Monday, October 31, 2005

Waiting for Fitzpatrick Day...

Well this convinced me that St. Patrick may still drive some snakes from their nest of corruption at 1600 Penn Ave. Not only is the White House resisting calls for a staff shakeup, Bush is refusing to condemn the criminal actions of his inner circle.
Three days after the indictment and resignation of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, the administration said it would have to remain silent as long as there was an investigation of the leak and legal proceeding under way. Bush ignored reporters' questions during an Oval Office meeting with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

"We don't want to do anything from here that could prejudice the opportunity for there to be a fair and impartial trial," presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said.
Anything except loudly praising an indicted official for his "service to the country?" Like that's not prejudicial?
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Choice cuts

Ed Cone has been kindly providing the money grafs from the pundits sequestered behind the NYT's paywall. Today's bytes are especially delicious.
Krugman ("Ending the Fraudulence") says Bush has been exposed as incompetent and out of touch. "It sometimes seems as if President Bush and Mr. Cheney are Midases in reverse: everything they touch -- from Iraq reconstruction to hurricane relief, from prescription drug coverage to the pursuit of Osama -- turns to crud...

"Pundits may try to resurrect Mr. Bush's reputation, but his cult of personality is dead...So the Bush administration has lost the myths that sustained its mojo, and with them much of its power to do harm. But the nightmare won't be fully over until two things happen.

"First, politicians will have to admit that they were misled. Second, the news media will have to face up to their role in allowing incompetents to pose as leaders and political apparatchiks to pose as patriots."

Herbert ("Smoke Gets in Our Eyes") continues the attack: "Most members of the administration are more artful than Scooter Libby when they send out the smoke that is designed to hide the truth on important matters...The art of Bush-speak is to achieve the effect of a lie without actually getting caught in a lie...This is an insidious way of governing, and the opposite of what the United States should be about."
Some days I wonder how he and Glenn Reynolds ever became friends. Thanks Ed.
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Shouldn't that be Brian "Baloney"?

I'm not going to link to this wannabe Limbaugh idiot, Brian Maloney. Just google "Guy with his nose so firmly up Michelle Malkin's butt that he's learned to breathe her crap" if you want to find him. He has a long winded, nonsensical defense of her new book and her "journalistic creds."

The only interesting point is the whole post is this link to Amazon, where her beastly pulp fluff is receiving some very illuminating reviews.
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Miers and Alito - an ephiphany

It struck me like a bolt of lightning. Anyone who thinks Rove was losing his touch or was too distracted by Treasongate to prevent Bush from putting forward Miers, think again. I think I figured it out and it was a diabolically clever move.

I don't think the Smearmeister has lost his touch after all. He played his pawns brilliantly. One can only hope that Fitzgerald has played the bishop as well and can still checkmate.
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All litmus tests are on the table

Whoever said it might take weeks to announce a new SCOTUS nominee clearly hasn't been paying attention to White House MO for the last five years. Which is, when in trouble, throw some gas on the fire and maybe everyone will be distracted by the flash and forget that the house is burning down. But I'm not complaining. It beats the hell out of say, causing another wave of heavy terrorism by bombing the bejesus out of Syria or Iran.

As far as Alito goes, I'm holding my fire since I know nothing about the guy. For the moment, I'll send you to the experts.

ReddHead is cautious, remarking he appears at first glance to be better than Luttig at least. Count on her to have more to say as this develops. TChris at TalkLeft gives us a lot to chew on and none of it is palatable. Think Progress offers no comfort to those of us, (read that most Americans) who would like to see this country rescued from the clutches of the fringe radicals. It appears our potential hizzoner has never found a civil liberty he really liked. Billmon has a great graphic, but as always, Heretik gets the photoshop award and has his own inimitable nuanced view.

All The Impolitic knows for sure right now is that the radical right fringenuts are deliriously happy, which should give reality-based Americans cause for concern. Will the confirmation hearings become a nu'clar holocaust? I hope so and after the Miers debacle, may the first Bushtopian that calls for an up or down vote, choke on their own hypocrisy.
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Sunday, October 30, 2005

The high price of loyalty

Jonathan Alter has a stunning column in Newsweek on the price of loyalty. He gives Fitzgerald his due but corrects him on one really important point. There's no way to disconnect it. The Plame leak is so about the war and the lies that led us to it. The money grafs:
This has been the Bush pattern. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill presciently says a second tax cut is unaffordable if we want to fight in Iraq—he's fired. Bush's economic adviser Larry Lindsey presciently says the war will cost between $100 billion and $200 billion (an underestimate)—he's fired. Army Gen. Eric Shinseki presciently says that winning in Iraq will require several hundred thousand troops—he's sent into early retirement. By contrast, CIA Director George Tenet, who presided over two of the greatest intelligence lapses in American history (9/11 and WMD in Iraq) and apparently helped spread "oppo ammo" to discredit the husband of a woman who had devoted her life to his agency, receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The price of loyalty is incompetence. Issues don't get aired; downside risks remain unassessed.
Why should they care? They're not paying for the downside, we are. So, how can 39% of the people still believe in an administration where honesty is punished and incompetency and deceit are not only rewarded, but praised? Which reminds me. You think Heckuva Job Brownie is off the books yet? Last I heard he was still on the payroll.
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Did Rove weasel out again?

Newsweek is reporting Rove dodged the bullet with some last minute document drop that gave Fitzgerald "pause." Sounds a little filmsy to me. Rove came up with an email to his aide, sent moments after he committed treason, and "surprisingly" didn't disclose this to his underling, whom he invited in to discuss a personnel issue.

This is exculpatory? Fine. Then don't charge him with perjury. Charge him with treason, as the whole lot of rogues should have charged in the first place.

Update: My outrage factor was set on low last night, but Jane Hamsher picks up the slack and gives Isikoff the whipping he deserves on this article.
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Kristof disses Cheney

What kind of trick is this I wonder. Bushtopian cheerleader Nicholas Kristof is calling for Cheney to explain the Plame leak or resign. He says in part:
If Mr. Cheney can't address the questions about his conduct, if he can't be forthcoming about the activities in his office that gave rise to the investigation, then he should resign. And if he won't resign, Mr. Bush should demand his resignation.

"It's not that there's a lick of evidence that Mr. Cheney is a criminal. There isn't. But the standard of the office should be higher than that: the White House should symbolize integrity, not legalistic refusals to discuss criminal cover-ups. I didn't want technical indictments of White House officials because they inflame partisanship and impede government; for just the same reason, it's unsavory when a vice president resorts to technical defenses and clams up."
True enough, but odd coming from good old Nick.
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Go ahead, steal this meme

So I stole this meme for my other blog, but I liked it so much I'm going to post it here as well. Feel free to pick it up without being tagged or tagging anyone.

1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

And the winning post is on the Patriot Act.
The powers of the Act have not resulted in a single conviction of terrorism but have been widely used to spy on activists who disagree with Bush administration policies and to prosecute ordinary crimes, which already fall under other statutes, in order to enhance the severity of the sentencing.

Unfortunately, it's still timely.
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Incremental insights - shredding the spin

I'm snapping out of the doldrums and I'm ready to take up the battle again. Maybe Fitzgerald will step up to the plate again. Booman Tribune offers a ray of hope that I can bask in for the moment, but even if he doesn't and Libby's indictment is really all there is, we still have a republic to save here.

Really, we're no worse off than we were before the speculation raised our hopes and in many ways we're better off. Certainly, if one is to believe the polls, the case has raised public awareness of just how morally bereft this administration really is. That can only be a good thing and the weight of public opinion can still move the media from their current position as White House lapdogs, back into their traditional role of government watchdog.

In the meantime all we can do is keep hacking away at the dark shroud of deceit that protects this administration until we expose the ugly truth under the veils of secrecy.
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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Start all over again

I can't snap out of Ms. Gloom and Doom mode over the Fitzfizzle. The Heretik helps when he reminds me how Elliot Ness took down Capone and his resident panel of poliwatchers weigh in with convincing arguments for hope. But I still can't shake this morose outlook. I wanted grounds for impeachment, of the entire administration and all of its lackeys. The wheels of justice grind slowly. This administration will outlive the trial. They can do a lot of damage in three more years.

I cried for the Kennedys. I fought Nixon. I fought Reagan. I've never seen a more destructive administration than Bush. What bothers me is, while we're focused on the war and Treasongate, they'll be busy screwing the voting machines and pushing the Patriot Act, and other domestic surveillance schemes. They're studying ways to legally use acts of military terrorism against us under the "war powers." The Padilla case alone left us without due process and they're stacking the courts with judges that won't rule against them from the local level right up to SCOTUS. And don't even get me started on the dismantling of the social programs.

