Wednesday, February 28, 2007

About that anti-terror vote

I think Garth Turner sums it up quite well:
From the day I started to study this issue, and determine how I would vote, I came down on the side of freedom. Strikes me that the greatest blow possible to those who hate our value system and our democratic liberties is to protect and maintain them. So the vote to let lapse strong police powers which have never been used, and which were adopted in the panicked months following Nine Eleven, was an easy one. I voted to set them aside.

To say this is being soft on terror is bizarre. To demonize the Liberals and the NDP and the Bloc – in fact, the majority of MPs in the Canadian Parliament – for standing up for individual rights is to completely misunderstand the issue. Stephen Harper has spun this for one reason only, and that is politics. This is a wedge issue which he has used to portray the Liberal leader as weak and indecisive. Mr. Harper knows the existence of these two clauses will not matter in any battle against terrorism, He knows his statement that the Air India inquiry will not be effective without them is a lie. He knows the majority of MPs in the House of Commons are not, as he says, anti-police.

But he also knows that the emotional, devastated and sympathetic victims of terrible terrorist crimes are compelling. He knows politics. He knows exactly where this strategy will fit into his election campaign. And he knows the damage he wants done to his enemies.

Yes, it was a divisive day. But the right decision was made in Ottawa. Freedom beat fear. (emphasis added)
That's a great line to sum up this debate.

The big question for Gore

Maureen Dowd asks the big question everyone's thinking about in her column today, "Ozone Man Sequel."
The best ex-president who was never president could make one of the most interesting campaigns in American history even more interesting. Will he use his green moment on the red carpet in black tie to snag blue states and win the White House?

Only the Goracle knows the answer.
Watch An Inconvenient Truth and see if you find yourself hoping that the answer to that question is "yes." For many obvious reasons.
The Bush-Cheney years have been all about dragging the country into the past, getting back the presidential powers yanked away after Watergate, settling scores from Poppy Bush’s old war, and suppressing scientific and environmental advances. Instead of aiming for the stars, the greatest power on earth is bogged down in poorly navigated conflicts with ancient tribes and brutes in caves.

Surely the Goracle, an aficionado of futurism, must stew about all the time and money and good will that has been wasted with a Vietnam replay and a scolding social policy designed to expunge the Age of Aquarius.

When he’s finished Web surfing, tweaking his PowerPoint and BlackBerrying, what goes through his head? Does he blame himself? Does he blame the voting machines? Ralph Nader? Robert Shrum? Naomi Wolf? How about Bush Inc. and Clinton Inc.?

With the red carpet rolled up, the tux at the cleaner’s, and the gold statuette on the director’s mantle, not his, the Goracle is at his Nashville mansion, contemplating how to broker his next deal. Will he cast himself as the savior of the post-Bush era, or will the first Gore in the Oval Office be Karenna, mother of Oscar?
Canadians who think Stephen Harper is committed to making environmental change would do themselves a big service if they'd watch the movie and then decide which of the federal leaders is genuinely interested in the issue and which ones are coming to the table kicking and screaming.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Oscars a reminder that Gore is still in the wings

And David Remnick has an excellent column this week in the New Yorker on the topic. Excerpts:
It is worse than painful to reflect on how much better off the United States and the world would be today if the outcome of the 2000 election had been permitted to correspond with the wishes of the electorate. The attacks of September 11, 2001, would likely not have been avoided, though there is ample evidence, in the 9/11 Commission report and elsewhere, that Gore and his circle were far more alert to the threat of Islamist terrorism than Bush and his. But can anyone seriously doubt that a Gore Administration would have meant, well, an alternate universe, in which, say, American troops were sent on a necessary mission in Afghanistan but not on a mistaken and misbegotten one in Iraq; the fate of the earth, not the fate of oil-company executives, was the priority of the Environmental Protection Agency; civil liberties and diplomacy were subjects of attention rather than of derision; torture found no place or rationale?

In increasing numbers, poll results imply, Americans are disheartened by the real and existing Presidency, and no small number also feel regret that Gore—the winner in 2000 of the popular vote by more than half a million ballots, the almost certain winner of any reasonable or consistent count in the state of Florida—ended up the target of what it is not an exaggeration to call a judicial coup d’├ętat. Justice Antonin Scalia routinely instructs those who question his vote in Bush v. Gore to stop their ceaseless whinging. “It’s water over the deck,” he told an audience at Iona College last month. “Get over it.” But it is neither possible nor wise to “get over it.” The historical damage is too profound.
Here are two more incisive lines from the column:
Gore’s critiques of the Administration’s rush to war in Iraq and of the deceptions used to justify it were early, brave, and correct. On the issue of climate change, of course, he has exercised visionary leadership.
Take a look, this is a must read.

Mini Bush gets a slap

"Canadian Court Limits Detention in Terror Cases" was the lead story in the online version of the NY Times Saturday. Americans are looking to this decision for this reason, buried at the end of the article:
Dalia Hashad, the United States program director for Amnesty International, said the Canadian decision should serve as “a wake-up call that reminds us that civilized people follow a simple and basic rule of law, that indefinite detention is under no circumstances acceptable.”
Yeah, that's right folks. A much needed wake-up call indeed. And make no mistake about it, this decision is a significant blow to a nascent political argument Harper's Conservatives have begun to sling. That the Liberals are "soft on terror." If the Conservatives want to continue with their brilliant Republican strategy, they're going to have to go after the Supreme Court of Canada as well, since they've unanimously struck down part of the terror law. The Supreme Court decision has in effect slapped back the Conservative efforts to de-legitimize political debate over provisions of the terror law.

The crux of the decision, once more, with gusto:
Canada’s highest court on Friday unanimously struck down a law that allows the Canadian government to detain foreign-born terrorism suspects indefinitely using secret evidence and without charges while their deportations are being reviewed.

The detention measure, the security certificate system, has been described by government lawyers as an important tool for combating international terrorism and maintaining Canada’s domestic security. Six men are now under threat of deportation without an open hearing under the certificates.

“The overarching principle of fundamental justice that applies here is this: before the state can detain people for significant periods of time, it must accord them a fair judicial process,” Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote in the ruling.
What a concept! Thankfully it's alive and well in our country. By contrast, the U.S. under Bush has done away with such rights. If you're a Canadian travelling in the U.S. and are deemed a terrorism suspect, they can lock you up and throw away the key. No hearing to find out why. Good night and good luck. Unless the Democratic congress rolls back the Military Commissions Act - and with a razor thin majority in the Senate and the political climate in the U.S., it's questionable - it's likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

And by the way, that's Chief Justice McLachlin, appointed by a Progressive Conservative Prime Minister, a breed that's done and gone. Now we've got Conservatives in Canada who exhibit daily how they are no longer "Progressive" and who are no doubt just itching to publicly criticize these Supreme Court judges as liberal and therefore their foes. Yet thankfully, in the wake of a 9-0 decision, they had the sense to accept the ruling and not play politics with it. It's almost a shock that they haven't (yet) given the petty streak they've been on. After all, we should expect it when we have a Prime Minister who will go so far as to characterize the Liberals' position in opposing the renewal of certain of the terror provisions as cover for their need to protect an MP's family member. We are becoming conditioned to expect petty partisan politics when we have a Prime Minister who uses Air India families as political props with which to bludgeon the Liberals on the same issue.

