Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!


Oakley and Annie send their best — this blogger too.

— Steve Clemons


17 comments on “Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

  1. ET says:

    Not that I don’t agree that Annie is quite the cutie, but just so you know, I did not compose the above post. Someone may be copying my nick, ET. Just noticed it and so I am reporting it.
    Best, Ticia


  2. ET says:

    Annie is a cutie even when she looks like she is feeling terribly put upon when forced to wear a pink sweater.


  3. Linda says:

    I surely meant a surge with benchmarks for only a few months–so that Democrats don’t fall into the trap–and then can really push him to do what we all want. I deplore the loss of life as much as you do. I was marching against the war early in 2002 because I didn’t want to see one American life lost. I blame everyone who voted for the war, and that’s a lot of Democrats and almost all Republicans. Those who are left in Congress should all change their positions, admit they were wrong, and get us out of there as soon as possible.


  4. Pissed Off American says:

    “So Democrats would be wise to give Bush the surge that probably will fail and then hold Bush responsible for losing the war he started.”
    Yeah, and too fuckin’ bad about the additional dead troops, eh? Sorry, but if we need to prove a point, I don’t see any reason to do with dead American soldiers.


  5. Carroll says:

    WE SHOULD PURGE NOT SURGE….it is insane to think a “surge”, unless their direct mission is to purge “all” actors, will do anything except be another bloodbath with no lasting results and probably increased chaos and harm to any lasting stability.
    A lot of us have been saying for a long time there are competing interest who want this war to continue…errant double secret pentagon CIA teams the regular troops don’t know, the Israeli’s trying to forment more chaos for the sake of the Kurds independent state,..and others…how does anyone think the regular troops can bring any order when they don’t even know who is doing what, who is attacking who for what purpose? this is nothing but a gaint clusterf*** with our troops in the middle.
    Exellent review of who may be doing what for what purpose below. No one in DC is discussing this. which means they are either stupid or in on it.
    Who Might Be Shooting at Both Sides?
    Thirteen groups that favor chaos in Iraq
    by Jon Basil Utley
    Jon Basil Utley is associate publisher of The American Conservative and Robert A. Taft Fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. A former correspondent for Knight Ridder in South America, Utley has written for the Harvard Business Review on foreign nationalism and was for 17 years a commentator on the Voice of America.
    It’s strange that little of the news coverage of Iraq addresses this question. Doesn’t it seem obvious that some groups are fomenting the chaos? Getting tribes to fight each other is often easy. Most of them have some past injustice to avenge. The British Empire ruled much of its colonial world in this way, balancing off or favoring different tribes to rule others. In most of the Old World, tribes hated their neighbors more than foreign conquerors. See “Tribes, Veils, and Democracy.”
    For the various groups go his article :


  6. smallrat says:

    i hate dogs.
    merry xmas, happy new year.


  7. PoliticalCritic says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!!


  8. Linda says:

    Not so sure that I’d write off the Democrats. It would be wise for Dems to give Bush a 60 to 90 day surge and hold him to it. Polls are at about 69% who want an immediate withdrawal, 29% in favor of a surge, and 10% for staying the course, and a few undecideds. So Democrats would be wise to give Bush the surge that probably will fail and then hold Bush responsible for losing the war he started. If they don’t do that, then you are exactly correct because no President wants to own losing a war. Bush started it, and he owns it. Everybody knows it, and the Democrats better not give him the oppotunity to regift it to anybody else.


  9. dave says:

    Singer John Fogerty had it right: this is déjà vu all over again.
    When President Lyndon Johnson saw that the Vietnam War was being lost, he over-rode the best advice he was getting that the war was a lost cause, and escalated the fighting with a massive infusion of troops and an expansion of the U.S. military. The only result was more killing of Vietnamese and Laotians, and more dying of American troops. President Nixon did the same thing. Instead of ending the war when he took over the presidency in 1968, he upped the ante again, eventually raising the number of US troops in Indochina to over half a million, doubling the number of Southeast Asians killed to over two million, and more than doubling U.S. casualties to an eventual 58,000 before the U.S. finally had to admit defeat.
    “Surge” is the new escalation, and we’re set to repeat this tragedy, with Democrats (the new “sucker”), who had a chance to call a halt to the nonsense, instead stupidly joining the mad charge.
    The end result of this betrayal of the electorate, which has made it clear it wants an end to the Iraq War, will be a collapse of the Democrats in 2008, with the party losing both houses of Congress and probably the White House too. It will be a richly deserved collapse.


  10. vwcat says:

    Look at those faces.


  11. Carroll says:

    I refuse to talk about the “jerks” today.
    I just wanna say ..look at that cutie pie
    Annie, so sweet you could eat her with a spoon..look at that expression on her face would you,..what a baby doll sweetie pie..!


  12. marky says:

    Hmm.. Just found this on DK. It’s about John Dean’s suggestion that impeachment proceedings be instituted against White House civil appointees.


  13. Marky says:

    Merry Christmas, Steve and cute, floppy-eared family.
    The final end of the Bolton ambassadorship was a great sign of the power of this blog. How about joining Juan Cole in his campaign to eject that felon Elliot Abrams from the White House as well?


