Novak: Feds Know Exactly Who Outed CIA Operative Valerie Plame to Novak Himself

The evil little bastard:

Robert Novak said Wednesday that special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald knows who outed a CIA agent to the Chicago Sun-Times columnist but hasn't acted on the information because Novak's source committed no crime.

Novak also hinted that he personally didn't rely on the Fifth Amendment -- which protects people from testifying against themselves -- in Fitzgerald's investigation. Fitzgerald is investigating who leaked CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to Novak and other reporters in an effort to discredit her husband, a critic of the Bush administration

NOLA Mayoral Race Ends - Not Quite - in Runoff Next Month

Incumbent Ray Nagin will face Lt. Gov. Landrieu in a runoff election next month since neither got 50% or more in Saturday's voting.

Shame on everyone who tried to make it as difficult as possible for displaced NOLA residents - especially poor minorities - to vote. I believe there is a serious effort underway to whiten New Orleans and that, after the atrocious federal response to Hurricane Katrina, is really quite criminal.

Unfortunately, much of what goes on as "business as usual" in Bush's America is like that.

The Times Weighs In on the FDA, Medicinal Marijuana, and the Endless Politicking of the Bushies

From Saturday's The Times:

The Bush administration's habit of politicizing its scientific agencies was on display again this week when the Food and Drug Administration, for no compelling reason, unexpectedly issued a brief, poorly documented statement disputing the therapeutic value of marijuana. The statement was described as a response to numerous inquiries from Capitol Hill, but its likely intent was to buttress a crackdown on people who smoke marijuana for medical purposes and to counteract state efforts to legalize the practice.

F.D.A. Dismisses Medical Benefit From Marijuana (April 21, 2006)

Ordinarily, when the F.D.A. addresses a thorny issue, it convenes a panel of experts who wade through the latest evidence and then render an opinion as to whether a substance is safe and effective to use. This time the agency simply issued a skimpy one-page statement asserting that "no sound scientific studies" supported the medical use of marijuana.

That assertion is based on an evaluation by federal agencies in 2001 that justified the government's decision to tightly regulate marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. But it appears to flout the spirit of a 1999 report from the Institute of Medicine, a unit of the National Academy of Sciences.

The institute was appropriately cautious in its endorsement of marijuana. It said the active ingredients of marijuana appeared useful for treating pain, nausea and the severe weight loss associated with AIDS. It warned that these potential benefits were undermined by inhaling smoke that is more toxic than tobacco smoke. So marijuana smoking should be limited, it said, to those who are terminally ill or don't respond to other therapies.

Yet the F.D.A. statement, which was drafted with the help of other federal agencies that focus on drug abuse, does not allow even that much leeway. It argues that state laws permitting the smoking of marijuana with a doctor's recommendation are inconsistent with ensuring that all medications undergo rigorous scrutiny in the drug approval process.

That seems disingenuous. The government is actively discouraging relevant research, according to scientists quoted by Gardiner Harris in yesterday's Times. It's obviously easier and safer to issue a brief, dismissive statement than to back research that might undermine the administration's inflexible opposition to the medical use of marijuana.

And Speaking of the Hu Protest

I am ashamed and embarrassed that this woman had strange hands forced over her mouth and her right to speak up - in a country that LOVES to lord itself over China as a much freer nation - stopped, with Bush insisting federal charges be filed against her, because she had the "nerve" to criticize Mr. Hu.

Shame on Bush. Shame on the Secret Service.

The White House is the people's home. It is not George's North Crawford Ranch. It is not Dick Cheney's nap couch.

As I've said before, the entire U.S. is a free speech zone. If Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney don't like it, they are welcome to go elsewhere, just as they always tell us.

The Protest During China's Hu's Visit to White House

The UK Guardian has an important piece about the Falun Gong's member protest at the White House the other day during the Chinese leader's visit:

The brief outburst exposed embarrassing shortcomings in secret service vetting procedures. But it was also a usefully frank reminder - beyond Mr Bush's ritual call for freedom of assembly, speech and worship - of important issues that must not be overlooked as the US and the world in general adjust to the reality of "peacefully rising" China, with its double-digit growth, ravenous hunger for oil and other resources, and mesmerising market potential.

FDA Says No to Pot

Having the Food and Drug Administration announce Friday that it refused to give marijuana status as a useful substance for medicinal purposes is no surprise.

However, while there can be legitimate arguments made that anything one must smoke to release its beneficial effects is not wise, I think we have to remember that the FDA has for sometime largely served as strictly an agent of major pharmaceutical and food companies rather than as an intelligent agent FOR the people who pay for its operation.

Think Vioxx, for example. And think of the debacle about the FDA refusing to give the go-ahead on a contraceptive even when its own advisory panel said it was worthy of approval.

If marijuana could be marketed by Merck or Pfizer, I suspect this would be a whole different game. But because marijuana is, like its nickname, a weed, one that can grown just about anywhere and by just about anyone...

Yet I have seen cancer sufferers and others get some very real relief from the drug. Others have as well, which is why so many voters in so many places have approved the compassionate use of the drug for people with documented illnesses. But the American government, always there to protect the corporation rather than the people, will do everything in its power to keep pot illegal, which just helps keep the War on Drugs going.

Nepal's New Dawn

Protests continue in Kathmandu despite - hurray! - the king's announcement he would restore power to the people in a democracy. These people rebelled valiantly.

Bushies: Very, Very Selective About Who Gets Punished for Which Leaks

Glenn Greenwald has important words on this subject.

Potentially Very Important Segment on Tomorrow's 60 Minutes

Buzzflash points us to CBS News which has announced a former top spy will appear on 60 Minutes tomorrow (Sunday, April 23rd 7 PM EDT) to discuss the truth of certain things vs. President Bush's lies.


A CIA official who had a top role during the run-up to the Iraqi war charges the White House with ignoring intelligence that said there were no weapons of mass destruction or an active nuclear program in Iraq.

The former highest ranking CIA officer in Europe, Tyler Drumheller, also says that while the intelligence community did give the White House some bad intelligence, it also gave the White House good intelligence — which the administration chose to ignore.

...The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy.
I'll watch. What about you?

Even About This Cheney Lies

Numerous photographers and others caught Dick Cheney napping at the Chinese head's event the other day, and Dick being Dick lied and insisted that was not the truth... you know, like this crew has argued reality isn't reality for years now.

CIA Knew and Advised White House Iraq-Saddam WMD Claims Bogus Well AHEAD of Start of War

Story here from Australia.

Why are George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld still at loose on the world? They need to be indicted, impeached and yes, at the very least, imprisoned. Condi, too.

