Monday, October 31, 2005

repug "thoughtful" argument

Hume to Juan Williams: “Someone Needs To Hose You Down”
From Fox News Sunday this morning:

JUAN WILLIAMS: You can try to minimize it, but the fact that you have Scooter Libby, so involved in justifying going to war, and in the posture of trying to smear a critic of that justification. I think is pretty revealing and pretty damaging to the Bush White House. I think they’re going to have to rebuild a sense of trust with the American People. And that’s why when Brit asked this question, why did he have to lie, he felt the need to lie if he did lie, but by all indications he’s going to say I didn’t remember it quite the way this person remembered and all the like. That’s not very strong in my book, and I think Fitzgerald did a terrific job on Friday. But the reason he felt the need was to make it clear that he was not involved in what really was a
conspiracy to defame Joe Wilson.

BRIT HUME: Juan, somebody needs to hose you down.

Good to know that Hume has so many thoughtful arguments at his disposal to defend the Bush White House.
UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has the video.

(Think Progress)
That is some argument against someone who is making a very good point and doing so in a sane and logical manner! But, of course, Fox doesn't understand sane and logical!

more pathetic repug "defenses" of Alito

Drudge Claims Alito's Critics Are Racist
Drudge reports that the right-wing is pushing back on the nickname "Scalito" given to Samuel Alito because they see it as "ethnically insensitive':

One outraged Republican strategist claimed, "If Alito were a liberal there would be no way Democrats and Washington's media elite would use such a ethnically insensitive nickname. Italian-Americans should not have to face these types of derogatory racial slurs in 21st century America."

Actually, if Alito were a moderate, he wouldn't be given the nickname because his judicial philosophy would not invite comparisons to Antonin Scalia. As the media has been clear in indicating, the nickname given to Alito is meant to draw comparisons to Scalia's ideology, not his ethnicity

(Think Progress)
Man, this is truly pathetic! How anyone anywhere could begin to imagine that this nickname was racially motivated just goes to show how desperate they are to have some ammunition against the Dems. They know that they have no defense for this ultra-right-wing-extremist so they have to make up a "controversy" instead.

cheney cronyism (and how deeply entrenched is he in Traitorgate?!)

Cheney Promotes Individuals Named In Indictment
The White House announced today that it is elevating two members of Cheney’s staff who are named in the Scooter Libby indictment. The White House announced:

The Vice President today appointed David S. Addington of Virginia to be the chief of staff to the Vice President. The Vice President also appointed John P. Hannah of the District of Columbia as the Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs.

Both Addington and Hannah are named in the indictment. Hannah was intimately involved in the strategy of leaking Plame’s identity. From the indictment:

13. Shortly after publication of the article in The New Republic, LIBBY spoke by telephone with his then Principal Deputy and discussed the article. That official asked LIBBY whether information about Wilson’s trip could be shared with the press to rebut the allegations that the Vice President had sent Wilson. LIBBY responded that there would be complications at the CIA in disclosing that information publicly, and that he could not discuss the matter on a non-secure telephone line.

Addington provided legal counsel to Libby in helping to divulge Plame’s identity.

18. Also on or about July 8, 2003, LIBBY met with the Counsel to the Vice President in an anteroom outside the Vice President’s Office. During their brief conversation, LIBBY asked the Counsel to the Vice President, in sum and substance, what paperwork there would be at the CIA if an employee’s spouse undertook an overseas trip.

So much for a fresh start.

(Think Progress)

so, how do we know when we're winning?

Troops Suffer Deadly Month in Iraq
Bomb in Basra During Ramadan Activities Kills at Least 20 Iraqis

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Oct. 31) - Six American soldiers were killed in separate attacks Monday and a Marine died in action the day before, making October the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Iraq since January. A car bomb exploded in Basra during evening Ramadan festivities, killing at least 20 people.

Earlier Monday, U.S. jets struck insurgent targets near the Syrian border and at least six people were killed.

Something is on the march, but it appears to be the grim reaper....

the Traitorgate excuses are getting more & more bizarre!

Asinine Scootergate Claim o' the Day

While Christopher Hitchens' Wall Street Journal Article is chock full o' stupidity, I especially like this part:

Meanwhile, and just to make things more amusing, George Tenet, in his capacity as Director of Central Intelligence, tells Dick Cheney that he employs Mr. Wilson's wife as an analyst of the weird and wonderful world of WMD. So jealously guarded is its own exclusive right to "out" her, however, that no sooner does anyone else mention her name than the CIA refers the Wilson/Plame disclosure to the Department of Justice.

So, per Hitch, if the Director of the CIA tells the Vice President anything, it's just like leaking it to the media.. I guess that explains why Dick had to get his WMD info from CURVE BALL and Chalabi.

(World O'Crap)
How can something that out-there actually be printed in a nationally syndicated newspaper?! I guess by this logic, we should have all access to everything that bush & cheney knows about everything! There are no security issues of any kind!
F'k'ing hell, these people are totally insane!

Judy Miller went to jail for bush

Had Judith Miller come clean a year ago, Kerry would have won the election

I just got a call from a friend whose wife came up with a very interesting point. Fitzgerald today said that he could have been having this press conference last October, if Judith Miller had been more forthcoming. And last October would have been right before the presidential election.

With the 2004 presidential election as close as it was, this could have easily - would have easily - swung the election to Kerry's favor. But Judith Miller didn't come forward, and Bush wasn't damaged BEFORE his re-election.

Very interesting indeed.

More on Judith Miller coming clean, or not, a year ago

QUESTION: In the end, was it worth keeping Judy Miller in jail for 85 days in this case? And can you say how important her testimony was in producing this indictment?

FITZGERALD: Let me just say this: No one wanted to have a dispute with the New York Times or anyone else. We can't talk generally about witnesses. There's much said in the public record.... I would have wished nothing better that, when the subpoenas were issued in August 2004, witnesses testified then, and we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005. No one would have went to jail.

(both from Americablog)
bush owes Miller BIG time! Wonder how she will be rewarded?!
America, on the other hand, can blame all of the horrors of this presidency on this b*tch!

Joe Wilson's statement

Our 27 months of hell

By Joseph C. Wilson IV, JOSEPH C. WILSON IV was acting ambassador in Baghdad when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. He is the author of "The Politics of Truth" (Carroll & Graff, 2004). He was a diplomat for 23 years.

AFTER THE two-year smear campaign orchestrated by senior officials in the Bush White House against my wife and me, it is tempting to feel vindicated by Friday's indictment of the vice president's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Between us, Valerie and I have served the United States for nearly 43 years. I was President George H.W. Bush's acting ambassador to Iraq in the run-up to the Persian Gulf War, and I served as ambassador to two African nations for him and President Clinton. Valerie worked undercover for the CIA in several overseas assignments and in areas related to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

But on July 14, 2003, our lives were irrevocably changed. That was the day columnist Robert Novak identified Valerie as an operative, divulging a secret that had been known only to me, her parents and her brother.

Valerie told me later that it was like being hit in the stomach. Twenty years of service had gone down the drain. She immediately started jotting down a checklist of things she needed to do to limit the damage to people she knew and to projects she was working on. She wondered how her friends would feel when they learned that what they thought they knew about her was a lie.

It was payback — cheap political payback by the administration for an article I had written contradicting an assertion President Bush made in his 2003 State of the Union address. Payback not just to punish me but to intimidate other critics as well.

Why did I write the article? Because I believe that citizens in a democracy are responsible for what government does and says in their name. I knew that the statement in Bush's speech — that Iraq had attempted to purchase significant quantities of uranium in Africa — was not true. I knew it was false from my own investigative trip to Africa (at the request of the CIA) and from two other similar intelligence reports. And I knew that the White House knew it.

Going public was what was required to make them come clean. The day after I shared my conclusions in a New York Times opinion piece, the White House finally acknowledged that the now-infamous 16 words "did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of the Union address."

That should have been the end. But instead, the president's men — allegedly including Libby and at least one other (known only as "Official A") — were determined to defame and discredit Valerie and me.

