7.16.2005

Josh Marshall: Some Important Details

He points us to this:

A key component of President Bush's claim that Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program -- its alleged attempt to buy uranium in Niger -- was disputed by a CIA-directed mission to the central African nation in early 2002, according to senior administration officials and a former government official. But the CIA did not pass on the detailed results of its investigation to the White House or other government agencies, the officials said.

The CIA's failure to share what it knew was one of a number of steps in the Bush administration that helped keep the uranium story alive until the eve of the war.

A senior intelligence official said the CIA's action was the result of "extremely sloppy" handling of a central piece of evidence in the administration's case against then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

A senior CIA analyst said the case "is indicative of larger problems" involving the handling of intelligence about Iraq's alleged weapons programs and its links to al Qaeda, which the administration cited as justification for war. "Information not consistent with the administration agenda was discarded and information that was [consistent] was not seriously scrutinized," the analyst said.

The controversy has expanded with the failure so far of U.S. teams in Iraq to uncover proscribed weapons.


Rating Pro Journalists

Buzzflash points us to CyberJournalist which announces:

A new non-profit venture called NewsTrust is developing a "news rating service" that aims to "bring together experienced journalists and citizen reviewers to rate news stories and their sources according to rigorous editorial standards - leveraging online technology to identify high-quality journalism, or 'news you can trust.'"
    The goal of this non-partisan project is to help citizens find the information they need to effectively participate in democracy; we also plan to provide constructive feedback to journalists and a moderated conversation space to discuss their work with the public.

James Wolcott: Greg Palast Makes Sense

Notably, this:

Journalistic sanitation engineer Greg Palast traces the path of a major pipeline from Karl Rove's mouth into the Beltway's elite stenography pool, landing one of them in the slammer.

"The great poison in the corpus of American journalism is the lust for tidbits of supposedly 'inside' information which is more often than not inside misinformation parading as hot news [or noninformation, such as Elisabeth Bumiller's Pulitzer-courting bombshell about Bush's absorption in Tom Wolfe's wretchedly written I Am Charlotte Simmons].

"And thus we have [Judith] Miller sucking on the steaming sewage pipe of White House lies about Iraq and spitting it out in the pages of The Times as 'investigative reporting,' for which The Times has apologized. Likewise, we had the embarrassment of Bob Woodward's special access to the Oval Office after the September 11 attacks when Woodward reported the exclusive news that the President was a flawless commander in chief in the war on terror -- for which Woodward has yet to apologize.

"While reporting from the Potemkin village of decision-making set up for him at the White House, Woodward missed the real story that, in the words of the Downing Street memo, our leaders were losing track of Osama while they spent their time 'fixing the intelligence' on Iraq. Even if Woodward learned of it, would he have reported it at the risk of losing his access to evil?"


Say hello to

Outraged Moderates. Liked what I saw so far.

Thanks to the good folks at Pibbshow for the link.

Dept of Homeland Ineptitude

I see Xavier at Pibbshow roughly shares my opinion of the Department of Homeland (In)security.

To me, Tom Ridge was a politician first, all the way. The new director, Chertoff, I find rather chilling.

US Pays Quarter Million Dollars Per Israeli Settler

Posted at AntiWar, this piece is an eye-opener. Unlike here, facts like this do NOT escape the scrutiny and anger of not only Muslims but most of the rest of the world.

Here's a trifle:

The state of Israel – which, the last time I checked, was both a foreign and a sovereign nation – wants the American taxpayers to cough up $2.2 billion in addition to our regular $3 billion-or-so annual subsidy to pay for the withdrawal from Gaza.

Unless the American people raise hell about this, it's a done deal. In Washington, whatever Israel wants, Israel gets. Nevertheless, there are several reasons why the American people should rebel at the latest brazen attack on our treasury by Israel and its American supporters.

First, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided unilaterally to withdraw from Gaza. This was in lieu of following the president's peace plan, which Sharon has ignored from the very beginning. Where is it written, on stone or parchment or paper, that the head of a foreign government can decide to do something unilaterally and automatically send the bill to the American taxpayers? We will derive no benefits at all from the withdrawal.

Furthermore, Sharon's adviser spilled the beans in an Israeli newspaper interview. The withdrawal from Gaza is not part of any peace plan. It was just an excuse to put off serious peace negotiations. Sharon will remove about 8,000 settlers from Gaza who are a pain in the government's rear end anyway, shut down four tiny settlements on the West Bank, and that's it. As Sharon's adviser admitted, there won't be any serious negotiations with the Palestinians until they "turn into Finns."

A normal president would view Sharon's actions as unacceptable and his casual expectation that we would pay for it as a personal insult. President George Bush, however, when it comes to Israel, is just like Congress – a candy-bottom. That's why, despite all of our problems, all of our deficits, all of our debts, the U.S. government has gifted Israel with more than $90 billion in recent decades. If Washington gives in, we taxpayers will be spending about $227,000 per Jewish settler. That's a sporty moving expense.

China Responds to Our Threats with Threats of Their Own

Karlo at SwerveLeft has the details.

A Point on Which Daniel Schorr and I Agree: Rove Scandal is Just Tip of Iceberg in the Much Larger Issue of a Fabricated War on Iraq

Republished in Common Dreams after appearing in yesterday's Christian Science Monitor, this piece makes many of the same points I've mentioned over the last few weeks:

Let me remind you that the underlying issue in the Karl Rove controversy is not a leak, but a war and how America was misled into that war.

In 2002 President Bush, having decided to invade Iraq, was casting about for a casus belli. The weapons of mass destruction theme was not yielding very much until a dubious Italian intelligence report, based partly on forged documents (it later turned out), provided reason to speculate that Iraq might be trying to buy so-called yellowcake uranium from the African country of Niger. It did not seem to matter that the CIA advised that the Italian information was "fragmentary and lacked detail."

Prodded by Vice President Dick Cheney and in the hope of getting more conclusive information, the CIA sent Joseph Wilson, an old Africa hand, to Niger to investigate. Mr. Wilson spent eight days talking to everyone in Niger possibly involved and came back to report no sign of an Iraqi bid for uranium and, anyway, Niger's uranium was committed to other countries for many years to come.

[snippety snip]

One can imagine the fury in the White House. We now know from the e-mail traffic of Time's correspondent Matt Cooper that five days after the op-ed appeared, he advised his bureau chief of a supersecret conversation with Karl Rove who alerted him to the fact that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and may have recommended him for the Niger assignment. Three days later, Bob Novak's column appeared giving Wilson's wife's name, Valerie Plame, and the fact she was an undercover CIA officer. Mr. Novak has yet to say, in public, whether Mr. Rove was his source. Enough is known to surmise that the leaks of Rove, or others deputized by him, amounted to retaliation against someone who had the temerity to challenge the president of the United States when he was striving to find some plausible reason for invading Iraq.

The role of Rove and associates added up to a small incident in a very large scandal - the effort to delude America into thinking it faced a threat dire enough to justify a war.

State Dept Memo Gets New Scrutiny in PlameGate Case

From today's Times:

hat explained how a former diplomat came to be dispatched on an intelligence-gathering mission and the role of his wife, a C.I.A. officer, in the trip, people who have been officially briefed on the case said.

Investigators in the case have been trying to learn whether officials at the White House and elsewhere in the administration learned of the C.I.A. officer's identity from the memorandum. They are seeking to determine if any officials then passed the name along to journalists and if officials were truthful in testifying about whether they had read the memo, the people who have been briefed said, asking not to be named because the special prosecutor heading the investigation had requested that no one discuss the case.

The memorandum was sent to Colin L. Powell, then the secretary of state, just before or as he traveled with President Bush and other senior officials to Africa starting on July 7, 2003, when the White House was scrambling to defend itself from a blast of criticism a few days earlier from the former diplomat, Joseph C. Wilson IV, current and former government officials said.

Mr. Powell was seen walking around Air Force One during the trip with the memorandum in hand, said a person involved in the case who also requested anonymity because of the prosecutor's admonitions about talking about the investigation.

Investigators are also trying to determine whether the gist of the information in the document, including the name of the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, Mr. Wilson's wife, had been provided to the White House even earlier, said another person who has been involved in the case. Investigators have been looking at whether the State Department provided the information to the White House before July 6, 2003, when Mr. Wilson publicly criticized the way the administration used intelligence to justify the war in Iraq, the person said.

New Iraqi Suicide Blast Kills at Least 60

According to Reuters, with a note that estimates of deaths and injuries may not all be counted yet.

Nine other suicide bombs blasted in and around Baghdad, killing dozens. This on the heels of a suicide attack the other day aimed at a cluster of children gather around US GIs handing out candy while parents watched.

