Monday, April 30, 2007

Inside DOJ's Civil Rights Dept's Descent into Oblivion

Bob Kengle, who spoke with TPM last week, has an indepth post this week. It's searing in its look inside the politicization that has gutted the DOJ, and in particular, the Civil Rights division.

This is Scandalous

But, then what else would we expect from the DOJ.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Media Musing

I realised something after watching last night's 'premiere' of Bill Moyers' new PBS show (It's quite good, watch it if it's available in your area.... good incisive examination of the news media in the modern day.) I was thinking about it later on, amid reading all the posting inspired by the 'special' that ran earlier in the week, and about what a lousy job the media has done covering Bu$hCo and how defensive and/or oblivious they are to that lousy job.

They've been conned, and they don't want to admit it. Oh sure, some are true believers (smell the brimstone?), the Faux Newsies and such, but the vast majority have just been conned. They went assuming that the Bushies wanted to good things, get things done, etc, the usual 'workings' of govt. Being Repugs, they expected a certain amount of sludge and corruption.

But this (mis)administration was different. They weren't interested in anything but enriching their buddies, making the government bathtub-drownable, and frying Saddam's ass. And every action they've taken has been aimed at one of those objectives, or at HIDING their aim at one of those objectives.

And now it's all unraveling. About half of that is due to their inate hubris, and about half to the fact that for four of the six years of the Bush regnum they were completely unchecked and unexamined by Congress. And now, with some oversight from Congress, the wheels are starting to come off. And given the general level of competence amongst these people, the expectation that they could do anything and get away with it, and the anger of the opposition, the lid is coming off, loudly and fast.

And the MSM is still in denial. They COULD NOT have been so completely conned, that would shatter their self-images. But THEY WERE, and when they finally cross the bridge over denial, the backlash is going to make the current shouting from us in the blogosphere seem like the sussuration of a gentle spring breeze.

Friday, April 27, 2007

DC Madam Claims First Victim

Randall Tobias, a State Dept Honcho, in charge of International Development, resigned today. I'll point you to TPM for the details; they're well worth the trip!

Americablog spouts off too :)

DC Madam Claims First Victim

Randall Tobias, a State Dept Honcho, in charge of International Development, resigned today. I'll point you to TPM for the details; they're well worth the trip!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Then Put Her Ass in Jail

Or if the Bushies won't enforce a contempt citation, start impeachment procedings left and right. Unbelievable.... Condi "Exxon Valdez II" Rice says she's "not inclined" to honor the current Congressional subpoenas.

Congress Tells Bush To Stuff It

Despite threats of vetoes and enough bluster to generate a Chicago snowstorm, both Houses of Congress approved the supplemental Funding bill, complete with requirement to begin leaving Iraq by Oct of this year, with final withdrawal to be completed by next March. The troops are funded... back to you, Dumbfuck.

If he IS incoherent enough to veto this AND blame the Dems for 'starving' the troops, this is what Congress should do: send him back a tougher bill. The first re-try should have a 9 month deadline (Mar was 12 months, when the bill started out); second, 6 months; third 3 months. And they must hammer home the point that they have fulfilled their duty.... they funded the troops; it's that loon in the Oval Office that's defunded them.

Rudy The (Monumnetally Tone Deaf) Fear Monger

I was going to post something about Giuliani's idiot speech, but Hunter beat me to it. He covers all the points I was going to make, but probably better. The fun part:

Yes. If a Republican is elected, they can "anticipate" terrorist attacks. You know, perhaps because staff members with their "hair on fire" are warning them of the high risk of terrorist attacks. Perhaps because staff members are trying to educate them in vain about a recent ongoing history of terrorist attacks. Perhaps because somebody practically staples a memo to the Republican President's forehead dramatically entitled, in a large and bolded font, "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S." MAYBE SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

Yes, the recent history of Republican "anticipation" of terrorist attacks is certainly something I'd be pinning my ass to, if I were a Republican running for President.


I was pondering over this last night, as a matter of fact, so let's think about this for a minute. Under six years of President Bush, there have been major terrorist attacks on two American cities, public-safety-threatening electricity blackouts artificially created by major energy corporations in an effort to extort the recipients of that electricity, deficits that have reached crisis proportions, criminal indictments of Republican congressmen nationwide and even of Republican White House staffers, one of Americas "crown jewel" cities was in large part destroyed and its population turned into refugees battling a national government response that ranged from incompetent to absent, the defacto suspensions of habeas and other Constitutional rights, the international diplomatic isolation of America, and there have been two major wars, both ongoing.

So a Democratic administration could, in theory, see major terrorist attacks on two American cities, electrical blackouts and corporate criminal extortion of our electrical grids, further massive deficits, criminal indictments of Democratic congressmen nationwide and of White House staffers, the destruction of another major city, encroachments upon various Constitutional rights, the continued international isolation of the nation, and start one major war...

... and they'd still suck less than Bush.

Goodling Subpoenaed

The House Judiciary subpoenaed Monica Goodling and apparently has offered her immunity. This will be fun.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Times Weighs in on Renzi

From the NYT:

Congressman Rick Renzi, an Arizona Republican, was locked in a close re-election battle last fall when the local United States attorney, Paul Charlton, was investigating him for corruption. The investigation appears to have been slowed before Election Day, Mr. Renzi retained his seat, and Mr. Charlton ended up out of a job — one of eight prosecutors purged by the White House and the Justice Department.

