Bad Strategery, George

The White House-through-the-American-corporate-media spin machine seems to think it's OK to paint the vehement, large, and extremely united anti-Bush message in South America as a case of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela being mean to our wonderful, freedom loving president.

a) Chavez hadn't opened his mouth and Bush hadn't arrived when the protests really began to ramp up.

b) The Bushies keep telling us how unimportant and how fraudulently in place Mr. Chavez is, so isn't it counter-intuitive to make it seem like he's important enough to bully our bully-in-chief?

c) People HATE Bush. They can't understand how America, for all the promise it once held, could manage to elect this freedom hating moron once, let alone twice. We should stop pretending that the anti-Bush contingent consists of just two Frenchman and a German from Bavaria.

d) You know, after seeing the Bushies idea of freedom and democracy and hearing them repeatedly tell us that Mr. Chavez does NOT represent their definition of democracy, I'm buying all my gas at CITGO. CITGO gets its gas from Venezuela.

The Ides of the March of the Supreme Court Nominees

No wonder Bush tried to push Capitol Hill to just rubber stamp Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court without asking any pesky questions; the longer he's allowed to sit out there before the hearings, the more opportunities we'll have to hear how as a toddler, he defended Bill Frist who was murdering kitties for fun and profit, and that he believes a woman's place is wherever her man tells her it is.

But to me, the most telling thing is how all the really bizarro world wingnuts are rushing to tell us how wonderful Alito is. Strange little me but if Ann Coulter said she really adored me and was thinking of completing her sexual gender transformation surgery just so she could bear my progeny, I'd be VERY, VERY worried about myself.

I don't want any Supreme (or even a Medium Large) who would let Ann, Charlie Krauthammer, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Michele Malkin, David Brooks, etc even think they're his fans.

Alito of This, Alito of That... Then a Little Seltzer Down Your Pants

Er... Not that I've found anything about Judge Alito amusing thus far.

From The Boston Globe:

WASHINGTON -- In 1989, Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. denounced the high court's decision that year upholding a Watergate-era law that allowed independent counsels to investigate wrongdoing in the White House, arguing that the decision amounted to a ''congressional pilfering" of presidential power.

Alito's remarks, made when he was US attorney for New Jersey, shed new light on his view of presidential power. Executive authority is an increasingly important area of the law in the era of the war on terrorism. President Bush has asserted the power to hold prisoners without trial, shield documents, and authorize aggressive interrogations without congressional approval.

Speaking at a convention marking an anniversary of the Bill of Rights, Alito endorsed the strong view of presidential power described by Justice Antonin Scalia, the only member of the court to vote against the independent counsel law, calling Scalia's opinion ''a brilliant but very lonely dissent." Scalia argued that no president should be subject to a prosecutor who is not also answerable to that president under the Constitution.

''The Supreme Court hit the doctrine of separation of powers about as hard as heavyweight champ Mike Tyson usually hits his opponents," Alito said of the court's decision upholding the independent counsel law, which was enacted in 1978 after the Watergate scandal. Congress allowed the law to expire in 1999.
We've seen what "presidential executive authority" gives us - faked wars, lots of death, stockpiles of debt (but the only WMD is ours), and zero accountability while the ultra rich get tax cuts and we get to watch the veterans come home to no benefits.

Halliburton Stiffing Immigrant Workers on Pay in Katrina Recovery

Just like their boss man, Dick Cheney, nobody at Halliburton knows the word shame.

The New York Times: Smoking Gun of Manipulation of Iraqi War Intelligence?

Holy fuck, Batman!


No shit, Sherlock?

You decide.

Just consider that noooooooooooo box of Dunkin Donuts has ever been selected with more care to "getting all the good sprinkles" as the Bushies pick and chose through the "Iraqi intelligence" before and after we laid waste there.

Nods to Buzzflash for the link.

Italian Yellowcake Nasty Surprise Souffle Runneth Over

Josh Marshall warns us to expect our Italian connection to the "yellow cake" Niger lies at the heart of Plamegate and the deliberate outing of Wilson's wife to froth over very soon.

Operation Steel Curtain?

Didn't we declare an end to official combat while Mr. Bush wore his crotch-stuffed flight suit on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln on May 5, 2003? Or about 2,000 American deaths and 80,000 or so Iraqi civilians ago.

Iraqi forces? Oh yeah.

Scooter Libby's Lying Habit

Good piece in Tom Paine/Common Sense:

As the scandal over the outing of the CIA agent mushrooms throughout the White House, people are asking an obvious question: Why didn’t the vice president’s indicted chief of staff and other senior White House officials just publicly and directly rebut Ambassador Wilson’s criticism? He said that the administration “twisted” some of the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program “to exaggerate the Iraqi threat” and mislead us into the war with Iraq.

Those were deadly serious charges that the administration should have been able to rebut rather quickly and easily. But it never did. Instead, the Libby indictment alleges that the vice president’s former chief of staff and other administration officials engaged in a far-reaching effort to discredit Wilson and disclose the identity of his CIA agent wife. This was all done by off-the-record leaks from senior administration officials who insisted that reporters conceal their identities.

Yesterday’s Why Would Libby Lie? explored why Libby might have lied months after the leaking was done: to prevent a scandal from breaking out in the weeks before November 2004, which would have threatened the president’s re-election. But why, in the summer of 2003, leak in the first place? Why plan a sneak attack on Wilson, and why out his CIA-operative wife?