Last throes? Makes you worry what "active aggression" might look like.

The Taliban Hangs Tribal Chief

Well, despite how often Mr Bush tells us the Taliban is gone, kaput, and no longer an issue, they keep doing damage.

Here's this:

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Taliban guerrillas hanged a pro-government tribal chief in the troubled southern Afghan province of Zabul, accusing him of being an American spy, officials said on Saturday. Malik Agha's killing was the fifth in the past six weeks and came as violence mounts in the run up to the Sept. 18 parliamentary elections that the Taliban have vowed to disrupt.

Agha was kidnapped on Friday by Taliban remnants as he came out of a mosque in Atghar district of Zabul and was hanged in a tree, district chief Gul Habib said.

Agha was the chief of a powerful tribe in Zabul near the border with Pakistan, he said.

Applying the President's Own Standard to Himself

In the wake of 9/11, one of Mr. Bush's favorite phrases was, "You're either with us or you're against us, and acting on behalf of the Terrorists."

In light of what we've seen the last four years, especially recently with the PlameGate story, the Downing Street Memo's document revelation, it's time to apply that same standard to the president himself.

Again and again, we see that when it comes time for the president to make a choice: the good of the country or the good of the Bushies, Mr. Bush shafts the country for the sake of his friends and colleagues. Gonzales, for example, is not supposed to be critically analyzed as a possible Supreme Court nominee because Mr. Bush says, "I don't like people being mean to my friends." We're certainly seeing that in the case of Rove and the cooking of the Iraq War.

So it comes down to this: Mr. Bush is with us or he is with the terrorists. Evidence reveals every time that he certainly does not stand with the American people. So the converse would seem to be true.

Previous WH Spy Leak Badly Affected London Bombings Case

Presented by A Liberal Dose:

It appears that the Valerie Plame leak was only one of the White House's spy leaks that may lead to the deaths of coalition agents and civilians. ABC and the Pakistani government have gone on record saying that last year, timed to coincide with the height of the media hype surrounding the Democratic convention, the White House prematurely leaked news of a Pakistani Al Qaeda capture in order to steal the media thunder of candidate Kerry.

Turns out the prisoner, Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, had become a deep cover agent for the UK and Pakistani governments, and HAD ON HIS LAPTOP THE PLANS FOR THE BUS BOMBING THAT JUST OCCURRED IN LONDON! His mission had to be prematurely aborted as a result, and the first Al Qaeda mole was a bust. But Tom Ridge and the Department of Homeland Security got the headline grabbing story and stole the media thunder from the Convention.

And so we see, once again for the sake of political expediency, the Bush Administration jeopardized an agent. And this time with deadly, directly related consequences.

Sign onto the petition to demand a full-scale investigation here.

Editor and Publisher: The Plame Affair is Formally a Scandal

From Greg Mitchell there:

Today, July 15, 2005, may go down in history as the day when what has previously been known as the “Plame Affair” or “the CIA leak scandal” finally gets that most coveted of scandal slugs: Plamegate.

And with the eye-raising reports today from The New York Times, the Associated Press, and the Washington Post detailing Karl Rove's conversation with Robert Novak, six days before he wrote his fateful Plame column, we are suddenly into “what-did-the-president-know-and-when-did-he-know-it” territory.



In any event, the next few weeks should be riveting. Now that we know that Rove was one of Novak's sources, and that Novak had two of them, surely speculation will center on the office of Vice President Cheney and his aide “Scooter” Libby. What kind of name is "Scooter" anyway?

But more than anything, the question that will be asked today and this weekend is: What did the president know etc.?

Did Rove fill him in on his conversations with Novak and Cooper (and possibly others) a long time back? If he did and the president did nothing, should that be taken as a sign of approval, and what would that mean? If Rove didn't tell him, and this is all news to Bush, does that deserve a prompt dismissal? Or is it possible the entire smear-Wilson campaign originated in the Oval House, or the veep's chambers?

Will Alberto Gonzales get embroiled in this even before he makes it to the Supreme Court? Is former spokesman/chief spinner Ari Fleischer endangered? Will Rove still have his job when the Washington Nationals play in the World Series this autumn?

Who is the source for all the press revelations today? Likely not a new ”Deep Throat.” The New York Times opened by calling him someone who had been briefed on all of this, the AP raised that to someone in the “legal profession,” while the Washington Post went all the way and called him a “lawyer.” Speculation focuses on Rove's attorney, who if this is true, probably thinks most of this helps his client's cause. But then, such things took dramatic turns back in the Watergate days when documentary evidence, in the form of tapes, documents and testimony came out.
I disagree with those who say this is nothing compared to Watergate. Watergate was not about faking a war, and in Watergate, the name and cover of a CIA operative charged with rooting out weapons of mass destruction was not used as a political football.

Fun with Comments - NOT!

I went to reply to some of the comments but - once again - HaloScan appears down for the count. So I'll try again later.

London Bombers "Obsessed and Angry" with Iraq War

I don't think it's a surprise to many that word is now out that those being accused of the London bombings may have done so because of what they saw as the terrible role of both the US and Great Britain in Iraq. There's also a strange side note here: throughout the world, we're hearing what a thorough and careful investigation the Brits are doing compared to the madness that seemed to reign after the 9-11 attacks here. There remain many unanswered questions about our attacks that we will never know because so much politicking and deep cover was applied to what happened here.

Considering how much Mr. Bush's and Mr. Blair's war is regarded in much of the rest of the world, I don't think we have the luxury of believing that these fellows, if they are indeed guilty, are the only ones who feel such anger at us - and this is very much OUR war - that they may want to strike. This will happen again and all the happy horseshit and incredible amounts of money spent on the bogus "homeland security" effort that seems to be designed to scare us rather than protect us will do nothing to stop it. It should be fairly clear to everyone that it is not our great security efforts that have prevented such an attack - at least not the national effort (I will believe that alert local cops and all probably do reduce the likelihood). But every day, in every way, we see tests to the system that fail miserably. No, the only reason we haven't had such attacks is that those who want to harm us simply haven't struck us yet.

Remember, none of the five thousand plus (we'll never know how many) "people of concern" (which usually means having an Arab or Muslim sounding name) picked up after 9/11 were ever charged (Moussaui was originally picked up before). We just created more hatred by showing such fear and hatred of Muslims and others.

No one wanted to listen to Timothy McVeigh, a saluted Gulf War I veteran who came back and committed the worst act of domestic terrorism we know of (sorry, but I'm no longer so sure 9/11 was a totally "outside" job). Where what he had to say did make it out, we know that some of his strong feelings had to do with the first Gulf War, which was nothing as heinous as the current one.

Now, I'm hardly saying that McVeigh had any justification. I can't conceive of a justification for so many deaths. But what did he have to say? Maybe that would give us a better sense of how others feel and the lengths to which others might be willing to go.

Well, Someone is Lying

Bob Novak said he learned about Plame's identify from "two senior Administration officials" while Karl Rove, according to this Times story, testified to the grand jury in this case that he heard about Plame's identify from Novak, but then confirmed it (something by law he is not supposed to do - neither confirm nor deny).

So while it's possible Novak meant other Admin officials besides Rove, the kosher smell test is still failing miserably.

Grand Jury Learns Cheney's #2 Man "Obsessed with Wilson"

From the hardly-blue NY Daily News:

WASHINGTON - The special prosecutor probing the outing of a CIA spy is looking beyond who leaked Valerie Plame's identity, seeking whether White House aides tried to cover their tracks after her name went public, sources told the Daily News.

Along with Bush political guru Karl Rove, the grand jury is investigating what role, if any, ex-White House mouthpiece Ari Fleischer may have played in the revelation that the former covert operative Plame was married to former Ambassador Joe Wilson.

"Ari's name keeps popping up," said one source familiar with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's probe.

Another source close to the probe added there is renewed interest in Fleischer, "based on Fitzgerald's questions."

A State Department memo that included background on Wilson - and who in the White House had access to it - appears to be a key to revealing who gave conservative columnist Robert Novak Plame's name, both sources said.

Another person of interest in the case is Vice President Cheney's chief of staff Lewis (Scooter) Libby, who was described as "totally obsessed with Wilson," the sources said.

Rove Called NSA After Talking with Time's Cooper

Hmmm.

After mentioning a
CIA operative to a reporter, Bush confidant Karl Rove alerted the president's No. 2 security adviser about the interview and said he tried to steer the journalist away from allegations the operative's husband was making about faulty Iraq intelligence.

