Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Harry Reid & his boxing tickets

The Muckraker clears it would have been illegal for Harry Reid to pay for his boxing passes...nevertheless, an impression was created that yes, a leading Democrat is offside on ethics issues too. Drive by smears, courtesy of your GOP...

Look what's working in the White House

Bad timing for this revelation:
"Karl Zinsmeister, the new chief domestic adviser to President Bush, while embedded as a reporter with the 82nd Airborne in Kuwait in 2003, declared that 'many of the journalists observable in this war theater are bursting with knee-jerk suspicions and antagonisms for the warriors all around them. A significant number are whiny and appallingly soft.'

Zinsmeister, editor-in-chief of the American Enterprise Institute's magazine, wrote the article for the National Review, and it appeared on March 28, 2003. He was appointed to the top adviser post last week. "


Best point made in Maureen Dowd's column today, "Live From Baghdad: More Dying,"on the deaths of the two CBS news crew and the severe injury of Kimberly Dozier:
"'One thing I don't want to hear anymore,' Steve Capus, the president of NBC News, told The Times's Bill Carter, 'is people like Laura Ingraham spewing about us not leaving our balconies in the Green Zone to cover what's really happening in Iraq.'"

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Here's the real deal on the Harry Reid story today

The Muckers tell it like it really is. Looks like the RNC is doing its best to achieve parity on the corruption issue leading up to the midterm elections. Luckily for them, they have the Washington Post and an assortment of other media outlets to go along with them...

Monday, May 29, 2006

More journalists killed in Iraq

CBS Cameraman, Soundman Killed in Iraq...

It's a hot and gnarly day in T.O.

Surprise! No transit! In a city this size, it's a bit of a nightmare. And it's hot.. man am I glad my air conditioning is being installed today!

Herbert putting Iraq in context

"Consider the Living":
Before you gather up the hot dogs and head out to the barbecue this afternoon, look in a mirror and ask yourself honestly if Iraq is something you would be willing to die for.

Yeah, that'll put things in context pretty quickly for people...and here's some historical context:
Nothing new came out of the Bush-Blair press conference. After more than three years these two men are as clueless as ever about what to do in Iraq. Are we doomed to follow the same pointless script for the next three years? And for three years after that?

Leadership does not get more pathetic than this. Once there was F.D.R. and Churchill. Now there's Bush and Blair.

The Boss is on tour this summer

And doing a little politicking on the way, "Rocker Springsteen takes political tone on US tour":
During a break between songs, he offered harsh words for the administration of President George W. Bush and its handling of last year's devastating Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, which killed more than 1,500 people in Louisiana alone.

"'I've never seen anything like it in any American city,' Springsteen said of the flooding and destruction. Referring to Bush, whom he called 'President Bystander' in a performance in New Orleans last month, Springsteen added, 'He managed to gut the only agency, through political cronyism, that could help people at a time like this.'"
On tour all summer, keep it up, Bruce!


Why not a Bush monarchy then?
But Republican Party leaders continue to talk seriously about a continuation of the dynasty, a Bush III administration, with Jeb as a candidate in 2012 or 2016, when the memory of the current president's dismal poll ratings will be less of a factor. That, at least, is what happened the last time around: President George Bush's unpopularity at the end of his term in 1992 did not hurt his eldest son when he ran for president eight years later.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

And in other news, the Pope's Catholic

Frist Backs Search of Congressman's Office.

Follower Frist, desperate for the Bush voters can't tell when he should not blindly follow...

More Gore

"Back in the Limelight, Gore Insists He's Over Politics." This is exactly why he is such an appealing figure right now...the more he protests what politics has become, the more interested people are likely to be.

Speaking of George W Bush's marriage...

A propos of my previous post...hilarious:

Worth a Sunday read

"Media Matters"; by Jamison Foser where the double standard in media coverage of Democrats vs. Republicans is laid bare. Hillary & Bill's marriage is fair game and a hot topic as she considers a run in '08, yet John McCain's? Or George W. Bush's for that matter? Never a word. You'll be angry by the time you finish reading this one.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Bush desperately trying to salvage his place in history, again:
"He compared his moment in presidential history to that of President Harry S. Truman.

'As President Truman put it towards the end of his presidency, 'When history says that my term of office saw the beginning of the Cold War, it will also say that in those eight years we set the course that can win it.' His leadership paved the way for subsequent presidents from both political parties -- men like Eisenhower, Kennedy and Reagan -- to confront and eventually defeat the Soviet threat,' Bush said.

'Today, at the start of a new century, we are again engaged in a war unlike any our nation has fought before -- and like Americans in Truman's day, we are laying the foundations for victory.'"
What is it those historians said recently, Bush was most assuredly the worst president in American history? Get ready to hear more of this historical situating from Bush and his gang. No doubt a line crafted in anticipation of the midterm elections as well. As in, things are crap, on all fronts in America today, but hey, in 40 years you'll thank me. So have some historical sense Americans and rally behind your president!

Bush did this

Through hatchet man . Read this, article in the Times today on the Swift Boating of Kerry and get a full frontal reminder of how the fool in the White House won his re-election.

Just purchased

Give the Chicks a listen, they're not ready to make nice...:)

Don't Become Them

Maureen Dowd, in her column today, "Don't Become Them" on the marines alleged to have killed civilians in Haditha, Iraq:
They blew off the Geneva Conventions, following the lead of the president's lawyer.
Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste, one of those who called for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, told Chris Matthews that blame for Haditha and Abu Ghraib lay with "the incredible strain bad decisions and bad judgment is putting on our incredible military."
Striking context in which to place the alleged actions of these soldiers. But of course, like the low ranking soldiers who paid from Abu Ghraib, if found guilty, once again we'll see soldiers who will get their court marshals and prison sentences with no accountability from anyone at the top of this administration, despite the lawless tone they've set.

Mini Bush watch

Still hitching his wagon to the Americans: "Harper wants fixed federal election dates."

Harper's got a problem with the truth, apparently

And he was wrong. Shamefully wrong.

Times article on Bush's "apology"

See post below re: Bush's smirking following his so-called apology as context for this article.

Bush's so-called contrition

From Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night, Richard Wolffe who was in attendance at Bush & Blair's press conference, advises us all that after "apologized" for his mistakes ("Bring it on", etc.), he did this:
"Wolffe: ..And for me the big giveaway was at the end of that answer, I don't know if you can see it on camera, but the President flashed a big grin to those of us sitting in the front rows. It didn't seem that he was quite as contrite as his performance."
What an unbelievable ass. Here's an AP photo caught by The Left Coaster which appears to capture the moment: (AP)
It would be truly great if Democrats could get film footage of this and run it in ads in the fall. Apology + smirking = buffoon.

Friday, May 26, 2006

When construction becomes national news - Sources: Capitol 'gunfire' likely from air hammer......doesn't take much to ratchet up the alarms and become wall to wall saturated media coverage, does it? Imagine if something serious had happened. Chickens with their heads cut off comes to mind...

(AFP/Mandel Ngan)


‘I still can’t believe you’re gone’:
"Her father used his eulogy to criticize Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government for its new policy of barring the news media from covering repatriation ceremonies for fallen soldiers.

“I find it troubling that the privacy decision means that we are keeping the press outside the wire,” Tim Goddard told mourners.

“I would like to think Nichola died to protect our freedoms, not to restrict them.”"

RNC North: media control

Harper's media control strategy in trouble:
"Globe editor-in-chief Edward Greenspon said that 'for the time being, with the newspaper industry having a chance to gather in Halifax this weekend and consider the PMO's obstinacy on the issue, we aren't going to participate in a process that we think might give undo influence to government to determine who can and who cannot ask questions.'

Mr. Greenspon and executives from other newspapers are attending a scheduled meeting of the Canadian Newspaper Association in Halifax where the issue is likely to prompt discussion.