To answer those questions, we have to revisit what was happening when the leaks occurred. In late spring, early summer 2003, the war was becoming much more difficult and more protracted than anyone in the Bush administration ever suggested might happen. The press and others were just beginning to raise serious questions about the justifications offered for the war, particularly because not a single weapon of mass destruction had been found.

It was right at that time that Ambassador Wilson began to publicly state that “some of the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program was twisted [by the administration] to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.” Wilson based this on personal knowledge because the CIA sent him to the African country of Niger, in February 2002, to investigate whether the veracity of a report that Iraq was trying to obtain materials for building nuclear weapons.

USA Today's Founder's Tough Words on Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Libby, Et Al

I'm in total agreement here: we can talk all we want about a trial but Bush and Cheney can't afford to let Libby or his lawyers get anywhere NEAR a courtroom. So what does this mean?

From Al Neuharth:

We'll never know whether I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby is guilty of lying to a grand jury as charged.

Despite Libby's not guilty plea at Thursday's preliminary hearing, President Bush and Vice President Cheney can't afford to let him go to trial. So they'll offer him the moon to plea bargain for the best deal he can cut.

Testimony in a trial likely would show that Bush, Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld were hell bent to invade Iraq, reasons be damned. When their phony cover that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction was blown, they hunkered down against anyone who told the truth about their trickery.

Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador, did that. So, possibly coached by his boss Cheney, Libby told reporters that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA. “Outing” a covert CIA operative is against the law. She had once served in that role and was still a CIA employee.
Those leaks and the administration's persistent deceptions put Bush and his crowd in company with these other recent presidents:

•Republican President Richard Nixon.
•Democrat President Bill Clinton.

Nixon lost his job for trying to cover up a break-in at Watergate by his cronies. Clinton lost his reputation when he lied about uncovering himself for Monica Lewinsky. But both were minor-league Pinocchios whose lies hurt mostly themselves.

Bush, Cheney and company are major league make-believers who have brought immeasurable and irreparable harm to innumerable others with their Iraq misadventure. Cost: Tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars.

Every day they continue their deceptive game, la Libby, adds to their shame.
Who'd a thought USA Today would become the conscience of the nation? But in the last few years, Al's provided it. I'm surprised. Pleasantly.

Why is Scooter Libby Sporting Crutches in the Last Week?

The official story is that he (Irving Lewis "Scooter") broke his foot playing football. But he's of an age and a situation that tends to make this sound like a middle-aged white man's excuse for getting really pissed and kicking something very, very, very hard and unyielding. I'd check his paid mistress for indentations.

Sun-Times on Bush/GOP Budget Cutting on Backs of Poor


The immorality (by any religious tradition's measure) of the proposed $50 billion budget reconciliation package is brazen.

If enacted, it would prove only to increase the suffering of the already-struggling poor, including tens of thousands who lost everything along the Gulf Coast.

Maybe immoral isn't the appropriate word.

Downright evil is a better description.

Ohio 2004 Presidential Election One Year Ago Probably Stolen

And nothing was done.

Granted, Mr. Bush Isn't Much of a Dancer BUT....

he sure sidesteps questions about the CIA leak probe ably.

54% of Americans Favor Impeachment


By a margin of 53% to 42%, Americans want Congress to impeach President Bush if he lied about the war in Iraq, according to a new poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet.org, a grassroots coalition that supports a Congressional investigation of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

The poll was conducted by Zogby International, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,200 U.S. adults from October 29 through November 2.

The poll found that 53% agreed with the statement:
"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."

42% disagreed, and 5% said they didn't know or declined to answer. The poll has a +/- 2.9% margin of error.

"These results are stunning," said AfterDowningStreet.org co-founder Bob Fertik. "A clear majority of Americans now supports President Bush's impeachment if he lied about the war. This should send shock waves through the White House - and a wake-up call to Democrats and Republicans in Congress, who have sole power under the Constitution to impeach President Bush."

George Bush Gets Warm Reception in Argentina

Of course, the warmth was coming mostly from burning US flags....

But it was the first time Americans have ever been allowed this close to Mr. Bush so he could see their dislike of him. The bad news is they were South Americans.

And you have to love the US Media. Four times today, I heard them refer to South America as "abroad" and call the frakus "antiAmerican riots" when Argentina IS American. South American.

Rate Thursday's Dem Performance

Would you say:?

a) Silly, useless stunt made all the worse because the GOP gave 'em what they wanted?

b) It's the only way we can get any information out on what the Bushies are doing.

c)More, more!

d) The best part was watching Bill Frist cry like a girly man.

I liked b, c, AND d myself.

How Dare a High School Teen Say Homosexuality Isn't a Choice

You would almost think there are bigger problems in the world than someone under the age of 18 beging honest.

At Some Point, the Bushies Cease Being Amusing

.... or even ironic.

Mr. Bush has ordered his staffers to attend an Ethics prayer meeting of sorts.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bush napped while Mr. Cheney was calling Katrina survivors age 8 and younger to advise them there is no Santa Claus and if there was, he wouldn't be delivering to those damned black people in government-paid shelters because Cheney would have him shot.

Top Colin Powell Aide: VP Dick Cheney Source of Torture Mentality

We have men and women charged as single "rotten apples" for abuse in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay when we've known all along the orders for torture and humiliation and anything else they could use to shred the Geneva Conventions came directly from Cheney and Rumsfeld, if not Bush and Rove as well.

From the Editor and Publisher:

His initial blast, on Oct. 19, at a luncheon in Washington, D.C. drew wide press attention. Now Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, is at it again.

