The Nattering Nabob <$BlogRSDUrl$>
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Monday, October 31, 2005


 
A wonderful point made by the fine folks at first draft.

According to George W. Bush, Sam Alito is less qualified that Harriet Miers:

Q Mr. President, of all the people in the United States you had to choose from, is Harriet Miers the most qualified to serve on the Supreme Court?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Otherwise I wouldn't have put her on.

Your President and First Lady wouldn't lie to Matt Lauer, would they?

Q You said she [Harriet Miers] is the most qualified candidate for the job -

THE PRESIDENT: As I told you.

Q -- would you agree with that?

MRS. BUSH: Absolutely. Absolutely.


Spin THAT.

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Filibuster time
 
Bush nominates a loonie extremist.

Remember, Bush is EXTREMELY unpopular right now, and 2006 is coming up.

That means that aside from filibustering if necessary, the Democrats should lean heavily on the moderate Republicans. They should also try and circulate a couple of memes:

1) The Republicans can't complain about not allowing an up-and-down, because they just did. And they can't complain about rejecting someone on the basis of politics, because they just did; and

2) The far right has been openly SAYING that they wanted a nominee who would cause a fight. They CHOSE a nominee on the BASIS of the fact that he would cause a fight. Therefore, they have intentionally fomented division, and have completely lost any moral authority to complain about obstruction.

3) And by the way - he's one more white guy. Taking over Sandra Day O' Connor's seat.

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

-Clap, clap, clap-
 
Go read what Hunter says.

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No shit, Sherlock
 
"In the aftermath of the latest crisis to confront the White House, Bush's overall job approval rating has fallen to 39 percent, the lowest of his presidency in Post-ABC polls. Barely a third of Americans -- 34 percent -- think Bush is doing a good job ensuring high ethics in government, which is slightly lower than President Bill Clinton's standing on this issue when he left office." - Washington Post


I wonder how they would do in a head-to-head poll of who is more ethical?

After all, we aren't talking about a blow job here. We are talking about really, really disgusting and slimy behavior.

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Thank you, Mr. President.
 
Bill Clinton:

Democrats can't be afraid to talk about hot-button issues, including abortion, and should fight back against personal attacks from conservatives if they want to regain power in Washington, former President Bill Clinton said Saturday.

"You can't say 'Please don't be mean to me. Please let me win sometimes.' Give me a break here," Clinton said. "If you don't want to fight for the future and you can't figure out how to beat these people then find something else to do."


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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Maureen Dowd
 
Who's on First?
By Maureen Dowd
The New York Times - Saturday 29 October 2005

It was bracing to see the son of a New York doorman open the door on the mendacious Washington lair of the Lord of the Underground.

But this Irish priest of the law, Patrick Fitzgerald, neither Democrat nor Republican, was very strict, very precise. He wasn't totally gratifying in clearing up the murkiness of the case, yet strangely comforting in his quaint black-and-white notions of truth and honor (except when his wacky baseball metaphor seemed to veer toward a "Who's on first?" tangle).

"This indictment's not about the propriety of the war," he told reporters yesterday in his big Eliot Ness moment at the Justice Department. The indictment was simply about whether the son of an investment banker perjured himself before a grand jury and the F.B.I.

Scooter does seem like a big fat liar in the indictment. And not a clever one, since his deception hinged on, of all people, the popular monsignor of the trusted Sunday Church of Russert. Does Scooter hope to persuade a jury to believe him instead of Little Russ?

Good luck.

There is something grotesque about Scooter's hiding behind the press with his little conspiracy, given that he's part of an administration that despises the press and tried to make its work almost impossible.

Mr. Fitzgerald claims that Mr. Libby hurt national security by revealing the classified name of a CIA officer. "Valerie Wilson's friends, neighbors, college classmates had no idea she had another life," he said.

He was not buying the arguments on the right that Mrs. Wilson was not really undercover or was under "light" cover, or that blowing her cover did not hurt the CIA

"I can say that for the people who work at the CIA and work at other places, they have to expect that when they do their jobs that classified information will be protected," he said, adding: "They run a risk when they work for the CIA that something bad could happen to them, but they have to make sure that they don't run the risk that something bad is going to happen to them from something done by their own fellow government employees."

To protect a war spun from fantasy, the Bush team played dirty. Unfortunately for them, this time they Swift-boated an American whose job gave her legal protection from the business-as-usual smear campaign.

The back story of this indictment is about the ongoing Tong wars of the CIA, the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon: the fight over who lied us into war. The CIA, after all, is the agency that asked for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate how one of its own was outed by the White House.

The question Mr. Fitzgerald repeatedly declined to answer yesterday - Dick Cheney's poker face has finally met its match - was whether this stops at Scooter.

No one expects him to "flip," unless he finally gets the sort of fancy white-collar criminal lawyer that The Washington Post said he is searching for - like the ones who succeeded in getting Karl Rove off the hook, at least for now - and the lawyer tells Scooter to nail his boss to save himself.

But what we really want to know, now that we have the bare bones of who said what to whom in the indictment, is what they were all thinking there in that bunker and how that hothouse bred the idea that the way out of their Iraq problems was to slime their critics instead of addressing the criticism. What we really want to know, if Scooter testifies in the trial, and especially if he doesn't, is what Vice did to create the spidery atmosphere that led Scooter, who seemed like an interesting and decent guy, to let his zeal get the better of him.

Mr. Cheney, eager to be rid of the meddlesome Joe Wilson, got Valerie Wilson's name from the CIA and passed it on to Scooter. He forced the CIA to compromise one of its own, a sacrifice on the altar of faith-based intelligence.

Vice spent so much time lurking over at the CIA, trying to intimidate the analysts at Langley into twisting the intelligence about weapons, that he should have had one of his undisclosed locations there.

This administration's grand schemes always end up as the opposite. Officials say they're promoting national security when they're hurting it; they say they're squelching terrorists when they're breeding them; they say they're bringing stability to Iraq when the country's imploding. (The U.S. announced five more military deaths yesterday.)

And the most dangerous opposite of all: W. was listening to a surrogate father he shouldn't have been listening to, and not listening to his real father, who deserved to be listened to.

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Must read
 
Our 27 months of hell
by Joseph Wilson

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Official A, again
 
On Archpundit, by way of AMERICAblog:

As mentioned below, Fitzgerald refers to Rove as "Official A" in the indictment. He has referred to someone as "Official A" before:

Illinois Governor George Ryan - right before he indicted him.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Official A
 
From the indictment:

21. On or about July 10 or July 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke to a senior official in the White House (“Official A”) who advised LIBBY of a conversation Official A had earlier that week with columnist Robert Novak in which Wilson’s wife was discussed as a CIA employee involved in Wilson’s trip. LIBBY was advised by Official A that Novak would be writing a story about Wilson’s wife.


According to the Washington Post, "Offical A" is Rove.

Late Friday, three people close to the investigation, each asking to remain unidentified because of grand jury secrecy, identified Rove as Official A.


Rove himself is named nowhere in the indictment.

So why does Fitzgerald keep his name anonymous?

Unless the information is to be used in another case?

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Statement from Howard Dean
 
"This is a sad day for America.

"Beyond the evidence that the White House manipulated the intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq, a group of senior White House officials not only orchestrated efforts to smear a critic of the war, but worked to cover up this smear campaign. In so doing, they ignored the rule of law, endangering our national security and the brave men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our nation's security. I. Lewis Libby was a part of this internal White House group.

"This is not only an abuse of power, it is an un-American abuse of the public trust. As Americans, we must hold ourselves and our leaders to a higher standard. We cannot fear dissent. We cannot fear the truth. And we cannot tolerate those who do.

"More importantly, we can't ignore the glaring questions this case has raised about the rationale the Bush Administration used to send us to war in Iraq, a war that continues. American soldiers are still in harms way. Over 2,000 brave Americans have lost their lives, thousands of American soldiers have been wounded, and thousands of American families have made the ultimate sacrifice. Still, the President has no plan and no exit strategy. And still he hasn't answered the question, what are we doing in Iraq and when can our troops come home?

"President Bush faces a serious test of leadership; will he keep his pledge to hold his Administration to high ethical standards and give the American people what they deserve, and will he answer to the American people for these serious missteps?"

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Did you know....
 
...that this is the first time in a 130 years a White House official has been indicted?

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Text of the Indictment
 
(pdf of this and the press release on Fitzgerald's site right here.


IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Holding a Criminal Term
Grand Jury Sworn in on October 31, 2003

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v.

