Saturday, October 29, 2005

,,,,And Bernstein

Carl Bernstein ruminates on "the implosion of a presidency'. Nice to know not all our idols have sold out.

Jane Hamser on HuffPo

Great perspective on the paucity of activity today (only one person indicted). It's a wedge, and Fitz is swinging his sledge light at Libby's ummmmm head.

On the Fitzgerald strategy:

"As Billmon noted, there is reason to believe that Fitzgerald had enough evidence to go after Libby under the Identities Protection Act. Why didn't he? Especially since the one time Fitzgerald stepped beyond his role as Special Counsel to editorialize was when he underscored the damage that had been done to the intelligence community by the outing of Plame. This guy probably hugs the Patriot Act in his sleep. He is a total law'n'order true believer. He would not pull his punches on that front, and has in the past been extremely aggressive -- some would say draconian -- in protecting what he saw as threats to the national security.

As it stands now, Fitzgerald has Libby on 30 years worth of counts and he's got him cold. No wiggle room. Libby may not do 30 years, but he ain't doing 6 months. Scooter's screwed. It was the Vice President's boon companion himself, David Gergen, who said on MSNBC today that this is squeeze time. John Dean reiterated it later on. It really matters little to a man of 55 whether he is looking at 30 years or 60 -- he'd rather have 60 thrown at him if some of them were shaky and he thought he could use the wobbly ones to get out of the rest.

There is no wobble in the indictments handed down today. It's pretty clear. Libby can cut a deal with Fitzgerald or swing."


On Karl Rove:

"In the Libby indictment most individuals who are cited as witnesses are indicated by their job title -- Assistant to the Vice President for Public Affairs, Under Secretary of State, White House Press Secretary (guess that explains where Ari Fleischer's been in all this, he's a cooperating witness). The exception is the anonymous "Official A," who purportedly spoke with Robert Novak in the week prior to July 11, 2003 (p. 8, pp 21). That's a distinction you would make if you were still investigating someone and you did not want to prejudice that investigation. AP is reporting that three people have now identified "Official A" as Karl Rove."

Woodward- Fallen Icon

I watched Larry King last night (Thurs night) and felt Woodward was being a little easy on the Shrubs and defending them a little more aggressively than was warranted for a 'newsman'. After reading R.J. Eskow's column on HuffPo, I'm angrier than I was watching it. And saddened. Woodward was a hero to people of my generation. He and Carl Bernstein pretty much single-handedly (double-handedly?) brought the Watergate story to light and their persistent pressure on the story ( with much Nixon administration pressure on the Post to stop them, with Katharine Graham going to the wall to defend them) kept the story moving and growing until the Congress took over and finally 'broke' John Dean, unraveling the whole sordid saga.

To see the 'hero' turn into a shill for the most corrupt administration since Harding is not only sad, it's disgusting. The whole media-as-sycophants-to-maintain(acquire)-access is a relatively new trend and really needs to be stopped. Maybe we need to get rid of the current crop of reporters and talking heads and replace them with 20-somethings eager to make a name and not mired in Beltway schmoozing. We DO need to stop and reverse the consolidation of media in fewer hands that more and more dependent on placating the powers that be to maintain their media empires. Thank god for the 'reportorial' blogosphere (I consider myself just a commentator, not a reporter) to expose and keep some of the more 'unpopular' stories alive and moving forward.

In a healthy democracy, the single most important factor is a dedicated and independent news media (whether print, radio, tv, internet) to keep the bastards in power honest. I think this is true whether the powers that be are Dems or Reps. Power DOES tend to corrupt, and the struggle to maintain power corrupts most absolutely. Scooter Libby probably is a good man, who truly believes the things he does are in the best interest of the country. However, his actions (and there are precious few who understand that he DID out Valerie Plame Wilson, regardless of Fitz's decision not to try him on a difficult, complex, hard to prove charge), driven by the need to maintain his bosses' power, and his own, were NOT in the best interest of the country.

We expect this sort of abberant behaviour from our elected officials (why?) but not from our 'heroes' in journalism. Judy Miller has a reputation for sycophantic, haphazard (at best) reportage; but to see Bob Woodward fall from grace in this manner is just heartbreaking.

One Down

I've been busy today so haven't had a chance till now to get to the NEWS OF THE DAY (sorry, too much CNN). Scooter Libby was indicted today on multiple charges, although NOT on the core charge of outing Valerie Plame. Fitzgerald was quite clear that he wasn't through and that more MIGHT be to come. I can't imagine that Karl Rove is sleeping well tonight (although, knowing what a heartless bastard ole TurdBlossom is, he just might be). Anyway, the good guys won one, and maybe more to come. Two and a half stars (pending upgrade)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

This Could Be Big

Probably won't be, because, unless Hell is starting to ice up, there's no way the Senate is going to fuck with Bush/Cheney. Maybe if we get the Senate back in 06? :)

Rove: Up or Down?

In tomorrow's NYTimes, it is speculated that Rove will NOT be indicted. All the news is not good for TurdBlossom, however. It is further reported that he remains 'under investigation' and that Fitzgerald will probably extend the term of the Grand Jury. All this, of course, is rank speculation, supported by the NYT's usual anonymous sources (grains of salt available to taken with).

Who will be charged and with what remains the great game in DC, in the press, and throughout the bologosphere. Tomorrow is Fitzmas, so perhaps, the playing will stop and the praying will begin.

Update from AP

TomTom Whineywhines

Tom Delay ranted today that we are seeing the 'criminalization of conservative politics.' Hey, no one ever claimed he was creative.

