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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, November 19, 2005

Swift Boats

One of Josh Marshall's readers has a prediction:
I was not the least bit surprised by the attack on Murtha (remember how they attacked Kerry). I'll bet you a dollar that the Democratic response (if there is one) will be a) unorganized (from Biden through Dean), b) incoherent (or at least internally inconsistent), c) slow, d) measured, and e) cerebral. All the wrong things to do. What they need to do is show some blood and gore, use a couple of veterans, and ask the question -- is this worth it? If it is, why are the families of Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Delay, Hastert, Rumsfeld et. al. not on the front lines? As we say in Marketing, an anecdote is worth a thousand data points.
He has a point; prove him wrong...

Meanwhile, in Iraq...

Another day of staying the course:

A suicide bomber detonated his car in a crowd of Shiite mourners north of Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 36 people and raising the death toll in two days of attacks against Shiites to more than 120. Five American soldiers died in roadside bombings.

Earlier Saturday, a car bomb exploded in a crowd of shoppers at an outdoor market in a mostly Shiite neighborhood on the southeast edge of Baghdad, killing 13 people and wounding about 20 others, police reported. Witnesses said they saw a man park the car and walk away shortly before the blast.

Two Weeks Notice



Over a hundred thousand Katrina survivors are still homeless -- and due to FEMA's incompetence and subsequent misappropriation of funds -- they are about to lose their temporary housing (video).

We live in the world's richest nation, yet our government is so ineffective in helping its poor, one has to wonder just how deliberate those failures actually are. On a related note, Grover must be proud.

Sober Judgment



Interesting choice of words:
So long as I'm the Commander-in-Chief, our strategy in Iraq will be driven by the sober judgment of our military commanders on the ground. We will fight the terrorists in Iraq. We will stay in the fight until we have achieved the brave -- the victory that our brave troops have fought for.
No Mr. President, your judgment is not sober. Victory is not strategy, and leaving is not surrender; it is simply letting a sovereign nation be a sovereign nation. But leaving Iraq, and its vast oil reserves to the Iraqis was never really part of the plan... Now was it?

Murtha's House Speech



The candor and heartfelt sincerity of this decorated veteran on the House floor is simply awe inspiring (video 1, video 2, video 3, video 4)

Countdown: Hell Breaks Loose



Hell for the chickenhawks that is (video).

Friday, November 18, 2005

Murtha: Victory Is Not Strategy



John [Wayne] takes on the White House chickenhawks, with more kicking ass and taking names (video).

Most Influential



Who knew?

Shameless Bull Schmidt



Stepping to a new low, Rep. Jean Schmidt trashed Rep. John Murtha on the House floor (video):
Yesterday I stood at Arlington National Cemetery attending the funeral of a young marine in my district. He believed in what we were doing is the right thing and had the courage to lay his life on the line to do it. A few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bubp, Ohio Representative from the 88th district in the House of Representatives. He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message, that cowards cut and run, Marines never do. Danny and the rest of America and the world want the assurance from this body that we will see this through.
A shameless political hack calls a decorated Vietnam War veteran a coward; yes, that about sums up the hypocrisy of the modern day Republican party. Just keep on digging...

TGIF

Hurry up and vote:

House Republicans, seeing an opportunity, maneuvered for a quick vote and swift rejection Friday of a Democratic lawmaker's call for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq. "We want to make sure that we support our troops that are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. "We will not retreat."

Shameless fuckers.

Cautiously Optimistic

Here's to hoping Morford is right:

We cannot afford any more wars. The environment has been sold to the bone. The national spirit has been beaten like an Alaskan baby seal and the GOP has worked our last nerve, passed through the karmic blood-brain barrier, reached saturation to the point where even moderate Repubs and gobs of intelligent Christians are finally saying, Oh my God, what have we done, and how did it all go so wrong, and how much Prozac and wine and praying to a very disappointed Jesus will it take to fix it?

Which is why I'm here to tell you hope abounds. In fact, George W. Bush gives me hope. He gives me hope because he has led the country into a zone where the only way to go -- morally, spiritually, economically -- is up. Is out. He gives me hope because after it has all appeared so bleak and ugly and lost for so many years, it would now appear that all laws of karmic and poetic and moral justice still hold true. And how reassuring is that?

It is the eternal formula: When all is at its darkest, you cannot help but feel that some sort of transformational upswing must be just around the corner, one that maybe, just maybe contains the seeds of something resembling health and progress and revolution. Darkest before the dawn, baby, and don't you see the sky getting just a little bit lighter?

Read the rest...

Countdown: The World's Worst



The producers of the GOP website take the prize (video).

Representing the Mainstream



Um, Mr. President, Michael kinda has a point:
Unfortunately, the President doesn't understand that it is mainstream middle America who has turned against him and his immoral war and that it is I and the Democrats who represent the mainstream. It is Mr. Bush who is the extremist.