They used eager allies in Congress and the conservative media, beginning with Novak. Perhaps the most egregious of the attacks was New York GOP Rep. Peter King's odious suggestion that Valerie "got what she deserved."

Valerie was an innocent in this whole affair. Although there were suggestions that she was behind the decision to send me to Niger, the CIA told Newsday just a week after the Novak article appeared that "she did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment." The CIA repeated the same statement to every reporter thereafter.

The grand jury has now concluded that at least one of the president's men committed crimes. We are heartened that our system of justice is working and appreciative of the work done by our fellow citizens who devoted two years of their lives to grand jury duty.

The attacks on Valerie and me were upsetting, disruptive and vicious. They amounted to character assassination. Senior administration officials used the power of the White House to make our lives hell for the last 27 months.

But more important, they did it as part of a clear effort to cover up the lies and disinformation used to justify the invasion of Iraq. That is the ultimate crime.

The war in Iraq has claimed more than 17,000 dead and wounded American soldiers, many times more Iraqi casualties and close to $200 billion.

It has left our international reputation in tatters and our military broken. It has weakened the United States, increased hatred of us and made terrorist attacks against our interests more likely in the future.

It has been, as Gen. William Odom suggested, the greatest strategic blunder in the history of our country.

We anticipate no mea culpa from the president for what his senior aides have done to us. But he owes the nation both an explanation and an apology.


endless bush hypocrisy

Hey W, Security requires a secure White House staff, too

In the radio address today, Chimpy pontificated about what it takes to be secure, but neglected to mention the total failure of national security on his staff:

Our security at home is directly linked to a Middle East that grows in freedom and peace. The success of the new Iraqi government is critical to winning the war on terror and protecting the American people. Ensuring that success will require more sacrifice, more time, and more resolve, and it will involve more risk for Iraqis and for American and coalition forces.

Our security at home is directly related to having a White House that doesn't harbor
treasonous traitors.

It is unbelievable that this prick has the balls to give a speech about security at this point in time!

still more low poll numbers

White House Ethics, Honesty Questioned
55% in Survey Say Libby Case Signals Broader Problems

A majority of Americans say the indictment of senior White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby signals broader ethical problems in the Bush administration, and nearly half say the overall level of honesty and ethics in the federal government has fallen since President Bush took office, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News survey.

The poll, conducted Friday night and yesterday, found that 55 percent of the public believes the Libby case indicates wider problems "with ethical wrongdoing" in the White House, while 41 percent believes it was an "isolated incident." And by a 3 to 1 ratio, 46 percent to 15 percent, Americans say the level of honesty and ethics in the government has declined rather than risen under Bush.

In the aftermath of the latest crisis to confront the White House, Bush's overall job approval rating has fallen to 39 percent, the lowest of his presidency in Post-ABC polls. Barely a third of Americans -- 34 percent -- think Bush is doing a good job ensuring high ethics in government, which is slightly lower than President Bill Clinton's standing on this issue when he left office.

The survey also found that nearly seven in 10 Americans consider the charges against Libby to be serious. A majority -- 55 percent -- said the decision of Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald to bring charges against Libby was based on the facts of the case, while 30 percent said he was motivated by partisan politics.
The ethics findings may be particularly upsetting to a president who came to office in 2000 vowing to restore integrity and honor to a White House that he said had been tainted by the recurring scandals of the Clinton years.

And, just to show the ignorance of the public, here is a choice quote:
Ellen Mulligan, 34, a Republican and part-time art teacher who lives in Hamden, Conn., was one of these. "If I understood what happened, Vice President Cheney's adviser spoke to his wife and then she leaked the secret," Mulligan said.

Wow! Nice quote!
Anyway, good to know that overall the American public is taking this case of treason seriously. Maybe some people are finally seeing through the bs and will realize that they've been taken for a ride.

a good take on the repug excuses for Traitorgate

Of course FItzgerald didn't charge anybody with violating the secrecy statutues - Libby obstructed the entire investigation

Fitzgerald mentioned this on Friday, but it's worth repeating, since the Republican surrogates are now suggesting that no "real" crime occured because Fitzgerald has yet to charge anyone with leaking classified information.

Scooter, and possibly others (Official A comes to mind), obstructed the investigation. They lied to the investigators and thwarted the effort of the investigators to find out the truth. It wouldn't be surprising that when the key witness is lying and refusing to come clean, to this day, that the investigation hasn't yet charged anyone with the underlying crime. I mean, duh. As Fitzgerald noted, this is why perjury and obstruction of justice are such serious crimes. Scooter is literally stopping Fitzgerald from finding out what happened. So to suggest that Scooter's apparently-successful (so far) effort to obstruct the investigation by lying somehow proves that Scooter and Rove didn't violate any secrecy laws, well, that's just absurd.

And Al Capone was innocent of being a mobster, by the way. After all, they only got him on tax evasion, so that proves the prosecutor concluded he was innocent of everything else.


more on new nominee

Harry Reid on Sc-alito

Reid Statement on the Nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court

Washington, D.C. -- Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement regarding the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court.

The nomination of Judge Alito requires an especially long hard look by the Senate because of what happened last week to Harriet Miers. Conservative activists forced Miers to withdraw from consideration for this same Supreme Court seat because she was not radical enough for them. Now the Senate needs to find out if the man replacing Miers is too radical for the American people.

I am disappointed in this choice for several reasons. First, unlike previous nominations, this one was not the product of consultation with Senate Democrats. Last Friday, Senator Leahy and I wrote to President Bush urging him to work with us to find a consensus nominee. The President has rejected that approach.

Second, this appointment ignores the value of diverse backgrounds and perspectives on the Supreme Court. The President has chosen a man to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, one of only two women on the Court. For the third time, he has declined to make history by nominating the first Hispanic to the Court. And he has chosen yet another federal appellate judge to join a court that already has eight justices with that narrow background. President Bush would leave the Supreme Court looking less like America and more like an old boys club.

Justice O'Connor has been the deciding vote in key cases protecting individual rights
and freedoms on a narrowly divided Court. The stakes in selecting her replacement are high.

I look forward to meeting Judge Alito and learning why those who want to pack the Court with judicial activists are so much more enthusiastic about him than they were about Harriet Miers.

Reid doesn't mince words, but is trying to be fair, but we all know that this guy is the wack-job that the nutz have been waiting for. We'll see if the Dems have the balls to stand up to him...
Schumer, Kennedy blast choice of Alito
White House, Frist politicizing Rosa Parks Tribute with Alito
Scalito had major conflict-of-interest issue

Another ethically challenged Bush appointee according to the Washington Post:

Three years ago Alito drew conflict-of-interest accusations after he upheld a lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit against the Vanguard Group. Alito had hundreds of thousands of dollars invested with the mutual fund company at the time. He denied doing anything improper but recused himself from further involvement in the case.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars and it didn't raise ethical concerns for him. So how much did he have to have invested with Vanguard before it became a conflict-of-interest? This should get an enormous amount of scrutiny.

Scalito's extreme right wing record

Legal scholar Jonathan Turley just told the Today Show that there would be no one to the right of Alito on this Supreme Court. He also said Alito was the choice of the right wingers to overturn Roe v. Wade. Think Progress has already posted some of the key cases from Alito's judicial record. You'll want to take a look:

ALITO WOULD OVERTURN ROE V. WADE: In his dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Alito concurred with the majority in supporting the restrictive abortion-related measures passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in the late 1980’s. Alito went further, however, saying the majority was wrong to strike down a requirement that women notify their spouses before having an abortion. The Supreme Court later rejected Alito’s view, voting to reaffirm Roe v. Wade. [Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 1991]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION: Alito dissented from a decision in favor of a Marriott Hotel manager who said she had been discriminated against on the basis of race. The majority explained that Alito would have protected racist employers by “immuniz[ing] an employer from the reach of Title VII if the employer’s belief that it had selected the ‘best’ candidate was the result of conscious racial bias.” [Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW DISABILITY-BASED DISCRIMINATION: In Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, the majority said the standard for proving disability-based discrimination articulated in Alito’s dissent was so restrictive that “few if any…cases would survive summary judgment.” [Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1991]

(All Americablog)

Traitorgate continues

Top Senate Democrat Calls for Rove to Resign
Veteran Republican Cites Need for 'New Blood' in White House
WASHINGTON (Oct. 31) - The indictment of a top White House aide is a sign of deeper problems within the administration, say Democrats who are criticizing President Bush for lauding I. Lewis Libby rather than apologizing for his alleged actions.

The Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid, also said Sunday that another key insider, presidential adviser Karl Rove, should resign because of his role in exposing an undercover CIA officer.

A veteran Republican senator added that Bush needs to bring "new blood" into his White House.
Reid said he is disappointed that Bush and Cheney responded to the indictment by praising Libby _ known around Washington as "Scooter" -- and suggested they should apologize for the leak that revealed the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame.

"First of all, the vice president issues this very terse statement praising Libby for all the great things he's done," Reid said. "Then we have the president come on camera a few minutes later calling him Scooter and what a great patriot he is. There has not been an apology to the American people for this obvious problem in the White House," Reid, D-Nev., told ABC's "This Week."

Of course, this is standard procedure for this administration - praise those who screw up and fire those who tell the truth! Who gives a damn about national security!

bush f'ks the American people again!

Bush Taps Conservative Judge for Supreme Court
Democrats Warn of Likely Battle Over Selection of Alito
WASHINGTON (Oct. 31) - President Bush, stung by the rejection of his first choice, nominated veteran judge Samuel Alito on Monday in a bid to reshape the Supreme Court and mollify his conservative allies. Ready-to-rumble Democrats warned that Alito may be an extremist who would curb abortion rights.

So here is the bat-shit insane, anti-women's rights lunatic that bush promised to his extremist followers. Of course, this will shift America back in time at least 50 years, but why should he give a sh*t about that? It's not like he cares about America or anything!

Friday, October 28, 2005

another repug, another indictment!

Another 'Blade' Scoop: 'Coingate' Figure Indicted
NEW YORK The Toledo Blade, which was first onto the so-called “Coingate” scandal in Ohio, broke another related story this afternoon, reporting that a federal grand jury has indicted the central figure in the coin scandal --Tom Noe, the former Maumee coin dealer suspected of laundering money into President Bush's reelection campaign--on three counts.
(Editor & Publisher)

More indictments that are pointing right to bush. This has got to be the most corrupt administration of all time!

One down!

FOX: Libby has Resigned
Fox News (via Wonkette) reports I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Chief of Staff to Vice President Richard Cheney, has resigned.

Scooter has been indicted

5 counts for Libby:

1 count obstruction of justice

2 counts of perjury

2 counts of making false statements

Lied to FBI agents on Oct 14, Nov 26, 2003.

Committed perjury on March 5 and 24, 2004.

Engaged in obstruction of justice by impeding investigation.

See the post for lots more info!

Friday Beagle Blogging!

Harley, just being Harley!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

what are they trying to do to us?!

No Announcement Today in CIA Leak Probe
I'm sure that Fitzgerald is just doing his job, and simply being as comprehensive as possible, but man, he's killing us here! After waiting all this time he better not disappoint or he's going to have a lot of people pissed off at him!

another bush failure

Bush Abandons Push for Miers Nomination
WASHINGTON - Under withering attack from conservatives, President Bush abandoned his push to put loyalist Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court and promised a quick replacement Thursday. Democrats accused him of bowing to the "radical right wing of the Republican Party."

So, this time the conservatives made bush fail! Fun to watch them attack their own, but too scary to think of who bush is going to nominate to appease them. Obviously, they won't be happy until there is a rabid, raving, far-far-far-out-of-the-mainstream mad dog nominated. They need their litmus test or else they won't let anyone through.
I still tend to think that this was all a smokescreen - maybe to try to mask Traitorgate.
Of course, he is now going to nominate a lunatic and they will sail through no matter what.
Frightening times ahead....

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

this week's Top Ten Conservative Idiots

aren't we supposed to be better than this?

Tortured to Death

Just in case you doubted that the McCain Amendment was really necessary.

Autopsy reports on 44 prisoners who died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan indicate that 21 were victims of homicide, including eight who appear to have been fatally abused by their captors, the American Civil Liberties Union reported Monday.

The abuse involved cases in which detainees were smothered, beaten or exposed to the elements, sometimes during interrogation. Many of these cases had been brought to light previously but now have been confirmed through U.S. military autopsies. Some of the deaths followed abusive interrogations by elite Navy SEALs, military intelligence officers and the CIA, the ACLU said.
"These documents present irrefutable evidence that U.S. operatives tortured detainees to death during interrogations," said Amrit Singh, an attorney with the ACLU. "The public has a right to know who authorized the use of torture techniques and why these deaths have been covered up."
In one homicide case, a 47-year-old detainee died in U.S. custody from "blunt force injuries and asphyxia" on Jan. 9, 2004, in Al Asad, Iraq, after being shackled to the top of a door frame with a gag in his mouth, according to Army documents. Another document said the case involved "choking."

In another case, an Iraqi captured by Coronado, Calif.-based SEAL Team 7 and questioned by OGA — an abbreviation for "other government agency," a term that generally refers to the CIA — died under interrogation at Abu Ghraib due to "blunt force trauma complicated by compromised respiration" after suffering bruises and rib fractures, U.S. military documents show.

(First Draft)

more funnies!

Matthews: Bush sometimes "glimmers" with "sunny nobility"

more on repugs trying to suppress the vote

Sen. Daschle: REAL ID Is A Modern Day Poll Tax
I have been very concerned about the increasing calls for States to use the new REAL ID driver’s license for voter identification at the polls.

The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) already addresses the potential for fraudulent registration by individuals claiming to be someone they are not. I have not yet heard evidence that this reform is not working. Nor have I heard that the potential for fraud in voter registration or multiple voting will not be addressed once States fully implement the HAVA requirement for computerized, statewide registration lists.

REAL ID is a driver’s license, not a citizenship or a voting card. At this moment, 12% of the voting age population lacks a driver’s license – and you could expect that number to be much higher among the poor and others who have faced numerous challenges as they have tried to exercise their right to vote. The documents required by REAL ID to secure a driver’s license include a birth certificate, passport or naturalization papers, a photo identity document, and proof of Social Security number.

Obtaining such documents can be difficult, even for those not displaced by the devastation of a hurricane.

For all these reasons, I have come to the conclusion that for some, a requirement for photo identification constitutes nothing short of a modern day poll tax.

(Think Progress)

losing the rainforest

Amazon Rainforest Disappearing Twice As Fast As Previously Thought
U.K. Green Party release: Greens shocked by selective logging revelation

The Green Party today expressed shock and concern as satellite pictures revealed that the destruction of the Amazon rainforest has been underestimated by as much as 60%.

"...selective logging is destroying areas at a rate comparable to conventional logging, we are losing the rainforest at twice the rate we previously thought..."

(Seeing the Forest)

attacking Fitzgerald

Assault on Fitzgerald Intensifies
The New York Daily News reports that administration “defenders have launched a not-so-subtle campaign against the prosecutor handling the case.” They’ve got this quote about special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald from a “White House ally”:

He’s a vile, detestable, moralistic person with no heart and no conscience who believes he’s been tapped by God to do very important things

James Comey, the Bush administration official who announced Fitzgerald’s appointment, had a different take on December 30, 2003:

I chose Mr. Fitzgerald, my friend and former colleague, based on his sterling reputation for integrity and impartiality. He is an absolutely apolitical career prosecutor.

The mud is being thrown but it’s going to be hard to make it stick.


Carlson: White House Should Have Been Smearing Fitzgerald Months Ago
Tonight on MSNBC, Tucker Carlson shared his true disappointment with the White House response to the CIA leak scandal.

