Thursday, August 31, 2006

Keith Olbermann video

Scroll down - I posted it early today - for a clip of brilliant commentary last night on Countdown. This is being viewed by tons of people today, great! A must see, so I'm promoting it again. Enjoy...:)

Huge anti-Bush rally in Utah



Look at the thousands in Salt Lake City protesting Bush and Iraq. Where are the photos of this huge protest on AP? Anywhere? Thank God for YouTube. Provides a little more context to Bush's stage-managed visuals today.

Hey Dixie Chicks, I bought your CD

The CMA may have snubbed you from their awards nominations, strangely at that:
Their absence from the nominations comes despite having one of the year's most successful country albums, Taking the Long Way Round.
But I bought your CD. And I've never bought a "country" CD in my life. So take that, CMA!

Oh my, we can't have this

Brit TV Film on Fictional Bush Slaying.

We can't have a challenging piece of fiction in our midst, giving people ideas about terror or challenging the Bush administration's policies. In fact, we won't even comment on it, that would be beneath us in the land of free speech:
The White House declined to comment on the network's announcement, saying it would not dignify the program with a response.

Bush says Iraq/Al Qaeda, blah, blah, blah

There he goes again. No choice now but to conflate the Iraq war and Al Qaeda since he's created a brand spanking new terrorist training ground in Iraq. What a strategy that's been. As Ken Mehlman likes to remind us, Iraq sits on one of the largest oil repositories in the world. So thanks for putting the two together guys.

All is doing is reminding everyone that Iraq was a huge and questionable investment of money, time, military, people. That could have been better spent on a global, smart strategy to fight terrorists. He can't help but justify it any way he can now. But this is not World War II. Listen to this, it's ridiculous:
The battles in Iraq will one day rank alongside those at Omaha Beach and Guadalcanal as mileposts on the path to liberty, Mr. Bush said. “We know that the direction of history leads toward freedom.”
Earth to Bush. You're not FDR. Not even close. He is such a small, divisive figure without the support of his nation. He pales in comparison. And in elevating these terrorists to such stature, he's playing right into their hands. How Osama bin Laden must love the new Bush administration playbook.

I think what we have here is an escalating commitment to a losing course of action.

Alert: Bushbots dispensing new test phrases

Bush Team Casts Foes as Defeatist. This is what Olbermann is talking about. It's going to get very nasty this fall. Lots of truth-telling will be required.

Listen to one of the head dispensers of misinformation:
"Over the next 69 days," Mehlman said, "there will be an important discussion in America over what it takes to make America safe."
Really? Well, that's a good topic for discussion since people feel so safe these days, don't they Ken? You guys can't have it both ways. Scare the bejeezus out of people with your constant terrorist threats and then say America is safer under Bush. At some point, you guys just sound desperate...

John Lehman, nazi appeaser

Hey, I don't pick the labels, Donald does. Lehman, former Navy Secretary in the Reagan administration writes a piece in the Washington Post today, "We're Not Winning This War." He must be confused, he's criticizing the Bush administration:
The military occupation in Iraq is consuming practically the entire defense budget and stretching the Army to its operational limits. This is understood quite clearly by both our friends and our enemies, and as a result, our ability to deter enemies around the world is disintegrating.

This brings us to the third front, the strategic-political. The jihadist regime in Iran feels no reservation about flaunting its policy to go nuclear, and it unleashed Hezbollah, its client terrorist organization, to attack Israel. In Somalia a jihadist group has seized control of the government. In Pakistan, Islamists are becoming more powerful, and attacks within India are increasing. Governments in Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Algeria and Jordan are under increasing Islamist pressure. In the Pacific, North Korea now feels free to rattle its missile sabers, firing seven on America's Independence Day. China is rapidly building its 600-ship navy to fill the military vacuum that we are creating in the Pacific as our fleet shrinks well below critical mass. Not one of these states believes that we can undertake any credible additional military operations while we are bogged down in Iraq.
Why are you accommodating the terrorists, Mr. Secretary?

Someone's perplexed, that's for sure

And I think it's David Brooks. His column today, A Guide for the Perplexed, perpetuates the Republican spin that's making the rounds. You know, the whole idea that Armitage was the "primary leaker." That and Libby did nothing wrong because they were, like, "secondary" leakers? You know the spin. And I suppose Patrick Fitzgerald is "perplexed" too and owes the world an apology, according to Brooks, for conducting years of investigation when Armitage was the "primary" leaker all along.

Gee, thanks for educating us simpletons, Mr. Brooks. I am so perplexed.

Keith Olbermann rocks



Keith absolutely hit it out of the park last night. If you weren't able to see his show, Countdown on MSNBC last night, here's the clip of a few very powerful moments. And here's the text for you medievalists out there. In fact, it was so powerful, I can hear the right-wing Republican noise machine whirring up, as I write, to try to take Keith down.

This was a special comment he had written in response to Donald Rumsfeld's labelling of administration critics as "Nazi appeasers" and "confused." Anything I could say would just not do it justice. Watch!

If you don't watch Olbermann these days, you are absolutely missing out. I intend to e-mail his show today to express my strong support for his statement. If you feel the same after watching the video, here's the e-mail: countdown@msnbc.com.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rove crony caught by inquiry

Another in a long line of Bush - make that Rove - cronies at play, Broadcast Chief Misused Office, Inquiry Reports:
State Department investigators have found that the head of the agency overseeing most government broadcasts to foreign countries has used his office to run a “horse racing operation” and that he improperly put a friend on the payroll, according to a summary of a report made public on Tuesday by a Democratic lawmaker.
...
Mr. Tomlinson, 62, is a former editor of Reader’s Digest who has close ties to Karl Rove, Mr. Bush’s political strategist and senior adviser. Mr. Rove and Mr. Tomlinson were on the board of the predecessor to the broadcasting board in the 90’s. Mr. Tomlinson has been chairman of the broadcasting board since 2002.
...
The State Department report noted his use of his office to oversee a stable of thoroughbreds but did not mention one specific way in which his professional responsibilities and personal interests appear to have intersected. The horses, according to track records, include Karzai, as in Hamid Karzai, and Massoud, from the late Ahmed Shah Massoud) references to Afghan leaders who have fought against the Taliban and the Russians, as well as Panjshair, the valley that was the base used by forces to overthrow the Taliban.

Bush plan: all terror, all the time

Bush Plans Speeches on Terrorism. They're going to try to scare the shit out of everybody from now until November in order to ensure Republicans retain control of the Houses of Congress. But it's not political, you see, according to Bush. Trust him, he's above all that:
With the midterm elections coming into view, President Bush is launching an extended publicity tour to draw attention back to the threat of terrorism, quickly pivoting to more comfortable political territory for him after the focus in recent days on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Starting with an address to veterans on Thursday, Mr. Bush intends to outline what one adviser described as the “consequences of victory and defeat.” He will continue making speeches on the subject throughout the month, keying off the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

The White House has made national security, and the war in Iraq, the centerpieces of Mr. Bush’s strategy for helping Republicans try to retain control of Congress in this year’s election. Nonetheless, as he traveled to Arkansas and Tennessee today to raise money for Republican candidates, Mr. Bush insisted that his “series of speeches, they are not political speeches.”

“These are important times, and I seriously hope people wouldn’t politicize these issues I’m going to talk about,” Mr. Bush said after a fund-raising event at a private home in Little Rock before flying to another fund-raiser in Nashville. “We have a duty in this country to defeat the terrorists.” (emphasis added)
What a kidder this guy is...:) This is so laughable, it just kills me:)

A very confused man - part 2



It looks like Bush knows he's f*%#ed up his presidency big time. You can sense it in his absolutely testy, aggressive manner. Brian Williams didn't really have to be so aggressive here with his questioning, Bush just hangs himself. Highlights of this one:

He "read 3 shakespeares."

He's got an "ecelectic" reading list...(or something like that!)

"The key for me is to keep expectations low." (wink) (no kidding)

"The great thing about the presidency is you're totally exposed...". Yes, we can see how exposed you are. This interview is quite helpful.

And, oh, he looks like he wants to deck Brian Williams throughout, at least by the end when Williams asks him if he's still not watching tv (i.e, he's still out of touch)...:)

A very confused man



Here's part of the interview with Brian Williams, a must-see. Completely flustered. Struggling for answers. How is America sacrificing in a time of war? "Americans pay a lot of taxes." Are you kidding me?

