Saturday, October 29, 2005

Libby Indicted: The Fallout

Lots of stories floating around in the indictment aftermath.

A few of interest...

First- A renewed focus on Vice President Cheney:
In Indictment's Wake, a Focus on Cheney's Powerful Role

Vice President Dick Cheney makes only three brief appearances in the 22-page federal indictment that charges his chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., with lying to investigators and misleading a grand jury in the C.I.A. leak case. But in its clear, cold language, it lifts a veil on how aggressively Mr. Cheney's office drove the rationale against Saddam Hussein and then fought to discredit the Iraq war's critics.

The document now raises a central question: how much collateral damage has Mr. Cheney sustained?...

Second- Did Fitzgerald meet with President Bush's personal lawyer?:
Cheney Aide Charged With Lying in Leak Case

Mr. Fitzgerald was spotted Friday morning outside the office of James Sharp, Mr. Bush's personal lawyer. Mr. Bush was interviewed about the case by Mr. Fitzgerald last year. It is not known what discussions, if any, were taking place between the prosecutor and Mr. Sharp. Mr. Sharp did not return a phone call, and Mr. Fitzgerald's spokesman, Randall Samborn, declined to comment.

Third- A great new column by Maureen Dowd:
Who's on First?

"....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."

And that's all for tonight.

Recall and weep.

Andrew Sullivan expresses frustration at the President's non-reaction to the indictment:

THE SEALED COCOON: The president plans no changes, no major staff shake-ups and hopes to weather the storm. Not surprising, but maddening for anyone who wishes this country well. What's still amazing after all these years is how impervious Bush is to any criticism, how unable he is to be flexible or self-critical, how stubborn and insular he is. Just recall who was getting on the helicopter to Camp David on Friday to review the new Supreme Court nominees over the weekend: Andy Card and Harriet Miers. Recall and weep.

I hear ya, dude.

Berlusconi Sought to Dissuade Bush on Iraq

Turns out Italy wasn't as gungho about this war as ol' Bushie implied.

Berlusconi Sought to Dissuade Bush on Iraq

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, one of President Bush's strongest supporters over Iraq, says he tried repeatedly to dissuade the American leader from going to war and was never convinced military force was the best way to bring democracy...

..."I was never convinced that war was the best system to bring democracy to the country and to get rid of a bloody dictatorship," Berlusconi said of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. "I tried several times to convince the American president to not go to war."

"I believed that military action should have been avoided," he was quoted as saying...

"Tell Tony Blair we're going it alone. Tell Silvio Berlusconi we're going it alone. Tell Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland we're going it alone."
-President George W. Bush (October 8, 2004)

John Podhoretz = Dumbass

NY Post columnist John Podhoretz is not the sharpest tool in the shed.

So when I was flipping through today's Post and saw that he had an editorial (Is That All There Is?) about the Libby indictment, I knew I was in for a treat. Podhoretz goes on and on about how lame the indictment is and how Libby practically didn't anything wrong. Then, towards the end, he adds this: "These are serious charges, and I am heartsick to see them made against Scooter Libby, who has been a friend of mine for two decades. I hope against hope that the case as set forward in the indictment is wrong, that he can clear his name".

Yes, it must be heartbreaking when friends are indicted and you have to write a typically half-assed column blowing off their indictment. Poor, poor John Podhoretz.

Two corrections.

I should sleep before blogging.

1- I messed up the Maher video link. You can view the video here:

2- I stated in my Libby indictment entry that Fitzgerald 'confirmed that Valerie Plame WAS an undercover CIA operative at the time of her identity's leak'. This was my bad. I misheard what he said. He actually stated in the press conference, "I will confirm that her association with the CIA was classified at that time through July 2003. And all I'll say is that, look, we have not made any allegation that Mr. Libby knowingly, intentionally outed a covert agent". So he says that he has no evidence that a) Libby specifically aimed to out her or b) that she was officially covert at the time. Plame's status with the CIA was though, as he said, classified. So Libby's not out of the waters completely, but there is no proof he outed her in a criminal way, according to the wording of the law. Yes, I know, it's all very complicated and mind-numbing.

My apologies for my errors.

Need An Attorney?

Have you been indicted? Trouble with the law?

Call Murray Kleinman, Attorney At Law.

Link to Video (courtesy OneGoodMove)

"And remember- If it were a crime, there'd be sex involved!"

Libby Indicted, Resigns

What a day. Where to begin? Well here's where we stand...

Scooter Libby has been indicted on five counts- obstruction of justice, 2 counts of perjury, and 2 counts of making false statements. You can read the document here: United States of America v. I. Lewis Libby. He is the first high-ranking White House official since the Grant administration to be criminally charged while still in office. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald held an incredibly detailed press conference to announce this in which he spelled out the timeline of Libby's crimes, confirmed that Valerie Plame WAS an undercover CIA operative at the time of her identity's leak, and said that while Vice President Cheney did speak to Libby about Plame that the VP isn't considered to have behaved illegally at this time (see video footage here).

Not surprisingly, Libby has resigned.

Karl Rove has not been indicted, though sources (such as the Washington Post) report Fitzgerald planned to indict him, save for last-minute deal-making by Rove's attorneys. Rove will remain under investigation. The report also made reference to a senior White House official- Official 'A' - who was likely the original source of the leak to reporter Robert Novak. This person's identity remains unknown and Fitzgerald did not comment on it, as it didn't relate to the indictment specifically. The big rumor is that it may be Rove and many sources are discussing that. An indictment for Rove in the near future hasn't been ruled out.

