ahead of a 2016 race that could hinge on the Latino vote. For that reason, many regard Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, as the GOP's best chance to win the presidency. Rubio also spoke at the South Carolina Freedom Summit, but he did not address the issue... Wonder why?
Watch video of the rats and roaches remarks here.
Last Edited: May 11, 2015, 8:27 am
May 10, 2015, 8:52 amHappy Mother's Day to All LP Members
Last Edited: May 10, 2015, 8:53 am
May 9, 2015, 1:53 amThis is when you know you're in trouble
Last Edited: May 9, 2015, 1:55 am
May 7, 2015, 12:58 amRand is running--for president
May 6, 2015, 7:09 pmJeb Bush is getting torched in Iowa
Jeb Bush is getting torched in Iowa
Bush, widely viewed as a presidential front-runner on the Republican side, scored just 5% in the first primary state in a new Quinnipiac University poll out Wednesday.
The survey found Bush in seventh place among likely caucusgoers — behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
Walker, with 21%, was by far the leader in the poll. Rubio and Paul tied for second place with 13% apiece. The large field of candidates makes it difficult for any one candidate to gain a majority of the vote.
"The first few months of the Iowa Republican caucus race show Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the early leader," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll, said in a statement. "US Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, on the strength of an impressive candidacy rollout, has moved from the bottom of the pack into a tie for second."
Brown attributed Bush's low standing in the poll in part to Iowa voters who view Bush as insufficiently conservative. Bush has staked out relatively moderate positions on issues such as immigration reform and the Common Core education standards, especially compared with some of his GOP rivals.
"More of those surveyed view Bush unfavorably than favorably, compared to Walker's 5-1 positive ratio," Brown said. "And 45% say Bush is not conservative enough. It's among the GOP conservative base that Bush finds himself trailing Sen. Ted Cruz, former Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rand Paul."
Iowa, however, may not be crucial to Bush's prospects in 2016. Though the state votes first in the presidential primary, it has a mixed track record of supporting the candidate who ultimately becomes the nominee. In 2012, Iowa backed former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania), and in 2008, it backed Huckabee; neither won the nomination.
May 6, 2015, 3:00 amA Ball Of Confusion
Last Edited: May 6, 2015, 10:44 am
May 4, 2015, 2:35 amJeb's Vision
Last Edited: May 4, 2015, 2:36 am
April 30, 2015, 12:46 amAnother Cruz Missile flip-flop
Ted Cruz: 'I don't think I've ever seen an Hispanic panhandler'
(AP) Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Presidential candidate and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Wednesday that he has never seen a Hispanic person begging for money on the street.
"I don't think I've ever seen an Hispanic panhandler. And the reason is: In our community it would be shameful to be begging on the street," Cruz said, recalling a conversation he once had with a Latino businessman on the topic.
Cruz, who is of Cuban descent, made the point while speaking in Washington at a question-and-answer session with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
He used the example to argue the Republican Party should be able to compete for the Latino vote. Hispanics, Cruz said, share many of the same values that are championed by GOP leaders.
"I think the Hispanic community is a fundamentally conservative community. If you look at the values that resonate in our community, they're faith, family, patriotism, hard work," Cruz said. "Now if you want people to work their fingers to their bone, hard work, you'll have Hispanic men and women lining up to work hard to provide for their families. Those are all conservative values."
Last Edited: April 30, 2015, 12:51 am
April 26, 2015, 12:38 amConfused yet?
Last Edited: April 26, 2015, 12:44 am