My thought on hearing that was that, Hell, Tom, we've been watching the criminalization of conservative politics since Watergate. What we're seeing now is the PROSECUTION of those crimes. Now, shut up and go away.

You Can't Fool All the People All the Time

An interesting nugget in a decent WaPo article on the TraitorGate fiasco.

A new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll reminded the White House of the damage the CIA leak case has already inflicted: Eight in ten people surveyed said that aides had either broken the law or acted unethically.

So Long Harriet

Harriet Miers, Presidential Counsel and SCOTUS nominee, withdrew from consideration for the open Supreme Court seat this morning. I'm of two minds about this, much as I was about her nomination.

She is obviously a competent woman and an acceptable lawyer (hell, she was a woman AND Texas Bar head in a time when 'wimmen' Texas DID NOT get major positions). She is obviously a Bush sycophant. Everything else about her is a little vague.

Given a number of her previous statements and positions, I wasn't thrilled with her as a candidate for the Supremes. However, given Bush's record, and the other potential nominees out there, she was probably about as good as we could hope for (what's next? Janice Brown?)

I have the feeling that we on the left will miss her before long.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Damned if You Do, and Damned.....

DailyKos

A Blow FOR Working Men and Women

I haven't seen A THING in the news about it yet, but apparently, bowing to Congressional (and public pressure... 'we don't read the polls', yeah right!), the Shrub administration has rescinded it's waiver of the Bacon-Davis law. This means workers in the Katrina affected areas WILL be receiving legitimated wages (ie, market wages) and not just whatever the contractors (read: Halliburton) want to shell out from their obscene profits.

Amazing, isn't it, that we have to FORCE these 'free marketers' to play in the 'free market'?

Fog

The lack of any hard news (ie, confirmable leaks) out of Fitzgerald's office is making for interesting times amongst the reporting and blogging classes ('lots of opinin'). Today, HuffPo has two columns arguing over Rove's future; one says he's going to jail, the other says he's going to walk.

My own hope is that they nail his fucking hide to the wall. But, I will be very surprised if he is indicted for anything. He is a weasel and will likely have CYA-ed himself to the max. It is my belief that the 'blame Scooter' strategy will work and that both he and 'Big Dick' Cheney will sail through unsullied, if not completely unscathed. Oh well, we've got three more years to bag 'em.

Oedipalicityness

Great column today by Jane Hamsher over at HuffPo as to why Shrub was probably involved up to his little red neck in the Wilson smear. Having watched this weasel for twenty years or so, I can't disagree with a word of it.

More on the New Yorker Article

The New Yorker

Haven't read the entire column yet, but the opening is interesting. Will post a link to the article if/when available.
NYTimes.

If you can't stop the leak, arrest the leaker? While I think that someone who leaks classified information that harms the country should be prosecuted, what about the brave souls who risk their careers (and, possibly, their lives) to blow the whistle on government waste, fraud, and corruption? Just because information is 'classified' doesnt mean it should not be publicized. This is a fine line and a slippery slope towards totalitarianism, and, I, for one, do NOT want the R's deciding the issue for us.

Mis-Math?

The Washington Post, usually a good source, has a GLARING error in today's article on the Grand Jury. The GJ needs 12 votes of the 23 jurors to indict, not unanimity. Altho, given what's leaked, been reported, etc, it probably wouldnt be hard to indict. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

More Larry Wilkerson

In an op-ed column in today's LATimes, Larry Wilkerson (Colin Powell's ex #2) further lambasts the Shrub administration. Frightening, but compelling, read.

Palast on Iraq Oil

Greg Palast has written an insightful column on the Iraqi oil situation, pre, during, and post-war. Palast is an amazing journalist who has consistently been a thorn in the Bush admin's side (even BEFORE it was WAS an administration; he was the key voice in the Florida fraud story, even if he could only get publication outside the U.S- don't blame Greg, blame the U.S. networks.)

TWO THOUSAND

CNN just reported that two American servicemen were killed in Iraq today. That brings the total U.S. dead over there to 2,000. Can someone tell me why?
The NY Sun had a column yesterday that has sent the blogosphere in hysterics (of laughter..) Powerofnarrative.com had a great take on it. Highly recommended read. NOTE: If you're going to read the Sun column, PLEASE wear hip-waders or a Hazmat suit!

We're Doomed (yet again)

Connie Mack, former Senator and head of the tax reform panel that recently submitted recommendations to the Shrub for tax reform, was interviewed recently by the NYTimes. Max out those mortgage deductions and use up that company health care while you can. His stupidity is monumental and his arrogance is astounding (even for an R from the South.)

Well, the U.S. government has to get money from somewhere. As a two-term former Republican senator from Florida, where do you suggest we get money from?

What money?

The money to run this country.

We'll borrow it.

I never understand where all this money comes from.

When the president says we need another $200 billion for Katrina repairs, does he just go and borrow it from the Saudis?

In a sense, we do. Maybe the Chinese.

Is that fair to our children? If we keep borrowing at this level, won't the Arabs or the Chinese eventually own this country?

I am not worried about that.


Well, Connie, I am. And I'm worried that you're the one trying to fix the system and you don't even believe it's broken, just inconvenient.

It's been reported that you're hoping to reduce some popular tax breaks, including the deduction for home mortgage interest from a $1 million cap to somewhere in the $300,000 range. Are you worried that could hurt the middle class and discourage people from buying, say, a $500,000 house?

It depends on how you define middle class. I don't think that there would be a large percentage of middle-income families that would have a $500,000 house.

