Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Blame Game

Everyone has seen by now the ways in which the Bush administration refuses to accept responsibility for the war in Iraq and the buildup to it. Not only are the mistakes not their fault, but they are also deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The intelligence (specifically the way it was hyped up with the best marketing team ever assembled outside L.A.) was not their fault. The failure to plan for the post-war scenario was not their fault. Low troop levels and inadequate equipment problems were not their fault. The systematic torturing of prisoners is not their fault (after all, we don't torture!). And the stonewalling of essential info to Congress and other agencies is, well, that's probably not their fault either.

Each member of the administration, and their remaining supporters, has a scapegoat of choice. Republican bloggers blame Bill Clinton and John Kerry and Hillary Clinton (ohh those pro-war Demoncrats). Dick Cheney also blames the Democrats and says that for them to imply the administration did anything wrong is the most disgusting thing ever done in Washington DC ever. Donald Rumsfeld blames George W. Bush; Neocon Rummy certainly didn't want to go to war. He just went along with the President- sweep it all up (under the rug), Rummy!

And who does President Bush blame? Condoleeza Rice, apparently. The article on the FoxNews site I posted on earlier states: "So what is the administration’s response now? Members of Congress should not have been so foolish as to rely on Dr. Rice’s presentation; All 435 members of the House and all 100 senators should have crowded into those small rooms in the Capitol and personally inspected every piece of intelligence". So they all have their scapegoats.

Apparently, if you listen to their rhetoric now, no Republicans (in the administration or otherwise) wanted to go to war, it just sort of happened. Because the Republican's favorite President, Bill Clinton, said it was U.S. policy. Because the Europeans we love oh so much had some concerns about Iraq. Because Saddam was bad. And because the Democrats voted for it. Oh, and 9/11. Yea, definitely 9/11.

Gotta stay the course, though. It doesn't matter if its an erratic and deadly course. We gotta stay it! Why? BECAUSE. That's why. Can't let the 2,100+ dead soldiers have died in vain... at least not until right before the '06 elections.

The thing I find so interesting about all of this is how badly the Bush administration is making their own situation worse. The more they try to defend themselves, they more guilty they make themselves look. The old quicksand factor. They started out by calling Murtha and anyone else who opposes the war traitors and enablers of our enemies. Once they realized that the public found that in bad taste (after all, that's the majority of the people now), the administration immediately dropped the treason rhetoric, but stayed on the attack. In addition, they are starting to turn against each other, like I noted above (Rummy blames Bush, Bush blames Condi, Cheney blames all you unpatriotic little @#*$'s out there!). That unified front they had before is lost. And their "rewriting history" talking point against the Democrats is working against them- as they try to deny the things they said about Iraq in '02/'03 even though we live in the media and internet world where what they said is easily accessable. Nasty rhetoric, eating each other alive, and lying about past statements... these are not the actions of innocent men. Bush and company doth protest too much, me thinks. They are scared and they will do anything to prevent history from catching up with them.

As I wrote last week, this administration is like the 'Family Circus' kids pointing to the Not Me ghost when mommy comes in and sees crayon on the walls.

"Jeffy, who claimed you can't distinguish between Saddam and Al Qaeda when you talk about the war on terror??!!"
-'Not Me!'

"Billy, who said that Saddam had, in fact, reconstitued his nuclear weapons programs?!?!"
-'Not Me!'

"Dolly, who failed to prepare for a post-war occupation of Iraq?!??!"
-'NOT ME!!!'

I even made some Photoshop fun to illustrate the point:

To quote my Nana at Thanksgiving dinner- "If you listen to the things they say and the things they do, you'd think this was a cartoon!". You said it, Nana.

Caveat Emptor

I mentioned in my earlier post that one thing this war has destroyed is the ability of Congress and the people to trust the President on matters of national security. I found this article (on the FoxNews site of all places) that elaborates on that point:

Bush: Congress Shouldn't Have Trusted Rice?

The Bush administration is in the process of establishing a dangerous new precedent in relations between the president and Congress on issues of national security and intelligence -- one that could seriously hamper future presidents of either party.

It’s called caveat emptor (buyer beware).

It goes something like this: If I (the executive branch) provide you (the Congress) with intelligence that proves to be completely wrong and I (the executive branch) exaggerate and hype the meaning of this intelligence and you (the Congress) are gullible enough to vote with me on the basis of this false intelligence and my spin, you are as guilty as sin for your vote and shouldn’t complain to anyone...

What's a troglodyte?

The true scope of Abramoff/Scanlon/Delay/etc mess continues to surface. Now I'm no political expert, but apparently from what I've gathered, some Washington lobbyists and Congressmen are corrupt and have an unethical, illegal quid-pro-quo relationship with each other! Who knew! And if can you believe this, apparently people want to hold them accountable for it too! Personally, I say all this is just the criminalization of politics. And by "politics", I mean "crime".

After all, 'honor and integrity' in government just means not getting blowjobs. Everything else is pretty much fair game. Just don't get caught. Weeez gonna be rich!

Two articles...

Washington Post:
Lawmakers Under Scrutiny in Probe of Lobbyist-
Ney and DeLay Among the Members of Congress Said to Be a Focus of Abramoff Investigation

The Justice Department's wide-ranging investigation of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff has entered a highly active phase as prosecutors are beginning to move on evidence pointing to possible corruption in Congress and executive branch agencies, lawyers involved in the case said...

Wall Street Journal:
Federal Influence-Peddling Inquiry
Casts Wider Net

A Justice Department investigation into possible influence-peddling by prominent Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff is examining his dealings with four lawmakers, more than a dozen current and former congressional aides and two former Bush administration officials, according to lawyers and others involved in the case...

Defending Imperial Nudity

Since I used an 'Emperor's New Clothes' reference as the title of my last post, I thought I'd dig up this recent gem by Paul Krugman reimagining the classic story:

Defending Imperial Nudity

Hans Christian Andersen understood bad rulers. "The Emperor's New Suit" doesn't end with everyone acclaiming the little boy for telling the truth. It ends with the emperor and his officials refusing to admit their mistake.

I've laid my hands on additional material, which Andersen failed to publish, describing what happened after the imperial procession was over.