Listen to his initial response to the question of whether he talks shop with his father - a natural question given they just spent the weekend together. Bush says something wacko like, that's "conspiracy theory at its most rampant"...? WTF? Sounds like W's been reading Maureen Dowd and is a might defensive about his "dad"...

More on the Armitage revelation

Jeralyn at TalkLeft puts it all in context:
Bottom line: Fitz has not closed his investigation. Armitage is just a distraction from the real inquiry. I'll repeat myself: The question remains of whether there was a concerted effort to use Valerie Plame Wilson's undercover or classified employment status with the CIA in an attempt to smear Joe Wilson and his public statements that Iraq was not attempting to acquire uranium from Niger, as Bush erroneously claimed in his 2003 State of the Union Address.
This is the "two-track" theory, as characterized by Isikoff. Yes, there was Armitage who disclosed her name to Novak and Woodward - although he didn't disclose her covert status. Novak got that fact from someone else. But there was also the White House effort that came from Libby and . Those two don't appear to have been in the know about Armitage's role in all this. Otherwise, wouldn't they have dumped it all in his and Colin Powell's lap quite early on?

So if it were as easy as Armitage being the sole, initial source from which everything flowed...then why did Fitzgerald pursue his investigation all these years? Why did he put Judy Miller in jail over her source, Libby? Because Fitzgerald believed there was an independent White House operation to smear Joe Wilson and it may have come from the top...

For all the spinning going on that the liberal blogosphere was misguided in following this story as it turned out to be the innocent albeit negligent Armitage who messed up, that's only half the story. If that.

Allen's got more explaining to do

Political Wire: Allen's Racist Ties Exposed:
Ten years ago, while governor of Virginia, The Nation reports Allen "personally initiated an association with the Council of Conservative Citizens, the successor organization to the segregationist White Citizens Council and among the largest white supremacist groups."
Ugly stuff.

Armitage confirms he was a leaker

First Source of C.I.A. Leak Admits Role, Lawyer Says:
Richard L. Armitage, a former deputy secretary of state, has acknowledged that he was the person whose conversation with a columnist in 2003 prompted a long, politically laden criminal investigation in what became known as the C.I.A. leak case, a lawyer involved in the case said on Tuesday.

Mr. Armitage did not return calls for comment. But the lawyer and other associates of Mr. Armitage have said he has confirmed that he was the initial and primary source for the columnist, Robert D. Novak, whose column of July 14, 2003, identified Valerie Wilson as a Central Intelligence Agency officer.

The identification of Mr. Armitage as the original leaker to Mr. Novak ends what has been a tantalizing mystery. In recent months, however, Mr. Armitage’s role had become clear to many, and it was recently reported by Newsweek magazine and The Washington Post.
What had been reported by Isikoff & Corn this weekend is now confirmed by . And perhaps as a result of the nudging of Novakula himself this weekend on Meet the Press.

There's an interesting aspect to this tale that isn't being discussed much. Tony Blankley suggested on Hardball the other day that, in my words, it says something very interesting about Colin Powell. He didn't get to elaborate on his Powell comment. But I think he was suggesting that since Powell knew about Armitage's role (Isikoff reported that Armitage immediately went to Powell and counsel at the State Department), he could have tipped off in late 2003, when Armitage's involvement first became knowne to him. But it doesn't appear that Powell did.

It was likely Powell and his deputies' distrust of the White House and what the partisan gunslingers like and Libby would do with the information that prevented Powell from making it clearly known to the White House what his boy Armitage's role was. In addition to the legal investigation, of course. Consider this, from the Isikoff article this weekend:
Indeed, Armitage was a member of the administration's small moderate wing. Along with his boss and good friend, Powell, he had deep misgivings about President George W. Bush's march to war. A barrel-chested Vietnam vet who had volunteered for combat, Armitage at times expressed disdain for Dick Cheney and other administration war hawks who had never served in the military. Armitage routinely returned from White House meetings shaking his head at the armchair warriors. "One day," says Powell's former chief of staff Larry Wilkerson, "we were walking into his office and Rich turned to me and said, 'Larry, these guys never heard a bullet go by their ears in anger ... None of them ever served. They're a bunch of jerks'."
Interesting, huh? Letting W twist in the wind like that, all that time, not to mention Rove.

Begat, Bothered, Bewildered

"Begat, Bothered, Bewildered," Maureen Dowd's column today considers the Bush visit to New Orleans yesterday:
Doing his stations of the Katrina cross, President Bush went for breakfast with Mayor Ray Nagin at Betsy’s Pancake House.

As Mr. Bush tried to squeeze past some tightly placed tables, a waitress, Joyce Labruzzo, teased him, saying, “Mr. President, are you going to turn your back on me?’’

“No ma’am,’’ he replied, with a laugh and a pause for effect. “Not again.”

It was a rare unguarded moment — showing that his towering Katrina failure is lodged somewhere in the front of his cerebral cortex — in a trip of staged, studiously happy settings, steering away from the wreckage of buildings and people so searing for anyone who loved the saucy and sauce-laden New Orleans of old.
...
Douglas Brinkley, the New Orleans writer who recounted the history of the trellis of failure, Republican and Democratic, federal, state and local, in “The Great Deluge,’’ noted that Mr. Bush was merely “sweating bullets trying to get the visit over with.”

“In the Republican playbook, Katrina’s a loser,’’ he said.
Yes, it certainly is. You could really see and feel the discomfort W had yesterday, if you were able to catch the interview with Brian Williams, mentioned here in Dowd's column. Bush was visibly tense and seemed flustered in trying to come up with answers to simple questions.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Today's "A" for effort

(Lee Celano/Reuters)

A banner spotted today in New Orleans, overlooking a march commemorating the Katrina flooding.

Bolten puff piece

Washington Post today: "The Sideman." Between this and the Rove "article" run on the AP today, it's a banner day for the Republican PR machine...

Rumsfeld catching flies for Bush

Doing his job, to deflect responsibility for the Iraq war's misconduct onto himself entirely and away from Bush. Why else would he still be there? And here he is today, doing exactly that. Calling unnamed Iraq war opponents Nazi appeasers. But surprisingly, the AP found the phone numbers for a few Democrats: '
'It's a political rant to cover up his incompetence,'' said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., a former Army officer and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Reed said he took particular exception to the implication that critics of Pentagon policies are unpatriotic, citing ''scores of patriotic Americans of both parties who are highly critical of his handling of the Department of Defense.''

Rep. John Murtha, the hawkish Pennsylvania Democrat who voted in favor of the war but recently called for troops to withdraw, said in a statement: ''It's interesting to me that they generalize the support for the war. They're not realistic with the fact that there's no progress.''

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., chimed in that Rumsfeld's remarks were trying to ''shoot the messenger'' rather than examine failed policy.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, hey Rummy?

Katrina anniversary

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Part of memorial activities in New Orleans last night on one of the levees...watch for Bush to skip the official New Orleans activities today...

Rove puff piece by the AP - WTF?

Rove Has Unparalleled Influence With Bush. Yes, we know all of this, so I have one question. WTF is going on? The only answer, it seems to me, is that this highly favourable, one-sided AP "article" must be a response to this Gallup poll on Rove released yesterday, "Karl Rove's Image Problem":
A recent USA Today/Gallup poll finds that Americans have a more negative than positive opinion of presidential adviser Karl Rove, a pattern that has been consistent over the last year.
Keep that in mind as you pore over some of the excerpts from the rehabilitation piece that follows:
Rove fell under a legal cloud after a grand jury, starting late in 2003, began investigating the leak of a CIA officer's identity to reporters. He learned in June that he would not be indicted.

With that threat behind him, Rove is back to his old playful self _ sporting Elvis sideburns on a recent trip to Memphis with the president and traveling around the country for lucrative storytelling to GOP donors.
...
At a recent presidential fundraiser near Bush's Texas ranch, a line that formed for photos with Rove was nearly as long as the line waiting to see the president.