How low we've sunk with the Harper crew that one actually feels it is an out of the ordinary occurrence to hear them actually mouth respect for a court ruling that strikes down a provision of the terror law that this very week they sought to politicize. How low we've sunk when we have the feeling that Harper and his crew, privately, likely harbour real resentment at this decision. After all, it comes on the heels of a week where they tried to mount a significant political argument against their political foes by painting them as "soft on terror," just as their Republican heroes to the south have tried to do with their political opponents. A high profile 9-0 Supreme Court decision striking down one of the provisions of that very act you sought to wield against your political foes has got to put a real crimp in their "soft on terror" extravaganza! And with the international community, here the U.S., virtually cheering on the decision, you just know Harper and the gang are in a slow, seething burn this weekend.

Sorry, Harper boys, maybe next week you can get back on the low road of mudslinging and rabid partisanship. We know you can't wait and that this is but a temporary detour.

Go Garth, go

The Turner Report » The big lie:
"Well, I don’t think Canada is about these things, either:
- A government which is openly lying about its political opponents.
- A prime minister using terrorism victims as a pawn in the coming election campaign.
- Increased police powers which override human rights. In war, maybe. In peace, never.
- Conservative MPs not even allowed to discuss this, let alone exercise their free will or power of independent analysis."
What an entertaining read Garth's blog is these days, check it out.

Phenomenal headline today

"US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack." Details:
SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.

Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.

“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.”
How's that for a start to your Sunday?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Harper crowd and their Republican talking points

More here: "Accused by Harper of being 'soft on terror', Liberals buoyed by court decision." I'm too disgusted by the utterances of Stockwell Day and Peter Van Loan et al. quoted in the article to reproduce them here. Read for yourself. Suffice to say that the Conservatives continue to follow the Republican playbook and continue to believe this resonates with Canadians.

Dick's disastrous world tour

Somebody give this guy the hook, please: Cheney: 'All Options' Available for Iran. And in addition to Cheney's comments, they're needling Iran, no doubt about it, with incidents like this seizing of a prominent Shiite political leader's son as he returned from Iran to Iraq on Friday.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Big news on the Anti-Terror front

The world is watching. Front page of the NYTimes, "Canada's High Court Strikes Down Indefinite Detention":
One of Canada's most contentious anti-terrorism provisions was struck down Friday by the Supreme Court, which declared it unconstitutional to detain foreign terror suspects indefinitely while the courts review their deportation orders.

The 9-0 ruling was a blow to the government's anti-terrorism regulations. Five Arab Muslim men have been held for years under the ''security certificate'' program, which the Justice Department had insisted is a key tool in the fight against global terrorism and essential to Canada's security.

The court found that the system violates the Charter of Rights and Freedom, Canada's bill of rights. It suspended the judgment from taking effect for a year, to give Parliament time to rewrite the part of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that covers the certificates.
Hey, Harper? Hear that? Post 9/11, overreaching which led to such embarrassments as the Arar deportation are now being appropriately and rightfully scaled back. From the Globe:
"It's a ringing, profoundly important endorsement of one simple bedrock truth: Security is all about human rights," Mr. Neve said.

The ruling strengthens the Arar Commission's position in "conveying an unequivocal message" that fundamental rights will not be countenanced by the nation's senior judges, he said.

"That will be heard outside Canada as well in courtrooms, legislatures around the world, and it helps to reverse the global rollback in human rights that has been such a worrying trends worldwide since September 11th," he said.
The world will right itself, despite the efforts of the Bushes and Harpers on the far right.

Good for him

"Trudeau takes plunge into federal politics."

This is very cool



And it's Friday, so enjoy...:)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Garth Turner's blog

Has more on Harper's shameful actions today.

Meet the Press for Idiots



Hilarious...:)

Busting stereotypes

Here's an interesting read, for any of you in the category: The Romantic Life of Brainiacs.

Libby jury deliberating

Insightful diary on dailykos tonight,"Libby Trial: Madness! Madness! Madness!", that gives you a feel for what the inside of the courtroom was like during the closing arguments in the Libby trial. Rest of the coverage today is pretty mundane. The Post has a bit about the jury instructions.

It's remarkable to hear pundits and commentators so easily floating the idea that Libby, if convicted, is likely to be pardoned by Bush in any event, so what is one to do? There's a cavalier attitude that a pardon is virtual conventional wisdom, so hey, Fitzgerald's out of luck if he tries to flip Libby and go after Cheney. Imagine if the President in question were named Clinton.

Just saying...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Article on Cheney's power inside the White House

As illuminated by the Libby trial: "Trial Spotlights Cheney’s Power as an Infighter." Most intriguing part of the trial evidence enumerated here, to me:
In a hush-hush meeting described in testimony, Mr. Libby asked the vice president’s chief counsel, David S. Addington, whether the president could declassify intelligence personally, effectively without C.I.A. knowledge or approval.

Mr. Addington testified that as he explained to Mr. Libby that indeed the president could do so, Mr. Libby shushed him. “He extended his hands out and pushed down a little like that, that would indicate, ‘Hold your voice down,’ ” Mr. Addington said at the trial. Mr. Libby testified that Mr. Cheney then went to Mr. Bush and got a presidential declassification.

White House officials have said Mr. Bush did not know how Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby intended to use the intelligence. (emphasis added)
The implication, of course, that Cheney could in effect "work" Bush to get whatever he wanted, here a quickie declassification. This is strange, however, as Cheney has publicly claimed to have the power to declassify intelligence himself. Apparently there was an Executive Order issued by Bush on March 25, 2003 amending classification powers to include the Vice President. So what's Libby, Cheney's Chief of Staff, doing in the summer of 2003 asking Addington about declassification if Cheney already had that power? The more likely answer is that Cheney did not have declassification authority, despite his public position.

For the leaking of Valerie Plame's CIA status, a special presidential seal of approval was required and Cheney got it. Note the comic last line from the excerpt above, that Bush didn't know how Cheney and Libby were going to use the intelligence he was declassifying. A tad irresponsible, don't ya think? Oh well, that's just Bush being Bush, right?

The rest, as they say, is history.

Since Mitt Romney's getting some attention...



Here's a Bill Maher clip on the topic of Mormonism and Romney. Notice Michael Steele is one of the panelists (I'm sure that's him) and he doesn't say a word...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Quote of the day

From an old Clinton foe:
Back when Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was first lady, no one better embodied what she once called the “vast right-wing conspiracy” than Richard Mellon Scaife.

Mr. Scaife, reclusive heir to the Mellon banking fortune, spent more than $2 million investigating and publicizing accusations about the supposed involvement of Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton in corrupt land deals, sexual affairs, drug running and murder.

But now, as Mrs. Clinton is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Mr. Scaife’s checkbook is staying in his pocket.

Christopher Ruddy, who once worked full-time for Mr. Scaife investigating the Clintons and now runs a conservative online publication he co-owns with Mr. Scaife, said, “Both of us have had a rethinking.”

Clinton wasn’t such a bad president,” Mr. Ruddy said. “In fact, he was a pretty good president in a lot of ways, and Dick feels that way today.” (emphasis added)
Everything's relative, I guess...:)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Rich on Iran

In "Oh What a Malleable War" today, Frank Rich suggests all this talk about Iran from Bush is at its worst a rationale for war with Iran, at its best, a smokescreen:
We know what Mr. Bush wants to distract us from this time: Congressional votes against his war policy, the Libby trial, the Pentagon inspector general’s report deploring Douglas Feith’s fictional prewar intelligence, and the new and dire National Intelligence Estimate saying that America is sending troops into the cross-fire of a multifaceted sectarian cataclysm.

