The Nattering Nabob <$BlogRSDUrl$>
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Friday, July 29, 2005


 

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Bolton lied.
 
Oooops.

State Dept admits Bolton gave inaccurate answers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The State Department reversed itself on Thursday night and acknowledged that President Bush's U.N. ambassador nominee gave Congress inaccurate information about an investigation he was involved in.

The acknowledgment came after the State Department had earlier insisted nominee John Bolton's "answer was truthful" when he said he had not been questioned or provided information to jury or government investigations in the past five years.


Of course, to the Bush administration, this makes Bolton even MORE qualified. Before, he seemed like he was only incompetent and divisive. Now we know that he's a liar, too. That's the classic Bushian Trifecta, and it can only mean one thing: promote that man.

Lying about one's background seems to be typical, common behavior for Bush's nominees. Think the "liberal media" will notice?

And why did the State Department previously insist that Bolton's answer was "truthful" when it wasn't? Is the State Department being pressured to lie on behalf of the Bush administration?

And - since Bush doesn't think that the norms of human decency apply to him - will he actually do a recess appointment of Bolton? A man caught lying? A man the American People have a very low opinion of? A man who is very possibly up to his neck in Turdgate? If he does, will his popularity crash to levels not known since Hoover was President? If it does, will even more Republicans start jumping ship?

Stay tuned, because Bush has no good options.

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Thursday, July 28, 2005

God bless Judge Coughenour
 
Judge Gets in Swipe at Bush Administration

SEATTLE - The sentence itself was fairly straightforward: An Algerian man received 22 years for plotting to bomb the Los Angeles airport on the eve of the millennium. It was what the judge said in imposing the term that raised eyebrows.

U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said the successful prosecution of Ahmed Ressam should serve not only as a warning to terrorists, but as a statement to the Bush administration about its terrorism-fighting tactics.

"We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant or deny the defendant the right to counsel," he said Wednesday. "The message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart."

He added that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have made Americans realize they are vulnerable to terrorism and that some believe "this threat renders our Constitution obsolete ... If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won."

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A bird in the hand is worth kicking out Bush
 
Via onegoodmove:

Bush shows what a class act he is.

President Smirk is a disgrace to the office.

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Top Ten George W. Bush Solutions For Global Warming
 
10. NASA mission to turn down the sun's thermostat

9. Federal subsidies to boost production of Cool Ranch Doritos

8. Fast track Rumsfeld's "Colonize Neptune" proposal

7. Convene Blue-Ribbon Committee to explore innovative ways of ignoring the problem

6. Let Hillary worry about it when she takes over

5. I dunno---tax cuts for the rich?

4. Give the boys at Halliburton 90-billion dollar contract to patch hole in ozone

3. Switch to celsius so scorching 98 becomes frosty 37

2. Keep plenty of Bud on ice

1. Invade Antarctica

David Letterman

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Democrats urged Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday to say whether U.N. ambassador nominee John Bolton was questioned in the investigation of the leak of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are trying to determine if Bolton answered a routine questionnaire truthfully when he indicated he had not been interviewed or asked to supply information for a recent grand jury investigation.


How do these guys get away with just refusing to answer reasonable questions? Why doesn't the press scream bloody murder when they do this?

You want proof that the media isn't liberal? That's it. Can you IMAGINE the shrieks if one of CLINTON'S nominees refused to say whether or not he had been investigated?

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Bush can't blame the military.
 
One of the most disgusting examples of right-wing spin is the attempt to paint criticism of torture as criticism of soldiers. Those who are guilty of the atrocities of Abu Ghraib were soldiers, the "reasoning" goes, so attacking the atrocities is attacking the troops.

Yes, I know that's appallingly stupid, but one thing that I have learned is that there is NOTHING the rightwingers won't say when attempting to defend Bush.

However, it's not only dumb, it's false. It turns out that the military told Bush NOT TO approve the Unamerican interrogation policies that they wound up approving.

The torture albatross is entirely around Bush's neck, no matter how much he tries to the blame the soldiers for it.

I notice that a South Carolina Republican asked that these memos be declassified. So maybe there still are some Republicans who place country ahead of party.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Senior U.S. military lawyers strong disagreed in 2003 with an administration legal task force's conclusion that President Bush had authority to order harsh interrogations of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the New York Times reported.

Citing newly disclosed documents, the Times said in its Thursday editions that despite the protests, the task force concluded that military interrogators and their commanders would be immune from prosecution for torture under federal and international law. The reason was the special character of the fight against terrorism.

The Times said that memorandums written by several senior uniformed lawyers in each of the military services took a sharply different view and warned that the position eventually adopted by the task force could endanger American military personnel.

The memorandums were declassified and released last week in response to a request from Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, the newspaper said.

One memorandum written by the deputy judge advocate general of the Air Force, Maj. Gen. Jack. Rives, said several of the "more extreme interrogation techniques, on their face, amount to violations of domestic criminal law" as well as military law,the Times said.

The Rives memorandum also said the use of many of the interrogation techniques "puts the interrogators and the chain of command at risk of criminal accusations abroad," the Times reported.

The Times said the memorandums provide the most-complete record to date of how uniformed military lawyers were frequently the chief dissenters as government officials formulated interrogation policies.


Military lawyers told Bush that his torture policies could endanger American military personnel.

Bush apparently didn't care.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Enough Gall To Be Divided Into Three Parts.
 
Rumsfeld: Iraq Needs to Talk Border Issues With Iran, Syria
American Forces Press Service

EN ROUTE TO BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 27, 2005 – Iraq needs "to be aggressively communicating" with its neighbors to stop the infiltration of foreign terrorists across its borders, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today.

Iraq should work with Syria and Iran "to see that foreign terrorists stop coming across those borders," Rumsfeld said.


Do you believe the nerve of this asshole?

WE have owned Iraq for TWO YEARS while all these terrorists were flooding across the border like swarms of hornets, and we didn't do SQUAT about it. But now Donald Frankenfeld is telling the IRAQIS that they have to do it? And they have to do it by "aggressively communicating"? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Yell curses?

And I hate to point this out, but if we can't stop these maniacs from coming IN, how the hell are Iran and Syria supposed to stop them from LEAVING?

And, really, why would they WANT to stop them from leaving? I'll bet my ass that Iran and Syria are thrilled when Al Qaeda terrorists get the hell out of their country and go someplace else. So what are we supposed to be "aggressively communicating" to them? "Please don't let the murderous terrorists go someplace else and leave you alone"?

It's pretty obvious that Rumsfeld is preparing to blame the new Iraqi government for the filthy mess that he created.

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Not with a bang, but with a whimper.
 
Iraq Wants Quick Pullout of U.S. Troops
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq's prime minister said Wednesday he wants U.S. troops "on their way out" as soon as his government can protect its new democracy. The top American general in the country said he hopes to begin significant withdrawal by next spring.


We have now announced that we will be pulling the troops out. Possibly next spring. Iraq wants us gone, and we say that we are leaving. Soon.

What will happen when we leave?

Two weeks ago the Iraqi Prime Minister visited Tehran. He declared Iran and Iraq to be blood brothers. Iran offered economic and military assistance. Iraq accepted.

There will be a new Constitution, but it will not be a democratic one. It will be written under Islamic Sharia Law, as is Iran's Constitution.

As Bush said, he is a uniter. He has united Iraq and Iran under the banner of Islamic fundamentalism.

That's what 1700 soldiers died for.

This is an abject failure.

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Operation Coverup
 
Good for the LA Times. They are the first newspaper to openly call the White House's actions in Turdgate a "coverup."

"You only need to imagine how Republicans would have treated such a leak in the Clinton administration to dismiss their protestations that it's all no big deal.

It's a good bet that there has already been some lying under oath. One theory about the puzzling tenacity and ferocity of special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald — why he is sending journalists to jail for refusing to provide information he already has about an activity that probably wasn't even a crime by people other than the ones he is persecuting — is that he's switched his attention from the leak itself to perjury by White House officials who were asked about it earlier in the investigation.

Perjury is your classic coverup method, and still is used when other methods have failed. Advances in the science of spin since Watergate, however, have made a high-risk, Nixon-style coverup unnecessary in many situations.

President Bush says he won't publicly comment about the Plame case while the investigation continues. But the reason the investigation continues is partly his fault. He should have determined early on who leaked Plame's CIA identity to members of the press, and dealt with it.

Why didn't Bush two years ago just ask Karl Rove and a few others in the administration whether they had leaked Plame's identity to Bob Novak and the others? Why doesn't he ask Rove now? Is it because he knows the answer? Or because he doesn't want to have to fire Rove?