Rove is an impressive fundraiser himself, bringing in $10.4 million in 75 events this cycle, more than any other Republican official besides the president, first lady and vice president.
And here's a gratuitous slagging of Democrats offered up, uncritically:
Once again he's using the tactic that helped Bush win re-election in 2004 _ suggesting that Democrats cannot adequately protect the country from terrorists.

"The problem for these Democrats is that their policies would have consequences and their policies would make us more, not less, vulnerable," Rove said from a podium beneath the beamed, vaulted ceilings and brass chandeliers of the Inverness Country Club in Toledo. "And in war, weakness emboldens your enemies and it's an invitation for disaster."

He even targets those who are decorated military veterans like Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha.

Rove recently said those Democrats "may be with you at the first shots, but they are not going to be there for the last tough battles."
Hello? "Reporter"? You're uncritically repeating Rove's shtick and come off like you're basking in his genius. WTF is going on?
Asked about his recent weight loss, Rove, without mentioning his liquid-based diet, smiled and told reporters he'd lost 22 pounds through "clean living."

The mischievous Rove stuck his head out of the car before it sped off to add gleefully: "And avoiding you guys."
Chuckle, chuckle...the fun-loving Rove at play, dragging his nation's politics right down into the gutter and viewed negatively by the majority of Americans. But you'd never know it based on this strangely positive puff piece...

Katrina art

Here are a few from a special op-ed of drawings, "A Flood of Images," mostly done in the last week and appearing in the NYTimes today:



Bush and Trent Lott's house

Bush Visits Gulf Coast still obsessed with Trent Lott's house. One year later, he still feels compelled to tell everybody that Trent Lott lost his house and Bush even sat in it. A strange effort at empathy:
Speaking to reporters Monday after visiting United States Marine Inc., a company in Gulfport that builds military boats, Mr. Bush predicted that the rebuilding effort would take “years, not months.”

“There will be a momentum, momentum will be gathered,” the president said. “Houses will begat jobs, jobs will begat houses.”

But, he continued: “It’s hard to describe the devastation down here. It was massive in its destruction, and it spared nobody. United States Senator Trent Lott had a fantastic house overlooking the bay. I know because I sat in it with he and his wife. And now it’s completely obliterated. There’s nothing.”
I think Trent Lott has probably survived pretty well given his resources, compared to a lot of other people...

Here's a thought

Americablog's Rob has a suggestion:
That dude didn't kill JonBenet - big f'ing shock. The media right now look like the asses they are. ASSES.

Fire every producer who led with JonBenet for the last week and a half instead of covering:

* The President unconstitutionally spying on the American public. (Remember, the story you were covering just a DAY before JonBenet?)
* Our nation's war in Afghanistan.
* Our nation's war in Iraq.
* War in Lebanon.
* Iran's growing nuclear activity.
* High gas prices and their economic impact.

Monday, August 28, 2006

On the Armitage Leak News

I agree with what David Corn wrote yesterday on the uncovering of Richard Armitage, former deputy Secretary of State as having been a source to Novak and Woodward on Valerie Plame:
The outing of Armitage does change the contours of the leak case. The initial leaker was not plotting vengeance. He and Powell had not been gung-ho supporters of the war. Yet Bush backers cannot claim the leak was merely an innocent slip. Rove confirmed the classified information to Novak and then leaked it himself as part of an effort to undermine a White House critic. Afterward, the White House falsely insisted that neither Rove nor Libby had been involved in the leak and vowed that anyone who had participated in it would be bounced from the administration. Yet when Isikoff and Newsweek in July 2005 revealed a Matt Cooper email showing that Rove had leaked to Cooper, the White House refused to acknowledge this damning evidence, declined to comment on the case, and did not dismiss Rove. To date, the president has not addressed Rove's role in the leak. It remains a story of ugly and unethical politics, stonewalling, and lies.
Armitage's leak of Plame's employment at the CIA to Novak and Woodward may have been unintentional and inadvertent (albeit negligent) yet the White House gang certainly ran with it. Rove claimed to Chris Matthews that Joe Wilson's wife was "fair game" once the word was out on the street. Libby's indicted and soon to be on trial for allegations of perjury and obstruction. Cheney's role in all of this remains to be fully revealed. So the idea that the Armitage news means that there's no "there" there...not a chance.

Memorial

(Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Allen's "macaca" remark hits him in the polls

See this WSJ interactive map indicating Virginia's Senate race is now led by the Democratic challenger, Jim Webb by 1.3%. Margin of error, yes. Very big moral victory, check!

Krugman on the Katrina anniversary

Paul Krugman's column "Broken Promises" is a helpful gut check for those who may be tempted to fall for the spin that's about to be heavily ladled out for the next two days, including the notion that it's the state and local governments holding up the federal billions:
Last September President Bush stood in New Orleans, where the lights had just come on for the first time since Katrina struck, and promised “one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen.” Then he left, and the lights went out again.
...
Apologists for the administration will doubtless claim that blame for the lack of progress rests not with Mr. Bush, but with the inherent inefficiency of government bureaucracies. That’s the great thing about being an antigovernment conservative: even when you fail at the task of governing, you can claim vindication for your ideology.

But bureaucracies don’t have to be this inefficient. The failure to get moving on reconstruction reflects lack of leadership at the top.

Mr. Bush could have moved quickly to turn his promises of reconstruction into reality. But he didn’t. As months dragged by with little sign of White House action, all urgency about developing a plan for reconstruction ebbed away.

Mr. Bush could have appointed someone visible and energetic to oversee the Gulf Coast’s recovery, someone who could act as an advocate for families and local governments in need of help. But he didn’t. How many people can even name the supposed reconstruction “czar”?

Mr. Bush could have tried to fix FEMA, the agency whose effectiveness he destroyed through cronyism and privatization. But he didn’t. FEMA remains a demoralized organization, unable to replenish its ranks: it currently has fewer than 84 percent of its authorized personnel.

Maybe the aid promised to the gulf region will actually arrive some day. But by then it will probably be too late. Many former residents and small-business owners, tired of waiting for help that never comes, will have permanently relocated elsewhere; those businesses that stayed open, or reopened after the storm, will have gone under for lack of customers. In America as in Iraq, reconstruction delayed is reconstruction denied — and Mr. Bush has, once again, broken a promise.

Bush thinks it's OK to skip New Orleans commemorative services

Skipping anniversary events in New Orleans:
On Tuesday, the anniversary itself, the president is skipping the city's many planned activities, which include wreath-layings, an interfaith service at the city's convention center and a traditional New Orleans jazz funeral march from there to the Superdome. The misery at the convention center and the Superdome in the days just after the storm led to much of the criticism of the federal response.

Instead, Bush is having breakfast with Mayor Ray Nagin and then heading out on his own. He will attend a morning prayer service at the city's 286-year-old St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter; visit a high school for a round-table discussion of first lady Laura Bush's pet Katrina project, restocking the area's libraries; and visit with local residents at an undisclosed venue.
Yes, and his handlers think it's OK to skip out on the city's commemoration events. Why can't he lay a wreath, for pete's sake? Or have the guts to go to the convention center service? This is just disrespectful and frankly, wrong.

Feds on spin patrol in New Orleans

Feds say New Orleans is storm-ready.

Oh really? I heard this on Saturday:
Contradicting other Bush administration officials, Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the U.S. Army Corps' chief, conceded it isn't clear whether the levees could withstand a big hurricane this year.

"To pinpoint it to one thing and say 'yes' or 'no' is very difficult," he told reporters Saturday.
And then Bush's guy spins it around on Sunday:
Federal emergency officials claim the New Orleans levee system is ready for another major hurricane, despite the less-optimistic views of other political leaders and engineers.

"I think we're in good shape," Don Powell, the Bush administration's coordinator of Gulf Coast rebuilding, said Sunday. "There's no question in my mind, we're ready."
Don't know about you, but if I lived in New Orleans, I think I'd be taking the army engineer's word for it if he's doubtful, not a Bush politico. That's a tough one. Had to think for a full 3 seconds.

Interesting take on the Bush legacy

I just love to hear the words "Bush" and "legacy" side by side. It means that the world is moving on from this doofus, trying to look beyond. Here's an interesting thought on W's legacy:
President Clinton was often mocked for his declarations that he still believed “in a place called Hope.” But he understood that instilling hope is a critical part of leadership. Other than a few special interest programs — like cutting taxes on the wealthy and giving various incentives to business — it is hard to think of areas in which the Bush administration has raised the nation’s hopes and met them. This president has, instead, tried to focus the American people on the fear of terrorism, for which there is no cure, only bad choices or something worse.