'We want to consider the issue a little bit and hopefully negotiate a solution that is reasonable to all sides, keeping uppermost in our minds the need for a free press, unfettered by officials,' Mr. Greenspon said in a telephone interview. 'If what the Prime Minister is looking for is a more orderly process, we are happy to work with him to come up with a more orderly process. But his remarks [in London on Wednesday] suggest he is also looking at control and we aren't comfortable with anything in which the press would be controlled.'"
No good can come of this. Once again, they seem to be fashioning their media strategy on the Bush precedent by calling on reporters from lists which must be pre-approved. In doing so, they choose media coverage that's "favourable" to them. Greenspon is telling him it's not going to fly. So we'll see, but why a new government would be picking fights with the media is beyond me...

Libby's dog ate his memory

Really, it's true.

Krugman on Gore

Lots of discussion lately on Gore and his new movie, including Krugman today,"A Test of Our Character." Krugman puts his finger on the significance of Gore's re-emergence :
"But 'An Inconvenient Truth' isn't just about global warming, of course. It's also about Mr. Gore. And it is, implicitly, a cautionary tale about what's been wrong with our politics.

Why, after all, was Mr. Gore's popular-vote margin in the 2000 election narrow enough that he could be denied the White House? Any account that neglects the determination of some journalists to make him a figure of ridicule misses a key part of the story. Why were those journalists so determined to jeer Mr. Gore? Because of the very qualities that allowed him to realize the importance of global warming, many years before any other major political figure: his earnestness, and his genuine interest in facts, numbers and serious analysis.

And so the 2000 campaign ended up being about the candidates' clothing, their mannerisms, anything but the issues, on which Mr. Gore had a clear advantage (and about which his opponent was clearly both ill informed and dishonest).

I won't join the sudden surge of speculation about whether 'An Inconvenient Truth' will make Mr. Gore a presidential contender. But the film does make a powerful case that Mr. Gore is the sort of person who ought to be running the country.

Since 2000, we've seen what happens when people who aren't interested in the facts, who believe what they want to believe, sit in the White House. Osama bin Laden is still at large, Iraq is a mess, New Orleans is a wreck. And, of course, we've done nothing about global warming."

A good question about Cheney

From David Shuster's reporting on the CIA leak investigation:
JONATHAN TURLEY, GW law center: "Everything ends up at Dick Cheney's desk. His right hand man is indicted, he's intimately involved in the Niger allegation with the weapons of mass destruction. He's the one who seems to have instructed Libby. The biggest question is not whether he will be called as a witness, but why he wasn't a co-conspirator."
Good question indeed. I'm not sure we have a final answer on that one yet....

Here's more from Turley, suggesting the possibility that Cheney's role may yet become more prominent in this investigation:
"Sometimes, prosecutors will not indict someone in the hopes that a former colleague will flip, like Scooter. But I gotta tell you, they can't wait until the cows come home, Scooter Libby is not going to flip on Dick Cheney."

Rove watch, Friday entry

So it seems that got a phone call from Novak once it was announced that an investigation was going to commence on the outing of Valerie Plame. Very interesting. The intrepid Murray Waas continues to break news in this case: "NATIONAL JOURNAL: Rove-Novak Call Was Concern To Leak Investigators."
On September 29, 2003, three days after it became known that the CIA had asked the Justice Department to investigate who leaked the name of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, columnist Robert Novak telephoned White House senior adviser Karl Rove to assure Rove that he would protect him from being harmed by the investigation, according to people with firsthand knowledge of the federal grand jury testimony of both men.

Suspicious that Rove and Novak might have devised a cover story during that conversation to protect Rove, federal investigators briefed then-Attorney General John Ashcroft on the matter in the early stages of the investigation in fall 2003, according to officials with direct knowledge of those briefings. (emphasis added)
Why would such a call from Novak to Rove be of concern? Well, here's a prominent Washington lawyer, Stanley Brand, quoted by Waas:
"It is the better part of wisdom and standing instruction that witnesses to an investigation do not talk to other witnesses about the case when the case is still pending. It raises the inference that they are comparing each other's recollections and altering or shaping each other's testimony."
Novak's role in this entire mess, severely under reported, is finally coming in for some scrutiny. Waas recounts in detail how Novak's story has changed in the various public accounts that he has given of his sourcing on Plame's status. The coup de grace here in Waas' report, to me:
"It's possible that prosecutors would view their [September 29] conversation as the beginning of a conspiracy to obstruct justice, given that they had reason to believe that an investigation would soon be under way," says Richman. "It's even more likely that this conversation would help prosecutors shed light on Rove's motivations and intent when he later spoke to investigators."
Once again the prospect of conspiracy charges, raised in the NY Daily news last week where a source speculated on Rove being named an "unindicted co-conspirator." Could the same fate befall Novak as well?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

On the Bush & Blair show

On this spectacle from last night, "Bush, Blair Hold Joint News Conference," let me just say, right off the bat, that continues to pale in comparison to Blair at these events. To a frightening extent. Bush barely managed to get out his prepared speech, only mangling it a few times, as simply worded as it was. Blair then extensively riffs off the cuff in impressive detail about his visit to Iraq in an engaging and inspiring manner. The unbearable contrast is just so freaking painful to watch.

And on to the questions. A few observations.

Bush, when questioned on a draw down of troops to 100,000 provides his inevitable moment of petulance:
QUESTION: So the 100,000...

BUSH: That's some speculation in the press that they haven't talked to me about.

BUSH: And as the commander in chief, they eventually will talk to me about it.
I'm the decider everyone, don't you forget that...

And there were many occasions of Bush inanity, adding nothing insightful to any given topic but keenly mouthing platitudes:
Because I believe that freedom will yield the peace. I also believe freedom is universal. I don't believe freedom is just, you know, a concept only for America or Great Britain; it's a universal concept.

And it troubles me to know that there are people locked in tyrannical societies that suffer.
It's incredibly dangerous to think of an Iran with a nuclear weapon.
Then there's a Brownie moment, on Treasury Secretary Snow, who, oops, signalled his resignation tonight, after Bush said this to the world:
BUSH: No, he has not talked to me about resignation. I think he's doing a fine job. I mean, after all, our economy is strong. We grew at 3.5 percent last year, had a good strong first quarter this year. (emphasis added)
Always the last one to know. Guess no one told him Snow was on his way out. Or Snow decided to stick it to him tonight.

And of course, the staged response on what he's done wrong, just pathetically self-indulgent and minimalistic:
QUESTION: Mr. President, you spoke about missteps and mistakes in Iraq.

Could I ask both of you which missteps and mistakes of your own you most regret?

BUSH: Sounds like kind of a familiar refrain here.

Saying, "Bring it on"; kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people. I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner, you know. "Wanted, dead or alive"; that kind of talk. I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted. And so I learned from that.

BUSH: And, you know, I think the biggest mistake that's happened so far, at least from our country's involvement in Iraq, is Abu Ghraib. We've been paying for that for a long period of time.

And it's -- unlike Iraq, however, under Saddam, the people who committed those acts were brought to justice. They have been given a fair trial and tried and convicted.
At least Blair spoke to the larger mistakes such as the way "de-Baathification" occurred and the prospect of a Saddam-less Iraq not actually turning out to be a fully functioning democracy.

If this event was meant to provide Bush with a boost, I guess you can tell what my view is of that.

These are such "good times"

Tony Snow's fantasy spin:
"Snow deflected: 'You also mentioned the fact that poll data show people think the country is going in the wrong direction. Ask a different question: How are you doing? Are you doing better off than you were a year ago? Turns out that we are. . . .

'When people look at their real lives, they understand that there's a war on terror going on out there -- and I understand the vague apprehension that goes on, because we all remember September 11th, we don't want it to happen again.

'But meanwhile, how are people acting? They're taking vacations. They're buying homes. They're buying goods and services. They're acting as if they're living in good times -- because they are.'"
Kind of harkens back to Ari Fleischer's "blessed life" comment a few years back, when he said, no, Americans don't need to be concerned with energy conservation or the's truly remarkable if he thinks that these are "good times."

The Veep's role in the CIA leak

Libby Told Grand Jury Cheney Spoke of Plame:
Vice President Cheney was personally angered by a former U.S. ambassador's newspaper column attacking a key rationale for the war in Iraq and repeatedly directed I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then his chief of staff, to "get all the facts out" related to the critique, according to excerpts from Libby's 2004 grand jury testimony released late yesterday by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald.