Kill Themselves or Get Killed

After posting about the high suicide rate in the military comes word that at least four more U.S. soldiers are dead in Iraq.

Army Suicides Rise Exponentially

Military suicides are at their highest rate in more than a decade.

Thanks, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and Mr. Rumsfeld.


Earth Day

Happy Earth Day (Saturday)!

You know what to do. Enjoy doing it.

Did Condi Rice Leak Secure Info That a CIA Agent Got Canned/Prison Time for Leaking?

That seems to be the story from the Washington Post:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaked national defense information to a pro-Israel lobbyist in the same manner that landed a lower-level Pentagon official a 12-year prison sentence, the lobbyist's lawyer said Friday.

Bird Flu Boo-Boo

From the wires:

WASHINGTON - Only half of Americans are confident their government will deal effectively with the bird flu if it reaches the U.S., and they want strong steps including human quarantine and closed schools if there's an outbreak in the population, according to a poll.

The AP-Ipsos survey, out Friday, found widespread expectation that birds will become infected in this country in the next year, as the government predicts. One third worry someone in their family will get it.
Uh... first, where the fuck was the half that is confident our government will deal effectively with this when Katrina and Bush and FEMA hit last August? Whatever these people are smoking... well... I don't want any of it, thank you very much.

Second, who the (bleep) would trust the Bushies to run a quarantine? He'd quarantine people who don't like him and close schools that blacks attend.

(going off muttering to self about the Kool-aid Konsumption in this Kountry)

Free Speech in Bush's America

Need I say more?

Ah, but I will. Later. In a separate post.

The White House, as I've said before, is the people's house. It is NOT George Bush's house. It is NOT Dick Cheney's house.

The entire country is a Free Speech Zone even if Mr. Bush tries to bully-prove otherwise.

Elections 2006 and 2008: We Cannot Afford to Assume

As I read the previously posted Paul Krugman column from The Times, and read and hear from numerous other sources that the GOP is in very serious trouble and stands to lose a LOT in Election 2006 and perhaps also with the next presidential bid in 2008, I find myself wanting to scream:

Assume nothing! Many of us never believed Bush could get to office in 2000 and he did not WIN the election. It also looks like he did NOT win in 2004 either, yet he has "led" our country (right into the septic system in hell) for six years.
Please understand that we cannot assume Dems or more sane, moderate minds can take back control just because the tide has turned. We've seen elections stolen, and more systems are in place to steal them than there were in Novembers 2000 and 2004.
We can have 99% of the country vote against the extremist right wing, but with rigged voting, it won't matter. And the media will - once more - decide that no American wants to hear about voter fraud so they won't bother to dig, just as they failed to dig in 2000 and 2004 (there have been rare exceptions: Keith Olbermann kept up voting questions for a time, and the Toledo Blade and other newspapers have noted serious irregularities, but Mr. Bush is in the White House).
Don't dare assume. You and those you know must stop the disastrous, fraudulent, conservative rightwing run electronic voting systems and you must get out and vote in 2006 and 2008 as well as support good candidates before election day.
If you don't, we'lk be doing another Bush in 2008. No one except for Karl Rove and Dick Cheney and Mama Babs Bush want that to happen.

Paul Krugman: The Great Revulsion

Paul Krugman's column today, in part:

I have a vision — maybe just a hope — of a great revulsion: a moment in which the American people look at what is happening, realize how their good will and patriotism have been abused, and put a stop to this drive to destroy much of what is best in our country."

I wrote those words three years ago in the introduction to my column collection, "The Great Unraveling." It seemed a remote prospect at the time: Baghdad had just fallen to U.S. troops, and President Bush had a 70 percent approval rating.

Now the great revulsion has arrived. The latest Fox News poll puts Mr. Bush's approval at only 33 percent. According to the polling firm Survey USA, there are only four states in which significantly more people approve of Mr. Bush's performance than disapprove: Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nebraska. If we define red states as states where the public supports Mr. Bush, Red America now has a smaller population than New York City.

The proximate causes of Mr. Bush's plunge in the polls are familiar: the heck of a job he did responding to Katrina, the prescription drug debacle and, above all, the quagmire in Iraq.

One Hell of an Oops: Poor Planning May Drive Cost of Iraq War Over $1 Trillion

Yes, that's Trillion, with a T, just like Traitor, with a Bush.

From ABC News:

ABC analyst Tony Cordesman, who also holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says the exorbitant costs come down to poor planning.

"When the administration submitted its original budget for the Iraq war, it didn't provide money for continuing the war this year or any other. We could end up spending up to $1 trillion in supplemental budgets for this war."

According to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the United States spent $48 billion for Iraq in 2003, $59 billion in 2004, and $81 billion in 2005. The center predicts the figure will balloon to $94 billion for 2006. That equates to a $1,205 bill for each of America's 78 million families, on top of taxes they already pay.
And VP Cheney just got a $2 Million tax refund??????????????


Baghdad Teachers Beheaded in Front of Students

My God.

New Poll: U.S. Occupation Dramatically Worsened Plight of Women in Iraq

This is shocking even to someone like me who has known for sometime that we worsened the plight of women both in Iraq and Afghanistan:

A new poll of leaders of Iraqi women's-rights groups finds that women were treated better and their civil rights were more secure under deposed President Saddam Hussein than under the faltering and increasingly sectarian U.S.-installed government.

This is doubly troubling. It's troubling first because the Bush administration used the issue of women to justify its now widely criticized invasion of Iraq in part by promising to improve the situation of women.

It's troubling second because the administration has issued news releases, held public meetings and tried to gain media attention (as well as U.S. public support) for all the "good" it's supposedly doing the women of Iraq via this invasion.

The poll was released last week by the Integrated Regional Information Networks, a U.N. news agency covering sub-Saharan Africa, eight countries in central Asia, and Iraq.

IRIN reports the survey findings as follows: " ... women's basic rights under the Hussein regime were guaranteed in the constitution and more importantly respected, with women often occupying important government positions. Now, although their rights are still enshrined in the national constitution, activists complain that, in practice, they have lost almost all of their rights."

Moreover, leaders of women's groups say that in Iraq's new government, more men in power follow conservative Sharia (to wit, Islamic law) on women's rights and on their role in society. Senar Muhammad, president of the Baghdad-based non-government organization Woman Freedom Organization, is quoted by IRIN as saying, "When we tell the government we need more representation in parliament, they respond by telling us that, if well-qualified women appear one day, they won't be turned down. ... Then they laugh at us."
It is inexcusable, wrong, and exactly what the American Taliban - the complete nutwing - would like to do here.