As a precaution against such a catastrophe, Bush now says he will fire anyone found to have broken the law by outing an undercover intelligence operative. Previously he had said he would fire anyone who outs an intelligence officer, period.

The coverup, in short, is going well.

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Republican priorities
 
The Senate decided to postpone voting on a Defense Bill in order to take care of something else.

What, you ask, could POSSIBLY be more important than a Defense Bill during wartime?

Protecting gunmakers from lawsuits, of course. What ELSE?

"The only reason it is coming to the floor in a time of war to interrupt the debate on the Defense Authorization bill is that members are feeling pressure form the gun lobby." - Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.


Holy crap.

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Turdblossom
 


The sad part isn't that some papers pulled the above Doonesbury because of the frighteningly offensive use of that horrible, horrible word - "Turdblossom."

The sad part is that reporters who covered the story seem to be completely unaware that "Turdblossom" actually IS Bush's nickname for Rove. Trudeau didn't make it up. BUSH DID. But they seem to be under the illusion that Trudeau for some bizarre and inexplicable reason. "Bathroom humor."

They're REPORTERS - and they completely missed the point of their own story.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — About a dozen newspapers have objected to use of toilet humor in Tuesday's and Wednesday's "Doonesbury" comic strip, and some either pulled or edited the strip.

Kansas City-based Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes the strip to around 1,400 newspapers, said it had received some complaints from editors about a reference to presidential aide Karl Rove.

Among those with concerns was the Providence (R.I.) Journal. There, editors simply removed the offensive word from the strip's final panel.

"I didn't think (taking out the word) hurt it," Executive Editor Joel Rawson said.


You didn't think taking the word out hurt it?

You took out the PUNCHLINE and you don't think that hurt it?

It amazes me that somebody actually pays these idiots.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005


 
First Draft:


"What Democrats need to stop doing is standing with bowed head as the Republicans whip us senseless with their big brass belt buckle.

"What Democrats need to start doing is grabbing that belt, pulling it out of their hands and saying, "Not anymore, Junior. Why don't you explain why you blew a spy's cover? Why don't you explain where all the money our soldiers need went? Why don't you explain why you tortured innocent people? Why don't you explain where Osama bin Laden is? Where is he? Where the bloody hell is he and why isn't he in jail right now watching his gallows being built outside his tiny little window? Huh? Huh? Got an answer for that, you overblown jingoistic piece of useless? Huh?"

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Republican priorities
 
Just a reminder:

During the nineties, the Republicans in Congress held 20 Congressional hearing into a 15-year-old failed land deal in Arkansas. Twenty.

Two years ago, a covert CIA operative had her cover blown, forcing an entire CIA front company had to be shut down.

How many hearings have the Republicans held about that?

You know the answer:

ZERO.

If you have a Republican Congressman, call him or her and ask why.

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No shit, Sherlock
 
New U.S. tactic: Employ poor Afghans

URGUN, Afghanistan --With escalating violence threatening Afghanistan's future, the U.S. military has a new focus: employ as many of the poor as possible to rebuild schools and medical clinics so they don't join the Taliban or al-Qaida.

The U.S. military operational commander in Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Jason Kamiya, believes that the more Afghans being put to work helps take away some of the enemies' ability to recruit.

"I'd rather have an Afghan national working on a road or helping build a clinic than getting three to five bucks or whatever the Taliban or al-Qaida-associated movement pays him to plant an IED (improvised explosive device)," he told The Associated Press on Saturday.

"We are hiring as many Afghans as we can."


You know, I hate to keep bitching when somebody actually does something reasonable - but did they just realize this? Did it just occur to them NOW that if you give a young person a job and something to do, he's less likely to cause trouble?

I hate to point this out, but we liberals have been telling them that for about 40 years now.

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Retreat?
 
Has the administration turned soft and squishy, and will soon be proposing giving therapy to the terrorists?

Has someone, somewhere actually begun to realize that the War In Iraq has been one giant fuckup from the get-go, and is looking for a graceful way to change course?

OR have they no intention of changing anything, but they think they need a new slogan?

My money is one the last one.

New Name for 'War on Terror' Reflects Wider U.S. Campaign

WASHINGTON, July 25 - The Bush administration is retooling its slogan for the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, pushing the idea that the long-term struggle is as much an ideological battle as a military mission, senior administration and military officials said Monday.

In recent speeches and news conferences, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the nation's senior military officer have spoken of "a global struggle against violent extremism" rather than "the global war on terror," which had been the catchphrase of choice. Administration officials say that phrase may have outlived its usefulness, because it focused attention solely, and incorrectly, on the military campaign.

Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the National Press Club on Monday that he had "objected to the use of the term 'war on terrorism' before, because if you call it a war, then you think of people in uniform as being the solution." He said the threat instead should be defined as violent extremists, with the recognition that "terror is the method they use."

Although the military is heavily engaged in the mission now, he said, future efforts require "all instruments of our national power, all instruments of the international communities' national power." The solution is "more diplomatic, more economic, more political than it is military," he concluded.

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Monday, July 25, 2005

Well, well, well...
 
When John Roberts was asked if he had been member of the ultra-right-wing Federalist Society (whose membership rolls are confidential), he said he didn't remember.

He lied through his teeth.

Washington Post - Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. has repeatedly said that he has no memory of belonging to the Federalist Society, but his name appears in the influential, conservative legal organization's 1997-1998 leadership directory.

Over the weekend, The Post obtained a copy of the Federalist Society Lawyers' Division Leadership Directory, 1997-1998. It lists Roberts, then a partner at the law firm Hogan & Hartson, as a member of the steering committee of the organization's Washington chapter and includes his firm's address and telephone number.


He doesn't remember being a member, when he was on the frigging Steering Committee.

Well, why would anybody expect a candidate for the Supreme Court to actually tell the truth about his background?

Especially one who is backed by the Republicans.

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Eight Days in July
 
"When a conspiracy is unraveling, and it's every liar and his lawyer for themselves, the story takes on a momentum of its own. When the conspiracy is, at its heart, about the White House's twisting of the intelligence used to sell the American people a war - and its desperate efforts to cover up that flimflam once the W.M.D. cupboard proved bare and the war went south - the story will not end until the war really is in its "last throes."


Frank Rich today has a column that is an absolute must-read.

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What Bush Doesn't Know
 
"Messing up other countries doesn't make the world or America safer." - Andy Dommen, quoted by Bob Herbert.


Herbert's column doesn't say much that's, but it's a nice, clear rundown of the stupidity that got us where we are today.

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Friday, July 22, 2005

The Floodgates Open
 
Kos has done a terrific job of taking all the crap that has come to light in the last few days in Turdgate (I have settled on that as the most appropriate name for the scandal) and distilling it. Go ye and read.

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CIA Rips Bush
 
But remember, boys and girls - she wasn't REALLY covert.

And the Republican idiots keep REPEATING that nonsense and it just sounds stupider and stupider.

Ex-CIA Officers Rip Bush Over Rove Leak

WASHINGTON -- Former U.S. intelligence officers criticized President Bush on Friday for not disciplining Karl Rove in connection with the leak of the name of a CIA officer, saying Bush's lack of action has jeopardized national security.

In a hearing held by Senate and House Democrats examining the implications of exposing Valerie Plame's identity, the former intelligence officers said Bush's silence has hampered efforts to recruit informants to help the United States fight the war on terror. Federal law forbids government officials from revealing the identity of an undercover intelligence officer.

"I wouldn't be here this morning if President Bush had done the one thing required of him as commander in chief _ protect and defend the Constitution," said Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst. "The minute that Valerie Plame's identity was outed, he should have delivered a strict and strong message to his employees."

Patrick Lang, a retired Army colonel and defense intelligence officer, said Bush's silence sends a bad signal to foreigners who might be thinking of cooperating with the U.S. on intelligence matters.

"This says to them that if you decide to cooperate, someone will give you up, so you don't do it," Lang said. "They are not going to trust you in any way."

Johnson, who said he is a registered Republican, said he wished a GOP lawmaker would have the courage to stand up and "call the ugly dog the ugly dog."

"Where are these men and women with any integrity to speak out against this?" Johnson asked. "I expect better behavior out of Republicans."


I like John Aravosis' comment:

"George Bush now knows the facts and doesn't give a damn. He should be impeached for jeopardizing our national security during war time, and any Senator or Congressman who defends this leak should be jailed for treason. We're at war. The Republicans want to talk about which party is more patriotic? Fine, let's talk about it. Patriots don't harbor traitors in war time."

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Open Letter
 
11 former CIA officers have issued an open letter to the House of Representives and the Senate defending Valerie Plame and attacking the lies that have been spread about her from the Republicans. Don't expect this to stop the Republican lies. That would require the possession of a conscience and human decency.