Too tired for in-depth commentary, except to say that, despite how President Nix.. err Bush wants to spin it, Libby is clearly guilty of at least what Fitzgerald is charging with. Anyone who heard Fitzgerald spell out the timeline today is kidding themselves to believe otherwise. This is also just the tip of the iceberg. We still don't know who was the original leaker (aka "Official A") and that is the real crime at hand... however, prosecuting the coverup is important too. The attention must remain on the Vice President's office, as it is clear that Cheney's role in this is more complicated that Fitzgerald cared to comment on today. Someone as smart and experienced as Libby would not so obviously lie under oath unless he was protecting someone else. And who is morely likely that he was protecting than his boss- Vice President Dick Cheney? Many have already speculated that Fitzgerald hopes to ask Libby to make a deal... ie. 'You tell me what the Vice President's real involvement was here and I won't further indict you on more serious charges which I have more than enough evidence to charge you on'. We shall see what happens, but it's clear now that Cheney's office is where the spotlight is in this investigation.

And how will the right-wing react to this? Smearing Fitzgerald will be tough, given a) his incredibly professional and non-partisan demeanor and b) the President's history of praise for his "dignified" investigation. Libby's crimes are clear and speak of a larger conspiracy. This is time for the right-wing not to defend the administration for the sake of doing so, but merely to remember that they voted for President Bush in 2000 because of his pledge to restore honor and integrity to the White House. And again in 2004, Bush said "After years of false statements and empty promises, it's time for big changes in Washington. We need a president who will finally stand up and fight against the lies and corruption. It's time to renew the faith the people once had in the White House. If elected, I pledge to usher in a new era of integrity inside the Oval Office". The right-wing, more than anyone, especially after their anti-Miers victory, should be the ones to demand that the President address this case openly and stop hiding behind the "ongoing investigation" stonewalling tactic. The actions of the White House officials being investigated here have destroyed Bush's pledge (hollow as it may have been) and make a mockery of the U.S. government, which rarely even needs help being mocked these days. Still, the Limbaughs and the Hannitys and the O'Reillys will grumble and repeat Republican talking points (as they do) and try to get their listeners to hold onto their fragile belief that while politics are corrupt, no one in the Bush administration is capable of of wrongdoing. Wake up and smell the coffee that Mr. Fitzgerald is brewing for you.

This is very serious business and I believe it has only just begun.

And now... I sleep.

Relevant articles...

The AP article:
Cheney Adviser Resigns After Indictment

Article on the Official A discussion:
'Official A' stands out in indictment

Josh Marshall (Talking Points Memo) says Cheney and Libby knew Plame was undercover:
Go to page 5 of the indictment. Top of the page, item #9...

The political fallout:
Indictment Adds to White House's Woes

Images of regal warriors.

My friend Steve expressed anger to me over a Daily News cover reporting Rosa Parks' death, showing her mug shot as the front page image. He said this was the wrong image to choose and that it made her seem like a criminal. I disagreed, saying it was an iconic image of her struggle.

Errol Louis agrees with me:
Images of regal warriors

A wave of Daily News readers called and wrote to complain about our paper's decision to announce the death earlier this week of the legendary Rosa Parks by publishing a big front-page picture of the mug shot from her historic 1955 arrest for violating Alabama's segregation laws. There seems to be a widespread belief that the booking photo demeans Parks by portraying her as a common criminal...

...I couldn't disagree more.

The photo, reproduced here along with a similar booking shot of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at the start of the Montgomery bus boycott in 1956, is beautiful, glorious, rich with meaning, and a powerful tool for teaching young people about the civil rights movement...

I'm Back.

Did I miss anything?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Indictments Today?

I will be out of town all day.

And thus, sadly, I cannot update as the Plame fires explode.

Sites to check for updates:
-Yahoo News
-Huffington Post
-Drudge Report

Fingers crossed, people.

Washington <3 Blogs

We(*) are so in this year.

Their clout rising, blogs are courted by Washington's elite

Beltway politicos, famously slow to adopt technology, are wooing blogs...

...Blogs (short for web logs) are websites that can be as basic as an online diary, or as fully fledged as a political community. And when the latter variety seizes upon a topic - creating a blog swarm - the results can be overwhelming.

From former CBS anchor Dan Rather, stung by blog exposure over his use of forged documents, to the negative buzz about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, political blogs aren't just reacting to the news: they're making it.

That's why politicians are eager to co-opt them - or, at least, engage them.

[*We meaning blogs people actually read]

Thursday, October 27, 2005

NY Times: Indictment For Libby, But Not For Rove

The Drudge Report links to a new New York Times article with breaking news (well highly-researched speculation, anyway) on the Plame investigation, with Fitzgerald's announcement for indictments and/or an extension of the grand jury planned for tomorrow. They report that it appears Scooter Libby will definitely be indicted on perjury charges (and maybe more). It does not seem Karl Rove will be indicted right away, though he will remain under investigation. Either way, tomorrow's the big day.

The Times article:
Aide to Cheney Appears Likely to Be Indicted; Rove Under Scrutiny

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, would not be charged on Friday, but would 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.

As rumors coursed through the capital, Mr. Fitzgerald gave no public signal of how he intended to proceed, further intensifying the anxiety that has gripped the White House and left partisans on both sides of the political aisle holding their breath.

Mr. Fitzgerald's preparations for a Friday announcement were shrouded in secrecy, but advanced amid a flurry of behind-the-scenes discussions that left open the possibility of last-minute surprises. As the clock ticked down on the grand jury, people involved in the case did not rule out the disclosure of previously unknown aspects of the case.

White House officials said their presumption was that Mr. Libby would resign if indicted, and he and Mr. Rove took steps to expand their legal teams in preparation for a possible court battle.

Among the many unresolved mysteries is whether anyone in addition to Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove might be charged and in particular whether Mr. Fitzgerald would name the source who first provided the identity of a covert C.I.A. officer to Robert D. Novak, the syndicated columnist.