I. LEWIS LIBBY, )
also known as “SCOOTER LIBBY” )

Count 1: Obstruction of Justice (18 U.S.C. 1503)

Counts 2-3: False Statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2))

Counts 4-5: Perjury (18 U.S.C. § 1623)


INDICTMENT

COUNT ONE (Obstruction of Justice)

THE GRAND JURY CHARGES:

1. At times material to this indictment:

Defendant’s Employment and Responsibilities

a. Beginning on or about January 20, 2001, and continuing through the date of this indictment, defendant I. LEWIS LIBBY, also known as “SCOOTER LIBBY,” was employed as Assistant to the President of the United States, Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States, and Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs. In the course of his work, LIBBY had frequent access to classified information and frequently spoke with officials of the U.S. intelligence community, as well as other government officials, regarding sensitive national security matters.

b. In connection with his role as a senior government official with responsibilities for national security matters, LIBBY held security clearances entitling him to access to classified information. As a person with such clearances, LIBBY was obligated by applicable laws and regulations, including Title 18, United States Code, Section 793, and Executive Order 12958 (as modified by Executive Order 13292), not to disclose classified information to persons not authorized to receive such information, and otherwise to exercise proper care to safeguard classified information against unauthorized disclosure. On or about January 23, 2001, LIBBY executed a written “Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement,” stating in part that “I understand and accept that by being granted access to classified information, special confidence and trust shall be placed in me by the United States Government,” and that “I have been advised that the unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling of classified information by me could cause damage or irreparable injury to the United States or could be used to advantage by a foreign nation.”

The Central Intelligence Agency

c. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was an agency of the United States whose mission was to collect, produce, and disseminate intelligence and counterintelligence information to officers and departments of the United States government, including the President, the National Security Council, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

d. The responsibilities of certain CIA employees required that their association with the CIA be kept secret; as a result, the fact that these individuals were employed by the CIA was classified. Disclosure of the fact that such individuals were employed by the CIA had the potential to damage the national security in ways that ranged from preventing the future use of those individuals in a covert capacity, to compromising intelligence-gathering methods and operations, and endangering the safety of CIA employees and those who dealt with them.

Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson

e. Joseph Wilson (“Wilson”) was a former career State Department official who had held a variety of posts, including United States Ambassador. In 2002, after an inquiry to the CIA by the Vice President concerning certain intelligence reporting, the CIA decided on its own initiative to send Wilson to the country of Niger to investigate allegations involving Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium yellowcake, a processed form of uranium ore. Wilson orally reported his findings to the CIA upon his return.

f. Joseph Wilson was married to Valerie Plame Wilson (“Valerie Wilson”). At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community.

Events Leading up to July 2003

2. On or about January 28, 2003, President George W. Bush delivered his State of the Union address which included sixteen words asserting that “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

3. On May 6, 2003, the New York Times published a column by Nicholas Kristof which disputed the accuracy of the “sixteen words” in the State of the Union address. The column reported that, following a request from the Vice President’s office for an investigation of allegations that Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger, an unnamed former ambassador was sent on a trip to Niger in 2002 to investigate the allegations. According to the column, the ambassador reported back to the CIA and State Department in early 2002 that the allegations were unequivocally wrong and based on forged documents.

4. On or about May 29, 2003, in the White House, LIBBY asked an Under Secretary of State (“Under Secretary”) for information concerning the unnamed ambassador’s travel to Niger to investigate claims about Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium yellowcake. The Under Secretary thereafter directed the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research to prepare a report concerning the ambassador and his trip. The Under Secretary provided LIBBY with interim oral reports in late May and early June 2003, and advised LIBBY that Wilson was the former ambassador who took the trip.

5. On or about June 9, 2003, a number of classified documents from the CIA were faxed to the Office of the Vice President to the personal attention of LIBBY and another person in the Office of the Vice President. The faxed documents, which were marked as classified, discussed, among other things, Wilson and his trip to Niger, but did not mention Wilson by name. After receiving these documents, LIBBY and one or more other persons in the Office of the Vice President handwrote the names “Wilson” and “Joe Wilson” on the documents.



6. On or about June 11 or 12, 2003, the Under Secretary of State orally advised LIBBY in the White House that, in sum and substance, Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and that State Department personnel were saying that Wilson’s wife was involved in the planning of his trip.

7. On or about June 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke with a senior officer of the CIA to ask about the origin and circumstances of Wilson’s trip, and was advised by the CIA officer that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and was believed to be responsible for sending Wilson on the trip.

8. Prior to June 12, 2003, Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus contacted the Office of the Vice President in connection with a story he was writing about Wilson’s trip. LIBBY participated in discussions in the Office of the Vice President concerning how to respond to Pincus.

9. On or about June 12, 2003, LIBBY was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson’s wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Division. LIBBY understood that the Vice President had learned this information from the CIA.

10. On June 12, 2003, the Washington Post published an article by reporter Walter Pincus about Wilson’s trip to Niger, which described Wilson as a retired ambassador but not by name, and reported that the CIA had sent him to Niger after an aide to the Vice President raised questions about purported Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium. Pincus’s article questioned the accuracy of the “sixteen words,” and stated that the retired ambassador had reported to the CIA that the uranium purchase story was false.

11. On or about June 14, 2003, LIBBY met with a CIA briefer. During their conversation he expressed displeasure that CIA officials were making comments to reporters critical of the Vice President’s office, and discussed with the briefer, among other things, “Joe Wilson” and his wife “Valerie Wilson,” in the context of Wilson’s trip to Niger.

12. On or about June 19, 2003, an article appeared in The New Republic magazine online entitled “The First Casualty: The Selling of the Iraq War.” Among other things, the article questioned the “sixteen words” and stated that following a request for information from the Vice President, the CIA had asked an unnamed ambassador to travel to Niger to investigate allegations that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger. The article included a quotation attributed to the unnamed ambassador alleging that administration officials “knew the Niger story was a flat-out lie.” The article also was critical of how the administration, including the Office of the Vice President, portrayed intelligence concerning Iraqi capabilities with regard to weapons of mass destruction, and accused the administration of suppressing dissent from the intelligence agencies on this topic.

13. Shortly after publication of the article in The New Republic, LIBBY spoke by telephone with his then Principal Deputy and discussed the article. That official asked LIBBY whether information about Wilson’s trip could be shared with the press to rebut the allegations that the Vice President had sent Wilson. LIBBY responded that there would be complications at the CIA in disclosing that information publicly, and that he could not discuss the matter on a non-secure telephone line.

14. On or about June 23, 2003, LIBBY met with New York Times reporter Judith Miller. During this meeting LIBBY was critical of the CIA, and disparaged what he termed “selective leaking” by the CIA concerning intelligence matters. In discussing the CIA’s handling of Wilson’s trip to Niger, LIBBY informed her that Wilson’s wife might work at a bureau of the CIA.


The July 6 “Op Ed” Article by Wilson

15. On July 6, 2003, the New York Times published an Op-Ed article by Wilson entitled “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.” Also on July 6, 2003, the Washington Post published an article about Wilson’s 2002 trip to Niger, which article was based in part upon an interview of Wilson. Also on July 6, Wilson appeared as a guest on the television interview show “Meet the Press.” In his Op-Ed article and interviews in print and on television, Wilson asserted, among other things, that he had taken a trip to Niger at the request of the CIA in February 2002 to investigate allegations that Iraq had sought or obtained uranium yellowcake from Niger, and that he doubted Iraq had obtained uranium from Niger recently, for a number of reasons. Wilson stated that he believed, based on his understanding of government procedures, that the Office of the Vice President was advised of the results of his trip.


LIBBY’s Actions Following Wilson’s July 6 “Op Ed” Column

16. On or about July 7, 2003, LIBBY had lunch with the then White House Press Secretary and advised the Press Secretary that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and noted that such information was not widely known.

17. On or about the morning of July 8, 2003, LIBBY met with New York Times reporter Judith Miller. When the conversation turned to the subject of Joseph Wilson, LIBBY asked that the information LIBBY provided on the topic of Wilson be attributed to a “former Hill staffer” rather than to a “senior administration official,” as had been the understanding with respect to other information that LIBBY provided to Miller during this meeting. LIBBY thereafter discussed with Miller Wilson’s trip and criticized the CIA reporting concerning Wilson’s trip. During this discussion, LIBBY advised Miller of his belief that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA.
18. Also on or about July 8, 2003, LIBBY met with the Counsel to the Vice President in an anteroom outside the Vice President’s Office. During their brief conversation, LIBBY asked the Counsel to the Vice President, in sum and substance, what paperwork there would be at the CIA if an employee’s spouse undertook an overseas trip.

19. Not earlier than June 2003, but on or before July 8, 2003, the Assistant to the Vice President for Public Affairs learned from another government official that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA, and advised LIBBY of this information.

20. On or about July 10, 2003, LIBBY spoke to NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert to complain about press coverage of LIBBY by an MSNBC reporter. LIBBY did not discuss Wilson’s wife with Russert.