Sure there is, especially in expensive states like New York and California. You have already announced a proposal to eliminate the alternative minimum tax for individuals, which will cost the government $1.2 trillion in lost income over the next decade. Do you find it difficult to cut taxes post-Katrina, when the government is desperate for revenue?

The Congress and the president can address that issue. Of course, the president already has addressed that issue. He said there won't be any increases in taxes.

Indeed, he is still calling for tax cuts. He would like to eliminate the estate tax permanently.

I think there is a likelihood that Congress will deal with that issue before this term comes to an end. I would vote to eliminate, as we refer to it, the death tax. I think it's an unfair tax.

Really? I think it's a perfect tax. The idea behind it was to allow people to postpone paying taxes until they die, at which point they presumably no longer care. Why do you call it unfair?

Well, let's say, if you are in the farming business and you have the desire to pass this farm on to your children. The problem is that when your parents die, you have to come up with cash to pay the estate tax. One thing you don't have is cash. You've got plenty of land. So I just don't believe it's a fair tax.

That strikes me as a red herring. The issue is not really small farms, but zillion-dollar estates made up of stocks and bonds.

I don't know what the percentage breakdown is.


Kiss those mortgage deductions (and your ass) goodbye.

Rosa Parks Dies

Rosa Park, the godmother of the modern civil rights movement, died today at 92. For those who dont remember, or never learned , Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Birmingham, Alabama, bus to a white man, as required by state law in 1956. She was arrested, fined, and lost her job. An heretofore unknown black preacher in Birmingham, one Dr. Martin Luther King, took up her case, which lead to a multi-month (almost 2 year, as I recall) strike against the bus system in Birmingham, leading, ultimately, to the removal of the law. This was the first real movement in the civil rights realm since reconstruction. Shortly thereafter crumbled segregated schools, waiting rooms, rest rooms, water fountains and all the other other detritus of racism in the 'old south'.

Mrs. Parks was a hero in the most potent sense of that word. She stood up for what she believed in, faced the consequences (lost her job, had to move out of Birmingham, etc), and achieved, ultimately, great results through sheer force of will. She will be missed but her spirit shall live forever.

Big Time Game of 'Telephone'

Tenet told Cheney. Cheney told Libby. Libby told ANYONE WHO WOULD LISTEN!

This could be VERY, VERY big. Or it could be swept under the rug (ie, Cheney told Libby but didn't MEAN for him to tell ANYONE WHO WOULD LISTEN!) Either way, it's another nail in Big Dick's coffin (or can we hope for a cross?)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Flip-Flop This

On yesterday's Meet the Press, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (aka the PREVIOUS Ronnie Earle victim) started the Republican spin re the Plame-gate indictments.

"... if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars."


This is intriguing, as during the Clinton impeachment boondoggle, her views were diametrically opposed (she voted to convict on both charges.)

"The reason that I voted to remove him from office is because I think the overriding issue here is that truth will remain the standard for perjury and obstruction of justice in our criminal justice system and it must not be gray. It must not be muddy."


All this is to be expected as the R's begin the arduous, if not impossible, task of covering their asses as all hell breaks loose from Fitz's office this week. The damage must be minimized, and as no one knows exactly who will be charged with what, the game now is to limit damage by limiting expectations and minimizing the effect by trivializing the crimes.

And, of course, reversing field on issues on is NO problem for the R's (unless, of course, they are talking about John Kerry.) The arguments they made on behalf of John Roberts, they are now abandoning or reversing in the case of Harriet Miers. Who knew they were such contortionists? Of course, with decades of twisted logic behind them, contortion is to be expected.

Hmmm?

I am an ardent feminist and about as pro-choice as it's possible to be without having a womb. However, I read Nicholas von Hoffman's post yesterday at HuffPo with some interest. He speculates about what would happen if Roe WAS overturned and how the Dems and the left might be better off if it was, and how women, generally, would not be worse off. I don't like the concept (protection should be an absolute, not dependent on a state by state 'lottery' of protection), but his conclusions are interesting to say the least.

We're Doomed

And we let these people vote!!

Amateur Hour

Robin Raphel, the State Dept. guru for Iraq, has lambasted her own Administration for it's incompetence in the run up to, prosecution of, and aftermath of the War in Iraq.

The war was rushed, she says, due to the pressure of prepping for the upcoming Presidential elections. Going to soon prevented us from building an effective international coalition, which she thinks we could have done given another six months. And the aftermath....

"Soon after the invasion, Raphel said, it became clear that U.S. officials "could not run a country we did not understandÂ…. It was very much amateur hour."


An interesting read in the LATimes.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Scowcroft in THE NEW YORKER

Steve Clemons, at the Washington Note, has a summary of the The New Yorker article about Brent Scowcroft (Bush 41's advisor) on the Shrub, Iraq, foreign policy, etc. It's not a pretty picture, but from all accounts a compelling article (to be published in the 10/31 edition of TNY, no link as yet).

Scowcroft blisters the Shrub on a variety of issues, mainly Iraq, and, despite intense loyalty to 41, is not very circumspect in his criticism of Shrub. I think the 'grown ups' in the Republican hierarchy are getting fed up with W's childishness, petulance, and lack of anything approaching vision.

Few Areas of Foreign Policy Agreement Between Scowcroft and George W. Bush

When I asked Scowcroft if the son was different from the father, he said, "I don't want to go there," but his dissatisfaction with the son's agenda could not have been clearer. When I asked him to name issues on which he agrees with the younger Bush, he said, "Afghanistan." He paused for twelve seconds. Finally, he said, "I think we're doing well on Europe," and left it at that.

