We've Moved...

I've finally gotten around to moving this blog off of Blogger. Maybe this will motivate me to write more. The new blog, amahchewahwah, can be found here. Bye Blogger...


Peace Train

This seems to be the week for emotionally charged videos. I should mention that I also learned of the death of an old friend, so that adds to the sadness. Seeing this video also led me to find Yusuf Islam on the web. I'm glad to see that he is still active.


Scott McKenzie - San Francisco

I've always loved this song, and I have never gotten tired of listening to it. Being in Washington this weekend for the peace rally really brought it all back to me.


Pink - Dear Mr President

This blew me away...


Airmen Used As Cannon Fodder?

Air Force Officer Wants His Airmen Back
A senior officer at a key strategic bomber base says he hopes the Army can stop using his personnel as cannon fodder and let them concentrate on their real job of "putting bombs on target from B-1s." In a commentary that appeared in Air Combat Command's Web newsletter on Wednesday, Lt. Col. Gerald Goodfellow of the 28th Operations Group at Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota says that while he's proud of the job Air Force personnel do when they are assigned "light infantry" positions in the Army, it's not what they signed on for and he's worried it could sap the Air Force's strength. "In America's current wars the Air Force has found itself in a situation where it, in effect, has to pay for and train its Airmen to serve ground duty (a form of 'light infantry,' to quote Gen. Ronald Keys, Air Combat Command commander) and then pay to supply that light infantry with items from bullet proof vests to armored vehicles to keep them safe," Goodfellow wrote. "I believe the Air Force should spend its money on capabilities that will ensure future air dominance." Goodfellow says that since 9/11, Air Force personnel have been required to take "in-lieu-of taskings" to fill gaps in Army ranks in war zones. He says people who should be helping to ensure air superiority have "taken part in harrowing firefights and missions in support of ground (mostly Army) forces." Goodfellow says he understands the current needs of ground forces and the Air Force has been happy to help out, but he hopes it doesn't go on indefinitely. "I personally hope that all the services are currently striving to organize in a way that will largely prevent Air Force personnel from conducting 'in-lieu-of' taskings in the future," he wrote. "This is because I do not believe the Air Force should be in the business of fighting combat operations on the ground.
So the Air Force spends a fortune to train B-1 bomber pilots and then the Army somehow gets hold of them and puts them on the front lines in Iraq? What a waste.


I'm Havin' Me a Big 'Ole Slice of Schadenfreude Pie


Get up off your ass and vote!

I just did. Felt good.


"Kafkaesque" Doesn't Begin to Describe This

"Catch-22", "The Stranger", "The Trial" and "In The Penal Colony" were among my favorite novels when I was in high school. What I liked about them was that they were fiction. This is ridiculous.
The Bush administration has told a federal judge that terrorism suspects held in secret CIA prisons should not be allowed to reveal details of the "alternative interrogation methods" that their captors used to get them to talk.
That's just the first paragraph. Unreal.

This made my morning

From Gareth at dKos:
I was sitting there watching the holo-vid with my granddaughter, when I saw a nightmare from years past flicker across the room. "Grampa, who's that man?" asked little Allie. Oh Jesus, I thought. There the bastard is again. Bedraggled and long-haired, he looked like Ted Kozinski on a bad day. Withered, manacled, his smirk fossilized into a crazy glare, George Bush was being dragged from his cell at The Hague to trial. Again. "Uh, sweetie, that's George "Dubya" Bush." "Bush. Wait, we read about him in school. That's the guy who did all those things, right?" I still felt some residual fear, as if from his reduced condition, in his orange jumpsuit, Bush could reach out through the long-dismantled right-wing noise machine and tell us we had to "stay the course" and that prosecuting him meant "terrorism would win." "Yeah, sweetie. That's him. Invaded Iraq. Tortured children. Gave the bomb plans to Iran. Bombed Iran." "He did so many bad things!" "Yeah." I sank into the unwelcome memory of those seven long years until his impeachment. "Did anybody do more bad things?" "Nobody who was president." "But anybody?" "Sure. Hitler did." "Did he get arrested too?" "No. Hitler killed himself." "Oh." I wondered for a moment why Bush hadn't killed himself when the UN troops surrounded his Paraguay compound. I wondered if the religious delusions he entertained kept him from doing it, if, after being directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children, he thought killing himself would be the straw that broke the camel's back and sent him to hell. He hadn't. He'd come outside in a chambray shirt, jeans, and boots, smirking that goddamned smirk, just like when he used to pretend to "clear brush" at his estate in Texas. Like it was a media opportunity he could wriggle out of. That day there had been celebrations the world over. The skies over every city in the Muslim world exploded with gunfire, all pointed upwards for once. It was like New Year's Eve in every city in Europe. Muslims, Christians, and Jews danced in the streets together. In America everybody, Democrat and Republican, realized the national nightmare was over. Bush had finally become the unifier he had once promised to be. But the only way he had unified people was in despising him. "Grampa?" "Yeah?" "How come people let him be President?" How come indeed? I remembered back to the right-wing noise machine, back before Rush and O'Reilly went to jail for sex crimes, back before President Obama signed the Fair Media Act, before Murdoch was sent back to Australia. "Well, sweetie, some people thought he would do a good job." "Why?" "I don't know exactly. He never did a good job at anything before that." "Why?" "I think he was too mean-spirited, or too stupid, or too spoiled." "Why?" "Well, he was born with a... heh, heh, with a silver spoon up his nose. His daddy coddled him when he was a boy." "What's coddled, Grampa?" "It's when you don't let kids do things on their own, when you just kind of hover over them and never let them fall down. It makes kids turn out spoiled." "I fell down, Grampa," Allie said, pointing at her knee. "I'm not coddled." "I know you're not, sweetie. You're perfect. And you might grow up to be President someday. And you'll be a great President." "I'm not going to be bad like that man. Bu
sh." "No, you're not, honey. Nobody is. Not anymore."

It's Scary

The talking points that the administration and the Republican Party are following insist that they are going to hold both houses of congress. Bush, Cheney, Snow, Rove, Mehlman, they are all reading the same script. It reminds me of a video clip I saw of Bush taken on an airplane on election day in 2000. He had this arrogant, smug demeanor and was laughing and saying that he wasn't worried, that they were going to win. It sickened me because that's when I knew that they had stolen the election. When I hear these liars chanting this mantra I can't help but feel that sick, sinking feeling that I've felt in every election since 1994.


The Moral Good And Christianism

christianist/christianism Put this together with John Dean's "Conservatives Without Conscience" and you have the perfect picture of the right wing in America.

The Rude One Rocks

The Rude Pundit:
11/3/2006 Sympathy For Mrs. Haggard's Ass: A Haiku: Gayle always wondered Why Ted said, "Jesus enters Us through our back doors."

