Sunday, April 30, 2006

Message for Mini Bush

From the father of a soldier killed in combat:
"From a flower-draped stage, Dinning told the audience pointedly: 'Now, I would like to show you some of the video that Mr. Harper wouldn't let you see close up of Matthew's arrival home on Tuesday night.'

Then, on a giant screen, came newsreel images — shot from behind a fence at CFB Trenton — of Matthew Dinning's flag-draped coffin emerging from the rear of a transport plane.

The public sharing of these images put the lie to the Conservative government's contention that its unilateral decision to ban the media from repatriation ceremonies was undertaken out of respect for the families of dead soldiers. This family was never consulted."

The lawless President

Here are some laws passed by Congress and here's how Bush ignores them:
March 9: Justice Department officials must give reports to Congress by certain dates on how the FBI is using the USA Patriot Act to search homes and secretly seize papers.

Bush's signing statement: The president can order Justice Department officials to withhold any information from Congress if he decides it could impair national security or executive branch operations.

Dec. 30, 2005: US interrogators cannot torture prisoners or otherwise subject them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

Bush's signing statement: The president, as commander in chief, can waive the torture ban if he decides that harsh interrogation techniques will assist in preventing terrorist attacks.

Dec. 30: When requested, scientific information ''prepared by government researchers and scientists shall be transmitted [to Congress] uncensored and without delay."

Bush's signing statement: The president can tell researchers to withhold any information from Congress if he decides its disclosure could impair foreign relations, national security, or the workings of the executive branch.
...
Aug. 5: The military cannot add to its files any illegally gathered intelligence, including information obtained about Americans in violation of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches.

Bush's signing statement: Only the president, as commander in chief, can tell the military whether or not it can use any specific piece of intelligence.
Get the message? Congress can pass its laws but Bush can act in a way that effectively guts the intent of the law.

Need more ammo for reining Bush in? The case to constrain him and elect a Congress that will provide oversight cannot be made more clear.

Rein Bush in. As Tim Roemer so aptly put it in his NYTimes op-ed yesterday, had enough? Get the Democrats in to check this lawless President.

Clutching at straws

For Republicans, New White House Lineup Brings Sense of Relief...I suppose anything would represent a "relief" for Republicans mired at all time lows in terms of approval ratings. But let's not overstate the staff shake up. Bush is still President. Unfortunately, they can't change that. So to this spin:
"If this were the NFL draft, these would be some awfully strong picks," said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), adding, "I think they're really trying to do something that is much more than cosmetic. They're trying to make meaningful changes that will give a new look as well as a new air to the administration."
I'd say think about it this way. To continue the football metaphor, if your quarterback has a 32% success rate, plugging holes in the lineup really isn't going to do too much. The President is the hub, unfortunately for them, he's the Decider, he calls the plays...and we're all stuck with him to the end. This is the first problem they have.

Here's the second. Despite the rumblings of agreement with the staff changes, there's still the potential bombshell on the horizon:
That sense of reassurance was offset, however, when Rove testified again last week before a grand jury investigating how the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame was leaked to the media. Although little is known about the status of special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald's probe, Republicans saw Rove's fifth appearance before the grand jury as an ominous sign.

"To see Rove back does worry people," said one House Republican, who asked not to be identified to talk about the sensitive case.
Yes, I agree, Rove is a worry. Could get a lot worse too. Jason Leopold reported this story on Friday: Fitzgerald to Seek Indictment of Rove. That report suggests that the charges have already been written up by Fitzgerald. So enjoy the thrill of your little staff changes, , it seems you're going to need all the help you can get....

Powell jumps into the pool, now that the water's warm

Powell Forces Rice to Defend Iraq Planning...oh, really? Now that a handful of retired generals have paved the way for him, Powell's going on record with what he advised Bush in advance of the Iraq war:
On Rice's mind was the political breakthrough that had brought her and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to Iraq last week and cleared the way for formation of a national unity government.

Yet Powell sideswiped her by revisiting the question of whether the U.S. had a large enough force to oust Saddam Hussein and then secure the peace.

He said he advised Bush before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 to send more troops to Iraq, but that the administration did not follow his recommendation.
Thanks, Colin, this really helps clear some things up...we've heard this criticism from other generals by now, so it's safe for you to hop on the bandwagon at this point....

Really magnifies why Powell would not actually have been a good President, contrary to the conventional wisdom that has consistently deemed him a political star.

If looks could kill

(REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang)

Would love to see this

Interesting column by Eleanor Clift on possibly running in 2008. Would stand head and shoulders above most of the other potential candidates, except . Gore has a sense of freedom about him these days, freedom to say what he feels and the freedom gained from knowing he has nothing to lose. He's unlikely to suffer the blow he did in 2000 again, what could happen that could possibly be worse than that? He knows life goes on...

The rest of the field are likely to be of the "play it safe" variety. Evan Bayh? Come on.... Joe Biden? None of these candidates would hold a candle to Gore. The only significant match up would really be between Gore & Hillary, and think of the incredible attention the Democratic race for President would garner with that dynamic race. I'd put Kerry at a strong second to these two. And on the Republican side, we'd likely be seeing McCain against Romney, or McCain and Giuliani pairing off at the end of their primaries. I'd say Gore & Hillary would give the Democrats an equally good, if not better set of high profile candidates. So I'd hope that both go for it, and that neither is cowed by the possibility of the other entering.

That's a shame

Colbert Lampoons Bush at Dinner, President Does Not Seem Amused. Guess the missing WMD jokes are only funny when you get to do them, hey W? A taste of the mayhem:
Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk show character who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged the president to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, “and reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. “This administration is soaring, not sinking,” he said. “They are re-arranging the deck chairs--on the Hindenburg.”
And there's more....
He also made biting cracks about missing WMDs, “photo ops” on aircraft carriers, and Vice President Cheney shooting people in the face.

He closed his routine with a video fantasy where he gets to be White House Press Secretary, complete with a special “Gannon” button on his podium. By the end, he runs fleeing from Helen Thomas and her questions about why the U.S. really invaded Iraq.

Also hitting the press, Colbert complained that he was “surrounded by the libeal media who are destroying this country, except for Fox news. Fox believes in presenting both sides—the president’s side and the vice president’s side."

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Prostitution? We're Republicans!

This story is making its way into mainstream media..., you know, the one about the FBI investigating the defense contractor providing prostitutes to lawmakers. Yeah, that story.

Bad Republicans, bad!

Apparently a limo company was in cohoots with an escort service, and the businessmen doing the "bribing" of and possibly others, would use the limo service in this manner to execute the transactions, if you know what I mean. And the owner of the limo company has a lengthy criminal record, unchecked by Homeland Security. So hire good drivers, without criminal pasts, and any form of criminal or, more horrifyingly, terrorist outfit could potentially be contracting with Homeland Security. Because the spokesman here says "...the department does not routinely conduct background checks on its contractors. Instead, it relies on a list the government keeps of vendors who have had serious problems with federal contracts, he said."

And eventhough this limo company has apparently been providing hookers to Washington's finest, here's what the Homeland Security spokesman has to say about it:
He stressed that Shirlington Limousine has performed well, saying: "We have not had any problems with this service -- we don't question whether they can deliver because they are delivering."
"Delivering" - and how! Kinda takes on a whole new meaning, doesn't it?

...this is not good, Alice, in an election year to boot! This has all the makings of a very picturesque scandal in the works...

The General paints a picture

Green looks good on Goss.

We haven't forgotten the media ban...

Still watching, Mini Bush. And looky here, "Harper's staff behind media ban, sources say." Helpful sources, at that. Take a look at the article and see the Defence Minister distancing himself from the decision to ban media from returning soldier ceremonies. See Harper's staff get blamed.

See the Harper stranglehold on Ministers ensure there will be lots of leaks like this to come...