In an interview for National Public Radio he charged that Vice President Cheney's office--and new chief aide David Addingtoon--was responsible for directives which led to U.S soldiers abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wilkerson said he had some hard evidence: a trail of memos and directives authorizing questionable detention practices up through Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's office directly to Cheney's staff. The directives, he said, contradicted a 2002 order by President Bush for the military to abide by the Geneva Convention rules against torture.The former Powell aide, in his October statements, declared that Cheney and Rumsfeld operated a "cabal" that had hijacked U.S. foreign and military policy.

Now, talking to NPR, he said, "There was a visible audit trail from the Vice President's office through the Secretary of Defense, down to the commanders in the field," authorizing practices that led to the abuse of detainees.”He said that Powell had assigned him to investigate this after stories emerged about U.S troops abusing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he was “privy to the paperwork, both classified and unclassified, that the secretary of State asked me to assemble on how this all got started.”Wilkerson called Addington "a staunch advocate of allowing the president in his capacity as commander-in-chief to deviate from the Geneva Conventions."

The former Powell aide is 31-year military veteran and former director of the Marine Corps War College. Some have noted that he often expresses what Colin Powell believes, but can't or won't say.

Shorter Tom DeLay Trial Proceedings


Bird Flu Pandemic

Someone emailed me days ago - I'm late with everything - asking me what I think of the president's Big Bird BamboozleLaFluZa. But I posted about it even before he gave the speech (I'm psychic, with an ic and not an o).

Read here. I think I covered it quite adequately.


Key Blair Aide Resigns Over Second Ethical Breach

Seems to be something in the air. It doesn't smell good, either.

Poorly Armed Insurgents Keep Taking Down Our Ultra Expensive Secure Helicopters

But, as Mr. Cheney tells us, the insurgency is in its last gasps. Unfortunately, no one told our military, of which more than 20 have died in the week since we hit the #2000 dead number.

Cheney's Actions Exceed His Job Specs

From Slate, obvious but still interesting (and were in any one but Cheney, this would NOT be allowed):

Today's revelations in the New York Times about the Bush administration's internal debate over how to treat foreign detainees highlight the unprecedented role that Vice President Dick Cheney and his staff are playing in setting national security policy.

In the Constitution, the vice president is the nation's understudy. He is not supposed to be in the chain of command. Cheney knows this better than most: In 1989, when he was George H.W. Bush's secretary of defense, Cheney slapped down Vice President Dan Quayle for calling a meeting of the National Security Council about a coup attempt in the Philippines while the president was out of the country.

Yet now the Office of the Vice President is dictating the rules by which the U.S. military interrogates and detains terrorist suspects. This is being done subtly. All the Office of the Vice President has to do is informally convey its opposition to complying with international law in this area, and any such effort is thwarted.

This is what happened to an attempt by some officials in the Department of Defense, along with the lawyers of all the armed services, to write a new directive on the treatment of detainees. Since the Bush administration began sending foreigners captured abroad to Guantanamo Bay in winter 2001, its refusal to afford them all the protections guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions has been, to say the least, internationally contentious. Now the military and some Pentagon officials are increasingly aware that this refusal is making American troops vulnerable abroad by potentially provoking other countries to respond in kind. The current policy has also created confusion in the armed services among interrogators who were originally trained to follow Geneva and now don't know which standard to apply. The goal of the drafters of the new directive was to set clear standards that are consistent with international law and with the military's rules since 1949.

Can't Find a Delay Stink-Free Judge in All of Texas?

Here (and yes, Mrs. DeLay's 17 layers of makeup is almost as scary as Tommy is):

A Democratic judge was named on Thursday to preside over the money-laundering and conspiracy case against U.S. Republican Rep. Tom DeLay in an appointment made by the chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court.
Senior Judge Pat Priest of San Antonio will replace state District Judge Robert Perkins, who was forced off the case on Tuesday after DeLay's attorneys complained he was too staunchly Democratic to give their client a fair trial.
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technorati.article = new item('DeLay gets Democratic judge in Texas','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/03/AR2005110302014.html','HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Democratic judge was named on Thursday to preside over the money-laundering and conspiracy case against U.S. Republican Rep. Tom DeLay in an appointment made by the chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court.

Priest was appointed by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, a Republican endorsed and aided by DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority, or TRMPAC, a political action committee at the center of the criminal charges.

Jefferson made the appointment after a Republican judge in a lower court, B.B. Schraub, recused himself earlier on Thursday after prosecutors charged he was too staunchly Republican to make a fair choice.

The charges of partisanship against Schraub and Perkins were based on contributions they had made to candidates of their respective parties and, in Perkins' case, to liberal group MoveOn.org.

In Texas, judges must run for office in partisan elections and are free to donate to political candidates and causes.

DeLay, who represents a Houston-area district, is accused of laundering $190,000 in corporate campaign contributions gathered by TRMPAC through the Republican National Committee to candidates for the state Legislature in Texas in 2002.

Texas law forbids the use of corporate funds in political campaigns.

TRMPAC's efforts helped Republicans take control of the Texas Legislature for the first time since the Reconstruction era after the Civil War.

At DeLay's urging, the Legislature then redrew congressional districts to increase the number of Republicans from Texas in the U.S. House.

Anti-Piracy Is Always Controversial

....because corporations feel they have the right to exact justice without trial or jury and worse, treat us all as thieves worthy of having our experience affected for the small percentage who will pirate.

Anyway, my soapbox is in the shop. Story here.

Irate music fans who posted to dozens of online blogs vowing to never again buy Sony CDs as long as the company keeps using a suddenly beleaguered anti-piracy software program may find that their outbursts have been partially rewarded today.