Defuse the Nov 5th Surprise

Glen Greenwald has an important post up today. The Bushies have timed the Saddam Hussein verdict to coincide with the election. We all need to begin talking about this to disarm the event.
Every halfway decent trial lawyer knows that if your adversary has some bombshell document or witness which packs such emotional punch that it can overwhelm all other facts, you don't just sit around and passively wait for them to unleash it. You do the opposite. Before they can use it, you take the document or witness and talk about it as much as possible, as aggressively as possible, and as early as possible, so that (a) the jury knows it's coming and so you deny your opponent the dramatic shock value of it, (b) it is clear that you are not afraid of its impact, and (c) the jury hears about it from you first, rather than your adversary, so that you're the one who defines it and, from the beginning, they view it from your perspective, not the other side's. In sum, by preemptively seizing on and using the other side's planned dramatic bombshell, it makes it a completely expected non-event when it finally happens. [...] I say all of that because the Bush administration, in one of the most shamelessly manipulative acts one can fathom, has ensured that the show trial of Saddam Hussein is scheduled to end with a guilty verdict and likely death sentence on November 5 -- two days before the election. They are now openly acknowledging that they think this event should and will influence the outcome of our election. There is no question that the media will cover this story intensely -- they love singular, dramatic events; they love courtroom dramas; and it is not every day that a dictator who ruled for three decades is sentenced to death. While one can question how much Americans will care about this event, it is inevitable that it will dominate the news right before the election, with almost no time for Democrats to have their views about it heard. It's a real cause for concern that Democrats don't seem to be doing anything about this other than sitting around and passively hoping that the damage isn't too severe. That is the opposite of what they ought to be doing. [...] Democrats should be talking about the upcoming Saddam verdict, offensively in those terms, and they should be doing it constantly. And they should do so not only to deprive the news story of its dramatic impact once it happens -- although that is an important benefit -- but they also must use this event offensively to make arguments about the administration's dishonesty and politically driven exploitation of this war. The Bush administration induced Americans to support this war based on false pretenses, have mismanaged it to a degree unseen in our nation's history, and in the process have destroyed that country and mired us hopelessly in a war that they have ensured we cannot win. The whole project is a failure, and all the administration can bring itself to do is to figure out how to squeeze some political advantage out of the war right before an election by scheduling this Saddam trial -- which has dragged on endlessly, just like our occupation -- two days before Americans decide whether to maintain one-party Republican rule. [...] Sitting around until the media explosion on November 5 and then hoping to say these things is a loser strategy. Even with their war oppoosition, Americans -- for two decades now -- have been conditioned to think of Saddam as the epitome of dangerous evil and his conviction and death sentence are going to pack some emotional punch. That emotional reaction will kick in with less than two days before they go to vote, which means there is no time for reasoned assessment to foster the realization that the event is actually meaningless. Each of these types of Bad Guy events -- the capture of Saddam, the killing of his sons, the killing of Zarqawi -- leads to a political boost for the administration which is always temporary because it is driven by emotion. But a temporary boost that begins on November 5 is all they need and want. Democrats need a strategy to combat that -- and it can't just be defensive ("We are so happy to see Saddam convicted but that doesn't change the fact that we are in a terrible position in Iraq"). It needs to use that corrupt scheduling offensively ("the administration has led us into the most strategically disastrous war in our nation's history and has no way out, and all they can think about is how to stage show trials purely for political gain"), and that has to begin in full force now. The more this issue is talked about before November 5, the less impact it will have.
Let's go spread the word.


Good job, John

From Steve Gilliard this morning:
Jesus, so many people are so nervous about what John Kerry said, like he's lying. John Kerry is telling the truth and everyone knows it. Rich kids do not join the military, college bound kids don't join the military, only the poor and those who can't get scholarships do. Acting like he was lying or insulting people is just bullshit. Besides, his reply got far more play than the orignial statement.
"If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I'm sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did. I'm not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq . It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have. The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor. Bottom line, these Republicans want to debate straw men because they're afraid to debate real men. And this time it won't work because we're going to stay in their face with the truth and deny them even a sliver of light for their distortions. No Democrat will be bullied by an administration that has a cut and run policy in Afghanistan and a stand still and lose strategy in Iraq ."
Now that's the way to respond to these bastards.


After The Election

There are two things that have been in my head today. First I've been thinking about what we can expect from the other side after the election is over. Digby had in interesting post up yesterday and it's been rattling around in my head since I read it. Will this be the tactic which we must fight? From Digby:
Rove was talking to the Republican lawyers association, many members of which specialize in "voter fraud," and may very well be preparing to challenge every close race and file spurious complaints to Alberto Gonzales' Justice Department. And even if they didn't, be prepared to hear all of our complaints about election stealing yelled back at us if they lose. They are not afraid to take somebody elses talking point and use it to their advantage. It's one of the things they do best and because a lot of people don't pay close attention it will sound perfectly reasonable to them that the Democrats stole the election. Just something to think about as we look to the morning after election day.
The second thing had to do with this from FDL:
The new narrative being pushed into every media outlet who will take it — and there is no shortage — is that the new Blue Dog Democrats will overtake congress, shift the balance of power to the right and purge the influence of the unelectable, scary left. New Democratic Coalition Co-Chair Ellen Tauscher made this comment to the New York Times: “I think there’s tremendous agreement and awareness that getting the majority and running over the left cliff is what our Republican opponents would dearly love,” Ms. Tauscher said, adding that this was something “we’ve got to fight.” Aside from the superb timing — throwing down the gauntlet right before the election and starting an inter-party war at the abject most inappropriate time (in classic Joe Lieberman style) — why are these people trying to party like it's 1995? Because running against your own base worked so very well then for the Democrats. Alienating the folks who put the boots on the ground, drive GOTV efforts, give money, give a shit is just SO VERY not smart one week before a critical election.
It's just never going to end, is it.


Sunday Thread

I just figured I might try and put something up here, just for my own sake, if for no other reason. This mess in Mexico is pretty scary, as is this stealthy power-grab which our liberal media has neglected to report on. I'm DVR'ing all the talking heads today.


Google Bomb The Election

Here's the Google Bomb from over at MyDD.. Just trying to do my part:
Google Bomb The Elections: Source Code by Chris Bowers, Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 12:17:56 PM EST --AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl
--AZ-01: Rick Renzi
--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth
--CA-04: John Doolittle
--CA-11: Richard Pombo
--CA-50: Brian Bilbray
--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave
--CO-05: Doug Lamborn
--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell
--CT-04: Christopher Shays
--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan
--FL-16: Joe Negron
--FL-22: Clay Shaw
--ID-01: Bill Sali
--IL-06: Peter Roskam
--IL-10: Mark Kirk
--IL-14: Dennis Hastert
--IN-02: Chris Chocola
--IN-08: John Hostettler
--IA-01: Mike Whalen
--KS-02: Jim Ryun
--KY-03: Anne Northup
--KY-04: Geoff Davis
--MD-Sen: Michael Steele
--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht
--MN-06: Michele Bachmann
--MO-Sen: Jim Talent
--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns
--NV-03: Jon Porter
--NH-02: Charlie Bass
--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson
--NM-01: Heather Wilson
--NY-03: Peter King
--NY-20: John Sweeney
--NY-26: Tom Reynolds
--NY-29: Randy Kuhl
--NC-08: Robin Hayes
--NC-11: Charles Taylor
--OH-01: Steve Chabot
--OH-02: Jean Schmidt
--OH-15: Deborah Pryce
--OH-18: Joy Padgett
--PA-04: Melissa Hart
--PA-07: Curt Weldon
--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick
--PA-10: Don Sherwood
--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee
--TN-Sen: Bob Corker
--VA-Sen: George Allen
--VA-10: Frank Wolf
--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick
--WA-08: Dave Reichert


Have You Had Enough?

This video was put together by a supporter of Coleen Rowley, using the Had Enough? song that Tommy Yum co-wrote (with fellow SNZ alum and all-around sweetie Ken Mosher) and played on, with the lovely Rickie Lee Jones doing lead vocals. Some days, you just walk around with a grin from ear to ear.

read more | digg story


Tenter hooks, baited breath, trepidation

It's been a busy day for me and I haven't had much time to read or post. So now I'm sitting here watching "Hardball" and considering the news of the day. I just had this sinking feeling and wondered if it's possible that Fitzgerald could end his investigation without indictments or any kind of report, just close it down and go home without word. Of course I know it's possible, but I'm wondering if it's possible. Anyway, it's kind of a depressing thought, kind of like I felt at about 8PM New York time on November 2, 2004 when I realized that Florida was going to be counted for Bush. That night I got physically ill and had to leave a dinner party. I'll never forget it. We were so ready to celebrate the defeat of Bush. We were up to party that night. Then it all suddenly changed within the course of about an hour. I have been so full of anticipation this week and now it's coming down to the wire. The waiting is really getting to me, but I take comfort from thinking about how hellish this waiting must be for BushCo. Someone is going to have a horrible weekend and I'm really hoping it's not going to be me. I think I'm coming closer to a reality-based mindset and I'm realizing that it's an awful lot of fun to imagine all these bastards being forced from their jobs, but in the real world I have to also prepare myself for the possibility that it could go the other way. It's nice to see Tweety being so heartfelt about the young men and women who will never come home again from this awful war. He touched me a little bit. And now I think I'll go stand with the candlelight vigil that's happening tonight right down the road.