Libby also told the grand jury that Cheney raised as an issue that the former ambassador's wife worked at the CIA and that she allegedly played a role in sending him to investigate the Iraqi government's interest in acquiring nuclear weapons materials. That issue formed the basis of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV's published critique.
"Get all the facts out," conveniently for Cheney, however, does not necessarily mean tell the world Wilson's wife works for the CIA. But it is clear that his direction was negligent. For Valerie Wilson's employment at the CIA was classified yet he failed to protect this information. He failed to direct proper attention to this fact and the ramifications of a takedown of her husband. So today's news is further clarification of the Veep's prioritizing of the political over national security concerns. And so the spectre of him having to testify and be drawn into this is satisfying indeed.

With Rove hell bent on getting the Republicans re-elected this fall, and I wouldn't bet the ranch on a switch to the Dems, it might very well be that Fitzgerald is the only individual holding this bunch to account.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rove watch: your Wednesday p.m. version

MSNBC's pursuit of the story continues, carried here via The Raw Story website: "Prosecutors say silence in CIA leak case may signal Rove indictment coming." David Shuster provides an update, essentially giving an overview of the steps Fitzgerald's office would be going through right now in advance of their decision on Rove. A few former prosecutors are interviewed. Here are a few highlights from the MSNBC transcript:
DAVID SCHERTLER, former federal prosecutor: "If Patrick Fitzgerald had in fact reached a decision not to indict, he would have announced that and he would have told Karl Rove and his attorneys. The fact that he hasn't announced it makes you believe that he might be headed towards an indictment and might be tightening up all the loose ends at this point in anticipation of presenting the indictment."
DAVID SCHERTLER, former federal prosecutor: "I think that there's probably at least some personal motivation on the part of Patrick Fitzgerald to make sure that he does a thorough job and a good job and that when he does issue an indictment, if that's what he's going to do, that he is ready to go to trial and feels very confident that he can win at trial."
So, it's still a question of speculation on the Rove indictment. The fact that it's been 28 days since Rove has last appeared before the grand jury is put in some context here as well.
PATRICK FITZGERALD, CIA leak investigation special counsel: "I've got a full-time job. Jack has a full-time job in Philadelphia. My full-time job is in Chicago. Everyone working on this case has another full-time job."

SHUSTER: According to one lawyer representing a witness in the CIA leak case, Fitzgerald didn't want to leave Chicago this winter because he was so busy with the corruption trial of former Illinois Governor George Ryan. And since then, the Fitzgerald team considering Karl Rove has been busy filing or responding to pre-trial motions in the Scooter Libby case.

SOL WISENBERG, former deputy independent counsel: "Washington is an impatient town. 28 days is nothing to a prosecutor and really I think that it's one thing to keep somebody hanging for years. But 28 days after the last grand jury appearance is no big deal from his perspective."
I don't make much of the 28 days either way. It doesn't make an indictment any more or less likely. I think Fitzgerald's proven his deliberate nature and he's going to take whatever time he needs to make this decision.

Can I just say one thing here about David Shuster though. Where else do you see this? Here's Shuster, on air:
A spokesman who is being paid by Karl Rove says the presidential advisor did nothing wrong and is confident he will be cleared. But according to lawyers for other witnesses in the case, the only thing certain right now is that the investigation and focus on Rove continues.
Lovely clarification for the world of the self-interested Rove spin at work here.

No f*%#ing kidding

The National Post apologizes for its mistaken story last week, sensationalizing a fake report:
A Canadian newspaper apologized Wednesday for an article that said Iran planned to force Jews and other religious minorities to wear distinctive clothing to distinguish themselves from Muslims.
"It is now clear the story is not true," Douglas Kelly, the National Post's editor in chief, wrote in a long editorial on Page 2. "We apologize for the mistake and for the consternation it has caused not just National Post readers, but the broader public who read the story."
And our Prime Minister, eager to please the Bush administration, jumped right on board the bandwagon when questioned about it:
Asked about the Post story last week, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Iran "is very capable of this kind of action." He added: "It boggles the mind that any regime on the face of the Earth would want to do anything that could remind people of Nazi Germany."

A spokesman for Harper said the prime minister had started off his comments with the words "if this is true."

But Iran summoned Canada's ambassador to Tehran to explain Harper's remarks, a diplomat said Wednesday.
Judgment, Mr. Harper, use some judgment...

The very political Attorney General

Following up on my last post, check this out too: "God Bless Jonathan Turley & Keith Olbermann."

This just stinks

For Democrats, a Scandal of Their Own - New York Times...this article neatly explains the effect that the FBI raid on a Democratic congressman's office has had...despite all the justified brouhaha over whether the executive branch is overstepping the separation of powers, a high profile attack on the ethics and conduct of a Democrat has become the prominent news of the day.
"There is no doubt that the charges, the conduct of any Democrat, is going to be raised by those who question our attacks on a culture of corruption as a way to divert attention from that," said Representative Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas and a vocal critic of Representative Tom DeLay, the former majority leader.
Now I'm certainly not suggesting any political motivation at play here, but it sure as heck doesn't smell right, does it?

A must read today

A very lively and riveting e-mail exchange posted at E&P today where Joe Galloway the retiring military affairs reporter for Knight Ridder takes on Rumsfeld's spokesman, Larry DiRita. The issue? Rumsfeld's competence. A sense of it:
On May 3, Galloway sent this missive (the exchanges that follow apparently all come from that day): “The army you describe as ‘so much more capable’ than it was 5 or 10 years ago is, in fact, very nearly broken. another three years of the careful attention of your boss ought to just about finish it off. this is not the word from your anonymous officers; this is from my own observations in the field in iraq and at home on our bases and in the military schools and colleges.

“you can sit there all day telling me that pigs can fly, with or without lipstick, and i am not going to believe it. seemingly the reverse is also true. one of us is dead wrong and i have a good hunch that it would be you. you go flying blind through that forest and you are going to find those trees for sure.

“whether or not paul van riper has ever met Secretary Rumsfeld is not at issue. one does not have to be a personal acquaintance to find that a public figure's policies and conduct of his office are wanting. Secretary Rumsfeld spent a good number of years as the CEO of various large corporations. He knows about being responsible for the bottom line in that line of work. So too is he responsible in his current line of work; actually even more so given the stakes involved. So grasp that concept harder, friend Larry. Urge your boss to step up to the plate and admit it when he's gotten it wrong at least as quickly as he steps up to run those famous victory laps with Gen Meyer back in the spring of '03.”
There's more there too, check it out for yourself. Good for Galloway.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Gore gives Bush a smack down:
"'The entire global scientific community has a consensus on the question that human beings are responsible for global warming, and he has today again expressed personal doubt that that is true,' Gore said in an Associated Press interview from France, where he attended the Cannes Film Festival."

Yeah, ok?

Clintons Balance Married and Public Lives - New York Times...I didn't find this article to be particularly newsworthy. It's a sensitive re-introduction of the topic of the Clinton marriage and how it might affect Senator Clinton's potential run in 2008. And that's it. Given everything they have been through, and everything they have on their respective agendas, there is little that is of an unexpected variety here. I really don't see what the big deal is.

I sense an early trial balloon, re-floating the Clinton marriage in public as a topic to guage reaction.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Rove watch: Monday p.m.

Shuster on the story:
"Both sides in the Libby case have several weeks before they will file the next set of pleadings. And that could help free up prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and his staff to focus on one key unresolved issue in the overall investigation -- the status of presidential advisor Karl Rove.

It's now been 26 days since Rove testified to the grand jury for the 5th time. Defense lawyers say prosecutors remain focused on Rove's claim of a bad memory regarding a conversation with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper. Rove's legal team and former prosecutors tracking the investigation expect Patrick Fitzgerald to announce a decision at any time.

SCOTT FREDERICKSEN, former federal prosecutor: 'Right now is when we would expect the meetings to be wrapped up with his own staff, for him to make the preliminary decision, for him to reach out to Rove's counsel to have the final conversation, or to notify him he is not going forward or to notify him we are going to indict.'"
And the beat goes on and on...

About those felony provisions in HR 4437...