I know it's not all bad, but some days it feels like we've been set back further than where we started in the 60s. Basta already.
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The politicalization of criminals

James Moore at the HuffPo makes me feel better about yesterday's somewhat disappointing developments. I wanted high drama, it felt like a read through of a one act plan instead, but Moore reminds me this is not necessarily the final production.

Leaking the names of CIA agents is not politics; it is a crime. Lying to congress about evidence for a war is not politics; it is a crime. Failing to tell a grand jury that you met with a reporter and talked about the CIA agent is not forgetfullness; it is a crime. Deceiving your entire nation and frightening children and adults with images of nuclear explosions in order to get them to support a bloody invasion of another country is not politics; it is a crime. Anyone other than Karl Rove and Lewis Libby and Tom Delay who does not get this, please raise your hand.

...Targets will be pleading and dealing and soon will be singing. We are, hopefully, seeing the beginning of an investigation that will broaden until it disabuses the final few million Bush supporters of their naievete. Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald must surely just be at the beginning of rendering justice.
He goes on in that encouraging vein and I hope he's right. Like he said, our best shot at revealing the truth is Fitzgerald. But I think it all depends on the media now.

The Bushtopians are already painting it as a witch hunt and an inconsequential slip of protocol. If this, "could not possibly suck more wind" editorial in the WaPo is any indication of how the press is going to go, it's going to take more than insider optimism to make me a believer in truth, justice and the American way again.
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Trick or treat

Taking a short break from politics, Don Surber is hosting a little get together and he has the ultimate Halloween picture for the day. My caption is, "Ooowwwwooo.... should have laid off the witches' brew after the fourth glass."

For your ongoing holiday pleasure, I invite to also visit my friend Angry Johnny. Everyday is Halloween in the home of the Killbillies - Killville, USA. And if you're lucky enough to be anywhere near Louisville, KY on the 31st, they'll be playing with you. Go check out this band. Sure Johnny looks a regular old redneck, but he's a true original and that devil will take you straight to Hell. Trust me, you'll love it.

Today's stolen graphics all created in the twisted mind of the Angry one himself. For so much more, take a look at his site. Hours of Halloween fun await you there.

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Is that all there is?

Two years and millions of our tax bucks later, and Fitzgerald gives us an indictment of Scooter Libby? Hell most of us have been predicting that since the beginning. Reaction around the blogosphere is mixed. The inimitable Heretik and Jeralyn, as always, roundup the best insights, including their own.

Color me disappointed and not necessarily because Rove has dodged the bullet for the moment. The jury may still be out on that one. But I expected better presents than this under the Fitzmas tree. I surely didn't get the Fitzquisition I was hoping for. I want someone to hold these rogues accountable for their lies in taking this country to war.

But maybe I'm just being impatient. As Atty Tood reminds us:
That's what we call justice, and it's just beginning. One year from now, the largest "grand jury" of all, the American electorate, will get its chance to indict six years of corrupt one-party rule, and we have few doubts about the decision that they'll hand down.

What's really important isn't jailing Karl Rove or "Scooter" Libby, but freeing the others -- the dad about to be "sentenced" to his second or third Guard stint in Iraq, or the single mom facing "life without health insurance." That will be the real day of justice.
Meanwhile, under the heading, be careful what you wish for, meet Libby's replacement. Kind of feels like out of the frying pan into the fire.
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Friday, October 28, 2005

Could we get an order of indictments with that coffee?

If this doesn't say it all about the White House scheme team. The WaPo tells us in preparation for today's indictment excitement, Libby is shopping for good criminal attorney and Rove is assembling a PR team. Another clue that Rove thinks he has dodged the bullet? A possibility, as the NYT is reporting he won't be indicted but will remain under investigation. Or does he already have a lawyer and just wants to manage the fallout in case he's indicted? Perception management always comes first with this crowd.

In spite of all the leaking defense lawyers and speculation, I don't think even the potential targets of the Fitzquisition know for sure what will happen next. I don't think I've ever seen a more leakproof investigation. Meanwhile, the White House is madly preparing for trouble in the Capitol City.
A Republican consultant with close White House ties said Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. had canceled at least two trips in the past week and had met with Bush over the weekend to focus on how to react to the grand jury's decisions. "These will be very, very dark days for the White House," the consultant quoted Card as saying.

But that cloud over the White House will brighten the prospects for saving life as we know it, for the rest of the country. I just hope something would happen today. I can stand much more of this suspense. It's going to be a very long morning.
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Thursday, October 27, 2005

When the morning comes...

Well if this by Murray Waas is any indication, it looks like Cheney and Libby are going to be dragged into the Fitzquisition. It appears no one is disputing they withheld important documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004, while the panel was investigating the WMD lies. These included, "intelligence data that Cheney's office -- and Libby in particular -- pushed to be included in Powell's speech, the sources said."

Sounds like an indictment about to happen to me, but otherwise I'm not making predictions because I'm superstitious and I care too much about the outcome here.

I'm hearing buzz that Rove is looking relieved today and he does look rather perky in this photo at TalkLeft. Maybe the Smearmeister rolled on Cheney. Maybe they even planned it that way. I mean if they both go, who's going to take care of George? I'll be pissed if he gets off but not necessarily surprised.

Meanwhile, from the invaluable (and recuperating from being run down by a car) Steve Clemons, rumor also has it that McCain was asked to replace Cheney and gave a definitive no. Good for him.
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It's Rude-imentary

Thanks to our favorite kangaroo, Skippy, for reminding us to check in with the Rude Pundit. How you resist a post called Why Michelle Malkin Ought To Be Caged Like a Rabid Shitzu:.

How can you not love a writer who starts a sentence with,
Of course, one of the most war-lovin' whores out there is Michelle Malkin, whose latest "column" (if by "column," you mean "mad spittle-ridden spewings of a self-loathing rightwing spooge bucket")...
Plenty more where that came from.

Check it out and then hop over to Skippy's for more, like neo-con prophesies gone bad and Cookie Jill's words to remember.
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Pardon me, I'd like to report a heresy

I can hardly stand the suspense myself. It's not hard to imagine what the White House folks are going through. But enough teasing already, Patrick. Let the Fitzquisition begin.
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They won't have Harriet to kick around anymore

Well the radical rightwing nuts will be giddy with their "victory" today. Poor old Harriet "I heart my president" Miers has withdrawn her nomination. I suspect this has more to do with the impending indictments, (that may come down in our lifetimes), in the Plame investigation. That's unlikely to stop the echo chamber from crowing about how they "killed" her candidacy but what the hell, let them have their fun.

The bigger question of course is, what next? What evil candidate now lurks in the shadows in the tiny mind of our president? Will he trot out the tired nags, Janice Rogers Brown or Priscilla Owen once again, or will he be forced to submit a "consensus candidate?" And if it's the former, will the Dems be able to locate their balls in time to put up a decent fight?

One suspects all will depend on what happens with the Fitzquisition. If the White House is forced into a game of musical chairs by numerous indictments, and loses his key media manipulators in the process, just how far out on limb can he dare to go before it breaks under the weight of his lonely incompetence?

If no indictments are returned, a possibility for which I remain braced despite the cheery speculation, would Bush offer up Fitzgerald himself for the prize seat? That would make for an interesting confirmation process.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It's a Mad Mad World

A little diversion as we wait for Fitzmas to arrive. Mad Kane has some feisty song lyrics and a limerick or three that will amuse while we tick off the minutes. If you do the iPod thing, don't forget to check her pod feed where you can get her blog in audio, delivered right to your ear.
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2,000 dead - Bush vows to stay the course

The Bushtopians are busy deriding the peace supporters for holding memorial vigils to honor the now 2,000 war dead from Iraq, saying it's defeatist and the troops wouldn't appreciate it. I still don't notice any great activity on their part to honor the sacrifice themselves. Or do they think that engaging in petty mockery of their fellow citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights is a fitting tribute?

Meanwhile, Bush managed to finally acknowledge the death toll in a single sentence. Big whoop. He then launched right back into the propaganda.
"This war will require more sacrifice, more time and more resolve," he said in a speech hosted by military spouses at Bolling Air Force Base. "No one should underestimate the difficulties ahead, nor should they overlook the advantages we bring to this fight."
What sacrifice except the lives of mostly poor and undereducated soldiers? He later made a speech to some economists, calling to make his $70 billion worth of tax cuts for the rich permanent and his welfare for millionaires plan - aka elimination of the estate tax - a reality. How about we sacrifice those before we sacrifice federal aid to elderly Medicare recepients, hungry children who receive food stamps, and educational loans to economically disadvantaged Americans, which were just cut in a White House approved bill, by $10 billion dollars.