Rove watch, again

Thanks to Firedoglake, we see this link to comments made by Judge Hogan, Friday, on his involvement in the CIA leak investigation:
The federal judge who jailed a former New York Times reporter for refusing to name her source during the CIA leak investigation defended his decision Friday.

Thomas F. Hogan, chief judge of Washington's federal district court, told a meeting of the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association that he made the right call when he ruled there was no First Amendment protection for reporters to keep their sources confidential, especially in criminal matters.

The case of reporter Judith Miller began as a typical Washington political story as the White House tried to push back against critics in a brewing scandal, Hogan told the group.

"It was the perfect storm," he said, of Washington politics, the media and the law.

In 2003, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson accused the Bush administration of twisting intelligence about Iraq's efforts to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger to justify going to war.

"Blood was spreading in the water," Hogan said. "The sharks were gathering. It's typical Washington politics, except that this involved the commission of a crime."
...
Miller wasn't an innocent bystander, Hogan said. "She was an actor in the commission of a crime," he said. "She was part of the transfer of information that was a crime."
(emphasis added)
Yet today, we see Victoria Toensing reiterate the view that there was no underlying crime committed in the Plame outing:
In Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation, he has yet to provide any evidence there was an actual crime committed in the course of providing Ms. Plame's name to the press.
I'll grant her the "yet to provide any evidence" couching. But Toensing...Hogan...hmmm, think I'll side with the judge on this one for now. Plame was exposed to the public, she was covert, and it was done by the White House. And Fitzgerald may yet charge someone under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which requires intention to out a covert agent. We shall see.

One other obscure point for the evening. This "no underlying crime" observation is really quite useless in light of how the CIA leak investigation has unfolded. Because the effect of this talking point is to create the impression that if there is no underlying crime, then lying and obstructing justice are somehow to be minimized. And I really don't feel that any of the actors involved here, including and Libby, should be so indulged for skating so close to that law but not fully satisfying its requirements.

How do you know when the White House is lying?

Their lips are moving:
White House officials said Mr. Bush was not being politically calculating and has always believed that new immigrants should embrace the national language and culture.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Republican spin on losing the House

Crooks and Liars has video of Bill Kristol on the Colbert Report...did Bill actually say that the best thing for the Republicans in '08 is to have a Democratic House in '07 and '08? Yeah, I think that would be best too, Bill...:)

The Divider-in-Chief has a new wedge issue

Bush Says Anthem Should Be in English - New York Times:
After saying he did not consider the anthem sung in Spanish to have the same value as the anthem sung in English, Mr. Bush said: "I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English. And they ought to learn to sing the anthem in English."
The is walking a fine line here. How do you grow a nascent Republican voting base without irking them with this kind of rhetoric? That was suppposed to be part of the long term Republican majority that was cultivating. Guess when you're facing possible Democrat control of one or both of the Houses, with the subpoena power that follows, dreams of long term Hispanic support for the Republican party get trashed by the wayside...

So they're going to inflame voters with this pathetic mock patriotism. For all the damage Bush has done, Katrina incompetence, the misdirected Iraq war, the piles of massive debt, and even his own party's effort to make felons out of illegal aliens, he's about to inflict more. And it's a simple message for him, so he'll be all the more effective at it. Going to rail, rail, rail against singing the anthem in Spanish. He'll do whatever it takes...have you had enough?

Holy muck, batman!

CIA's Goss Drawn Into Hooker Probe?

Who knew?

(Credit: here)

Guess you can worry for a few more weeks, Karl

Here's Bloomberg's update today. Apparently it's going to be a few weeks before there's a verdict on whether there will be an indictment of . So heaven can wait.

In the most unsurprising news on this story, here's a Rove spokesman trying his damnedest to put lipstick on this pig:
``We feel very confident that the special counsel will realize that Mr. Rove has done nothing wrong, and in fact has done everything right,'' said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Rove. ``That said, he's made no determination on charges, and we are sitting and waiting.''
Nice attempt at a balancing act there, guy. Rove has done everything right, though? Come on...that's just painful.

Also of note here, a reminder of Fitzgerald's likely modus operandi:
The Libby indictment referred to an ``Official A,'' who people familiar with the case have identified as Rove. In at least two other cases brought by Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago, people he identified as ``Official A'' were later indicted.
The return of "Official A," and we all know what the "A" stands for in Rove's case (...that would be a*#hole).

One last observation. This excerpt reminded me of one of the conservative talking points we frequently hear:
Fitzgerald was initially appointed as a special counsel to investigate whether any administration officials violated a 1982 law designed to protect covert operatives by leaking Plame's identity.
...

No one has been charged with that crime.
Libby, 55, the only person to be charged thus far, was indicted in October on five counts of perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to federal investigators and the grand jury about his discussions with reporters about Plame. He has pleaded not guilty, and his trial is set to start next January. (emphasis added)
That's right, no one has been charged with the underlying crime. There's a very high standard of intent in that law. The fact that no one has been charged with the underlying crime is frequently mentioned by the right to minimize the entire CIA leak investigation. Never mind Libby's charges, set out above, of lying to investigators and the grand jury. And that Rove apparently is facing the prospects of similar charges. Those are enough to have set Republicans on fire in the 90's had any high profile Clinton adviser been so charged. So no, no one has been charged with knowingly leaking Plame's identity, yet. And that's really irrelevant to the bigger picture.

Because what we do have is a well drawn out pattern of obfuscation and the misleading of federal authorities (and the public). Rove and Libby's alleged actions are symptomatic of the deception practiced by the Bush administration. The case for Iraq, hello? The leak investigation has aired what many suspect is the typical ethic of the White House. So for all the pooh-poohing on the right that this is a marginal matter, they're failing to understand that this is a metaphor for the Bush White House's incapability of telling the truth...

This is totally different, apparently

Bush Set to Approve Takeover of 9 Military Plants by Dubai ...an Arab company running seaports is worthy of outrage but taking over military manufacturing plants is not? Huh? Is flubbing another one?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Karl's worried, that's a shame

Apparently it takes Karl Rove 5 appearances before a grand jury before he starts to get concerned: here and report here.

For now, a smidgen of karmic retribution for all the careers shattered by the ...

Mini Bush makes nice with his leader

Here. Yes, they had to resolve this. And a deal was the only way to do so. But it really irks a lot of people that Canada, who has won consistently on the softwood lumber issue in the appropriate NAFTA dispute panels, has to give in to the U.S. on this, who acted unilaterally and high-handedly, in the form of such a deal. What happens the next time the U.S. doesn't agree with us on a trade issue? Well, seems they can ignore the law - as seems to be their thing lately (warrantless wiretapping, feckless declassification, disregarding the Geneva Convention...) - yeah, ignore the trade panel rulings against you and force your neighbour to agree to a settlement that gives less than what they're entitled to...

This is exactly the kind of treatment by the unilateralist Bush administration that sticks in the craw of your best friend and neighbour...

Republican family values

Include prostitutes apparently:
"The Wall Street Journal reports today that admitted briber Mitchell Wade of MZM, Inc. helped procure prostitutes for former Rep. Randy 'Duke' Cunningham (R-CA) -- and possibly for others:

According to people with knowledge of the investigation, Mr. Wade told investigators that Mr. Cunningham periodically phoned him to request a prostitute, and that Mr. Wade then helped to arrange for one. A limousine driver then picked up the prostitute as well as Mr. Cunningham, and drove them to one of [two] hotel suites, originally at the Watergate Hotel, and subsequently at the Westin Grand.

. . . [I]nvestigators are focusing on whether any other members of Congress, or their staffs, may also have used the same free services, though it isn't clear whether investigators have turned up anything to implicate others."
That's a shame...could give a whole new meaning to the Republican "Culture of Corruption" label that's taking hold...