The July 11, 2003, e-mail between Rove and then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley is the first showing an intelligence official knew Rove had talked to Matthew Cooper just days before the Time magazine reporter wrote an article identifying Valerie Plame as a CIA officer.

"I didn't take the bait," Rove wrote in an e-mail obtained by The Associated Press, recounting how Cooper tried to question him about whether President Bush had been hurt by the new allegations.

Christian Exodus

Poor, poor South Carolina, home to many who are moving there just to turn the state into a Christian-legislated land.

Is Rove Being Kept in Place to Protect Someone Higher Up?

David Sirota offers some interesting speculation (and yes, speculation) about why Rove is being kept on, namely that there is some evidence to believe he's there to deflect interest in someone higher up the Bushie food chain (and let's face it, there aren't too many higher except that perhaps in a Bush hierarchy, his brain might not get quite the attention it would with anyone else).

You have to go here to read it all, but here's a taste:

I am not one who likes to engage in a lot of speculation, but the Karl Rove/leak scandal has really gotten me thinking: why won't they just fire Rove? The answer is not that Rove is innocent, or even that they can't because he's too powerful - I'm starting to think the reason is because while Rove was definitely involved and definitely deserves to face legal consequnces, he wasn't the root. Somebody else was the root of this leak - and that somebody is likely a person the Bush administration can't just cut loose like they could even Rove, who is after all, a staffer. It must be somebody even higher up on the food chain.

Before I tell you who I think it might be, let's just go through what we know. Rove now admits he learned of the classified information from a journalist (which of course does not excuse him from going and confirming that information to another "journalist" like Bob Novak). It's very possible that person was Judith Miller, but that's not really important - what is important is that the journalist got the information from someone else...someone higher up.

7.15.2005

Heartbreaking

I happened to watch part of Fahrenheit 911 as I sat in my office tonight and I found it far more heart wrenching and draining than it was the first time.

Perhaps it's because I've seen how much evil has been done since then. Many of us could not imagine Mr. Bush would ever get a second term.

The mother who was very patriotic, and non-critical of Bush then was then hurt so badly after her son was killed just blows me away. Her grief is mine.

Unlike those who wanted this war, I often sit, when the local news channel or PBS or NightLine shows those who have died, and look at their faces and whisper, "I'm so sorry." I pray for their loved ones. Then I get angry with the Bushies all over again.

Can Rove Be Impeached?

Some ranking Democratic Congressman want to know.

Here:

The BRAD BLOG has learned that Congressmen John Conyers (D-MI) and Barney Frank (D-MA) have inquired with officials at the Library of Congress' Congressional Research Service this afternoon into whether impeachment proceedings would be appropriate for Senior White House Officials.

The release of a letter by the two congressmen was accompanied by a press release from the office of the ranking minority House Judiciary Committee member, John Conyers. In the letter, the two seek clarification from "a neutral authority" of whether the U.S. Constitution's Article II, regarding impeachment of a sitting President and Vice-President and "all civil officers", would apply to Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove who is currently embroiled in the on-going criminal investigation into who leaked classified information concerning the outting of covert CIA agent, Valerie Plame.Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution speaks to impeachment, but is not completely clear about which "civil officers" would fall under its jurisdiction.
    Art II, Sec. 4: "The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors"
The letter from Frank and Conyers attempts to seek clarification of the term "civil officers of the United States" and whether the clause would be applicable to Rove as a "high-ranking official in the White House and Executive Branch," according to their news release.

Rove Tied to More Filth: House Lobbying Scandal and DeLay

From Yahoo:

Karl Rove's involvement in leaking the name of a CIA operative for political advantage during wartime could be just the tip of the iceberg as far as unethical behavior, since his web of influence extends to the most notorious figure of the House Lobbying Scandal.

"It's widely known that Karl Rove has been pulling strings all over Washington for years, obviously not just in the case of the Plame leak," said Peter L. Kelley, manager of the Campaign for a Cleaner Congress.

"What is not widely known, however, is his close connection with Jack Abramoff, who is at the center of the lobbying scandal in which Washington is now embroiled. Rove let archconservative operatives like Grover Norquist call shots at the White House. And just this week, a Texas judge ruled that a former Rove lieutenant must face felony charges of money laundering for
Tom DeLay's political operation.

"Without further ethics reforms, the public has virtually no ability to find out what is really going on in Washington these days," Kelley said. "But what we do know is starting to smell, and it offers a starting point for further investigation."

For sources on the following, and a 5-point plan to limit the influence-peddling in Washington, see http://www.cleanercongress.org

-- When Rove got to the White House in 2001, he hired as his personal assistant Susan Ralston, previously Abramoff's personal assistant. Ralston has since become an insider's insider.

-- Norquist reportedly made a deal in which Ralston would take messages for Rove at the White House, then call Norquist to tell her whether she should put the caller through.

-- John Colyandro wrote direct mail pieces for Rove in the 1980s. When he was hired as executive director of the Texans for a Republican Majority PAC, he was described as a "longtime pal of Rove's." This week, a judge said Colyandro must stand trial for laundering over $600,000 in corporate campaign contributions.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

They say the lies are getting closer and closer to Bush himself. They are quite right.

Message: fire Rove now.

Instead, Bush is going out of his way to be photographed with the man (and I use the term "man" loosely.

A Thank You

... to all who made a special trip over to Skippy's the last few weeks.

While he didn't make his millionth visitor by Wednesday, I know he'll get there soon.

A Thank You

... to all who made a special trip over to Skippy's the last few weeks.

While he didn't make his millionth visitor by Wednesday, I know he'll get there soon.

Did the Bush Administration Botch Attempts to Stop the London Bombings?

I've read several articles today that indicates this may indeed be true - and heinous.

Here's one account, from AmericaBlog.

This isn't the first time we've screwed the pooch on something that would have prevented trouble. Given the large number of failures on 9/11 and the fact that despite massive amounts of money poured into homeland security and the "War on Terror", we're less rather than more safe, it keeps bringing me unhappily back to questions of whether 9/11 was at least something of an inside job.

That's the problem with liars: when they lie about everything, it's very hard to believe them simply because you can't imagine they would actually do something so so so atrocious.

More Politicization of Public Broadcasting

The Washington Post lets slip that the next CPB chairman (Tomlinson's term ends in September) may be a major GOP donor and Kool-aid distributor.

Oh yes, and there's an active rumor that Jonas Goldberg - the chunky spawn of Lucianne who loves to incite people to commit violence against the Clintons, for example - is about to get his own PBS show. Name one liberal or moderate with a PBS show. But yet we have that WSJ show, Tavis Smiley, and Tucker Carlson there.

Rove: Story Keeps Changing

NOW he insists he didn't out Plame that the reporter said he'd heard Plame was CIA and Rove merely said, "Yeah, I heard something like that, too."

Anyone wonder why after two years, and especially after the last week, this version is only NOW coming out? You should be.

Rove has played so fast and loose with the truth for so long and gotten away with it that he - and other key members of the GOP - assume they can continue to do it. I'd love to prove them wrong.

Something's Up with Comments

I don't think any comments have been lost and when I just tried them, they seem to work, but I notice that the comment count at the bottom of each post reads 0 even when there are several comments.

I dunno what's up but I suspect it's related to whatever HaloScan was doing last night that disabled comments. If I find out something, I'll tell you.

PlameGate from the Perspective of Plame's Colleagues

DC Media Girl points us to an excellent collaborative piece at No Quarter that gives us an honest look at why the outing of a CIA operative is such a big deal. I'd say it's well worth your time.

A snippet:

We are speaking out because someone in the Bush Administration seemingly does not understand this, although they signed the same oaths of allegiance and confidentiality that we did. Many of us have moved on into the private sector, where this Agency aspect of our lives means little, but we have not forgotten our initial oaths to support the Constitution, our government, and to protect the secrets we learned and to protect each other. We still have friends who serve. We protect them literally by keeping our mouths shut unless we are speaking amongst ourselves. We understand what this bond or the lack of it means.

Clearly some in the Bush Administration do not understand the requirement to protect and shield national security assets. Based on published information we can only conclude that partisan politics by people in the Bush Administration overrode the moral and legal obligations to protect clandestine officers and security assets. Beyond supporting Mrs. Wilson with our moral support and prayers we want to send a clear message to the political operatives responsible for this. You are a traitor and you are our enemy. You should lose your job and probably should go to jail for blowing the cover of a clandestine intelligence officer. You have set a sickening precedent. You have warned all U.S. intelligence officers that you may be compromised if you are providing information the White House does not like. A precedent, as one colleague pointed out during our brief appearances, allows you to build out a case based on previous legal actions and court decisions. It’s a slippery slope if it lowers the bar.