What exactly was the White House's role in the insertion of felony provisions in ? Froomkin spotlights the issue today, based on an AP story from last week that was not widely picked up on... :
"Another good example of the White House apparently working at cross purposes with itself came last week in a story seriously underreported by the major media.

Bush has lately been distancing himself from a House Republican approach to immigration that, for instance, would make being in this country without documentation a felony.

But Frederic J. Frommer wrote for the Associated Press that powerful House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) told reporters in a conference call last week that it was the White House itself that asked for those felony provisions to be inserted into the bill in the first place.

Sensenbrenner was angry with Bush. 'He basically turned his back on provisions of the House-passed bill, a lot of which we were requested to put in the bill by the White House,' Sensenbrenner said.

So, assuming Sensenbrenner wasn't making that up: Precisely who in the White House requested those provisions? How high up did it go? What happened in the interim?"
Yeah, that's an interesting angle that has absolutely been overlooked. The assumption has been that it's all hung on the House Republicans to date. That the White House was responsible in the first place, this I missed. My focus, when reading that article, was on Sensenbrenner's comment that had dissed House Republicans when he had met with them early last week. I'm sure Rove was quite happy to have had the focus on him, as it turned people's attention away from this significant information from Sensenbrenner on White House involvement in HR 4437's controversial provisions...

Bush has a new word


His new label for progress in Iraq. Part of Rove's strategy to keep addressing Iraq, despite the continued bombings and assassinations (a judge today in Baghdad).

Must test well in the Luntz focus groups.

The gloves are off, apparently

The following sentence, which just jumps out of this article, means that Leopold is really no less believable than George W. Bush, right?
"Leopold acknowledges in a new book, 'News Junkie,' that he is a past liar, convicted felon and former alcoholic and cocaine addict."
Other than the felon thing, for now.

So what's your point, Howie?

McCain's thin skin

Seems may have been more than a little bothered by the shellacking he endured at the New School last week when a student commencement speaker, Sara Jean Rohe, dared to oppose his views. How do we know? His main flack attacked her character this weekend...

Way to take the high road, guys. Now you look like you're picking a fight with a university student. And that you can't take a little heat. My, oh my.

Not even close

Delusional, maybe:
"Mr. Bush himself tends to shrug at poll numbers and take a long view. In a recent interview with a reporter for the German newspaper Bild, the president said, 'I don't care whether they like me at the cocktail parties, or not. I want to be able to leave this office with my integrity intact.' He spoke of three great wartime leaders of America - Washington, Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt - all of whom were subject to vilification and second-guessing of their wartime strategy. " (emphasis added)

Bring on the pie charts

Why an Al Gore comeback is not so far fetched:
Ordinarily this film would never have been made, let alone scheduled for release in hundreds of theaters. But President Bush and the congressional Republicans have created a Ross Perot moment: a hunger for a leader with diagrams and charts, for a nerd who lays out basic facts ignored by blinkered government. By their contempt for expert opinion on everything from Iraqi reconstruction to the cost of their tax cuts, Republicans have turned Diagram Gore into a hero. By their serial dishonesty, Republicans have created a market for "An Inconvenient Truth" -- the title of Gore's movie.
Six years ago, Bush narrowly defeated Gore, apparently because voters thought he'd be a nicer guy to have a beer with. But after years of governmental bungling, of willful indifference to truth, the national mood seems to be changing. Voters have seen that nice guys can screw up. And technocrats with diagrams and charts have never seemed so interesting.

Cold cash...literally

"F.B.I. Contends Lawmaker Hid Bribe in Freezer."

Joementum in trouble

Krugman's, "Talk-Show Joe" column today really paints a stark picture for Lieberman as he embarks upon his unanticipated primary fight against challenger Ned Lamont. For those who haven't been following the Lamont challenge to Lieberman, Krugman provides some keen observations as to why Lieberman's in trouble. Essentially, Joe's become a caricature. The Democrat who agrees with the Repubs on many, if not most, issues. His moderate thing, don't ya know, that has become quaintly out of date as Rove et al. have forced every party member to man their battle stations in the face of his partisan onslaught. Joe has apparently missed this development, and his constituents voiced their restlessness on Friday, when they sent Joementum a message to the tune of 33% support to his challenger, Ned Lamont.

Krugman cites Lieberman's continued support of the Iraq war and his rosy optimism about it, his hueing to Republican Social Security talking points during Bush's failed efforts to set up "private accounts," his support for intervention in the Terri Schiavo congressional debacle...remember all those gems? Well if ya don't, Krugman's laid it all bare in a national column to remind everyone.

Joe's "moderation" has meant he's been offside with his party, for the most part. And Krugman delivers a hearty blow with this reminder:
And let's not forget that Mr. Lieberman showed far more outrage over Bill Clinton's personal life than he has ever shown over Mr. Bush's catastrophic failures as commander in chief.
Yeah, Joementum has a bit of a job ahead of him. Turn on the Democrat partisan thrust blasters from now 'till primary day. Should be interesting to watch from here on in.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

SNL "Presidential Outtakes"


"Bush is Smart on the Border" says Joe Klein...say what?

So sad to see Republicans in trouble with Hispanics:
"There was some hope among Republican strategists, especially Karl Rove, that this formula might also work with the rapidly growing Latino vote and guarantee a g.o.p. majority in perpetuity. 'Rove had a point. My people are very conservative on social values,' says Congressman Luis Gutierrez, a Chicago Democrat. 'We're family oriented, a lot of small-business owners. But the Republicans have blown that opportunity now. Even the Pentecostals are sending busloads to the protests. Spanish-language radio is announcing the vote on every amendment to the Senate immigration bill. You've got a generation of young Latino citizens whose first political impression is that Republicans are people who want to deport their parents.'" (emphasis added)
Seems to be the news story of the day. A growing conventional wisdom is taking hold.

But let's consider that Joe Klein says Bush is "smart" on the issue, it's just his party that isn't. Um, excuse me, who's party is it anyway, Joe? He's the leader, isn't he? Then it's his responsibility that this mess has been made, another failure of his leadership. He's let his party become a vehicle for intolerance by pounding wedge issues. And now, he's reaping what he's sown inside his party. So let's not bestow Bush with a pass on this issue (or call him smart, I mean, come on) without some much needed perspective, please!

Well there's a shocker...

"Bush Is Losing Hispanics' Support, Polls Show." You don't say...his party trying to make felons out of immigrants will do that to a fella.

And another part of Rove's grand plan crumbles...


The Dixie Chicks encounter their friend, Bill O'Reilly:
"At the Time 100 party a few days before this interview, the Dixie Chicks performed 'Not Ready to Make Nice.' Afterward Ms. Maines recounted, the Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly — who has regularly denounced her, and whom she pointedly calls 'despicable' — rushed over to greet them. 'It's like, 'Just want to say that was great!' ' Ms. Maines said. ' 'I really like that new song.' '

'And I go, 'But two million tops, right?' And he goes, 'What?' And I said, 'I saw your show when you said we wouldn't sell more than two million, tops.' And he was like, 'Oh, ah, well, two million's pretty good these days, right?' And I was just like, 'Right, yeah. You were saying it in a positive way.''

Ms. Robison interrupted, laughing. 'That's what you call a no-spin zone.'

'So then he was just backtracking,' Ms. Maines continued. 'He says: 'We really respect what you did. And we really respect that you stand up for yourself and blah blah blah. We just wish you would say it over here.' And I said, 'I'll say it over here.''"

Rove's grand plans have gone awry

"The downgrading of Karl Rove":
"He wanted to use the culture wars to turn socially conservative blacks and Latinos into Republicans, and use Social Security reform to entice young people into the Republican fold. And he wanted to use the Medicare prescription bill to buy support among the growing crowds of the elderly.

But rather than overseeing an electoral realignment, he now has to try to avoid a looming electoral meltdown.

How many blacks are likely to vote Republican after the Hurricane Katrina fiasco? And how many Hispanics are likely to do so now that Congressman Tom Tancredo and other nativist Republicans have advocated felonizing illegal immigrants and keeping them out with a wall?