Two and a half years after the emperor's naked procession, a majority of citizens believed that the imperial administration had deliberately misled the country. Several former officials had gone public with tales of an administration obsessed with its wardrobe from Day 1.

But apologists for the emperor continued to dismiss any suggestion that officials had lied to the nation. It was, they said, a crazy conspiracy theory. After all, back in 1998 Bill Clinton thought there was a suit.

And they all lived happily ever after - in the story. Here in reality, a large and growing number are being killed by roadside bombs.

Whoa, The Emperor's *NOT* Wearing Clothes? WTF?

As the failures of George W. Bush's presidency (and their deadly consequences) begin to become more apparent, more and more of his supporters find it difficult to perform the mental gymnastics necessary to defend him. It's nice to see the fog lifting, even if it's a year later than I would have liked. It took years for people to finally see Nixon for who he was, but this is even more serious. Nixon's mistakes pale in historical comparison- and at least he had a list of genuine accomplishments (EPA and other environmental laws, ending the draft, historic visit to China, etc) he could point to.

President Bush has turned our economy from surplus to a debtor to communist China, allowed a small group of neoconservatives to hijack U.S. foreign policy, destroyed the ability of Congress and the people to trust the President by sending troops to a war that still needs to be rationalized 2.5 years in, also damaged the White House's relationship with the press by taking spin and stonewalling to unprecendented levels, alienated conservatives with his out-of-control spending and arrogant governing, and showed what 'compassionate conservativism' really meant with his handling (or lack thereof) of Hurricane Katrina. I am not surprised that his supporters are starting to turn on him; my only shock is that it took so long. Hopefully this is all leading somewhere and we can finally do what was done to Nixon- hold him accountable for the mess he has created.

I like this rant Bill Maher did in September where he joked about need a California-style recall election for Bush: "On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two Trade Centers, a piece of the Pentagon, and the city of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country, I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side."

The NY Times takes a look at the situation in Ohio:
Even Supporters Doubt President as Issues Pile Up

...Many people who voted for Mr. Bush a year ago had trouble pinning their current discontent on any one thing. Many mentioned the hurricane and the indictment of a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, which some said raised doubts about the president's candor and his judgment. But there was a sense that something had veered off course in the last few months, and the war was the one constant. Over and over, even some of Mr. Bush's supporters raised comparisons with Vietnam.

"We keep hearing about suicide bombers and casualties and never hear about any progress being made," said Dave Panici, 45, a railroad conductor from Bradley, Ill. "I don't see an end to it; it just seems relentless. I feel like our country is just staying afloat, just treading water instead of swimming toward somewhere."

Mr. Panici voted for President Bush in 2004, calling it "a vote for security." "Now that a year has passed, I haven't seen any improvement in Iraq," he said. "I don't feel that the world is a safer place."...

PS- When you've lost 'State of the Union', you've lost Middle America:

Friday, November 25, 2005

Leftover Links

Lazy post-holiday day... Here are some quick links.

-Brownie is starting a disaster preparedness consulting firm. First lesson? Don't do what Mikey Don't Does.
Ex-FEMA Head Starts Disaster Planning Firm

-Another hawkish Democrat faces the reality of the war:
Defense hawk Dicks says he now sees war as a mistake

-And OneGoodMove has video clips from the recent 'Earth to America' comedy special:
-Earth to America - Will Ferrell
-Earth to America - Bill Maher
-Earth to America - Triumph the Comic Insult Dog

Yes, Virginia.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Voice Of Reason

I liked this letter in the Voice of the People section of the Daily News today:

"Union, N.J.: To all Voicers, pro and con: Stop! Both sides of the aisle are wrong and share the blame and shame of nearly 2,100 dead young Americans. Republicans: Stop drinking the Kool-Aid of the party and vicious partisan pundits. You repeat talking points and refuse to see the lies. Democrats: Admit you cared more about winning elections than about the people when President Bush wrapped himself in the flag, placed a crown of righteousness on his head and declared it unpatriotic to oppose him. The problem is your lack of backbone and guts, not intelligence flaws. You all must stop making excuses and start making amends!"

Where's Our Cronkite?

Another passage I liked from the New York Observer story:

Still, those moments were there—as when Walter Cronkite addressed his CBS audience at the end of his Feb. 27, 1968, broadcast. An anti-war movement was gaining strength and volume at home, and the North Vietnamese had swept into the streets of Saigon with the shocking Tet offensive. Mr. Cronkite himself was just home from a trip to Vietnam.

“To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion,” Mr. Cronkite said. “It is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.”

The declaration shook the press and the nation. “If I’ve lost Cronkite,” President Lyndon Johnson told his aides, “I’ve lost Middle America.”

The current President has long since made it clear that he doesn’t care what the media have to say. Even if he did, there is no Walter Cronkite to say it.

Iraq: The Media Wakes Up

There's a great article in New York Observer about the lackluster way the media has covered this war. They compare the Iraq coverage to the groundbreaking coverage of Vietnam and notice how, save for major events, Iraq is little more than some quick updates on a CNN scrawl. This is largely due to the crappy state of news in general (Brad and Angelina > Global Warming), but the coverage is just lacking in scope and depth in general. It makes the point that the fact that people are so shielded from the war only makes worse the fact that 3 years later, we're still trying to figure out what this war is even about.

I think part of the problem is that at the beginning, the media was very gung-ho for the war. They helped sell it. Because we were still in the post 9/11-glow and anything that made us pump our fists and say "Go America!" had to be good. I was working at NBC Nightly News when the war began; I can personally vouch for this. It was all supposed to be flags, shock, and awe. We were supposed to work with the sort of general story that was agreed upon by the corporate suits and the Pentagon. Everyone in the news business was so excited, because they saw the footage and were thinking "Wow, this makes for great television". And it did; everyone loved it- The first made-for-TV war.

Then, when the war started to go downhill (and the rationale for the war proved to be mostly hot air and misinformation), the media only slowly started to change their approach. They wanted to dig at the truth, but the polls were still on the war's side and the suits wanted to avoid appearance of 'liberal bias'. The genuinely good reporting about the war was left to people like Jon Stewart (who's sadly one of the genuine media heroes in this whole mess), who could get away with it because they wrapped the truth in jokes. But now, with the polls turning on the President and the war, and people in Washington like Murtha speaking out on how we can end the war, the media is starting to really hit on the war. The media used to be leaders, now they are followers. Still their work now is not great, but they're trying. Hopefully it makes a difference. In the end, for me, it doesn't change the fact that in 2002 and early 2003 when we needed an independent media to really dissect the case being made for war, they were asleep at the wheel, drunk on what they felt was patriotism.