Here it is, with my emphases:


18 July 2005

AN OPEN STATEMENT TO THE LEADERS OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE SENATE.

The Honorable Dennis Hastert, Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Dr. William Frist, Majority Leader of the Senate
The Honorable Harry Reid, Minority Leader of the Senate

We, the undersigned former U.S. intelligence officers are concerned with the tone and substance of the public debate over the ongoing Department of Justice investigation into who leaked the name of Valerie Plame, wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, to syndicated columnist Robert Novak and other members of the media, which exposed her status as an undercover CIA officer. The disclosure of Ms. Plame’s name was a shameful event in American history and, in our professional judgment, may have damaged U.S. national security and poses a threat to the ability of U.S. intelligence gathering using human sources. Any breach of the code of confidentiality and cover weakens the overall fabric of intelligence, and, directly or indirectly, jeopardizes the work and safety of intelligence workers and their sources.

The Republican National Committee has circulated talking points to supporters to use as part of a coordinated strategy to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife. As part of this campaign a common theme is the idea that Ambassador Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame was not undercover and deserved no protection. The following are four recent examples of this “talking point”:

Michael Medved stated on Larry King Live on July 12, 2005, “And let's be honest about this. Mrs. Plame, Mrs. Wilson, had a desk job at Langley. She went back and forth every single day.”

Victoria Toensing stated on a Fox News program with John Gibson on July 12, 2005 that, “Well, they weren't taking affirmative measures to protect that identity. They gave her a desk job in Langley. You don't really have somebody deep undercover
going back and forth to Langley, where people can see them.”

Ed Rodgers, Washington Lobbyist and former Republican official, said on July 13, 2005 on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, “And also I think it is now a matter of established fact that Mrs. Plame was not a protected covert agent, and I don't think there's any meaningful investigation about that.”

House majority whip Roy Blunt (R, Mo), on Face the Nation, July 17, 2005, “It certainly wouldn't be the first time that the CIA might have been overzealous in sort of maintaining the kind of top- secret definition on things longer than they needed to. You know, this was a job that the ambassador's wife had that she went to every day. It was a desk job. I think many people in Washington understood that her employment was at the CIA, and she went to that office every day.”


These comments reveal an astonishing ignorance of the intelligence community and the role of cover. The fact is that there are thousands of U.S. intelligence officers who “work at a desk” in the Washington, D.C. area every day who are undercover. Some have official cover, and some have non-official cover. Both classes of cover must and should be protected.

While we are pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an investigation and that the U.S. Attorney General has recused himself, we believe that the partisan attacks against Valerie Plame are sending a deeply discouraging message to the men and women who have agreed to work undercover for their nation’s security.

We are not lawyers and are not qualified to determine whether the leakers technically violated the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act. However, we are confident that Valerie Plame was working in a cover status and that our nation’s leaders, regardless of political party, have a duty to protect all intelligence officers. We believe it is appropriate for the President to move proactively to dismiss from office or administratively punish any official who participated in any way in revealing Valerie Plame's status. Such an act by the President would send an unambiguous message that leaks of this nature will not be tolerated and would be consistent with his duties as the Commander-in-Chief.

We also believe it is important that Congress speak with one non-partisan voice on this issue. Intelligence officers should not be used as political footballs. In the case of Valerie Plame, she still works for the CIA and is not in a position to publicly defend her reputation and honor. We stand in her stead and ask that Republicans and Democrats honor her service to her country and stop the campaign of disparagement and innuendo aimed at discrediting Mrs. Wilson and her husband.

Our friends and colleagues have difficult jobs gathering the intelligence, which helps, for example, to prevent terrorist attacks against Americans at home and abroad. They sometimes face great personal risk and must spend long hours away from family and friends. They serve because they love this country and are committed to protecting it from threats from abroad and to defending the principles of liberty and freedom. They do not expect public acknowledgement for their work, but they do expect and deserve their government’s protection of their covert status.

For the good of our country, we ask you to please stand up for every man and woman who works for the U.S. intelligence community and help protect their ability to live their cover.

Sincerely yours,
_____________________________________
Larry C. Johnson, former Analyst, CIA
JOINED BY:
Mr. Brent Cavan, former Analyst, CIA
Mr. Vince Cannistraro, former Case Officer, CIA
Mr. Michael Grimaldi, former Analyst, CIA
Mr. Mel Goodman, former senior Analyst, CIA
Col. W. Patrick Lang (US Army retired), former Director, Defense Humint
Services, DIA
Mr. David MacMichael, former senior estimates officer, National Intelligence
Council, CIA
Mr. James Marcinkowski, former Case Officer, CIA
Mr. Ray McGovern, former senior Analyst and PDB Briefer, CIA
Mr. Jim Smith, former Case Officer, CIA
Mr. William C. Wagner, former Case Officer, CIA

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CIA has power over Irish citizens
 
This is freaky - and completely outrageous. And nowhere in the mainstream press.

From the Irish Examiner:

Treaty gives CIA powers over Irish citizens

US INVESTIGATORS, including CIA agents, will be allowed interrogate Irish citizens on Irish soil in total secrecy, under an agreement signed between Ireland and the US last week.

Suspects will also have to give testimony and allow property to be searched and seized even if what the suspect is accused of is not a crime in Ireland.

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Chris Bowers points out that if the Bloomberg story does nothing else, it will turn the media totally and irrevocably against the Bushites. They are now trying to send reporters to jail to cover their filthy tracks, and the reporters will not forgive or forget that.

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Perjury II
 
Here is the Bloomberg Story on the Rovian prejury mentioned below:

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Two top White House aides have given accounts to a special prosecutor about how reporters first told them the identity of a CIA agent that are at odds with what the reporters have said, according to people familiar with the case.

Lewis ``Scooter'' Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, one person said. Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn't tell Libby of Plame's identity, the person said.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, according a person familiar with the matter. Novak, who was first to report Plame's name and connection to Wilson, has given a somewhat different version to the special prosecutor, the person said.

These discrepancies may be important because Fitzgerald is investigating whether Libby, Rove or other administration officials made false statements during the course of the investigation. The Plame case has its genesis in whether any administration officials violated a 1982 law making it illegal to knowingly reveal the name of a covert intelligence agent.

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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Scott needs a tissue.
 
Posted from AMERICAblog, which posted it from Editor & Publisher:
The transcript for today's White House Press Conference. They are REALLY pissed. The cardinal sin for these guys is lying to the White House Press Corps - and Bush did, and they know it.


Q Why does Karl Rove still have security clearance and access to classified documents when he has been revealed as a leaker of a secret agent, according to Time magazine's correspondent?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, there is an investigation that continues, and I think the President has made it clear that we're not going to prejudge the outcome of that investigation.

Q You already have the truth.

MR. McCLELLAN: We're not going to prejudge the outcome of that investigation through --

Q Does he have access to security documents?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- through media reports. And these questions came up over the last week --

Q Did he leak the name of a CIA agent?

MR. McCLELLAN: As I was trying to tell you, these questions have been answered.

Q No, they haven't.

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, David.

Q And they most certainly haven't. I think Helen is right, and the people watching us know that. And related to that, there are now --

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me correct the record. We've said for quite some time that this was an ongoing investigation, and that we weren't going to comment on it, so let me just correct the record.

Q If you want to make the record clear, then you also did make comments when a criminal investigation was underway, you saw fit to provide Karl Rove with a blanket statement of absolution. And that turned out to be no longer accurate --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, and there were preferences expressed by those overseeing the investigation that we refrain from commenting on it while they're continuing to look at -- investigate it.

Q White House officials have been very clear through their attorneys or through other leaks to make it known that it was essentially journalists who educated them about who Valerie Plame was, what she did, and her role in sending her husband to Niger. It has now come to light that in fact White House officials were aware, or at least had access to a State Department memo that the President's own Secretary of State at the time had with him when he was traveling on Air Force One to Africa, which indicated both who she was, what she did, and her role in the Niger trip. So did the White House, in fact, know about her through this memo, or not?

MR. McCLELLAN: I thank you for wanting to proceed ahead with the investigation from this room, but I think that the appropriate place for that to happen is through those who are overseeing the investigation. The President directed us to cooperate fully, and that's exactly what we have been doing and continue to do.

Q But you don't deny that attorneys for Rove and others in the White House are speaking about these matters, creating a lot of these questions, right, that you say you can't speak to?

MR. McCLELLAN: As I said, we're not getting into talking about an ongoing investigation. That's what the President indicated, as well.

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The right-wingers have begun to trumpet this.

