Saturday, March 31, 2007

Glory

Days like today are why I live in Southern California. It's about 80, probably 25% humidity, and light breezes. It's the first 'hot' day we've had this spring, but the general conditions aren't unusual.

Before you jump in the car and move out, remember you may be stuck in traffic for hours at a time, until the Big Quake gets you. But at least the weather is fabulous!

Matt Dowd Rehabilitates

Matt Dowd, former Bush campaign guru, who abandoned the Dems in Texas to foist Dumbfuck on us, has recovered his senses and gives an interview to the NYT. He's pretty gloomy about Bush, but, he still likes him. Hell, I like a lot of people, but most of them shouldn't be Preznit.

Third Carrier Group to Gulf

Kevin reports the departure of a third (altho supposedly rotational relief) carrier group to the Gulf. He also reports on Russian reports of unusual American activity on Iran's borders. Then sums it up nicely:

It's probably nothing, and God knows I don't want to go all grassy knoll on you. Just passing along the latest rumors. One way or the other, though, we're sure putting a lot of naval firepower into a very small area where there are currently no particular naval threats.

Bad News for Rudy

And a really bad weekend at Bernie's!

Federal prosecutors have told Bernard B. Kerik, whose nomination as homeland security secretary in 2004 ended in scandal, that he is likely to be charged with several felonies, including tax evasion and conspiracy to commit wiretapping.


Mr Law and Order, and this was his law enforcement guru? Better get married again, quick!, Rudy, to paper over this mess.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Carville Responds To Charges

A number of pundits in the left blogosphere have been piling on James Carville (deservedly enough) for opining on CNN while being an HRC 'operative'. Carville responded to these charges, well enough, I thought, today to TPM's Greg Sargent. A lot of it is tenuous, but he makes a reasonable argument that he isn't misleading the public with his appearances as a 'neutral' commentator. Everyone in public life (and media these days is definitely public life) has their preferences, and as long as he's not overtly working for Hillary, I have no problem with him spouting off (hey! it keeps at least one Repug off the air, if he's on it!) but if he DOES move to an official(ish) position, then he needs either to leave CNN or have a blaring announcement that he is partisan.

Guess Slapping Waitresses Wasn't Enough

Nev Gov Jim "Sleazebucket" Gibbons is under investigation...again. This time for corruption, which is both more serious and more interesting than bitchslapping helpless women, but not nearly as much FUN!

Domenici/Wilson Win! Whee!

Is it just me, or does it seem suspicious that the (non)indictment that got David Iglesias bounced out of the ABQ US Attorney post is handed down the same day Kyle Sampson is leaking all over a Senate Committee witness table? Just asking?

God Save Us ...

.. from the MBA style of government. The Pentagon has hired a PR firm to handle Walter Reed; well, to handle the story, not the hospital!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Kiss McCain Goodbye

If this is true, it should finish off any chances he had of winning the Repug nomination for Preznit. Combined with the pandering, shooting of his mouth, and being 'daddy' of the 'surge', this should drive a final nail into his maverick coffin.

Senate Passes Iraq Funding Bill

The Senate passed it out (51-47, with Hagel(R-Ne) and Smith(R-Ore.) voting with the Dems, and good ol' Joe Liar-mann (Asshole-Ct.) voting with the Repugs. It is actually tougher than the House Bill, requiring withdrawal completion by March of 08, while the House set a deadline of fall of 08. On to conference!

Sampson Tiptoes Around Karl

TPM has the video

Lampson Senate Hearing

TPM is live-blogging (mostly over now, so more recorded-blogging). Good coverage.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Well Said

It's a point that's been made before, but kos sums it up succinctly:

The reason there is a fight over Iraq funding is because Bush decided not to include such funding in the regular budget.

Why not?

Who knows? Perhaps because his election-year budget presented fictional progress toward a "balanced budget". If he included his war funding in that budget, he couldn't pretend a balanced budget was within reach. (A trillion dollar war makes that difficult.)

But let's not forget, the only reason this fight is being waged, is because Bush chose to underfund our troops in his regular budget.

And now he's threatening to veto the funding Congress is allocating for the war. In other words -- Bush refused to fund the troops in his budget, Congress is providing that funding, and Bush is threatening to veto that funding.

Nice way of doing business.

Executive Privilege?

As usual, the mighty TPM 'empire' is doing stellar work tracking the multitudinous loose ends that keep unraveling on the scum&scandal ridden Bu$hCo White House. The latest to start showing its face is the intriguing news that WH aides (actually, multiple Admin branches from the sounds of it) were using outside clients to handle their emails; at least those they didn't want subpoena-ed. IMHO, this may be the equivalent to Alex Butterfield's admission to Congress that the Nixon WH taped EVERYTHING. It has two main thrusts: one, that there were things they were trying to hide, which gives rise to the whole smoke/fire line of thought, and two) that any arguments of Executive Privilege are blown out the window for these 'outside' emails, and that may provide enough ammo to let even recalcitrant Congressional types demand the stuff that might still be covered by whatever tatters of EP the WH may be able to articulate. It's just stunning the mendacity (and amazing stupidity) of these folks.

"We just got a bit lazy," said one aide. "We knew E-mails could be subpoenaed. We saw that with the Clintons but I don't think anybody saw that we were doing anything wrong."


Yeah, right.

(from USNews, via TPM)

UPDATE: Kevin Drum weighs in

Monica Redux

Froomkin starts in on the Monica Gooding/DoJ ongoing shitstorm:

Will another presidency be tripped up by another Monica?

As suspicions about the White House role in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys last year continue to deepen, one of the people who could shed light on what happened -- Monica Goodling, the Justice Department's White House liaison -- has suddenly decided to clam up, invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Juries in criminal cases are sternly lectured not to assume guilt when a defendant takes the Fifth. It is, after all, a Constitutional right.

But when a fairly minor player in what had heretofore not been considered a criminal investigation suddenly admits that she faces legal jeopardy if she tells the truth to a Congressional panel? Well, in that case, wild speculation is an inevitable and appropriate reaction. (my emphasis)

For one, it's not at all clear what she's trying to say. Undeniably, if she chose to lie to the panel, she could face perjury charges. Her recourse, therefore, would appear to be to tell the truth.

So is she saying that if she told the truth, she would have to admit a crime? What crime?

Or is she saying something else: That she'd have to admit someone else's criminal behavior? Well, that's not something you can take the Fifth to avoid. Sorry.

Or is she just afraid of being grilled by an antagonistic bunch of congressmen? Well, that's not something you can take the Fifth to avoid either.

In my column yesterday, I wrote that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is almost certainly still getting his marching orders directly from the West Wing. I speculated about which Justice and/or White House aides were charged with delivering those orders. It's widely known that the White House has in many cases turned over the micromanagement of Cabinet officials to untested youngsters whose paramount qualification is that they follow orders.

Now it looks like the 33-year-old Goodling's terrified, whining refusal to own up to what she did may end up exposing one of the weaknesses of relying on such people. When the going gets tough, they can't necessarily be trusted to either stand up to pressure -- or take the fall. Instead, they panic.

Senate Okays Withdrawal Timetable

The Senate defeated a Repug action to strip the timetable for withdrawal from the funding bill. It passed 50-48 with Chuck Hagel crossing over (and Joe Liar-mann voting wrong as usual). Give them all a hand.

Update: Gordon Smith (R-Or) also voted with the Dems.

