7.09.2005

Terrible Story: Voting Rights Activist Called Scammer Apparently Really Is Gravely Ill

Buzzflash highlights this story from the Seattle Weekly about Andy Stephenson, someone who was working with Bev Harris and for whom the Democratic Underground raised money for surgery only to have the Freepers and other right wingers claim he's a scam artist.

Is Faux's Star in a Decaying Orbit?

From Washingtonian:

...it seems the mighty ship that has been Fox News Channel might be springing a few leaks—and viewers. FNC’s heavy hitters—O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Shepard Smith—all dropped in the coveted 25-to-54 age demographic, according to ratings figures for June and the second quarter of 2005.

The O’Reilly Factor took a dive between last year’s second quarter and the same quarter this year; the host lost about a quarter of his viewers in the age range that advertisers crave. Last year he had 640,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 demographic; the number dropped to 468,000 this April, May, and June. Comparing June 2004 to June 2005, he dropped from 645,000 to 511,000.

Sean Hannity in the 9 pm time slot also lost among these viewers. He dropped 20 percent of his 25-to-54 audience in June and 24 percent through the quarter when compared with 2004.

But the biggest loser was Shepard Smith at 7 pm. Comparing the two Junes, Smith’s 25-to-54 viewers went from 514,000 to 348,000. His second-quarter numbers were not so dire, a drop of 29 percent.

Fox News pushes a different set of numbers to media writers, and for good reason. The “P2+” ratings count overall viewers rather than carving them up by age. Overall, Fox’s numbers are strong—far above CNN’s.

But for advertisers, who will pay a premium to get their products before the eyes of baby-boom and younger viewers, Fox’s grip on this crowd is loosening.

The Iraqi Torture Camps That Have Started on Our Watch

Story here.

And it's gruesome.

What happened to him in his 24 hours in captivity was written across his body in chapters of pain, recorded by the camera. There are police-issue handcuffs still attached to one wrist, from which he was hanged long enough to cause his hands and wrists to swell. There are burn marks on his chest, as if someone has placed something very hot near his right nipple and moved it around.

A little lower are a series of horizontal welts, wrapping around his body and breaking the skin as they turn around his chest, as if he had been beaten with something flexible, perhaps a cable. There are other injuries: a broken nose and smaller wounds that look like cigarette burns.

An arm appears to have been broken and one of the higher vertebrae is pushed inwards. There is a cluster of small, neat circular wounds on both sides of his left knee. At some stage an-Ni'ami seems to have been efficiently knee-capped. It was not done with a gun - the exit wounds are identical in size to the entry wounds, which would not happen with a bullet. Instead it appears to have been done with something like a drill.

What actually killed him however were the bullets fired into his chest at close range, probably by someone standing over him as he lay on the ground. The last two hit him in the head.

The gruesome detail is important. Hanging by the arms in cuffs, scorching of the body with something like an iron and knee-capping are claimed to be increasingly prevalent in the new Iraq. Now evidence is emerging that appears to substantiate those claims. Not only Iraqis make the allegations. International officials describe the methods in disgusted but hushed tones, laying them at the door of the increasingly unaccountable forces attached to Iraq's Ministry of the Interior.

The only question that remains is the level of the co-ordination of the abuse: whether Iraq is stumbling towards a policy of institutionalised torture or whether these are incidents carried out by rogue elements.

MegaCorp America Wants a Supreme Court Justice All Their Own

From the WaPo:

Setting up a potential clash with religious conservatives, the national business lobby for the first time is marshaling its forces to persuade the White House to pick an industry-friendly Supreme Court nominee.

Usually, corporations duck Supreme Court fights. This time, with vital interests at stake, business advocates are raising millions of dollars, plotting major lobbying campaigns, and quietly working to influence the president as he ponders a replacement for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

For 2 1/2 years, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest business association, has privately funneled to the White House staff in-depth analyses of decisions rendered by federal appeals court judges -- the most likely pool of high court candidates. The reports, which the chamber declined to make public, grade jurists on their pro-business leanings, and none received a rating of more than 70 out of 100.

The chamber and other industry groups have also told the White House that they plan to bankroll large-scale efforts to promote the president's choice, which they see as another incentive for President Bush to take into account corporate concerns such as taxation and product liability when he makes his selection.

The aggressiveness marks a sea change in the way corporate America approaches judicial appointments. Ever-cautious companies have traditionally left the divisive, high-pressure politicking to outspoken social conservatives.

Now, business leaders are working behind the scenes to influence the process, an action that threatens to break apart the long-standing Bush coalition of corporate and social conservatives.
Gee, reasonable moderates would like one, too, and we certainly pay more taxes statistically speaking than corporate America yet we don't count.

Right Wing Extremists Enraged Over Spielberg's Questioning of Revenge as an End to Terror

From The Observer:

The film will begin with the terrorist attacks. Though German police persuaded the Palestinian terrorists out of the Olympic village, a shoot-out at an airport resulted in the death of all 11 athletes, one policeman and five of the eight terrorists. The main plot of the film then follows the vengeful Mossad teams as they track down members of Black September and eliminate them, one by one. But as the assassinations continue, some of the characters develop doubts about their mission and the moral quagmire of revenge in which they have become trapped...

But the film will place Spielberg firmly back on the rocky ground he tackled with Schindler's List. It will also thrust him into the political spotlight as the film will be seen to deal with the moral issues of how a country responds to a terrorist attack. There will be obvious parallels with current US policy towards al-Qaeda terrorists and especially the use of assassinations and torture in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.

Spielberg himself hinted at the inevitable rows that will dog the film from now until it is released at the end of the year, just in time for Oscar season. 'By experiencing how the implacable resolve of these men to succeed in their mission slowly gave way to troubling doubts about what they were doing, I think we can learn something important about the tragic stand-off we find ourselves in today,' Spielberg said.

Such comments have already outraged some conservative columnists in America, who see Hollywood as a bastion of liberalism. Debbie Schlussel, a right-wing pundit, has blasted Spielberg for being too soft on terrorism and dubbed the project a 'Stockholm Syndrome' movie. 'We don't need more psychobabble about understanding the terrorists and why they hate us. Who cares why they hate us?' she said.

Taliban Says It's Executed Missing Navy Commando

They have not offered any proof of it yet, however.

So of a very elite team sent in to rescue survivors (there were none) of a downed helicopter in Afghanistan, this "best of the best" squad lost 75% of its members to the Taliban, who has done similar things in the past.

What do you think that says about the state of affairs in Afghanistan, which we were told was nice and calm and a successful democracy now?

We're Not in Watergate Anymore, (Toto)

From Frank Rich, comparing Watergate to the Bush era and the Judith Miller jailing:

But the most important difference between the Bush and Nixon eras has less to do with the press than with the grave origins of the particular case that has sent Judy Miller to jail. This scandal didn't begin, as Watergate did, simply with dirty tricks and spying on the political opposition. It began with the sending of American men and women to war in Iraq.

Specifically, it began with the former ambassador Joseph Wilson's July 6, 2003, account on the Times Op-Ed page (and in concurrent broadcast appearances) of his 2002 C.I.A. mission to Africa to determine whether Saddam Hussein had struck a deal in Niger for uranium that might be used in nuclear weapons. Mr. Wilson concluded that there was no such deal, as my colleague Nicholas Kristof reported, without divulging Mr. Wilson's name, that spring. But the envoy's dramatic Op-Ed piece got everyone's attention: a government insider with firsthand knowledge had stepped out of the shadows of anonymity to expose the administration's game authoritatively on the record. He had made palpable what Bush critics increasingly suspected, writing that "some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."