Imagine what it says to the entire rest of the world that women fared much better in Iraq under Saddam Hussein than under a Bush-American led occupation? It's sickening.

Senate Bill Problem


WASHINGTON - A Senate measure to fund the war in Iraq would chop money for troops' night vision equipment and new battle vehicles but add $230 million for a tilt-rotor aircraft that has already cost $18 billion and is still facing safety questions.

President Bush's request for the emergency appropriations to cover costs of the continuing war and Hurricane Katrina recovery operations included no money for the troubled V-22 Osprey, which takes off and lands like a helicopter but flies like a plane.

The Marine Corps, however, followed up with a letter to lawmakers endorsing additional V-22s, noting that it is the only active production line capable of replacing four Vietnam War-era CH-46 choppers lost since Sept. 11, 2001.

Critics maintain that it's still a curious choice to be funded in a bill whose defining purpose is to replace equipment worn out or destroyed in Iraq.

The Osprey, manufactured by Bell Helicopter, a subsidiary of Textron Inc., has been in development since the 1980s and has cost the government $18 billion so far. It has suffered numerous setbacks over the years, including two crashes in 2000 that killed 23 people.

Et Tu, Fox?

It's bad when even Fox News notices - and wow, even reports rather than distorts! - the president's dismal poll numbers:

NEW YORK — More Americans disapprove than approve of how George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Congress are doing their jobs, while a majority approves of Condoleezza Rice. President Bush’s approval hits a record low of 33 percent this week, clearly damaged by sinking support among Republicans.

Opinions are sharply divided on whether Rumsfeld should resign as secretary of defense. In addition, views on the economy are glum; most Americans rate the current economy negatively, and twice as many say it feels like the economy is getting worse rather than better. These are just some of the findings of the latest FOX News national poll.
At this rate, Mr. Bush will soon join VP Duck! It's Dick! Cheney's 12-18% approval rating. Few can accomplish this but I have faith in Dubya, at least on this score.

GOP Congresswoman's Obscenity Laced Letter to Constituent

Of course, the one possibility this wire service piece FAILS to consider is the most obvious: that this Republican congresswoman just said what the GOP seems to feel about Americans in general: that they're not worth answering to.

With One Gesture, the President....

Mr. Bush manages to answer seven different questions with just a single hand gesture!
1. How much political capital do you have left, Mr. Bush?
2. How many weapons of mass destruction do Iraq and Iran have combined?
3. How many people still like you?
4. How many black people would you like to see returned to their homes in New Orleans?
5. How many people have you treated fairly?
6. What will be the value of the American dollar before you leave office?
7. What is your IQ?

Bushies: They're Resolute Deciders... Except When They're Not

As Stranger at Blah3 points out most ably:

To date, Andy Card, Gale Norton and McClellan have announced their departures, and Karl Rove is abandoning his policy role. Quite a shakeup for a White House that was saying this just a month ago:
    The White House is rejecting a Republican senator's call for a staff shakeup.

    Press Secretary Scott McClellan says President Bush has a "smart" and "experienced" team that is "fully capable."

    Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman said yesterday the administration has developed a "tin ear" in dealings with Congress. And he says Bush needs to "look at" the team now serving him.
The Bush administration. So resolute. The mean what they say and say what they mean - then they go ahead and do the exact opposite.

The CIA Strikes Back Against the Bushies?

Harpers Magazine has quite a piece online now, which starts like this:

With the war in Iraq an utter debacle and public opinion turned against the White House, anger within the armed forces towards Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the Administration is growing, and the Pentagon is fighting back (see “Pentagon Memo Aims to Counter Rumsfeld Critics” in the April 16 New York Times). But what's been little noted thus far is what looks to be a similar revolt brewing at the CIA. An ex-senior agency officer who keeps in contact with his former peers told me that there is a “a big swing” in anti-Bush sentiment at Langley. “I've been stunned by what I'm hearing,” he said. “There are people who fear that indictments and subpoenas could be coming down, and they don't want to get caught up in it.”

This former senior officer said there “seems to be a quiet conspiracy by rational people” at the agency to avoid involvement in some of the particularly nasty tactics being employed by the administration, especially “renditions”—the practice whereby the CIA sends terrorist suspects abroad to be questioned in Egypt, Syria, Uzbekistan, and other nations where the regimes are not squeamish about torturing detainees. My source, hardly a softie on the topic of terrorism, said of the split at the CIA: “There's an SS group within the agency that's willing to do anything and there's a Wehrmacht group that is saying, 'I'm not gonna touch this stuff'.”

"Without DeLay": Hot Tub Tom DeLay, That Is

Texas Monthly discusses it in some detail.

However, I think it's premature to say Tom's gone from politics for a number of reasons. For one, he's talking about becoming a lobbyist, which I think should be denied him at ALL costs. I would like to see him convicted and do hard time.

Did Rove Move Jobs Because He's About to Be Indicted?

That's the speculation regarding Plamegate (since the special prosecutor's grand jury is very active again) from a number of places; follow-up here with David Corn from The Nation.

Remember How Wal-Mart Was Offering to "Help" the U.S. with Medical Care System?

Well, I think we now know what kind of help Wal-Mart was offering, since Chris at AmericaBlog informs us that Wal-Mart's CEO is calling Massachusetts' plan for health care for all as assinine and ridiculous:

He's still whining but he still intends to expand in Maryland despite having to pay something towards employee health care. The GOP politicians all cried about Wal-Mart going away but they were wrong. Looking at the numerous CEO's who receive increasingly high compensation packages, I see nothing wrong with companies spending a few extra dollars on employee health care. This is no longer 1900 folks and if companies can afford to pay tens of millions per year to CEOs, they can afford this.

For the record, H. Lee Scott, CEO Wal-Mart managed to scrape together more than $17,000,000 in total compensation in 2004 so something tells me that the company has money to spare if they can afford such a luxurious plan for one person.

Blackwater, American Mercenaries, and Fallujah

Both The Nation and Democracy Now have done a lot of detail today on what exactly happened to those Blackwater contractors from the U.S. who were killed outside Fallujah and hung from a bridge outside the city which led to the terrible atrocities we committed in Fallujah to "show" Iraq we meant big cowboy business.

TPM Muckraker also talks about it here.

The Worst President in History

In case you haven't heard - and you must have been in that well-appointed cave with Osama bin Forgotten not to have noticed over the last six years - Rolling Stone has given George Bush a dubious - or is it dubyaish? - honor: named the worst president in American history.

And Yet, I Might Approve of Someone Locking Up Michelle Malkin and Throwing Away the Key...

I have not written about this matter before, but I'm roaring mad about it regardless.