The Arizona case adds a disturbing new chapter to that scandal. Congress needs to determine whether Mr. Charlton was fired for any reason other than threatening the Republican Party’s hold on a Congressional seat.

Mr. Renzi was fighting for his political life when the local press reported that he was facing indictment for a suspect land deal. According to The Wall Street Journal, federal investigators met unexpected resistance from the Justice Department in getting approval to proceed and, perhaps as a result, the investigation was pushed past the election.

More Rovemania

TPM has more coverage on Rove's penetration of the whole administration for political purposes. Holy Hatch Act, Batman.

Update: WaPo has coverage.

Bush Loves Gonzo

I'm just going to point to Froomkin on this......

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Renzi Case Getting Weirder

TPM has coverage of unfolding drama in the Renzi proto-scandal (is there going to at least one scandal for every Repug before this is over?- wouldn't bet against it!)

Bye Bye Boris

Boris Yeltsin died yesterday. I don't have any deep feelings about him, but I think he got far too much credit and far too much blame for the events that transpired in the USSR/Russia under his watch. He was a man of great courage and great failings, and was, in many ways, both the wrong man and the best man to be in his place in his time. Putin certainly hasn't been a big improvement, now has he?

mcjoan at dKos has a good summation/obit.

McGovern Stomps Cheney

This is too delicious.... the old warrior just bitchslaps Big Dick into next week.

In the war of my youth, World War II, I volunteered for military service at the age of 19 and flew 35 combat missions, winning the Distinguished Flying Cross as the pilot of a B-24 bomber. By contrast, in the war of his youth, the Vietnam War, Cheney got five deferments and has never seen a day of combat — a record matched by President Bush. [...]

We, of course, already know that when Cheney endorses a war, he exempts himself from participation. On second thought, maybe it's wise to keep Cheney off the battlefield — he might end up shooting his comrades rather than the enemy.

And the money shot:

It is my firm belief that the Cheney-Bush team has committed offenses that are worse than those that drove Nixon, Vice President Spiro Agnew and Atty. Gen. John Mitchell from office after 1972.... Indeed, as their repeated violations of the Constitution and federal statutes, as well as their repudiation of international law, come under increased consideration, I expect to see Cheney and Bush forced to resign their offices before 2008 is over.



UHOH!!

Look out Carl! Here comes the OSC! Is Fitz available?

Via Americablog.... David Iglesias filed the Hatch Act complaint that started this.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Cornyn In Trouble?

My favorite Senator, John Cornyn, R-Tx, appears to be in some trouble (of course, most Repugs up for re-election are in some trouble.) It's way too early to get excited, but this could be great news. The man is a toxic dump of bad attitudes, lack of knowledge, and totally party loyalty (think: Bush-lite.) His ouster would be a great boost to getting the country back on its feet (and show that maybe my birth state is showing some signs of returning to sanity.) About the only thing that would make me happier would be Imhofe biting the bullet; he's Cornyn without the polish (and half the intellect!)

David Halberstam Dies

Author David Halberstam died today in a car crash while on his way to interview legendary NFL QB Y.A. Tittle. Halberstam was a great writer, probably best known for his book on the Kennedy 'team', The Best and The Brightest. He will be sorely missed. Altho he had turned his attention to sports history in recent years, his commentary on current events was thoughtful and insightful. He certainly had no doubts that we had moved from the Best and the Brightest to Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbest.

Update: Glenn Greenwald reminisces.

I Guess I'm Scum.....

... cuz I think we should get out of Iraq as soon as possible. So, according to Dana Perino, and assumedly, Dumbfuck himself, I am a bad person.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Media Reform

Another of my bugaboos is the consolidation of the media in this country. It's far too concentrated for the good of the 'public'. I live in LA. All three network 'affiliates' in the market are not affiliates, but network owned and operated. At least one of them owns, and cross programs (mostly news) with a former independent channel. (On the plus side, since Orange County and L.A. are a combined broadcast market, we have four PBS channels!) One of the non-network stations is owned by Tribune Company, so it's a side marketer for the only major daily newspaper in town (both, of course, owned by a faceless out of town corporation.) We have the usual collection of Clear Channel radio stations, with a few local O&O stations. But the overall view is one of corporate control by a bare handful of corporations. No wonder the quality of reportage, particularly, hard hitting investigative reportage, has dwindled.

jamess at dailyKos has a post today on MORA, H.R. Bill 109-3302. the Media Ownership Reform Act. Let your Reps and Senators know you support this bill. It doesn't go far enough for me (I'd go back to the old rules of one tv station/paper/radio station, and prevent existing entities from buying other ones in the same market... and limit cross ownership of broadcast, cable, and satellite interests), but it's probably as good as we're going to get till Rupert Murdoch actually transforms into the Jonathon Price version of Murdoch from the Bond flick "Die Another Day" and starts a war with China.

Oh yeah, bring back Judge Green and break up Ma Ball (now SBC) again! :)

Can't Touch This

Laurie and Sheryl visit with Karl... hilarity (and suicidal depression) ensue.....