The Times of Judy Miller

Newsweek runs a story this week on the Miller/Times contretemps that bears reading. Miller does not come off well, even in a semi-compassionate piece.

[T]he paper went on to run a devastating account of her testimony that made her look less like a crusading journalist than an administration plant.

...

Now many Times staffers are out for blood. At a contentious meeting in the paper's Washington bureau last week, some reporters and editors demanded Miller's dismissal. In private, some staffers argued the paper had to do more—sacking Keller or even somehow punishing Sulzberger, whose family controls the Times. "Judy took advantage of her relationship with the publisher," said one Times staffer who asked not to be identified because he feared losing his job. "The publisher should pay the price." (A Times spokesman declined to comment.)

Maureen Dowd, in her piece yesterday, hidden behind the TimesSelect wall, with a smile on her face, pretty much eviscerated Miller for both the Plame-gate and WMD affairs. I doubt Judy will be back 'on the beat' for the Times, despite her intentions. There's too much bad blood (and bad reporting on her part) to make that possible.

Goodbye NY TImes, hello Sag Harbor Gazette?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Feeding Frenzy

RJ Eskow, over at HuffPo, has a thoughtful column on the use of The Scootster as distraction from the probably complicity of Richard "Big Dick" Cheney in the Plame-gate fiasco. Interesting stuff, with a link to yesterday's (probably planted) story in the LATimes.

Cat Fight

This could be fun! The Times and Judy Miller have started feuding and it's going public. Tattered Reputation Deathmatch! Hang 'Em All!

"Worse Than Ridiculous"

An article in today's NYT discusses the Plamegate case in it's historical perspective. Basically, their conclusion is, the whole thing boils down to the battle between the Neocon Warhawks and the CIA analysts that wouldn't co-operate, and the cliques that formed around them. The Neocons (headed by Cheney) wouldn't except any information that did not meld with their (warped) world view, and the analysts did not want to vet any information they felt was false, misleading, or misinterpreted.

I truly believe that the Neocons believed their view was correct, and that the CIA was (as always, in their opinion) trying to subvert and obstruct their efforts. This struggle dates back more than a decade, to the first Bush presidency. The fact that they believed they were correct, however, does not remove the fact that that view was simplistic, arrogant, bereft of connection to the real world, monomaniacal, and, ultimately, self-destructive. Certainty does not equal validity. Hell, Hitler thought he was doing the right thing (no, I'm not comparing Cheney to Hitler... although it's tempting.)

If these fools were capable of learning, I'd hope that the unraveling of their plot against Wilson (and the others that were sacrificed in the run up to and the subsequent defense of the war) would teach them that reality is the base upon which they should build their suppositions, not the reverse. However, even if the whole 'gang' is indicted and convicted (disregarding the probability of a Presidential pardon... some things are in the genes), I doubt it will change their outlooks a WHIG...er whit. These morons are incapable of learning, growth, or change. And, after all, isnt all this just the criminalization of politics?

Friday, October 21, 2005

WHOA!

THIS could be BIG! If this story has any truth, it will develop legs, and those legs might be able to take the legs out from under Shrub once and for all. Amazing, and this sounds like the R's in the Senate are willing to take down their Fearless Leader in a fit of pique! Got to love it!

And Another Thing.....

On the same note as the previous post, Digby has a great post on the Administration, hubris, Plame-gate, and come-up-ance.

Don't Bother Us With Facts

I was reading Jane Well's column abour Darfur when a thought hit me. John Bolton's refusal to allow the Security Council to hear the Mendez report on Darfur is a perfect reflection of the entire Bush administration in microcosm.

Bolton's explanation for refusing was that it was time for action. How perfect! Don't bother us with facts, we have to act. Facts would just get in the way of our preconceptions and muddy the waters and mislead the peasants....er electorate. This sums up the way the way this (mis)Administration has approached EVERY issue on it's plate, from the election flap in 2000 to WMD to the running of the war and no-bid contracts to SCOTUS nominees to Kat-Rita relief. 'We know the truth, we don't need facts and information and all that girly-man stuff.'

Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, have died in Darfur, and as many more are at risk. Yet, John Bolton knows without being informed what to do about it. Trust him! Shrub does!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wingnuts without Lugnuts?

The Wheels are coming off the Republican machine! Everyone is sniping at everyone else, and it seems to be increasing. Someone grab the kids and RUN!

Please Try Again

The Senate has issued a grade of 'Incomplete' to Harriet Miers response to their pre-confirmation hearing questionnaire. Unsatisfied by a variety of answers and the lack of specificity on others, Chairman Arlen Specter and ranking Dem Patrick Leahy sent a letter to Miers requesting more information on her work for Shrub and other issues, including her suspension from the Bar.

The key issues of contention are likely to revolve her staff work for Shrub and the administration's fanatical desire for confidentiality in their internal communications. Questions about the war on terror and torture are likely to be key points of contention here.

It looks increasingly likely that Ms. Miers will not be confirmed. Her position(s) on abortion are unlikely to comfort either the left or the right (which is, actually, probably a good thing.) She's not the standard bearer the right wingnuts want to force their Holy Confrontation, the Last Great Battle, with the left (and the middle, for that matter.) She's too much of a tabula rasa to satisfy either their desire for a non-stealth Holy Warrior on the Court (Thomas and Scalia aren't enough?) or to convince the lefties that she will be a balanced, moderate vote on the Court.

Maybe she can get a job on the Libby-Rove-Hanson defense team!

O! Frabjous Day! Callou! Callay!