Michelle Malkin - a woman who actually makes Ann Coulter seem ever so microscopically more human (which does not say much at all for either biped being discussed here) - chose to public the private phone numbers and addresses of kids who were protesting another GOP dipshit event. She refuses to take down those phone numbers and addresses even though the lowest slime in the gene pool have peppered these college kids with death and other threats.

Zogby Poll Shows Americans Want Rehab, Not Just Punishment, for Prisoners

The "throw 'em away and then eat the key" Republicans are apparently also way out of touch with the desires of most Americans with regard to the penal system where, since we stopped doing rehabilitation, the recidivism rate has gone through the roof, even as much as the GOP favors prisoners eating rotten food and being forced to wear pink undies.

From Zogby (and I find this enormously encouraging because it goes so counter to what Republicans and politicians always tell us):

From every age, gender, economic, political, cultural and ethnic group and every geographic area, Americans overwhelmingly support the rehabilitation of non-violent criminals both before and after they leave prison, a new poll by Zogby International shows.

Three out of four Americans expressed either fear or concern about the 700,000 prisoners who are leaving U.S. prisons each year, and the fact that 60% of them are likely to commit crimes that send them back to prison, Zogby International’s national survey showed. The poll explored what people think ought to be done about the situation.

The survey, sponsored by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, a leading criminal justice research organization, reveals that by almost an 8 to 1 margin (87% to 11%), the U.S. voting public is in favor of rehabilitative services for prisoners as opposed to a punishment only system. Of those polled, 70% favored these services both during incarceration and after release from prison.

Scurrilous and Criminal Behavior Exhibited by FBI in Jack Andersen Case

It was only today when I finally paid enough attention to understand what the fuss regarding the late Anderson was all about; but hey, any man J. Edgar Hoover called worse than dung is all right in my book.

TPM Muckraker has the story about the FBI dirty, cheating tactics with an elderly woman to try to wrongfully take Anderson's files. They haven't gotten any more ethical under Bush-Ashcroft-Gonzalez, that's for damned sure.

Let Me Say Goodnight on a Cheery Note

Just 1,000 more days of Bush left.

Wait... 1,000? That's waaaaaaay too much Bush. And Cheney. And Rummy. And Condi-kins.

Why do I have the feeling I'll be counting every damned nanosecond of it, too.

Oh well, I tried to leave you on a positive note.

Just remember: do not Konsume the Kool-aid, Kiddies!

Must-Read Greg Mitchell Column on Bush, Impeachment, and the Media

I've included a snippet from the Editor and Publisher column here, but it really is a must-read (there will be a test at the end of class - you've been WARNED).


The alarm should be bi-partisan. Many Republicans fear their president's image as a bumbler will hurt their party for years. The rest may fret about the almost certain paralysis within the administration, or a reversal of certain favorite policies. A Gallup poll this week revealed that 44% of Republicans want some or all troops brought home from Iraq. Do they really believe that their president will do that any time soon, if ever?

Democrats, meanwhile, cross their fingers that Bush doesn’t do something really stupid -- i.e. prematurely nuke Iran -- while they try to win control of at least one house in Congress by doing nothing yet somehow earning (they hope) the anti-Bush vote.

Meanwhile, a severely weakened president retains, and has shown he is willing to use, all of his commander-in-chief authority, and then some.

No wonder so many are starting to look for a way to shorten or short-circuit the extended crisis period. Republicans demand a true shake-out at the White House. This week at Vanity Fair online, Carl Bernstein is calling for a Watergate-style congressional probe of possible high crimes and misdemeanors. Even Neil Young is weighing in with a soon-to-be-released song that urges, “Let’s impeach the president -- for lying.”


Afghanistan: Where Mortality Rates Climb Through the Roof

From the wires:

The death of the withered baby's natural mother during childbirth epitomizes the leading health crisis in war-ravaged Afghanistan, where U.N. officials say 600 infants and 50 mothers die on average each day.

President Hamid Karzai, addressing a health conference Wednesday, called the appalling rates of infant and maternal mortality his nation's "great tragedy."

Gotta Love It! "Got Hiccups? Got Cancer."

Story here.

I also strongly believe that listening to Pat Robertson and believing George Bush is the God-anointed king of the world are also medical symptoms.

Rice: No VE Day on the Horizon in Iraq

My God, is it April Fool's Day or is the Rapture finally arriving?

One of the two has to be on tap, because this is an extremely RARE occasion when Condi Rice didn't lie through her 4700 teeth.

Hell, I would even agree with her, and that - quite frankly - never happens! However, I can honestly say that I would rather see Hillary Clinton get the presidency in 2008 over Condi-kins, and I rather loathe Hillary, although for quite different reasons than the righteous right wingnuts.

Prepare Yourself to Laugh So Hard it Hurts: "Wal-Mart Offers to Help Fix U.S. Health Care" System!

Hey, I warned you. You can't say I didn't!

The same folks who make all taxpayers pay for health care for their employees so the Walton family can each have more and more billions in the banks now wants to "help". One of the biggest ways they can help, of course, is to close up shop.

It's a Bird. No, it's a Plane! No, it's Bubonic Plague!

How cool! Imagine calling in sick to work with this one?

From the wires:

A woman is in stable condition with bubonic plague, the first confirmed human case in Los Angeles County since 1984, health officials said Tuesday.

The woman, who was not identified, was admitted to a hospital April 13 with a fever, swollen lymph nodes and other symptoms. A blood test confirmed the bacterial disease, and she was given antibiotics, officials said.

Bubonic plague is not contagious, but if left untreated it can morph into pneumonic plague, which is. Bubonic plague is usually transmitted to humans from the bites of fleas infected by rodents.

White House Press Corps: Scott McClellan NOT Forced Out

My reaction to this story? Yeah, sure, right. Don't believe it for a minute.

McClellan would have stayed to the bitter end, despite how much of a joke he has been for a very long time. But he was a convenient goat to sacrifice.

Media Orgs Resist Libby Lawyers' Fishing Expedition

From Editor and Publisher:

Lawyers for The New York Times, Time Inc. and NBC News move to resist subpoenas in CIA leak case, saying they threaten the integrity of their news gathering operations. The subpoenas seek drafts of articles, even those that were not published; communications between reporters and editors; and e-mail exchanges. The Washington Post disclosed it had turned over a memo written by Bob Woodward.

Huge Explosion - Rocket-Based - Strikes Near U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan

Story from the wire service here.

BTW, did you happen to hear Richard Holbrooke mention the other day that we'll be in Afghanistan ages longer than in Iraq? That was disquieting, especially considering we've been there a year-and-a-half longer than in Iraq, we created more of a mess there, done virtually nothing toward rebuilding, the Taliban has largely taken over again, girls are once again kept from schools.... I could go on recounting the bungling horrid mess all night.