Saturday, April 21, 2007

NUTJOBS on Parade

I don't even know what to say about this. They're all delusional, and some of them have their fingers on the button......

Friday, April 20, 2007

Wolfowitz Off the Rails

The Paul Wolfowitz scandal with his Libyan/Saudi girlfriend and the World Bank is turning out to be more mysterious and more scandalous by the minute. Sid Blumenthal has a look into it at Salon and pops up some interesting connections (can you say 'Cheney'?) and a lot of serious, national security questions. This will end up being a BIG deal.

Bushies Screwing Poor Voters

Digby has a great rant revolving around the McClatchy article today that detailed the Bush DOJ's efforts at voter suppression. Those of you who read this blog regularly know this is one of the issues that lights me up. Both Digby and McClatchy have me tilting like a drugged out pinball machine. McClatchy doesn't even try to pretend that the DOJ's actions are anything other than voter suppression (when McClatchy took over KR, I was really afraid it would dumb things down, but I've been wonderfully surprised that they seem even more profoundly interested in investigative reporting than KR!) Read Digby and the McClatchy article.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Stop The Presses!!!!

The clock just hit the minute it's right twice a day! The amazingly unlikely has happened!!!! George Will is RIGHT ABOUT SOMETHING!!!! His column today about the absurdity of US drinking age laws is spot on!

Gonzo Is Toast, Part II

They've got him. He committed perjury. He claims Lam was advised on the immigration enforcement excuse/ruse; multiple instances of other sworn testimony and documents indicate that is false.

TPM has great coverage, including the best line of the day:

From the buzz I'm hearing toay, if Alberto Gonzales were a stock, we'd be at that point when those automatic trading halts kicked in because so many people are trying to sell.

But he makes the key point in the same post:

But let's not get distracted by Alberto Gonzales. He's just a cog. In almost every case, what we're talking about here is Gonzales's willingness to take orders from the White House -- most importantly from Karl Rove and President Bush -- on firing US Attorneys for corrupt purposes and using the Justice Department to suppress Democratic turnout in swing states. Mr. Gonzales is a secondary issue. The real players are in the White House.

Trippi Joins Edwards

The 'mastermind' behind Howard Dean's surprisingly successful campaign in '04 has joined the Edwards campaign. Joe Trippi should be an important acquisition by Edwards as Trippi was the architect of Dean's online success. Good move!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Carhart Summary

ampersand at dailyKos has an extremely good summary and predictive piece on the Carhart abortion decision today. The key part:

What Kennedy is saying here is that if pro-lifers pass an abortion ban without any health exception, then women can successfully sue to have the ban overturned only in "as applied" cases. So a ban might not be illegal generally, but it still might be illegal in the case of Betty Smith of Memphis. But Betty Smith must to convince a court the ban "as applied" to women with her specific health circumstances is unconstitutional because it threatens her health.

Even if one lawsuit is successful in overturning the law "as applied" to the particular person who sued, the law could still apply to other women in other circumstances - meaning all those women would have to sue individually if they think the law is unconstitutionally being applied to them. The net effect could be to make it much harder for pro-choice activists to get Courts to consider whether or not new abortion-related laws are Constitutional.


2008's elections just became majorly important on another front.


Doolittle Going Down Finally?

In all the Abramoff/Cunningham prosecutions last year, there were constant rumors and reports that CA Rep John Doolittle was involved (along with his wife.) It appears there may be fire under all that smoke.... according to Roll Call, the Feebs raided Doolittle's VA home today.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Manlike Things

mcjoan at DailyKos shows us the virile thoughts of those manly men in the rightwing blogosphere.... maligning the students at VT for not suiciding to take out the shooter.

First Thing, Let's Kill All the Lawyers.....

Paul Kiel at TPMuckraker has a pretty depressing post about the politicization, neutering, and basic destruction of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division. It is perhaps the most scary part of the whole DOJ debacle.

WTF?

I'd pretty much given up on the AP back in the John Solomon days, but thought maybe they weren't a complete loss since he left. Turns out I was WRONG. They sent forth a hit piece on Edwards today that just reeks of right wing talking points and Swift Boaty nastiness. Okay, Edwards may legitimately have left himself open to criticism by getting a $200 haircut, paid for by the campaign, but the tone of the article is just silly. What is AP's agenda and why?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Gonzo Pushed Back

Apparently due to the VT shooting, AG Gonzales' testimony has been pushed back to Thursday. More time to polish his lies......

VTU Shooting

What a mess this is. And now it looks like there may be a second shooter? This could be very interesting.....

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Botched to the Point of Refusal

General John Sheehan who turned down the oh-so-enticing job of 'war czar' had this to say in the WaPo today:

We cannot "shorthand" this issue with concepts such as the "democratization of the region" or the constant refrain by a small but powerful group that we are going to "win," even as "victory" is not defined or is frequently redefined.

....We got it right during the early days of Afghanistan — and then lost focus. We have never gotten it right in Iraq. For these reasons, I asked not to be considered for this important White House position. These huge shortcomings are not going to be resolved by the assignment of an additional individual to the White House staff. They need to be addressed before an implementation manager is brought on board.



thanks to Kevin for noting this.