Laughable

Republican Senators in re-election difficulty want $100 rebate checks doled out for gas. Well that should last you a few weeks...meanwhile, if your Republican president takes action against Iran, you'll be needing a lot more than $100! Can you hear the desperation?

Herbert provides a message for the midterms

"Stuck With Bush" is a lucid case for reining in this fall, for all the damage he's done since taking office. The case to constrain the Republicans can't be made more clear.
If George W. Bush could have been removed from office for being a bad president, he would have been sent back to his ranch a long time ago.

If incompetence were a criminal offense, he'd be behind bars.

But that's just daydreaming. The reality is that there are more than two and a half years left in the long dark night of the Bush presidency — nearly as long as the entire time John Kennedy was in office.

The nation seems, very belatedly, to be catching on to the tragic failures and monumental ineptitude of its president. Mr. Bush's poll numbers are abysmal. Republicans up for re-election are running from him as if he were the bogyman.
Herbert lays out the record clearly. Squandering the Clinton budget surplus, the incompetence, the loss of good will after September 11th, the pooh-poohing of global warming but now preaching about oil addiction, employing "...a massive campaign of deceit to lead the nation into a catastrophic war in Iraq — a war with no end in sight that has already claimed tens of thousands of lives and inflicted scores of thousands of crippling injuries." The midterm elections have to be about Bush. If America is "stuck" with this guy, he has to be reined in. Change the congress. Had enough?

Back by popular demand

It's ba-ack...

There is so much interest in this picture from around the world, there's really an opportunity for the originator to make something of it. Have at it people, and enjoy...you may see this again in the future, should the occasion present itself, heh heh...

As for yesterday's Rove developments, let's wait and see. The spin from Rove's counsel, no doubt, to the Washington Post is that he would have been stupid to lie.
Rove testified, in essence, that "it would have been a suicide mission" to "deliberately lie" about his conversation with Cooper because he knew beforehand that it eventually would be revealed, the source said.
Yes, so smart, the all-knowing one knew his conversation with Matt Cooper from Time would become public so he'd have to be an idiot to lie. Yeah, come on Fitz, stop wasting this honest John's time! I mean, Rove just oozes honesty and integrity, are you blind, man?...yep, that line of argument could be a problem...

Elsewhere, there's tons of speculation about whether he's a "target" or not...some say yes, sources have said he received such a notification. Others say no, p*%# off, we deny, deny, deny that claim. So that's a bit of a puzzler.

When you testify five times in front of a grand jury, you better be telling the truth, that's my bottom line. From everything that's been reported, it's hard to think that's the case. If Rove has tried to play fast and loose with the process, like he allegedly has done before, Fitzgerald is unlikely to have been bamboozled.

Until the truth outs, let the speculation continue.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Snow announced on the day Rove testifies

Coincidence? Froomkin raises an a propos question about Snow's prospects in light of today's events:
"One litmus test: Will he continue the stonewalling about the role of key White House officials in leaking the identity of Valerie Plame and other classified information in an attempt to discredit Plame's husband?"
After Rove's testimony today, the questions will heat up from the White House press corps. And Scotty had blown his credibility on the issue. All the more reason to hurry him out the door and coordinate today's interesting sequence of events. So we wait, to see how Snow will handle this burning fire...

Hilarious

Bush said this when announcing Tony Snow as his new Press Secretary today:
"He understands like I understand that the press is vital to our democracy."
That , he just kills me with these zingers.

When you lie, you get caught

The news today that "Rove Testifies for 5th Time in CIA Leak Case" most certainly explains the recent "segmentation" of his duties at the White House. They knew trouble was brewing. Within a week, he's testifying, again.

Check out Jason Leopold's reporting today on Rove's testifying today. It seems likely an indictment is coming.

The more I read coverage of involvement in this CIA leak investigation, I remain convinced that every step he has taken has been about the 2004 re-election of . It's as simple as that. If you keep that in mind as you read through all the mind-numbing details of this case, that's what it's about.

Joseph Wilson started to unravel the administration's public case for going to war in Iraq in the summer of 2003. A full year in advance of the 2004 presidential election campaign. So they had to stamp it out. This could not take root. Bush could not be seen to have been lying about intelligence to the American people. Not good in an election campaign.

So Rove and and the gang went to work on smearing Wilson, with the full consent of their higher ups. The fact that , Wilson's wife, was a CIA agent and was outed in the process of smearing Wilson, that was a necessary evil they would have to live with if the President's credibility had to be preserved for re-election. So Rove obfuscated and drew out the investigation:
People close to the case said that Fitzgerald has presented additional evidence to the grand jury in the past week that shows Rove lied to federal investigators and a grand jury eight out of the nine times he was asked about his knowledge of the leak since October 2003.

Should Wednesday's court appearance by Rove provide the grand jury with answers to lingering questions, Rove may not be charged with obstruction of justice, but will likely be indicted for perjury and lying to investigators, sources close to the case said.

For one, according to the sources close to the investigation, the likelihood that Rove will be charged with perjury centers on the fact that Rove has testified at least three times that he first discovered that Plame worked for the CIA after her name was printed in a July 2003 newspaper report by conservative columnist Robert Novak. Evidence has since surfaced that shows Rove spoke to Novak about Plame prior to Novak's published report in which Novak outed the undercover CIA officer.

Moreover, Rove did not disclose that he had also been a source for a story about Plame written by Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, and Rove testified that he was not involved in a campaign to discredit or attack the credibility of Plame's husband, Ambassador Wilson, when at least two dozen witnesses have testified before the grand jury that Rove was in fact instrumental in the smear campaign on Wilson.
Rove came clean about his discussion with Matthew Cooper only after he'd been tipped off, by a Time reporter's tip to his lawyer. And even then, we hear there are discrepancies between Rove's version of that conversation and Cooper's, who claims Rove outed Plame to him.

It was all about making sure that Bush would be re-elected. The investigation had to extend into Bush's 2nd term so that the re-election would not be torpedoed. So he would avoid the fate of his one-term father. The son had to outdo the father. That's Bush's legacy. Win at all costs and Rove would do whatever it took.

Hitting all the right notes

James Webb running for U.S. Senate for the Dems in Virginia. Sounds like he could mount a real tough challenge to Smilin' George Allen. Very interesting indeed...maybe a sunny candidate who tries to make everyone feel like everything's OK and coming up roses is not going to go over well this fall. But maybe that's just me...

Canadian media ban eyed in U.S.

Washington Post today, In Canada, An Uproar Over Army Casualties:
The redeployment to Kandahar and the casualties have led to "a series of rude awakenings for Canadians," said Rudyard Griffiths, executive director of the Dominion Institute, which runs a veterans' awareness project. That unease is increased by Canadians' strong opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and to the Bush administration, he said.

"It's a very fine balancing act the prime minister has to manage, communicating to Canadians that Afghanistan is not Iraq," Griffiths said. As reports of Afghan civilian and Canadian military casualties mount, "it's going to transfer that negative image of a bungled enterprise, of hopelessness, from George Bush to Stephen Harper.

The comparison came quickly Tuesday after the government ordered journalists away from the Trenton, Ontario, air base when the coffins of the four soldiers arrived."
The shameful media ban is getting American coverage too...for any Americans who read this article, we're outraged by this move...

The Fox is in the White House

Fox Host to Join White House :
A senior administration official said the president chose Mr. Snow, 50, to become one of the most visible faces of the administration because he understood newspapers, radio, television and government, having worked in all four areas.