On the heels of the Internet uproar over security concerns with its copyright-protection measures, the company that developed the software for recording-industry giant Sony BMG Music Entertainment says it is providing computer users with a "patch file" that will mitigate some of the features that alarmed security researchers when they were discovered earlier this week -- especially the program's built-in ability to hide files on the user's system.

Privacy and security experts charged that the technology built into many of Sony's music CDs since March is unnecessarily invasive and exposes users to threats from hackers and virus writers.

"Here you have one of the biggest name-brand corporations on the planet getting into what many people in other circumstances would consider hacking," said Richard Smith, a security and privacy consultant based in Boston. "That's just not acceptable."

Bush Approval at 35% and Dropping, But Look at Cheney

From Think Progress:

Vice President Cheney seems to have brushed off the felony charges against his most senior aide:
    The criminal indictment of the vice president’s chief of staff, a rare moment in White House history, does not appear to have derailed Dick Cheney’s career — or even his routine.

    The vice president has replaced the aide, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, with two other longtime assistants and seems prepared to continue his role as a central player in the Bush presidency, particularly on foreign policy and the Iraq war.
But the American people haven’t:
    Vice President Cheney has never been as popular as the president, but his favorable rating is down nine points this year to just 19 percent.

Denver: First American Community to Specifically Legalize Pot

I'd like to say this tells us we might end the War on Drugs that fuels all other wars soon, but I'm no longer anywhere near that optimistic.

Plus, I'm reading more about this because right now, it sounds like a paper tiger: legalize it because you know state and fed law guarantee charges anyway...

School Lunch Programs For the Poor Scrapped for Another Rich Tax Cut

Shameless doesn't begin to describe this crew.

From AmericaBlog:

They're asking the poor to suck it up and do without because of those critical tax cuts for the wealthy, corporate welfare and a failing war of convenience are more important than food for the poor.

How long before they change the child labor laws so the kids can go out and work for their food? Nice compassion and isn't it great to see that we're all in this together?Don't believe me, read the article. The Republicans are planning on ANOTHER TAX cut in the next few weeks that will cost even MORE than the cuts to the poor and elderly that they're making today:
    But some Republicans worry that social service cuts, though relatively small, might have outsized political ramifications, especially when Republicans move in the coming weeks to cut taxes for the fifth time in as many years. Those tax cuts, totaling $70 billion over five years, would more than offset the deficit reduction that would result from the budget cuts.
More details on the planned Republican attack on the poor, the elderly and children:
    The battle will be joined today when the House Budget Committee is scheduled to fold eight budget-cutting bills saving $50 billion through 2010 into a single measure and then send it to the floor for a vote next week. The Senate is also set to vote on its version of the budget-cutting package, which would not cut food stamps. The smaller measure, with $39 billion in savings, has broad reach, affecting Medicare, Medicaid, agriculture programs, private pension plans and energy.Did you get that? These cuts will save between $39 billion and $50 billion.
It also kicks 40,000 kids out of the school lunch program.

Yeah, Dick Will Be Right Over to Testify Honestly and Thoroughly ::Cough::

Posted by Stranger at Blah 3:

You have to admire their request (reg. required) - but they probably have a better chance of presuading Cheney to dress in a diaper and lead the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.
    Three Democratic congressmen Thursday asked Vice President Dick Cheney to testify on Capitol Hill about the disclosure of a covert CIA officer's identity, saying "there are many wide-ranging questions about your involvement."

    The congressmen asked why Cheney's office was gathering information about Valerie Plame, the wife of Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson in 2003; whether the vice president directed his top aide, the now-indicted I. Lewis Libby, to speak to the news media about Plame; and whether Cheney was aware Libby was doing so.The indictment against Libby says he was told by Cheney on June 12, 2003, that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA's counterproliferation division. That was a month before Plame's identity was disclosed by conservative columnist Robert Novak.

    The congressmen also asked Cheney whether he was aware the administration's claims that Iraq was seeking uranium from the African nation of Niger were false, at a time officials including President Bush were using such assertions as justification for going to war.

Why Aren't

Karl Rove and Robert Novak both sporting serious indictments?

Why did the president's personal lawyer meet with special prosecutor Fitzgerald last Friday after the announcements?

And why is Karl still sporting a security clearance and a taxpayer-paid job?

Remember Mark Rich?

He was that billionaire on the lam to other countries with a non-extradition agreement whose ex-wife Denise gave all that money to the Dems and then Bill Clinton caught such hell for pardoning on his way out of office (I would have preferred Leonard Pelletier).

Well, guess who represented him all those years, and was still representing him when he got that pardon?

Irving Lewis "Scooter" Libby - "no, the crutches should NOT be construed as me not having a leg to stand on", the first and so far only indicted person from Plamegate. The one the right keeps defending up and down as a most honorable man. The one Cheney practically chastised us for driving to resignation when his ass should have been fired along with Karl Rove's.

Now, I've seen these same folks savage lawyers for rich Dems before. But I guess their standards change when it's a Bushie NeoCon.


The Dismissiveness of It All

When it becomes clear that despite the president's and vice-president's - along with the White House spokesman's - promises to the contrary, a topmost senior aide to them both LIED to a federal grand jury and EXPOSED the name of an active covert operative against federal law, Mr. Libby (and Mr. Rove) should not be resigning, they should be fired.

And so should Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush.