Recap-ish

Not much going on today, that I've seen so far (been out of pocket...) The big news is the story in the Albuquerque Journal that Bush prompted the Iglesias firing. Probably in response to a call from Domenici.

UPDATE: TPM has mega coverage on this.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Voter Fraud

Speaking of Froomkin, he's got coverage of the NYT's in depth article on the DOJ. Bu$hCo and voter fraud. So does TPM. Very nauseating story. Your tax dollars at work....aintcha proud?

Green Zone Attack

I meant to post on this this morning, but got sidetracked and then the day was gone. It now appears the security guard of one Iraqi Parliamentarian set off a suicide bomb inside the Green Zone at the Parliament complex. Death toll thus far is at 8, including, at last report, three PMs. Apparently, they should have gone to John McCain's market for lunch....

I don't know if this is a pivotal event in the Iraq sage, but it seems a pretty dismal moment, nonetheless. Inside the most secure area of the capital, the most secure of Iraqis, the ones we're most desperately protecting, are not secure. Thus, no one can truly be secure. It's just one more piece of evidence of the TOTAL incompetence of Bu$hCo and it's surviving military hack command (remember, they fired all the good generals, ie the ones that thought the surge was stupid.)

Is this Our 18 Minute Gap Moment?

I've been out all day and am still catching up, so I'm gonna just quote Froomkin here, since he seems to have it all summed up:

Countless e-mails to and from many key White House staffers have been deleted -- lost to history and placed out of reach of congressional subpoenas -- due to a brazen violation of internal White House policy that was allowed to continue for more than six years, the White House acknowledged yesterday.

The leading culprit appears to be President Bush's enormously influential political adviser Karl Rove, who reportedly used his Republican National Committee-provided Blackberry and e-mail accounts for most of his electronic communication.

Until 2004, all e-mail on RNC accounts was routinely deleted after 30 days. Since 2004, White House staffers using those accounts have been able to save their e-mail indefinitely -- but have also been able to delete whatever they felt like deleting. By comparison, the White House e-mail system preserves absolutely everything forever, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.

The White House yesterday said it has no idea how many e-mails have been lost.

In an afternoon conference call with reporters, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel spread the blame all around. "White House policy did not give clear enough guidance," he said. "The oversight of that wasn't aggressive enough." And individual White House staffers "did not do a good enough job of following existing preservation policy -- or seeking guidance."

Said Stanzel: "I guess the bottom line is that our policy at the White House was not clear enough for employees."

But when I asked Stanzel to read out loud the White House e-mail policy, it seemed clear enough to me: "Federal law requires the preservation of electronic communications sent or received by White House staff," says the handbook that all staffers are given and expected to read and comply with.

"As a result, personnel working on behalf of the EOP [Executive Office of the President] are expected to only use government-provided e-mail services for all official communication."

The handbook further explains: "The official EOP e-mail system is designed to automatically comply with records management requirements."

And if that wasn't clear enough, the handbook notes -- as was the case in the Clinton administration -- that "commercial or free e-mail sites and chat rooms are blocked from the EOP network to help staff members ensure compliance and to prevent the circumvention of the records management requirements."

Stanzel refused to publicly release the relevant portions of the White House staff manual and denied my request to make public the transcript of the call, which lasted more than an hour but which -- due to Stanzel's refusal or inability to provide straight answers on many issues -- raised more questions than it answered.

Stanzel said that "some people" may have used their non-government accounts for official business due to "an abundance of caution" in order to avoid violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits the use of government e-mail for overtly political purposes, such as fundraising -- and due to "logistical convenience."


There's a lot more so go read it. Looks like they were skirting the document recording and security regs, got busted, dumped the offending messages, and got busted for that too. One can only presume that being busted for whatever's in the messages would be worse than being busted for dumping.

UPDATE: DailyKos says not only do have our 18 minute gap moment, we've got a BUNCH of em.

Corzine Injured in Wreck

Not many details yet, but NJ Gov John Corzine was injured this after in a (one car?) accident. Apparently, he is not 'seriously' injured (ie *I* wasn't hurt!), but according to initial reports has at least a broken leg.

Imus Out

Don Imus' CBS radio is kaput. Insert schadenfreude here......

So when do we see Limpuke and his like fired?

RIP

Brilliant author Kurt Vonnegut died today. He was a fascinating writer, and an amazing man and will be missed tremendously.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lewis Black in the Progressive

One of my favorite comedians is Lewis Black, the loud screaming maniac (you may know him from the Daily Show.) He is smart, funny, insightful, and amazingly profane at times, but always cuts to the heart of the bullshit spread out into the world by the government, the press, and whoever else is helping to spread the manure. I don't always agree with everything he says, but usually agree with his viewpoint.

He is interviewed by The Progressive
this month and the interview is available online. Read it, then go out and buy all his albums and dvds. You'll thank me after your ribs heal.

MSMania

Glenn points out in one easy paragraph what's wrong with the MSM:

All of this is precisely why it has been so frustrating to watch our national media scoff dismissively at this scandal. If journalists are not interested in allegations that federal prosecutions are being politically manipulated by the White House and DOJ -- with a desire to suppress votes for partisan reasons as one of the motives -- then what executive wrongdoing would they ever find worthy of attention?