And there's where we stand for tonight.

And now the blogs explode with last-minute speculation...

"I can't accept your resignation. I have to fire you."

This is how the fictional 'West Wing' White House dealt with a leaker.

You're Fired
(see video)

Georgie, you paying attention? We know you don't read, do you watch TV?

Cheney and Libby Have Been Bad...

...Or worse, actually, than we've learned so far.

Poor President Bush's game of political Jenga is falling down around him.

Cheney, Libby Blocked Papers To Senate Intelligence Panel

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.

Among the White House materials withheld from the committee were Libby-authored passages in drafts of a speech that then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell delivered to the United Nations in February 2003 to argue the Bush administration's case for war with Iraq, according to congressional and administration sources. The withheld documents also included intelligence data that Cheney's office -- and Libby in particular -- pushed to be included in Powell's speech, the sources said.

The new information that Cheney and Libby blocked information to the Senate Intelligence Committee further underscores the central role played by the vice president's office in trying to blunt criticism that the Bush administration exaggerated intelligence data to make the case to go to war.

The disclosures also come as Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald wraps up the nearly two-year-old CIA leak investigation that has focused heavily on Libby's role in discussing covert intelligence operative Valerie Plame with reporters. Fitzgerald could announce as soon as tomorrow whether a federal grand jury is handing up indictments in the case....

Whatever, libs! This is just the criminalization of, umm, well criminality.

Harriet Miers Withdraws Nomination

Breaking news! [*cue newscast theme music*]

Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination to the Supreme Court.

Let's all hope Bush doesn't nominate someone worse to give us all the finger.

Miers Withdraws Under Mounting Criticism

Under withering attack from conservatives, President Bush abandoned his push to put loyalist Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court and promised a quick replacement Thursday. Democrats accused him of bowing to the "radical right wing of the Republican Party."

The White House said Miers had withdrawn because of senators' demands to see internal documents related to her role as counsel to the president. But politics played a larger role: Bush's conservative backers had doubts about her ideological purity, and Democrats had little incentive to help the nominee or the embattled GOP president...

...The withdrawal stunned Washington on a day when the capital was awaiting potential bad news for the administration on another front — the possible indictments of senior White House aides in the CIA leak case. Earlier in the week, the U.S. military death toll in Iraq hit 2,000...

...Democrats urged Bush to nominate a moderate. "The president has an opportunity now to unite the country. In appointing the next nominee, he must listen to all Americans, not just the far right," said Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Bush, after weeks of insisting he did not want Miers to withdraw, blamed the Senate.

"It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House
— disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel," Bush said shortly before leaving for Florida to assess hurricane damage...

...White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Miers came to the decision on her own. The administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the nomination, said it was clear to everybody in the White House that Bush could not afford the fight.

Awww, poor Bushie. He didn't do wrong, it was da mean ol' Senate. :-(

Hey, Whatever Happened To That New Orleans Place?

Hey, remember last month when President Bush gave that big speech in New Orleans promising "one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen"? And that we will "not just rebuild, we will build higher and better"? And promising the creation of a Gulf Opportunity Zone, Worker Recovery Accounts, and an Urban Homesteading Act? So. How's... that... going? I mean that's still a priority, right? Surely the White House isn't letting their self-inflicted crises like the Harriet Miers nomination or Plamegate indictments get in the way of the all-important work of rebuilding the Gulf Coast which lost entire cities, thousands of jobs and businesses, and many lives. Just asking. Because I'm sure after all that talk last month about the President taking responsibility for the aftermath of the storm and the talk about learning the lessons of Katrina (more effective government, actively combating poverty), I'm sure the Bush administration wouldn't just forget about that.

Hey, remember in 2001 when President Bush gave lots of big speeches and promised billions of dollars to New York City and that the federal government would help rebuild Ground Zero? How's that going so far.... Oh.

Hmmm, maybe they would forget about that.

I guess New Orleans is soooo last month.

A related article: Much of Katrina Aid Remains Unspent-
Louisiana Governor Raises Questions About Slow Dispersal of Huge Relief Package

And a great editorial on the issue: A Profile in Cowardice

Caption Contest

Anyone wanna caption this picture? Ol' Rummie's always having fun adventures.

[Rummie got a horse from Mongolia]

Onion > Osama

I mentioned on Monday that the White House is trying to stop The Onion from using the presidential seal in their Weekly Radio Address parody page. Reuters has now picked up the story...

White House asks spoof Web site to stop using seal

The White House is not amused by The Onion, a newspaper that often spoofs the Bush administration, and has asked it to stop using the presidential seal on its Web site...

...Scott Dikkers, editor-in-chief of the satirical newspaper, said its lawyer disagrees with the White House assessment...

..."I would advise them to look for that other guy Osama (bin Laden) ... rather than comedians. I don't think we pose much of a threat," Dikkers said.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Become Republican!!

Hey Democrats! Sick of losing elections? Bored with honest and common sense? Feel like America has lost its mind? Don't become depressed. Become.... REPUBLICAN!

This video will show you how.

Link to Video

More Brownie, Please.

FEMA says they need another month for Michael Brown to tell them how he screwed up.

FEMA Extends Brown's Contract by 30 Days

Former FEMA Director Michael Brown said Wednesday he was asked to stay on the job another 30 days to help the agency complete its review of the response to Hurricane Katrina, a "completely legitimate thing to do."...

This Is Andrew Sullivan's Brain On Drugs.