From dKos- these Sens in upcoming elections voted to prolong the war:

Norm Coleman (MN)
Susan Collins (ME)
John Cornyn (TX)
Liddy Dole (NC)
Pete Domenici (NM)
Mitch McConnel (KY)
Pete Sessions (AL)
John Sununu (NH)
John Warner (VA)

Lying Liebermann Outs Himself

TPM makes a good catch with Liebermann's speech this afternoon in the Senate debate:

It is clear that for the first time in a long time, there is reason for cautious optimism about Iraq

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Well Put

Marshall Ganz has an excellent post on TPM on political organization (in the coming-together sense) but makes an excellent point (via de Toqueville). This, to me, is what is wrong with Repugs in a nutshell:

That individualism uncurbed by claims of community, could not sustain a healthy polity in which the common good would receive its due.

What the Hell Is Wrong with AP?

They've turned into the most moronic cheap shot artists of the MSM (and you have to TRIED hard to achieve that....) First. they played host to the execrable John Solomon; now, finally free of his scent, they've started up again running a really inexcusably awful hit piece on Obama.

ht to tpm

Monday, March 26, 2007

Why it Matters

Josh explains it all:


Given the amount of attention we've given to the US Attorney Purge, there's been no end of right-wing nutjobs who've written in asking just what the big deal is. In most cases, these are just attacks dressed up as questions. And I do my best -- not always successfully -- to ignore them. But interspersed in that mess of emails are a few who seem to be asking, genuinely, what the big deal is. Perhaps they're critics of the president or conservatives who genuinely don't see it. So here's how I'd answer that question.

For all the intensity and hostility awash in our politics, there are some lines we just assume aren't going to be crossed, lines that are so basic that the civil compact itself can't easily survive if they're not respected.

One of those is the vote. Whoever's in power and however intense things get, most of us assume that the party in power won't interfere with the vote count. We also assume that the administration won't use the IRS to harrass or imprison political opponents. And we assume that criminal prosecutions will be undertaken or not undertaken on the facts.

Yes, there's prosecutorial discretion. And the grandstanding, press-hungry DA is almost a cliche. But when a politician gets indicted for corruption we basically all assume it's because they're corrupt -- or, given the assumption of innocence, that the prosecution is undertaken because the prosecutor believes their case is strong and that the defendent committed the crime.

Now, again, life is made of grey areas. And our laws and regulations often take into account that even people of good faith may not be able to impartially investigate their own. That's why we had the Independent Counsel statute. The partisan affiliation of prosecutors and judges often hangs in the background of cases. And probably most Democrats and Republicans feel a bit better when a member of their party is brought down by a prosecutor of the same party because then you can assume -- whatever fairness or unfairness may have been involved -- that partisanship wasn't a factor.

So, all of this is to say that no system is perfect and partisan affiliation may distort the justice system at the margins.

But none of what we're seeing here is at the margins. What we seem to see are repeated cases in which US Attorneys were fired for not pursuing bogus prosecutions of persons of the opposite party. Or vice versa. There's little doubt that that is why McKay and Iglesias were fired and there's mounting evidence that this was the case in other firings as well. The idea that a senator calls a US Attorney at home just weeks before a federal elections and tries to jawbone him into indicting someone to help a friend get reelected is shocking. Think about it for a second. It's genuinely shocking. At a minimum one would imagine such bad acts take place with more indirection and deniability. And yet the Domenici-Iglesias call has now been relegated to the status of a footnote in the expanding scandal, notwithstanding the fact that there's now documentary evidence showing that Domenici's substantial calls to the White House and Justice Department played a direct role in getting Iglesias fired.

So what you have here is this basic line being breached. But not only that. What is equally threatening is the systematic nature of the offense. This isn't one US Attorney out to get Democrats or one rogue senator trying to monkey around with the justice system. The same thing happened in Washington state and New Mexico -- with the same sort of complaints being received and acted upon at the White House and the Department of Justice. Indeed, there appears to have been a whole process in place to root out prosecutors who wouldn't prostitute their offices for partisan goals.

We all understand that politics and the law aren't two hermetically sealed domains. And we understand that partisanship may come into play at the margins. But we expect it to be the exception to the rule and a rare one. But here it appears to have become the rule rather than the exception, a systematic effort at the highest levels to hijack the Justice Department and use it to advance the interest of one party over the other by use of selective prosecution.

-- Josh Marshall

(emphasis mine)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Why Transcripts Are Important

Because they lie like dogs!

Conason on Rove

Joe Conason writes in Salon:


"The proposal to interview the president's chief political counselor without an oath or even a transcript is absurd for a simple and obvious reason. Yet the White House press corps, despite a long and sometimes testy series of exchanges with Snow, is too polite to mention that reason, so let me spell it out as rudely as necessary right here:

"Rove is a proven liar who cannot be trusted to tell the truth even when he is under oath, unless and until he is directly threatened with the prospect of prison time. Or has everyone suddenly forgotten his exceedingly narrow escape from criminal indictment for perjury and false statements in the Valerie Plame Wilson investigation? Only after four visits to the grand jury convened by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, and a stark warning from Fitzgerald to defense counsel of a possible indictment, did Rove suddenly remember his role in the exposure of Plame as a CIA agent.

Gonzo Is Toast

Gonzales attended at least one major meeting prior to the firings at which it was a topic. Contrary to what he testified. Strike three.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Congrats to UCLA

UCLA beat Pitt last night to advance to the elite eight in the NCAA Tourney. The bf would shoot me if I didn't acknowledge his alma mater's success. So congrats Bruins!

Another One Bites the Dust

Steven Griles, former #2 at Interior, pleads guilty in the Abramoff scandal.

Baloney McSnowjob goes in for Surgery

WH Spokesliar Tony Snow, who underwent treatment for cancer about two years ago, is going in to the hospital for removal of an abdominal growth next week. According to Snow, he should be back soon (so given his veracity level, start planning for a funeral).

When I heard the news this morning, I was instantly torn. The uppermost, 'nice' level of my personality was concerned and wished him well. The lower, 'gut' level (no pun intended) felt a surge of joy that karma works. My best wishes will be with Mr Snow, but they will always be slightly contaminated by a secret desire to see him get what he deserves.

Shut up! One of my parents died (pretty horribly) of cancer, so it's not that I don't 'appreciate' what Mr Snow (and his family, friends, etc) are going through. It's just that a very visceral part of me doesn't care and is shouting 'just desserts'; it doesn't mean that I don't sympathize- it just means part of me is profoundly human.

They Lie, Cheat, AND Steal

Apparently, aided by a coverup from the Repugs on the FEC (who have some interesting backgrounds, btw), Bush 04 was able to cheat us out of $40 million. Depending on where it was spent, it might have made a difference (since it amounts to more than half their Federal matching funds).

What happened that allowed Bush’s campaign to exceed spending limits by so much? It took a degree of Enron-like accounting — and some help from Bush’s buddies.

The campaign spent $80 million on television ads it labeled “hybrid” ads — they promoted the president’s bid for a second term, but also included references to Republican congressional candidates. By throwing in House and Senate candidates, the Bush gang made up its own rule — the ads were only half about the president’s campaign, so it meant the aides decided only half of the costs counted for financing purposes. (The RNC reported the other half.)

This was particularly egregious because Bush participated in the public-financing system — after his convention, the president and his campaign team accepted the $74.6 million in public funds for the general election. If they’d played it straight, those “hybrid” ads that touted the president in key states/districts nationwide would never have run.


h/t to dkos for the article link

Stupid Bastards

Stupid, stupid, stupid! If you're gonna lie to someone, make it someone who can't prove you lied, cuz they have the fucking receipts!!! MORONS!