Up until that point, the White House had consistently stuck by the 16 incendiary words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." The administration had ignored all reports, not just Mr. Wilson's, that this information might well be bogus. But it still didn't retract Mr. Bush's fiction some five weeks after the State of the Union, when Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, announced that the uranium claim was based on fake documents. Instead, we marched on to war in Iraq days later. It was not until Mr. Wilson's public recounting of his African mission more than five months after the State of the Union that George Tenet at long last released a hasty statement (on a Friday evening, just after the Wilson Op-Ed piece) conceding that "these 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president."


North American Water Temperatures Hit Record High

Ouch. Glad global warming is a theory.

7.08.2005

Getting Boinked on Bork

No doubt, you've notice how the history of Robert Bork's famed failure to climb to the nation's tallent law bench has been completely rewritten in the media with zero challenges pointing out the untruths presented.

From Digby:

The Carpetbagger Report asks Since when did Bork become a martyr? --- and links to Jonathan Chait's column in the LA Times that explains why Bork actually was a completely unacceptable wingnut. Nowadays, of course, he's seen as the Joan of Arc if the right wing freakshow, but the truth is that he makes even Scalia look halfway reasonable. I recall him saying on Larry King one night during the Clinton panty raid that the president could be impeached for committing a depraved act --- oral sex. He's nutty as a fruitcake.

When I was researching something else recently I came across this little known fact (at least to me) and I wonder if anyone out ther can verify it. Maybe it's common knowledge and I missed it --- wouldn't be the first time.

According to Wikipedia:
    In the years after the Saturday Night Massacre, a well-known joke said that "borking" was "firing a man for doing exactly what he was hired to do" (i.e. Judge Bork had "borked" Archibald Cox, whose job had been to investigate criminal activities in the Nixon White House). After Bork's confirmation hearings, however, a new meaning was given to Bork's name: to be borked is to have one's presidential appointment defeated by the U.S. Senate.

Heard This One

I read somewhere this week - damned if I can recall where - that said something like this:

    the CIA, convinced that the Bush Administration is trying to destroy the American system, are fighting a battle to get the Bushies forced out of office.
Has anyone heard anything like ths, or remember where you came across it?

Iraq Legislators to US: When Will You Leave?

Juan Cole brings us news of the latest request, this by no less than 103 Britist Parliamentarians, asking for the US to determine an exit strategy and then get the hell out.

Remember when Bush and Bremer told us that if the people there ever asked us to leave, we would?

Well, apparently we didn't mean that anymore than the promise not to sell off Iraq assets like the oil fields we just sold.

For Those Who Wish to Send Their Own Dear Judy Letter

Cookie Jill at Skippy posts it as:

    attn: judith miller
    inmate number 45570083
    alexandria detention center
    2001 mill Road, alexandria, virginia 22314
And don't forget to visit Skippy as much as you can over the next few days to help him meet his "one millionth visit to the pouch" milestone!

Well, They Did Suggest We Write to Judith Miller....

So, armed her address and inmate # at the Alexandria Detention Center, I wrote a letter to her:

Dear Ms. Miller,

Just thought I'd drop you a few lines with some suggestions for what you can do with all your free time for the possibly four months you'll be a guest of the federal taxpayers (as a multimillionaire yourself, of course, you'll pay only a tiny fraction of what the rest of us do thanks to the endless Bush taxcuts for the rich).

Here are my first dozen ideas, but don't worry, I'll write again.

1) Read the Bible and at least pretend to convert to Christianity. This worked very well for Nixon/Watergate creepoid Chuck Colson and almost got Manson's Susie Atkins paroled a couple of times (and man, is she quite the squirrel nut zipper).

2) Check your prison cell and your unit's day room every day for WMD. You just never know where that wiley Saddam may have hidden it.

3) Get some catalogs and order a few pretty things to accessorize your lovely orange prison jumpsuit.

4) Think up witty tattoos to have affixed to you for all time by your cellmate. Maybe something like "I [heart] Karl Rove".

5)Drop Ahmed Chalabi, Perle, and Wolfowitz a note asking, "Could you possibly have been wrong?"

6) Dream up ways you can - once you return to work - try to sell the public that all that missing WMD from Iraq somehow got secreted and moved to Iran and Syria so you can help justify George and Dick's next excellent adventure.

7) Spend some time reading all the documents related to the Downing Street Memo.

8) Lure Bob Novak to the jail to visit you then knock the old coot out, take his clothes and dress him in your orange jumpsuit and a ratty wig while you make your getaway using Bob's walker.

9) Call John Bolton and thank him for that Plame tip then reminisce about all the fun times you two kids had in charm school together.

10) Tell the warden conditions at the prison are deplorable and you'd like to be transferred, then add that you've heard Gitmo is very nice and detainees there get TWO kinds of canned fruit each day.

11) Drop a note to Armstrong Williams asking how it was he got paid so much by the Bushies yet never did jailtime.

12)Send a secret message to Karl Rove reminding him, "You said nobody would ever find out that I was lying for you guys! You wouldn't lie to me, would you?

GOP Shouts, Point Fingers While Dems Cower

David Sirota pegs what I think most of us predicted would happen within moments of learning about the situation in London yesterday:

You knew it was coming, didn't you? That's right - within 24 hours, the right-wing spin machine is up and working to transform the tragic London bombing into a way to attack progressives as weak on terrorism. Sadly, it is a tactic that continues to emasculate many Democrats, who still can't seem to find the guts to stand up to this nonsense.

Exhibit A is this morning's Wall Street Journal opinion page - the place that essentially re-prints talking points from the Republican National Committee. There James Taranto says that "certain people don't remember" that "an attack on a much worse scale happened in the U.S. less than four years ago." Really, James? Who are those people? Are you speaking of people who have become senile in that time?

No, Taranto says it is people like Vermont's Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders (I) who passed bipartisan legislation reforming the Patriot Act. Taranto, of course, has no proof that the provisions being reformed under Sanders' bipartisan legislation would have had any preventive value in the recent attacks, or in future attacks. Nor does he even make the case that the specific reforms would weaken national security. But to a hack like Taranto, proof or facts are not important - what's important is once again impugning the patriotism and "strength" of progressives.

This has been much the same tactic used over the last few years - and we see just how effective that tactic has been in emasculating Democrats. Even before the attacks and the subsequent fear-mongering, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D) published a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal this week claiming he is outraged about the right-wing's hyperbolic attacks on Democrats in this vein. Yet, he then goes on to actually BRAG that Democrats helped "provided more than $340 billion to fund the war" - as if the party should be proud to have helped waste that money on sending our troops to die fighting a war based on lies.

Emanuel goes on to say that "it is long past time for a candid discussion on Iraq." In that he is right. Yet, the fact that he is simultaneously bragging about his complicity in the war, means he is not willing to have a candid discussion about the subject himself. In fact, the headline of his letter includes the statement "We Support the Iraq War" - proof positive that many top Democrats are still so spineless and so frightened of the right-wing machine that they can't even stand up against this atrocity with public opinion polls at their backs, and with the Bush administration's own CIA director essentially admitting that the war has made America less safe.
There's more. You (now) know where to go to find it.

Selling Off Iraqi Oil Fields

We said we would not do this, even as Paul Wolfowitz and Perle rubbed their hands together in glee at the prospect. Yet we're doing it.