Contributor: WILSON, VALERIE E MS
WASHINGTON,DC 20007
Occupation: BREWSTER-JENNINGS & ASSOC.
Date: 4/22/1999
Amount: $1,000
Recipient: Gore, Al


Apparently, Valerie Plame contibuted a thousand bucks to Al Gore.

WHY this is damning, I'm not exactly sure. I contributed money to Al Gore, too, along with about a hundred million other Americans. I guess, according to the neocon death cult, that makes it possible to condemn everything else all hundred million have to say, including, - oh, I don't know - flowers smell nice.

But, while this sort of desperate attempt to sow doubt and smear is rather pathetic, they missed the obvious:

The fact that Plame listed "BREWSTER-JENNINGS & ASSOC." - the CIA's front company - as her employer proves that she was, indeed, a covert operative whose exposure would be a crime. If she wasn't covert, she would have listed the CIA as her employer.

Ooooops.

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Perjury
 
According to Raw Story:

Bloomberg News has slotted a story alleging that senior Bush advisor Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff 'Scooter' Libby provided false testimony to the special prosecutor to a Washington-based grand jury, RAW STORY has learned.

Patrick Fitzgerald, the Chicago special prosecutor appointed to investigate the outing of former covert agent Valerie Plame Wilson, may also be looking at whether other crimes -- such as perjury, obstruction of justice or leaking classified information -- were committed.

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Supreme stupidity.
 
The meme (I hate the word "meme") coming from the right is that the canonization...ummm..."nomination" of John Roberts will be fought tooth and nail by the Democrats with smears, innuendo and obstruction. How DARE those mean old Democrats prejudge this dear, sainted man when they don't even know anything about him?

Well, projection ain't just for movie theatres. This is, after all, today's Republican Party. A party that lives and dies by the Rovian smear. A party so totally over the edge of indecency that if it WASN'T for smear and hypocrisy, they'd have no personality at all.

The Democrats, of course, haven't gone crazy with obstruction and smear. In fact, it is a demonstration of the effectiveness of the Republican spin machine that the Democrats are stereotyped as "obstructionists" when in reality they have spent five years in an almost totally supine position, rubber-stamping damned near anything the Republicans want without so much as a whimper of protest.

And the claim is directly in the teeth of the facts. With a few exceptions, the Democrats have said that they are withholding judgment because they don't know much about the guy.

The Republicans, meanwhile, don't know much about him either, but they aren't witholding anything. They have loudly and publicly declared that John Roberts is the most magnificent example of sober reasoning since Socrates walked the earth - despite not knowing a damned thing about him.

They are ASSUMING that the guy is EXACLTY what they want simply because Bush nominated him. But it's a sin and a crime for the Democrats to make assumptions on the very same grounds. Assume that he's a right-wing extremist? WHY? Just because Bush ALWAYS nominates right-wing extremists? Just because he has never appointed a moderate to anything in his whole life? Silly Democrats, to assume that Bush will behave the way he always behaves - what's wrong with them?

The Republicans, like the Democrats, assume that John Roberts is a right-wing ideologue. That's WHY they favor him. But they say that it is wrong for the Democrats to make the very same assumptions. The Democrats - against all sense - are expected to assume that he's a centrist.

And according to the Republicans, not only should they assume that Bush nominated a centrist for the first time in his life - but they should accept the nominee's refusal to answer questions, so they can never find out for sure! They should accept a blank slate. They should not only assume that he is a moderate, but he must not be required to demonstrate it. Instead - by some twisted reasoning - it is supposed to to be incumbent on the Democrats to PROVE THAT HE ISN'T.

Which is, of course, the very definition of ass-backwards. Is there any other situation where the employer is expected to start by ASSUMING that an applicant is the right guy for the job, and the applicant can get the job just by refusing to reveal anything about himself?

America is expected to accept a blank slate of a candidate when giving someone a lifetime appointment to a position that can change history.

Yeah, that makes LOADS of sense.

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Activism Alert
 
From kos:

Rep. Waxman reminds us that tomorrow at 10am Eastern, Congressional Dems will be convening a panel to discuss the the national security implications of the Plame leak. Former CIA officials will be testifying.

However, it's not yet clear whether C-SPAN will carry the hearing live (or at all).

So here's a quick ACTION ITEM: Call or e-mail C-SPAN and politely ask them to cover this important hearing.


DavidNYC at dailykos says that he isn't sure whether C-Span responds to requests like this. They do. A phone rally made them decide to air Conyers hearing into the Downing Street Memo just a short time ago.

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Whoops, 'Plamegate' Back on Page One
 
"(July 21, 2005) -- It was almost as if the Washington Post was saying, 'So there.' "


Greg Mitchell on Rovegate.

(The title above is Mitchell's. I like "Rovegate" better than Plamegate. Rove deserves to have his name tied to scandal and criminality. Valerie Plame doesn't.)

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More bombs in London.
 
Not as serious this time.

The British seem to handle these things a whole lot better than Americans do.

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They knew.
 
Plame's Identity Marked As Secret
Memo Central to Probe Of Leak Was Written By State Dept. Analyst

WASHINGTON POST- A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

Plame -- who is referred to by her married name, Valerie Wilson, in the memo -- is mentioned in the second paragraph of the three-page document, which was written on June 10, 2003, by an analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), according to a source who described the memo to The Washington Post.

The paragraph identifying her as the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was clearly marked to show that it contained classified material at the "secret" level, two sources said. The CIA classifies as "secret" the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials.


And the apologists STILL won't admit it.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

When are the indictments?
 
According to the American Prospect, which usually has accurate info from their anonymous sources, Rove obstrcuted justice, and the FBI knows it.

White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper during Rove’s first interview with the FBI, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

The omission by Rove created doubt for federal investigators, almost from the inception of their criminal probe into who leaked Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak, as to whether Rove was withholding crucial information from them, and perhaps even misleading or lying to them, the sources said.

Also leading to the early skepticism of Rove's accounts was the claim that although he first heard that Plame worked for the CIA from a journalist, he said could not recall the name of the journalist. Later, the sources said, Rove wavered even further, saying he was not sure at all where he first heard the information.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

He can't distract.
 
Bush is naming a Supreme Court Nominee ahead of schedule, in a pathetic attempt to take focus off of Benedict Rove.

But he can't, poor bastard.

Oh, the media may focus on something else for a couple of days, of course. But this story is not being driven by the media. It's not being driven by the Democrats. It's not being driven by politics. This story is being driven by an ongoing legal process, and as long as that process doesn't go away, neither will the story.

The Bushites don't know anything BUT politics, so they are treating it as though it was a political situation.

But the prosecutor couldn't care less about those distractions, or about how much somebody smears Joe Wilson and hates Valerie Plame. Those things will do nothing whatsoever to slow down this investigation, which will continue to hunt them down like Inspector Javert on uppers.

Poor bastards. They really don't get it.

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I find it fascinating that the White House apparently has lower standards than ANY EMPLOYER IN THE COUNTRY.

Well, NAME a company that considers conviction of a felony the ONLY grounds for firing.

Apparently, the White House does.

And you don't even know if THAT'S true. Bush SAYS that he'll fire if there is a criminal conviction. But he says LOTS of stuff that he doesn't mean. He's flip-flopped again and again and again, damn near every single time he's actually expected to live up to his word - so who's to say that after a conviction he won't just move the goalposts AGAIN?

He is NOT a man of his word. Obviously.

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Bush on leaks
 
Leaks really piss Bush off when someone ELSE does it:

"I understand there may be some heartburn on Capitol Hill. But I suggest if they want to relieve that heartburn, that they take their positions very seriously and that they take any information they've been given by our government very seriously."

"I want Congress to hear loud and clear, it is unacceptable behavior to leak classified information when we have troops at risk." - George W. Bush, October 10, 2001

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Cancer of the Presidency.
 
From the Niagara Falls Reporter.

Rove is a treasonous coward, the most manipulative and cynical political operative since Rasputin. He has brought his political venereal disease to public life and Rove's clap has infected a large segment of the once-respectable Republican Party. He has mainstreamed and brought to national practice his ruthless partisanship, grand diversions and deceptions and, above all, his model of winning elections by using any means necessary to destroy opponents.

