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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt


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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Brazil Demands Answers

The AP reports:
Brazil's government demanded an explanation Saturday for the fatal police shooting of Brazilian citizen on a London subway car.

London police initially said the man chased down and shot to death by plainclothes officers was tied to the recent terror bombings, but conceded Saturday that they no longer believed that was the case.

Traitorgate: Gonzales's Role

Frank Rich peels off another layer of the onion...
When the president decided not to replace Sandra Day O'Connor with a woman, why did he pick a white guy and not nominate the first Hispanic justice, his friend Alberto Gonzales? Mr. Bush was surely not scared off by Gonzales critics on the right, who find him soft on abortion, or left, who find him soft on the Geneva Conventions. It's Mr. Gonzales's proximity to this scandal that inspires real fear.

As White House counsel, he was the one first notified that the Justice Department, at the request of the C.I.A., had opened an investigation into the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife. That notification came at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2003, but it took Mr. Gonzales 12 more hours to inform the White House staff that it must "preserve all materials" relevant to the investigation. This 12-hour delay, he has said, was sanctioned by the Justice Department, but since the department was then run by John Ashcroft, a Bush loyalist who refused to recuse himself from the Plame case, inquiring Senate Democrats would examine this 12-hour delay as closely as an 18½-minute tape gap. "Every good prosecutor knows that any delay could give a culprit time to destroy the evidence," said Senator Charles Schumer, correctly, back when the missing 12 hours was first revealed almost two years ago. A new Gonzales confirmation process now would have quickly devolved into a neo-Watergate hearing. Mr. Gonzales was in the thick of the Plame investigation, all told, for 16 months.
Is there anyone in the Bush Administration that did not play a central role in the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity, or the subsequent coverup? Who's left?

More Torture, More Coverups

What atrocities are they hiding now?
Lawyers for the Defense Department are refusing to cooperate with a federal judge's order to release secret photographs and videotapes related to the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.
Apperently this:
Donald Rumsfeld told Congress last year, after viewing a large cache of unreleased images: "I mean, I looked at them last night, and they're hard to believe." They show acts "that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhumane," he added.

"The American public needs to understand we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience", Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters after Rumsfeld testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. "We're talking about rape and murder, and some very serious charges."

"Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys/children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror it's going to come out."
Disgusting. So much for the "isolated incidents from a few bad apples" spin...

Chickenhawks Heart Torture

It speak volumes that Dick Cheney, who never went to Vietnam, because he had "other priorities", is blocking legislation that would ban inhumane treatment of the detainees:
The Bush administration in recent days has been lobbying to block legislation supported by Republican senators that would bar the U.S. military from engaging in "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of detainees, from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, and from using interrogation methods not authorized by a new Army field manual.
While former POW himself, Senator John McCain is advocating for more humane treatment:
A spokeswoman for McCain, Andrea Jones, said yesterday that McCain plans to introduce the legislation next week. McCain, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, has criticized the way detainees have been treated by U.S. forces and is said by aides to want to cut off further abuse by requiring that the military adhere to its own interrogation rules in all cases.
Not only is torture inhumane, but it is counter productive to our cause... It fuels the hatred of our enemies; it increases the danger and intensity of our troops being tortured; and it dramatically decreases the chances of our enemies having any willingness to surrender. Maybe if our leaders had a more intimate relationship with War, they would be aware of these facts, but such is not the case.

A Tragic Mistake?

The AP reports:
The man shot and killed on a subway car by London police officers before horrified commuters had nothing to do with the investigation into a series of bombings against the city's transit system, police said Saturday.
Sounds like it to me...

Sneaky

as usual...
A scaled-back Senate Foreign Relations Committee showered praise Friday on Karen Hughes and put the former political adviser to President Bush on a fast track to confirmation as the State Department's top public relations official. Only two senators attended the hearing. In the absence of votes in Congress on Fridays, most lawmakers leave early for the weekend.

Roll Back

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has released a thorough analysis of the initial draft of the Iraq Constitution. A translation of the draft can be found here.

Thanks to Terrorism News, for the heads up.

Traitorgate: 11 Security Breaches

A document prepared by Representative Henry Waxman, details multiple administration security breaches involving Valerie Plame:
Under Executive Order 12958, the White House is required to investigate any reports of security breaches and take "prompt corrective action," such as suspending the security clearances of those involved. Unlike prosecutions for criminal violations, which require "knowing" and "intentional" disclosures, the executive order covers a wider range of unauthorized breaches, including the "negligent" release of classified information. There is no evidence that the White House has complied with its obligation to investigate any of the 11 reported instances of security breaches relating to Ms. Wilson or to apply administrative sanctions to those involved.
Including the infamous fake journalist, Jeff Gannon:
On October 28, 2003, Talon News posted on its website an interview with Ambassador Joseph Wilson in which the questioner asked: "An internal government memo prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel details a meeting in early 2002 where your wife, a member of the agency or clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons issues, suggested that you could be sent to investigate the reports. Do you dispute that?" Talon News is tied to a group called GOP USA and is operated by Texas Republican Robert Eberle. Its only reporter, James Guckert (also known as Jeff Gannon), resigned when it was revealed that he gained access to the White House using a false name after his press credentials were rejected by House and Senate press galleries. In a March 2004 interview with his own news service, Mr. Guckert stated that the classified document was "easily accessible." In a February 11, 2005, interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN, Mr. Guckert said the FBI interviewed him about "how I knew or received a copy of a confidential CIA memo," but he refused to answer FBI questions because of his status as a "journalist." A week later, Mr. Guckert changed his account, claiming he "was given no special information by the White House or by anybody else."
Read the details of all 11 security breaches here.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Attacks in Egypt

The BBC reports:
At least 49 people have been killed and more than 130 wounded in a string of bomb attacks in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Again... Where is the round the clock, live on location coverage?