And the Reps are so sure they can control everything that we're already hearing that Bush may pardon Libby BEFORE he even goes to trial in the interests of national security. Right.t

Samuel Alito

Vince Novak is encouraging us to stand up and speak out against the Samuel Alito nomination to the Supreme Court through an effort MoveOn is organizing.

Right now, the Alito nomination just has me puzzled on a bunch of different levels and none of them particularly enjoyable. The more I read about Alito, the more a) generally concerned I become and b) the more all those protestations of LOVE for him by the likes of Kristol, Coulter, the 370-proof Chris Hitchensm, and self-hating multiple choice candidates like Mickey Kaus, Susan Estrogen... er.. Estrich, David ("He's just wild about Harry!") Drier have me reconsidering Canada.

But how dare the far right insist they have every Supreme Court justice, every member of Congress, every doctor and educator as their personal ventriloquist's dummy?

Coming Up for Air....

What? Nothing going on? ::wink::

I'll be posting in between screenshots for a book.


David Brooks

Greg Mitchell at E&P savages him in a delightful piece called "Our Myth Brooks".

For starters, Brooks declares, “One thing is clear: there is no cancer on this presidency.” Actually, one thing that is not clear even after the Friday indictments is exactly where, and how malignant, that cancer might be, even after the successful removal of the malignant Libby nodes.Brooks tops that whopper by declaring flatly that the notion of Karl Rove’s “general culpability” is basically “hokum.” And that’s why federal prosecutor Fitzgerald is still probing Rove?

Brooks asserts that Fitzgerald “did not find evidence of wide-ranging criminal behavior.” How does he know this? Pressed for time (thanks to Brooks’ colleague Judith Miller), Fitzgerald did not feel he had enough evidence to indict anyone else, just yet. But any reading of the indictment and the prosecutor’s public remarks on Friday leaves no doubt that he believes--and obtained evidence--that there was criminal behavior, beyond Libby (stay tuned).

You’ll look in vain in Brooks’ column for any condemnation of Rove or Libby for leaking the name of a CIA operative who (Fitzgerald has underlined) was indeed still under cover. So who are the bad guys in this Bobo world? Why, the Democrats, who had nothing to do with it.

Leading Democratic politicians, Brooks writes, have filled the precious airtime “with grand conspiracy theories that would be at home in the John Birch Society.” For gosh sake, that wacko Howard Dean even alleged a “huge cover-up.” Lock that man up and then let’s hear him scream! A cover-up? Brooks says any such charge is nothing but “swamp gas.”

Two Soldiers Charged with Afghan Prisoner Abuse

Bad. Bad.

But where are the charges against a Rumsfeld and other top rankers who are approving of brutality?

Now Would a Nice GOP Kentucky Governor Threaten a Grand Jury Investigating His Hiring Practices?

Nah. Say it isn't so.

Once Kentucky's ethics get called into question, civilization has officially disbanded. Next, they'll be building casinos up and down the Gulf Coast.

Sorry, what? I didn't catch that. Please don't mumble.

Why Was Plamegate Prosecutor Fitzgerald at Office of Bush's Personal Lawyer Friday?

Good question. From Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

Anyone have any insight on this graf from 'Libby Charged' article in today's Times?
    Mr. Fitzgerald was spotted Friday morning outside the office of James Sharp, Mr. Bush's personal lawyer. Mr. Bush was interviewed about the case by Mr. Fitzgerald last year. It is not known what discussions, if any, were taking place between the prosecutor and Mr. Sharp. Mr. Sharp did not return a phone call, and Mr. Fitzgerald's spokesman, Randall Samborn, declined to comment.
Remember, in his capacity as president, Mr. Bush's lawyer is Harriet Miers, the White House Counsel. This is his personal lawyer. In fact, I believe Sharp was hired particularly for this case.

10 Things You Probably Don't Know About Iran

From the UK Independent.

Even Indiana is Noticing the Bushie Corruption-a-Day Play

From Fort Wayne:

It has been said of Bill Clinton that his presidency gave us a new scandal every week. In his second term, it almost seems like George W. Bush is trying to give old Bill a run for his money.

It's getting so bad that you need a scorecard to keep track of what's gone wrong today. Who got appointed to a position they weren't qualified for? Who's been gaming the system for financial game? Who leaked information about their political rival that shouldn't have been leaked? And here we thought we had an upright bunch of folks running the show this time.

What is it about a second term that seems to undo a president? Most people believe Ronald Reagan lost a lot of steam in his second term, Clinton was constantly dodging the consequences of his personal indiscretions in his, and now W seems to be unraveling before our very eyes. Perhaps eight years is just too long for any human being to be invested with that much power without falling flat on his face.

And scandals have a way of spreading, viruslike, once they infect a party. Republican Party big shots like Bill Frist, Tom Delay, and even Dick Cheney are making headlines this year for all the wrong reasons. Republicans in Congress who are facing midterm elections are growing uneasy, and with good reason. Things are getting pretty ugly inside the Beltway.

Even local elections can be tainted by the sordid goings-on in Washington, especially if a "local boy" has spent too much time there. Take Ralph Reed, for example. (Yes, take him, please.)

Reed, erstwhile head of the Christian Coalition who once graced the cover of Time magazine with a caption that said "The Right Hand Of God," is currently up to his armpits in trouble over his association with seedy Washington power broker Jack Abramoff.


Bush's "Top" Choices for Supreme Court After Miers' Debacle

Ick and Icker?

WASHINGTON - Rebounding from the failed nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, President Bush is poised to select between two of the nation's leading conservative federal appeals court judges - both experienced jurists with deep backgrounds in constitutional law - for what promises to be a bruising Senate confirmation battle.