Ambassador Wilson’s political affiliations are irrelevant. Political differences serve as the basis for the give and take of representative government. What is relevant is the damage caused by the exposure that Ambassador Wilson’s wife as a political act intended to undermine Wilson’s view.

It is shameful on one level that the White House uses the news media, its own leaks, and junior Congressmen from Georgia, among others, to levy attacks on Ambassador Wilson. Moreover they discount what he has to say, his value in the Niger investigation, and suggest his wife’s cover is of little value because she was “a low-level CIA employee”. If Wilson’s comments or analysis have no merit, why does the White House feel the need to launch such a coordinated attack? Why drag his wife into it?

Warning: Posting May be a Little Light the Next Couple Days

I am so far behind it is not funny with volumes of material due before the end of the day Monday. But now that I've said this, of course, I'll post double the usual amount this weekend. But feel free to start up a discussion yourself in Comments!

The Hour is Late

and there are many miles to travel (metaphorically) tomorrow.

So....

G'night John Boy, Jim Bob, Mary Ellen, Elizabeth, Ben, Jason, and that other girl.

What Matters More than Rove Himself

Excellent editorial by the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

The real issue, more serious and less glitzy than whether Bush will stand by his political adviser, is the extraordinary efforts the Bush administration made to protect a case for war in Iraq from all contradictory evidence -- in effect, as the British spymaster Sir Richard Dearlove put it, to "fix" the facts and intelligence so they would support a decision already made.

[snip]


In the scheme of things, whether Rove revealed Plame's identity, deliberately or not, matters less than actions by Rove, Bolton, Cheney and others to phony up a case for war that has gone badly, has cost thousands of lives plus hundreds of billions of dollars, and has, a majority of Americans now believe, left the United States less safe from terrorism rather than more.

That's the indictment which should matter most.

Karl Rove's America

From Paul Krugman:


What Mr. Rove understood, long before the rest of us, is that we're not living in the America of the past, where even partisans sometimes changed their views when faced with the facts. Instead, we're living in a country in which there is no longer such a thing as nonpolitical truth. In particular, there are now few, if any, limits to what conservative politicians can get away with: the faithful will follow the twists and turns of the party line with a loyalty that would have pleased the Comintern.

I first realized that we were living in Karl Rove's America during the 2000 presidential campaign, when George W. Bush began saying things about Social Security privatization and tax cuts that were simply false. At first, I thought the Bush campaign was making a big mistake - that these blatant falsehoods would be condemned by prominent Republican politicians and Republican economists, especially those who had spent years building reputations as advocates of fiscal responsibility. In fact, with hardly any exceptions they lined up to praise Mr. Bush's proposals.

Dept of Homeland Security's Job is to Keep You Afraid

Many of us have suspected this for a very long time, but Foreign Policy has gone on record as stating this is most assuredly the case.

Nevada's Young Republicans Chapter Implodes - Much Finger Pointing

Perhaps Chapter President Nathan Taylor should consider participating in Operation Yellow Elephant. On a Combat GI's salary, it should take no longer than say, maybe a decae, to pay that $25,000 back.

Pink Slip Friday?

In the mood to pink slip someone today - someone like "Bush's brain", Karl Rove? If so, Rep. Louise Slaughter has the venue for you, letting you send a pink slip of your own to George's personal Turd Blossom.

More on Rove's Past

From Cursor.org:

Slate's Timothy Noah inaugurates his Karl Rove Death Watch, and the Los Angeles Times reminds that Rove, who has "the broadest portfolio of any presidential aide in history," was fired from George H.W. Bush's second presidential campaign, "because of suspicions that he had leaked information to columnist Robert Novak."

7.14.2005

White House Iraq Group (WHIG)

Lambert posting at Corrente brings us the story behind the Rove/PlameGate story: the White House Iraq Group whose members, from Cheney on down, seem to come up again and again in the narrative about this case.

In the Bill Clinton May Have Had Sex with an Intern, But Bush is Screwing Us All Without Our Consent and Without Dinner Either Department

Lifted from the great Skippy who lifted it from DKos.

HaloScan Comments are Down

That's what the message says anyway.

Figures, as soon as I post a "write your own caption" event.

Sirota: GOP Defeats Efforts to Seal Up National Security Leaks Like the Rove One

From David:

The Senate just finished up voting on the Democratic amendment to crackdown on high government officials who leak classified information and compromise U.S. national security. Incredibly, the self-described "pro-national security" Republican Party voted down the legislation, apparently ignoring all of their previous claims to despise leaks. The GOP also voted down their own amendment, apparently realizing how ridiculous it really was.

The Ever Delusional Ann Coulter

From Mr. An-thrax (aka The Topic Toothpick with Testosterone):

Karl Rove was right. The real story about Joseph C. Wilson IV was not that Bush lied about Saddam seeking uranium in Africa; the story was Clown Wilson and his paper-pusher wife, Valerie Plame. By foisting their fantasies of themselves on the country, these two have instigated a massive criminal investigation, the result of which is: The only person who has demonstrably lied and possibly broken the law is Joseph Wilson.
The only surprise here is that with Peter King suggesting the media be shot, Tom DeLay insisting Matt Cooper "didn't act professional" and Chuck Colson saying that Karl Rove is the most decent and righteous man he's ever known, Ann doesn't even stand all that far apart in her extreme mental illness.

Rehnquist

How relieved are you that he said tonight he has no immediate plans to retire, despite Novak's insistence that his resignation was due last week?

Elsewhere, I hear various people and platforms are trying to encourage Sandra Day O'Connor to reconsider her retirement. I'd love to see this happen but if Rehnquist stays, it's not like she can be offered the top dog spot on the court.

Arnold

Considering the grave mess in California, where he called out the National Guard to investigate protesting grannies, you'd think Arnold would be busy with, you know, California business.

I don't think I've ever known a magazine to pay $8 million to anyone a year for "consulting" services, let alone a muscle magazine which, last I heard, was still mostly purchased by people who are uh... attracted by the pictures (unlike Playboy which, of course, they read for the articles).

One of the defenses I've heard is that it was a pre-existing gig. In truth, however, Arnold signed the deal AFTER he won the special recall election and two days before he took the oath of office.

Our First Ever "Write Your Own Caption" Event


I know, your heart is going pitter-pat.

Here's the pic. You supply the caption. And for the record, I lifted this from Wonkette who was working on her third drink of the hour at the time and hopefully failed to notice.

Bob Novak: Hardly the Unwitting Pawn

Josh Marshall in The Hill has this to say on the matter:

Strip away all the stress and fury on both sides of the aisle this week and you’ll find one key question at the heart of both the legal and political storm surrounding the president’s top political adviser.

That is, did Karl Rove and other top administration officials, for whatever reason, knowingly reveal the identity of a covert CIA agent or were they unaware of her covert status? As prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald would no doubt tell us if he were at liberty to speak, divining, let alone proving, knowledge and intent in such a case is a very tricky business. But there’s a good bit of circumstantial evidence pointing to the conclusion that Rove and others knew exactly what they were doing.

What was Judith Miller Up To?

Good column from Editor and Publisher. Snippet here:

In his column of July 10, grieving for his colleague Miller who "has been taken away in shackles for refusing to name the source for a story she never wrote," Rich weighed in with the melodramatic conclusion that "this is worse than Watergate.” But Rich later found ground in reality when he wrote that the scandal began with the sending of American men and women to war in Iraq based on twisted intelligence. Unlike many of Miller's apologists, he recalled that "Judy Miller was one of two reporters responsible for a notoriously credulous front-page Times story" (with Michael Gordon in September 2002) that enabled the Bush Administration's propaganda campaign to hype the threat of Saddam's WMD.

This was just one of her error-ridden contributions to the cause of invasion. Demonstrating a singular lack of propriety, one of the most insensitive comments of the past week came from Miller herself when she told the judge after he sentenced her to jail: if U.S. troops could risk death in Iraq, "surely, I can face prison to defend a free press."
Emphasis mine; I found her comment stomach-turning.

Bloomberg News: Wilson's Allegations Hold Up as True

Also from Jeralyn at TalkLeft:

Bloomberg News reports that Joseph Wilson's accusations against White House officials hold up against Republican accusations against him.
    The main points of Wilson's article have largely been substantiated by a Senate committee as well as U.S. and United Nations weapons inspectors. A day after Wilson's piece was published, the White House acknowledged that a claim Bush made in his January 2003 state of the union address that Iraq tried to buy ``significant quantities of uranium from Africa'' could not be verified and shouldn't have been included in the speech.