Shoot First...

and ask questions later. An eyewitness's statement regarding the shooting in the London tubes:
"As the man got on the train I looked at his face. He looked from left to right, but he basically looked like a cornered rabbit, like a cornered fox. He looked absolutely petrified. He sort of tripped but they were hotly pursuing him and couldn't have been more than two or three feet behind him at this time. He half-tripped, was half-pushed to the floor. The policeman nearest to me had the black automatic pistol in his left hand, he held it down to the guy and unloaded five shots into him. He looked like a Pakistani but he had a baseball cap on, and quite a thickish coat. It was a coat like you would wear in winter, a sort of padded jacket. It looked out of place in the weather we've been having."
From the eyewitness's account, the suspect appeared to be detained by the officers, and yet they opened fired on him. Are these actions justifiable due to the recent attacks? Based on the evidence provided, would you have thought differently a month ago?

Election 2006

How do you like them apples?

Seventy Four

You have to give her credit; she certainly has a lot of spunk for her age:
Five members of the group, which is associated with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, are due in court Monday to face trespassing charges after trying to enlist at a military recruitment center last week.The group has protested every week for the last three years outside the recruitment center.

"We went in asking to be sent to Iraq so our kids and grandchildren can be sent home, but rather than listening to us, they called the police," said 74-year-old Betty Schroeder. "It was their place to tell us the qualifications, but they wouldn't even speak to us. They should've said, 'You're too old'."
I don't think George would survive one round in the ring with her.

The Few, The Proud, The Old

From Reuters:
Faced with major recruiting problems sparked by troop deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has asked Congress to raise the maximum age for U.S. military enlistees from 35 to 42 years old.

Perfect Timing

How convenient, don't you think?
The House voted by a wide margin Thursday night to renew expiring provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the collection of antiterrorism measures passed after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The final vote was 257-171. The bill makes permanent 14 of 16 provisions in the act set to expire next year and extends two others for another 10 years. Passage came with the specter of terrorism fresh in lawmakers' minds after another round of bombing incidents in London earlier in the day.

A CIA Colleague Responds

Former colleague and friend of Valerie Plame, Larry C. Johnson, responds to the leaking of a covert agent, and the Bush Administration's actions:
We sit here more than two years later and the storm of invective and smear against Ambassador Wilson and his wife, Valerie, continues. I voted for George Bush in November of 2000 because I wanted a President who knew what the meaning of "is" was. I was tired of political operatives who spent endless hours on cable news channels parsing words. I was promised a President who would bring a new tone and new ethical standards to Washington.

So where are we? The President has flip flopped and backed away from his promise to fire anyone at the White House implicated in a leak. We now know from press reports that at least Karl Rove and Scooter Libby are implicated in these leaks. Instead of a President concerned first and foremost with protecting this country and the intelligence officers who serve it, we are confronted with a President who is willing to sit by while political operatives savage the reputations of good Americans like Valerie and Joe Wilson. This is wrong.
Read the rest here.

Bush Bashes His Own Social Security Plan

From the AP, Bush admits that his plan sucks:
"He also vowed that nothing in his Social Security proposal would reduce benefits for current retirees or those close to retiring. "Seniors have nothing to worry about...What you should be worried about is whether your grandchildren are going to get any checks," Bush said."
George, if my grandkids will have to pay into this program of yours their entire working lives like I have, and then maybe not get a check, WHY IN HELL would I support your agenda? We all know what happened to the stock market a few years ago, and it's cyclical. Why would we want our money in something that could be worthless and wipe us out every several years? Why George?

Write Your Own Caption

9-11 Commission Failure

September 11 Victim Families declare the 9-11 Commission a failure, on the first anniversary of the 9-11 Report:
On Friday, July 22, 2005, one year to the day after the release of the "9-11 Commission Report," Project Censored founder, Dr. Peter Phillips will lead a National Press Club briefing entitled "The Failure of the 9-11 Commission Report and the Mainstream Media's Disregard." The briefing will feature scores of detailed examples of the Commission's flawed findings, self-censorship, misrepresentations and conflicts of interest that call the accuracy and integrity of their entire investigation into doubt.

Time: 1:00-2:30 PM, Friday, July 22, 2005
Place: Holeman Lounge, National Press Club, Washington, DC
Sponsor: DC Emergency Truth Convergence

[snip]

"We know most of these policies had been championed by powerful voices within this government long before 9-11, but without these outrageous 'surprise attacks' they could have never come to pass. If the 9-11 Report is dangerously inaccurate, as more and more evidence now indicates, the nation still needs an honest investigation of what really happened and why no one has ever been held accountable. In particular, we need to know whether the behavior of officials who seem to have profited most handsomely from 9-11 and its dark wake should be looked at once again.

"Since we are anxious to get this crucial challenge to the American public and world at large, we are extending a special invitation to the independent media community and foreign journalists, who have a far better track record of investigating governmental deceit and exposing official treachery than the US corporate media."

Happy Birthday! Downing Street Memos

Find a celebration near you:
Activists seeking to impeach President George W. Bush have planned 300-plus events nationwide Saturday to mark the third anniversary of a top-level meeting of British officials that they say proves the White House manipulated intelligence and lied to Congress to justify its war against Iraq.

Trolling for Traitors

From what the press is reporting, it appears that Fitzgerald's team are leaving no stone unturned, in their investigation of the CIA leak:
In another indication of how wide a net investigators have cast in the case, Karen Hughes, a former top communications aide to Mr. Bush, and Robert Joseph, who was then the National Security Council's expert on weapons proliferation, have both told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that they were interviewed by the special prosecutor.

[snip]

The investigators have been trying to determine who else within the administration might have seen the memo or learned of its contents.