The fellow travelers defending his treachery share Rove's shame. For two years, the White House denied he played any role in the plot to attack Joe Wilson by exposing his wife's work, calling suggestions of Rove's involvement "totally ridiculous." Now, with even


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Monday, July 18, 2005


 
Waxman: New Bush Statement on Rove Conflicts with Executive Order

By: Rep. Henry A. Waxman
Published: July 18, 2005 at 12:22

Dear Mr. President:

In June 2004, you said that you would fire anyone found to be involved in the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's identity as a covert CIA agent.1 Today, you significantly changed your position, stating that you would remove Karl Rove or other White House officials involved in the security breach only "if someone committed a crime."2

Your new standard is not consistent with your obligations to enforce Executive Order 12958, which governs the protection of national security secrets. The executive order states: "Officers and employees of the United States Government ... shall be subject to appropriate sanctions if they knowingly, willfully, or negligently ... disclose to unauthorized persons information properly classified."3 Under the executive order, the available sanctions include "reprimand, suspension without pay, removal, termination of classification authority, loss or denial of access to classified information, or other sanctions..."

There's more...

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For sale from AMERICAblog:



Mugs, T-shirts, you name it.

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Ch-ch-ch-changes.
 
From kos:

September 29, 2003 - McClellan: "If anyone in this administration was involved in it [the improper disclosure of an undercover CIA operative's identity], they would no longer be in this administration."

September 30, 2003 - Bush: "If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action."

Today - Bush: "If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration.

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"Republicans say that they are a party of small government, just small enough to fit inside Terri Schiavo's bedroom." - Howard Dean

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By way of Liberal Oasis (read the whole article):

Check out this exchange from NBC’s Meet The Press between host Tim Russert and GOP Chairman (and former Rove deputy) Ken Mehlman:

RUSSERT: When one is given classified clearance, they are asked to sign an oath, and they are given a briefing book with form. Standard Form 312, it's called.

And if you read this briefing book, it says this:

"Before...confirming the accuracy of what appears in the public source, the signer of [the] SF 312 must confirm through an authorized official that the information has, in fact, been declassified. If it has not...confirmation of its accuracy is also an unauthorized disclosure."

So by confirming a story from Robert Novak or sharing information with Matt Cooper, no matter where it came from, if, in fact, it was classified information, without seeking to determine whether it was declassified, it is an unauthorized disclosure.




Got that? Rove signed a form that said that if something MAY be classified, you have to ask the CIA before spilling it.

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"On the tarmac in North Carolina, your pool was able to walk briefly alongside the president and ask if he still had faith in Karl Rove... The question was met with a stare straight ahead, silence and a quick brush-off motion of Bush's left hand, as if the president were swatting away an insect." - White House Pool Report.


The White House Pool Report is a reporter-written diary about the President. The edition this appears in was written byt he New York Times' Elizabeth Bumiller.

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The mask is off
 
"There's no evidence that (Rove has) done anything criminally wrong," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-Mealymouthed Weasel)

Emphasis mine, of course.

Leaving aside the obvious fact that Graham is dead wrong (there is PLENTY of evidence the Rove did stuff that was, indeed, criminally wrong), the fact that the apologists have retreated into legal technicalities means that the credibility of the White House is GONE.

Graham knows that he CAN'T reasonably just say that it wasn't WRONG - he has to qualify the word "wrong" with an adjective.

This is a tacit admission that the behavior of the White House has been disgusting and slimy. They are just hoping that no one can prove that it was actually illegal. They have conceded their reputations and are just hoping to avoid jail.

Bush has always been all image and no reality.

And his image has been completely shredded.

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Sunday, July 17, 2005


 

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Friday, July 15, 2005

Well, it IS bullshit.
 
Courtesy of Crooks and Liars. CNN reports that Karl Rove testified that he learned about Valerie Plame from Bob Novak. And after it's reported, you can hear an off-camera voice whisper, "That's bullshit."

Unbelievably transparent bullshit.

Does this conform to Novak's testimony? If it doesn't, might we be looking at a charge of perjury?

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Back to the Basics
 
The White House and the RNC have been desperately spinning for the last couple of days trying to deflect, deflect, deflect. They want to turn this thing into a referendum on Joseph Wilson's character. Well, Joseph Wilson has a sterling character, but even a sterling character can be smeared with lies. And smearing people's character is the first thing in the Republican playbook. They reach for it instinctively.

But, of course, Joseph Wilson's character is irrelevant. Joseph Wilson could be a serial killer, and it would be irrelevent to the prosecutor's case. Outing his wife as a CIA agent would still be the exact same crime.

So, ignore all the attempts to muddy the water, and stick to the basics.

FACT #1: Rove and the White House have repeatedly lied about Rove's role in the leak.

On September 29th, 2003, Rove was asked if he had "any knowledge of the leak," and he said "no." On the same day, Scott McClellan said that he had spoken to Rove, and that it was a "ridiculous suggestion" to say that Rove was involved in the leak. As this was during an ongoing investigation, it may be obstruction of justice.

FACT #2: Bush said that he would fire anyone involved.

On June 10, 2004, Bush was asked whether he stood by his pledge to fire anyone involved in the leak, and he answered "yes."

FACT #3 -- Rove identified Plame.

This was possibly a violation of the law. We know for a stone fact that Rove identified Valerie Plame as "Wilson's wife" and said that she worked for the "agency on wmd." The only question is whether or not he actually knew that she was covert. Considering the fact that he knew who she was, that he knew she worked for the CIA, and that he knew she worked on WMDs, it stretches credulity to say that he didn't know that she was covert. And to reveal the identity of CIA agent who is working on WMDs without checking to SEE if she is covert is the absolute height of irresponsibility.

FACT #4 -- Outing Valerie Plame was an act of political retribution.

The Washington Post reported on September 28th, 2003, "[A] senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife... 'Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge,' the senior official said of the alleged leak.'"

FACT #5 -- The White House refuses to talk.

They CLAIM that this is because the investigation is ongoing, but they spoken about it openly many times while the investigation was ongoing, such as when McClellan said, on October 10th, 2003, "It's simply not true that he [Rove] was involved in leaking information." Which, conveniently, connects nice and neatly right back to Fact #1.

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Rehnquist staying
 
WHY is he staying? Is it possible that even Rehnquist doesn't want Bush picking his replacement?

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Madame Cleo of the Blogosphere
 
The Blogger Formerly Known As Calpundit, Kevin Drum, had THIS to say in September of 2004 about what would happen in Bush's second term:

"[T]he most likely course is a continuing low-level insurgency in Iraq, a mediocre economy, and a halfhearted second-term agenda from the White House. If you combine that with a thin legislative majority, an outraged Democratic Party, and a public increasingly leery of Bush's Texas-style conservatism, what you get--aside from a few rancorous battles over Supreme Court nominations--is a presidency adrift.

It's the perfect breeding ground for a major scandal, and George Bush is exactly the right guy, with exactly the right personality, to step right into it."


Wow. And silly little you has been consulting astrologers.

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The man they shouldn't have crossed
 
Here's a nice spotlight's on Joseph Wilson's character from Needlenose.

Apparently, the Bushites went after the wrong guy, and they should have known that.

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Clip and save: The Left Coaster has a list of every single GOP Rovian Talking Point refuted.

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From Obsidian Wings:

"Republicans: please keep saying this. Keep telling the American people that it's only Democrats who think it's wrong to out an undercover CIA agent. Keep saying that the only reason anyone would think it's any sort of a problem to put vindictiveness and a desire to discredit one's political opponents above national security is partisanship; that what we're seeing, as"the media and the Democratic Party come together as one to go after Karl Rove on what is essentially a non-story", is "the Democrats' behavior, the seething rage, the anger, the hatred". Because most people know better. Most people know that you just do not out undercover agents at all, and you surely do not out them to score political points. And if the Republicans keep telling them that it's only Democrats who care about this, maybe they'll listen."

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My bad.
 
Below, I comment on Luskin's statement:

"Cooper's truthful testimony today will not call into question the accuracy or completeness of anything Rove has previously said to the prosecutor or the grand jury."

Excuse me for asking, but since Luskin isn't Cooper's attorney, how the hell would he know if his testimony will call anything into question?


As Josh Marshall accurately points out, Luskin's statement is obviously a preparation for accusing Cooper of lying when his testimony DOES call Rove's into question.

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"The naming of Karl Rove as the alleged source who told reporters that Valerie Plame was a CIA agent has sent shockwaves through Washington. Mainly because Rove finally told a reporter something that was true." - Rob Bates

On Hillary Clinton comparing George W. Bush to Alfred E. Neuman: "How insensitive to equate a gap-toothed moron with the beloved icon of Mad Magazine." - Rob Bates

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Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, said in a statement, "Cooper's truthful testimony today will not call into question the accuracy or completeness of anything Rove has previously said to the prosecutor or the grand jury."


Excuse me for asking, but since Luskin isn't Cooper's attorney, how the hell would he know if his testimony will call anything into question?

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It's the law, not politics
 
"The extreme left is once again attempting to define the modern Democratic Party by rabid partisan attacks, character assassination and endless negativity," said Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., chairman of the GOP congressional committee.