Another angle: Brewster Jennings

I've heard a lot of speculation tonight about the story that Fitzgerald has been talking to Rove's attorney and has sent FBI agents to interview neighbors of the Wilsons today. As I've pored over the blogs tonight an aspect of the Plame story which I heard some time ago came to mind. I first heard of this angle earlier in the year on Randi Rhodes radio show on Air America. I found it hard to follow on the radio and made a mental note to look into it further but never got around to it. Well tonight I did some digging and found this (scroll down, it's near the bottom of the page):
July 31, 2005/August 1, 2005 **** Plame leak damaged a major CIA investigation linking senior Bush administration officials to WMD proliferation. U.S. intelligence insiders have pointed out that the White House is using "Rovegate" and "Who in the White House said what to whom?" as a smoke screen to divert attention away from the actual counter-proliferation work Mrs. Wilson and her Brewster Jennings & Associates team were engaged in. The arrival of Timothy Flanigan as Patrick J. Fitzgerald's boss is likely related to the mountains of evidence Fitzgerald has now collected to indict senior White House officials, particularly, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, for criminal conspiracy in exposing a sensitive U.S. intelligence operation that was targeting some of their closest political and business associates. Libby, it will be recalled, was the attorney for fugitive global smuggler and Clinton-pardoned multi-billionaire Marc Rich, someone who has close ties to the Sharon government and Israeli intelligence. It is no coincidence that FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds uncovered nuclear material and narcotics trafficking involving Turkish intermediaries with ties to Israel at the same time Brewster Jennings and the CIA's Counter Proliferation Division was hot on the trail of nuclear proliferators tied to the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon and the A. Q. Khan network of Pakistan. Feith and Libby: Ultimate targets of CIA counter-proliferation team? Time magazine reported on July 31 that White House knew about Plame's identity long before Joseph Wilson's July 6, 2003 OP ED in the New York Times. Feith and Libby had reasons to be worried about Plame and her team's counter-proliferation work. An arrest in early 2004 points to the links between Israeli agents and Islamist groups bent on producing weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. According to intelligence sources, this was a network that was a major focus of Edmonds' and Valerie Plame Wilson's work. In January 2004, FBI and U.S. Customs agents arrested Asher Karni, a Hungarian-born Orthodox Jew, Israeli citizen, and resident of Cape Town, South Africa, at Denver International Airport for illegally exporting 200 electrically triggered spark gaps -- devices that send synchronized electrical pulses and are used in nuclear weapons...
So now we have Libby, Rove and Cheney, implicated in a plot to burn a CIA anti-proliferation network working to collect evidence and follow the money in an arms sales ring that had ties to the Bush administration. It is important to note that the leak to Novak that outed Ms. Wilson was only part of the Novack story. I don't see too many people discussing the followup story that Novak wrote a week later that outed Ms. Wilson's cover operation, Brewster Jennings and burned her whole undercover network.
...what is clear is that an Israeli-based network, involving key neo-conservatives in the Bush adminstration, were attempting to speed up the clock on the delivery by the A. Q. Khan network of prohibited nuclear material to countries like Iran, thereby justifying a pre-emptive U.S. (and Israeli-supported) attack on Iranian nuclear installations. It was this network that attracted the attention of the CIA and when it realized some of the "men behind the curtain" were in the Pentagon, they had their smoking gun evidence of double dealing by Bush administration officials and their compatriots in the Sharon government. [...] A Malaysian link was also discovered in Karni’s network, which is significant in light of developments involving Brewster Jennings' exposure by Rove and Libby. A Swiss citizen named Urs Tinner was arrested by German authorities in October 2004. Tinner was accused of supervising the manfucture of centrifuge components in Malaysia. The United States demanded Tinner’s release, which led to speculation that Tinner was a U.S. intelligence asset who penetrated the A.Q. Khan network and may have been part of the Brewster Jennings operation.
Now this story is almost as hard to follow in print as it was on the radio, but if the evidence is leading Fitzgerald to consider this as one of the motives for the outing of Ms. Wilson and Brewster Jennings this could turn out to be bigger than any of us may have imagined. Add to this the possibility of Fitgerald looking into whether the Bush administration lied to congress in the run-up to the war and we may be in for a real shitstorm if he's able to connect all the dots.


Holy Fitzmas, Batman!

The Washington Note: October 25, 2005 Indictments Coming Tomorrow; Targets Received Letters Today An uber-insider source has just reported the following to TWN: 1. 1-5 indictments are being issued. The source feels that it will be towards the higher end. 2. The targets of indictment have already received their letters. 3. The indictments will be sealed indictments and "filed" tomorrow. 4. A press conference is being scheduled for Thursday. The shoe is dropping.

By their fruits ye shall know them

Here's a little something you can use on your bible-totin' friends:
Matthew 7:15-20 15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
(Hat tip to Shystee for this, good commentary there too)

Kristol Skewered

Crooks and Liars has video of William Kristol, evil neocon, being absolutely skewered by Jon Daily. The link is here.

As the worm turns

Just go here and here and read what's there and then come back and we can dish. Ok, you back? That was quite something wasn't ? Didn't you just love the comment from Swopa:
But let's also note that if this account is correct, the dirt that Cheney pried out of George Tenet did not include Mrs. Wilson's maiden name -- which directly related to her covert work. So why was her name leaked that way? The question of who put the Plame in the Plame leak seems to be more of a mystery than ever. Of course, that question is going to seem like little more than a footnote next to the political firestorm of the Vice President of the United States having known all along about the secret information at the heart of a criminal investigation, and not revealing it.
This is so sweet. These guys are completely fucked. All of them. The are probably all going to be indicted this week, including Cheney, and Bush will never recover. This Presidency is over. I going to go out on a limb and predict that Nadler's request for a formal investigation into the Administration's actions in fixing intelligence to deceive the U.S. Congress and the American people into going to war in Iraq is going to be acted upon in the coming months and that before election day 2006, a year from now, Bush will be out of office. I don't know if he's going to resign, be impeached or be found mentally incompetant to hold office, but I think he will be gone. I've always thought that George W. Bush was nothing but a front man. He fronts for corporate and big money interests, powerul interests, evil interests. Interests on a much higher plane than just Republicans and Democrats. These are the multinational Oil Barons, PNAC, the Carlysle Group, the Saudi royal family. They are the Stalinists and the McCarthyites who are responsible for the Cold War. They are the Khmer Rouge. They are the German, Italian, and Japanese corporate fascists who are responsible for the Second World War. They are the southern slave owners who are responsible for the Civil War. The railroad magnates, the cattle barons, and the horse soldiers who massacred the Native American tribes. They are our history. They are who we have always been. So George Bush is a front man for these evil bastards. He plays a role, he reads a script. His presidency has, until now, been largely succesful for his corporate masters. But I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that once Fitzgerald blows up his spot and he becomes aa liabilty for these powerful interests, once his presidency becomes a burden and a hinderance to the advancement of their agenda, they will find a way to get rid of him. He is expendable. Boy, that was fun! It's a wonderful fantasy, isn't it? Now let's keep our eyes open and see what really happens. Update: Jane Hamsher has a great analysis up at firedoglake. Don't skip the updates, which link to two good articles from Steve Clemons and Larry Johnson.