    While the administration was justified at the time in being concerned that Hussein was trying to build nuclear weapons, ``on the specifics of this I think Joe Wilson was right,'' said Michael O'Hanlon, a scholar of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
Wilson appeared on the Today Show today and called for Karl Rove to be fired for abuse of power. And Raw Story has an exclusive new interview with Wilson.

Adorable Couple, Aren't They?


I lifted this shamelessly from The General who, I hope, is feeling better today.

Don't forget to check out the new blog he's associated with his big effort: Operation Yellow Elephant.

Where Does Ari Fleischer Fit into the Rove-PlameGate Scandal

Others have asked this question recently, but Jeralyn Merritt - that brave, sharp-as- a-samurai defense lawyer - brings it all together at TalkLeft. It's fascinating, too. Ari was apparently more of a dance partner than the ever-sweating Scott McClellan spokesweasel.

Good Roundup of L'Affair de Turd Blossom

Crooks and Liars has a good synopsis of what's being said and where.

Bush Playing Fast and Loose (as Always) with Economic Figures

Think Progress backs up my comments of yesterday when Bush spoke at his two-question press conference - with Karl Rove smirking in the background:

President Bush used recent news about the budget deficit – this year’s deficit will be “$333 billion…almost $100 billion less than earlier estimates” – to “[vindicate] his stewardship of the economy and budget.” The President then took advantage of the opportunity and stated, “It’s a sign that our tax relief plan, our pro-growth policies, are working.”

Despite the President’s self-congratulatory words, economic analysts have reached a totally different conclusion. While maintaining that “the trimming of the deficit is certainly a positive development,” they repeated the fact that “consensus among economists and financial analysts, and the empirical data, are strongly consistent with the basic, common-sense notion that tax cuts do not pay for themselves.” And, after taking a big picture on the economy, the experts found that “the reduction in this year’s deficit from a very large one to a large one has little bearing on the nation’s shaky long-term fiscal foundation.”

The Loons Just Get Wilder

We have Rep Peter King (R-Nuts, NY) saying Russert and others in the media should be shot for questioning Karl Rove "who deserves a medal" for "having the guts" - the guts to do what? Subvert democracy? Lie? Run the country into the septic system? Outing an undercover CIA agent who was trying to find and destroy WMD JUST as the president SAID he wanted done to make America safer?

There's John Gibson at Faux saying Rove should have outed Plame sooner and should out more covert agents. Really? So we charge these folks with doing dangerous work and then we blow the cover on them if we don't like them? Huh?

We've got Rush Lame-hog and company telling us Plame wasn't really a covert agent... but she WAS. In fact, John Bolton - the embattled UN ambassador nominee that Bush is expected to appoint on a recess appointment despite the fact that the majority of Americans find him a very bad choice - is probably the one who clued Rove and company in on Plame's super secret status. Is this a man you want in charge of your poop pile, like alone your diplomatic relations with the rest of the world?

Every nut in the world is out there screaming right now, and what they scream is pure madness and delusion. It's antithetical to the same "War on Terror" Bush says we must fight seriously.

Say hello to

Jeff at Red Hair, Black Leather who graced us with a visit today.

I see he likes Karl Rove as much as many of us do (but, on a more domestic note, I've got to try his recipe for frozen coconut pie which sounds delightful on a sultry summer afternoon).

7.13.2005

That Poll I Cited Earlier Could Get Much Worse

Attaturk at Rising Hegemon points out why - such as the fact that the poll closed before the biggest news of the Rove/PlameGate scandal broke - these poll numbers for Bush could sink much lower.

You have to assume, too, that the poll includes at least a few percentage points bounce by those who saw the london bombings and decided now was not the time to question our belooped leader.

Seattle PI: 86% Say Fire Rove

The Post Intelligencer has a good piece on the Rove-Plame matter and what Mr. Bush should be doing about it rather than sitting and waiting. It's followed up with a poll that, at day's end, shows nearly 86% want Rove fired for his actions.

Weekly Reader

From Editor and Publisher:

NEW YORK Details have emerged since E&P first reported yesterday that an editor at Weekly Reader, the newspaper for school kids, was arrested by federal authorities after he allegedly tried to solicit sex from someone he thought was a teenage boy.

It turns out that the 14-year-old named “Chris” who he met in a Web chat room was actually an undercover FBI agent named David George.

Noel Neff, 46, of Norwalk, CT, a former sportswriter for Florida papers, was arrested Saturday outside a mall in Franklin, Mass., where authorities say he had hoped to meet "Chris."He now faces federal charges of using an interstate facility (the Internet) to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity.
Oops (and I'll bet $5 he's a card carrying Republican).

The Law Behind the Turd Blossom Hubbub

This from The Carpetbagger Report, notably the exact law in effect here regarding Rove's actions against Plame:

The fact that right-wing critics are leaping to Karl Rove's defense is not surprising. The lengths to which they're going to make things up is.

The two myths I've seen the most often are the idea that Valerie Plame was not really an undercover CIA agent and that identifying Plame is legally permissible so long as the White House hacks didn't literally mention her name. Both of these claims are ridiculous.

First, the literal use of Plame's name during the White House leak is irrelevant. This is the law:
    Whoever, as a result of having authorized access to classified information, learns the identity of a covert agent and intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined not more than $25,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. [50 USC 421(b)] (emphasis added)
Second, as Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and counter-terrorism official at the State Department (who's been emphasizing the seriousness of this scandal for quite a while), explained at TPM Café, Plame really was an undercover CIA agent.

Just How Many Iraqis Have Really Died

We know that the Pentagon is lying when they say they keep no count.

Here's this from Dohiyi Mir:

UPI:
    An Iraqi humanitarian organization is reporting that 128,000 Iraqis have been killed since the U.S. invasion began in March 2003...[which] includes everyone who has been killed since that time, adding that 55 percent of those killed have been women and children aged 12 and under.

    'Iraqiyun obtained data from relatives and families of the deceased, as well as from Iraqi hospitals in all the country's provinces. The 128,000 figure only includes those whose relatives have been informed of their deaths and does not include those were abducted, assassinated or simply disappeared.

    'Iraqiyun's figures conflict with the Iraqi Body Count public database compiled by Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies. According to the Graduate Institute of International Studies' database, 39,000 Iraqis have been killed as a direct result of combat or armed violence since March 2003.

What Political Reporters Say About Rove's Presence at Bush Press "Moment" Today

For those who failed to notice, Rove was sitting in back of Bush during the short press event ths morning, at times looking fairly amused as the president fielded - and dropped by hot shit - two questions about Mr. Rove's involvement in PlameGate.

Almost uniformly, the political reporters say his presence means one thing: the president has zero intention of getting rid of Rove, regardless of what happens. Otherwise, they say, Rove would be hidden away. Even Laura, calling in from Africa, said Rove was a close personal friend and a good guy and practically the Mother Theresa of our country.

Now, one thing that is not clear is how much this is registering with the American public. Andrea Mitchell said it's clear Bush believes the public is paying no attention to this and that if they do notice, they just think the media is "picking on" the Bushies for partisan reasons.

Yet in polls like MSNBC's the other day, those voting said 4 to 5 that he should resign or be fired. Now, granted, probably only those who know the issues would vote because they may feel strongly about the matter.

I'd like to think the public is smart enough to make the connection that Rove's smearing of Wilson's wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame, is part and parcel part of the leadup to a cooked war. Reallt, that's what it is... more Niger/Italy lies, Chalabi spin, etc., but with one big difference: endangering not only the lives of those working within Plame's WMD unit including Plame herself but also a direct and obvious attempt to shut up critics. Remember that it's the CIA the Bushies usually pick to fall on their sword.

Anyone have a sense with how well the public does "get" the Rove case?

New NBC-Wall Street Journal Poll Not Good

That is, if your name is Dubya.

Despite what many expected to be a post-London bounce in numbers, the president fell or stayed at previously low numbers across the board. One significant change, says pollsters, is that fact that there's a heck of a drop in the poll category about Bush the person. There, he's stayed above 50% until this poll. Now he's down to 41%, the first time he's fallen so much there. Notably, this category includes trustworthiness.

According to MSNBC, he lost significant ground with women, with Independents, and another group I can't remember right now.

The poll also shows Americans are very, very unhappy with the politicking in Washington and that while they feel religion should play some role in daily life, that they do not want an extremist as a Supreme Court justice.