This official, who was granted anonymity to speak about a major personnel move not yet announced by Mr. Bush, added that the White House was hoping that Mr. Snow would use his television skills to take better advantage of the daily briefings so often televised live on cable news, giving the administration unfiltered time to push its points of the day.
Yep, it could be a whole new era dawning. A likeable television host (to many, I have heard) is brought into the White House to, essentially, put on a good show and get the ratings up. Advertise the product by putting a handsome new face on TV everyday for the viewing public. Looky here, they admit it:
The official said the president is also looking for "a forceful advocate for the type of historical change he's trying to accomplish" and added: "We believe Tony fits the bill in both areas. He has a lot of experience on the air, which with the evolution of the briefings is something you have to take into consideration."
(emphasis added)
See?

The desired effect? Gee, he can't be that bad, he seems like a nice guy. Like the giant "Star Trek" screens transported around to every Presidential speech, the job of the White House press secretary is about to get a huge, focus group tested makeover. I'm not sure about exactly what's to come, but it'll be like meets Madison Avenue, personified...

Backlash

Are you listening, Mini Bush? Here's the father of a soldier killed in Afghanistan :
"Richard Leger participated in the same type of sad homecoming for his son Marc in 2002 and says he'll forever cherish the public participation.

It was a Canadian thing. It was something we wanted to show all Canadians -- what the cost of their liberty is,'' Leger told the CBC.

"It's still heartwarming to (remember) the people's faces. People were lined up on (Highway) 401, in 2002, all the way from Trenton to Toronto.

"They wanted to be there. They had to be there. I was told that often. . . and those are the things I carry with me all my life.''
And there's more :
"In a different interview, Marie Leger -- mother of Cpl. Marc Leger, killed in Afghanistan in 2002 -- rejected O'Connor's reasoning.

'Whatever the Harper crew is talking about, it's not trying to help the families. Whatever reason they decided to do this for, it's not for us,' she said.

'If people don't want to listen to this, they can turn their TV off. But by golly, I think Canadians are smart enough and tough enough to understand what's going on in Afghanistan.'

By seeing coffins come off the plane, 'they'll understand what war is all about,' Leger said."

I am ashamed

Of our government. And angry.

Rosie DiManno is angry too:
Fine words, this Canadian government has for its soldiers, especially when they die at their country's bidding.

But words without pictures — except from a distance. Without even — any longer — witnesses.

As if a nation should look away when the casualties of war come home in a box. Such is the defensive posture of a government that doesn't trust its own principles, the very ideals that put a country's lifeblood, its uniformed men and women, in harm's way.

Soldiers serve. Politicians are self-serving. Unlike our troops, they run from a fight. They duck and cover at the first hint of trouble, trembling at the optics of flag-draped coffins arriving at CFB Trenton, as if Canadians must be spared the spectacle of repatriated remains.

So quick, the Conservatives were, to yoke themselves to the valour of troops fighting in Afghanistan; portraying themselves as superior to their predecessors in their higher regard for a military beggared through years of neglect and diminishment by the Liberals.

But Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor is a coward for banning media coverage of four slain soldiers whose bodies were returned to Canada yesterday. And since surely no such decision would have been made without the approval of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, that makes him a coward too.

Does anybody really believe, as O'Connor has posited, that this abrupt and unilateral shift in policy was undertaken out of respect for the families of the dead? It is precisely respect — a nation's acknowledgment of the sacrifice made by Cpl. Matthew Dinning, Bombardier Myles Mansell, Cpl. Randy Payne and Lieut. William Turner — that is being denied those grieving families.

Watching isn't voyeurism. It's shared mourning, for all those who can't attend funerals or mumble their condolences at visitations.

Today's episode of RNC North

"Kyoto? Who needs it!"

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Impolitical thinks it's a great plan

Froomkin spotlights Gergen's misguided advice to Josh Bolten:
"Appearing on Anderson Cooper 's show on CNN, presidential pundit David Gergen took issue with the five-point plan attributed to new Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten by Mike Allen in this week's issue of Time.

'I have too much respect for Josh Bolten to believe that this is his plan. You know, somebody who really doesn't like him leaked this and attributed it to him, because this plan is cynical.

'It plays -- it plays only to the base, in a way that I think that most Americans will reject. And it's -- it just is not responsive to the -- to the real issues of the day. I mean, what's the -- what's the heart of this plan? Scaring people about Iran, putting a lot more troops on the borders with big badges, as they say, and a lot of guns, and tax breaks for investors, and then going out there and bragging a lot about their accomplishments and cozying up to the press.

'That's a plan for recovery? Now, come on. That's -- that's not a serious plan. It's cynical. It's not responsive to the problems of the country, and many people would regard it as irresponsible. I just don't believe that's their plan. I think they're going to something more serious than this. I don't believe Josh Bolten would sign on to a plan like this.'"
(emphasis added)
Sounds like the script that has worked so well for them, thus far. Impolitical says, at 32% approval, they can't be wrong...:)

Piercing the American Idol's 9/11 halo

It's 'Giuliani Time' :
Premiering next month, "Giuliani Time" turns a critical lens on the former mayor's controversial tenure in New York before his reassuring leadership in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks elevated his reputation.

"I'm not claiming there's anything approaching objectivity about this film," director Kevin Keating said in an interview. "It's a corrective to the perception of Rudy and the miracle of crime reduction in New York, Rudy and the miracle of 9/11."
Oh my, is another hero's competency bubble going to be popped? Could "Giuliani Time" do for Rudy what Katrina did for W?
"'Republicans see Giuliani on a white horse, the Napoleon in the corner, the hero of 9/11,' Keating said. 'But it's the biggest delusional lie ever put forward. The guy's a demagogue.'"
Very interesting, a new documentary on the great one...and press people are on it already. Someone's mulling an election run, or something, do ya think?

Yep, could be a problem...:)

Maybe mini-Bush will quash this too

This hasn't been banned, yet:
"Following recent departure ceremonies at Kandahar airfield, for both Costall and the latest casualties, many soldiers openly grumbled about the presence of journalists and cameras. They considered such time to be their private farewell and cited how the Americans bar the media altogether from both services.

In more even-tempered moments, most troops readily admit that coverage of the ramp ceremonies in southern Afghanistan has been important because it reminds Canadians of the sacrifices they and their comrades have made.

Closing off media access to those events would be far more disturbing, soldiers said, because not showing caskets would imply that this conflict has no cost, or worse, had become an embarrassment."

Nasty Harper

CBC News: Harper on defensive over media ban on return of dead soldiers:
"'It is not about photo ops and media coverage,' Harper said during Question Period, after being slammed by opposition members over the new policy. 'It's about what's in the best interests of the families.'"
That's right, it's not about photo ops and media coverage. It's about the public's right to know, Mr. Secretive PM. Media coverage enables the public to experience the day's events, good or bad. And there is a public interest here in addition to the families' interests. Soldiers fulfill their country's policies, this is a public matter as well.

Today the return of soldiers is banned, what's tomorrow? Question period? If you banned coverage of that, would you also say the resulting uproar would be about photo ops and the media? What happened to the good humoured Harper, this nasty one bites.
"Politicizing these funerals is entirely unbecoming [the Opposition leader's] office," Harper shot back.
Mini-Bush, you're the one who is making this a national issue, your controlling media policies are seeing to that...what you're hearing are the voices of opposition from Canadians...

Lower the flag already

It's that simple. Toronto's doing it. McGuinty's doing it. It's being done in Edmonton. Why doth the Tories protest so much? Harper doesn't like being questioned, he's got his letter from past veterans he's waving around. Apparently Korean and other past war vets will be upset if the flag is lowered for present day casualties. Qua? How is that a basis for present day policy? It doesn't speak to whether or not it should be done now, taking into account present circumstances. And Bob Rae wants to leave policy decisions to families of victims. No, sorry Bob, the government makes decisions as to how it should honour its fallen, you sensitive guy.

The more significant outrage should be focussed on the media ban on covering the return of soldiers to Canada. The consequences of our military action should be seen. If this is the policy that will continue to be pursued by this government, then citizens have a right to see what is going on, from beginning to end. The unpleasantness of war should not be swept under the rug to maintain a pretty picture for the viewing public or to keep a minority government's fortunes from sagging. Involvement in Afghanistan could very well be an issue that snowsballs to defeat this government. And so we see the rise of government information management.