I just heard...

...that obnoxious little prick Tucker Carlson say that perjury and obstruction of justice are "picayune little crimes". He said it on "Hardball", MSNBC, 5:46 PM today. Grrrr! I'll put the transcript up later.

The Daily News...

...seems to have picked up last week's Capitol Hill Blue story and run with it. Today's edition has a story that reiterates the tales of Bush's tirades and mood swings.
"He's like the lion in winter," observed a political friend of Bush. "He's frustrated. He remains quite confident in the decisions he has made. But this is a guy who wanted to do big things in a second term. Given his nature, there's no way he'd be happy about the way things have gone." Bush usually reserves his celebrated temper for senior aides because he knows they can take it. Lately, however, some junior staffers have also faced the boss' wrath. "This is not some manager at McDonald's chewing out the help," said a source with close ties to the White House when told about these outbursts. "This is the President of the United States, and it's not a pleasant sight."
On Cheney:
The vice president remains Bush's most trusted political confidant. Even so, the Daily News has learned Bush has told associates Cheney was overly involved in intelligence issues in the runup to the Iraq war that have been seized on by Bush critics. Bush is so dismayed that "the only person escaping blame is the President himself," said a sympathetic official, who delicately termed such self-exoneration "illogical."
Now although this story does read like the tabloid piece that it is, it's interesting that it has now popped up in several places over the past couple of weeks. This reminds me of the stories we were hearing about the Nixon White House in the final days of that administration, Nixon and Kissinger praying together in front of the portrait of Lincoln, drunken rants, irrational explosions of temper. It sure looks like this chimp might really be losing it. PS: That picture is so good I just had to post it again.


Newsweek's TraitorGate Primer

Thanks to Jane over at firedoglake for letting us know about this Newsweek story which will be hitting the newsstands this week. Although focused on Cheney, this is really a background piece which explains the basics of the TraitorGate affair, beginning with the formation of the WHIG through the outing of Plame. The facts we are familiar with are presented in an understandable, and somewhat simplified way, which I think is a good thing. There were a couple of things in there though that got my attention. The first was this, from the first paragraph.
In February 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney received a CIA briefing that touched on Saddam Hussein's attempts to build nuclear bombs. Cheney, who was looking for evidence to support an Iraq invasion, was especially interested in one detail: a report that claimed Saddam attempted to purchase uranium from Niger. At the end of the briefing, Cheney or an aide told the CIA man that the vice president wanted to know more about the subject.
Here we have a major MSM outlet finally supporting Joe Wilson's version of how he happened to become involved in all of this. One of the things that has frustrated me over the past year of so, has been the right wing echo chamber's insistance that Wilson lied when he claimed that Cheney requested that he be sent to Niger. Wilson never claimed any such thing, it was a total distortion. So just when I begin to think that Newsweek might actually be trying to be intellectually honest I read this:
Tight-lipped, Fitzgerald has not said a word about his intentions. That has left Washington breathlessly reading into the flimsiest clues. Last week bloggers seized on the discovery that Fitzgerald had set up a Web site, which was taken as a sure sign that indictments were around the corner. Lawyers who have had dealings with Fitzgerald's office, who spoke anonymously because the investigation is ongoing, say the prosecutor appears to be exploring the option of bringing broad conspiracy charges against Libby, Rove and perhaps others, though it's still unclear whether Fitzgerald can prove an underlying crime.
My God, does Newsweek think that Fitzgerald is just doing this for practice? This isn't a drill. Isn't is obvious that if he couldn't prove underlying crimes he wouldn't bring indictments??!! Then, down near the bottom, they throw in this:
Libby and other administration officials were quick to denounce Wilson's claims, and to allege that it was his wife who had chosen him for the African trip. (Wilson and Plame say she merely recommended him to her supervisor when asked.)
Grrrrr! Well, I try to take some comfort from the hope that this piece might wake just one person up in a red state, and it was nice to glean from a mainstream publication that Cheney might actually be in some hot water. Merry Fitzmas.

Dead Men Walking

In case you haven't had enough, this one should give you a nice schadenfreude (there's another one of those blogicon words for you) buzz for a while:
Death Watch at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue White House insiders say George W. Bush’s mood swings have increased to the point where meetings with the President must be cancelled, schedules shifted and plans changed to keep a bitter, distracted leader from the public eye. “He’s like a zombie some days, walking around in a trance,” says one aide who, for obvious reasons, asks not to be identified. “Other times he launches into angry outbursts, cussing out anybody who gets near him.” Aides say gallows humor has descended on the White House, where the West Wing is now referred to as “death row” and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, along with Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, are known as “dead men walking,” a reference to the last walk death row inmates take to the execution chamber. [...] But holding the White House together behind what has been one of the better Presidential propaganda machines is proving next to impossible as the American public and even members of Bush’s own party desert him over the war in Iraq, the nomination of White House counsel Harriett Miers to the Supreme Court, the Hurricane Katrina debacle, rising gas prices and the Valerie Plame scandal. “The façade is gone and we are now seeing the Bush White House in all its incompetent glory,” says retired political science professor George Harleigh. “They’ve ignored reality for too long.”
I have to take this with a large shaker of salt, but it sure is fun to read, now isn't it?

Finally, a Democrat with balls

He's Jerrold Nadler, he's a New York City liberal, and I like him! This is huge.
October 20, 2005 Acting Deputy Attorney General Robert D. McCallum, Jr. Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building Room 4111 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530 Dear Deputy Attorney General McCallum: I urge you to use the powers granted to you, under the regulations promulgated by the Department of Justice in June of 1999, to expand the framework of the investigation currently being conducted by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. It is now clear that the key reason cited by the Bush Administration – the imminent acquisition by Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction – to persuade Congress and the American people of the necessity of invading Iraq was not true. There is new and mounting and evidence, stemming in part from the current investigation, that members of the Bush Administration may have deliberately, and, therefore, illegally, misled Congress. Since Special Counsel Fitzgerald is already investigating the CIA leak, it seems appropriate that he be empowered to expand his investigation to examine whether the leak itself was part of a broader conspiracy knowingly to mislead Congress into authorizing a war. As a member of the Judiciary Committee who opposed the extension of the independent counsel law, I do not take this matter lightly. I believe these types of investigations should be reserved for only the most serious of alleged crimes, but I have to believe that lying to Congress in order to obtain its support for a war meets that test. Some of the evidence that members of the Bush Administration may have deliberately, and, therefore, illegally, misled Congress is as follows: 1) We now know that during the summer of 2002, at a time when the White House maintains that no decision had been made about going to war, the Bush Administration created the “White House Iraq Group” whose sole purpose appears to have been to market and sell a decision to go to war to Congress. It appears that this group specifically sought to deceive Congress about the intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction. (New York Daily News, Oct. 19, 2005.) 2) We now know from the so-called “Downing Street Memo,” that it appeared to senior members of the British Government who had conferred with senior Administration officials, that “Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” (Emphasis added.) 3) We now know that President Bush included in his State of the Union Address in January of 2003 an already discredited reference to Iraq seeking uranium from Niger. 4) We now know from Special Counsel Fitzgerald’s investigation itself that there was an orchestrated campaign to smear and discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who attempted to tell the truth about some of the faulty “evidence” used by the White House to make its case for war. Although Mr. Fitzgerald’s investigation has yet to determine whether a crime was committed by any Administration official(s) in leaking the identity of Wilson’s wife as a covert CIA operative, it is abundantly clear that the White House Iraq Group was engaged in an effort to discredit revelations of the falsity of the Administration’s justifications for the war, and to intimidate and punish those who would reveal the truth. According to sources quoted by the New York Daily News, this group of White House officials was “so determined . . . to win its argument that it morphed into a virtual hit squad that took aim at critics who questioned its claims.” (New York Daily News, October 19, 2005.) 5) We now know that top Administration officials, including Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff, I. Lewis Libby, misrepresented to the media the scope and nature of what the U.S. intelligence community knew and didn’t know about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs before the war. (Newsweek.com, Oct. 19, 2005.) Manufacturing of media complicity, if achieved through a deliberate plan to provide false information, would have played a key role in misleading Congress. And indeed, we need to know more about the relationship between Administration officials and certain media outlets in view of details emerging from this investigation regarding the special access to Administration officials and, perhaps, to potentially classified information afforded to Judith Miller of The New York Times, which led to clearly erroneous stories supporting the Administration’s false claims regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. With this growing body of evidence that the White House may have deliberately misled Congress into authorizing war, a broader independent investigation is clearly necessary. Special Counsel Fitzgerald has done a great service to the nation thus far by investigating the CIA leak, but real questions remain. Was the CIA leak incident an effort to enforce discipline as part of a much broader criminal conspiracy by members of the Bush Administration to deceive Congress about a matter of war and peace? Who was involved? Were any of their actions criminal? These questions go to the core of the functioning of democratic self-government in the United States. Honest, if mistaken, reliance on faulty intelligence to convince Congress to authorize a war is bad enough. But, if, as mounting evidence is tending to show, Administration officials deliberately deceived Congress and the American people, this would constitute a criminal conspiracy against the entire country. It is self-evident that the Administration cannot investigate itself in this matter. I therefore urge you to expand the Special Counsel’s investigation to include these matters crucial to our national security and national integrity. I look forward to your response. Sincerely, Jerrold Nadler Member of Congress
It reminds me of a line from Marty Scorsese's "The Color Of Money". There's a scene where one of Vincent's (Tom Cruise) opponents at the pool table sticks it to him during a particularly bad moment in the game. The line is, "It's a nightmare, isn't it. It just keeps getting worse and worse." I'm really beginning to wonder just how far this could go. (Hat tip to Recovering Liberal for this story)