Baghdad, 8 July (AKI) - Eleven oil fields in southern Iraq, capable of boosting the country's production to three million barrels a day will soon be tendered to international investors, the Iraqi oil ministry announced Friday. "The ministry needs legislation which will allow it to fix international work criteria with companies that are involved in petroleum investments," said the ministry's spokesman, Asim Jihad.

From America's Favorite and Greediest Opiate Addict, Rush Limbaugh

Media Matters points to Rush's broadcast yesterday, in which he blamed the attacks on "Gitmo critics" and Democrats, and said it wasn't any big deal attack either:

    LIMBAUGH: That's, ah, the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. Very powerful, excellent. And it was such a great contrast to what we're seeing in our own media this morning with the hand-wringing I was speaking about and the "Oh, woe is us" and "Oh, what did we do to cause this?" and "Oh, does this mean we're going to get hit?" and "Oh ..." It's like I said -- 40 people dead, 150 seriously wounded, 1,000 wounded, out of over 1 million people in that transit tube. It's not a successful terrorist attack, folks. They didn't succeed in doing anything, and that's just what you just heard the mayor say: "You don't scare us. You didn't accomplish diddly-squat. We've been through this before, much worse than this. And look at us -- we're in the 20th century, you're still back in the 14th century. Blah, blah, blah."

What We Can Do/Stopping Terrorism

Karlo at SwerveLeft has several good posts on the above topics plus a map of where yesterday's explosions in London occurred lately. Go read.

So Why Would Israeli Officials Be Told to Keep Hush After London Bombing

From posts here, with thanks to What Really Happened for the link.

Speaking of Trying to Do the Right Thing

While some people shed a tear for poor, poor Judith Miller, about to spend her weekend in the hoosegow (and yes, that's how you spell that strange word; I checked), let me say a paper named the Toledo Blade has actually been doing some good journalism in its many articles about Ohio's coingate and the strangeness of the Ohio part of the 2004 election.

Today, they bring us this on Iraq:

George W. Bush, the man who set up the whole scenario with unsubstantiated claims of weapons of mass destruction, with sensational but phony arguments of the smoking gun being a "mushroom cloud," with tragically premature "mission accomplished" propaganda and inane "bring it on" bravado, wants Americans to trust him again.

He says freedom is on the march, but we can't hear any footsteps.

Most of us wish we could take the President and the Pentagon and Donald Rumsfeld at their word, but their stubborn aversion to straight talk and the plain truth makes that impossible. More than pep talks or scripted appearances and orchestrated rallies to support the troops - even as VA benefits are being cut - Americans want the truth.

No more excuses. No more using the unrelated terrorist attacks of 9/11 or terrorism in general as a crutch to explain Iraq. No more pap about taking the fight to the terrorists so we won't have to fight them at home. No more canned speeches about spreading liberty and justice for all when Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo beg to differ.


Why We Can't Stop the Battle

A friend who regularly reads here although he doesn't post IMed me this morning. He was disappointed, he said, because he found I continued posting on the debacle in Iraq and Afghanistan, the outing of CIA operative of Valerie Plame (and don't listen to the GOP talking point lies that she was not; her outing endangered many in the field beyond her) and Karl Rove's involvement, and many of the other issues I often write about.

As I tried to explain yesterday, although not in any detail, I awoke to news of the British blasts and, having a couple of friends in downtown London, I spent the first part of the day quite upset.

A part of me said to cool it - to only address London and none of the rest.

But a louder part of me says that yesterday happened, at least in part, because of the disastrous trajectory this administration has set us upon, one we have seen fail again and again since they embarked on it on 9/12/01, the day after our own attacks.

We don't have the luxury of days off, as Mr. Bush takes so freely, because people are still fighting and dying in Afghanistan, and Iraq, and many other places where the so-called War on Terror is being waged and lost. Nor can we let another fixed election take place, either in 2006 or 2008. Nor can we stand by and grieve for London without also working to stop some of the worst behaviors of this group.

Sorry, but I think that if we had already impeached our King George, perhaps there would not have been a string of blasts in London. So I will post on a day like yesterday just as I post when I'm on 12 deadlines and when I'm depressed.

Iraq

Xavier at Pibbshow points us to this from Mark Fiore on Iraq.

From Trailing Edge Blog

Daily Read at Trailing Edge - just back from another of his glorious trips (based on the picture) brings us a couple of important and thoughtful subjects:

1) Abolish election fraud, and
2) Domestic violence

Faux: Flying the Colors of Red-White-and-Greed

Mimus Pauly at Skippy tells us of yet more deplorable behavior at Faux News yesterday where, as you may recall, they had a discussion of how the London terror attacks could be used to "America's advantage."

According to Mimus, Shepherd Smith and Brit Hume also engaged in a lively debate about how Americans can and perhaps should take advantage of rock bottom "futures" prices because of the attacks.

But any of us questioning our belooped leader's behavior is, of course, a whore.

Say hello to

ImpeachCentral.

The Taliban That Doesn't Exist Anymore Since We Killed Them is Threatening to Kill Captured US Navy Seal/Commando

Military says it's praying the American really isn't in harm's way. I'm sure that will be very comforting.

Novak: Rehnquist Will Resign This Week

That's what dear douchebag says. And there is just one day left to this week (and no longer a complete day anymore, either).

7.07.2005

If We're Fighting Them in Iraq So We Don't Have to Fight Them In Our Streets, Then Why Did London Blasts Occur?

Keith Olbermann asked that on Thursday's show, and it's a really good question.

To me, it's either dumb luck or a lack of motivation on the terrorists' part that they have not struck here since 9/11/01. I do not believe it's because our security works so well. So the situation in London tells us that Mr. Bush has lied yet again; our actions there do nothing to make us safer here (the US or England).

Iraqi Police Open Fire on 1,000 Protesters

Well, Mr. Bush must be thrilled! He'd love to do that here.

Police opened fire on 1,000 demonstrators today at the seat of the provincial government in Saddam Hussein’s hometown who were protesting the killing of the local council’s head official, authorities said. At least four were wounded.

The protesters demanded the resignation of the deputy governor and police chief because they believe their clan was responsible for yesterday’s killing of Ali Ghalib Ibrahim, who belongs to a rival clan, Mayor Wael Ibrahim Ali said.

Ibrahim, who headed Salahuddin’s provincial council, was killed while driving in Tikrit, the province’s capital, 80 miles north of Baghdad.

“He was fighting the corruption in the city council and that’s why they assassinated him,” Ali said during the demonstration.

Police guarding the provincial government building first fired warning shots into the air followed by volleys into the crowd, police Lt Khudhir Ali said. The four wounded including a policemen, but it was not clear how he was shot, he said.

Jeb Pushes Christian-Based Programs for Public Schools

From the Palm Beach Post:

TALLAHASSEE — Just before Father's Day, Gov. Jeb Bush announced that he wanted every public school in Florida to host a Christian-based program designed to increase fathers' participation in their children's lives.

The program, All Pro Dad, combines a biblical foundation with the draw of popular professional athletes to promote the belief that "the father is the head of the household" and that men should rely on God to help them be better parents and keep their marriages intact. It also encourages Bible reading.

The London Guardian Asks; Mr. Bremer, Where Did All the Money Go?

I'd like to hear the answer to that myself.

From the piece:

At the end of the Iraq war, vast sums of money were made available to the US-led provisional authorities, headed by Paul Bremer, to spend on rebuilding the country. By the time Bremer left the post eight months later, $8.8bn of that money had disappeared. Ed Harriman on the extraordinary scandal of Iraq's missing billions

Thursday July 7, 2005
The Guardian

When Paul Bremer, the American pro consul in Baghdad until June last year, arrived in Iraq soon after the official end of hostilities, there was $6bn left over from the UN Oil for Food Programme, as well as sequestered and frozen assets, and at least $10bn from resumed Iraqi oil exports. Under Security Council Resolution 1483, passed on May 22 2003, all these funds were transferred into a new account held at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, called the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), and intended to be spent by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) "in a transparent manner ... for the benefit of the Iraqi people".