The Daily Show: Richard Clarke



The former White House intelligence czar debunks the "same intelligence" myth (video).

Horrible

Baghdad:

Suicide bombers killed 74 worshippers at two Shiite mosques near the Iranian border Friday, while a pair of car bombs targeting a Baghdad hotel housing Western journalists killed eight Iraqis.

The suicide attackers targeted the Sheik Murad mosque and the Khanaqin Grand Mosque in Khanaqin, 90 miles northeast of Baghdad, as dozens of people were attending Friday prayers, police said. The police command said 74 people were killed and 75 wounded in the largely Kurdish town.

Countdown: Don't Blame Me



Olbermann covers Murtha's rebuttal to Cheney's attack on the Democrats for questioning the case for war, as well as the use of white phosphorus in Fallujah (video).

Meanwhile in Afghanistan...

That bright beacon of Democracy in the Middle East, the insurgency is as strong as ever:
The adversary faced this year by the Desert Eagles and other American units fighting in Afghanistan has defied military predictions that the Taliban and al-Qaeda were fading. "It's absolutely true that the insurgency has become more effective and the insurgency has moved into more areas," says Peter Tomsen, a former special envoy who helped organize the anti-Soviet Afghan resistance in the 1980s.
Right. Mission accomplished.

The Daily Show: What's Happening Now?



Stewart weighs in on the requests for Iraq progress reports, the oil executives' lies concerning meetings with the Cheney, and Cheney's shameless hypocrisy regarding the case for war (video).

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Countdown: What About Bob?



Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor, weighs in on Woodward's silence (video).

John Muthra Equals Michael Moore



White House Press Secretary:
Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party. The eve of an historic democratic election in Iraq is not the time to surrender to the terrorists. After seeing his statement, we remain baffled-nowhere does he explain how retreating from Iraq makes America safer.
Desperate times for the Bush Administration; and we thought Rove was back on his game (video).

Woodward Could Be a Boon to Libby Fitz

The Washington Post piece, dissected point by point:

The revelation that The Washington Post's Bob Woodward may have been the first reporter to learn about CIA operative Valerie Plame could provide a boost to the only person indicted in the leak case: I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Legal experts said Woodward provided two pieces of new information that cast at least a shadow of doubt on the public case against Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, who has been indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

The only way this can cast any shadow of doubt on the case is if you are trying to construe an apparent extension of the conspiracy to be a defense for Libby.
Woodward testified Monday that contrary to Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's public statements, a senior government official -- not Libby -- was the first Bush administration official to tell a reporter about Plame and her role at the CIA. Woodward also said that Libby never mentioned Plame in conversations they had on June 23 and June 27, 2003, about the Iraq war, a time when the indictment alleges Libby was eagerly passing information about Plame to reporters and colleagues.
One would have to ask why Woodward wasn't coming forward with this information for Fitzgerald at a time when the investigation was front page news, not to mention the fact that he had 2 years to volunteer it. However, discovering now that Libby may not have been the first to leak the identity is a meaningless diversion from the facts of the indictment - that Libby obstructed justice and perjured himself.
While neither statement appears to factually change Fitzgerald's contention that Libby lied and impeded the leak investigation, the Libby legal team plans to use Woodward's testimony to try to show that Libby was not obsessed with unmasking Plame and to raise questions about the prosecutor's full understanding of events. Until now, few outside of Libby's legal team have challenged the facts and chronology of Fitzgerald's case.
"While neither statement appears to factually change Fitzgerald's contention that Libby lied and impeded the leak investigation" indeed. In fact if Fitzgerald didn't fully understand the events it may be a direct result of Libby's obstructions.
"I think it's a considerable boost to the defendant's case," said John Moustakas, a former federal prosecutor who has no role in the case. "It casts doubt about whether Fitzgerald knew everything as he charged someone with very serious offenses." Other legal experts agreed.
Another diversion of discussion. If Fitzgerald "knew everything" Libby and several others may have been charged with the felony of revealing the CIA agent's identity, not merely Obstruction of Justice. Difference? One is a felony, the first may be construable as treason.
Moustakas said Woodward also has considerable credibility because he has been granted "unprecedented access" to the inner workings of the Bush White House. "When Woodward says this information was disclosed to me in a nonchalant and casual way -- not as if it was classified -- it helps corroborate Libby's account about himself and about the administration," Moustakas said.
This access of Woodward to the White House makes me suspect Woodward here. Why would Bush give such access to the guy whose stories busted open the Nixon involvement in Watergate? That is a non-sequitur.