21. On or about July 10 or July 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke to a senior official in the White House (“Official A”) who advised LIBBY of a conversation Official A had earlier that week with columnist Robert Novak in which Wilson’s wife was discussed as a CIA employee involved in Wilson’s trip. LIBBY was advised by Official A that Novak would be writing a story about Wilson’s wife.

22. On or about July 12, 2003, LIBBY flew with the Vice President and others to and from Norfolk, Virginia, on Air Force Two. On his return trip, LIBBY discussed with other officials aboard the plane what LIBBY should say in response to certain pending media inquiries, including questions from Time reporter Matthew Cooper.

23. On or about July 12, 2003, in the afternoon, LIBBY spoke by telephone to Cooper, who asked whether LIBBY had heard that Wilson’s wife was involved in sending Wilson on the trip to Niger. LIBBY confirmed to Cooper, without elaboration or qualification, that he had heard this information too.

24. On or about July 12, 2003, in the late afternoon, LIBBY spoke by telephone with Judith Miller of the New York Times and discussed Wilson’s wife, and that she worked at the CIA.

The Criminal Investigation

25. On or about September 26, 2003, the Department of Justice authorized the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) to commence a criminal investigation into the possible unauthorized disclosure of classified information regarding the disclosure of Valerie Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA to various reporters in the spring of 2003.

26. As part of the criminal investigation, LIBBY was interviewed by Special Agents of the FBI on or about October 14 and November 26, 2003, each time in the presence of his counsel. During these interviews, LIBBY stated to FBI Special Agents that:

a. During a conversation with Tim Russert of NBC News on July 10 or 11, 2003, Russert asked LIBBY if LIBBY was aware that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA. LIBBY responded to Russert that he did not know that, and Russert replied that all the reporters knew it. LIBBY was surprised by this statement because, while speaking with Russert, LIBBY did not recall that he previously had learned about Wilson’s wife’s employment from the Vice President.

b. During a conversation with Matthew Cooper of Time magazine on or about July 12, 2003, LIBBY told Cooper that reporters were telling the administration that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, but that LIBBY did not know if this was true; and

c. LIBBY did not discuss Wilson’s wife with New York Times reporter Judith Miller during a meeting with Miller on or about July 8, 2003.

27. Beginning in or about January 2004, and continuing until the date of this indictment, Grand Jury 03-3 sitting in the District of Columbia conducted an investigation (“the Grand Jury Investigation”) into possible violations of federal criminal laws, including: Title 50, United States Code, Section 421 (disclosure of the identity of covert intelligence personnel); and Title 18, United States Code, Sections 793 (improper disclosure of national defense information), 1001 (false statements), 1503 (obstruction of justice), and 1623 (perjury).

28. A major focus of the Grand Jury Investigation was to determine which government officials had disclosed to the media prior to July 14, 2003 information concerning the affiliation of Valerie Wilson with the CIA, and the nature, timing, extent, and purpose of such disclosures, as well as whether any official making such a disclosure did so knowing that the employment of Valerie Wilson by the CIA was classified information.

29. During the course of the Grand Jury Investigation, the following matters, among others, were material to the Grand Jury Investigation:

i. When, and the manner and means by which, defendant LIBBY learned that Wilson’s wife was employed by the CIA;

ii. Whether and when LIBBY disclosed to members of the media that Wilson’s wife was employed by the CIA;

iii. The language used by LIBBY in disclosing any such information to the media, including whether LIBBY expressed uncertainty about the accuracy of any information he may have disclosed, or described where he obtained the information;

iv. LIBBY’s knowledge as to whether any information he disclosed was classified at the time he disclosed it; and

v. Whether LIBBY was candid with Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in describing his conversations with the other government officials and the media relating to Valerie Wilson.

LIBBY’s Grand Jury Testimony

30. On or about March 5 and March 24, 2004, LIBBY testified before Grand Jury 03-3. On each occasion of LIBBY’s testimony, the foreperson of the Grand Jury administered the oath to LIBBY and LIBBY swore to tell the truth in the testimony he was about to give.

31. In or about March 2004, in the District of Columbia, I. LEWIS LIBBY, also known as “SCOOTER LIBBY,” defendant herein, did knowingly and corruptly endeavor to influence, obstruct and impede the due administration of justice, namely proceedings before Grand Jury 03-3, by misleading and deceiving the grand jury as to when, and the manner and means by which, LIBBY acquired and subsequently disclosed to the media information concerning the employment of Valerie Wilson by the CIA.

32. It was part of the corrupt endeavor that during his grand jury testimony, defendant LIBBY made the following materially false and intentionally misleading statements and representations, in substance, under oath:

a. When LIBBY spoke with Tim Russert of NBC News, on or about July 10, 2003:

i. Russert asked LIBBY if LIBBY knew that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, and told LIBBY that all the reporters knew it; and

ii. At the time of this conversation, LIBBY was surprised to hear that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA;

b. LIBBY advised Matthew Cooper of Time magazine on or about July 12, 2003, that he had heard that other reporters were saying that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, and further advised him that LIBBY did not know whether this assertion was true; and

c. LIBBY advised Judith Miller of the New York Times on or about July 12, 2003 that he had heard that other reporters were saying that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA but LIBBY did not know whether that assertion was true.

33. It was further part of the corrupt endeavor that at the time defendant LIBBY made each of the above-described materially false and intentionally misleading statements and representations to the grand jury, LIBBY was aware that they were false, in that:

a. When LIBBY spoke with Tim Russert of NBC News on or about July 10, 2003:

i. Russert did not ask LIBBY if LIBBY knew that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, nor did he tell LIBBY that all the reporters knew it; and

ii. At the time of this conversation, LIBBY was well aware that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA; in fact, LIBBY had participated in multiple prior conversations concerning this topic, including on the following occasions:

• In or about early June 2003, LIBBY learned from the Vice President that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA in the Counterproliferation Division;

• On or about June 11, 2003, LIBBY was informed by a senior CIA officer that Wilson’s wife was employed by the CIA and that the idea of sending him to Niger originated with her;

• On or about June 12, 2003, LIBBY was informed by the Under Secretary of State that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA;

• On or about June 14, 2003, LIBBY discussed “Joe Wilson” and “Valerie Wilson” with his CIA briefer, in the context of Wilson’s trip to Niger;

• On or about June 23, 2003, LIBBY informed reporter Judith Miller that Wilson’s wife might work at a bureau of the CIA;

• On or about July 7, 2003, LIBBY advised the White House Press Secretary that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA;

• In or about June or July 2003, and in no case later than on or about July 8, 2003, LIBBY was advised by the Assistant to the Vice President for Public Affairs that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA;

• On or about July 8, 2003, LIBBY advised reporter Judith Miller of his belief that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA; and • On or about July 8, 2003, LIBBY had a discussion with the Counsel to the Office of the Vice President concerning the paperwork that would exist if a person who was sent on an overseas trip by the CIA had a spouse who worked at the CIA;

b. LIBBY did not advise Matthew Cooper, on or about July 12, 2003, that LIBBY had heard other reporters were saying that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, nor did LIBBY advise him that LIBBY did not know whether this assertion was true; rather, LIBBY confirmed to Cooper, without qualification, that LIBBY had heard that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA; and

c. LIBBY did not advise Judith Miller, on or about July 12, 2003, that LIBBY had heard other reporters were saying that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, nor did LIBBY advise her that LIBBY did not know whether this assertion was true; In violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1503.

COUNT TWO (False Statement)

THE GRAND JURY FURTHER CHARGES:

1. The Grand Jury realleges Paragraphs 1-26 of Count One as though fully set forth herein.

2. During the course of the criminal investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice, the following matters, among others, were material to that investigation:

a. When, and the manner and means by which, defendant LIBBY learned that Wilson’s wife was employed by the CIA;

b. Whether and when LIBBY disclosed to members of the media that Wilson’s wife was employed by the CIA;

c. The language used by LIBBY in disclosing any such information to the media, including whether LIBBY expressed uncertainty about the accuracy of any information he may have disclosed, or described where he obtained the information; and

d. LIBBY’s knowledge as to whether any information he disclosed was classified at the time he disclosed it.

3. On or about October 14 and November 26, 2003, in the District of Columbia, I. LEWIS LIBBY, also known as “SCOOTER LIBBY,” defendant herein, did knowingly and willfully make a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and representation in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an agency within the executive branch of the United States, in that the defendant, in response to questions posed to him by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, stated that: During a conversation with Tim Russert of NBC News on July 10 or 11, 2003, Russert asked LIBBY if LIBBY was aware that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA. LIBBY responded to Russert that he did not know that, and Russert replied that all the reporters knew it. LIBBY was surprised by this statement because, while speaking with Russert, LIBBY did not recall that he previously had learned about Wilson’s wife’s employment from the Vice President.