Part of Mr. Bush’s legacy may well be that he robbed America of its optimism — a force that Franklin Delano Roosevelt and other presidents, like Ronald Reagan, used to rally the country when it was deeply challenged.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"Suspicious Trading" - to say the least

Whispers of Mergers Set Off Suspicious Trading. This really is a fascinating article and a devastating analysis of recent major mergers in the United States. The gist of the article is the suggestion that there has been insider trading in connection with potentially 40 percent of these mergers. No exact lines are drawn here. But there sure as heck is a lot of abnormal trading going on that looks quite suspect on days when a board approves a takeover bid, for example. Or when a company's due diligence analysis is underway. What's really interesting here is the idea that it's not just rogue individuals who are the likely culprits, but brokerage firms, hedge funds and the "takeover crowd" of advisers. The systemic aspect of this article is really incredible.

Just a thought...wouldn't you love to see Eliot Spitzer head up the S.E.C.?

Missing the bigger point

So the Post most helpfully trumpets this morning: Democrats Split Over Timetable For Troops. So the number of Democrats who support a timetable versus those who don't is the big issue of the day? This is the news? Chris Shays, a very high profile Republican was calling for a timetable last week. He may be just one member, but that's a significant split from Bush. Sometimes quality of opposition counts just as much as quantity.

What is Bush's strategy for the next two years anyway? Nonexistent beyond "stay the course." He can't even answer a question on it clearly, as seen at his press conference last week. But, of course, the Democrats are once again to be held to a higher standard. Bush gets away with babbling nonsense and unresponsiveness when asked about a change in strategy. But Democrats aren't so lucky. They have the Post to answer to for mathematical uniformity on their timetable for withdrawal...

The more important question, it seems to me, is who do you want providing oversight of Bush in congress - Republicans who are in lock step with Bush, as noted by this article, and who have driven the Iraq policy into the ditch - or people who are actually willing to display some thought about the issue? Who, dare I say, might not have a perfect plan for a timetable, but who are actually willing to consider such new directions?

What the strategy should be in Iraq is Bush's responsibility. It's not up to Democrats to be uniformly singing for a date certain for withdrawal. What a sideshow. Some media are clearly buying efforts to make Iraq an issue the Democrats have to answer for when it's a big, fat, George W Bush/Republican congress-enabled mess.

Return to the Scene of the Crime

Frank Rich, in his column today, "Return to the Scene of the Crime" presents a theory for you to consider, on the anniversary of Katrina:
Douglas Brinkley, the Tulane University historian who wrote the best-selling account of Katrina, “The Great Deluge,” is worried that even now the White House is escaping questioning about what it is up to (and not) in the Gulf. “I don’t think anybody’s getting the Bush strategy,” he said when we talked last week. “The crucial point is that the inaction is deliberate — the inaction is the action.” As he sees it, the administration, tacitly abetted by New Orleans’s opportunistic mayor, Ray Nagin, is encouraging selective inertia, whether in the rebuilding of the levees (“Only Band-Aids have been put on them”), the rebuilding of the Lower Ninth Ward or the restoration of the wetlands. The destination: a smaller city, with a large portion of its former black population permanently dispersed. “Out of the Katrina debacle, Bush is making political gains,” Mr. Brinkley says incredulously. “The last blue state in the Old South is turning into a red state.”
What do you think? Consider these other facts cited by Rich:
A “truth squad” of House Democrats has cataloged the “waste, fraud, abuse or mismanagement” in $8.75 billion worth of contracts, most of which were awarded noncompetitively. Only 60 percent of the city has electricity. Half of the hospitals and three-quarters of the child-care centers remain closed. Violent crime is on the rise. Less than half of the population has returned.
And the Times has an article today as well chronicling the lack of leadership and results in "a shaken New Orleans" in the past year. Brinkley's theory kind of makes sense, in a sickening way, doesn't it?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Chutzpah



A university gets creative about recruiting.

World-wide attention: check.

Senator Allen attracts protesters

Colourful ones at that. The Virginia Senate race continues to intrigue. Thanks to Americablog for the link.

Amazing how one little off the cuff remark can raise questions about a candidates's true beliefs and potentially derail a re-election.

He gets protesters, even in Kennebunkport

(AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)

That's a shame.

Katrina anniversary

A time to remember how the facade of strength and security was fatallly punctured by a force of nature, . Good reminder today in the Washington Post:
For Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (R-N.C.), three images define George W. Bush's presidency: Bush throwing out the first pitch of the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium, Bush with a megaphone atop the rubble of the World Trade Center -- and Bush staring out the window as Air Force One traversed the Gulf Coast thousands of feet above the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

The first two images epitomize strength and resolution, the image the Bush White House likes to cultivate. But in one year's time, the last one -- of the president as aloof, out of touch, even befuddled -- all but erased the memory of the others, according to pollsters, pundits and Republican politicians who say they have suffered in the wake of the president's decline.
Thanks for that helpful thought, Republican congressman McHenry. But make no mistake about it, the spinning of the one-year anniversary of Katrina is underway by the Republican machine:
The president will appear Monday and Tuesday on the Gulf Coast to mark the first anniversary of the hurricane. To the White House, the president has a strong story to tell: approval of more than $110 billion in resources for the Gulf region, 12 previous visits to the region by Bush and 82 by members of his Cabinet, the restoration of more than 220 miles of New Orleans's flood walls and levees, the floodproofing of pumping stations, and the addition of floodgates to protect against storm surges.

Bush aides said the president will accept responsibility for the botched federal response while stressing that the government has learned from the Katrina mistakes and promising to see through the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast.

White House counselor Dan Bartlett said it is difficult to separate the impact of Katrina from the Iraq war and the other problems that have pulled down Bush's approval rating. "It was a setback at the time, but it was recoverable and has been," Bartlett said.
Watch the spinning over the next few days with a critical eye, please.

Brownie update

A Punch Line Who Refuses to Fade Away, one year later. An office on K Street, half a dozen disaster-preparedness clients for his consulting business and infamy through various media appearances. Doing unpaid work consulting to St. Bernard Parish in New Orleans - to which I say, good for him.
He operates under no illusions about how much rehabilitation is possible. “My wife is always telling me, ‘You’re not famous, you’re infamous,’ ” Mr. Brown said. He imagines the first line of his obituary.

“I’m always going to be the guy during Katrina,” he said, not characterizing what kind of guy that is. “I’m always going to be that guy, Brownie.”
The crony who never should have been appointed head of FEMA by Bush, and who never should have accepted in the first place, has had a heckuva year.

"Hope is not a policy"

REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

"Junior Needs a Spanking" writes Maureen Dowd today, on the occasion of the surf and turf weekend family visit in Maine. She loves this Bush family dynamic and it shows. A comical excerpt:
The Old King put the Boy King over his knee yesterday and gave him a good thwack with a lobster-shaped paddle.

O.K., that didn’t happen, but don’t you wish it had?

Junior certainly deserves it, with recent attempts to blame his dad for policies that led to 9/11 and the rise of Osama and Middle East terrorism.

As with so many things about this byzantine, Shakespearean relationship between father and son, reunited here at last for a wedding, a christening and a funeral this weekend, it’s an ironic turn of events.
And some serious perspective on Iraq mess, including a quote from an unnamed former Bush I official:
The Bush I inner circle whispers that W. and Condi are “in over their heads,” as one told me, and that without 41, Jim Baker and Brent Scowcroft around, there is no one to “corral” Dick Cheney from his hard-line craziness.

“They misread history,” said one Bush I foreign policy official. “43’s born-again background and lack of experience and simple view of the world made him think it was easy to define who the enemy is. But hope is not a policy — hoping to win, hoping to make a democracy. They came in with the philosophy that the U.S. was the most powerful country in the world and they could remake the world any way they wanted. Condi and others assumed that the Middle East would fall apart peacefully, the way the Soviet Union did, if given a chance. But the Middle East is a totally different place.”