The Republican Spin Machine Reaches New Lows

It's shocking to me to see the lows to which the Republican spin machine will stoop. Just take a look at this little exchange between Russert and Sen Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX).
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to the situation here in Washington, the CIA leak investigation, very much tied in obviously to the war in Iraq and the way it was presented to the American people. And bringing you all back to September 30, George Bush addressing the American people and he said this. (Videotape, September 30, 2003): PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of. (End videotape) MR. RUSSERT: Now, one week later, Scott McClellan was asked specifically about Karl Rove and Scooter Libby whether they had been involved in disseminating information about Valerie Plame, the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, and this is what Mr. McClellan said. (Videotape, October 7, 2003): MR. SCOTT McCLELLAN: They are good individuals. They're important members of our White House team, and that's why I spoke with them so that I could come back to you and say that they were not involved. I had no doubt with that in the beginning, but I like to check my information to make sure it's accurate before I report back to you. And that's exactly what I did. (End videotape) ... MR. RUSSERT: Senator Hutchison, you think those comments from the White House are credible? SEN. HUTCHISON: Tim, you know, I think we have to remember something here. An indictment of any kind is not a guilty verdict, and I do think we have in this country the right to go to court and have due process and be innocent until proven guilty. And secondly, I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. So they go to something that trips someone up because they said something in the first grand jury and then maybe they found new information or they forgot something and they tried to correct that in a second grand jury.
So here we have a United States Senator trying to argue that if the GJ comes down with a perjury count that it would somehow not really "count" as a crime? I couldn't believe my ears.

'Twas The Night Before Fitzmas

Well, maybe not the "night" before, but Fitzmas is right around the corner. If you've been reading any blogs lately you've surely come upon this word, "Fitzmas". Here are some interesting and amusing links that make good reading tonight, and in the days to come, ie: Fitzmas Eve. The best place to begin is here on Daily Kos. These diaries all deal in one way or another with Fitzmas and many of them are quite amusing. One of my favorites is this one (Georgia10 by the way has her own blog here which is quite interessting). And there's this little cutie which we'll all be playing here at home. Anyway, you get the idea. Personally I find it very interesting to see how quickly the blogosphere changes the lexicon with words like "Fitzmas", and "snarky".

Sunday morning levity

I saw this here, and it made me chuckle. Another joke to send to my Bushie relatives:
While waiting for a presidential press conference to begin, a reporter approaches a man standing alone in a corner. "So," says the journalist, "have you heard the latest joke about dumbo President Bush?" The man pins him with a steely gaze, "Before you tell it, I should inform you that I am proud to work for the White House." "Thanks for the warning," says the reporter. "I'll tell it slowly and explain it for you then."