Czarist Smackdown

Josh responds to the ludicrous idea of appointing a 'war czar' (what the hell does Bush think HE's supposed to be doing?):

I'm not sure I've ever seen a better sign -- though wrapped in a humorous package -- of why this president really can't be trusted to be in charge of anything and why the Republic is genuinely in peril as long as this pitiful goof remains in office. Bush wants to find a general to do his job for him. But he can't get anyone to agree to do it.


The only part I disagree with is the 'pitiful goof' part. He's certainly neither pitiful nor pitiable, merely contemptible. And he's not a goof, he's a war criminal.

Update: May not matter, looks like he can't find anyone stupid enough to be his warbuddy.

Get Out, and Get Out Now

So cryeth the American people. Someone have Dumbfuck ask LBJ and Nixon how great it is to run a war that the American people don't support (and in poll after poll, they support the War in Iraq even less than they supported Viet Nam). In a poll reported out in today's LATimes, TPM notes the following question:

Q: If George W. Bush vetoes the legislation, do you think Congress should pass another version of the bill that provides funding for the war without any conditions for troop withdrawal, or should Congress refuse to pass any funding bill until Bush agrees to accept conditions for withdrawal?


Easy, right..... fund the troops no matter what, right? Apparently, not so:

Fund the war without conditions: 43%
Withhold funding until Bush signs: 45%
Don't know: 12%


45 is bigger than 43, right?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Imusanity

Everyone just shut up! NOW! If CNN runs one more minute of inane coverage, I will shoot something.

Update: (BANG)

Bush Channels Cheney....

...tells entire Congress to fuck self.

On the one hand, Bush extended an offer to meet with lawmakers Tuesday. On the other, the White House bluntly said it would not be a negotiating session.

The president said if lawmakers don't send him a bill he will sign — one that does not include timetables or money for pet projects in their home districts — it would be Congress, not the White House, that will have to answer to troops.

"The bottom line is this: Congress' failure to fund our troops will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines," Bush said...

"With his threat to veto such a plan for change in Iraq, President Bush is ignoring the clear message of the American people: We must protect our troops, hold the Iraqi government accountable, rebuild our military, provide for our veterans and bring our troops home. The president is demanding that we renew his blank check for a war without end."


...

"What the president invited us to do was come to his office so that we could accept without any discussion the bill that he wants," Pelosi said at a news conference in San Francisco. "That's not worthy of the concerns of the American people, and I join with Senator Reid in rejecting an invitation of that kind."

...

Bush also opposes the bills because of what he calls pork-barrel spending on matters unrelated to the war.


Correct me if I'm wrong here, but didn't both Houses of Congress pass funding legislation (faster than the last Repug and with less pork) while Dumbfuck himself is threatening to veto it?

HE's the one not funding the troops.

Take That

Shilly shally with us, will you? Congress asks. So, tiring of shilly-shallying, they issue sub poenas for Justice Dept. docs.

Love him or hate him, John Conyers is fun to watch!

Can We All Breathe Now?

Birkhead is, indeed, Anna Nicole's babydaddy. Now, everyone back to work!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Separate that Church and State, Baby

SMU appears to be riven by the whole Bush Library prospect. Per the Chicago Tribune, the library has:

.. split the [Southern Methodist University] faculty, feeding a debate that simmers beneath the serenity of the leafy campus. At an institution dedicated to scholarly achievement and academic freedom, many fear the work of the Bush Institute would forever associate SMU with a right-wing political agenda.

The vision of a Bush-backed think tank at a campus owned by the United Methodist Church has exposed emotional rifts within a church already divided over the war in Iraq. Bishops and other clergy critical of the pre-emptive war and the administration's treatment of enemy combatants are protesting what they view as a memorial to Bush, a Methodist whose policies they say are 'antithetical' to their teachings.

And Hillary Makes Three

Hillary is out of the CBC debate as well.

Ho This

Imus has apparently been suspended from his radio show for two weeks (MSNBC previously a similar suspension of his tv simulcast)

Gonzo Imploding

AG Alberto "Abu" Gonzales has been hiding in his bunker boning up for his testimony before Congress next week. Apparently, he's sooooo bad even his advisors/counselors/co-conspirators are fed up with him. Rock on, Gonzo!

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has virtually wiped his public schedule clean to bone up for his long-awaited April 17 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee—a session widely seen as a crucial test as to whether he will survive the U.S. attorney mess. But even his own closest advisers are nervous about whether he is up to the task. At a recent "prep" for a prospective Sunday talk-show interview, Gonzales's performance was so poor that top aides scrapped any live appearances. During the March 23 session in the A.G.'s conference room, Gonzales was grilled by a team of top aides and advisers—including former Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie and former White House lawyer Tim Flanigan—about what he knew about the plan to fire seven U.S. attorneys last fall. But Gonzales kept contradicting himself and "getting his timeline confused," said one participant who asked not to be identified talking about a private meeting.

TPM on Patrol

TPM has a PILE of good stuff today on the Pelosi faux-scandal and the Kerik real-scandal. I'm not linking to individual posts since they seem to adding a new one every few minutes. God, I wish I had staff! :)

And Obama Makes Two

Obama joins Edwards in declining to attend the Sept CBC Debate on Fox.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

Hope everyone had a great holiday, now back to kicking ass and taking names.