They agree, as one said, that 41 is a “very private guy who loves his son dearly, and you will not catch any daylight between them. I doubt that he’s taking any joy from the fact it’s clear now that he did the right thing in ’91 and his son is screwing up.” (emphasis added)
These "whisperings" are hardly surprising given the completely different approaches of the Bush 41 administration and Bush 43. They're maddeningly frustrating but glad to see some public airing of those whispers. This is big news to read such a public indictment of W by a Bush I insider. Let's hope that there is also some much-needed fatherly advice being imparted this weekend, as the rich-and-famous tool around Kennebunkport in their matching hats and windbreakers:
At this hazardous moment in world history, somebody has got to grab the stubborn, shuttered scion wearing the “43” windbreaker and talk some sense into him, the way Dwight Eisenhower did when he privately dressed down the young J.F.K. after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. And who better than his dad, that 82-year-old still demonically driving his cigarette boat around the Bay of Bushes?

Stephen Colbert vs. Rancor



Created by weirdhat. Bravo!

Stephen Colbert is genius.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Rock Star

(REUTERS/Radu Sigheti)


(Radu Sigheti/Reuters)

Senator Barack Obama in Africa this week...quite the welcome:) Great photos.

Jason Kenney, why do you talk to terrorist groups?

Incompetence is his excuse. Read the article:
Conservative MP Jason Kenney, who likened Hezbollah to the Nazi party and condemned fellow MPs for urging dialogue with a terrorist organization, himself spoke to a rally organized by Iranian supporters of a banned terrorist group.

A photograph of Kenney, who is Prime Minister Stephen Harper's parliamentary secretary, appears on the website of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political wing of the PMOI, or People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran.

The PMOI is one of the names used by the MEK, or Mujahedin-e-Khalq, an armed Iranian rebel group formally designated as a terrorist organization by the governments of Canada, the United States and the European Union. The Canadian government put the group on its official terror list in May 2005.

Kenney is shown addressing an April 6 rally on Parliament Hill, and the group says he welcomed participants "on his own behalf as well as the Prime Minister."
Blah, blah, blah, blah...

Ugh

Allegations State Farm cheated Katrina victims by shredding reports that would substantiate coverage claims.

This is just not right

What is happening to the world? Is nothing sacred anymore? Lovebirds and night owls, take note: Las Vegas closing all-night marriage bureau. A midnight cutoff taking effect next week. No more late night weddings in Vegas. So sad. For those of us in that club, apparently there will be no more members admitted...:)

Fight them over...where?

Blair's foreign policy is now a threat to national security. So says a former adviser to the British Foreign Office. His central message, that Britain is not safer from the Iraq war. Instead, British foreign policy, particularly the Iraq war, has radicalized many Muslims in Britain, a phenomenon now increasingly on the rise. It's possible that it's happening here in Canada as well, as demonstrated by the Toronto group arrested this summer.

The "fight 'em over there so we don't have to fight 'em over here" rationale is challenged in this op-ed:
The standard riposte is to point out that al-Qaida's terrorist campaign against the west predated the military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, so cannot be blamed on them. That is obviously true, but it ignores the essential point. Potent though it was, before 9/11 al-Qaida drew its support from a fairly narrow base - mainly in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The effect of our foreign-policy miscalculations has been to expand that base to places where it was previously weak or almost nonexistent: not just Iraq and Pakistan, but also Britain, where an alarming number of young Muslims have come to view their country of birth as an enemy of their faith.

Britain was certainly a centre of Islamist extremism before 9/11 and the Iraq war. The presence of foreign clerics preaching violent jihad is something that could, and should, have been stamped out much earlier. But apart from the solitary case of the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, there is nothing to substantiate the idea that al-Qaida had established a meaningful presence among British Muslims. John Reid recently claimed that the first al-Qaida plot in the UK was identified in 2000. If so, it was not considered significant enough to feature prominently in the regular joint intelligence committee assessments of what was then called UBL (Usama Bin Laden).

Whatever the government may want us to believe, evidence suggests that the phenomenon of British-born Muslims willing to carry out suicide attacks at home postdates the Iraq war and has been inspired by it. As the intelligence and security committee noted this year: "The judgments of the JIC in 2002 suggest attacks against the UK were felt more likely ... to be conducted by terrorists entering from abroad than by British nationals resident in the UK. By early 2004 perceptions of the threat, and the threat itself, had changed."
The rallying cry used by Bush and Blair, "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" is quickly becoming a quaint little notion of a time long passed, like, say, 2003 when the U.S. and Britain first launched the Iraq war. A more appropriate and updated version of the rallying cry: "now we have to fight them everywhere."

Something is clearly wrong with this strategy.

Duceppe and his common currency delusion

Wants debate on a "common currency" in the "Americas" in the wake of the takeover of Domtar by a U.S. forestry company. Common currency with the Americans? Any bet on how well that idea would go over with them? That's not really the significant point anyway.

A common currency is one of the separatists' ongoing strategies to enable separation. A move to a common currency helps the separatists. Experts agree that under present day conditions, with the Canadian dollar being used in Quebec, Quebec post-separation would have to either establish its own Quebec currency or adopt Canada's. If they keep Canada's, they lose control over monetary policy of a new country of Quebec. That's a problem. And some think Quebec using the Canadian dollar would not prove workable given Quebec's financial situation in any event. It has to do with Quebec's high debt and the amount of borrowing it would have to do in order to achieve independence. That would cause a liquidity crisis in Quebec and a flight of capital to more stable currencies, such as the American.

And if Quebec chose their own currency, they face a much stronger currency next door, Canada's (and the U.S.dollar). There could well be a movement of capital out of Quebec as a result in that scenario as well.

So if Canada moves to a common currency with the U.S., as Duceppe most helpfully suggests, we greatly help the separatist cause.

Thanks but no thanks, Gilles.

Science prevailed, finally

And it doesn't happen often these days. Morning-after pill finally approved by FDA:
After more than two years of obfuscation and procrastination, the Food and Drug Administration has finally approved nonprescription use of the morning-after contraceptive pills. Yesterday’s decision will not please advocates of unrestricted access to the pills, but it is an acceptable compromise that will at least make them readily available to women 18 and older.

The news is also a reminder of how long the administration has blocked this sensible move simply to placate religious and social conservatives who consider the pills akin to abortion or an inducement to unprotected sex.
I don't know, could there be an election coming as well?

I think I'd rather watch paint dry

Than watch a motion in the Ontario Court of Justice:
"The report says cameras should be permitted in the Court of Appeal and Divisional Court and for applications or motions in the Ontario Court of Justice where no witnesses are testifying. It says that cameras should continue to be banned from criminal and civil trials in order to protect witnesses who are testifying."
But hey, maybe that's just me...

More on the misleading Rove

Media Matters - AP uncritically repeated Rove's dubious claim that warrantless wiretapping "might have prevented the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks."

Further to my post yesterday...this adds the critical point that the AP was lazy and not doing its job as a reputable journalistic outfit to provide the appropriate context for remarks. Yet another example of the problem that results when journalism becomes an exercise in dictation.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Calling Sandra Buckler

Status of Women agency under attack in blogosphere.

The conservative blogs are on the attack...think you can shut them up the way you've locked up all your MP's? Good luck!

Thanks

Just want to say thanks to everyone out there reading the blog. Hope it continues to provide a bit of entertainment for your day:)

By the way, anyone out there read 60 books this year? The last person on earth that you'd think would have, claims that it is so. Hint: person is pictured below. What do you think? 60 books this year? Or 60 books this lifetime?

I think that if you believe that, I've got a bridge in Alaska to nowhere I'll sell you...:)

(AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach

Rove misleading again

(AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Rodolfo Gonzalez)


Rove Defends Warrantless Surveillance:
"Presidential adviser Karl Rove criticized a federal judge's order for an immediate end to the government's warrantless surveillance program, saying Wednesday such a program might have prevented the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Rove said the government should be free to listen if al-Qaida is calling someone within the U.S.

'Imagine if we could have done that before 9/11. It might have been a different outcome,' he said."
Yeah, you could have done that. It's called FISA. Al Qaeda was a known terrorist group that had threatened the U.S.. They had bombed the U.S.S. Cole in the fall of 2000. But and Bush didn't pay enough attention to the al Qaeda threat despite repeated warnings. So this is a bit of hindsight grandstanding, to say the least.