Among those asked if he had seen the memo was Ari Fleischer, then the White House press secretary, who was on Air Force One with Mr. Bush and Mr. Powell during the Africa trip. Mr. Fleischer told the grand jury that he never saw the document, a person familiar with the testimony said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the prosecutor's admonitions about not disclosing what is said to the grand jury.

Mr. Fleischer's role has been scrutinized by investigators, in part because his telephone log showed a call on the day after Mr. Wilson's article appeared from Mr. Novak, the columnist who, on July 14, 2003, was the first to report Ms. Wilson's identity.
Don't worry Karl, it sounds like you may have plenty of company.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

G is for Guilty

Bloomberg reports, via Think Progress:
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who was first to report Plame’s name and connection to Wilson. Novak, according to a source familiar with the matter, has given a somewhat different version to the special prosecutor.

These discrepancies may be important because one issue Fitzgerald is investigating is whether Libby, Rove, or other administration officials made false statements during the course of the investigation. The Plame case has its genesis in whether any administration officials violated a 1982 law making it illegal to knowingly reveal the name of a CIA agent.

Grilled McClellan

It's a little tougher than usual, very well done.

Meet the New Saudi Ambassador

The Boston Globe reports:
The Saudi ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the dean of Washington's diplomatic corps and a confidant of presidents both Republican and Democratic over the past 22 years, has resigned and will be replaced by the former head of Saudi Arabia's intelligence service. Prince Bandar will be replaced by Prince Turki al Faisal, son of the late King Faisal. He headed Saudi intelligence for 14 years and is the ambassador to Britain. He, too, has long-standing ties to Washington.
He has "long-standing ties to Washington." Interesting. Let's see what Google can find.

Curious timing regarding his resignation from the Saudi Intelligence:
Although Prince Turki stepped down as Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief on September 1, 2001, just 10 days before the World Trade Center attacks...
Apparently the 9-11 Families filed a lawsuit in 2002, against him, as well as others for supporting and funding the Saudi terrorists:
The complaint names more than seven dozen defendants, including the government of Sudan, seven banks, eight Islamic foundations and three Saudi princes. Those listed include Prince Mohammed al-Faisal, former Intelligence Chief Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan, Khalid bin Salim bin Mahfouz of the National Commercial Bank and the Faisal Islamic Bank. Officials from the Saudi Embassy did not return a call for comment.
But in January of this year, Turki al-Faisal was dismissed as defendant:
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Casey for the Southern District of New York in January dismissed as defendants the government of Saudi Arabia, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, second deputy prime minister of Saudi Arabia and Prince Turki al-Faisal Al-Saud, the ambassador to Great Britain and Prince Mohammed al Faisal al Saud because they are foreign leaders and immune from lawsuits.
Dismissed on a technicality for allegedly supporting the 9-11 terrorist, and now he is the Saudi Ambassador. Fascinating.

Tony Blair's Response to Today's Attacks

Can be found here.

Treasongate: International Sabotage?

Could the motives of Karl Rove's treasonous actions, be even more insidious then what is currently suspected? Ted Rall raises some disturbing possibilities:
Now we must work backwards. Does [Karl Rove's] exposure help to explain some of the administration's most baffling foreign policy blunders?

No matter how remote, we must now consider the possibility that Karl Rove may in the employ of, and/or receiving money from, a terrorist organization such as Al Qaeda. Alternatively, could he be in the employ of a hostile foreign government? If he betrayed a CIA agent, Rove is a traitor and therefore capable of anything. Only an exhaustive investigation of his and his associates' anti-American activities, up to and including those committed by George W. Bush, can resolve these questions.

Internal sabotage offers a tempting explanation for the fact that so much has gone wrong for the United States since 2001. After 9/11, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan-which had financed the Taliban and trained the hijackers at its camps-but Bush shocked analysts by attacking Afghanistan and Iraq instead. Was Bush's refusal to search for bin Laden in his nation of residence the result of spectacular incompetence-or a continuing alliance with the same Islamists his father's presidency had armed and funded? Are we losing the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq because of Rumsfeld's stubborn insistence on understaffing the military? Or are our leaders intentionally dragging out combat to accomplish their masters' aims: increasing the popularity of radical Islam and the recruitment of terrorists? Even Bush's domestic policies, from tax cuts paid to the rich people least likely to stimulate the economy to his attack on Social Security, seem designed to undermine U.S. stability and prosperity.
Conspiracy fodder? Yes. But when it comes to national security, we should leave no stone unturned... There have been traitors in the past, and there will be more traitors in the future.

The Islamic Republic of Iraq

Say goodbye to women's rights and welcome the latest Islamic Theocracy:
Shiite members of the committee drafting Iraq's new constitution said Wednesday they are pushing for a greater role for Islam in civil law - a proposal that could erode women's rights in such matters as marriage, divorce and inheritance.
Freedom is on the march!

Gagging the Gaggle

What is the White House hiding?

Did You Get The [Classified] Memo?

Howard Dean:
"Today President Bush talked about the need to protect our national security and renew the Patriot Act. If the White House was serious about defending our country, it would not allow the information in top secret memos to be leaked for partisan political gain. The American people will not be distracted by this political maneuvering. We call on the Bush Administration to release the memo's distribution list and for any Bush officials or staff members who saw the memo to come forward."
Maybe Karl Rove won't be the only member of the Bush Administration being frog marched out of the White House...

London Underground Evacuated

The AP reports:
Three London Underground stations were evacuated at midday Thursday following reports of incidents, British Transport Police said. The Fire Brigade was investigating a report of smoke at one station.
UPDATE from CNN:
Four "explosion or attempts at explosions" have been reported on three London Underground stations and a bus, two weeks after the July 7 terror attacks, the city's police chief has said.