Lies Lies and More Lies

Josh has a good post at TPM on the flap over the fact the Pelosi's 'mission' carried a message to Syria from Ohlmert, and Ohlmert's subsequent (and sudden) denial that he had given her a message. Looks like the WH was probably behind it, as a disinformation ploy. Complete with history on these tactics, complete with wholesome Cheney-ness.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Sic Semper Et Cetera

The Iranian diplomat released the other day (captured by the Coalition and held by the Americans in Iraq) claims he was tortured by the CIA. CIA denies claim.

This is where Bush has led us. No one, except the 30% dead-enders, believe the CIA/USA did not torture him. God damn him!

McCain Loses MSM Redoubt

The main bastion of McCainanity. the Wall Street Journal editorial page, has apparently barred its doors to him. They basically call him dead.

Great Funny Stuff

The LATimes has an Op-Ed, imagining life in Mike Pence's Indiana in the summertime. MUST READ.

(h/t to barbinmd at dKos)

UK-Iran Winner?

Kevin posts a great post today on the 'standoff' and it's 'meaning'. He's not sure who won, but he's pretty sure Iran 'lost'.

And while we're on that subject, raise your hand if you agree with the conventional wisdom that this whole affair has been a PR coup for the Iranian government. I think that's a pretty short-sighted view. Even countries friendly to Iran appear to believe that this whole episode was a pointless and foolhardy provocation; it's shown up the Iranian government as weak, disorganized, and unable to keep control of its own military; the propaganda videos released during the crisis were so crude and staged they surely fooled no one; and finally, by comparison with Iran, the British and Americans ended up looking restrained and steady — countries that have no need to perform hollow circus acts in order to get international attention.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Edwards- No Fox!

Edwards informed the CBC he would NOT be participating in their Sept debate (on Fox) because it was co-sponsored by Fox.

Jonathon Prince, Edwards' deputy campaign manager:

But we believe there's just no reason for Democrats to give Fox a platform to advance the right-wing agenda while pretending they're objective. If there was any uncertainty as to Fox's objectivity, it was put to rest when they attacked Democratic candidates, Democratic constituency groups, and the Nevada Democratic party when their last proposed debate was cancelled for lack of support."

Can We Drive A Stake Thru This, Please?

WaPo attacks, yet again (thanks to Cheney's lies to Limpuke yesterday), the persistent story that Saddam had ties to Al Qaedi. Good article, and anything that bitchslaps Doug Feith (by the Pentagon, no less!) is okay by me.

Captured Iraqi documents and intelligence interrogations of Saddam Hussein and two former aides "all confirmed" that Hussein's regime was not directly cooperating with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, according to a declassified Defense Department report released yesterday.

...

The report's release came on the same day that Vice President Cheney, appearing on Rush Limbaugh's radio program, repeated his allegation that al-Qaeda was operating inside Iraq "before we ever launched" the war, under the direction of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist killed last June.

"This is al-Qaeda operating in Iraq," Cheney told Limbaugh's listeners about Zarqawi, who he said had "led the charge for Iraq." Cheney cited the alleged history to illustrate his argument that withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq would "play right into the hands of al-Qaeda."

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), who requested the report's declassification, said in a written statement that the complete text demonstrates more fully why the inspector general concluded that a key Pentagon office -- run by then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith -- had inappropriately written intelligence assessments before the March 2003 invasion alleging connections between al-Qaeda and Iraq that the U.S. intelligence consensus disputed.

The report, in a passage previously marked secret, said Feith's office had asserted in a briefing given to Cheney's chief of staff in September 2002 that the relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda was "mature" and "symbiotic," marked by shared interests and evidenced by cooperation across 10 categories, including training, financing and logistics.

Instead, the report said, the CIA had concluded in June 2002 that there were few substantiated contacts between al-Qaeda operatives and Iraqi officials and had said that it lacked evidence of a long-term relationship like the ones Iraq had forged with other terrorist groups.

"Overall, the reporting provides no conclusive signs of cooperation on specific terrorist operations," that CIA report said, adding that discussions on the issue were "necessarily speculative."

...

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) had concluded that year that "available reporting is not firm enough to demonstrate an ongoing relationship" between the Iraqi regime and al-Qaeda, it said.

But the contrary conclusions reached by Feith's office -- and leaked to the conservative Weekly Standard magazine before the war -- were publicly praised by Cheney as the best source of information on the topic, a circumstance the Pentagon report cites in documenting the impact of what it described as "inappropriate" work.

...

Cheney's public statements before and after the war about the risks posed by Iraq have closely tracked the briefing Feith's office presented to the vice president's then-chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. That includes the briefing's depiction of an alleged 2001 meeting in Prague between an Iraqi intelligence official and one of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers as one of eight "Known Iraq-Al Qaida Contacts."

The defense report states that at the time, "the intelligence community disagreed with the briefing's assessment that the alleged meeting constituted a 'known contact' " -- a circumstance that the report said was known to Feith's office. But his office had bluntly concluded in a July 2002 critique of a CIA report on Iraq's relationship with al-Qaeda that the CIA's interpretation of the facts it cited "ought to be ignored."

...