The Republicans are outraged - OUTRAGED - that the Democrats are "endlessly negative" about treason and corruption.

Well, they ARE, and thank goodness for that. SOMEBODY should be, and you sure as hell can't expect the Republicans to be negative about treason. Not when it's committed by a fellow Republican, anyway.

But Reynolds is wrong in attributed the unwanted attention to the Democrats, anyway. It has NOTHING TO DO with the Democratic Party at ALL.

Rove is on the hot seat because of a legal process being carried out by a Special Prosecutor who was given his job by John Ashcroft.

The Republicans seem to be under the illusion that this is a political process and a political question. It isn't. It's a legal matter. That's WHY this one has legs, and all of the other unsavory, disgusting and possibly illegal acts of the Bush administration didn't. Because the press and the Democrats AREN'T driving this story. The LAW is.

And that's why it won't go away. Oh, it may fade from the newspapers for a while, as the press gets interested in something else. But the prosecutor WILL issue findings, WILL make statements, he WILL call some witnesses, and every single time he does, it will become a headline again.

But the Republicans seem to think that it's a P.R. problem. Or they'll make it go away by attacking Joe Wilson, who is completely irrelevant to the charges at this point. Or maybe they can make it go away if they just find the right dumbass advertising slogan.

But they can't. The story will carry on as long as the legal process carries on and there isn't a damned thing the GOP can do about it.

And if they keep defending possible treason in the name of partisan politics, they will be chewed up and spit out in a manner that they never dreamed possible.

We are talking about actions that are a stench in the nostrils of every decent American, and if the GOP is actually stupid enough to go on record as the supporters and enablers of such actions, let them.

When the indictments come down, we will gladly remind America that the GOP supported the traitors and the felons.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Bush honesty rating drops to lowest point
 
And the poll was taken BEFORE the Rove thing exploded.

NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll.

Only 41 percent give Bush good marks for being “honest and straightforward” — his lowest ranking on this question since he became president. That’s a drop of nine percentage points since January, when a majority (50 percent to 36 percent) indicated that he was honest and straightforward. This finding comes at a time when the Bush administration is battling the perception that its rhetoric doesn’t match the realities in Iraq, and also allegations that chief political adviser Karl Rove leaked sensitive information about a CIA agent to a reporter. (The survey, however, was taken just before these allegations about Rove exploded into the current controversy.)

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Video
 
Here's a video of Bush answering questions about Rove. It may be my imagination, but I think Bush looks scared and the smile that he occasionally flashes is seriously forced.

Bush said he is "withholding judgement" about whether or not Rove leaked.

He's "witholding judgeent"?

Why is Bush waiting for the results of an investigation to determine whether Rove leaked?

Why doesn't he just ASK him?

HAS he asked him?

If so, what did he say?

I would LOVE for one of these reporters to say to Bush, "Have you ASKED Mr. Rove if he was the leaker?"

I think Bush would just shit.

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A Plame Primer
 
Courtesy of Digby.

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"I have instructed every member of my staff to fully cooperate in this investigation. I also will not prejudge the investigation based on media reports," Bush told reporters in response to a question." - Bush


Translation: "Yesterday, I instructed every emeber of my staff to stonewall. Today, I STILL instructed them to stonewall, but decided that it probably wasn't smart to say that."

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"I guess it all depends on what your definition of 'CRIME' is." - The GOP

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It's all about loyalty
 
From AMERICAblog:

The New York Times has a lengthy feature on Bush and Rove and they spin it exactly the way Bush would love: it's all about loyalty.

The NYT reminds us that Bush usually rewards people who screw up. It also goes into detail on the State of the Union address that contained those 16 words -- also known as a lie -- and details how Wilson was absolutely right and Bush ultimately had to retract those words. What the NYT doesn't do is point out how this well-known incident means RNC head Mehlman is LYING when he says Rove was just trying to keep a bum article from being printed (as if Rove were just a freelance factchecker for the MSM). No, Rove was trying to smear Joe Wilson for telling the truth and he did it by attacking Joe Wilson's wife and endangering national security.

And why is this about loyalty to a political hack?

Why won't Bush be loyal to his country first and his cronies second?

Why won't Bush be loyal to the truth?

Why won't Bush be loyal to his word?

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Former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie, Hardball (MSNBC - 9/30/03):

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Don't you think it's more serious than Watergate, when you think about it?

RNC CHAIRMAN ED GILLESPIE: I think if the allegation is true, to reveal the identity of an undercover CIA operative -- it's abhorrent, and it should be a crime, and it is a crime.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: It'd be worse than Watergate, wouldn't it?

GILLESPIE: It's -- Yeah, I suppose in terms of the real world implications of it. It's not just politics.

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"If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. . . . If the person has violated the law, that person will be taken care of." - George W. Bush, October 10, 2004


Is anybody taking bets on how long it will be before Bush says, "When I said 'taken care of' I didn't mean 'fire him'. I meant I would take care of him. You know, pay his salary and stuff like that."

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Scum.
 
Washington Post - "The emerging GOP strategy -- devised by Mehlman and other Rove loyalists outside of the White House -- is to try to undermine those Democrats calling for Rove's ouster, play down Rove's role and wait for President Bush's forthcoming Supreme Court selection to drown out the controversy, according to several high-level Republicans."


Karl Rove endangered an American agent's life for a political smear.

And the scummy GOP not only DEFENDS an act of possible treason, the ONLY thing that they care about is the POLITICAL side of it.

A guy who compromised national security and leaked confidential intelligence is in the White house, with access to the President, and free access to OTHER confidential intelligence.

And the Republicans response to this is to smear the opposition, and hope that some OTHER story will deflect attention away from it.

These people care not at ALL about America.

ALL that they care about is their political party.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005


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

-- President George H. W. Bush, 1999

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From back in October 2003 -

When they outed Valerie Plame, they ALSO exposed a whole company that was a front for the CIA.

If ANYBODY tries to tell you that what was done to Valerie Plame wasn't REALLY the outing of a covert operative, show them this article.

Washington Post - The leak of a CIA operative's name has also exposed the identity of a CIA front company, potentially expanding the damage caused by the original disclosure, Bush administration officials said yesterday...

The inadvertent disclosure of the name of a business affiliated with the CIA underscores the potential damage to the agency and its operatives caused by the leak of Plame's identity. Intelligence officials have said that once Plame's job as an undercover operative was revealed, other agency secrets could be unraveled and her sources might be compromised or endangered.

A former diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said yesterday that every foreign intelligence service would run Plame's name through its databases within hours of its publication to determine if she had visited their country and to reconstruct her activities.

"That's why the agency is so sensitive about just publishing her name," the former diplomat said.

FEC rules require donors to list their employment. Plame used her married name, Valerie E. Wilson, and listed her employment as an "analyst" with Brewster-Jennings & Associates. The document establishes that Plame has worked undercover within the past five years. The time frame is one of the standards used in making determinations about whether a disclosure is a criminal violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

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Hmmmmm...
 
The Stakeholder has noticed something very interesting:

Rove's attorney, Luskin, has been consistently saying that Rove never knowingly leaked classified information. Emphasis on the "knowingly."

Well, he has stopped saying that.

And he has stopped saying it at the same time that he STARTED offering Idiot Defenses, like "He said 'Wilson's Wife,' not 'Valerie Plame.' "

Today from the LA Times...

Luskin declined to say whether Rove knew that Plame was a covert agent, even if he did not know her name, which analysts said was a crucial factor in determining whether the law was broken.

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"Where is the conservative outrage? After all, the man outed an undercover CIA agent, blew numerous operations, cost the country millions of dollars and quite possibly endangered national security and could conceivably have cost lives. (For all we know, he did.) And he did it all for pure political advantage. There was a reason that law was passed. And it was to prevent people from doing stuff like this. Whether what Rove did was within the law strikes me as beside the point. What is the president doing keeping a man in his job who treats the national security of the nation and the lives of its dedicated public servants as pawns in his political chess-match?" - Altercation

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Serendipity.
 
Some things are just too good to resist.

And an actual Chicago Tribune headline saying "Shrub Poisoned Zoo Monkeys" right next to a picture of Karl Rove is one of them.


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No choice.
 
"WASHINGTON, July 11 - Nearly two years after stating that any administration official found to have been involved in leaking the name of an undercover C.I.A. officer would be fired, and assuring that Karl Rove and other senior aides to President Bush had nothing to do with the disclosure, the White House refused on Monday to answer any questions about new evidence of Mr. Rove's role in the matter."


These guys have GOT to know that officially clamming up in the face of serious allegations just feeds the narrative, focuses media attention and gives the story legs. They have GOT to know that.