Iranians Seize British Marines

In what appears to be a complicated ambush in the Shatt al Arab, Iranian naval forces (apparently the Naval Service of the Revolutionary Guard, NOT the Iranian Navy) seized 15 British Marines when the marines boarded a suspicious vessel.The Iranians claim the Brits were in Iranian water; given the state of satellite location technology, I'd bet against that, but also given the level of incompetence in Iraq, I won't say impossible. Opposing Ambassadors have been summoned in opposing capitals to receive opposing communiques, so we'll see where this goes pretty quickly.

House Passes Supplemental

By a very narrow (as expected) vote, the House passed (semi-expected) the supplemental to continue funding the war in Iraq, along with setting a withdrawal date for next year. As totally expected, Bush accused them of playing politics, hating the troops, molesting pages, sinking the Andrea Dorea, and being poopooheads. A veto is promised if the same bill passes the Senate.

Update: The vote was 218-212, not as close as I thought it would be

Thursday, March 22, 2007

GOP Doomed?

Nah, but they could have some tough times ahead. Where is John Lindsay when they need him?

Is It Just Me?

Does it seem like almost everyone, at least in the MSM, has lost sight of the ball here? The problem is not that Bush illegally fired the (pick a number 7-8-10-whatever) US Attorneys; he was certainly within his rights to do so, for cause or not. The problem is (say it with me!) OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE in the cases that at least five of the USAs were pursuing. They were fired for no good reason while in the middle of pursuing Republican pols/associates, and, given the story coming out about the Big Tobacco obstruction by the top of the DOJ, it seems unlikely that these firings were anything but attempts to obstruct. This is the meme here, not any other, regardless of how shiny and pretty. This is our Watergate. Nail these bastards to the wall and then put them under the jail. If David Broder whines about 'incivility', then quote Vice Preznit Big Dick to him: "Go fuck yourself!'

It seems likely that there was obstruction in other cases: Abramoff, NH phone, god knows what else. The only reason we haven't heard (yet, anyway) from these cases is that the USAs in those cases went along with the obstruction and weren't fired.

Froomkin, On Why It Matters

Dan weighs in this morning with why it matters that Rove/Miers et al are under oath:

The most telling restriction built into the White House offer to make senior aides available for private interviews about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys is that no record of those aides' words would be allowed.

According to the offer, which has been soundly condemned by Democrats, members of Congress investigating the firings could come out of the closed-door, highly circumscribed interviews and say what they thought they heard. But there would be no transcript and no recordings.

White House officials say that the absence of a transcript is absolutely essential -- and is a reflection of their determination not to allow a friendly information-gathering session to take on the trapping of a court proceeding or political theater.

But more significantly, it would deny the public any reliable record of what was said.

It would remove the pressure from senior aides, most notably White House political guru Karl Rove, to come clean on their involvement in the firings -- while denying the public an opportunity to assess their veracity.

And it would make Congress a party to keeping important information obscured from the kind of public scrutiny that comes when journalists and bloggers have a chance to untangle the skillful evasions so common to this White House.

Especially when under fire, Bush and his aides use language with great cunning. Some observers of Bush's comments on Tuesday, for instance, could have walked away thinking he had definitively denied that partisan politics played a role in the firings. But in fact, as I wrote in yesterday's column, all Bush really said was that "there is no indication that anybody did anything improper." The existence of a transcript creates the possibility that reporters will follow up and ask him what that really means.

Elite Washington journalists are notoriously averse to doing anything that might get them labeled as liberals -- but there is nothing remotely partisan about grilling administration officials relentlessly about their resistance to creating a public record on a matter of such significance.

And there are signs today that even the most mild-mannered journalists out there may finally have run out of patience with the transparent spin of the White House PR machine.

Die, Bitches

Apparently, the DOJ was obstructing itself in pursuing the case against Big Tobacco. Jeez, these guys never cease to amaze. I want my $400 (120bill lost divided by 300million Americans)

Senate Cmte Okays Subpoenae

And then there were two (Houses, silly!)

And Leahy looks/sounds/acts pissed. If I were a Bushie, I'd be researching extradition laws.

It's Back, Dammit

The Edwardses announced this morning that Elizabeth's cancer had returned, but apparently is treatable, if not 'curable'. Edwards announced that the campaign is going to continue. YAY!

Of all the Dems in the race, Edwards is far and away my favorite. And one of his key strengths is his wife. She is a smart, sharp, witty, formidable lady, and a huge bonus to the Senator and the campaign. There are times I think she'd be as good or better a candidate than he would, but he's running. she's not, so I'm going with John :)

Darwin Inaction

It occurs to me that Bu$hCo may be evidence that evolution is wrong. They have failed to plan at every turn, and gotten caught up in their failure to plan, and been screwed, blued, and tattooed repeatedly by this failure. At no point have they seemed to learn from the mistakes, or to remove the mistakemakers, or in any way, tried to improve their activities. And yet, thus far, they prosper (well, the head does, altho portions of the body get whacked away or sent to jail.)

Why is that the people who are most vehemently opposed to evolution are often the best arguments against it?

It Gets Deeper

Was Lam forced out because she was getting too close to Cheney? Connect the dots. Americablog hits it here and here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What's Up With Edwards?

This is frightening:

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS AND HIS WIFE, ELIZABETH, TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE THURSDAY AT NOON ET -- DEVELOPING


Apparently, Edwards recently cancelled a campaign event to go to medical appointment with Elizabeth (Mrs Edwards). She has has serious health problems in the past, and this does not fill me with joy, either for her or the campaign. Let's all pray for her.

Worse Than Watergate

JuliaAnn, at DKos, who I paste-posted the other day, has struck again.

DOJ Scandal NH Phone Scandal, Links?

Sounds like it to me. Every decision had to go through the AG (first Ashcroft then Gonzo) and was apparently stalled as much as possible there.

The Democrats' other grievances, which they lay out in the letter, are 1) that the Justice Department bogged the investigation down by assigning only one FBI agent to the case -- and that agent was part-time 2) that the DoJ's refusal to prosecute the organziations responsible for the jamming, the New Hampshire Republican Party and the Republican National Committee, violated Justice Department guidelines, and 3) the DoJ failed to follow leads that led to higher-level Republican involvement.

Sub Poenae Authorization

House Judiciary authorizes issuance of sub poenas. Let the games begin!

Wow!

DKos blogger, JuliaAnn has a long, but totally readable, post on a lot of the underlying issues in the USA firing scandal. The main point is it all boils down to obstruction of justice and greed greed greed. Excellent read.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Iglesias Speaks

Well, writes, anyway. His Op-Ed is in the NYT.

Laws WERE Broken

So sayeth Adam Cohen, in the NYT:

It is true, as the White House keeps saying, that United States attorneys serve “at the pleasure of the president,” which means he can dismiss them whenever he wants. But if the attorneys were fired to interfere with a valid prosecution, or to punish them for not misusing their offices, that may well have been illegal.

...

Much more needs to be learned, and Senator Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who leads the Judiciary Committee, has been admirably firm about insisting that he will get sworn testimony from Karl Rove and other key players. It is far too soon to say that anyone committed a crime, and it may well be that no one has. But if this were a law school issue spotter, any student who could not identify any laws that may have been broken would get an “F.”

Blanco Out?

Looks like it, so Breaux's probably in the race. She'll announce something tonight.

Update: She's out.

Bush Presser

Bush just finished lying about the Gonzales/USAs fiasco. Short version: Nothing to see here, move along people... particularly you partisan Dems.