Some severely wishful thinking on the part of Andrew Sullivan:

WHAT BUSH SHOULD DO: The president is reeling. Tomorrow may mean a raft of indictments, or none at all. Either way, there is obviously something awry with the structure of the current White House, the small group of people who have dominated foreign policy and seem unable to rectify clear mistakes, and the inner clique who came up with the brilliant idea of nominating Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. Bush will have two options in the coming days: a) retain as much of his staff as he can, while ceding the indicted to the history books and struggling on or b) clean house for real. I think he'd be smart to do b). By that, I mean firing Cheney as veep and replacing him with Condi Rice, regardless of what Fitzgerald discloses. Cheney's role in the Plamegate mess is just the latest in a long string of screw-ups and misjudgments. If Bush cannot see that now, he is fooling himself. I also mean getting rid of Rumsfeld, replacing Card, withdrawing the Miers nomination, and shaking his cabinet to its roots. He needs to show the world that he gets it; and that he will not merely limp along in damage control mode for the next three years. In every crisis, there is an opportunity. The future of Bush's presidency will pivot on whether he seizes this moment, surprises all of us, and regains momentum. He can; and he should. We have a war to win. We cannot afford to have a reeling vacancy in the Oval Office.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! George W. Bush, master of the "Whateva, whateva, I do what I want!" Cartman style of governing... admit failure? Take responsibility? Fire his loyal cronies? Correct his mistakes? Hold people accountable for their actions?

You're too funny, Andrew.

Honor and Integrity.

History lesson. Let's look at the President's words, starting now and going back...

You'll notice a backwards progression in standards here from 2001 to 2005:
(bold added by me)

"'If someone committed a crime, they will no longer be in my administration."
-President George W. Bush (July 18, 2005)

Are perjury and obstruction crimes? They are? Okay.

"If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of. I welcome the investigation. I am absolutely confident the Justice Department will do a good job. I want to know the truth."
-President George W. Bush (Feb. 11, 2004)

So do I, Mr. President.

“First, we must always maintain the highest ethical standards. We must always ask ourselves not only what is legal, but what is right. There is no goal of government worth accomplishing if it cannot be accomplished with integrity.”
-President George W. Bush (October 15, 2001)

Mr. President, I hope you'll still feel this way when the indictments are handed down.

Think Progress has video of the 2001 quote:
BUSH VIDEO: “We Must Always Ask Ourselves Not Only What Is Legal, But What Is Right”

Judy Miller Looks To The Future

It blows me away that Judy Miller still has a job. If any of us had behaved the way she did (faulty reporting, lying about a federal investigation, misleading employers) on our jobs, we would've been fired already. But Judy is still employed at the Times. The Times stood by her for so long, I believe the owners and editors of that paper fear to drop her now would be to expose their own complicity in her folly. So they're openly supporting her and keeping her on board, but attacking her from the side to save some face. Make no mistake about it, the 'leak' of that Keller memo criticizing her was no accident. Nor was Maureen Dowd's savage column toward Ms. Miller not approved from the top. The Times wanted these things out there for everyone to see. They hate Judy Miller too! See, they're not so bad. This is making Miller very upset and I have read many people say that this is unfair to Miller, including an eye-rolling editorial in the NY Post pretending to suddenly act like they care about a Times reporter and stating that "Judith Miller deserves better than what she's gotten to date from The New York Times". No. She doesn't. The Times, and this country, deserve better than what we've gotten to date from Judy Miller.

She used the New York Times to push the agenda of her neoconservative friends in the White House. She was, to quote Arianna Huffington, the "Shirley MacLaine of the neocon rat pack". Long after the facts were in, she continued to report false information about WMDs in Iraq. Let's go back before the war began. How many times did we hear Vice President Cheney (and others) quoting the NY Times as backup that their claims of WMD were validated? A lot. And who was doing that reporting at the Times that they quoted? Judy Miller. And who, as we now have learned, was Miller's source of information? Scooter Libby. And who does Scooter Libby work for and get his information from? Vice President Cheney. Did you see how we just went around in a circle? By quoting the Times (if specifically the work of Judy Miller), Cheney was essentially quoting himself to validate his WMD claims! And why? Because by quoting the New York Times, a 'left-leaning' and worldwide respected newspaper, the Vice President's words have greater impact. Anyone who doubts that one newspaper can have that much influence should open a history book and read about the Spanish-American War and the role that Hearst's newspapers and his 'yellow journalism' played in stoking the fires for that war.

And then there was the Plame investigation. Judy Miller, despite having a waiver from her source like Time magazine's Matt Cooper did, went to jail for 85 days. Why? Because her depiction as a First Amendment martyr would land her credibility and maybe even a book deal? Or, was it to protect the White House? Probably a little of both. And when she finally told her side of the story (such as it was) in the Times, she now claims that Libby never spoke to her about Plame and she can't remember the source who gave her that name (ignore that Plame's name was on the same page of notes as her Libby conservation). She doesn't even remember writing the Plame ('Flame'?) name in her notes at all! So she went to jail, despite having a waiver, to protect someone that she can't remember for giving her a name she doesn't remember writing down. This is all part of a serious federal investigation and she treated it like a game.

So yes, Judy Miller deserves all the criticisms thrown at her and more. She does have the protection of the First Amendment, but that does not excuse her actions. She was, and is, part of the people who misled this country into a disastrous war. Think about this: After her prison stint, Scooter Libby sent her a letter saying that, at the White House, "your reporting, and you, are missed". Need I say more?

Finally- the Wall Street Journal discussing Miller's planning for the future:
New York Times Reporter Miller
Is in Talks Over Her Job Status

New York Times reporter Judith Miller has begun discussing her future employment options with the newspaper, including the possibility of a severance package, a lawyer familiar with the matter, said yesterday.

Judy, worry not about the future. If McClellan cracks up, I'm sure you'll make a great White House press secretary.

The speculation continues...

No indictments yet, but the guesswork continues.

Raw Story states that Rove and Libby are indeed the key targets:
Prosecutor in leak case seeks indictments against Rove, Libby, lawyers close to case say

CBS reports now that indictment announcements are not expected today.