Also, this agent's identity is classified information. So if the White House was bandying it about in a casual fashion, it still does not mitigate the fact that revealing it to anyone not privileged to that level of information is a felony. Which means that revealing it to Woodward himself was a felony. He does not have to repeat or print the information for the felony to have occurred - because it occurred (again) when he (Woodward) was told.
According to the statement Woodward released Tuesday, he did not appear to provide any testimony that goes specifically to the question of whether Libby is guilty of two counts of perjury, two counts of providing false statements and one count of obstructing justice. The indictment outlines what many legal experts describe as a very strong case against Libby, because it shows the former Cheney aide learned about Plame from at least four government sources, including the vice president -- and not a reporter, as he testified before the grand jury.
Randall D. Eliason, former head of the public corruption unit for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District,said he doubts the Woodward account would have much effect on Libby's case, and dismissed such theories as "defense spin."
Of course it's Defense Spin. The actual case is pretty solid. To say that uninvolved events will weaken the case on charges that weren't made, is just a sophomoric attempt to divert public opinion. Why? Well, it won't save Libby, so it must be just to help the polls by making it appear that Bush is less involved. BUT, an extension in time and numbers of people involved in leaking secret identities is really just a stronger indictment of Bush and his administration - and this time on the actual felony, not obstruction of justice.
"Libby was not charged with being the first to talk to a reporter, and that is not part of the indictment," he said. "Whether or not some other officials were talking to Woodward doesn't really tell us anything about the central issue in Libby's case: What was his state of mind and intent when he was talking to the FBI and testifying in the grand jury?" Eliason added: "What this does suggest, though, is that the investigation is still very active. Hard to see how that is good news for [White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl] Rove or for anyone else in the prosecutor's cross hairs."
It also suggests that the White House was playing fast and loose with classified information - specifically the identity of at least one CIA agent. It begs a few questions. How many other identities were revealed to Woodward, Miller, et al? How many people in the White House staff knew this information, and how many unqualified people did they tell? Loose lips sink ships, and this kind of slack-jawed babbling from our government could sink the entire ship of state.

Since December 2003, Fitzgerald has been probing whether senior Bush administration officials illegally leaked classified information -- Plame's identity as a CIA operative -- to reporters to discredit allegations made by her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. Plame's name was revealed in a July 14, 2003, column by Robert D. Novak, eight days after Wilson publicly accused the administration of twisting intelligence to justify the Iraq war. Rove is still under investigation.

Libby's lawyers have asked whether Fitzgerald will correct his statement that Libby was the first administration official to leak information about Plame to a reporter. Fitzgerald's spokesman, Randall Samborn, declined to comment. But a source close to the probe said there is no reason for the prosecutor to correct the record, because he specifically said at his news conference Oct. 28 that Libby was the "first official known" at that time to have provided such information to a reporter.

Still, the Libby legal team seized on Woodward's testimony, calling it a "bombshell" with the potential to upend Fitzgerald's case. After spending yesterday at the courthouse reviewing documents for the case, Libby emerged with one of this lawyers, Theodore V. Wells Jr., by his side. Wells said Libby is "very grateful to Bob Woodward for coming forward and telling the truth."

The only way this can be a bombshell in Libby's favor is if it leads to the person responsible for the decision to leak the agent's identity, and Fitzgerald decides to drop the charges against Libby to pursue the ‘bigger fish'. But dropping charges against the small fry once you have the big fish is unlikely. The decision, of course, would be Fitzgerald's.
A few hours earlier Wells issued a markedly more pointed statement, saying, "Woodward's disclosures are a bombshell to Mr. Fitzgerald's case" that show at least one accusation to be "totally inaccurate." The Libby legal team plans to call a number of journalists to testify in part to show Libby was not determined to blow Plame's cover.
Unless that accusation was in the indictment, it won't matter if it was accurate or not. And finding out now that something believed to be true when Libby was lying and obstructing isn't true, is not really a good defense for Libby - it's really just a confirmation that he was either lying, or obstructing, or both.

In an interview, Woodward said his testimony was not designed to help or hurt Libby. "My reporting and writing is as neutral as it can be," he said. "Fitzgerald asked me questions . . . I answered them."

Rove's defense team also believes he could benefit tangentially from the Woodward disclosure because it shows other officials were discussing Plame in casual ways and that others have foggy recollections of the period as well, according to a Republican close to Rove.

Foggy recollection does not enter into whether a felony was committed or not. Plenty of men have been hanged for murders committed while under the influence of alcohol or some drug which made any recollection at all impossible.
"It definitely raises the plausibility of Karl Rove's simple and honest lapses of memory, because it shows that there were other people discussing the matter in what Mr. Woodward described as very offhanded, casual way," a source close to Rove said. "Let's face it, we don't all remember every conversation we have about significant issues, much less those about those that are less significant."
To repeat, bad memory does not mean an event didn't happen. The felony occurred, whether it is remembered, or was taken as insignificant by those who committed it, or not.
Rove is under scrutiny for not initially disclosing his conversation about Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper. Rove's defense is he simply forgot the conversation took place. Sources close to Rove said they expect a decision on whether he will be charged soon.
He may have forgotten about the conversation. It's no defense. "Gosh officer, I just forgot that I wasn't supposed to do 110 on the interstate"? That doesn't work for speeding, and it shouldn't work for endangering those secret agents who put their lives on the line for our country every day.
There's more...