The Hammer was booked today! Check out that mug shot, looks like a prom pic!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Progressive versus Liberal

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sirota/whats-the-difference-bet_b_9140.html

The New Deep Throat

Brian Wheeler, over at HuffPo, has an interesting column on the neocon conspiracy to drive us into war with Iraq, and the struggle within the Pentagon and State Dept to resist it. It's mostly about Karen Kwiatkowski, the former Pentagon officer so outspoken in opposition to the buildup to the war. Must read.

The Accountability Administration

DHS MisChief, Michael Chertoff, testified in front of the House today. The ummm lackluster response to Hurricane Katrina was not his fault because "I am not a hurricane expert." There wasnt a lot of 'there' there in his testimony. One thing did leap out at me, though. He said he'd decided to replace Brown with Thad Allen as BMOC in Louisiana by the end of the first week of the response. But the change did not come for another week. Why the delay in the midst of such obvious need and misery?

Here We Go.... AGAIN

Hurricane Wilma is now the strongest Atlantic hurricane of the season, if not history. According to information in the Guardian, her highest sustained winds are 175 mph+; the pressure is 882 mb, the lowest ever recorded.

It's headed, in predictions, for Florida. Not to be cynical, but wanna bet Florida gets more support and aid than Louisiana did. That'll teach em to be poor and democratic!

Saddam: Day One

All the waiting, and it seemed like an extended version of the inquest. Saddam and his fellow defendants were escorted into the courtroom, a judge asked Saddam for his name, and Saddam replied that the judge knew him, denied the authority of the court to try him, and the judge gave up and ordered him to sit down and shut up, which amazing, Saddam did.

Several hours of tedious charge description followed. Then everyone left. Woohoo! The excitement, the tension. Where's David Kelley when we need him? Well, to heighten the tension, they adjourned till sometime in November.

I think this is the real life version of the old saw 'first we give him a fair trial, then we take him out and hang him.' There's no chance that Saddam will get off, given the insanity of his defense team, there's little chance we'll hear much of a cogent defence, and, given the questionable legality of the invasion, there's every reason to doubt the legitimacy of the court.

All that said, I can't think of anyone more deserving of being tried and executed than Saddam. While I completely disagree with the invasion, the ONE good thing that came out of it was the toppling of Saddam. While the long term geopolitical consequences of overthrowing Saddam have yet to sort themselves out (no, I dont think it will lead to pan-Arabic democracy!), having him gone is blow for justice and mercy, altho it may cost millions of Iraqis their lives and/or property in the blowback.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Plame Or Wilson?

Cenk Uygur, at HuffPo, has a great post today on exactly WHO may have been the target in the whole Plame-gate affair. He postulates that, in fact, the target may have been Plame herself, and not her husband, Amb. Joe Wilson. Interesting read.

New Poll

if you hate the Shrub, and these days, who doesnt, you'll want to check out this new poll from SurveyUSA. Basically, Bush is sucking wind so hard, the WH curtains are flying away from the walls. Only six states have Bush above 50% approval, and even Texas has a big negative for him. Aint life wunnerful?

Who's the New Turd Blossom

With it seeming increasingly likely the either Presidential Advisor Karl Rove or VP Cheney'sChief of Staff 'Scooter' Libby, or both, will be indicted on something, the White House is scrambling to find a substitute 'Brain' for Rove. The frontrunners appear to be current WH Communications Director, Dan Bartlett, and Ken Mehlman, the Head of RNC. Neither appears to me to be the equal of Rove in Machiavellian machinations, but neither has the reputation for seeing politics as a blood sport that Rove has. So, the WH is likely to be both less pro-actively creative and less vicious. On the whole, either seems a win for Dems in the near future (altho losing a distracted and harried Rove is probably a net minus)

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Criminalization of Politics

Hunter, over at Daily Kos, has written a brilliant (if slightly rant-y) column on the reaction of the Right to the Plame-gate fiasco. A treasonable exposure of a deep-cover WMD operative is no big deal, but prosecuting it becomes 'the criminalization of politics.' Trying to prosecute the traitor(s) is political retribution for the R's vendetta against the Clintons. And on and on.

Hunter rebuts it all quite well. And I think his summary says it best:

Go to Hell!

Bush V. The World?

According to leaked British 'top secret' documents, our Beloved Leader was planning, before the war, to take the fight against WMD to a variety of other countries, including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. While doing something about Pakistan and WMDs might make sense, given their history, the concept of a Bush even thinking about taking on Saudi Arabia is mind-boggling!! Did Pappy know? No wonder Babs was out of her mind in Houston during the Katrina aftermath.

The Veil Parts

Link to Frank Rich's column of yesterday, from behind the Timeselect 'wall'.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/101605Z.shtml

Which Shell is the Peabrain Under?

According to the Dobson camp, Karl Rove did NOT tell the 'Reverend' James Dobson that Miers would vote to overturn Roe. However, in a conference call, moderated by Don Wildmon (ever think you'd see 'moderate' and 'Don Wildmon' in the same sentence?), Nathan Hecht (of Miers neo-nazi rightwing, Jesus-was-a-storm-trooper church in North Dallas AND of the Texas high court) and another judge assured conferees that Harriet would INDEED vote to overturn, if given the chance).

The call was, apparently, arranged by Rove. So, the question becomes not did Turd Blossom TELL Dobson, or did he just arrange for him to find out?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Judy, We Hardly Knew Ye

The Times and Judy Miller begin the long, laborious task of coming clean. In dual articles, published today, the Times and the poor, set-upon Judy, write their (hopefully, initial) versions of what the hell happened on 43rd St that got them all in such a conundrum. More to come, we hope.

