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Peter B. Collins
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November 30, 2005
(From the diaries -- Plutonium Page. Norway, Iceland, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Romania, Italy, and now the UK. Secret flights, secret prisons... this is a very important developing story.)
The Times Online is reporting today that as many as 11 UK airports have been used for torture flights.
Flight records show that at least 210 private jets carrying detainees apparently leased by shell companies attached to the CIA have stopped over in the UK since September 2001.
See more below
From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...
Columnist Mark Shields spoke with Rep. John Murtha before the congressman gave his now-famous Iraq speech, and...
I predicted that the speech he was about give would have the same impact on the debate over Iraq that former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite had on February 27, 1968, when he spoke of the near-certainty that "the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate." President Lyndon Johnson said: "That's it. If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America." Murtha did not believe me.
What made it all true was the venality and stupidity of the Republicans. From the personality-challenged White House press secretary accusing him of "surrender" to the clueless, but venomous, Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, unaware of his combat record, accusing Murtha of being a " coward," Republicans made Jack Murtha the most prominent Democrat in town.
As one astute Senate Republican aide observed to David Rogers of The Wall Street Journal, "If the House Republicans want to make Jack Murtha the face of the Democratic Party, then Republicans will really be trounced next year."
Congressional Democrats, a large majority of whom need vertebrae transplants and are terrified of taking any position on Iraq, mostly kept their distance from Murtha until they realized that public reaction had swung his way. They then embraced him. The gentleman from Pennsylvania has changed the terms of the national debate, and Democrats should be so lucky as to have Jack Murtha as their party's 2006 face.
Read the rest here. It's quite good.
Bush lost Murtha. And if he's lost Murtha, he's lost middle America.
Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
Tonight's installment of the Fighting Dems features David Harris, running in the Texas 6th Congressional District. The Fighting Dems series is meant to highlight men and women who worn the uniform and have chosen to run on the Democratic ticket. Turns out there's tons more on our side than theirs.
Harris is running against Joe Barton. Lots of good information available in this post from the District Sizer Blog, which is closely tracking the race:
First and foremost, David has been involved in building the Democratic party for many years. He shows up at county headquarters and gives his time and money to the party. This is not some guy who just popped up out of the blue and decided to run. This is someone with a long history of helping build the party.
David Harris served as a delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. He served his country honorably as a member of the Army and Army Reserves. He completed a tour of duty in Iraq, so we believe David is uniquely qualified to offer advice to his (future) fellow Representatives on how to achieve victory or an honorable withdrawal from Iraq.
That blog post has all sorts of info on where Harris stands on the issues. So head on over if you want to know where he stands on healthcare or energy or education.
The segment will run at around 9:20 p.m. ET, though your local Air America affiliates may have it at different times. Here's Harris' ActBlue page, if you're so moved to donate. Led by Anna of Annatopia, they're trying to raise $3K today. Here's his official campaign site.
Previous Fighting Dems:
You can get streams of these segments on Air America's Fighting Dems site.
Courtesy of Atrios:
Time magazine Baghdad bureau chief Michael Ware on Morning Sedition this morning:
I and some other journalists had lunch with Senator Joe Lieberman the other day and we listened to him talking about Iraq. Either Senator Lieberman is so divorced from reality that he's completely lost the plot or he knows he's spinning a line. Because one of my colleagues turned to me in the middle of this lunch and said he's not talking about any country I've ever been to and yet he was talking about Iraq, the very country where we were sitting.
One of our own guys is in the crosshairs of the Abramoff probe:
New evidence is emerging that the top Democrat on the Senate committee currently investigating Jack Abramoff got political money arranged by the lobbyist back in 2002 shortly after the lawmaker took action favorable to Abramoff's tribal clients.
A lawyer for the Louisiana Coushatta Indians told The Associated Press that Abramoff instructed the tribe to send $5,000 to Sen. Byron Dorgan's political group just three weeks after the North Dakota Democrat urged fellow senators to fund a tribal school program Abramoff's clients wanted to use.
The check was one of about five dozen the Coushattas listed in a tribal ledger as being issued on March 6, 2002, to various lawmakers' campaigns and political causes at the instruction of Abramoff, tribal attorney Jimmy Fairchild said Monday [...]
The revelation came as Dorgan took to the offensive Monday, saying there was no connection between the $20,000 in donations he got from Abramoff's firm and tribal clients in spring 2002 and a February 2002 letter he wrote urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to fund the tribal school building program [...]
Dorgan told a news conference in North Dakota he had never met Abramoff, did not know about the donations from the lobbyist's clients around the time of his letter and saw no reason to step aside from the Senate Indian Affairs committee investigation of Abramoff.
On first blush, Dorgan's explanations seem reasonable, that is unless someone can show a quid pro quo between Abramoff and Dorgan. But I'm not interested in nuance on this issue. If Dorgan becomes collateral damage, then so be it. If nothing else, it's yet another example of how corrosive money can be in the political process.
Update: Kagro X warns against partisan tipsters and makes great points.
I was going to compile a list like this later today, but Hotline on Call spared me the trouble:
Bayh: find realistic way to define success, then set benchmarks
Edwards: was "wrong". Wants "significant" reduction of troops after elections early next year. He'd tie the proportion of troops withdrawn to benchmarks set for Iraqi soldier performance.
Biden: no withdrawals until political situation improves, but sees 100K troops back home by '07. Does not rule out more troops if necessary. Wants admin to come clean about targets for Iraqi troop training. More civillian staff in Iraq.
Clark: add civillian component; consider adding troops; adjust the mix on the ground; establish clear benchmarks for training
Clinton: No immed. withdrawal, no troop increase, set specific benchmarks for training Iraqi forces and make it clear to Iraq that the US's military committment is limited.
Feingold: 12/31/06 is a "target date" for troops to come home. But he's flexible.
Kerry: begin drawn down of 20K troops after elections in Dec and continue if successful.
Richardson: "It is now time for the military commanders to design a phased, definitive withdrawal plan."
Warner: No immed. withdrawal, no troop increase, set specific benchmarks for Iraqi forces. Eschews "debating the past."
Of these, Richardson's actually makes most sense. The book will be done today (at least my part in it), so this is something that I definitely plan on exploring with my newfound time starting tomorrow.
Zogby. 11/10-14. Online poll. MoE 4.2% (No trend lines)
Effect of the Bush campaign help for Kilgore
More Likely 12
Effect of the Warner campaign help for Kaine
More Likely 33
In New Jersey, Zogby's polling found similar trends:
n fact, a full third (34%) of New Jerseyans said that Forrester's support of George W. Bush--which was far from full-throated--made them less likely to support the candidate, while half as many (16%) were more energized to support Forrester--although half (50%) said it made no difference.
Zogby also analyzed the Ohio and California initiative results. However, this is one of his internet polls, so tread carefully.
After so much evidence discrediting the U.S. war effort, Colin Powell still can't bring himself to admit his crucial role.
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