For all of this, Osama bin Laden and his pals remain free.

Also, we spent more than $900 million just last year on trying to eradicate the drug trade in Afghanistan, or well more than $100 million MORE than the entire country costs to operate in a year, YET, by the U.S. government's own estimation, they only cut drug production by less than 4%. By any other estimates, however, drug production there is UP exponentially.

What a fricking success story!

McClellan Leaves - Boo Frickin' Hoo

Please someone tell me why Scott McClellan leaving as White House's most public liar is supposed to be a big deal.

All they will do is substitute him with - perhaps - a better liar. But frankly, from Condi to Scotty to Bush to Rummy, none of these folks are particularly talented liars despite the incredibly great frequency with which they lie.

Remember Ari - smug, arrogant prick - Fleischer as official liar before Scotty? Boy, we don't need another one of him.

Blogger Outage Later

Blogger is going down today at 7 PM Eastern/4 PM Western. Usually, during such outages, readers can continue to visit blogs, but new posts and sometimes comments cannot be added.


The Supremes: Court is Right on One Thing and Way Too Far to the Nutso Right on Another

First, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by one of the greatest haters of everything God created, Jerry Falwell, concerning a Web site that uses a domain name very close to Falwell's name after an Appeals Court decided the guy who registered that domain is not cybersquatting. Good.

Yet, in a MUCH MORE SIGNIFICANT case, the Supremes also refused to hear the case of two Chinese Muslims who've been kept quite wrongly at Guatanamo Bay as "terrorists" by the Bushies for more than four years and, even after the U.S. finally acknowledged they can find no link between these two men and terrorism, they are STILL being held.

From the UK Guardian:

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday from two Chinese Muslims who were mistakenly captured as enemy combatants more than four years ago and are still being held at the U.S. prison in Cuba.

The men's plight has posed a dilemma for the Bush administration and courts. Previously, a federal judge said the detention of the ethnic Uighurs in Guantanamo Bay is unlawful, but that there was nothing federal courts could do.

Lawyers for the two contend they should be released, something the Bush administration opposes, unless they can go to a country other than the United States.

A year ago, the U.S. military decided that Abu Bakker Qassim and A'Del Abdu al-Hakim are not ``enemy combatants'' as first suspected after their 2001 arrests in Pakistan. They were captured and shipped to Guantanamo Bay along with hundreds of other suspected terrorists.

The U.S. government has been unable to find a country willing to accept the two men, along with other Uighurs. They cannot be returned to China because they likely will be tortured or killed.
John Roberts and company should be ASHAMED of themselves for having no testicles whatsoever when it comes to the Bushies. They do not deserve to wear the robes of the nation's highest court and do not in any way protect the rights of people.

Same is True with Other Potential White House Staff Shakeups

Just as I wrote in the previous post that I don't see any real use in removing Rumsfeld, I think the exact same holds true for any other shakeups that may occur in the White House staff or the Bushie Cabinet.

The country isn't going to get any better if Scotty McClellan is replaced by some other pathological liar as WH spokesweasel. The middle class will continue to hurt just as much if another Bushie comes in for Treasury Secretary and major Bush brown-noser John Snow.

Josh Bolten's announcement that heads were going to roll is only a rather obvious magician's sleight of hand. When has Bush ever replaced anyone with someone who wasn't at least as bad if not quite a bit worse than the original appointment?

So why the bleep bother? That is, unless we decide to get together and replace Bush and Cheney, which I believe we should do.

To me, you cannot impeach Bush without also impeaching Cheney. And the entire WH staff and cabinet would absolutely have to go with them.

Why I Say Keep Rumsfeld Right Where He Is

A couple of folks have written me email asking why I haven't joined many others in publicly declaring my desire to see Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld fired. Trust me, it's not because I either respect the man or believe he's doing a good job. Neither could be farther from the truth for me.

However, just as John Nichols wrote in The Nation, I do not support the removal - forced or otherwise - of Rumsfeld from DoD for a very simple reason. If it's done, it would be done ONLY by Bush as a face-saving measure where he could behave as if the situation with Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, et al, has somehow changed because the face in the DoD has changed. This would be a patent lie.

The only way we can really change course is the removal of ALL the Bushies. Rumsfeld is ONLY doing what Bush and Cheney want. He's not acting solely on his own. Our soldiers, our contractors, and the civilians in these war-torn or war-fearing countries - will be NO SAFER with just the removal of Rummy because Bush and Cheney will install someone in that position who will do their bidding just as Rummy has done it before him. The replacement will be someone horrid and Bushian and probably no one who's ever come closer to actual combat than being in a store once that sells GI Joes, like John Negroponte, Bolton or Bolten, or someone equally as undistinguished and poorly prepared.

So - since no real changes will be made - leave Rummy in place to remind the American people of how miserably the Bushies will continue to handle all of this. Anything else is just staging and showmanship.

Let the American people sit there and digest Bush telling us, "Rummy's done a heckuva job"... just like he did with Michael Brown of FEMA during the catastrophic response to Hurricane Katrina while everything we do in Afghanistan and Iraq goes wrong, while Halliburton et al steals us blind, and while the Bushies drive up oil prices with saber rattling at Iran.

Agree or disagree?

Watergate's Carl Bernstein: GOP Should Hold Bipartisan Hearings on Bush's Lies, Failures

I'm in complete agreement with Carl Bernstein, in a piece in Vanity Fair, on this.

If impeachment - or censure - ever makes it to hearings, no one is going to buy a Republican majority, where NO Dem holds any post of any status, doing this very critical situation justice.

Stop the Presses: Katie Holmes Gives Birth to Tom Kitten

Between Natalee Holloway and Katie Holmes and Tom "I'm Hiding My Homosexuality Almost as Well as I am My Psychopathology" Cruise, the TV news programs literally could discuss nothing else today.

Gee, that seems sad considering Natalee, Katie, and Tom matter so fricking little in the grand scheme of things.


Say (a Big!) Hello to

The Center for Digital Democracy

The Rev Sun Myung Moon is One Sick Fuck

Read this crap, the man the right wing Republican politicians in Washington cater to and literally bow down to:

There is, as Moon sees it, a profound sex crisis in America. "Satan," the Times publisher said in 2004, "is clinging to our sexual organs." Women are a "line of prostitutes," who should be punished for selfishness. "The concave organ [vagina] should be sealed with concrete."