House Democrats Defeat Spending Bill



Quack, quack:

Legislation to fund many of the nation's health, education and social programs went down to a startling defeat in the House Thursday, led by Democrats who said cuts in the bill hurt some of America's neediest people.

The 224-209 vote against the $142.5 billion spending bill disrupted plans by Republican leaders to finish up work on this year's spending bills and cast doubt on whether they would have the votes to pass a major budget-cutting bill also on the day's agenda.

Democrats, unanimous in opposing the legislation, said it included the first cut in education funding in a decade and slashed spending for several health care programs. "It betrays our nation's values and its future," said House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland. "It is neither compassionate, conservative nor wise."

Post Mortem

America responds to the Woodward files:

Washington Post Ombudsman Deborah Howell has received hundreds of calls and e-mails from readers since yesterday's revelations about Bob Woodward's involvement in the Valerie Plame case, and none of them are positive.

"I am getting a lot of reaction and, from readers, it is all bad," Howell told E&P today, referring to the fallout from Woodward's disclosure that he spoke to a confidential White House source about Plame in 2003. "We are being barraged with calls. They think it was wrong for him not to tell his editors and wrong for the Post not to tell readers."

The ombudsman also pointed out that the e-mails "are all very different. I have not seen [an organized] campaign."

War Hawk Calls for Iraq Withdrawal



Representative John Murtha (D-PA), a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and supporter of the war, called for a redeployment of the troops (video, transcript).

Meanwhile in Iraq...

Our propped up fledging government has learned well; when confronted with scandal, cloud the real issue:

A top Interior Ministry official said Wednesday the 173 malnourished prisoners found by U.S. forces included all Iraqi sects, playing down allegations of a campaign by Shiite-led security forces to suppress Sunni Arabs ahead of next month's election.

The Shiite-led government sought to dampen Sunni outrage over revelations Tuesday by Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari that the detainees, some showing signs of torture, were found last weekend by U.S. troops at an Interior Ministry lockup in the capital. Most were believed to be Sunni Arabs, the leading group in the insurgency.

But the deputy interior minister, Maj. Gen. Hussein Kamal, said the detainees also included Shiites, Kurds and Turkomen. He gave no breakdown.

Rove must be proud.

Big Time Silence

Interesting:

A senior administration official said that neither President Bush himself, nor his chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., nor his counselor, Dan Bartlett, was Mr. Woodward's source. So did spokesmen for former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell; the former director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet; and his deputy, John E. McLaughlin.

A lawyer for Karl Rove, the deputy White House chief of staff who has acknowledged conversations with reporters about the case and remains under investigation, said Mr. Rove was not Mr. Woodward's source.

Mr. Cheney did not join the parade of denials.

34% Job Approval



Still dropping...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Rove's Back

As Josh Marshall points out:

You can see pretty clearly that Karl Rove is back in the saddle because what we're seeing now is straight from the Karl Rove play book. You throw them off balance by charging directly into their line of fire.

When the veil is finally being lifted on your history of lies, hit hard against the other side for 'rewriting history' or trying to deceive the public.

According to Drudge, a knock line from Cheney's speech this evening has him saying, "yet in Washington you can ordinarily rely on some basic measure of truthfulness and good faith in the conduct of political debate. But in the last several weeks we have seen a wild departure from that tradition."

The up-is-downism is truly bracing -- hilarious or outrageous depending on your mood. And you can feel the belligerence and instinctual reliance on blunt force in all things that allows Cheney to say such things with a straight face or any hint of fear that sensible will see him digging himself still deeper.

It will be interesting to see if the new found boldness of Reid, Biden, Kennedy, and mavericks such as Hagel, weathers the Rove-Cheney storm. Here's to hoping.

Countdown: The World's Worst



It was only a matter of time... Bill O'Reilly (video).

Downie Blocks the Blitz



Leonard Downie, the Washington Post's chief editor, defends Woodward's silence by obfuscating the facts concerning reporter source confidentiality with childlike obstinance (video).

Woodward's Source

According to Raw Story...

National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley was the senior administration official who told Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward that Valerie Plame Wilson was a CIA officer, attorneys close to the investigation and intelligence officials tell Raw Story. Testifying under oath Monday to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, Woodward recounted a casual conversation he had with Hadley, these sources say. Hadley did not return a call seeking comment.

What did Pincus and Woodward know?

And when did they know it?

