New Congressional Votes Database

Thanks to Adrian Holovaty, developer of, there is now a searchable “U.S. Congress Votes Database,” allowing users to browse every vote in the U.S. Congress since 1991.

Holovaty, now an employee of WashingtonPost/ and a host of the “Mashington Post,” WaPo mash-up center, explains this valuable resource in his blog:

“You can subscribe to an RSS feed for any senator or representative…” the database includes such amusing aggregations as “votes that happen after midnight, vote missers, and on a lighter note, vote totals by astrological sign.”

Updated daily, we’ll never be left curious as to which Congressmen turn into werewolves at full moon.

Propaganda doesn’t kill, (but 1 IED can take out 2 dozen foot soldiers)

ONE roadside bomb killed ten marines and wounded eleven others, some seriously, as they entered a neighborhood outside Fallujah on “foot patrol,” according to the Pentagon. It was one of the single deadliest attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq (see Reuters’ chronology of deadliest attacks).

“Where were the damn Iraqi troops accompanying our Marines?” asks Larry Johnson in Booman Tribune, refering to the “ambush.”

The U.S. admitted to paying off editors to publish articles written by U.S. troops and passing them off as unbiased accounts in Iraqi newspapers. BIG DEAL, is all I can think, as this represents one of the most traditional strategies in American military (and business) culture — IO (Informational Operations). You want bad propaganda? Just ask Arnold – corrupting his constituency with the help of fake VNR’s.

Iraq Dispatches blog criticizes the medias continuous references to cities like Fallujah as being “pacified,” only to be followed by reports of elaborately planned attacks such as this one

Its not so much the propaganda on the ground that is to blame, as it is the “presstitutes talking on the radio from their hotel rooms in Baghdad,” blogs Dahr Jamail.

Blackfive agrees that the exaggerated reporting of Reuters and other international journalists works best for the propaganda of the enemy. He references the hundred of armed men reported to have been controlling the streets of Ramadi yesterday, claiming there were only about a dozen, “all with a look of ‘Are you getting this?’ to the collaborator journalist filming them.”

Not sure how this coincides with the “shocking” reports of Iraqi journalists are being “paid-off” to print positive spin in their newspapers (as opposed to death threats they would receive for not attending to the insurgents/ELIGs/Saddaammists side)? … but consider this mass e-mail to news organizations from Capt. Jeffrey Pool, a spokesman for the 2nd Marine Division:

“Today I witnessed inaccurate reporting, use of unreliable sources, media using other media as sources, an active insurgent propaganda machine, and the pack journalism at its worse”

Abu Aardvark points to this ever-befuddling quote from an AP story in which General Rick Lynch is asked about the “Iraqi press blowback scandal”:

Lynch did not answer directly but quoted a senior al-Qaida leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as having told Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the main terrorist leader in Iraq, “Remember, half the battle is the battlefield of the media.” Lynch said Zarqawi lies to the Iraqi people and he said that the American military does not.


Zogby is soon to release a poll surveying the opinions of residents of the Middle-East and their opinions on the United States’ ambition to spread democracy. Robin Wright previewed the following results in the Washington Post:

77 percent of those surveyed in six countries — Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, all U.S. allies — say Iraqis are worse off than before the war began in 2003.
— 58 percent believe the U.S. intervention has produced less democracy in the region,
— Almost 70 percent said they do not believe democracy was the real U.S. goal in toppling Saddam Hussein.

This poll has yet to be released, as promised in the Post article.

So, how exactly does our not-as-the-Constitution defined administration maintaining democracy?

Glenn Smith at BOPNews points to this very backwards quote by Condoleezza Rice in the November 28 USA Today, justifying secret U.S. prison camps:

“you can’t allow somebody to commit the crime before you detain them. Because if they commit the crime, thousands of innocent people die.”

With three years of utter disbelief to go, Smith interprets:

“Were we not committed to democracy, we could have applied her principle to the Bush Cabinet in January, 2001, before they committed their crimes. Many innocents who have died would still be alive.

Retired Lt. Gen. William Odom told NPR this morning that by staying in Iraq, U.S. troop are only assisting al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists. Listen here, or watch him reiterate his sentiments that leaving Iraq is the ONLY way to begin stabilizing the Middle East on CNN (h/t: Daily Dissent)

Judith Miller on BBC, eats crow with Blair next?

Bring on the rollerderby. Old girl is definitely bouncing off the ropes and in serious need of a clothesline. Great example of the British media once again out-tooling the Amuricans…

BBC’s newsnight expunges an upheaval of half-truths from the effective expectorant that is Judy Miller. You’ve gotta see her swimmingly lose her dignity and look like a psychobitch in the process.

Watch and writhe by clicking here Miller comes on aroundn 35:00 and the piece runs about 10 minutes. Real player required).

summary – from

She said: “I’m deeply sorry our intelligence community got it wrong.

“I am deeply sorry that the President was given a national intelligence estimate which concluded that Saddam Hussein had biological and chemical weapons and a active weapons programme.”

MI:2 Plan for Victory

President Bush's Iraq Victory Speech(Pre-speech photo via Wonkette).

Tom Raum, who has covered Washington for AP through five presidents and over 30 years writes:

President Bush came as close as he ever has to admitting mistakes on Iraq Wednesday, acknowledging setbacks and uneven results in the training of Iraqi troops in his latest defense of the war 2 1/2 years after he first declared victory.

George W. Bush finally did what he always feared doing: he announced how we would win the war, at the risk of threatening the troops by spreading formerly classified information to the public today at the US Naval Academy (transcript).

Not really. The National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, as its written, was composed earlier this month according to its datestamp, despite White House claims to have been operating according to the plan since 2003.

Listen to the November 30 Talk of the Nation from NPR for a great conversation on this speech featuring James Fallows and Michael Rubin.

A couple insights from across the blogosphere:

Marc Cooper took the wayback machine and found that the “old Nixon game plan seems tailor-cut for Bush.” Seems text of the speech may have been leaked to Cooper as he vowed to sleep through the president’s “major” announcement.

Cafe Politico says there was hardly any evidence of a plan being revealed, suggesting the title: “Lots of Testosterone-Inspired Soundbites Minus Any Specifics.”

David Corn bites his lip and delivers an insightful analysis of the speech at his blog.

Sens. Kerry and Reid released statements to the effect of: “yo, I don’t think so.”

The Left Coaster says that in addition to the typical rhetoric, Bush “retreated back to his strategy of 2000. It?s him and the people of America against the entrenched political forces in DC.”

Donald Rumsfeld Hands
Tuesday, Donald Rumsfeld had an “epiphany,” and like all of his previous epiphanies, this one resonated very little with the actual military players don’t come across like Rummy, who speaks as if he is “merely observing the Iraq war on television,”Dana Milbank wrote in the Post. Here is some of the exchange he had with his new Joint Chief of Staff:

[A]sked about torture by Iraqi authorities, Rumsfeld replied that “obviously, the United States does not have a responsibility” other than to voice disapproval.

But [Gen. Peter] Pace had a different view. “It is the absolute responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it,” the general said.

Rumsfeld interjected: “I don’t think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it’s to report it.”

But Pace meant what he said. “If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it,” he said, firmly.

I’m glad we cleared that up. Rumsfeld should have begun the press conference with the anecdote he used to close it:

“I just don’t know…. I can only talk about what I know.” [exaggerated shrug] “That’s life.”

Finally, earlier today AP released a list of about 40 international civilians believed to still be kidnapped throughout Iraq.