From TimesSelect

Barry Blitt
October 23, 2005 Op-Ed Columnist Karl and Scooter's Excellent Adventure By FRANK RICH THERE were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no collaboration between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda on 9/11. There was scant Pentagon planning for securing the peace should bad stuff happen after America invaded. Why, exactly, did we go to war in Iraq? "It still isn't possible to be sure - and this remains the most remarkable thing about the Iraq war," writes the New Yorker journalist George Packer, a disenchanted liberal supporter of the invasion, in his essential new book, "The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq." Even a former Bush administration State Department official who was present at the war's creation, Richard Haass, tells Mr. Packer that he expects to go to his grave "not knowing the answer." Maybe. But the leak investigation now reaching its climax in Washington continues to offer big clues. We don't yet know whether Lewis (Scooter) Libby or Karl Rove has committed a crime, but the more we learn about their desperate efforts to take down a bit player like Joseph Wilson, the more we learn about the real secret they wanted to protect: the "why" of the war. To piece that story together, you have to follow each man's history before the invasion of Iraq - before anyone had ever heard of Valerie Plame Wilson, let alone leaked her identity as a C.I.A. officer. It is not an accident that Mr. Libby's and Mr. Rove's very different trajectories - one of a Washington policy intellectual, the other of a Texas political operative - would collide before Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury. They are very different men who play very different White House roles, but they are bound together now by the sordid shared past that the Wilson affair has exposed. In Mr. Rove's case, let's go back to January 2002. By then the post-9/11 war in Afghanistan had succeeded in its mission to overthrow the Taliban and had done so with minimal American casualties. In a triumphalist speech to the Republican National Committee, Mr. Rove for the first time openly advanced the idea that the war on terror was the path to victory for that November's midterm elections. Candidates "can go to the country on this issue," he said, because voters "trust the Republican Party to do a better job of protecting and strengthening America's military might and thereby protecting America." It was an early taste of the rhetoric that would be used habitually to smear any war critics as unpatriotic. But there were unspoken impediments to Mr. Rove's plan that he certainly knew about: Afghanistan was slipping off the radar screen of American voters, and the president's most grandiose objective, to capture Osama bin Laden "dead or alive," had not been achieved. How do you run on a war if the war looks as if it's shifting into neutral and the No. 1 evildoer has escaped? Hardly had Mr. Rove given his speech than polls started to register the first erosion of the initial near-universal endorsement of the administration's response to 9/11. A USA Today/CNN/Gallup survey in March 2002 found that while 9 out of 10 Americans still backed the war on terror at the six-month anniversary of the attacks, support for an expanded, long-term war had fallen to 52 percent. Then came a rapid barrage of unhelpful news for a political campaign founded on supposed Republican superiority in protecting America: the first report (in The Washington Post) that the Bush administration had lost Bin Laden's trail in Tora Bora in December 2001 by not committing ground troops to hunt him down; the first indications that intelligence about Bin Laden's desire to hijack airplanes barely clouded President Bush's August 2001 Crawford vacation; the public accusations by an F.B.I. whistle-blower, Coleen Rowley, that higher-ups had repeatedly shackled Minneapolis agents investigating the so-called 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, in the days before 9/11. These revelations took their toll. By Memorial Day 2002, a USA Today poll found that just 4 out of 10 Americans believed that the United States was winning the war on terror, a steep drop from the roughly two-thirds holding that conviction in January. Mr. Rove could see that an untelevised and largely underground war against terrorists might not nail election victories without a jolt of shock and awe. It was a propitious moment to wag the dog. Enter Scooter, stage right. As James Mann details in his definitive group biography of the Bush war cabinet, "Rise of the Vulcans," Mr. Libby had been joined at the hip with Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz since their service in the Defense Department of the Bush 41 administration, where they conceived the neoconservative manifesto for the buildup and exercise of unilateral American military power after the cold war. Well before Bush 43 took office, they had become fixated on Iraq, though for reasons having much to do with their ideas about realigning the states in the Middle East and little or nothing to do with the stateless terrorism of Al Qaeda. Mr. Bush had specifically disdained such interventionism when running against Al Gore, but he embraced the cause once in office. While others might have had cavils - American military commanders testified before Congress about their already overtaxed troops and equipment in March 2002 - the path was clear for a war in Iraq to serve as the political Viagra Mr. Rove needed for the election year. But here, too, was an impediment: there had to be that "why" for the invasion, the very why that today can seem so elusive that Mr. Packer calls Iraq "the 'Rashomon' of wars." Abstract (and highly debatable) neocon notions of marching to Baghdad to make the Middle East safe for democracy (and more secure for Israel and uninterrupted oil production) would never fly with American voters as a trigger for war or convince them that such a war was relevant to the fight against those who attacked us on 9/11. And though Americans knew Saddam was a despot and mass murderer, that in itself was also insufficient to ignite a popular groundswell for regime change. Polls in the summer of 2002 showed steadily declining support among Americans for going to war in Iraq, especially if we were to go it alone. For Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush to get what they wanted most, slam-dunk midterm election victories, and for Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney to get what they wanted most, a war in Iraq for reasons predating 9/11, their real whys for going to war had to be replaced by fictional, more salable ones. We wouldn't be invading Iraq to further Rovian domestic politics or neocon ideology; we'd be doing so instead because there was a direct connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda and because Saddam was on the verge of attacking America with nuclear weapons. The facts and intelligence had to be fixed to create these whys; any contradictory evidence had to be dismissed or suppressed. Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney were in the boiler room of the disinformation factory. The vice president's repetitive hyping of Saddam's nuclear ambitions in the summer and fall of 2002 as well as his persistence in advertising bogus Saddam-Qaeda ties were fed by the rogue intelligence operation set up in his own office. As we know from many journalistic accounts, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby built their "case" by often making an end run around the C.I.A., State Department intelligence and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Their ally in cherry-picking intelligence was a similar cadre of neocon zealots led by Douglas Feith at the Pentagon. THIS is what Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell's wartime chief of staff, was talking about last week when he publicly chastised the "Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal" for sowing potential disaster in Iraq, North Korea and Iran. It's this cabal that in 2002 pushed for much of the bogus W.M.D. evidence that ended up in Mr. Powell's now infamous February 2003 presentation to the U.N. It's this cabal whose propaganda was sold by the war's unannounced marketing arm, the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, in which both Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove served in the second half of 2002. One of WHIG's goals, successfully realized, was to turn up the heat on Congress so it would rush to pass a resolution authorizing war in the politically advantageous month just before the midterm election. Joseph Wilson wasn't a player in these exalted circles; he was a footnote who began to speak out loudly only after Saddam had been toppled and the mission in Iraq had been "accomplished." He challenged just one element of the W.M.D. "evidence," the uranium that Saddam's government had supposedly been seeking in Africa to fuel its ominous mushroom clouds. But based on what we know about Mr. Libby's and Mr. Rove's hysterical over-response to Mr. Wilson's accusation, he scared them silly. He did so because they had something to hide. Should Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove have lied to investigators or a grand jury in their panic, Mr. Fitzgerald will bring charges. But that crime would seem a misdemeanor next to the fables that they and their bosses fed the nation and the world as the whys for invading Iraq. Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company


The Night Of The Long Knives

James Wolcott's got a fascinating and wonderfully snarky take on the internecine war going on within the Bush administration this weekend. The long knives are out, it seems, and all we can do is sit back, enjoy, and wait for the next act to play out.
Imagine you're I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. I know, it's not easy. It's not easy imagining yourself striding manfully down the corridors of power or plotting the overthrow of tyrants while answering to the name of "Scooter." "Scooter, how's it hangin'?" "Scooter, have to seen the TKA-143 report?" "Scooter, are you going to eat all those fries?" Or, in intimate moments of scalding passion, "Oh, Scooter, Scooter--scooter me like you've never scootered me before!"
I have this one fantasy of all these guys sitting around the fireplace up there at Camp David. The press is reporting that they're all up there deciding what to do about the Meirs nomination, and that they're having some kind of high-level strategy session. But George has somehow managed to get himself shnockered and the rest of them just decided to scooter each other instead. But the better one has Judith Miller and Scooter on a bearskin rug in a ski chalet in Aspen, with Judy panting "Oh, Scooter, Scooter...". Scooter is wearing a cowboy hat and sunglasses.
But let's pretend. You're Scooter Libby, and you're being royally, publicly screwed. Before you had a low profile within the neocon hierarchy and the red-hot circle of the White House decision-making machine. You didn't have the mouthy, controversial profile of a Richard Perle or Paul Wolfowitz, or the negative rap of a Doug Feith, a.k.a., the dumbest fucking man on the planet. But as Dick Cheney's chief of staff you were in what Seymour Krim called "the High Inside," the hum of power vibrating through your bones, a major player, a force. And now look at you. Your image, hitherto unknown to most of the public, is being flashed regularly on the TV screen like a playing card next to Karl Rove's more familiar babyface. Your names are linked too, as if you've formed a factoidal duo: Rove and Libby, Rove and Libby--which Don Imus has deliberately, mumblingly confused with Hunt and Liddy, two infamous names from the Watergate scandal.
This guy just popped onto the center of the radar screen after 4 years of virtual obscurity. Like his mysterious boss he's done a great job of keeping himself unknown yet still able to wield considerable power. Now all of a sudden he's everywhere. In an oddly ironic, and bizarrely Shakespearian way, Valerie Wilson and Brewster Jennings were not the only ones outed in this case. Libby has managed to inadvertantly out himself and burn his own cover within the administration as well. Even if Fitzgerald were to pack up and go home Libby's effectiveness has been greatly compromised.
It's not enough that you've been implicated in the Valerie Plame investigation, already indicted in the media's mind, but now you're being oiled and seasoned for ritual sacrifice by your former friends and associates in the White House, people you've trusted, people who share your convictions and zeal, but now avert their eyes or tense their smiles in the presence of a dead man walking. There's the gang plank, keep moving, say hello to the sharks. You're not even being treated as a honorable warrior whose crime (if it was a crime) and sin (if it was a sin) was standing up for your boss against that showboating prick Joe Wilson. No, those you've been loyal to are now disloyally sliding the blade into your back and not even allowing you a dignified sacrifice. They've broken the code of silence are leaking like mad to the LA Times (leaking: the perfect euphemism for being pissed on), drawing a lurid portrait of you as a zealous obsessive with an almost homoerotic fixation on Joe Wilson. The blame game has become the frame game. .... Karl Rove may be the one who more closely resembles Ned Beatty, but you're the one getting oinked in public, and it's not pretty.
Speaking of homoerotic, am I the only one who has noticed that 'Ole Scooter looks decidely effeminate in that clip they keep showing of him testifying at some hearing. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Now comes the best part...
As Dana Bash reiterated at least three times yesterday on CNN, Rove's side has been putting out their background spin but your camp has been "stone silent." No one's rising or riding to your defense. Along with the shock of betrayal are the blows to your pride. Look at how the press talks about Rove. He's the nervous system of the White House staff, the chief architect of Republican dominance, the 7200 rpm hard drive of the Bush machine, the jolly pirate who guides the ship of state; without Rove, Bush will be reduced to wandering around the White House bumping into walls like a robot on the blink. Rove is considered indispensable, irreplaceable. But you, Scooter? You're being treated as not just dispensable but disposable. Rove is Bush's evil genius. Dick Cheney doesn't need an evil genius. He's his own evil genius. Once your nameplate has been removed from your desk, Burns will simply find himself another Smithers to pledge groveling obedience. Unlike those around you, you don't eat-breathe-drink politics every waking moment. You have a sensitive side, a literary side. You wrote a novel called The Apprentice full of snow and flickering heat, and your letter to Judith Miller waxed poetic about aspens and roots and clusters--a passage everyone's making fun of, trying to decode. Whatever happens in the week ahead, it's clear to everyone that you and Judy tried to play it cute with the special prosecutor, and got caught. So, imagine you're Scooter Libby awaiting the word from the grand jury. Are you going to be the fall guy, the patsy, the designated chump bearing the cross of blame while Rove plays the part of injured bystander? Are you happy at the prospect that your name may soon be a national joke on the lips of every late-nite comedian? Are you going to ignore the humiliation of being hung out to dry by your colleagues and hold your head high in silent stoic resolve? See, I'm imaging that if I'm Scooter Libby, I might be thinking that Karl and his crew overplayed their hand making me the leper, and maybe I've got some things of my own to divulge, and if I go down, maybe I won't be going down alone. They're not going to pin this all on me.
The anticipation of next week's shitstorm is one of those things one just want's to savor. (Hat tip to ReddHedd for the link to Wolcott)