It’s not the dishonesty, or the months of stonewalling. It’s that the Bush administration didn’t start smearing the special prosecutor early enough:

I think politically [the Bush administration] did very much the wrong thing by saying nice things about Patrick Fitzgerald some months ago — “he’s a man of integrity,” “he’s a good guy,” “we have complete confidence he’s going do the right thing,” etc., etc. — making it now almost impossible for the White House, even on background, to attack the guy.

(Both from Think Progress)
So now the only way to do what the repugs do best - slime someone for political reasons - is to contradict what they have said about this man previously!
Of course, consistency is not a repug trait!


2000 Americans dead because of a war built on lies.
Who knows how many maimed and multilated?
Uncountable Iraqi civilians dead, maimed, lives and cities destroyed....
And no end in sight....
MyDD has a good point about this:
The Number Isn't 2,000

still another crony?

Bush Nominee for Refugee Issues Draws Heat
WASHINGTON - Democratic senators Tuesday questioned whether President Bush's nominee to lead the State Department refugee program is qualified for the job.

Bush has nominated Ellen Sauerbrey, who twice lost bids for Maryland governor, to be assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration. If confirmed, she would manage a nearly $1 billion budget for refugee crises overseas.

"I don't think we see the requisite experience that we've seen in other nominees" for the job, said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., at Sauerbrey's confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

How can the president know so many people who are so completely unqualified? Pretty amazing!

well, duh, ya think?!

Cheney May Be Source in CIA Leak, Report Says
Prosecutor Is Thought to Be Close to Ending Investigation
NEW YORK (Oct. 25) - Notes in the hand of a federal prosecutor suggest the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney first heard of the covert CIA officer central to a leak investigation from Cheney himself, The New York Times reported.

Of course the entire White House was in on this smear! Anyone who doesn't think so hasn't been paying attention. The only question is who will go down for this treason?

if only we all could be this brave

Mother of Civil Rights Movement Dies at 92
DETROIT (Oct. 25) - Nearly 50 years ago, Rosa Parks made a simple decision that sparked a revolution. When a white man demanded she give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus, the then 42-year-old seamstress said no.

Isn't it incredible that this was only 50 years ago? And even more incredible that we still have bigoted assholes in this country?
She changed the world.

Monday, October 24, 2005

more DeLay funnies

DeLay Flies Corporate Jet to Arraignment
Tom DeLay has been criminally indicted for facilitating the illegal use of corporate funds in Texas campaigns. How did he arrive at his arraignment?:

DeLay’s staff disclosed that he flew to Houston on Thursday morning on a corporate jet owned by R.J. Reynolds, a longtime contributor that has flown him to Puerto Rico and other destinations.

When he landed, DeLay held a press conference and called allegations that he allowed corporate dollars to improperly influence the political process “contrived and baseless.”

(Think Progress)
Ohmigawd! This would be utterly hilarious if I wasn't afraid that he will still somehow weasle himself out of this! But, whew! Talk about shoving our faces into it! Why doesn't he just get a shirt that says "yes i did it - what are you gonna do about it?!"?


Here's another funny quote considering all of the "delaying" tactics that his lawyers have been using:

Meanwhile Monday, DeLay's attorneys filed another motion seeking to expedite proceedings in the trial, arguing that the case has "affected the regular order and conduct of national legislative business" in Congress.


never-ending repug hypocrisy

Hutchison Flip-Flops on Importance of Perjury
Yesterday, offering a hint of the attack White House allies will launch on special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald if and when he announces any indictments, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison dismissed the possible felony indictment of perjury as a mere “technicality”:

Ms. Hutchison said she hoped “that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn’t indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.”

On February 2, 1999, Hutchison stood with a bipartisan group of senators at a press conference announcing a resolution to open the Senate trial on the impeachment of President Clinton. At the time, Hutchison said it was vitally important to prosecute on perjury charges because telling the truth is the lynch pin of our criminal justice system:

[S]omething needs to be said that is a clear message that our rule of law is intact and the standards for perjury and obstruction of justice are not gray. And I think it is most important that we make that statement and that it be on the record for history.

I very much worry that with the evidence that we have seen that grand juries across America are going to start asking questions about what is obstruction of justice, what is perjury. And I don’t want there to be any lessening of the standard. Because our system of criminal justice depends on people telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That is the lynch pin of our criminal justice system and I don’t want it to be faded in any way.

Sen. Hutchison, what kind of message is it sending to grand juries to say that an indictment of perjury is not a crime, just a technicality? And what does that do to our criminal justice system?

(Think Progress)
Once again, apparently it is only a crime when it is about a blowjob! Starting a war based on lies and then outing an undercover CIA agent because her husband told the truth about the lies is fine & dandy!
Who could believe that our country could come to this?

repugs really make me sick to my stomach

Boortz suggested that Katrina victim turn to prostitution
BOORTZ: If that's the only way she can take care of herself, it sure beats the hell out of sucking off the taxpayers.

(Media Matters)
These vile scumbags are so heartless that it is hard to comprehend!

lots more on Traitorgate

World O'Crap explains step by step the lies and "dubious claims" of an unsigned Wall Street Journal editorial. How can a newspaper lie like this without any repercussions? I guess it is ok when it is in an editorial!
Media Matters exposes the falsehoods/talking point of the repugs.


Ex-teacher says discussions in classes about world beliefs led to witch rumors
As part of her literature classes, Erin Jensen told her students about different belief systems in the world.

Those lessons concerned a few parents of students at South Sevier High School in Monroe, leading to rumors about the teacher's own beliefs.

So, now someone can be accused of being a witch (!!) for talking about different belief systems in the world! Whew!!!

surprise, surprise - Frist lied!

Letters Show Frist Notified Of Stocks in 'Blind' Trusts
Documents Contradict Comments on Holdings

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was given considerable information about his stake in his family's hospital company, according to records that are at odds with his past statements that he did not know what was in his stock holdings.

Managers of the trusts that Frist once described as "totally blind," regularly informed him when they added new shares of HCA Inc. or other assets to his holdings, according to the documents.

I find it so funny that these scumbags continue to swear to their innocence and then lie repeatedly! Why would they have to resort to lies if they were not guilty?

Iraqi poll

Iraqi Poll: Attacks on US/Brit soldiers "justified"

Not that there was much doubt, but the Iraqis aren't loving their "liberators":

Forty-five percent of Iraqis believe attacks on U.S. and British troops are justified, according to a secret poll said to have been commissioned by British defense leaders and cited by The Sunday Telegraph.

Less than 1 percent of those polled believed that the forces were responsible for any improvement in security, according to poll figures.

Eighty-two percent of those polled said they were "strongly opposed" to the presence of the troops.

The paper said the poll, conducted in August by an Iraqi university research team, was commissioned by the Ministry of Defense.

So, we're pretty much viewed as hostile invaders. They hate us. This quagmire is the legacy of the WORST PRESIDENT EVER.

And why are we there again?!

the sickness of the wrong-wingers

Daou Report:

MICHELLE MALKIN WADES INTO THE GUTTER: The blog world is certainly not for the political faint of heart. Personal attacks, harsh language, and hyperbole are
routine. But in this post, Michelle Malkin sheds every last vestige of decency: "THE GHOULS OF THE LEFT - They support the partying over their deaths." Her post links to a Little Green Footballs entry that makes the same odious argument, namely that this group is throwing "parties" on the day that we cross 2000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq.

Here's how the actual events are described: "Events to mark the 2,000th reported U.S. military death will range from candlelight vigils to public actions that illustrate the size of the death toll." Surely, these aren't "parties." I spent years in Beirut, I lived and breathed war, I watched friends get blown to pieces, I've seen horrors I hope Malkin never has to see. Those who are fighting to stop this war deserve the utmost respect, whether or not you agree with their politics. Prominent bloggers like Malkin should know better than to soil our public discourse with this kind of garbage..... Rant over.