Besides, he's obfuscating again. The point of the judge's ruling was that there was no legal authority for Bush's program. So they can criticize the judge all they want and muse about how such a program could have prevented 9/11. It has to be a legal program, through the existing FISA regime or a new statutory regime approved by Congress. Absent those things, they're acting lawlessly. I don't think anyone disagrees with the idea of listening in on al Qaeda. But Rove sure as heck makes it sound like the judge does.

And to think, I was wondering today who else might pile on to the Judge who dared rule Bush's warrantless wiretapping illegal. Question answered!

Bush's new Iraq argument: it's bad, but it could be worse

A news analysis in the Post today: Bush's last-ditch argument: It Could Be Worse.

Isn't that comforting?

Good

Liberals prepare draft platform in case of snap fall election. We are likely faced with minority governments for the foreseeable future. So it makes absolute sense to be flexible and ready to go with election calls. This is good strategy in any event. Send a message to Harper that he can't pass bunkum most Canadians don't want simply on the rationale that "no one wants an election." I'm happy to have an election in the fall or spring. How hard is it to go to your polling station and vote? We shouldn't be forced to accept a softwood lumber deal or some other deficient solution because the presumption is that Canadians are what, lazy, inattentive or unwilling to withstand another electoral campaign? Who christened this conventional wisdom as gospel, anyway?

Besides, I have faith in any number of Liberal leadership aspirants to run a solid campaign against Harper on short notice in any event. Dion and Rae stand out to me. Such electoral considerations kinda work in the favour of such candidates and against the federal newbies such as Ignatieff and Kennedy.

"The small man behind the curtain"

Howard Dean yesterday, with full guns blazing, on Katrina as the one year anniversary approaches:
"I think Katrina -- the response to Katrina was effectively the end to the President's presidency in the sense that people all of a sudden saw the small man behind the curtain.

People in America and throughout the rest of the world for a long time have believed that Americans can fix anything, that we're better organized and better managed -- managed better than anybody, and that if something really awful happens, call on the Americans.

And for the first time in our lifetime and in the world's lifetime, since World War II -- since before World War II -- we suddenly saw an American president just descend into failure.

And I don't think he's ever recovered from that."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hello, more video



This was hilarious, new Daily Show "Senior" correspondent on the job...:)

Harper's minions on the job

Liberal MP resigns critic position

Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj resigns. For his recent foray into world affairs:
The Liberals' deputy foreign affairs critic has resigned after an uproar over his statements that Canada should negotiate directly with Lebanon's Hezbollah, which is on Canada's list of terrorist organizations.
How the speech climate has changed as a result of Harper's unequivocal support of Israel in its war with Hezbollah. You can't talk to "Nazis" is the framework the Conservatives are applying to this issue. How absolutely helpful of them. Anyone calling out Kenney for his inflammatory remarks?

Like it or not, Hezbollah is represented in the Lebanese parliament. Democratically elected. So they're a necessary component of any discussions with the Lebanese. They can't be ignored. If an election were held in Lebanon today, they could gain representation. What if they became the majority party in the Lebanese government? We could all stick our heads in the sand and pretend that this is not the case. We can choose to follow the Americans and not talk to Syria and Iran as well. And let's throw in North Korea for that matter. Look how well that's all working out.

The Canadian government should be pressuring the Americans to deal with Syria and stop the arms flow through its territory from Iran to the end user, Hezbollah. How about that? You have a highly touted new relationship of influence in Washington? Use it for something constructive in the Middle East instead of photo-op appointments of Liberals like Wajid Khan. There's a lot brewing in the Middle East. Some think the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict was a trial run for an American run at Iran, long reported to be in the works. That's where the Conservative government should be focussed, not on Liberal party infighting.

Attack on the Michigan judge continues

You know, the judge who dared to say the President's warrantless NSA wiretapping was illegal.

Let's see, in the past week we've seen efforts to discredit the quality of the judge's reasoning, a line of criticism that continues today in an op-ed in the New York Times by Ann Althouse, in "A Law Unto Herself." I've heard the opposite opinion of the judge's ruling as well.

That line used by Judge Diggs Taylor, “There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution," has certainly irked and motivated the conservative legal community, hasn't it? We've seen the RNC attack her as a liberal Carter appointee. And today we also see that Judicial Watch is publicizing her trusteeship in a civil liberties organization that they argue should have disqualified her from hearing the case. Others disagree.

And here's a link to video of Bill O'Reilly slamming the judge as well. He's particularly over the top, as usual.
"You see, I don't understand Judge Taylor," O'Reilly began the conversation, "maybe you can help me."

"Does she want Americans to die?" O'Reilly asked.
Of course she does, Bill! All liberals want Americans to die, right? So chalk up an attack on her patriotism to boot.

Anything else out there that can be dredged up to atack this judge? When a judge says the President did something illegal, guess the lesson is that she better be pretty damn sure or her life experiences and legal smarts will certainly be fodder for a public working over.

Must see documentary

Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke. Couldn't stop watching once it started. Very compelling and timely. The people there have experienced a total, absolute failure of government at all levels. It's just shameful what's happened in New Orleans. Wonder if Bush will experience any measure of accountability this fall due to his utter abdication of responsibility for making any semblance of progress there.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The withdrawal perspective

Dana Milbank's column today, The Wagging of the 'Civil' Tongues, citing a former Clinton official on the no-win Iraq situation :
"Two hours later, former ambassador Peter Galbraith presented a rather different view to the Middle East Institute in Dupont Circle. 'There is a civil war, and it is a lot like Lebanon in the '70s and '80s,' he declared. 'The United States basically has a choice: Either we use our forces to stop the civil war, or we withdraw.'"
...
"You have a government that isn't a government, a nation that isn't a nation," said Galbraith, Clinton administration ambassador to Croatia. His answer: withdrawal.

"If we do what I recommend, there will be horrific sectarian cleansing in the mixed areas, particularly in Baghdad, and civil war," he said. "If we stay the course, there will be horrific sectarian cleansing in Baghdad, and civil war."
This latter point, on the effects of staying the course, is what Bush doesn't get and what the reporters at his press conference queried him on, asking whether a change in strategy was in order. For him, it's either stay the course or withdraw, no in-betweens apparently, if you take him at his word yesterday:
ABC News's Martha Raddatz was not satisfied. "The violence has gotten worse in certain areas," she reminded him. "Is it not time for a new strategy?"

Bush acted as if Raddatz were Cindy Sheehan. "We're not leaving, so long as I'm the president," he vowed. "That would be a huge mistake. It would send an unbelievably terrible signal to reformers across the region. It would say we've abandoned our desire to change the conditions that create terror. It would give the terrorists a safe haven from which to launch attacks. It would embolden Iran. It would embolden extremists."

"Sir," Raddatz pointed out, "that's not really the question."

Bush shook his head in disbelief. "Sounded like the question to me," he said.

Blogger beta

Having some issues with the new Blogger platform, beta. If some of the kinks aren't worked out, may have to revert back to the old template for the time being. We'll see...

The Bush press conference yesterday

Here's one person's brilliant translation of it, "My take on today's train-wreck."

Editorial cartoon worth a look

Powerful image that's making the rounds: here (scroll up).

A report no one wants to talk about

It's Jason Leopold and Marc Ash at truthout: "Indictment Still Sealed, Fitzgerald Still Busy."

The wingnuts aren't talking about it because they're mocking it. They're dismissing it without a shred of consideration given Leopold's previous report, still unproven, that Rove was in fact indicted back in May. Fine.

The other side of the blogosphere is also relatively quiet, from what I've seen, because, hey, why risk stirring up this pot again. Let's wait until the fat lady, aka Fitzgerald, sings. A very wise course of action.

Well, here at my humble blog, I have no such concerns, so I'm going to talk about it. I have no way of knowing if this latest report is true or not. But I don't see the harm in discussing it in a theoretical manner. Let's look at a few items from the report, and you can decide for yourself whether it's of interest:
An indictment first reported by Truthout said to be connected to Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's Plame investigation remains sealed, and Fitzgerald continues to work on the leak case.