Walter Pincus, the longtime Washington Post reporter and one of several journalists who testified in the Valerie Plame case, said he believed as far back as 2003 that Bob Woodward had some involvement in the case but he did not pursue the information because Woodward asked him not to.

"He asked me to keep him out of the reporting and I agreed to do that," Pincus said today. His comments followed a Post story today about Woodward's testimony on Monday before special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, in which Woodward reportedly disclosed that a senior White House official told him about Plame's identity as a CIA operative a month before her identity was disclosed publicly.

Remember, they turn in clusters, because their roots connect them...

Intelligent Design

The Secret Baghdad Torture Bunker

With all the rhetoric about Iraq being a sovereign nation, it will be interesting to see how this one plays out:

Sunni Arab politicians demanded an international investigation on Wednesday into allegations that Shi'ite militias linked to Iraq's Interior Ministry tortured and abused prisoners in a secret Baghdad bunker.

The underground bunker, part of a fortified building near the ministry's Baghdad compound, was discovered by U.S. troops during a search on Sunday night in a development likely to fuel sectarian tensions ahead of December 15 parliamentary elections.

Inside they found 173 malnourished and in some cases badly beaten men and teenagers, some of whom showed signs of having been tortured, Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari said on Tuesday as he ordered an investigation into the chamber's discovery.

Big Oil, Big Liars

Big surprise:

A White House document shows that executives from big oil companies met with Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001 -- something long suspected by environmentalists but denied as recently as last week by industry officials testifying before Congress.

The document, obtained this week by The Washington Post, shows that officials from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met in the White House complex with the Cheney aides who were developing a national energy policy, parts of which became law and parts of which are still being debated.

The Daily Show: The Latest Absurdities



Stewart weighs in on Bruce Willis's Osama bounty, the Jordan bombing, and Chalabi's warm reception at the White House (video).

White Phosphorus

First the Pentagon said it wasn't used as a weapon, now they're stating it's only used on enemy combatants:

The Pentagon has confirmed that US troops used white phosphorus during last year's offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja. "It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants," spokesman Lt Col Barry Venable told the BBC - though not against civilians, he said.

I'm certainly no chemical weapons expert, but I didn't realize a chemical agent could distinguish between combatants and civilians once it's unleashed in an area. The wonders of science, will they ever cease?

Countdown: The World's Worst



Rush Limbaugh takes the prize for profiting off "charity" for the troops (video).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Senator Hagel Jumps Ship

While some might argue that this is a defensive move for a presidential hopeful, the fact that he decisively defends the Democrats, by far out trumps any partisan maneuvering:

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) strongly criticized yesterday the White House's new line of attack against critics of its Iraq policy, saying that "the Bush administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them."

With President Bush leading the charge, administration officials have lashed out at Democrats who have accused the administration of manipulating intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. Bush has suggested that critics are hurting the war effort, telling U.S. troops in Alaska on Monday that critics "are sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy. And that's irresponsible."

Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran and a potential presidential candidate in 2008, countered in a speech to the Council of Foreign Relations that the Vietnam War "was a national tragedy partly because members of Congress failed their country, remained silent and lacked the courage to challenge the administrations in power until it was too late."

"To question your government is not unpatriotic -- to not question your government is unpatriotic," Hagel said, arguing that 58,000 troops died in Vietnam because of silence by political leaders. "America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices."

Senator Biden Comes Out Swinging



Biden weighs in on the bipartisan push for an Iraq timetable, attending soldiers' funerals, the torture of detainees, and the Alito nomination; there may be hope for Mr. MBNA after all (video).

Speaking of September 11th...



That was then, this is now:

Congressional budget negotiators have decided to take back $125 million in Sept. 11 aid from New York, which had fought to keep the money to treat sick and injured ground zero workers, lawmakers said Tuesday. [...] Fire and police officials say they worry that many people will develop long-term lung and mental health problems from their time working on the burning pile of toxic debris at ground zero and they want to use the money to help them.

Fucking swine.

Regarding Progress In Iraq...



Katie Couric does her best impression of a hard-hitting journalist; Bill Frist does his best impression of a non-partisan-hack. Neither one of them pull it off, but Katie was the more believable of the two (video).

The Honeymoon's Over

If this report is accurate, the 8-day trip to Asia will be as much about getting away from the White House as it is improving foreign relations:
President Bush feels betrayed by several of his most senior aides and advisors and has severely restricted access to the Oval Office, administration sources say. The president's reclusiveness in the face of relentless public scrutiny of the U.S.-led war in Iraq and White House leaks regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame has become so extreme that Mr. Bush has also reduced contact with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, administration sources said on the condition of anonymity.

Caged with Lions

Let me guess, Scooter came up with this one:

Two Iraqi businessmen who were imprisoned by U.S. forces in Iraq, claim they were thrown into a cage of lions in a Baghdad palace for interrogation in 2003, reports The Associated Press.