And how are things at the White House? Tense, I expect.
Bush Aides Brace for Charges:
Grand Jury May Hear Counts in Leak Case Today

Bush Honors Civil Rights Icon Rosa Parks

Yesterday, President Bush spoke his obligatory praise of Rosa Parks:

Bush Honors Civil Rights Icon Rosa Parks

President Bush praised Rosa Parks on Tuesday as "one of the most inspiring women of the 20th century."

The civil rights icon, who died Monday night at age 92, set an example that helped touch off a movement that "transformed America for the better," Bush said. "She will always have a special place in American history, and our nation thinks of Rosa Parks and her loved ones today."

No words of praise from Vice President Cheney too? Surely the man who voted against the Equal Rights Amendment and other civil rights legislation would have great things to say about Ms. Parks. Nothing?

Guess he's hiding out in his bunker again.

Mr. X? Didn't The Cancer Man Have Him Killed?

CBS News reported the other day more details on the (apparent) indictments coming later today in the Plame investigation. John Roberts reported Monday night that lawyers familiar with the case tell of an unidentified "Mr. X" who was the actual leaker of Valerie Plame's identity. They state that Patrick Fitzgerald now knows who this person is. It is unsure, they say, if this Mr. X will be among those getting indictments initially (though this could just be the first in a series of indictments... it is, as Scott McClellan reminds us daily, an ongoing investigation). Roberts speculated that Mr. X is someone close to the administration, but outside the White House. One guess I have heard is John Bolton. In his report tonight, Roberts didn't mention Mr. X again (maybe a false lead?), but did still say a few indictments are likely. Indictments are expected for Karl Rove and Scooter Libby (and maybe others?) on charges of obstruction of justice and perjury during the investigation. Still, whatever the case is, the blogosphere is abuzz with giddy guesswork tonight with many names and theories. Me? I'll give the theories a rest for now. I am going to bed and keeping my fingers crossed.

Expect the right-wing spin machine to begin its attacks on Fitzgerald immediately.

Also, remember the talking points: "criminalization of politics", "perjury is a technicality", "Joseph Wilson was a douche, so fuck him", etc. Remember- only Democrats commit crimes! A Republican's only crime is caring too much. [*cue American flag*] The Bush administration is infallible! Honor and integrity restored! Hypocrisy is on the march!

For a last-minute primer on where we stand, Arianna Huffington has the score...
Plamegate: Worse than Watergate

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


A couple of my friends have emailed me about this thing that has been going around the web, so I thought I should post it as thanks to both all the people who read my blog.

Go to Google. Type in "failure" in the search. Hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button.

The result?... President Bush's official White House bio!

I've previously written about the President's less-than-stellar bio on that White House. Even then, they're still being too generous to him.

Anyway, this Google result is the result of people messing with Google enough to make it top catch. The details of how to do it are easy enough to explain, but I won't bother. And they've been working hard to keep it #1 (or else the "I'm Feeling Lucky" part doesn't work). The Bush bio has been the top pick for a while now. The conservatives, angered at this internet injustice, are trying to push another site to #1... Go to Google again. Type in "failure" in the search. This time, just hit the regular search button. See the #2 result?

Hahahaha! Get it? Because Michael Moore is a total failure! Take that, liberals!

Okay, I'm getting to the main point of posting it. I'm laying down an official ultimatum to Republicans. Let go of the obsession with Michael Moore. It's stupid and it makes you like dumbasses. A liberal says "I have major concerns about the war". Republicans go "OMG is Michael Moore still fat? Ok then! Bush rules, libs drool!". It's childish and a piss poor argument. Do you not like Michael Moore? Think he's an arrogant prick? Cool. Then don't watch his films and get over it already. Period. Oh wait! Conservatives don't watch his films... but they criticize them anyway ("OMG, I read on Free Republic that Fattie Moore said in his movie that military recruiters use overally agressive tactics!!! He's a lying fat fat!!!"). I at least watch all of the President's work in action (with great detail) to come to my conclusions on him.

I officially declare that insults about Michael Moore (especially when all one does is insult his weight) can no longer be used as counters in serious arguments about Republican policies and issues. He's a filmmaker, an influential one yes, who many take very seriously, but when all is said and done, the man just makes films.

The problem with using Mr. Moore (as opposed to say, Howard Dean or Hillary Clinton, you know people in actual power) as the Google counterattack to the President Bush pick is it once again shows that conservatives find the government almost irrelevant. Liberals, Hollywood, and the left-leaning media to them are the power elite, the ones who matter- not the President and his administration. Bernard Goldberg even put him as #1 in his book of people who are hurting America. #1. By the way, no Bush administration members in the book. Had to make room for Al Franken and Jimmy Carter. It is ridiculous and it needs to stop. Please. There is simply no equating the two. Michael Moore is a filmmaker and political activist. George W. Bush is.... THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD!!!!

President Bush's actions have serious consequences. Let's look at the comparison of 'failure' realistically:

If Michael Moore fails... awww, too bad, no Oscar this year.

if Bush fails... 2,000 people die.

But yes, I suppose they are comparable. Google away, everyone.

Christmas Eve

Patrick Fitzgerald made his list and checked it twice.

Tomorrow we'll find out who's been naughty or nice...

From The Washington Note:
Indictments Coming Tomorrow; Targets Received Letters Today

An uber-insider source has just reported the following to TWN (since confirmed by another independent source):

1. 1-5 indictments are being issued. The source feels that it will be towards the higher end.

2. The targets of indictment have already received their letters.

3. The indictments will be sealed indictments and "filed" tomorrow.

4. A press conference is being scheduled for Thursday.

The shoe is dropping.