The only advantages we bring to this fight, is the cash cow that can be milked dry for the people who have already made a ton of money on Bush's wars and economic "plans." Expected to be funded by the next generation of the disappearing middle class near you.
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No announcements on Treasongate today

The WaPo tells us Fitzgerald and the grand jury spent the morning behind closed doors and appeared to be done for the day by lunchtime. Word has it that no indictments will be announced today.

I don't about you, but I can hardly stand the suspense. Word has it they're pretty edgy around the White House this week as well.
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Eyes on You

I found a new webcam I like, the San Diego Zoo's panda cam. They also have cams for apes, polar bears and elephants but the animals seem to be camera shy at those locations. The pandas are nearly always in view and they really are cute.

I'll probably add it to my camroll on the side bar. I will also someday add blog links but for now, if you wonder what I'm reading on any given day, you can check out my blogroll at Last One Speaks.
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Exile takes a hard look at Treasongate

The Bostonian Exile is my favorite right wing blogger. We're often - heck almost always - in disagreement but he's no ideologue and always makes a fair and thoughtful argument for his case. And he doesn't jump onto the echo chamber bandwagon, as evidenced by this post on Treasongate.

He's got a long way to go in terms of accepting the deceit of the president he supported, (I think that's the lawyer in him) but you can never accuse him of not having an open mind. I've been thinking lately it's too bad he wasn't nominated for the SCOTUS opening. He's a conservative I could have supported.
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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rumble Jumble

Okay, I confess. I've been hanging around Gut Rumbles because I got hooked on Rob Smith's daily vitriol and I'm fascinated by his little blog family. The regs are mostly a bunch of redneck redstaters and the "wimmen" who love Rob, but they're interesting and they're not usually hostile. He also has a remarkable following in the greater blogosphere. Various bloggerati show up in comments now and again.

I guess I shouldn't say remarkable because it's not surprising. Rob's a really good writer and his candor is humbling. I mostly want to slap some sense into his shit-talking head when he posts on politics, but when he talks about life, he often makes me want to cry. It keeps me going back.

Anyway Rob's checked into rehab for the next six weeks so he's got a bunch of his wimmen favs guest posting. Juliette, aka Baldilocks, the darling of the right wing echo chamber, is one of them and she picks up Michelle Malkin's award winning meme of the day. She posts this in response to the candlelight vigils that are being organized to commemorate the reaching of the the latest Iraq "milestone," one the Bushtopians would rather forget.
The 2000th military fatality in Operation Iraqi Freedom occurred today.

The left: Let's get this party started! Oh those poor, poor soldiers who died for nothing but oil and the Jews!

The right: God rest all of you and may your sacrifice not be in vain.
Let me parse that for you from the reality-based side of the fence.
The left: 2,000 soldiers dead for an failed military strategy that we were against from the beginning. Let's hold candlelight vigils to honor and mourn the dead. Let's get visible to show our government we don't want another soldier to die for nothing good.

The right: 2,000 dead - what should we do? I know, let's all pile on with petty mockery against those Quakers for organizing an event that honors the dead. Can't have those weirdo religious types who believe in peace, lawfully assembling and exercising their constitutional right to ask their president to end an illegal war.

But don't worry troops, we support your fight for our freedoms while we're sniping at our fellow Americans for using theirs to bring attention to your plight. You have to keep dying until Bush can declare a victory because if you don't, well - you know - we might have to admit we were wrong and were bamboozled into supporting a failed mission by a spoiled trust fund brat who never held a real job in his life and only cares about his own political hide.

But we're right behind you, that is as long as we don't have to actually go there and fight ourselves or - you know - sacrifice anything.
I try to live and let live when it comes to political disagreements but this particular spin is so devoid of humanity, that I can't ignore it. The Bushtopians have never looked so bitter and self-absorbed as they have today.

I mean really, if they support the troops so bloody much, shouldn't they be organizing some kind of commemoration for the sacrifice those 2,000 soldiers made? It's a milestone, no matter which side of the war you're on.

Update: I had something to say to Cox and Forkham as well, at the DetNews blog.
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I am neutral on the Miers nomination

Truth Laid Bear is running a blog poll of sorts on the Miers nomination. I've already posted some thoughts on this but haven't taken a position on her candidacy. There wasn't a choice for I am ambivalent on the Mier's nomination, so I chose neutrality.

I certainly don't support it, but then I'm unlikely to support any candidate that Bush put up. I continue to think she is merely a shill, put forward to cover his butt in pending questions of violations of law that are likely to come before the Court in regard to this administration and to act as a rubberstamp for policy challenges, should they arise. I'm afraid to outright oppose her, because I think she'll be largely ineffective and anyone else he's likely to bring forward to placate the conservatives can only be worse from a constitutional perspective.

In the end, I think it's a crap shoot. There's no way to know what they'll do once they get on the bench and short of some compelling reason, I'm inclined to let it happen without pushing a meme one way or the other. Sometimes you just have to trust the universe to give you what you need, even if it's not what you want.
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Big tobacco gives DeLay a lift

Somehow I missed this delicious bit of irony on the DeLay indictment. He flew down to Texas to turn himself in on charges of laundering corporate donations, on a corporate jet supplied by RJ Reynolds. The tobacco giant also donated $17,000 to his defense fund.

Funny you never hear about his constituents holding bake sales or something to raise funds in his defense. Here's hoping they remember this at the ballot box if the Hammer head manages to skate on his crimes.
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Bushenomics 101

This says it all about the state of our allegedly booming economy. Wall Street rallies on the news of the Bernanke nomination as new head of the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, down on the streets of middle class America, consumer confidence is falling like a rock.

So in other words, the people who can afford to make money on money - that is on paper - will make out like bandits, while the average taxpayer will foot the bill for this so called "growth." Once again at Christmas time, you'll see a boom in sales for $600 toy electric cars for the kids of the rich, and fancy jewelry for the token wives, while the rest of America will be picking up some trinkets at the Dollar Store.
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No way around it - Wilson was right

Well, the Bush bloggers will be all over this piece in the WaPo, like flies on honey. It's another irritating "balanced" piece where they give equal weight to both sides of this tired debate on whether Joe Wilson is "credible."

FIrst of all, it doesn't even matter if what Joe Wilson said was true, which by the way it was. What's important, in terms of the investigation, is that the White House lied about their role in the smear campaign against him. They perjured themselves and obstructed justice.

In any event, the Republican's talking points making an lame attempt to discredit Wilson have long since been debunked and and there is ample additional evidence from many other sources that prove Wilson was telling the truth. The WaPo failed to make the distinction however, Josh Kalven helpfully recaps the facts that dispute the Republican's hamfisted attempts at damage control.
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Cheney touts torture

You have to give these White House rogues credit for sheer shamelessness. They apparently intend to bulldoze their insanely inept policies through the legislature, right up until the time the jail house door clangs shut on their criminally liable butts.

Today's latest outrage comes via Dick Cheney who personally browbeat John McCain over the provision currently attached to the pending defense appropriations bill, that would forbid any further torture of any prisoners in our custody. Cheney, apparently feeling that he has nothing to lose with the Plamegate scandal about to bust his little dreamworld open, is pushing an end run proposal to thwart the will of the Senate on the anti-torture provision and outright exempt the CIA from its proscribes.

You have to ask, why does the White House want Arabs to hate us? You don't suppose it has anything to do with Cheney making billions under the table in deferred profits from the Halliburton war contracts, do you?
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Bush repeats propaganda while White House churns

Could it be that Scooter Libby has cut a deal with Patrick Fitzgerald? A curiously timed leak by lawyers in the case indicates that notes exist proving he discussed Valerie Plame's identity with VP Dick Cheney weeks prior to Robert Novak's column that flung her into the public spotlight.

Meanwhile, the WaPo reports that Bush is looking to the lessons of the Reagan and Clinton administration to spin his own damage control. The plan is stay on message and ignore the multitude of scandals engulfing the White House and its supporters in Congress. And indeed that seems to be the tack Bush took in addressing the military wives' luncheon just now.

Bush looked pretty good, comfortable with an audience of predetermined supporters and he even looked sober for a change. He didn't slur a single word of his retreaded speech. It was waste of good half hour to listen, since we've heard it all before. He even had the nerve to use that same quote about bin Laden being willing to send his troops in but not showing himself for the fight.