Kos sums it up best:

Update by kos: What the White House is really saying is, "We reserve the right to lie." Otherwise, if they intend to tell the truth, why would it matter whether they're under oath or not?

That's a weird message to be sending out...

Day's Recap(ette)

I was out of pocket all day, reconnecting with the bf, but it doesn't appear that I missed much. Sort of a dearth of 'news' today, after the flurry of the end of last week. The big news was the second 'dump', but that came late (even later than promised) so no news on it yet. There will probably stuff in there that is interesting and maybe even damaging to Bu$hCo, but we probably won't details for a day or so (it was something in excess of 2000 pages at the initial estimate). So we'll see. Back tomorrow.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Self-serving, revisionist rationalizing

I dont usually copy entire posts, but barbinmd's post today at dKos is too good to let alone:

Self-serving, revisionist rationalizing is the only way to describe today's Washington Post editorial marking the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war. They begin:

Tomorrow marks the fourth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, as appropriate a moment as any to take stock. What matters most is finding the best policy now -- doing whatever can be done to help Iraq and safeguard U.S. interests in a vital region. But looking back also is essential, particularly for those of us who supported the war.

Wrong. An appropriate moment for a nationally read newspaper to take stock would have been before deciding to support a preemptive war, both through editorial cheerleading and a willingness to abandon journalistic integrity and act as stenographers for the White House in the run-up to the war.

The editorial then falls back on the "who knows" what would have happened if we hadn't gone to war. But instead, why don't we look at what we do know? We know that there would be 3,216 U.S. servicemen and women who weren't killed in Iraq. We know that there would be tens of thousands of U.S. servicemen and women who weren't wounded in Iraq. We know that there would be hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who weren't killed. We know that we wouldn't be spending $2 billion a week on this war. We know that our military would not be at the breaking point. And we know that the United States wouldn't have lost its moral standing with the rest of the world. But the Washington Post decides leave it to history's judgement and move on to the question of, "What have we learned?"

The easy way out is to blame President Bush, Vice President Cheney or former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld: The decision was right, the execution wrong. There's no question that the execution was disastrous. Having rolled the dice on what everyone understood to be an enormous gamble, Mr. Bush and his team followed up with breathtaking and infuriating arrogance, ignorance and insouciance.

The decision was right? Do they mean the decision to go to war because of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist? And does the "everyone" who thought it was an enormous gamble include those that predicted we would be greeted as liberators? That the case against Hussein was a "slam dunk"? That the war would be a "cakewalk"? But let's forget all that and stop blaming the architects of this war who waged it with "breathtaking and infuriating arrogance, ignorance and insouciance." After all, it could have happened to anybody.

The Washington Post then, finally, addresses their own culpability.

Clearly we were insufficiently skeptical of intelligence reports. It would almost be comforting if Mr. Bush had "lied the nation into war," as is frequently charged. The best postwar journalism instead suggests that the president and his administration exaggerated, cherry-picked and simplified but fundamentally believed -- as did the CIA -- the catastrophically wrong case that then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell presented to the United Nations.

They exaggerated, cherry-picked and simplified, but they didn't lie? Perhaps the Washington Post's editorial board should assign a team of crack reporters to google a few terms like aluminum tubes, yellow-cake, Prague and UAV, and perhaps then they will rethink their extraordinary claim that the administration didn't lie to the American people.

And after their weak defense for parroting the administration's case for war, the Washington Post takes a page out of the White House playbook and says:

Unquestionably, for example, the experience has shown the risks of preemptive war. Yet it remains true in an era of ruthless, suicidal terrorists and easily smuggled weapons of unimaginable destructive power that not acting also can be dangerous.

It's hard to believe that after four years this still needs to be said: Iraq had nothing to do with September 11th. Raising the specter of terrorist attacks to somehow justify this preemptive war is completely dishonest. Or if the Washington Post prefers, it is exaggerating, cherry-picking and simplifying.

The editorial finishes with these deep thoughts:

Unfortunately, none of this provides bright guidelines to make the next decisions easier -- not even those facing the nation right now in Iraq. It's tempting to say that if it was wrong to go in, it must be wrong to stay in. But how Iraq evolves will fundamentally shape the region and deeply affect U.S. security. Walking away is likely to make a bad situation worse. A patient, sustained U.S. commitment, with gradually diminishing military forces, could still help Iraq to move in the right direction.

One wonders if the Washington Post was ever tempted to say, after four years of "breathtaking and infuriating arrogance, ignorance and insouciance," after four years of following the same course with only the slogans changing, after four years of unending violence and death, the time for patience is long past.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

More Trouble for Gonzo?

It looks like AG the AG may be lying to the Texas Bar to avoid the continuing ed requirements. This is turning into Christmas every day!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Plamania

I didnt see Valerie Plame testify this morning, but have caught some of the replay and a lot of the coverage later in the day. Two point. One, Rove, Cheney, et al should be publicly crucified for outing this fine example of a public servant. Two, Joe Wilson is one lucky guy (and Bush is SOOOOOOO screwed!)

Sweet jesus

The straight talk express just derailed. If this is correct (and it's from the NYT, via Americablog), McCain not only shouldn't be President, he shouldn't be allowed out without his nurse.

Q: “What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush’s policy, which is just abstinence?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “Ahhh. I think I support the president’s policy.”

Q: “So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “You’ve stumped me.”

Q: “I mean, I think you’d probably agree it probably does help stop it?”

Mr. McCain: (Laughs) “Are we on the Straight Talk express? I’m not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception – I’m sure I’m opposed to government spending on it, I’m sure I support the president’s policies on it.”

Q: “But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: ‘No, we’re not going to distribute them,’ knowing that?”

Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) “Get me Coburn’s thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn’s paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I’ve never gotten into these issues before.”

Confession is Good for.....

... the newscycle, if not the soul. We now that confession works. Khalid Sheik Mohammed has apparently confessed to every crime ever committed, including, I think, both Kennedy assassinations, the sinking of the Lusitania, and that missing $13.34 from the poor box at the LA Cathedral.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Two-fer?

Looks like, with the semi-release of the previously unreleased (gee, I wonder why) emails, that Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales are hip-deep in the US Atty firings, from the planning to the execution (no pun intended.) Keep your fingers crossed; we may finally be rid of both of them.

Karl and Gonzo, sittin' in a tree..........

Mortgage Mania

We may be more acutely aware of it here in California than the rest of the country, but it is seeping all around the country, surely, if not slowly.... the mortgage crash. As an ex-real estate professional and a former mortgage originator (both for banks and for free standing companies), I have not read a better explanation of the craziness that is the current mortgage market than this.

I'm a proponent of enlightened regulation (unenlightened regulation gave us the real estate collapse of the 80's, even if the fixes were needed (they should have been better worked in, rather than just evaporating about a third of the real estate value in the country in one day)), so I'm not opposed to having the Feds weigh in on this. I just hope they do it with caution this time, rather than just jumping as they did last time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Faux News

Writing about the fallout of the Nevada debate collapse, Eric Boehlert hits the Fox Nail right on the head:

Fox News is still fighting the last war. Busy arguing that it truly is fair and balanced, Fox News execs haven't noticed that, thanks to the Nevada showdown, the real question now on the table is not about Fox News' fairness. It's about whether or not Fox News is a legitimate news organization. That's precisely where Ailes does not want this media branding debate to go. And that's why the Fox News team has exerted so much energy in recent years trying to bully any doubters.