Congress showed figures even worse than Bush, in percentages that had not been this bad since 1994 when Newt Gingrich led the GOP takeover of the House. But Tweety Bird Matthews, on whose show these results were announced, said this meant the public wouldn't stand for filibusters or any attempts to block Mr. Bush's Supreme nominees. I guess the GOP does not politicking. ::cough::

Another Rove/GOP Lie

From Stranger at Blah3:

It's time to fire Karl Rove. And then put him in cuffs.
    The lies by people like Victoria Toensing, Representative Peter King, and P. J. O'Rourke insist that Valerie was nothing, just a desk jockey. Yet, until Robert Novak betrayed her she was still undercover and the company that was her front was still a secret to the world. When Novak outed Valerie he also compromised her company and every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company and with her.

    The Republicans now want to hide behind the legalism that "no laws were broken". I don't know if a man made law was broken but an ethical and moral code was breached. For the first time a group of partisan political operatives publically identified a CIA NOC. They have set a precendent that the next group of political hacks may feel free to violate.

Zell Miller, Thief of the Taxpayers?

David Sirota also brings us this on the GOP's favorite Democrat - and Fox News heh... contributor, Zell "the Yell" Miller:

Georgia political analyst Bill Shipp reports that former Sen. Zell Miller - the guy who piously brags about his own integrity - essentially stole $80,000 from Georgia taxpayers upon leaving office when he was governor.

According to Shipp, who was quoting a WSB-TV investigation, Miller "pocketed more than $60,000 in taxpayer funds earmarked for entertainment and other expenses at the Governor's Mansion." Miller "also picked up a check for more than $20,000 for 'unused leave' - a sum to which he was not entitled as a constitutional officer."

Hilariously, Zell explained himself by "say[ing] that he was technically eligible to take the mansion money as his own because no one said he could not." Of course, "every other living governor from Jimmy Carter to Sonny Perdue told [WSB-TV] that they did not consider the mansion money theirs - and that they would not have taken it. The cash was meant for use at the mansion, not for lining the occupants' pockets, they said."
Zell is definitely a GOPer at heart.

Another Great Republican: Peter King Suggests Shooting the Media for Questioning Rove

From David Sirota:

New York Rep. Peter King (R) is the latest example of how the modern-day Republican Paty is dominated by wild-eyed right-wing lunatics determined to hold onto power, no matter how indefensible their behavior is. On television and in newspapers, King is trying to make Karl Rove's treasonous leak of classified information into a positive for the White House, while once again resorting to making physically threatening statements about retribution.

As Atrios notes, on the right-wing cable show Scarborough Country, King said the media "who gave [Ambassador Joe Wilson] such a free ride...they're the ones to be shot." Right, we shouldn't thank Wilson for exposing the fact that the Iraq War, which has caused so many casualties, was based on lies. We should shoot reporters.

King went on to then say "maybe Karl Rove was not perfect [but] we live in an imperfect world, and I give him credit for having the guts." To out of touch hacks like King, people who sell out America's security, as long as they are Republican, should get "credit for having the guts" to compromise our national security as long as they are doing it to grind a political axe against somebody like Wilson who had the guts to tell the truth.

King followed up this disgusting screed with another one to the Washington Post. He told the paper that "Republicans should stop holding back and go on the offense: Fire enough bullets the other way until the Supreme Court [nomination] overtakes" the Rove story. Exactly: because there is absolutely no defense for Rove's behavior, Republicans are now admitting that all they can do is try to change the subject.
Yet they whine whine whine because Hillary suggested the president's crew was a bit like having Alfred E. Newman of MAD Magazine at the helm.

Rehnquist Hospitalized

Will this bring about news of his retirement sooner?

Time will tell. I'm sure Bush at this point would like to deflect talk of Rove by the chatter that will occur with Rehnquist stepping down, just as the Downing Street talk was overshadowed by O'Connor's bow out.

What Poppy Bush Says About Those Like Karl Rove

From the president's dad, who fired Karl Rove over a similar, but far less serious, offense:

"I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the names of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors."

Lies the GOP Tells Us

Raw Story breaks the story of the GOP talking points offered up to take the heat of dark lord and chief Turd Blossom, Karl Rove.

Snippet here:

The document, emblazoned with the words "Special Edition" and dated Tuesday, seeks to discredit claims put forth by Ambassador Joseph Wilson, whose wife was 'outed' as a covert operative by a conservative columnist. After obtaining copies of emails sent from a Time reporter to his editor, Newsweek fingered Rove as a source for the leak which disclosed the agent's identity.

The talking points mirror a release by Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman earlier Tuesday, in which he declared the attacks on Rove were spawned by the 'MoveOn' wing of the Democratic Party. MoveOn later accused the White House of a 'cover up.'

Top Dog Blogs

At the top right, you see a new addition, blogs that I think are particularly valuable and deserve a shout-out. This list will change weekly and I encourage you to suggest possible selections.

Say hello to

Capitol Buzz, the blog.

Saluting Skippy

This is the final day of Skippy's third blogiversary observance and, besides encouraging you to hop on over and jump into his blog pouch, I want to acknowledge what Skippy has meant to me.

Skippy combines real reporting and discussion with humor, something that is much needed and much appreciated today. I love his gentle spirit combined with his sharp mind, and I love the fact that he expanded his repertoire by bringing in some excellent co-bloggers. Besides Josh Marshall, Skippy is the only blog I check as often today as I did when I first began reading blogs in 2003.

Thank you, Skippy, for all you do, and all you bring to the blogging community.

The President Speaks

For those who missed the 8 seconds the president "spoke" to the press today - with Rummy at his elbow like, if needed, he would pull Rummy in front of him as a human shield - let me give you the shorter, no smirk version:

"The smart guys in my administerstrashun doctored up them numbers so it looks like we have less debt than we actually have. Good 'nuf!

What this tells me is that I'm doing a bang-up job of fakin' it, y'know? Oh yeah, and unemployment's at its lowest evuh cos we doctored them numbers too - and did you know that we got more people working in the US than have evah worked before? Yeah, the smarties out there will say that happens when you make 75-year-olds work cos we screwed their retirement and that the population's up so yeah, you'd see them numbers but I'm gonna take credit for it anyway.

And for the reporters askin' pesky questions about Turd Blossom (Karl Rove)? I smirked em up real good. Yeehaw!

Transcript of Worm Squirming

Think Progress has the full transcript of WH spokesweasel being turned on the rotisserie spit.

7.12.2005

Yet I Happen to Think the 13th is Lucky

July 13th has been a weird anniversary for me the last year or so.

On that date in 2003, after spending days unable to breath properly or sleep or lie down or eat because of a terrible pain in my rib, I started a journey of what would become about three weeks in ICU with a rare condition that exacts an extremely high mortality rate; the few who survive generally spend 2-3 weeks in a drug-induced coma while they are forcibly ventilated.

Luckily, both due to my doctors and the medical staff along with my general cussedness, I managed to escape the drug-induced coma but I had more hardware coming out of my lung than I'd like to remember and oxygen being force fed at high levels of pressure.

Strangely enough, that's when this blog was born. I was on deadline when I took ill, so I insisted my laptop be brought to me while I was laid up. When I went south and almost died on my third night in the hospital and I got transferred to ICU and then had emergency surgery right there in ICU later the same night, the laptop happened to go with me.

In England, David Kelley had just died and there were lots of questions as to whether it was a suicide or not. Back then, there was already a lot of poorly lit evidence the Iraq war was cooked. Hours after my surgery, high as a kite on Demerol, I crawled out of my bed and got my laptop. I logged on to check Skippy, Media Whores, Atrios, Daily Kos, and Talking Points Memo to see what they were saying about Kelley and WMD and Iraq.

Over the next few days, blogs became my lifeline to reality. Brain damage is a common part of the illness I had, but I was convinced that if I could get online and read and comprehend, my brain wasn't gone just yet. Doctors and nurses kept trying to take the laptop away - I was also working on manuscripts - but I refused to let it go. I'm sorely convinced that had I not had the blogs, and my work, I wouldn't have survived. I also made a vow to myself that if I survived, I was going to become a voice trying to ask and answer the tough questions, to stand up and speak out regardless of the cost. Oh yeah, and I also promised to quit smoking.

So here I am, two years later. Unfortunately, every single breath I have taken in those two years brings horrible, horrible pain that neither drugs nor therapeutic massage nor meditation does anything to alleviate. Yet I work, I get around, I blog, I live. And I don't smoke. ;)

We now return to our regularly scheduled lies, scandal, and quagmires, already in progress.

Bush: "Who's Karl Rove?"

Hysterical, from Tom Burka at Opinions You Should Have (and mentioned, I believe, on CNN this afternoon):

In a press conference yesterday, White House spokesperson Scott McClellan refused to confirm that the President knew a "Karl Rove" or that he had ever come across anyone by that name.