The US Congress also voted to spend $18.4bn of US taxpayers' money on the redevelopment of Iraq. By June 28 last year, however, when Bremer left Baghdad two days early to avoid possible attack on the way to the airport, his CPA had spent up to $20bn of Iraqi money, compared with $300m of US funds. The "reconstruction" of Iraq is the largest American-led occupation programme since the Marshall Plan - but the US government funded the Marshall Plan. Defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer have made sure that the reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by the "liberated" country, by the Iraqis themselves.

The CPA maintained one fund of nearly $600m cash for which there is no paperwork: $200m of it was kept in a room in one of Saddam's former palaces. The US soldier in charge used to keep the key to the room in his backpack, which he left on his desk when he popped out for lunch. Again, this is Iraqi money, not US funds.

The "financial irregularities" described in audit reports carried out by agencies of the American government and auditors working for the international community collectively give a detailed insight into the mentality of the American occupation authorities and the way they operated. Truckloads of dollars were handed out for which neither they nor the recipients felt they had to be accountable.

Halliburton: Another $5 Billion No-Bid Contract to Service the Troops

Said MSNBC just a moment ago.

I guess those reports of spoiled food served to GIs and all the talk of inflated charges for no real service delivery were taken as points in their favor? We're in a meritocracy, after all.

Support Poor Rush and Rove

The General is writing letters again, this time to the head of the Young Republicans:

Dear Mr. Mack,

The Republican Party is facing a crisis. Our top leaders, fundraisers, and communicators are being imprisoned. Yesterday, it was our voice in the Times, Judith Miller. In the days ahead, it will be Karl Rove, Tom Delay, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Ney, Jack Abramoff, Conrad Burns, Ted Stevens, Bob Taft, Duke Cunningham, Doc Hastings, Larry Franklin, Scooter Libby, and a host of others. We need to do something to help them out.

That's why I'm asking you to expand your fundraising efforts to include things like cartons of cigarettes and homemade shivs. For a few cartons of Camels, Rush could spend his time writing rather than hiding from some prison gang drug lord's collections enforcer. A good shiv would come in handy for Rep. DeLay when he makes his move to be the guy who serves jello in the prison cafeteria.

By taking care of their basic needs with these prison staples, the stars of our party will be able to concentrate on making the party even stronger. Smokes and shivs are a small price to pay for that kind of service.

I Can Understand Why the Extreme Right Admires Karl Rove So

London Recovers Two Unexploded Bombs

That's what ABC News is reporting right now.

They Say Love Makes You Crazy

From ABC:

To prove his love, a 38-year-old man set himself on fire before getting down on one knee and asking his girlfriend to marry him.

About 100 people gathered to watch Todd Grannis perform the flaming stunt on Monday, which involved wearing a cape soaked in gasoline.

Grannis climbed up a 10-foot scaffold, was set on fire and then plunged into a swimming pool, dousing the blaze. Emerging unscathed, he got down on one knee and proposed, as a friend standing nearby slipped him the engagement ring.


Faux News Analysts: London Attacks Work to US' Advantage

It's hard to shock me about Faux but the depravity of this strikes me as a new low, even for belly-crawlers. From Media Matters:

The following exchange between Fox News host Brian Kilmeade and Fox News business contributor and substitute host Stuart Varney occurred during breaking news coverage of the attacks on London subways and buses on the July 7 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

KILMEADE: And he [British Prime Minister Tony Blair] made the statement, clearly shaken, but clearly determined. This is his second address in the last hour. First to the people of London, and now at the G8 summit, where their topic Number 1 --believe it or not-- was global warming, the second was African aid. And that was the first time since 9-11 when they should know, and they do know now, that terrorism should be Number 1. But it's important for them all to be together. I think that works to our advantage, in the Western world's advantage, for people to experience something like this together, just 500 miles from where the attacks have happened.

VARNEY: It puts the Number 1 issue right back on the front burner right at the point where all these world leaders are meeting. It takes global warming off the front burner. It takes African aid off the front burner. It sticks terrorism and the fight on the war on terror, right up front all over again.


"If Ever There Was a Case for Impeachment...."

From the Lincoln Journal Star, a strong editorial about impeachment which ends:

And if ever there was an offense worthy of impeachment, that should be it.

MSNBC: Uzbeks Ready to Tell U.S. to Get Out

That's the story right now. They join an ever increasing list of people who are tiring of their relationship with us.

Mr. Bush: a divider, not a uniter.

George Galloway on London Attacks: Caused by Allegiance with U.S.

Posted by Steven D at Daily Kos:

George Galloway, former Labor and now Respect Party MP, who created quite a stir here when he stood up to Norm Coleman's show trial tactics at the Senator's hearings on the Oil for Food scandal, spoke out this morning about the London Terror attacks. Not surprisingly, he wasn't afraid to go after Blair:

    "We argued, as did the security services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the Government ignoring such warnings."

Say Hello to

The Heretik.

Smart words. Great use of artwork.

Another Bush Ally Having a Tough Time

From the BBC:

Philippines President Gloria Arroyo has asked her entire Cabinet to resign, amid continuing calls for her to quit.

Mrs Arroyo, who apologised last week for a "lapse of judgement" over a phone call made during last year's election, said she herself would not step down.

"First of all, I am not resigning my office," she said.

Mrs Arroyo, who has been accused of trying to unfairly influence her re-election, said a new Cabinet would give her government renewed momentum.


The True Face of Terrorism

Some good pieces on terrorism today on TPMCafe, including this (title above):

For all the talk of Iraq being the central front in the war of terrorism, we learned again this morning that the real central front is everywhere. Terrorists can and will strike at a time and place of their choosing. That is the essential nature of this threat that the Bush administration has ignored at its -- and our -- peril.
From the very first moment following the 9/11 attacks, it was clear that the Bush administration operated on a flawed understanding of the terrorist threat we now faced. To it, a threat of this magnitude could come about only if states provided the essential support, which is why the administration focused less on combating the terrorists than on going after state sponsors -- first Afghanistan, then Iraq. Had Iraq not become a mess, Syria and Iran would have followed.

That is what Bush meant by the global war on terror: "We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them," Bush declared on 9/11/01. Two days later, Paul Wolfowitz argued that the war would focus on "ending states who sponsor terrorism." And as Wolfowitz deputy, Doug Feith, later told the New Yorker, "the principal strategic thoughts underlying our strategy in the war on terrorism is the importance of the connection between terrorist organizations and their state sponsors."

BBC Reports Captors Have Killed Egypt's Envoy to Iraq

Story here:

Egypt has confirmed its ambassador to Iraq has been killed, five days after he was kidnapped in Baghdad.

An internet message purportedly from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's militant group was released on Thursday, claiming Ihab al-Sherif had been killed.

A video on the website showed a blindfolded man who identified himself as Mr Sherif saying he had worked at Egyptian embassies in Iraq and Israel.

Elsewhere, strange word that the U.S. is holding five Americans in Iraq. One of them is an Iranian US filmmaker and a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

Our British Cousins

Skippy has a lovely few words for our British cousins.