The new Tom Tomorrow cartoon is on the case!!
[click thumbnail for larger image]


That's the current U.S. death toll in Iraq.

So... yea.

The government wants to downplay this number. But they shouldn't be hidden like the administration has tried to do (ie. bans on photos of caskets, the controversy Ted Koppel got last year for reading the names of the fallen on the air). These were real people, not just token 'sacrifices'. They are more than just numbers. They had families; they were people.

The names

The faces

Tenet: Cheney Is A Liar

According to Crooks and Liars, David Shuster reported on MSNBC this morning that George Tenet said (contrary to recent reports) that he didn't tell Vice President Cheney or his staff about Valerie Plame. He also said he wasn't asked about that by Fitzgerald's people earlier in the investigation.

One of them is lying. Easy money says it's Cheney.

The subject came up at today's White House press briefing. Scott "Ongoing Investigation" McClellan once again demonstrated his world-famous stonewalling skills:

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.

[see more of the Q&A at Talking Points Memo]

And on the seventh day, God created morons.

A new poll says the majorities of Americans now reject evolution. How ridiculous is this? We all learned this in school and the theory is sound and has been proven over and over again. Any of the people taking this poll ever been to a natural history museum? Ever noticed we have a tail bone? Ever noticed we have a pancreas? Ever heard of cavemen (like those wacky Flinstones!)? Ever even heard of science? Can they show me the part in the Bible where it mention dinosaurs, mastodans, and cro-magnum man? Is it before or after the part where I can have slaves and punish my wife for menstruating? Just asking, that's all.

I guarantee that if the poll was taken in 1999, the results would've been overwhelming in the other direction. Why? Because we didn't have a President then who claimed to speak to God and who gave power to the most fundamentalist and fanatical sect of our Christian population. Back then, the crazy Creationists were pointed out as the zealots they are. Now the President wants them influencing school curriculum. It's bad enough that the U.S. is now a disgrace in the world scientifically, but our children's education is paying the greatest price for this insanity.

Majority of Americans Reject Theory of Evolution

Most Americans do not accept the theory of evolution. Instead, 51 percent of Americans say God created humans in their present form, and another three in 10 say that while humans evolved, God guided the process. Just 15 percent say humans evolved, and that God was not involved...

...Americans most likely to believe in only evolution are liberals (36 percent), those who rarely or never attend religious services (25 percent), and those with a college degree or higher (24 percent)...

Yes, how odd those with a college degree would believe in evolution.

I forgot that the only textbook we need has a 'King James' edition.

William Kristol: Weapon Of Fact Distortion

One Good Move has video of the Daily Show interview with Kristol:

Jon Stewart / Bill Kristol

Poor, poor neocons. Their precious war isn't so hot anymore.

A Tale Of Two Mugshots

American hero.

American disgrace.

Kristol Lies, Who Dies?

Project For A New American Century superstar/chairman William Kristol was on the Daily Show last night. He was there to promote a new collected book of writings from the Weekly Standard, but the conversation was pretty much about the Iraq war. Jon was very polite, but still questioned him seriously about the Iraq blunders, both before and after the war. To quote Mr. Stewart as he greeted Kristol- "I have to give you credit... You were wrong about Iraq way before anyone else".

What really stood out to me was this part of the interview...

Stewart: "If they had put it before the American people as, to sell it to us not as weapons of mass destruction and not as other things, but sell it to us as a flowering of democracy in the Middle East..."

Kristol: "No one was for that, for the war for that reason. We thought there were weapons of mass destruction..."

Sorry to ruin your little neocon party, Bill, but you have to keep better track of your lies! I know you're very busy getting angry at the President over not catching Osama the deficit prisoner torture the Katrina aftermath Harriet Miers, but you need to keep on top of these things better. Apparently, you were not informed that Condoleeza Rice spilled the beans on Meet The Press last week (ignoring, of course, simply the Statement of Principles your organization wrote in 1997). Here's what Ms. "I believe the title was 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States'" Rice said on the show last weekend:

"But the fact of the matter is that when we were attacked on September 11, we had a choice to make. We could decide that the proximate cause was al-Qaeda and the people who flew those planes into buildings and, therefore, we would go after al-Qaeda and perhaps after the Taliban and then our work would be done and we would try to defend ourselves.

Or we could take a bolder approach, which was to say that we had to go after the root causes of the kind of terrorism that was produced there, and that meant a different kind of Middle East

And here's what ol' Wolfowitz said in 2003:
"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction, as the core reason."

The Condi quote/revelation in particular still blows me away...

How was this not major news? Hello, actual reason for controversial war revealed by Secretary of State on live television. Hello? Tim Russert, were you even paying attention? Hello? The statement completely contradicts the stated case for war and exposes almost all that preceded it as lies. Hello? Almost 2,000 Americans (and tens of thousands of civilians) dead because the White House "had a choice to make" about not going after Al Qaeda and wanted to "take a bolder approach". Hello?

How was this not major news?

The Nixon Is Agnew?

Poor Dick Cheney. All that evil may soon be catching up with him...

Cheney Told Aide of C.I.A. Officer, Notes Show

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...

The report says that Cheney got the info from Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient George Tenet. It also states that it's unclear if Tenet told the Vice President of Plame's undercover status.

A slam dunk alibi if I ever heard one.

Sappy Scooter

Scooter Libby's letter to Judy Miller upon her release from prison...

You went into jail in the summer. It is fall now. You will have stories to cover--Iraqi elections and suicide bombers, biological threats and the Iranian nuclear program. Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work---and life. Until then, you will remain in my thoughts and prayers.

Speaking in code?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Rosa Parks Passes Away at 92

An American hero passed away today.

Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks Dies at 92

Rosa Lee Parks, whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man sparked the modern civil rights movement, died Monday. She was 92.