"I will not comment upon whether the name is even vaguely familiar to me," said McClellan, saying that "the White House has a policy of not giving potentially damaging information to the public at any time."

McClellan received questions from reporters about an incident wherein Mr. Rove -- today the Deputy Chief of Staff at the White House -- compromised the nation's security in order to punish a former ambassador with whom he was displeased. In response, McClellan declined to say whether the President still had confidence in Rove, would not say whether the President had spoken to Rove about the "Plame incident," whether the President knew him, or had heard of him.

Dozens Killed in Iraq Suicide Bombing

23 of them were Iraqi recruits... 9 others died in a checkpoint blast, but at least 10 and some say many more have died as well.

Routine Suspects Allowed to Suffocate in Iraqi Metal Box

My God. Understand, they arrest very old women and very small children under this label. Usually, it's just a round-up of anyone in an area until they can figure out who's who. But this amounts to summary execution... and a pretty miserable way to die, too.

Nine building workers have died in Iraq after being arrested on suspicion of insurgent activity and then left in a closed metal container.

Three men survived the ordeal, police sources said, despite being left for 14 hours in the burning Iraqi summer heat.

They had apparently been caught up in a firefight between US troops and Iraqi gunmen, and were detained after taking an injured colleague to hospital.

Police commandos face numerous claims that they abuse and torture detainees.

Meanwhile, gunmen have attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint north of Baghdad, killing at least nine soldiers.

Police sources told the BBC that at least 12 men had been arrested on Sunday after they had taken a colleague to hospital in Ameriya with gunshot wounds.

A local resident, thinking they were insurgents, called the police, who sent commandos to arrest the men.

Now the White House is Blaming the Reporter Cooper

From Digby:

It was that rat bastard Cooper:
    "By any definition, he burned Karl Rove," Luskin said of Cooper. "If you read what Karl said to him and read how Cooper characterizes it in the article, he really spins it in a pretty ugly fashion to make it seem like people in the White House were affirmatively reaching out to reporters to try to get them to them to report negative information about Plame."
Oooh. That's dangerous stuff there. It may not be the smartest thing in the world for Karl Rove's lawyer to be disparaging Matt Cooper on the day before he testifies, do you think? They only know what one e-mail says and they have no idea what Cooper is going to say. Bizarre.

Some Smelly Issues Besides Rove

First, a judge comdemns the Bush Dept of Interior for their conduct re: Native Americans and then, this:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The man leading the Defense Department's search for missing American service members is being investigated by the Pentagon for allegations of abusive management, The Associated Press has learned.

The accusations include reprisals against subordinates and sexual harassment of a female employee, according to Pentagon officials familiar with the inquiry.

Jerry D. Jennings, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, also has been accused by groups outside government of undermining his own office's mission of accounting for service members considered missing in action. They say he has alienated families of the missing and demoralized his staff.

The Museum of Interactive News

OK, one I didn't know before: Newseum.

Rove: Newspapers Cover the Stink

DailyKos has quite a front page retrospective of the shit Karl Rove and his lawyer are trying to lie his way out of, along with an MSNBC poll with results saying more than 80% think Rove should resign.

Folks, Rove and Cheney have been running the country - and while you can argue we really didn't elect Bush either, Rove we really did NOT elect. College dropout, someone who is considered the dirtiest political trickster, and he runs this country.

Even if the White House publicly bails on him, he's still going to be running the country. So let them keep Machiavelli Turd Blossom right there, in plain sight. Rove is just part of the evil documented in the Downing Street Memo issue. We can't just chute Rove and then pretend the rest of it doesn't matter, which is what will happen if Rove is scapegoated here.

Quiz: "How American Are You?"

Found this quiz link over at Nick Lewis' today and it seemed more scintillating than the chapter I was working on for a book.

My results? Er...

You Are 45% American
America: You don't love it or want to leave it.
But you wouldn't mind giving it an extreme make over.
On the 4th of July, you'll fly a freak flag instead...
And give Uncle Sam a sucker punch!

Is Blogging Hazardous to Your (Employment) Health

Tom at Corrente raises some good points about how blogging may make it tougher for you either in your current job or in applying for a new one.

Interestingly enough, I think this only applies if you are critical of this administration. For example, your boss may not like this prez either, but he's much less apt to get nervous if you're saying nice things about George than if you're pointing out serious inconsistencies and errors in policies, actions, etc.

As I've mentioned before, I really debated before I started this blog 19 months ago whether I should use a pen name (like Atrios did for a long time), as well as how much of a hit I would take for being honest. I decided that yes, it would probably "hurt" me in the long run, but it was necessary to do. And if it was necessary to do, I felt I had to use my real name, and not the "nickname" I use in my professional writing.

While I do not promote my blog, mention it in my curriculum vitae or publishing credentials or on my professional Web site, or discuss it with publishers or editors, I find that they usually discover the blog. In a recent job interview, the recruiter asked me about my blog even though I had not told them about it (there was no reason to do so because one had nothing to do with the other). She didn't appear too happy about the idea and even went so far as to say, "Don't you consider it risky to criticize the government at this time?" Likewise, an editor recently dropped me a note to say, "Hey! I like your blog" but then went on to say that I should be very, very careful.

Freedom of speech, eh?

Birth Announcement



(No, NOT me!) Posted by the General, a great (and very heterosexual) patriot.

You Know it's Bad When Even Tim Russert Tells the Truth

Posted by Cookie Jill at Skippy:

russert: one republican said to me last night. if this was a democratic white house, we'd have congressional hearings in a second.
Oh, yes, indeedy.



Another Feisty White House Press Conference

Did someone reattach the testicles of the WH press corps?

I almost choked on my V8 when Scott McClellan said, "I look forward to the time when I can answer your questions."

Oh, I'm suuuurrrrreee.

Why Rove and PlameGate Tie Into Downing Street

In talking with a few folks yesterday, I found people voicing disappointment that the whole Karl Rove issue is eclipsing discussion of the Downing Street Memo documents and the leadup to war. But, as I said to them, these are not two separate entities.

What the Downing Street documents tell us is that the Bushies were going to war come hell or high water; that's why they had about five or six different excuses for doing so that they brought out as often as possible (freeing the Iraqis, protecting America, securing the oil, stabilizing the Middle East, et al).

Rove's outing of Valerie Plame, a CIA covert operative specifically working in the field of WMD, was just another facet of the whole game plan. Joe Wilson was sent in to investigate the Niger "yellow cake" claims. When he returned, he reported to the White House that these claims were not credible. Once he saw that the WH was completely ignoring his reports, he went to the media as in his op/ed with the New York Times. Now, the Bushies make it sound like he went right to The Times but that is clearly not true.

Once he did that, Rove as the Bushies dirty trickster decided to neutralize Wilson by outing Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, to journalists he felt would play ball, like Bob Novak, Matt Cooper, and Judith Miller. Then Novak ran the story that outed Plame and the rest, as they say, is history.

So don't think of these as two separate issues. The outing of Plame was done to try to cover up the fact that the Iraq War was cooked. This is how little the Bushies care about anything but their game plan that they would hide the truth and endanger the lives of Plame and others working with her so they could keep up with their plans for Iraq.

I don't think Rove should resign. I think he should be FIRED. More than that, I believe he should be indicted and tried for his crime. This is also part of what needs to happen to clear the deck of the lies that brought about the Iraq War.

7.11.2005

Bush, the Supreme Court, and Reproductive Rights

Discourse has a good piece up on the subject; snippet here, go there for it all:

We’re in Day Five of the Rehnquist resignation watch, ever since rumors of a Rehnquist resignation started to swirl Friday, while Chief Justice Rehnquist kept on refusing to validate them by actually resigning. As Josh Marshall has suggested, it’s in the Democrats’ interest for Rehnquist to resign now. If Bush gets one nomination now, he’ll likely pick a hard-liner (because that’s who he’ll want). The Democrats will filibuster, the Republicans will invoke the nuclear option, and Bush will get his appointment. If Bush gets one nomination now and one a year from now, same story (twice). If Bush has to fill two seats now, it’s less clear that he’ll be able to get away with appointing two hard-liners — he’ll face some peel-away in his own party.

Iran-Contra Figure Back Working at Pentagon

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Robert Earl, who destroyed national security documents during the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, is working as chief of staff to acting Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, the Pentagon said on Monday.

Earl destroyed and stole national security documents while working for Lt. Col. Oliver North during a secret arms deal with Iran in which the United States passed money from those weapons sales to Contra guerrillas in Nicaragua, according to a report to Congress by independent counsel Lawrence Walsh.
Just what we need. More criminals to whom politics mean more than the good or honor of the country who pays them.