[...]

The two men described the day in 2003 when they were arrested by American troops with guns and armored vehicles, their heads covered with plastic hoods. They both described standing in front of a lion cage, and said they could hear other prisoners screaming as the metal cage door creaked open and slammed shut.

Saddam Hussein's eldest son, Odai, kept lions in his compound at the presidential palace, which was taken over by U.S. troops during the war.

Ah, Memories

White House sensibility, circa 1991:

A principal reason that the Bush Administration gave no thought to unseating Saddam was that Brent Scowcroft gave no thought to it. An American occupation of Iraq would be politically and militarily untenable, Scowcroft told Bush. And though the President had employed the rhetoric of moral necessity to make the case for war, Scowcroft said, he would not let his feelings about good and evil dictate the advice he gave the President.

It would have been no problem for America's military to reach Baghdad, he said. The problems would have arisen when the Army entered the Iraqi capital. "At the minimum, we'd be an occupier in a hostile land," he said. "Our forces would be sniped at by guerrillas, and, once we were there, how would we get out? What would be the rationale for leaving? I don't like the term 'exit strategy'—but what do you do with Iraq once you own it?"

Winning Hearts and Minds: Knoxville Edition

Feel the love:

Vice President Dick Cheney was heckled by protesters Tuesday as he spoke at the groundbreaking for a public policy center honoring former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker. During Cheney's brief remarks, about a half-dozen people protesting the war in Iraq yelled, "War, what is it good for?" and held up a large banner saying, "Peace Now."

Cheney continued speaking and didn't acknowledge the protesters, who were escorted from the ceremony inside the University of Tennessee's basketball arena. About 50 protesters, most of them appearing to be college age, demonstrated outside the arena. Several carried signs, including one that read "Honor Baker, Impeach Cheney."

The Situation: Explosive Theories



Steven Jones, a Brigham Young University physics professor, raises a controversial theory concerning the September 11th collapse of the WTC towers. While the jury is still out, it's about time this dialogue enters the mainstream conversation (video).

Falafelism



O'Reilly digs himself deeper and deeper, as he keeps the story alive for a second week with his McCarthyesque list of hate (video).

Misfollowing



I am curious if the above is intended as a response to this...

Monday, November 14, 2005

60 Minutes: Aftershock



Our government -- and the rest of us for that matter -- could learn a thing or two by observing the humanitarian efforts of the 13 New York paramedics who chose to volunteer their services in Pakistan (video).

Resistance Is Not Futile

The Rude Pundit offers the Democrats some candid advice:

Resistance is an agenda. It's simply explained: hey, the bag of douche Republicans won't even allow Democratic ideas to be debated, so we're gonna filibuster the shit out of these assholes on most of their extreme shit and force compromise or implosion. And if you wanna have new ideas, then get rid of these crazy motherfuckers who want to wreck the country for this strange, endless utopian vision they have that they can't really explain to the rest of us.

Democrats in the Senate need to filibuster, constantly, because they can. Because, like David only havin' a little fuckin' rock in a leather sack against big-ass Goliath, they have God on their side in the form of poll numbers that say the direction of the country is wrong. You may say, "But, oh, dear, if Democrats simply stand in the way of things being done, they will be portrayed as obstructionists." And the Rude Pundit would get all Zen and shit and say, "Is a dam obstructionist to a river that would wash away a town?" Then he'd smile as you try to figure that out as he comes on to your boyfriend or girlfriend.

Resistance leaders are revered as heroes in other nations, especially when they take on a monolithic, seemingly undefeatable opponent. Their rewards are power with which they can then either imitate the foul leaders just ousted or forge a new bond with the average citizen.

Countdown: How High?



John Dean, Nixon's former White House counsel, explains why he suspects Fitzgerald is targeting Cheney (video).

Paranoia



Call me paranoid, but a secretive meeting at the Pentagon with a suspected Iranian spy makes me a wee bit nervous:

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld discussed Iraqi security and political developments on Monday with Ahmad Chalabi, the former Iraqi exile tainted by the since-discredited claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. [...] Pentagon officials did not allow TV or photo coverage of Chalabi's arrival at the Pentagon, and there was no coverage of the talks. Chalabi met later with Vice President Dick Cheney, and he also had talks with Robert Zoellick, the deputy secretary of state.

On a side note, did you notice who wasn't invited?

Pollicious

Here's looking to '06:
Fewer than one in 10 adults say they would prefer a congressional candidate who is a Republican and who agrees with Bush on most major issues, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday. Even among Republicans, seven of 10 are most likely to back a candidate who has at least some disagreements with the president.
Yum.