"The women are the problem in history," he said in 2004. "Women who don't want to have children should cut away their breasts, bottoms and love organ because the purpose for those was first for the children. If they don't fulfill that purpose, then they are not needed."

"Woman's sexual organ is like the open mouth of a snake filled with poison," he said in 1996.

Men don't get off any easier. Keep pliers in your pocket, he says, "and when you go to the bathroom, once a day, pinch your love organ. Cut the skin a little bit as a warning."

Moon has even a darker vision for gay men. Moon told an audience he'd like to see them removed in a "purge on God's orders.... Gays will be eliminated, the three Israels will unite. If not, then they will be burned. We do not know what kind of world God will bring, but this is what happens. It will be greater than the Communist purge but at God's orders." (No wonder the Times style guide puts "gay" in quotes.)

Far from being confined to his church, his philosophy has fueled years of voter mobilization drives, state and local candidacies and public campaigns opposing sexual liberties for nonmembers -- such as birth control, sex education, gay rights. There have been Moon-sponsored rallies for "pure sex" in the streets of Chicago, featuring mascots dressed up as gonorrhea bacteria. So don't mistake his sexual beliefs for a party to which you aren't invited.

"By 2004, we have to reach the level of Jesus occupying Rome," he said in 2001, speaking of his American ambitions. "Invite me as master and owner, or it all will fade away and be broken. The Capitol Hill, the U.N. -- I should be the king."

What's Wrong With the AP Headline on White House Easter Egg Roll?

"Gay Parents Secretly Crash the White House Easter Egg Roll"

Approve or disapprove of gays or their ability to become parents, the White House and the lawn it stands on belongs to the American people and not to George and Laura, not to the Republicans, and NOT to the extremist right wing.

These are parents with children and they are Americans. So why are they crashing the White House Easter stupidity when others are not?

Say Hello to

Yellow Cakewalk - they sponsor a White House protest each and every week.

Richard Holbrooke's OpEd Piece in Wapo on Rumsfeld, Generals, Iraq, and Beyond

If you missed Holbrooke's piece yesterday, you can find it here. I think it's worth your time (but what do _I_ know?).

Why Nixon's History Pales in Comparison to Mr. Bush

Strong op/ed in the Albuquerque Tribune:

Sometimes you have to say the obvious.

In the past 40 or so years, the United States presidency has had four major political scandals, and they involved Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Clinton and George W. Bush. Of the four, Bush's season of scandal could well go down as the most infamous.

We know the tales. Johnson engaged in fakery with the Gulf of Tonkin incident so he could lock the nation into the Vietnam War. He ended up not running for re-election.

Nixon and his operatives were such persistent bunglers at political dirty tricks in the Watergate scandal that his chief advisers landed in jail and he was forced to resign.

With Clinton, trumped-up but endlessly pursued charges of financial shenanigans came to naught, but his sexual adventures almost cost him his office.

And Bush? They all look like midgets next to him.

One doesn't even have to mention the shady ways Bush was elected and re-elected to make the case for his nightmare presidency.

Roe v. Wade: Critical Time, Critically Bad Movements

USA Today looks at the issue of a woman's right to choose, but within the legal context of what happens if the U.S. Supreme Court - as many expect it will do - decides to undermine Roe v. Wade; specifically, how nearly half the states, pushed by the mad right, work to severely limit or outlaw altogether, abortion as an option.

Bad, bad times.

Are U.S.-Led Forces Behind Deaths of Innocent Afghan Civilians and Police?

That is the question. I'll let the wire service (AssPress in this case) fill you in on some of the details.

KABUL, Afghanistan - Military officials are investigating two clashes in which Afghan civilians and police may have been killed by U.S.-led coalition forces, authorities said Monday.

The U.S. military has begun an inquiry into Saturday's deaths of seven Afghan civilians after American forces using aircraft and artillery battled militants in a house and a cave complex in Afghanistan's Kunar province, which borders Pakistan.

The Canadian-led military in the southern Kandahar province also said it was investigating whether "friendly fire" was responsible for casualties sustained by Afghan police during fierce fighting there Friday against Taliban forces.

Afghan authorities said 41 Taliban militants and six Afghan police were killed during the fighting in Sangisar, a former Taliban stronghold near Kandahar city. It was the bloodiest battle in a surge in rebel attacks that threatens the government's shaky grip on the country more than four years after the fall of the Taliban.

The government has previously complained about heavy-handed tactics by U.S.-led forces, and the swift announcement of probes into the deaths appears to reflect greater openness on the part of the coalition, which says its forces go to extreme lengths to avoid innocent casualties.

Saturday's clash in Kunar province came during an ongoing operation involving 2,500 Afghan and coalition forces to flush out Taliban-led militants, one of the biggest offensives since the Taliban's ouster for hosting Osama bin Laden.

The U.S. military said about eight to 10 militants opened fire on U.S. forces, who returned fire and called in support from warplanes and artillery. It said several Taliban forces were killed and others took shelter in a house and nearby cave where civilians were living.

U.S. military spokesman Maj. Matt Hackathorn said they stopped firing once they realized civilians were in the area. After the firefight ended, local village elders said seven people had been killed and three wounded.

Too Much Going On... So Little of It Good

That's basically the feeling I have almost everyday when I sit down to try to blog. I suppose it's better than having nothing to write about, but it's all so glum and grim, from global warming and dying coral reefs to a Supreme Court that, thanks to Bush, is a mockery of its former self, right through to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran.

Where to start? Where will it end?

And what would Winnie the Pooh say about it? Besides, "Oh, bother!" that is.


Full Scale Attack on Iran Has Been on Drawing Board Since Before 2003 Invasion of Iraq

That's what a leading military authority says. I'll believe anything at this point about the Bushies in this regard.

Falwell Won't Back Rudy Giuliani's Bid to Become President

Aww... (tearing up).

Actually, I think the blush has largely faded from Rudy, who couldn't have gotten elected as a stray done on 9-10-01 but suddenly became "America's mayor" who just happened to have mafia ties, had committed rather public adultery on two of his three wives, claimed not to have known how dirty Bernie Kerik was when he put him up for Department of Homeland (in)Security, et al.

I don't see Giuliani making it that far into primary season in 2008 and this will be his only opportunity to go for the alpha dog slot.

Antonin Scalia: Nuttier Than a Fruitcake But Sadly, with a Longer Shelf Life on the Supremes Than a Fruitcake

WaPo talks about Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's increasingly bizarro behavior and commentary. He really proves that despite his fat exterior, he's enormously thin-skinned.

I still cannot believe that his flipping off (the equivalent of "Fuck You") thing last month did not garner more attention, more outrage. Scalia is like the quintessential "everything that is wrong with the most important court in the nation".