The article:
Where Was the Media Between Invasion and Murtha?-

Networks Gave Vietnam War Twice the Minutes Iraq Gets; Baghdad Bureaus Cut Back; Amanpour: ‘Patronizing’

...While Vietnam is remembered as the television war, Iraq has been the television-crawl war: a scrolling feed of bad-news bits, pushed to the margins by Brad and Jen, Robert Blake, Jacko and two and a half years of other anesthetizing fare. Americans could go days on end without engaging with the war, on TV or in print.

“There’s a dearth of seriousness in the coverage of news,” said veteran war correspondent Christiane Amanpour, “at a time when, in my view, it couldn’t be more serious.”


In 2003, after the invasion, media companies were warned not to feed the American news consumer too much material on the downside of war. The media-consulting firm Frank Magid Associates advised broadcast outlets that its survey results suggested that viewers had very little appetite for stories about casualties, prisoners of war and anti-war protests.

“There’s this kind of general, industry-wide view that Americans don’t like anything tough, don’t like anything complicated, don’t give a shit, don’t know how to spell the country much less care what’s going on there,” Ms. Amanpour said. “I find that a very patronizing attitude.”...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Cornucopia Of Links

Random links before I leave for mom's...

*Congress had the same intel as the White House? Umm, turns out, that's very much not true:
Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel

*Here's a lesson in safe patriotism for you all-
When the Democrats propose/plan/discuss leaving Iraq, they are cowards.

When the administration and Pentagon discuss it, well that's a-okay.

3 Brigades May Be Cut in Iraq Early in 2006-
Some U.S. Troops Would Stay 'On Call' in Kuwait

Rice Seems to Nod to Calls to Reduce Troops in Iraq

*And while the White House said this week dissent is okay, George doesn't want it too close to the ranch:
Protesters Arrested Near Bush's Ranch

*And Marines in Iraq hope for a real meal this holiday:
Marines' Thanksgiving wish: 'Hot chow'

Non Sequitur

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Christmas Shopping List

Well Thanksgiving is tomorrow and that means that the Christmas shopping season is just days away. Don't procrastinate! Remember, as President Bush told us after 9/11, shopping really pisses the terrorists off. However, shopping can easily become a stressful nightmare. Luckily, we all know that liberals hate Christmas (and America) so you can cross them off your list right away. But for the real Americans in your family, here are some gift ideas:

#1: Battle to Baghdad: The Fight for Freedom board game

Description: The game is set in March 2003, with U.S. forces racing across the desert. "You will take out airports, night bomb cities, hunt down Saddam Hussein, and take over Baghdad," say the instructions. The goal is to conquer Baghdad without running out of soldiers while drawing cards like "Car bomber ... You lose 200 troops" or "Air drop ... You gain 300 troops." One card shows a female soldier holding a naked detainee on a leash and reads, "Disgrace: Some soldiers are found guilty of unlawful treatment and inhumane acts of violence toward Iraqi prisoners. You lose 100 troops!".

Fun for the whole family!!

Order here!- Jiggi Games

[*Note: Exit strategy not included]

#2: Rush 24/7 Adopt-A-Soldier Program

This is a great program; Rush's loyal "Dittoheads" can sponsor a soldier who is serving overseas. And what does the sponsored soldier receive? New equipment or an extra opportunity to call home to their family? Better!

For the insanely low price of $49.95, your adopted soldier will receive a one-year Rush 24/7 membership! This membership gives them unlimited access to Rush 24/7 online as well as every big, colorful issue of The Limbaugh Newsletter! A dream come true!

Our Secretary of Defense may not be making sure our soldiers have the proper equipment or body armor that they need (not that Rush cares), but they can have the better deal- Hearing Rush tell them how all the Democrats (and Republicans) who want to bring them home hate America.

#3: Bill O'Reilly merchandise

The "Bill O'Reilly Christmas Store" is now online at choose from hundreds of great items! The featured item is the No Spin Varsity Jacket. Other available items include The O'Reilly Factor Men's Garment Bag, Jessica's Law Static Window Decal, Spin Stops Here Fleece Blanket, and the Spin Stops Here Tin filled with Soft Mint Puffs. The Bill O'Reilly Christmas Store has a different gift for every member of the family!

Pick the winning side in the war on Christmas! Buy today!

[*Note: The No-Spin Vibrator and O'Reilly Factor Falafel Massager are both currently sold out]

First Casualty of War? The Constitution.

Today's lead NY Times editorial gets it exactly right on the Padilla fiasco:

...The Padilla case was supposed to be an example of why the administration needs to suspend prisoners' rights when it comes to the war on terror. It turned out to be the opposite. If Mr. Padilla was seriously planning a "dirty bomb" attack, he can never be held accountable for it in court because the illegal conditions under which he has been held will make it impossible to do that. If he was only an inept fellow traveler in the terrorist community, he is excellent proof that the government is fallible and needs the normal checks of the judicial system. And, of course, if he is innocent, he was the victim of a terrible injustice.

The same is true of the hundreds of other men held at Guantánamo Bay and in the C.I.A.'s secret prisons. This is hardly what Americans have had in mind hearing Mr. Bush's constant assurances since Sept. 11, 2001, that he will bring terrorists to justice.

With Us Or Against Us

Bonus Blog Recommendation

Rep. John Murtha has a quick blog on The Huffington Post thanking his supporters:

Time for a White House Meeting on Iraq

Recommended Blog Reads

Bored at work too?

Then have I good some good reading for you...

-Worse Than Watergate

-Andrea Mitchell's Prime Time Lies

-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Kansas): The working class "is all about how much I can get now for me"

-Dick Cheney, Vice-King of Comedy

Hillary's Iraq

The subtitle- "Ambiguous Hawk In A Fog Of War" - says it all.

Please Democrats, learn from your mistakes for once. Do not nominate Hillary in 2008.