4. As defendant LIBBY well knew when he made it, this statement was false in that when LIBBY spoke with Russert on or about July 10 or 11, 2003:

a. Russert did not ask LIBBY if LIBBY knew that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, nor did he tell LIBBY that all the reporters knew it; and

b. At the time of this conversation, LIBBY was well aware that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA; In violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(2).

COUNT THREE (False Statement)

THE GRAND JURY FURTHER CHARGES:

1. The Grand Jury realleges Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Count Two as though fully set forth herein.

2. On or about October 14 and November 26, 2003, in the District of Columbia, I. LEWIS LIBBY, also known as “SCOOTER LIBBY,” defendant herein, did knowingly and willfully make a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and representation in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an agency within the executive branch of the United States, in that the defendant, in response to questions posed to him by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, stated that: During a conversation with Matthew Cooper of Time magazine on July 12, 2003, LIBBY told Cooper that reporters were telling the administration that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, but LIBBY did not know if this was true.

3. As defendant LIBBY well knew when he made it, this statement was false in that: LIBBY did not advise Cooper on or about July 12, 2003 that reporters were telling the administration that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, nor did LIBBY advise him that LIBBY did not know whether this was true; rather, LIBBY confirmed for Cooper, without qualification, that LIBBY had heard that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA; In violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(2).

COUNT FOUR (Perjury)

THE GRAND JURY FURTHER CHARGES:

1. The Grand Jury realleges Paragraphs 1-30 of Count One as though fully set forth herein.

2. On or about March 5, 2004, in the District of Columbia, I. LEWIS LIBBY, also known as “SCOOTER LIBBY,” defendant herein, having taken an oath to testify truthfully in a proceeding before a grand jury of the United States, knowingly made a false material declaration, in that he gave the following testimony regarding a conversation that he represented he had with Tim Russert of NBC News, on or about July 10, 2003 (underlined portions alleged as false):

. . . . And then he said, you know, did you know that this – excuse me, did you know that Ambassador Wilson's wife works at the CIA? And I was a little taken aback by that. I remember being taken aback by it. And I said – he may have said a little more but that was – he said that. And I said, no, I don't know that. And I said, no, I don't know that intentionally because I didn't want him to take anything I was saying as in any way confirming what he said, because at that point in time I did not recall that I had ever known, and I thought this is something that he was telling me that I was first learning. And so I said, no, I don't know that because I want to be very careful not to confirm it for him, so that he didn't take my statement as confirmation for him.

Now, I had said earlier in the conversation, which I omitted to tell you, that this – you know, as always, Tim, our discussion is off-the-record if that's okay with you, and he said, that's fine.

So then he said – I said – he said, sorry – he, Mr. Russert said to me, did you know that Ambassador Wilson's wife, or his wife, works at the CIA? And I said, no, I don't know that. And then he said, yeah – yes, all the reporters know it. And I said, again, I don't know that. I just wanted to be clear that I wasn't confirming anything for him on this. And you know, I was struck by what he was saying in that he thought it was an important fact, but I didn't ask him anymore about it because I didn't want to be digging in on him, and he then moved on and finished the conversation, something like that.

3. In truth and fact, as LIBBY well knew when he gave this testimony, it was false in that:

a. Russert did not ask LIBBY if LIBBY knew that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, nor did he tell LIBBY that all the reporters knew it; and

b. At the time of this conversation, LIBBY was well aware that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA; ; In violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(2).


COUNT FIVE (Perjury)

THE GRAND JURY FURTHER CHARGES:

1. The Grand Jury realleges Paragraphs 1-30 of Count One as though fully set forth herein.

2. On or about March 5, 2004 and March 24, 2004, in the District of Columbia, I. LEWIS LIBBY, also known as “SCOOTER LIBBY,” defendant herein, having taken an oath to testify truthfully in a proceeding before a grand jury of the United States, knowingly made a false material declaration, in that he gave the following testimony regarding his conversations with reporters concerning the employment of Joseph Wilson’s wife by the CIA (underlined portions alleged as false):

a. Testimony Given on or about March 5, 2004 Regarding a Conversation With Matthew Cooper on or About July 12, 2003:

Q. And it's your specific recollection that when you told Cooper about Wilson's wife working at the CIA, you attributed that fact to what reporters –

A. Yes.

Q. – plural, were saying. Correct?

A. I was very clear to say reporters are telling us that because in my mind I still didn't know it as a fact. I thought I was – all I had was this information that was coming in from the reporters. . . . .

Q. And at the same time you have a specific recollection of telling him, you don't know whether it's true or not, you're just telling him what reporters are saying?

A. Yes, that's correct, sir. And I said, reporters are telling us that, I don't know if it's true. I was careful about that because among other things, I wanted to be clear I didn't know Mr. Wilson. I don't know – I think I said, I don't know if he has a wife, but this is what we're hearing.

b. Testimony Given on or about March 24, 2004 Regarding Conversations With Reporters:

Q. And let me ask you this directly. Did the fact that you knew that the law could turn, the law as to whether a crime was committed, could turn on where you learned the information from, affect your account for the FBI when you told them that you were telling reporters Wilson's wife worked at the CIA but your source was a reporter rather than the Vice-President?

A. No, it's a fact. It was a fact, that's what I told the reporters.

Q. And you're, you're certain as you sit here today that every reporter you told that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, you sourced it back to other reporters?

A. Yes, sir, because it was important for what I was saying and because it was – that's what – that's how I did it. . . . .

Q. The next set of questions from the Grand Jury are – concern this fact. If you did not understand the information about Wilson's wife to have been classified and didn't understand it when you heard it from Mr. Russert, why was it that you were so deliberate to make sure that you told other reporters that reporters were saying it and not assert it as something you knew?

A. I want – I didn't want to – I didn't know if it was true and I didn't want people – I didn't want the reporters to think it was true because I said it. I – all I had was that reporters are telling us that, and by that I wanted them to understand it wasn't coming from me and that it might not be true. Reporters write things that aren't true sometimes, or get things that aren't true. So I wanted to be clear they didn't, they didn't think it was me saying it. I didn't know it was true and I wanted them to understand that. Also, it was important to me to let them know that because what I was telling them was that I don't know Mr. Wilson. We didn't ask for his mission. That I didn't see his report.

Basically, we didn't know anything about him until this stuff came out in June. And among the other things, I didn't know he had a wife. That was one of the things I said to Mr. Cooper. I don't know if he's married. And so I wanted to be very clear about all this stuff that I didn't, I didn't know about him. And the only thing I had, I thought at the time, was what reporters are telling us. . . . .

Well, talking to the other reporters about it, I don't see as a crime. What I said to the other reporters is what, you know – I told a couple reporters what other reporters had told us, and I don't see that as a crime.

3. In truth and fact, as LIBBY well knew when he gave this testimony, it was false in that LIBBY did not advise Matthew Cooper or other reporters that LIBBY had heard other reporters were saying that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, nor did LIBBY advise Cooper or other reporters that LIBBY did not know whether this assertion was true; In violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1623.

A TRUE BILL:
FOREPERSON
PATRICK J. FITZGERALD
Special Counsel

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5 counts
 
5 counts for Libby:

1 count obstruction of justice
2 counts of perjury
2 counts of making false statements

Lied to FBI agents on Oct 14, Nov 26, 2003.
Committed perjury on March 5 and 24, 2004.
Engaged in obstruction of justice by impeding investigation.

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Fitzgerald will hold a news conference at 2pm today.

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Thoughts.
 
Thoughts, assuming the leaks are true:

1) Yes, I'd rather have Rove than Libby, and Cheney most of all. But That said, Libby is joined at the hip to Cheney. Any indictment of him focuses suspicion and attention on the Vice-President's office, which has fought to operate entirely in secret since day one. The focus of the media spotlight on Cheney's office is devoutly to be wished, because there is a ton of muck that needs to be raked out of that place.

2) Although most people haven't heard of Libby now, they will, and they won't like what they see. And he's an important part of the Bush Cabal. Libby's trial will focus attention on the stench.

2) Rove is still under investigation; Fitzgerald will likely extend the investigation. This means the slow drip-drip-drip of leaks and unpleasantness oozing out from the pores of this administration will not stop. And it means Bush will have to continue to operate with his brain tied behind his back. And we've seen what that does: It forces him to display his boneheadedness to the world.

3) As this saga continues, more people will flip; therefore, Rove will flop.

4) 2006 begins a major election year. Having these investigations and, probably, trials, in the news for an election year is good, good, good. The investigations, at this point, go well beyond an official accusation of perjury. They not only include the utterly slimy act of exposing an undercover agent during wartime for the sake of political payback; they include the lies and coverups that started this foul and filthy war. The Iraqi War is now VERY unpopular. It will get MORE unpopular. And you know what the leading news story of 2006 will be? "We are in Iraq because of a tissue of bullshit."