That same intelligence estimate also says that Iran is “not likely to be a major driver of violence” in Iraq, but no matter. If the president can now whip up a Feith-style smoke screen of innuendo to imply that Iran is the root of all our woes in the war — and give “the enemy” a single recognizable face (Ahmadinejad as the new Saddam) — then, ipso facto, he is not guilty of sending troops into the middle of a shadowy Sunni-Shiite bloodbath after all.

Oh what a malleable war Iraq has been. First it was waged to vanquish Saddam’s (nonexistent) nuclear arsenal and his (nonexistent) collaboration with Al Qaeda. Then it was going to spread (nonexistent) democracy throughout the Middle East. Now it is being rebranded as a fight against Tehran. Mr. Bush keeps saying that his saber rattling about Iran is not “a pretext for war.” Maybe so, but at the very least it’s a pretext for prolonging the disastrous war we already have.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Clinton says she won't apologize

I happen to think she's right. Why should she apologize for having voted based on intelligence and representations made by Bush? Bush is responsible for the Iraq war, not Hillary. Bush made the mistake. If she had been President, or Gore, or any right-thinking individual with an ability to sort through intelligence and make a reasonable decision, there likely would have been no Iraq war. That is the point.
Yet antiwar anger has festered, and yesterday morning Mrs. Clinton rolled out a new response to those demanding contrition: She said she was willing to lose support from voters rather than make an apology she did not believe in.

“If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from,” Mrs. Clinton told an audience in Dover, N.H., in a veiled reference to two rivals for the nomination, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina.
Hillary apologizing for her vote is just so irrelevant right now. All the apology seeking crowd wants is another scalp, some kind of groupthink retribution or punishment for having believed Bush. No one knew at the time the depths of deception and manipulation being perpetrated on the world by Bush and Cheney, in particular. The facts are now coming out. To say Hillary should have seen through this at the time is hindsight wishful thinking. Yes, it would have been nice had she voted against it, but she had her reasons and if they're not good enough, don't vote for her.

The question is how to get out of this quagmire without doing further damage to the Middle East.

How to use an RSS feed to read a blog

Helpful post by John Aravosis at Americablog, in case you're an avid blog reader and don't use a news aggregator of some kind. Here's how you do it, using the new "Google Reader": How to use an RSS feed to read my blog and many others.

In a nutshell, if you're not using RSS, set up a Google Reader account. John explains how. Then go to town adding blogs and news sources to it.

I use the news aggregator "My Yahoo" which is provided by Rogers, my internet provider. It serves the same purpose as any "aggregator," to put on one page for you the headlines from the news and blog sources you select. That way, at a glance, you can assess what's going on and where you might want to go to delve into the day's news. You still end up visiting a bunch of sites, but it's a very handy summary.

Read John's post, it's very useful.

And if you're on my site and want to subscribe to my blog on your RSS page/news aggegator, here's a shortcut. Click on the orange RSS icon down below in the right hand column that looks like this:



Happy reading and blogging!

Mini Bush paying for focus groups to tell him how to speak

Too bad it's not working:
"The Conservative government has been 'too American' in its attempts to justify the Afghan war to a skeptical Canadian public, according to an internal report commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The extensive critique of the Tory communications strategy on the war comes from a series of cross-country focus groups conducted in November 2006 at a cost of almost $76,000.

The study, obtained by the Toronto Star, found that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was 'echoing' U.S. President George W. Bush in his attempt to explain why Canadian soldiers are fighting and dying in the country's southern province."
They can't help it...they love the Republicans and Bush. They think Bush is right.
The Tory communications problems are compounded by "a general perception that this government is already closely aligned with the U.S. on other fronts," the report states.
Yes they are...how did we end this week? Let's see, Harper calling Dion "soft on terror." Hello? Straight out of the Bush/Rove playbook. This is the basis for an electoral campaign against Harper - along with the "flip flopping" on the income trusts and environmental priorities.

By the way, why are we paying for this political advice to Mini Bush? The retro Conservative party should be paying for this.

We call him Mini Bush here at the Impolitical blog for good reason, you know...:)

The two words that most describe Bush are...

Incompetent and Arrogant. Check out the list of polled responses.

My personal favourite, "Idiot" which comes in at #5.

Rove henchman out as U.S. attorney

So sad.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Nothing is ever the Conservatives' responsibility

When will Harper ever take responsibility for his government's actions?

They just can't seem to help themselves...they defamed Ralph Goodale and the Liberals in the last election, yet now that the Liberals have been cleared? No, Harper's continuing his partisan attacks and ads that continue to mislead.

This guy is an attack dog and the Liberals, instead of taking the "high road," had better start attacking back. Harper's bringing it, they've got to stand up to this bully. Canadians have typically rejected the negativity, but in this new media era of hyper-partisanship, the multitude of attacks starts to sink in with people...

Mini Bush parroting his idol yet again

Dion is 'soft on terrorism,' PM contends.

You've got to be f*%#ing kidding me. Is Karl Rove running the Conservatives' political affairs?

Keith gets 4 more years



Congrats! We love Keith here at the Impolitical blog!

Rove's deputy installed as U.S. attorney at request of Harriet Miers

She was such a loyal foot soldier:
A United States attorney in Arkansas who was dismissed from his job last year by the Justice Department was ousted after Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, intervened on behalf of the man who replaced him, according to Congressional aides briefed on the matter.

Ms. Miers, the aides said, phoned an aide to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales suggesting the appointment of J. Timothy Griffin, a former military and civilian prosecutor who was a political director for the Republican National Committee and a deputy to Karl Rove, the White House political adviser.

Later, the incumbent United States attorney, H. E. Cummins III, was removed without explanation and replaced on an interim basis by Mr. Griffin. Officials at the White House and Justice Department declined to comment on Ms. Miers’s role in the matter.
Looks like out and out political cronyism at its worst. I'm sure Mini Bush would heartily approve.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bush: unhinged and unfit for office

"Unhinged and unfit for office," a diary by clammyc crossposted on My Left Wing says what everyone in their right minds thinks if they caught any of Bush's press conference yesterday:
And we are watching the very high profile, very public meltdown of a United States President. A so-called "Commander in Chief" who can’t even handle a few pointed and necessary questions from a compliant and deferential press corps. We are watching our Vice President present as "absolute" statements that are long on innuendo, threats and manipulation but even shorter on truth and evidence. We are watching a combative Secretary of State outright lie about negotiation proposals from Iran. The same Secretary of State that nobody in the Middle East wants to talk to.

The administration has become the Land of the Broken Toys. Except for the fact that we all felt sorry for those toys. We shouldn’t feel sorry for these people. They are willfully endangering our country and future every single day. They are unfit for office. They are unhinged, angry, delusional, out of the mainstream.

They are a threat to all of us and to the world at large. They must be removed. And this country deserves nothing less than a debate on their fitness for office, especially at this time in history.
This is exactly the kind of discussion the blogosphere excels in and gets moving. And a discussion sorely needed right now.

A big shout out to My Left Wing, by the way. Maryscott O'Connor, the site's founder, raised a big fuss at DailyKos in the last week over Kos's shrinking blogroll and among other things, his claiming to be a bystander in the '08 campaign. MSOC tells it like it is and has got some incredible chutzpah going on. Check out the site, I highly recommend.

By the way, here's Olbermann's coverage (with some interesting editing):

About Al Franken...

This is brilliant:

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Liberal bloggers grabbing headlines in the NY Times!

(And no, they're not part of the Edwards campaign...that's a whole other story...)

For Liberal Bloggers, Libby Trial Is Fun and Fodder. You got that right!