The Times crew

The Martyr

OHMIGOD! They've Lost Thatcher!!

In yesterday's Independent, the Baroness was quoted as trashing the reasons for the war (even tho she did support toppling Saddam):

She added: "The fact was that there were no facts, there was no evidence, and there was no proof. As a politician the most serious decision you can take is to commit your armed services to war from which they may not return."

Maybe her minders were off getting champagne?

Rove's Attorneys Think It Likely He'll Be Indicted

In their coverage of yesterday's 'Roast' of Rove, WashPo includes the following statement:

"Rove's defense team asserts that President Bush's deputy chief of staff has not committed a crime but nevertheless anticipates that special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald could find a way to bring charges in the next two weeks, the source said."

Fascinating! Even the only folks in DC that think Rove didn't break any laws think he'll be indicted. I guess the rest think he'll be sent directly to jail.

Ooopsies!

Looks like the Bushies have done it again. Every time they co-opt a journalist (assuming, of course, that Judy Miller was co-opted and not a slaveringly willing co-conspirator.... as Kathy Griffin would say "ALLEGEDLY!!!!") Apparently, the whole Armstrong Williams pay-for-say froofrah is being passed off to the Justice Department (wont Fitz be available after 10/28?). I liked the media better when it was a left wing tool, and amazingly, so do the cops!

http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/10/14/education.probe.ap/index.html?section=cnn_latest

(link swiped from HuffPo)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Breaking News

Baghdad is dry and dark!

Not surprising news, but this time it's intentional. Apparently (this is still in the initial stages of reportage) insurgents knocked out a power tower and plunged Baghdad into darkness in the early hours of the morning of the 'Big Vote'. According to CNN, the Coalition folks are confirming that it was an attack, not an equipment failure.

Are the Republicans taking notes? This could work in those areas where they are likely to lose and the voting stations use the new and, of course, totally secure electronic voting machines. Katharine Harris must be salivating!!!

Shaken... But not Stirred

Ending the keeping of the worst kept secret in the history of show biz, the new James Bond was announced today. He will be played by that internationally famed star .... Daniel Craig. The new Bond is supposed to be edgier and darker than previous Bonds, but James BLOND?

I don't think this is going to be the wisest of casting choices (but what do I know? My favorite Bond is still George Lazenby). I think the fan base might be willing to forgive a blond Bond (he really does look more like a Bond villain tho; maybe it's the startling resemblance to Putin), but I'm not sure they're going to buy into the (reported) portrayal of JB as a moody alcoholic.

Casino Royale sounds, from all reports, like it might be a really good film, but I think it will be too different from the 'standard' for average 007-ophile. I think UA & Broccoli may be over-reacting to the blase reaction to the last couple of Bond flicks; this smacks of panic.


Note: If you haven't seen it, rent a copy of On Her Majesty's secret service (the Bond flick with Lazenby as Bond). It's far and away my fave of the series. And, as a bonus, it features the alluring and quirky Diana Rigg as the 'Bond Girl.'

The Times They Are A'Changing (just not very fast)

Arianna, over at Huffington Post, has a nice view on the goings on at the NYTimes over the Miller fiasco. I'm not keyed into the news biz enough to have any real insight, but the situation at the times seems dire. This is obviously bigger and badder than the Jayson Blair incident (hey, Jayson's false reporting didn't get people killed; Miller's propaganda for the war DID!), but the Times seems even less willing to confront it than they did then.

I thought putting Miller in jail for not revealing sources was heinous, although I wasn't that upset that she was in jail. That was deserved for the false and misleading WMD coverage. The hasty change of mind that got her out, the mysterious notebook appearance, and the recall to the grand jury make her look much more like a co-conspirator than an objective, neutral observer.

Like the Bush White House coming apart at the seams, this is going to be interesting to watch in the days that come. Whether or not the NYT can recover and retain it's preeminence as the Paper of Record, we shall see.

Edit: Late Update from Arianna on the NYT's self-reportage.

Edit to the Edit: ANOTHER update from Arianna (slow down, girl, you're working too hard!) on the promised Sunday 'tell-all' and what lil Judy is up to (turns out she's gonna be blocks from me all weekend. And me without a cream pie!!)

Turd Blossoming

Turd Blossom, aka Presidential Advisor Karl Rove, spent four and a half hours in front of the grand jury this morning. This may or may not be significant, but four and a half hours seems like a LONG time. Remember, in the grand jury, there are no cross examinations, sidebars, and all the usual blather that turn the usual 'trial' into a marathon.

It just strikes me that there was a lot of substance that Fitzgerald wanted to go into. And if TB was pleading the Fifth, shortening his answers, imagine how much substance Ftizgerald was covering!

It's fine by me, either way. The longer ole Karl is distracted, annoyed, and tied up with l'Affaire Plame, the less time he has advising the Shrub on how to fuck up the country. And, admit it, it's a real joy to watch the wheels flying off the Bush Machine. Schadenfreude is a wonderful thing.

Mushroom Cloudy Thinking

Joe Conason has a great column today on the significance of the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Mohammed ElBaradei and the IAEA. I wont go into all the details (click the link below for the full article) but want to post a couple of excerpts that struck me.

"The deeper meaning of the Nobel committee's decision extends, however, well beyond that celebrated debate -- with clear implications for the misconceived and dangerous nuclear policies of the Bush administration. Failing to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons will someday lead to consequences even more dire than the worst hurricane or earthquake. Yet the geniuses now in charge of the world's most powerful government have consistently botched and undermined that effort.

...