Leave it to the wackos to misinterpret vigils as parties just to try to cause more controversy and try to sway people away from anti-war activists. The majority of the country now believes that the war is wrong and was based on lies. But that doesn't stop the out-of-the-mainstream wackos from spewing their bile!
Once again, you would think that if they believed that they were right then they wouldn't have to lie to make their point!
by the way, the "ghouls" that they are talking about are Quakers!!

must be nice to be friends with the prez!

Report: Texas Overpaid Miers in Land Sale
WASHINGTON - Texas officials paid Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers' family more than $100,000 for a small piece of land in 2000 — 10 times the land's worth — despite the state's objections to the way the price was determined, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported Saturday.
The price was later reduced from $106,915 to $80,915, but Miers has yet to return the $26,000 difference to the state, said the story by Jack Douglas Jr. and Stephen Henderson.

How can I get to know bush so that I can sell my place for 10 times it's worth?! Of course I don't think that there is any way I could call bush "cool" without laughing my ass off!

Iraq chaos to continue

Iraq insurgency shows no sign of abating

I know this will come as a surprise to many of you.

With the grim milestone of the 2,000th U.S. military death looming in Iraq, many wonder about the direction of the insurgency that killed most of them.

Experts think the country's increasingly regional-oriented politics will fuel the insurgency and even spread it further inside Iraq. Others put forward a simple, disquieting scenario: So long as U.S. and other foreign troops remain in Iraq, the insurgency will continue.

"It will become more chaotic," predicted Magnus Ranstorp of the Swedish National Defense College in Stockholm, Sweden. "It is obvious that the United States is in Iraq to stay. If this is the case, the Shiites will likely join the Sunnis in the fight."

Wouldn't it be nice if we had some sort of plan?!

Americans reject science!

No wonder we're being left in the dust by countries who believe in science!

Majority of Americans Reject Theory of Evolution
NEW YORK (Oct. 23) - Most Americans do not accept the theory of evolution. Instead, 51 percent of Americans say God created humans in their present form, and another three in 10 say that while humans evolved, God guided the process. Just 15 percent say humans evolved, and that God was not involved.
Americans most likely to believe in only evolution are liberals (36 percent), those who rarely or never attend religious services (25 percent), and those with a college degree or higher (24 percent).

White evangelicals (77 percent), weekly churchgoers (74 percent) and conservatives (64 percent), are mostly likely to say God created humans in their present form.

Still, most Americans think it is possible to believe in both God and evolution. Sixty-seven percent say this is possible, while 29 percent disagree. Most demographic groups say it is possible to believe in both God and evolution, but just over half of white evangelical Christians say it is not possible.

Of course, educated progressives are going to believe in the science of evolution as opposed to fairy tales, but this is boggling!
At least a majority believe that god & evolution can co-mingle and don't completely ignore the facts of life!
But man, we are going to become a 3rd world country at this rate!

more Traitorgate in the news

Cast of Characters Grows in CIA Leak Drama
Nothing new in this Yahoo article, but a good overview.
Hopefully, the indictments will come through this week. Obviously, the news sources are keeping people informed on this story in preparation of the indictments.

bush doesn't have anything to hide, does he?!

Bush Won't Release All Miers Records
WASHINGTON - President Bush said Monday that he will not release any records of his conversations with Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers that could threaten the confidentiality of the advice that presidents get from their lawyers.

"It's a red line I'm not willing to cross," Bush said.

Both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are demanding more documents on Miers, including from her work at Bush's counsel.


Friday, October 21, 2005

DeLays lawyer contributed to Dems!

Seems like, by his own reasoning, DeLay's lawyer should excuse himself from the case!
First Draft:

Dick DeGuerin, Tom DeLay's hired gun, is making lots of noise about Judge Bob Perkins political donations. That lead me to query the database to see where DeGuerin has been putting his money.

It turns out that since 1992 DeGuerin had contributed $2,500 to the Democratic National Committee, $1,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and a total of $11,800 to six Democratic candidates including a $1,000 donation to Nick Lampson in 1996 who just happens to be running against Tom DeLay in 2006.

In fact, DeGuerin has contributed to the campaigns of just two Republicans, $1,000 to Congressman Ted Poe and $9,800 to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (chump change in comparison with the legal fee he must have recieved from her when he defended Hutchinson from Ronnie Earle).

See the post for all of his contributions.
Too funny!

more on the "liberal media" myth

Facing South shows how many newspapers around the world are apparently working for the White House and repeating the WH's press releases as if they were editorials!

more insane chaos in Iraq

Saddam Trial Defense Lawyer Shot Dead
Four More American Soldiers Killed on Thursday

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Oct. 21) - A defense lawyer in Saddam Hussein's mass murderm trial has been found dead, his body dumped near a Baghdad mosque with two gunshots to the head, police and a top lawyers union official said Friday.

In other violence, four U.S. service members were killed in two attacks Thursday, the U.S. military said. Three Marines died when a bomb hit their patrol in the village of Nasser wa Salam, 25 miles west of Baghdad, and other American troops clashed with gunmen, killing two insurgents and capturing four, the military said.
Nineteen Americans have been killed in the past week. The latest deaths brought to 1,992 the number of members of the U.S. military who have died since the beginning of the war in 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

It never even slows down over there! Are we doing anything there?!

more DeLay desperation!

DeLay Lawyers Ask for New Judge
Request Postpones Lawmaker's Arraignment
AUSTIN, Texas (Oct. 21) - Rep. Tom DeLay appeared in court Friday for the first time since his indictment, but his arraignment on conspiracy and money laundering charges was delayed pending a hearing on his request for a new judge in the politically charged case.

DeLay, who has stepped aside at least for the time being as House majority leader, did not speak during the brief court session, and was not called on to make a plea. But at a news conference shortly afterward, he attacked the prosecutor in the case as politically motivated, and said, "I will absolutely be exonerated."
In respectful tones, DeGuerin noted that Perkins had donated money to, a liberal organization that he said has been "selling T-shirts with Mr. DeLay's mug shot on it."

"Let me just say I haven't ever seen that T-shirt, number one. Number two, I haven't bought it. Number three, the last time I contributed to MoveOn that I know of was prior to the November election last year, when they were primarily helping Sen. Kerry," responded the judge. denied it was selling any such shirts, and issued a statement that said, "DeGuerin has either bad information or lied in court."

"All we want is a fair trial and a fair tribunal," DeGuerin told reporters outside the courthouse.

Prosecutor Ronnie Earle signaled he intends to contest the request for a new judge.

"What this means is if a judge had contributed to Crime Stoppers that judge could not hear a burglary case," Earle said. "Carried to its extreme, that is what I think this motion means and I think that's absurd."

For someone who is sure that he will be exonerated, he is sure acting desperate! Attacking Earle at every chance and now attacking the judge! And, of course, the attack is based on an outright lie - as usual! You would think if he was so sure of his innocence he wouldn't be willing to simply let the facts speak for themselves and not try all this pre-trial spin!

Friday Beagle Blogging!

Harley, the spoiled pup!

Traitorgate defense "crumbling"

White House Defense Crumbling in Leak Case
Rove, Libby Traded Information on CIA Operative, Sources Say
WASHINGTON (Oct. 21) - Even if White House aides leaked a covert CIA officer's identity, they were simply passing along information they'd already heard from the news media, the administration's supporters maintain in a defense that looks increasing shaky as new evidence accumulates.

Wow - even AOL is calling them on their "shaky" defense!
Not looking good for those scumbags!
It IS looking good for the country, though!

bush really likes Miers!

Miers' Firm Received Large Windfall From Bush Campaign
'I've Never Seen That Kind of Money Spent on a Campaign Lawyer'

WASHINGTON (Oct. 21) - George W. Bush's rising political fortunes provided a windfall for Harriet Miers' law firm.

Campaign records show Bush's Texas gubernatorial campaigns paid Miers a total of $163,000 in legal fees, most of it for work done during the future president's 1998 re-election bid.
"I'm baffled," said Randall B. Wood, a partner in the Austin firm of Ray, Wood and Bonilla, and former director of Common Cause of Texas. "I've never seen that kind of money spent on a campaign lawyer. It's unprecedented."
"If they're spending that kind of money," said Mauro, now an Austin attorney who estimates he spent less than $20,000 on legal fees during the campaign, "they're spending it to protect themselves from something."