It's the reason a Fox News flack swung back wildly in October 2003, when a former producer there, Charlie Reina, wrote publicly about the daily internal Fox News memo that instructs staffers how to spin new stories, often in a partisan manner. Rather than address Reina's factual points, in what must have been a corporate media first, Fox News VP-news operations Sharri Berg issued a public statement in which she quoted an anonymous Fox News employee who belittled Reina as being a nobody and worse, he "NEVER had a job in the newsroom," which was supposed to raise doubts about Reina's credibility. (Reina tells me Berg had to resort to using an anonymous quote because Berg herself knew the statement about Reina never working in the newsroom was false.)

It's why when Ben Smith, blogging for the New York Daily News, observed that Fox News projects an "unmissable, insistent slant," Fox News responded with an oddly personal, schoolyard-quality taunt: "Ben has struggled to regain relevance since leaving the New York Observer, which is why you need a blood hound to find his column. We're happy he's making more than the $29,000 he made at the Observer ... then again, you get what you pay for."


Thanks to Digby for the heads up.

Feeling Good?

Want to get over it? Read this. Their BEST CASE SCENARIO is years of continuing civil war in Iraq with the 'bonus' of a stronger Al Qaeda. Yeesh!

Excellent Question

From Josh Marshall:

John McKay, the former US Attorney from Washington fired for not pursuing bogus voter fraud indictments, seems to have a knack for cutting to the chase. Says McKay: "My question is, if [Gonzales] fired the guy who fired us, why is he standing by the dismissals?"

-- Josh Marshall

The 300

Saw 300 with the bf yesterday. I went in expecting it to be both awful and good. My background in history and military history (and long experience with movies encompassing miltary history) led me to expect an historical mishmash.

For the most part, I enjoyed it. The film is visually stunning (almost video-game-ish) and mostly well acted (I still cant get over Phantom of the Opera enough to like Gerard Butler!) The general historic picture is (mostly) correct, with some minor flaws in the details (where the fuck did the ninja-Immortals come from?!?!?!?!?!?!) There were the usual internal flaws of any picture ('we always fight in formation'... then the rest of the movie is a series of freeform individual combats), but even if you go in, expecting the historical inaccuracies to make you nuts, you'll enjoy it. It's a cracking good war/adventure movie, with STUNNING graphics and visuals, and a pretty good time.

Take a deep breath and keep telling yourself, it's a comic book (okay, graphic novel!), not Thucydides!

The Four Steps of Bush Foreign Policy

Atrios sums it all up:

Self-Justifying

The problem is, however, that we have people in power who do want to bomb Iran. And we have a bunch of people who like to swing their dicks around. And we have a lot of people who, yes, think "don't take that thang out, unless you plan to bang."

So how this works:

1) We take that thang out, as taking it out has rather broad support
2) People argue, not entirely without merit, that we shouldn't have taken that thang out unless we planned to bang.
3) 2) is used to justify the decision to, in fact, bang.
4) Bang!


The wise course is to put the damn thing back in your pants.

Lamaphobia?

I haven't seen this idea posted anywhere else (and if it has been, then I apologize), so maybe I'm just a conspiracy freak. It occurs to me that the entire USA firing episode may have been a cover-up in its inception.

Let's assume that Bu$hCo wanted to get rid of Carol Lam in SD, on the grounds that she was uncovering way too much wrong doing on the parts of the Repugs, the (mis)Administration, and its various appointees in various agencies (notably, with Lam, the neutered CIA.) Now, just firing her would be WAY too obvious, even for these bozos, so a cover needed to be arranged. Instead of just Lam, why not fire a BUNCH of USAs, so that, even as unlikely as it must have seemed to them, there was some pushback, it wasn't obvious that they were just targeting her.

Of course, the problem was that given the number of USAs fired, someone was bound to squawk, and given that Lam was one of them, people would be bound to take notice. But no problem. All the Congressional committees were firmly in Repug hands. Ooops.

Along comes November and all bets are off. Fur flies, lies are told, and suddenly, the protection is gone. Now, they're covering up the cover-up; these fuckwads can barely do arithmetic, and now they're forced to perform political calculus.

All this is supposition, but to my feverswamp-fevered mind, it makes a certain sense.

(cross posted at DailyKos)

Where's Berto?

AG Gonzales is about 15 minutes late for his scheduled 2pm presser. Must mean they can't find anyone stupid enough to take his job.

Update: Damn! He didnt quit. Just took responsibility and fumbled a couple of questions.

Upupdate: from Americablog:

Oh man, that was fascinating. The man isn't just trying to keep his job, he's trying to avoid going to jail.


Upupandawaydate: Trex at FDL has a great recap of the press conference with the following observation:

Abu Gonzales stood there looking like his usual sweaty, shifty self, a living, breathing instance of the Peter Principle elevated to the level of comic opera.



Kiley Out

Heads continue to roll in the Walter Reed fiasco. Lt Gen Kiley, Surgeon General of the Army, and current and former head of Walter Reed, has been given the boot.

Kiley's removal underscored how the controversy, which began with reports of dilapidated outpatient housing and a nightmarish bureaucracy at the Army's flagship hospital, has snowballed into a far broader problem for the Bush administration.

Congressional committees and a slew of investigative boards are scrutinizing the treatment of wounded troops and veterans by the military's entire medical system, as well as by the Department of Veterans Affairs, headed by Jim Nicholson. The probes come with the administration already struggling to defend its widely unpopular war policies in Iraq, and the Democratic-led Congress citing poor care for troops as the latest instance of incompetent administration planning for the conflict.

Mr and Mrs Lying-Sack-Of-Shit

The last couple of years have revealed Alan Greenspan to be willing to say anything to keep the pots bubbling and generating income for his corporate 'johns', and damn the consequences to his precious economy and those of us who live in it. And now, it seems, Mrs Greenspan has gone over to the 'say anything' side:

From Atrios:

Andrea Mitchell, Hardball just now:

They're going to try to really tamp this down and appeal to the polling which indicates that most people think, in fact, that he should be pardoned. Scooter Libby should be pardoned.


CNN poll says 18% support pardon.
Random thought while contemplating the Kyle Sampson resignation....

One of the reasons that Repugs are so willing to commit any and all actions at the behest of their bosses (or on their own, if perceived to benefit their bosses) is that there are no consequences to their actions. If they are caught, they are usually not prosecuted; if they are prosecuted, they usually get off with a slap on the wrist (Ney got what? 28 months?) Either way, once they are out, they are always, always, always given some sinecure somewhere in the con/neocon pantheon of corporate/think tank job machine, lie low for a few years (checking under rocks for likely new-hires?), and then re-emerge as elder statesmen (the name Eliot Abrams ring a bell?).

The lib side of the equation is obviously the more moral side, here. We tend to abandon and then shun our miscreants, and I can't think of a single lib/Dem version of Poindexter, Abrams, et al. Jimmy Carter didn't violate any laws, he only was unsuccessful, and blessed with the miserable timing to be President during the energy crisis AND the hostage crisis. And yet, it took almost two decades for him to re-enter the public domain. The ink was hardly dry on Nixon's pardon before he was a best-selling author and foreign policy gadfly.

What does all this mean? I have no real idea, just hit by the difference between the way the two sides handle their refuse. Does anyone doubt that Sampson will land at some major, white-glove law firm, either in DC or some other power center, and resume his legal career without a hitch? Or, in the absurd assumption that he's actually prosecuted for something, disbarred, and sent to jail, that within days of his release from Club Fed, that he won't suddenly become a 'Senior Fellow' at AEI or some other sump of diseased thinking?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Chuckie Ummmm Nothing

What if they held a press conference and nothing happened? Well, Chuck Hagel tried to find out this morning. He held a press conference and announced that he MIGHT have an announcement later. Talk about controlling the message; Chuckie controlled the message that there might be a message. But, the important thing, really (at least for our Beltway Bozos), he got his TV face time.