To any government with reason to worry about the intentions of more powerful states, the lesson of this episode is obvious: Build nuclear weapons and the rest of the world will leave you alone. Fail to build nuclear weapons, and you will live at the mercy of those who have them. The corollary was equally plain: Any powerful government -- such as China or Russia, for example -- can use the suspicion of nuclear proliferation to invade a troublesome neighbor or rival.

...

If the Bush administration were truly concerned about the spectral "mushroom cloud" that it conjured up to frighten us while planning to attack Iraq, its approach to nuclear issues would have been different from the very beginning."

http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?ItemID=19747

This is starting to remind me....

...of the old Jimmy Carter joke. To update it, why does Laura have to be on top when the Bushes have sex? 'Cause George can only fuck up.

We all knew todays's teleconference between Bush and the soldiers in Iraq had to be staged (if only because Scott McClellan insisted it wasnt). The biggest clue that it was a 'fix' was that it was only officers in the mix; if Bush wanted 'real' feedback, the only place to get that is from the grunts, the enlisted men on the ground there.

It's fascinating to watch the confluence of errors, missteps, and miscues coming out of the formerly seamless Bush machine. Maybe it's karma catching up with him, but in the old days, Bush was the Turd Blossom, not Rove. He could arrange the most amazing messes (read Molly Ivin's book(s)) and still manage to come out unscathed and higher up the food chain (allowing, of course, bigger messes to escape from).

Now, though, everything seems to be coming apart at the seems. What should have been a quick, easy PR smoozefest turns into an embarrassing gaff because someone manages to tape the rehearsal of the "unrehearsed" event. Thank God for videotape :)

I no longer think Bush is a lame duck. With the continual failure of their flailing efforts, the probable indictment (and obvious sidelining, in any case) of Karl Rove, the MIA act Cheney has pulled, Iraq imploding (and possibly worse to come this weekend), the self-destructing hubris of the Congressional Republicans, and on and on, it's obvious he's moved on to dead duck status.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Oh My God

(pun intended)

Will they ever stop? Probably not till Armageddon

Is Richard Cohen Insane......

..or just a future unindicted co-conspirator?

His contention
, that since no one intended the assassination of Valerie Plame, Fitzgerald wont be able to convict anyone of violation of the Identies act, is the most asinine crap to come out of DC in a long time (and given the existence of Scott McClellan, that's saying a LOT!)

First, even if no one intended the assassination of Plame (which is probably correct), the revelation of the identity of an undercover operative, particularly a non official cover op, with or without intent (as required by the law) is a treasonous act. Moreover, it places not not only the life of the exposed at jeopardy, but the lives of their co-workers, acquaintances, and contacts. We may never know how many people Novak killed with that article; can/will the CIA ever reveal if any of Plame's recruits in the Middle East (and elsewhere?) ended up dead because of her blown cover?

Second, as a prosecutor, let alone a special prosecutor, his duty is not just to determine if this law or that was broken, but what laws were broken, when and by whom. If a prosecutor is investigating a crime family for drug trafficking, are they supposed to ignore discoveries of money laundering, prostitution, illegal gambling, etc?

I have a better idea for Cohen than having Fitzgerald return to Chicago. Why dont you go to Chicago, Dick, and just shut up!

Naked and Helpless

Molly Ivins has a great column today (doesnt she always?); use the link to the right to click to it. I wanted to share her closing comments, for those too lazy to click... you know who you are!

"In fact, every one of us comes into this world naked and helpless, and most leave it in the same condition -- and we are dependent on one another every single day in between. The "stand on your own feet and take care of yourself" attitude the right wing keeps pushing is not only cruel, but stupid, too."

Molly Ivins

The End of Gay Culture

I loathe Andrew Sullivan. He's wrong about everything! And yet, he's written a brilliant article for TNR that is readable, cogent, and, most amazingly, pretty much right. Go figure! :)

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20051024&s=sullivan102405

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Gotta Love the Internet

A great publishing tradition since ....um..... this afternoon, and already having to put the clamps on! Due to a couple of robot driven 'comment', I'm turning on the word verification to allow comments only by 'real' people... so if you're not a real people, DONT EVEN TRY!! :)

America and the World

The other day, I was reading a blog entry on Huffington Post (I'm sorry, I dont remember whose). The author was discussing a cross country train trip he and his wife had taken recenty. Fighting of waves of jealousy, I read with interest his recounting of talking to various people in the heartland of the country and how many of them did not, could not understand why America is disliked by much of the rest of the world.

Let me state first that I am proud to be an American. I'm not always proud of what America or Americans do, but I'm always proud of being an American. To me, there is only one 'holy' document and that's the Constitution (I said holy, not perfect ;)) I think, in many ways, we are, or at least, were 'the Shining City on the Hill' of which Reagan spoke. If we can get out the current lot of hacks and crooks that are running the place, perhaps we can shine again.

Anyway, back to my point. I think it's possible to explain why much of the world is 'anti-American' in simple terms almost any American relate to: high school.

Pretend the world is one giant high school... Terran Unified H.S. Every country (and by default their citizens) are students at this school.

One of the students is the All Star Quarterback. He's also good looking, VERY rich, and VERY VERY strong. He's not very bright, as perceived by some of the more worldly students, who have more experience in dealing with the outside world.

Now, because of his status, he's the leader of the pack. Some hang out with him cuz they like him, some to have some of his status and success rub off on them, some because they're afraid of what he might do if they're not his friend.

If he's a kind, helpful person, using his status, strength and position to help others, people will genuinely like him and want to be like him. This is the view most Americans have of America.