I'm nor sure why they're calling this a new plan though, since it's the same old tactic of endlessly repeating the propaganda until it takes on a life of its own. Unfortunately for Bush, now that the arrogance and incompetency of his administration has hit home with the public, they've lost their taste for empty rhetoric. The wives dutifully applauded at every pregnant pause, but one doesn't hear any cheering in the streets outside of the rightwing echo chamber.
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We get comments

I'm glad this new template alerts me to messages because I would missed this one that came in just yesterday to an old post on third parties and fusion voting. Jflashmontana of Mass Ballot Freedom advises they're on the case in the Commonwealth. It sounds like a great project to empower the electorate. Makes me wish I still lived there.
Under a system of cross-endorsement, candidates' votes on each line are tallied separately before they are added together. That way, the candidates can see exactly how much support they received from voters who DIDN'T vote for them on a major party line.

In the end, you don't throw your vote away, but you do send a powerful message that the Democrats and Republicans can't take your vote for granted.
Meanwhile, former DetNews co-blogger Kevin McKague, who left the team to run for office himself, checks in on this post to advise he caught his local paper astroturfing letters. In an ironic twist he organized an email campaign that sent at least 100 identical emails in protest.

Finally, I've been meaning to point you to Acoustic Dad who blogs out of Australia and checks in here with the sad news that they seem to have caught the post 9/11 paranoia Down Under as well. He leaves us an apt quote from Shakespeare. Check out his excellent blog.
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Monday, October 24, 2005

Ouote of the day

If it wasn't such a serious matter this would be fucking comical.
"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."
No, it's not Michael Moore talking about the W. This is from "a White House ally" talking about Patrick Fitzgerald.

In the history books this will likely come to be called the Rovian strategy. When the truth comes out and obfuscation fails - attack the messenger. Funny thing is that's what got them in this mess in the first place.
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Pentagon flips policy on enemy death count

How charming. Now that the approval ratings for the ill advised occupation of Iraq are in the dumper, the Pentagon suddenly decides that it's okay to release "enemy" body counts in order to "prove" how successful their failed strategies are in "winning'" the war on terror.

The numbers of course are meaningless. The soldiers can't tell an "insurgent" from an innocent bystander unless it happens to be an old lady or a kid. I notice they're not including those statistics in their new accounting policy. I already told you about one such count that was disputed by eyewitness testimony.

Even more interesting however is that no one at the Pentagon is willing to admit they gave the order to release the figures.
Military spokesmen in Washington and Baghdad said they knew of no written directive detailing the circumstances under which such figures should be released or the steps that should be taken to ensure accuracy.

Instead, they described an ad hoc process that has emerged over the past year, with authority to issue death tolls pushed out to the field and down to the level of division staffs.
Sounds so military doesn't it? Just whoever feels like releasing figures for the day can do so? So how do think that works? The PR guy looks at the latest polls and calls Charlie Company saying something like, "Hey buddy. We need some good count. Could you go out and kill us a bunch of insurgents before the morning edition?"
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Who will replace Rove?

Dan Froomkin has the usual dish at his White House Briefing today. He sees an atmosphere of gloom and doom shrouding the White House as insiders and critics alike anxiously await the results of Fitzgerald's investigation into Treasongate. He also notes the speculation on who will replace the emminently indictable Rove, should justice fulfill its destiny and for once hold the Smearmaster accountable for his dirty deeds. My money is on Karen Hughes.

Update: Looks like I'm not the only one calling it for Hughes.
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The United Police State of America

It's happening. Not since J. Edgar Hoover was watching over us, has our right to privacy been in so much danger. New records released to the Electronic Frontier Foundation under an FOIA request reveal the FBI has been illegally spying on Americans without proper paperwork or needed oversight. This is the direct result of post 9/11 paranoia that allowed the Patriot Act to set the bar for our civil rights.

How long will it take for Americans to realize that trading your freedom for the illusion of safety is a bad deal? Time to abolish the Patriot Act and call from some accountability from this government.
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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Yankee go home

News you won't get in the US media. According to a "survey conducted by an Iraqi university research team that, for security reasons, was not told the data it compiled would be used by coalition forces."

• Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American troops are justified - rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province;

• 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops;

• less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible
for any improvement in security;

• 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation;

• 43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened;

• 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces.

Doesn't sound like this liberation, democracy, freedom on the march thing is working out so well. But then again, I think this week we're "staying the course", because we can't let the ragtag band of terrorists scare us - the mightest armed forces in the world - away.
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Friday, October 21, 2005

Saddam's lawyer murdered by unknown assailants

I told you this trial would lead to trouble. I didn't expect this though. One of Saddam's defense lawyers was killed today, apparently by "ten gunmen dressed as security forces" who "took him from his office."

No one knows who did it or why. A cynical person might think the party with the most to gain from the chaos and the delay would be the US and might note that a black-ops team is a lot speedier than diplomatic channels, which aren't an option anyway.
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Say cheese Tom...

The Smoking Gun has the best image, but the rest of the press are opening with this very good question.
Why is Tom DeLay smiling? After all, he's been indicted. Forced out of his job as House majority leader. Called in for fingerprinting and a mug shot like a common criminal. And released on $10,000 bail.
Their answer is somewhat dim.
Answer: A photo of DeLay grinning from ear to ear doesn't pack quite the punch in a Democratic attack ad as a typical glum mug shot.
Are they kidding? It's perfect for an ad. The guy has just been arrested and he can't tell the difference between his everyday life and commiting a crime. He's posing for the mug shot like he's just acheived the better businessman's award. He could care less. He does not look like a man in touch with reality. The photo screams, "Hello. I'm Tom DeLay and I've been screwing the taxpayer senseless since I've been in office and you can't stop me. Bwaaahhhh!!"

I'm no PR genius but even I could make that meme work. And this is just the beginning. We're all distracted with Plame but he's also in deep in the Abramhoff mess and that scandal is just gaining some steam. Two smiling mug shots would make a killer ad, if you ask me.

Udpate: DeLay's lawyer lied in open court is a getting away with it in the press.
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Astrotuf editorials

Chris Kromm at Facing South noticed something funny in the newspapers. He found five unsigned editorials, which one would normally assume are written by the editor of the newspaper, and they all just happened to start out with the same paragraph. One that could have been written by the White House.
One of the smartest things President Bush did to reduce recovery costs in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita was to suspend Davis-Bacon Act rules in the hardest hit states. But Congress is frantically trying to overrule the president, which would add billions of dollars to the already staggering recovery costs.
His readers have since unearthed many more examples of exactly or similarly worded editorials. Not only that but the author of the offending document revealed himself in the comments there as well. Chris tells us it's none other than Sean Paige, editorial page editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette and a man with a rich history in right-wing politics, who just wrote an editorial condemning for astroturfing letters. You can get a stomachache from irony that rich. But the truly insidious part is this.
UPDATE V: Just a little context -- the anonymous "house" editorials penned by a GOP operative in Colorado sprung up in newspapers nationally just as Democrats had forced a House vote on a bill to overturn Bush's repeal of Davis-Bacon. 37 Republicans had recently signed a letter saying they wanted Davis-Bacon reinstated.
I would have more to say on this but Pam Spaulding, posting at Pandagon already said it all. She notes that this appears, at least in the case of Freedom Communications, to be a policy by the newspaper where they intend to have one central source produce editorials and pass them off as local content.

Local news is the next frontier in the GOP media management team's war on information. I remember a poll from a while ago that said a significant percentage of voters get their news from local sources. Then I also see Roger Ailes is now going to be taking over the management of 35 local TV stations that reach 40 percent of America's homes.

The newspaper attempt at message control was clumsy but the local TV news will be harder to catch. They're building the Ministry of [un]Truth from the ground up, right around us. I wouldn't be surprised to learn the White House has already formed a shadow cabinet and Ailes is the Chair Apparent.

Update: DeLay's lawyer lied in open court and the major media in not only not challenging it, they're reporting it as fact.
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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Truth in advertising

Via blah3, a high school kid with a future in punditry. You can't be all you can be if you're dead.
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Republicans press on with agenda

They tried to sneak a vote in today but the Republican leadership was thwarted in their plan to force an under the radar vote on deep budget cuts. According to MoveOn, "the amendment would have permanently slashed funding for basic health care, nutrition and education services for the poor. The budget proposal already calls for $35 billion in cuts, but top Republicans want to push it up to $50 billion. Meanwhile, the same budget proposal calls for $70 billion in new tax breaks, largely for the wealthy."

The vote has only been delayed. They're tinkering with it but it will still include steep cuts to social programs for our poorest citizens and other cuts that impact the middle class. They won't be reconsidering the tax breaks for millionaires at all. They fully intend to pass those.

Contact your Congressmen. Tell them the tax breaks need to go before the budget is cut.
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The President's Speechalist

This is a satire, I think. It's well done.