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.....

In its finite wisdom, the US MilitaryProfit Machine is now sending still injured/disabled soldiers back into COMBAT! The revelations of the Walter Reed scandal are apparently slopping over to actual combat.... didn't get that med rating you should have? too fucking bad, back to combat, even if your injury PREVENTS your from wearing your body armor, let alone whatever other physical limitations it might cause. Jesus Fucking Christ. I'm gonna gut and skin the next freakin' 'conservative' who says ANYTHING about supporting the troops.

Be Still My Heart

First Gonzales, next up Rove. Just as we were all exulting in the coming immolation of Alberto (the Consigliere) Gonzales, it looks like Rove may be about to self-combust as well. His fingerprints are all over the Plame thing, and there may be full body rubs to mark the US Atty scandal. Lawyer up, Karl, lawyer up.

Froomkin lays in in re: Scootergate

TPM has been weighing in all weekend.

Digby is all but giddy.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

GO NYT!

I've said it before, altho I may have used the words "hanged", 'horsewhipped", or "gangraped", and today, the venerable NY Times agrees with me: Alberto Gonzales should be impeached. Then, he should be tried, convicted, and jailed. Okay, the Times didn't say that (it would be impolite!), but he SHOULD!

We opposed Mr. Gonzales’s nomination as attorney general. His résumé was weak, centered around producing legal briefs for Mr. Bush that assured him that the law said what he wanted it to say. More than anyone in the administration, except perhaps Vice President Dick Cheney, Mr. Gonzales symbolizes Mr. Bush’s disdain for the separation of powers, civil liberties and the rule of law.

On Thursday, Senator Arlen Specter, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, hinted very obliquely that perhaps Mr. Gonzales’s time was up. We’re not going to be oblique. Mr. Bush should dismiss Mr. Gonzales and finally appoint an attorney general who will use the job to enforce the law and defend the Constitution.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Told Ya So

Isn't this what we all screamed would happen when the unPATRIOTic Act was passed? That the Feds, and in particular, the FBI, would misuse the awesome unchecked powers given to them. That they would misuse the national security letter power to get information they weren't entitled to, that they would lie to or pressure people/companies to co-operate. That they would, when caught, hide behind the bureaucratic ineptitude dodge? Well, they havc, they are, and they will continue to.

A Justice Department investigation has found pervasive errors in the FBI's use of its power to secretly demand telephone, e-mail and financial records in national security cases, officials with access to the report said yesterday.

The inspector general's audit found 22 possible breaches of internal FBI and Justice Department regulations -- some of which were potential violations of law -- in a sampling of 293 "national security letters." The letters were used by the FBI to obtain the personal records of U.S. residents or visitors between 2003 and 2005. The FBI identified 26 potential violations in other cases.


That's almost 20% of the sample that are in violation. Want to bet the non-sampled NSLs are less flawed? Want to bet your freedom?

But Fine found that FBI agents used national security letters without citing an authorized investigation, claimed "exigent" circumstances that did not exist in demanding information and did not have adequate documentation to justify the issuance of letters.

In at least two cases, the officials said, Fine found that the FBI obtained full credit reports using a national security letter that could lawfully be employed to obtain only summary information. In an unknown number of other cases, third parties such as telephone companies, banks and Internet providers responded to national security letters with detailed personal information about customers that the letters do not permit to be released. The FBI "sequestered" that information, a law enforcement official said last night, but did not destroy it.


This needs to stop now. Bombard your Congresspeople with complaints and demands for action.

Fine's audit, which was limited to 77 case files in four FBI field offices, found that those offices did not even generate accurate counts of the national security letters they issued, omitting about one in five letters from the reports they sent to headquarters in Washington. Those inaccurate numbers, in turn, were used as the basis for required reports to Congress.

Officials said they believe that the 48 known problems may be the tip of the iceberg in an internal oversight system that one of them described as "shoddy."

The report identified several instances in which the FBI used a tool known as "exigent letters" to obtain information urgently, promising that the requests would be covered later by grand jury subpoenas or national security letters. In several of those cases, the subpoenas were never sent, the review found.


When audited, they lie and claim they're just incompetent. Fine. Do we want incompetents to have this kind of power?

The report, mandated by Congress over the Bush administration's objections, is to be presented to several House and Senate committees today. But senior officials, speaking with permission on the condition that they not be identified, said the Bush administration has already responded vigorously to the audit's findings.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales learned of the findings three weeks ago and "was incensed when he was told the contents of the report," according to a Justice Department official.

"The attorney general commends the work of the inspector general in uncovering serious problems in the FBI's use of NSLs," said Tasia Scolinos, a spokeswoman for Gonzales. "He has told [FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III] that these past mistakes will not be tolerated, and has ordered the FBI and the department to restore accountability and to put in place safeguards to ensure greater oversight and controls over the use of national security letters."

Yes, yes. We all know how COMMITTED Bu$hCo and Gonzales are to truth, justice, and the American way, particularly the rule of law.

FBI procedures require that any possible violation of law or regulation on national security letters be reported to the President's Intelligence Oversight Board within 14 days of discovery. Of the 26 breaches it discovered before Fine's review, the FBI referred 19 to the oversight board.

Among the responses officials highlighted last night is a tracking database under development by the FBI to ensure that its accounting of national security letters is accurate. One official said the FBI would begin deployment of the system in four of its 56 field offices by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the official said, each office will be required to "hand count" the numbers every month.


Even when they do 'try' to follow the law, they underreport violations by more than a quarter.

Glenn Greenwald weighs in.

Pardon Me?

On the face of it, a pardon for Scooter is less a lock than may be supposed. Partly because of a PR screwup by Bu$hCo a couple of months ago while pandering to the anti-immigration wing of the party. In refusing to pardon to the two Border Patrol agents caught up in the political/quasi-legal witchhunt recently, Bush declined to pardon them since they did NOT meet Justice Dept guidelines for pardon.

Libby doesn't meet ANY of the guidelines for a pardon (see kos for more discussion of that), so Bush may have boxed himself in there as far as Libby goes. Two things to remember- Bush has NEVER worried about being consistent or principled AND, when it comes to a pardon, the Pres can pretty much do anything he wants, JD guidelines or not.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Dems Unveil Plan

Basically, the Preznit gets two chances to lie to Congress, and then has to be out by Sept '08. The plan isn't quite that blunt, but that's what it boils down to.

Lawyering Up

The USAtty is starting to make waves. Sen Domenici has hired himself a big gun. The funny part is it's the attorney who got Cunningham convicted, in a contest with (wait for it....) Carol Lam, one of the fired USAs. Gotta love irony.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

QOTD

From FDL, in a great post where TRex takes a conservative talking head to task for misrepresenting everything about the Libby trial.

William F. Buckley once famously described a conservative as a man standing athwart the flow of history, crying, "Stop!" Well, the last few years have taught us that a NeoConservative is a man standing athwart the flow of history, saying, "Huh?"

Edwards to Bail on Nevada/Fox Debate

Edwards campaign has decided to skip the ridiculous Fox hosted Dem debate in Nevada. Maybe the others will be inspired by his example; will Obama do this, despite his 'boycott' of the Faux News Network in general? We'll see. Americablog and Dkos have coverage.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Four Out of Five

The jury came back this morning and found Scooter Libby guilty of four of the five charges against him. Details to come (altho apparently, one of the four WAS the obstruction charge... so this should be good.... deep-fried Cheney, anyone?)