Rove's job is no longer to extend Republican power. It is to prevent conservative activists from abandoning the party in November."
It could very well be that the whole grand scheme comes crashing down, perhaps with a Democratic sweep back into power in November, or as a result of own partisan excess should he end up indicted. That would be a real shame...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Virginia Senate primary has sparks

These guys in Virginia, the Democratic candidates for Senate, are raring to go...looks like whoever wins is going to be in fighting shape for Allen in the fall...

John McCain, what happened?

One more observation on this story: "McCain Finds Unfriendly Audience in NYC." This was not a helpful event for . For all the talk/spin that getting booed by liberal students at a liberal university helps him with the Republican conservative base, it was actually a high profile, nationally covered event in which a student commencement speaker outshone him. Instead of rising to the moment and addressing the incredible wave of opposition in front of him, he stuck to the prepared text. Is this the vaunted leader that everyone's supposed to get in line for and write his name down for 2008? Moments like these say a lot. And McCain didn't rise to the occasion. Maybe it won't matter in the long campaign, but it was not an auspicious moment for him.

Update: Read Jean Rohe's comments today to see how brilliant she was and is for what she did as a student commencement speaker at the New School...

Rove watch: an "unindicted co-conspirator"?

More today on former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's role in the CIA leak investigation, here: New York Daily News - World & National Report - Ex-deputy secretary of state new figure in CIA leak probe...apparently Armitage is a key witness for Fitzgerald:
Armitage has been questioned several times, but is not expected to be indicted by the federal grand jury investigating who outed CIA spy Valerie Plame to journalists in 2003, sources said.

Armitage's testimony could hurt Vice President Cheney's indicted former chief aide Lewis (Scooter) Libby, or President Bush's political guru, Karl Rove.

Two sources familiar with the case said Armitage, Rove and Libby all had contacts with the press about Plame. Unlike Rove and Libby, Armitage appears to have tried to dissuade reporters from writing about her. (emphasis added)
Remember Novak's source whom he characterized as someone who was not a "partisan gunslinger"? Could have been Armitage, who along the lines of what's suggested here, tried to convince him not to write the story. And we all know how that turned out.

Another interesting development present in this article, the suggestion that could be named an "unindicted co-conspirator."
Even if Rove escapes indictment, he could still be forced to resign for talking about Plame with a Time magazine reporter.

"People don't seem to want to talk about the possibility that Karl could be named an unindicted co-conspirator," a third source close to the case said. "Can an unindicted co-conspirator remain at the White House? Personally, I don't think so."
In Bush's world, yeah, I'd say that's possible. I bet he'd be willing to try hanging on to Karl and see how it goes. Good luck if he tries. The outcry should be deafening.

We owe it all to Rumsfeld

Cheney takes a stroll down memory lane..., a cruel twist of fate indeed...

More from the McCain speech spectacle

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Graduates at New School Heckle Speech by McCain - New York Times. Yeah they did. A bit more from the student speaker, Jean Sara Rohe, 21:
"Senator McCain will tell us today that dissent and disagreement are our civic and moral obligation in times of crisis, and I agree," she said. "I consider this a time of crisis, and I feel obligated to speak."

She continued, "Senator McCain will also tell us about his strong-headed self-assuredness in his youth, which prevented him from hearing the ideas of others, and in so doing he will imply that those of us who are young are too naïve to have valid opinions.

"I am young, and although I don't profess to possess the wisdom that time affords us, I do know that pre-emptive war is dangerous and wrong," she said. (emphasis added)
Can I just say, that middle statement I highlighted is just brilliant...way to put that patronizing McCain put down in its rightful place.

Those kids of today

"Make Poetry, Not War," Maureen Dowd's column today, includes some comments made by a student speaker at their commencement, in the presence of :
First, Mr. McCain and the New School's president, Bob Kerrey, were slapped around by a student speaker, Jean Sara Rohe, a 21-year-old from Nutley, N.J., who sang a lyric from a peace song and then abandoned her original remarks to talk about the "outrage" over Mr. McCain's speaking gig.

"The senator does not reflect the ideals upon which this university was founded," Ms. Rohe said, adding: "I am young, and although I don't profess to possess the wisdom that time affords us, I do know that pre-emptive war is dangerous and wrong."

She continued: "And I know that despite all the havoc that my country has wrought overseas in my name, Osama bin Laden still has not been found, nor have those weapons of mass destruction."
That takes a lot of guts, to make a statement like that, as a 21 year-old in front of such luminaries who would clearly be attracting a lot of media attention. Kid's got chutzpah!

And we have a new word, those of us on the McCain watch. I have called his grand suck-up extravaganza to the extreme right an "odyssey," among other things...but perhaps we have a better word courtesy of Maureen Dowd:
Mr. McCain's panderthon grew even more absurd this week. He let the Wyly brothers — the Texas businessmen who financed a $2.5 million ad campaign in 2000 trashing his environmental record, a move that enraged Mr. McCain and spurred him to call the Wylys W.'s "sleazy Texas buddies" — hold a fund-raiser for him in Dallas. (emphasis added)
Yeah, I think our vocabulary on this will continue to expand as McCain continues to do his straddling thing...warms the cockles of my heart to know that he's made up with the Wyly brothers, by the way...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Time well spent, don't ya think?

With all that's going on in the world, the issue of the day is...:
"The Senate voted Thursday to make English the national language of the United States. Sort of.

Moments after the 63-34 vote, it decided to call the mother tongue a 'common and unifying language.'

'You can't have it both ways,' warned Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., a fan of 'national' but not 'common and unifying.' Two dozen senators disagreed and voted for both as the Senate lumbered toward an expected vote next week on a controversial immigration bill."

Nothing on Rove today

The Washington Note has an update today, discussing Richard Armitage's role as a witness in the investigation. Notes "...that Karl Rove remains a prime indictment target for Patrick Fitzgerald." So we will continue to wait on resolution of involvement and future.

Yeah, we're watching you today, pal

(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Aren't you reassured?

(REUTERS/Larry Downing)

Oh the pique

Senators Left Out of Loop Make Their Pique Known - New York Times...

The Wednesday briefing, on the eve of General Hayden's confirmation hearings, did nothing to calm some of those who were let in to the briefing club. Even Hayden himself wouldn't back it:
"Sir," he said steadily, "it was not my decision. I briefed fully whatever audience was in front of me, and I wouldn't attempt to explain the administration's decision."

That did not appear to satisfy Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Republican of Maine. Earlier in the day she had complained that the small number of lawmakers who were briefed before Wednesday were "handcuffed" because they were not permitted to share information with colleagues.

"The notification to a very limited group — they could do nothing much with that information, essentially — is not the kind of checks and balances that I think our founding fathers had in mind," Ms. Snowe said.
Until the Olympia Snowes and Arlen Specters of the world actually do something about this, like, gee, I don't know, VOTE AGAINST THE NOMINEE WHO HAS BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE SECRET AND HIGHLY SUSPECT PROGRAMS FOR WHICH YOU HAVE NO INFORMATION, then I really have no time for any of this useless public posturing. She'll most certainly be voting for him, won't you Ms. Snowe? Why don't you take a stand against the utter contempt that you've been shown? What are you people made of?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Some of my best friends are polygamists

This post is really about the sad spectacle in the Senate Judiciary Committee today, where wedge issue took flight, "Senate panel OKs gay-marriage ban." But Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah was challenged by Senator Leahy on the issue of polygamy. Because you see, if marriage is so threatened by the prospect of gay marriage, why isn't something being done about the rampant polygamists in a number of western states? To which Hatch feigned some choice moral indignation:
Leahy said Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who supports the ban, has expressed support for polygamists in his home state of Utah.

"I never said that," Hatch responded. "I know some (polygamists) that are very sincere. ... Don't accuse me of wanting to have polygamy."
Yeah, don't you dare accuse me of being a hypocrite in public, my friend...some of my best friends are polygamists...