And just a reminder on this sad day - help a great blog hit its one millionth visitor before his anniversary on July 10/13: Skippy has contributed so much to the blogging community. His was one of the first blogs - besides the late, great Media Whores Online - I began to read and he remains from the only one besides Josh Marshall that I continue to read daily (of that original group, that is - I've found scores of new favorites)

A True Leader

Cookie Jill tells us a story of a politician who "gets" it, the newly elected mayor of LA:

you are mayor of a major american city. you are woken up at 3:30 a.m. by your police chief with news of a terrorist bombing on public transportation in london. what would you do?

antonio villaraigosa gets up and spends the morning riding public transportation and talking with passengers about their lives, troubles and concerns. he, by action, reminds the public that public transportation is not to be feared today, tomorrow or down the road.

Kudos to Keith Olbermann and Countdown at MSNBC

Often, Keith is the only TV person to discuss Rove and Plame, the election debacle, that the people going after Deep Throat were convicted criminals themselves who benefited from Watergate, Downing Street, and more.

One of the diaries at Daily Kos is filled with people giving thanks to him. But I don't need to follow their suggestions of linking to Keith or sending him and MSNBC an appreciative note because I've been doing that all along. He's the only reason to watch MSNBC which has become even more of an embarrassment than CNN as they both race to out-stupify Faux.

But Keith isn't just the best voice on MSNBC: 10 of the other news show hosts together don't do as good a job as Keith any day of the week. Unfortunately, considering the (lack of) quality of the rest - Joe Scarborough, Tucker Carlson, Wolfie Blitzer, Paula Zahn and even, yes, Aaron Brown - that still is not saying much.

London Death Toll at 37 with 700 Injured

I expect - sadly - we will see this figure climb.

But while Americans are already said to be glued to their TV sets, worried it may happen here, we're hearing that Londoners are strictly "business as usual".

We need to take a lesson from them. We can't suddenly pretend Mr. Bush's performance is any better than it was four years ago or yesterday.

The questions raised by Downing Street remain. This White House is still responsible for a terrible debacle in Iraq. This White House is also responsible for outing a CIA operative strictly for retaliation against the truth, still working hard to make us more rather than less hated in the world, still bullying the rest of the globe, still eager to take your Social Security away, your jobs and pension, your health care and your hope. And every day, in every way, as they spend a fortune without making us safer, they find new ways to take away the liberty you hold so dear.

Iranians to Train Iraq's Military

Story here.

"Novak Squealed"

David Corn has a piece up today on why Bobby Boy Novak continues to go free while Judith Miller is in the Alexandria (VA) Detention Center, the same place were Moussaoi is housed.

Karl Rove Source of Matt Cooper's Waiver

From Editor and Publisher:

NEW YORK "A short time ago, in somewhat dramatic fashion, I received an express, personal release from my source," Matt Cooper of Time magazine told a federal judge yesterday, in dramatic fashion, just before being sentenced to jail. "It's with a bit of surprise and no small amount of relief that I will comply with this subpoena."

But who was this source? According to The New York Times today, "Cooper's decision to drop his refusal to testify followed discussions on Wednesday morning among lawyers representing Mr. Cooper and Karl Rove, the senior White House political adviser, according to a person who has been officially briefed on the case."

Rove's lawyer had confirmed over the weekend that his client had turned up as a source in Cooper's documents, which Time turned over to the special prosecutor on Friday, but that did not mean that he was the key source in question.

Josh Marshall: Judith Miller Has Tangled with the Special Prosecutor Before

In what looks like a special only to Miller situation where she was playing some big games on the side.

This comes on the heels of increasing questions about whether Miller is better paid by the government and our tax dollars - under Bush - than by her Times job.

Bust Bob Novak

Say hello to BustBob.

From the site:

Rove fired from Bush Sr's '92 campaign over leak to Novak. Karl Rove was fired from the 1992 re-election campaign of Bush Sr. for allegedly leaking a negative story about Bush loyalist/fundraiser Robert Mosbacher to Novak. Novak's piece described a meeting organized by then-Senator Phil Gramm at which Mosbacher was relieved of his duties as state campaign manager because "the president's re-election effort in Texas has been a bust." Rove was fired after Mosbacher fingered him as Novak's source.

Does Anyone Else Feel a Sense of Anger?

The things we know the Bushies have perpetrated leave me feeling extremely angry over this London blast because I feel I cannot trust that "the powers" did not have something to do with this blast.

Consider it happened two days after a "secret" report was issued that the Brits were planning a mass exodus from Iraq and the day after London was awarded the Olympics bid. Consider that Bush went to the G8 meeting with the rest of the leaders very reticent to do business with him and that he's now sure "he's leading the world" (his comments this morning when he was doing the "pumped little chickenhawk general" routine.

No, this is hardly to say that anyone else but those taking credit perpetrated this terrible act. But I am angry that I cannot trust anymore that there isn't something behind it when it plays right into Mr. Bush's hands. After all, it's guaranteed to chill at least some criticism here.

To the London Readers

I know several folks regularly visit here from London. To you, I hope you and your loved ones and associates are OK.

London

As horrified as I am by what has happened in London - with widespread damage and injury during rush hour to the transportation system - I think I was actually more appalled by Mr.Bush's stated reaction just now which came off like, "Ah came here to go it alone but hey, since this England thing happened, I got um all rallyin' my way now."

He's done everything but pump his fist in the air and declare he's got political capitol from this situation and he means to spend it.

Fox Hunting Chickens? Who?

From Roger Ailes:

A Daily News gossip column blind item:
    "Which fair and balanced face of Fox News likes to trawl for much younger men at a certain trendy dive bar on W. 40th St.? Hint: It's not one of the girls."
No, it's not Cal, as far as I know. We all know who this blind item's about.

The question is: Why publish it?
Uh, I don't know who the blind item is about. Do you?

But you have to love the morally righteous.

Huffington Post: Rove Orchestrated the Leak

Here:

The simple, unavoidable truth is that Karl Rove orchestrated the leak of Valerie Plame's identity. No one who knows this man and has watched him work has any doubt that Rove came up with the idea of the leak and then set the plan in motion. Having watched him as he leaked, lied, obfuscated, and denied for political goals over the past 25 years, my own conviction of Rove's involvement is unwavering. He has a history of seeking revenge and the Texas landscape is cluttered with political cadavers he left behind before departing for the big show. In every campaign Rove has managed, there have been questionable tactics and unethical attacks. None of them has happened by accident because nothing that happens in Rove's world is accidental. And neither was the eposure of Ms. Plame. It was no more spontaneous, independent, or random than the campaign run by the Swift Boat Veterans.

Friend and Colleague of Rove Says Out the Man

Interesting piece in which the author says Rove "improves" on Macchiavelli and should be outed for the good of the country.

The Yellow Cake Lies Underlying the Plame Outing

Josh Marshall ties together some of the deep facts that ultimately led to Rove or someone outing Valerie Plame in retaliation for Wilson saying the yellow cake episode Bush was using to push war was fiction. Specifically:

I've gotten hints or suggestions from several sources over the last month that new information is bubbling to the surface, not about who leaked Valerie Plame's identity, but who was behind the underlying caper that started the whole drama afoot in the first place: those phoney Niger uranium documents.

As longtime readers of this site know, last year colleagues of mine and I were able to trace the documents back to a former Italian intelligence agent named Rocco Martino. Martino was the 'Italian businessman' who tried to sell the documents to Elizabetta Burba, the journalist who eventually brought them to the US Embassy in Rome.

We were able determine that the documents had been put into Martino's hands by a then-serving member of SISMI -- Italian military intelligence. And this SISMI colonel had done so using a women working in the Niger embassy in Rome, an Italian national, as a cut-out.