The indictment, 06 cr 128, was returned by the grand jury hearing evidence in the CIA leak case between May 10 and May 17 - right around the time that Truthout reported, based on sources close to the investigation, that Karl Rove had been indicted on charges of perjury and lying to investigators.
As authority for linking the sealed indictment to the Fitzgerald probe, Leopold and Ash cite the following: "sources with direct knowledge of the behind-the-scenes legal wrangling in the CIA leak case said the indictment specifically relates to the 2½-year-old leak probe. Other sources who have also been involved in the investigation confirmed this information." So we have a plethora of unnamed sources on our hands here, yes. Given the nature of the investigation and those who might have the knowledge being discussed here, that would be understandable. So weigh the linkage between the indictment and the leak case accordingly.

As for whether it's Rove who's been indicted...that doesn't necessarily follow from this report. Is it someone else entirely, like a Richard Armitage? Leopold and Ash present the following information from additional sources:
Attempting to gain a clearer picture of the events leading up to the June 12 letter sent by Patrick Fitzgerald to Luskin, our two-month investigation led to several interesting revelations that were communicated to us by well-placed sources. The letter is constructed in a manner consistent with what would be expected when a federal prosecutor writes a letter to a subject's attorney. The letter, we are told, spelled out what was expected of Rove, and made clear the ramifications should he fail to honor the terms of his verbal cooperation agreement with Fitzgerald. According to experts in federal criminal law, that approach is fairly standard given the circumstances.

It was Luskin, sources said, who seized on the single phrase from Fitzgerald's letter that gave the appearance of exoneration trumpeted by the US commercial press. In fact, the letter, taken as a whole, paints no such picture. According to those familiar with the letter sent to Luskin, it details the obligations of a subject, Karl Rove, who must choose between cooperation and further prosecution. If the document were made public it would indicate those obligations, the sources said.
So the theory is that was indicted but has agreed to cooperate and the indictment will as a result be dismissed down the road. So who would be "those familiar with the letter sent to Luskin?" People on the legal staffs of either Luskin or the Special Prosecutor? I find it hard to believe it's anyone in such a position. Could it be Rove plants out there seeking to further muck with a liberal reporting outfit in the run up to the election. That, I'd buy. Could it be Libby legal advisers trying to re-implicate Rove into the investigation. If they know Rove is cooperating, maybe they want to go public. How would they know this though...would it have been disclosed to them at this point or are they fishing? Is there a rivalry between the and people that's bubbling through the backrooms of Washington...

Yes, we could go on and on. All speculation, and that we love to do. The idea that a sealed, secret indictment of Rove would potentially be helping the administration by allowing that fact to go unreported is perhaps the juiciest suggestion of all the aspects of this report. It could lead to some even more spectacularly interesting possibilities afoot. But alas, that's more speculation. Hopefully Fitzgerald will fill in the public, his constituency, on all actors' parts in this interminable investigation so that speculation may soon come to an end.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Allen's troubles continue

VA-SEN: Poll: Allen's Lead Over Webb Shrinks To Three Points.

You can drive a Mack truck through the opening the "macaca" remark created.

The new normal

Mutiny as passengers refuse to fly until Asians are removed.

The true believer held a press conference today

Bush Warns It Would Be 'Disaster' to Leave Iraq...threatening and asserting again. Is anyone listening anymore?

Suits him

The headline, that is...otherwise, I think the media should ixnay on this ridiculously overcovered story-ay.

Rove sticking with "cut and run"

Rove's rabble-rousing remarks from Saturday:
"If leading Democrats had their way, their policies would make our nation weaker and the enemies of our nation would be stronger,' Rove said Saturday at a fundraiser in Austin for the Associated Republicans of Texas, an old-line party group. 'That is a stark fact of modern life, and it is the issue on which the forthcoming election should center.'" (emphasis added)
How's that for you? Problem is, he and his boss are the ones who've weakened the U.S., principally through their misguided war of choice in Iraq. Iraq is like that "giant sucking sound" famously touted by Ross Perot back in the day. It's that giant open sore, festering and sucking money, human treasure and his nation's resources, away from a focussed, strategic effort to prevent terrorism internationally and at home.

And the larger problem is that he and his boss have been in power for six years, in control of all levers of government, and if the U.S. is still paranoid about terror and not feeling safe, it's their fault, not the Democrats, no matter how hard they try to frame this. Seriously, how scary can the Democratic party be compared to a world where the Iraq war wages, a shaky truce prevails between Israel and a terrorist group, Hezbollah, after another war egged on by the Bush administration, the constant threats of terrorism as they so conveniently whip out when in dire political straits...and and have been the principal architects of this mess. So I ask you, how scary are the Democrats compared to these guys?

It's amazing how empty Rove's tired old refrain sounds this time, aired once more on Saturday:
"If Democrats want to frame this year's election around who's stronger on national security, that will be a debate that we want, a debate we should have, and a debate that we Republicans will win," he said Saturday.

He said the Democrats' plan was "to cut and run."
Wouldn't you just love to see this guy get a kick in the pants? Just this once?

Come on, America, give Karl a good kick in the rear this November.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hillary is the underdog

Yes, I said that:
"Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton matches up well against Sen. John McCain in early polling about a possible presidential contest in 2008.

A Time magazine poll released Sunday found McCain, R-Ariz., at 49 percent and Clinton, D-N.Y., at 47 percent among registered voters when people were asked which candidate they would support for president if they had to decide now."
Mocked, demonized, can't win...once again, the soft bigotry of low expectations at work...:)

Good for Kerry

Calling for Lieberman to get out:
"Democratic party Chairman Howard Dean has called for Lieberman to drop out after his primary loss. Sen. John Kerry, the Democrats' 2004 presidential candidate, said on ABC's 'This Week' that Lieberman was making a 'huge mistake' running as an independent.

'I am concerned that he is making a Republican case and he is uttering almost the same words as Vice President (Dick) Cheney, and I think it's inappropriate,' Kerry said."
More of this please...

Senate control still up for grabs

Chris Cillizza had a good look at the Senate seats that are viewed as close in his Friday blog. Read through it and tell me the Senate's going to swing Democratic. Not at this point, that's for sure. They need a gain of 6 yet there are "safe" Democratic seats that are potentially in jeopardy. So the gain of 6 is going to be very tough. Despite W's historically low numbers and bad national numbers for congress, these Senate seats are different animals entirely.

More evidence steroids in baseball out of control

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Toby Keith now publicly proclaiming his Democratic credentials

Speaking of people falling off the conservative bandwagon:
"Mr. Keith's publicity agent, Elaine Schock, said his conservative reputation was a result of the times. He is a lifelong Democrat, Ms. Schock said, and the perception of him as conservative is a "myth."

"I think when you have a war," she said, "people want you to be on one side or the other."
The perception of Keith as a conservative is a "myth." Bet that's big news to a lot of his fans out there. Was this part of the "myth:" feuding with the Dixie Chicks and showing a doctored photo of Natalie Maines with Saddam Hussein at concerts? Bet he made lots of money off this "myth."

Five Years After 9/11, Fear Finally Strikes Out

Frank Rich today, "Five Years After 9/11, Fear Finally Strikes Out," argues the Bush/Rove effort to scare voters into supporting them is losing its electoral viability:
THE results are in for the White House’s latest effort to exploit terrorism for political gain: the era of Americans’ fearing fear itself is over.

In each poll released since the foiling of the trans-Atlantic terror plot — Gallup, Newsweek, CBS, Zogby, Pew — George W. Bush’s approval rating remains stuck in the 30’s, just as it has been with little letup in the year since Katrina stripped the last remaining fig leaf of credibility from his presidency. While the new Middle East promised by Condi Rice remains a delusion, the death rattle of the domestic political order we’ve lived with since 9/11 can be found everywhere: in Americans’ unhysterical reaction to the terror plot, in politicians’ and pundits’ hysterical overreaction to Joe Lieberman’s defeat in Connecticut, even in the ho-hum box-office reaction to Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center.”