Do the right thing, mini Bush, and lower the flags when soldiers are killed in combat. This is a no-brainer. And re-consider your media ban.

Control, control, control. Have we uncovered Harper's achilles heel?

Ixnay on the ridiculously oversized propaganda-ay

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

These over-stage-managed theatrics are just so fake. It's embarrassing. Why aren't these people embarrassed? Do any of them ever refuse to sit under such ridiculous propaganda displays or are they happy to be used like the Presidential props that they are?

Impolitical is thinking there must be subliminable messages embedded in these Star-Trekkian monitors that now appear to be part of W's travelling sideshow...

Right on

Dosanjh on the media ban on covering the return of fallen soldiers from Afghanistan:
"I find it absolutely un-Canadian," Dosanjh said. "He hopes that out of sight is out of mind. Canadians are not going to accept that."
This is just absolutely patronizing, Big-Brother information management at its worst...

Today's episode of RNC North

"Media barred from covering soldiers' return."
In the past, television and print media have been invited to attend when bodies of Canadian soldiers who have fallen overseas are repatriated.

But on Monday evening, news organizations were informed of the unprecedented media ban at CFB Trenton.

Government officials said the policy is permanent.

The move echoes an attempt in 2003 by the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush. Worried over diminishing public support for the Iraq war, Washington imposed a publication ban on images of coffins carrying the bodies of American soldiers.

Now, with polls showing Canadians almost evenly divided on the mission in Afghanistan, the federal government may have similar concerns.
Well, they'll have concerns if the Americans tell them they should have concerns....

There's one more staff member that needs a good shake up

And it's the Staff member-in-chief. We have yet more evidence of his utter inanity from yesterday. You see, was speaking in front of a business group yesterday in California, taking questions and doing a boffo job, as usual in responding. I read the following quote, and thought to myself, just how the f*%# does he think it's in any way OK to say s*%# like this:
"I base a lot of my foreign policy decisions on some things that I think are true. One, I believe there's an Almighty. And, secondly, I believe one of the great gifts of the Almighty is the desire in everybody's soul, regardless of what you look like or where you live, to be free."
Did you hear that? He actually said this, in public, out loud. He's doing the Almighty's work, people. Hear that? By invading Iraq he's spreading the Almighty's great gift of freedom. And he freely admits to basing "a lot" of his foreign policy decisions on things that he thinks are true. He thinks they're true. He doesn't know for sure, you see, he's a believer. This is the guy making decisions in the White House. Tell me again, , how it is elitist to want a President who is capable of intelligent, high level, rigorous decision-making that takes into account facts and sophisticated evidence.

Now we're not completely shocked to hear this. We have had prior quotes to this effect. He told Bob Woodward that when making his decision to go into Iraq or not, he appealed to a "higher father" (when asked whether he discussed his thinking with his human father).

And how about this gem:
Asked by a member of the audience if, as a former resident of Midland, Tex., he knows any illegal immigrants, Bush said: "No, I don't believe I know anybody who is in Texas illegally. Had I hired somebody who had been here illegally, I guarantee you'd have read about it."
Because of course he wouldn't know any illegal immigrants personally, mano a mano, he'd only know them if he hired them as one of his workers or servants apparently. Now we know he has money, courtesy of some sweetheart deals he was offered in the course of his very prestigious business career, and it's probably true, what he says. But the optics of saying something like this are terrible. It's like his father (again, the human one) displaying awe at the grocery store scanner, like he was discovering it for the first time. The point is to be one of the people, not the "hirer" of the people.

But what the heck, he's got nowhere to go but up, let's just let Bush be Bush, as the conservatives used to be so enamoured with saying...heh heh...:)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Snow drafted by Bush

Fox news anchor to become White House mouthpiece:
"Sources close to the White House said Monday that Fox anchor Tony Snow is likely to accept the job as White House press secretary, succeeding Scott McClellan.

The sources said they expect him to announce his decision within the next few days."
The preferred media outlet of the Bush administration further cements its position by embedding one of its own in the White House. So what will be the benefits to accrue to Faux news? Tip offs, exclusive interviews...oh wait, that happens already, doesn't it? So is this likely to make any difference? Well, this guy is probably more likeable. It's not hard to beat McLellan on that front. So I would expect a short term "honeymoon," if that's possible with W at 32%.

At the end of the day, it's more of the same from the Bush administration, drawing from their base rather than expanding their horizons and reaching out to new people to re-energize their popularity.

The General nails it

Hilarious redressing of Michelle Malkin. Payback's a bitch.

McCain watch

McCain Befriends Old Enemies - yeah, that's an understatement.

So this was 2000:
In March 2000, in the thick of that highly-charged GOP presidential competition between McCain and then-Gov. George W. Bush, Texas businessmen Sam and Charles Wyly -- major contributors to Bush -- funded a $2.5 million advertising campaign by a group calling itself "Republicans for Clear Air" that ran an ad against McCain in California, New York and Ohio.

Initially the Wylys did not acknowledge they were responsible for the ads -- and once it came out that they were they and the Bush 2000 presidential campaign denied any coordination, which would have been a violation of Federal Election Commission laws. McCain's campaign filed a complaint with the FEC alleging the Wylys broke the law.
And this is 2006:
Sam Wyly and his wife Cheryl have given McCain's political action committee a total of $10,000, according to records on the PAC's Web site. Additionally, Sam, Cheryl, and Charles Wyly are all co-chairing a May 15 fundraiser for McCain's PAC, to be hosted in Dallas, and featuring Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman.
Not surprising to anyone following 2008 odyssey. But it is remarkable to see the extent of support he's piling on from the old Bush backers. If you read through Jake Tapper's article, there are legions of Bushites now on board with McCain.

There is also an interesting theory explored here in the form of McCain being the Republican's "next guy"...like Bob Dole in '96, George Bush the First in 1988, etc. He's patiently waited his turn, so the party mandarins get behind him. I haven't found those "guys" to be particularly enthralling. And the "next guy" theory seems to, at least half the time, pick the "guy" whose time has past. McCain will have a ton of problems this time that he didn't have in 2000, as he courts the conservative base. Here's the gist of that problem:
"This is going to get tougher over the next few months," Ornstein said. "The press corps and Democrats and opinion leaders and the chattering class are going to get disillusioned and quickly turn on McCain with a vengeance if he's not careful."

On April 5, McCain told Jon Stewart's of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" that he was speaking at Liberty U. "to try to give these young people the same message I give to colleges and universities across the country."

After several rounds of back-and-forth, during which Stewart expressed comedic anguish, the comedian finally asked, "Are you freaking out on us? Are you going into crazy-base world?"

Joked McCain, "I'm afraid so."
Yes, be very afraid.

He's got a beeg problem

has no choice but to favour this - the Senate's Approach to Immigration, but it's going to tick off a lot of the wingnuts:
But conservatives in the House and the Senate balk at talk of legal residency for those in the country illegally.

"The differences between the two approaches are so great, I do not know how you connect those dots," said Representative Tom Tancredo, Republican of Colorado, who favors more border enforcement. "The idea of providing amnesty, which is inherent in every one of the Senate plans, is abhorrent to most members of the House Republican Conference."
Abhorrent, he says. And yet other "conservatives" protesting outside his speech in Callifornia today:
More than an hour before Bush arrived, protesters from the Minuteman Project -- the volunteer border patrol group whose co-founder ran for Congress in Orange County -- were chanting ''Go back to Mexico'' and ''God Bless America.''
Yep, could be a problem...:)

Wonky Blogger

Blogger was down this morning, so no new posts all day, 'till now! What a sorry state of affairs, but what can you do. The price you pay for being able to use a great blogging tool, for free.