Hillary’s Iraq:
Ambiguous Hawk In A Fog Of War

Key passage:
Mrs. Clinton has been a force on both sides of the debate over the war. She was an early, consistent defender of the rationale for invading Iraq: that Saddam Hussein posed a danger to the U.S. Unlike former Senator John Edwards, among others, she never backed away from her vote to give Mr. Bush the authority to wage war. But she has also questioned whether the invasion was necessary, and from her perch on the Senate Armed Services committee, she has become a leading critic of the war’s prosecution.

Now the Murtha train is leaving the station, and Mrs. Clinton’s calibrated stance could leave her behind. But that stance, with a foot in each camp and a focus more on health care for soldiers than on grand strategy, seems to be making her the right allies (Senate Republicans) and the right enemies (like the antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan) for a national election...

John Kerry Gets Elected!...

...As foreman of a jury.

John Kerry Elected ... Jury Foreman

Happy Holidays From The Religious Right

The religious right just loves the holiday season!! What better opportunity than a season of peace to spread their message of intolerance and fear? What better opportunity than the birth of Christ (the New Testament savior, Mr. Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged) to engage in some Old Testament fire and brimstone fun? So put down that turkey baster for a moment because there's work to be done to stop the sinners...

First, James Dobson's Focus On The Family will be protesting homos at the Macy's Thanksgiving parade:

Far-right group to use Macy's parade to spread antigay message

Antigay Colorado group Focus on the Family said Tuesday that its members plan to distribute 5,000 "stress balls" along the parade route to promote a Web site it operates that claims that homosexuality is a disorder that can be cured through faith...

And good news for Bill O'Reilly and his struggling ratings, the fake "war" over Christmas continues! Yes sir, the phrase 'Happy Holidays' is truly an assault on our nation's values (Walmart, you're on notice). Christmas is under attack by secularists who have no respect for the pagan Christian origins of Christmas! I suppose even Santa Claus is an enemy in this war. Luckily for Christmas, we have morally pure warriors like Jerry Falwell and O'Reilly fighting to save it:

Falwell fighting for holy holiday-
He'll sue, boycott groups he sees as muzzling Christmas

Evangelical Christian pastor Jerry Falwell has a message for Americans when it comes to celebrating Christmas this year: You're either with us, or you're against us.

Falwell has put the power of his 24,000-member congregation behind the "Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign," an effort led by the conservative legal organization Liberty Counsel. The group promises to file suit against anyone who spreads what it sees as misinformation about how Christmas can be celebrated in schools and public spaces...

On his show last week, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly offered a list of other retailers that he says refuse to use "Merry Christmas" in their store advertising....

Ahhh yes, lawsuits. The religious right's answer to coal.

Exit Strategy

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Chickenhawk Thanksgiving Recipe!

You know what I'm cooking for Thanksgiving?...


All you need to prepare this delicious holiday meal is a willingness to endorse military policies your own past shows to be hypocritical. Key ingredients include draft-dodging history, a hardline pro-war stance, and a tendency to smear your enemies as unamerican. Preheat oven to 325°F. Add some butter and light seasoning. Add 1/2 cup water to the bottom of pan, if desired. Insert meat thermometer in thigh, preferably shaped like an American flag. Chickenhawks look much more authentic with flags.

For a truly unique stuffing, I recommend the following:

#1: One serving of Jean Schmidt-
Battle of Words

Three days after Rep. Jean Schmidt was booed off the House floor for saying that "cowards cut and run, Marines never do," the Ohioan she quoted disputed the comments.

Danny Bubp, a freshman state representative who is a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, told The Enquirer that he never mentioned Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., by name when talking with Schmidt, and he would never call a fellow Marine a coward...

#2- A very big serving of Rush "pilonidal cyst" Limbaugh-
Limbaugh: Murtha "just the useful idiot of the moment"

On the November 21 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, host Rush Limbaugh asserted that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) -- who on November 17 called for the immediate redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq -- is "just the useful idiot of the moment."

Limbaugh added that people "portray [Murtha] as a former hawk," and asked: "What kind of serious hawk calls for withdrawals like this?" Limbaugh then added: "I don't think he ever has been a hawk ... in his career ... as a congressman."

Let cook for 4-5 hours at that temperature. Baste regularly.

[*WARNING: Do not take Oxycontin with chickenhawk. May cause irrational behavior.]

House Leader Vows to Return NYC 9/11 Funds

Congress did something good for a change! It's a Thanksgiving miracle!

House Leader Vows to Return NYC 9/11 Funds

A top House Republican has promised to give back to New York some $125 million in Sept. 11 aid that lawmakers had decided to take away just a week earlier...

..."As we agreed, the Congress will include this funding in the upcoming emergency appropriations bill to fund the recovery and rebuilding efforts for hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The bill we send to the president for signature will include the $125 million," [House Speaker Dennis] Hastert wrote in the letter dated Monday and made public Tuesday.

As The Iraqis Stand Up, We Will Stand Down

From a report on the Iraqi elections last January:

President Bush said in an interview on Thursday that he would withdraw American forces from Iraq if the new government that is elected on Sunday asked him to do so, but that he expected Iraq's first democratically elected leaders would want the troops to remain as helpers, not as occupiers.

President Bush, on that day, on whether the U.S. would pull out if asked:
"Absolutely. This is a sovereign government. They're on their feet."

Let's see how the President feels now, because....

From the NY Times today:
Iraqi Factions Call for Timetable for U.S. Withdrawal

For the first time, Iraq's political factions collectively called today for a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces, in a moment of consensus that comes as the Bush administration battles pressure at home to commit to a pullout schedule...

Hey, Iraqis, no thank you! We don't do timetables!

Only cowards cut and run!

As The Polls Turn

I have greatly enjoyed seeing editorials and political cartoons in the past week accusing Democrats of flip-flopping on the war, saying that they are basically shifting in whichever way the wind is blowing. Because you know strongly the administration has clung to its pre-war stances (*coughWMDscough*). This is especially funny in a week where even Donald Rumsfeld is claiming he didn't advocate the war.

In the past week, we have gotten erratic (and somewhat nasty) rhetoric from the White House and other Republicans on war critics, then they toned it down, but not really. At first they spoke tough. But then the polls showed that the American people disliked the tactics (and *gasp* the war!) and this only hurt them more. So the White House shifted positions- enter the kindler, genter attacks!