From TPM:

Here are the four charges Libby was convicted on:

* obstruction of justice when he intentionally deceived a grand jury investigating the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame;

* making a false statement by intentionally lying to FBI agents about a conversation with NBC newsman Tim Russert;

* perjury when he lied in court about his conversation with Russert;

* a second count of perjury when he lied in court about conversations with other reporters.

Libby faces a probable sentence of one-and-a-half to three years in prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Incompetence vs Bad Policy

TPM reader expounds at length on the two of these, and how they are intertwined, but not necessarily causative of one another. A very good posting.

No one says, retrospectively, that Calvin Coolidge's failure to help the victims of 1927's Mississippi River flood was a result of incompetence. No one says that Mellon, with his inaction and insistence that the Great Depression would burn itself out through 'liquidation,' was incompetent. Both of these positions were wholly in keeping with the policies of the Coolidge and Hoover presidencies, policies that were not discredited until Roosevelt's victories and the institution of the New Deal.

The problem, a problem that Waxman seems to be keenly aware of, is that as long as the government retains the same kind of policies, the nation will continue to suffer the same hardships. It is not until the beliefs that inform the ways in which the Bush administration runs the government are firmly linked to their consequences that the nation will stop voting for politicians who promulgate, and enact legislation based on, those creeds.

Jeebus!

My support (and my heart) go out to all our soldiers, but I'm beginning to think the upper echelon (and their civilian masters.... PARTICULARLY their civilian masters) need to be sodomized then horsewhipped. What the FUCK are we fighting for, except to prevent this kind of thing?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Yikes!

Apparently, the U.S. Army in Iraq is heading to a Viet Nam style collapse in morale. It's not surprising, given the facts on the ground, but the source is the Army itself.

Must Be Pissed-Off-At-The-Media Saturday

Oops, was that potty mouthed? Hey, Joe Klein (okay, most of the MSM...)! Bite me, fuckwad(s)!

Anyway, FDL weighs in on what's wrong with the media.

(Updated to include link... sorry)

NeoCons Masquerade

In reading the various of writings of what passes for an intellectual elite among conservatives and neo-cons, it becomes obvious that they are a frightened minority in the country. They want what they want, oh so badly, but, because, it is so antithetical to everything this country stands for, and to what a majority of the country aspires, they can never state what they truly wish, only what they oppose or, at best, propose intermediate steps that seem innocuous. This leads to them having to work in half-steps and code, and, while masking their aims from the public, it often leads to miscommunication (compounded by their allies incomeptence) amongst themselves.

This cycles back to the media, and their current posture of sucking up to everything, however egregious, spouted by the conservatives (speak no truth to power?) and jumping anything out of line from the liberal side. For the public to decide among the various ideologies and programs present to them by the various sides (the monolithic(ish) conservative line and the 2,482 lines propounded by the left), the public must know the truth about them, and the media long ago abandoned truth for propaganda and gossip.

Glenn Greenwald, having healthily survived his migration to SALON, lays into neoconish shadow speak. Well worth the read.

Many neoconservatives lack the courage of their convictions this way about many topics -- they hint at their extremist ideas without having the courage or honesty to expressly state them. That practice is consistent with the founding principles of neoconservative theory. Neoconservatism does not believe in the virtues of democratic debate, but instead views itself as the vanguard of a superior elite which formulates wise policy in secret and then deceitfully packages it in digestible Manichean form to the idiot masses (that is how we travel from a long-standing, pre-9/11 desire to invade Iraq for all sorts of geopolitical reasons to a marketing product "justifying" that invasion based on the claim that 9/11 Changed Everything, Saddam was connected to those attacks, he would give his Bad Weapons to the Terrorists, and Freedom is On The March).

This sort of intellectual cowardice and deceit is illustrated by another example. Several days ago, Mark Levin, writing at National Review, complained about a New York Times article reporting on U.S. actions against Al Qaeda in the Horn of Africa, claiming that the Times "gives up more of our strategic secrets." After excerpting part of the article, Levin -- following the "kill-the-traitor" code which Frank Gaffney has been urging -- concluded as follows:

Oh, do I long for the good old days when Abraham Lincoln, our greatest president, punished such acts of betrayal. And no, I am not joking. This is a wholly gratuitous assault on our national security by the reckless Times corporate management. There is simply no public interest in disclosing any of it. For all the liberal talk about the need to build coalitions and work more closely with other countries, when we do the Times and media outlets like it are the first to try to destroy those relationships. The Washington Post did the same with black sites in Europe.

As usual for neoconservatives, Levin is brave enough only to talk in code. He "longs" for the day when our government "punished such acts of betrayal" -- by the Times and Dana Priest of the Post -- but he stops short of specifying what he means. What punishment would he like to see, and against whom?

...

The fact that an idea is radical or held by a tiny fringe does not prove that it is wrong. But when advocates of such ideas are too afraid to express their ideas honestly and out in the open, that is a pretty compelling sign that even they know how rancid and repugnant those ideas are.



NeoCons' Greatest Weakness

In reading the various of writings of what passes for an intellectual elite among conservatives and neo-cons, it becomes obvious that they are a frightened minority in the country. They want what they want, oh so badly, but, because, it is so antithetical to everything this country stands for, and to what a majority of the country aspires, they can never state what they truly wish, only what they oppose or, at best, propose intermediate steps that seem innocuous. This leads to them having to work in half-steps and code, and, while masking their aims from the public, it often leads to miscommunication (compounded by their allies incomeptence) amongst themselves.

This cycles back to the media, and their current posture of sucking up to everything, however egregious, spouted by the conservatives (speak no truth to power?) and jumping anything out of line from the liberal side. For the public to decide among the various ideologies and programs present to them by the various sides (the monolithic(ish) conservative line and the 2,482 lines propounded by the left), the public must know the truth about them, and the media long ago abandoned truth for propaganda and gossip.

Glenn Greenwald, having healthily survived his migration to SALON, lays into neoconish shadow speak. Well worth the read.

Many neoconservatives lack the courage of their convictions this way about many topics -- they hint at their extremist ideas without having the courage or honesty to expressly state them. That practice is consistent with the founding principles of neoconservative theory. Neoconservatism does not believe in the virtues of democratic debate, but instead views itself as the vanguard of a superior elite which formulates wise policy in secret and then deceitfully packages it in digestible Manichean form to the idiot masses (that is how we travel from a long-standing, pre-9/11 desire to invade Iraq for all sorts of geopolitical reasons to a marketing product "justifying" that invasion based on the claim that 9/11 Changed Everything, Saddam was connected to those attacks, he would give his Bad Weapons to the Terrorists, and Freedom is On The March).

This sort of intellectual cowardice and deceit is illustrated by another example. Several days ago, Mark Levin, writing at National Review, complained about a New York Times article reporting on U.S. actions against Al Qaeda in the Horn of Africa, claiming that the Times "gives up more of our strategic secrets." After excerpting part of the article, Levin -- following the "kill-the-traitor" code which Frank Gaffney has been urging -- concluded as follows:

Oh, do I long for the good old days when Abraham Lincoln, our greatest president, punished such acts of betrayal. And no, I am not joking. This is a wholly gratuitous assault on our national security by the reckless Times corporate management. There is simply no public interest in disclosing any of it. For all the liberal talk about the need to build coalitions and work more closely with other countries, when we do the Times and media outlets like it are the first to try to destroy those relationships. The Washington Post did the same with black sites in Europe.
As usual for neoconservatives, Levin is brave enough only to talk in code. He "longs" for the day when our government "punished such acts of betrayal" -- by the Times and Dana Priest of the Post -- but he stops short of specifying what he means. What punishment would he like to see, and against whom?