Ideology Over Science

Your theocracy at work:
The GAO has just released a long-awaited report documenting the politicized process that led the Food & Drug Administration to block over-the-counter (OTC) access to Plan B, the "morning-after pill," in 2003. The blockbuster finding of the report is that then-FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford (a close ally of anti-choice groups) reportedly decided to reject the Plan B application months before the FDA's study of the drug was completed.

The Bush Plague

Regardless of whether or not Forrester's claims are in fact accurate, you know any future GOP candidates are going to err on the side of caution:

Republican Doug Forrester thinks he would be preparing to become New Jersey governor, not Democrat Jon Corzine, if President Bush's popularity wasn't so low.

Forrester -- who suffered a double-digit percentage loss at the polls last Tuesday -- told the Sunday Star-Ledger of Newark that dissatisfaction with Bush made it impossible for him to overcome the Democrats' advantages in the Garden State.

"If Bush's numbers were where they were a year ago, or even six months ago, I think we would have won on Tuesday," Forrester told the newspaper during an interview at his home in Brielle.

Ah, life's simple pleasures.

What About Rove?

Don't worry, Fitz and his elves are still working hard:

Fitzgerald did not seek an indictment of Rove, opting to present any potential new evidence on the White House deputy chief of staff to a new grand jury. In recent days, Fitzgerald has reinterviewed several witnesses with knowledge of Rove's role in the Plame leak and talked with attorneys of other potential witnesses.

The ongoing investigation means that Rove's legal status is likely to remain up in the air until the final disposition of Libby's case. That could be two years from now, or even longer. Rove's predicament contradicts recent news accounts indicating that Fitzgerald will conclude his probe of Rove in the near future.

Rove and the White House had hoped that President Bush's most important political adviser was out of legal jeopardy when the Libby indictment was announced on October 28, and that the political fallout from the CIA leak scandal would recede with the expiration of the grand jury's term. That no longer appears to be the case.

The Pacific Rim Tour



George leaves for Asia today... May I suggest a pair of these.

November Surprise

The Bush Administration has found a solution to those pesky allegations of torture, remove the medium:
Human rights campaigners are calling it the 'November surprise' - a last-minute amendment smuggled into a Pentagon finance bill in the US Senate last Thursday. Its effects are likely to be devastating: the permanent removal of almost all legal rights from 'war on terror' detainees at Guantanamo Bay and every other similar US facility on foreign or American soil.
And if a tree falls...
A senior Pentagon lawyer who asked not to be named said that the Graham amendment will have another consequence. The same Pentagon bill also contains a clause, sponsored by Graham and the Arizona Republican John McCain, to outlaw torture at US detention camps - a move up to now fiercely resisted by the White House. 'If detainees can't talk to lawyers or file cases, how will anyone ever find out if they have been abused,' the lawyer said.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Revelations



As Dowd-Lite pointed out: The Rapture is not an exit plan...

Playing Hardball



SNL spoofs the softball coverage of the "Republicans in turmoil", and I have to say, Hammond's got Tweety pegged (video).

Last Throes: Washington Edition

The White House is challenging the Washington Post to a duel:

The Washington Post Implies That The Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) Was Superior To The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) Given To Congress. "But Bush does not share his most sensitive intelligence, such as the President's Daily Brief, with lawmakers. Also, the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community's views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force in that country." (Dana Milbank And Walter Pincus, "Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument," The Washington Post, 11/12/05)

But The PDB Was The Focus Of Intelligence Reform And Was More "Problematic" Than The NIE Given To Congress.

The Washington Post Implies That There Have Been No Findings On The Use Of Intelligence. "But the only committee investigating the matter in Congress, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has not yet done its inquiry into whether officials mischaracterized intelligence by omitting caveats and dissenting opinions. And Judge Laurence H. Silberman, chairman of Bush's commission on weapons of mass destruction, said in releasing his report on March 31, 2005: 'Our executive order did not direct us to deal with the use of intelligence by policymakers, and all of us were agreed that that was not part of our inquiry.'" (Dana Milbank And Walter Pincus, "Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument," The Washington Post, 11/12/05)

But Congressional And Independent Committees Have Repeatedly Reported No Distortion Of Intelligence.

Time to get the popcorn, this is getting interesting.

Traitor

Expect no retraction from Bill O'Reilly concerning his approval of an al Qaida attack on San Francisco:
I mean, look, everybody knows what's going on there. What I said isn't controversial. What I said needed to be said. I'm sitting here and I'm looking at a city that has absolutely no clue about what the world is. None. You know, if you had been hit on 9/11 instead of New York, believe me, you would not have voted against military recruiting. Yet the left-wing, selfish, Land of Oz philosophy that the media and the city politicians have embraced out there is an absolute intellectual disgrace.
And people accuse me of being unpatriotic?

Meet the Liar



Ken Mehlman defends Bush's Veterans Day political attack on the Democrats with lie, after lie, after lie (video).