I can't pretend to say that i know what this means, but it certainly is interesting!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

in defense of bigotry

TBogg reports on some looney-toon who thinks that the problem with Bill Bennett's racist remarks is that the "vast left-wing conspiracy" and the "liberal media" reported them, not that he said them!
You gotta read it - it is unbelievably absurd!

crisis? what crisis?

TPM points out something funny:

Crisis Averted

This reminded me of something. Remember the Social Security crisis? Isn't it a bit, um, interesting that the president suddeny stopped thinking it was critical to do something about the program once it became clear that his preferred changes weren't going to be adopted? But let's leave Bush out of it -- he's got plenty of his own problems.

What happened to all the media hecklers? You know the ones. The ones slamming the Democrats for "irresponsibly" refusing to negotiate with Bush unless he took privatization off the table. That was, supposedy, irresponsible because of the looming crisis. Well, if it ever existed it's got to still be looming. So isn't it irresponsible of the administration to have suddenly dropped the topic? Shouldn't they give up on privatization and appoint a real bipartisan commission to come up with small-scale adjustments? Funny how not only Bush, but huge swathes of the press, suddenly lose interest in this purported crisis if it can't be "solved" in a way that redistributes wealth upward. I'm just saying.



Australian TV shows footage of Taliban burning
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian television on Wednesday broadcast footage of what it said was U.S. soldiers burning the corpses of two dead Taliban fighters with their bodies laid out facing Mecca and using the images in a propaganda campaign in southern Afghanistan.

The television report said U.S. soldiers burned the bodies for hygienic reasons but then a U.S. psychological operations unit broadcast a propaganda message on loudspeakers to Taliban fighters, taunting them to retrieve their dead and fight.

A U.S. military statement released in Afghanistan said Army criminal investigators had launched a probe "into alleged misconduct by U.S. service members, including the burning of dead enemy combatant bodies under inappropriate circumstances."

"This command does not condone the mistreatment of enemy combatants or the desecration of their religious and cultural beliefs," U.S. Maj. Gen. Jason Kamiya said in the statement.

"This alleged action is repugnant to our common values, is contrary to our commands approved tactical operating procedures, and is not sanctioned by this command."

In Washington, the Pentagon expressed concern. "These are very serious allegations and, if true, very troublesome," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told Reuters.

"It is the policy of the United States, as well as the Defense Department, to treat all remains consistent with the Geneva Convention and with the utmost respect. These allegations will be aggressively investigated and, if proven to be true, the individuals will be held appropriately accountable," Whitman said.

The "Dateline" current affairs program on the ethnic Special Broadcasting Service said the story was filmed in early October. The footage of the burning corpses was shot by Australian photojournalist Stephen DuPont, who was embedded with a U.S. unit.

Dateline said the two Taliban fighters burned on hills above the village of Gondaz north of Kandahar were killed by the U.S. soldiers the night before.

The footage showed flames licking two charred corpses, their legs and arms outstretched, and a group of five U.S. soldiers standing watching from a rocky ledge.

Footage showed two U.S. soldiers reading from a notebook two messages that they said had earlier been broadcast.

"Attention Taliban you are cowardly dogs," read the first soldier, identified as psyops specialist Sgt. Jim Baker.

"You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burned. You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be."

The other unidentified soldier read a second message, part of which said: "You attack and run away like women. You call yourself Talibs but you are a disgrace to the Muslim religion, and you bring shame upon your family. Come and fight like men instead of the cowardly dogs you are."

This is scary and vile. How do they think that the enemy is going to respond to this? Can you imagine what will happen to our soldiers who are captured? Terrifying...

Chertoff says it was FEMA's fault!

Chertoff says FEMA, not state and local govts in Louisiana, to blame for Katrina mess

Well, well, well. Another Republican conspiracy theory shot to hell. For the past month the Bushies and their cronies on the right have been peddling the lie that the Katrina mess was really the fault of the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana.

Well, now the head of the Dept of Homeland Security, Bush's boy, says it was the feds who screwed up, not the local governments.

Uh oh.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency's lack of planning, not the failures of state and local officials, was to blame for much of what went wrong with the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told member of Congress today.

The assessment by the most senior administration official to answer legislators' questions since the hurricane struck in late August contrasted sharply with testimony offered earlier by former FEMA Director Michael Brown. Brown had blamed the "dysfunction" of Louisiana state and local officials for the problems that hobbled the relief effort.

"From my own experience, I don't endorse those views," Chertoff said.

He told lawmakers that he found the governors and mayors of the region to be responsive as the crisis unfolded.

I don't know how many times I have heard this nonsense about everything being the locals' fault from people who get their news from Fox! This is wild that one of bush's boys is saying this, though! I guess they aren't as unified as they once were!

more outrageous FEMA incompetence

FEMA Official Says Boss Ignored Warnings
WASHINGTON - Federal Emergency Management Agency officials did not respond to repeated warnings about deteriorating conditions in New Orleans and the dire need for help as Hurricane Katrina struck, the first FEMA official to arrive conceded Thursday.

Marty Bahamonde, a FEMA regional director, told a Senate panel investigating the government's response to the disaster that he gave regular updates to people in contact with then-FEMA Director Michael Brown as early as Aug. 28, one day before Katrina made landfall.

In most cases, he was met with silence. In an Aug. 29 phone call to Brown informing him that the first levee had broke, Bahamaonde said he received a polite thank you from Brown, who said he would check with the White House.

"I think there was a systematic failure at all levels of government to understand the magnitude of the situation," Bahamonde said.

The testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee contradicted Brown, who has said he wasn't fully aware of the dire conditions until days later and that local officials were most responsible for the sluggish response.

Sen. Susan Collins R-Maine, who chairs the panel, decried the testimony and e-mail released by Bahamonde on Thursday as illustrating "a complete disconnect between senior officials and the reality of the situation."

"His urgent reports did not appear to prompt an urgent response," Collins said.

In e-mails to various FEMA officials, including one to Brown, Bahamonde described a chaotic situation at the Superdome, where many of the evacuees were sheltered. Bahamonde e-mailed FEMA officials and noted also that local officials were asking for toilet paper, a sign that supplies were lacking at the shelter.

"Issues developing at the Superdome. The medical staff at the dome says they will run out of oxygen in about two hours and are looking for alternative oxygen," Bahamonde wrote in an e-mail to David Passey, an assistant to Brown, in late afternoon on Aug. 28.

Less than an hour later, Bahamonde wrote: "Everyone is soaked. This is going to get ugly real fast."

Bahamonde said he was stunned that FEMA officials responded by sending truckloads of evacuees to the Superdome on that day even though they knew supplies were in short supply.

"I thought it amazing," he said. "I believed at the time and still do today, that I was confirming the worst-case scenario that everyone had always talked about regarding New Orleans."

Later, on Aug. 31, Bahamonde frantically e-mailed Brown to tell him that thousands are evacuees were gathering in the streets with no food or water and that "estimates are many will die within hours."

"Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical," Bahamonde wrote.

Less than three hours later, however, Brown's press secretary wrote colleagues to complain that the FEMA director needed more time to eat dinner at a Baton Rouge restaurant that evening. "He needs much more that (sic) 20 or 30 minutes," wrote Brown aide Sharon Worthy.

"We now have traffic to encounter to go to and from a location of his choise (sic), followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc. Thank you."

Also, see video from Crooks and Liars
Truly incredible! As people were dying because of his unbelievable incompetence, Brown was complaining that needed more time for a leisurely dinner!
Check out the video for his official's response!

more on the importance of Traitorgate

The Importance of the Plame Affair By George Friedman

As we discussed in previous weeks, scandals become geopolitically significant when they affect the ability of the president to conduct foreign policy. That has not yet happened to George W. Bush, but it might happen. There is, however, one maturing scandal that interests us in its own right: the Valerie Plame affair, in which Karl Rove, the most important adviser to the president, and I. Lewis Libby, the chief of staff to the vice president, apparently identified Plame as a CIA agent -- or at least did not vigorously deny that she was one when they were contacted by reporters. Given that this happened during a time of war, in which U.S. intelligence services are at the center of the war -- and are not as effective as the United States might wish --the Plame affair needs to be examined and understood in its own right. Moreover, as an intelligence company, we have a particular interest in how intelligence matters are handled.