Bushisms Of The Day

I got this from a friend today and thought it was worth sharing:
This is a haiku poem made up entirely of actual quotations from George W.Bush, arranged for "aesthetic" purposes by Washington Post writer Richard Thompson. Ah, yes! A testament to literacy in the age of Every Child Left Behind! I think we all agree, the past is over. This is still a dangerous world. It's a world of madmen and uncertainty And potential mental losses. Rarely is the question asked Is our children learning? Will the highways of the Internet Become more few? How many hands have I shaked? They misunderestimate me. I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity. I know that the human being And the fish can coexist. Families is where our nation finds hope, Where our wings take dream. Put food on your family! Knock down the tollbooth! Vulcanize society! Make the pie higher! Make the pie higher! (Pass this on. Help cure Mad Cowboy Disease)

Funniest thing I've seen today:

So there are these Aspens. Aaaaand they have roots...

Maureen Claws Judy

Maureen Dowd goes after Judy Miller today in her latest column. Here are some of the juicier extracts:
Once when I was covering the first Bush White House, I was in The Times's seat in the crowded White House press room, listening to an administration official's background briefing. Judy had moved on from her tempestuous tenure as a Washington editor to be a reporter based in New York, but she showed up at this national security affairs briefing. At first she leaned against the wall near where I was sitting, but I noticed that she seemed agitated about something. Midway through the briefing, she came over and whispered to me, "I think I should be sitting in the Times seat." It was such an outrageous move, I could only laugh. I got up and stood in the back of the room, while Judy claimed what she felt was her rightful power perch. She never knew when to quit. That was her talent and her flaw. Sorely in need of a tight editorial leash, she was kept on no leash at all, and that has hurt this paper and its trust with readers. She more than earned her sobriquet "Miss Run Amok."
It goes on:
Judy's stories about W.M.D. fit too perfectly with the White House's case for war. She was close to Ahmad Chalabi, the con man who was conning the neocons to knock out Saddam so he could get his hands on Iraq, and I worried that she was playing a leading role in the dangerous echo chamber that Senator Bob Graham, now retired, dubbed "incestuous amplification." Using Iraqi defectors and exiles, Mr. Chalabi planted bogus stories with Judy and other credulous journalists. Even last April, when I wrote a column critical of Mr. Chalabi, she fired off e-mail to me defending him.
She then goes on to talk about Bill Keller's memo to the NYT staffers, and then wraps up with this:
Judy refused to answer a lot of questions put to her by Times reporters, or show the notes that she shared with the grand jury. I admire Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Bill Keller for aggressively backing reporters in the cross hairs of a prosecutor. But before turning Judy's case into a First Amendment battle, they should have nailed her to a chair and extracted the entire story of her escapade. Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover "the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country." If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be thenewspaper in your hands.


They're picking on me, mom! Awww, poor little Georgie. What else need be said. Big story here.


Prediction time

I think that there will be at least three indictments handed down next week, and they will be blockbusters. Karl Rove and Scooter Libby will be indicted. The big question, of course, is what will they be indicted for? From what I've been reading it looks to me like a conspiracy charge, probably for obstruction of justice, and possibly perjury charges against Rove and Libby. I also think that there's a witness tampering charge in the wind for Libby and possibly even for his lawyer, Tate. I'm hoping that Cheney will be named too, but I can't see what the charge would be. There's been so much juicy stuff coming out these past few days (see here, here, here, and here) and all of it centers on Libby, Rove, and Cheney.


Catching up

So much has happened over the past couple of days that I'm having a hard time keeping up. Following the news that Fitzgerald's investigation was focusing on Cheney we had speculation yesterday that the reptilian Ms. Rice might be elevated to VP if the Borg were to resign over TraitorGate. There were widespread reports that someone inside the White House had flipped. Who the heck is John Hannah anyway? Now the NY Times is reporting that Fitzgerald has no plans to release a final report of his investigation, and that he is not expected to take any action this week.
By signaling that he had no plans to issue the grand jury's findings in such detail, Mr. Fitzgerald appeared to narrow his options either to indictments or closing his investigation with no public disclosure of his findings, a choice that would set off a political firestorm... ...Some of the lawyers in the case say Mr. Fitzgerald seems to be wrestling with decisions about how to proceed, leaning toward indictments but continuing to weigh thousands of pages of documents and testimony he has compiled during the nearly two-year inquiry.
In recent days, Mr. Fitzgerald has repeatedly told lawyers in the case that he has not made up his mind about criminal charges.
Now the good part:
Given the political ramifications attached to Mr. Fitzgerald's decisions, officials at the White House have begun discussing what would happen if Mr. Rove was indicted. Among the names being discussed to take some of Mr. Rove's responsibilities should he have to step aside, an outside adviser to the White House said, are Dan Bartlett, currently Mr. Bush's counselor; Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee; and Robert M. Kimmitt, the deputy Treasury secretary.
But I must say that there is an odor of Republican spin all over this article. It's almost like you can read the wishful thinking on the part of the reporters between the lines.
Without a report, it seems likely that questions about the case may remain unanswered and that a complete account of the administration's activities may never be known, including the details of testimony by the scores of administration officials who were interviewed in the inquiry.
So I guess we just have to keep waiting. At least one thing has been made clear in this whole story, though. The New York Times can longer be labelled as being part of "The Liberal Media".

Then I ran into this...

...really scary shite. Warning: Do not read if you're already depressed!

Bushism of the day

"Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, quote, 'what is good for them and what is not.' "—Washington D.C., Oct. 6, 2005



I just caught this on Financial Times:
Evidence is building that the probe conducted by Patrick Fitzgerald, special prosecutor, has extended beyond the leaking of a covert CIA agent's name to include questioning about the administration's handling of pre-Iraq war intelligence. According to the Democratic National Committee, a majority of the nine members of the White House Iraq Group have been questioned by Mr Fitzgerald. The team, which included senior national security officials, was created in August 2002 to “educate the public” about the risk posed by weapons of mass destruction on Iraq.
To me this is huge because it, if true, it means that Fitzgerald is going after the enitire WHIG. There's no way that Bush can distance himself from, literally, his entire staff, with Cheney as their leader. Be sure to read all the way down to the last paragraph:
The US failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq resulted in two inquiries into the prewar intelligence, one led by the Senate intelligence committee and the other by a White House-appointed panel. But both panels confined themselves to investigating the intelligence community, concluding that the White House was largely the innocent victim of faulty intelligence. Neither delved into the political use of the available intelligence by the administration.