Funny

Liberal bloggers see the truth.

Something wicked this way comes

Rovian Religious zealotry against Gay Unions, ordered up special for the mid-term elections:
The campaign comes as many in the Republican Party are increasingly worried that their core supporters may stay away from the polls this year because they are demoralized by the war in Iraq and other matters. Senate Republican leaders have scheduled a vote on the proposed amendment in June, partly as a means of rallying conservatives.
When the base is demoralized, attacks gay citizens in order to win. Shameful, but so many Americans keep buying into it. And it's coming this Fall to a polling place near you.

Bad Arnie

Dial down your hypocrisy meter, guy:
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., celebrated Earth Day by issuing a global warming warning, extolling the virtues of fuel-efficient vehicles and blasting 'outrageous' oil prices at the pumps in an exclusive interview on 'This Week with George Stephanopoulos.'
...

Schwarzenegger encouraged buying fuel-efficient vehicles and pointed to California's policies as an example for the nation, saying, 'We want to inspire people that desire cars that are fuel efficient and also drive less, do more carpooling and so on. Because remember, the oil price is all based on supply and demand.'"
Ditch those 5 Hummers you own and maybe people will listen...:)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Should Cheney go?

The Los Angeles Times thinks so:
IF PRESIDENT BUSH HOPES the "shake-up" of his administration initiated last week will re-energize his listless presidency, he's bound to be disappointed. A far more audacious makeover is needed — one that sends Vice President Dick Cheney into early retirement.
...
But the remaking of the president in the public eye likely will require more than last week's game of musical chairs. Bush has acknowledged that he has spent much of his political capital on Iraq, and the way to replenish the reserves is to replace the officials most associated with the overreaching that led to the tragedy in Iraq — and with the administration's broader disdain for diplomacy.

Yes, that means dismissing Rumsfeld. The secretary should go not because he has been criticized by a group of retired generals but because he embodies the smugness and inability to acknowledge error that has characterized both the Iraq war and the wider war on terrorism. Rumsfeld has been the pinched public face of an administration that has cut legal and humanitarian corners in dealing with people — including U.S. citizens — suspected of involvement with terrorists.

Suppose Bush didn't stop there. Suppose he also asked Cheney, his mentor and friend but an even more polarizing figure than Rumsfeld, to step down.
And suppose this view expressed by one leading editorial voice caught on...there's quite a constituency for this view, I'm sure. But is a member? Hardly...this move would represent an absolute abandonment of the conservative base. And in advance of the mid-term elections, de-moralizing the base is likely not high on agenda.

This scenario could, however, become a possibility if the CIA leak investigation moves every more closely toward an indictment of the himself. Then, there'd be no choice but to axe him.

He gets protesters

(AP Photo/Ric Francis) Protesting military dad outside base where Bush was visiting today...

Protecting Canada

DND/CF : Statement : Statement by the Minister of National Defence on the Passing of Four Canadian Soldiers:
"Today, Canada's foremost objective remains to prevent Afghanistan from reverting to a safe haven for terrorists and their destructive networks. This is in our national interest. By preventing Afghanistan from becoming, once again, a base for the spread of terrorism, our troops on the ground are protecting Canada. Our troops are putting themselves on the line for all of us."
(emphasis added)
Oh really. Protecting Canada from terrorist attack? Just how likely is that, Mr. Defence Minister? Care to elaborate? Is it likely enough that it justifies our having troops in a foreign nation? Hmmm...

Everyone is against terrorism and preventing terrorist attacks. So don't give me the "cut and run" bullshit or the weak-kneed soft on terrorism hue and cry. The question to me is whether planting 2300 Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan so they can be randomly picked off by wackos with IED's and rockets is the way to go about changing this part of the world. I highly doubt it.

This was a terrible day for our country and the families of those soldiers...and it will continue to be as long as we're in Afghanistan.

I thought Bush was big on pre-emption

OK for middle-eastern despots, not OK for levees though: Calif. Gov. Scorns Bush Response to Levees:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sharply criticized the Bush administration Saturday for refusing to declare a pre-emptive federal disaster for California's fragile levees.
...
"I think the response that the federal government has given us is unacceptable," Schwarzenegger said. "We need the federal government to come in and help us so we can build the levees as quickly as possible."

The state would begin strengthening the levees in June regardless of federal help, he said.

"We're not going to wait for their response," Schwarzenegger said. "We have seen what happens in New Orleans when people waited for the federal government. Their response was terrible there and we don't want to be a victim of that."

The pointed remarks came a day after the governor met briefly with Bush in San Jose, when Schwarzenegger repeated previous requests for the disaster declaration.
Sounds like Arnie's in political trouble, don't ya think? Wanted the Bush punching bag in town to score a few points. Be a little more discreet Arnie, you're way too obvious...

Why should the generals get to have all the fun?

Young Officers Join the Debate Over Rumsfeld.

Come on in, the water's warm...bring it on, military types.
A midgrade officer who has served two tours in Iraq said a number of his cohorts were angered last month when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that "tactical errors, a thousand of them, I am sure," had been made in Iraq.

"We have not lost a single tactical engagement on the ground in Iraq," the officer said, noting that the definition of tactical missions is specific movements against an enemy target. "The mistakes have all been at the strategic and political levels."
Eat that you civilian, Secretary of State types! The vaunted , once again, getting her share of attention and criticism these days. And not the type of attention she's used to I'm sure. Oh the repercussions from such an off-hand remark that really seems to have rankled the rank and file.

Interesting story angle, this quote from Rice had largely been scrutinized for her quantification of a "thousand" tactical errors, rather than its essential correctness...nice rejoinder, Mr. midgrade officer.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

"Utterly false"

USATODAY.com - Spokesman denies Rice leaked defense info...

Because we all know that has somehow managed to sustain a halo of competency, despite the administration's steamrolling into Iraq when Iran was the real threat, despite her sarcastic mockery before the 9/11 Commission of the significance of the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack in U.S."...so it's just got to be "utterly false" that Rice would engage in such activities, despite and Cheney themselves having been implicated in comparable leakings...your credibility is suspect by association, Condi...

Et tu, Condi?

Lawyer: Rice Allegedly Leaked Defense Info. And so we have a new entrant into the leaking extravaganza in Washington over the past few years. And there is irony in all of this, of course, as captured by a former intelligence official, on the occasion of the firing of a CIA employee for her leak to the Washington Post:
Several former intelligence officials — who were granted anonymity after requesting it for what they said were obvious reasons under the circumstances — were divided over the likely effect of the dismissal on morale. One veteran said the firing would not be well-received coming so soon after the disclosure of grand jury testimony by Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff that President Bush in 2003 approved the leak of portions of a secret national intelligence estimate on Iraqi weapons.

"It's a terrible situation when the president approves the leak of a highly classified N.I.E., and people at the agency see management as so disastrous that they feel compelled to talk to the press," said one former C.I.A. officer with extensive overseas experience.
What is the motto of this administration? Do as I say, not as I do...when I leak, it's good for the public, when you leak, you're a criminal...

Seen outside Cheney fundraiser...

(AP Photo/AJ Mast)

You get an "A" for effort, my friend, nicely drawn...:)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Some of my best friends are hard-asses

'Hard-ass' was a compliment to Harper: Emerson...:)

It's on

Ex-CIA agent says WMD intelligence ignored. Guess 60 Minutes is something to watch this Sunday...

Fire our asses, blame us for mistaken intelligence...oh, it's on all right...