Hazing Gone Bad

It must be some kind of misunderstanding:

CIA interrogators apparently tried to cover up the death of an Iraqi 'ghost detainee' who died while being interrogated at Abu Ghraib prison, Time magazine reported today, after obtaining hundreds of pages of documents, including an autopsy report, about the case.

The death of secret detainee Manadel al-Jamadi was ruled a homicide in a Defense Department autopsy, Time reported, adding that documents it recently obtained included photographs of his battered body, which had been kept on ice to keep it from decomposing, apparently to conceal the circumstances of his death.

Because we do not torture.

Speaking of PNAC...



On the McLaughlin Group, Pat Buchanan not only acknowledged that the Iraq War is destabilizing the entire region of the Middle East, but added that it was in fact the objective all along (video).

Project for the New American Century

In conversations both on and offline, I'm amazed that so many otherwise knowledgeable individuals are unaware of the infamous neocon organization and its global ambitions. Consider this a public service announcement for those not in the know; a primer via Wikipedia:

The Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, is a Washington, DC based think tank. The group was established in spring 1997 as a non-profit organization with the goal of promoting "American global leadership". The chairman is William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and FOX News regular. The group is an initiative of the New Citizenship Project, a non-profit 501c3 organization that is funded by the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation and the Bradley Foundation.

Present and former members include several prominent members of the Republican Party and Bush Administration, including Richard Armitage, William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, Ellen Bork (the wife of Robert Bork), Dick Cheney, Zalmay Khalilzad, Lewis Libby, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz. A large number of its ideas and its members are associated with the neoconservative movement. PNAC has seven full-time staff members, in addition to its board of directors.

The PNAC is a controversial organization. Some have raised concerns that the project has been proposing military and economic domination of land, space, and cyberspace by the United States, so as to establish American dominance in world affairs (Pax Americana) for the future -- hence the term "the New American Century", based on the idea that the 20th century was the American Century. Some analysts argue that the American-led 2003 invasion of Iraq, commenced in March of that year under the code name Operation Iraqi Freedom, is the first major step toward implementing these objectives.

Libby's Protecting Big Time

On one hand I am pleased that the Washington Post is keeping the story alive, but sometimes you just have say, no shit:

In the aftermath of Libby's recent five-count indictment, this curious sequence raises a question of motives that hangs over the investigation: Why would an experienced lawyer and government official such as Libby leave himself so exposed to prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald? Libby, according to Fitzgerald's indictment, gave a false story to agents and, later, to a grand jury, even though he knew investigators had his notes, and presumably knew that several of his White House colleagues had already provided testimony and documentary evidence that would undercut his own story. And his interviews with the FBI in October and two appearances before the grand jury in March 2004 came at a time when there were increasingly clear signs that some of the reporters with whom Libby discussed Plame could soon be freed to testify -- and provide starkly different and damning accounts to the prosecutor.

To critics, the timing suggests an attempt to obscure Cheney's role, and possibly his legal culpability. The vice president is shown by the indictment to be aware of and interested in Plame and her CIA status long before her cover was blown. Even some White House aides privately wonder whether Libby was seeking to protect Cheney from political embarrassment. One of them noted with resignation, "Obviously, the indictment speaks for itself." In addition, Cheney also advised Libby on a media strategy to counter Plame's husband, former ambassador Wilson, according to a person familiar with the case.

Note to the Post: Do some digging for fuck's sake. Think big, bigger than Watergate.

Impeachment Envy

Damn, I'm jealous:

MPs organising the campaign to impeach Tony Blair believe they have enough support to force a highly damaging Commons investigation into the Prime Minister’s pre-war conduct.

A renewed attempt to impeach Blair over claims he misled parliament in making his case for war against Iraq, will be made in the Commons within the next two weeks.

The impeachment process effectively stalled last year when just 23 MPs signed a Commons motion. But the scale of the government’s defeat on its anti-terror legislation last week – where 49 Labour MPs rebelled – has galvanised the momentum for proceedings to be invoked.

Organisers say they are expecting 200 cross-party signatures, including those of former government ministers, to force the Commons to set up a Privy Council investigation that would examine in detail the case for impeachment against Blair.

Retraction on Iraq

It will certainly be interesting to see who else comes forward now that John Edwards has broken the ice:

Almost three years ago we went into Iraq to remove what we were told -- and what many of us believed and argued -- was a threat to America. But in fact we now know that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction when our forces invaded Iraq in 2003. The intelligence was deeply flawed and, in some cases, manipulated to fit a political agenda.

It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002. I take responsibility for that mistake. It has been hard to say these words because those who didn't make a mistake -- the men and women of our armed forces and their families -- have performed heroically and paid a dear price.

Dare I say Hillary?







Take what you want, leave what you don't.

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