Mrs. Parks died at her home of natural causes, said Karen Morgan, a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.

Mrs. Parks was 42 when she committed an act of defiance in 1955 that was to change the course of American history and earn her the title "mother of the civil rights movement."

Rest in peace, Ms. Parks. You earned it.

From Yahoo- Remembering Rosa Parks:
Photos - Remembering Rosa Parks

Protecting the Presidential Seal. No Joke.

The White House is taking on a new enemy... The Onion.

Satire is in its last throes, the White House says.

Protecting the Presidential Seal. No Joke.

You might have thought that the White House had enough on its plate late last month, what with its search for a new Supreme Court nominee, the continuing war in Iraq and the C.I.A. leak investigation. But it found time to add another item to its agenda - stopping The Onion, the satirical newspaper, from using the presidential seal...

Here is the Weekly Radio Address section in question:

You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry

A new Daily News article says that recent events have made President Bush very angry, and he has taken it out on those around him. Can't blame him. Look at his year: Iraq spiraling out of control, almost-DHS chief Kerik revealed as scumbag, no social security gutting, Jeff Gannon outed, Terry Schiavo braindead after all, Armstrong Williams and more paid propagandists fingered, Gonzales revealed as torture ally, John Bolton in UN for recess only, Downing Street Memo, Rove under fire, Cindy Sheehan, Katrina, Abramoff indicted, Tom Delay indicted, Bill Frist under investigation, Tom Delay indicted again, the Senate telling him torture is bad, Harriet Miers, failed photo-ops, and Plamegate. His second term hasn't been as fun as his first. No cool shock and awe and Mars plans. Guess he spent all his political capital already.

Bushies feeling the boss' wrath:
Prez's anger growing in hard times - pals

Facing the darkest days of his presidency, President Bush is frustrated, sometimes angry and even bitter, his associates say.

With a seemingly uncontrollable insurgency in Iraq, the White House is bracing for the political fallout from a grim milestone that could come any day: the combat death of the 2,000th American G.I...

Frustrated? Angry? Bitter?

Welcome to our world, George.

Miers’ed In Controversy

Last week, Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers filled out the required questionnaire for the Senate Judiciary Committee. It, umm, didn't go well. Committee members found her responses 'inadequate', 'insufficient' and 'insulting'. And those were the nice remarks.

President Bush defended her last Thursday:
"The questionnaire that she filled out is an important questionnaire. And, obviously, they will address the questions that the senators have in the questionnaire as a result of the answers to the questions in the questionnaire."

Thanks for clearing that up, sir. And 'round and 'round we go.

Conservative groups have opened a website to urge her withdrawal:

Stupid obstructionist conservative groups. Give her a fair up or down vote!

More reading/praise for Ms. Miers...
-Miers Gets Criticisms Rare for Nominees to Court
-Bush Won't Release All Miers Records


I have been collecting the Complete Peanuts series, collecting all of Charles Schulz's strips over several years. A highly recommended and ambitious project... only four volumes have been released so far, so there is still time to catch up! I was amazed reading these earliest strips not only how genuinely funny much of the material was right from the beginning, but at the sharp (and subtle) social commentary present throughout. These wise-beyond-their-years kids are definitely products of the Cold War era. Many references are made to current events or just trends in particular (apparently hi-fi was all the rage in 1957). I look forward to the volumes from the late 60s, when Charlie Brown is drafted to Vietnam.

Anyway, I came across the following strip and found it to be not only funny, but timeless as well. The strip is dated May 2, 1958:

Click the thumbnail for full image.

Greenspan Go Bye-Bye

President Bush announced Alan Greenspan's replacement today.

Posted in case anyone cared.

Bush Picks Bernanke As New Fed Chairman

Karl and Scooter's Excellent Adventure

Excellent column on the Plame investigation by Frank Rich:

Karl and Scooter's Excellent Adventure

There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no collaboration between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda on 9/11. There was scant Pentagon planning for securing the peace should bad stuff happen after America invaded. Why, exactly, did we go to war in Iraq?...

....To piece that story together, you have to follow each man's history before the invasion of Iraq - before anyone had ever heard of Valerie Plame Wilson, let alone leaked her identity as a C.I.A. officer. It is not an accident that Mr. Libby's and Mr. Rove's very different trajectories - one of a Washington policy intellectual, the other of a Texas political operative - would collide before Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury. They are very different men who play very different White House roles, but they are bound together now by the sordid shared past that the Wilson affair has exposed...

...But based on what we know about Mr. Libby's and Mr. Rove's hysterical over-response to Mr. Wilson's accusation, he scared them silly. He did so because they had something to hide. Should Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove have lied to investigators or a grand jury in their panic, Mr. Fitzgerald will bring charges. But that crime would seem a misdemeanor next to the fables that they and their bosses fed the nation and the world as the whys for invading Iraq.

Newsweek also explores the history behind the leak:
Prelude to a Leak-
Gang fight: How Cheney and his tight-knit team launched the Iraq war, chased their critics—and set the stage for a special prosecutor's dramatic probe

Finally- The 'buzz' is that charges may be coming down this week:
Lawyers see charges this week in CIA-leak case

For Joe.

Bill Maher on 'Real Time' this week...

"Hey y'all saw Saddam Hussein in court this week? Full beard, right? Put on a little weight. And insisted he was still President. I thought it was Al Gore!"

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Worse Than Watergate

I mentioned recently that I had finished the paperback edition of John Dean's "Worse Than Watergate", featuring a new chapter ('Maybe Another Teflon Presidency') on the aftermath of the 2004 election. The book is particularly relevant now as the Plame investigation nears the final stages... Dean has even written a new column on Find Law analyzing the investigation. Great read.

