"Hmmm. First the Pakistanis cut a truce deal with Al Qaeda and its tribal allies in the frontier territories, and now Frist and his sidekick Mel Martinez fly to Kabul and float this trial balloon.
Something big is up. Who knows? Maybe Dr. K doing his Nixon-goes-to-China thing.
But it's awfully hard to believe the Rovians are actually going to try to sell a negotiated settlement with the Taliban and/or Al Qaeda to the American public -- not even after the election and certainly not as some sort of October surprise/political miracle weapon.
What would come next? A state visit from Bin Laden?
More likely, this is part of some half-hearted, fumbling effort to peel away the Taliban "moderates" and "bring them into the process," like the attempt to bring the Sunni into the big tent in Iraq -- a ploy which, we now know, almost worked too well.
Either way, I think we can take a guess at the larger motive: To shore up (or at least simmer down) the Afghanistan front in advance of the attack on Iran.
Somehow, I'm guessing Mullah Omar isn't very impressed by Dr. K's devious mind."
"Everybody's on to Hastert's transparent ploy to shift attention from his own culpability in refusing to keep the disturbed congressmen away from the high school kids. It's ballsy. But there is a more subtle intention. It's also clear that he's desperate to get a formal investigation going either in DC or Florida that will allow them to claim that law enforcement has asked that they not comment any further. The administration discovered with the Plame case that they can stonewall for months with that.* digby:
This could be quite different, however. The players in this case aren't all DC insiders but rather kids from all over the country and their respective parents, friends and relatives who may be willing to talk to the press. And this is so juicy, the press is actually out looking for them. I don't think it's containable even if the entire FBI is investigating."
"In the midst of all the excitement over the GOP congress's under-age cyberstalking, I hope that we don't lose sight of the other white meat --- Woodward's astonishing revelations in his new book "State of Denial."* digby:
From the very beginning the sly old weasel Dick Cheney muscles out the former president (whom everyone in America assumed would be a valuable and valued advisor to his dimbulb son) using Junior's adolescent need to reject his father. He and Rummy became the "good" fathers to the idiot dauphin and successfully shut out all the voices of reason from the (too prudent and cautious) old guard establishment that would have lined up with him. They were radicals who cleverly managed to make themselves appear to be wise old men. Junior knew no better --- and wouldn't have cared if he did.
(Who would have thought this could become such a huge factor in a modern representative democracy? It might as well be ancient Rome or the Borgia era in renaissance Italy.)
The extent of Rumsfeld's screw-ups is well known by now, but this book seems to be asserting something about the war that is quite startling at this late date --- the real reason they were so anxious to go into Iraq come hell or high water. Yes, we know it was about oil and it was about Israel and it was about PNAC wet dreams and seven thousand other things. But I'm talking about the Big Reason, the one that united all these people: Iraq is their long awaited chance to do Vietnam right."
"Lord Almighty, it looks like we got us a gen-you-wine Republican sex scandal. And it's a doozy, isn't it? Maybe people will notice that something is seriously rotten under GOP rule now.
If we lived in a nation that wasn't completely dysfunctional, this scandal wouldn't be at the top of the list of scandals that have been revealed just in the last week:
- A new book by the official court scribe describes an administration so inept, unorganized and incoherent that if most people were aware of the details, the president's fear campaign would blow back hard against him. If the terrorists really are coming to kill us in our beds any day now, then we are in deep shit with these guys in charge.
- We have more news this week-end that Karl Rove and the white house were actively and personally involved in all the Jack Abramoff congressional corruption scandals which feature ripping off taxpayers of many millions of dollars.
- It turns out that Bush fired Colin Powell.
- The intelligence community agree that the invasion of Iraq super-charged the extremist jihadist moviement and is fuelling terrorism far more quickly and broadly than we would have had to deal with otherwise.
- We have officially sanctioned torture and the repeal of habeas corpus --- at the least competent president in history's discretion."