The Case Against Coke

The Nation covers this anti cola campaign and why it's occurring in some depth.

Personally, I like the company's new schtick which implies that benzene is a wonderful extra addition to the product, something so nice perhaps they should be charging extra for it. Last I recall, benzene is not good for children and other living things (think acute myeloid leukemia).

Bush to Country: "Can You Hear Me Now?"

US News and World Report has a piece on the bad seed known as President Bush. Nothing startling.

Bush Birdbrain Bird Flu Pandemic Plan: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid..

Remember when the president suggested he'd forceably quarantine people and use the military to shoot average Joes and Janes who did not agree with his idea?

Here's what the WaPo says:

President Bush is expected to approve soon a national pandemic influenza response plan that identifies more than 300 specific tasks for federal agencies, including determining which frontline workers should be the first vaccinated and expanding Internet capacity to handle what would probably be a flood of people working from their home computers.

The Treasury Department is poised to sign agreements with other nations to produce currency if U.S. mints cannot operate. The Pentagon, anticipating difficulties acquiring supplies from the Far East, is considering stockpiling millions of latex gloves. And the Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a drive-through medical exam to quickly assess patients who suspect they have been infected.

The document is the first attempt to spell out in some detail how the government would detect and respond to an outbreak, and continue functioning through what could be an 18-month crisis, which in a worst-case scenario could kill 1.9 million Americans. Bush was briefed on a draft of the implementation plan on March 17. He is expected to approve the plan within the week, but it continues to evolve, said several administration officials who have been working on it.

The Times: Not Just a Leak, a Bad Leak

I will second this, although I would use stronger phraseology to do so:

President Bush says he declassified portions of the prewar intelligence assessment on Iraq because he "wanted people to see the truth" about Iraq's weapons programs and to understand why he kept accusing Saddam Hussein of stockpiling weapons that turned out not to exist. This would be a noble sentiment if it actually bore any relationship to Mr. Bush's actions in this case, or his overall record.

Mr. Bush did not declassify the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq — in any accepted sense of that word — when he authorized I. Lewis Libby Jr., through Vice President Dick Cheney, to talk about it with reporters. He permitted a leak of cherry-picked portions of the report. The declassification came later.

And this president has never shown the slightest interest in disclosure, except when it suits his political purposes. He has run one of the most secretive administrations in American history, consistently withholding information and vital documents not just from the public, but also from Congress. Just the other day, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the House Judiciary Committee that the names of the lawyers who reviewed Mr. Bush's warrantless wiretapping program were a state secret.

Obviously, we do not object to government officials talking to reporters about important matters that their bosses do not want discussed. It would be impossible to cover any administration, especially one so secretive as this, unless that happened. (Judith Miller, who then worked for The Times, was one of the reporters Mr. Libby chose for this leak, although she never wrote about it.) But the version of the facts that Mr. Libby was authorized to divulge was so distorted that it seems more like disinformation than any sincere attempt to inform the public.

This fits the pattern of Mr. Bush's original sales pitch on the Iraq war — hyping the intelligence that bolstered his case and suppressing the intelligence that undercut it. In this case, Mr. Libby was authorized to talk about claims that Iraq had tried to buy uranium for nuclear weapons in Africa and not more reliable evidence to the contrary...

Since Mr. Bush regularly denounces leakers, the White House has made much of the notion that he did not leak classified information, he declassified it. This explanation strains credulity. Even a president cannot wave a wand and announce that an intelligence report is declassified....

This messy episode leaves more questions than answers, so it is imperative that two things happen soon. First, the federal prosecutor in the Libby case should release the transcripts of what Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney said when he questioned them. And the Senate Intelligence Committee must report publicly on how Mr. Bush and his team used the flawed intelligence on Iraq. Senator Pat Roberts, the committee chairman, says the panel will meet this month to discuss three of the report's five sections. That's a step. And it has taken only two years to get this far.

Fibonacci Poetry

Background of the burgeoning popularity of Fibonacci-based poetry is here.

My own half-assed first attempt - sadly written in 20 seconds - is here.


And then
too many
people have died.
Indict. Impeach. Imprison.

Not that Some Contingents in Iran Aren't Playing Right into the Bushies' Strangelove Plans

From CNN:

TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) -- Some 200 Iranians have volunteered in the past few days to carry out "martyrdom missions" against U.S. and British interests around the world if Iran is attacked, a hard-line group said Sunday.
The United States and other Western nations accuse Iran of seeking to master enrichment technology to build atomic weapons, a charge Iran denies. Washington says it wants a diplomatic solution, but has not ruled out a military option.

The news of potential martyrs came as The Institute for Science and International Security, a U.S. think tank, said Sunday that Iran has expanded its uranium conversion facilities in Isfahan and reinforced its Natanz underground uranium enrichment plant.

The fresh fears over a possible U.S. attack on Iran's nuclear sites helped attract volunteers during its latest recruitment drive, Mohammad Ali Samadi, spokesman for the Committee for the Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign, said.

More U.S. Marines, Civilians Dead in Iraq

It never ends. From CNN right now:

Two bombs killed at least 12 people in Iraq, authorities said today, as the speaker of Iraq's parliament postponed the next meeting of lawmakers, which had been scheduled for Monday. Meanwhile, the U.S. military reported the deaths of four Marines in Anbar province.
That's at least 20 Marines in the last seven or eight days.

U.S. Contractors Bilked Iraq Big Time

Attaturk at Rising Hegemon points us to this important piece at Boston Globe:

American contractors swindled hundreds of millions of dollars in Iraqi funds, but so far there is no way for Iraq's government to recoup the money, according to US investigators and civil attorneys tracking fraud claims against contractors......

A US law that allows citizens to recover money from dishonest contractors protects only the US government, not foreign governments.In addition, an Iraqi law created by the Coalition Provisional Authority days before it ceded sovereignty to Iraq in June 2004 gives American contractors immunity from prosecution in Iraq.

''In effect, it makes Iraq into a 'free-fraud zone,' " said Alan Grayson, a Virginia attorney who is suing the private security firm Custer Battles in a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by former employees. A federal jury last month found the Rhode Island-based company liable for $3 million in fraudulent billings in Iraq...

"Bombs That Could Backfire"

Richard Clarke (former Counterterrorism tsar in the NSA who left and offered tremendous insights into the Bushies) joins another expert (Steven Simon) to pen quite an oped piece in today's Times:

WHITE HOUSE spokesmen have played down press reports that the Pentagon has accelerated planning to bomb Iran. We would like to believe that the administration is not intent on starting another war, because a conflict with Iran could be even more damaging to our interests than the current struggle in Iraq has been. A brief look at history shows why.