Here's the evolution in the past week of White House/Republican comments...

On War Critics-

First: Bush, Cheney, and others say war critics are "dishonest" and "irresponsible". Their actions hurt troop morale and embolden the enemy.

Now: Cheney says the war debate is "more than just a sign of a healthy political system- it's also something I enjoy".

Except: When they try to "rewrite history". That's very bad.

On hawk turned war critic Rep. John Murtha-

First: McClellan says he's in the "Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing" of the Democratic Party. Newbie Congresswoman Jean Schmidt says "that cowards cut and run, Marines never do."

Now: Cheney says Murtha is "a good man, a Marine, a patriot — and he's taking a clear stand in an entirely legitimate discussion".

Mmmmm, now that's revisionism!

New Orleans Today: It's Worse Than You Think

On Sunday, I posted about the new Time cover story about New Orleans:
"New Orleans Today: It's Worse Than You Think-
Neighborhoods are still dark, garbage piles up on the street, and bodies are still being found. The city's pain is a nation's shame"

A little over two months after the President's speech in Jackson Square, there are lots of new articles popping up about the progress (or lack thereof) in New Orleans. As people return to their neighborhoods, bodies are being found. And from what I have read, much of what is being done is on the local level- ie; friends and neighbors helping each other out, cleaning out homes, and local merchants trying to start over. But most have given up hope that the administration will follow through on its promise to rebuild. That Gulf Opportunity Zone the President promised that day ("one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen") doesn't appear to be coming. Two months ago, it seemed rebuilding the Gulf Coast would be the top task for the remainder of his term. But with people being indicted left and right and the debate over the war heating up, it seems he has other priorities. The ever-fickle news cycle, which so poignantly spoke for the suffering in September, has moved on. No one expects New Orleans to be rebuilt overnight. The place is practically a war zone; it'll take a decade to rebuild (not to mention great cooperation between federal and local agencies). But the promises made have already been broken and the lessons of the tragedy have already been unlearned. That's another tragedy in itself.

Here are some links:
-Louisiana Sees Faded Urgency in Relief Effort

-Don't Give In to Katrina Fatigue:
There are still millions of Gulf Coast Americans who need our help

-6,644 are still missing after Katrina; toll may rise

-Po' boys and gumbo help revive New Orleans

-Hurricane Katrina's Aftermath - Late Summer/Fall, 2005

Political Bloopers

Last night on "Countdown", after looking at the President's door problems in China, Keith Olbermann played a clip reel of famous political blunders. From JFK telling Germans he was a jelly donut to LBJ talking about his crotch to Bush Sr. barfing on that Japanese guy to Bob Dole falling off the stage to Howard Dean's yeaargh to Dubya complaing that OB-GYNs can't practice their love, there's a lot to laugh at here.

Watch the video: Bloopers

Dirty Bomb Suspect Jose Padilla Indicted

Hey, I didn't know you could charge terrorist suspects with crimes. I thought you just held them indefinitely.


Dirty Bomb Suspect Jose Padilla Indicted

Ted Koppel Signs Off

The last great TV journalist will do his final show tonight.

Thank you, Ted. We really need more like you around.

Koppel bows off 'Nightline' in low-key fashion (Reuters)

With Little Fanfare, an Anchor Says Goodbye (NY Times)

And a special 'State of the Union' sendoff!
[click thumbnail for image]

Matty's Big Scoop

The blogosphere examines/debunks the CNN Cheney 'X' scandal that Drudge leads with.

Harry Shearer:
Inside the Big X

The Dan Report:

Sorry Matt, back to reporting about Simon Cowell today, ok?

Rumsfeld: "I didn't advocate invasion, I wasn't asked."

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was on "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos this past Sunday to disuss the war. He manages to beat out Cheney this week for sheer balls in saying whatever it takes to deflect criticism. He even comes close to besting Condoleeza Rice's appearance last month on Meet The Press.

Here's one gem, discussing the failure to impose order in post-war Iraq. Watch for Rumsfeld's trademark answering of a question by reasking and rewording the question and then giving a half-answer:

Stephanopoulos: "Several said, though, that 300,000 troops could have done it. Do you believe that?"

Rumsfeld: "We'll never know. Uhh, we'll never know. What we do know is that the battlefield commanders believed they had the right number, recommended that number, and that number was approved. I think they were correct."

Mr. Rumsfeld, I imagine General Shinseki would strongly disagree.

He continues...
"No one has ever been turned down by me. The troops that have been asked for have been given. Is it possible that some commander, at some location, in some part of that country, and went to General Casey and said 'Gee, I need more troops for this' and they made allocation decisions within the country? It's entirely possible. Is it correct to suggest that General Vines or General Casey or General Abisade have ever asked for more troops and been turned down? That is flat not true."

But here's the real whopper:

Stephanopoulos: "If you had known that no weapons of mass destruction would be found, would you have advocated invasion?"

Rumsfeld: "I didn't advocate invasion... I wasn't asked."

[See video: Rumsfeld: I wasn't asked]

Think about how scared these guys are, how desperate these guys are to distance themselves from not only the war, but the President himself- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, I repeat Donald "Project For A New American Century" Rumsfeld, now claims that he didn't advocate the invasion of Iraq.

Talk about passing the buck.

Captain Neocon himself expects us to believe the most controlled President in history came up with this war on his own and somehow talked Rumsfeld and Cheney into it? What a joke. It is common knowledge that Rumsfeld (along with Bush crew members Dick Cheney, I. Lewis Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, and others) was one of the original architects of Iraq policy. Rumsfeld has been in charge of dealing with the Iraq situation for the United States since he met with Saddam to make friends in the 80s to the first Gulf War in 1991 to armchair-generaling Clinton's Iraq stance in the late 90s to planning and selling this current war since immediately after 9/11.

Truman said "The bucks stop here". For these guys, the bucks stops.... somewhere over... there [*points off in distance*].

The Bush administration has been on a heck of a roll lately- Blaming everyone but themselves for the Iraq debacle. 'Hey, don't get mad at us, the Democrats were stupid enough of to vote for it!'. From the intelligence failures to the post-war chaos, they've got a scapegoat for everything. This administration is like the 'Family Circus' kids pointing to the Not Me ghost when mommy comes in and sees crayon on the walls.