But that's just a sideshow. The real spectacle here is the joke of a legislator Arlen Specter has become. Opposes the gay-marriage ban that is being launched out of the Committee he chairs in order to help the Republicans' electoral prospects in November. He opposes it. But did not vote against it. The cowardice of these sheep is just blatant these days. What good is it for anyone to say he opposes it if he's not going to actually do anything about that? He's letting it go to the Senate floor for political purposes. Letting the Senate vote on an issue that is of deep importance to millions of Americans and to whom it is an affront to be playing politics with the issue. What an absolute embarrassment Specter has become. Payback for Santorum's help to him in his last election, perhaps? Or an action taken in light of the wingnut rout in his state, Pennsylvania, that occurred in Republican primaries last night. Whatever the reason, Specter's rolling over for the Rove-driven wedge electoral strategy, once again. He's just as bad as the rest of them.

That old Rove magic is gone

They're not afraid of anymore, apparently: Print Story: Sensenbrenner: Bush Turned Back on Bill on Yahoo! News:
"Sensenbrenner did not attend a closed-door meeting between Bush political adviser Karl Rove and House Republicans, but said that some members complained to him that Rove didn't stay around for many questions or hear what lawmakers had to say.

'The overwhelming majority of those that I talked to who were at the conference believe that he dissed the House Republicans,' Sensenbrenner said."
That's no way to fire up the base, man...:)

Check out the new blue state/red state map

Billmon maps it out. Just amazing.

Alberto Gonzales and his grandparents

Crooks and Liars has video of him saying he's "unclear" about whether his grandparents were legal immigrants or not. Sorry I didn't see that sooner yesterday!

Flog this, Mehlman

No Rush to Impeachment:
"So, rather than seeking impeachment, I have chosen to propose comprehensive oversight of these alleged abuses. The oversight I have suggested would be performed by a select committee made up equally of Democrats and Republicans and chosen by the House speaker and the minority leader.

The committee's job would be to obtain answers -- finally. At the end of the process, if -- and only if -- the select committee, acting on a bipartisan basis, finds evidence of potentially impeachable offenses, it would forward that information to the Judiciary Committee. This threshold of bipartisanship is appropriate, I believe, when dealing with an issue of this magnitude."
Bipartisanship...what a concept...

Getting "briefed" is the new oversight, apparently

Wider Briefing for Lawmakers on Spy Efforts - New York Times...this is really an outrage. The whole tenor of this article is just flawed. I'm not even going to bother with excerpts. It's just enough to make you want to wretch before your breakfast.

The gist of the Hayden hearing dynamic is this. Briefings in advance of a hearing are doled out on what seems like a quid pro quo basis. We'll brief you and show you that we trust you with this sensitive information, we'll let you into the club. And in return, you ask your nice little questions of General Hayden. But anything tough would be a no-no, you'd be risking security you pesky little Senators! And we can't have a full and free-wheeling, rigorous oversight now, we have to be polite and cowed.

These Senators are being herded like cattle.



"PM's Afghan mission motion squeaks through."

That's "Good" as in, it just squeaked through, 149-145. If the world is watching, as Mr. Harper suggested during the debate, they got a message all right. 2 opposition parties said NO. Harper has 125 seats so he pulled just 20 votes to support this surprise vote. That's not resounding support at all, despite the spin.
The Afghan mission is scheduled to end in February, 2007. The extension would take Canada's commitment through to early 2009.
We'll for this mission is falling and we may have a new Prime Minister at some point prior to that time. Or at least an election where this is guaranteed to become a front and center issue...


truthout had an update Wednesday on their Rove story from the weekend. They have added this information:
We can now report, however, that we have additional, independent sources that refute those denials by Corallo and Luskin. While we had only our own sources to work with in the beginning, additional sources have now come forward and offered corroboration to us.

We have been contacted by at least three reporters from mainstream media - network level organizations - who shared with us off-the-record confirmation and moral support. When we asked why they were not going public with this information, in each case they expressed frustration with superiors who would not allow it.

Thursday Rove watch

was on the Hill yesterday, addressing congressional Republicans on immigration and cracking the whip.

Noted at the end of the article, was this:
Rove, who is the subject of an investigation into the leaked name of a covert CIA operative, did not address that case during his remarks yesterday.
Just thinking about Rove's travels this week. Address to the American Enterprise Institute on Monday, an organization to which he's had longstanding ties. Nostalgically speaking of reading their newsletters while on the mailing list as a young man. Bookends his speech with this note:
Maybe there is out there some young college student today reading an AEI study on telecom deregulation who will be inspired by the world of conservative ideas.

I was fortunate to have been in that position myself a long, long time ago.
Interestingly retrospective remark.

Wednesday, addressing Republicans at large on the Hill.

Kind of has the feel of a farewell tour to me...but hey, we humble bloggers just don't know, do we?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

That's a shame : Manning won't run for leadership of Alberta Tories...Refoooooooorm! (If you're not Canadian, you won't know how to pronounce this, or get it...:))

By the way

If you haven't heard Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars"'re missing out...:)

Quote of the day

"Kathleen Sullivan, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, said Gore looks better each day Bush is president.

'For some people, it took six years of George Bush to wake up and realize that Al Gore was the real deal,' Sullivan said."

Karen Hughes taking the Bush spin machine global

Just what the world needs, more spin.

Rapid response units, issuing talking points...yeah, that should help. Just ignore that Iraq mess, world...

Good question

Tom Friedman's column today,"Saying No to Bush's Yes Men," asks a good one. One that would seem to have an obvious answer, yes:
To me, the most baffling thing about the Bush presidency is this: If you had worked for so long to be president, wouldn't you want to staff your administration with the very best people you could find, especially in national security and especially in the area of intelligence, which has been the source of so much controversy — from 9/11 to Iraq?

Wouldn't that be your instinct?
Well, yeah, you'd think. You'd think any President would have that instinct. But Bush is a unique case. See, has not really "worked for so long to be president...". He's never worked hard for much in his life at all. So he doesn't truly value what he's doing right now. How could he? Hasn't had to struggle with choices, weigh big decisions much before becoming President. So what's his frame of reference when everything's been handed to him. How could he know how to make difficult decisions? Never evidenced much in his life in the way of big ideas or philosophies. Indeed, he's probably overwhelmed in this job and struggling just to keep up. So he likely doesn't think through such obvious questions like is this the best person for this job. Sad as it may be. He's all about the politics, since it's influencing most of these decisions. He's at the mercy of this partisan master, so how could his appointments reflect anything other than that? And that's Bush's choice.

And if the President doesn't think about who's best, then surely Congress would do its job and say no to incompetent appointments. Wouldn't you think? Well, maybe in some former version of reality in which we lived. In the current version, you end up with the Porter Gosses or Brownies of the Bush administration.

One more example of partisan hackery cited by Friedman:
Is there no job in this administration that is too important to be handed over to a political hack? No. In his excellent book on the Iraq war, "The Assassins' Gate," George Packer tells the story of how some of the State Department's best Iraq experts were barred from going to Iraq immediately after the invasion — when they were needed most — because that didn't pass Dick Cheney's or Don Rumsfeld's ideology tests. And that is the core of the matter: the Bush team believes in loyalty over expertise. When ideology always trumps reality, loyalty always trumps expertise.
It's quite the fine mess W has made, indeed, by these strange choices. And there's another one in the pipeline, the lawless Hayden heading Congress' way...any bet on what they're going to do?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

You-know-who watch

Washington Wire: Indictment for Rove? - Newsweek Politics - site is reporting on seeming preoccupied these days, changes in his appearance...almost enough to make you feel sorry for the guy...:) As I've said before, with all the roadkill in his rearview mirror, I'm just not feeling it, sorry.

Blame the bloggers

Don't get too smug WSJ, is still twisting in the wind. A pointless article sticking it to bloggers, no doubt meant to give Rove, and his team, a boost courtesy of the WSJ.

Check out this gem from Rove's attorney:
Mr. Luskin, who has handled other high-profile cases, says blogs have made cases like the CIA leak case "an order of magnitude uglier and more personal."
For whom, Mr. Luskin? For your boy? That's a real shame. We're all crying rivers over that one.

And just the smart money really on Rove not being indicted at this point?

Subliminable message of the day

(REUTERS/Jim Young)

Rove at the American Enterprise Institute yesterday...