...

The fact that an idea is radical or held by a tiny fringe does not prove that it is wrong. But when advocates of such ideas are too afraid to express their ideas honestly and out in the open, that is a pretty compelling sign that even they know how rancid and repugnant those ideas are.

Media

One of my pet peeves regarding media is 'cross-ownership', one entity owning more than one media outlet in a market (newspaper, radio, or tv station.) The Bu$hCo FCC has been working steadily to make this MORE possible, when all indications are that it degrades local coverage (and indepenence.) Drum posts on this today, and links back to Mother Jones which has a series of articles on the subject. Both are worth a look.

Baghdad Heather

From TPM:


"If I was Heather Wilson, I'd be thinking about taking a long trip to Baghdad, where the conditions are a little more subdued."
--former New Mexico Gov. Dave Cargo, a Republican, on the fallout from the U.S. attorney purges

Friday, March 02, 2007

This Means War!!!!

The war-crazed militarists that are the Swiss Army viciously and without provocation invaded their pacifist neighbors in Liechtenstein today. Bu$hCo is checking to see if either have oil reserves......

Note: I didn't know Liechtenstein was an entire mile wide at any point!

Get Mad

I liked Steven Weber in Wings and love(d??) him in Studio 60, and as an occasional blogger on HuffPo, he's been very good. He has a long rambling post today asking we still let Dumbfuck run things, but ends with a great paragraph:

I have been accused of griping without a solution to offer, bitching and whining without a plan. There is truth to this. But as Howard Beale said, "First, you have to get mad!!!" As solutions go it might not be much. But it's a start.

He Doesn't Even Swish!!!

Ann Coulter, at the CPAC conference in DC today, called John Edwards a 'faggot'. Film at 11.

Apparently, there won't be film at 11; altho it was mentioned on Countdown with(out) Keith Olbermann this eve, and C&L has the video.

Punchline of the Day

From Josh:

Romney angles for corruption vote, has Grover Norquist introduce him at CPAC.

Late Update: Romney's pandermonious speech is really turning out to be a laugh riot. After yakking about the press and how they're out to get him, he bragged that the right-wingers will be around even after the news media is no more. And of course, a scenario like this is something that more than a few of us are worried about.

KILEY?

Between Americablog and Randi Rhodes at AirAmerica, I feel like we probably know too much about Gen Kiley, ex and current commander at Walter Reed. It is unbelievable that they re-appointed this cretinous bozo to ANY command position, let alone the same one he'd been fucking up for three years previously. Is there nothing you can do to 'fail' in Bu$hCo's eyes? Oh yeah, talk to the press.

Update: The SecArmy apparently just resigned. Wow. This could get good! We've got Libby, Walter Reed, the US Atty debacle, investigations into fraud at Halliburton, and Lord knows what else coming up. Pop that corn and put your Congresspeople on speed-dial!

Later Update: AP reports (via HuffP0) that Gates forced Harvey out. STAY TUNED!

Libby Update

The jury is gone for the day, so nothing is going to happen this week. SIGH. Maybe next week. Maybe this year?

US Atty Updates

This story is getting ready to crack wide open. Check out TPM for the latest info.

Wilson and Domenici are about to be toast.

29-61

The freefall continues; Bush hits 29% in poll.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Froomkin Rants on Korea

Dan Froomkin lets loose on Bu$hCo's bushit handling of N. Korea and their nuclear program:

So let me make sure I've got this straight: Top Bush administration officials driven by long-standing resentments used bad intelligence to achieve their foreign policy objectives, which then ended up backfiring spectacularly? And we're not talking about Iraq?

No, we're talking about that other dismal "Axis of Evil" failure of the Bush era: North Korea.

It now appears that the White House in 2002 used dubious claims of North Korean uranium enrichment as an excuse to break a Clinton-brokered deal, thereby allowing North Korea's poisonous dictator to build up a stockpile of plutonium, which in turn led to the building of as many as a dozen nuclear weapons, one of which he exploded in a nuclear test last year.

And consider the incredible irony of the timing.

News about how unfounded those uranium-enrichment claims were may be emerging now because North Korea's renewed willingness to admit international arms inspectors threatens to expose to public view all the evidence to the contrary.

Something like 140,000 American troops are in harm's way in Iraq. And the entirely unchastened White House is making familiarly dire -- and maybe familiarly unfounded -- intelligence disclosures about Iran.

It's enough to make you scream.


From the same article, quoting news reports:

David E. Sanger and William J. Broad write in the New York Times: "'The question now is whether we would be in the position of having to get the North Koreans to give up a sizable arsenal if this had been handled differently,' a senior administration official said this week."

...

Sanger and Broad write that the new disclosure "underscores broader questions about the ability of intelligence agencies to discern the precise status of foreign weapons programs. The original assessment about North Korea came during the same period that the administration was building its case about Iraq's unconventional weapons programs, which turned out to be based on flawed intelligence. And the new North Korea assessment comes amid debate over intelligence about Iran's weapons. . . .

As for the backstory: "Different players in the 2002 debate have different memories. John R. Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, who headed the State Department's proliferation office at the time of the 2002 declaration, said in an interview on Wednesday evening that 'there was no dissent at the time, because in the face of the evidence the disputes evaporated.' Mr. Bolton, one of the most hawkish voices in the administration and a vocal critic of its recent deal with North Korea, recalled that even the State Department's own intelligence arm, which was the most skeptical of the Iraq evidence, 'agreed with the consensus opinion.'

"But David A. Kay, a nuclear expert and former official who in 2003 and 2004 led the American hunt for unconventional arms in Iraq, said he had found the administration's claims about the North Korean uranium program unpersuasive. 'They were driving it way further than the evidence indicated it should go,' he said in an interview. The leap of logic, Dr. Kay added, turned evidence of equipment purchases into 'a significant production capability.'"

Out!

The General in charge of Walter Reed was relieved of his command today. Maybe they should start rousting his ass at 6am for inspection (after blowing off a couple of his limbs or caving in his skull, for comparison purposes only, of course!)

The Army today relieved the commander of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, saying it had "lost trust and confidence" in his leadership in the wake of a scandal over outpatient treatment of wounded veterans at the Washington, D.C., hospital complex.

Army Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, commanding general of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command and of the Walter Reed center, was relieved of command by the secretary of the Army, Francis J. Harvey, at 10 a.m. today, the Army announced in a news release. It said the action was under consideration for the past several days and that a decision was made yesterday.

"Maj. Gen. Weightman was informed this morning that the senior Army leadership had lost trust and confidence in the commander's leadership abilities to address needed solutions for soldier-outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center," the statement said. It said Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, who serves as surgeon general of the Army and commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command, will take over temporarily as commander of Walter Reed "until a general officer is selected for this important leadership position."

EFCA Passes House Vote

Yippee!

The Pol That Dare Not Speak Its Name

John McCain, in a nutshell.....

Tucker-Inania

Lou Dobbs is on CNN now, so I had to switch, lest my head explode. And in channel-surfing ended up on MSNBC, which was doing news. Unfortunately, they were doing news LEADING INTO Tucker Carlson. Once, many years ago, I kind of liked Carlson, but when did he become a complete, blithering, nonsense-gibbering, agreeing-point-by-point-with-Pat-Buchanan moron??!?!?!

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