[hat tip to JZS]
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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Plame and the Police State

Leaving speculation on the Fizgerald indictments aside, it's useful to remember just had badly the White House has screwed up the CIA, well prior to the outing of Valerie Plame. The WaPo has an article tracing the problems in the Tenet to Goss transition. It's an odd piece focusing on Goss that fails to offer any analysis on the causes of the dissent in the ranks- it merely offers a sort of ho-hum laundry list of occurences that caused the virtual destruction of a formerly functioning intelligence agency .

It takes them a page and a half to even mention John "Death Squad" Negroponte, and then only in passing so let me give you my layman's view. Long standing Director Tenet had a pretty good agency going, the trouble is they didn't deliver the goods when it came to "fixing" the intelligence around the WMDs and other justifications for invading Iraq. This made the WHIGs and our Misleader in Chief rather unhappy. The agency insisted on delivering real world intelligence instead of kool-ade laced propaganda to facilitate the long planned invasion. Bush wanted to capitalize on 9/11 and they weren't coooperating. The administration and it's lackeys began to complain about the agency's performance.

As the WMD story began to publicly unravel, the Bush loyalists in the GOP reversed direction and blamed the failure on the agents who caved under White House pressure and delivered the "fixed" intel. Ironically Goss was one of them. When Tenet was made the sacrificial goat, and the agency's status was downgraded to an mere underling of Negroponte, Goss stepped in with his WHIG team and forced a showdown. Many of the best and brightest (and one assumes the most honest) senior officers have since left.

What we are left is an agency whose foreign assets have been compromised to the point of ineffectiveness. This is why we haven't been able to stop or even infiltrate Al Qaeda in the last four years. The director no longer even has access to the president directly. All concerns must be vetted through the chief thug Negroponte.

Meanwhile, domestic intel forces have been beefed up under the premise of homeland security to encompass the largest invasion of American privacy since J. Edgar Hoover was "watching" over us. With Negroponte's black-ops artists functioning under the added "protection" of the Patriot Act - that would be protecting them, not us - and the current push to make the military "first responders" to everything from an imaginary pandemic to the next hurricane, and answerable only to the president, our freedom has never been in more danger. Not from terrorists but from our own government.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

October surprise?

An unsubstantiated rumor but delicious nonetheless. From a friend of a friend comes word of 22 indictments in Treasongate. The list of names are most interesting, including the much overlooked Mary Matalin.

I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas.
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Name this book

Buzz Flash is holding a pseudo-contest to name Judy Miller's book having been inspired by this post. The entries are pretty funny. I submitted this.
Why Me? Judy Miller from Flame to Shame

You can play too. Post your entry here. Multiple submissions are allowed.
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The spies who love us

Excellent report from George Friedman at explaining just why outing a CIA agent is so dangerous and why the Plame investigation is important to our national security. Via Silverwings at Kos. A must read.

It's not about the outing, it's about the damage it did to our whole intelligence gathering system.

hat tips to Jules Siegel
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Iraq elections and other frauds

I haven't linked to Dahr Jamail in a while. He writes on the referendum vote and other realities on the ground in Iraq. His sources indicate the vote was a fraud and those 70 "insurgents" the US troops killed the other day were mostly, if not all, civilians. It's a really good post. Read it for yourself.
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The banana game?

When these folks say adults only resort, they really mean consenting adults only. Some elderly British tourists who apparently thought that meant there would be no kids, were not amused. Frankly, I'm no prude, but it even grosses me out.
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Media watch

This should be good. Hope I manage to stay awake late enough to see it. Bill O'Reilly will be on The Daily Show tonight with host Jon Stewart.
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Monday, October 17, 2005

Taking the White House at its word

Here's a novel concept. I don't know if he's being serious or sarcastic but William M. Arkin has a good column in the WaPo today. It takes an interesting tack, calling on a measured withdrawal from Iraq based on taking the neo-cons' rosy assertions as fact. The idea made me kind of queasy but it's a good point and well made. Here's the gist.
I'm not saying abandon Iraq. Set a meaningful timetable. Leave a strike force to pursue al Qaeda. But remove the bases and the traffic and the contractor opportunist class as much as possible.

...I believe our military and government officials when they say things are really going better and that it is up to the Iraqis to make their own future.
By their own criteria, Iraq can now be declared "won" as long as the country manages to elect a government in December. No reason to stick around after that. Let them exercise the sovereignty we "gave" them over a year ago.
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Progressive radio host drummed out of AFR

This is interesting. Armed Forces Radio, the overseas military station runs the right's own Tokoyo Rose, Rush Limbaugh for an hour, a day I assume. They were supposed to start running progressive Ed Schultz today. At 6:00 this morning the producer got a call saying the gig was cancelled.

It appears Pentagon communications aide Allison Barber, (the same aide caught preparing the "spontaneous guests" for their remarks at the "not staged" teleconference last week) didn't like his promo for the opening day.
Schultz’s show Friday began with audio outtakes of Barber sounding foolish as she rehearsed the troops “Q&A session” with Bush.

Via the invaluable Buzz Flash.
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Call me when the killing stops

I hung back from posting on Saturday's constitutional referendum in Iraq because I like to give the Bush bloggers their day to gloat, but I got into a bit of a debate at Don Surber's blog over it. As I said over there, this "landmark" vote really doesn't mean anymore than the last one. Yeah, it was peaceful, because they kept all traffic off the road and they had armed forces at the polling centers and yeah a lot of people voted, truly putting our own population to shame. But what did it change?

I'd say nothing. Five Marines died that day when they hit an IED and unless the Sunnis accept the vote as valid, the violence is likely to only get worse. Already the Iraq "electoral commission said it intended to audit "unusually high" numbers in results coming from most provinces..." due to widespread allegations of fraud. It would appear they have some basis to protest.
An official with knowledge of the election process said that in some areas the proportion of "yes" or "no" votes seemed unusual. The official cautioned that it was too early to say whether the unusual figures were actually incorrect or what caused the high or low numbers.

The province of Diyala, for example, is believed to have a slight Sunni Arab majority. But reports from electoral officials there on Sunday reported a 70 percent "yes" vote and a 20 percent "no."
Meanwhile, US warplanes bombed two western villages Sunday, killing an estimated 70 militants near a site where five American soldiers died in a roadside blast. Eyewitnesses however, report at least 14 to 25 of those "insurgents" were civilians. Sounds like business as usual to me.
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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Who needs the NYT?

Screw the paywall. You can get your Frank Rich here. He connects the dots between WHIG and the White House lies leading to war and the punch line is a killer.
Whether or not Mr. Fitzgerald uncovers an indictable crime, there is once again a victim, but that victim is not Mr. or Mrs. Wilson; it's the nation. It is surely a joke of history that even as the White House sells this weekend's constitutional referendum as yet another "victory" for democracy in Iraq, we still don't know the whole story of how our own democracy was hijacked on the way to war.
Wish I felt like laughing.
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Will Saddam's trial turn the tide?

Saddam's first trial is starting soon. One wonders what effect this will have on the insurgency. Some Iraqis, mostly Sunnis, still support him and even among those who don't, some at least think he was a better leader than they have now. He's said to be reading law books and contends the trial is illegimate since he was deposed by an illegal foreign intervention. In any event, he's expected to attempt to turn the trial into an indictiment of the occupation.

Depending on how the trial is perceived by the people, this could incite even more opposition to our presence there. One has to think, as the spectacle plays out in the press, it can only inspire more foreign insurgents to volunteer for the jihad. How many more years will the Iraqis willingly allow themselves to be the flypaper, to keep terrorists out of our country? Especially when, by all accounts, the reconstruction is not going well and major projects may never happen.
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Scottie on the offensive

It's a classic ploy. When you don't have an answer, attack the messenger, but Scott McLellan has done so much fast stepping around the questions of this administration's deceits, by the time the White House implodes, his next gig is likely be with the Riverdance troupe. He says,
". . . The media's trying to get under our skin and get us off-message. My job is to help the president advance his agenda."
Not an easy job when the message keeps changing. Never has one man used so many words to say nothing.
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Rove on the rails

Well, for all Andy Card's protestations to the contrary, it appears it's not business as usual at the White House. For an administration whose main players have brazenly lied their way through every crisis, Rove's failure to appear at a GOP fundraiser due to "scheduling conflicts" speaks volumes about just how deep the doodoo is in the halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Poor old Karl is probably hunkering down full time with his team of lawyers.
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Judy tells all - not

I already posted on this at Pennywit's yesterday but having slept on it, I'm even more disgusted with the NYT and their star reporter. It's pathetic that the formerly great newspaper would sink so low as to pass this pablum off as full disclosure.