Randi Rocks!

Randi Rhodes just boiled the whole Judith Miller extravaganza down to one GREAT one liner:
"Judith Miller just spent 85 days in jail to protect a source that she can't remember."
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.


Newsy Sunday

Interesting tidbits from todays perusal of the talk shows, blogs, and email: I've got to put this right up front. I got this powerful little message from a friend and I'm sending it out to all the (very few) bushies I know. Now, for the news, Condiliar Rice:
MR. RUSSERT: Let me ask you a couple of questions, domestic questions. Have you testified under oath in the CIA leak investigation? SEC'Y RICE: Tim, I'm not going to talk about an ongoing investigation. I've cooperated in any way that I've been asked to cooperate. MR. RUSSERT: Including testifying under oath? SEC'Y RICE: I've cooperated in any and every way that I've been asked to cooperate.
...and then....
"But the fact of the matter is that when we were attacked on September 11, we had a choice to make. We could decide that the proximate cause was al-Qaeda and the people who flew those planes into buildings and, therefore, we would go after al-Qaeda and perhaps after the Taliban and then our work would be done and we would try to defend ourselves. Or we could take a bolder approach, which was to say that we had to go after the root causes of the kind of terrorism that was produced there, and that meant a different kind of Middle East. And there is no one who could have imagined a different kind of Middle East with Saddam Hussein still in power."
Doesn't this sound an awful lot like it comes right out of the Project For A New American Century (PNAC) mission statment. Isn't this the same person who swore that they knew for certain that Hussein had WMD's and that we just had to get over there right away. Isn't she the one who uttered this famous quote?
"The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." - to Wolf Blitzer, Sept 8, 2002
What a reptilian scumbag she is. Then there was this really interesting analysis of the possibile scenarios that may come out of Judith Miller's testimony before Fitzgerald's Grand Jury. I'm hoping for indictments of Rove and Libby along with the mystery "I-don't-remember-where-it-came-from" person who prompted Judy to write the "Valerie Flame" entry in her notebook. She swears up and down that it wasn't Libby, so who was it? Speculation is that the "third (wo)man" could be Ari Fleischer, Fred Fleitz, Mary Matalin, Dan Bartlett, or one of a dozen other snakes that have taken up redidence in the White House. Be sure to read the comments. It's interesting to note that Fitzgerald agreed to limit his questioning to Millers conversations with Libby on the assurance from her that none of her other sources were relevant to the Plame investigation.
As she stood on the courthouse steps yesterday, Miller, 57, refused to answer questions about her testimony but said she hoped her days in the Alexandria Detention Center would build support for laws to help reporters protect their confidential sources. She stressed that she was willing to testify only after Libby personally wrote her and telephoned her in jail to make it clear she was free to talk, and after Fitzgerald agreed to limit his questions to her conversations with Libby.... ...Abrams said in an interview yesterday that Fitzgerald made a recent and important compromise. The prosecutor would narrow his questions to Libby, which he had not been willing to do when Abrams approached him about the idea last year. Sources close to Miller said she had numerous government sources she wanted to protect, but Libby was the only one relevant to the Plame investigation.
So let me get this straight, she makes a deal with Fitzgerald to testify under the condition that his questions be limited to her conversations with Libby, and gives Fitz assurances that Libby was "the only one relevant to the Plame investigation", and then she goes into the Grand Jury and says that she got the name Plame from someone else but she can't remember who it is? What is missing here? If you were Fitz would'nt this really burn your britches? Could she face charges for this?

So Much News

Ok, so while I was travelling home a bunch of stuff seems to have happened. The New York Times put out a long piece on the Judy Miller case, and the paper also included and a self-serving pile of bullshit by Judy herself. Redd Hedd and Jane are analyzing the hell out of it and I'm sitting here watching the Sunday talking heads and trying to make heads or tails out of all of this. More later...


Losing America

A friend sent me this just as I was headed for the rack. http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_7525.shtml How true...how sad.

Another good one

I just found this one. It just warms the cockles, doesn't it? Can't wait for the indictments to be handed down. Travelling tomorrow so I won't be posting. Things just seem to keep getting more interesting don't they?

Another rat deserts the sinking ship

Funniest quote I've seen today, courtesy of Dana Milbank:
While Rove testified, three women dressed as condoms, and a fourth with a stocking over her head, distributed "Karl Rove Brand" prophylactics in front of the courthouse. The nine demonstrators, coordinated by the antiwar group Code Pink, chanted "Some things should never leak! Fire Karl Rove!" The hot-pink condoms, with a smiling photo of Rove on the wrapper and the same "Some Things Should Never Leak" message, promised to be effective against pregnancy, AIDS and STDs. "Any of the condoms want to say something to the microphones?" one of the camera operators asked. But the latex-clad demonstrators had nothing to add. The president's chief political strategist was no more forthcoming, at least in public.
Now if memory serves, wasn't Milbank the author of the "it's old news" comment after the release of the Downing Street Minutes? The answer can be found in this interesting article:
Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank (6/8/05), who referred to progressive activists trying to bring media attention to the memo as “wing nuts,” wrote that Bush being asked a question about the memo “ended a slightly strange episode in the American media in which the potentially explosive report out of London had become a seldom acknowledged elephant in the room.” Milbank offered a variety of explanations for that odd phenomenon: In part, the memo never gained traction here because, unlike in Britain, it wasn’t election season, and the war is not as unpopular here. In part, it’s also because the notion that Bush was intent on military action in Iraq had been widely reported here before, in accounts from Paul O’Neill and Bob Woodward, among others. The memo was also more newsworthy across the Atlantic because it reinforced the notion there that Blair has been acting as Bush’s “poodle.” This catalog of rationalizations deserves some scrutiny. Milbank had reported the same day (6/8/05) that his paper’s latest poll showed that only 41 percent of Americans approved of the Iraq war—leading one to wonder when exactly the war would cross the threshold and become unpopular enough to report on honestly. Milbank’s second defense—that the memo isn’t news because similar stories had been “widely reported”—would seem to contradict his third explanation, that the memo was news in the U.K. because it confirmed existing suspicions.
Looks like Milbank's jumping ship to me.
I just had to post this...


One can dream, can't one?

This is fabulous!
A growing number of Republican activists say Bush blundered in naming Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court, failing to anticipate the firestorm it would ignite among conservative backers and leading opinion makers who question her qualifications. Bush now may be forced to choose between an embarrassing withdrawal of the nomination or accepting a fissure among conservatives that could jeopardize the party's hold on power. ``Right now the base is completely fractured and people are very concerned about the impact on the 2006 elections,'' said Manuel Miranda, who heads a coalition of 150 conservative and libertarian groups and opposes Miers. ``The troubling thing is that the Supreme Court was the gold ring and the president's thinking appears indiscernible, unless you're willing to take it as a matter of faith.''
It's amazing to watch these assholes turn on each other. I only hope it's not a scheme to get progressives to back the Meirs nomination. The right wingnuts all say they can't calculate where she stands on the "issues" and don't want to take it on faith from the preznit, but I think she may be as looney as any of the other wackos he's put up for the previous various bench appointments. My other worry is that if the Meirs nomination is withdrawn there will be something horribly worse in the next nomination. I suspect though, that the Bush crime family has been so damaged by Iraq/Plame/Katrina/Meirs disasters that their political capital has been squandered to the point where the Dems can really mount a fight on another onerous nomination.