When a senior intelligence analyst working for the government's counterterrorism task force obtained an early account of the conclusions by Feith's office -- titled "Iraq and al-Qaida: Making the Case" -- the analyst prepared a detailed rebuttal calling it of "no intelligence value" and taking issue with 15 of 26 key conclusions, the report states. The analyst's rebuttal was shared with intelligence officers on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but evidently not with others.

Edelman complained in his own account of the incident that a senior Joint Chiefs analyst -- in responding to a suggestion by the DIA analyst that the "Making the Case" account be widely circulated -- told its author that "putting it out there would be playing into the hands of people" such as then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, and belittled the author for trying to support "some agenda of people in the building."

But the inspector general's report, in a footnote, commented that it is "noteworthy . . . that post-war debriefs of Sadaam Hussein, [former Iraqi foreign minister] Tariq Aziz, [former Iraqi intelligence minister Mani al-Rashid] al Tikriti, and [senior al-Qaeda operative Ibn al-Shaykh] al-Libi, as well as document exploitation by DIA all confirmed that the Intelligence Community was correct: Iraq and al-Qaida did not cooperate in all categories" alleged by Feith's office.


Love it when a plan comes apart.....

Pelosiosity

I think Kevin sums it up best: Can we all just get a grip?

Well, I Feel Safer Now....

As a member of a protected class in the Bush Administration's view, I am protected from those ravening, cheating, vote-frauding minorities. I am after that most endangered of creatures, an upper-class, white male, for God's sake, so I need all the protection I can get. Those lesser creatures, not so much.

Pity, the bf is Chinese..... oh well, I guess I can keep him a serf or something.....

Goodling Resigns

Just in on CNN: Monica Goodling, embattled aide to embattled AG Gonzales, is resigning.

Still nothing on the web

UPDATE: CNN has details- resignation effective tomorrow (GOOD GOD, I hate Suzanne Malveaux!!!)

SwiftBoat This, Bitch!

Froomkin knocks it out of the park:

When the White House suddenly and unexpectedly withdrew Sam Fox's nomination to be ambassador to Belgium last week -- just minutes before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was set to vote against him -- it was seen as a sign that President Bush might be reconciling himself to the realities of sharing power with a Democratic-controlled Congress.

Democrats, who had denounced Fox for his 2004 donation to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, applauded the White House for its graceful concession.

But it turns out that conceding gracefully was the last thing President Bush had in mind. He was just sick of going through the motions.

Yesterday, with the Senate on a one-week Easter break, the White House bypassed those balky Democrats and granted Fox a "recess appointment." While depriving the multi-millionaire St. Louis businessman of a government salary, the appointment nevertheless lets him hold office for the rest of Bush's term.

...

Al Kamen writes in The Washington Post: "Since the nomination was not before the Senate, the White House said Fox, who is a wealthy developer in St. Louis, will serve without pay in his post, although some Democrats had suggested that may not be permissible.

"Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) said yesterday that he will ask the Government Accountability Office for a ruling on the legality of the unusual appointment, which he called 'an abuse of executive authority.' . . .

Joel Havemann writes in the Los Angeles Times: "As director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the White House Office of Management and Budget, Susan E. Dudley will have an opportunity to change or block all regulations proposed by government agencies. . . .

"Bush has used recess appointments more than 100 times, often to get around a recalcitrant Senate. In perhaps his most controversial such appointment, he named John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations in 2005. Bolton served until late last year, when the 109th Congress adjourned and he was constitutionally required to step down.

"Although Dudley's new job is more obscure than those to which Biggs and Fox were appointed, it also is potentially the most powerful. The budget office's regulatory shop acts as a funnel for all regulations emanating throughout the government."



Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sound Off to CNN

I tend to watch the Situation Room on CNN in the afternoons, switching to cooking, or cartoons, or porn vids, anything else, when Lou Dobbs comes on, but it's been almost unwatchable this week. Suzanne (su zahhhhn, you morons!) Malveaux has been subbing for Wolf Blitzer, and the complete credulity she exhibits as WH Correspondent has slopped over to her anchoring gig, and she's basically spent the week feeding Repug talking points to the Repugs, and shouting them at the Dems. The one good bit was yesterday watching her interview the Syrian Ambassador to the US during the Pelosi brouhaha; they're probably STILL trying to shout over each other.

Anyway, MediaMatters has had enough, and Atrios echoed them. His post in it's entirety:

Make Some Noise

Tell CNN to get the facts right on Pelosi trip

For much of the past week, CNN and its White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux have offered a steady stream of inaccurate and incomplete coverage of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) trip to the Middle East and her April 3 meeting with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

Please join Media Matters for America in demanding that CNN and Malveaux stop misinforming viewers about Pelosi's trip and present all the facts. CNN's contact information can be found in our "Take Action!" sidebar on the right.

Since April 2, Malveaux has wrongly and repeatedly claimed that Pelosi had no "standing" and was not acting in an "official capacity," has attacked the trip as "political theater" and a "political stunt," and has parroted the Bush administration's attacks on Pelosi for going to Syria while ignoring the fact that a Republican-led delegation met with Assad on April 1. Most recently, Malveaux asked whether Pelosi's trip was a "big wet kiss to President Al-Assad."