She simultaneously tries to implicate Scooter Libby while covering for him with vague references to additional sources that she won't testify about because she cut a deal for her testimony when she caved on her alleged principles in order to get out of jail free. I'm surprised Fitzgerald let her get away with it. He should have let her rot in jail. She would have caved sooner than later, since the glamour of being a jail bird died when she dropped off the front page. Besides, she can only be covering for someone bigger, probably Bush or more likely Cheney. It shakes my confidence in Pat, if he's going to let the big fish get away.

Meanwhile, the NYT's support of their resident liar is inexcusable. Judy is just as responsible for compromising our national security as any one of the White House insiders that perpetrated this treason. They should have cut her loose and run when it first became apparent she was complicit in the WMD lies. I find it especially galling in light of the harassment Gary Webb endured for telling the truth about government malfeasance. He was crucified by the same people that have been supporting Judy's lies. How far the fourth estate has fallen.

For more reaction, see Scrappleface who, as always, has the funniest take and Editor and Publisher who rightly call for the NYT to fire her lying butt and apologize to their readers. Meanwhile, fire dog lake who's a lot smarter than me, puts together the clues and makes a good case that Judy is cutting a deal in exchange for keeping herself out of the slammer on criminal charges. I didn't notice her last meeting with the independent counsel was attended by her criminal lawyer. Hmmmm....
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The rich are different

Prince Albert of Monaco will be going to the Arctic in 2006, on an expedition to reach the North Pole that will duplicate his great-great-grandfather's attempt in 1906. He'll be flying in a Boeing business jet which will carry the expedition team, equipment and supplies including seven sleds and 40 sled dogs. It appears Boeing will donate use of the plane.
“We are truly excited and honored to play a role in this historic expedition,” said Steven Hill, president of Boeing Business Jets. “The spaciousness of the BBJ and BBJ 2 allow Prince Albert to travel with his entire support team in the same degree of comfort, luxury and style to which he is accustomed.”
Hope it lives up to the dog's high standards as well.
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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Keeping out the vote

This is rather flagrant. While the White House stenos are cheerily pushing the feel good, smiling, purple finger waggers in the Shite regions of Iraq, in the Sunni regions where the vote is expected to go to the No side, there's nowhere to vote.
"There are no voting centers in cities like Haditha, Hit, Rawa, Qaim, Ana, Baghdadi and the villages around them," Mahmoud Salman al-Ani, a human rights activist in Ramadi, said on Friday, listing locations across western Anbar province.

...Hussein al-Hindawi, the head of Iraq's Electoral Commission, which is organizing the vote, said there were 77 polling centers in Ramadi and around 30 in Falluja, and said that if people couldn't find them, they should call the commission.
I don't know how far it is from one city to the other, but with the ban on any private vehicles on election day, it sounds like a hell of a long walk in 100 degree heat to start looking around for imaginary voting booths. It feels like a blatant attempt to suppress the vote to me, and no doubt will feel the same to the already marginalized Sunnis.

What a recipe for revolution. But maybe that's the plan. Then they can just kill everyone and call them all insurgents, instead of pissed off disenfranchised voters.
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When evangelicals go multimedia

Just in time for Halloween, Pam's House Blend finds the latest in Fundie salvation techniques. Sounds like a real soul saver to me.

The method is timely! The message is timeless! Desperate times call for drastic measures! If your church or ministry is determined to take a stand against sin and the kingdom of darkness and to reach people for Jesus like never before, then this outreach is for you! Get prayed up and powered up and be prepared for the ride of your ministry life!
-- Senior Pastor Keenan Roberts of Destiny Church, and author and creator of The Hell House Outreach Kit
For only $299 your house of worship can scare the hell out the local sinners, complete with demon guides and special soundtracks. On-site technical advice is available for an additional fee. Salvation counselors available at the end of the tour.

Go over to Pam's to check out the photos.
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Just the facts, man

Really, I love Don Surber. When he's right he's awesome, but when he's wrong, he's sooo wrong. I left this comment to his skewed post.

As long as we're getting all factual here, I guess you missed this story. Corine Lombardo, bottom left in the "unstaged" teleconference, is a professional PR flack for the military. She seems to have failed to mention this, as well as the fact, "Her job when I was with the 42nd Infantry Division included taking reporters to lunch. She lives in a fortified compound in Tikrit and rarely leaves."

As for your Sgt. Long, he doesn't allow comments or I would have asked him how often he goes out on IED sweeps.

Really Don, a journalist should know better than to trot out privileged class military brass and tout it as balanced. You want me to believe it's not just another photo-op designed to push Bush's failing meme on the war, then run a lottery among the grunts to see who gets to talk to the Prez. Give me a "informal chat" with an ill-equipped Guardsmen who just got back from a morning IED run and watched his buddy get blown up. That I could believe.
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Buzz builds on indictments

Beltway watchers are giddy with anticipation as Fitzgerald's investigation winds to an end. Speculation continues to abound, including among Rove's defense team, who maintain he did nothing wrong but may well be indicted for something anyway. Lying to grand jury perhaps? Or as Bush might put it, disremembering.

And this is cute. Andy Card says it's just business as usual in the White House.
Well, obviously we're all human beings and we know that there are external activities that impact the environment you're working in . . .," Card said in the transcript of an interview with C-SPAN that will air tomorrow. "It is something that is there, but it is something that we don't talk about because it would be inappropriate. . . .
Right. Nobody is talking about this in hushed tones around the water coolers? You believe that, I've got oceanfront property in Nevada that I'd like to sell you.
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Friday, October 14, 2005

Quote of the day

"We cannot accept that there can be free democratic elections in a country under foreign military occupation". --George Bush

He was talking about Lebanon and Syria. [via Harold Pinter]
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Scottie does the Texas twostep on Rove

Think Progress reports a subtle change of White House rhetoric on Rove today. In the summer Scottie was avowing Bush's confidence in his King Rat but today he danced around the question so many times even he must be dizzy from the spin. Check out the transcript excerpts. They're hilarious.
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Sick day

I can't shake this stomach bug today but I made a mighty effort to earn my keep at the Detroit News today so check out Taking cronyism to the next level, find out why so many Americans still believe the myths about Iraq.

Meanwhile if Idon't make it back tonight, I expect I'll feel better tomorrow and posting will resume as usual.
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Light posting for me today. I'm a little under the weather but I did want to pass this along.

This powerful video has been making the rounds. It feels like it runs long but stick through it to the end. The punch line is worth the wait.
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Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Police States of America

What with all the GOP crime and corruption being exposed all over the place in the last couple of months, I almost forgot that our Director of Thought Control, John Negroponte, is still in charge of US Intelligence. He gave Porter Goss a promotion this week.
The Bush administration has approved a plan to name CIA Director Porter Goss as the manager of all U.S. human intelligence-gathering, John D. Negroponte, director of national intelligence, announced Thursday.

Negroponte also announced the formation of a new National Clandestine Services group within the CIA to coordinate and evaluate intelligence.

..."This is another positive step in building an intelligence community that is more unified, coordinated and effective, and is better positioned to meet the increasingly complex intelligence challenges of the future," Negroponte said.
Right. Like full time spying on the entire population of America.
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Dick speaks on leaks

Blood boiler of the day is Richard Cohen's kool-ade inspired op-ed in the WaPo. He starts with this.
The best thing Patrick Fitzgerald could do for his country is get out of Washington, return to Chicago and prosecute some real criminals. As it is, all he has done so far is send Judith Miller of the New York Times to jail and repeatedly haul this or that administration high official before a grand jury, investigating a crime that probably wasn't one in the first place but that now, as is often the case, might have metastasized into some sort of coverup -- but, again, of nothing much. Go home, Pat.
The best thing Richard Cohen could do for his country is get out of Washington, crawl into a cave and stop pretending to be a pundit instead of a steno for the White House. If he considers this tranced out mumbling to be a subtle swipe at Fitzgerald's integrity and the validity of the investigation, he's definitely overdosed on Rove's dope. Go away, Dick.
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Smiling faces - tell lies...

I'm sorry I missed this today. Teleconferences are so much better when they're scripted.
"So long as I'm the president, we're never going to back down, we're never going to give in, we'll never accept anything less than total victory," Bush said.
Let's hope that won't be as "so longer" as he thinks it will be. Visualize impeachment.

And by the way, look at George's hand in this photo. See how the pinky is so extended? What's with this guy and the weird hand signals?
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Breakfast links

How does he do it? While I'm still trying to remember how to make coffee, The Heretik serves up a full course spread featuring a main course of Bush delicacies.

Who are The Three Greatest Americans? Cast your ballot.

Who will save us? Vote here.