With an announcement expected Sunday or Monday, administration officials have narrowed the focus to Judges Samuel Alito of New Jersey and Michael Luttig of Virginia, sources involved in the process said. Both have sterling legal qualifications and solid conservative credentials, and both would set off an explosive fight with Senate Democrats, who are demanding a more moderate nominee to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Sources close to the process cautioned that Bush still could pick someone else, noting that he had wanted to name a woman to replace O'Connor. He had considered Priscilla Owen of Texas, another federal appeals court judge, before tapping Miers, and she remains a distant possibility, administration sources said.

But sources in the administration and others involved in the process - outside the handful in Bush's tight inner circle who were weighing the selection this weekend at Camp David - said a nominee other than Alito or Luttig would come as a surprise.

"Those are the only two names anyone is aware of," said a source who has been closely involved in the selection process and who asked not to be identified.

The conservative legal community that ardently opposed Miers' nomination - and helped force her withdrawal on Thursday - would embrace either judge, although Luttig is more well-known and would win most enthusiastic support.

Luttig also could provoke the most opposition, at least initially, from Democrats who already are threatening to filibuster any nominee they consider too conservative.

The White House is focusing on Alito and Luttig because both men have the judicial experience and intellectual heft Miers' opponents felt she lacked for the critical O'Connor vacancy. Both are so well-versed in constitutional law that they could deftly handle senators' questions. Miers, a nonjudge, did not impress key senators in private meetings and struggled in practice sessions designed to prepare her for confirmation hearings.

Administration officials, caught off-guard by the opposition to Miers, realize they cannot afford another misstep. Both Alito and Luttig would have strong support from Republican senators and prominent conservatives who were lukewarm or outright hostile to the Miers nomination.
Supreme Court: bought and sold, Bush style.

Finally! We Found the WMD!

And it's in New Jersey and probably just about everywhere else. And it's OURS.

Posted by Stranger at Blah3:

Great. Another thing to worry about.
    A clam dredging operation off the coast of Atlantic City, N.J., in 2004 pulled up an old artillery shell. The long-submerged, World War I-era explosive was filled with a black, tar-like substance.

    Bomb disposal technicians from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware were brought in to dismantle it. Three of them were injured, one hospitalized with large, pus-filled blisters on his arm and hand. The shell was filled with mustard gas in solid form.

    What was long-feared by the few military officials in the know had come to pass: Chemical weapons that the Army dumped at sea decades ago had finally ended up on shore in the United States. While it has long been known that some chemical weapons went into the ocean, records obtained by the Daily Press of Newport News, Va., show that the previously classified weapons-dumping program was far more extensive than has ever been suspected.

    The Army now admits in reports never before released that it secretly dumped 64 million pounds of nerve and mustard gas agent into the sea, along with 400,000 chemical-filled bombs, land mines and rockets and more than 500 tons of radioactive waste either tossed overboard or packed into the holds of scuttled vessels.

Indictments Turn Eyes to Cheney

A good investigation into this man Dick Cheney is about two decades, thousands of deaths, and perhaps trillions of tax dollars way past due. No?

Indictments Turn Eyes to Cheney

A good investigation into this man Dick Cheney is about two decades, thousands of deaths, and perhaps trillions of tax dollars way past due. No?

Women Get Attracted Based on Menstrual Cycle

Uh... now here's some surprising research.

But I was far more thrilled to see Daily Read posting again. He's been missed.

Now GOP Congress Goes After Medicare and Seniors

Compassionate... oooo sooooo compassionate.

Congressional committees have proposed substantial cutbacks in Medicaid and Medicare, the nation's largest health insurance programs, which together cover more than one-fourth of all Americans.

The two houses of Congress are expected to approve the changes in the next two weeks as part of competing bills to slow the growth of federal spending. Negotiators from the two chambers would then try to work out the differences.

The House bill would take all of its savings from Medicaid, the program for low-income people, while leaving Medicare, the program for those 65 and older and the disabled, untouched, as the Bush administration wants. By contrast, the Senate bill would squeeze savings from both programs.

Under the House bill, states would gain sweeping authority to charge premiums, increase co-payments and trim benefits for Medicaid recipients, so benefit packages would look more like the private insurance provided by employers.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that these changes would save the federal government more than $4 billion in the next five years, with savings of more than $3 billion for the states.

Al Franken

OK, I missed it. What happened to Al Franken's show that he so quickly pulled the plug Friday?

I can't really get Air America here, but I often catch Franken on Sundance at 11:30 PM ET.

Wait... the Dems ARE Alive

Rove should never have been on the White House and taxpayer payroll. Period.

The leader of the Senate Democrats today called for White House chief political strategist Karl Rove to resign, saying it's time for President Bush to "come clean" with the American people about the administration's role in the disclosure of a CIA operative's name.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), speaking on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," said both Bush and Vice President Cheney owe an apology to the American public.

Reid said Bush should pledge not to pardon I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff who was indicted Friday on five charges relating to statements he made to the FBI and a grand jury investigating the leak of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Watergate-Style Money Laundering Scheme in Ohio Stole 2004 Presidential Election?

Story here:

As federal probes rack Team Bush in Washington, three huge indictments for money laundering and other pro-Bush election crimes involving Ohio "Coingate" lynchpin Tom Noe have stoked powerful new Watergate-style financial fires under Ohio's stolen 2004 election scandal.

A close associate of key Republicans from George H.W. Bush to George W. Bush to Ohio Senator George Voinovich to Ohio Governor Robert Taft and many, many more, Noe has long been known as northwest Ohio's "Mr. Republican."