Too bad Rove doesn't work for the CIA

Just for fun, replace "CIA officer" and "officer" with "Karl Rove" in the following quote:
"A CIA officer has been fired for unauthorized contacts with the media and for the unauthorized disclosure of classified information," CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano confirmed in a brief telephone interview. "The officer has acknowledged these contacts." He said the disclosures violated a secrecy agreement that every CIA employee signs as a condition of employment with the agency.
(emphasis added)
day is coming...:)

Right freakin' on

Dean: Voters Will Remember Katrina :
"Standing beside two mangled cars in Copper's side lawn, Dean said: 'I hate to be partisan at a time like this' — and then began his criticism of the GOP.

'This is why the Republicans are going to be out of business,' the Democratic party chief said evenly. 'Months after the hurricane, it still looks like this. This is ridiculous.'

Dean acknowledged that rebuilding takes time, but he said that if
President Clinton were still in the White House, 'the neighborhood would be cleaned up.'

The American people, Dean said, will never forget the president's missteps in how he has handled the hurricane's aftermath.

'Everybody in America saw what happened. It was an incredible failure of this administration,' he said. 'These folks need to be out of office and we need to put some people in office who know how to deal with the big emergencies.'"
Exactly. Beautifully put. Failure, incompetence, shame. Period.

One of these things is NOT like the other

Democrat leaves ethics panel:
The top Democrat on the House ethics committee, Alan Mollohan, will leave the panel — at least temporarily — while he defends his own financial conduct, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday.
OK, fine, one Democrat's got some ethics issues that have been alleged by a Republican allied interest group, so he's stepping aside. Meanwhile, look how it's likely to be played by Republicans:
Even with Mollohan's decision, the political problem for Democrats won't go away. Democrats have been demanding investigations of DeLay and others tied to a convicted lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, who provided lawmakers with favors including trips, meals, fundraisers at his restaurants and arena skyboxes.

Now, Republicans are likely to counter with requests for an investigation of Mollohan.
Because the alleged activities of one Democrat are apparently equivalent to the weight of wrongdoing on the part of Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff, which has touched certainly more than one member of Congress. An indictment, plea agreements, likely more indictments to come - what is it one Senator said this week, likely a handful of Congressmen and at least one U.S. Senator would likely be indicted out of the Abramoff scandal? But still, the use of false equivalency once again raises its ugly head. One Democrat in trouble, that's equivalent to all of the Republican criminality...I'm sure people are smarter than this though...right?

Comical

The tale of Bush and Hu. Here's a sense of the comedy of errors from yesterday:
The protocol-obsessed Chinese leader suffered a day full of indignities -- some intentional, others just careless. The visit began with a slight when the official announcer said the band would play the "national anthem of the Republic of China" -- the official name of Taiwan. It continued when Vice President Cheney donned sunglasses for the ceremony, and again when Hu, attempting to leave the stage via the wrong staircase, was yanked back by his jacket. Hu looked down at his sleeve to see the president of the United States tugging at it as if redirecting an errant child.
Speaking of which:

More Rove, unleashed

E.J. Dionne's column today,Rove's New Mission: Survival, confirms the consensus about shift in focus back to politics and specifically, winning in November. At all costs, of course, for if the Democrats gain control of either House, Bush and his gang are in beeg trouble. The subpoena power will be wielded with such lethal effect that a colonoscopy will feel like a treat to the White House cabal.

There was an interesting bit of analysis at the end of the column that this reader found heartening:
The Virginia numbers from a survey earlier this month -- 37 percent approval for Bush, 60 percent disapproval -- are particularly intriguing. Democrats are beginning to think that Sen. George Allen, who is up for reelection this year and considering a run at the presidency in 2008, may be vulnerable. Democrats already see Republican seats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Rhode Island and Arizona as reasonable targets. While a Democratic takeover of the Senate is still a long shot, it is no longer a preposterous idea.
Usually the talk is of the House being a more likely prospect for changing hands, but maybe the Senate could switch. What is it, a 6 seat swing that would do it? Sounds like the Dems would have to run the table with these races but if Virginia, with Mr. Affability/My-Dad-coached-the-Redskins, is in play, wow.

This seems a little cruel

Bush Counsel May Be Next in Shake-Up - New York Times...

Not that Impolitical has much in the way of sympathy for any acolyte...but in light of her Supreme Court nomination debacle less than a year ago, it seems a little cold-hearted to be nudging Harriet Miers out the door by way of anonymous stories being planted in the news media, don't ya think?

Oh for the love of god...

Democrats: No Single Message Sums Us Up. Well you better narrow it down, Dems, maybe meetings like this one, your spring meeting in New Orleans, should actually help with such problems. And yes, here's an idea:
Janice Brunson, a DNC member from Arizona, said the Democratic Party has a clear message for 2006, but she struggled to explain it.

"The problem is we don't have a two- or three-word slogan that pops out," she said. Then she joked that the party may need to hire the quotable former President Clinton to come up with a sound bite.
By all means, do so...and make that slogan or message about Bush, Bush, Bush.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hilarious

I'm The Decider...

Interesting coincidence?

"demoted." And we see this story today, Grand Jury Hears Evidence Against Rove:
"Just as the news broke Wednesday about Scott McClellan resigning as White House press secretary and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove shedding some of his policy duties, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald met with the grand jury hearing evidence in the CIA leak case and introduced additional evidence against Rove, attorneys and other US officials close to the investigation said.

The grand jury session in federal court in Washington, DC, sources close to the case said, was the first time this year that Fitzgerald told the jurors that he would soon present them with a list of criminal charges he intends to file against Rove in hopes of having the grand jury return a multi-count indictment against Rove."
...
Fitzgerald is said to have introduced more evidence Wednesday alleging Rove lied to FBI investigators and the grand jury when he was questioned about how he found out that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the CIA and whether he shared that information with the media, attorneys close to the case said.

Fitzgerald told the grand jury that Rove lied to investigators and the prosecutor eight out of the nine times he was questioned about the leak and also tried to cover-up his role in disseminating Plame Wilson's CIA status to at least two reporters.

Additionally, an FBI investigator reread to jurors testimony from other witnesses in the case that purportedly implicates Rove in playing a role in the leak and the campaign to discredit Plame Wilson's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, whose criticism of the Bush administration's pre-war Iraq intelligence lead to his wife being unmasked as a covert CIA operative.
Pretty detailed information here on what is going on in the grand jury room. Could it actually be that Rove will be indicted by Fitzgerald? Something to keep in mind, that's for sure...

You can't do that in America!

Protest, that is. Yes, it was a formal welcome ceremony and all, not a forum for your typical protest. Yet it is suppposed to be what distinguishes the U.S. from China, at least in theory these days. And kind of ironic, don't ya think, that apologizes later on for the protest, yet at the same time, in his remarks, does this:
Bush called for expanded Chinese freedoms to "assemble, speak freely and to worship."
And the almost comical aspect of this minor protest was the appeal made to Bush by the protester:
The woman -- who later was identified as 47-year-old Wang Wenyi, a journalist for The Epoch Times -- appeared on a platform used by news photographers and shouted in English, "President Bush, stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong!"
Yes, please President Bush, persuade the Chinese leader to stop persecuting the Falun Gong. Bush wants to talk oil, trade and nukes. Other than the opening platitudes offered up here, human rights issues are highly unlikely to be on the radar screen of the Bush administration in its dealings with China...

Rover, move over

White House Shifts Into Survival Mode, Dan Balz's take on events at the White House yesterday is interesting for its careful consideration of Rove's re-positioning in the White House and reaction to it. The kid gloves are on, apparently, when discussing the feared presence that is Karl . The sheer power of this adviser comes through, loud and clear. Anonymous allies offer opinions alluding to Rove:
One of Bolten's biggest challenges, administration allies say, will be to find ways to open up the Oval Office to new ideas and to the opinions of people who are not longtime Bush confidants.
Translation, Rove has a lock on the President's ear, good luck with picking it. And there is further allusion to Rove, where former administration officials speak of Bolten favouring "...clearer lines of authority and less free-lancing by powerful officials." Who might they be thinking of when they say such things? And the unwillingness to be identified is telling:
One former administration official, who asked not to be identified in order to speak freely about his former colleagues, called yesterday's shift in Rove's responsibilities a "huge" development. "This is putting back things where they belong," he said. "It's given Josh back policy. Joel [Kaplan] is a total Josh disciple, and he is very good in the policy world. It focuses Karl back on politics, which is what he needs to do."
Can't be identified, even for what is really a banal statement. Oh the sensitivities of these people.