The CIA is divided between the Directorate of Intelligence, which houses the analysts, and the Directorate of Operations, which houses the spies and the paramilitary forces. The spies are, in general, divided into two groups. There are those with official cover and those with non-official cover. Official cover means that the agent is working at the U.S. embassy in some country, acting as a cultural, agricultural or some other type of attaché, and is protected by diplomatic immunity. They carry out a variety of espionage functions, limited by the fact that most foreign intelligence services know who the CIA agents at the embassy are and, frankly, assume that everyone at the embassy is an agent. They are therefore followed, their home phones are tapped, and their maids deliver scraps of paper to the host government. This obviously limits the utility of these agents. Being seen with one of them automatically blows the cover of any potential recruits.

Then there are those with non-official cover, the NOCs. These agents are the backbone of the American espionage system. A NOC does not have diplomatic cover. If captured, he has no protection. Indeed, as the saying goes, if something goes wrong, the CIA will deny it has ever heard of him. A NOC is under constant pressure when he is needed by the government and is on his own when things go wrong. That is understood going in by all NOCs.

NOCs come into the program in different ways. Typically, they are recruited at an early age and shaped for the role they are going to play. Some may be tracked to follow China, and trained to be bankers based in Hong Kong. Others might work for an American engineering firm doing work in the Andes. Sometimes companies work with the CIA, knowingly permitting an agent to become an employee. In other circumstances, agents apply for and get jobs in foreign companies and work their way up the ladder, switching jobs as they go, moving closer and closer to a position of knowing the people who know what there is to know. Sometimes they receive financing to open a business in some foreign country, where over the course of their lives, they come to know and be trusted by more and more people. Ideally, the connection of these people to the U.S. intelligence apparatus is invisible. Or, if they can't be invisible due to something in their past and they still have to be used as NOCs, they develop an explanation for what they are doing that is so plausible that the idea that they are working for the CIA is dismissed or regarded as completely unlikely because it is so obvious. The complexity of the game is endless.

These are the true covert operatives of the intelligence world. Embassy personnel might recruit a foreign agent through bribes or blackmail. But at some point, they must sit across from the recruit and show their cards: "I'm from the CIA and…." At that point, they are in the hands of the recruit. A NOC may never once need to do this. He may take decades building up trusting relationships with intelligence sources in which the source never once suspects that he is speaking to the CIA, and the NOC never once gives a hint as to who he actually is.

It is an extraordinary life. On the one hand, NOCs may live well. The Number Two at a Latin American bank cannot be effective living on a U.S. government salary. NOCs get to live the role and frequently, as they climb higher in the target society, they live the good life. On the other hand, their real lives are a mystery to everyone. Frequently, their parents don't know what they really do, nor do their own children -- for their safety and the safety of the mission. The NOC may marry someone who cannot know who they really are. Sometimes they themselves forget who they are: It is an occupational disease and a form of madness. Being the best friend of a man whom you despise, and doing it for 20 years, is not easy. Some NOCs are recruited in mid-life and in mid-career. They spend less time in the madness, but they are less prepared for it as well. NOCs enter and leave the program in different ways -- sometimes under their real names, sometimes under completely fabricated ones. They share one thing: They live a lie on behalf of their country.

The NOCs are the backbone of American intelligence and the ones who operate the best sources -- sources who don't know they are sources. When the CIA says that it needs five to 10 years to rebuild its network, what it is really saying is that it needs five to 10 years to recruit, deploy and begin to exploit its NOCs. The problem is not recruiting them -- the life sounds cool for many recent college graduates. The crisis of the NOC occurs when he approaches the most valuable years of service, in his late 30s or so. What sounded neat at 22 rapidly becomes a mind-shattering nightmare when their two lives collide at 40.

There is an explicit and implicit contract between the United States and its NOCs. It has many parts, but there is one fundamental part: A NOC will never reveal that he is or was a NOC without special permission. When he does reveal it, he never gives specifics. The government also makes a guarantee -- it will never reveal the identity of a NOC under any circumstances and, in fact, will do everything to protect it. If you have lied to your closest friends for 30 years about who you are and why you talk to them, no government bureaucrat has the right to reveal your identity for you. Imagine if you had never told your children -- and never planned to tell your children -- that you worked for the CIA, and they suddenly read in the New York Times that you were someone other than they thought you were.

There is more to this. When it is revealed that you were a NOC, foreign intelligence services begin combing back over your life, examining every relationship you had. Anyone you came into contact with becomes suspect. Sometimes, in some countries, becoming suspect can cost you your life. Revealing the identity of a NOC can be a matter of life and death -- frequently, of people no one has ever heard of or will ever hear of again.

In short, a NOC owes things to his country, and his country owes things to the NOC. We have no idea what Valerie Plame told her family or friends about her work. It may be that she herself broke the rules, revealing that she once worked as a NOC. We can't know that, because we don't know whether she received authorization from the CIA to say things after her own identity was blown by others. She might have been irresponsible, or she might have engaged in damage control. We just don't know.

What we do know is this. In the course of events, reporters contacted two senior officials in the White House -- Rove and Libby. Under the least-damaging scenario we have heard, the reporters already knew that Plame had worked as a NOC. Rove and Libby, at this point, were obligated to say, at the very least, that they could neither confirm nor deny the report. In fact, their duty would have been quite a bit more: Their job was to lie like crazy to mislead the reporters. Rove and Libby had top security clearances and were senior White House officials. It was their sworn duty, undertaken when they accepted their security clearance, to build a "bodyguard of lies" -- in Churchill's phrase -- around the truth concerning U.S. intelligence capabilities.

Some would argue that if the reporters already knew her identity, the cat was out of the bag and Rove and Libby did nothing wrong. Others would argue that if Plame or her husband had publicly stated that she was a NOC, Rove and Libby were freed from their obligation. But the fact is that legally and ethically, nothing relieves them of the obligation to say nothing and attempt to deflect the inquiry. This is not about Valerie Plame, her husband or Time Magazine. The obligation exists for the uncounted number of NOCs still out in the field.

Americans stay safe because of NOCs. They are the first line of defense. If the system works, they will be friends with Saudi citizens who are financing al Qaeda. The NOC system was said to have been badly handled under the Clinton administration -- this is the lack of humint that has been discussed since the 9-11 attacks. The United States paid for that. And that is what makes the Rove-Libby leak so stunning. The obligation they had was not only to Plame, but to every other NOC leading a double life who is in potentially grave danger.

Imagine, if you will, working in Damascus as a NOC and reading that the president's chief adviser had confirmed the identity of a NOC. As you push into middle age, wondering what happened to your life, the sudden realization that your own government threatens your safety might convince you to resign and go home. That would cost the United States an agent it had spent decades developing. You don't just pop a new agent in his place. That NOC's resignation could leave the United States blind at a critical moment in a key place. Should it turn out that Rove and Libby not only failed to protect Plame's identity but deliberately leaked it, it would be a blow to the heart of U.S. intelligence. If just one critical NOC pulled out and the United States went blind in one location, the damage could be substantial. At the very least, it is a risk the United States should not have to incur.

The New York Times and Time Magazine have defended not only the decision to publish Plame's name, but also have defended hiding the identity of those who told them her name. Their justification is the First Amendment. We will grant that they had the right to publish statements concerning Plame's role in U.S. intelligence; we cannot grant that they had an obligation to publish it. There is a huge gap between the right to publish and a requirement to publish. The concept of the public's right to know is a shield that can be used by the press to hide irresponsibility. An article on the NOC program conceivably might have been in the public interest, but it is hard to imagine how identifying a particular person as part of that program can be deemed as essential to an informed public.