It’s not as if the White House didn’t pull out all the stops to milk the terror plot to further its politics of fear. One self-congratulatory presidential photo op was held at the National Counterterrorism Center, a dead ringer for the set in “24.” But Mr. Bush’s Jack Bauer is no more persuasive than his Tom Cruise of “Top Gun.” By crying wolf about terrorism way too often, usually when a distraction is needed from bad news in Iraq, he and his administration have long since become comedy fodder, and not just on “The Daily Show.” June’s scenario was particularly choice: as Baghdad imploded, Alberto Gonzales breathlessly unmasked a Miami terror cell plotting a “full ground war” and the destruction of the Sears Tower, even though the alleged cell had no concrete plans, no contacts with terrorist networks and no equipment, including boots.
I hope this is true, that the fear-mongering does not reap any more political rewards for Republicans. But they're certainly still trying very hard, aren't they?

Conservatives off the bandwagon

Well, let's see....big news today, high profile conservatives are jumping ship due to the Iraq disaster: Pundits Renounce The President. And of course, Tony Snow understands:
White House spokesman Tony Snow said the second-guessing was predictable, given the difficulties in Iraq. "It's hardly unusual in times of war that people get anxious, and that would include people who have supported the president," he said. "The president understands that and is not fazed by it."

Snow said much of the frustration articulated by conservatives stems from a desire to accomplish Bush's ambitions. "The good thing is they all have the same goal: They all want to win the war on terror," he said. "You don't have people quibbling over the goals; they're quibbling over the means -- or 'quibbling' is the wrong word. 'Debating.' "
I'm sure he includes Democrats in this lot since clearly Democrats want to win the war on terror as well, right? Of course he does.

New blog look

Did the switch to Blogger beta and decided I'd had enough of the bland layout. Hopefully you'll find this to be easier on the eyes than the last version. The narrowness of that column consistently bugged me.

Played around with it tonight, did a little link updating and hope everything's where it should be and yet, refreshed!

Enjoy:)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I agree, Rove loves the Connecticut infighting

TPM guest blogger nails it.
Dashboard Confessional - Don't Wait

The Friday video pick...:)

Euphrates Etiquette

Maureen Dowd today on W's puzzlement, expressed privately this week in a meeting with experts, on the Iraqis lack of gratitude for his "liberating" them, "Where Is Euphrates Etiquette?":
"You can take the boy out of Kennebunkport, but you can’t take Kennebunkport out of the boy. The erstwhile black sheep is now as obsessed with manners as his dad. He’s furious that he got no thank-you note from the Iraqis for the big present of allowing them the opportunity to be like us. They refused our gift, after everything W. did for them — invading their country under the false pretense of protecting our country, shattering their shaky infrastructure, and starting a shame spiral that’s led to civil war.

His foreign policy has been more force majeure than the noblesse oblige of his father and grandfather. But now he has embraced noblesse, and puzzles over why the poor Iraqis do not feel more obliged after being blessed with America’s philosophical, economic and political riches. How on earth do these benighted folk not understand the difference between the good guys and the bad guys?"

Mass murder in the skies: was the plot feasible?

Here's a helpful reality check. This guy says no, a lot would have had to have gone pretty amazingly right for this plot to have been successful. Read through to get a sense of the science, but here's a bit:
The genius of this scheme is that TATP is relatively easy to detonate. But you must make enough of it to crash the plane, and you must make it with care to assure potency. One needs quality stuff to commit "mass murder on an unimaginable scale," as Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Stephenson put it. While it's true that a slapdash concoction will explode, it's unlikely to do more than blow out a few windows. At best, an infidel or two might be killed by the blast, and one or two others by flying debris as the cabin suddenly depressurizes, but that's about all you're likely to manage under the most favorable conditions possible.
...
So the fabled binary liquid explosive - that is, the sudden mixing of hydrogen peroxide and acetone with sulfuric acid to create a plane-killing explosion, is out of the question. Meanwhile, making TATP ahead of time carries a risk that the mission will fail due to premature detonation, although it is the only plausible approach.

Certainly, if we can imagine a group of jihadists smuggling the necessary chemicals and equipment on board, and cooking up TATP in the lavatory, then we've passed from the realm of action blockbusters to that of situation comedy.
"An infidel or two..."! Gotta love scientific analysis with a touch of snark.

Allen Flap May Give A Boost To Webb

Sure the macaca flap helps. What also helps? Having such low expectations set for your candidacy that it actually might not be that hard to exceed them....like in this Post article today. How can he not exceed such expectations as these:
A week of national headlines -- none good for Allen -- has the potential to change the Virginia campaign from a Democratic long shot to one that could help decide which party controls the U.S. Senate next year, political analysts said. But only if Webb, who has struggled in his first run for office, can translate the temporary boost into lasting momentum.

Democratic activists across the state have complained for weeks that Webb hasn't been visible enough, was slow in hiring staff and had limited knowledge about many issues. In a debate last month, Allen forced Webb to admit he did not know about the future shipping terminal at Craney Island in Portsmouth.
...
Republicans say he can't win, regardless of Allen's recent remarks.

"Webb doesn't have his policy ducks in a row, and he doesn't have his campaign ducks in a row," said Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R-Fairfax). "Is Allen running a perfect campaign? No, or we wouldn't be having this conversation. But they certainly know how to run a campaign."

Dick Wadhams, Allen's campaign manager, said: "The fundamentals of this race have not changed, which are the Democrats have a candidate who is incapable of taking a position on any issue."
Can anyone think of a political candidate in recent years who actually benefited from having expectations set so low? Yeah, I think if we thought real hard, we might come up with one...

Classic

John on AMERICAblog got a lot off his chest yesterday:
I've had it with this idiot.

We've got the president of the fucking United States of America lecturing a US court of law that it's supposed to reach decisions NOT based on the rule of law, but on "the nature of the world we live in."

You God damn stupid fuck.

You have the nerve to claim Osama and the terrorists hate our democracy? They got nothing on you and your fellow "Republicans." Do you people even believe in freedom? Do you believe in the Bill of Rights? Do you believe in our Constitution? Do you fucking believe in anything other than your absolute power to do whatever the fuck you want like some two-bit communist dictator rather than the president of the greatest country on earth?

We live in a democracy, you incompetent ass - one that is quickly eroding because half the people of this country elected a moron to the presidency (twice) and now are so embarrassed by their vote that they refuse to stand up and demand an end to your idiotic reign of terror.

These are judges you're demeaning. American jurists. The people in charge of our laws. And you speak of them like they're nothing more than crap. You and your party have contempt for our entire system of jurisprudence, the entire system of checks and balances our democracy is based on, because you can't get your way 100% of the time. Well boo-fucking-hoo. We are a country of laws, you stupid stupid man.

The world in which we live is one in which the town drunk thinks he's the king of the fucking world.

Osama bin Laden is a danger to be sure. But the greatest threat to our democracy is from George Bush and his genuflecting Republicans.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Constitutional Expert on NSA Ruling


Turley: "...the president could have committed a federal crime...thirty times..." "The problem is not the judge, the problem is a lack of authority..."

Al Qaeda calling

Bush Vows to Overturn Wiretapping Ruling :
"President Bush said today that he is confident that a federal court ruling against his administration’s electronic surveillance program will be overturned, and he described those who hailed the ruling as naïve.

“I would say that those who herald this decision simply do not understand the nature of the world in which we live,” Mr. Bush said in a question-answer session at Camp David, Md. “I strongly disagree with that decision, strongly disagree. That’s why I instructed the Justice Department to appeal immediately. And I believe our appeals will be upheld.”

“We believe, strongly believe, it’s constitutional,” the president added. “And if Al Qaeda is calling into the United States, we want to know why they’re calling.”" (emphasis added)
To this latter statement, I say: duh? Absolutely NO ONE disagrees with listening in on Al Qaeda calls. once again is smoke-screening the issue. HE CAN DO THIS ALREADY UNDER EXISTING LAW. The issue is that his extra-legal secret programme, un-sanctioned by congress, overseen by only his lawyers and appointees has been held unconstitutional. Illegal. So he can "strongly believe" all he wants. His problem is that he's at 37% (to pick the highest number of late) and few believe him, trust him or thinks he's competent.

The central finding of this ruling further cements a story line of an administration that has repeatedly made the wrong choices in fighting the war on terror. Wrong war. Wrong eavesdropping programme. So it's snowballing into a bigger problem as they prepare to fight the midterm elections. They have to smash the snowball before it rolls down the hill.

The more that inconvenient rulings such as this and facts on the ground in Iraq occur, the less likely they are to hang on to congressional control. And we all know what that means. Accountability might actually occur for this guy. What a concept.