Reports by the journalist Seymour Hersh and others suggest that the United States is contemplating bombing a dozen or more nuclear sites, many of them buried, around Iran. In the event, scores of air bases, radar installations and land missiles would also be hit to suppress air defenses. Navy bases and coastal missile sites would be struck to prevent Iranian retaliation against the American fleet and Persian Gulf shipping. Iran's long-range missile installations could also be targets of the initial American air campaign.
Bloodied by Iranian retaliation, President Bush would most likely authorize wider and more intensive bombing. Non-military Iranian government targets would probably be struck in a vain hope that the Iranian people would seize the opportunity to overthrow the government. More likely, the American war against Iran would guarantee the regime decades more of control.

So how would bombing Iran serve American interests? In over a decade of looking at the question, no one has ever been able to provide a persuasive answer. The president assures us he will seek a diplomatic solution to the Iranian crisis. And there is a role for threats of force to back up diplomacy and help concentrate the minds of our allies. But the current level of activity in the Pentagon suggests more than just standard contingency planning or tactical saber-rattling.

The parallels to the run-up to to war with Iraq are all too striking: remember that in May 2002 President Bush declared that there was "no war plan on my desk" despite having actually spent months working on detailed plans for the Iraq invasion. Congress did not ask the hard questions then. It must not permit the administration to launch another war whose outcome cannot be known, or worse, known all too well.

All Fingers Point to Donald Rumsfeld

(Including, many times, my middle finger. cough.)

From the UK Guardian:

Donald Rumsfeld was directly linked to prisoner abuse for the first time yesterday, when it emerged he had been "personally involved" in a Guantánamo Bay interrogation found by military investigators to have been "degrading and abusive".

Human Rights Watch last night called for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate whether the defence secretary could be criminally liable for the treatment of Mohamed al-Qahtani, a Saudi al-Qaida suspect forced to wear women's underwear, stand naked in front of a woman interrogator, and to perform "dog tricks" on a leash, in late 2002 and early 2003. The US rights group said it had obtained a copy of the interrogation log, which showed he was also subjected to sleep deprivation and forced to maintain "stress" positions; it concluded that the treatment "amounted to torture".

However, military investigators decided the interrogation did not amount to torture but was "abusive and degrading". Those conclusions were made public last year but this is the first time
Mr Rumsfeld's own involvement has emerged.

According to a December report by the army inspector general, obtained by Salon.com online magazine, the investigators did not accuse the defence secretary of specifically prescribing "creative" techniques, but they said he regularly monitored the progress of the al-Kahtani interrogation by telephone, and they argued he had helped create the conditions that allowed abuse to take place.

"Where is the throttle on this stuff?" asked Lt Gen Schmidt, an air force officer who said in sworn testimony to the inspector general that he had concerns about the duration and repetition of harsh interrogation techniques. He said that in his view: "There were no limits."

Berlusconi: Won't Concede Italian Election Because He Fears Indictment and Worse, Conviction!

From the UK Independent and I really have little doubt that his concerns about his future are very much at the forefront of his crazed insistence not to admit defeat.

Of course, Mr. Bush taught him and other dictators a valuable lesson when he "bought" the Supreme Court's vote here in December 2000.

Blah3: A Tale of Two Headlines, Indeed

From Monkeyfister at Blah3 (and don't forget, please, to let them a click to help out in their million hit march, tyvm), an irony only possible in the Bush Administration:

From Reuters:

Report says Rumsfeld allowed Guantanamo abuse

Bush says Rumsfeld has "my full support"


Rolling Stone: The Secret Life of the Most Corrupt Man in Washington

Strangely enough, it's not George Bush, Duck! It's Dick! Cheney, Tom DeLay, Bill "Here Kitty, Kitty" Frist, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, OR Rick Santorum.

No, this is a story in Rolling Stone about Jack Abramoff, whose had millions and millions in shady dealings with ALL of these men, save possibly for "King of the World" Moon.

Air Force General: We're Already Fighting Secretly in Iraq

Holy shiite, Batman!

From Raw Story (I've reread this four times, hoping I was reading it wrong):

During an interview on CNN Friday night, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner claimed that U.S. military operations are already 'underway' inside Iran, RAW STORY has found.

"I would say -- and this may shock some -- I think the decision has been made and military operations are under way," Col. Gardiner told CNN International anchor Jim Clancy (as noted by Digby at the blog Hullabaloo).

(Crooks and Liars has a video clip of the interview)

Gardiner, who designed a war game in November of 2004 for Atlantic Magazine ("Will Iran be next?") which simulated "preparations for a U.S. assault on Iran," also claimed that Aliasghar Soltaniyeh, the Iranian ambassador to the United Nation's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told him a few weeks ago that units who had attacked the Revolutionary Guard had been captured and confessed to working with Americans.

"The secretary point is, the Iranians have been saying American military troops are in there, have been saying it for almost a year," Gardiner said. "I was in Berlin two weeks ago, sat next to the ambassador, the Iranian ambassador to the IAEA. And I said, 'Hey, I hear you're accusing Americans of being in there operating with some of the units that have shot up revolution guard units.'"

"He said, quite frankly, 'Yes, we know they are. We've captured some of the units, and they've confessed to working with the Americans,'" said the retired Air Force colonel.

Where's the Busiest Business in Baghdad? Sadly, it's the Morgue

From Inter Press Service:

As sectarian killings continue to rise in Iraq, the central morgue in Baghdad is unable to keep up with the daily influx of bodies.

The morgue is receiving a minimum of 60 bodies a day and sometimes more than 100, a morgue employee told IPS on condition of anonymity. "The average is probably over 85," said the employee on the morning of April 12, as scores of family members waited outside the building to see if their loved ones were among the dead.

The family of a man named Ashraf who had been taken away by the Iraqi police Feb. 16 anxiously searched through digital photographs inside the morgue. He then found what he was looking for. "

His two sons were killed when Ashraf was taken," said his uncle, 50-year-old Aziz. "Ashraf was a bricklayer who was simply trying to do his job, and now we see what has become of him in our new democracy."

Aziz found that the body of Ashraf was brought to the morgue Feb. 18 by the Iraqi police two days after he was abducted. The photographs of the body showed gunshot wounds in the head and bludgeon marks across the face. Both arms were apparently broken, and so many holes had been drilled into his chest that it appeared shredded..

Scotsman News: British PM Tony Blair Refuses to Back Iran Strike with U.S.

If true, good for Blair! He should have refused both Afghanistan and Iraq involvement as well. But it won't help Blair much; a majority of Brits want him OUT now.