But even if we regard the press as unethical by our standards, their actions were not illegal. On the other hand, if Rove and Libby even mentioned the name of Valerie Plame in the context of being a CIA employee -- NOC or not -- on an unsecured line to a person without a security clearance or need to know, while the nation was waging war, that is the end of the story. It really doesn't matter why or whether there was a plan or anything. The minimal story -- that they talked about Plame with a reporter -- is the end of the matter.

We can think of only one possible justification for this action: That it was done on the order of the president. The president has the authority to suspend or change security regulations if required by the national interest. The Plame affair would be cleared up if it turns out Rove and Libby were ordered to act as they did by the president. Perhaps the president is prevented by circumstances from coming forward and lifting the burden from Rove and Libby. If that is the case, it could cost him his right-hand man. But absent that explanation, it is difficult to justify the actions that were taken.

Ultimately, the Plame affair points to a fundamental problem in intelligence. As those who have been in the field have told us, the biggest fear is that someone back in the home office will bring the operation down. Sometimes it will be a matter of state: sacrificing a knight for advantage on the chessboard. Sometimes it is a parochial political battle back home. Sometimes it is carelessness, stupidity or cruelty. This is when people die and lives are destroyed. But the real damage, if it happens often enough or no one seems to care, will be to the intelligence system. If the agent determines that his well-being is not a centerpiece of government policy, he won't remain an agent long.

On a personal note, let me say this: one of the criticisms conservatives have of liberals is that they do not understand that we live in a dangerous world and, therefore, that they underestimate the effort needed to ensure national security. Liberals have questioned the utility and morality of espionage. Conservatives have been champions of national security and of the United States' overt and covert capabilities. Conservatives have condemned the atrophy of American intelligence capabilities. Whether the special prosecutor indicts or exonerates Rove and Libby legally doesn't matter. Valerie Plame was a soldier in service to the United States, unprotected by uniform or diplomatic immunity. I have no idea whether she served well or poorly, or violated regulations later. But she did serve. And thus, she and all the other NOCs were owed far more -- especially by a conservative administration -- than they got.

Even if that debt wasn't owed to Plame, it remains in place for all the other spooks standing guard in dangerous places.

(Stratfor Geopolitical Intel Report - Strategic Forecasting Inc)
Sorry for the long post, but a good overview of the severity of this scandal and from a very conservative writer. (Notice the mandatory Clinton bashing - which has been contradicted by everything that I have read, though I don't know the facts one way or another personally).

As he admits in the final paragraphs, it is interesting that the liberals are now the ones who are defending espionage, security, intelligence and the military, while the conservatives are doing everything in their power to denigrate those who have served and who are serving.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

limbaugh the comedian!

Limbaugh explained his rhetorical strategy: "I set myself up by presenting the liberal point of view" because "I'm the only one who'll do it honestly"
(Media Matters)
Wha.......?!?!?!?! "Honesty" & "limbaugh" should never appear in the same sentence! What a freakin' clown!

bush to the American people

Man, he just loves to flip people off! How old is this jackass anyway?

(picture found at Daily Dissent)

incredibly funny (in a kinda scary way!)

Hilarious. The benefits of being a Republican (animation).
(First seen at Daily Dissent)
Watch the whole thing - amazing! (though scarily true!)

Is his name Steve Rogers?! *

Body Found in Glacier Thought to Be WWII Airman
FRESNO, Calif. (Oct. 19) - Two climbers on a Sierra Nevada glacier discovered an ice-encased body believed to be that of an airman whose plane crashed in 1942.

The man was wearing a World War II-era U.S. Army Corps parachute when his frozen head, shoulder and arm were spotted on 13,710-foot Mount Mendel in Kings Canyon National Park, park spokeswoman Alex Picavet said Wednesday.

(* or, as he is also known, Captain America, who was found frozen in ice by the Avengers, which is why he is still in such good shape these days!)

MORE lies from DeLays lawyers

Yesterday Dick DeGuerin, one of Tom DeLay's lawyers, was alll hot and bothered about a plea bargain he said Travis County DA Ronnie Earle offered his client.

Today we learn that the deal in question had been proposed by DeLay's legal team.

In a letter filed in District Court on Monday, DeGuerin accused Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle of trying to coerce his client into pleading guilty to a misdemeanor last month to avoid indictment and being forced to resign his job as U.S. House majority leader.

Yet several sources familiar with the negotiations said that was only half the story: They say DeLay's lawyers proposed that the Sugar Land Republican plead guilty to a misdemeanor, but only if Texas appellate courts later ruled that the state ban on corporate campaign donations is constitutional. That decision is pending.

The speculation throughout the linked article is that DeGuerinis putting this kind of information into the public record in hopes of tainting the jury pool and securing a change of venue.

And who can blame him, since Travis County is extremely liberal and is still smarting from DeLay's redistricting plan that carved our one congressional district into three.

(First Draft)

facts vs myths re: Traitorgate

Right-Wing Myths About The Leak Investigation
Check out Think Progress' debunking the myths regarding the Plame Affair. The repugs have spread a massive amount of lies. Here is the truth.

more on bush making America a backwards scientific country

Creative Science

Scientists in South Korea will help their American colleagues -- frustrated by U.S. government barriers -- create new lines of embryonic stem cells in an unusual partnership in the contentious field, researchers in both countries announced Wednesday.

For the Americans, the new international consortium, which includes Britain, presents another avenue for working around the Bush administration's refusal to fund most of the research. For the South Koreans, the project brings coveted international recognition of their leadership in this budding field.

The South Koreans might be the leaders in the field of stem cell research, but we beat them seven ways to Sunday in intelligent design.

(TPM Cafe)
Since bush hates science, he could care less that America falls behind the rest of the whole in scientific achievement, but damn, this is freakin' embarrassing!

more McClellan hilarity!

Scott McClellan Responds to the DeFrank Story

In this morning's gaggle, Scott McClellan was asked about today's New York Daily News story by Tom DeFrank, which alleges that President Bush has known for two years that Karl Rove was involved in the Plame leak.

McClellan tried to knock the story down but would not deny its accuracy.

(TPM Cafe)
Read the entire post! McClellan is unreal! He says the story is not accurate but then he says he will not comment on it! When the press explains to him that he just did, he goes back to his "no, I didn't!" line! If he wasn't such a schmuck, I'd almost feel sorry for him!

Moral Clarity

I'm not sure I really understand Jacob Weisberg's contrarian take on the Plame case:
No one disputes that Bush officials negligently and stupidly revealed Valerie Plame's undercover status. But after two years of digging, no evidence has emerged that anyone who worked for Bush and talked to reporters about Plame—namely Rove or Scooter Libby, the vice president's chief of staff—knew she was undercover. And as nasty as they might be, it's not really thinkable that they would have known. You need a pretty low opinion of people in the White House to imagine they would knowingly foster the possible assassination of CIA assets in other countries for the sake of retaliation against someone who wrote an op-ed they didn't like in the New York Times.

Evidence hasn't emerged because Patrick Fitzgerald hasn't made any charges public or revealed what evidence he may or may not have to support those charges. It would convenient for us in the commentariat if he'd been running a sloppy investigation full of grand jury leaks giving us more juicy nuggets to chew over, but the Ken Starr precedent aside that's not what prosecutors are supposed to do. If Fitzgerald's charges, when they emerge, prove to be trumped-up, overblown, or unsupported by the evidence then naturally it would make sense to start condemning him. But concluding that his case is bogus before we see his evidence because we haven't seen his evidence would be bizarre.

(TPM Cafe)
The apologists are going full force on this scandal! The arguments are pretty hilarious! Is there anyone in America (or the world) that does not think that this administration is capable of doing this? (Whether they somehow feel it was justified or not). I mean, c'mon, these people are capable of literally anything! They don't care about anybody or anything except money and power and have proven that they will step on literally anyone who gets in their way. Thinking that they aren't capable of doing this is just stupidly naive...