Scotland Yard also said they were looking into an "incident" at University College London Hospital (UCL), where armed officers have been deployed. Witnesses reported policemen with flak jackets entered the hospital along with dogs

Chilling Russian Relations

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Growing disputes between the United States and Russia are threatening to significantly chill the once warm relations between the two countries. They also may seriously undercut a major front in the U.S. war on terrorism.

This month, the Kremlin, backed by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an Asian alliance presided over by Russia and China, said the United States should set a pullout date from the Central Asian bases, where approximately 2,000 American troops have been stationed for nearly four years.

Russia's demand angered the Bush administration, which does not want to lose its toehold in a region it considers pivotal to its anti-terrorism efforts and crucial to maintaining a presence close to its Cold War-era archenemy.
Let's put the facts on the table:

1. China recently sought to buy UNOCAL.
2. Russia is forming political alliances with China.
3. The U.S. and Russia are disputing who has the authority over an oil rich region.

Are we entering a new Cold War with Russia and China?

S is for Secret

There goes Karl Rove's "unknowingly revealed classified information" alibi:
A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

No Rest for Rove

Looks like the SCOTUS diversion didn't have any lasting effect...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

More Mixed Messages

Does this make any sense?
"There has been encouraging progress toward stabilizing Iraq, even while insurgents and foreign fighters remain effective, adaptable and intent on carrying out attacks."
The insurgents are effective, adaptable, and intent to attack... How does that make for a stable Iraq, Mr. Rumsfeld?

The Economy is Booming...

unless you work for Hewlett-Packard:
Hewlett-Packard said yesterday it will cut 14,500 jobs worldwide over the next 18 months in an effort to become more competitive with rivals Dell and IBM.
or Kodak:
Eastman Kodak Co says it is cutting as many as 10,000 more jobs as the company that turned picture-taking into a hobby for the masses navigates a tough transition from film to digital photography.
or the Auto or Retail industry:
The U.S. auto and retail sectors slashed tens of thousands of jobs in June, bringing the number of planned job cuts to 110,996, the highest in 17 months, according to outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas Inc. Corporate announcements of job reductions increased 35% from May's 82,282, and were up 73% from June 2004's 64,343, Challenger said Wednesday. Cuts are up 92% since April. So far in 2005, planned job reductions are up 14% year-to-date to 538,274. The automotive sector announced 45,378 job cuts in June, while the retail sector axed 24,065.

Advice and Consent

It is clear for all to see, that George Bush is doing all he can do, to protect Karl Rove from any political fallout and possible criminal charges, because it would tarnish the image of the entire Bush Administration. But isn't there more to it than that? Doesn't he have more at stake? Think about it... Has Karl ever made any political maneuvers without the consent of George? Are they not one in the same; two halves of the same belligerent force? One is the "likeable, drink a beer with type of guy", and the other, is the scheming political mastermind who choreographs every political move. Does anybody really believe that Rove outed Valerie Plame without Bush's consent? From what I have seen, this is the only piece that even remotely touches on such claims:
So why has Bush not acted? It seems there are two possibilities. The first is that he is a man of his word only when it suits his interests. Rove has been instrumental in Bush's political success. Perhaps Bush meant to say that he has one set of rules for his advisers and another for everyone else. The second, more disturbing, possibility is that Bush authorized, either explicitly or implicitly, the leak to retaliate against Joseph C. Wilson IV, who publicly presented evidence that the administration was distorting facts to sell the American people on going to war. Either way, the president has painted himself into a corner.
There appears to be the elephant in the room, but the media: mainstream and otherwise, are ignoring it... Why?

Executive Distraction

It's official, yesterday's announcement of the Supreme Court nominee was all a ploy to take the heat off Karl Rove:
Bush accelerated his search for a Supreme Court nominee in part because of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name, according to Republicans familiar with administration strategy.

Bush originally had planned to announce a replacement for retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on July 26 or 27, just before his planned July 28 departure for a month-long vacation at his Crawford, Texas, ranch, said two administration officials, who spoke on the condition they not be named.

The officials said those plans changed because Rove has become a focus of Fitzgerald's interest and of news accounts about the matter.
Following Rove's own playbook, shouldn't this be the story of the day: Playing politics, President Bush flippantly selects a lifetime Supreme Court appointee, just to divert the attention from a key member of his administration, who is being investigated for possible treason. If this was Bill Clinton, wouldn't that be the story of the day?

The Axis of Oil

The new Iraqi Prime Minister establishes an economic bond with Iran...
Iran and Iraq on Tuesday signed an oil deal they hope will pave the way to further diplomatic rapprochement between them. The signing was the keystone of a visit to Iran by an Iraqi ministerial delegation led by Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the first Iraqi leader to visit Tehran in decades.

[snip]

Iraq signed a preliminary agreement to export 150,000 barrels per day of crude from the southern city of Basra to Abadan refinery in southwest Iran, a spokeswoman for Iran's oil ministry said. In return, fuel-starved Iraq will import gasoline, gas oil and kerosene across its eastern border.

New Al-Qaeda Threat

Puzzling... why aren't the fear mongers jumping on this?
The Al-Qaeda terror network warned European nations to pull their troops out of Iraq within a month or face more attacks like the deadly London bombings, according to an Internet statement.

"This message is the final warning to European states. We want to give you a one-month deadline to bring your soldiers out from the land of Mesopotamia [Iraq]," said the statement signed by Al-Qaeda group the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades and dated July 16.
More information over at Terrorism News.

Lying by Omission

Karl Rove's days in the White House may be over; via the American Prospect:
White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper during Rove’s first interview with the FBI, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

The omission by Rove created doubt for federal investigators, almost from the inception of their criminal probe into who leaked Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak, as to whether Rove was withholding crucial information from them, and perhaps even misleading or lying to them, the sources said.
Lying to the FBI, obstruction of justice... sounds like a criminal charges to me.