  14. Pissed Off American says:

    Gosh, is anyone else a little strapped for cash due to Christmas expenses???
    Well, it could be worse, I coulda lost everything to Katrina….
    The Iraq war has cost us HOW MUCH???
    Interesting, I don’t see McCain or Lieberman mentioned in the article below….
    Oh, I remember, they’ve been busy this Christmas season touring the damage in Israel, allegedly caused by the Kassam rockets. Perhaps after they attend to Israel’s business they will pay a bit more attention to our own, ya think?
    Then again, maybe not.
    Katrina fraud likely to balloon past $1B
    By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer
    WASHINGTON – The tally for Hurricane Katrina waste could top $2 billion next year because half of the lucrative government contracts valued at $500,000 or greater for cleanup work are being awarded without little competition.
    Federal investigators have already determined the Bush administration squandered $1 billion on fraudulent disaster aid to individuals after the 2005 storm. Now they are shifting their attention to the multimillion dollar contracts to politically connected firms that critics have long said are a prime area for abuse.
    In January, investigators will release the first of several audits examining more than $12 billion in Katrina contracts. The charges range from political favoritism to limited opportunities for small and minority-owned firms, which initially got only 1.5 percent of the total work.
    “Based on their track record, it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw another billion more in waste,” said Clark Kent Ervin, the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general from 2003-2004. “I don’t think sufficient progress has been made.”
    He called it inexcusable that the Bush administration would still have so many no-bid contracts. Under pressure last year, Federal Emergency Management Agency director David Paulison pledged to rebid many of the agreements, only to backtrack months later and reopen only a portion.
    Investigators are now examining whether some of the agreements — which in some cases were extended without warning rather than rebid — are still unfairly benefiting large firms.
    “It’s a combination of laziness, ineptitude and it may well be nefarious,” Ervin said.
    FEMA spokesman James McIntyre said the agency was working to fix its mistakes by awarding contracts for future disasters through competitive bidding. Paulison has said he welcomes additional oversight but cautioned against investigations that aren’t based on “new evidence and allegations.”
    “As always, FEMA will work with Congress in all aspects to ensure that we are carrying out the agency’s responsibilities,” McIntyre said.
    The Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane swept ashore in southern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, leveling homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast. Its storm surge breached levees in New Orleans, unleashing a flood that left more than 1,300 people dead, hundreds of thousands homeless and tens of billions of dollars worth of damage.
    A series of government investigations in the storm’s wake faulted the Bush administration for underestimating the threat and failing to prepare by pre-negotiating contracts for basic supplies in what has become the nation’s costliest disaster.
    Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office said its initial estimate of $1 billion in disaster aid waste was “likely understated,” citing continuing problems in which FEMA doled out tens of millions of dollars in fraudulent housing assistance.
    Democrats in Congress called for more accountability. When they take over in January, at least seven committees plan hearings or other oversight — from housing to disaster loans — on how the $88 billion approved for Katrina relief is being spent.
    Among the current investigations:
    • The propriety of four no-bid contracts together worth $400 million to Shaw Group Inc., Bechtel Group Inc., CH2M Hill Companies Ltd., and Fluor Corp. that were awarded without competition.
    The contracts drew immediate criticism because of the companies’ extensive political and government ties, prompting a promise last year from Paulison to rebid them. Instead, FEMA rebid only a portion and then extended their contracts once, if not twice — to $3.4 billion total — so the firms could finish their remaining Katrina work.
    The four companies, which have denied that connections played a factor, were among six that also won new contracts after open bidding in August. The latest contracts are worth up to $250 million each for future disaster work.
    • The propriety of 36 trailer contract awards designated for small and local businesses as part of Paulison’s promise to rebid large contracts.
    Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner is reviewing whether some small and local businesses were unfairly shut out in favor of winners such as joint venture PRI-DJI. DJI stands for Del-Jen Inc., a subsidiary of Fluor, which has donated more than $930,000 to mostly Republican candidates since 2000.
    “It’s not what you know, what your expertise is. I don’t even believe it’s got much to do with price. It’s who you know,” contends Ken Edmonds, owner of River Parish RV Inc. in Louisiana, a company of 9 people whose application was rejected.
    PRI, a minority-owned firm based in San Diego, said it is the “majority partner” with Del-Jen as part of a federal mentoring program offered by the Small Business Administration. The joint venture received four Katrina contracts worth up to $100 million each based on price and “knowledge of work with the federal government,” president Frank Loscavio said.
    • Whether small and minority-owned businesses were unfairly hurt after the Bush administration initially waived competition requirements.
    For many weeks after the storm, minority firms received 1.5 percent of the total work — less than one-third of the 5 percent normally required — because they weren’t allowed to bid for many of the emergency contracts.
    The National Black Chamber of Commerce called the figure appalling because of the disproportionate number of poor, black people in the stricken Gulf Coast, prompting Sen. Olympia Snowe (news, bio, voting record), R-Maine, and Rep. Donald Manzullo (news, bio, voting record), R-Ill., to request GAO to investigate.
    FEMA has since restored many of its competition rules, and the number of contracts given to minority firms is now about 8.8 percent, according to the agency.


  15. Pissed Off American says:

    Merry Christmas, Steve.
    So much for my swan song, eh? Truth is, I enjoy this blog too much, and have come to realize that you do in fact seem to manage to dig out quite a bit that escapes the mainstream.
    Having had said that, I have a couple of questions, and sincerely hope that you can answer them, or at the very least, will look into them….
    First, is there any truth to the articles I’ve seen that claim we have cut off arms shipments to Israel? And if so, who are the major players behind the embargo, and who is fighting against such a policy?
    And secondly, who is this pissant that runs “The Conservative Voice”, Nathan Tabor? I have been following his frightening droolings for some time now, and it scares the shit out of me that people like this are actually finding a voice in American politics. Does this guy actually have a following, or the potential to gather one?


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