He has also been at the heart of speculation on how huge numbers of votes in the Toledo area may have wrongly found their way into the Bush column, helping the GOP again take the presidency in 2004.

While media attention focuses on Plamegate and on Noe's financial scams, it overlooks many years as Chair of the Board of Elections in Lucas County. He was deeply involved in controversial procurement deals that brought Diebold opti-scan vote counting machines into inner city Toledo precincts. Many of those machines suspiciously malfunctioned at key times on election day. Sworn testimony in hearings conducted by the Free Press after the election confirm that thousands of inner city voters were disenfranchised due to Noe's decisions.

In a widely circulated 2003 fundraising letter, Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell promised to deliver Ohio's 2004 electoral votes---and thus the election---to Bush. O'Dell and Noe are two of Ohio's nineteen GOP Bush Pioneer/Ranger high money donors.

Sworn testimony in the Free Press hearings further confirmed that Diebold technicians were given access to the machines procured by Noe, compromising the Ohio recount, and were allegedly involved in the selection of the precincts to be recounted, in violation of Ohio election law. Ohio requires that precincts be "randomly selected" in a recount.

Noe's wife Bernadette chaired the Lucas County BOE leading up to and during the actual November 2, 2004 balloting. Under her guidance, Toledo-area officials purged some 27,000 voters from registration lists in late summer 2004, just prior to the November presidential vote. The conduct of the election under her regime was so deeply tainted with incompetence and fraud that Ms. Noe announced her resignation effective soon after the election. The scandals ran so deep that in the summer of 2005, the Republican Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell, was forced to make public a scathing report on how Lucas County handled the election. Amidst the public uproar, the entire Lucas County Board of Elections resigned.

Where There Should Be Answers, Novak Provides Void

From Jack Schafer at Slate:

Robert Novak has only half-kept the vow he made two years ago not to talk about the Valerie Plame case until the Fitzgerald investigation concludes. Seeing as that hour is upon us, I eagerly await his version of events.

But Novak won't have an easy time telling his story. Since publishing his infamous July 14, 2003, column that outed the covert CIA officer, Novak has made a mash of it every time he's discussed the subject. Tracking his many inconsistent statements about how and why administration sources leaked Valerie Plame's name to him and whether he would surrender the names of confidential sources have been the liberal watchdogs at Media Matters for America and others. To straighten the record, Novak will need an Ingersoll-Rand DD-70 tandem asphalt roller.

That's Rich: The Fat Lady Ain't Singing Yet in Plamegate Affair

Maccabbee at DailyKos brings us premium Frank Rich:

TO believe that the Bush-Cheney scandals will be behind us anytime soon you'd have to believe that the Nixon-Agnew scandals peaked when G. Gordon Liddy and his bumbling band were nailed for the Watergate break-in.

But Watergate played out for nearly two years after the gang that burglarized Democratic headquarters was indicted by a federal grand jury; it even dragged on for more than a year after Nixon took "responsibility" for the scandal, sacrificed his two top aides and weathered the indictments of two first-term cabinet members. In those ensuing months, America would come to see that the original petty crime was merely the leading edge of thematically related but wildly disparate abuses of power that Nixon's attorney general, John Mitchell, would name "the White House horrors."

Cheney's Office Became Plamegate Smear Central

From today's The Times - Cheney may become the oldest dick ever circumsized:

Over a seven-week period in the spring of 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney's suite in the Old Executive Office Building appears to have served as the nerve center of an effort to gather and spread word about Joseph C. Wilson IV and his wife, a C.I.A. operative.

I. Lewis Libby Jr., the vice president's chief of staff, was charged Friday in an indictment that provides a rare glimpse inside a vice presidential operation that, under Mr. Cheney, has been extraordinary both for its power and its secrecy. The indictment also leaves unanswered some questions about the way the vice president's office responded to Mr. Wilson and his criticism of the administration's case for going to war in Iraq.

Mr. Libby is the only aide to Mr. Cheney who has been charged with a crime. But the indictment alleges that Mr. Cheney himself and others in the office took part in discussions about the origins of a trip by Mr. Wilson to Niger in 2002; about the identity of his wife, Valerie Wilson; and whether the information could be shared with reporters, in the period before it was made public in a July 14, 2003, column by Robert D. Novak.

The indictment identifies the other officials only by their titles, but it clearly asserts that others involved in the discussion included David Addington, Mr. Cheney's counsel; John Hannah, deputy national security adviser; and Catherine Martin, then Mr. Cheney's press secretary.

GOP Compassionate Conservatives Cut Nearly 1 Billion in Food Aid for Poor Americans

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - On a party-line vote, a Republican-run U.S. House of
    Representatives committee voted to cut food stamps by $844 million on Friday, just hours after a new government report showed more Americans are struggling to put food on the table.

    About 300,000 Americans would lose benefits due to tighter eligibility rules for food stamps, the major U.S. antihunger program, under the House plan. The cuts would be part of $3.7 billion pared from Agriculture Department programs over five years as part of government-wide spending reductions.

$844 million cut: that's almost the price of a Dick Cheney kickback for another Halliburton no-bid contract paid by US taxpayers.

At the same time, the multimillionaires of Congress refused to consider upping the minimum wage at a time when basic costs have jumped exponentially while giving the president an energy plan that takes corporate welfare for corps earning the biggest profits to high new levels.