"Bush lied, and they died" is no longer just a slogan - it's an ongoing criminal investigation.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005


 
"These will be very, very dark days for the White House." - Andy Card, White House Chief of Staff

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The New York Times is reporting that Libby will be indicted tomorrow.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 - Associates of I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, expected an indictment on Friday charging him with making false statements to the grand jury in the C.I.A. leak inquiry, lawyers in the case said Thursday.

Karl Rove, President Bush's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, will not be charged on Friday, but will remain under investigation, people briefed officially about the case said. As a result, they said, the special counsel in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, was likely to extend the term of the federal grand jury beyond its scheduled expiration on Friday.

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A prophet in our midst.
 
"The White House remains steadfast. They said they will absolutely not withdraw Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court. You know what that means? She'll be out of there in a week." --David Letterman

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Maureen Dowd
 
Dick at the Heart of Darkness
By Maureen Dowd
The New York Times

Wednesday 26 October 2005

After W. was elected, he sometimes gave visitors a tour of the love alcove off the Oval Office where Bill trysted with Monica - the notorious spot where his predecessor had dishonored the White House.

At least it was only a little pantry - and a little panting.

If W. wants to show people now where the White House has been dishonored in far more astounding and deadly ways, he'll have to haul them around every nook and cranny of his vice president's office, then go across the river for a walk of shame through the Rummy empire at the Pentagon.

The shocking thing about the trellis of revelations showing Dick Cheney, the self-styled Mr. Strong America, as the central figure in dark conspiracies to juice up a case for war and demonize those who tried to tell the public the truth is how un-shocking it all is.

It's exactly what we thought was going on, but we never thought we'd actually hear the lurid details: Cheney and Rummy, the two old compadres from the Nixon and Ford days, in a cabal running the country and the world into the ground, driven by their poisonous obsession with Iraq, while Junior is out of the loop, playing in the gym or on his mountain bike.

Mr. Cheney has been so well protected by his Praetorian guard all these years that it's been hard for the public to see his dastardly deeds and petty schemes. But now, because of Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation and candid talk from Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Wilkerson, he's been flushed out as the heart of darkness: all sulfurous strands lead back to the man W. aptly nicknamed Vice.

According to a Times story yesterday, Scooter Libby first learned about Joseph Wilson's C.I.A. wife from his boss, Mr. Cheney, not from reporters, as he'd originally suggested. And Mr. Cheney learned it from George Tenet, according to Mr. Libby's notes.

The Bush hawks presented themselves as protectors and exporters of American values. But they were so feverish about projecting the alternate reality they had constructed to link Saddam and Al Qaeda - and fulfilling their idée fixe about invading Iraq - they perverted American values.

Whether or not it turns out to be illegal, outing a C.I.A. agent - undercover or not - simply to undermine her husband's story is Rove-ishly sleazy. This no-leak administration was perfectly willing to leak to hurt anyone who got in its way.

Vice also pressed for a loophole so the C.I.A. could do torture-light on prisoners in U.S. custody, but John McCain rebuffed His Tortureness. Senator McCain has sponsored a measure to bar the cruel treatment of prisoners because he knows that this is not who we are. (Remember the days when the only torture was listening to politicians reciting their best TV lines at dinner parties?)

Colonel Wilkerson, the former chief of staff for Colin Powell, broke the code and denounced Vice's vortex, calling his own involvement in Mr. Powell's U.N. speech, infected with bogus Cheney and Scooter malarkey, "the lowest point" in his life.

He followed that with a blast of blunt talk in a speech and an op-ed piece in The Los Angeles Times, saying that foreign policy had been hijacked by "a secretive, little-known cabal" that hated dissent. He said the cabal was headed by Mr. Cheney, "a vice president who speaks only to Rush Limbaugh and assembled military forces," and Donald Rumsfeld, "a secretary of defense presiding over the death by a thousand cuts of our overstretched armed forces."

"I believe that the decisions of this cabal were sometimes made with the full and witting support of the president and sometimes with something less," Colonel Wilkerson wrote. "More often than not, then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was simply steamrolled by this cabal."

Brent Scowcroft, Bush Senior's close friend, let out a shriek this week to Jeffrey Goldberg in The New Yorker, revealing his estrangement from W. and his old protégé Condi. He disdained Paul Wolfowitz as a naïve utopian and said he didn't "know" his old friend Dick Cheney anymore. Vice's alliance with the neocons, who were determined to finish in Iraq what Mr. Scowcroft and Poppy had declared finished, led him to lead the nation into a morass. Troop deaths are now around 2,000, a gruesome milestone.

"The reason I part with the neocons is that I don't think in any reasonable time frame the objective of democratizing the Middle East can be successful," Mr. Scowcroft said. "If you can do it, fine, but I don't think you can, and in the process of trying to do it you can make the Middle East a lot worse."

W. should take the Medal of Freedom away from Mr. Tenet and give medals to Colonel Wilkerson and Mr. Scowcroft.

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Uh. oh.
 
Cheney withheld papers.

Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, overruling advice from some White House political staffers and lawyers, decided to withhold crucial documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004 when the panel was investigating the use of pre-war intelligence that erroneously concluded Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, according to Bush administration and congressional sources.


What was in those papers?

Is it proof of what we all know - that they falsified and cooked the case to start a war in Iraq?

Will they be subpoenaed in the coming trial?

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Miers withdraws
 
Which does nothing at all to quell the storm.

Bush looks weaker than ever - unable to stand up to the extremists in his own party. He just allowed right-wing fanatics to pick his nominee for him.

And gee, right-wingers - I thought all the President's nominations deserved an up-or-down vote! Was THAT a lie, TOO?

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Paul Begala - who was in the Clinton White House when the Monica hit the fan - talks about what life must be like in the White House right now:

Mr. Bush would do well to augment his current staff, a C-Team if ever there was one, with some stronger characters. But to read the Bush-Miers correspondence is to gain a disturbing insight into Mr. Bush's personality: he likes having his ass kissed. Ms. Miers' cards and letters to the then-Governor of Texas belong in the Brown-Nosers Hall of Fame. You can be sure the younger and less experienced Bush White House aides are even more obsequious. The last thing this President wants is the first thing he needs: someone to slap his spoiled, pampered, trust-funded, plutocratic, never-worked-a-day-in-his-life cheek and make him face the reality of his foul-ups.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Americans: Bring them home
 
From Rasmussen, a pollster that always skews to the right:

Most Say Bringing Troops Home Top Priority

Survey of 1,000 Adults

October 22-23, 2005


Which is more important, getting American troops home as son as possible or making sure that Iraq becomes a peaceful nation enjoying freedom and democracy?

Troops Home 53%
Peaceful, Free Iraq 38%


What the hell took so long?

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From Today's Press gaggle:

QUESTION: Back in 2003, the Vice President said publicly that he didn't know who sent Joe Wilson on the Niger mission, back in June of 2003 -- or July of 2003 -- when the person who sent him's name first became public. There now seems to be contradictory evidence that, in fact, he did know. Do you know, did he know, did he not know?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: This is a question relating to an ongoing investigation, and we're not having any further comment on the investigation while it's ongoing. That is on all questions relating to the investigation.

QUESTION: But that isn't really a question about the investigation.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: It relates to the whole issue that the special prosecutor is investigating, or looking into.

QUESTION: Well, it relates to the truthfulness of the Vice President with the American public, too, doesn't it?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Terry, I think you're prejudging things and speculating. And we're not going to prejudge or speculate about things.

QUESTION: Does the President have confidence in the Vice President?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: The Vice President is doing a great job as a member of this administration and the President appreciates all that he is doing.



Scotty? That wasn't a "yes."

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Chickens grow lips.
 
And the Daily News is absolutely beating the crap out of the New York Times when it comes to coverage of Treasongate.


WASHINGTON - President Bush's damage-control handlers are plotting a sophisticated war room offensive to fight back against possible indictments in the CIA leak probe....

Behind the scenes, however, Team Bush was finalizing its campaign to discredit and undermine special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's conclusions, sources told the Daily News....

An emerging theme in the Bush war room is arguing that his top political aide, Karl Rove, simply got tripped up on his recollections of whom he talked to and what he told them when questioned about the outing of CIA spy Valerie Plame. He shouldn't be indicted simply because of contradictory grand jury testimony, a source said.

Bush allies have already begun casting perjury and obstruction charges as irrelevant in a probe created to find out who leaked classified information....

A senior Senate Democratic aide said, "When it's about perjury and obstruction and it deals with sex, Republicans think it's worthy of impeachment. When it's about perjury and obstruction dealing with national security, they don't take it seriously."

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Blather. Wince. Repeat.
 