7.06.2005

California National Guard Purges Records of Controversial Domestic Spying Unit

You have to love this. The Arnold and others get a group from the National Guard to spy on anyone who does worship Arnold and Bush - you know, real terrorists like those 80+ year old Raging Grannies, and then they erase all their records to stop the investigation into this group from going farther.

Revival of Freedom of Information Pipeline

Stranger at Blah3 brings some welcome news:

This is long overdue. Team Thug has ignored FOIA with impunity - but that may soon change.
A political odd couple, backed by an unusual coalition of advocacy groups and news organizations, is looking to crack down on government officials who ignore public requests for information.
    Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.) are pushing a package of legislative proposals that would create, for the first time, penalties for agencies that ignore Freedom of Information Act requests. They also want to create a position for an independent arbiter -- an ombudsman for FOIA -- who would help referee conflicts between the public and the government while requiring departments to provide more information on how quickly they process requests.

    "A number of the reforms included in these bills are pretty basic in a lot of places, including my home state of Texas," said Cornyn, a former state attorney general. "In Washington, there's no real presumption of openness in the culture. If you're persistent enough and you're willing to wait long enough, you might actually get what you're entitled to. But there seems to be very few incentives . . . to encourage timely compliance with FOIA requests."

Hard-Hitting Judith Miller Analysis in LA Times

From Rosa Brooks, quite a sharp mind:

It was Miller, more than any other reporter, who helped the White House sell its WMD-in-Iraq hokum to the American public. Relying on the repeatedly discredited Ahmad Chalabi and her carefully cultivated administration contacts, Miller wrote story after story on the supposedly imminent threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

Only problem: Her scoops relied on information provided by the very folks who were also cooking the books. But because Miller hid behind confidential sources most of the time, there was little her readers could use to evaluate their credibility. You know: "a high-level official with access to classified data." Ultimately, even the Times' "public editor" conceded the paper's coverage of Iraq had often consisted of "breathless stories built on unsubstantiated 'revelations' that, in many instances, were the anonymity-cloaked assertions of people with vested interests."

That's what makes the Judy Miller Media Hug-Fest so astonishing. Miller's refusal to testify to the grand jury investigating the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's name has catapulted her back into favor. Ironically, as it becomes ever more likely that she'll be jailed for contempt of court, the very affection for anonymous sources that landed Miller in hot water last year has become her route to journalistic rehabilitation. The Houston Chronicle rhapsodizes that "reporters such as Miller … are the front line in the struggle to maintain a free and independent press." Back at the New York Times, Miller's publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., assures us that everyone is busy "supporting her in this difficult time."

I'm as big of fan of the 1st Amendment as anybody, but I don't buy the new Miller-as-heroine story. When Judge David Tatel concurred in the D.C. Circuit's refusal to find any absolute journalist privilege shielding Miller from testifying, he noted, sensibly, that "just as attorney-client communications 'made for the purpose of getting advice for the commission of a fraud or crime' serve no public interest and receive no privilege … neither should courts protect sources whose leaks harm national security while providing minimal benefit to public debate." Few legal privileges are absolute, and it's appropriate for the courts to decide in cases such as this whether the harm of requiring a journalist to divulge confidential information is outweighed by the public interest in prosecuting a crime.
Rosa recently went head to head with Bill O'Reilly on his own show and wiped the floor with him... and his falafel.

Timeline of the Heinous, Traitorous Outing of CIA Op Valerie Plame

Read the Plame timeline at Wikipedia.

The "I" Word Actually Sees the Light of Day Over at the Washington Post

Wait... I think I see a pig hovering over my deck!

More than four in 10 Americans, according to a recent Zogby poll, say that if President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment.

But you wouldn't know it from following the news. Only three mainstream outlets that I can find made even cursory mention of the poll last week when it came out.

You also wouldn't know it judging from the political discourse in Washington, but that makes a little more sense. After all, impeachment is for all practical purposes a political act, not a legal one. So with a Republican-controlled Congress that doesn't even like to perform basic White House oversight, it's basically a moot point.

Nevertheless, could there be anything that 42 percent of Americans agree on that the media care about so little?


Why Am I Not Playing a Sad Violin for Miller?

Sure, at first glance, as a journalist myself, it would be easy to salute Miller - a woman going to jail for her principles rather than allow a court to force her to divulge her sources.

But so much about this whole case does not - and has not - passed the bullshit scratch n sniff test. This is true even if you cut away the obvious double sodomy being committed by the Bushies upon her - get her to tow their propaganda and then leave her hanging limply by her neck - in a very stylish suit, of course - while they ask, "Plame who?"

In fact, it scraps the smell test so badly that I am forced to agree with contributor Shirley Smith over at Buzzflash when she writes:

could it be that Miller fears her source more than jail?
Anybody get the same uncomfortable feeling?

Sorry, I've Been Assembling My Care Package for Judith Miller

So she went to jail today, even after she told the judge her orange jumpsuit was not made from raw silk so it would contrast too sharply with the rest of her Needless-Markup wardrobe.

I've been busy ever since putting together a little care package for her, just some sentimental items I thought she could use:

  • a magnifying glass to help her search her cell for WMD
  • a copy of Sissela Bok's "Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life"
  • some brown shoe polish so she can pretend to continue brown nosing this Administration
  • an autographed copy of Paul Krugman's essential: "The Great Unraveling"
  • a sexy "Glamour Shots" portrait of Ahmed Chalabi in speedos
  • a limited edition recording of Karl Rove saying over and over, "I'm going to fuck you over like you have never been fucked over before" while having lunch with Ralph Reed, Jerry Falwell, and James Dobson
  • a Dremel tool to work on the prison bars
  • a pair of black heels to go with her orange jumpsuit

Bush Falls Off Yet Another Bike

This man - the great and graceful athlete whom the media is discouraged from every photographing exercising (and for apparently good reason) - has fallen off scooters, any number of bikes, choked on pretzels to the point where he was rendered unconscious and with bruises all over his face. This time, he collided with a police officer (also apt in a Bushian way) and, once again, required bandages and a physician check.

See, doctors look at someone who has numerous accidents and wonders why. But of course, we're not supposed to ask questions.

Me? I think it's symbolic of the way he runs the country. Social security, health care, the wars, etc., have all gone tumbling off their mounts with Mr. Bush on duty.

7.05.2005

US Being Told to Get Out of Key Military Bases

From the Christian Science Monitor:

A six-nation security bloc comprised of China, Russia, and four former Soviet states has urged the US-led coalition in Afghanistan to set a deadline for withdrawing troops from member states, reports BBC.

Meeting in the Kazakh capital of Astana, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) - which includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China, and Russia - issued a joint statement saying the active military phase of the Afghan operation was coming to an end and calling on the US-led coalition to agree to a deadline for ending the temporary use of bases and air space in member countries.

There are about 18,000 coalition forces in Afghanistan, and the US has hosted bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan since the anti-Taliban operations began in 2001.

Going it Alone

The Financial Times says the Brits have drafted a plan for significant withdrawal of its forces over the next 18 months while sending lots more troops into Afghanistan - you remember Afghanistan? The place we "won" fast but in which you can't travel three steps safely?

2012 Olympics

I, for one, hope New York is unsuccessful in its bid to host the games.

For one, it will probably put more small businesses out of business than even Rudy Gialiani managed to do during his tenure.

For another, the jobs it creates won't be for average New Yorkers. They'll be brought it from outside the city.

For another, most host cities actually LOSE money in the long run when hosting.