"Jeffy, who claimed you can't distinguish between Saddam and Al Qaeda when you talk about the war on terror??!!"
-'Not Me!'

"Billy, who said that Saddam had, in fact, reconstitued his nuclear weapons programs?!?!"
-'Not Me!'

"Dolly, who failed to prepare for a post-war occupation of Iraq?!??!"
-'NOT ME!!!'

These people are treating this war like a game, like another political campaign in which they need to win, not the country, just them. To quote Rep. Murtha, "[T]his is not a war of words, this is a real war where people are getting killed."

Let's look at what Rummy said before the war:

-"We urge you to... enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power."
(Letter to President Clinton, signed by Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and others, Jan. 26, 1998)

-"Judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at the same time. Not only UBL [Osama bin Laden]….Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not."
(Donald Rumsfeld notes, Philadelphia Daily News, Sept. 11, 2001)

-"No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq."
(Testimony to Congress, Sept. 19, 2002

-"It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."
(on February 7, 2003)

-"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat."
(Discussing WMDs in an ABC interview, March 30, 2003)

And here is Rummy rewriting history after the war began:

-"We never believed that we'd just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country."
(Fox News interview, May 4, 2003)

-"I don't believe anyone that I know in the administration ever said that Iraq had nuclear weapons."
(Senate appropriations subcommittee on defense hearing, May 14, 2003)

And that's the facts, Jack.

Mr. Rumsfeld, please do the United States a huge favor- RESIGN.

Monday, November 21, 2005

CNN Xs Out Cheney

Finally, CNN gets something right.



Yeah baby!!! … weeez gonna be rich!!!

As I posted earlier, Michael Scanlon (partner-in-crime to indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and indicted Congressman Tom Delay) plead guilty to conspiracy for his role in defrauding Indian gambling tribes and manipulating Congress. A disturbing, yet amusing, aspect of this saga are the email exchanges between Abramoff and Scanlon that were uncovered. By the way, if interested, Al Franken has a really in-depth chapter on the Abramoff/Delay scandals in his new book- 'The Truth'. Really good read.

The email highlights:

Abramoff: "'The [expletive] troglodytes didn't vote on you today.'

Scanlon: 'What's a troglodyte?'

Abramoff: 'What am I, a dictionary? :) It's a lower form of existence, basically.'

Scanlon: Coushatta is an absolute cake walk. Your cut on the project as proposed is at least 800k. The next wire we get from choctaw you have another 350
- which should be in this week, then if they send the final payment which should come around october 1- your cut will be 400. Totals still ou there for you are 800-
350- choctaw 2
400- choctaw 3
Total 1.5 mil on top of the 660. For a total of 2.1. Not bad :) :)!

Abramoff: How can I say this strongly enough: YOU IZ DA MAN

Scanlon: Ill take the man title for now- but not tomorrow, you return to being the man at midnight!
Let's grow that 2.1 to 5!!! We need the true give me five!

Abramoff: Amen!!

Scanlon to Abramoff: “Yeah baby!!! … weeez gonna be rich!!!”

And here's an oldie email Scanlon sent to colleague during the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal:
Scanlon: "[I disagree with] this whole thing about not kicking someone when they're down. You kick him until he passes out. Then beat him over the head with a baseball bat, then roll him up in an old rug and throw him off a cliff into the pound surf below!!!!!"

Was this type of villainy planned for in Newt Gingrich's Contract With America?

-George Bush's Wise Guys: Noe, Abramoff, Reed, and the Wyly Brothers
-Abramoff Emails Show Greed, Corruption
-Senate Uncovers More Abramoff-Cornyn Connections
-G.O.P. Operative Mixed Charm and Ruthlessness

Michael Scanlon, Partner-In-Crime To Abramoff and Delay, Pleads Guilty

What a tangled web we weave, when first the government practices to deceive...

Ex-DeLay Aide Pleads Guilty in Conspiracy

Michael Scanlon, a former partner to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to bribe public officials, a charge growing out of the government investigation of attempts to defraud Indian tribes and corrupt a member of Congress...

Further reading on the implications for Congress:
Corruption Inquiry Threatens to Ensnare Lawmakers

Before the Invasion, Pt. III

The third- From former Senator Bob Graham (who voted against the Iraq resolution).

He notes as early as Feb 2002, Senators were told of a war Bush claimed he didn't want:
What I Knew Before the Invasion

The president's attacks are outrageous. Yes, more than 100 Democrats voted to authorize him to take the nation to war. Most of them, though, like their Republican colleagues, did so in the legitimate belief that the president and his administration were truthful in their statements that Saddam Hussein was a gathering menace -- that if Hussein was not disarmed, the smoking gun would become a mushroom cloud.

The president has undermined trust. No longer will the members of Congress be entitled to accept his veracity. Caveat emptor has become the word. Every member of Congress is on his or her own to determine the truth...

...In February 2002, after a briefing on the status of the war in Afghanistan, the commanding officer, Gen. Tommy Franks, told me the war was being compromised as specialized personnel and equipment were being shifted from Afghanistan to prepare for the war in Iraq -- a war more than a year away. Even at this early date, the White House was signaling that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein was of such urgency that it had priority over the crushing of al Qaeda...

Before the Invasion, Pt. II

A chilling Orwellian true story of one man responsible for selling the Iraq war:

The Man Who Sold the War
Meet John Rendon, Bush's general in the propaganda war

Before the Invasion, Pt. I

First of three articles examining the case for war...

The first- James Fallows looks at the President's recent speeches defending the war. He focuses not on the President said, but rather what issues he ommits from speeches. This is key:

What Bush Isn't Addressing on Iraq

So when the President decided on Friday to "respond to the critics" of his Iraq policy, naturally he did nothing of the kind. For the record, here are the three biggest, most obvious points not even addressed in his speech:

1) Everybody was not, in fact, working from the same misleading information. The administration's line about WMD these days is: OK, we might have been wrong -- but everybody was wrong, and everybody came to the same conclusion we did. The foreigners came to that conclusion through their intelligence services, and the Democrats (especially that weaselly Kerry and ambitious Hillary) did it when they voted for the war resolution.