Nice try

Rove blames Bush's low approval on Iraq :
"Presidential adviser Karl Rove blamed the war in Iraq on Monday for dragging down President Bush's job approval ratings in public opinion polls. 'People like this president,' Rove said. 'They're just sour right now on the war.'" (emphasis added)
A typical statement. It rolls off his silver tongue at the time and no one pays much attention to what he's really getting at. People somehow focus on the easy part, that people like the President. So the conversation ends up being about Bush's likeability. Nice try, Karl. I think this entire sentence may be one of the key ideas he wanted to drop yesterday.

So, what does he mean by saying people are "just sour right now on the war?" Is he trying to de-link Bush from the war? As in, people like him, it's just this nasty little inconvenient war that's going on that's the real problem...otherwise people would love him. Well, it's a pretty big elephant in the room, isn't it Karl? Try as you might to make it sound as if Bush is an innocent victim of a war gone wrong. No one will be forgetting any time soon the manipulated intelligence, the leaked intelligence, the incompetent decision-making, the terrible costs...although it certainly looks like a giant disappearing act is in the offing...

Monday, May 15, 2006

It's hard to keep up with the lawlessness

georgia10 is trying:
"In a posting on the ABC News blog, Brian Ross and Richard Esposito reveal that, according to sources, the federal government is monitoring their calls to track down confidential sources. Is this legal? Is it something our society should condone or condemn?"
Yeah, that's a good question. Here's what Brian Ross had to say on his blog:
A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we (Brian Ross and Richard Esposito) call in an effort to root out confidential sources.

"It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick," the source told us in an in-person conversation.

ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls.

Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.
What does this have to do with listening in to Al Qaeda...or fighting the war on terrorism? The phone records of investigative reporters tapping confidential sources are being disclosed, apparently, to the government to root out those confidential sources. To stifle whistleblowing, to enhance their media manipulation strategies...? Who knows what is going on? Day by day, there's so much questionable activity coming down the pipeline, it's hard to know where to start with this gang. The lack of oversight, congressional and judicial, is starting to catch up with them.

Really puts a whole new spin on Herbert's "America the Fearful" column from today, doesn't it?


Is he losing it?
"He dismissed independent polls showing Bush's job approval ratings reaching new lows and said the polls he believes are those conducted by the Republican National Committee.

'And I look at those polls all the time,' Rove said. 'The American people like this president. His personal approval ratings are in the 60s. Job approval is lower. And what that says to me is that people like him, they respect him, he's somebody they feel a connection with, but they're just sour right now on the war. And that's the way it's going to be.'"
Laura doesn't believe bad polls, only believes those conducted by Republicans. Completely disconnected from reality. The latest NYTimes/CBS poll had Bush's favorability at 29%, with a 55% unfavourable rating. Yet Karl dismisses such polls out of hand. Such "spin" used to sound crafty, like Karl knew something we didn't. These days, with Bush's ratings tanking on all counts, on all issues, he just sounds like a buffoon. Of course he's loyal to the end, and he'll be doing his damnedest, barring indictment, to ensure a Republican victory in November. But Bush's track record of late is nothing to crow about and Rove has a lot to do with that...he's not unbeatable. He's driven his guy's ratings right into the ground.

It's going to be all Rove all the time for a while

You know you're despised when...:
"At a Michigan Trial Lawyers’ Association dinner Saturday night in Dearborn, Mich., the group's vice president Robert Raitt announced — according to the Detroit Free Press — that President Bush’s longtime strategist had just been indicted. The announcement reportedly prompted a standing ovation by the crowd of 700, which included Sen. Hillary Clinton."
Our boy, , with fans everywhere...

Shut up, shut up, shut up

Blah, blah, blah...

Rove watch

Yeah, again.

I agree with this synopsis, on TalkLeft. Jason Leopold, the truthout reporter had his story out Saturday that Rove had been indicted. Much talk on the internets about the veracity of this report. Jeralyn Merritt reiterates, on TalkLeft, after speaking with Jason, he remains confident in his sources. If they are setting him up, he'll reveal who they are. So once again, interesting, but official word is needed here.

An interesting nugget in this post, referencing former CIA agent Larry Johnson posting on Democratic Underground the news that Joseph Wilson is also hearing that has been indicted. The media is conspicuously silent, however...


Brilliantly delivered punch by Herbert today, "America the Fearful":
"So we've kidnapped people and sent them off to be tortured in the extraordinary rendition program; and we've incarcerated people at Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere without trial or even the right to know the charges against them; and we're allowing the C.I.A. to operate super-secret prisons where God-knows-what-all is going on; and we're listening in on the phone calls and reading the e-mail of innocent Americans without warrants; and on and on and on.

The Bushies will tell you that it is dangerous and even against the law to inquire into these nefarious activities. We just have to trust the king.

Well, I give you fair warning. This is a road map to totalitarianism. Hallmarks of totalitarian regimes have always included an excessive reliance on secrecy, the deliberate stoking of fear in the general population, a preference for military rather than diplomatic solutions in foreign policy, the promotion of blind patriotism, the denial of human rights, the curtailment of the rule of law, hostility to a free press and the systematic invasion of the privacy of ordinary people."

Border politics, continued

"Don't worry Vincente, it's only 'till November 8th, heh heh...":
"Mexican President Vicente Fox called to express concern over the prospect of militarization of the border, and reassured him that it would be only a temporary measure to bolster overwhelmed Border Patrol agents, the White House said."

Jeb Bush in Haiti

Just wondering...why is he attending, on behalf of the U.S., the Haitian President's inauguration?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Bush on the ticket in '08

Could be after all, Jeb in the VP slot:
Sen. (R-Ariz.), an early front-runner for the presidential nomination, flew to Tallahassee in December for a private lunch with Bush at the governor's mansion, fueling the notion of a McCain-Bush ticket. Advisors to both men acknowledge that such a pairing would help McCain court skeptical conservatives, who will be crucial in GOP primary races.
Bush has told his closest friends and supporters that he does not intend to run for president in the next election, and Perkins and other conservative activists say they take him at his word. But some strategists are eyeing his value as a running mate, particularly for candidates such as McCain, former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who are viewed warily by coveted evangelical voters.

"Jeb Bush will be on anyone's short list," said Mark McKinnon, a strategist for President Bush who is advising McCain and accompanied the senator on his Florida trip. "He's got incredible experience, unqualified conservative credentials, and he brings Florida. It's the trifecta.

"With his accomplishments," McKinnon added, "Jeb Bush would overcome any hangover effect or fatigue" associated with the family name.
Oh, really? It's going to be quite the hangover, wouldn't be betting on that line of thinking...

Cheney being drawn in to Fitzgerald's web

Notes Are Said to Reveal Close Cheney Interest in a Critic of Iraq Policy - New York Times...that is, handwritten notes by Cheney, written on a copy of Joe Wilson's op-ed in the NYTimes. Interesting stuff here. Means Cheney could indeed have been a driving force behind the effort to smear Joe Wilson and the outing of Valerie Wilson - as has long been suspected. Raises questions about the evidence Fitzgerald has on Cheney, Fitzgerald's ultimate end game and how this affects Fitzgerald's approach to Rove's status. Is Rove an indictee or a cooperating witness?

Must be like Chinese water torture for these guys, these days, as this stuff drips out week after week...

President Gore Addresses The Nation

Hilarious - watch here.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

McCain all but endorsed by Falwell

( AP Photo/Don Petersen)

Yeah, that speech was today. Of note, patron saint couldn't help but weigh in afterwards: "
After the commencement speech, Falwell told CNN that if McCain 'continues on the track he's on now, he in fact could co-opt the religious conservatives of the country, in the same way President Bush did, to help him to the White House.'

'Anybody but Hillary,' said Falwell, referring to U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York, the former first lady who has been mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate for president."
See? This speech wasn't about politics, just an ordinary commencement address. What was everybody so worried about?