Tired of fighting the good fight? Go over to the dark side, where values only require lip service. How to Become a Republican.
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Free at last

Judy Miller testified again yesterday, presumably about the notebook -- slaps herself on side of head -- that she just "remembered."
Miller was told by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald that she is done testifying in the case and free to return to work without a contempt-of-court threat hanging over her head, her lawyers said. Miller refused to comment after spending nearly 75 minutes in front of the grand jury.
Guess now that she's free to talk, she's got some "remembering" to do before she feels free to say anything. Hey give a White House lackey a break - remembering is hard work. The question of the moment is, will she WHIG out?
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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Surber & Miers, LLP

I've already said all I'm going to say about Miers. After Raich and Kelo I decided that trying to figure out what kind of justice a person is going to be is a fool's game. Nobody knows what a lifetime appointment of absolute power will do to a person for the most part, except perhaps in Harriet's case.

It's clear to me the only reason she was nominated was to keep Bush's butt out of the firestorm that the Plame investigation is about to unleash. George doesn't give a shit about anything but absolute loyalty to himself and judging from the cutesy hearts and flowers correspondence they've exchanged, he couldn't find a better suck-up than Harriet. She'll be George's Monica without the messy dress.

I can't deny I'm amused by the catacylsmic reaction among the Bush bloggers though. I'm incredulous at the endless railing among the punditocracy but I like seeing the noise machine falling apart. It's like watching a Warner Brothers cartoon, where the clock explodes and all the springs and gears pop out like fireworks.

I find it fascinating to see how it seems to be splintering between egoists, opportunists, loyalists and the prinicipled believers, but I've tired of wading through the endless rhetoric.

Bless Don Surber for doing the reading so I don't have to. He has the ultimate roundup of quotes and analysis if you're interested in the sociological aspects of this intercine imbroglio.
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Common Sense

This seems to be geared to people who help the homeless, but if they manage to shut down the internet someday this Guide to Starting a Street Paper could be useful information for all of us.

[hat tip to George Lessard]
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Bono to Rick - With or without you

Well I'm sure glad to hear this. When I read Radley's post saying U2 was holding a benefit for Rick Santorum, I almost dropped my laptop. However, as Joe Trippi points out, Radley was a victim of misinformation. Unsurprisingly, not unlike the Creationists who deceitfully claimed the Smithsonian was sponsoring a propaganda benefit for them, when in truth they had only rented the hall, Newmax and Santorum lied about this upcoming benefit.
STATEMENT BY JAMIE DRUMMOND, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF DATA (debt AIDS trade Africa), THE AFRICA ADVOCACY GROUP CO-FOUNDED BY BONO: “Throughout the U2 tour, politicians from both sides have been organizing fundraisers at the venues or around specific shows. Neither DATA or Bono are involved in these and they cannot be controlled. The U2 concerts are categorically not fundraisers for any politician - they are rock concerts for U2 fans.”

Trippi says, "As I have learned, it is a private luxary box at the arena and not an exclusive concert in the entire Wachovia Center in Philadelphia."
This is not unlike the Ahnuld selling tickets to his ill-gotten luxury box for the Boston Rolling Stones concert, for which incidentally, according to the comments at Joe's post, he only managed to sell one ticket. Santorum is tanking so badly at the polls that he may be lucky to sell that many. Could it be that the GOP is falling out of fashion?

We live in hope.
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Bad blogiquette

I've been blogging at the DetNews for about a year and a half now. I've mostly avoided talking about my co-bloggers but this is really bugging me. If this was the first time it happened, I would chalk it up to coincidence, but it's happened several times and this time it's just too obvious that my fellow leftie on the board is stealing my posts without credit. I mean read this and then look at what I posted yesterday and tell me I'm wrong.

I don't mind the stealing. If I ever get around to tweaking the template here, I'll add a creative commons license and I'm happy to have the links posted in Detroit as well. Since I try not to cross post much, I'm often torn over which blog to use to push a certain meme and I'm glad to get the links to those readers. But not to credit me as a source after I did the reading to find the links, really stinks. You would think a college professor who teaches journalism would know better. It's especially galling since she asked me to push her video post a while back since she "lost her special place of attention" at the top of the page for her video blogs after she couldn't deliver the content she promised in order to get it. Of course I helped her out. I don't think she's credited me even once.

Bad blogging etiquette. I hate that. A simple [via] would have sufficed. You know what I mean?
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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

This could get interesting...

Fresh off HuffPo:
The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are working on stories that point to Vice President Dick Cheney as the target of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name.

I can hardly wait. I wonder if it has something to do with this.
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Quote of the day

I'm so glad Dan Froomkin is back from vacation. I would have missed this from Bush's last speech. He actually had the nerve to call bin Laden a chickenhawk.
Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, quote, "what is good for them and what is not." And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that his -- that this is the road to paradise -- though he never offers to go along for the ride.
That's so rich coming from a spoiled, incompetent, lying, Ivy League failure like Bush who had to sneak in under the cover of night on his only trip to Iraq, so he could deliver a rubber turkey for the cameras.

My second favorite quote comes from an interview Dan posts from Bush's photo op in Lousiana where he was grilled by Matt Lauer. Our Chief Thief apparently wasn't too pleased with the line of questioning.
"You're quoting a lot of Democrats today, Matt, that's interesting."
The video is worth watching if only to see Laura glaring at Matt. And check out both their eyes. Maybe it was my computer, but I thought the First Couple looked just a little drugged.
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See Dick run

AttyTood floats a fascinating theory that could explain a lot about the current meltdown at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Could it be that Dick and George don't like each other anymore?

Great post filled with rumor, speculation and innuendo. It makes sense to me. Just go read it and decide for yourself.
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What does it all mean? Talk Left tells us Cheney didn't show up for a speaking engagement for the 50th anniversary of the conservative National Review magazine. Now his spokesman has left the country for three weeks.

Curiouser and curiouser.
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Iraqi voters won't be fooled again

Well in keeping with the precedent set with the US assisted elections back in January, where voters were expected to cast ballots for numbers without knowing the identities of their candidates, we are now days away from the referendum on the newly hatched constitution, where Iraqis are being asked to vote on the document without ever having seen a copy of it.

In the understatement of the week, Condi Rice says, "The good news is that you're getting very heavy debate and interest in this entire process," ...noting that Sunnis are registering to vote in large numbers, including some who disagree with the constitution.

Interest may be too strong a word, as the WaPo reports,
"Excitement over the charter seems low, and officials' ongoing deal-making -- long after the Aug. 15 deadline for a draft and weeks after the transitional parliament approved a supposedly final version for a national vote -- has fostered a perception among many that the constitution will mean whatever politicians want it to mean."
Quick learners those Iraqis. I think they figured out that this is what Bush's version of democracy looks like. One expects those purple fingers won't be wagging so wildly this time.
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US police state creeps closer

I'm often accused of being an alarmist or a conspiracy theorist when I point out the myriad ways the Bush administration is dragging our democracy into fascism. But I'm not the only one who sees it. From Dr. Paul Craig Roberts' excellent essay at Information Clearing House:
President Bush claims the power to set aside habeas corpus and to dispense with warrants for arrest and with procedures that guarantee court appearance and trial without undue delay. Today in the US, the executive branch claims the power to arrest a citizen on its own initiative and hold the citizen indefinitely. Thus, Americans are no longer protected from arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention.

...Americans may be unaware of what it means to be stripped of the protection of habeas corpus, or they may think police authorities would never make a mistake or ever use their unbridled power against the innocent. Americans might think that the police state will only use its powers against terrorists or "enemy combatants."

But "terrorist" is an elastic and legally undefined category. When the President of the United States declares: "You are with us or against us," the police may perceive a terrorist in a dissenter from the government’s policies. Political opponents may be regarded as "against us" and thereby fall in the suspect category. Or a police officer may simply have his eye on another man’s attractive wife or wish to settle some old score. An enemy combatant might simply be an American who happens to be in a foreign country when the US invades. In times before our own when people were properly educated, they understood the injustices that caused the English Parliament to pass the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679 prohibiting the arbitrary powers that are now being claimed for the executive branch in the US.

...When the protective features of the law are removed, law becomes a weapon. Habeas corpus, due process, the attorney-client privilege, no crime without intent, and prohibitions against torture and ex post facto laws are the protective features that shield the accused. These protective features are being removed by zealotry in the "war against terrorism."