Way to go, Firedoglakers! Getting the recognition they deserve for extensive coverage of an important story, the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame and the resulting Libby trial. Jane Hamsher, Christy Hardin-Smith and the other bloggers there have really made a difference.

The real John McCain...on video



Great little website, The REAL McCain, that may come in very handy in the years ahead...:)

Cowards

Harper's Conservatives throwing rocks. More American style negative ads from Harper.

That's what this is. They might as well be name calling. This is just embarrassing.

Get ready for the nastiest election we've seen in a long time...

Mini Bush openly confirming partisan judicial appointments

Disappointing:
Michael Ignatieff, the Liberal deputy leader, tore a strip off Harper for his effort to link future judicial appointments to Conservative law-and-order policy.

"That's not how the separation of powers works in our country," Ignatieff said. "We leave the judges to interpret the law, and we choose them on the basis of quality and competence."

Ed Ratushny, a University of Ottawa law professor, said he was startled by the baldness of Harper's assertions.

"It's very unfortunate, turning the judiciary into a political football," Ratushny said.

"There is a constituency that is no doubt impressed by the idea of getting tough on criminals, but it's a narrow perspective that doesn't take into account the complexity of these issues."
And here's more reaction:
The Canadian Bar Association, which first raised concerns about Tory judicial policy last fall, was quick to denounce Harper on Wednesday for undermining a long-standing tradition of non-partisanship on the bench.

“Canada has always had independent judiciaries,” said bar president Parker MacCarthy. “This could shake Canadians’ confidence in the fairness of our justice system.”
This is what you get when you vote for Harper...a very Americanized view of our political system and the branches of government. In Harper's view, our judges are politicized, like in the American system. Harper believes that if a judge was appointed by a Liberal government, then they're inherently hostile to Conservative policies. That's balderdash. Judges in Canada are free from partisan taint. They're appointed independently and due to their qualifications. Harper fundamentally misunderstands the Canadian system.

This is just so tragic, to have our government speaking as if the partisan assumptions at play in the American judicial system are actually present in ours. Why are they so fascinated by the American system and so willing to ignore our own great traditions?

Incredible video



Video gives you the answer to the following question: what happens when you paint "Hillary for President"(among other things) on the side of a car and drive through Alabama?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Libby trial quote of the day

Ouch. Frosty quote from former NYTimes reporter Judith Miller's former boss:
"Earlier, New York Times managing editor Jill Abramson testified she could not recall Miller suggesting to her that the Times look into Plame, as Miller had testified. But on cross-examination, she added she 'occasionally tuned her out.'"
What a clever burn...:)

In other trial news...there's an interesting bit in the NYTimes report tonight about a question a juror asked of one of today's witnesses, John Hannah, described as "a former deputy to Mr. Libby who is now a national security adviser to Mr. Cheney."
Mr. Hannah also provided testimony for another defense argument when he said Mr. Libby had a notoriously bad memory. “On certain things, Scooter just had an awful memory,” he said, using Mr. Libby’s nickname.

He said that on occasion Mr. Libby would tell him some idea in the afternoon, having forgotten that he, Mr. Hannah, had given him the idea in the morning. Mr. Libby, sitting at the defense table, laughed. Mr. Hannah said in response to a question from a juror — an unusual procedure used by Judge Walton — that Mr. Libby had a good memory for ideas and concepts. (emphasis added)
So the juror bore in on the notion that, yes, Libby might forget details from time to time as we all do...but would he be likely to forget what appeared to be an ongoing concerted effort out of the Vice President's office to target Joe Wilson and his wife, including discussing Valerie Wilson's CIA status with reporters? Yeah, that's a darn good question, juror.

Speaker Pelosi kicks off the Iraq debate



"No more blank checks for President Bush on Iraq."

Right wing hatred

On full display, here. The holy rollers show their love for a blogger.

Feel the love!

No Cheney on the stand

Cheney, Libby won't testify at CIA leak trial.

Not a big surprise...he'd have been walking into a lion's den. Better to work on the pardon?

Olbermann on the Iranian weapons in Iraq



Why would anyone believe the Bush administration on this?

Times editorial on Dixie Chicks' win

"The Courage of Others’ Convictions," NYTimes editorial today on the Dixie Chicks' big wins Sunday night:
The music industry awarded an armload of Grammys to the Dixie Chicks on Sunday night, in what was celebrated as a blow for freedom of speech as much as tunefulness. The endorsement was about three years too late. The awards — including for the trio’s fittingly titled album “Taking the Long Way” and the song “Not Ready to Make Nice” — ended a desolate period in which their music was boycotted and banned by country music stations, their CDs were burned and smashed, and group members’ lives were threatened.

The Chicks’ offense was geographic but labeled unpatriotic. The lead singer, Natalie Maines, told a 2003 London concert crowd that she was ashamed that President Bush was from her home state, Texas. She briefly apologized to fans, then quickly took it back, reclaiming her right to oppose the Iraq war and criticize the president.

Had Ms. Maines been a senator at the time, she might now be a shoo-in candidate for president.

The gutsy group beat back the campaign by conglomerate radio chains to obliterate them and did it with little support from fellow artists, who apparently feared getting Dixie-Chicked themselves. The band reinvented itself, taking on a pop style, reclaiming some old fans and finding new ones — a lot of them. Meanwhile, Mr. Bush’s polls plummeted to Nixonian levels. Suddenly, the industry found the courage to really, really like them again.

We’ve seen this sort of political calibration by the arts before. Lillian Hellman scalded an Academy Awards ceremony in 1977, 25 years after she defied the House Un-American Activities Committee. The film industry, she said, responded to Washington’s red-baiting and blacklisting with all the “force and courage of a bowl of mashed potatoes.”

There must be a Dixie Chicks song in there somewhere. (emphasis added)
Yeah, tons of vindication to go around...:)

On that last point regarding a song... there is one...it's called "Bitter End," directed at their country music pals in particular and it's on Taking the Long Way...:)

8 reasons to turf Mini Bush

And their environmental record is just one of them. Read the rest here. An excerpt from the conclusion:
"“This is a guy who will never change,” says Murray Dobbin, Vancouver-based journalist and author of Paul Martin: CEO for Canada? “The notion that Stephen Harper would change his fundamental values is just delusional. He is still viscerally contemptuous of his own country, and I think that puts him in a unique position of any prime minister in the history of the country. I can’t think of any other prime minister who actually hated his own country.” After all, Stephen Harper is the same man who, only a decade before, was head of the National Citizens Coalition, perhaps the most virulently right-wing organization in Canada, a group that was founded to oppose publicly funded, universal health care. He’s the same man who has advocated a firewall around Alberta to protect itself from a hostile federal government. The same man who has mocked Canadians’ understanding of their own country and who has called America’s conservative movement an inspiration. This is the same man who has made a career out of consistently and ardently criticizing Canada and its values. “Canada is a northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it,” Harper told the Council for National Policy, a right-leaning American think tank, at a June 1997 meeting in Montreal."
What a masterful effort it's been to disguise this guy...

We report, you decide

disco wants you to see this.

Me? I think I'm mildly offended...after all, how offended can one be by a KFC billboard?

The problem with Mini Bush and his gang: they're running the wrong country

Exemplified here: "Tories under attack over judges."