2) To say that Saddam Hussein might have been a threat is not to say that we had to invade when we did.


3) As for managing Iraq after the fall of Baghdad, there is no shared blame at all. The Bush Administration owns every aspect of this disastrously bungled situation.

Murtha Says Americans Agree With Him

And the polls may indicate that he's correct there.

John Murtha, agree with him or not, continues to defend his position with dignity:

Murtha Says Americans Agree With Him

Rep. John Murtha on Monday defended his call to pull U.S. troops from Iraq, saying he was reflecting Americans' sentiment in his comments last week.

"The public turned against this war before I said it," said Murtha, a key Democrat on military issues. "The public is emotionally tied into finding a solution to this thing, and that's what I hope this administration is going to find out."

Murtha said he specifically asked more liberal members of his party not to step forward to support him because "I didn't want (the public) to think this was a Democrat position plotted from the left wing." And he expressed confidence that terrorist bombings in Iraq would cease once U.S. troops were gone and Iraqis became solely responsible for their destiny.

Further reading:
-The Terrorist Temptation:
The Bush administration is so accustomed to torturing the truth, it can’t face the facts. Murtha’s outburst on Iraq has shown it is time to stop deluding ourselves.

-Cheney Calls Iraq Pullout 'Dangerous' (AP)

Who's Jean's Marine?

In her rant on the floors of Congress last week, newbie Rep. Jean Schmidt passed along a message to Rep. John Murtha (not that it was addressed to anyone in particular, of course, just all of the John Murthas out there) from a Marine representative that "that cowards cut and run". Who is this Marine? Is he a battler of evildoers or merely a muscleman for the religious right?

Max Blumenthal takes a look:

Who Is Mean Jean's Marine? And Why Does He Think Murtha's A Coward?

General Motors Wishes Its Employees Happy Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving, guys!

GM to Cut 30,000 Jobs, Close 9 Plants

Ariel Sharon To Form New Party, Dissolves Parliament

Israeli Prime Minister has left his party, feeling it was too hard-line (such as their opposition to the Gaza pullout), and is forming his own party. He has also asked Parliament be dissolved. A bold move, for sure. A good one? Well let's certainly hope so. That region could use all the good news it can get.

Sharon Asks for Parliament's Dissolution

In a bold gamble, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon asked Israel's president Monday to dissolve parliament, pushing for a quick March election just hours after deciding to leave his hard-line Likud Party and to form a new centrist party.

Sharon's decision to leave Likud sent shock waves through Israel, redrawing the political map, finalizing his transformation from hard-liner to moderate and boosting prospects of progress in peacemaking with the Palestinians...

Bush Tries To Cut And Run

President Bush was giving a speech today in Bejing and tried to make a getaway. After a day of talking with President Hu and other Chinese officials, the President spoke to some U.S. reporters. One reporter was critical of his performance earlier that day and asked: "Respectfully, sir -- you know we're always respectful -- in your statement this morning with President Hu, you seemed a little off your game, you seemed to hurry through your statement. There was a lack of enthusiasm. Was something bothering you?".

Apparently, there was something bothering him, because he got testy and answered- "Have you ever heard of jet lag? Well, good. That answers your question." Bush then went on to discuss positive developments from the trip. The reporter soon asked if he could have a follow-up question, prompting Bush to end the press conference and tell the reporter "No you may not" as he hastily headed for a set of nearby doors... which turned out to be locked.

"I was trying to escape. Obviously, it didn't work", the President noted.

He was then pointed to the correct door and exited.

See video here:
No Exit

"What the hell??!"

It's not his fault, though. He just got some bad intelligence on which door to use.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

History Lesson

Another good quote to add to the pile. This from 2002:

"You can't distinguish between Saddam and Al Qaeda when you talk about the war on terror."
-President George W. Bush

Clinton Did It! (aka- Bush who?)

Very few right-wing attack/defense trends bother me more than the reactionary "It's Clinton's fault!!!" screams you get from pundits and bloggers. Despite the fact that President Clinton left office in January 2001, everything that has happened since then is still his fault. 9/11 was Clinton's fault (note: I don't remember people blaming Bush Sr. for the '93 WTC bombing). The bad economy is Clinton's fault (note: let's ignore that he was actually more fiscally conservative than Bush). The broken levees in New Orleans were Clinton's fault (note: because they certainly couldn't have been repaired in the 4 years since). And, of course, the Iraq war is Clinton's fault (note: I'll deal with this soon). This George W. Bush guy, whoever the hell he is, is just an innocent bystander in Clinton's mess- a hardworking man trying to make right the mistakes of the Clinton monster.

The NY Post did an editorial recently criticizing Clinton's statement in a recent speech that the Iraq war was a "big mistake". Today, they dedicated their entire letters page to negative reactions to this comment. Bill bad! They also dedicated a full-page editorial to attack the supposed duplicity of prominent Democrat leaders, showing statements they made for the war before it began and more recent statements they have against the war. The point of this, I imagine, is to say that any critiques they have now are invalid because at one time they supported it.

While I won't say that Democrats or Clinton shouldn't be held accountable for the decisions and statements they made, the argument is incredibly flawed and hypocritical. For one thing, I don't remember the Post ever dedicating a full-page, half-page, or quarter-page editorial to the statements made by the Bush administration regarding the war.

First- Clinton. Let's ignore for now the influence the Bush neocon crew had on Clinton's Iraq policy. We'll move onto the main points. The best debunking of the Clinton/Iraq stuff I have seen is here: Dubya & Willy. Most of the 1998 Clinton quotes that are passed around about Iraq (where talks about Saddam's threat and weapons) are from before Operation Desert Fox, launched specifically to target Saddam's remaining WMD capabilities (most of which were already gone after years of UN inspections and weapons destruction). By all accounts, this operation was a huge success. 87 of the 100 targets were destroyed, including all WMD targets. Republicans, of course, complained about this operation, accusing him of merely trying to distract from scandals. Regardless, Clinton was satisfied (and history has proven him right) that this mission had removed what remained of Saddam's threat. Perhaps this success is why, when they first came into office, Bush administration officials made statements like this:
"He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq..."
-Colin Powell (February 24, 2001)

"The sanctions, as they are called, have succeeded over the last 10 years, not in deterring him from moving in that direction, but from actually being able to move in that direction... And even though we have no doubt in our mind that the Iraqi regime is pursuing programs to develop weapons of mass destruction -- chemical, biological and nuclear -- I think the best intelligence estimates suggest that they have not been terribly successful."
-Colin Powell (May 15, 2001)

"We are able to keep arms from him [Hussein]. His military forces have not been rebuilt."
-Condoleezza Rice (July 29, 2001)

After 9/11, of course, their tune changed. The Bush crew would take a bolder approach.