And there's more wisdom from Falwell for certain Republican candidates:
He said McCain or others have a chance to gain the support of evangelical Christians if "he or she espouses the same values that we espouse,"

He also mentioned other "good people," such as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee; Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania; and Sen. George Allen, R-Virginia.
Conspicuously, is not mentioned by Falwell. I guess Giuliani's a "bad" person! You'd almost think Falwell had it in for him...:)

Way to hit the nail on the head

Nice reminder here that polls are really irrelevant when it comes to civil liberties. Courtesy of Billmon:
The whole point of having civil liberties is that they are not supposed to be subject to a majority veto. Hobbes may not have believed in natural rights, but our founders did. And their opponents, the anti-Federalists, were even more zealous about restraining the powers of the federal superstate, which is why they forced the Federalists to write the Bill of Rights directly into the Constitution.

It defeats the purpose of having a 4th Amendment if its validity is entirely dependent on breaking 50% in the latest poll. It would be nice to have "the people" on our side in this debate, and obviously a lot of them are, even if Doherty's plurality still prefers Leviathan's crushing embrace. But some things are wrong just because they're wrong -- not because a temporary majority (or even a permanent one) thinks they're wrong.

...We can't do anything about how a corrupt, oligarchic system works (or rather, doesn't work) but we can at least stop accepting the other side's terms for the debate. What the government is doing is illegal and unamerican, and that would still be true if the polls showed 99% support -- in fact, it would be even more true.
This is the point exactly. Way to go. One of the best bloggers out there.

Border politics

Great plan. Muscle up on the border. Get House members to cave in to an immigration bill. Whip the base up into a righteous frenzy.

Military might + cowed congress = electoral success...

So sad

"Poll: Clinton outperformed Bush."


Rove watch

Aren't you glad about this:
"The White House deputy chief of staff, , has been holding meetings with antsy conservatives to get them on board with the president.

'I've been real frustrated with this issue,' said Representative Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican who attended one of the meetings with Mr. Rove this week. 'But Karl Rove seems determined to secure the border, and I like the focus on results right now.'"
No need to add anything here...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Oh come on

Poll: Most Americans Support NSA's Efforts. Oh really? This was taken the day the revelations were beginning to come out. Most people responding to this poll probably still think this had to do with the listening in to Al Qaeda, under the "Terrorist Surveillance Program"...let's wait and see and check the polls in a week or so to see how Americans enjoy the fact that all of their individual phone calls are being tracked.

Legal or illegal?

Qwest's Refusal of N.S.A. Query Is Explained - New York Times:
"The telecommunications company Qwest turned down requests by the National Security Agency for private telephone records because it concluded that doing so would violate federal privacy laws, a lawyer for the telephone company's former chief executive said today.

In a statement released this morning, the lawyer said that the former chief executive, Joseph N. Nacchio, made the decision after asking whether 'a warrant or other legal process had been secured in support of that request.'

Mr. Nacchio learned that no warrant had been granted and that there was a 'disinclination on the part of the authorities to use any legal process,' said the lawyer, Herbert J. Stern. As a result, the statement said, Mr. Nacchio concluded that 'the requests violated the privacy requirements of the Telecommunications Act.'"
By contrast, here's Hayden:
"Everything that the agency has done has been lawful," he said. "It's been briefed to the appropriate members of Congress."
It's not as clear cut, at all, as the Bush administration is portraying it. Typical.

Rove involved in getting troops on Mexican border?

a busy guy it seems. Almost like he's trying to pack a lot of stuff into his schedule before he goes on a long vacation or something. Consider this story.

"Pentagon Exploring Border Control Patrols":
The Pentagon is looking at ways the military can help provide more security along the U.S. southern border, defense officials said Thursday, once again drawing the nation's armed forces into a politically sensitive domestic role.

Paul McHale, the assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense, asked officials this week to come up with options for the use of military resources and troops _ particularly the National Guard _ along the border with Mexico, according to defense officials familiar with the discussions. The officials, who requested anonymity because the matter has not been made public, said there are no details yet on a defense strategy.

The request comes as some Southern lawmakers met this week with White House strategist Karl Rove for a discussion that included making greater use of National Guard troops to shore up border control. Congress is poised to pass legislation this month that would call for additional border security, a new guest worker program and provisions opening the way to eventual citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

"The Texas delegation is very concerned about the border and are pushing urgency," said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, who joined other Texas Republicans in a meeting with Rove this week. He said Rove was "very forthright" about border projects that Homeland Security is starting up, its current projects and what the needs are.

Rep. Ken Marchant, R-Texas, who also attended the meeting, said the lawmakers left "very encouraged." (emphasis added)
I'm sure they were since Rove, the go to guy on Homeland Security, apparently, knows how important the issue is for the base...and if the base wants it, heck, the military will sure as heck go along. The sense you get from the article is that Rove might have put the squeeze on the civilian homeland defense secretary to look into this. And that the anonymous "officials" cited may not be too impressed.

And note that it's not just National Guard they're talking here. The civilian assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense asked the military to look into "military resources and troops, particularly the National Guard" for the Mexican border. Why would this be of significance? Recall the debate during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina about federalizing the National Guard:
In the aftermath of the hurricane, Bush asked Pentagon officials to review ways to give the military a bigger role in responding to major disasters. But officials are somewhat reluctant to make major changes, leery of the image of armed military troops patrolling U.S. cities.
Does the immigration issue warrant the use of military assets on the border at this time? Or is this just playing politics with military resources?


Do I really have to tell you who or what's at 29% in the most recent poll?

CIA leak grand jury meets Friday

The Raw Story Rove watch:
Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who is investigating the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame, is scheduled to meet with the grand jury in the case Friday.

The major networks plan to have reporters live on the ground, a senior reporter said.

Two White House reporters covering the case said they had not heard anything about new Rove developments, though they confirmed that the grand jury is scheduled to meet.

Rove testified for the fifth time Apr. 26. Legal experts have said that those who appear before the grand jury on multiple occasions are more likely to be indicted.
See you tomorrow on this...

Rove and his 20 judges

Kind of ironic that a person under such significant legal scrutiny is plotting the nomination of 20 judges as a matter of do or die political strategy. Serving them up as red meat for the conservative base. Looks a little unseemly, don't ya think?

Another interesting note here, his little meeting to tout this action was not well attended by conservative activists, in fact "boycotted by leading conservatives" is the phrasing...very interesting...


NYTimes Editorial on the NSA data mining:
What we have here is a clandestine surveillance program of enormous size, which is being operated by members of the administration who are subject to no limits or scrutiny beyond what they deem to impose on one another. If the White House had gotten its way, the program would have run secretly until the war on terror ended — that is, forever.
President Bush began his defense of the N.S.A. program yesterday by invoking, as he often does, Sept. 11. The attacks that day firmed the nation's resolve to protect itself against its enemies, but they did not give the president the limitless power he now claims to intrude on the private communications of the American people.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The first looks over the shoulder of the worst

(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds) While the worst asserts he can do whatever the f*%# he wants...

Good question raised here

Daily Kos: So About Those Call Records....
Does anybody really believe that they are just tracking all of our phone calls for the hell of it, and not listening to them? Tell me another one.

Frank Luntz, Republican pollster, says Bush crossed the line

Bush may have crossed the line by tracking every US phone call - World - Times Online: "Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster, told The Times: “There is a very fine line between national security and personal oppression. The public is prepared to accept a degree of intelligence intervention but this may have crossed the line. I think a majority of Americans will be opposed to this.”"


Seen in the Washington Post, "Shame on Them Is Right" comment section:
"'People have got to know whether or not their President is a troll. Well, I'm not a troll.'"

A dark hour

"Shame on Them is Right":
"Shame on us," Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) said today as he held up a copy of USA Today's phone-record story, the one that prompted the President of the United States to trot himself out in front of reporters and say, well, say nothing that helps explain why the government in the name of fighting Al Qaeda is contracting with phone companies to catalogue billions of phone calls made by regular old Americans.

Shame on Congress is right. Only one branch of government can proactively perform a check on what the NSA is doing at the behest of the White House. Only one branch can force the executive branch to justify its massive and logically-suspect dragnet. Only one can require those telephone companies to publically explain why their customers were not informed of the data collection, much less defended from it. And yet that branch is both unable and unwilling to do anything meaningful to at least force both the snoopers and their corporate conspirators to come clean. It is a dark hour for the legislative branch of the federal government.
Well said.