Payback

From the Washington Post:
[John G.] Roberts's name did not appear on any of the briefs during the Florida presidential recount, but sources say he gave Jeb Bush critical advice on how the Florida legislature could name George W. Bush the winner at time when Republicans feared the courts might force a different choice.

More Troops Take the Fall...

for systematic abuse, ordained by the Bush Administration.
Three British soldiers have been charged with war crimes for the alleged abuse of Iraqi detainees in the first case of its kind in Britain. The men are the first British soldiers to be charged under the International Criminal Court Act passed in 2001.

A Few Good Men

I find this hard to believe.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Why Does John Roberts Hate...

Minorities
After a 1980 Supreme Court decision, Mobile v. Bolden, dramatically weakened certain sections of the Voting Rights Act, Roberts was involved in the administration's effort to prevent Congress from overturning the Supreme Court's action. The Supreme Court had decided, despite a lack of textual basis for this interpretation of the statute, that plaintiffs claiming certain violations of the Voting Rights Act, such as minority vote dilution.
The Environment
First, as Acting Solicitor General, Roberts was the government's lead counsel before the Supreme Court in Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, a case brought by citizens seeking to enforce environmental protections in response to the government's decision to open 4,500 acres of public land to mining activity.
The Freedom of Choice
In two cases, Roberts took positions hostile to women's reproductive rights. He was a co-author of the government's brief in Rust v. Sullivan, the case in which the Supreme Court upheld newly revised Title X regulations that prohibited U.S. family planning programs receiving federal aid from giving any abortion-related counseling or other services.
Civil Rights
Roberts co-authored two briefs on the government's behalf arguing for court supervision to be lifted in school desegregation cases. In a 1990 case, the amicus brief co-authored by Roberts in his capacity as Deputy Solicitor General sought to weaken the standard and limit the timeline for court-enforced desegregation decrees in the nation's schools.
The Separation of Church and State
Roberts co-authored two briefs arguing for an expanded role for religion in public schools. In one case, he co-authored a government amicus curiae brief before the Supreme Court, in which he argued that public high schools should be allowed to conduct religious ceremonies as part of a graduation program, a position rejected by the Supreme Court.
Read the full profile here.

Big Business Hearts Roberts

Corporate America gets their wish...
Glenn Lammi, chief counsel of the conservative Washington Legal Foundation, identified at least three possible nominees that big business would cheer: John Roberts Jr., Edith Brown Clement and Janice Rogers Brown. All three are federal appeals court judges.

Corporate America would favor Roberts and Clement because both were once private practitioners who represented business interests, experience the Rehnquist court now lacks. Given their past experience, the thinking goes, both judges might be friendly to corporate America.

Another Red Herring?

I went behind enemy lines, so you don't have to... here is the latest buzz on the right:

Newrooms in Washington and Senate staffers have begun pulling data on John Roberts. Jones still appears to be in Houston.

Update [2005-7-1918:47:20 by krempasky]: Speaking of data...

Documents from John Roberts confirmation hearing. John Roberts bio from the SCOTUS blog.

Update [2005-7-19 19:1:8 by Erick]: I'm told that Janice Rogers Brown is in D.C. and that John Roberts is out of the country. I'm also told that Roberts is filling the void left this afternoon with word that Clement was not the nominee.

Let's keep it with Roberts, not Brown. As for Jones, I want her. So many conservatives have been fixated on the Ediths over the weekend, you'd like to think there was something there.

Two things: (1)The President referred to the nominee as "he." One would think he's just using the Queen's English, but even I laugh while writing that.

(2) The White House has been cautioning that the nominee might not be with the President tonight.

Both of those point to Roberts.
UPDATE: Red State's latest post...
White House source calls back and says "Don't go beyond Roberts. He's it."

Thanks for confusing me.

John Roberts will be the President's nominee for the United States Supreme Court.

By the way, you can find biographical information in posts below. Had RedState not crashed, this would have gone up at 7:40pm. So, we had it up at ConfirmThem instead. But, you should be reading ConfirmThem there too.

Oh, and for those who have been unsatisfied with all my reporting of news and gossip, please note that we beat the AP and Drudge on reporting this. I'm going to find my bourbon now.

Not Clement

ABC News reports:
An informed source told ABC News they had spoken with Clement and said she received a phone call from the White House this afternoon. According to the source, Clement was thanked for meeting with the president and sharing her views on the Supreme Court, but that the administration has decided to go in a "different direction."
Different direction... this can't be good.

Rovegate in a Nutshell

Ted Rall: "We don't need a law to tell us that unmasking a CIA agent, particularly during wartime, is treasonous. Every patriotic American: liberal, conservative, or otherwise, knows that."

Courting Speculations

CNN Legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin:

"The leading suggestion that I have heard, calling around today, is Judge Edith Clement, known as Joy, who is a judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, appointed by President George Herbert Walker Bush to the district court. ... She was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit by the current President Bush in 2001."

The Biz of New Orleans reports:
Bush's spokesman won't identify the president's choice. There's been intense speculation that it will be federal appeals Judge Edith Clement.
The Guardian reports:
President Bush is close to making his first nomination to the Supreme Court, and Washington was abuzz with speculation Tuesday about Judge Edith Clement of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
UPDATE: The latest rumor... mabye not.

Protest Rove...

if you're in the Washington area:
Tonight Karl Rove will be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser in downtown Washington for Republican Congressman Jim Gerlach. Gerlach’s election next year will be one of the toughest in the country so you’d think he’d be smart enough to keep his distance from Rove, who betrayed the identity of an undercover CIA operative. But Gerlach is sucking up to the Karl Rove cash cow. We need to draw attention to Gerlach’s failure to put his patriotism before his political ambition.