It isn't a surprise that the Conservatives under Harper would seek to appoint "Conservative" leaning judges. Harper and his Chief of Staff, Ian Brodie, come from the "Calgary School" of Canadian politics which seeks to fundamentally alter longstanding principles that most Canadians take for granted. For example, most Canadians would probably believe that the judiciary in Canada is independent and that judges are appointed according to merit and without regard to partisanship. For the most part, they would be right. Judicial appointments, particularly to the Supreme Court of Canada, have been notably above any partisan fray. Look at the appointments that have been made, dating back to the Mulroney era. Mulroney appointed such eminent judges as the current Chief Justice, Beverley McLachlin, the late John Sopinka - a famed Canadian litigator and Claire L'Heureux-Dube - who wrote progressive Charter opinions during her tenure. These appointments were made without regard for partisanship. Chretien's nominees withstand this test as well.

With respect to federal judicial nominations beyond the Supreme Court, the structural set up of the committees to appoint those judges has ensured that partisanship does not override judicial qualifications.

Now along comes Mini Bush and his gang, getting their chance to muck things up. What part of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" do they not understand? So what do they do? They muck it up. Changing the structure of the judicial committees to ensure that the federal government's representatives now have a majority of votes to outweigh the other committee reps.

You know what? I'll take the word of these two leading law professors over Mini Bush and his gang any day:
But Ed Ratushny, a University of Ottawa law professor, said the advisory panels play a key role by creating the pool of candidates from which the minister makes his choices.

The Tory appointments appear to signal a campaign to "transform the judiciary by getting people with a particular mind-set as judges," said Mr. Ratushny. "I don't think there was a concerted effort to do that under the Liberals."

Patrick Monahan, dean of Osgoode Hall law school, also found cause to worry about the Tory approach.

"Certainly, if the government is appointing to committees individuals who are there for partisan political considerations, I think that would be a matter of serious concern," said Monahan.
Yes it's a concern, to put it mildly.

What else would one expect from this gang at this point? The gang that thinks all things American are good for Canada. Of course they're going to go for partisan judicial appointments. They've already successfully cut the funding for the court challenges program that helped many Canadian interest groups fund their appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada and advance minority positions that otherwise would not have been heard. But no more funding under Mini Bush. His Chief of Staff has had it out for the program for years and wrote a book attacking it. Imagine the tremendous harm caused by having groups affected by a significant ruling of the Supreme Court actually present and participating in the court process! No, we can't have that in Canada! The ungenerous Conservative viewpoint says that such viewpoints are not welcome at the Supreme Court. By cutting the funding, that's the result.

Today's news regarding judicial appointments is just one more story that tells a tale of the Conservatives lurching us toward a decidedly more American style of government. See for example:
  • the tone taken by this government in its everyday dealings;
I mean, really, when it comes to judicial appointments, what else should Canadians expect? This is what you get when you elect Mini Bush and his pro-American gang...

We call him Mini Bush for good reason here at the Impolitical blog, you know...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Novak hearts Rove

Sings Rove's praises today:
Mr. Novak said he had learned to read Mr. Rove’s signals very well, since the White House aide was “a very good source” to whom he talked two or three times a week. Asked what he thought Mr. Rove’s main job was, Mr. Novak said it was to aid the president politically.

“I think he was trying to do a good job for the country, too,” Mr. Novak said.
A great, independent journalist, don't you think?

And is it just me, or doesn't the "all the cool kids were leaking" kind of defense make it more likely Libby was doing the same thing, not less?

Woodward in the spotlight

Woodward gets his 15 minutes in the Libby trial today.

Says Libby never told him about Valerie Wilson working at the CIA. Oh well then. That must mean Libby's a stand up guy. Woodward wouldn't possibly omit such a reference from his "voluminous" notes. Some journalists are infallible, don't ya know.

The prosecution didn't allege that Libby did tell Woodward in any event. There's plenty of other evidence of Libby spilling. All just about throwing the spotlight elsewhere...here to Richard Armitage, who dished on Valerie Wilson with Woodward and later, Novak.

Maybe when Libby dies, Woodward will have more to say...

Cheney to testify? Please let it be so

Get ready to go to town, Fitz:
One figure has dominated the trial of I. Lewis Libby Jr. without even showing up in the courtroom. Day after day, the jury has heard accounts of the actions of Vice President Dick Cheney, watched as his handwritten notes were displayed on a giant screen, heard how he directed leaks to the news media and ordered the White House to publicly defend Mr. Libby, his top aide and close confidante.

Now, as the defense phase of the perjury trial begins, Mr. Cheney is expected to make a historic appearance on the witness stand. It is an act of loyalty that carries considerable risk for Mr. Cheney, a powerful figure in the administration who has in recent months suffered a series of major political and policy setbacks.

If he testifies, Mr. Cheney will bring to the jurors the awesome authority of his office and could attest to Mr. Libby’s character as policy adviser and family man, and to his crushing workload and dedication to keeping the country safe. That could give extra heft to Mr. Libby’s defense against the charge that he lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the grand jury: that he was so occupied with important matters of state, he did not accurately remember conversations from July 2003.
Excuse me while I heave...the "awesome authority of his office...!" The jurors have seen some high profile individuals already, Cheney will be just one more. In this media age, is Dick Cheney more awesome than Tim Russert? (Did I actually just write that?) My point, let's not overstate the gravitas of Cheney. The opinions of many of the potential jurors who were screened indicated no such susceptibility to any awe of the Bush administration, Cheney in particular.

Lots of questions to be asked of the big Dick...if you and Libby were so preoccupied with "matters of state," why did you have time to repeatedly discuss Joe Wilson and his wife and your efforts to discredit them? Not so weighty, hey Dick? In fact you might come off as plenty petty:
Under cross-examination by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, a veteran prosecutor who is likely to be deferential but dogged with questions, the vice president may be forced to describe in uncomfortable detail how he directed the counteroffensive on Joseph C. Wilson IV, the former ambassador who accused the administration of twisting prewar intelligence.
...
“If Cheney said anything that’s contradicted in the record, though I think that’s unlikely, Pat will slam him,” said a former federal prosecutor who knows Mr. Fitzgerald. “He’ll do it respectfully, but I have no doubt he’ll do it,” said the lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
No doubt!

We'll see, I'm still not sold this will happen. Libby needs him. But will Dick do him this solid in return? Or is there a pardon in the works?

Gotta love John Mayer

Love his music, and he won tonight too. And how great is he! Listen to this:
"Hunky singer-songwriter John Mayer said that he was working in the same studio complex as the Dixie Chicks when they were recording 'Taking the Long Road' and could hear the greatness down the hall. 'Every time that door opened up and you could make out the music, it was almost an instant classic,' he said. Mayer wound up playing guitar on 'Taking the Long Way,' which competed with his CD, 'Continuum,' for album of the year.

'It's hard enough to make a record when you're chasing the ghost of your last record,' he said. 'But they were running from a lot of ghosts.' He said he admired their artistic restraint: Though 'Not Ready to Make Nice' is defiant, the album isn't quite a rebuke to the group's critics.

'Most people would have made a record four times as brash,' he said. 'To write great songs as your weapon, it's all you need.'"
Well said!

Way to go, Dixie Chicks!



Thanks to atrios for posting...:)

What a great payoff for all the crap they went through...what an absolutely fantastic message their racking up the Grammys tonight sends. Congratulations to them...:)

More coverage:
After death threats, boycotts and a cold shoulder from mainstream country radio, the Dixie Chicks gained sweet vindication Sunday night at the 49th annual Grammy Awards, capturing honors in all five of the categories in which they were nominated.

They were the top winners during a night when the Recording Academy spread the wealth, even handing out ties in two categories, as it bestowed multiple awards to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mary J. Blige, Carrie Underwood, Justin Timberlake, Tony Bennett, John Mayer, Ludacris and the late jazz musician Michael Brecker.