The damage terrorists can inflict pales in comparison to the loss of the civil liberties that protect us from the arbitrary power of law used as a weapon. The loss of law as Blackstone’s shield of the innocent would be catastrophic. It would mean the end of America as a land of liberty.
Read it all for yourself. As I've said many times, facism does not arrive overnight. It creeps in by degrees and if we wait until it's firmly embedded to acknowledge it - it will be too late.
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The Way the World Works

It's eerie how Gary Webb keeps coming up in conversations this week. Thanks to JackL for providing a link to his recommended reading list at Posted in 2002, it's still just as relevant today.
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Monday, October 10, 2005

Karl and Scottie up a tree

Think Progress tells us Rove's lawyer lied today, no surprise there but read the post and be sure to click the links. Today's press gaggle was priceless. Like this:
QUESTION: Yes, but I'm just wondering if there was a conversation between Karl Rove and the President, or if he just talked to you, and you're here at this --
McCLELLAN: He wasn't involved. The President knows he wasn't involved.

QUESTION: How does he know that?
McCLELLAN: The President knows.

QUESTION: What, is he clairvoyant? How does he know?
QUESTION: You spoke specifically -- you spoke to Rove specifically about this matter, correct?
McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

QUESTION: You spoke to Rove specifically about this matter? You asked him whether or not he was the leaker, or --
McCLELLAN: I don't know what the relevance of getting into every private conversation, John -- is, John. I've made it very clear that it's simply not true.

QUESTION: Based on what?
QUESTION: Based on what?
QUESTION: What are you basing -- what are you --
McCLELLAN: Someone asked me if I had spoken with him, and I said, yes.

QUESTION: And you spoke with him about this issue?
QUESTION: Did you ask him, directly?
McCLELLAN: I have spoken with him, yes.
Poor Scottie. In the end he was forced to make a direct statement about Rove's guilt that one hopes will come back to haunt him.
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Rhandi Rhodes Rules

Air America's Rhandi goes up against some churchie right wing Stepford radio host. There's nothing to say about this but watch the video.

Via Crooks and Liars and thanks to the indispensable BuzzFlash.
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GOP in trouble?

I'm superstitious so I don't like to make predictions for fear of jinxing them but this gives me some hope we can break the GOP stranglehold on the government in 06. It appears that Republicans only want to run if they're pretty sure they can win. According to the WaPo today, candidates are getting hard to come by for 06 and my useless Senator, Liz Dole, is not having a lot of success in recruiting viable contenders.

Some of the party faithful shrug off the current GOP malaise as a passing trend and it's true that a lot can happen in a year. However considering the White House's crash course for disaster doesn't appear to veering off into common sense or fiscal responsibility, one might think the electorate will be no less surly after paying their heating bills this winter and watching the death toll mount as Iraq sinks further into a civil war once the sham constitutional elections are over, just to name to top two obstacles.

Whether the Dems can capitalize on this and gain an stronger foothold remains to be seen, but if they don't snap to it and start offering an opposition platform, I'd be willing to bet that third party candidates will enjoy unprecendented showings at the polls.

If you don't believe me, check out this straw poll in the Alabama governor's race. Libertarian candidate Loretta Nall is leading the pack, showing double the support for Roy Moore.
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Surveillance society

I'm working today so light posting until later. Here's something I've been meaning to post though, Why I don't have a cell phone. It's also why I don't want a GPS system in my car.

The government's surveillance powers under the Patriot Act are bad enough without giving them voluntary technological help and with Padilla effectively having destroyed due process, I don't think it's advisable for a political dissenter to be too trackable. They spy on Quakers you know.
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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Protect democracy - verify the vote

This is single most important post I've read today. There is ample evidence accumulating that the Diebold electronic voting machines are easily hacked and strong circumstanial evidence that they were tampered with in the 04 elections. Even if you don't believe this to be true, there is no legitimate reason to oppose a paper trail in order to ensure public confidence in a fair vote.
Thus, The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (H.R. 550), a bill introduced by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), should be taken up by the House and passed into law this year.

The Velvet Revolution has an easy click and send letter you can use to voice your concerns to your Congressman. I urge you to participate. The letter also provides a space to leave a personal message. This is what I said. Feel free to use it.

The foundation of our democracy rests on the public's confidence in the electoral system. Without a verifiable paper trail, there can no certainty that the count is true and valid. If we are to solve the current polarity of our elecorate and begin to address the serious problems that face us in the future, we must have a transparent election process. I urge you to support this bill.
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Profiles in courage

You remember this interview done by Irish correspondent Carole Coleman a couple of years ago. She was the first journalist to confront Bush on her own terms after he started the war in Iraq. The Times OnLine now posts the back story on the preparations for and the aftermath of that event.

It's a fascinating look at how the White House manages the message. Here's a couple of excerpts:

“Thanks for comin’, Mr President” I said, sticking out my hand. I had borrowed this greeting directly from him. When Bush made a speech at a rally or town hall, he always began by saying “Thanks for comin’” in his man-of-the-people manner. If he detected the humour in my greeting, he didn’t let on. He took my hand with a firm grip and, bringing his face right up close to mine, stared me straight in the eyes for several seconds, as though drinking in every detail of my face. He sat down and an aide attached a microphone to his jacket.

Nobody said a word. “We don’t address the president unless he speaks first,” a member of the film crew had told me earlier. The resulting silence seemed odd and discomforting, so I broke it. “How has your day been, Mr President?” Without looking up at me, he continued to straighten his tie and replied in a strong Texan drawl, “Very busy.”

...“You were given an opportunity to interview the leader of the free world and you blew it,” she began.

I was beginning to feel as if I might be dreaming. I had naively believed the American president was referred to as the “leader of the free world” only in an unofficial tongue-in-cheek sort of way by outsiders, and not among his closest staff.

“You were more vicious than any of the White House press corps or even some of them up on Capitol Hill . . .The president leads the interview,” she said.

...As the conversation progressed, I learnt that I might find it difficult to secure further co-operation from the White House. A man’s voice then came on the line. Colby, I assumed. “And, it goes without saying, you can forget about the interview with Laura Bush.”
Has the US media followed Coleman's lead, the world might be a much better place today. Read the whole thing for yourself.
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What the notebook said

The hottest twist in the ongoing mystery of Traitorgate is the revelation of Judy Miller's June 25th notebook, covering discussions with Scooter Libby held two weeks before Wilson's op-ed appeared. Editor and Publisher has the list of tantalizing questions this development raises. Only Fitzgerald has the answers.

I can hardly wait to hear them.
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"Moderates" are not the answer

I would have responded to Kevin Drum's posts on what's wrong with the Dems and why they need to get centrist but Avedon Carol already dispatched his posts with the ultimate reply so I'll just quote her instead.
I'm sick and tired of being told the base is too far left. What does the base believe in? Universal health care, universal education, safe and fair employment, a healthy economy that provides good jobs, regulation to prevent corporations from defrauding us, care for our environment.

The exact same things that more than two-thirds of Americans believe in.

There's nothing wild or extreme about that - it's absolutely ordinary, moderate, apolitical American stuff.

...Maybe people are voting for Republicans because the Republicans claim to support these wild, left-wing beliefs, and the Democrats don't.

...So, as far as the public is concerned, Democrats promise healthcare and don't deliver. This is currently a vital issue for most Americans, and they think the Democrats just pissed it away over gay rights. That's the kind of thing that could really make people lose faith in a party.

If the Democrats want to win, they need to find a way to beat that perception. Maybe the first thing is to start asking why the Republicans are more focused on gay rights than on issues vital to the security of Americans, instead of pretending it's "liberals" who are doing that.
She points out Dems should be shoving this tripe back into the GOP's faces. She's right.

Furthermore, as Avedon states, I also really like Kevin but I don't think it helps the Dems to buy into this "conventional wisdom" on centrism. For one thing, although people self-identify as centrists, I don't think they really exist, at least not in the numbers they're credited with and it avoids the problem of not rebuilding the party on a platform that emphasizes distinct differences in policy rather than blurred similarities.

"We agree but we can do it better," is not a platform; it's a smokescreen and the voters see right through it. As to how the Dems can't afford to reach out to the leftists because it will alienate the moderates - how ridiculous. They lost the last two major elections with that strategy. The only thing they have left to lose, is another failure at the polls.
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Will Rove take the rap for ratting out Plame?

Nothing really new in this latest piece in Newsweek on Rove's impending downfall in the investigation of the Plame leak except for this remark by his lawyer.
Robert Luskin, Rove's lawyer, tells NEWSWEEK that, in his last conversations with Fitzgerald, the prosecutor assured Luskin "he has not made any decisions."
Rather sharp contrast to his earlier remarks that Rove was not a target because he didn't get a letter. The unraveling web of lies around the coverup of Plame's outing seems to be winding right around Rove's throat. Not that I expect he'll ever go to jail for his treasonous acts but there would at least be some justice in seeing the Smearmeister publicly discredited.
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