Anyway, after I finished, I indulged in a guilty pleasure of mine- reading the user reviews on I love reading right-wing reviews of liberally-minded books or movies, because very few of them are intelligent. They are mostly just poorly written rants of the "LIBS = TERRORISTS!!"/love it or leave it variety, and amusingly filled with spelling and grammar errors. No Child Left Behind at work. The reviews of Dean's book did not disappoint in this regard. Here are a sampling of my favorites (any bold added by me):

1. "John Dean is so full of it that he has to have a tongue depressor applied by a proctologist. Who can possibly believe this Judas? His credibility has been exploded innumerable times, and yet liberals keep resurrecting him like a chronic case of syphilis. John Dean and his liberal enablers won't be satisfied until democracy is destroyed and the visage of Abraham Lincoln is replaced by Fidel Castro. To pervert America and rewrite history isn't enough for them: they will not stop until the very memory of American democracy itself is obliterated."

[Note: I didn't know that Rush Limbaugh shopped on]

2. "This book is terrible. Amybody who reads this does not have a brain because if they did they would realize that is filled with lies. But no those people think that if its in a book then it must be true. George W. Bush is one of the greatest presidents we have had. He stands up for the American people and he will not back down in the face of terror like the CLINTONS have. People reading this book should think about the World Trade Center bombing the first time and how about the USS Cole bombing. Clinton just sat by and watched. My sister is over there fighting the war in Iraq and I don't care if they don't find any WMD. Saddam Hussain was a vicious murderer who killed hundreds of thousands of people and maybe more. They have uncovered huge mass graves and there are still people who are unaccounted for. He used WMD on his own people so even if he didn't have them when we went to war, we know that he did have them and that he was capable of making them again and maybe using they on American soil. Instead of have the 700 dead in Iraq there could have been millions dead on our soil. Thank You President Bush! Yo have done a great job and I am ready for another four years."

[Note: Yes, isn't it amazing how Bush has defeated terrorism all over the world?]

3. "I was very alarmed by this book! Until I started reading it, that is. Initially, I thought some stealer of thoughts (Deanerini) had written of my supposedly forgotten "affair" at the Watergate Hotel. A few (seven) martinis and an unfortunate meeting with a shortish (4"7') redheaded trollope visiting from St. Louis resulted in Hoppy's first hotel eviction and a night on the lam. Nevertheless, this book does not tell of that Watergate incident or anything like it.
Instead, you get some clipped, sloppy writing by a face I remember from the tv something like 30 years ago. The title is misleading as the incident described in the book is nothing like Watergate (and certainly not worse--could anything be?). And besides, there is no mention of Redheaded Rita the bullrider. Disappointing..."

[Note: This one speaks for itself. Best review ever.]

4. "Garbage such as this simply makes me ill. We have troops at war, risking their lives to defend our freedem, while people like John Dean sit at home in their recliner chairs making money by taking shots at our commander and chief. Anyone who purchase books such as this should consider moving from the US, because they don't deserve to be called an American. Freedom of speech is most certainly an important right given to us, but with that right comes responsibility... and fabricating such garbage as this is a major abuse of that responsibility. George W. Bush is no Ronald Reagon (easily one of our best presidents ever), but he's certainly doing a much better job than most anyone else would or could. Our country must defend itself and must defend the world from tyrants like Hitler, Hussan, etc. If you let a tyrant grow into more and more power, or give a tyrant time to get weapons of horror, then eventually they will use them and we will have much larger problems than our current war to deal with... and millions rather than hundreds of Americans will pay the ultimate price. Of course guys like John Dean most certainly won't be out their paying that price... they will likely be sitting at home slandering our leaders to make a buck for themselves."

[Note: aka- the introductory chapter to Neoconservatism For Dummies]

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I do.

Live From New York...

Saturday Night Live did a parody of the Bush/soldier teleconference.

Dead-on and a little too realistic.

Soldier: "The elections went very smoothly. The Iraqi people are so full of freedom, they could burst. Sometimes an Iraqi will be so full of democracy, they'll walk into a crowded area and explode. With democracy."

Link to Video (courtesy Crooks and Liars)

"Hurry Up To The Part Where Bush Gets Impeached"

Arianna Huffington was on this week's Real Time w/ Bill Maher to update on the Plame investigation. Arianna debunks the notion that this is too hard of a case to follow (it's really not) and boils it down to its essential elements: an administration that sold a war based on lies and faulty intelligence and the potentially criminal lengths they went to smear anyone who spoke out against them.

OneGoodMove has video:
Bill Maher / Arianna Huffington

Also, on the Huffington Post blog, Arianna continues to school Judy Miller. This week, she took Judy to task in two separate columns on Miller's ridiculous statement stating that "WMD -- I got it totally wrong... The analysts, the experts and the journalists who covered them -- we were all wrong". Arianna points out that back in 2003, not everyone believed the WMD hype and, in fact, many reporters did get it totally right. A great, recommended read to remind us all that there were some still quality journalists in 2003...

Sorry, Judy... Everybody Didn't Get it Wrong on WMD

Everybody Didn't Get It Wrong on WMD: Honor Roll Continued

Perjury Is Sooo 1998.

In regards to speculation that Patrick Fitzgerald may seek perjury (in addition to obstruction and other charges) indictments on key administration officials, Republican senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson said on Meet The Press that she hopes any indictments would not be on a "perjury technicality".

Yes, Senator, perjury is just a 'technicality'. I'm sure President Clinton would've been very happy to know the Republicans felt that way in 1998.

Crooks and Liars has video:
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson: What Crime?

PS- Sen. Hutchinson sang a different tune back in 1998.

Maureen Dowd Takes On Ms. Run Amok

Maureen Dowd rips apart her colleague Judy Miller in a new column.


Woman of Mass Destruction