Has there been a staffer so prominent of late, with such power whose reassignment evokes such delicate concerns, whispered to reporters in an ever-present cloak of anonymity. Concerns over whether yanking policy from Rove is to be viewed as a demotion, the message it sends, the dynamics within the white House that it might or might not effect. This White House, for better or ill, is all about Rove...and such reassignments do little to change that central fact.

Things I did not know

As the media pore over Karl Rove's current job status in the wake of yesterday's "restructuring," I learned a most interesting tidbit. Apparently Karl Rove taught journalism. Yes, journalism. His mini-bio states that he taught "in the Journalism Department at the University of Texas at Austin." So we can't be quite sure on the content, but just picture it. Wouldn't you love to be a student in a journalism class with Karl as your professor? It would be like Tom DeLay teaching an ethics class.

Hilarious.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

As for Rove

He's not going anywhere, really. Superficial shuffling of the boy genius as far as Impolitical is concerned. If anything, unless he's indicted by Fitzgerald (which is still a possibility despite all the rhetoric), he's more dangerous if he's completely freed up to run amok and do his usual destroy/win at all costs type thing in advance of the '06 mid-terms. unleashed is how I interpret this move.

Good question


The Worst President in History?

That's a shame


So Scott McLellan's resigned. Long overdue, by all accounts, for many reasons. But let's pick just one, highlighted by Dana Milbank this afternoon:
McClellan had lost much of his credibility with the press when he vigorously asserted that neither Rove nor vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was involved in the CIA leak scandal -- and then refused to talk about it when his assertions were disproved. It put selfless loyalty to Bush above McClellan's own reputation.
No credibility. Nada. Bush crony to the nth degree.

Unless the new press secretary went to a different school of public relations or there is a sudden change in the Bush administration's view of the press corps...we can bet on more of the same blather and stonewalling from the White House mouthpiece.

So no applause from Impolitical today, contributed to the mockery of free speech from his podium in the White House, fully endorsed by his . Good riddance.

Heard in Pennsylvania

Giuliani makes unwittingly ironic statement:
"Mr. Giuliani said Mr. Santorum was leading the fight against what he called the 'nightmare of the cold war, nuclear arms in the hands of irrational people.'"
Like and ?

I feel queasy just reading this

Midair Rescue Lifts Passengers From Stranded East River Tram - New York Times...look at the pictures, they're unreal.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Very clever

"I'm the Decider": A Dr. Seuss rhyme. Enjoy...:)

Giuliani pandering

The American Idol appearing with Ralph Reed next month and campaigning for Rick Santorum today. Pocketing favours from such figures who are strongly allied with the religious right wing of the GOP. Is really going to try to outdo John on the pandering front? Looks like he's giving it a shot. Further confirmation of the dues one must pay in the GOP of today.

Impolitical would rather that too

Harper would rather be a hockey player...

Aren't we lucky that he's the decider?

Bush won't rule out nuclear strike on Iran.

Bush hearing voices


Said so himself:
"I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation. But I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense."
Can't you just hear the desperation and frustration in his voice? And anger, make no mistake about it. The petulant plea "I'm the decider." He may as well just stamp his foot and insist that people listen to him.

asserts without argument or persuasion. Explain why it is in America's best interests to have remain. Give people three good reasons. It's not enough to just rhyme off the "he's doing a fine job" and "he's fighting a war on terror" platitudes. People are more likely to believe the generals because there are enough doubts about Rumsfeld's leadership that they're planting on key decisions he's made - the number of troops deployed contrary to numbers developed in years of planning, the disbanding of the Iraqi army, etc., etc. - reasons to question his continued tenure.

If you're really listening to voices, W, listen a little more closely and maybe take them into account.

Not so fast

A case against the nuclear option on Iran. Presented in a very concise, everyone-take-a-deep-breath mode. How refreshing.

There appears to be much more information known about the Iranian programme than Saddam Hussein's nuclear efforts. This bodes well for careful deliberations and a public debate about future options, unlike that which occurred before the hasty Iraq war...

Et tu, David Broder?

Today, on Rumsfeld's future:
Rumsfeld and President Bush insist that the manpower and strategy have been exactly what the commanders in the field thought best, but now general after general is speaking out to challenge that claim. The situation cries out for serious congressional oversight and examination; hearings are needed as soon as Congress returns. These charges have to be answered convincingly -- or Rumsfeld has to go.

George Washington watch

(AP Photo/Kevin P. Casey)
The was at it again last night in Washington State, fundraising and scaring the bejeezus out of anyone listening...and for the second time in about a week, George Washington makes a crafty little cameo appearance, watching over the shoulder of one of these "statesmen"...

"Tom Tancredo, Retarding Progress"

Catchy little slogan, don't ya think? And guess what? The congressman came up with it himself:
The outspoken proponent of a crackdown on illegal immigration said Monday that he would campaign against fellow Republicans who support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants — even Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record).

"If there are candidates who are diametrically opposed to what we're trying to accomplish here, and if there's anything I can do to retard their progress, I will do so," Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo told The Associated Press.
Seems to have a bee in his bonnet for , that's for sure. And it's worth pondering, is Tom the Ross Perot X-factor for the GOP in the upcoming 2008 presidential primary? Take a gander at his plans:
He once considered running for president to make his point about immigration but has all but given up those plans. Instead, Tancredo said he's willing to help some candidates — and work against others during the GOP presidential primary.

"If there's a role I can play," he said, "especially if there's a candidate that does have all the credentials I'm looking for ... that would be best."
Yep, could be a problem...:)

Bunch of wackos

With quite the theory - gays are the reason America is losing in Iraq...
God is killing soldiers, they say, because of America's unwillingness to condemn gay people and their lifestyles.
...
"God is punishing this nation with a grievous, smiting blow, killing our children, sending them home dead, to help you connect the dots," said Shirley Roper-Phelps, the spokeswoman for the group and one of Mr. Phelps's daughters. "This is a nation that has forgotten God and leads a filthy manner of life."
The stunningly ignorant views of one "Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., a tiny fundamentalist splinter group" that is protesting at soldier's funerals in a most offensive manner ...splinter group, you say? There's an understatement if I've ever heard one...

Monday, April 17, 2006

The unchecked administration

Check out this story to see what can happen when no one is providing oversight.

Was Abramoff money involved in the New Hampshire telephone jamming scam run by Republicans to suppress Democratic voter turnout in 2002? Interesting questions raised by this op-ed piece.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

HR 4437

I had a post about this during the week, how the is spinning their immigration mess in radio ads, trying to pin blame on the Democrats. Yet it was the Republican House that passed a resolution, , making felons out of illegal aliens. Josh Marshall is calling for the mainstream media to call Ken Mehlman's RNC on its lying.

It's truly outrageous what Ken Mehlman and his RNC get away with. So this is just a friendly reminder from this voice, to anyone who may be reading, the RNC may be trying to lie their way out of their immigration quagmire but the damage from the Sensenbrenner bill has very likely been done. When you see the signs carried by protesters, like this:

and this: ...you can clearly see that the people protesting know the number of the House resolution, HR 4437. They know who passed this law. When was the last time anyone can remember seeing with such clarity, in public protests, the actual bill number? It's clearly galvanized people. You can spin till the cows come home, , be my guest. People are going into the voting booth in November with "HR 4437" tattooed on their brains...