Lovely. LA Times Says Bush Will Probably Benefit from London Bombings

WASHINGTON — The bombs exploded in London, but the repercussions are still rippling across Washington.

A surge in public concern about terrorism means a probable boost in support for President Bush and the war in Iraq.

Renewed fear of terrorist sleeper cells will probably spur increased support for tough law enforcement measures such as the Patriot Act, which is up for renewal. And there's new enthusiasm in Congress for increased spending on domestic security, especially mass transit — an area in which legislators were cutting budgets three weeks ago.

There's no telling how long the wave of concern will last. If the London attack gives way to months of calm, the increased fear — and any gain in popularity for Bush — may well be short-lived. But for the moment, Washington is back in 9/11 mode.

"The bombings will give both Bush and [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair a boost," said Christopher Gelpi, a political scientist at Duke University who studies public opinion in times of war. "I think the attacks may help slow the ebbing of [public] support over Iraq...





Darfur

Be a witness. Report the atrocities.

Signatures Collected in Iraq to Get the U.S. Out of Iraq

From Signs on San Diego:

PEACEFUL PROTEST: Iraqi women lined up yesterday at the offices of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to add their names to a petition calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Sadr's office said it plans to collect 1 million signatures.
A nod to Buzzflash for the link.




London Bombs Military in Nature, Not "Home Made"

From The Times of London:

A SINGLE bombmaker using high-grade military explosives is believed to be responsible for building the four devices that killed more than 50 people last week, The Times can reveal.

Similar components from the explosive devices have been found at all four murder sites, leading detectives to believe that each of the 10lb rucksack bombs was the work of one man. They also believe that the materials used were not home made but sophisticated military explosives, possibly smuggled into Britain from the Balkans.

“The nature of the explosives appears to be military, which is very worrying,” said Superintendent Christophe Chaboud, the chief of the French anti-terrorist police, who was in London to help Scotland Yard.




Karl Rove: Soft on Terror

Says Keith Olbermann who, while on vacation, actually blogged today.

From Keith:

To paraphrase Mr. Rove, liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers; conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared to ruin the career of one of the country’s spies tracking terrorist efforts to gain weapons of mass destruction -- for political gain.
Politics first, counter-terrorism second -- it’s as simple as that.





To Vermonters: VPIRG

Tonight as I prepared dinner, a young woman came by the house who was representing VPIRG - Vermont's leading watchdog and advocacy group (founded in 1972) - who is fighting the good fight for alternative power, against dirty power.

Now, money is ungodly tight right now and it's hard to make any kind of financial commitment.

BUT.... I do believe in putting my resources (money, time, other tangibles) where my small-sized but quite voluminous mouth is.

We know how much this administration is killing anything that looks at that which is not fossil fuel and pollution based. We know that the air quality in the state of Texas went downhill dramatically just during the 5 years of so of Bush as governor.

So I signed up to give a few bucks a month to help the cause. If I can do it, I bet most others can, too. It's an important cause, they're doing good work, and it's money well spent within our home state.

Say Hello to

Obey Big Brother with posts by Winston Smith. Like the banner, too. ;)

A Birthday Card for Our Belooped Leader

I'm a little late, but I just noticed the special birthday card Mr. Natural posted at Left Edge North for Mr. Bush.

The White House, Rove, and More Lies

Think Progress delivers some interesting recent and current facts, like how the WH first told us that the idea that Rove was involved in outing Plame was ridiculous and that Bush knew Rove was innocent.

First:

This morning, Newsweek revealed that Karl Rove told Time reporter Matt Cooper that Joe Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA.
Here is what White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said about the matter on 9/23/03:
    Q All right. Let me just follow up. You said this morning, “The President knows” that Karl Rove wasn’t involved. How does he know that?
    MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I’ve made it very clear that it was a ridiculous suggestion in the first place. I saw some comments this morning from the person who made that suggestion, backing away from that. And I said it is simply not true. So, I mean, it’s public knowledge. I’ve said that it’s not true. And I have spoken with Karl Rove –
And then there's this from today:
23: Number of times McClellan could’t answer a question because the Rove investigation is “ongoing.”
10: Number of times McClellan couldn’t answer a question because it was “related” to the investigation or in the “context” of the investigation.
16: Number of times McClellan said he just wouldn’t “comment” on a question.
5: Number of times McClellan assured reporters he “appreciates the questions” about Rove’s involvement in the Plame case.
8: Number of times McClellan told reporters he and the president were “helping” the investigation with their silence.
8: Number of times McClellan said he and President Bush want to “get to the bottom of this.”
3: Number of times McClellan said he and the president planned to “cooperate fully” with the investigation by not answering questions.
10: Number of times McClellan claimed he’d already “responded” to a reporter’s question.

CREW: Suspend Rove's Security Clearances

The press release is here. I think it's way past time this is done, too.

Wolf Blitzer is...

...such a Rove whore.

Predictions of Crude Oil at $100/Gallon by Late Fall

Must be nice to be an oil man, eh George Bush and Dick Cheney?

Christian Science Monitor Asks: Can Anyone Govern California?

Story here.

What pisses me off is that when they mention the governor Arnold replaced, they always cite the energy fiasco which we now know - proof positive - was engineered by Enron and the Bushies. But the article here tells us even unions are more popular in the state than the Arnold is now.

White House Declines Comment on Rove and the Leak that Outed CIA Covert Operative Plame

Lovely. At least Poppy Bush had the balls to fire Rove when he was in office for a less egregious leak.

However, the White House (Sheep) Press Corps also spent more than a week NOT asking any questions about Rove-Plame. Can't irritate George or Karl, you know.

What? No Textbooks?

Thankfully, I write for the electronic-only medium, too. Ouch.

TUCSON, Ariz. - A high school in Vail will become the state's first all-wireless, all-laptop public school this fall. The 350 students at the school will not have traditional textbooks. Instead, they will use electronic and online articles as part of more traditional teacher lesson plans.

Vail Unified School District's decision to go with an all-electronic school is rare, experts say. Often, cost, insecurity, ignorance and institutional constraints prevent schools from making the leap away from paper.

"The efforts are very sporadic," said Mark Schneiderman, director of education policy for the Software and Information Industry Association. "A minority of communities are doing a good or very good job, but a large number are just not there on a number of levels."

Haven't the Brits Been Through Enough

... without Bush pledging his total solidarity with them?

I think that's about the last thing England needs now.

FBI Identifies Remaining of Boy Kidnap Victim in Idaho

Really sad:

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho - The human remains found at a remote campsite in Montana last week were positively identified as 9-year-old Dylan Groene, the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office said Sunday.

US Commando's Body Found in Afghanistan

Apparently, he was killed, as the Taliban said although the military is trying to minimalize this and not state that he was summarily executed. He was one of the team that went in after the downed helicopter in late June. Only one soldier - and some of these were the cream of the crop in training - came out alive.

Recruiter Who Lied: Doesn't Get Booted But Promoted

Sickening.

Less than two months ago, what the 11 News Defenders discovered caused a nationwide scandal and a temporary shutdown of all Army recruiting.

The Army claims to have disciplined Sgt. Thomas Kelt for recruiting violations, who has since been promoted.

A Houston soldier, Sgt. Thomas Kelt, told at least one young man to show up for recruitment or face being locked up. Following that incident, the Army promised to take a tough stance, but you might not believe what happened next.

The Army shut down all recruiting in the country for one day to re-educate recruiters on ethics. And as for Sgt. Kelt, officials promised "swift ... corrective action."

The 11 News Defenders discovered Kelt was transferred to a neighboring recruiting office where the army turned recruiter Kelt into a supervisor, as the station's new commander. /font>

Say Hello to Operation Yellow Elephant, The Blog

Operation Yellow Elephant asks the question:

It's the Republicans' war. Why are they so reticent to fight in it?

Remember the Gitmo Tours?

Bush told reporters to go there themselves and, by and large, they came back and reported happy horseshit.

Only now the truth is coming out: there were many areas in which journalists were not allowed, and CNN had tape confiscated and destroyed.

Jane Mayer in the New Yorker talks about some of what bothered her on the tour.

National Security and the Dems

David Sirota has a thoughtful piece up on Huffington Post that discusses not only national security here in light of the London terror bombings, but asks where the heck the Dems are in all of this.

Even many Republicans today admit that the GOP in Power is doing a miserable job. But why are the Dems so afraid to speak up? They'll spend time attacking Howard Dean as head of the DNC but won't go on the record, by and large, with any ideas of their own.

Opposition party or sit-back-and-let-them-beat-us party?