And that means that they see no other choice.

They're in trouble.

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Monday, July 11, 2005

Delusional thinking
 
One piece of spin that you may hear from the right-wing is the claim that Valerie Plame was just a "low-level employee." There is not an ounce of actual evidence for this absurdity - ALL the known information says that she was, indeed, a covert intelligence operative working on WMD. But facts never stop the right-wingers. What happens is that whenever the news looks bad for Bush, they immediately go into smear mode at whomever they think the source is, and they try and deflect attention by producing all kinds of smoke. And they repeat the phony smears to each other over and over and over again, in a sort of private echo chamber, until they not only actually believe their own lies, but they believe that the lies have been "established" as facts.

So, let's examine the claim that Plame was a "low-level operative," as an illustration of just what transparently absurd things the right-wingers will believe, by blowing holes in it with a simple question:

If Valerie Plame was a low-level employee, why would the CIA ask the Department of Justice to investigate the leaking of a low-level employee's identity?

Why would the Department of Justice agree to investigate the leaking of a low-level employee's identity?

In order to believe that Plame was an unimportant employee, you have to believe that the prosecutor in the Plame case has spent two years and enormous sums of money investigating nothing. And why on earth would an investigation of no importance require the President of the United States to retain a lawyer to help him get through over an hour of questioning by a special prosecutor?

If the Plame case is much ado about nothing, then Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, is completely insane.

And he isn't insane.

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Harry Reid
 
I agree with the President when he said he expects the people who work for him to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. The White House promised if anyone was involved in the Valerie Plame affair, they would no longer be in this administration. I trust they will follow through on this pledge. If these allegations are true this rises above politics and is about our national security.”


Ouch.

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I think the press is finally actually pissed off. Note the way the article opens - with the damning details.

WASHINGTON (AP) - For two years, the White House has insisted that presidential adviser Karl Rove had nothing to do with the leak of a CIA officer's identity. And President Bush said the leaker would be fired.

But Bush's spokesman wouldn't repeat any of those assertions Monday in the face of Rove's own lawyer saying his client spoke with at least one reporter about Valerie Plame's role at the CIA before she was identified in a newspaper column.

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Like nailing Jello to the wall.
 
I'm probably enjoying this too much. And Crooks and Liars, God bless, 'em, has the video:

QUESTION: Scott, can I ask you this: Did Karl Rove commit a crime?

MCCLELLAN: Again, David, this is a question relating to a ongoing investigation, and you have my response related to the investigation. And I don't think you should read anything into it other than: We're going to continue not to comment on it while it's ongoing.

QUESTION: Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003, when you were asked specifically about Karl and Elliot Abrams and Scooter Libby, and you said, "I've gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me they are not involved in this"?

QUESTION: Do you stand by that statement?

MCCLELLAN: And if you will recall, I said that, as part of helping the investigators move forward on the investigation, we're not going to get into commenting on it. That was something I stated back near that time as well.

QUESTION: Scott, this is ridiculous. The notion that you're going to stand before us, after having commented with that level of detail, and tell people watching this that somehow you've decided not to talk.

You've got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium or not?

MCCLELLAN: I'm well aware, like you, of what was previously said. And I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation...

QUESTION: (inaudible) when it's appropriate and when it's inappropriate?

MCCLELLAN: If you'll let me finish.

QUESTION: No, you're not finishing. You're not saying anything.

You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke about Joseph Wilson's wife. So don't you owe the American public a fuller explanation. Was he involved or was he not? Because contrary to what you told the American people, he did indeed talk about his wife, didn't he?

MCCLELLAN: There will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.

QUESTION: Do you think people will accept that, what you're saying today?

MCCLELLAN: Again, I've responded to the question.

QUESTION: You're in a bad spot here, Scott...

(LAUGHTER)

... because after the investigation began -- after the criminal investigation was under way -- you said, October 10th, 2003, "I spoke with those individuals, Rove, Abrams and Libby. As I pointed out, those individuals assured me they were not involved in this," from that podium. That's after the criminal investigation began.

Now that Rove has essentially been caught red-handed peddling this information, all of a sudden you have respect for the sanctity of the criminal investigation.

MCCLELLAN: No, that's not a correct characterization. And I think you are well aware of that.

We know each other very well. And it was after that period that the investigators had requested that we not get into commenting on an ongoing criminal investigation.

And we want to be helpful so that they can get to the bottom of this. Because no one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the president of the United States.

I am well aware of what was said previously. I remember well what was said previously. And at some point I look forward to talking about it. But until the investigation is complete, I'm just not going to do that.

QUESTION: So you're now saying that after you cleared Rove and the others from that podium, then the prosecutors asked you not to speak anymore and since then you haven't.

MCCLELLAN: Again, you're continuing to ask questions relating to an ongoing criminal investigation and I'm just not going to respond to them.

QUESTION: When did they ask you to stop commenting on it, Scott? Can you pin down a date?

MCCLELLAN: Back in that time period.

QUESTION: Well, then the president commented on it nine months later. So was he not following the White House plan?

MCCLELLAN: I appreciate your questions. You can keep asking them, but you have my response.

QUESTION: Well, we are going to keep asking them.

When did the president learn that Karl Rove had had a conversation with a news reporter about the involvement of Joseph Wilson's wife in the decision to send him to Africa?

MCCLELLAN: I've responded to the questions.

QUESTION: When did the president learn that Karl Rove had been...

MCCLELLAN: I've responded to your questions.

QUESTION: After the investigation is completed, will you then be consistent with your word and the president's word that anybody who was involved will be let go?

MCCLELLAN: Again, after the investigation is complete, I will be glad to talk about it at that point.

QUESTION: Can you walk us through why, given the fact that Rove's lawyer has spoken publicly about this, it is inconsistent with the investigation, that it compromises the investigation to talk about the involvement of Karl Rove, the deputy chief of staff, here?

MCCLELLAN: Well, those overseeing the investigation expressed a preference to us that we not get into commenting on the investigation while it's ongoing. And that was what they requested of the White House. And so I think in order to be helpful to that investigation, we are following their direction.

QUESTION: Scott, there's a difference between commenting on an investigation and taking an action...

MCCLELLAN: (inaudible)

QUESTION: Can I finish, please?

MCCLELLAN: I'll come back to you in a minute....

QUESTION: Does the president continue to have confidence in Mr. Rove?

MCCLELLAN: Again, these are all questions coming up in the context of an ongoing criminal investigation. And you've heard my response on this.

QUESTION: So you're not going to respond as to whether or not the president has confidence in his deputy chief of staff?

MCCLELLAN: You're asking this question in the context of an ongoing investigation, and I would not read anything into it other then I'm simply going to comment on an ongoing investigation.

QUESTION: Has there been any change, or is there a plan for Mr. Rove's portfolio to be altered in any way?

MCCLELLAN: Again, you have my response to these questions.

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Billmon has a great column about the Rove thing. Asks some DAMNED good questions.

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Pathetic
 
Karl Rove (a.k.a. "Turdblossom") has possibly come up with the single most pathetic defense I have ever seen.

From the Washington Post:

"White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove spoke with at least one reporter about Valerie Plame's role at the CIA before she was identified as a covert agent in a newspaper column two years ago, but Rove's lawyer said yesterday that his client did not identify her by name....

Rove apparently told Cooper that it was "Wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip," according to a story in Newsweek's July 18 issue.

"Rove did not mention her name to Cooper," Luskin said. "This was not an effort to encourage Time to disclose her identity. What he was doing was discouraging Time from perpetuating some statements that had been made publicly and weren't true."


Got that? According to Rove's lawyer, Rove didn't say "Valerie Plame" - he just said "Joe Wilson's Wife."

Holy crap, that's insulting to the intelligence.

If THAT garbage is the best defense his lawyer can come up with, the boy may be in deep trouble.

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Newsweek nails Rove
 
David Corn has the scoop.

"The newsmagazine has obtained documentary evidence that Rove was indeed a key source for Time magazine's Matt Cooper and that Rove--prior to the publication of the Bob Novak column that first publicly disclosed Valerie Wilson/Plame as a CIA official--told Cooper that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife apparently worked at the CIA and was involved in Joseph Wilson's now-controversial trip to Niger...

"This new evidence could place Rove in serious political, if not legal, jeopardy (or, at least it should). If what I am told is true, this is proof that the Bush White House was using any information it could gather on Joseph Wilson--even classified information related to national security--to pursue a vendetta against Wilson, a White House critic. Even if it turns out Rove did not break the law regarding the naming of intelligence officials, this new disclosure could prove Rove guilty of leaking a national security secret to a reporter for political ends. What would George W. Bush do about that?"