The Dixie Chicks took home Grammys for the top three awards: record, song and album of the year. Their “Taking the Long Way” (Open Wide/Columbia) won best country album and “Not Ready to Make Nice” also captured best country performance by a duo or group with vocal. That song is an unapologetic response to the furor set off in 2003 when the band’s lead singer, Natalie Maines, made an off-the-cuff antiwar remark to London concertgoers: “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.”

But Sunday’s awards were the Recording Academy’s rejoinder to the country music radio establishment. Accepting the award for song of the year, Ms. Maines joked, “For the first time in my life, I’m speechless.” When the trio returned to the stage for the best country album Grammy, Emily Robison, another member of the group, added that the band had been in a “strange place to be sometimes, without a genre.”
If you haven't bought the album, support the Chicks, you'll be glad you did!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A good reason to watch the Grammys tonight



Well said:
With the rapid descent in Bush's popularity and the waning support for the war, the Chicks are now seen as ahead of their time, adds Jerry Del Colliano, professor of music industry studies at the University of Southern California.

"It was one of their smartest decisions not to give in to the pressures to apologize," the professor says. "You couldn't ask more from management or a band to have the fortitude to stick with your convictions."
Good luck to the Dixie Chicks tonight...:)

It's called judgment

Stockwell Day has a new expression. "Flip-flop," he says. Is this the next American electoral import we're going to see? Negative ads, allegations of flip-flopping...these guys are unbearable.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Republic party



Anthony Weiner does a great job here...:)

Environment hurt by Quebec separatism: Suzuki

Food for thought.

Rove quote of the day

SJ-R.COM - Rove has little to say about Obama:
"Bush will use his final two years in office to push an ambitious agenda, including health-care and energy proposals, Rove said.

“Facing a Congress of the other party is sometimes a recipe for success,” Rove said, noting that tax reform was passed in the final two years of the Reagan administration and that Clinton worked with Republicans to pass welfare reform.

If people check their partisan, political interests at the door, and say what’s in the best interest of the country, then lots of positive things can be done,” Rove said."
Yeah, read that last line again and try not to gag or laugh too hard...

Btw, Bush is not Reagan and he's certainly not Clinton...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Rove's comments being scrutinized by his own

By his friends, The Corner on National Review Online:
According to a congressman's wife who attended a Republican women's luncheon yesterday, Karl Rove explained the rationale behind the president's amnesty/open-borders proposal this way: "I don't want my 17-year-old son to have to pick tomatoes or make beds in Las Vegas."

There should be no need to explain why this is an obscene statement coming from a leader in the party that promotes the virtues of hard work, thrift, and sobriety, a party whose demi-god actually split fence rails as a young man, a party where "respectable Republican cloth coat" once actually meant something. But it does seem to be necessary to explain.

Rove's comment illustrates how the Bush-McCain-Giuliani-Hagel-Martinez-Brownback-Huckabee approach to immigration strikes at the very heart of self-government. It is precisely Rove's son (and my own, and those of the rest of us in the educated elite) who should work picking tomatoes or making beds, or washing restaurant dishes, or mowing lawns, especially when they're young, to help them develop some of the personal and civic virtues needed for self-government. It's not that I want my kids to make careers of picking tomatoes; Mexican farmworkers don't want that either. But we must inculcate in our children, especially those likely to go on to high-paying occupations, that there is no such thing as work that is beneath them. (emphasis added)
Think I'll just leave it at that...

John McCain's blogger gets some attention

Good:
"Last summer, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, hired Patrick J. Hynes, a conservative blogger and political consultant, to be his campaign’s blog liaison. Mr. Hynes quickly ran afoul of fellow bloggers by initially concealing his relationship to the McCain campaign while he was writing critically about other Republicans.

He then came under fire for declaring that the United States was a “Christian nation” in a book and television appearances that predated his work for Mr. McCain. Last November, while employed by Mr. McCain’s campaign, Mr. Hynes posted on his personal blog a picture of Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, and invited readers to submit nicknames, some of which were anti-Semitic."
But of course, it's a side note to the Edwards' campaign bloggers being targeted. Anyone going to launch a national campaign against Hynes the way William Donahue has against Edwards and his bloggers? Doubt it. The double standard at play once again...like the legitimacy bestowed on the idiots carping about Pelosi's plane.

Once again, good for Edwards for standing up to these clowns.

Big story today on manipulation of Iraq intelligence

Hopefully Anna Nicole Smith's death (tragic as it is) will not crowd out all news today and for the foreseeable future of incredible importance! Like this big one today: Official's Key Report On Iraq Is Faulted. The gist:
Intelligence provided by former undersecretary of defense Douglas J. Feith to buttress the White House case for invading Iraq included "reporting of dubious quality or reliability" that supported the political views of senior administration officials rather than the conclusions of the intelligence community, according to a report by the Pentagon's inspector general.

Feith's office "was predisposed to finding a significant relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda," according to portions of the report, released yesterday by Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.). The inspector general described Feith's activities as "an alternative intelligence assessment process."

An unclassified summary of the full document is scheduled for release today in a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which Levin chairs. In that summary, a copy of which was obtained from another source by The Washington Post, the inspector general concluded that Feith's assessment in 2002 that Iraq and al-Qaeda had a "mature symbiotic relationship" was not fully supported by available intelligence but was nonetheless used by policymakers.

At the time of Feith's reporting, the CIA had concluded only that there was an "evolving" association, "based on sources of varying reliability."
Something you never would have heard had the Repubs held onto the congress. That is, the truth. Now you're going to hear the real goods on how the intelligence was misused leading up to the war, through congressional oversight. We've had a taste from the exposures in the Libby trial regarding the Vice President's office and their effort to quash questions about the discredited Iraq-Niger "yellowcake" story.

Here's Senator Levin summing up the main issue:
"The bottom line is that intelligence relating to the Iraq-al-Qaeda relationship was manipulated by high-ranking officials in the Department of Defense to support the administration's decision to invade Iraq," Levin said yesterday. "The inspector general's report is a devastating condemnation of inappropriate activities in the DOD policy office that helped take this nation to war."
This article is a must read today. It buttresses the case that the Vice President's office was instrumental in aligning itself with the Defense department in what was essentially an end-run around the CIA...and look where it's led...

More about Gore

Supporters Push Gore to Run in 2008:
"Veterans of Al Gore's past are quietly assembling a campaign to draft the former vice president into the 2008 presidential race - despite his repeated statements that he's not running.

His top policy adviser from his 2000 presidential campaign and other key supporters met Thursday in Boston to mull a potential Gore campaign. The participants and Gore's Nashville office both said Gore, who is in London, is not involved."
Keeping an eye on this story, with much interest...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Will Cheney testify?

Jeralyn Merritt argues Libby's team may actually call Cheney. To put the "I was too busy to recall the details" defense in play. The problem with Cheney being put on the stand, however, summed up by Jeralyn, is as follows:
The problem for Cheney is that if he takes the stand, Fitzgerald won’t be restricted to these two areas, memory and motive, in his cross-examination. There’s a lot of dirty laundry about how the White House, and in particular, the Office of the Vice President, tried to manipulate media reports about Wilson’s trip to Niger and his attack on the Bush administration’s claims that Iraq was attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction. It will all come out in the wash.
So it'll be crunch time for the Libby team. Do they do whatever it takes to defend their client which likely includes putting Cheney on the stand? Or does Scooter take the bullet and sacrifice himself in the cause of protecting Cheney? If he picks the latter route, the speculation over a pardon in the works will follow...

In other news in the trial today, Russert's credibility took a few hits.