However, if he's a bully, using threats or actual violence to get his way, encouraging others to be bullies to do his dirty work, throwing snit fits when he doesnt get his way, and just generally throwing his weight around and flaunting his wealth and power, then people will be afraid of him, either avoid him or suck up to him (dont blush, Tony B.), and for the most part hate him and in some cases actively work to bring him down.

THAT is the way most of the world sees us.

And THAT is why they dislike us.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

Matthew Shepherd Anniversary

Today is the anniversary of Matthew Shepherd's execution in Wyoming. Don't let him have died in vain. Do anything you can to support Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Minority Rights, Civil Liberties, etc.

Click here to go to MatthewShepard.org
A note from Judy Shepard

October 12, 2005

October 12 th 2005, is the seventh anniversary of my son Matthew's murder. His murder prompted unprecedented media coverage and focused the nation's attention on anti-gay hate crimes like never before. These past few weeks I have been thinking about what has changed - and what has not changed. What has been done to make our communities safe from violence resulting from anti-gay hate? I quickly learned my son's violent death was a fairly common occurrence. This prompted our family to create the Matthew Shepard Foundation and do our part to create a more respectful and caring culture free from hate. I have spent the past seven years traveling across the nation, speaking to schools, churches, anyone who will listen, to try and stem the tide of hate that is eating away at the fabric of our culture.

The number of hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people has not varied much during the last five years. They remain the third highest category after race and religion. However, it is apparent that there are certain changes in the 'environment' that do impact hate crime activity. In New York City, every July, anti-gay violence usually increases by about 8% as people respond to the outreach programs and the visibility of the Pride celebrations. After the Lawrence v. Texas decision and the premiere of additional gay identified television shows, anti-gay violence in New York City rose 52%.

It's clear that in some ways, our nation has become a more accepting place. We have witnessed the progress of gay and lesbian rights with the recent Supreme Court decision, Lawrence v Texas. We have seen our neighbor to the North - Ontario, Canada - acknowledge same-sex marriages. They have recognized that same sex couples are as deserving of the same equal rights and responsibilities as heterosexual couples. We have seen gay adoptions increase. We have seen growing visibility, acceptance and understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our families, in the corporate world and in our culture.

However, we must also remember that there has been scant progress in areas of legislation and securing equal rights for the gay community. We continue to fight for hate crime legislation that will include sexual orientation, gender, and disability, and for federal job protection based on sexual orientation. Yes, you can be fired for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender in 36 states of this nation. It is as if we are living in two Americas - one that tunes in to "Queer Eye for a Straight Guy" but turns a blind eye to the injustices gay and lesbian people still face.

It is evident that with progress comes the inevitable attack by those who are threatened by our work for justice and fairness. Visibility - whether in the media or being out of the closet if you are gay - can serve as an unfortunate catalyst. Those who are threatened by our community are threatened by these strides. In 2003, more than 30 cities and towns reported crimes against gays. The vast majority do not garner national headlines like my son's murder did. Sakia Gunn, a 15 year old lesbian was fatally stabbed in Newark, New Jersey on 5/11/03, F.C. Martinez, a Navajo, transgender 16-year old murdered in a bias motivated attack are two examples but the list goes on. We have so far to go, so much hate is out there. It must be acknowledged, addressed and erased before any of us are safe.

As we approach the anniversary of Matthew's murder it is appropriate to redouble my efforts to invoke a grassroots solution to this problem. It is a solution that begins with parents, educators, clergy and our communities as a whole. We have the opportunity to help our children understand and accept diversity before their school years begin and before hate can provoke violent actions. If we do our jobs correctly, it should never cross the minds of our children to harm someone, physically or emotionally, because of their gender, race, national origin, religion, disability or gender identity and expression.

Hate is a learned behavior. If a child is taught to hate and fear diversity, then the next place he or she expresses that hate is at school. Ten percent of all hate crimes occur at schools and colleges . Bullying in our nation's schools has resulted in countless acts of violence. The cycle continues until that child who is filled with hate becomes an adult citizen in your community and begins to teach others to hate.

Please help your children understand diversity without fearing it. Be an example of acceptance and compassion. The consequences of hate hurt everyone. It hurts not only the victim - it hurts their family and friends. It destroys the families of the perpetrators. Lives are lost, lives are ruined and lives are changed forever.

~Judy Shepard

Loyalty

The other day, Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Conference, stated, in re Harriet Miers and Bush's defense of her, that "I am from Texas. George W. Bush is from Texas and Harriet Miers is from Texas. And in Texas, we have two important values, courage and loyalty. If she were to rule in ways that are contrary to the way the president would want her to rule, it would be a deep personal betrayal."

The Bush family (as the Gambino/Colombo/Gotti families) values loyalty above almost any other factor. It's interesting, though, that that loyalty only seems to run one way. The Miers appointment is obviously a slap in the face to the Borkian rightwing faction of the Republican party (while maybe a slight sop to the Rightwing Paulist (I can't call them Christian) faction). So, it looks to me that the vaunted loyalty factor is only supposed to run uphill.... you be loyal to me, and I'll do whatever the hell I want.

It's going to be interesting to see, over the coming days, whether fear of the OTHER major value of the Gotti...er Bush family, revenge, is enough to keep the Republican Senatorial class in line. Or is Bush such a lame duck that the R's in Senate will feel 'safe' enough to slap back at Bush's seeming betrayal of their beloved fascist, sorry, conservative principals. Either way, looks like blood is fixing to flow in the Halls of Congress. Sounds like fun, and it's not even the Ides of March!

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