Other CNN personalities have joined in as well. Lou Dobbs devoted an entire segment to "Pelosi's bad trip," while the April 3 edition of Anderson Cooper 360 featured a segment on Pelosi's trip titled "Talking to Terrorists."

After several days of inaccurate, one-sided coverage, it's time to tell CNN enough is enough. It's time to take action.

Use the contact information in our "Take Action!" sidebar to contact CNN, Malveaux, and Dobbs -- and be sure to tell your friends.


Take Action!

Contact information:

CNN
CNN
One CNN Center, Box 105366, Atlanta, GA 30303-5366
Phone: 404-827-1500
Fax: 404-827-1906

When contacting the media, please be polite and professional. Express your specific concerns regarding that particular news report or commentary, and be sure to indicate exactly what you would like the media outlet to do differently in the future.


WTF?

Someone read this and explain it to me!?!? I may be basking in rose-colored-light-land after six years of absolute sludge, but other than Henry Cisneros (which had NOTHING to do with the Clintons) and Monicagate, what scandals? Someone? Anyone?

Obama-Rama

Not a lot of news today, altho there's lots of jungle drumming in the background. Probably the most interesting news is that Obama raised almost half a million bucks yesterday, after announcing his Q1 fundraising numbers, from 4600ish contributors, 4300 of whom were apparently new. As someone pointed out (kos?), this was a 4.3% increase in donors in ONE day.

UPDATE: Oh yeah, and Bill-O and Gerald-O almost came to blows.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Orrin Hatch is A Big Fat Liar

(Al Franken's next book?) Anyway, read the post at TPM and try not to let your head explode.

WOW!

Obama almost caught HRC in the fundraising derby of Q1. He also had much more 'depth' than she did, with approx 100,000 contributors. This tends to mean that he can go to the well again, as he had more small contributors, ie, those who have not maxed out their contributions to him. Edwards also had a good number of small contributors, so that he has the capacity to close ground later on, if he does as well as the number from NH seem to indicate he can.

UPDATE: Daily Kos has a breakdown of Obama's online contributions... IMPRESSIVE

Hostages to be Freed?

From CNN:

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has met with some of the 15 British military personnel held in Iranian custody for almost two weeks, shortly after pardoning the group and vowing to set them free.

...

"They will go through some brief formalities, and then they will go to the embassy," he said. "They can go on a British Airways flight to Heathrow, they can go through the UAE, it is up to the British Embassy in Tehran in coordination with the Foreign Office here."


No word as to whether they have yet been released, but this is good news. And a victory for the calmer path.

UPDATE: Kevin notes NRO whackjob Mario Loyola's reaction to this news and hits the right point:

The British managed to demonstrate that in this case patient diplomacy was a better idea than bluster and threats, and the hawks just can't stand it. The result is bizarre concoctions like this one.


x

God Love 'Em

This truly is the gang that couldn't shoot straight. First, they break the law in some egregious manner, then they lie about it, then they cover it up in a way that obviates their lies, then they lie some more, then the cover up some more; lather, rinse, repeat.

Their cover story (number 3430? 53049?) about why they fired USA Iglesias in New Mexico is now blowing up in their faces as YET ANOTHER potential violation of law. The latest (stay tuned, tho) story is that Iglesias was terminated as he was often out of the office and was an 'absentee landlord.' Turns out the absences were due to his role as a US Navy Reserve officer, and discriminating against an employee due to Reserve activities is a federal crime. My God! It's Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbest with their hands on the tiller of the ship of state.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Double Speak?

Muckraker poses an interesting question: Did Bu$hCo arrange the GOP leges visit to Syria while badmouthing Speaker Pelosi's? Looks like it.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Henry Kissinger Gives Up

From AP:

"A 'military victory' in the sense of total control over the whole territory, imposed on the entire population, is not possible," Kissinger told The Associated Press in Tokyo, where he received an honorary degree from Waseda University.

The faceless, ubiquitous nature of Iraq's insurgency, as well as the religious divide between Shiite and Sunni rivals, makes negotiating peace more complex, he said.

"It is a more complicated problem," Kissinger said. "The Vietnam War involved states, and you could negotiate with leaders who controlled a defined area."

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Greenwald En Fuego

Glenn lays into the Repugs, over the abrogation of habeas corpus by the Admins and the non-rejection of that abrogation by Romney and Giuliani. Pity we can't outlaw political parties like theirs if we get the WH back.... oh wait, with their precedent maybe we can.

Andrew Sullivan weighs in too, here and here

NYT Wants Rove's Ass

After MC Rove, who wouldnt? But they seem to have substantive reasons. Who knew?

Turn over a scandal in Washington these days and the chances are you’ll find Karl Rove. His tracks are everywhere: whether it’s helping to purge United States attorneys, coaching bureaucrats on how to spend taxpayers’ money to promote Republican candidates, hijacking the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for partisan politics, or helping to organize a hit on the character of one of the first people to publicly reveal the twisting of intelligence reports on Iraq.

...

The investigation of the firings of the United States attorneys seems to be closing in on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who should have been fired weeks ago. But Congress should bring equal scrutiny to the more powerful Mr. Rove. If it does, especially by forcing him to testify in public, it will find that he has been at the vortex of many of the biggest issues they are now investigating.

Bush Fires Cheney, To Resign By End of Day

Sigh, April Fools!

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