Reuters: Iraq War Avoidable; Saddam Agreed to Exile

This is a huge, fucking deal, and it's not news, per se. But no one was listening when we first learned about this. Perhaps now, with more Americans understanding how Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, Mr. Libby, Mr. Rove, Mr. Rumsfeld and all their smarmy little crew are willing to lie about anything, at any cost, to get what they want.

While I Hardly Always Agree with Nick Kristof of The Times

I'm in full agreement here:

Nicholas Kristof, whose New York Times column in May 2003 helped set in motion the "Plamegate" scnadal, called today for Vice President Dick Cheney to explain his role in the matter or resign.

It was an unexpected proposal from Kristof, who has long been skeptical about criminal wrongdoing in this case. But now Kristof has seized on the detail in the Libby indictments, that Cheney had learned from the C.I.A. that Joe Wilson's wife worked at the agency and told Libby that on about June 12, 2003.

Kristof observes that he can't stop wondering if Libby's alleged perjury "was purely his own idea and whether Mr. Cheney was aware of it."Since Mr. Libby is joined at the hip to Mr. Cheney, it's reasonable to ask: What did Mr. Cheney know and when did he know it? Did the vice president have any grasp of the criminal behavior allegedly happening in his office? We shouldn't assume the worst, but Mr. Cheney needs to give us a full account."Instead, Mr. Cheney said in a written statement: 'Because this is a pending legal proceeding, in fairness to all those involved, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the charges or on any facts relating to the proceeding.'"

Balderdash. If Mr. Cheney can't address the questions about his conduct, if he can't be forthcoming about the activities in his office that gave rise to the investigation, then he should resign. And if he won't resign, Mr. Bush should demand his resignation."It's not that there's a lick of evidence that Mr. Cheney is a criminal. There isn't. But the standard of the office should be higher than that: the White House should symbolize integrity, not legalistic refusals to discuss criminal cover-ups. I didn't want technical indictments of White House officials because they inflame partisanship and impede government; for just the same reason, it's unsavory when a vice president resorts to technical defenses and clams up."

A Failure Most Miserable


Miserable Failure


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Check it Out

Left Edge North has some good stuff up. I like the Happy Halloween message to the president, too.

New Delhi Blasts

The death toll in those blasts keep rising. How horrible.

But those Palestine Hotel blasts - the three aimed ringing the hotel where many of the journalists stay in Baghdad - made me very uncomfortable with the race to just state as fact these were done by the insurgency. Oh yes, it's very possible they WERE planted by the insurgency.

But we've had so many lies from Rummy, DoD and the White House, how can we ever believe anything said? Many of the journalists in that hotel are more critical of Bush's war than the insurgency.

Connecting back to New Delhi, the picture is still not clear on who planted these. "Terrorists" we hear. As the Christian Science Monitor pointed out soon after 9/11 to the rage of this nation, "One person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter." Or soldier.

These days, when I think about who the terrorists are, I'm looking far more at Washington than I am the Middle East, Muslim countries, and nebulous news reporting.


Anyone check it tonight?


And just about as much "shock and awe" as I can take after 5 years of Dubya Bush.

With Apologies for Hustling the Holiday Season

I wrote this while avoiding writing something else.

Sung to the tune of "Chestnuts Roasting":

Dick's nuts roasting on an open fire.
Bush ass fixed to Rove by hose.
Miller, no martyr but hack for hire.
Libby's scape the goat they chose.

For fraud quagmire, they booked Tom DeLay.
Bill Frist could get jail time too.
Although it's been prayed, many times, many ways:
Burn in Hades. Burn in Hades, Bush Crew!
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Bush to Outline Anti-Flu Plan

WaPo has it here, but let me give the president's surprise highlights:

  1. We pray we won't get inflected.... er... infacted... er... sick.
  2. We've stockpiled just enough doses of TamiFlu for the wealthiest Americans and all my friends. Anything left over will be sold - at substantial markup because my pal Rummy makes a buck on every dose - to conservative Christians only who can prove they voted for me in 2004.
  3. We'll release a statement saying the flu is the work of Osama, Saddam, and Cindy Sheehan.
  4. We will move high risk people to those lovely, newly vacated homes in East New Orleans. Karl Rove says Louisiana winters are good for flu.
  5. We will attack Iran and Syria because Scooter Libby says they might get avian flu there.
  6. We'll offer Halliburton a no-bid contract to supply a billion boxes of half-ply facial tissues at a discount price of $149.85 a 100-count box.
  7. We'll raise gas prices.
  8. Since I hear virii don't like the cold, I just cut all low income fuel assistance subsidies for this coming winter. Like I keep sayin', I just don't understand poor people.
  9. We will offer flu sufferers a choice: be shot or sign up for Iraq (Rummy says we take dead people).
  10. I'll go on vacation for five weeks.

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Gee, People Are Questioning the White House's - and Specifically, Bush-Cheney's - Honesty and Integrity

I cannot imagine why. Can you?

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

The survey also found that nearly seven in 10 Americans consider the charges against Libby to be serious. A majority -- 55 percent -- said the decision of Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald to bring charges against Libby was based on the facts of the case, while 30 percent said he was motivated by partisan politics.

"One thing you can't ever, ever do even if you're a regular person is lie to a grand jury," said Brad Morris, 48, a registered independent and a field representative for a lumber company who lives in Nashua, N.H. "But multiply that by a thousand times if you have power like [Libby had]. And if anybody wants to know why, ask Scooter. He's financially ruined; he'll be paying lawyers for the rest of his life."
Another poll shows 67% feel Mr. Bush is doing a poor job with Iraq.