In commemoration of the 2000th death in Iraq, Bush has a great idea:

He's going to explain why invading Iraq was such a brilliant idea.

Again.

Anticipating a barrage of criticism when the death toll hits 2,000, Bush will try to put the sacrifice in perspective by portraying the Iraq war as the best way to keep terrorists from striking the United States again, the official said. He will make the same case in another speech Friday in Norfolk. Although Bush has made this case often, aides hope the public will be more receptive in the aftermath of the apparently successful referendum vote for a new Iraqi constitution, whose official results will be announced this week.


Apparently he thinks that we all will agree that invading Iraq was just what the doctor ordered, if only the Parrot-In-Chief says the same thing one more time.


By the way - there are times when I think the press has really started to dislike the boy. The picture accompanying the Washington Post article at the link is a shot of Bush grinning like an idiot, while Karl Rove stands behind him, also grinning like an idiot.

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Rosa Parks
 


Notice that she wasn't grinning like it was a joke.

That's because she actually WAS in the right.

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Monday, October 24, 2005


 
According to Raw Story, Fitzgerald has learned that Cheney's office intentionally exposed Plame, and did it as payback.

Raw Story has been right about this case thus far. they seem to have a very reliable mole.

Those close to the investigation say that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has been told that David Wurmser, then a Middle East adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney on loan from the office of then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John Bolton, met with Cheney and his chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby in June 2003 and told Libby that Plame set up the Wilson trip. He asserted that it was a boondoggle, the sources said. ...

Within a week, Wurmser, on orders from "executives in the office of the vice president," was told to leak her name to a specific group of reporters in an effort to muzzle her husband, Wilson, who had become a thorn in the side of the administration, those close to the inquiry say. It is unclear who Wurmser had spoken with in the media, the sources said, but they confirmed he did speak with reporters at national media outlets about Plame.

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Rosa Parks Dead
 
Let Light Perpetual Shine Upon Her.

She showed us that "common" people can do uncommon things, and she taught us that every single one of us can change the world.

She taught a whole nation what the courage of one human being can do.

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Cheney told Libby
 
And Libby LIED about it.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 — I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, first learned about the C.I.A. officer at the heart of the leak investigation in a conversation with Mr. Cheney weeks before her identity became public in 2003, lawyers involved in the case said Monday.

Notes of the previously undisclosed conversation between Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney on June 12, 2003, appear to differ from Mr. Libby’s testimony to a federal grand jury that he initially learned about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, from journalists, the lawyers said.

The notes, taken by Mr. Libby during the conversation, for the first time place Mr. Cheney in the middle of an effort by the White House to learn about Ms. Wilson’s husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was questioning the administration’s handling of intelligence about Iraq’s nuclear program to justify the war.

Lawyers said the notes show that Mr. Cheney knew that Ms. Wilson worked at the C.I.A. more than a month before her identity was made public and her undercover status was disclosed in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak on July 14, 2003.


Do....not....get....excited....do.....not....get....excited....

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Fiscal Conservatives
 
Dontcha love how responsible them right-wingers is wit gummint money?

Pentagon program costing taxpayers millions in inflated prices

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon paid $20 apiece for plastic ice cube trays that once cost it 85 cents. It paid a supplier more than $81 apiece for coffeemakers that it bought for years for just $29 from the manufacturer.

That's because instead of getting competitive bids or buying directly from manufacturers like it used to, the Pentagon is using middlemen who set their own prices. It's the equivalent of shopping for weekly groceries at a convenience store.

And it's costing taxpayers 20 percent more than the old system, a Knight Ridder investigation found.

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Miers doesn't have the votes
 
WASHINGTON - A Democrat on the Senate committee that will consider Harriet Miers' nomination said Sunday that President Bush's Supreme Court choice lacks the votes now to be confirmed, saying there are too many questions about her qualifications."

If you held the vote today, she would not get a majority either in the judiciary Committee or the floor," said Sen. Charles schumer, D-New York. On the 18-member GOP-controlled committee, "there are one or two who said they'd support her as of now."


This really screws Bush. If she isn't confirmed, he will seem totally impotent. But if he withdraws her and replaces her with a right-wing loonies who will please the right-wing loonies, he will demonstrate to America that the Republican Party is, indeed, beholden to extremists.

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Conservatives behaving badly
 
George Will is really pissed:

Such is the perfect perversity of the nomination of Harriet Miers that it discredits, and even degrades, all who toil at justifying it.


Man.

Will's column is worth reading, just to get a look at the sheer level of fury the nomination of Miers has provoked in much of the right-wing. (And what does it say about Bush that here you have a nominee who is disliked by left, right AND middle, but Bush will go right to the wall with her because - well, because she thinks he's "cool.")

A couple of ruminations that ruminated while reading Will:

As Miers's confirmation hearings draw near, her advocates will make an argument that is always false but that they, especially, must make, considering the unusual nature of their nominee. The argument is that it is somehow inappropriate for senators to ask a nominee -- a nominee for a lifetime position making unappealable decisions of enormous social impact -- searching questions about specific Supreme Court decisions and the principles of constitutional law that these decisions have propelled into America's present and future.

To that argument, the obvious and sufficient refutation is: Why, then, have hearings? What, then, remains of the Senate's constitutional role in consenting to nominees?


He's absolutely right, of course. But where was this obvious point when confirming a candidate who was POPULAR with the right-wingers? Why did nobody say this when John Roberts was coyly refusing to answer questions? Why did the conservatives insist that it WAS "inappropriate for senators to ask a nominee...searching questions about specific Supreme Court decisions" THEN?

And how come it takes a conservative to make this point, and the Democrats are too damned chickenshit to say it?

You could argue for days over exactly what "advise and consent" means when it come to the Senatorial duty. But whatever it means, it sure as hell DOESN'T mean that the Senate is obligated to rubberstamp whoever the President picks.

But the conservatives said that the Senate WAS so obligated - until now, when suddenly they wake up to how totally ludicrous that is. About frigging time, guys.

Finally, any Republican senator who supinely acquiesces in President Bush's reckless abuse of presidential discretion -- or who does not recognize the Miers nomination as such -- can never be considered presidential material.


Mr. Will? Very well put, but "reckless abuse of presidential discretion" has been Bush's standard practice for 5 years now. What do you think hiring Michael Brown was? What do you think invading Iraq was? What do you think dispensing with the Geneva Convention is? What do you think the Patriot Act is? It took Harriet Miers to make you see it? Attempts to justify torture didn't do it? Stocking Federal departments with cronies didn't do it? Placing people in charge of agencies who were hostile to the missions of those agencies didn't set off any alarm bells? Harriet Miers, of all things, is what finally crossed your line?

Thoughtful conservatives' highest aim is not to achieve this or that particular outcome concerning this or that controversy. Rather, their aim for the Supreme Court is to replace semi-legislative reasoning with genuine constitutional reasoning about the Constitution's meaning as derived from close consideration of its text and structure.


And the damned Democrats have GOT to stop allowing the right-wingers to define things like this. Conservative are NOT in favor of "constitutional reasoning" over "legislative reasoning." They simply DEFINE whether something is or is not "legislative reasoning" on the basis of whether or not they like it. And I wish ONE DEMOCRAT in a position of authority would say so.

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Treasongate lies.
 
Media Matters has done serious yeoman's work in correcting that lies being spread about the affair.

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Republicans are so continuously hypocritical that they don't even NOTICE their own hhypocrisy - it's part of the very air that they breathe.

From Think Progress:

DeLay Flies Corporate Jet to Arraignment

Tom DeLay has been criminally indicted for facilitating the illegal use of corporate funds in Texas campaigns. How did he arrive at his arraignment?:
DeLay’s staff disclosed that he flew to Houston on Thursday morning on a corporate jet owned by R.J. Reynolds, a longtime contributor that has flown him to Puerto Rico and other destinations.

When he landed, DeLay held a press conference and called allegations that he allowed corporate dollars to improperly influence the political process “contrived and baseless.”

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Maureen Dowd
 
The New York Times won't let you read it without coughing up the cash, so here it is:



Woman of Mass Destruction
By MAUREEN DOWD

I've always liked Judy Miller. I have often wondered what Waugh or Thackeray would have made of the Fourth Estate's Becky Sharp.

The traits she has that drive many reporters at The Times crazy - her tropism toward powerful men, her frantic intensity and her peculiar mixture of hard work and hauteur - never bothered me. I enjoy operatic types.

Once when I was covering the first Bush White House, I was in The Times's seat in the crowded White House press room, listening to an administration official's background briefing. Judy had moved on from her tempestuous tenure as a Washington editor to be a reporter based in New York, but she showed up at this national security affairs briefing.

At first she leaned against the wall near where I was sitting, but I noticed that she seemed agitated about something. Midway through the briefing, she came over and whispered to me, "I think I should be sitting in the Times seat."