Finally, everytime I hear New Yorkers interviewed about it or speak with someone from New York, they say they don't want the damned thing. They consider it like I do - a big power grab by Bloomberg and Rudy and others that will benefit the millionaires and billionaires but not Ma and Pa New Yorkers.

How Ironic: Joe ("There's a Dead Woman in My Congressional Office" Scarborough

There's a certain irony in hearing Joe Scarborough on MSNBC lament that the Brits and the Dutch are hiding a conspiracy to keep the "murderers" of Natalee Halloway from being brought to justice when Joe ignores the questions still lingering around why he left Congress so damned fast and about the young female employee of his found dead in his office and whose autopsy, by a coroner with a history of sloppy work and of too many political ties, said she died from some rare disorder that would be tough to diagnose even on autopsy and that she showed no signs of exhibiting before her death.

Joe, remember that little thing about glass houses and stones?

Yet you scream coverup and want to lynch the Aruban youths even though there is no proof of a crime. You just said, "Can't they charge and convict them even if there isn't a body? I wouldn't think you'd even need any proof of a crime. Just do it."

Now wipe that stupid smirk off your face and keep the hell away from me, you creep.

Consider Something on Miller and Cooper

They both played big-time niceguy to this Administration, Miller even feigning finds of massive amounts of WMD that never panned out, to justify Bush's war.

I would think that other journalists should be asking themselves, "If this is what they'll let happen to Judy and Matt, who only asked how high they should jump for Karl Rove, what will the Bushies do to me?"

And then, after they answer that question, maybe do their [bleeping] jobs at reporting more of the crap the Bushies are putting forth so perhaps we Americans will tire of it and impeach the whole lot of them.

Ed&Pub on PlameGate

Editor and Publisher also brings us:

  • Rove "knowingly" refusing interviews related to PlameGate
  • Judge says he may send Matt Cooper to jail, despite Time releasing his source, just to prove a point and won't place him under home-only arrest
  • and the special prosecutor, Fitzgerald, goes after Judy ("I see WMD everywhere!") Miller in a way we know Ms. Miller never went after Chalabi or the Bushies on the case for WMD in Iraq
From the Miller piece:
Even more troubling for Miller, Fitzgerald seemed to suggest that she could face criminal charges, in addition to her contempt citation.
and:
"Miller’s views may change over time, especially if what is viewed as her 'irresponsible martyrdom' obstructing an
important grand jury investigation is seen to undercut, not enhance, the credibility of the press and, with it, any case to be made for a federal reporter’s shield law."

Only 1 in Every 3 Americans Think We're Winning the War on Terror

So says Editor and Publisher, referencing a new Gallup poll.

Methinks the American public is far more reality-based than our belooped leader.

Impeaching Bush. Why, Well Not?

Lambert at Corrente brings us fool (in the case of Bush) for thought:

The Republicans, by impeaching Clinton, substantially lowered the bar for what constitutes grounds for impeachment.

And if lying about a blowjob is an impeachable offense, why isn't lying about the casus belli for a war that cost thousands of American dead, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead?

Eh?
Amen to that, Brother Lambert.

Paula Jones, What Class!

Remember poor Paula? The sweet, saintly Christian thing who somebody is always taking advantage of? Her wingnut defenders said she was pure and unspoiled before Bill Clinton came along, suggested she perform a sexual act with him and, when she refused, he let her leave but that was somehow psychic rape.

Well, according to Keith Olbermann, Paula - who hasn't liked being out of the public eye OR being reduced to living back in Arkansas - contacted the NY Daily News to complain that she has been left out of the Clinton presidential library (not that she could read her notation there, if it were present).

But here's the kicker from this sweet little Christian: she would happily go visit the Presidential libary IF some company would pay her very handsomely to do so. In return, she would be glad to wear their logo on the new boobs she bought with money from the Clinton settlement, along with the new nose, the new hair, the new clothes, and the pedicure for her teeth.

But remember, Paula is always the victim.

Oh, I Dunno... I Think Bob Would Look Positively Divine in an Orange Jumpsuit

and becoming the homely-ass bitch of someone named Reggie in prison.

From the Sun-Times, which I believe runs Bob's lame column:

I just can't figure it out. Why in the world is New York Times reporter Judith Miller headed to jail next week while my Sun-Times colleague Robert Novak is not? Why is a reporter who has written not one single word about a CIA operative about to be sent to the federal slammer while another reporter, the one who actually broke the story, isn't in similar trouble?

Don't get me wrong. I like and respect Bob Novak and don't want to ever see him in an orange jump suit. Or think about him being strip-searched upon intake to federal prison. Then again, I never even met Judith Miller, and I don't want that happening to her, either.

I called Novak in Washington Thursday to see if he could help me make sense of all this. "I can't say anything," he said, citing advice of counsel and the pending federal investigation.

It is encouraging to finally have the media - finally asking why Bob is so silent. Perhaps next, they'll actually wonder out loud if Rove lied (constantly).

Even Right-to-Life GOPers Very Unhappy with Bill Frist on Stem Cell Nonsense

The Washington Post tells us that even among Republican pro-lifers, many voice extreme frustration with Bill Frist, a surgeon, turning his back on science and human suffering to instead manage Mr. Bush's stage show in which "snowflake babies" and not-ready-for-primetime pregnancies are much more important than adequate research into how stem cells may help those already living.

Alienating 4/5th of the voting population to make happy the 20% (or far less, if I count correctly) extremist nutwing wouldn't seem to bode well for Mr. Frist's presidential aspirations. Can they retroactively take away his license to practice? I would think that on the Schiavo matter alone, the case is made for doing so.

quack! quack! QUAAAAACK!

The Election Results You Pay For

Cookie Jill posting at Skippy talks about the kind of election fraud that most people suspect, but which rarely makes the radar of anyone outside of independent media and blogtopia.

Here's a taste to whet your appetite:

experienced federal investigators, acting independently, have discovered a covert funding channel used by the 2000 and 2004 bush-cheney campaigns and the administrations of jeb bush in florida and bob taft in ohio to illegally funnel foreign and other questionable money into republican coffers.

ever since the brutal death of florida department of transportation (fdot) investigator ray lemme in july 2003, the focus of investigators in florida and georgia has been on the political scandal lemme was uncovering. after his official investigation of contract fraud, money laundering, illegal immigration, and election fraud was shut down on orders of jeb bush, lemme continued to investigate the use of fdot to launder cash for the bush brothers and their allies. lemme's focus was on the use of the florida turnpike system to launder cash for the jeb and george w. bush campaigns. it was an investigation that would ultimately lead to lemme's body being discovered in a motel room bathtub in valdosta, georgia. a two-state police cover-up of lemme's death, threats directed at florida and georgia investigators, and a virtual media blackout indicates that the gop administrations of jeb bush and georgia's sonny perdue wanted the lemme story to go away—and fast.

the reason for the cover-up of lemme's reported "suicide" is simple. investigators have now discovered that foreign cash, including chinese, saudi, and nigerian money, was laundered via the biggest state-run cash cow in florida—the florida turnpike system. because most of the transactions involving florida's toll roads involve cash and huge amounts of it, it was easy for foreign and other questionable money to be laundered via fdot.

....now comes word that "coingate" in ohio is tied to the same criminal elements in the gop that were responsible for turnpike toll money laundering in florida. durden's counterpart in ohio, tommy noe, a bush "pioneer" contributor whom gov. taft appointed to the ohio turnpike commission, is in the center of a major scandal involving missing state funds invested in rare coins and baseball cards. shortly after the toledo blade began reporting on the ohio coin scandal, noe resigned from the turnpike commission.