Strange Bedfellows

Following earlier comments about who benefits from the London bombings, I found this analysis over at the Guerilla News Network. The author goes to some length to show that not only Bush and Netanyahu benefit from the bombings, but also al-Qaeda. It is certainly worth reading and thinking about, even though it's scary to think that Bush and al-Qaeda work toward the same end without even trying.

Read the analysis, and notice the wrap up:
Be it al Qaeda or black op, our strategic goals are the same. Maintain/regain in principle and practice the rules of law that underlie U.N. Article 51, the Geneva Convention and the U.S. Bill of Rights. For there are, on both sides of this conflict, those who would deny us that kind of international order and those kinds of individual rights.

London Bombings

As the evidence mounts, so do the questions...

Rhodes on Rovegate

As usual, Randi gives a thorough analysis on the latest revelations...

The Waxman Approach

I found this on Scoop, apparently it's been ignored by the U.S. media, because we're not seeing it anywhere else yet. It's too good to miss, and is another avenue of attack for true patriots; be sure to read it. I recommend pushing hard on this front, it may be the only way to see any results within a meaningful amount of time.
Waxman: Bush Statement on Rove Conflicts with Executive Order
By Rep. Henry A. Waxman
Monday 18 July 2005

Dear Mr. President:

In June 2004, you said that you would fire anyone found to be involved in the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's identity as a covert CIA agent. Today, you significantly changed your position, stating that you would remove Karl Rove or other White House officials involved in the security breach only "if someone committed a crime."

Your new standard is not consistent with your obligations to enforce Executive Order 12958, which governs the protection of national security secrets. The executive order states: "Officers and employees of the United States Government ... shall be subject to appropriate sanctions if they knowingly, willfully, or negligently ... disclose to unauthorized persons information properly classified." Under the executive order, the available sanctions include "reprimand, suspension without pay, removal, termination of classification authority, loss or denial of access to classified information, or other sanctions."

Under the executive order, you may not wait until criminal intent and liability are proved by a prosecutor. Instead, you have an affirmative obligation to take "appropriate and prompt corrective action." And the standards of proof are much different. A criminal violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald is investigating, requires a finding that Mr. Rove "intentionally disclose[d]" the identity of a covert agent. In contrast, the administrative sanctions under Executive Order 12958 can be imposed without a finding of intent. Under the express terms of the executive order, you are required to impose administrative sanctions - such as removal of office or termination of security clearance - if Mr. Rove or other officials acted "negligently" in disclosing or confirming information about Ms. Wilson's identity.

I have enclosed a fact sheet on Karl Rove's Nondisclosure Agreement and its legal implications, which provides additional detail about the President's national security obligations. I urge you to act in compliance with Executive Order 12958 and your responsibility to safeguard national security secrets.

Sincerely,
Henry A. Waxman
Ranking Minority Member

Newton's Law

The Guardian reports:
Two-thirds of Britons believe there is a link between Tony Blair's decision to invade Iraq and the London bombings despite government claims to the contrary, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Write Your Own Caption

Momentum

We have it...
While much could change before the 2006 mid-term elections, observers say impressive fundraising, strength in public opinion polls and unusual party unity are good early indicators for Democrats. "The momentum is against the Republicans," said Vaughn Ververs, editor of The Hotline, an influential Washington newsletter.
The fight is not over yet, but we need to give ourselves a little credit once in a while.

According to Dick Cheney...

this is an enormous success.

Catch and Release

Why?
A suicide bomber from Saudi Arabia, who survived a failed attempt to blow up the Jordanian mission Baghdad in December, alleges that Iraqi police may have captured, and then released, the most wanted terrorist in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, two months ago. Both U.S. and Iraqi officials could not confirm the claims made by the suicide bomber.

Two Way Street

The BBC quotes an anonymous pamphlet, that appears to have been distributed to justify the London bombings:
"The United Kingdom is an ally of the United States, and hence is part and parcel of the worst front of aggression the Muslims are facing in the present time. They are even worse than Pharaoh in his war against Moses."

"Every British citizen who voted for the members of Parliament who supported the war in Iraq should be regarded as an attacker or at least an assistant."
Just suppose that the west adopted the same thinking... "any Muslim who does not turn over these jihadis should be regarded as a terrorist or at least an assistant".

I don't suppose that will actually happen, but it would likely be very unpleasant for the terrorists. It would mean we could send their parents to Guantanamo for a few years even after the man himself had died. It would mean that western soldiers could kill a terrorist's entire family in retaliation. It would mean Holy War on a scale that would send the entire world back to the stone age, and result in the likely end of Islam thru attrition and nuclear fire.

Control your passions guys - they either fade shortly, or they control you if you permit it. THINK before you speak or write. Maybe try actually reading the Quran - all of it. Allah instructed Mohammed, Pbuh, that we: Jews, Christians and Muslims, should reason together and try to understand our differences. NOT that we should kill each other. It's our and your individual behavior that will determine heaven or hell, not what is done by national leaders.

Bloomberg: Bring Back Clinton

The Bleeding Heart Liberals over at Bloomberg, call for a fiscal reality check:
Bring back the Clinton administration. Well, maybe not all of it, but at least its spending habits.

While the Bush administration is celebrating the growing economy and pointing to its tax cuts as the reason for last week's news about a smaller budget deficit, there is this one glaring reality: Spending growth under George W. Bush has been almost four times as high as it was during the same period of Bill Clinton's presidency.

No two-term president in post-war U.S. history has ever presided over a spending binge this monumental in his first six years in office.
As a side note, the author of this piece, Kevin Hassett, was the chief economic adviser to Senator John McCain during the 2000 primaries.