Pettiness being put to rest

White House Defends Pelosi’s Plane Request.

Watch a silly Republican on this issue, here:



Patrick McHenry, loyal Rovian to the end...

Good for Edwards

Righties fail to get bloggers fired.

How much have you spent, John Baird?

Testy exchange on environmental questions at a House of Commons committee today.

Environment Minister John Baird demonstrates fully why he was chosen by Mini Bush to take over this file. Partisan, partisan, partisan...

Hilarious

What people will do...

Iraq war veterans speaking out in Washington against the war

Must read straight talk from Iraq war veterans making waves in Washington:
"Soltz, the group's intense 29-year-old co-founder who served in Iraq in 2003, displayed a fiery impatience with the procedural morass that has paralyzed the Senate. 'I don't need some fancy Senate talk about why they can't vote,' he said in an interview. 'We just want a vote. We need a vote that tells the president that his strategy is not working.'

In several news conferences, Soltz accused McConnell of 'aiding the enemy' by allowing the Bush administration to build up troops in Iraq at the expense of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. 'We are not fighting the war on terrorism, we are in the middle of a civil war,' he said, referring to Iraq. 'Meanwhile, the guy who attacked this country on 9/11 is living in a cave in Afghanistan.'

Soltz called Cheney a 'draft dodger,' repeating charges he made last month when he disparaged a 'president who frankly knows nothing of war and a vice president who knows even less.' He said: 'Senators on the fence have a choice. They can stand with veterans like us, or they can stand with the draft dodgers down the road.'"

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hey! You can't say that!

Matthews drops the F-bomb.

Newsflash: Bloggers write pretty "strong stuff"

The details here about the Edwards campaign being under scrutiny for the writings of two bloggers they've hired.

Read this blogger and this one for the hypocrisy of the entire episode. Think the right wing bloggers hired by McCain et al. are going to be scrutinized as thoroughly? Not holding my breath...

"Bush and Cheney Must Come Clean"

Joe Conason asks some hard questions, now that the evidence is being exposed to the world in the CIA leak case:
According to published reports, the special prosecutor conducted interviews of the President and the Vice President during the summer of 2004. Those reports indicate that Mr. Bush, accompanied by private counsel, wasn’t placed under oath during his interview. But even if neither he nor Mr. Cheney was sworn during those encounters, that wouldn’t excuse them from telling the truth. To do otherwise would expose them to prosecution for making false statements to federal investigators—a felony—as well as possible counts of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

Did the President ask Mr. Libby to take the fall for others in the White House? Did the President know the extent of the Vice President’s involvement in the effort to ruin the Wilsons? When did he learn what Messrs. Cheney, Libby, Rove and Fleischer had done to advance that scheme?

Most important, did Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney tell the truth when Mr. Fitzgerald and his investigators interrogated them about those issues? That is the inescapable question at the bottom of this case—and sooner or later, the Congress and the press must demand answers.
Conason's calling on Bush and Cheney to "permit full disclosure of those interviews."

So how about it?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bush more involved in CIA leak than thought?

David Shuster reports on yesterday's Libby grand jury tapes. Bush was apparently interested in the Kristof column in the NYTimes which originally referenced Joe Wilson's trip to Niger. Kristof's column, of course, was the one that got the ball rolling in the White House, prompting them to look into Wilson, his wife, Wilson's criticism of Bush's allegation in the State of the Union that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa.

Yes, it looks like Bush was interested, involved and shock of all shocks, reading newspapers to boot.

Haggard Pronounced ‘Completely Heterosexual’

Seems his fellow parishioners conducted some sort of investigation into his sexuality. Very weird.

Apparently the thought that one of their own could be gay is just too much for these people. It requires an inquisition. Now Haggard's being sent out of town and out of the church.

Some things are strangely not forgivable for the holy roller set. What a sad, embarrassing spectacle.

Along with the post about Republican divorces, seems there's a bit of a theme developing here on the blog today...:)

Mini Bush doesn't do daycare

"Child-care groups gives Harper failing grade."

Paltry cash payments. A failing company incentive program. It's quite the record.

A call for Cheney to resign

In Nick Kristof's column today, "Mr. Cheney, Tear Down This Wall," he poses a series of questions to Dick Cheney on the grounds that "...now that the Scooter Libby trial is raising doubts about your own integrity, you owe the nation an explanation." Admirable sentiment but the normal rules don't apply to the Bush administration, it's been six years of living in the bizarro political world. They escape the conventions that other mere mortals must follow. To them, the Libby trial appears to be but one more story that's grist for the 24/7 news grinder. Cheney might as well be a king for all his accountability. Dare to ask him an unfriendly question - he's been sheltered by his regular Faux interviewers - and the anger rears its head. Witness the Wolf Blitzer interview.

Excerpts of Kristof's questions for Cheney:
Mr. Vice President, did you push Mr. Libby to dig into Joe Wilson’s background and discredit him? Mr. Libby made such a major effort to gather materials from the C.I.A. and State Department about Mr. Wilson — both before and after you told him on June 12, 2003, that his wife worked at the C.I.A. — that it seems likely that you commanded the effort. True?

What did you mean when you wrote, in a note to Scott McClellan that has been entered into evidence, “not going to protect one staffer + sacrifice the guy the Pres. that was asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of incompetence of others.”

First, you wrote that it was “the Pres.” who had asked Mr. Libby to do this, and then you crossed out those two words. Did President Bush indeed ask that Mr. Libby take charge of the effort to discredit Ambassador Wilson? And is it true, as was hinted at in the trial, that the White House tried to block the release of this document?
...
Were you trying to cover up your own reliance on misinformation about Iraqi W.M.D. by blaming the C.I.A. and anybody else within range, like Mr. Wilson?

More than anybody, Mr. Vice President, you made the argument in the run-up to the war that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And one senses, in the indictment and the trial testimony, that by the early summer of 2003, there was panic in your office that the W.M.D. had failed to materialize.
...
So when are you going to come clean?
...
I’m not accusing you of committing a crime. But there are serious questions here, and you owe the nation not legalisms, but that “stiff dose of truth.” If you continue to stonewall, then you don’t belong in office and you should resign.
Kudos to Kristof for calling for Cheney's resignation. You just know this'll be making the reading rounds in the White House today. One of Kristof's columns in the summer of 2003 on a then unnamed Wilson's trip to Niger started the White House's mission to destroy Joe Wilson. It would be fitting if one of his columns bookended Cheney's tenure. Here's hoping.

By the way, does Libby's team really intend to call Cheney at this point? What a day(s) that will be...:)

Feingold on the Republican filibuster



Senator Russ Feingold blasts away about the reprehensible Republican action in the Senate tonight...and fellow Democrats about not standing up to them. Good for him.

More on the Republicans' tactics here: "G.O.P. Senators Block Debate on Iraq Policy." And here. While in the majority they vilified the use of the filibuster by Democrats and tried to dial it back under what was called the "nuclear option." Now that they're in the minority, it's clearly a different story. Do as I say, not as I do...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Uh, yeah

Howard Kurtz - Is Bush Over?

Stop going to Mexico

Enough. After what they did to the two women from Ontario...why would you patronize this country with your business?

Edwards rebukes the Decider



Edwards has a great line here on Bush thinking of himself as the "Decider."

This seems a little cruel

"A Presidential Also-Ran, Kerry Adjusts to What Passes for a Normal Life in the Senate."

Yeah, John Kerry is a pathetic loser compared to George W. Bush, right? It just boggles the mind...