Second- The Democrats. Yes, the Democrats did agree with the Bush administration's renewed fears of Saddam's WMD capabilities. And yes, they did vote on the Iraq war resolution (a resolution that was presented as a tool of diplomacy, rather than a declaration of war). But I don't think this is the main issue. I think alot of the Democrats' decisions had to do with political cowardice (they didn't want to end up like Max Cleland, a crippled Vietnam vet Senator who was smeared out of office because he stood up for his principles). And no, that's not an excuse, just my interpretation of the situation. Mainly, though, the Democrats believed the Saddam threat because of the intelligence they were given- intelligence we know now to be false. They also did not have the complete intelligence picture the White House did, a larger picture that cast doubt on the Saddam threat. While we shouldn't ignore their actions/statements before the war, I don't cast the blame on them primarily. Perhaps, in the end, their biggest mistake was trusting their President. And Congress should always be able to trust its President. In 2002, Congress did. They were mistaken, but that is not their fault.

When the truth began to come about the Iraq intelligence, and the situation there began to deteriorate (due to poor leadership from the Secretary of Defense and Commander-in-Chief), yes the Democrats did change their mind on the war. That is not flip-flopping. That is called changing one's mind. When circumstances change, that is not only a perfectly okay thing to do, it is the intelligent thing to do. Many of Bush's problems stem from his inability to change his mind and leave his comfort zone. Many say that the Democrats' critiques are not enough; they need to suggest real ideas. That's a fair point and they are starting to do that. But they are better than the Republicans whose entire Iraq policy is simply "stay the course"- a catch phrase. The Democrats are starting to put some real fire into the war discussion and the Republicans don't like it, so they are falling back on their primary tactic- smear.

No, we shouldn't ignore the roles the Democrats played in this war, but they are not in charge. They are a minority party. Bill Clinton isn't in charge either; he hasn't been for five years. The Democrats didn't invade Iraq. Bill Clinton didn't either. George W. Bush, and his administration, did.

Somehow the Republicans have forgotten that. It's time to remember.

Al-Zarqawi Dead?

Al-Zarqawi May Be Among Dead in Iraq Fight

U.S. forces sealed off a house in the northern city of Mosul where eight suspected al-Qaida members died in a gunfight — some by their own hand to avoid capture. A U.S. official said Sunday that efforts were under way to determine if terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was among the dead...

The White House disputes this, but it remains unknown either way officially.

*fingers crossed*

Bush Flip-Flops On War Critics?

President Bush flip-flops:

After fiercely defending his Iraq policy across Asia, President Bush abruptly toned down his attack on war critics Sunday and said there was nothing unpatriotic about opposing his strategy.

"People should feel comfortable about expressing their opinions about Iraq," Bush said, three days after agreeing with Vice President Dick Cheney that the critics were "reprehensible."

And a good quote from Murtha on Meet The Press:
"They've been overly optimistic and illusionary about their policy. We got to--this is not a war of words, this is a real war where people are getting killed."

"We'll not just rebuild, we'll build higher and better."


"Tonight I propose the creation of a Gulf Opportunity Zone, encompassing the region of the disaster in Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama. Within this zone, we should provide immediate incentives for job-creating investment, tax relief for small businesses, incentives to companies that create jobs, and loans and loan guarantees for small businesses, including minority-owned enterprises, to get them up and running again...

...The work that has begun in the Gulf Coast region will be one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen. "

From a speech by President George W. Bush in New Orleans- Sep 15, 2005


With no clear direction on whether to raze or rebuild, the 300,000 residents who fled the region are frustrated—and increasingly indecisive—about returning. If they do come back, will there be jobs good enough to stay for? If they do rebuild, will the levees be strong enough to protect them? They can't shake the feeling that somehow they did something wrong just by living where they did. And now the money and the sympathy are drying up. People just don't understand. You have to see it, smell it, put on a white mask and a pair of plastic gloves, and walk into a world where nothing is salvageable, not even the mildewed wedding pictures....

...But congressional Republicans are picking up strong signals from the White House that the Administration is not going to move forward with any grand coastal plan. "There's not a sense of urgency anymore," says a senior House Republican aide.

From: Time magazine-
"New Orleans Today: It's Worse Than You Think:
Neighborhoods are still dark, garbage piles up on the street, and bodies are still being found. The city's pain is a nation's shame"

Not that anyone cares, though. New Orleans is soooo last September.

New Report Throws White House A Curveball

Did the Bush administration mislead us during the buildup to war in Iraq?

Does a duck have feathers???!

German officials deliver another blow to the administration's argument...

How U.S. Fell Under the Spell of 'Curveball':

The Iraqi informant's German handlers say they had told U.S. officials that his information was 'not proven,' and were shocked when President Bush and Colin L. Powell used it in key prewar speeches

The German intelligence officials responsible for one of the most important informants on Saddam Hussein's suspected weapons of mass destruction say that the Bush administration and the CIA repeatedly exaggerated his claims during the run-up to the war in Iraq.

Five senior officials from Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, or BND, said in interviews with The Times that they warned U.S. intelligence authorities that the source, an Iraqi defector code-named Curveball, never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so.

According to the Germans, President Bush mischaracterized Curveball's information when he warned before the war that Iraq had at least seven mobile factories brewing biological poisons. Then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell also misstated Curveball's accounts in his prewar presentation to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, the Germans said....

All The President's Men

Just some quick posts on this new Woodward chapter of the Plamegate saga...

Newsweek speculates:
Sources of Confusion-
The Plame drama thickens, as Washington once again tries to guess who Bob Woodward's been talking to

TimesOnlineUK points the finger at Hadley:
Security adviser named as source in CIA scandal

And Joe Conanson is, umm, less than happy with Mr. Woodward:
Conason on Woodward