It was such an outrageous move, I could only laugh. I got up and stood in the back of the room, while Judy claimed what she felt was her rightful power perch.

She never knew when to quit. That was her talent and her flaw. Sorely in need of a tight editorial leash, she was kept on no leash at all, and that has hurt this paper and its trust with readers. She more than earned her sobriquet "Miss Run Amok."

Judy's stories about W.M.D. fit too perfectly with the White House's case for war. She was close to Ahmad Chalabi, the con man who was conning the neocons to knock out Saddam so he could get his hands on Iraq, and I worried that she was playing a leading role in the dangerous echo chamber that former Senator Bob Graham dubbed "incestuous amplification." Using Iraqi defectors and exiles, Mr. Chalabi planted bogus stories with Judy and other credulous journalists.

Even last April, when I wrote a column critical of Mr. Chalabi, she fired off e-mail to me defending him.

When Bill Keller became executive editor in the summer of 2003, he barred Judy from covering Iraq and W.M.D issues. But he admitted in The Times's Sunday story about Judy's role in the Plame leak case that she had kept "drifting" back. Why did nobody stop this drift?

Judy admitted in the story that she "got it totally wrong" about W.M.D. "If your sources are wrong," she said, "you are wrong." But investigative reporting is not stenography.

The Times's story and Judy's own first-person account had the unfortunate effect of raising more questions. As Bill said in an e-mail note to the staff on Friday, Judy seemed to have "misled" the Washington bureau chief, Phil Taubman, about the extent of her involvement in the Valerie Plame leak case.

She casually revealed that she had agreed to identify her source, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, as a "former Hill staffer" because he had once worked on Capitol Hill. The implication was that this bit of deception was a common practice for reporters. It isn't.

She said that she had wanted to write about the Wilson-Plame matter, but that her editor would not allow it. But Managing Editor Jill Abramson, then the Washington bureau chief, denied this, saying that Judy had never broached the subject with her.

It also doesn't seem credible that Judy wouldn't remember a Marvel comics name like "Valerie Flame." Nor does it seem credible that she doesn't know how the name got into her notebook and that, as she wrote, she "did not believe the name came from Mr. Libby."

An Associated Press story yesterday reported that Judy had coughed up the details of an earlier meeting with Mr. Libby only after prosecutors confronted her with a visitor log showing that she had met with him on June 23, 2003. This cagey confusion is what makes people wonder whether her stint in the Alexandria jail was in part a career rehabilitation project.

Judy is refusing to answer a lot of questions put to her by Times reporters, or show the notes that she shared with the grand jury. I admire Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Bill Keller for aggressively backing reporters in the cross hairs of a prosecutor. But before turning Judy's case into a First Amendment battle, they should have nailed her to a chair and extracted the entire story of her escapade.

Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover "the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country."

If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands.

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It's coming at Bush from every direction.
 
Talk about piling on:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The Bush administration is bracing for a powerful new attack by Brent Scowcroft, the respected national security adviser to the first President George Bush.

A Republican and a former Air Force general, Scowcroft is a leading member of the bipartisan foreign policy establishment, and his critique of both of the style and the substance of the Bush White House, is slated to appear in Monday's editions of the New Yorker magazine.

The article also contains some critical comments on the handling of U.S. foreign policy by the current President Bush from his father....


Man. It's almost enough to make me feel sorry for the boy.

Nah. Just kidding.

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Expand the investigation
 
"We hereby request that you expand your investigation regarding who in the Bush Administration revealed to the press that Valerie Wilson, the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was an undercover agent for the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.). We believe that expansion should include investigating the Administration's false and fraudulent claims in January 2003 that Iraq had sought uranium for a nuclear weapon, which the Administration offered as one of the key grounds to justify the war against Iraq." - Rep Maurice, letter to PAtrick Fitzgerald, signed by 40 Democrats.


Here's the story.

Apparently, the documents cited by Bush for his fraudulent claim that Hussein sought uranium from Niger - the claim which Joseph Wilson publicly contradicted, and which led Rove and Libby to expose his wife as a CIA agent - were such ridiculously obvious forgery that it was laughable:



Images of the documents and more information are here.

Hinchley's letter to Fitzgerald, which is at the link, outlines a very, very strong case of lying to Congress.

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Friday, October 21, 2005


 
Patrick Fitzgerald has started a website.

Why would a man start a website if he expected to close up shop in a few days? Which would be the case if he chose not to indict?

If he started a website, it means he thinks that there will be things that should go in it.

Like indictments, maybe?

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It may not be just Plame
 
There may have been a regular pattern of leaking classified info from the White House, according to the Wall Street Journal:


But lawyers and others close to the case say he may be piecing together a case that White House officials conspired to leak various types of classified material in conversations with reporters -- including Ms. Plame's identity but also other secrets related to national security. - Wall Street Journal

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Mug shot
 
Today, the Harris County sheriff's office booked my old Jerry Mahoney dummy:



Good God, is it me, or is grinning like an idiot at your booking sort of creepy?

"They said it was a mug shot, so I'd better mug for the camera."

The photo is strategically cropped to leave out the urine stains, no doubt.

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Republican Dictionary
 
liberal newspaper n. a newspaper that only has SOME of its reporters in bed with the Republican White House instead of ALL of them.

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Powell's ex-aided trashes Bush
 
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The No Spine Zone
 
ha ha

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Judy Miller - White House Whore
 
According to the Daily News, Judy Miller was a "charter member" of WHIG (White House Iraq Group).

It was called the White House Iraq Group and its job was to make the case that Saddam Hussein had nuclear and biochemical weapons.

So determined was the ring of top officials to win its argument that it morphed into a virtual hit squad that took aim at critics who questioned its claims, sources told the Daily News.

One of those critics was ex-Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who debunked a key claim in a speech by President Bush that Iraq sought nuclear materials in Africa. His punishment was the media outing of his wife, CIA spy Valerie Plame, an affair that became a "side show" for the White House Iraq Group, the sources said....

Besides Rove and Libby, the group included senior White House aides Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, James Wilkinson, Nicholas Calio, Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley. WHIG also was doing more than just public relations, said a second former intel officer.

"They were funneling information to [New York Times reporter] Judy Miller. Judy was a charter member," the source said.


Imagine that: the "liberal" New York Times has one of its chief reporters PART of the right-wing nuts in the White House. No conflict of interest there, eh?

I think it's time for the Times stopped circling the wagon, and come clean with the American People about just how aware they were of being used as a Bush propaganda sheet.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

What crisis?
 
Matthew Yglesias nails it:

This reminded me of something. Remember the Social Security crisis? Isn't it a bit, um, interesting that the president suddeny stopped thinking it was critical to do something about the program once it became clear that his preferred changes weren't going to be adopted? But let's leave Bush out of it -- he's got plenty of his own problems.

What happened to all the media hecklers? You know the ones. The ones slamming the Democrats for "irresponsibly" refusing to negotiate with Bush unless he took privatization off the table. That was, supposedy, irresponsible because of the looming crisis. Well, if it ever existed it's got to still be looming. So isn't it irresponsible of the administration to have suddenly dropped the topic? Shouldn't he give up on privatization and appoint a real bipartisan commission to come up with small-scale adjustments? Funny how not only Bush, but huge swathes of the press, suddenly loose interest in this purported crisis if it can't be "solved" in a way that redistributes wealth upward. I'm just saying.

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Arrest Warrant for Delay
 
A Texas court on Wednesday issued a warrant for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's arrest, and set an initial $10,000 bail as a routine step before his first court appearance on conspiracy and state money laundering charges.

Travis County court officials said DeLay was ordered to appear at the Fort Bend County, Texas, jail for booking, where he'd likely be fingerprinted and photographed. DeLay's lawyers had hoped to avoid such a spectacle. - SFgate

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So Bush knew.
 
So Bush knew.

WASHINGTON - An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News.

"He made his displeasure known to Karl," a presidential counselor told The News. "He made his life miserable about this."



So all that stuff about how he would "fire the leaker" was a lie from the get-go.

And Bush allowed an investigation to continue for two years - even though he knew who the investigators were looking for. He was involved in a cover-up.

If this isn't impeachable - what is?

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Support the Troops
 
Thanks for the kidney. Now screw you.

Following inquiries by ABC News, the Pentagon has dropped plans to force a severely wounded U.S. soldier to repay his enlistment bonus after injuries had forced him out of the service.

Army Spc. Tyson Johnson III of Mobile, Ala., who lost a kidney in a mortar attack last year in Iraq, was still recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center when he received notice from the Pentagon's own collection agency that he owed more than $2,700 because he could not fulfill his full 36-month tour of duty.

Johnson said the Pentagon listed the bonus on his credit report as an unpaid government loan, making it impossible for him to rent an apartment or obtain credit cards.