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Friday, July 08, 2005

Adman-in-Chief
 
Isn't it comforting to know that we are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here?

Nice slogan, isn't it? Too bad fightng terrorists requires thinking instead of slogans. If we could just fight them with slogans and ad campaigns, they'd be dog food.

And when you ask the obvious question - "How is fighting in Iraq preventing terrorists from attacking over here?" you get no answer - the slogan just gets repeated. Such is the nature of advertising.

This is the consequence of starting the wrong war in the wrong country.

Al Qaeda - not Iraq - bombed London.

Al Qaeda - not Iraq - attacked New York City and Washington

Al Qaeda is the enemy.

Iraq was NOT the enemy.

And when we had the chance to break Al Qaeda's back in Afghanistan - even capturing Osama Bin Laden - we inexplicably pulled back, we changed the focus to Iraq and Saddam Hussein, we didn't finish the job, and we allowed Al Qaeda to restrengthen and regroup.

Then we opened up Iraq's borders, and we allowed Al Qaeda to flood into Iraq. The CIA says that it has now become their best training ground.

We had a chance to snuff them out, and instead we allowed them to spread.

We gave them a brand new territory in the Middle East.

They are stronger than when we started.

Because the Bushites didn't THINK THINGS THROUGH.

See, the terrorists PLAN. They THINK.

Bush REFUSES to. He just "goes with his gut." His instincts.

Well, in any battle between brains and instincts, the brains will win. Every time. That's why we're at the top of the food chain, and not some other animal. Because we use our brains, and the four-footed animals only have their instincts.

And unless Bush starts THINKING - like a human being - instead of just REACTING - like a lower animal - Al Qaeda will keep playing him for a fool.

The sad fact is that these terrorists know EXACTLY how we will react, because Bush's reactions are completely predictable.

They push his buttons, and he reacts exactly the way they expect him to react. Like an automaton.

That makes things REALLY easy for them.

And the Bushites won't change this, because doing so would be to admit error, and that hurts their fragile little egos. That's predictable, too.

Unless Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld start to plan strategy around what the facts actually ARE instead what they WANT the facts to be, we will lose this war.

So they had better wake the hell up, and start fighting with their heads instead of their stupid slogans.

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Arabs, and regular people
 
From Fox News:

"That these people are, If necessary, prepared to spill Arab blood in addition to the blood of regular -- of nonarab people living in London."

How nice.

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From the London News Review
 
A Letter To The Terrorists, From London
July 07, 2005
via Sharon.

What the fuck do you think you're doing?

This is London. We've dealt with your sort before. You don't try and pull this on us.

Do you have any idea how many times our city has been attacked? Whatever you're trying to do, it's not going to work.

All you've done is end some of our lives, and ruin some more. How is that going to help you? You don't get rewarded for this kind of crap.

And if, as your MO indicates, you're an al-Qaeda group, then you're out of your tiny minds.

Because if this is a message to Tony Blair, we've got news for you. We don't much like our government ourselves, or what they do in our name. But, listen very clearly. We'll deal with that ourselves. We're London, and we've got our own way of doing things, and it doesn't involve tossing bombs around where innocent people are going about their lives.

And that's because we're better than you. Everyone is better than you. Our city works. We rather like it. And we're going to go about our lives. We're going to take care of the lives you ruined. And then we're going to work. And we're going down the pub.

So you can pack up your bombs, put them in your arseholes, and get the fuck out of our city.



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Delay was bribed
 
It's official.

AUSTIN, Texas - A Kansas energy company said it donated $25,000 so that it could attend a golf outing with U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to try to influence pending energy legislation.

The admission from Topeka, Kan.-based Westar Energy marks the first time a company has publicly admitted to donating to DeLay's political action committee in exchange for a meeting and possible legislative help.


Time for an indictment.

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Compassionate Conservative
 
"I mean, my first thought when I heard -- just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, "Hmmm, time to buy." - Brit Hume

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"Today's attacks in London are a painful reminder that the war on terror is not over." - New York State Governor George Pataki.


Gee, I hadn't known that.

Thanks for the insight, you complete waste of human flesh.

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

We report, you decide
 
German police baffled by Bush poo-flags



Police in Germany are hunting pranksters who have been sticking miniature flag portraits of US President George W. Bush into piles of dog poo in public parks. Josef Oettl, parks administrator for Bayreuth, said: "This has been going on for about a year now, and there must be 2,000 to 3,000 piles of excrement that have been claimed during that time."

The series of incidents was originally thought to be some sort of protest against the US-led invasion ofIraq. And then when it continued it was thought to be a protest against President George W. Bush's campaign for re-election. But it is still going on and the police say they are completely baffled as to who is to blame. "We have sent out extra patrols to try to catch whoever is doing this in the act," said police spokesman Reiner Kuechler. "But frankly, we don't know what we would do if we caught them red handed." Legal experts say there is no law against using feces as a flag stand and the federal legal experts say there is no law against using feces as a flag stand and the federal constitution is vague on the issue.

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Perspective
 
BAGHDAD, July 7 (KUNA) — Thirteen people have been killed and 27 wounded in car bomb attacks, the Iraqi police reported on Thursday.

What happened in London is a daily occurence in Iraq.

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For those wishing to get something above and beyond the news, the UK Guardian's Blog is posting emails from eyewitnesses.

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This is London
 


I'm sure you've already heard about the attacks on subways and buses in London. The article linked says 2 killed, but the radio just said 4. And 120 injuries. Al Qaeda is claiming responsibility according to the Arab news, but that may or may not be true.

No comment. Several things are rolling through my head that would be highly inappropriate so soon after the attacks.

One of the local New York City muckymucks said that New Yorkers should not let this affect their behavior, and they should have no worries of hesitation about about taking mass transit. Which is totally assinine. Of COURSE people should avoid subways and buses on the same day as a coordinated series of attacks on subways and buses. Duh. What, are we now supposed to be morally obligated to take a frigging subway as an act of defiance? Spare me. Stay off the subways for a couple of days.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Bush hits cop
 
Holy crap, this man is an embarrassment. Note the last line of the article. Is it my imagination, or is there a tone of distinct mockery there?

Bush crashes into cop

Gleneagles - United States President George W Bush collided with a local police officer during a bike ride on the grounds of the Gleneagles golf resort while attending a meeting of world leaders, the White House said on Wednesday.

Bush had scrapes on his hands and arms and the police officer was taken to a local hospital, said White House spokesperson Scott McClellan.

It was raining lightly at the time.

The extent of the policeman's injuries were not known, but he might have an ankle injury, he said.

The fall did not affect the president's schedule.

He went ahead with a dinner hosted by Queen Elizabeth at the annual G8 economic summit, said McClellan.

The officer, who was on a security detail, was a member of the Strathclyde police department, said McClellan.

Bush has fallen from his bike before.


Mrs. Ignatz says: "Maybe he should get another DWI - Driving While Idiotic."

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Activist Judges
 
You've heard the criticism of "activist" judges?

Well, a couple of legal eagles tried to objectively measure which Supreme Court Justices were the most activist.

Guess what they found.

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Corruption? What corruption?
 
From a single article in The Atlanta Journal Constitution...

You can see why I like Howard Dean:

"We have not spoken about moral values in this party for a long time," Dean said. "The truth is, we're Democrats because of our moral values. It's a moral value to make sure that kids don't go to bed hungry at night. ... It is a moral value not to go out on golf trips paid for by lobbyists."

And you can ALSO see why some other Democrats piss me off:

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is trying to get voters to hold the Republican Party responsible for the "culture of corruption" he sees in Washington, but Dean is getting virtually no help from fellow Democrats in the House of Representatives.

In the year since then-Rep. Chris Bell (D-Texas) filed a complaint that triggered the current ethics investigation of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), not one Democrat has initiated another complaint despite the pleas of outside watchdog groups.

House Democrats are victims of "a kind of mindset that too often creeps in in Washington —to get along, go along," Bell said in a telephone interview from his law office in Houston. "There's not a more adversarial act you can take in the House than an ethics complaint, and some people just don't have the stomach for it."


"Go along, get along," my ass. The Howling Banshees infesting the Right Wing haven't worried about civility or compromise for 15 years now.

And if the Democrats are worried about rooting out corruption because some of THEM have their hand in the till - well, too F'in bad. If you're corrupt, I want you the hell out of Washington, and I don't care if you belong to the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, or the Surprise Party.

Dean is right - the Democrats have to attack corruption, and do so with zeal and gusto. And if they have to clean out their own house in order to have the moral authority do so, then clean house, and good riddance to bad rubbish.

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