Bush's Uranium Lies: The Case for Impeachment

Read here. Carefully.

7.04.2005

Pressure Mounts to Close Gitmo

From the Financial Times:

While Americans are celebrating Independence Day with barbecues, parliamentarians from 55 states meeting in Washington on Monday will debate the US human rights record and hear a recommendation that the Bush administration close its Guantánamo detention centre.

The annual parliamentary assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which is tackling a wide range of issues, may be of little direct political consequence. But delegates say the human rights debate does carry a certain moral weight, and reflects growing concern over what many regard as breaches by the Bush administration of US and international law in its handling of detainees in the “war on terror”.

The focus on Guantánamo, as well as US procedures to hand over suspected terrorists to governments with a record of torture, also has an historic resonance. The assembly, including the US as a founder member of the OSCE, is commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act, which set out to secure commitments by the former Soviet Union to common standards of human rights.

Anne-Marie Lizin, president of the Belgian Senate, presents her report on Monday on Guantánamo in her capacity as a human rights rapporteur. US authorities denied her access to the detention centre. The UN special rapporteur on terrorism, Manfred Nowak, has also been refused entry to the camp. Mr Nowak caused a storm in Washington last week by raising what he called “very, very serious” allegations over the use of US prison ships. The Bush administration denied their existence.


Bush is Right: Business IS Booming

At least, at cemeteries.

For example, Arlington National Cemetery is rushing to add 46,000 additional graves that they'll perhaps call the "Bush Annex". The first part is true; I suggest the second part is wholly appropriate.

"Put Away the Flags"

I'm not in 100% agreement with the position Howard Zinn takes here, but I think most of what he writes here is solid and worthy of consideration.

A News Gathering Body That Doesn't Take Ads or Govt/Corp Financing

Check out Independent World Television.

If you like what you see, consider making a contribution to our future.

Did Judith Miller of The Times Play an Even More Ominous Role in the Plame Outing, Presumably by Karl Rove?

There's a fair amount of speculation going on regarding it, for sure, like this posted by jpol at DailyKos:

SusanHu has posted a piece on Judith Miller at Booman Tribune that raises some interesting questions about Judith Miller. At this point it would seem that there are more questions than answers, but it is starting to look as if Judith Miller's role in this developing story is much more profound, perhaps even sinister, than that of an honest journalist being pursued for her confidential sources by a dogged prosecutor.
Miller was always an interesting component in the story considering she never filed an article about the Plame situation, at least, not one that was published. And she was by far the journalist most desperate to try to prove Iraq had WMDs everywhere, a position extremely convenient for the Bush position on why we went to War.

So no, it would not surprise me at all if her whole involvement in this case goes light years beyond being a "poor little defenseless lady journalist being made to cry by the big bad judges". I always noticed that in joint appearances by Miller and Cooper, Miller was always the speaker. He always was reduced to looking uncomfortable.

Some Christians Actually Operate Without Intolerance and Hate

Like the United Church of Christ, who voted today to recognize gay marriage.

It takes a fundamentalist to really completely twist the word of God so that it always comes out meaning hate, intolerance, and blind allegiance to the worst of society like a Dobson, a Falwell, or a Bush.

Mercenary Iraqi Contractors Operate Outside of Law

Civilian deaths are increasing exponentially in Iraq.

At least some of these deaths are attributed to Iraqi contractors/mercenaries for hire. This contingent - part of Rumseld's brave effort to privatize the military and made Bush-crony contributors in the military industrial complex even richer still - is generating MUCH unhappiness among the troops, who get paid a tiny fraction of what these folks do yet the soldiers have to operate within at least some rules, have to work far more hours per week, and aren't treated like Gods.

Don't Ask the New Bush-Appointed Ambassador to Canada Where it Is; He Doesn't Seem to Know

Except that it's possibly above Indiana. Possibly.

Sounds like a Bush appointee, yes?

The Crazy Congressional Cubans Are At it Again

From the Miami Herald (and it's disgusting):

Sergeant

Carlos Lazo won't get to see his kids this year.

The U.S. combat medic who was awarded a Bronze Star for his courage in Iraq will not be allowed to travel to Cuba, where his teenage boys live with their mother.

On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart blocked a measure on the floor of the House of Representatives that would have exempted Lazo, on humanitarian grounds, from the Bush administration's travel restrictions to the island.

The amendment never even made it to a vote, as Diaz-Balart found a way to snuff it on procedural grounds.

''It wasn't a surprise that he blocked it,'' Lazo told me by phone from his home in Seattle. His Washington state National Guard unit just finished a year in Iraq.

Lazo, who came to the United States from Cuba in 1992, tried to see his kids last year during a two-week leave. He flew from Iraq to Miami and had a plane ticket to Havana in his hand at Miami International Airport when the new restrictions went into effect.

Cuban Americans can only visit immediate family members once every three years. Lazo last saw his boys in 2003 and won't be eligible again until next year.

Ever since Lazo, 40, was denied a chance to see his sons, he has waged a campaign to call attention to the cruelty of the travel restrictions. It is a battle he has continued since returning home from Iraq in March.

''Now we are behaving no differently than the Cuban government,'' Lazo said. ``Castro keeps families apart and now we keep families apart.''

If there's a sane legislator among the Crazy Congressional Cubans of Florida (like Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Ballarts anuses), I've yet to meet them. I call them Crazy because from the embargo, to Castro, to little Elian Gonzalez, this crew is rabid and eager to spend anything - including massive amounts of American tax dollars and the lives of American troops - and hurt anybody to further their agenda against Cuba.

One would think that if one comes to this country and then serves in Congress, their greatest allegiance should be TO this country rather than working hate against their former homeland. But no, not with these folks.

Marsupial Appreciation Month

July is hereby declared Marsupial Appreciation Month.

To honor this, visit Skippy the Bush Kangaroo who still needs his million hits by early July.

Oops

If you want to hear ... er... read, what Soldier Clark has to say, visit here.

Meet Leonard Clark

Have you heard about Leonard Clark? He's serving in the military, but he's also a vocal dissenter about the Iraq War and how it's being handled. Now, as might be expected, he's being threatened with court martial rather than the pat on the head some of the worst abusers of "might makes right" receive.

So Clark is what... fighting for the freedom of speech he's not allowed to exercise himself? I wouldn't mind quite so much if opinions were stifled in the Army across the board. But the military brass is perfectly happy to have soldiers speak up if they like Bush, think the war in Iraq is wonderful and bringing "peace and democracy" to Iraq.

Last fall, I noticed members of the military were allowed to be on camera to question whether Mr. Kerry would be a good commander in chief. But I certainly didn't see any of them on camera who debated whether Mr. Bush was doing a good job, or Mr. Rumsfeld, for that matter.

Yeah, I understand the whole messy issue of the military saying anything derogatory during a time of war. But I also understand that there's an historically massive bullshit campaing going on. If the rah-rah soldiers can speak, why can't Soldier Clark? Heck, for that matter, if I can speak, why can't Soldier Clark?

7.03.2005

Bigotry Watch

Remember when Bush nominated Alberto Gonzales, his "bud" to be US Attorney General?

The right screamed and yelled that the only reason the left didn't like Gonzales was because he's Hispanic.

But look what they're saying about Gonzalez now that Bush is considering the man for the Supreme Court? They're freaking out.

Open Thread

Sew something.

Abuse of the Patriot Act?

Newark is using the Patriot Act to oust the homeless from public buildings. Unreal.