Remember: when they say they "support the troops" what they mean "We support Bush and the war, as long as other people fight it. Not the troops."

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The Land of Republican Perfection
 
Go read Garrison Keillor. Salon now makes you look at an ad, which is one heck of a reasonable price.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Cheney aide cooperating
 
Raw Story:
"A senior aide to Vice President Dick Cheney is cooperating ... with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, sources close to the investigation say.

"Individuals familiar with Fitzgerald’s case tell RAW STORY that John Hannah, a senior national security aide on loan to Vice President Dick Cheney from the offices of then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, John Bolton, was named as a target of Fitzgerald’s probe. They say he was told in recent weeks that he could face imminent indictment for his role in leaking Plame-Wilson’s name to reporters unless he cooperated with the investigation.

"Others close to the probe say that if Hannah is cooperating with the special prosecutor then he was likely going to be charged as a co-conspirator and may have cut a deal.

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The Ballad of Tom Delay Clampett
 
This is the story of a guy named Tom
would hammer and redistrict and conspire without a qualm.
Then one day came a nippin' at his heel
A Texas prosecutor with a prosecutor's zeal.

Earle, that is. Pure gold. Texas guy.

Well, the first thing you know, Tom's in a world of shit.
So he whines and he cries and he throws a hissy fit.
There's nothing he can say that a judge would want to hear
So he turns to old reliable: a big, outrageous smear.

Earle's out to get him. A partisan Democrat. And we all know what THEY'RE like.

Poor old Tom: that ain't a-gonna work.
The judge couldn't care less, you stupid, right-wing jerk.
Smearin' Ronnie Earle don't make a lick o' sense,
The only thing that matters is a thing called ev-i-dence.

And that means you're screwed. Mugshots. Fingerprints. Jailtime.

Y'all be sure an visit him, hear?

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Richard Clarke
 
It's from the Atlantic, which requires a subscription; but I saw it on Digby, because I don't have a subscription.


Imagine if, in advance of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of trucks had been waiting with water and ice and medicine and other supplies. Imagine if 4,000 National Guardsmen and an equal number of emergency aid workers from around the country had been moved into place, and five million meals had been ready to serve. Imagine if scores of mobile satellite-communications stations had been prepared to move in instantly, ensuring that rescuers could talk to one another. Imagine if all this had been managed by a federal-and-state task force that not only directed the government response but also helped coordinate the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other outside groups.

Actually, this requires no imagination: it is exactly what the Bush administration did a year ago when Florida braced for Hurricane Frances. Of course the circumstances then were very special: it was two months before the presidential election, and Florida's twenty-seven electoral votes were hanging in the balance. It is hardly surprising that Washington ensured the success of "the largest response to a natural disaster we've ever had in this country." The president himself passed out water bottles to Floridians driven from their homes.

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What if Cheney gets indicted
 
His office is apparently being looked at very, very closely by the Prosecutor:

As the investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name hurtles to an apparent conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has zeroed in on the role of Vice President Cheney's office, according to lawyers familiar with the case and government officials. The prosecutor has assembled evidence that suggests Cheney's long-standing tensions with the CIA contributed to the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame.

In grand jury sessions, including with New York Times reporter Judith Miller, Fitzgerald has pressed witnesses on what Cheney may have known about the effort to push back against ex-diplomat and Iraq war critic Joseph C. Wilson IV, including the leak of his wife's position at the CIA, Miller and others said. But Fitzgerald has focused more on the role of Cheney's top aides, including Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, lawyers involved in the case said.

One former CIA official told prosecutors early in the probe about efforts by Cheney's office and his allies at the National Security Council to obtain information about Wilson's trip as long as two months before Plame was unmasked in July 2003, according to a person familiar with the account.

It is not clear whether Fitzgerald plans to charge anyone inside the Bush administration with a crime. But with the case reaching a climax -- administration officials are braced for possible indictments as early as this week-- it is increasingly clear that Cheney and his aides have been deeply enmeshed in events surrounding the Plame affair from the outset.


It is still possible that this will turn out to be nothing. Fitzgerald may choose not to indict. But it is genuinely possible that some very, very, large mutant chickens are coming home to roost.

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Monday, October 17, 2005


 
"Once the cocky cowboy strutting around on an Air Force carrier in a flight suit, now George Bush looks like an epileptic frog jumping around on a hot plate." - Rob Bartlett

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DeLay will be booked this week.

REALLY booked. Fingerprints. Mugshots.

Forgive me - I'm enjoying this far too much.

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Victory is imminent
 
In major breaking "good news" from the debacle that is Iraq -

the press is breathlessly reporting that we have nabbed Al Qaeda's barber.

I feel SO MUCH safer, now.

I'm waiting for the claims that the barber was Al Qaeda's #2 man.

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From the Poor Man
 
Stupid shit. And cats.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Paul Krugman
 
Because the Times won't let you read him anymore:

Questions of Character
By Paul Krugman

George W. Bush, I once wrote, "values loyalty above expertise" and may have "a preference for advisers whose personal fortunes are almost entirely bound up with his own." And he likes to surround himself with "obsequious courtiers."

Lots of people are saying things like that these days. But those quotes are from a column published on Nov. 19, 2000.

I don't believe that I'm any better than the average person at judging other people's character. I got it right because I said those things in the context of a discussion of Mr. Bush's choice of economic advisers, a subject in which I do have some expertise.

But many people in the news media do claim, at least implicitly, to be experts at discerning character - and their judgments play a large, sometimes decisive role in our political life. The 2000 election would have ended in a chad-proof victory for Al Gore if many reporters hadn't taken a dislike to Mr. Gore, while portraying Mr. Bush as an honest, likable guy. The 2004 election was largely decided by the image of Mr. Bush as a strong, effective leader.

So it's important to ask why those judgments are often so wrong.

Right now, with the Bush administration in meltdown on multiple issues, we're hearing a lot about President Bush's personal failings. But what happened to the commanding figure of yore, the heroic leader in the war on terror? The answer, of course, is that the commanding figure never existed: Mr. Bush is the same man he always was. All the character flaws that are now fodder for late-night humor were fully visible, for those willing to see them, during the 2000 campaign.

And President Bush the great leader is far from the only fictional character, bearing no resemblance to the real man, created by media images.

Read the speeches Howard Dean gave before the Iraq war, and compare them with Colin Powell's pro-war presentation to the U.N. Knowing what we know now, it's clear that one man was judicious and realistic, while the other was spinning crazy conspiracy theories. But somehow their labels got switched in the way they were presented to the public by the news media.

Why does this happen? A large part of the answer is that the news business places great weight on "up close and personal" interviews with important people, largely because they're hard to get but also because they play well with the public. But such interviews are rarely revealing. The fact is that most people - myself included - are pretty bad at using personal impressions to judge character. Psychologists find, for example, that most people do little better than chance in distinguishing liars from truth-tellers.

More broadly, the big problem with political reporting based on character portraits is that there are no rules, no way for a reporter to be proved wrong. If a reporter tells you about the steely resolve of a politician who turns out to be ineffectual and unwilling to make hard choices, you've been misled, but not in a way that requires a formal correction.

And that makes it all too easy for coverage to be shaped by what reporters feel they can safely say, rather than what they actually think or know. Now that Mr. Bush's approval ratings are in the 30's, we're hearing about his coldness and bad temper, about how aides are afraid to tell him bad news. Does anyone think that journalists have only just discovered these personal characteristics?

Let's be frank: the Bush administration has made brilliant use of journalistic careerism. Those who wrote puff pieces about Mr. Bush and those around him have been rewarded with career-boosting access. Those who raised questions about his character found themselves under personal attack from the administration's proxies. (Yes, I'm speaking in part from experience.) Only now, with Mr. Bush in desperate trouble, has the structure of rewards shifted.

So what's the answer? Journalists who are better at judging character? Unfortunately, that's not a practical plan. After all, who judges their judgment?

What we really need is political journalism based less on perceptions of personalities and more on actual facts. Schadenfreude aside, we should not be happy that stories about Mr. Bush's boldness have given way to stories analyzing his facial tics. Think, instead, about how different the world would be today if, during the 2000 campaign, reporting had focused on the candidates' fiscal policies instead of their wardrobes.

(Hello, visitors from the Poor Man. Good God, there are a lot of you. Feel free to check the rest of the site.)

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The Normalization of Treason
 
A must read from AMERICAblog.

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Friday, October 14, 2005

What does 2000 look like?
 
Here.

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Karl Rove has left the building
 
What did he, go in at 9am or something? I find it hard to believe that the man has been testifying for four hours. But he didn't look too good when he left.

Scott McClellan has been out there today saying that Rove might be busy with legal matters, but the work of the White House must continue on.

Lordy, Lordy.

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