Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Friday, April 20th, 2007.

Hysteria, Thy Name Is Wingnut

Bush Administration

Some rightie bloggers have their knickers in a knot because the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (apparently; none of them link to the original article, but this guy provides a screen shot) used what was probably a stock photo of factory smokestacks to illustrate a global warming article.

Why is this scandalous? Apparently the CBC has used the same stock photo in other stories — possibly they own it — and they tweak the colors and crop it different ways to make it work with the story. But the photo isn’t anything but an eye catcher, something graphic to break up text. From what I can tell the CBC never put a caption on it and aren’t claiming it stands for anything in particular except factory smokestacks in a generic sense.

Some people need another hobby.

The site linked above says “Set aside for a moment the journalistic misrepresentation on display in using a photo depicting air pollution to illustrate a story on the costs of meeting Kyoto mandated C02 reductions… ” Right, factory emissions don’t have anything to do with C02 … oh, wait

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Reid to Bush: Bring It On

Bush Administration, Congress, Iraq War

The carnage in Iraq continues. Shashank Bengali, Laith Hammoudi and Nancy A. Youssef write for McClatchy Newspapers:

At least 173 people died in Baghdad on Wednesday in a series of major explosions, making the day the capital’s deadliest since the onset nine weeks ago of a much-touted U.S.-Iraqi security plan.
The violence capped a dreadful seven days that began with a stunning suicide attack in the Iraqi parliament building in the heavily fortified Green Zone. At least 363 people have died in Baghdad in the past week.

And Polly Toynbee writes for The Guardian:

It’s been a good week for death. In Iraq, 200 people were blown to bits in what witnesses called “a swimming pool of blood” with “pieces of flesh all over the place”. Remember that the dead are only part of the story: add to each of the war’s hundreds of thousands of civilian corpses all those burned and crippled survivors, far beyond Iraqi medical facilities’ ability to cope, breadwinners and babies lost. Few families are untouched by the sheer scale of slaughter.

Naturally, today officials at the Pentagon said that violence in Iraq is diminishing. Of course, this depends on what you mean by “violence” and “diminish.” And “Iraq.”

Just to show how secure the Pentagon is in its assessment — National Journal reports (subscriber only material, so I don’t have a link):

Pentagon lawyers abruptly blocked mid-level active-duty military officers from speaking Thursday during a closed-door House Armed Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee briefing about their personal experiences working with Iraqi security forces.

The Pentagon’s last-minute refusal to allow the officers’ presentations surprised panel members and congressional aides, who are in the middle of an investigation into the effort to train and organize Iraqi forces.

Clearly, the Pentagon is proud of what it is accomplishing in Iraq.

Also on Wednesday, President Bush met with congressional Democrats to discuss the “emergency” supplemental appropriations bill, which Democrats in Congress are calling the Iraq Accountability Act. Greg Sargent provides a peek at what happened:

A source familiar with the meeting — at which no compromise of any kind was reached, though Speaker Nancy Pelosi said publicly today that it had been “productive” — shares a few interesting tidbits. First, the source says, Bush bristled and was taken aback when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid compared the current situation to Vietnam; he also appeared irked by those who said the war couldn’t be won.

Second, according to the source, Reid told Bush that he understood that the White House would come after Congressional Dems after the veto of the bill with everything they had; Reid vowed to respond every bit as aggressively.

“Reid talked about a recent conversation he had with a retired general where they talked about the similarities between the current situation and Vietnam,” the source relates. “He talked about how the President and Secretary of Defense [during Vietnam] knew that the war was lost but continued to press on at the cost of thousands of additional lives lost.”

“The analogy to Vietnam appeared to touch a nerve with the President. He appeared a little sensitive to it,” the source continued. “And he clearly didn’t like to hear people in the room say that the war couldn’t be won militarily.”

More: “Reid made it clear to the President that he understood that the President and Vice President after the veto would come after him and Speaker Pelosi with everything they have. Reid said that he and Pelosi would respond just as aggressively. He said he was convinced that they were on the right side of the issue.”

Yesterday’s Dan Froomkin post:

There were no pyrotechnics, but according to multiple reports Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid compared Iraq to Vietnam at one point in a closed door meeting with Bush. Specifically, Reid suggested that Bush was pursuing a lost cause at the cost of American troops in order to protect his legacy.

Bush’s reaction: He was “visibly angered” says the New York Times; he “bristled” according to the Associated Press. And he “denied this forcefully, after which Mr. Reid touched his arm in a gesture of friendliness,” write the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, the Iraq Accountability Act makes its way toward completion. Last night some Republican House members attempted to to strip provisions in the Act holding the Iraqi government accountable and providing for a “responsible redeployment from Iraq” (nice phrase, that) before the bill goes to conference committee for reconciliation with the Senate version. This attempt failed.

Although the Act is still a work in progress, after slogging through a number of news stories I get the impression that the House might defer to the Senate regarding the timetable language. The Senate bill has a non-binding goal of March 31, 2008 for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. The House version has a firm deadline of September 2008.

The war at home is over public opinion, and all signs are that the Dems are winning for once.

Dan Froomkin wrote on Tuesday:

President Bush’s public campaign to push back against Congressional demands for withdrawal from Iraq is becoming highly reminiscent of his failed effort two years ago to win support for a radical overhaul of Social Security.

The meticulously choreographed settings, the carefully controlled audiences, the mind-numbing repetition of hoary talking points (with a particular emphasis on stoking fears) — it’s like deja vu.

And so is the result: A public that is apparently more turned off to Bush’s ideas the more he talks about them.

As it was last time, Bush’s Bubble may be the central problem. Bush seems to think that through sheer force of will — and repetition — he will convince people that his cause is just — in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. And why does he think that? Quite possibly, because virtually everyone he talks to — and virtually everyone he sees — is already in his camp.

Via Atrios — here’s one of those famous Bush “town hall” meetings in front of a group of hand-picked drooling idiots with scripted questions. Bush says insightful things like “death is terrible.” Don’t watch on a full stomach.

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