Broken Promise Du Jour

Dubya changed his position today, on whether or not he would fire the leaker of Valerie Plame's identity:
"If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration," Mr. Bush said in response to a question, after declaring, "I don't know all the facts; I want to know all the facts."

[snip]

The president's apparent raising of the bar for dismissal today, to specific criminal conduct, comes amid mounting evidence that, at the very least, Mr. Rove provided backhanded confirmation of the C.I.A. officer's identity.

Rove's Believe It Or Not

Here's a top-notch analysis of Rove's treasonous actions, and an artful prediction of the future artful-dodger tactics:

Karl Rove has now given us an astounding insight into PlameGate! According to Karl, Bushevik journalists leaked classified information TO him!

Holy, Batbrain, Karl was the last to know! Will wonders never cease?

And for the first time in White House history, a President's chief domestic policy adviser, who has classified clearance, was leaked classified information destructive to the national security of the United States by members of the media! Zowie, simply astounding!

[snip]

Rove's next target will be his highest stakes maneuver yet. In a "go for broke" attack on the fundamental tenets of the system of American justice, we predict Rove is already using cut-outs to try and figure out a discreet way to personally expose some skeleton in Fitzgerald's closet that will then call the "character, judgment and motivation" of the prosecutor into question -- and sink the investigation through an ad hominem attack. This is Rove's pathological gutter tactic. He doesn't know how NOT to use it when backed into a corner.
If you're enjoying the show as much as I am, check it out TODAY. And as a bonus to us, there is a scenario described in the middle of the article describing the probable mechanics of Rove's attempt to silence Wilson by exposing his wife and maybe getting her killed.

Let us all remember, that is the purpose of exposing her. Not merely telling the world she's CIA, that would do what? Keep her in the states? No, I think the purpose was hoping someone would kill her and silence Wilson, or take him out at the same time.

Fixing One Election, After Another...

The only surprise here, is the source of coverage:
President George Bush's administration sought to influence the outcome of Iraq's January elections, using covert operations to avoid a landslide by Shiite Muslims close to Iran, according to a US magazine article released yesterday.

[snip]

In the same period, however, 'the White House promulgated a highly classified presidential 'finding', authorising the CIA to provide money and other support covertly to political candidates in certain countries who, in the Administration's view, were seeking to spread democracy,' the magazine said, citing former military and intelligence officials.
The original New Yorker piece can be found here.

Capital On Credit

The right-wing zealots are looking for payback:
For a quarter-century, a politically awakened movement of conservative evangelical and moral traditionalists of other faiths has played an increasingly important role in Republican electoral successes. In campaigns, they have knocked on doors, stuffed envelopes and dependably performed the other mundane but essential work behind winning elections. At the polling place, they have provided a crucial bloc of votes.

Bush would not be in the White House today without their support. Half of his votes in the 2004 election came from religious traditionalists, according to a survey by the politically independent Pew Research Center. And heavy support from evangelicals gave him the margin of victory in such battleground states as Ohio, Florida, Iowa and Missouri.

Yet religious conservatives so far have not had much success on the issues that matter most to them. Reagan gave them hope but little in the way of action. President George H.W. Bush never seemed quite comfortable talking about their issues.
Looks like the Bush Administration is not so popular on both sides of the aisle these days.

Trickle Down Accountability

More peons take the fall for systematic abuse...
The U.S. command on Saturday announced charges against 11 U.S. soldiers for assaulting detainees but provided few details of what happened other than to say the soldiers served in the Baghdad area but are now off duty pending the investigation.

Stating the Obvious

How much was wasted on this study...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Another Success

Bush's War on Terror rekindles an old flame...
Iran's President Mohammed Khatami has welcomed what he called a "turning point" in relations with Iraq.

He said the current visit by Iraq's transitional PM Ibrahim Jaafari would help patch the wounds inflicted by ex-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein

[snip]

They are also expected to discuss security and the control of their long border.
A security agreement would involve Iran sharing intelligence with Iraq, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told the AFP news agency.

"One of the subcommissions we formed is on security co-operation between two sides. Its aim is really to establish a mechanism for intelligence sharing, to prevent infiltrations and to assist us in stabilising the situation," he said.

The two countries have vowed to fight what they called terrorism and the abuse of Islam to justify violence.
Is it even necessary, or simply gratuitous of me, to point out that these two nations are connected along the Axis of Terror, as delineated by the Asses of Terror. What we've achieved here is not only a badly botched job of Iraq, but we've driven the Iraqis into the arms of the next target on Bush's list. And damn, they've even formed an alliance which will include exchanging security information!

Way to go George. If I ever have an enemy, I'm gonna hire you to fight on his side.

Two For One

The BBC reports that Bush's aide was a source:
Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper said Mr Rove did not disclose Valerie Plame's name, but said the wife of a government critic worked for the CIA.

[snip]

Newspaper columnist Robert Novak first publicly revealed that Ms Plame was a covert CIA agent in July 2003, citing two administration officials.
OK, so we have somebody telling TWO Reporters. Not an accidental disclosure, is that?
Cooper said: "So did Rove leak Plame's name to me, or tell me she was covert? No.
"Was it through my conversation with Rove that I learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and may have been responsible for sending him? Yes. Did Rove say that she worked at the 'agency' on 'WMD'? Yes."
How much clearer can things get? Tomorrow, when the Congressmen and Senators get off their secretaries and go back to work, it should be really interesting.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

The AP reports that Cheney's aide was a source:
In an effort to quell a chorus of calls to fire deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove, Republicans said that Rove originally learned about Valerie Plame's identity from the news media. That exonerates Rove, the Republican Party chairman said, and Democrats should apologize.
Excuse me, Rove is exonerated just because someone else committed the same felony he did? So if somebody shoots me, it's ok to stroll by and plug me again just because it was already done by someone else? I don't think so.
The White House's assurance in 2003 that Rove was not involved in the leak of the CIA officer's identity "was a lie," said John Podesta, White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration. He said Rove's credibility "is in shreds."