Quote of the day

Article on the strange case of Robert Novak. Remarkably unscarred by the CIA leak investigation and trial that he kicked off with his column outing Valerie Plame in the summer of 2003, one observer has this to say:
“He is like Typhoid Mary,” Edward Wasserman, a professor of journalism at Washington and Lee University, said of Mr. Novak. “Everybody is keeling over around him and he just keeps skipping along.”
Incredible article, this, quite critical of Novak's behaviour throughout the course of this story.

Not that I'm complaining.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Dick Cheney and the WMD lies

"Why Dick Cheney Cracked Up," Frank Rich's column today reminds us of the importance of the Libby trial that is ongoing in Washington and why Dick Cheney seems to be in such a pissy mood:
According to testimony in the Libby case, the White House went berserk when Mr. Wilson published his Op-Ed article in The Times in July 2003 about what he didn’t find in Africa. Top officials gossiped incessantly about both Wilsons to anyone who would listen, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby conferred about them several times a day, and finally Mr. Libby, known as an exceptionally discreet White House courtier, became so sloppy that his alleged lying landed him with five felony counts.

The explanation for the hysteria has long been obvious. The White House was terrified about being found guilty of a far greater crime than outing a C.I.A. officer: lying to the nation to hype its case for war. When Mr. Wilson, an obscure retired diplomat, touched that raw nerve, all the president’s men panicked because they knew Mr. Wilson’s modest finding in Africa was the tip of a far larger iceberg. They knew that there was still far more damning evidence of the administration’s W.M.D. lies lurking in the bowels of the bureaucracy.

Thanks to the commotion caused by the leak case, that damning evidence has slowly dribbled out. By my count we now know of at least a half-dozen instances before the start of the Iraq war when various intelligence agencies and others signaled that evidence of Iraq’s purchase of uranium in Africa might be dubious or fabricated. (These are detailed in the timelines at frankrich.com/timeline.htm.) The culmination of these warnings arrived in January 2003, the same month as the president’s State of the Union address, when the White House received a memo from the National Intelligence Council, the coordinating body for all American spy agencies, stating unequivocally that the claim was baseless. Nonetheless President Bush brandished that fearful “uranium from Africa” in his speech to Congress as he hustled the country into war in Iraq.
(emphasis added)
Can't be easy for ol' Dick to be hearing about his hatchet job on the Wilsons everyday now, can it? Such inconvenient facts being bandied about these days, hey Dick?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Undermining

"Is America Ready For a Woman President?" Go To Hell:
"When people write, 'Is America ready for a female president?' they need to know how insulting that is to women. These are the doubt planters. Tell 'em to go to hell. They're not asking, they're undermining. If you want to make someone feel unwell, don't say, 'You look terrible', because he'll immediately bounce back with, 'I feel fine!' But if you ASK, if you say, 'Do you feel all right?' the doubt sets right in. 'Why? Why do you ask? What's wrong?' That's what they're doing. 'Is America READY for a woman president?' 'Why? What's going to happen??'"
I'm sure they'll tell us...

More Gore speculation

From Donna Brazile.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Rep. Conyers is big into oversight

"Is Bush Violating the Law?" If he is, John Conyers is on the job:
Here is the prepared text of Conyers's opening statement: "I intend to ask the Administration to identify each and every statutory provision they have not agreed with in signing statements, and to specify precisely what they have done as a result. For example, if the President claims he is exempt from the McCain Amendment ban on torture, I want to know whether and where he has permitted it. And we want to know what has he done to carry out his claims to be exempt from many other laws, such as oversight and reporting requirements under the PATRIOT Act, numerous affirmative action obligations, and the requirement that government obtain a search warrant before opening the mail of American citizens.

"I am also going to ask my staff, along with Ranking Member Smith's staff, to meet with the Department of Justice and the White House so we can get to the bottom of this matter, and to be blunt, we are not going to take no for an answer. We are a co-equal branch of government, and if our system of checks and balances is going to operate, it is imperative that we understand how the Executive Branch is enforcing -- or ignoring -- the bills that are signed into law."

Please support our troop

Courtesy of disco, this is hilarious:
"I want the American people to know that I have not forgotten that our battle for freedom began in Afghanistan, rooting out the extremists of al-Qaeda and the Taliban," Bush said. "Today, I am ordering the deployment of the 325th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Private Tim Ekenberg, to the embattled Kandahar region."

"We will take whatever measures necessary to win," Bush added. "Isn't that right, Tim?"

Ekenberg is scheduled to arrive in Afghanistan on Friday. His duties include providing full military support for the still-tenuous democratic government, resolving potential conflicts between rival warlords, gathering intelligence for his superiors, delivering humanitarian relief to millions of Afghan citizens displaced by factional warfare, and maintaining a high level of personal physical fitness.

Ekenberg's most vital assignment, however, will be to patrol approximately 1,200 square miles of volatile territory on the Afghan–Pakistani border and conduct search-and-destroy missions on the estimated 40,000 caves where U.S. intelligence sources believe Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda operatives could be hiding.
Hillary's on board...:)
Some prominent Democrats have expressed cautious support of Ekenberg's deployment. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) applauded the Bush administration for "at least meeting [our] demands 1/20,000th of the way."

"This is where we should have been sending troops all along," Clinton said. "It's a promising sign that the president is finally willing to unleash on Afghanistan the full force and military might of the United States Marine Corps Private Tim Ekenberg."
And remember:
"Even if you disagree with our commander in chief, I ask that your prayers go out to Tim and that we continue to remember the sacrifices that are being made out there," Dean Ekenberg said. "Please, support our troop."

New NIE on Iraq due Friday

This should be big news in the coming days:
"Meanwhile, Michael McConnell, the Bush administration’s nominee to be the next director of national intelligence, said that a long-awaited intelligence analysis about Iraq would be delivered to lawmakers on Friday. The so-called national intelligence estimate will give the assessment of America’s 16 intelligence agencies about the sectarian violence and prospects in Iraq."

CIA leak case developments today

David Shuster's report on Hardball on Thursday afternoon on the Libby trial includes evidence from an FBI agent. The agent asked Libby whether he had ever discussed with Dick Cheney the idea of using Valerie Wilson's identity as a political weapon:



Yeah, they may have indeed...

Shame on McCain



Watch and lament...

Gore in the background

Al Gore Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize:
Former Vice President Al Gore was nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his wide-reaching efforts to draw the world's attention to the dangers of global warming, a Norwegian lawmaker said Thursday.

``A prerequisite for winning the Nobel Peace Prize is making a difference, and Al Gore has made a difference,'' Conservative Member of Parliament Boerge Brende, a former minister of environment and then of trade, told The Associated Press.
And An Inconvenient Truth was nominated for an Oscar for best documentary just over a week ago. Could be a very interesting year...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Speculation Bush asked that Libby take the fall for Rove


Here at Andrew Sullivan's blog. Check out the note written by Cheney, above, that's an exhibit in the Libby trial. "Not going to protect one staffer & sacrifice the guy - then "the Pres" is crossed out - that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others." The obvious interpretation is that Bush asked Libby to take the fall, or at least enabled it in some way in order to protect his bread & butter, Karl Rove. Cheney caught what he was writing and checked himself.

Love this trial...:)

Molly Ivins, Columnist, Dies at 62

Molly Ivins, Columnist, Dies at 62. A great writer with a penchant for great lines:
After Patrick J. Buchanan, as a conservative candidate for president, declared at the 1992 Republican National Convention that the United States was engaged in a cultural war, she said his speech “probably sounded better in the original German.”
A writer with a gift of wit and humour, one of my favourite kinds of people...:)