Until last week, the White House had insisted for nearly two years that Libby and Rove had no connection to the leak. Plame's husband is Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, the top U.S. diplomat in Iraq at the start of the Persian Gulf War.

The White House refused last week to repeat its denials about Rove's involvement. The refusal came amid the disclosure that Rove told Cooper on July 11, 2003, that Wilson's wife apparently worked at the CIA and that she had authorized a trip he took to Africa in 2002. The White House on Sunday declined to comment about Libby, saying the investigation was ongoing.
OK, so let me get this straight - he didn't do it, then somebody else did it first so even though he did do it it's not a crime, and now what? Oh, we're not talking to you any more picky boy. Never mind what he did. You're rude and we won't talk to you.

Mission Impossible

The U.K. Mirror reports:
The London bombers may have been duped into killing themselves so their secrets stayed hidden.

Police and MI5 are probing if the four men were told by their al-Qaeda controller they had time to escape after setting off timers. Instead, the devices exploded immediately.

A security source said: "If the bombers lived and were caught they'd probably have cracked. Would their masters have allowed that to happen? We think not."

The evidence is compelling: The terrorists bought return rail tickets, and pay and display car park tickets, before boarding _ a train at Luton for London. None of the men was heard to cry "Allah Akhbar!" - "God is great" - usually screamed by suicide bombers as they detonate their bomb.

Their devices were in large rucksacks which could be easily dumped instead of being strapped to their bodies. They carried wallets containing their driving licences, bank cards and other personal items. Suicide bombers normally strip themselves of identifying material.
More analysis over at Terrorism News.

National Propaganda Radio

The Rolling Stone reports:
As head of the board that doles out $400 million in federal funds for public broadcasting, [Ken] Tomlinson is actually required by law to provide PBS and NPR with "maximum protection from extraneous influence and control" by meddling politicians. But in recent months, Tomlinson himself has been the one trying to alter PBS programming. A close friend of Karl Rove since they worked together overseeing Voice of America, he hired a right-wing consultant to secretly monitor Bill Moyers for signs of "liberal bias." He collaborated with the White House to hire two "ombudsmen" to keep an eye on Frontline and All Things Considered. And after President Bush was re-elected in November, Tomlinson warned a gathering of PBS executives that the country had moved to the right, and that their programming should reflect that.
Thanks to Judy O, for the link.

More Last Throes

It was a horrible weekend in Iraq...

Cooper Meets the Press

Matt Cooper confirms Karl Rove as the source in the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity, on NBC's Meet the Press today:
RUSSERT: The piece that you finally ran in Time magazine on July 17th, it says, "And some government officials have noted to Time in interviews as well as to syndicated columnist Robert Novak that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These officials have suggested that she was involved in her husband's being dispatched to Niger."

"Some government officials" That is Rove and Libby?

Cooper: Yes, those were among the sources for that, yes.
What more evidence do we need?

The New Rove?

Ironically, reported by Rove's partner in Treason:
Super-lobbyist Ed Gillespie has been given his own office in the West Wing of the White House to manage President Bush's Supreme Court confirmation battle. That raised speculation Gillespie could be chief of staff for the end of the Bush presidency.

Republican lobbyists Ken Duberstein and Tom Korologos were given judicial confirmation chores in years past without moving permanently into the West Wing. Insiders believe Gillespie, a protege of Bush political adviser Karl Rove, is being groomed to replace Andrew Card as chief of staff for Bush's last two years as president.

Our Nation Is Insane...

OMIGOD, what is next? Now we have police jailing an 11 year old girl for felony assault. Her "crime" was throwing one stone at a group of boys who were bombarding her with water balloons. She got lucky, hit ONE of them, and he bled. The poor child spent time in jail, although the reporter called it "detention".

First off, she's Latina, and I'm willing to bet this kind of thing doesn't happen to Anglo little girls.

Second, we must be insane as a nation to think that 11 years old kids having a fight is a matter for the police to prosecute. Pick her up and take her to her parents for a scolding, sure. Round up the whole group of boys and give them a lecture about how people have a right to self-defense and if they get hurt, well, tough poopie? Sure. But to hold a child in detention for days and file felony assault charges is just ridiculous. It's insane. The child is already distorted for life by being arrested for defending herself and spending time in jail. I hope her parents sue the police department for psych damages, discrimination, violating her civil rights (self defense), and anything else their lawyer can think of.

The worst part of it is that this police action demeans the law and makes it meaningless. If a little girl throwing a stone at a group of tormentors in defense is a felonious assault, then just what do you call a mugging? What do you call a gang beating? What do you call it when a group of boys throws rocks instead of waterballoons without provocation? And what punishments do you hand out for those greater crimes ?

Meanwhile, we fail to get a cop to a shooting in less then 20 minutes, fail to stem the tide of crystal meth or cocaine, fail to keep drugs out of schools, and in general have so many of them sitting in airports (thanks a bunch George) that speed limits go virutally unenforced, and corporate executives are ripping off the nation for Billions.

This nation is losing its collective mind. Our priorities are so messed up we can't even begin to think about getting them straight. Who would know where to begin? And this story of "overwhelming response" by the locals is just another example.

Spend Wisely

Here's just one more way to work against the Bush machine. Help to stop the greed and profiteering of those who run this country. Why keep throwing away usable stuff and having to buy what you need, when you can give your stuff to someone who needs or wants it, and you can receive things you need or want as well, without transferring cash? Stop spending when you don't have to. Cut the flow of dividends and bonuses to the corporate crooks. And when you must spend money, don't spend it to support the enemy. Buy from the guys who support freedom.







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